Discovering four in the morning

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.  ~ Anatole France

There was a time in my life when I was quite satisfied to work the 4pm to 12 midnight shift, I would come home too keyed up to go to bed, and would paint until two in the morning, a practice which changed immediately upon giving birth.  Over the years my sleep cycle has changed dramatically depending on where I am in my life, and this ongoing sleep disorder.  Having a puppy is like having a baby, your life is no longer your own, and you have to embrace moments where it is your own, you have to embrace the life of being a dog owner, a life of some routine, and stability.  I wouldn’t have it any other way right now.

I have a confession to make, I am slowly going crazy here in this place.  And I need to come to some solution.  And the realization comes to me at four in the morning.  I wake because my little turtle bean is awake.  I take her out and we both try to go back to sleep, but it swirls in my mind, like the spirals of an armed galaxy, the  infinitesimal becomes huge, and I spin and churn and roil with my internal life.

I fantasize about screened in porches, hardwood floors where a puppy can have an accident and I simply scold and mop up.  Not that she has many but when she does, I do not want to be the one scolded.  I fantasize about the constant heat of a wood stove, and the ability to sleep in the cool rather than the constant noise and heat of a furnace.  I fantasize about not hearing the constant tick of clocks.  I fantasize about calling in sick and not being accused of faking it, or being weak, I fantasize about not bothering to shovel snow until I feel like getting dressed, it must be done it must be done it must be done it must be done.

I get up, and it is now nearly six.  I break from the routine and am punished by a wet spot on the carpet, at least it is my carpet.  I trudge through the garage, blinding my eyes to the mismatched detritus of thirty years of mild hoarding.  Oriental carpets, on avocado and marigold striped carpets on South Park rugs on towels left on the floor after hot tub, two weeks ago, on top of Duck Dynasty men looking up my pant legs and sniffing my cold bare feet.  I do not dislike this place, the woodstove, the long fenced yard, full of plant life, cars zooming by, a constant sound you become numb to.  I listen in the quiet to TED Talks, scroll through Facebook and sometimes knit or read.  This is the discovery.  Four am, seven am.  The dogs resting, puppy in her crate, where I have to put her for sanity.  Food and walk to come shortly.  But here it is.  I sit in the only comfortable chair in the house, directly facing a 50 inch television, which sits like Darth Vader’s suit ready to envelop my life force.  It looms over me like a gaping maw, ready to eat my brain like a mud pit full of zombies.  Last night as I made relish with my food processor taking a quarter of the time to chop the cranberries and apples, the noise of the television screamed and tore and rent through the house.  I was too loud, you see, for the violence of some movie to be heard.  Not a real time movie that could not be paused, but a video, that could be.  You have to understand, I have been watching TV since I was four years old.  Oh.  But do you understand that I have lived for years without one?  No.  You are always on that computer.  Yes.  Yes.  I am.  And I know I shouldn’t be.  I have better things to do, but here is the problem, my only choice is to sit in this one comfortable chair in the house, dominated by a 50 inch television, the computer, is like a solace, it soothes me when a man in a toupee wearing no shirt in a junk yard yammers on about nothing and when a man with no teeth gives a hillbilly holler as he throws a turkey in front of the camera and then pretends there is that bugger now and pretends to catch it.  Live Action.  Did you notice how at my old house, the one you called cold and dark, the TV was in one room but the dining room and the comfortable furniture was in another?  Separate from the action of the home.  Do you notice how my adoring friends stand awkward and uncomfortable in the cluttered corners, not sure where to put their bodies, or their hands.  All intellectual conversation stops as we stare numbly at rednecks and jackasses and fast food commercials.

I ask my therapist, why do I still dream of this other thing that I really don’t want and was relieved to see it go?  What is it that you miss?  Ah.

I watch the dynamic of two women clamoring for his love, his attention and for the right to provide and care for him.  I watch as one man sinks in on himself, chastised for being lazy, criticized for trying to start an intellectual conversation at the breakfast table, called a clumsy inadequate oaf for not putting something together right, or breaking something else, criticized for not doing enough to help.  Please, do not misunderstand he is an utter jackass, uses racial slurs, and intentionally stirs up hostile debate; I suddenly see that in this triangle I am him, the role I will play in this triangle is that of him.  Who will care for me?  Morgan and I go into the weather to attend an intellectual event together, and she goes first to the back seat and tells me to get in the car as she takes out the brush and sweeps snow off my windows.  I sit still and quiet thinking, he has done this for me only once in now almost three years.  Who will care for me?  I will.

It isn’t him though.  He is who he is, and I know that ultimately I am not particularly good at male female relationships.  I love hiking with him, canoeing with him, fishing with him, even watching shows and sci-fi movies with him, I love teasing him and being teased (the gentle times) by him, I love so much about him, but can we not live apart?  Where I have my peaceful home, where it is my home, and he has his loud and cluttered and walled in home, protected by his things and the comfort of two women vying for the chance to serve him.  They want to come in and care for him, they want him to stay with them while he recovers from surgery, they want to make him lunch, oh but they don’t want to offend.  They want to rush to the store to buy him a new winter coat when four more hang in the closet in the basement, they want to give him money, they want to make his favorite foods, they want to weed his garden. Can you ask them not to dig up my comfrey roots and tansy?  No they paid for this house, they have more say than you.  I want to control my home and environment, I don’t want them in my bedroom leaving the door open for a cat to piss in, I want to be free from being called a slob, from the judgmental eye on my yard and my unmade bed and the dishes left in the sink.  It is awesome to have someone say, I am running to the store do you need anything, to say you have the flu?  Do you need anything?  To say, you are hurt can I drive you to the hospital?  But this?  This has never been my house, and it never will be.

Three hours of quiet.  Soon the bull will wake and another day in the china shop will begin.  I have much to be thankful for.  So much.

Thank you for listening to the voice that kept me awake at four in the morning.

fourinthemorning

 

Warrior

Do not forget, my friend, that I am a warrior.

Do not call me irresponsible, when I have raised a child and a man child all on my own.

When you are a single parent and sick, you do not rant, or rave, or act helpless, you get your ass up and drive to school, cook, clean and park a smile on your face.  Of course you would never understand you man with two mothers.

Eye of Sauron, judgment passed, lazy slob, faker, liar, sneak.

Do not forget my friend that I am a warrior, you cannot fathom the battles I have stood in, the beast that I have slayed, and the damage it has done to me.

I see your ways now, I see them, I was blind in my loneliness, but I see now.

Go ahead bull, ram  your horns into the fence, and stomp your ugly foot and snort out your ringed nose, rail on me for not understanding, for not having compassion.  Do you not see who has cleaned your pen?  Did you think to give thanks?

I ask myself, are you not the bull when it comes to God, why have you done this, why are you not sympathetic?  why do you hurt me so?

 

Thank you God thank you god thank you thankyougod thankyougod thank you.   The offer comes, and it cannot be born soon enough.

Do you believe you are not good enough.  I am, I am.

I see it now, I really do.  How do you speak of leaving, how when you are not a warrior.

I am a warrior.

I am a warrior.

I am.

 

 

Morning Star

Greeting the dark part of dawn, a single light hangs above the trees as I wrap myself in an old fleece blanket I stopped using when I moved into a house where the heat cranks all night long.  Its too hot, I wake with my mouth full of dirt or after dreaming of eating my pillow.  Blessed Be this day.  I take a deep breath from the edge of the deck, my head turned to the sky.

Come on dogs, I say.

I sip my clove, ginger and honey tea.

It is quiet, and I take the time to view the blog that I have wanted to savor for days, but the sound of the TV drowns out the sounds that bring me peace.  It is quiet, except for the dogs arguing over a bone, she wants the one he has, he wants both.  Just dominance, just dominance.

Cup two.

Puppy in crate.  I have removed a rock, a shell, another shell, and my power cord from her mouth and gently replaced each with a bone, a toy, a leather chew, a rope, a less contentious bone.  I give up.

I know I should take the morning to clean.  I dread the roaring bull as it faces carpet foam, or an object out of place.

Hoarding in real life, is not the same as hoarding on TV.  Its less disgusting, and more dramatic.

I yearn for serenity.  I yearn for peace.  I yearn for open spaces and brightly lit rooms.

I wait for the right timing.

First Snow

Hard to believe that two days ago, I turned off the heat and opened all the windows, letting the warm wind blow the white and purple embroidered flower curtains like wisps of angel wings over my room, sending a healing breath to my body.  I wake an hour earlier than I want to but rather than linger I get up, make coffee and get ready.  Sancho refuses a walk, his age and creaky bones are showing and it is cold.  Marley and I walk out into the cold windy air and by the time we get to the end of the street the first flakes of snow are drifting down on us.  And by the time we turn the corner on the return trip I hear the sounds of the white throated sparrow, still new enough to me here to cause the nostalgic mental drift to summer in the adirondacks, like angel wings on a troubled mind, sending a healing breath to my mind.

Sick Day

Nose clog, ears plugged, sneezing, crabby.

News of a small black cat dying as she cries.

Long day of reading in the sun, in bed.

Stupid unexpected visitors keep me from sleep.

In the dark she and I walk, her nipping at my knees as the wind blows my hair, and the brown leaves.

I gently grab the backs of her legs.  She gets the joke, nuzzling my hand happily.

The good Dr. tells the pirate, I just adore your companion.  She is senile.  But her heart is gold.

I remember the weird way my Mom’s once best friend lisped my ugly childhood nickname.

The thump of garbage can tipping over in the wind.

The taste of bacon and egg and avocado on spinach.

The pumpkin chocolate chip brownies.

My mom’s excited voice as she tells me about her new car.

Deja vu that makes me think of someone I cannot seem to forget.

the squeak of a rubber toothbrush on her perfect needle puppy teeth.

and him nosing open the door to see if he is still wanted.

And the pirate as always pushing me away as he pulls me close.

I give up trying.

I just want to sleep again.

Take two benedryl.  Sleep until dawn.