Spots and spots and more spots. Let’s see…strep, impetigo, more strep, allergic reaction (Lots of spots) to impetigo antibiotic (no more sulfa drugs for us, thank you very much).
In the midst of, both mutts escaped through the side gate—yes, it had been left open—and upon returning from their adventures, which most assuredly involved eating unknown carcasses and/or fast food litter, went all kinds of sideways in the digestive department over the course of the week. I won’t go into particulars here, except to say that I’ve never experienced vomit that smelled so much like diarrhea. Experience being the key word here, as I’ve spent a good few days on hands and knees with every kind of cleaner you can imagine trying to get the smell out of carpet. Unfortunately, fair Lucy the Grey cleansed herself of gastronomical distress while John and I were on a date at the movies and our equally fair babysitter didn’t find Lucy’s offering because, well, she was busy cleaning up another pile of the stuff off the dog bed. Being the explorer he is, Jonah discovered said carpet deposit in his stocking feet. And tracked it across the kitchen while yelling in disgust.
I have two words for you: enzyme cleaner. But not just any enzyme cleaner. Bac-Out. The stuff is a miracle.
In truth, I wish I could procure some kind of similar product for my brain, to get the stink out, so to speak. In recent months, I’ve taken to just about full-time copyediting and proofreading for various theological/philosophical/biblical commentary-type presses. I am good at the work, but for me to be good at the work, the work requires almost complete self-immersion. Meeting deadlines ain’t my cup of tea; I mean, they are so dramatic. They push my anxiety button, which is an area of my brain I like to avoid at all costs. Even if it means not taking risks. Even if it means failing to do the thing I know I need to do.
The work almost always means a great push at the end to meet the deadline; I invariably come out on the other side of it dazed, if not a little confused (and often hosting a head cold). My capacity for detail having been used up by the work, I forget things like turning off the spigot that is filling my glass with water; taking my child to the doctor for his check-up and immunizations; making my child’s lunch to send to school; sending my child’s lunch with him to school (fortunately, Jonah has charmed the lunch ladies, who seem to have taken him under their wing and bestow upon him piles of cheesy breadsticks).
Granted, there is a kind of freedom in this obliviousness, a kind of freedom in single-mindedness. For as much as it exhausts me, the work is a simplifying force. As a tender of household, the multi-tasking can take me over. I know what Sylvia Plath means; there’s the sense that I’ve “Boarded a train there’s no getting off,” which is motherhood and womanhood and personhood in a nutshell. But the metaphor breaks down, as all metaphors are want to do. Aren’t we meant to stay on? Isn’t that what love does—keeps us on the train?
Did I say it feels like January? It is not. It is November. As a personal response/survival technique, I have swiped a phoenix charm with a bright blue turquoise stone in its belly from the odds-and-ends treasures John collected in a past life (I found it in the change bowl on his bookshelf). I have found a piece of leather. I have tied it ’round my throat. I have decided I will wear it to get myself to the other side of the cold grey. That blue in the bird’s belly will get me back; I know it will.