I haven’t written a word in 12 days. Except for my name, on checks. Which doesn’t count. On the bright side, I’m not freaking and tweaking and gnashing my teeth about it, which is characteristic of the old me. The new me is all, Well, sister, let’s not dwell on the past. Just sit down and type out a fucking word already. And here I am doing it! I’m not promising the old me won’t occasionally rear her messy head, but hopefully the new me can quickly pound that bitch into submission.
So I need to report some stuff. First of all, a couple of weeks ago I start totally bonking on my CrossFit workouts. Also, I felt exhausted all the time. Woke up tired, spent the morning planning my nap, woke up from the nap dreaming of bedtime. “You’re doing too much,” said Hot Firefighter Husband. “You need to give your body a break.” Whatever, I thought. If I scale back my workouts, my muscles will atrophy within, like, 12 hours, and then I’ll break my hip and start mall walking and buying polyester bermuda shorts.
But the next day, I couldn’t even get through a set of thrusters. And I love thrusters. “I’m in a hole,” I told CrossFit Andy. “I”m dying.” He was busy scrolling through his Instagram account and did not look up from his phone. “You have chronic fatigue,” he said. “You’re doing too much. If you don’t give your body a break it’s going to quit on you and then you’ll get debilitatingly sick and end up in a hospital.” So I was right; I was dying. And CrossFit Andy wasn’t even going to tell me.
Husband pointed out that he had told me the exact same thing but I didn’t listen.
“What?” I said.
Andy told me to do light workouts for two weeks, and I had to commit to staying with the plan even if I felt better before the two weeks ended.
It worked! That was nearly three weeks ago, and I feel soooo much better. I did beginning level workouts for two weeks, and now have progressed up to level one workouts, meaning I’m working out hard but not back to lifting barbells the weight of my oldest child. To be fair, she’s small for her age. So that’s that.
The other big news is that Hot Firefighter Husband and I went on a 48-hour vacation. Alone. Where were the kids, you ask? Who cares? Did you even hear me? HUSBAND AND I TOOK A 48-HOUR VACATION. It was the longest we’ve been alone in OVER A DECADE. We went to Amelia Island, known for its natural beauty and kayaking and water activities. “What should we do?” I asked Husband. “Rent kayaks? Bikes? Take a boat tour? Go for a hike?”
“Nothing,” he said. “Let’s do nothing.” By which he meant nothing that requires clothes. Because it’s summer, and the kids are home EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY and I fall asleep at 9 pm every night. So we did a lot of NOTHING**, and also watched soccer and partook in some day drinking.
**NOTHING is a euphemism.
I love day drinking without the children. Ordinarily, the problem with day drinking is the immediate aftermath – it’s hard to be a parent with an afternoon buzz that’s morphing into a hangover. When we’re kid-free, we can day drink, and then do NOTHING, take a nap, and go out for a pleasant dinner. BOO-yah!
Anyway, I learned two lessons from our hiatus. The first is that doing both nothing and NOTHING are important parts of a healthy relationship. The second is that Buddy the Wonder Dog’s sock fetish returns when he is separated from me for more than two hours. But he only ate one, and I pulled it out of his butt the next day.
The final item of business involves What I’m Reading, which is The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. FOR THE LOVE OF FLANNERY O’CONNOR, those Pulitzer people totally knew what they were doing. This book is 771 pages of literary genius. It’s the story of a boy who’s caught up in a terrorist bombing at a New York City museum, then spends the next decade bouncing around the country trying to find a place to call home, all while hiding an enormous secret involving something he took from the museum in the aftermath of the bombing. Honestly, though, I hate giving plot synopses, because that doesn’t really speak to the quality of the literature. That’s true of most books, don’t you think? Just try to describe the plot of The Old Man and the Sea: well, this old man goes out fishing, and he catches a big one, and rows the boat back to shore. Snooze.
What makes this book so compelling, in part, are the wild yet carefully crafted passages that literally changed my state of being as I read. Take this passage describing the main character’s depression:
This was a plunge encompassing sorrow and revulsion far beyond the personal: a slick, drenching nausea at all humanity and human endeavor from the dawn of time. The writhing loathsomeness of the biological order. Old age, sickness, death. No escape for anyone. Even the beautiful ones were like soft fruit about to spoil. And yet somehow people still kept fucking and breeding and popping out new fodder for the grave….Oh, isn’t he cute? Awww. Kids shouting and skidding in the playground with no idea what future Hells awaited them: boring jobs and ruinous mortgages and bad marriages and hair loss and hip replacements and lonely cups of coffee in an empty house and a colostomy bag at the hospital. Most people seemed satisfied with the thin decorative glaze and the artful stage lighting that, sometimes, made the bedrock atrocity of the human predicament look somewhat more mysterious or less abhorrent.
Are you kidding me? I read that passage three times then contemplated becoming a heroin addict. Her prose is that convincing. But the novel isn’t all so ethereal. It’s the perfect mix of story, substance, and art, and it was the perfect book to rekindle my book addiction. Yes, that’s right. I had fallen off the reading train, which is probably why I haven’t been writing as much. Writers must read to feed their creative bellies, you know. And thanks to The Goldfinch, I’ve been weaned from my obsession with NCIS reruns and Words with Friends games. FEED ME WORDS.
Wow, that was a long update. If you’re still here, thanks for reading. What’s new with you?