I think technology has officially passed me up. I was thinking about The Jetsons the other day, and the episode when Mrs. Jetson was overwhelmed from the machines and gadgets that were supposed to simplify her life. I understand Jane so much better now, as I throw in the towel for my two latest tech additions in our house – what should be a simple alarm clock, and a freaking scale. Like there wasn’t enough wrong with either of those items to begin with, I have now teched it out beyond recognition.
The Jetsons shows us the future in year 2062 – 100 years from the actual airdate of 1962 (and yes, thank you, we are closer to 2062 than we are to 1962 so let’s all freak out about that later when we can schedule some time to do so properly). Pressing so many buttons made Jane’s fingers tied, twisted and cramped, and she was diagnosed with some sort of futuristic carpal tunnel syndrome. Being a housewife of the future had overwhelmed her hands to the point of debilitating pain and stress. She truly “needed” to hire a robot maid to help her with all the strenuous button pushing. At the time I originally watched this episode (probably during the 1985 reboot) I was in disbelief. Who could be overwhelmed by technology?! She had it so easy! A press of a button solved everything! And now here I am. I have technology that is just the press of a button (not even a real PRESS – just a TOUCH) and I am a twisted cranky person as well. And for the record, I have wanted a robot maid (and other futuristic inventions) for quite some time, which you can read here in my blog from 2015.
So, today’s tech fails in my life. Let’s start with these two – the scale and the alarm clock – and then I can obsess about this until 2062 and keep you updated on others as they occur.
First, there was the scale. Now, mind you, the scale and I have never been friends. I’ve been up, I’ve been down, I’ve worn every size from 4 to 16 at some point in my life, and I generally like to judge how things are going by how my pants fit rather than what number the scale assigns. But nevertheless, I regularly step on the scale. My grandmother used to take her earrings off when she got on the scale at the doctor’s office. Then I started watching “This is Us” and saw Kate do the same thing and I thought “Oh yes, I know you!” So when our scale BROKE, I tried not to take it personally. I don’t know when batteries became an essential part of the scale, but I replaced them, and still the scale said E. I don’t like E. I imagine it is the dying sounds of the scale saying “eh” as I ask it how much I weigh and the scale would rather die than tell me. So I ditched the scale. The hubby decided he was going to pick out a new scale. First, he told me about a scale that was a full-length mirror that analyzed your weight, BMI, and whether specific parts of your body had gotten more toned or flabby. I looked at him with a general haze of disbelief. I wondered if I could get in full body Spanx and trick the mirror scale, or if it would be like the Magic Mirror that Snow White’s evil stepmother queen used to consult. So, I shook my head and requested we not get the full body criticism-sharing mirror. Let’s keep it simple, I asked. Brian nodded and bought a bluetooth scale with memory and user info that connected to an app on my phone. I wrinkled my nose. He explained it to me. He’d entered both of our initials in the scale, so that when we stepped on, it would know who we were, and record our weight, so we could see it in the fat-tracking app, and we could watch our progress. And we would only see our OWN progress, the scale would be confidential and not share each other’s weight. This I found important. Now, for the record, Brian is like many men, where if he decides he wants to lose weight, his brain sends a message to his body, and he loses weight. Maybe he’ll drink a little less whiskey. Maybe he’ll eat more salad. But because of whatever evil spell has been cast on the universe, he is a man and loses weight easily. I, on the other hand, do not lose weight easily. I drink gallons of lemon water. I go to the gym and work with a trainer twice a week, I ride the spin bike at home another couple of times a week. I eat a controlled amount of calories each day following the Zone plan and take vitamins and drink green tea and walk the dogs and try to get my 10,000 steps. And then, if I stand naked on the scale, take off my earrings, and be sure to exhale all the air in my lungs, I might lose half a pound. My trainer, whom I love, tells me this is normal, and not to worry about the scale. The fact that I’m down a pants size is more important than a number on the scale. I get it, but this means that my scale progress versus Brian’s scale progress are two different things. But he thinks this supersmart scale is a great plan. So I tried it. And then I fell apart. Because although Brian promised me that the scale would know there were two of us to track, and keep us separate, it did NOT know who I was. After stepping on the scale, I panicked. It asked me BTM? OMG. Did I weigh as much as Brian? Had life spiraled out of control so that I was the same poundage as a six-foot man? I desperately tried to figure out how to change the user to CEM – stomping and toe touching on the scale like an Irish jig. Was this going to record in his app? Was he going to think he was making progress and then there would be this wife weight blip? How much weight did I need to lose to make it clear to the scale that I was not my husband? This was the worst invention ever. I left the scale sending me messages of “???” and retreated as far away as I could, and bought my own scale. Just for me. No one else. It doesn’t know who I am. It doesn’t remember what I weighed yesterday or last week or when I was 30 years old. This anonymous and forgetful/forgiving relationship is exactly what I need. Brian (BTM!) later told me that the scale isn’t guessing who is who – it just needs to know who I am. And BTM is alphabetically before CEM. And when our 11 year old daughter got on the scale it also asked if she were BTM, so it wasn’t me. No. This scale wasn’t for me at all.
Recently I read an article that in addition to counting calories, increasing metabolism and exercising, eating whole / real / clean food, drinking water and green tea, limiting alcohol and sugar and processed food, the real secret to losing weight is to get a good night’s sleep. And that brings us to my new alarm clock. I love going to sleep, I just don’t like getting out of bed. My kids inherited this anti-morning issue, which makes getting up for school so much fun. Our parenting skills also seem to be lacking in the morning hours, but after trying to wake the teenage boy for 45 minutes by blasting music, turning on every light and generally screaming nonsense, we were out of ideas. We then resorted to getting our teenager out of bed by throwing water onto his sleeping body. I admit I took a bit of evil pleasure in making Alex so mad – but he was awake.
But me? I do wake up with an alarm, I just don’t like it. So when I saw this magic alarm clock that promised to change my morning wake up routine for the better, I was hooked: “Intelligent alarm clock with smart home integration – Now you can sleep well every night with soothing white noise while your phone and tablet are charging. Wake up refreshed every morning with a wake up light that simulates sunrise, set your alarm to your favorite music, and receive weather and traffic reports. Even communicates with other smart devices in your home to adjust your room temperature, brew your coffee, and much more!”
That sounds amazing, right? It’s like Rosie the Robot maid has arrived. Light that simulates sunrise was particularly enticing, as waking up throughout the dark mornings of New Jersey winter are not really that conducive to a happy me. I dreamt of this magic light emanating from the clock, soft dulcet tones of an inspirational tune playing quietly, perhaps even magical birds chirping and flying overhead, while little mice began my chores. I mean, who was going to brew the coffee? It sounded like the morning I always dreamt about, so I bought not one, not two, but THREE of these magical clocks. I gave one to each of the kids and took the third for myself. I actually wrapped it up and opened it my own self on Christmas morning. And then we plugged them in. And that is where my dreams started to deteriorate.
First, the kids were unimpressed. They didn’t care what kind of alarm clock it was, they didn’t want to do anything resembling waking up in the morning. Then, once I finally convinced them to plug in their magic clocks, I realized that they did not work like regular clocks. There was no “time set” or “alarm set” buttons, no hours or minutes. I needed to download an app to set the clock. So then we needed to find my kid’s phones, which were shockingly out of battery. Once we charged them enough to download the needed app, I realized that no one at the magic clock store was anticipating me purchasing multiple magic clocks, and each of the phone apps had all the clocks to sync to via Bluetooth, and somehow I connected the phones to the wrong clocks, so that my kids were then able to set alarms in each other’s rooms, in a sort of technological torture, where they could either wake someone else up too early or have them sleep in too late and miss their start to their morning. “Just come wake us up” my kids implored, and unplugged the magic clocks.
I sat down next to my remaining magic clock and plugged it in. “I will make magic,” I promised myself, and started to download my magic clock app. I decided that since the download was taking so long, I’d go to bed and get the alarm and wake-up parts going the next day. There were many days of magic ahead. No need to rush or stay up late to make it work. Bedtime at 10, I was determined to get a good night sleep. Skinny dreams awaited me.
I woke up at 6 a.m. the next morning, checking my new magic clock and feeling refreshed and excited. Maybe just having the magic clock near me would make me sleep well! Maybe just the presence of this new promise was all I needed! I quietly padded out of bed, so as not to wake the hubby, pet the dog on the way to the bathroom and decided to check my email when I got back to my cozy bed and covers. “I don’t really need to be up until 6:30”, I thought, “Let me get started on my day! The world is full of possibilities!”
I replied to emails, I read ones I had been neglected the day before. I wondered why my Daily Skimm email hadn’t arrived – it was always in my inbox by 6:13, like clockwork, keeping me informed about the world. I checked my magic clock. 6:30. I looked at my inbox. No Skimm. I looked at the ipad clock. 4:21. Wait, what? I grabbed my phone – 4:21. What was going on? The magic clock app had not yet downloaded. It was in a circular loop of technological purgatory, so the Bluetooth hadn’t yet connected to the magic clock to tell it what time it really was. Since I had plugged in the magic clock at 10 when I was going to bed, it simply had started from 12:00, default clock time, and counted hours from there. I had not woken up at 6 a.m. I had woken up 6 hours later, like a stinking stopwatch. It was 4:21 in the morning, and I was wide-awake. A total magic clock fail. And somehow, I reset my internal clock, so for the week following clockgate – I woke up – wide awake – every freaking morning – at 4 a.m. Every night. 4 a.m. Wide. Awake. Shoot me.
My friend Oprah recently sent me her latest magazine, and in it there was a giant feature article about sleep. I read it from beginning to end, nodding, because sleep – and sleep health or “hygiene” – is really important to me. If it wouldn’t embarrass my kids I’d say “Sleep health is my jam!” but if I said that they would shake their heads and tell me that’s not a thing people say. Especially moms. Especially me. So Oprah reminds me to dim the lights at night, have cozy jammies, a special routine at night to remind my brain it’s time for bed. Yes, check, I do all those things. Sometimes when I’m getting ready for bed I compare my nighttime routine to those I’ve watched in Downton Abbey or The Crown. I somehow think lords and ladies and royalty have the market on this sleep health and routine thing. I am just one lady’s maid shy of nighttime perfection. So at the very end of the sleep article Oprah sent, she explains that there are two different kinds of insomnia. Sleep-Onset insomnia means you can’t fall asleep at bedtime. There’s like seventeen different solutions for that. Lavender lotion or essential oils. Dimmer switch for your lights. Cozier jammies or fabulous new sheets. Room darkening shades. Colder room. On and on goes the list to help solve that problem. Sleep-Maintenance Insomnia, however, is when you go to sleep just fine, but then you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. There are zero solutions to get back to sleep. Instead? The advice is to get out of bed, even at 3 or 4 a.m. and get something done. “Take this opportunity to rearrange your spice rack or open a book.” Oprah, are you kidding me? You can’t solve my waking up in the middle of the night issues? I thought we were friends. Between Oprah failing me and my magic clock failing me, I’m a wee bit on the tired side.
Katie, my 11 year old who remembers everything I’ve ever done that might be crazy, reminded me that my search for the magic alarm clock has been years in the making. “Mom, don’t you remember when you bought me that alarm clock that had wheels? And the idea was that it would roll around the room and make noise and I’d have to get out of bed and catch it to turn it off?” Oh yes. I remember that. I don’t think that worked either. And then there was the time I bought Alex an alarm clock that had a two-foot wide paper-slim disk that you put between the box spring and the mattress and when the alarm went off it would shake the bed, simulating a semi-serious earthquake. I don’t think that worked either.
So now what? I’ve over-thought, over-teched, over-bought and under-slept. Maybe my goals of being hip and cool and cutting edge need to be re-evaluated. When I was a kid and watched older generations deal with new technology and they had a hard time, I’d shake my head. I would never be like that. I was the generation that embraced new technology. My grandmother (yes, the same woman who took her earrings off to get weighed at the doctor’s office) got a microwave way before anyone else I knew, but it wasn’t her idea. It had been a gift. She kept a glass pyrex measuring pitcher in it while she wasn’t using it. “In case it turns on by itself, then it won’t be microwaving just air – there will be something in there for it to microwave.” I thought this was hilarious. I mean who worries that the microwave is going to turn on by itself? And comes up with an action plan for it? Not just a juice glass, mind you, a whole 4-cup Pyrex brand-name measuring pitcher. When I first saw Jennifer Lawrence do her bit about the “science oven” in “American Hustle” I busted out laughing thinking about my grandmother. She would have approved of the science-oven fears. Old dogs, new tricks.
And so I will stick to what works, for now. And I will embrace my inability to program a clock with sunshine or tame a scale that tattles. I can reheat leftovers in the microwave with gusto, find the news on my phone, and crush candy like it’s my job. For now, that’s just good enough.
Do you remember when the Elf on the Shelf first came on the Christmas scene? It was back in the day when small bookstores still dotted neighborhoods, which is where I first saw the Elf, and his book. This was back before the Elf had clothes, gender identity, pets, or any other marketing accouterments. He had a BOOK. And in the book, he explained to children that he was coming from the North Pole every morning to watch them, and their behavior, and then skip off to the North Pole each evening to report to Santa. I stood in the little bookstore (which has since closed, sadly) and read the entire book (as one can do in a little book store) and dreamed of what this could mean for me in my house during the month of December. The original publication date was 2005, but I don’t think the elf came around to our house until 2006. 2006 was Katie’s first Christmas, and I was in the throws of making a magical Christmas for my toddler Alex, with a newborn Katie strapped to me in a baby bjorn or sling or some baby holding device since she did not want to be put down, and I was feeling a wee bit tired. So an elf, on a shelf, reminding a toddler boy to be well behaved and not throw legos or other choking hazards at his baby sister? I might have day-dreamed in the store, thinking about how all I would need to do would be to point at the elf after any infraction and Alex’s toddler behavior would self-correct, and I could go back to regular life, like emptying a dishwasher while holding an infant. The elf would save time! The elf would help behavior! The elf would be the Christmas miracle I needed!
Now, I admit, there is a definite creep factor involved with this. My Katie, who is now 11, pointed out just last week that the elf is much like the creepy Christmas carol “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”. We were in the car listening to Christmas carols, as one does, and the song came on. “Mom, just listen to the actual WORDS,” Katie implored, and so I did:
I’m not usually a Bah Humbug kind of girl, but this year I’m in a bit of a funk.
Maybe it’s a year of politics that has me wishing for a third party. Or no party.
Maybe it’s a year of “#metoo” and realizing that I think life is more like “who hasn’t?”
Maybe as I’ve gotten older and realized that what I actually want to do when I grow up is become a (real/paid/famous) writer and that means I am trying to reorganize and prioritize my life and activities so there is time every day for writing (breathing out) and reading (breathing in), and adding in a few dozen extra tasks between Thanksgiving (which we hosted for 37 people) and Christmas Eve (when we host 19 people) is making me stressed and anxious and feeling selfish and guilty all at the same time.
Maybe it’s because trying to be a real writer means that for the last six months I’ve actually approached agents, publishers, writing residency and fellowship programs and started getting my first rejection letters, which I am told is the badge of every successful writer. Just for the record, these badges feel crappy. And totally do NOT go with my outfit.
I miss the days when I could just sink money into the most adorable Disney Princess Halloween costumes possible. Katie has been Belle, Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, Anna from Frozen, Sleeping Beauty (which at the time was before Katie perfected her speech articulation and she called her Cheapy Booty which gave my family the hysterics) and Merida, which was probably her favorite because it included arrows – and weaponry when you have an older brother is really a fabulous idea.
Here we are. Two weeks and counting. And there will need to be not one, but two, acceptable costumes for my tweenage daughter.
Because what eleven year old girl could commit to just one outfit in a day?
Princesses are no longer an acceptable avenue of dressing up. My feisty and fiery independent girl is now balancing her desire to be whatever her imagination creates alongside her friends who may or may not want to create a group of themed costuming. Two girls considered being Salt and Pepper, then a third wanted to join in and they switched to Rock Paper Scissors. A fourth was interested and suddenly the other original costume friends have moved on to other groups. “How does that make you feel?” I asked, unsure if this will be something that will send my daughter into hysterics. “Mom,” she tells me, rolling her eyes, “They’ve known each other since kindergarten. Of course they need to do something together!” I exhale. Drama averted. For now.
My relationship with our country and its symbolisms is a complex one. I’m not a flag waver. I’m not a flag burner. I grew up with both in my family. I broke bread at the same table as the patriot and the hippie. It was interesting, as a child, to watch these two men eat meals together, knowing that they could not possibly be more different, yet there they sat, respecting each other and both loving my grandmother’s amazing whipped potatoes. Those potatoes transcended mere mashed potatoes – she whipped those taters til lumps were a distant memory. I didn’t even know mashed potatoes could have lumps until I was in high school.
My grandfather was named Jack, and he was part of America’s greatest generation. He signed up to be a Navy fighter pilot before he was 18 and convinced his mother to sign the permission to enlist form by promising her he’d keep one foot on the ground. He never broke that promise – he brought a bucket of dirt up in his fighter jet every time he flew, and kept one foot in the bucket. Jack didn’t believe in lying. He landed jets on giant aircraft carriers in the middle of the ocean and passed his final exams with flying colors, identifying friendly and enemy aircrafts shown on a giant screen for just a fraction of a second. Some of his classmates found the answer key and cheated. Jack thought he should study anyway, and ignored the answer key. In the end, anyone who had used the answer key was dismissed – it had been a plant by the instructors to see who would lie, and it was designed to root out the liars. During visits home in New Jersey, Jack would fly his jet through rain clouds over the skies of Clifton so he could make it rain below for my grandmother, where she worked as a nurse in the hospital. The hospital staff would run for cover, unsure if it was Germany or Japan or friendlies. My grandmother knew it was Jack, courting her, changing the weather just for her.
The forks are missing. This is a catastrophe.
Yes. There are amazing and important things happening in the world, in my country, in my town. I’m even involved, doing my civic volunteer duty. My girl scout troop is running an encampment to introduce younger girls to the joys of nature and camping. My Junior League colleagues and I are launching a state-wide initiative to offer training to anyone who wants to be more involved in helping to run nonprofit boards (by the way, registration is ending soon so you should visit www.getonboardnj.org asap to register if you haven’t done so already – shameless plug but it’s really gonna be amazing). There are also one thousand four hundred and fifty seven end of year school events that are on my calendar. So that will be fun.
But what is it that has me really laser-focused at the moment? Scheduling? Organizing? Increasing registration numbers for important things like nonprofit training? Or perhaps finishing the edits on my book so I can finally submit it to agents and maybe be a famous writer? Or at least a published-not-famous writer?
The forks are missing. The forks are not broken, the forks are not dirty. I do not have forks where the tines are crooked which I can’t stand because I have OCD and the crookedness feels like evil in my mouth. The forks are just unavailable. The forks are freaking gone. WTF forks? And WTF family? How can I have raised children that allow this sort of catastrophe to happen? How can I live among animals where utensils are not a treasured and respected part of daily life? Take a fork. Use it. Put it in the dishwasher. Maybe the sink if you truly cannot find the energy to open the dishwasher door because of the lethargy induced by eating whatever it was you ingested with said fork. But did you throw out the fork? Did you put it in a couch cushion? Is it hidden in some dark recessed place in our house? What has happened?
Last November, something happened. I didn’t see it coming. And after it happened, I didn’t like it.
My good friend, Jenna, didn’t like it either. She was the one who first asked me if I thought I might consider going to D.C. for the Women’s March on Washington. I wanted to go, but I also don’t like being cold. I mean, President Harrison DIED because he went to DC for his own inauguration. Except he didn’t wear a coat or a hat and he gave a two-hour speech. And then he died from pneumonia. Jenna promised to lend me gear to keep warm. I agreed. We were going. But we also thought we could find a few other people to come with us. So we hired a bus. And then looked for people to fill it. Worst-case scenario we would be a lonesome twosome on a very expensive bus and we’d just have to hope that the husbands didn’t mind us spending that kind of money. “I accidentally hired a bus” doesn’t sound quite right, but it was sort of the truth.
So Jenna and I posted in our “secret” facebook group, “Chatham Moms for Hillary”. A friend of a friend started it as a safe place for Hillary supporters to talk with like-minded people. Chatham tends to be a rather red place to be, with slightly more registered republicans than democrats, and an awful lot of independent voters who tend to lean right when they get in the voting booth. Democrats in Chatham tend to feel like a minority, even though our state of New Jersey is always counted on to go blue for the President. In a sea of red Morris county, Chatham (Borough and Township) went for Hillary in 2016. I partially credit Chatham Moms for Hillary for making that happen. We were together. We felt empowered. We got out the vote. We made signs and posted them boldly on our front lawns and in public places. We let others know we weren’t alone. But our candidate lost. And we were collectively sad. So when the idea happened to come together and ask for our voices to be heard, we asked others to come along. It wasn’t just a ‘we don’t like Trump’ thing. It was a ‘can you please hear us’ on the issues thing. Issues like climate change (and believing science), education, health care access, financial security, homeland security, women’s issues and human issues.
We filled the seats of the bus in a week. And then there were more people who wanted us to get a second bus. We sent them to our friends in Madison and to Rallybus. We were satisfied with 53 women. It was enough for the time being. “I accidentally hired TWO buses” would definitely not fly.
So you may have noticed that I’ve been a little quiet on the blog front. There’s a reason. I’m writing a book. The Book. And I actually would love a little help from my friends on a couple of things, if you don’t mind, and have the time…
Well, I actually have a couple books in the figurative fire, but The Book is right now called A (Few) Year(s) In My Head, and it’s scheduled to be done around January or February sometime. I have an actual writing schedule with the number of words I need to write each day. I’m ahead by 18 days at the moment. I like being ahead of schedule. It reminds me of my school days and extra credit. I loved getting 105 on a test. That would happen sometimes in English. Never math. Or science. That shit is hard. But English? Bring it. I’m such a nerd that way.
So, you ask, what is the book? What’s it about? Are you in it? So the book is similar to my blogs. In fact I’ve incorporated some of that writing into it, so some of the book will look familiar to you if you’ve read all of my yesitreallyhappened.com stuff. But the pieces are longer, more detailed, updated, and supplemented by another 50,000 words that I had to say. Out loud. And on paper. Well, for now my laptop screen. Hopefully someone will actually want to publish The Book when it’s all done and maybe even PAY me for it. I might buy some celebration book shoes.
But I am still adding new material – and if you WANT to be in the book I still have room. I’m looking for a little help on some of the research in three areas at the moment. So while you’re perusing the internet, or hanging out on the couch, or can’t sleep, some things that I have in my brain:
- I would like to add some more personal stories to the “Why Teenagers Should Drive Piece of Shit Cars” segment. If you have a story to add, please sent me a note. I also love these stories in general and they make me laugh, so thank you in advance for contributing to my excellent state of mental health.
- I would like to expand on my theory of why scientific studies are stupid. It’s also likely to go into the idea that polls and surveys are dumb. I know you’ve read an article about something and wondered who PAID researchers to do a study on lint traps in dryers, or why red wine is good for you (only to be followed by a study about why all drinking will kill you).
- Last but not least, I’m looking for a list of things that could kill you. This is going to be a pivotal new chapter called “And Then You’re Dead”. That might sound a little dark. It might actually be a little dark. But it will absolutely lean on some humor and has a happy ending. So if there’s a fear or phobia or thing that you read in the news that made you go “Hmm, we could die from that”, please share. I know you’re out there. I’ve seen your list on your phone. I’ve heard you over lunch, over wine. We talked about it waiting for our kids outside the school. The truth, the fear, the holy crap we’re all gonna die, it’s out there. Let’s share.
Thanks for reading, researching, and being there for the journey! Onwards!
Today I want to talk about something that plagues me on a daily occurrence. Dog Poop.
Those of you who know me may know that I have not one, but two, Bernese Mountain Dogs. Gryffin is 130 pounds of pure happiness and love. Nicky is 90 pounds of medicated hyperactivity. I love them both, but I really love Gryffin. He is the best dog ever. But there is one area in which Nicky beats Gryffin. Poop.
If you are a dog owner, or a parent, you can understand the ability and desire to discuss poop. Poop is indicative of overall health. Physical, emotional, mental. It is the essence of the being. You see, Nicky has his issues (please see Yes My Dog is Crazy if you haven’t read it already), but in the poop department, he is king. Regular, perfectly shaped, excellent consistency, not too hard or too soft, not overwhelming in size. And the best part is that he poops in the yard every day without fail and NEVER poops on a dog walk. And since I live the life of a princess, we have someone who comes pick up the poop in the yard and take it away twice a week so I NEVER have to pick up Nicky poop. Ever. That is perfection.
Gryffin, however, poops every time we take a walk. Which is every day. It’s as if he can only find comfort in pooping on someone else’s lawn. So a daily part of my life is picking up his poop and carrying it home with me. Now, here’s the thing. Gryffin has food allergies. If he eats a bite of something he shouldn’t, his poop falls apart. And then, too, so does my day. Easy, one might say. Just make sure he only eats what he is supposed to. Yes. That sounds right. But the only food that doesn’t make Gryffin sick is Hydrolized Soy Protein. So any bite of food that falls from anyone’s hands, anything that’s left on a coffee table, any tempting piece of morsel – runny poop. Cheese, milk, any dairy, pork, chicken, fish, duck, venison, we’ve tried it all. The only protein we haven’t tried is kangaroo. I like kangaroos. I can’t believe it is a dog food. But we’re not buying it. Might as well be called “cute furry creatures”. So in the meantime, poop.
I’ve come up with a system for rating my poop days. Remember, Gryffin is 130 pounds. So he has poop the size of a human. Sometimes more than any normal human. So in order to have an easy time of picking it up, despite whatever size it may be, it needs to have a consistency of perfection. That makes it possible to use the first piece of poop to pick up the other pieces of poop, sort of like stacking pieces of playdough against each other. This is what gives me joy.
We’ve done this routine before. Mother’s Day. Smiles, flowers, breakfast in bed. And a few realities too. This is how it will play out tomorrow.
6 a.m. I hear Katie stirring. She is an early riser. She comes into my bed and snuggles and whispers “Happy Mother’s Day!” She is adorable. She’ll wake Brian and head downstairs to cook breakfast and bring it to me on a tray. She is good that way. Brian will pat my head and stumble downstairs after her.
6:45 a.m. Breakfast will arrive. I will pull off my sleep mask and reach for coffee. I wish for sleep. Just, sleep. And I marvel that despite all the wonderful things my husband can do in his career and life, he makes terrible toast. I remember when I was sick once, and I asked him to make me toast, and I got back this hard, brick like substance with a smoosh of butter in just the center, not spread out to all the sides. Toast is really an art. And no one makes better toast than my mom. Perfectly toasted, the butter married to every nook and cranny all the way up to the crust. Toasted but still soft that it isn’t overwhelming you with crumbs. Just looking at the toast would make you start feeling better.
7:15 a.m. I’ve eaten and put my sleep mask back on. I bet I can catch 40 minutes before we have to go to church. Because yes, I agreed to teach Sunday School on Mother’s Day. And yes, I’m part pagan. But the kids love me. And I’m nice, so this is what we do.
7:20 a.m. Katie checks on me to see if I want more breakfast. No. Just Sleep.
7:25 a.m. Brian checks on me to see if I want more coffee. No. Sleep Mask. Sleep.
7:30 a.m. The dogs check on me to see if I want to get up and feed them breakfast. FML.