The Russian spy ship Victor Leonov is not far off the coast of Florida right now, which means if I hop on a cruise this evening we could meet up by lunchtime tomorrow. I mean, not that I’d want to. I’m not a spy or anything
OR AM I but apparently the Russians are our friends now, and with all their eavesdropping equipment I feel like somebody on board could help me get to the bottom of why Common Core math even exists, since all cell phones have calculators these days. And Alexa! Jeezus, I can ask Alexa about the square root of a number that doesn’t even exist and she can give me the answer. So what the hell?
HAHAHA! Laugh with me. Hot Firefighter Husband tells me I’ve been ranting too much, so I’m trying to keep it light. Please don’t mistake my lightness for complacency. I’m just coming off a three-day battle with a Facebook troll who was all FAKE NEWS! CAN’T TRUST THE MEDIA! THE NEW YORK TIMES IS FAKE! And I was all I’m a fucking journalist, dumb ass. But maybe she thought that proved her point. For the record, though, I don’t make stuff up.
Husband actually instituted a 24-hour MSNBC ban this week. It was on Ash Wednesday, in fact, the beginning of Lent, when Lenten observers are reminded with dirt that “From dust you came, and to dust you shall return,” a phrase that’s fitting as we
hurl toward the apocalypse, THANKS DONALD J. TRUMP begin this season of sacrifice. Anyway, the MSNBC ban was supposed to recenter us and bring our focus back into the present.
But when I focused on the present, I freaked the fleek out because, as you recall, I have an actual job now teaching journalism at the University of North Florida. And yet Husband continues to work two jobs, and the children still are inexplicably not raising themselves, so my life has become a giant scene from the tv show Hoarders if you mix it with an early episode of Kate Plus Eight. We have so much laundry laying around that I went to Target and bought extra laundry baskets to make space on the sofa. Husband tries to be helpful, and two days ago he folded and put away a giant basket of clothes. Too bad they were all dirty.
Look, I don’t like being busy. I’m not the kind of woman who proudly complains about it. I’m more like, “Oh my GOD, my BRAIN is about to EXPLODE.” Then I start crying, Husband makes me drink some bourbon, I watch a Law & Order SVU rerun and go to bed. I get headaches. I shower even less than usual. Where are my naps? Where’s my homemade granola? The busy life doesn’t suit me, and my surroundings seem to be imploding in alarming ways. The scant lettuce I planted wasn’t harvested and now it resembles a gargantuan houseplant. Our bathroom doors have both lost their doorknobs. The toilet makes weird noises when/if I do laundry. I’m just going to glaze over the fact that we have two new foster dogs because, honestly, they are the least of our problems. The kids named the Cheeto and Chicken.
Last weekend, I told Husband I needed a break, which he already knew because I had told him 12 other times. I filled a backpack with some water and snacks, and Buddy the Wonder Dog and I went hiking in Guana River State Park. We parked at my secret entrance, which is just a public access nobody uses. This is one of my favorite hikes because I have to walk about 1.5 miles to get to the really cool part, but when I get there….I feel home. Ancient live oaks dripping with moss and branches like gnarled gray arms reaching into the sky. Old leaves crunching beneath my feet and birds chirping news of my arrival above. A murky stream bubbly with blue crabs. An armadillo rustling among palm fronds. It’s just peace. It’s my happy. I daydreamed about building a shelter in the woods, and living there during the day like a part-time girl Tarzan. I would have to camouflage it so it wouldn’t be found and so I could be alone when I’m there. I have no idea how I’d build it since sewing on buttons presents me with challenges, but necessity is the mother of invention, and my current state of mind necessitates the invention of a place like this. We walked for seven miles, Buddy and I, until Buddy was pretending to pee just so he could rest a bit.
Remember when I wrote about the great simplification? My vegetable garden, the outdoors, and a life without clutter? It has taken a temporary hiatus, and I’ve unraveled a bit. My true self reemerged as I rambled through the woods that day, forgetting about Trump and algebra and the grocery and why my 10-year-old is obsessed with drawing on her eyebrows. I thought about bringing Husband and the children into my mindset, and building a fire with them at my imaginary forest shelter. But the Diva would get itchy, the Pterodactyl would want the WiFi password, and the Tyrant would be so into it that she’d get bit by a snake immediately. It might be best if it’s my place alone.
This current state of chaos will pass. It must.
Find me, please!
REMINDER: My memoir, The Place of Peace and Crickets: how adoption, heartache, and love built a family, will be released Saturday, March 18, 7 pm, at The BookMark in Atlantic Beach. Please join me for a reading, a book, and a chat.