Thursday, September 19, 2013


It all started because I am dumb about technology. No, wait. It started before that. While I was gestating Little A., so many moons ago, I worked for a funny little nonprofit. My officemate, the super sweet Celeste, mentioned this funny little show one of her friends was performing in. My ears perked up, because, as I have mentioned before, performing dance is in my all-time top-ten favorite things to do. But I was pregnant and new in town and and and and...the timing was wrong. I couldn't even go SEE the show because the timing was wrong. And then my life got a little more complicated. And then I got pregnant again and my life got a lot more complicated. And I resigned myself to never doing a lot of things that I might have always wanted to do. And I missed myself, but not critically. And and and. 

Fast forward to this summer. This summer when everything went all to pieces but even the tiniest little pieces, stuck back together with scotch tape and sometimes just scotch, are so much better than the whole used to be. A dear friend mentioned the show again, somehow, in passing. Maybe while we were at the gym, or at the playground. Between diaper changes and tantrum management, the show stuck in my head this time. I am in pretty good shape, I thought. I should maybe just start taking dance classes again, I thought. And then one night, while scrolling around Facebook on my phone, I sorta-kinda accidentally pushed this check-mark icon next to an audition announcement (I thought it was to open the event page). And a couple of friends noticed and "liked" that I was going to go. And then other friends asked, "Are you really going to go?" What the hell, I'll go, I thought.

AND SO. I got cast, you guys. I am IN that funny little show. Except it's not little. Every weekend between now and Christmas I am in rehearsals. Usually both days of the weekend. Usually for at least two hours. And then there are SEVEN shows over two weekends and our family calendar looks INSANE. Of course I have the guilts for leaving the girls for all those hours, but in the grand scheme of things? Nearly all of that time, they will be with their dad. And that is really good. And it is just a few weekends out of an entire year and our lifetimes. Yes, I am crazy for even thinking of it, but AWAY WE GO.

Last weekend was the first weekend of rehearsals. This week, I bought an extra giant bottle of ibuprofen and only today, 4 days later, have I regained pain-free function of my neck (turns out burlesque involves a lot of hair-whipping. Who knew?). But leaving that rehearsal on Sunday afternoon was the best. I felt like...myself. The myself I ignored for years. The myself I hope someday my girls will tell each other old familiar stories about, with at least a small amount of pride and self-recognition. Because myself is kind of grabbing life by the balls right now. Myself: taking care of business and having fun. What a concept, huh? I'm not saying it's perfect: my house is smells funny and the girls' hair is always a mess and we are probably going to have grilled cheese sandwiches AGAIN tonight. But we are also having a lot of fun, and I am keeping an eagle eye on everyone's emotional well-being and who cares if the socks don't match. We are all sleeping, eating, and growing.

So, again, I bring you the profoundest-blogger life lesson: JUST DO THINGS. I mean, I am the first person in history to realize this, right? WHERE IS MY GODDAMN BOOK DEAL.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Familiars (1 of 3)

Most evenings, in the tiny sliver of time between supper and tub, I run out the back door to to check on the chicken ladies. I drop off any peelings or cucumber-end snack might be left from our meal, secure the coop, bring in an egg or two, etc. A little moment to myself before our bedtime routine/chaos. One night, for some reason, I waited until after the girls were both tucked in and quiet, so it was a bit later than usual. The sun was setting all pink and gorgeous. I had a glass of wine at the ready and some Parks and Rec on the Netflix queue. So, you know, it was gonna be a good night. As I approached, the chickens were bawk-bawk-bawking around their little enclosure and looked at me with some alarm. But they are ALWAYS alarmed, and ALWAYS bawking, so I thought nothing of it. I threw some spinach into the pen, and turned on the little flashlight app so I could poke around for eggs. And heard a rustling, crunching sound. I turned my light toward the sound. In the corner of the coop where the nest was that week, the light revealed a pile of really soft-looking glossy black fur. A cat in the coop? The fuck? I thought. And then the cat moved and showed me its equally soft looking glossy white-striped back because NOT CAT! SKUNK!!1!!!! SKUNK!!!!!11!1!11!11

Yes, ok. I live in Maine, but in the suburbs! Why are all the animals in my face all the time? Anyway, luckily, the skunk didn't register my presence, and continued crunching away at the egg pile.

I don't know if I have ever moved so quickly plus silently in my life, you guys. Without even knowing fully how I got there, I found myself in the middle of my back lawn, dialing Tim on the phone. I explained the situation and his words, his REAL ACTUAL WORDS were: Wow! Well, that's probably the worst thing that could happen, huh? Well...don't go back in, I guess? So...very...helpful. We agreed that he would block any potential entry points the following evening (we are doing a sort-of nesting deal, post forthcoming). I spent the next half hour googling "will skunks kill chickens." And finally realized the sheer force of my worry would not actually keep the skunk from killing my chickens, went inside and forced myself to have my relaxing evening. To brace myself against the possibility of returning to a coop full of headless birds the next day.

The skunk did not kill my chickens that night. Praise baby Jesus.

So. In the following weeks the skunk and I got into a routine. I would race out to the coop after bolting down my supper, collect any eggs, and race back inside. Every third night or so, I would leave the eggs there so the skunk enjoy a tasty snack that was not the blood of my flock. Sometimes the skunk would beat me to the coop and I would find nothing but empty shells. We even bumped into each other a couple of times but somehow I never got sprayed, and it never got spooked off.

And one night, while I was sitting on the back deck, I watched the skunk squeeze itself out from under the coop. You know how cats fit themselves into impossible spaces? It was like that, in reverse. Its narrow head stuck out of this teeny-tiny hole under the corner of the coop, and then the rest of its bulk shimmied out after. Twice the size of a housecat. Fluffy and silent. I watched the skunk squeeze itself into another tiny opening to get into the coop. The chickens didn't even raise an alarm. I stayed outside until the skunk went back into its basement apartment, and went in myself.

One evening not too long after that, our beloved Brooklyn friends were visiting. And suddenly there was a smell. A SMELL THAT YOU COULD TASTE. If you've never had the pleasure of experiencing REALLY fresh skunk spray -- well, it is...thick. And...oily. It clings to every part of the inside of your nose, pungent as fuck. It's otherwise indescribable. We had to close the windows. And the smell was still so strong that it kept me awake.

And the next morning, just up the street from my driveway, was the body of a skunk. Of course I can't confirm if it was "my" skunk. But. We have too many eggs, now.