Musings on the life of a writer, baker, enviro-mom, soapmaker.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Between Homes

Military wives know better than to plant perennials.

But I went ahead and did it anyway.

There's no stopping me, really, even when I know better: I am a gardener at heart, and planting things is what comes naturally. I'm also a total foodie--I eat my way through life's major events. Ask me about the births of my daughters and you will hear about The Best English Muffin Ever (turns out that labor makes you easily pleased) and the Paht See Yew of Mercy (which really was as good as I remembered it when I tried it later, months post-partum-desperation).

When it comes to food plants, there's only so far annuals will get you. Strawberries, for instance, and asparagus, and rhubarb, and tree fruits and nuts and cane fruits and Jerusalem artichokes all take a year or two or ten to bear. But I love them, so I planted them anyway, even though I had to real right to.

Or at least no real right to think that I would ever harvest them, and less right to hope that whoever next occupies my home will appreciate them, that they might care for them and harvest them and enjoy them or at the very least not bulldoze them under a putting green.

But I hope this, anyway.

Because we are moving now, from one coast to the opposite. I have the advantage of a long lead time, six months or so until we actually pull up roots. In theory this means lots of time to prepare, to do the root pruning perennials require before you dig them up and plant them elsewhere. In reality, it just means I'm in limbo.

Because I am leaving behind more than my garden. I grew a community here, too. A church and a school district and friends. Sometimes I wonder if I had the right to do that, either. People here know me, they recognize me when I go to vote and when I take my kids on jogigng stroller rides. My local farmer stocks my favortie kind of milk at his farm stand and reserves half a hog for me from each fall's slaughter. One of my best friends raises my turkeys and chicken and eggs and--when I need a helping hand--my kids. The kids in my daugther's school write her notes like "Your mom is so cool," after I do worm presentations and teach them how to churn ice cream.

Six months' lead time becomes a period of forced dormancy, where you are afraid to grow any more new roots or reach your branches more deeply into your community, because you know each point of connection is one more that will be severed when it is time to leave. But at the same time, you cannot do the work you need to do, preparing the place where you will next grow, because you are not there yet. So many tasks in the garden (and life) rest on the belief that you will be there to reap the fruits of your labors. And if you're not, what's the point?

This is where I am: premature winter.

"You transplant well," my father reassured me, and on some level he is right: I have moved 9 times in the last 13 years, and I have weathered most of those moves mostly intact. There is reason to be optimistic that I will settle into my new place, and begin to put down roots.

Yet here, I have made a home. Here, I have flourished. And that is something I never accomplished in any of my previous moves, or for that matter the place where I spent the first 16 years of my life. The great metaphor of military spouses everywhere is that we are like turtles, carrying our homes on our backs. For me, at least, that has not been quite accurate. I can carry a home, I suppose, transporting it with me wherever I go. But I cannot carry a community, and it was here--this home I grew without really menaing to--that I learned that without deep connections to the surrounding community, my movable home was really more of a house.

Gardening is so much an act of faith, an opening to grace. You can control your soil fertility, your tilth, your seeds and your transplants. But the acts of God--rain, sun, and your first and last frosts--remain frustratingly out of your control. So you do the best you can with those thigns you can control, and pray for blessings elsewhere.

When I moved here I cried. It was not, I was sure, the kind of place where I would ever feel at home. Call it cosmic irony, but the place I did not want to come has become the place I do not want to leave.

So while I wait, while I am between, I will cultivate this: optimisim and faith. I will hope that my next move will again surprise me, reward me with blessings I could not have foreseen. In the meantime, I will tend my garden and my community as if I were still going to be here in year (or 10 or 100) because in doing so, I may make a space for the next person to call home.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

I Really Am Old Enough to Be Your Mother

I was hit-on last night. While watching my husband race at the Speedbowl. By a boy.

Now, I don't mean "boy" in the cute way that women sometimes use to mean "non-threatening and attractive young-ish man." I mean a BOY.

Something horrible happened a the speedbowl last night, namely the kind of accident you hope won't happen, with ambulance upon ambulance and fire trucks and the yellow flag going to red and everyone frozen while the jaws of life cut the top off the car while the paramedics wait with a backboard to strap the driver onto and rush him to the hospital.

Fortunately for me, it was not my husband. He was stopped on the opposite straightaway, where a group of reprobate 8 year olds taunted him through the fence.

Unfortunately for some other woman, it was *her* husband, and I waited in the pit, standing on a concrete ledge and biting my knuckle and silently praying that he was OK, and that she would have some assurance that he was OK very soon, and that they didn't have children in the stands.

The Boy walked up to me, grinning in a way that was simultaneously cocky and insecure.

Boy: Hey. Did you see the accident?
Me: Yeah.
Boy: Wow. What happened?

Whereas I felt desperate as soon as I saw the car go into the wall, he seemed excited by it, which was my first tip-off (along with the absence of stubble on his chin) that he was every bit as young as he looked.

I gave him the condensed version of what I had been able to glean from watching and asking the occasional person who came off the track.

Me: They say he has some paralysis, but it might be temporary.
Boy: What's that?
Me, silently: Not much of a student, are you? (out loud): paralysis is when you lose use of your arms or legs, usually after a spinal cord injury.
Boy: Wow. That would suck.
Me: Yes, it would.
Boy: 'Cause then everyone would be like, "What happened to you?" and you'd have to be like, "I did it racing at the Speedbowl."

I studied him. He studied my breasts.

Me: Hardly worth it, huh?
Boy, nervously jerking his gaze back up to my face: Yeah, it would suck.

I went back to watching the rescue efforts, he went back to watching my breasts. This was funny on many levels. It was funny because he was so painfully unsubtle, so obvious, all oozing hormones and social gracelessness. Such a gangly puppy. It was funny because when I was 16, I was the girl teased for being flat-chested. It was funny because I have never liked my breasts, not when they were perky but small and not now that they're National-Geographic ex-nursing-mother specimens.

So I studiously ignored him while crossing my arms over my chest to create cleavage. Somehow it felt like a little bit of justice for all of his female flat-chested classmates. (Assuming there are still any flat-chested 16 YO girls, given bovine growth hormone and endocrine distruptors.)

He swallowed. I heard his throat click.

Boy: How old are you?
Me: Guffaw.
Boy: No, I mean, you know, I was just wondering, I mean, not to be...
Me: 34.
Boy: [silent slack-jawed awe]

Now I must share with you, good readers, my brother's response when I relayed this incident to him:

Brother Nathan: Wow, Sis. Did you ever read about that tribe that could only count to three? They had numbers for one to three and then a number for 'everything greater than 3'. That's what you are to this kid. He has: 16-you can drive. 18-you can vote. 21-you can drink. 25-you can rent a car. Then he has 'everything greater than 25,' and you are *way* the fuck greater than 25.

Now back to the boy:
Boy: Wow. I mean, Wow. You are a lot older than I thought you were. I mean, I thought you were a lot younger than that.

He sized me up and down. I fought the urge to tell him I had to go change my Depends.

Me: Thanks. That's sweet. How old are you?
Boy: 16.

Phrases run through my head like, "I am twice your age!" and "I am old enough to be your mother!" I am stunned by the fact that I can be this much older than someone who has already reached sexual maturity (defined physiologically). But I always hated beign condescended to, and I don't want to be condescending now that I've reached Geriatric Status.

Me: Wow. That's exactly how old I thought you were. I was going to ask, but I didn't want to be rude.
Boy: It's not rude! I mean, I was just curious...
Me: It's OK.
Boy: Who are you here watching, anyway?
Me: My husband.
Boy: Oh.

Long pause. Breast-assessment.

Boy: What number is he?
Me: 46.


Me: Think they'll run the rest of the laps?
Boy: Yeah. After they get the guy off the track. 'Cause it would suck for the rest of the drivers if they didn't.

I haven't had a chance to observe a teenager this up-close in years. Probably since I was one. It is breathtaking to me, the narcissism, the shallowness, the utter invincibility. If I had been a driver on that track, I would've been hard-pressed to finish the race. Having kids, I would be hard-pressed to race at all after seeing a colleague potentially paralyzed by an accident. The mental math is, for me, very simple: Not Worth It.

But for The Boy, the math is equally simple: Won't Happen to Me.

I study him. He drives race cars, too. He is just starting out. He compains to me about how his coach won't let him try to pass yet. Says he is not consistent enough. Yet. To The Boy, this is Bullshit. Consistency is, to him, worthless. One good pass justifies ten bad attempts. Consistency is icing on some very adult cake that he does not have time to frost.

For two people standing in a small-town speedbowl pit, coming from the same area, the same racial and cultural backgrounds, we could not be more dissimilar.

Boy: Are you always back in the pit?
Me: No, usually I bring my little girls [closer to your age than you are to mine, I add silently].
Boy: Where do you sit?

I point out the end of the section of bleachers by turn 4. The paramedics load the injured driver. His wife rides with him in the ambulance. I say a silent prayer that he will be alright. They resume the race.

Boy: Your husband's a good driver.
Me: Thanks. He's a smart driver, but he's not overly agressive.

The boy's father/uncle/much older brother has wandered over and hears this. "And that's fine with you, right?" he asks with a knowing grin.

Me: Yeah. I don't care if he finished 5th or 25th as long as he walks off the track at the end of the night.

The Boy stares at me, slightly less slack-jawed than he was after hearing of my advanced age. I know what he's thinking: We could not be more dissimilar. He is thinking, NO Guts, NO Glory. I am thinking, Save the guts for when they really matter: Being a father and a husband.

The race is over. My husband drives off the track. I say good bye to The Boy and shake his slender, smooth-skinned hand.

He grins a sheepish grin.

Boy: So I'll see you next week. I'll come see you in the stands.

My brother offers this interpretaiton, later: It's easy math for him--if you are in the stands, then he knows your husband is in the pit or on the track.

I laugh at this. Such a puppy. I send The Boy a silent wish that he will never be strapped to a backboard and carted off the track, but also that he will learn that he is mortal, and someday may even be 34. In dog years.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

So today I interviewed members of the Unity of Nations drum circle… Native Americans… not sure how much familiar with the rancor around here in Eastern CT regarding the Pequots and the Mohegans (and the casinos), but suffice it to say, a lot of locals are generally not friendly to the Indians, whom they regard as capitalizing on a sham ethnicity. Validity being murky, I am fairly sympathetic because a.) I have heard a lot of locals being ignorant racists and b.) we can’t really deny the whole small pox/genocide thing.

SO. I’m talking to Charlie, and he’s being racially cantankerous with me:

ME: How long have you been drumming together?
Him: Since the beginning of time. OH, *I’m sorry* [not sorry at all], did you want a European answer?
ME: No, an enigmatic one is fine.

And he’s speaking Moheagn or Pequot or WHATEVER and using their Indian names and laughing at me when I can’t spell them and I’m becoming less sympathetic by the minute because I am about the most open-minded white person he will ever find on the topic of indigenous autonomy and he is BLOWING IT by being an ass.

So I ask him for his name and he says “Charlie Tubais Strickland.”

ME: Ok, that’s c-h-a-r-l-i-e? or –e-y? and can you spell “Tubais” for me? (There is a strong French influence around here, and I assume this is a French surname.)

He looks at me like I’m and idiot and says, “tooooooo-baaaaaaaayyyyyyy-ussssssssss”

Me: Tubais? Tubayus? Toubaes?

Him: no! TOO-BAY-US! Like the number two!

ME: t-w-o-b-a-y…?


finally he holds up his drum for me to see that his name is in fact spelled:

Sunday, February 05, 2006

I Heart New Jersey

Yes, that really says "heart," not a typo of "hate."

I used to say I hate New Jersey - cliche, I know - but that was before I met Joe. Joe, the New Jersey Turnpike gas station attendant.

So I went to visit a friend (the previously-mentioned Rachel) this weekend, and that trip required me to traverse the state of New Jersey - not normally something high on my list of things to do, and a principle problem with living in Connecticut - all points south involve New Jersey.

As an aside, my husband's only request for the weekend (which means "the one thing I will not manage to do") was that I check my oil. Presumably, before I left CT.

The trip also afforded me an excuse to visit my friend Nick, who is currently living in New Jersey. I majorly heart Nick, and thus came my first tipoff that traveling thru NJ might not be all bad.

I was right: good friend, fun cafe, great Thai food. Excellent prelude to the weekend. Except that it was sooooo much fun, I stayed too long. And forgot to check my oil for the second time. And by the time I started the remaining four-hour drive to Rachel's place, I was already exhausted (see previously-mentioned nightmare-plagued child). And then wired and jittery after drinking a cup of coffee in the hopes it would help me stay awake.

It did, but it also made me sweaty and panicky and irritable and, at one point, when I looked at my mapquest directions, caused me to calculate that I was actually moving backward in time (and, therefore, New Jersey) and thus would never actually reach my destination.

I made it, and collapsed in bed at midnight but didn't fall asleep until 1:30 (thank you, coffee), after perusing the copy of Men's Health on the nightstand (how could I possibly sleep without first learning the 36 Sure-Fire Sex-God Secrets to Rock Her World with an Erection That Really Goes the Distance?). Slept poorly (thank you, coffee and Men's Health article).

Had a (previously mentioned) good-but-exhausting weekend. Three straight nights of poor sleep, one night of poor dancing, several instances of poor food choices, and a little too much fun. Left Sunday morning. Forgot to check my oil x's 3.

Stopped for gas on the NJ turnpike. Enter Joe. Joe looks like a young Billy Joel on the wrong end of a bar fight. Kind of tough, kind of punch-drunk. Very New Jersey, Hoboken-style.

Gas stations in New Jersey are all full-service. Weird, I know. I used to hate this about NJ, because it felt so... contrived? superfluous? Anyway. That was before a three-day weekend of revelry, or back when a three-day weekend of revelry wouldn't have set me back so much, energy-wise. By Sunday afternoon, having someone else pump my gas for me sounded just fine.

Me: Fill 'er up.
Joe: What grade?
Me: Oh shit. a test. (out loud) um, the cheapest.
Joe: Sure... (pause) Uh, ma'am?
Me: (I love being called ma'am, starting about 5 months ago when a polite young man called me ma'am and I suddenly realized it could be charming.) huh?
Joe: Could you pop it open?
Me: Oh shit. Another test. (fumble for gas tank release.)
Joe: Would you like me check your oil for you?
Me: Oh shit, a test I've failed. Yes! My oil! Please check my oil.
Joe: (Backing away from the car) Sure thing, ma'am.
(checks oil.)
Joe: Ma'am?
Me: Yes, Joe? (really, I feel like we're on a first-name kind of basis by now.)
Joe: You're over a quart low.
Me: Shit.
Joe: I can put a quart in.
Me: That would be supah. I mean super.
(Suddenly, a snippet of the previous conversation with my husband floats back to me. I have a quart of oil in my trunk.) Wait! I have a quart of oil in my trunk!
Joe: Ahright. I can put that in for you, then.
Me: Okey-dokey.
Joe: (waiting patiently by the trunk) Can you pop it open?
Me: Oh, right. (fumble with trunk latch, then realize that the oil is in the spare tire well underneath the trunk floor which is in turn underneath the weekend's worth of detritus PLUS seven bags of crap I've been meaning to drop by the Goodwill.) Ummmm, on second thought, can I just buy a quart?
Joe: Sure. It's $3.
My Husband (from several hundred miles away): Don't pay $3 for a quart of oil!
Me: Sure.
Joe: (waiting patiently by the hood) Ma'am? Can you pop 'er open?
Me: Oh, right. (fumble again)
Joe: DO you still want your trunk open?
Me: Oh. No.

Then he cleaned my windshield. And he was just so... nice. And I was so... fumbling and tired and grateful. I was grateful because he helped me with that whole oil thing, thereby preventing me from having to admit to my husband that I completely forgot all about the one thing he asked me to do. But even more so, I was grateful because at no point did Joe exude that East-Coast jesus lady get your shit together and stop holding up the goddamn line people have somewhere to be attitude. The whole time I was demonstrating remarkable incompetence, he was just nice and patient.

Joe handed me the receipt to sign. I looked for the tip line: do you tip full service gas station attendants? I don't know. I hate things like this. What's worse? To erroneously tip and look silly or erroneously not tip and be rude?

Me: Do I tip you, Joe?
Joe, looking sheepish: Uh, folks from Jersey don't.
Me: Well, I'm from Connecticut. And I really appreciate your help.

I tipped him.
Joe: Thank you ma'am! You just made my day!

My husband, still from hundreds of miles away: You what? You forgot to check your oil BEFORE the trip, remembered only when th gas station attendant reminded you to on the way HOME from the trip, PAID $3 for a quart of oil, and TIPPED the guy?

Good thing he doesn't read my blog.

Joe: Ma'am?
Me: Yes?
Joe: Your forgot to take back your credit card.

Me: I heart New Jersey.

Great Expectations

I have just returned from Delaware, where I got to spend time with my dear friend Rachel. We had two goals for the weekend: 1.) Go Dancing and 2.) Appraise the New Man.

I love to go dancing, although I never ever get to do it - thanks mainly to my lack of anyone here in Connecticut to go with me. My other going-out friends here are more of the dinner-and-copious-intoxicants variety, which is why I am generaly designated driver rather than dancing fool.

So. Rachel planned the dancing. Of course we were going to go with her sister, who is an extraordinary dancer, and her sister's boyfriend, and Rachel, who is herself a very good dancer, and Rachel's new man whom I - by dint of being both discerning and blunt - had been charged with vetting. For the first round of review, he only had to exceed the very low threshold set by her previous significant other. My shorthand for this threshold is "not an ass-fuck."

I am, if I do say so myself, an exceptionally mediocre dancer. Being a mediocre dancer means, in my case, that when I am dancing with a group of my friends, I will be approached by 6-10 men offering to dance with me, but they will all be white, inebriated, and employed in a technical field. Rachel, being a very good dancer, will attract more men, many of whom can actually dance. And Rachel's sister will attract an admiring crowd of on-lookers.

So. I am a mediocre dancer who last went dancing two years ago, also in Delaware, where I entertained my dancing friends by being an apparent magnet to all manner of creepily enthusiastic guys of the H-1 B visa sort. And if I recall correctly, prior to that it was dancing at a Juarez nightclub when an intrepid little mambo king had scooted up to me and LICKED MY NECK.

Perhaps I should take up golf.

But no matter. I was exhausted, because I had been up two nights prior with a nightmare-plagued child and one night prior with a raging cold and so we were going to go out EARLY. Early, when dancing is on the menu, means 9:00, which by my standard is not that early at all. And which, when you factor in Rachel's sister's boyfriend's requisite 2-hour preening time, is actually impossible.

Anyway. Eventually we were at the bar and we were dancing. Rather, Rachel was dancing with The New Man and I was doing that vague third-wheel kind of dancing beside her, when a particularly enthusiastic Richard Simmons dead ringer sidled up behind me and started grinding.


Only I did not notice, because hey, it's a crowded dance floor and you just can't investigate every little bump.

Bump bump bump bump - hey, what's Rachel laughing at? - bump bump HUMP HUMP HUMP - *Hey!* THAT was not incidental.

I moved away. I scowled at Rachel. I reminded her of the unspoken parameters of our friendship: "Here's the deal. I don't let you date ass-fucks. You don't let some guy try to ass-fuck me on the dance floor."

Point taken. We resumed dancing. Now a little more wary, I had to investigate another bump. A rather earnest software engineer biting his lip with concentration had tried to take up where Richard Simmons had left off. Ack. I whipped around. A third guy moved in to try his luck.

In desperation I threw myself at Rachel, who was no longer dancing since she had long since doubled over with laughter.

"Do I have a magnet in my ass?" I demanded. I don't get it. I'm not exactly known for my ferocious badonkadonk. (Oh, please. If Trace Akins can co-opt it, it's fair game.) A college friend of mine once bragged of having "black-lady butt." Mine is more of the German-Grandma variety.

The New Man stepped in to shield me from the onslaught. Bonus points for him.

Back to dancing. I felt a tug on my arm and turned to find another guy inviting me to dance with him. Unlike all previous suitors, he was a.) not attempting a clandestine bump and grind and b.) well, that's enough, isn't it?

So after my opening line of "I am very married" was parried with, "No problem, so am I," we started dancing. He proved himself to be a suitably mediocre dancer, and seemed goofily harmless. After awhile I dropped the protective Heisman stance, and it was more fun than doing the Third Wheel.

And then he smacked me on my ass.


I kid you not.

I was drenched in sweat and so tired I was nearly hallucinating and I reinstated the Heisman distance and didn't really worry too much about it when I felt a rather refreshing breeze on my neck. Thoughtful dance partner that he was, he had lifted my hair and was blowing on my neck.

I looked over. Rachel was smirking over the shoulder of The New Man, who was so totally blissed out by her dancing that he was now legally blind. No help from that quadrant.

Goofy but harmless, I reiterated to myself. Goofy but harmless. I shook my hair out of his hands and kept dancing and things were going more or less smoothly. Until he stuck his tongue in my ear.

Golf it is.

We left. The New Man bought me a bottle of water. Clearly he knows who holds the pass-fail power around here.

Later, after he left, Rachel quizzed me, "Verdict?"

I gave her a thumbs-up. "Not an ass-fuck," I answered.

And some days, that's the most you can hope for.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Productivity, It Ain't.

So I ended my last post on a positive note - my solemn promise to, if I recall corectly, feed my family leftovers and fuck the laundry in exchange for actually being productive TODAY, Monday, the return to the Work Week.

Guess what?

Snow day!

hah-hah. Obviously the universe had other plans, probably spurred on by global climate change: Fuck Erica.

The kids were, of course, thrilled. The little one in particular starts out every snowy day by saying "Now I can use my butt-sled!" The butt sled - a present from Santa Claus who, in his apparent senility, forgot how rarely we have actual, sleddable snow.

Today, for instnace, is actually more of a "sleet-and-ice-day," rendering it completely unsuitable for butt-sledding.

But my kids, as they so typically do, also had other plans for me today: Mom! Mom! Stay in the office! We have a surprise fo ryou! I promise it's not bad!

For the past 46 minutes I have heard:

Huh! Where does mom keep the window cleaner? Hold the dustpan still! You can sweep the bathroom! Oh no, we broke it! Careful with those plants! Move them all over here onto this table so I can dust the window sill [My plants - my indoor garden - include numerous potted herbs and several towering amaryllis and the notion of my 4 and 6 YO's moving them puts my heart right into my throat] and SSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHH be QUIET or mom will KNOW what we're DOING! MOM! Don't come out! If you have to go to the bathroom just cover your eyes and don't peek!

And I am sequestered here in the computer room, unable to be productive because I am so utterly captivated and sniffly about the fact that my kids are spending their morning cleaning the house for me.

I love it when a plan comes together. Even if it's the universe's and not mine.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Is This Productivity?

Today, I did seven loads of laundry. Including the folding. I cleaned the kitchen one-and-a-half times. I made two meals, including bean soup from scratch and cornbread (also from scratch) with butter and honey. I did the dishes. I swept the floor and vacuumed the rug and cleaned out the pellet stove and watered my houseplants.

I bathed and otherwise parented two children, one of whom has the following personal credo: NO FAIR! and the other of whom said "My hair is the most beautifullest because it's blonde and dark hair isn't as beautiful." I, of course, am a brunette. A brunette dreading her daughter's adolescence if she's already this narcissistic at four.

I gave my husband almost all day to work in the garage. Almost guilt free. I am anticipating large amounts of ass-kissing.

I also wrote one article for a local paper and walked three miles carrying 3-lb. hand weights.

And I needed to make this list because of everything I did today, only the last two things were actually on My List, the "prioritized daily task list" which is, according to Franklin-Covey-theory, the culmination of my deepest values-missions-goals and the barometer of my overall sucess.

By which measure, of course, days like today suck.

But someone had to do the laundry.

And that same someone has to take some pride in doing the laundry, because although it may not be adequately reflected in my deepest values-missions-goals, it's a prioritized daily task. And somedays, that's the best you can do. And if I don't learn to take pride in accomplishing these dreary-but-necessary things, I'll wallow in a sense of utter failure and futility.

But tomorrow, we're eating leftovers. And fuck the laundry.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Little Luxuries

I sat, today, naked in my hot tub, reading a book. And ate a Godiva double-chocolate raspberry truffle. In silence. For nearly an hour.

If I ever needed evidence that I am blessed beyond my wildest earnings, today was it. And frankly, I did need some evidence, because yesterday sucked.

I fell when I was jogging. "Fell" is really an understatement.

I am bound and determined - along with about 95% of the American population during the month of January - to get back into shape. I miss shape. Shape was nice. I have a shape now, but it's rather disconcerting. So I walk. And, when I am sufficiently warmed up, jog.

I had finished 2 miles of a 3 miles loop. I had passed my husband on his return from the airport after a 3-day business trip to Florida, during which it was rainy and cold in Florida and unseasonably warm here (meaning 50 degrees in both places) and, in his absence, his portable garage had blown over in a windstorm and taken out his big blue baby of a car, the Subaru WRX STi.

Chris had taken my kids; the house was empty. I had sent my husband a seductive email, hoping to whet his appetite and distract him from the twisted metal and canvas in the back yard (those of you who know him will realize how completely stupid this plan was from the word go).

So I had one mile left, after which I would return home to find my husband suitably enticed by my email promises of a carnal frolic amidst newly-purchased attire from Fredericks of Hollywood.

And then I fell. I fell because some asshole had left a coil of wire on the side of the road and I hadn't seen it and I was coming downhill with an admirable head of steam when suddenly BAM! it clotheslined my ankles. My whole body smashed into the ground and I slid six feet before rolling (fortunately *away* from the road) to a halt clutching my wounded knee.

I live and jog in a small town. I am constantly being honked at by forces usually friendly but largely unseen behind the glare of windshields all along my route. I am occasionally honked and whistled and leered at by men who are overly friendly, and I am once in a rare while honked at by elderly and cautious drivers who find joggers of any sort reckless and distasteful.

No one stopped to help me.

I tried to stand. I crumpled back onto the ground. I eventually stood again, and limped around in circles, and cursed the loop of wire and marvelled at the length of sod I had torn up with my knees and prayed someone would offer me a ride home.

No one did.

But wait! I carry my cell phone! My husband was home! He would take pity upon me and come and get me and ferry me home in his pickup truck. (Those of you who know him will realize how completely stupid this plan was from the word go.)

My husband was home, alright, assessing the damage to his car and disassembling the garage and calling the insurance company and scheduling estimates and not answering the phone.

I limped home. I was furious. He was furious. Fredericks of Hollywood does not sell compression bandages.

The children are not sympathetic to the wounded knee. I have been up three nights in a row explaining the implausibility of various nightmares. My knee looks like a purple grapefruit, and my left hip throbs, but not in a Fredericks of Hollywod sort of way.

My whole body hurts.

I had to get up at 6:50 this morning to take the kids to swimming lessons. My husband would have, but he had a hot date with a tubing company and plans for a roll cage.

But right when I was drawing comparisons between myself and Job, there was the hot tub, magically making my body not ache anywhere. And the kids quietly watched TV and did not bicker. And I got to read a book. And eat a truffle. Which my husband had bought for me.