Grumpy Girl, Grumpy Uterus

Last week, we returned to our annual inter-generational art conference. This put us essentially in a “hotel” room together for five days. We pulled the short straw on bathrooms in the lodge and got a tiny one where the bathroom door barely cleared the front of the toilet. This is challenging for a family our size, to say the least.

One morning, while I was in the shower, Jane came in and started rummaging through the myriad of items on the counter. “Where’s the Ibuprofen?” she asked with more than a tinge of grump in her voice. She found it just as I prepared to answer and swallowed them without water.

“What’s the Ibuprofen for?” I asked as she began to exit the room.

“My uterus” was the frank reply. Then with the same unhappy, grumpy tone, she added, “It’s not happy that I didn’t put a baby in it.”

Now, some mothers might have been startled and even concerned by the comment. But being a writer and Jane’s mother, I knew she wasn’t saying that she wished she had put a baby in it. She was speaking from the uterus’s point-of-view and it was definitely not happy at that moment. I found it a beautiful(?) description of a woman’s monthly cycle.

Later, when I shared the exchange with a friend who reacted in the more predictable manner, Jane chimed in with an expanded explanation.

“You know when your parents tell you you are going on a trip and you are really excited about it? You get everything all packed and ready to go. And then they tell you that you aren’t going anywhere after all and you need to unpack.Do you unpack nicely and gently? No! You are angry. You grab your clothes out of your suitcase and slam them back into your drawer. It’s like that.”

It’s like that. She’s right. And maybe that’s why it hurts so much more when you are younger. Your uterus hasn’t become jaded enough to expect the trip to be canceled. After years of unpacking every month though, it gets tired of slamming the clothes back in the drawer and instead does so tired and dejected and just a tad disappointed. But not surprised and not angry.

I love my daughter. I love that she’s a reader and thus a creative wordsmith. It’s so much more fun when the people around you can create unexpected pictures in your mind rather than conveying the basic, dull information you requested.

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Good Friend, Rough Ride

Sometimes life sucks.

Sometimes life sucks for a friend but you are there for them so they are able to keep their head just above the water.

But sometimes life starts sucking for you before they are able to swim on their own.

And then what?

I guess you tumble down the roaring rapids of life clinging to each other, each taking a turn rolling over to pull the other out of the water.

Each holding on to the other and hoping, hoping the water will calm soon and you can both climb out onto the shore. And stand there holding hands instead of clinging for dear life. And enjoy the sun and the view and look back at the raging river and know that you survived because you had each other.

Yes, sometimes I think it might happen like that. If you are blessed with a good friend.

Sometimes You Just Gotta Sing!

My mother-in-law’s house outside of Denver has a basement, complete with two rooms and a bathroom. One day while we were visiting, I was sitting on the bed in one of the rooms recording receipts in our budget app. My twelve year-old son was in the bathroom taking a shower.

And singing.

Kind of.

I mean, I suppose you could call some of it singing.

Some of it was more like practicing exotic bird calls.

And some sounded like Tibetan throat singing.

And some sounded like yodeling.

And still others like some sort of theatrical stage production.

And at times, the various components were combined in unique ways.

He was getting on my nerves. In fact, I almost called out to him to cut it out. But before the words came out of my mouth, I paused and considered. He’s enjoying himself. Truly, truly carefree and enjoying himself. Surely I could enjoy it too.

Which I did.

And then I realized that other people deserved to enjoy it too. I realized I was missing an important opportunity as I strove to finish entering the receipts. With that realization, I hopped off the bed and rushed quietly to the bathroom door – a receipt partially entered and forgotten.

I began to video the dark, closed door. And of course, at that moment, he quit singing. But I waited patiently. Sure enough, 30 seconds later I heard his low voice make some squeaking dolphin-like noises followed by some (loose interpretation of) lyrics from Jon Cozart’s YouTube hit, After Ever After:

The Japanese killed all my whale friends

Oil is spilling

Mermaids are killing

Thanks to BP

He then devolved into a screeching, donkey-braying repetition of “THANKS TO BP!”

I laughed silently as the noises crescendo’d before morphing into monkey sounds and eventually into some rousing beatboxing. The beatbox stopped suddenly and after a brief pause, he called out in his best Urkel impersonation, “What was thaaat?!”

Another bit of silence and then I knew it was coming and could barely contain my giggling.

He opened the door.

And screeched, clutching the towel around him.

His face registered first pure shock and surprise to find someone at the door, followed almost immediately by the recognition of what I had been doing. My laughter spilled over the floodgates. I rushed to stop the video and pull away as he tried to grab the camera.

I promised him that I wouldn’t post it on Facebook and I’ll honor that commitment. And I won’t violate the spirit of that commitment by posting it here. What I will do is gleefully show it to anyone I come across who’s interested. It’s good for a solid belly laugh. Trust me on that.

It’s Been a Month Since…

It’s not writer’s block. I don’t think. I’m honestly not sure what it is. Reticence? Exhaustion? Whatever it is, the end result is that I’ve written one blog post in the last couple of months. I’ve composed several in my head, but not nearly as many as when I was in my prime.

I don’t feel I’ve had a lot of opportunity to sit down at the computer, but even when I have, blogging has seemed an overwhelming task better left for another day. Or another… or another… or…

My husband and I accomplished a grand hiking feat in June, complete with illness and worry about death and encounters with angels along the way. Surely I could find the time and interest and energy to blog about that? But the week after was busy and then we went on vacation. I took a laptop so I could blog in the car during the 15 hour drive. It stayed under the seat until we returned home. Untouched. The story unblogged. And now I’ve told the story so many times verbally that it feels tired and uninspired.

I swore that when I returned to the computer, I wouldn’t blog about the lack of blogging. I’ve done that before. No one is interested. Just blog about the usual funny family fare and don’t mention the long drought, I told myself. Just blog like nothing’s wrong. Like nothing has been wrong.

Tonight, I sat at the table eating crackers and hummus and drinking wine and talking to my husband. The hiking story meandered through my head and another story crossed its path. I didn’t feel a strong urge to blog. In fact, the initial reaction was one of exhaustion. Maybe another day, I thought. But there was a tiny little flame back in the recesses of my brain. It was flickering, barely lit. I knew I needed to attend to it or it’d snuff out for sure. If not today, then when?

So I looked up at my husband and said words I haven’t said in a long time. “I think I’d like to go blog now,” I said. “If that’s ok with you,” I added after a brief pause. He looked at me silently before responding it was fine with him.

Sitting down at the computer, I knew the hiking story was too much. The other story would come. I could write about it. But first, I needed to explore my non-writing. It needed to have the light shined on it. It needed to be examined. If nothing else, I needed to practice my writing before trying to tell a story. Logging into WordPress brought me to the stats page, where it told me: It’s been a month since A Roller Coaster Day was published.

A month. Feels like a lifetime.

If you are reading this, thanks for humoring me. Ignore the love handles spilling out of my writing work-out clothes. I’m out of shape, but I’m here again at the gym. Sweaty and out-of-breath but here nonetheless.