29 October, 2015


my life for the past 3 weeks has been like a sisyphean nightmare, except with ikea cabinets taking the part of the boulder. i've put together roughly 7,432 kitchen cabinets, 691 storage units, and endless doors and drawers. just when i thought it was over (as recently as yesterday!) it turns out that the kitchen that we had measured with rigorous exactitude, has wiggled itself within the space time continuum and made room for three more cabinets. which i went and bought today. which i will be putting together tonight. because there's little on this planet as exciting as putting together ikea cabinets with a head cold.

ok, i'm being a trifle dramatic - i actually don't mind the labour, back-breaking though it may be, as it gives me a sense of purpose that unemployment fails to. it's also kind of fun: i'm agog at the sheer genius of ikea cabinets - there is quite literally only one way to put them together, so they are foolproof. which doesn't mean you don't have to go back and unscrew a couple screws and then rescrew them in their proper location, but still, it's like a jigsaw puzzle where the final result is a piece of furniture. with top of the line internal mechanisms (i'm told).

but there comes a time when feeling useful and gazing admiringly at one's screwdriver callouses gets old, and that time is now upon us. alas, i must go. my allen key awaits!

21 October, 2015

the wrong colour

several nights now, i've lied in bed craving escape, craving the wooliness of benzodiazapines or chemical fuzziness of anything else because i'm unhappy with the colour of the world. there's something off, just ever so slightly, that makes me wish for vaseline on the camera lens. i'm not sure what it is, but there it is: a new flavour of unhappiness. i hesitate before i even write that last word because it's not as serious as all that: unhappiness has a deep portentous sound, and having been there before i can honestly say i'm not there now - this is different, lighter and temporary feeling and very very odd.

i'm fine during the day. my mom's two week visit is drawing to a close and aside from a heated argument at its very beginning  it's gone well. exhausting, but well - we've gone in and out of home improvement stores, IKEA, other home improvement stores, IKEA again, still more home improvement stores, tile shops, IKEA, plumbing supplies, and IKEA. we put together a whole IKEA kitchen by ourselves, and washed and re-washed freshly laid, and then again, freshly grouted tiles. we've bought paint, carried boxes, organized the removal of old appliances, and shopped for new ones. each evening we come home, sit on the couch and sigh with exhaustion. then each night i go to bed and find myself dissatisfied with the colour of the world i'm in.

wine doesn't seem to help nor do i want it. i am not drawn to it, and so i pass for the most part. and each night i am unhappy because...well, why? i can't quite pinpoint it, but when i look at the evidence (and i should look at the evidence, being a fan of evidence-based decision-making in politics at least), i think it could be something simple. it could be something as simple as leaving my hidden introverted half utterly starved of late. a guest with whom i spend all day, family dropping in, babysitting children, weekends in the mountains with family, more family dropping in... the constant and relentless pressure, on top of a summer that felt particularly overwhelming socially for some reason, is bound to have some effect, isn't it? and the effect it seems to be having is making me dislike the colour of the world late at night, and looking for some chemical way to change it back to normal.

right now, i feel weighed down by guilt for not wanting to spend more time with the kids, for not wanting to spend more time with anyone, for not wanting little people to jump on my couch or touch my stuff, for not inviting the family over more often, for not being a perfect hostess, for not keeping the bathroom shiny for my guest, for not wanting to chat in the morning at all but to be left alone to read the news. i feel like all i want is to be alone. i feel too tired of being a daughter to be a good daughter. i feel too tired of being a wife to be a good wife. i feel too tired of being a human being who owes other human beings parts of herself to be a good human being. if i'm alone, i don't owe anybody anything.

09 October, 2015

good job, princess!

i've spent the better part of my adult life judging people for their parenting choices. i've made fun of and despised the whole self-esteem movement wherein children are indoctrinated into a cult of their own greatness, regardless of skills, circumstances, or reality. well done, they're told when they finish last in a race. good job for only hitting their little brother three times instead of the usual sixteen. you're so artistic, this to the toddler that's just decorated the bathroom with her poop. you'r so smart, here's an A+, from teachers, professors, educators of all kinds. you're a princess and can be anything you want. this is not the way i was raised. as i've said before, i've held it as a badge of honour that when i came home with a 98% exam, i was always asked why i didn't get 100%.

i'm rethinking my stance. perhaps the little darlings raised this way are absolutely horrid to be around (hello, grad school!), and their expectations irrational, but you know what? they're horrible to others. i'm sure they love themselves plenty (after all, why wouldn't they? they're so fucking special!) and at the end of the day, it's yourself that you spend the majority of your life with. so what if you're a dick - if you think you're awesome, you're likely a dick who's much happier than i am.

henceforth, i shall attempt to love myself unconditionally. so if you see me walking down the street giving myself pats on the back, high fives, enthusiastic self-esteem building exercises, and excessive praise, know that i'm just trying to get over my childhood which attempted to make me grow up to be smart, useful and kind...to others. it's time i tried some of that kindness on myself.

good girl!

08 October, 2015

when you gotta go, you gotta go

yesterday i woke up super early, showered, dressed, drank a litre of water, held on to my pee as best as i could, went to leave the house, and realised that the lab visit wasn't yesterday, it was today, so i peed and went back to bed.

this morning, i woke up super early, skipped the shower, dressed, drank a litre of water, held on to my pee as best as i could, and am about to head off to the lab.

funny how many things we do instinctively, without a thought. several times already i have gone into the bathroom (to brush my teeth, wash my face, pick something up) and each time i'm this close to taking a pee because one generally does that sans thought.

à propos: what is the geneva convention stance on this? drinking a litre of water on an empty stomach and then holding it for more than an hour seems to me a rather cruel and unusual punishment.

05 October, 2015

renovations for the damned

my parents will eventually be moving back here and in preparation, my cousin is renovating their rental flat. my job in their absence is to coordinate with my mom regarding finishing choices: tiles, shower heads, shower cabins, all of the things my cousin needs now, as opposed to those that can wait until my mom arrives later this week. today i embarked on a quest for tiles, and lo, it illuminated the very clear limits to verbal communication: describing the EXACT amount of beige in what is being marketed as grey is rather difficult on the phone. questions like how dark is it? are similarly problematic. there isn't a scientifically accurate scale of greyness, beigeness, and darkness that one can carry in one's purse. i mean, sure, i could have RGB'd or CMYK'd the fuck out of those tiles, but i sort of lacked the technology then and there. so instead i used vague and less-than-satisfactory words to describe the tiles. eventually, having extracted a promise that my choice would not result in any unpleasantness if it were less than perfect, i bought a pile of tiles.

i grabbed a heavy duty home depot cart typically used to haul unwieldy things (sides of beef, dead moose, giant pumpkins come to mind) and pushed/pulled its reluctant metallic bulk to the flooring section. it exhibited the type of orneriness one usually expects from a shopping cart, but which, coming from a conveyance of this size, became rather more problematic. when i got to the tiles i began the nigh impossible search for help. a small wizened old man told me he couldn't handle the weight of the tile bundles (no! he could not!) but his attempt to rope in a muscular young buck failed, and he came back with a man of only slightly less advanced age but a much more positive attitude. this fine gentleman piled seven heavy boxes of tiles on the cart and off i went.

by off i went, i mean i used my entire body strength to push the protesting cart which, to add insult to injury, emitted the sort of noise one associates with a particularly inept abattoir or the less pleasant regions of hell  - it screeched and howled so loudly that every single person in my path looked at me in shock, horror, and/or merriment and promptly got out of my way. covered in a thin sheen of sweat and feeling as unladylike as i had all day (what?! sometimes i feel a little ladylike!), i arrived at the cashier who began scanning each box individually. i was about to roll my eyes at this when she discovered that one box was not like the others. naturally, the impostor was right at the very bottom of the pile, because where else would it be?

i managed to turn the cart around (accompanied by more screeching and metallic yodelling) and retraced my loud and laborious steps to the flooring section which was now as bereft of staff as it is possible to be in a pre-apocalyptic world. giving up on extracting the wrong box, i simply grabbed another correct box and hefted it onto the pile. then one more graceful pirouette, and yet another stately procession down the isle. when passing the incredulous ladies at the paint department, i suggested to them that this particular vehicle had outlived its usefulness and ought to be taken out back and shot. they agreed. possibly they couldn't hear me over the shrieks of the damned and merely nodded to make me go away.

i paid, had a young man transport the whole pile of tiles to my wee car and took it to its final resting place.

i came home utterly exhausted. and possibly slightly more deaf.


you're lying in bed and it's very late and you realise that the dis-ease you feel, while initially mild, soon threatens to permanently take away your sleep for the night. you're in the sharp and pointy arms of anxiety caused by any number of things, big and small, each of them projecting an almost physical sense of discomfort like experimental electrodes in your brain shooting impulses and shocks. you very quickly realise that if you are to get any sleep you need to go for pharmaceutical help. you get up and find your magical bottle of lorazepam.

you take the pill, wash it down with water and go back to bed, vowing to stay awake to watch it take effect. you lie there and think of the things whose sharp edges are even now intruding into your peace of mind. the move south is a big one - so many things to take care of. so many pieces of information to gather and weave into a whole. your inability to have a meaningful conversation with mr. monkey on the topic of the move (it weaves from exasperation at your wanting to know more to frustration with your lack of progress in finding detailed information on all aspects of the move, both fuelled, i'm fairly certain, by his exasperation with your continued unemployment. all this he would deny.) does not make the process easier.

the fact that your mother is coming in less than a week contributes a rather significant sense of discomfort. you love your mother, but the passive-aggressive melodrama that accompanied you merely asking her for the dates of her trip doesn't make you feel particularly calm about things. you are already angry and resentful and trying really really hard to actively use buddhist philosophy to calm yourself down and realising the absurdity of it. things aren't helped by the fact that you spent the day with your aunt and you told her all your mother-related problems, which made her floodgates open on her sister-related problems, as a result of which you learned some new things about your mother that you didn't necessarily need to know. and the bitch session only made you feel more anxious, and then guilty for not being loyal to the woman who bore you.

there is the shoe fetishist saga (in another post. once it's over. if it's ever over.) which, under normal circumstances would likely just make you vaguely uncomfortable but now adds another layer of pokiness. you are starting to hate those shoes, but are appreciating the great blog post it will eventually turn into.

there's the renovation your mom will be overseeing when she comes, but which you must oversee in her absence, ensuring satisfactory tiles and whatnots are chosen for the bathroom and the shower head will please everyone. but no pressure!

you lie there and enumerate all the points of discomfort, waiting for the sweet wash of benzodiazepine relief. you open your eyes in the dark and look at the colour-sapped still life on the bedside table and wish someone could capture that in a painting - the lack of colour that is not quite black and white, the fuzziness of edges and outlines, the clear perception of more hiding just out of the range of visibility. it's really rather beautiful.

you lie there and feel the knot relax a bit and you perform the psychological version of poking around to see if it still hurts or if the painkiller is kicking in. somewhere during this time, you finally fall asleep.

the alarm (birds singing on a too-short loop) wakes you. it's in the other room so, fuzzy or no, you need to get up. and now you're up and another day begins.

deeeeeep breath in.