Is Anyone Out There? In There?

I drafted a thoroughly boring post the other night about Scratchy’s 11th birthday party. It was slyly witty, a little self-depricating, and full of handy tips for the less deft mother than me when it comes to having 8 boys at a sleepover.

It was boring and I’ll spare you the exposition and let you see pictures.

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Hey kid. I love you. I loved it when you were a baby and I love you now. Being your mother is wonderful. You are wonderful.

  • end the family friendly portion of the blog

And yet …. right now … right … now … I just wonder if there is anyone out there, and in there.

I feel trapped in my home, by my mother-in-law. Cue the usual disclaimers (she can’t help it, she’s a sweet and generous woman, I love her, it’s the least we can do, she’s done so much for me, etc.) and cut to the chase. It’s hard.

This morning I listened to Esther Perel on Note To Self, a podcast about being human in the digital age. Let me just say that it was some real, fucking talk. The gist … ask yourself who you have left hanging and give them a call, or better yet, go for a walk.

Give it a listen, it’s so worth it.

I’m pretty good about staying current with friends. I don’t have FB deluding me into thinking I know shit about what is going on people’s lives via their status updates. I call people when I walk the dogs, I stay in touch, but there was a woman who I knew mostly from Facebook who is caring for her mother with Alzheimer’s.

I read her posts with great interest because they were real as hell, they were about what it was like to care for her ailing mother, it was unequal parts struggle and moments of transcendent beauty. I haven’t heard from her since I signed off, so I called.

We talked. First about her, then about me. I could talk to her about what it’s like to care for someone with advancing dementia.

Today it snowed, it was beautiful.

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I saw this on my walk this morning

But to my mother in law, she was stuck on it snowing in October. I don’t know why this blew her mind so much, she’s from Michigan. Now there’s a place that knows winter. But all day:

Look at all this snow! (All two inches of it)

I can’t believe how much snow we’re getting! (That would be two inches)

I guess it’s winter! (No it isn’t)

I’m not used to winter starting like this! (With snow?)

Do you read music?


The only thing I remember about middle school clarinet was the repeat sign, my days are bracketed by them.

I repeat myself, again and again, through increasingly clenched teeth. What is wrong with me? Why can’t I just repeat myself cheerfully all day, it takes almost no effort to say, “Yep, look at it come down! I guess it’s winter! It sure is early for winter to start, and so suddenly!”

Yet I feel the need to reason with her, to explain, to put an end to all the questions, at least that question.


And then there is the self-loathing, it’s worse.

What is wrong with me? Why can’t I just accept what is happening to her? Why can’t I be more grateful, patient, accepting, loving, generous … Why can’t I just cheerfully make her breakfast again and lunch again when she says she hasn’t eaten all day but actually she has and not point out that she already ate because it confuses her? It gets under her skin. Why do I do that? What is wrong with me?


Cue stress eating.

Let’s see, today it was a cold and soggy left-over Snarf’s artichoke and feta sandwich for breakfast, then leftover cheese and tofu enchiladas for lunch, then some cheese dip and crackers and Chips Ahoy with Anita because she was still hungry (because, you know, she hadn’t eaten all day) then dinner.

I’m so damn tired. The weight of this house is pressing on me. There are so many things to keep going. One of my tenants gave notice that she’s leaving earlier than she originally planned. Cue scrambling to drum up some business so I can keep my household running.

Room for rent 2

So much more cheerful than I feel

I had a visiting friend who said he wanted my life. Secretly I thought, “Baby, you don’t have what it takes.” This house, this life, is a hungry beast.

You know, what I wouldn’t do for some of that good shit I got in line at Hump! Dan Savage’s amateur porn film festival.


Loony and I went, it was so fucking good. Oh, and as we walked to the theater we realized that his vaporizer was cashed so I rather loudly lamented in line, “Well of all the times for our vape to run out …” on repeat until someone gave me a toke.

Holy shit, I’ve been using the CBD blends almost exclusively and I forgot what real OG feels like.

As we waited for the movies to begin I was like, “Babe, I’m sooo high right now.”

Loony: “Don’t rub it in.” (He didn’t get any)

Me: “No babe, this might not be good.”

I was high as fuuuuuu. Like, almost freaking out high. Like, Maureen Dowd high.


But as it turned out, it was really good. The film festival was amazing. I laughed, I gasped, I got super turn on, I almost barfed, it was everything. Loony loved it too. My favorite song …

Yeah, I could use some of that shit tonight.

Instead I’m mixing alcohols and listening to Zoe Keating on high and trying to either get my head on straight knock it off my body. Listen.

I had a dream about my most perfect place. It was a one-room building on a tiny island in the middle of a small lake. The water was shallow enough for one to walk to the island. The building was round and had a vaulted ceiling, like in classic architecture. In it were two large beds.

Everything was shades of cream in tufted silk and satin. The pillows were so deep and soft, they spilled off the bed, the mattress was so comfortable, like nothing I’ve ever felt. The room was flooded with soft sunlight, the windows had no glass, they were open to the soft breeze and the Maxfield Parrish view. I want to go to there.


What did I do in this room? I slept. Who was in the other bed? No one.

I don’t know what it means.

But I know this, Little Chief is the best thing that’s happened to me lately. That little dog brings me so much joy.

We went five days without an accident, then he had an accident but hey, FIVE DAYS! From zero days! He fills my heart with joy. Today was his first snow ever.

I’m so used to damaged goods that having a sweet little baby, un-fucked-up by others is quite an experience. It’s all the more reason to adopt, but I am grateful that one thing in my life is easy.

He and Bart make my day.

Enough of the pity party. Life is okay. It’s more than okay. I’ve got it good. Sometimes I like to feel sorry for myself.

One thought on “Is Anyone Out There? In There?

  1. Oh honey…be gentle with yourself. It’s a horrible, hateful fucking disease and I used to chew the insides of my cheeks until they bled when I had to spend more than 22 minutes with my MIL when she was first descending into the pit of hell that is dementia. It robbed her of her memories, her dignity, her sense of self and place and eventually her soul, leaving behind an empty mind and a sound body. It’s excruciating. It’s like having an adult toddler. You have a tremendous heart and you can navigate this. You’re never alone.

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