Sunday, November 25, 2012

Accomplishing All The Things, Sleeping Sickness, Grown-Up Furniture, Herps, and Heavy Metal—Oh Yeah, Baby!

Accomplishing All the Things!

I always think that a long weekend is going to be my path to Accomplishing All the Things! And it never is. Mostly it’s my path to oversleeping, playing vintage Tomb Raider, and ignoring the growing piles of laundry, cleaning, and filing that vie for attention. This weekend I sort of split the difference. You can’t really count Thanksgiving itself as a “free” day, since that day is all wrapped up in making garlic mashed potatoes while your ex-chef husband hovers, nervously micro-managing, and going to your friend’s house and standing around pretending that you are “helping” as she whips up a seemingly effortless feast of turkey, yams, green beans, and delicious stuffing. 

Sleeping Sickness

The day after Thanksgiving, I woke up late and found myself unable to move a muscle. I felt sick, but not with any real, particular, identifiable thing. It’s a weird sickness I get sometimes. I call it the Sleeping Sickness, but that’s not really accurate. It’s something vague. I cannot move of my own volition. My body and mind simply rebel against Doing Anything. My arms feel weak. I don’t want to get out of my pajamas or wash my hair or go to the corner drugstore for vacuum cleaner bags or make coffee or write or do a single meaningful thing. Mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion completely overtake me, and I am good only for lying around watching videos, reading, or staring blankly at the wall. I can’t leave the house. I can’t go through the ritual of putting on makeup and trying to appear presentable. I can barely muster the energy to feed the cats. It’s not depression—not really. It’s too impermanent to be depression. (I have real depression, and this is a much different beast.) It’s like my being has decided without me that it’s Had Enough, and it simply drags me down into the depths and forces me to recharge. I feel sick, but I am unable to describe the symptoms. Mr. Typist must go out on the hunt and bring me dinner, which I barely have the energy to eat. This usually happens to me after bouts of prolonged stress. Sometimes it lasts two or three days, but this time it was over in just one, thankfully.

Grown-Up Furniture

On Saturday, Mr. Typist and I continued our quest to for grown-up furniture by shopping for a new entry table, as our old one was made up of cheap, sagging particle board and a mismatched shelf unit plopped haphazardly on top. The only problem was, cleaning up all of the enormous clutter and junk that had been stored in and around the old table. It took me all afternoon to haul all that crap out, dust, clean, and find another place to cram the remaining usable stuff. This is why re-doing even a small space is so exhausting. It’s a sort of environmental surgery—the old stuff is traumatically yanked from its comfy spot where it’s gathered dust the last five or eight or ten years, and thrust into a whole new place. The area is cleaned and vacuumed and cleared and opened. It’s a bleeding space right now, I can tell. It liked being crammed with old finished and unfinished canvases, dusty evening bags, and baskets of useless clutter. It feels wounded and vulnerable. I tell it, “You’re going to get something really good soon, something much better”, but I can tell that corner misses it's crappy old table. Space is a living, breathing thing like any other. It feels, and it needs time to heal and adapt to change just like we do.

Herp Fever!

One of things that was stuffed under the entry table was the old frog terrarium, the 55-gallon one. (Our last remaining frog lived a lonely life in a smaller tank on the kitchen counter until he died last week.) We have a plethora of materials leftover from doing up the old frog terrarium before Mr. Typist destroyed his creation in a fit of artistic rage last summer. (Okay, it wasn’t really artistic rage, he just noticed a design flaw and couldn’t let it go.) The tank has since sat gathering dust under the entry table. Since we have all the materials for an awesome critter abode, I’d hate to just sell the thing. I love reptiles, and I’ve had a long-time ambition to own either a Chinese Water Dragon or a Bearded Dragon. Or maybe a gecko. Do any of you have one? Any advice? Apparently my cousin had a Chinese Water Dragon who died of boredom after a mere six months. While Mr. Typist and I are wildly entertaining types when we get home from work after a long day, I still fear any dragon of mine might meet the same fate. If there are any herp experts out there, I’d love to hear from you. I know, most women think newborn babies are adorable. Personally, I think there’s nothing cuter than a happy reptile:

Le Novel

I finally got my third chapbook finalized, and spent last weekend sending out inquiries, which has freed me to finish the editing on another short story I’ve written, and to finally pay some attention The Novel. I worked quite a bit on it this weekend, and I found that doing so is reconnecting me to the joy and fun in writing. Something about writing poetry has always felt heavy and serious and hard and daunting to me. I find the idea of “having fun” with poetry to be anathema; that if I write a poem, it has to reach down and yank out one’s soul and dangle it around in front of Society and bellow about our great hypocrisy and how we are all going to die and that I must Say Something Meaningful at all times and that it must be perfect and academically correct and sometimes I just can’t take it. 

My novel is actually fun to write. I don’t know if it’s crap or not, but I’m having a hell of a good time with it. And it’s been helping me discover heavy metal, a scene which was completely lost on me in the 80’s. My main character is a total metal fiend with a smattering of ADD and a massive rebellious streak, so to get into the mood to write from her POV, I set up an all-metal Pandora station. And…it rocks, baby! I can’t believe what I missed out on in the 80’s. At age of forty-three, I’m finally discovering what all the fuss was about. And it’s awesome

--Kristen McHenry


Dave said...

Ah yes, 80s metal. Iron Maiden, Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, Metal Church, Testament, Prong, Pantera, Sepultura, Overkill, Vio-lence... Good stuff.

Frankly Curious said...

I cannot discuss the music. I just had major dental torture. But consider yourself on notice. Couldn't she be into Black Flag or something?

What happened to the frogs? I have terrible thoughts. I have no reptiles to offer you, but even if I did I would think first. Are the typist twins the kind of people I could trust with a little frog? (And yes, I know frogs aren't reptiles! Sort of.) Tell me I'm wrong. Please!

Kristen McHenry said...

Hi, Dave! Yes, I am getting a major remedial schooling in all of those bands. Pandora must think I'm crazy, as my other station is all super airy-fairy, Eluvium-type fare that I use as white noise to write to. In fact, I named that station, "Music to Write To".

Frank, sorry about your teeth! If makes you feel any better, Mr. Typist is getting, like, his entire mouth removed next week. Well, six teeth, anyway. So at least you're not the only one to suffer such a terrible fate. I hope you feel better soon. :(

The frogs just plain died. They don't live much longer than your average goldfish. Except, one escaped and we never found him (her?). He/she had escaped before and was cornered by the cats and rescued in the nick of time, but apparently didn't learn his/her lesson the first time around. We secured the tank but he/she apparently found a tiny escape hatch and got out again, never to be found. But when they were in the terrarium, they had a huge breeding frenzy and brought many, many...many,many,many more froglettes into the world, so their genes carry on.

Personally, I wouldn't trust Mr. Typist and I with a pet rock, but hey--we've managed to keep two reckless, hoodlum cats alive for almost 13 years, and our third one hasn't croaked yet, so maybe the critter gods just give extra attention to any little being that has the misfortune to land in our negligent hands.

Frankly Curious said...

I was just joshing! But now that you mention it, someone gave me a pet rock recently. If I can find it, I will send it to you. A terrarium sounds like a great environment for a pet rock. It comes with a manual. And as I recall, it was a very fetching rock.

What you really should get are some of those cool poisonous frogs with the very loud colors.

Six teeth?! I had the remnants of three teeth removed today. That was bad enough. I don't want to think about it.