grumpy about… being grumpy in the new year

It’s only the second day of 2015, and I’m on a roll. Everything made me grumpy today.

Anthony left at 5:30 a.m. to hit a convention in Boston for a few days. I have separation anxiety when he leaves me. I used to think it meant I love him so much that I can’t bear to be without him. This may also be true, but let’s be honest. The real reason I feel a vague panic when he’s not within a reasonable commuting radius is that I feel a vague panic. The irrationality of this made me outright irate today, even as I regularly checked the progress of his flight via FlightAware, never ending my useful vigilance until touchdown was reported.

I was up half the night with random allergies, and I could only find a couple zyrtec tablets in the house. All of them had been bitten in half by Anthony. Why? Why can’t he just eat the other half of one of the pills he already bit in half, instead of moving on to the next whole one?

We had a little play date for Nick with a brand new friend, and Madeline wanted to jump all over them and lick them and stick her butt at them. Nice greeting, to have a 6-pound dog jump up in your lap, lift her tail, and point her tiny asshole at your face for you to sniff. I went all alpha on Madeline, and not like one of those easy-going alpha wolves but like one of those rabid crazy-ass wolves.

The kids were driving me crazy with being mean to the dog. Why? Why??? Why do I have to repeat myself? Why do I have to repeat myself? Why do I have to repeat myself? The kids gave themselves time-outs (times out?) just to get away from my voluminous nattering.

Jesse was whiny about finally doing her school work. She was sick Monday through Thursday of the last week of school, along with about 30 percent of our school district’s population, and then I made the mistake of sending her to school Friday. She came home with this pile of make-up work. What kind of human being sends home 40 pages of make-up school work over the winter holidays?? I’ll tell you what kind: a third grade teacher. And a good deal of it was learning to write cursive. I could survive that, rationalize it by thinking about fine motor strength, until Jesse whined this at me while I cleaned up breakfast dishes: “Mommy, have you heard of cursive numbers?”

Are you kidding me? What can you do to a number to make it cursive?? Jesse showed me. Ah. Lean the numbers over. The leaning tower of Piza cursive number system.

I calmed my nerves by playing rounds of 5-square Boggle by myself while Jesse finished up as much as she could of the cursive work before her hand started cramping. Also I googled stuff about teaching cursive, as in, whether and why. It didn’t make me feel any better. Apparently a lot of elementary teachers are up in arms about common core not including cursive. Mmmm. I’m keeping my extremely grumpy thoughts on this issue to myself, because it’s apparently very, very… very divisive. And I don’t want to be harmed.

But now I know it’s a shame my cursive isn’t better, because I can never write a really pretty and classy thank you card to anyone.

I had to take the kids to Whole Foods with me, and Nick was a difficult little shit. I know bashing on Whole Foods is A THING right now. There are legitimate grounds for making fun, but don’t go there with me today. I love that place because I buy my fresh FOOD there, not magazines, lifestyle things, homeopathic oils or fancy teas. If it weren’t for the Whole Foods here in Milwaukee, my quality meat and vege options would be severely hampered. Also I own stock. So sue me.

I’m so fed up with my kids whining about dinner, complaining about what I make, refusing to eat. I made nothing. They were shocked. Jesse yelled at me about what kind of mother would not feed her children. I told her there were lots and lots of kids who got sent to bed without supper as punishment for being naughty. She yelled back that yay, good for me, I’m like the really awful parents who are horrible to their children and don’t deserve to be parents.

Sigh. I made dinner. It was about then that I realized it wasn’t all the stuff going on around me. I’m just grumpy for no reason today. And it’s only January 2. It’s a good thing I didn’t make any resolutions this year about my grumpy.

The kids were definitely extra naughty and annoying today, but they were missing their daddy after two weeks together, and really they were well within specs for nice and decent kids.

I would obviously have preferred if they embraced my ideal:

Carla: Sub unit number one, report to the dining table immediately for nutritional enhancements.

Jesse: Acknowledged. I will comply.

Carla: Sub unit number two, cease manipulation of your groin and unnatural rapid movement of your legs. Resistance is futile; report immediately to the toilet room and engage bowel voiding sub-routines.

Nick: Yes, master unit. I will comply.

In my dreams. Only not really. I like my sassy kids just the way they are, because they’re willing to tell me when I’m acting like a shithead, and I need that.

I realized this afternoon that I had forgotten to make the kids kowtow to us on New Year’s Day. So they got on their knees and kowtowed a day late, and I gave them my blessings and 40 bucks each. Through the sound of Nick’s whining because he didn’t get to go first, I administered my blessing to Jesse, and then she listened in on Nick’s blessing. I was surprised by how much it appeared to mean to them. I described what I loved most about their accomplishments in 2014, and I told them what I dreamed for them in the coming year, and there was much cheek-holding and kisses and such. Then they ran off to hide their money wherever they hide it.

I was a little hesitant about giving any specific blessings for the coming year, like things I’d like the kids to accomplish. I stuck with general ideas like happiness, health, and self-esteem. With all the fuss in my life — much of it self-generated — I don’t like to make concrete annual resolutions that I’m bound to break. If I can be satisfied with myself and my lot in life, if I can just keep going without fucking it up too much, I think that ought to be good enough. I guess that ought to be good enough for my sub-units too.

The allegory in my mind for getting through life these days goes like this.

Wait, is it a metaphor? I’m never quite sure. It depends on my mood on the particular day when I bend my mind to this puzzling question, and also on which definition I click on after I google it for the 400th time. Maybe what I’m thinking of is an allegorical metaphor, or a metaphorical allegory, or just an allegory made up of metaphors. Another day, this would be cause for a fun conversation, but today it just, just… It’s irritating me SO MUCH. BRING IT, grammar nazis, and I will hurt you.

Deep cleansing breaths.

Here’s the figurative thing. I’m traversing a steep slope, so steep my uphill hand can almost touch the mountain, even though I’m standing tall (which frankly, isn’t that tall, but never mind that). Not too far downhill is the terminus, where the slope ends at a bottomless cliff edge. The surface of the hill is loose shale that slips under my feet. I can’t lose my balance, I can’t lean up or down the hill or drop to my butt, or else my my feet will fly out from under me and I’ll slide off that cliff edge and fall to my figurative, allegorical, or metaphorical death. I can’t stop to rest. If my feet stop moving, the shale slips downhill from the weight of my body. So I have to keep my feet moving faster than the shale can slide down the hill. My life depends on it.

I guess that’s my new year’s resolution. Move my feet faster than the shale. So far, so good. On day two, Jesse gave me a head slap at dinner time that knocked me out of Grumpy Space; and Nick, recognizing my grumpy state of mind, poured on a little extra charm to win me over. I accepted Jesse’s well-placed blow as graciously as I could, and we ended the evening well despite Anthony’s absence, snuggled up in bed and watching several episodes of — wait for it —


Uuuuuugh. But I kept my groaning to myself, because the kids were happy. Today, I stayed ahead of the shale.