Sunday, November 14, 2010

A day in the life of a bitter old woman

Today has been a long and weird day. I awoke early, around 5:00 am, knowing I was scheduled at my Starbucks gig at 7:30. I lay in bed and tried to eke out another hour or so of sleep, to no avail. So I got up, took a shower, noting that two of my shampoo bottles had disappeared overnight. Then I got dressed and went and gave six hours to the coffee gods.

Arriving back at home, I am greeted by the vision of St Timothy, reclined on the couch, and the television blaring (volume level 32, when the kids and I watch it at 18) with endless football games. Periodically he takes out his computer, tries to get a signal to look at something, and then turns it off again, the television still shrieking. He moves from the couch to the loveseat, and back again. He steps out on the balcony every 15 to 20 minutes to smoke – “taking a couple of puffs,” he retorts when I pointed out that he smokes every 10-20 minutes. And then he returns to the couches and the idiot box. This is the sum of his existence, beyond arguing with 90% of all statements I make and screaming at the kids.

Tara goes from room to room, person to person, including the dog and her little voice is never silenced for longer than three seconds, except when she is asleep. Since Thursday night she has been sick. A visit to the pediatrician on Friday afternoon confirmed that she has double ear infections and a fever of 103. So we’ve been chasing her with Amoxicillin twice a day – well, I’ve been chasing her – today there was not time between football games, visits to the toilet/kitchen/smoke balcony for St Timothy to dose her. Not that I am shocked. At this writing she is wrapped around my left arm, making it difficult to type, as she giggles and tells me she “is [my] love.” This is the only positive feedback I will receive, and I am all for it.

Chloe took the money and ran. Literally. I gave her a $50 Visa card for her birthday, and she went to shopping with the parents of a friend. Apparently the fact I work multiple jobs is a real inconvenience to her, as I am not available to drive her to all the places she demands. Other parents are all more available and just all-round better human beings than me. Yet my shampoo is beguiling, as its allure is more than she can resist. When I question where it has gone, she pulls both bottles out of a bag in her room. My things are public property, but I don’t deserve the courtesy of a kind word. Teenagers.

The dog. Oh, the dog. He greeted me at the door, sniffing in an overall invasive way. Then he climbed onto the couch, into my lap. Which is lovely, except he has fleas. Despite telling me to buy flea powder yesterday morning, St Timothy has not found the time to dust some powder on the dog. Guess the dog wasn’t close enough to him during a commercial. He did find time to yell at Chloe to wash the dishes however.

So, having made it home and to my bedroom, I went to bed. Since ear-blasting football is not my cup of tea, I went to read in bed. I cannot watch television or listen to the radio in my room, as cords and converter boxes have been taken for others’ use. I drift off to sleep, and am awakened every 10 to 20 minutes by one of the kids coming in to ask me a question, or Tara’s overexuberant sharing. Finally after a couple of hours, St Timothy comes in to ask to use my debit card, as he wants to get fast food for Tara. Preparing any of the $200 worth of groceries I bought yesterday is too tedious. He goes to McDonald’s, venturing away from the safety of the screaming idiot box for a whole 20 minutes, and even returns with a sweet tea for me.

After he returns, I microwave a plate of generic pizza rolls for my one meal of the day. Tara meets me in the kitchen, demanding to know why I am eating her and her sister’s food. I explain I am only having a few. And then I retreat to the bedroom to eat the soggy crap in relative peace.

Today I have been reading Chuck Klosterman’s Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs on the Kindle between interruptions. I can’t say I agree with all or even most of his assertions, but I do applaud his writing and his right to make them. It’s interesting to read the ramblings of someone who grew up somewhat in my cultural era (Klosterman is roughly six months older than my younger sister). It’s also helped me demystify a thinking male’s take on such ephemera as “The Man Show,” a cancelled cable piece of shit show that St Timothy has made rare reference to as a cultural touchstone of his. (Figures.) Bottom line, Klosterman writes about some of the same crap I have pondered in my spare time, when I waste my time thinking about ultimately meaningless stuff. This is not to make light of his courageous treatment of cinema questioning the nature of reality. The subtitle of this book is something about “low culture,” but the end result is that reality can be about as low as you can get. In several sections he derides “snarkiness,” yet I’ve often felt, at least in my own life, that snarkiness is next to godliness. Small g, at that.

So today, with the reading, working, and trying to live in domestic harmony, I have come to one conclusion. There has to be more than this.

I am older than my parents were when they owned a home, provided a Catholic school education and took a vacation, and had a “real” life. Yet I can do none of these things. I work roughly the same amount of hours as both of them combined. Yet I hate all of it. There is no calling here. There is no love or passion for what I do. It’s like a prison sentence I am trying to get through until I reach the blessed furlough of death. I was told that if I got an education and worked hard, good things would happen for me. Whoever told me that LIED.

There has to be time to enjoy my children. Isn’t that what mothers are supposed to do? There has to be time to enjoy something other than reading someone else’s writing. I wonder how old I will have to be before I find it.

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