Cut in on our hapless heroine. Curled up in bed furiously typing with her thumbs on the illuminated screen of her phone. The room is dark but from the glow at the edge of the black curtains we can see morning light penetrating her dim purgatory. Her bedroom acts as a holding cell keeping her safely ensconced in darkness until she summons the strength to move. The glow of the screen lights her face as her thumbs pause in contemplation. She glances at the time but the digits only serve to drive her deeper into her blankets as the rapid thumb typing escalates.
And then the phone rings scaring her enough that she lightly tosses the phone from her hands bashing her nose. Has she forgotten the primary purpose of a phone? Is she afraid the caller bears sad tidings? Bad tidings? Perhaps her nerves are just completely fucking shot?
That reads like a caricature of a morning. An exaggeration of a frazzled woman. It’s not. That’s a fairly accurate description of so very many of my mornings of late. When my phone rings it’s almost always my boyfriend. But when he isn’t on the other end it’s usually a member of my family calling to let me know that someone is dead. Or dying. Sometimes it’s that too.
Two weeks ago the school district’s auto-dialer called to remind me of the district wide late start, I wanted to hug the woman who made the recording simply because she wasn’t telling me anything shocking that I didn’t already know.
Death has loomed like a reeking cloud. A creeping horror movie fog obscuring all it touches and filling the spaces in my life with grief and mourning.
It seems I’ve reached an age at which people I’ve know all my life must leave us.
Ugh. Leave us. Pass on. Meet one’s end. Depart this life. Expire. Kick the bucket. I don’t like any of the euphemisms.
Those I love keep dying and I’m just done with it.
I fear my friends and co-workers are beginning to think I’m making up family members and killing them off as an excuse to be moody and absent. I can’t make this stuff up. I may be morbid, but I’m not that creative. Just tired.
You know that foggy fuzzy state your brain can succumb to when you’ve been on the go for weeks on end. Traveling, working, family issues, cat hairballs. These things can make the most collected person tired. I would go so far as to say zombie-like.
This was just the case yesterday morning when I finally woke in my own bed after being on the road off and on for a few weeks. I was looking forward to curling up in my bed with my laptop and a really strong cup of this coffee I love. I’d been looking forward to it for several days. My coffee. At home. In bed. While catching up on work.
So I crawled out of bed and stumbled, groggy, into my kitchen. I ran the beans through the grinder, filled the coffee maker with water, and placed the coffee pot into the machine. Just as the grinder ground to a halt I turned to pick it up. There was a scraping noise, then a sliding noise. Then…
Before I could think my lighting fast reflexes took over. I narrowly missed the falling carafe with my outstretched hand, but a little quick thinking placed my foot in its path.
My foot. In its path. This is where I take a moment to tell you that I don’t know what I was thinking. And to point out that I hadn’t had my coffee yet. So there really was no thinking.
Did you know that upon hitting a bare human foot a coffee pot can shatter into a billion or so tiny pieces? Because it can. And apparently it will. If that coffee pot is my coffee pot. And that foot is my foot.
Interestingly enough, it can also shatter into a billion pieces on a bare human foot without leaving a single scratch, cut, gouge, or wound. What it can not do is hold coffee once it’s in those billion pieces.
So I’ve been seeing a lot of my favorite coffee shop owners these past two days.
While one cat curls up sound asleep at the foot of my daughter’s bed enjoying the warmth of the heater and the quiet sound of her breath the other is running the length of the house and back in the blink of an eye. He weighs all of five pounds but manages to produce the same audio effect as a small pack of horses clomping along at breakneck speed around a track. When he’s through with that he engages in, from the sound of it, a roman style wrestling match with each of the gods on Mount Olympus in reverse alphabetical order. It’s not unheard for him to then sit by the back door and howl to his friends to come over for a party. He’ll keep calling out to all his little kitty friends until he remembers that he’s an indoor cat and the only other cat he knows hates him at the moment because he’s trying to sleep. When done with the party invites, he’ll go spend some time leading a massive dig effort with what sounds like several contracting companies in what I can only assume he believes to be an untouched part of Egypt where another great pyramid and several mummies will be found. Eventually he’ll find where in the vast miles of litter box he wants to take a piss and fire the teams he brought on.
It’s not long after this that he usually tires of his adventures and settles down with certainty that he has accomplished whatever goal he has set in mind for the night, but sometime during the whole ordeal another chain of events will be set in motion.
My kid will wake up so irritated by his racing, wrestling, chatting, or digging that she’ll climb out of bed disturbing the quiet sleepy cat who will begin to meow in displeasure, yell at the racing, wrestling, chatting, digging cat to stop doing whatever he’s doing, and when that doesn’t work (it never works) storm into my room with an air of desperation demanding that I do something about his behavior. You see my daughter seems to believe that I have a magic power that will force the cat to not behave like an insane asshole in the middle of the night. I mean obviously since I can sleep through his shenanigans I must have an answer. And I need to deal with it. Right then and there. At 2:16 am. You know, when I would much rather be sound asleep.
She doesn’t seem to like it very much when I suggest that she employ the method which I’ve used all these long years to withstand his strange kitty quests and tirades. That she possesses the same power over him as I. The magic is within her as well. It passes directly from mother to daughter in a line going back further than I can know.
She’s not ready or willing to take her place in the seat of power. But someday I have faith that she will make me proud and will do as so many have before to fight the cat crazies of the night. The night will come when she, just like her mother, will close her bedroom door.
And when that night comes I will be too busy getting a good night’s sleep to be proud of her.
As parent who works full time from home my workday shouldn’t be greatly disrupted by my tween being home sick from school, none the less I catch myself saying some of the darndest things while trying to focus on work while she’s around…
- Please put David Tennant down, I can’t concentrate on work when you’re squeaking his coat.
- Options for kids home sick from school in this house are limited to going to bed to sleep, sitting quietly on the couch while watching Lord of the Rings, doing your homework, and cleaning your room. Everything else is outlawed.
- Stop that. And that.
- If I hear a single squeak or song out of those big eyed lemurs they’re going back to the zoo.
- Sick kids don’t get candy.
- Yes, Elijah Wood would make a very pretty woman, but that’s Frodo not Arwen.
- No my adding machine is not voice activated, but I can talk to it if I want.
I’m thinking it’s best to just talk to myself during the workday…
Those of you who know me know I am not a runner. Hell, those of you who don’t know me probably know I’m not a runner. Like many, I have often been known to say that I wouldn’t run unless there was a bear or a zombie chasing me. If a zombie bear were to give chase I’d likely run like a gazelle. But as a general rule Cami Kaos doesn’t run. Hike? Stroll? Skip? Walk? Stumble? Climb? Sure, sounds lovely.
But the other day as I walked home from school drop-off, music blaring in my ears through my little headphones, I looked down at my feet striding in time with the fast beat of the music and I had the sudden urge to take off. To run until I was drenched in sweat. Until I lost my breath. Until I stood on the sidewalk clutching my side from the stitch I knew I would feel.
I turned the music on and up on that walk up because I was stressed and I needed a way to get that feeling out so I could focus, get on with my day, and be constructive. Walking home alone my mind had a few moments to turn, churn, and play catch up on all the little stones in my life that amount to a mountain of feelings and thoughts. We all have stress in our lives from any number of sources and how we choose to deal with that stress, I believe, says a lot about each of us.
I used to write. When stressed. Or when sad. Or mad. Or confused. Or even when fooling myself.
That outlet is, more often than not, failing. I’ve moved on to other things. Organizing sock drawers. Stamping metal. Counting the number of bumps on my ceiling. That sort of thing.
But that morning, walking home, I looked down at my pink sneakers, listened to the pounding beat, and dreamt of taking off. I didn’t though. There was a fresh pot of coffee and a stack of work waiting for my attention. But ever since it’s been in the back of my mind and I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to say I won’t run.
There are some things that I just find rude. Honking, out of context, is one of them. That car horn is there for when you’re on the road and you need to audibly notify drivers or pedestrians of something in your surrounding area. It can signal something like “Oh no my brakes are out and I’m careening through an intersection and I don’t want to kill you!!!!!!!!” or “Why the fuck did you run that red light I’m going to smash into you and kill us all!!!!!!” or “You’re driving on the wrong side of the road, idiot!” or even “Are you blind?! The light is green! Go go go!”
I’m sure there are other good reasons…
I’m not a big fan of the “Honk if you love [insert deity or political cause here]” honking. Or honking to try to magically clear a traffic jam that stretches out for miles in either direction. Or to tell your friend/date/kid/anyone you’ve arrived and they should come out and get in the car. Honking to get an animal out of the road is something I can get behind though as I shriek and cringe anytime I see roadkill… yeah, I’m working on it.
But I’m certain that one thing a car horn isn’t meant for is getting your kid to hurry the fuck up because said child didn’t listen to you 20 seconds before when you were yelling for them to get out the door. I’m even more certain that isn’t the proper use of a car horn at 7am when I am trying to sleep and said car with horn is just down the driveway and aimed in the direction of my bedroom window.
I think we should all be relieved I was drowsy and un-dressed as it prevented me from running to my front door and shouting a few obscenities that, said on tv, would be honked out by censors for sure.
After some reflection this is more a parenting issue than one of car horn etiquette, but since they seem to overlap let me just remind anyone who may have forgotten that people are humans. Not geese. At least they were last time I checked.
I glanced down at the screen on my iPhone and noticed someone had changed my lock screen. Instead of an adorable picture of my kid and our cat or a sappy kissy-face picture of my boyfriend and me there was a mogwai with an animated caption reading “gremlin elevator”. As I noticed the stairs ahead of me motion trails streamed off the words and the text changed to an angry bold “Take the stairs!!!!”
It was at this point I realized I was in the full embrace of a weird-ass dream. Having the option of waking myself up or giving over to the strange I nestled in to see where the stairs would take me. As I climbed each step I heard giggling friends behind me. I kept an eye on the screen of my iPhone, ever-present in every aspect of my life now that it had made its way into my dream.
When I reached the top of the stairs a slimy hissing gremlin greeted my, pointing a bony finger to a half hidden door. I had to stretch up to reach the high-placed doorknob but once the door opened the meaning of my dream was clear at once as I realized I had opened the door to a bathroom.
“When you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go” I quipped as I stumbled out of bed and down the hall. When I was done and curled up safely back in bed I wrapped my hand around my waiting iphone, checked the time to make sure I could safely snooze and fell back into the sweet embrace of sleep, phone still in my hand but gremlins nowhere to be seen.