I have been told at times that my blog is sad. I write about darkness, broken dreams, and reaching for the light. I write about being lost, scratching through dust and weeds to find hope. I write about angst. So tonight from the kitchen, I will attempt to bring you some laughter. Because I’m laughing at myself. Laughing and crying. Tomorrow I will suffer what Brene’ Brown affectionately calls a vulnerability hangover, because I will tell you about things that scrape the bottom of my sanity barrel. I bring you my pants. Except, I can’t find my pants. I seriously can’t find my pants. That was me all last week. Every single day. Where are my damn pants? I have only two pairs of jeans and I literally could not find either one of them. Which reminded me of the time not long ago when someone asked me “Mom, why is there a rotisserie chicken on the bathroom counter?” And that was preceded by, “Mom, did you know there is a pan in our front yard?” Yes. I told my daughter, why yes, I was aware there was cookware in the front yard. Just a rusty old Dutch oven, aimlessly cast off into the bushes.
Because this blog post is five months I’m pretending it’s January. Every year I send out a “Christmas/New Year’s” letter, chronicling the year, mostly the high points, the accomplishments, our favorite moments and musings about the cat. As I was writing (5 months ago) , I thought about what it would be like to write the truth. I was partly laughing and partly crying at the thought of how the “real” the annual letter might look.
Dear Family, the past year has been crazy. Not “oh everything’s so crazy busy”, no not the cliche’. I think there was some actual crazy. In February I made a delicious pot of chicken soup when someone was sick. There were leftovers. I put the pan in our downstairs refrigerator so long that it started it’s own mushroom garden. A full on toxic swamp. When you have a “spare” refrigerator out of sight, in a basement or garage, sometimes you forget there are things left behind. I forgot about that soup. For three months. Maybe longer. I don’t remember. This is clearly part of the problem. One night I realized it was still in the house. I was lying in bed and I remembered. It was 12:45 am, and was reviewing my to do list, all the way back to 1982. I couldn’t take it one more second, I dragged myself out of bed, put on the fuzzy slippers and tumbled to the basement to get the pan. We lived in the country, so I marched out the back door into the woods (not very much scares me), and dumped out the pan. I doubt even the coyotes fought over that mess.
I sat on the porch for awhile, listening to the wind in the trees and looking at the moon. It was well after 1:00 am and there I sat in my pajamas with a stinky pan, pondering life. I knew full well I was not going to scour that septic mess. What it really needed was to be ignited , and burn for a good hour. But since I technically almost burned our house down once before, I decided against any inflammatory measures. I threw the pan off into the bushes, and decided to deal with it later. That’s what you do sometimes you deal with it later.
Later turned into a couple of weeks. Did I mention this was the year of crazy? Finally one of my daughters casually mentioned it in passing. “Mom, are you aware there is a pan in the bushes by the driveway?” I think she said it with trepidation, not sure how I might respond. I had lived all summer like a hand-grenade with the pin pulled. “Why yes I am”, I stated. I’m not sure if your kids are more fascinated with you when they know you are straight up lying or when you tell the truth. My clear admission that there was cookware built into the landscape seemed to fascinate her slightly. It was likely a good thing for both of us that I couldn’t read her mind. My eyes may have slightly blazed with that “don’t tell me I am crazy right now, I am already feeling it girl….”
That same summer someone inquired if I knew there was a rotisserie chicken still in the Costco container, that had been sitting on the bathroom counter… for two days. I told her there was a perfectly good explanation, which she accepted. It doesn’t really matter what the explanation was, the important point is that “Chicken on the Counter” became code for “things are a little crazy right now.” Whenever I was losing it, freaking out, unable to explain away why I was stressed, or what the wild look in my eyes meant when I came flying through the door, dropping keys and groceries and just exclaiming, “I’m going to take a nap, please don’t bother me until 2017″…if they asked “why”, I could just turn and say “there’s a chicken on the counter”. No further questions were asked. Everyone nodded, everyone knew the code. There’s a chicken on the counter. Mom’s in a place. Quietly exit the room, back away slowly. It was a beautiful thing.
So now my pants are missing. My pants. There must be a chicken on the counter, because my pants are missing. I did that thing that Moms do when a kid is missing something. “Where’s the last place you had your pants?” I asked myself. And if I knew the last place I had those pants on, I would have those pants on. No wonder our kids turn on us like wild dogs in the teenage years. ” I don’t know where your phone is, where’s the last place you had it”. They silently want to kill us in our sleep for answers like that, but they can’t because then they would never be able to find anything again. Because after watching them strain to find (fill in the blank), we usually swoop in and 27 seconds later we hand them the phone, as if we knew where it was all along, except we didn’t, we just know how to look for things. But I digress. My pants are missing. They are my only two pairs of jeans and it’s been a week of sweatpants, yoga pants, PJ bottom’s, I am ready for denim and normalcy. I am ready to get up in the morning, step into the closet and pull a fresh pair of jeans off the hanger **as if that is actually what happens, whatever** and put them on. But the hangers are empty. And so is the hamper, the living room floor, under the bed and the kitchen table. My pants are missing.
There is a special behind the scenes kind of crazy in everyone’s life. For me, it became pants. I found them two days ago in the back of my car, underneath gardening tools and a 5 gallon bucket. I was doing yard work at the home we were getting ready to sell, and I had driven over in yoga pants, and changed, apparently twice. There in a heap sat my pants, caked with mud, grass, and my sanity. If I hadn’t laughed, I would have cried, because who loses their pants for 10 days? I do. Right now I’m living in a rental so there are currently no pots and pans in the yard. My Christmas lights are still up on half of the house, and I’m always the last one to bring my garbage cans in from the street on Fridays. Rebel. Tonight the roast chicken I made for dinner is neatly tucked into the refrigerator, and is slated for chicken salad tomorrow. And my pants are sitting at the foot of the bed. And the lights in the kitchen are off. Goodnight.