Because Of Course It Did

I suspect most parents have moments where they stop spinning in circles for a breath and wonder what the hell happened. I’ve been channeling my inner David Byrne (“My God/how did I get here?“) most of this year. While much of the country is getting back to “normal”, the weird and/or hard shit keeps happening here. Here, the land of decidedly not-normal, where we still don’t have indoor seating at restaurants, where I lost two friends in the same week–one to lung cancer and one to suicide, and where God only knows if we will ever be able to go back to work on Broadway.

Robbie, the original A2 on Jersey Boys in La Jolla, 2004.

Friday our minivan died. Two weeks before we need three cars for three very differently scheduled students commuting to schools nowhere near each other. Because of course it did. Thanks, COVID. Also? 2020 is an asshole. If 2020 were poised on the edge of a cliff and started to lose its balance, I’d push it right over. It’s a total dick.

The Zombie Van was a 2007 Honda Odyssey with 230,000 miles on it. It really didn’t owe us anything else. It had already over-delivered. CC took really good care of it, but after the door fell off we accepted it was time for palliative care. We’d make her as comfortable as possible and she’d let us know when it was her time.

She died in the parking lot of the storage unit where we were hauling the last of #2’s stuff, to be taken to her when she moves into her apartment in the Midwest. The shop called with the news:

“Vehicle not starting. Battery failed load test. Alternator not charging. Valve cover gasket leaking oil onto alternator. Transmission dry, fluid leaking out of transmission cooler lines and radiator. Cannot check for codes for engine or transmission due to battery being dead and won’t know if transmission is operating normally. Power steering pump is leaking as well.”

So $3600 to get to the point where we could find out if it also needed a new transmission. My God I haven’t laughed this hard in a long time. I guess she had one more gift left to give.

The punchline (no, that wasn’t it) was that we couldn’t get #2’s bed frame out because the back door wouldn’t open. BECAUSE IT’S ONE HUNDRED PERCENT ELECTRONIC. BECAUSE THAT’S BETTER. CC and #5 went back the next day with patience and ingenuity and successfully removed it. Sadly, the 6-CD changer (remember those?) held on to Operation Mindcrime, Clockwork Angels, and Hardwired to Self-Destruct and will take them to the grave.

A super bright spot is that I have an article in the September issue of Stepmom Magazine. If you’re a stepmom, this magazine is a lifesaver. There are regular contributions from therapists, stepfamily coaches, and smart, helpful stepmoms. I only got in because I told them if they didn’t take my piece, I’d send my house-bound kids their way, one at a time.

Don’t make me send them over.

My piece is about returning to a full house in quarantine when you were damn near an empty-nester. While you do have to subscribe to read it, you can subscribe a month at time and test it out. There’s even a free 30-day trial.

Meanwhile. . . have any of you ever beat my mileage on a drive-it-til-it-dies car?

The Fuggle’s Latest Artistic Endeavor

Sunday I was folding some laundry on my bed, and I saw this:

There’s a little pink spot on my bed today

I thought maybe I’d dropped a lipstick. That’s not a thing that I do, dropping a lipstick. I have a very strong respect for my unnecessarily large lipstick collection but hey, it could happen. Especially when I made a point earlier this week to empty all my purses and bags since I’M NOT GOING ANYWHERE ANY TIME SOON. I kept folding laundry, and I kept finding more spots. . .

WTF, spots?

They eventually led to a Puggle. More specifically, the Fuggle.

Fuggle butt

Upon closer inspection, it was revealed that Jack had a pink paw:

Don’t be judging my quarantine manicure.

A yellow/orange paw:

No really. Stop judging.


And a red paw:

And don’t judge Jack’s quarantine manicure, either.

When I saw the paws, I had a strong suspicion of where he’d been and what he’d done. I picked him up (so as to avoid any more artistic creations) and carried him down to #4’s empty room, where the evidence was undeniable.







Not the original artistic vision

We’re not entirely sure why he climbed onto the desk in the first place. It’s not his usual middle-aged Puggle routine, climbing on things. Best we can figure is he was interested in the smells, and she’d been away from the room for like 20 minutes, so he missed her (he’s a little codependent). He left a trackable path from the desk, to her bed, to the floor, up the stairs, down the hall, to my bedroom.

#4 is painting a second version of this painting. I can’t wait to see them hanging side by side.

Jackson Puggle? Jack Pollock?

So. What’s your dog into these days?

**No Puggle was harmed in the writing of this blog post. All paints came safely off all Puggle parts, including the back-foot-to-face transfer from where he was scratching himself (as a Puggle is wont to do).

I Don’t Say. . .

Boy, there was a lot of swearing the last time I was here. I thought about editing it out, but then I thought ah, screw it.

Well, that’s not exactly what I thought. . .

Besides, everything I said then was true (except my erroneous belief that my show at that time would run out the year).

So.

How’s your quarantine?

I’m nonessential. My entire household is unemployed. As a matter of fact, everything I’ve ever done to earn money is currently banned (which sounds a lot more badass if you take it out of context, so please do). Stagehands are well acquainted with the lack of job security in our chosen field, but even so, I always said that all the way at the end of the world they would still need a sound guy. Remember Mars Attacks? Silly me. That was an alien invasion, not a pandemic. Pandemics require only broadcast sound guys.

I’m taking unemployment for the first time in my life. Well, I think I am, anyway. Navigating the New York State Unemployment website is one of the circles of hell (it’s in the middle somewhere, like maybe Four and a Half- between Greed and Anger) and I’m never really sure if what I did took and I haven’t seen the money yet, although it’s possible it’s loaded onto that debit card* that they sent me even though I asked them not to and to just put it in my bank account, please. They do send me a lot of things in the mail, but none of them are money.

I’m not going crazy, not really. I was going crazy before. Before, with the commute and the not enough sleep and the countless doctor’s appointments to figure out why my foot is still screwed up after surgery; with the one day off a week and trying to do all of the life things and failing; being totally drained and not having anything left to give to the people I love. Before, with the not having the energy to workout, or the emotional fortitude to carry on a conversation. That was crazy making. That was rage making.

So I welcome the respite. As an introvert, I’m pretty content (although, there are a large number of people in my home and THEY NEVER GO ANYWHERE!) Before all of this, I would drift away in daydreams and fantasize about being bored. Now I’m neither productive, nor bored. I go back and forth between feeling like I’m living in a bubble, and then being pretty sure that we’re all gonna die and we can’t actually protect ourselves.

I’m cool with it right now.

CC and #5 have been building our patio.

They bust their asses all day, spreading gravel, hauling rocks, sweating.

That’s #5 there on the right. I am not making this up.

My project has been the attic. I’m shredding documents that never needed to be kept in the first place that are 20 years old. I’m currently working on a laundry basket full of random shit that was clearly removed from The Pile en masse in 2006; I’m opening still-sealed mail that’s 14 years old.

In our defense, 2006 was a pretty intense year.

The shredder self-destructed a week ago.

And not to be all sappy and shit, but it’s been a real treat to pretend to be like normal people and have family dinners and take walks and see daylight. The Puggles are so happy to have so many laps home, all the time.

So tell me, how’s your quarantine? What sucks about it? What’s good about it? What’s something that surprises you about it?

Don’t freak out; it’s where we walk the Puggles

Making no promises here about the frequency of posts that may or may not be coming up. I haven’t even decided if I’m going to fix things like the fact that my WordAds appears to be advertising to me to sign back up. But I just wanted to put something out there, and see what comes back.

*Update: The state DID, in fact load it onto that debit card that I didn’t ask for. Unclear yet if it’s real money that I can spend.