It’s a strange fact of my adult life that many of my decorating “fits” coincide with the bi-annual Large Item Pickup sponsored by our city.
Ever since we received the notice in August that October 15th would be the date of this year’s pickup, the plans have been churning in my head.
Good-bye to the 12-year-old sleeper sofa that had faded from striking red to an ugly pinkish hue.
After a Friday afternoon at Ikea with The Husband – without any arguing or snark! – we returned with boxes of new furniture.
Note: A box full of couch is not particularly comfortable seating.
The Boy came home for Fall break and assisted in building and spray painting to my specifications.
It took four cans of black Krylon, some sanding, and one can of clear matte, and the end result on the coffee table is perfect. The Boy is a master spray painter.
The final result: One weekend of much-needed distraction from political ugliness, and one satisfyingly updated living room.
According to the American Psychological Association, more than 50% of Americans, both Democrat and Republican, are currently experiencing significant stress due to politics.
I hope they didn’t spend too many bucks on that study. Because DUH.
In my last post I described my revulsion due to the “grab them by the pussy” tape, the most recent debate, and the women who made it into the news immediately afterward because they continue to defend the Candidate-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Not only are these women betraying their gender – their mothers, sisters, and daughters – but they’re betraying humanity, decency, and civility.
And then…things got a little better. From my perspective, at least.
- The CWMNBN is now “unshackled” and is more likely than ever to play out in real life my dream of seeing him collapse onto a podium, foaming at the mouth like a rabid dog.
- Many women have come forward to describe his unwanted advances and assaults over the years. Don’t think it’s legitimate that they’ve waited all this time to come forward? Then you’ve never experienced life as a woman who’s been intimidated – nay, frightened – by a powerful and vindictive man.
- I received some awesome news about a joint promotion a colleague and I have been leveraging since May. It’s all but guaranteed to happen. We’re simply waiting for what should be a rubber-stamp vote on the accompanying budget increase. Score one for a woman fighting for herself and her capabilities.
- And most importantly…as I sat at my desk on Monday, heartsick after reading an essay by a two-time assault survivor whose father refused to acknowledge the sickness and unfit-ness for office of the CWMNBM…our Boy sent me a copy of an email he’d felt compelled to write to the department head at his university, with whom he works closely in this, his final year of studies.
The backstory is that our son had witnessed the professor putting his hands on another choral conducting student to correct her posture and stance (not in a sexual way at all), doing so without warning. Excerpts from The Boy’s email:
“Unfortunately we work every day with survivors of abuse and similar trauma…unexpected touching – no matter how benign – can be seriously upsetting and can significantly hurt the students’ trust and comfort in the classroom environment…”May I touch your arm” or “May I put a finger on the back of your neck” can make a world of difference to someone who has, for instance, lived through sexual abuse by giving him or her that power over his or her own body.”
I burst into tears at my desk as I read his words.
Our Boy has always been a deep thinker, a champion for the oppressed, full of empathy and ready to act on it. This evidence that we’ve raised a young man who is the absolute antithesis of the CWMNBM filled me with joy and gratitude. I immediately picked up my phone to call and tell him what a difference he’d made to my emotional state, and how incredibly proud I am of him.
A win for the side of goodness and light.
Today I am reeling.
The political news of the last few days is literally making me ill. My stomach is permanently queasy. No matter how much sleep I get I don’t feel rested. My mind is churning with images and sound bytes that should never, ever be a part of public discourse.
The final straw was an interview I just heard on National Public Radio, with two different women who support the GOP candidate in spite of the events since Friday. Women. Who are not concerned with the hideous, rape-culture words spewed from the infantile mouth of their candidate. Women who argued that they’ve heard female friends at “bachelorette parties” speak in a similar, raunchy way. Women who, apparently, have internalized the sexist, woman-hating culture in which we live. Because they don’t understand that when a man says he can “grab them by the pussy” and “do whatever he wants because he’s a celebrity,” it’s a whole different ball game. No matter what kind of raunchy talk a group of women might engage in, no males are threatened by it. But women have FOREVER been threatened, injured, had their lives irreparably damaged, even killed, due to the actions that flow out of those kinds of words from men.
I am ashamed of a large swath of our population, both men and women, who continue to support and defend this evil.
I have to take a break. I’m retreating into my family. My husband and three children understand the evil of this kind of talk. Their texts and conversations over the last few days have given me hope. I’ll spend as much time as possible in virtual and face-to-face time with my family lifelines, seeking out things to laugh about, taking comfort in their sanity and in our shared love.
I need a break.
Perhaps my next post will be about bunnies and puppies.
image credit: rydacom.com
You’ve heard the saying, “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” Well, forgive me for stretching the metaphor, but I’m proposing a new version:
People in stone houses shouldn’t throw glass.
Allow me to explain. In my new saying,
stone houses = a narrow version of reality, with no concept of empathy
glass = harmful words and actions that belittle the experiences of other groups
Here’s the deal: I’m sick to death of pronouncements and opinions and vitriol spewed by people who truly have no right to voice an opinion. Think that sounds harsh? Think everyone’s entitled to their own opinion? Sorry, folks. Yeah, you can have those cutting, shards-of-glass opinions in the narrow confines of your stone house, but you need to keep them shut up behind those Fred Flintstone doors. No hiding behind the neo-con hatred of being “politically correct” (which is merely code for “license to say hurtful words with impunity”).
- Males, who have never experienced the life-altering reality of sexism and who pronounce male privilege to be a myth – NO RIGHT TO VOICE AN OPINION.
- Males, who will never experience pregnancy and the monumental changes it makes to absolutely every minute aspect of a woman’s physical, mental, work, and private life, and who spout worn-out crap about “killing babies” – NO RIGHT TO VOICE AN OPINION.
- Males who can never know what it is to be physically vulnerable and to be the target of assault/rape, and who deny the truth of our rape culture –NO RIGHT TO VOICE AN OPINION.
- White people with no experience having “the talk” with their sons (“the talk” being “How to stay alive while being a black male”), and who mock reality with the deliberately obtuse “All lives matter” – NO RIGHT TO VOICE AN OPINION.
- Affluent, well-educated, privileged people who perpetuate the stereotype of “lazy poor,” and who work against the social safety net for those trapped in generational poverty – NO RIGHT TO VOICE AN OPINION.
Here’s a basic rule of thumb, to make it a little easier:
If you’re not a member of a group that has been consistently harmed by others who are more powerful or more fortunate than yourself, you have no business sharing your opinion about that group.
Thus ends the lesson.
Well, I can’t NOT do it. I simply have to watch tonight’s debate.
I just wish there were some hope of it it being as cute and entertaining as the above illustration.
Honestly, the debate coverage begins at 8:00 pm here, but I’ve been sick to my stomach over it for several days now.
Anyone who hasn’t been holed up in a cave this year knows why. But here’s a short list of my concerns:
- I don’t feel I’m exaggerating when I say the future of the American experiment is at stake in this election. Our nation is at a crossroads, and is perilously close to the point of no return for a stable, healthy democracy.
- The Candidate-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named has destroyed all normative, mature and constructive boundaries. He’s said and done so many things in the last year that, in normal times, would have immediately tanked any candidate’s chances. And yet the media and a significant portion of the electorate has granted this overgrown middle school boy immunity.
- Short of falling on the floor in a fit or dropping dead of a heart attack, there’s apparently nothing that can take The C-W-M-N-B-N out of the election; nothing that will stop his blind followers from voting for him.
- I have a sneaking suspicion that journalists (and other GOP politicians) are terrified of the C-W-M-N-B-N’s money, his penchant for lawsuits, and his ability to publicly crush anyone who crosses him. I think it’s all too likely that he’ll be allowed to get away with lie after lie, with disgusting comment after disgusting comment tonight, with no consequences.
- On the other hand, the extremely qualified, intelligent, and mature Democrat on the stage is likely to be grilled over an open fire – simply because she’s tough and capable of answering real, substantive questions.
And then there’s the day-after commentaries, which will inevitably bring up the Dem. candidate’s “shrill voice” or her “inability to connect with voters” or her “temperament.” Columnists and journalists have shown a disturbing level of sexism in their coverage of this woman, and it makes me ill.
As a life-long political junkie, I’m honor-bound to watch this debate. I’ll have The Husband and our Middle right beside me, and I’ll be texting our two out-of-town darlings throughout, for moral support.
But I doubt I’ll get any sleep afterward. It’s going to be a long night.
Question: Why was I in bed, incapacitated, with a migraine for a day and a half this week, was fine yesterday, and then back down with a migraine again today?
Let’s study the evidence:
What I was drinking every morning this week:
What I drank yesterday morning, and what I quickly ran out to get this morning once I’d discovered the tragic accidental purchase of decaf coffee:
You could make the case that perhaps I’m a little too dependent on caffeine. However, there is a certain week every month when it is unwise to screw with a woman’s caffeine intake.
I’ll think about that next week.
It started yesterday with my weekly reminder to take the trash and recycling to the curb:
Why, yes, I am just a bit neurotic about trash removal.
I awoke this morning to The Husband’s humorous reply:
And then I found this:
Oh, the fun that can be had with a felt-tipped marker.
They’re not earth-shattering, but here they are, in no particular order:
- How long will my fingernails continue to smell like spicy mustard, an entirely unjust punishment for being generous enough to make my husband’s lunch for tomorrow?
- How the hell do I stop getting notifications and updates literally every fifteen minutes about a friend’s Pampered Chef party? Is there some magic spell I can utter to impress upon the world’s mind that I would prefer to die in a ball of flames than attend one of these sponsored parties?
- As a “woman of a certain age,” how long can I continue to pull off the long-hair look? (In truth I answered that one for myself this morning: As long as I damn well feel like it. Screw you, societal standards.)
- Is it possible to make it all the way through election day without either throttling half of the population of the U.S. or falling into a deep, deep depression?
- How did minute bits of PVC pipe from the weekend kitchen plumbing project make their way upstairs to our freshly vacuumed bedroom rug? And will I put up with them all week or will I succumb to the dreaded mid-week vacuuming session?
- How many days in a row has it been John Ritter’s birthday? My FB feed has been announcing it daily for some time now. And isn’t he dead, anyway?
If you have answers to any or all of the above, please send them in on a self-addressed, stamped postcard to your nearest disgruntled, middle-aged mom.
Haven’t brought out this not-particularly-coveted prize for over a year, but it’s definitely time.
Today’s State of Ignorance Award goes to…
My neighboring state of MISSOURI!
Missouri wins the prize as of Wednesday, when its barbaric state legislators overrode their governor’s veto of a bill they had carefully crafted with the help of the National Rifle Association and gun manufacturers.
And now…wait for it…it’s 100% legal for any yahoo to carry a gun in public WITH NO PERMIT AND WITH NO TRAINING!
Think about that for just a moment. No permit means any convicted felon can take a gun anywhere in the state. No permit means domestic abusers can murder their wives with even more ease. It means any deluded fool who pictures him/herself as a “good guy with a gun” can walk the streets armed with a killing weapon, simply by walking up to a seller and handing over money.
Just for the record, as a resident of the KC metro area I have the joy of living on the state line between Kansas and Missouri, and therefore get to reap the benefits of DOUBLE THE IDIOCY! Who hoo! Just last night I was on the Missouri side for choir rehearsal. We go back and forth on a daily basis around here.
Contributing to the decision on today’s award: I had the misfortune of accidentally seeing a few minutes of live television yesterday, and was treated to a campaign ad for a Missouri candidate who deftly assembled an automatic rifle throughout the ad. Oh my goodness, my little heart was just palpitatin’ over his display of cojones!
This is the state we’ve been reduced to in our nation.
The state of ignorance.
A couple of things this week have made it quite clear that I’m a woman “of a certain age…”
- I’ve effectively taken on a Paying Guest. I spent Monday evening working with our Middle daughter on signing in her up for her own health insurance through her school district, setting up a schedule for paying off her loans, and working out her budget and how much she’ll pay me and The Husband for “rent” each month. And I’m disproportionally excited to have that little extra bit of disposal income.
- An impromptu date night last night for The Husband and me included my wearing the grubby yoga pants and t-shirt I’d just worked out in, a meal at Taco Via, and ice cream from QT. I’d like to say we were deliberately slumming…but actually that’s a pretty typical night out for us any more. Sadly, I’m good with that.
Taco Via, how do I love thee? My most favorite of fast food dives. The taco joint I walked to for lunch every day in high school. The home of the secret menu item called “The Thing.” The purveyor of chrushed ice and Caffeine Free Diet Coke. The place I can go in my sweaty workout clothes and still be the classiest person there. My old and trusted friend.
On the other hand, I’m putting up a fight.
- Made the decision yesterday to go for “Teaching Leadership” certification. It’s nice to have a new career challenge at a time when it would be sooooo easy to just coast.
- I’m working like crazy NOT to come off as a total dolt at choir rehearsals every Thursday evening. After 25 years out of classical choirs, sight reading long, complicated works by Brahms, Faure, Hayden, and pals is trying its best to whoop my ass. And it hit me that I’m not a fan of being the stupidest person in the room. So I’m spending a lot of my spare time pounding out the challenging Alto II lines on our piano and singing those lines along with YouTube recordings. I figure it’s got to be a decent way to combat mental decline…though the banging on the piano also seems to be a good way to contract tendonitis.
Who’ll win this battle? Only time will tell.