The division of labor in our house involves my husband dealing with all canine and feline excrement. He complains about this mightily. But I care not. He spent years carefully tucked behind his newspaper while various toddlers with diapers loaded to the ground waddled by. He’d sniff the air and query, oh, so innocently, “Does the dog need to go out?”
My husband’s division of labor calculus does not include the accumulation of burden over time. In other words, he starts each day anew on our 50/50 deal. So today, he complained that he had to change the cat litter (which was, I admit, a truly onerous job) and all I did was write irked emails to public officials. That’s not true, I also cleaned the kitchen and lit two candles.
We took our ancient five-person tent with the outside poles to Goodwill, and it felt wrong. This tent has poles which have to be fitted together and then threaded through little loops and then the whole skeleton has to be heroically lifted to raise the tent from the ground. This is a hideous and ego-busting proposition. Now some poor stranger will buy the tent, hoping for a lovely and restful camping experience, and it will be hell for them. I should’ve included a tiny post-it note. I’m sorry. Go buy a pop-up.
Seeing my cochlear implant, the nurse at the surgical center pulled her mask down and asked me if I lip-read. Then she told me that her parents and sister were deaf and that she was the only hearing person in her family growing up. She flashed a few ASL signs and smiled. “When I was a kid,” she said, “I was the one who had to go talk to the bad neighbor. I had to take care of things.” By now, she was wheeling me down the hall. “And that’s what you’re still doing, it seems,” I answered. She patted my arm like we could have been cousins and then I went to sleep. It was oddly comforting to be seen, as they say, and heard.
My life as an old person is an irregular cycle of getting my second wind. I sink to a level of resignation that would have my hair growing down to my knees while I wear my L.L. Bean sweatpants for the twentieth day and then, for no reason, I am alert and forward-thinking, making plans for new causes, vying for this and that as if shot full of some anti-aging serum. So, today, unlike last week, I am delighted and able and asking the dragons to line up to be slayed.
Photo by Thomas Despeyroux on Unsplash
And slay them you will, Jan!
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Thanks for the Friday smiles!
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