Today, I lost my temper at the dogs. It is, I don't mind saying, approaching that time of the month and I can feel the flood of hormones eroding my perspective; my brain seems to be awash with a biological soup it is my cross as a female to wade through routinely.
I doubt the dogs can sense this. All they know is that their beloved mom yelled unintelligibly at them when they attempted to curl up beside me on the couch and each time they tried to make recompense, by thrusting their snouts unto my lap or offering their heavy, clawed feet in tokens of surrender, I merely yelled some more.
This is because I was trying to balance a huge, sloshing cup of hot coffee on my lap while watching "The Queen," and crying at odd and unexpected moments, though Diana's death is more than ten years past and didn't touch me all that deeply even at the time.
The girls argue among themselves as well and, coincidentally, I am always at the center of their arguments. Lynn, my elegant and lean boned beauty, curls herself up literally under my feet and Abby, who, like her father is large, stubborn and incredibly loving, circles the perimeter, looking for an opening, not just to me, but to my cat, who perches on the desk next to the computer. Abby is a black lab and the long, concentrated stare of a hunter comes naturally to her.
Thus, I am at the swirling center of many claims to power, prey and attention. Abby tries to break in, Lynn lunges from below me, snarling, the ground under my feet exploding into a tangle of growling dog. This always seems to happen just as I am at my most focused in writing and the unexpected energy of their argument causes my whole body to jump, and then, I add my own angry voice to the melee. Things settle down again, but only in the way that a jack in the box does when being wound.
The dogs are girls as well, perhaps there is just too many women arguing over one space. Where is that clear and cutting energy that comes from our man? We've been out of balance for too long.
I couldn't sleep last night, after I came off my two to ten shift. Keith had called, as usual, right in the middle of a terribly chaotic dinner, when one care manager told me a resident was on the floor in her bathroom, the cook mixed up the orders, a trainee kept coming to me with questions and another resident was discovered missing.
I sent the med tech to the fallen, called the family of the missing, set straight the confused and wrote up the wretched cook. "So fire me," I heard him say sarcastically, from around the corner, as I was trying to ascertain that everyone was accounted for. "Working on it," I assured him, under my breath.
And now, I find that I have burned my thin crust pizza to a thin crisp; that one concession to the unhealthy cravings that I am just now subject to. I was too absorbed in writing to hear the faint ping of the timer, far, far away in the kitchen. How is it possible that ten minutes could fly by so fast? The remains of the pizza are now beside me, sizzling and charred; I'm eating it anyway, damn it.
"I can't wait until I see you again," Keith said, when I finally had the opportunity to call him back.
I found it literally impossible to express how much I wanted him home. After saying the same words over and over again, "I love you" and "I miss you," a person longs for an entirely new language, with a vocabulary all its own, more uniquely suited to the situation. Much as the Eskimos have scores of words to name snow.
Or perhaps I could develop a graded series of colors to designate the level of need currently felt in the household. Today would be "Code Tangerine: Call Mom and Hide All Carbs."
On the positive side, I have managed somehow to lose ten pounds in what can only be about a month. My scale this morning read a startling 124 and some change. I haven't seen it spit out a number that low for...well, over a decade. This happened because of, as far as I can see, only four changes in my life style.
One, I ate oatmeal every morning for breakfast. I substituted low fat kettle corn pop corn for any other late night snack. I forced myself to take the stairs to the second floor at work no matter how adamantly my thighs complained. And lastly, it's been two months since my husband left and dinners of frozen pizza with mac' n cheese on the side are things of the distance past.
However it happened, I found myself able to fit into my ultimate figure gauge; the pleated, lined skirt that I bought...I can't even remember how many years ago when in Japan, and even then it was slightly too small for me.
Also, wearing said skirt, I successfully infiltrated the post, acquired groceries and escaped unscathed, even remembering to ask for cash back so I could tip the bagger. I will never get used to having some random person following me with my groceries. I keep waiting for someone to call me "Sahib."
But it seems too rude to say, "Thank you very much, I prefer to independently dispose of my groceries today. Best of luck, and all that...Cheerio." (Apparently, the situation also makes me feel British, though that might be the harmless side effect of the movie I watched.)
It is now approximately five weeks until my husband comes home for mid tour. How I do love him and his seductive talk of storm drains, heating costs, gas mileage and disposable income. I must go now, I need more movies, and very possibly, chai tea.
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