Where did January go? I think we can all agree that by the end of 2016, we were done, and everyone seemed happy to part ways and welcome 2017. We were looking ahead with tentative hope. My green and pink Syds (a gift from a friend whose creativity, persistence and joy inspires my own) and my St. Therese vinyl are sitting at my desk, urging me to write every day, and while my Kraken word for 2017 is SMITE, my personal one is success.
And then January happened. Well, it didn’t exactly happen in that it was bad, but it was more like the most WTF month I’ve had in a while, which doesn’t bode well for 2017 because my life is a series of WTF moments, and for a month to stand out? There was the spawn, with the MRSA, with the cast, with the eraser in it. I somehow became “The Hermit Crab Lady of Facebook” and Cheeseburger and Fries have fans. My drunk neighbor keeps bringing me spaghetti and meatballs and not speaking to me. I’ve written five chapters of my new book, and while I love the characters, I’ve lost sight of what they’re doing, so I think I’m just hanging out in a fantasyland with them. I filed five years of taxes, at once, which at the time seemed really smart and all “getting my shit together” and “adulting,” but in retrospect maybe it wasn’t. I am staving off the depression and managing the anxiety with a combination of escapist fantasies and yoga. And, you know, it’s the apocalypse. Am I missing anything? Probably.
December went out with a thud when the spawn fell and broke his arm. He took this fifth break with typical 10yo aplomb, cursing and railing at fate. The cast was complicated by the MRSA, and the dual break hurt. Last week, we went to have the cast removed and checked, and lo and behold the x-ray showed a “foreign object” in the cast. So everyone put on a hazmat suit, because the foreign object could have been there a while, and when they took off the cast there could have been massive MRSA. I felt a little underdressed next to everyone in the white paper outfits and hoods but I can roll in hospitals. It was sort of like being in a space movie but without Chris Pratt or Ben Affleck or asteroids. The foreign object turned out to be an eraser, and the spawn swore that it must have been there when the castmaster put the cast on his arm. They couldn’t re-cast it because the eraser adhered to his skin causing an infection at the place of the break, so they gave him a brace. But that’s not even the best part because the spawn is now insisting that his arm is mangled because it has a lump and dip and it hurts, and he wants to sue because his arm “will never be the same.” What does this mean practically? More appointments, more drama and more time in hospitals.
The strange and twisted tale of Cheeseburger and Fries consumed a lot of time in January as we, the internet, collectively learned that hermit crabs are cannibals that engage in autosarcophagy. We watched while Fries became something of an extreme terrorist and ate Cheeseburger’s legs while they were still attached to Cheeseburger right in front of us one afternoon. We wondered when he vanished into the dirt for days, pronounced him dead, planned his funeral and mourned his passing when we saw his body and shared the fascinated horror when he was resurrected from the dirt on the second day, bigger and with a worse attitude. He ran around the crabitat, glaring at us with his beady crab eyes, naked and unafraid, for days, took long baths in his pool, and then ate his own carcass while Cheeseburger hid in terror. He finally climbed into a glow in the dark shell because of course he picked that one. I am now taking donations for a crab-cam, and I will set up a livestream of the lives of Cheeseburger and Fries, who could live to be 70 years old if the internet is telling the truth. Luckily, they rarely breed in captivity, which I learned from google and YouTube. I think I have PTSD. Don’t look. Object lesson: these are not good pets for kids.
That saga was at times eclipsed by the odd deliveries of spaghetti and meatballs by the neighbor who is rarely sober. No explanations, no words exchanged. Just handing restaurant take out of spaghetti and meatballs through the door and walk away. Three times in 8 days. I dunno. Maybe it was an apology for his outburst in December. But it was nice to not have to cook. I wish he’d ask. I’d like some chicken parm or maybe a salad. But no one here is going to look a gift meal in the mouth, and given that he probably had to walk two miles to do this, I feel a bit, ummm, flattered. Someday, I’ll tell you about that time he proposed so I could get his police pension when he dies and the internet investigated. And then time we invited him for Thanksgiving dinner. I have, in the meantime, resumed leaving food care packages on his doorstep and then having the spawn knock on his door and run away.
I dunno what prompted me to do all the taxes at one time. Maybe the landlord who reminded me that I do owe him rent (he is, by the way, a freaking SAINT about whom I cannot say enough kind things and to whom I will be grateful until I die). Anyway, after I give him a lot of the money involved in 4 years worth of refunds (yeah, 3 payable), I should have options like paying the phone bill and keeping the lights on while I apply for expatriate jobs in places that are unlikely to be centers of action in the next world war.
The month also saw the reappearance of some of the men who vanished in 2016. I heard from Officer Down, the retired Philly cop, shot on the job and now a single dad who has vanished not once, but four times, without so much as a word late one Thursday night. The Racist Midget appeared briefly with a photo of himself and the “Freedom Riders” who were “keeping the peace” at the inauguration. I’m not sure what his intent was, but given that he’s a Canadian who can’t even vote here, I don’t understand his obsession with American politics and Twitter battling strangers. Date Rape dude sent a handful of texts to which I did not respond because no, he was not actually traumatized by a date rape that did not happen and it was not perpetrated by a woman I’ve know for like 35 years and does not, in fact, rape dudes. And the Drunk Dominator seems to continue to be all grudgy about the way we split and needed to express both his deep, abiding love and his utter hatred for me in a drunken, garbled 3AM New Year’s voicemail message. I know he wants me back. I have, though, stepped up my “blocking” game.
Dark Lord Cheeto is in time-out for continuing his pee spree, and to compensate for his loneliness, Crowned Prince Nedward has upped his thrill-killing game by taking out two doves, a sparrow and a cardinal. He’s tried to bring them in live, and he’s tried to bring them in dead. Now, he’s sulking. Dude has issues with stuff that flies. I do, in fact, accept that his message is that I suck at hunting and need instruction, but taking advice from a cat who is equally Al Bundy and Actaeon seems kind of ridiculous. Then again, the spawn and I seem to make all of our animals ridiculous. And yeah, the last dead cardinal is still on the doormat. Spawn and I are locked into a silent waiting game to see which one of us is going to throw it away. I’m letting him win, so he can feel like he’s contributing and good at stuff. Because self-esteem is important for kids.
I’m working on the book, working title Mayhem on the Main Line, slowly and steadily, and I am finding that I definitely like some characters more than others. I’m applying for jobs overseas in the event that it is the apocalypse. Another key part of my preparation has been to binge watch Designated Survivor, The Walking Dead, The 100 and The Strain. I feel fully prepared to deal with whatever kind of apocalyptic events are set to occur whether political, nuclear or biological. My current plan is to drive to the Neiman Marcus in King of Prussia, go to the shoe department and try on cute shoes I’ll never be able to afford until I become radioactive waste or a vampire. The spawn thinks that plans needs work, but I did point out that the Lego store is near the Neiman Marcus, so he’s coming around.
And that folks, was My Weird January.