749 Days

It’s been 749 days since we enjoyed our last normal week. 749 days since my son arrived home from college in the middle of the night, the truck packed with his belongings. 749 days since Veruca’s school announced a “temporary”closure. 749 days since Todd moved into his home office and dissolved into what seemed like 12-hour days full of zoom meetings. 749 days since that last day our Friday staff stood around, unmasked, discussing this “COVID,” and sharing a white cake with a funny little symbol in red piped on the top.

One year since I last laid eyes on Veruca. It’s been 15 months since I last laid eyes on my now-21-year-old son. To say nothing has changed would be a lie; there have been developments but I am unwilling to discuss them publicly at this time. Also, looking ahead, there are just over 400 days until V is 18.

I’m no good at math but I do know that 749 days is a long fucking time. It’s a big chunk of an otherwise ordinary middle-aged life. The dash in the middle of all that is filled with fuckery and frustration and tears and anger and boredom and more than a bit of humor. I did not sit on my fat ass and cry into my wine every day. I kept busy doing God-knows-what and ignored all pandemic aspirations (ie: learning a new skill, renovating the downstairs bathroom, writing a novel FFS). I love my kids more than my own life, I wish all that shit had never happened and I want them in my life, but they aren’t going to break me with a cold war. If 12 years of verbal and financial abuse and a few hands-on experiences didn’t break me – hear this – NOTHING. EVER. WILL.

Meanwhile, back on the farm -er, cul de sac – we have had some changes. My sweet girl Sabra passed away in January (she’d have been 15 next week). She was having accidents and her cough was back. I’d taken her to the vet a year ago for a cough, all tests were clear. When I took her to the vet the last time an x-ray showed her chest full of cancer. OMG I cried and cried with her while we waited for that syringe, and I held her as the life left her body and told her how much I loved her. I hate this stuff and heaven help us we’ve chosen to love two more (well, that was two summers ago now).

Todd has finished the bookshelves in my library but they still need to be stained and he wants to trim them out. He also redid the stairs with new wood risers and replaced the carpets on them with ones I had picked out almost two years ago. I spackled, sanded, and painted the basement in a new dark and moody shade and now preparing to build a bar against one of the walls. I might’ve previously mentioned Todd built a new patio with a wall around it, with the firepit in the middle. We’ve finished the laundry room for the second time (remember pipe burst). We still have that bathroom reno: it’s up next once the library is finished.

We’ve considered selling the house and downsizing. Imagining what that would look like and where it would be. We agree that distance to our workplaces is important right now, but it won’t always be. I have begun more purging and downsizing of belongings. I’ve sold a good bit of stuff and have donated much more. I’m beginning to think about what life looks like in the future – and who will be forced to reckon with all my saved memories.

This came to me during a conversation with Todd where he said something about when he “gets around to it” and it reminded me of the “round tuit”(a little wooden chip) that was given to me across the bar by Arland, a family friend. One day, when I’m dead, I imagined my kids (assuming they don’t immediately throw everything out indiscriminately) would be wondering what the hell all the stuff is and why I kept it. Side note: the very same day my mom called me and mentioned opening a bottle of wine he had given her years ago, a 1996-something or other that she googled and learned it was worth a LOT. I’m betting she got the better gift.

Two years to the day of our last planned poker night, we opened our doors to our friends and together we ate and played poker, pool, and pinball. The weather was iffy after a snow squall landed on us in the morning and so some of our friends declined due to the weather. But it was still awesome. Finally! It felt like we might really be normal again.

So good things are happening, big changes are upon us and… All that said, if I’m honest, I think I need to shut down the social media stuff again. I’m overwhelmed with the atrocities in Ukraine and Putin’s “military operation,” the scathing and blatantly political bullshit line of questioning of Ketanji Brown Jackson, and Clarence Thomas’ so-white-hot-you’d-have-to-be-blind-not-to-see-it conflict of interest in any January 6th inquiries.

The Gen X page is fun and there we can reminisce about the things that made us great and funny and all the embarrassing stuff that we lived to tell about. There is a strict warning about politics that will get you suspended for 3 days. Now they’re arguing about Will Smith and Chris Rock AND Jada because she is no shrinking violet. I have to tell you that I am often of opinions on many subjects but Monday in the lunchroom I was silent as they all discussed the “slap heard around the world.” It’s a sad day when even Tara doesn’t have the energy to agree or disagree about a celebrity on the Oscars. To echo another Gen X’er’s sentiment, celebrities – who the fuck cares?

I don’t have the energy to argue the points of most things these days. This could be a sign of depression, disenfranchisement, or simply all out of fucks to give. Maybe a combination of all three and then some. Am I depressed? No. I just don’t GAF right now. There are other things on my mind. However, that said, here’s my honest opinion at 12 noon on Thursday.

He just did what many of us wish we could do. Okay, you’re right, he shouldn’t have done that. Violence isn’t the answer. But sometimes you gotta slap a bitch. If he really wanted to hurt him, he’d have closed his hand Yeah, I agree, he should’ve been escorted out of the entire event, even if it meant he couldn’t claim the award live. No, he shouldn’t lose the award. Yes, he should apologize – to everyone, including Chris.

Truly, I empathize with Will. I know what it’s like to lose your shit on somebody and the shame and embarrassment that comes after. If he’s feeling pretty shitty right now you know it’s a thousand times worse because he did it in front of millions of people and it’s what everybody is talking about. He brought it on himself. Yeah, he did. But like the Bible says, Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

I don’t care who is right and who is wrong. I don’t care about the Oscars. I stopped caring when Gwynneth Paltrow won.

And now, in the spirit of LIFE IS GOOD…  I saw my dad for the first time since last summer. I hugged my brother for the first time in over 2 years and I FINALLY met Mahboob. Mahboob’s real name is Rafi and he is sooo sweet and loveable. And you know what else? Mahboob is really soft. Leetle bro gave me a monster size bottle of Buffalo Trace and we got to go out and eat my favorite Roast Beef Sandwiches for lunch.

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