Tag Archives: brave new world

Mainly Rainy with a Chance of Showers

Day 15 with no caffeine and nearly* no alcohol
*I had a glass of wine Friday night

EXCITING UPDATE:

The headache went away on day four. I don’t have to pee nearly as much as I used to, and I am much less dehydrated. I know this from the colour of my urine. Did I ever tell you guys that when we first viewed this townhouse that we’ve owned for nearly 10 years, there was a urine colour chart thumbtacked to the wall behind the downstairs toilet? It told you whether or not you were dehydrated based on the colour of your pee. Yes, there was still a bidding war for this townhouse.

COMMENTS FROM MY CO-WORKERS:

First co-worker: Wait until you get to day 15. That’s when the withdrawal really starts.

Another co-worker said: I like you better on coffee. That’s not an insult! But you seem kind of down, like too much Eeyore, not enough Tigger.
(It helps not at all that I’m the one who told her about the Tigger/Eeyore personality types several months ago. She is a Tigger, obvs.)

Another co-worker responded to my self-assessment “more low-key, in a good way” with: I can’t imagine you getting any more low-key.

What the co-workers are actually seeing is me in my natural state, without the desire to pretend to be something I’m not. All raw edges and narrow eyes. I am not pretending to be interested in a story I’ve heard a hundred times from you, co-worker, and you read that as lack of enthusiasm. You are not wrong.

DEPRIVATION IN ONE AREA MEANS GLUTTONY IN OTHERS

I’ve had to re-adjust my diet because at the beginning of the month I allowed myself to eat or drink anything OTHER than alcohol or caffeine, which is not strictly good for a body. Like pizza three days in a row or a bag of gummy bears or several helpings of doughnut. By the second week I was feeling even more tired, and bloated, and irritable as well. I re-declared my intention to not eat as much wheat or dairy, two food groups that bloat and irritate me, and to modulate my sugar intake as well, and presto the last few days have been quite enjoyable.

You really can get high on just half a doughnut, if you’re free of stimulants for a few days.

I am getting sick of herbal tea, though I got a very tasty orange Rooibos from a fancypants tea place in Yaletown. It’s a good time in history to be drinking herbal tea, if you have money.

WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS ANYWAY?

The reasoning behind DETOX CLEANSE LIVER REBOOT (SEO!) of 2016 is to make more room in my life for important things. One important thing is right up front in my face right now: writing.

In November, I applied and was accepted to the Writer’s Studio program at SFU Continuing Studies. I am in the narrative non-fiction stream. It is a part-time program in the sense that there is one class every Saturday and a workshop every two weeks on an evening, but a full time program in the sense that in between the structured parts you are meant to be writing as though it will save your life.

To make more room in my life for writing, I considered getting up earlier, but 5:20 really is my limit. I already write most days on my commute. I could probably get away with writing at work but on the other hand I like my job enough to want to actually do it. The only other time in my day is after the kids are in bed. From 7:45 until 9 pm, that’s where my time is. To make that time functional time, rather than relaxation time, though, required me to remove alcohol from the equation. Alcohol makes me sleepy. Sometimes it makes me want more alcohol, which makes me even sleepier. Often the evening ends with TV and Cheezies.

And when the evening ends like that, the morning is not all it could be. Much lolling about in bed, moaning about getting up, moving towards the coffee like a zombie. Sometimes having more than one cup. Getting sleepy again at 2 pm, moving towards home and that evening glass of wine like a zombie.

I wanted my evenings back, and I wanted my mornings to be more efficient. I wanted to not be always chasing the next thing like a donkey following a carrot on a stick. Getting rid of the false things that drive me, in a sense, seemed like a good way to reset and reconnect with what really drives me.

I Fell Asleep Writing This

This is my second day without caffeine in my body except for the negligible amounts found in the single piece of Almond Roca I consumed this afternoon. (For the sake of Science: I always drink one large cup of coffee per day and about twice a week I have a second cup later in the morning. Once or twice a month I have espresso at 4 pm) Anyway! I have this to report:

I AM SO TIRED

Sand in the eyeballs tired. Up since 3 am tired, even though I was fast asleep at 3 am and in fact turned out my light last night … well, I didn’t turn it out, I think Saint Aardvark did, near 9 pm. Last thing I remember I was reading. And then I was awake again at 5:20 am feeling distinctly UNRESTED.

Shouldn’t the whole point of ridding your body of stimulants and depressants be that you magically find the middle spot on the teeter totter and balance there with a half smile on your face forever? I guess not. It feels like my body wants to sleep enough to make up for all the sleep that got put off by coffee since I started drinking it at 18.

OUCH MY HEAD

I went to work yesterday. Everything was fine until lunchtime, and then my head started to hurt. It sort of felt like I had been lightly punched in the nose. A throbbing in my forehead and eyes. Staring at my computer did not help. I made it go away with ibuprofen and then it came back this morning at about 10, so I took more ibuprofen and then it started to sort of sneak in on the right side of my eyeballs at 2 this afternoon so I took MORE ibuprofen and I think we’re cool now.

PEOPLE ARE IDIOTS AND SHOULD BE KEPT FAR AWAY FROM ME

I lost track of how many times I dropped the f-bomb into a small rant delivered to my supervisor. Luckily she is amused by me. Also, luckily, she was in the mood to be obscenely angry with me about the stupid things people do. Alright! Sometimes we use empathy and sometimes we use SWEARING LOUDLY.

BUT ON THE OTHER HAND

The slight fog that I’m inhabiting while I move around in the world seems to make me more approachable; I have had many strangers smile at me in the past two days, I think because I look dazed and confused and people feel sorry/want to take advantage of me. No one has tried, mind you. Just more friendliness and sympathetic looks in my general direction. Or maybe I’m hallucinating.

(The other thing I’m abstaining from is alcohol, which so far has been a snap because who wants to drink alcohol when they already have an eye-jabbing headache? Only a true alcoholic, I suspect, which I am not.)

In a weak moment I googled caffeine withdrawal symptoms just so I could read about the headache I was already enduring. And then I read the comments, which went from comparing caffeine to heroine (sic) to someone picking on the typo to another person arguing anything can harm you if consumed in great enough quantities, just look at water, and then another person having an actual paragraph-laden argument with that person about oh god I don’t even know but it did not make my headache better so it fails as an internet webpage of any use.

In sum: All hail ibuprofen and onward day three.

Scraping off the Frost

We have been cold and frosty and foggy of late; fog so thick you can see it swirling in the light, when the light makes it through. Frost so frosty it piles up in your mitten like snow and then you throw it up in the air and pretend it’s real snow, at least my kids do, deprived of real snow as they are.

I guess it’s called hoar frost, the frost so thick it looks like snow and confuses us every day when we look out the window? Yeah, hoar frost.

The name hoar comes from an Old English adjective that means “showing signs of old age”; in this context it refers to the frost that makes trees and bushes look like white hair.

Henceforth shall refer to my own head as ‘hoary’ without a blink of regret.

This morning I was running in the park and there was a wee, dead mouse on the path. We were running a brief distance this morning, not the full 10 km park loop, because we haven’t run the park look together (there are two of us, I am not speaking of myself in the plural) since early November and we are out of shape, or so we thought until we got going. We ran 24 minutes into the park and then turned around and went back, so I saw the wee, dead mouse twice, and the second time I was expecting him — actually expecting him to be gone, since the park is home to many hungry creatures that might like mouse for breakfast — so I spotted him quickly and then even noticed as I ran over, as in stepped over, him that his whiskers were entirely white with frost. Poor wee mouse in the middle of the path, intact, with frosted whiskers.

Tonight Saint Aardvark is starting an ambitious project to watch all the movies he has acquired over the years (Hint: THEY ARE MANY) and to blog about each of them. Tonight’s film is BLACK RAGE on VHS tape. There is one black man and one ‘albino’ black man and a lot of white men, some dubious music and a lot of running around.

My own ambitious project is to abstain from alcohol and caffeine for the next month, starting tomorrow. I would have started on January 1st but I still had delicious wine left over from New Year’s Eve because on New Year’s Eve I went to sleep at 10 pm after falling asleep on the couch watching Fast Five, one of the Fast and Furious movies. It even had The Rock in it and who doesn’t love The Rock and still I slumbered on the couch until prompted to leave it. Anyway, now all the wine is gone and the coffee is off limits and I got the idea to do booze AND coffee from David at Raptitude who speaks highly of the experience, so I will let you know how it goes. *drains glass*. Possibly even tomorrow.

In No Particular Order

I saw a crow eating a dead pigeon while I was walking through downtown this afternoon.

A man walking the other direction on the sidewalk, who saw the crow eating the pigeon at the same time as me, met my eyes and we both affected a wide-eyed horror face, and then we both looked at the tour bus that was stopped for the light, but none of the tourists looked out their windows to see the bird carnage.

I continued eating my most delicious falafel sandwich as though I was a crow and my delicious falafel was my pigeon.

When I got back to the office and told my co-worker, let’s call her Laughing Elder, about the birds, she told me about once seeing an eagle steal the food of a crane and the crane losing its mind with anger.

Last night I started reading “H is for Hawk” and it is exactly as good as all the reviews say it is.

Last night I also bought two Foo Fighters albums and finally indulged my love of All Things Rock and Grohl. Yes, I just said that. You are embarrassed for me. I hate puns. Unless I am making them.

I feel like I should be embarrassed for loving the Foo Fighters as much as I do. Yet, they write the songs that make me pound the table and bang my head while keening to the sound of perfect harmonies, so I guess I will not apologize. Also, Dave Grohl is an excellent writer and drummer, and shouty in all the right places.

That was the first song I heard this morning on my music player on the way to work and yes, I was a little overtired and happy that it’s Friday, but it was more than that. The song in my headphones at 7 am on 8th ave waiting for the bus made me darn near euphoric. I thought I might cry, vomit, become hysterical, and pass out on the sidewalk.

(It is possible I could use a good night’s sleep.)

Things have been at a low ebb for a few weeks; the evening sportsball activities are taking their toll and Eli in particular, being of a slightly dramatic persuasion, has a tendency to complain that he is tired, has only ever been tired, and will continue to be tired until his dying breath. Which will be tired.

Wednesdays are our busiest evenings; baseball starts at 5:45-6, then Arlo does soccer at 7 at a different park, and we don’t get home and into bed (the kids that is) until at least 8:30, sometimes closer to 9. Then up for Thursday at 6:30.

Wednesday I picked up the kids at daycare at 5, as usual.

Eli: Ohhhhh I am so tired.
Me: Gosh you do sound tired.
Eli: I think I should skip baseball practice.
Me: Oh yeah?
Eli: I’m too tired. I just..I just…
Me: We’ll see.

It should be noted that wednesdays are my busiest day at work. On Wednesdays roughly 80% of my day is on my feet, and 60% of my day is talking to clients, and the rest is either going to the bathroom or taking public transit, where I am also standing. Wait, no, I sit down in the bathroom. But stand on public transit. So I was tired too. I did not want to take him to baseball. I wanted to change into sweatpants and drink wine and drool myself to sleep.

Arlo: ..and I don’t have my shin pads.
Me: Hm?
Arlo: Remember I had to have my shin pads or I couldn’t go back to soccer? And I looked for them but I didn’t find them.
Me: Did you look *everywhere*?
Arlo: I think so.
Me: (suspects not)
Arlo: ..anyway I might find them. But if I don’t, we can go shopping.
Me: Pardon?
Arlo: For black pants and a white shirt.
Me: Pardon?
Arlo: Tomorrow is the May Day assembly at school. So we need black pants and a white shirt.
Me: Not for the assembly, surely. For the actual ceremony, next week…
Arlo: My teacher said for tomorrow.
Me: (plots teacher’s demise)
Arlo: So…we can go shopping if we don’t go to soccer.

Yes. Doesn’t that sound fun? Car, mall, kid, evening. No sweat pants. No wine. No drooling. I am DELIGHTED with this counter-proposal, and yet there is SOMETHING missing. What could it be. Could it be..that if I’m not GOING OUT I don’t want to GO OUT.

On we walked, Arlo bouncing along, Eli slouching.

At home, I made them grilled cheese sandwiches and thought about it. It wasn’t a baseball game, just a practice. Was it absolutely necessary that we go? Would it injure anyone’s character? I decided no and texted the team to let them know we wouldn’t be coming. I texted one of the parents from Arlo’s class and asked about the dress clothes for the Thursday assembly. She replied yes, and lol, and ha ha. I looked for Arlo’s shin pads and did not find them. I considered that he might have hidden them, but remembered that he loves soccer. Decided to cancel soccer too. Went to the mall and bought black jeans and a white collared polo shirt and was happy that we have two incomes right now so I could just go to H&M and buy the kid clothes and not worry about it.

Arlo has the right kind of body for H&M, spaghetti-like. The clothes fit him and we moved on quickly. I got to my sweatpants, my wine, and my drool. As Arlo himself is fond of remarking, it was not the end of the world.

Plus he is cute.

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Fairness-ometer:

Eli got a cheese hat from his uncle who drives a truck and was in Wisconsin.

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Something to Lean On, A Book to Read

I’ve taken the train an hour later a few mornings this week and boy howdy do I not like it. Ugh. It feels okay and normal until the stop before downtown and then everyone gets on and then, two stops later, I try to get off and it’s like swimming against a tide of spawning salmon. I legitimately did not think I was going to get off the train today. I was behind a big guy who was also getting off and I’d put my faith in him when I saw him move towards the doors but he was blocked by several people and a cluster of doorflies and I couldn’t help myself, when I finally cleared the door and was on the platform and that much closer to work, I said in a conversational tone, just like here is some information for you people, “there is a lot of room in the middle of the train.” Walked away. Yes, if people move to the middle of the train, THEY will maybe have trouble getting off at the next stop but guess what, you guys are already downtown and everything is a ten minute walk away so suck it. You don’t even NEED to be on the train anymore, jerks. Get some fresh motherfucking air in your lungs.

And deep breath in. And climb the stairs, greet the paper guy, cross on the green light and walk for seven minutes. Breathe the clean, damp air and look at the tall, shiny buildings reflecting the sunrise or glistening with new rain. Move fast past everyone, nod at the bicyclists. Put down my things for a few hours at the office, where people are kind and happy to see me.

The reason I’ve taken the train an hour later is because SA is away so I am taking the children to daycare and rather than dropping them there as soon as the doors open at 7, I am kind and allow them to keep to their routine, instead adjusting my own. I AM A HERO, YES. They have been remarkably sane and good this week, even with all the routine changes (no Dad, more grandparents, no time for a big bowl of ice cream BEFORE dinner tonight so had to wait until AFTER dinner — that last one did lead Arlo to a ten minute sulk up in his room; life is very disappointing sometimes) and other than getting cranky at times for reasons like: I dropped my phone and it broke, and my hair is annoyingly huge, and the people on the train are oblivious to the world around them, and baseball parents are shouty and bossy, I have also been mostly sane and good.

I picked out a few wonderful books last week at the library, having returned a selection of duds. I haven’t had so many duds in a while. Every book had something wrong with it, something that made me make a sneery, bad-smell face; one looked like a fluffy romance but was actually a Christian morality tale featuring estranged sisters, another looked like a readable dysfunctional family joint but was really a deeply depressing account of a fifty-something man and his relationship with his father, who in the story is deteriorating from Parkinson’s. Yikes! Too many boxes on the bingo card! I got to page thirty or so in each of the five books before throwing them back to the library pool and then I picked out several wonderful books; Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham, which I’m reading before bed and is engaging and easy-readable with a few poignant and elegant turns of phrase thrown in, and We Need New Names by Noviolet Bulawayo , a raw account of a girl’s childhood in Zimbabwe and adolescence in Michigan, which I’m reading on transit and has completely consumed me for days. After those are done, there is A Buzz in the Meadow by Dave Goulson, a man who buys a farm in France and creates a bumblebee habitat. And Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese. And How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran. And Transatlantic by Colum McCann.

If I can find a corner on the train to nestle into, and I can tune out the conversations, the time, and the place, I am given thirty minutes to spend reading a wonderful book. This is what makes commuting by transit great.

Well, and looking at peoples’ shoes.

Bee Firmly Fixed in Bonnet

It started out OK, this day, but the list of things — stupid things — that were irritating me just collected and collected like a layer of dust until it was impossible to see the road ahead of me, so dusty was my windshield.

How Dusty My Windshield: Collected Stories.

A list, in no particular order, of the stupid things that somehow were impossibly irritating today:

— The smell of flatulence in a certain area of the office and before you suggest it was me, it wasn’t. I even, at one point, considered that I MIGHT be farting, that maybe my sphincter is LOOSE and farts are escaping my person without me noticing? And then I thought no, that is ridiculous, you would also then be pooping in your own shoes, surely, it is merely that someone in this office, or possibly everyone, needs to eat less junk food and get outside for a walk.

— This dude on the skytrain this morning had a baseball cap that said something stupid. I know. I don’t even remember what it was but it pissed me off.

— Whenever I take an escalator I think about a tweet I saw once; this person said “one thing that really bugs me is when people stand rather than walk on an escalator.” Now I do not give a shit what you do on the escalator as long as you keep right if you’re standing and walk left if you’re walking. But what the hell is wrong with standing on an escalator? It’s a MOVING STAIRCASE. If you want to WALK, take the STAIRS. I think about this tweet almost every time I take an escalator. I imagine that people who walk on the escalator are judging me, and then I get mad about them judging me.

Guess what, they are not judging me. Also can we take a real minute to appreciate my hypocricy, in taking someone’s stupid annoyed statement and making my own annoyed statement about how annoying it is.

Thanks.

— Also transit related: when people line up for the bus and then slowly shift forward in the line, even though the bus has not yet arrived. Holy shit. I am about to start swinging a baseball bat at the bus stop, people. If the bus is not at the stop, you don’t need to keep moving. Just stay put. Why are you moving? Do you think moving will make the bus come sooner? It will not come sooner. It’s the same as people in cars who are at stop lights and they can SEE that the cross-light is nowhere near ready to change but they still inch up, up, up, until their dumb car noses are in the intersection and for what? Two seconds of lead time? You don’t even GET that lead time in the bus line up because you get on right after the person in front of you and right before the person behind you. So I stand still. The person in front of me can inch, I will not inch. Today the person behind me was nearly licking my earlobes, so close to me was she, because when the person in front of me moved up an inch, the person behind me did too. I WILL NOT MOVE.

— The lady in front of me in the bus line up was wearing tights of the panty-hose variety, not the footless tights that are like exercise pants variety, and I could see the dimples in her butt cheeks and I did not want to see that.

— There was this kid on the bus who wanted to hold a bouquet of dandelions and his mom said no, your hands are too dirty and he was whining like whoa about this so I had to put on my headphones. YOUR HANDS ARE TOO DIRTY TO HOLD DANDELIONS THE MOST PRISTINE FLOWER IN ALL THE LAND AND ALSO RARE, WHAT? Sorry little dude, I feel you, but your voice is like a knife on a wine glass.

— This stupid computer program at work that makes me do extra clicking and is full of bugs and no one cares. It’s like an addled co-worker that you have to check up on all the time, to make sure it’s not breaking or losing things. Which is pretty much the OPPOSITE of a good computer program, can I just say.

— My music player was on shuffle and it kept playing PJ Harvey and the Pixies, as though it knew I needed to be pushed into a dark, cranky space and then forced to explode my way out. So I turned it off.

I left the headphones on, though, because of the dandelion kid & etc.

Yeah I think that about covers it.

If you have any irrational irritations feel free to share. No irritation too small, that’s my motto. Even the tiniest chafe can make a blister. Etc.

OKAY

I was on my feet all day. There had been a power outage overnight and all the computers were buggered. The printer drivers were uninstalled. People were panicking. The magic machine that works with a computer that still runs windows 2000 (!!) did not come back all right from its spontaneous reboot, unsurprisingly. It was kind of like a computer stroke. And now that machine slurs a bit on the left hand side, as it were.

I don’t fix the computers at work, don’t get me wrong. But I sure do use them.

There was also a lot of: people and talking and being in charge and being okay with that but by the end of the day starting to be kind of sick of it. Someone else be in charge, please.

Sidenote: I was thinking today about the special value that I bring to the workplace because I’m a parent: initiative. There are step-up people at work who are not parents, and there are hang-back people at work who are parents, to be sure, but speaking for me only I can say that I am definitely more step-up than hang-back since having kids. I spent six years in charge of children. Who’s going to clean that vomit? I am! Who’s going to make a plan for the day/week/month? *half-hearted-hoorah* I am! Who has to just hold her nose and do the thing because there are no other adults around and children can’t do this particular thing. I am! Why not. This translates well to an office environment. Well, this particular office environment.

Of course we all draw the line at washing peoples’ dishes, you know that staple workplace sign “Your mother doesn’t work here: clean up your own dishes!” we have one of those at work. But if something not dishes or pest-control needs doing, I’ll do it. Even if I hate it. Because it’s probably better than vomit.

Then I hopped the train, then bus, then home, got the car, got the kids, bought them Wendy’s for dinner (best mom ever!) made them cry because no time to play Plants Vs. Zombies 2 (worst mom ever!) hustled us all off to baseball at 6*, sat on the field for 90 minutes while Arlo alternately did his homework, ran laps around the field, and hassled me about playing Plants Vs. Zombies 2, came home and hustled them into pyjamas, made Eli cry again because I refused to sleep with him (??) and Arlo started referring to himself as a bad kid because he keeps asking me the same thing over and over so I had to explain he’s not a bad kid, he just makes bad decisions sometimes, as do we all, and he said, with a cocked brow, well, I AM bad sometimes…and I realized he wants to be a little bit bad, so that’s fine I guess I can call him bad. Not a problem. My blond boy with blue eyes who resembles a 70s Wayne Gretsky right now. You so bad.

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Go to bed, bad kid, I said, and now it’s 8:20 and I have some wine and my feet hurt from standing all day, and my butt hurts from sitting on the fake turf field for 90 minutes and you could be forgiven for thinking I’m never happy. Ah but I am.

I said to Arlo when he told me he was a bad kid, what we are doesn’t define who we are. Sometimes I’m happy, sometimes I’m sad, sometimes I’m mean, sometimes I’m irritating. Sometimes you’re bad, but that doesn’t make you a bad person. The only thing I can say with certainty about you is you’re human.

All of us mostly happy, a little bit mean, totally imperfect. Everything is okay.

* Working full time with kids in daycare and doing an organized sport that demands two evenings a week is as challenging as I thought it would be.

PS: Go Yankees.

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Thanks to Our Sponsors

This week has been brought to you by:

— Moisturizer. Because my cuticles and nails are incredibly dry and jagged and horrible.

— Halls cough drops, without which I would not have slept on Monday and Tuesday nights. Damned throat tickle. ALTHOUGH I could do without the inspiration printed on the cough drop wrappers, in English and French. ALLEZ Y yourself, cough drop.

— The drugs called “montelukast sodium” and “albuterol” which help Eli go from coughing all the time to not coughing all the time, instead of to bronchitis/pneumonia/whoknowswhat. I love these drugs.

— Zadie Smith’s book N-W.

— Outkast’s song “Hey Ya” which I remembered and listened to several times this week.

— Seriously, Zadie Smith forever. Interesting, to me, that I brought this book home from the library last year and stared blankly at it for three weeks and then returned it. As though one’s emotional life, if taxing, can sap the ability to understand and appreciate good literature. Here is a bit I read on the train this morning that made me memorize the page number so I could find it again later:

“Felix spotted a wayward shiver in her eyelid, a struggle between the pretence of lightness and the reality of weight. He knew all about that struggle.”

There are some books you read to escape into, and you barely read the words on the page, just skim for the gist, like shoving chips in your mouth so the salt will take hold of you faster. Books you read to pass the time. Books you read to lull you to sleep. There are some books you read because they are good for you, the kale of the book world, and when finished you say, well, that was HEARTY. And then there are books where the flavours meld perfectly with one another, where the nutritional value is balanced with the combination of sweet/salty/spicy in your mouth, where you slowly open them to read — carefully — each word because each word is worth it. This is one of those books.

— The prospect of the four day weekend (easters Friday and Monday the glorious, sleeping-in brackets to this normal weekend.)

— Various pale ales.

Onward, Easter-ocity!

Treats!

In the eternal battle of Sugar Vs. Salt I come down on the salty side every time. Give me chips, mixed nuts, crackers coated with mysterious “seasoning,” popcorn. Put salt on my dark chocolate. Make it so.

There are two historical exceptions to my preferences. The first is after a nap. I rarely nap, for various reasons, but when I do, I wake up craving sugar. This is probably because I am thirsty. I read somewhere that when you’re dehydrated, you crave sugar. Instead of a cookie, have a glass of water. OK.

Because I don’t have a problem overindulging in sugar, as in, I will not eat a whole box of cookies in one sitting, I don’t worry about the cookie. I just eat the cookie. And then I need some water (not milk, nope) to wash it down and lo and behold I feel better.

The other exception was during both of my pregnancies. More so the first, I think, although I’d have to search my own blog archives and not right now, thanks. I wanted sugar when pregnant, I thought, because I had given up alcohol and alcohol is made of sugar. Also, alcohol gives you a little buzz and so does sugar. Also pregnant people are prone to dehydration.

Everyone! Go drink some water right now!

I have a third exception now. The third exception is that at work, I want sugar. It can be a reward for boring work (one gummy bear after each successful file transfer!), a way to spike up the general energy level of the day, something for my tongue to work on while I’m data entering or waiting for my computer to reboot for the fourteenth time. Today when I discovered there was no chocolate in my desk I was appalled. I ate the sour gummies, but where I would once have had one sour gummy and then moved on, I found my left hand reaching for the package as my right hand moved the mouse around, like ‘oh just totally working here, not thinking about candy at all’, and then I ate a second, a third, then a fourth. I was..consuming candy like someone who had a PROBLEM with candy.

It doesn’t help that there is a 7-11 downstairs and around the corner from the office and you can get a little container of assorted used-to-be-penny-candy-now-costs-two-dollars for two dollars. Those marshmallow strawberries! Cola bottles! SOUR SOOTHERS.

You would think that the portion of my life being a stay-at-home-parent to small children who love candy would have been the portion of my life during which I had to suddenly discipline my candy intake but no. I have made it through several Halloween/Christmas/Valentine/Easter cycles without giving a good goddamn about all the candy in the house. It is the artificial environment of the modern office, combined with the proximity of the junk food, combined with the endorphin-less work I am doing (sometimes I find a file I’ve been looking for for a long time and I get a jolt of excitement that makes me mistrust my own integrity) that makes us all want something sweet. It’s not just me. I saw my co-worker’s drawer today and it was practically a corner store.

It doesn’t take long for the brain to associate the rush of sugar with a reward. About half a doughnut. We reward ourselves and each other with sugar all the time. Office people bring doughnuts to work and share them around. I’ve done it. We bake for each other. We share our chocolate. We never offer around celery. We’re all trying to say — to each other, to ourselves — ‘you’re doing great, considering the circumstances. For someone whose gifts are nearly totally unused 7.5 hours a day, you’re making do remarkably well. Because no one ever praises another human for making-do, accept this Twizzler as a token of my appreciation. Then you will feel a little jolt of happiness and you will like me, and this job, and making-do, that much more. It’s not that bad, you will say. Sometimes it even feels good. That’s not the making-do! That’s the Twizzler! You could do a job that made you feel good just by you having done it, and then you wouldn’t need the Twizzler. But this is not that job.’

That makes the workplace sound more depressing and hopeless than I intend. It really is a good place, for what it is. And for what it isn’t, there’s compensation. And with compensation I can buy more SOUR SOOTHERS.

Plus, the water is free.
(We should all drink more water)

Saturday

Efficiency is everything on weekends. I know the last post had a link about how to have a proper day off and that’s nice but right now we need to get shit done on weekends. If we get our shit done, we can relax.

Right now, 3:30 pm, is the relaxing time because we already: got groceries, bought sports equipment for the children, did laundry, made more granola for the week, tidied the kitchen, took down the garbage, showered and etc. The kids of course know not much of this other than we make them do stuff to feel part of the efficiency wheel. I don’t want them to feel left out.

This morning they were dragging their feet when we wanted to Get Going and after asking nicely several times, I said look, do you think I would PREFER to be going to a giant used sports equipment sale on a Saturday morning? That is NOT what I would prefer. I am doing it because YOU want to play baseball and soccer and so you need four thousand items and that is why I am MAKING you brush your teeth at 9 am on a Saturday, so we can get the groceries before the crowds arrive, and get the sporting goods, and get HOME in time for your friend to come over, which I ALSO arranged for you, so the LEAST you can do is cooperate.

They brushed their teeth.

I came downstairs with mad eyebrows and SA said, are they being assholes? and I said no, I am, but I feel pretty good about it.

Because by 12 pm we were home and had lunch and all the sporting goods we need (seriously; a jock strap? A helmet? I doubt very much anyone aged 7 … well, maybe. There are wunderkinds of all kinds I know) and could get ready to play the rest of the day away. I even made brownies. I even let them have some of the brownies. I’m not heartless.

My body is also, I think, trying to be efficient, by compressing what used to be five days of bleeding per month into one and one half days of bleeding. Though I am certain my hormones do not read this blog I still wish to say it: Body, this plan is flawed.

Now I must go eat some iron.