Title, Schmitle

THE FUNERAL:
beautiful. A. played guitar and sang during the service with his cousin and uncle, and the funeral procession took the long way through her small Indiana town, with people standing at the sidewalk outside of their homes in respect as we passed. Side streets were blocked off with banners, and the flag was at half mast. People were kind, others behaved poorly, it was crowded, it was joyful, it was mournful, it was family. And it was good to be in Mary’s house, though we’d never been in it without her there.

THE SIDE STORY:
We slept at Mary’s house on an air mattress in the back room in the freezing cold, under quilts we scavenged from the upstairs closet that may not have been unfolded since 1974. And no surprise, slept terribly and battled stabbing sinus pains and cement-quality congestion during the visitation and funeral the next morning. So imagine my relief when I found– and swallowed– a friendly Tylenol Allergy Sinus I discovered in the bottom of my purse while standing on the front porch of the funeral home. And imagine my horror when I turned the package over and read “nightime.” The rest of the day I was mildly stoned and not too upset about it.

OUR HOUSE:
Is a shameful mess, suitcase still loosely packed in the living room (where I’ve been putting on deodorant by the front door for a week), dishes in the sink, clothes everywhere. We’re replacing the kitchen faucet tomorrow if we can muster the energy– the faucet slowly disconnects from the sink every couple of days, the hot water handle is broken off and the sprayer is stuck at “on.” Also, the toilet is running, the back door frame is getting weirder, and I can’t even begin to list the other 80-year old elements of this house that could use some love, and yet still get none, as we have spent 8 of the last 12 weekends with one of us on the road to somewhere.

But damn. It is so good to be here. This morning I started and abandoned a grocery list, ended up dumping dried beans from one jar to another in the parlor with Bird. There are still beans all over the floor, and that was over 12 hours ago. And guess what? There they will stay, along with the laundry and the pet hair tumbleweeds, junk mail catalogs and piles of things I intend to read, renegade socks and shoes, all of it. To quote a friend, “I prefer to waller in my squalor.” At least for this weekend, while I celebrate what looks like the (at least temporary) end of our two-state commute.

MY FRIEND:
is having surgery on Tuesday. We came home to find him– my 11 year old Bear Dog– with a very swollen ear, like some kind of poofy filled pastry attached to one side of his head. Turns out he has a hematoma– which would be a bruise on any other part of his body but on his little old ear there is no tissue to soak up the blood, causing this big pocket. The vet also pointed out a dangerously infected/ rotting tooth that has to go, so we will be spending our entire Christmas budget times two next week taking care of Sir Rottentooth Puffyears and his stinky old body. That sounds resentful, but I mean it with affection. He is both stinky and old, those are facts. Plus, he is family.

MY BIRD:
has had the two worst tantrums of her short life — and I do not exaggerate, I say WORST and I mean WORST– this past week, a result of 4 days of scanty parenting, absent bedtimes and a steady diet of crackers and bullshit during our trip to Indiana. I think she is back on track, but DUDE. I have seen the dark side, and it is terrifying.

THE GOOD NEWS:
Yes, we did! We came home from Indiana Tuesday afternoon and I went straight to work, then home to the demon-posessed version of my child, then onto the couch with a bottle of nyquil and only the strength to stay up long enough to see Ohio go blue on the map. And then, several hours later in the deep, deep dark of my cold medicine slumber, I received a “YES!” text from my friend Jen, and went back to sleep relieved and hopeful. The next day, my crushing head cold symptoms showed marked improvement. So yeah, things are lookin’ up all over the place.

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