Good morning! Happy Brunch Friday. Let's raise our steamy mugs (yes, even in Florida) and clink a cheers to a bit of connection between work, notices and ads in your inbox. Written with a Gillian Anderson accent in my head. Reading with an accent is completely your (next best) decision.
Unrelated: With honor, Cicely Tyson.
Can we address the Stranger in the room these last 10 months? We talk about him day and night, we read and watch about him.
You see him over there, in the corner, eyeing those we know and love. I imagine he is wearing a red velvet jacket and no socks. Sexy little virus.
We can't kick him out. We can't prevent him.
We all have different thoughts about his presence. A spectrum of responses.
Knowing the tendency of our news rancors to dramaticize and polarize, of course they portray only two camps of thought. It is not their knee-jerk reaction.
It has purpose.
Yes, I realize, I have spoken of this before.
Truthfully, all the humans have all the thoughts about how this Mister affects our families, our jobs, and our fun.
Until we have personally enjoyed Mister's company, seen him in our bathrooms, beds and kitchens, the discussions are hypothetical. Until, eventually to all, they are not.
This week, I had my second faulty covid test. And, of course, I have a story about it.
My brain loves a good story.
My first test was March 18, last year. My husband just returned from three international flights on the 12th, which allowed me to qualify for the test. That, and I have moderate asthma.
I tested too early, before symptoms were heightened enough to show up on the swab that stabbed my brain.
In the days following the test, pneumonia lungs set in, until my separated but living together husband agreed to pound my back with him palm.
That seemed to help break up the party in the lower back of both lungs.
My doctor was sure the results were wrong.
An FDA-approved antibody test was not available until November, and I did not take it.
This week, I chose the 15-minute swab, which is supposed to reach about an inch into the caverns of the nostrils.
The nurse skated the swab. It never entered.
Like piped frosting touches the outside of a cupcake, she glided the cotton over the driest of doorways. Mucus was never met.
Alas, these results were also negative.
Needless are the words, "I don't trust them."
My purpose of getting this test: the results would affect my sisters who had just spent four days in my house. We enjoyed many hugs and much laughter, the air in my small car space.
With no disinfecting until they left.
Two of my sisters already enjoyed the Mister. The remaining newb teaches first grade, and has two high- and two middle-schoolers.
But... my neighbor had the Mister last fall, and three months later, every drop of antibodies was gone.
Which leaves the possibility of all three sisters being disrupted.
Bless me, my awesome neighbor loaned me her oxygen finger detector.
Oximeter, it is named.
The name confuses me. Laundry helper? Or cocaine paste that's been soaked in gasoline?
My night readings are 95, mornings 99. I think I'll live.
I have moderate asthma, and the Mister has visited me twice. Hypothetically.
My immune system eagerly greets and welcomes all the misters.
That thought stems from my therapy this week.
If you've read my book, or spent some time with me, you know that I was molested at four years old.
Blah, blah blah. I'll give you a minute to sit with that. I'll just be over here while you take it in, with my conviction that it is not the worst thing that could have happened.
This, though repeated a few more times in my teen years, was an isolated incident.
My biological mother endured it every day as a girl, until she got her period at age eleven, and was impregnated.
I prefer to use the word pregnated, but the language hasn't caught up to the female perspective.
Let's do that now.
Yes, let's stop saying, "She got pregnant."
It's not like catching a Mister.
She didn't do it to herself.
In cases of underage, in cases of unwanted sex by a man, girls don't do it to themselves.
Women don't do it to themselves.
They don't GET pregnant. They are pregnated.
I'll step back.
Unless the pregnancy is a choice, of course. But even then, couldn't we say, "They got pregnant?"
Or, "They made a choice to have a child."
It's not like she received an Amazon package on her doorstep.
In the case where pregnancy is not planned, where they had sex and didn't plan: they are now pregnant.
Instead of She got pregnant, She has a problem, She has to take care of it....
My bio mother was sent away to another state, to a maternity home, at eleven years old to, "Take care of it."
Alrighty. Well, that topic is exhausted.
Today's Deep Breath: here's a practical juju nugget, a collective Next Best Decision.
I don't think I have yet mentioned, but recently I hired a cleaning person to come clean my house.
I have never done this before.
I have no judgement for those who do.
I came from nothing, and was a practical Mormon for over 20 years. Some of us ground our own wheat and baked bread with it daily and had cases of raw oats in 10# cans in the garage.
To be clear, I judge myself.
I had heard of people who had cleaners come regularly. I had no space for it in my brain.
There was a similar vibe in seeing the Northern Lights on a mountain top in Alta, Norway:
a state of pure awe and disbelief.
So I hired a guy.
He was highly recommended by several people in the neighborhood.
(Even that sounds weird to say.)
He advertised a half-priced rate for first-timers: $75, no matter how big the house.
And here is where I think I need to give an explanation. Why?
Why would I, a young older woman, need to hire someone to clean my house?
Especially since everyone else has moved out and it is just me, with my two slightly dirty dogs.
Can you feel the self-judgement in that?
It doesn't feel great.
Here is my answer.
I have a 40-line excel sheet with tasks that need to be completed in the next 30 days to sell this family home.
Over half of those tasks are mine alone.
I have created a boundary with the ex and our two adult children. Some tasks I will not, I cannot, do for them.
I can do a lot, because I am a rock star.
With all of that, I just couldn't wrap my brain around cleaning three showers and all the floors.
I'm packing and minimizing, and sorting all the papers.
You know the papers.
Before everything was digital, it was all on paper.
As the paper came in, I threw away most.
I kept some.
Much of what I kept was put into binders. Until both children reached a certain age, and were diagnosed as polar opposites, and life got busy.
And I got unhappy.
And things piled up.
I couldn't clean this house, that was our home, and now is a product to be sold.
So I hired a guy.
He is the absolute best thing that has happened to me in months.
I came out of my office, because I now have an office, because I'm the only one living here,
and he was in my kitchen
the cupboard doors.
And I thought I would cry. Or melt.
"Thank you so much!" I said.
This middle-aged, white, professional-cleaning man, who has been divorced from a bi-polar wife for two years, turned, and questioned my sanity. "What?"
I leaned over, hands on knees, and stabilized my heartbeat and breathing. "I've just never seen a man clean my cupboards."
Oh, amazing bliss. I just might never buy new clothes again, so I can keep this man in my life, no matter if my next home is a 2-bedroom apartment or a 3/2 condo.
I better die before he retires.
This is a great time to re-think some things. With the Mister, and the changes, and the new ways of living--this is a great time to ask ourselves:
Is the way we have always done things, or are the ways we learned from others, helpful?
How does it feel in your body when the diet industry tells you to eat only 1200 calories? Picture the coming months, surrounded by normal eaters, and you are checking your phone app to see if you can eat.
How does that feel?
And after you lose your weight, and start eating more, how will your body respond?
How does it feel to think that you need so many square feet of living space in order to be happy?
Is TV-MA really that bad? Is it?
It's all just circumstances.
And we have thoughts about them--or someone else has thoughts about them that we choose to adopt as true.
Is it true? That's the question posed by Byron Katie, the Yoda of our times.
Do I need to keep a memoir of school papers for my children? The first papers they ever wrote?
Proof that they lived and I did an okay job of being their mother?
That I did so much better than what was done for me?
That I conquered the worst of my genetics, and experience, and made a lotus out of my mud?
Do I need proof of that?
Maybe just one little book.
I hope you are having an inner dialogue about what makes you truly happy.