I May Not Survive 2018.

It’s the second day of the New Year,  and I am pretty sure the universe is trying to kill me. I made myself some goals, and goals are a good thing. One of my unwritten resolutions is to be a more positive person in 2018. I am quite determined. And I am pretty sure I heard the universe say “Hold my beer and watch this!”

I went in to work yesterday. I know. New Year’s Day and all, but I work in a zoo. Al’s gotta eat. And it’s not like I party all night. Nah, I was in bed by 9, asleep by 10. If I want to see the ball drop, I can catch it on Youtube. How can I not go in and see this face?

    My favorite picture I have ever taken of my boy.

I say I went in to work. More correctly, I TRIED to go in to work. On the way there:

  • my car started to overheat
  • I realized a coolant hose was leaning, so I pulled over to the shoulder of the interstate.
  • I did more swearing that I meant to as I watched cars swerve over the line and nearly hit me, even though traffic was to merge into THE OTHER LANE.
  • I figured out I had coolant in the car, so I added some, but…
  • the battery had died due to the severe cold (11F plus windchill)
  • I was wearing shorts.

It took about a half hour before husband could come and retrieve my frozen behind and haul me the rest of the way in It took an hour for my feet to feel like feet again. My day went fine at work. I got some things done, so yay. But I was positive! Go, me! Instead of thinking that 2018 sucks already, quitting my job, and ordering more cats off the internet, I thought “Maybe 2018 is my year of solving problems, of growing stronger and more confident in my abilities.

Then I came home.  And I broke my toe. I didn’t get it x-rayed because there’s nothing to be done with tiny pinky toes except to tape them to their next-door neighbor, but it is purple and blue, and if you touch it, I might accidentally punch you. But it’s just a toe, right? A little tape and bottle of Ibuprofen, and all better. Little toe, littler problem.

I wish I had a good story, like I was fighting ninjas, or practicing mixed martial arts, or I kicked a wall in a rage. But no. I dropped a remote control on it. Our first real TV in, like, 9 years. See? I have been saying all along that television is harmful. Believe it.  TV will break your bones. So anyhow. Toe is taped.  It’s something to laugh about.

And then we come to this morning.

  • Outside spigot A was frozen because someone didn’t leave it running. I won’t say who that was for the sake of marital harmony, but it wasn’t me.
  • Outside spigot B was also frozen. Spousal unit unfroze.
  • Spousal unit let car warm up so he could take me to work.
  • Car ran out of gas. Cars without gas do not take you to work. They sit there and wait to be kicked with my good foot.
  • Spigot A refroze, and the only thing I had with which to unfreeze it was. my. coffee.
  • In the unfreezing process, spigot A sprayed me up and down.
  • My pants froze to my legs

For my safety, I gave up, came inside, put on my pajama pants. I am hiding now. 2018 is coming for me. Don’t tell it where I am.

I can’t bear to look!

 

 

*My family motto is “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

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Maybe Marriage Isn’t So Great After All

So the husband and I have joined a marriage class at our church. It’s a biblically-based Francis Chan study, and there’s a free PDF for anyone who is interested.**  Let me know if the link doesn’t work, and I will see if I can find it for you.

The first chapter is called “Marriage Isn’t That Great,” and I’ve been chewing on that title for the last two weeks. And you know what? They’re kind of right.

Marriage changes everything. Husband and I dated for three years before tying the knot. We knew each other well, or at least we thought we did. We were starry-eyed idiots. “I do” turns into “What have I DONE?” and moonlit walks become mortgage payments with the speed of Seabiscuit on crack.

When we were dating, a professor told us that he and his wife knew each other well. “I know my wife will eat the last piece of chocolate cake without telling me,” he said in class one day. “And she knows that I will, too.”

How horrible, I thought. Not only would I leave my beloved the last piece of cake, I would set it out on a plate with his name on it and draw a bunch of hearts around it so that he will know how loved he is. Fast-forward 21 years, and not only do I hide all the good treats in an empty tampon box so he won’t touch it, I don’t even want to share the FIRST piece of a cake. I got a chocolate ganache cake at a cake walk. When husband asked what ganache is, I may have told him it means “antelope testicle.” And he didn’t believe me because 1/4 of the cake was gone the following morning.

Sad antelope. He's sad because of the whole ganace thing.

Sad antelope. He’s sad because of the whole ganace thing.

Marriage is HARD. There’s a reason the expression “The honeymoon is over” exists. When we were dating, the toughest thing we had to agree on was where we were going to eat. Now it’s “Whose turn is it to do dishes/laundry/lunches/grocery shopping?” ***

Dating is a time we put our best foot forward, even while we were planning that trip down the aisle. We used to whisper sweet nothings like “You’re so beautiful!” “I could hold you forever.” “I love you so much, my heart hurts.” Now our whispers are more like “I haven’t pooped in two weeks.””What is that smell? Was that you? Dear God in heaven! See a doctor!” And “I would give you the MOON!” becomes “Another cat? Are you serious? The MOON, woman! I offered you THE MOON! The moon doesn’t use a litter box!”

Marriage is not for the faint of heart. Marriage is laundry on the floor, reading when your partner would rather be talking, talking when your partner would rather be reading, paying utilities and mowing the lawn. It’s responsibility. It’s constantly fighting our natural selfish instincts to keep from killing one another in “The Great Covers War.” It’s learning the real meaning of “In sickness and in health,” when you watch your partner develop a potentially debilitating illness. It’s the storm, but it’s also the calm after.

It’s reaching in your lunch bag and finding a surprise package of animal crackers. It’s knowing that he ate some testicle-free ganache cake, but discovering that he also bought a bag of Sweet Tango apples because he ate the last one and he knows they’re your favorite. It’s my heart skipping a beat when he walks in the room, not because he scared me, but because he still looks good to me after all these years. It’s the coming home and finding the kitten you’ve wished for sitting on your pillow after work.

Marriage itself isn’t the easy road. But I’m so glad I’m here, and I know I’ll be okay as long as he and I are on this road together.

It looks like he's up to something, doesn't it?

It looks like he’s up to something, doesn’t it?

** for the record, it loads onto an e-reader as a PDF file, but it reads just fine. My Kobo isn’t very PDF-friendly, but it reads like any other book. Don’t let “PDF” scare you.

*** the answer to this question is usually “mine/mine/mine/probably mine.” What can I say? I’m a slacker.

Surviving Depression

Some posts, like my last one, are so easy to write. The words and images flow to the page in no time. This post isn’t one of those. I’ve pondered it for weeks on end. How do I say it just right, so that I don’t look like a crazy person do the topic justice? Will I say it right? Will I embarrass myself? My family? The cats? They would never forgive me.

I am just going to stay in this tiny little ball and pretend the world doesn't exist. M'kay?

I am just going to stay in this tiny little ball and pretend the world doesn’t exist. M’kay?

So here goes, for better or for worse. I have experienced depressive episodes for most of my life, for different reasons. I know now that I have a congenital liver disorder that can affect my whole body, including my moods. The psych symptoms are the hardest to deal with, and it doesn’t help to remind myself that these feelings aren’t “real,” that they are a biological reaction to a missing enzyme. It also doesn’t help to remind myself that I should be grateful for what I have. I can’t be grateful for my beautiful family when all I can remember is how I have let them down. I know I have a great job, two of them, actually, but I can’t think about it without thinking of all the balls I have let drop or how I could be better.

Depression is a beast. It’s a paralytic. I cannot appreciate the big things because they are just too, too big, a shadow looming overhead. Sometimes in the thick of it, I need the little things, things small enough to hold in my paralyzed hands. So there you go. My tiny things.

Kittens. Forever and ever and ever. Ravenclaw and Pandora are sometimes what keeps me going. I can put one foot in front of the other if I know that in an hour or two, I can cover myself in baby kittens and peace out.

Pandora says she just can't even, ya'll.

Pandora says she just can’t even, ya’ll.

And they sleep beside me, and they keep me company, and even when they are grown up cats, they will be my refuge. Ravenclaw’s love language is a game called “Imma trip you until you pick me up and hold me like a little baby.” And Pandora’s is “Imma lick your eyeballs in the middle of the night.” I don’t even have to think about whether or not I deserve their love. Deserve it or not, they’re serving it up.

My plants. I might have a problem, you know. I have a green thumb, and I LOVE to grow things. The only tiny wrinkle here is that I only have one window for winter when all the plants come IN. And five cats. F-I-V-E cats. But my plants help me to keep going.

The more complicated it is to grow a cultivore, the more I like it. Maybe when I have success with the tough ones, it proves I can do something right, despite the voices in my head to the contrary.

Harry Potter. And it doesn’t bother me at all to say it. I love being in a world that has Harry Potter, and even NEW Harry Potter things. And I can cos-play with the best of them. I won an award at The Cursed Child book release party. Best Costume Overall. I feel proud to be a part of it. (If you click to enlarge the images, you will see the Playboy mags on the shelf behind me)

Cherries. There are cherries in the world. I guess they are out of season now, but that means it will be less than a year before they are BACK on shelves.

I couldn't find a license-free image of cherries, and they are not available now. so I drew you some.

I couldn’t find a license-free image of cherries, and they are not available now. so I drew you some. I am a giver.

Friendship in unexpected places. We had a Harry Potter event at the zoo, and I had too much work to do and couldn’t participate. But the people running the event didn’t want me to miss out. They made me a magic wand. With Slytherin sparkles and a ribbon that looks like snake-skin. I am humbled every time I look at it.

The photo doesn't do it justice (I used a point-and-shoot). It is a thing of beauty.

The photo doesn’t do it justice (I used a point-and-shoot). It is a thing of beauty.

This might be the beginning of a series. Out of curiosity, how do you keep going when things get tough?

 

The One Where I Nearly Cheat

I am a good person. Generally. I try to be, anyway. But I am not perfect. Sometimes I fall short.

I love my husband. We’ve been married for twenty years. That’s more than half my life. Wait. Is it? How old am I? Hang on while I do the math. Carry the two, divide by the ratio of the moon’s circumference to its diameter… Okay, no. Not half my life, but close enough. Long time. Long enough that I am shocked at how close I came to betraying him.

It was so frighteningly easy to justify, too.

  • I’m home alone.
  • He’s out of town.
  • He will never know.
  • I’m bored.
  • I’m tempted.
  • He will never know.
  • I just really want to.
  • I never specifically said that I wouldn’t.
  • He’s probably done it himself.
  • He will never know.***

I wrestled these demons for an entire day, and I am proud to say I emerged victorious and true. I didn’t do it. I didn’t.  I resisted the temptation. I did not see Star Wars: The Force Awakens without him. But I might have eaten his Junior Mints while he was gone. Keep that between us, would you?

Shingleback skink (Tiliqua rugosa). One of the only reptiles known to mate for life. Voted as reptile least likely to see a Star Wars Movie without their mate. We could learn so much from them. Image source: commons.wikimedia.org

Shingleback skink (Tiliqua rugosa). One of the only reptiles known to mate for life. Voted as reptile least likely to see a Star Wars Movie without their mate. We could learn so much from them. Image source: commons.wikimedia.org

 

*** He would totally know. The man can sense The Force from twenty paces. He’s like Yoda.

 

 

 

The Things I Didn’t Know

It’s my anniversary. It’s a big one, too. Twenty years ago, I stumbled, blinded by tears waltzed gracefully down the aisle and attached myself, for better or for worse, to the man I had been dating for three years. I thought I knew everything. There were so many things I didn’t know.

I didn’t know:

How difficult it would be to learn to share a bed with someone else. Is there ever a mattress big enough?

That the man I married is a cover-hog.

That neither of us is perfect. I’m not sure which came as a bigger shock – that I had flaws, or that he did.

That he knows swear words. Even if he never uses them.

How quickly a tiny, insignificant spark can spawn a devastating blaze. The War of the Roses has nothing on the Dishwasher War of ’99.  Seriously, premarital counseling should have a chapter in Dishwasher Loading. And don’t get me started on wet clothes in the hamper.

That doing the laundry can be an incredibly romantic gesture.

That I would learn how to speak an entirely different language. Washing dishes is Husband for “I love you.”

How fast I would switch from always saving the last chocolate cupcake for him to hiding treats in an empty tampon box.

What a minimalist he is. He’d be content to own only a pair of running shoes and a decent pillow.

That his biggest competition for my affection would be a hook-nosed professor from Hogwarts.

sj found this gif for me ages ago. It still makes me weep.

sj found this gif for me ages ago. It still makes me weep.

How he would have to compete for living space with my collection of snakes and lizards.

How tolerant he is of snakes and lizards. Even when said lizards keep him awake at night with their noisy breeding activities.

How big a hole would be left in our hearts when we lost the cat we adopted when we got married.

My old friend

My old friend

How healing it would be to watch him parent our children. I never knew what it meant to have a dad in the house. Now I do.

How balding and predominantly grey could be so deliciously sexy. Sorry kids. Forget Mommy said this.

The sheer number and size of the storms we would have to weather.

That if I had the power to change the past and skip over some of the rough patches, I wouldn’t do it. Each and every trial has taught us something – about ourselves, about each other,about our faith. Skipping the hard parts would be like jumping to multiplication problems before ever learning to count. Without the foundation, there’s nothing solid on which to build. If you’re going to construct an earthquake-proof residence, you must first learn what an earthquake can do.

How the quirks I found endearing back then would become irritating. And how those irritations become endearing once again. They’re part of who he is.

How quickly 20 years would pass.

Happy anniversary to my beloved. I’m pretty sure that according to Hallmark, the 20th is the chameleon anniversary. Twenty-fifth is silver, 40th is ruby. Yes, I’m certain that the 20th is Oustalet’s chameleon. There’s a perfect spot in the living room…

I'd do it all over again.

I’d do it all over again.

The Art of Negotiation

It’s almost November, and you know what that means? It’s almost time for National Novel Writing Month, affectionately known as NaNoWriMo! For those not familiar with the program, it means writing a novel of at least 50 thousand words between November 1-30.  I could not be more excited. I’ve got my plot lined out, my characters in development, and I’m looking for some writing pals. Anyone? Anyone?

Writing can be an all-consuming process under even normal circumstances. Add to that  the high word-count, combined with a tight deadline and family life can really suffer without some forethought. As a three year veteran of the event, my family and I have spent the last few weeks in deep discussion to assure that my needs will be in balance with theirs. In hopes that our work can be of benefit to others, I will share our negotiations here.

Writing time. This is the trickiest balancing act. While I may want to write every waking moment, my family still needs me. Or they say they do. Whatever. We have talked the most extensively on this subject and have implemented an important policy:

Unless your pants are on fire, leave Mom alone. If your pants ARE on fire, go see Dad. In the event your pants are on fire and you ARE Dad, go drag your bum down the hallway like the dog does. It works a treat.”

Personal hygiene. While my once-a-week shower schedule worked just fine for me the last three years, my family tended to disagree. In addition, I have a full-time job this year, and I work with some large tortoises who are in the habit of covering me with their feces. Our agreement is that this year, if I will clean myself daily, my husband stand by while I’m in the shower and scribble all my great ideas in the steam on the bathroom mirror. And leg-shaving is out the window for a month, even if it means that come December I chirp like a cricket when my calves rub together.

I can play Christmas carols. And then Santa can put razors in my stocking. Photo credit:fcps.edu

I can play Christmas carols. And then Santa can put razors in my stocking. Photo credit:fcps.edu

Laundry. This task is truly a time-suck. Between gathering, sorting, washing, drying, folding, hanging, hours a day can be lost. To facilitate reaching my word-goal, this year I will wear my clothes in the shower. So much time and water saved!

Cooking. The kids have been told they will love Annie’s mac and cheese and peanut butter sandwiches or learn to cook for themselves.

Participation in family life. It’s important to stay involved in the kids’ lives. So they don’t forget what I look like, I have glued a picture of my face to my life-size cut out of Severus Snape. This solution works well for us, as the cut out is lightweight and very portable. It can be set up anywhere from the dinner table to a 6th grade band concert, and no one is likely to look close enough to know the difference.

Work. During the month of November, I’m calling in dead.

 

How do you balance family life and NaNo?

And for something totally different, be sure to visit my guest post over at Below the Salt News. Weird things happen at the fair. Things we don’t talk about in polite company.

Of Straws and Husbands

It really is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It’s not the Bedouin. Or the Bedouin’s tent. Or his wife. Or her pet dog. It’s a straw. The little things get us.

For me, it wasn’t the dead refrigerator, or the roof, or the dead tree that caught fire while we watched helplessly. It wasn’t even my camera.

Oh, did I not mention the camera? Sometime between dead tree and roof, a kid at the pool splashed my camera, filling it with saline. It was a total accident, nobody’s fault. But now the digital display is inconsistent, and there are sometimes pictures that cannot be deleted. Because they won’t go away. But if I try to delete one, the whole memory card is erased. Fun times, but I am making due until I have saved for a big girl camera.

My breaking point was the shower head. I knew it was too good for me the moment we bought the house. And clearly, it knew it, too. The house’s previous owners remodeled and added some pretty awesome features. They wanted the bathroom to be like a hotel, complete with soap/shampoo/conditioner/lotion dispenser (I kid you not. And I have yet to find refill kits for it.) and the shower head. The shower head is was a marvel of engineering. It has a two-foot long slide bar that allowed us to adjust it to the proper height for the current occupant, from the six-foot man of the house to the two-and-a-half foot Squish. More importantly than that, however, the slide bar actually held up the shower head. And now it doesn’t.

It started its slow death a few months ago. There was a little wiggle when we changed the height. Then it kind of slid to one side. But we could work with it. Until two nights ago when it gave up the ghost completely and I found pieces of its carcass in the bottom of the tub, shower head laying as unsupported as a volleyball player without a sports bra. You knew there would be at least one Olympic reference, right?

And I lost it. I didn’t go all Hulk-smash or anything, but I’m still not proud of myself. I muttered, cried a little, maybe I beat my head against a wall. Because I’m good at that. I lamented every single thing in my life that has turned to crap because I touched it, all the way back to the Wal-Mart stock I pretend invested in in economics class in the eighth grade .Seriously. Stock was booming until the moment I filled out my assignment form, at which point it tanked. For years. Yes, if you lost your cheap, foreign-made shirt investing in Wal-mart in the late 80’s, all I can say is “You’re welcome.”

Anyway, back to my current tragedy. I attempted to take a shower, broken equipment and all, and it was unpleasant. Any idea how hard it is to condition one’s hair with one hand while the other holds the water at just the right angle so as not to wash it all off before the stuff has done its moisturizing duty? And forget shaving the legs. I don’t ask much out of life, but I do have a need to be clean.

My tantrum subsided after a bit, and I was able to discuss calmly with my husband the importance of repairing the device soon.  My sweet guy gathered the broken parts, and then he left, cancelling his evening plans of lame Olympic coverage and an episode of Sherlock so he could fix the problem sooner rather than later. I love him.

Maybe it was my tears of despair. Maybe it was the fact that I’ve let a lot of other crap roll of my back lately. I even handled the malfunction of my beloved camera philosophically, though it is practically a second limb. Or maybe it was the inability to shave my legs. Few enjoy sharing sleeping quarters with a porcupine, after all. I choose not to examine too closely and just say that he loves me. A lot. And he fixed it.

It’s a temporary fix, to be sure. But it will hold until we find the distributor who made the hotel shower head holder. And save up the money to replace it. I can work with that. A $5 solution by a husband that loves me, and I am ready to take on the world again. Sometimes its the little things that break us. And sometimes its  small stuff that gets us right back up on the camel. It’s a good view from up here. I like it.

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Don’t forget to visit here to enter my giveaway. I’ll have pictures of the goodies tomorrow, I hope.

 

Lost in Translation: Spousal Edition

Okay, so it's a picture totally unrelated to my blog. Sue me. No, don't. Please. The only thing I have of value is my Serenity comic book, and I haven't even had a chance to read it yet.

 

What she says: “Phoebe, I’ll take you out in just a minute. Let me finish this.”

What he hears: “Take the stupid dog out!”

What she may mean: “Sorry, Phoebe. I know you need to go out. Please don’t pee on my floor. I am hurrying.”

 

What she says: “Sweetie, can you take the dog out?”

What he hears: “Why didn’t you take her out already, you lazy bum? Can’t you hear her pacing around?”

What she may mean: “My task is taking me longer than I thought. I’m afraid the dog may pee on the floor.”

 

 

What he says: “Yes, there is gas in my car.”

What she hears: “You’ll be able to get wherever you are going and home again without having to stop at a gas station.”

What he may mean: “Fumes are gas, right? You may not make it to the end of our road.”

 

 

What she says: “What do you want to watch tonight?”

What he hears: “I have no preference. You can choose.”

What she may mean: “Not-the-Godfather-Not-the-Godfather-Not-the-Godfather. Please, NOT the Godfather.”

 

 

What he says: “Would you like to watch Twilight tonight?”

What she hears: “I am having an affair with my secretary.”

What he may mean: “You’ll be asleep in 15 minutes, and I can switch it TV over to PBS.”

 

 

What he says: “Did you get much writing done today?”

What she hears: “Did you do anything of value today? It obviously wasn’t the laundry.”

What he may mean: “Will you be spending another evening swearing at the computer and griping about word counts?”

 

 

What he says: “Are you and the baby going anywhere today?”

What she hears: “Will you at least get out of your sweatpants? Maybe even go to the grocery store. Or a therapist. And for Pete’s sake, woman, get some exercise. Astronauts coming off a space mission have better muscle tone than you do.”

What he may mean: “What did I ask her again? Oh, look! Oatmeal for breakfast. Mmmmm. Oatmeal.”

 

 

What he says: “If you will re-pot that plant, I will take it to my office.”

What she hears: “Good grief, woman! How many things did you PLANT this year? We only have one window to winter plants by, and you put everything in 12 inch pots! My office looks like a set for ‘Tarzan of the Jungle’ as it is! What am I going to do with bay laurel and rosemary at work? I’m not cooking a stew!

What he may mean: see above

 

 

What she says: “Stop! hit your brakes! You’re going to hit that car! STOP, for the love of God! STOP!

What he hears: “You are a reckless driver, and you will one day kill us all!”

What she may mean: “‘Stop – in the naaaaaame of looooove!’ Just singing with the car radio. Loved the Supremes, but wasn’t that Diana Ross a piece of work? Love you, sweetie!”

 

 

Running Is Hazardous to Your Health

Saturday should be sacred. It is the one golden day of the week where I can sleep late. We attend the early service on Sunday mornings, so sleeping past 7:30 on a Sunday means a frantic morning rush that can lead to losing our religion before we even get out of the house.

Saturdays are for quilts and pillows and sweet dreams, not the screech of the alarm clock at 5:45 so a spouse can get in his morning run. 5:45. I know the importance of his morning run, but I’ve got news. 8:45? Still morning! Wait a couple of hours. It still counts.

I get the importance of exercise and all of that. I do. And I know that running is a big stress relief. But honestly, what kind of stress do you have at 5:45 that isn’t actually caused by getting up  at that ungodly hour? No, the stress comes when you later realize your disgruntled, exhausted wife, awakened hours before her time, has put kitty litter in your morning coffee. I’m sure it was an accident and not revenge. After all, litter and ground coffee do look a bit alike. Even though the coffee is kept in a cabinet above the pantry and the litter is kept downstairs. I can’t be expected to know the difference between French roast and Fresh Step before the sun has even come up, right?

What’s the big deal, you ask? Why can’t I just go back to sleep when the alarm goes off? Oh, but I can. I usually have no trouble sliding back into the arms of slumber. But toddlers are a different story. Squish sleeps in our room. When the alarm sounds his Reveille , smallest soldier takes up arms for adventure. He is content to snuggle just long enough to warm his icy feet on my leg before he is clamoring for breakfast or making plans to ride his toy motorcycle with a bucket on his head in lieu of a helmet.

This morning, I was dreaming I was being chased by a chimpanzee who was trying to kill me. I longed to sink back into that dream, as my waking alternative meant trying to subdue a hairless primate who was amusing himself in the dark by transferring boogers from his nose to mine. Sharing is caring.  Running before daylight is killing.

If these Saturday shenanigans continue, my dear husband may discover he indeed has something to run from.  His exercise of choice may take on a whole new range of health benefits, including preventing his untimely death. If he can outrun me. This morning, his odds aren’t good.

Another Rude Awakening

I need five more minutes. Or coffee.

It’s early. Really early. Coffee’s not even finished yet. Please don’t talk to me. I want to go back to bed, but that’s just not in the cards for me today. Ugh.

I’ve not been sleeping well, so I’ve been a little lazy recently. My husband sets his alarm for “before-the-stinkin’-rooster” and goes out for a run, carefully resetting the alarm to give me another half an hour of sleep. 39 minutes, if I decide to hit snooze. And there I was yesterday at the sound of the alarm, stumbling out of bed, tripping over shoes, trying not to brain myself on the dresser because we decided it would be ever-so-smart to put the alarm clock on the other side of the room. There was no question that it was a “snooze” day. I reached out my well-trained alarm-stopper to smack the snooze bar, only to discover IT WASN’T THERE!

I thought I wad having a dream at first, a bad one. Like needing to potty and can’t find a toilet, but noisier. If I don’t get the alarm off in time, the baby is wide awake, and that blessed nine more minutes’ shut eye is out the window. I smacked around on the top of the clock in desperation, thinking that the magic button was playing a trick on me. If I hit it hard enough, it would reappear with a big “SURPRISE!” Where was the frickin’ button? Was it my husband’s new running partner? WHERE DID THAT BUTTON GO?”!

I hit it just right, it seems. Because the radio came out. Loudly. Very, very, very loudly. And it only goes off WHEN YOU PUSH THE SNOOZE BUTTON! Squish snorted and turned over in his crib over in the corner. Even in my sleep deprived state, I realized if I gave in to my deepest desire and pounded the stupid alarm into a pile of dust with a hammer, I would probably wake the baby. So I did what I had to do. I unplugged the whole clock. Standing there with cord in hand, I realized I had just kissed my extra bit of sleep goodbye. As if I could sleep after that trauma anyway.

My husband admitted later that the clock had broken on him that morning. I feel very let down now. Alarm clocks shouldn’t break. And that one was special. It had been his grandmother’s. If a clock can’t handle 25 years of someone beating on it every morning (sometimes 3 or 4 times a morning), they just shouldn’t sell it at Wal-mart. That sucker should have lasted until retirement. I am bitter.

I forgot about the stupid clock until last night before bed. My husband had replaced it with a different model that he had bought for his office. I took an instant dislike to it. No more softly glowing red numbers. These puppies are fluorescent green and are so bright the bedroom looks like a landing strip. And it doesn’t sound like our old alarm. Instead of a gentle “beep-beep-beep” at middle C, I woke thinking someone was stepping on a bag of cats.

I don’t know where any of the buttons are. I can’t turn on the radio or set the time. But I will have to learn it all fast. I’ll have the kids help me run some snooze drills today until I know that clock so well I can work it in my sleep. Because that’s the actual point.

But look at me. It’s just now shower-time, and I am finished writing for the day. Look at me being all productive and stuff! Rather than beat on the new clock this morning, I decided to go ahead and start my day. Rather than hitting snooze, I just turned the thing off. At least, I think that’s what I did. I guess I’ll know in a few minutes!