I need to sleep. Seriously. I need to sleep for a week without the interruption of a social life, bills, 9-5 work, work after work, family issues or the hot heat of summer. I need to enter a state of suspended animation where my poor battered body can rest, regenerate, and perhaps allow my eyes to return to eyes and not bags that could hold most of my possessions in them.
It started out innocently enough. Kristen and I did some work in the BPL on Friday (with me writhing around as the mice were audible in their peeping, and I expected one to crawl across my bare foot at any moment) and then returned to her apartment to watch the game and drink away the boredom. I got some sleep on Friday, but that would be all the sleep I'd see for the weekend.
More freelance work awaited me Saturday morning as I typed away at my computer, my head swimming with the state standards of Georgia and the history of Russia. I consoled myself with the fact that after a few hours of babysitting in the sweltering heat I'd be on my way to Maine to swim, play volleyball, and drink. The Ex-Whatever would pick me up and deliver me to cool waters and drunken men with heavy Boston accents. The kids and I went to the park to play in the sprinkler. The baby was kicking wood chips with her feet, delighted with the power walking brings, when my phone rang.
"Hey, bad news," the Ex-Whatever opened. "The car's more busted up than I thought. Is there any way we can get a ride up to Maine?"
Some other friends were heading up, so I called them and asked them to pick us up in Brookline. Not a problem. It was early, so I figured the Ex-Whatever would be able to get to Brookline without a problem.
"Didn't you think to have them pick me up here?" He asked when I told him the plan. "How am I going to get over to Brookline from the suburbs?"
"Take a bus?"
"I'm not taking a bus," he sighed. I tried to hold in the profanity as the kids looked at me, waiting for me to get off the phone and pay attention to them.
"Listen, I'll see if they'll pick you up there. It's completely out of the way."
"Yeah, okay, bye."
I fumed for a moment, and looked over to the white minivan that had brought the kids and I over to the park. The kids were red in the face and sweaty, laying on the bottom of the slides without much desire to move. I called their parents, who kindly allowed me to joyride with their kids over to the suburb, pick up some guy they'd met once, and come back. "It's probably too hot for the kids to be outside anyway. They'll love the AC."
On the way over to the Suburb, my phone rang with the delicate ringtone that indicates someone's calling from my Mom's house. Since she called on Friday to inform me that the power was going off every day promptly at 4pm and that her tooth broke as the dentist was examining her mouth, requiring her to sit, mouth agape, for two hours as the dentist yanked the rest of the tooth out, that I should pick up.
I feared she was calling to tell me her mouth had absessed or something else and she'd need an entire set of dentures, and her tone didn't do anything to ease my fears.
"Hey, honey," she cooed in the way that mothers do when they have something bad to tell you.
"What's up?" I asked.
"Are you babysitting right now?"
"Yeah," I said, glancing into the back seat, where the kids glared at me for chatting on the phone again.
"Well, call me when you're done. I have some bad news."
"Mom, you can't just call and say that. What's the problem?"
"The cat died."
We got the cats after the untimely demise of Boris, the cat we got when I was seven. I think we got the cats when I was nine or ten, so they're about thirteen years old. Sam's cat (we "traded" cats a few times when we were younger) is Hannah, and my cat was Hattie. She was big and dumb and acted a lot like a dog. She'd follow simple commands. She ate Doritos with a passion. She'd chew on freshly shampooed hair with vigor. She'd meet me at the door when I'd visit home with a meow and a big deposit of cat fur on whatever dark clothes I'd be wearing.
"I didn't want to tell you while you were babysitting. I didn't want you to get upset."
"Well, jeez, I thought Grandpa had died or something. What happened to her?" At this point, the kids were yelling "who died? who died?"
"Kidney failure. They said it was too far along to do anything so I had them put her down. Grandpa came with me."
"Well, I'm glad you weren't by yourself. It's not as sad as the when the dog died and you were alone."
"Yeah," she replied, choking up. Hattie was my Mom's favorite of the two cats.
"But now would be a great time to get a dog," I joked. "Sorry. I shouldn't take advantage of you in your weakened state."
She laughed, and I got off the phone since we were nearing the ex-Whatever's house. The kids regaled me with the story of how "our cat's penis was clogged so we took him to the vet and he had his own litterbox so they could see if he peed and then his penis got unclogged and he came home and everytime we go to the pizza place we see where the cat stayed when he had a sore penis."
The kids piled out of the van when we got to the ex-W's house, examining his car as we waited for him to come outside. "It's doesn't look broken."
I feared for the safety of the baby and I on the way to Brookline as both the older kids I babysit and the ex-W were talking without pause for the entire ride, sucking all the oxygen out of the car. They invented a carnival ride based on pinball, something with a splashdown, and discussed places where the rides were fun. It never really dawned on me how childlike the ex-W can be until he was talking to me while the girl I babysit was talking to me, both of them enthusiastic and deeply involved in what they were saying. The ex-W was talking about what he did as a kid, and the girl I babysit was elaborating on her plan to make human pinball a reality. It endeared the both of them to me more.
We dropped the kids off (no doubt inspiring in the ex-W horrible visions of the two of us with actual shared babies) and waited for the ride to Maine. We got picked up and headed out of the city with the windows down. It was hot, but the wind blew my hair around and I listened to the classic rock station, listened to one of the friends singing along quietly and watched Boston slip away and become woods and rest areas. I wait all year for the hot days of summer, for driving out of the city to enjoy nature and libations, enjoying the warmth on my skin and everyone being relaxed.
We got to Maine around seven, and were surprised to see that the party, which had been going for several hours at that point, was still going strong. Kevin's friends played Stump (a drinking game involving wood, nails and a hammer which, yikes, dude) and Butchie's friends stood around drinking. Kristen's dad met me with an enthusiastic "Amy!" and an offer to have a beer and a hot dog. I love her family.
The ex-W and I started drinking, had some food and promised to have a throwdown by the end of the night. We're really good at drinking, pissing each other off and screaming at each other. This is why we don't date anymore, but it makes for an interesting evening. Kristen didn't feel well, so our hijinks weren't up to par. After drinking and eating, we decided to go swimming. The water was cool and felt good after the back sweat from sitting on the leather car seat had soaked through my dress. I got bruises from the Super Bouncer (a floating trampoline) up and down my thighs. They're still there. It looks like I got into a fight with a gnome. And got my ass kicked.
So the drinking continued until well after 1am. I had to pee, so I got up from the swing and made a run for the sliding door. Which I thought was open, but in my pee hysteria/semi-drunkenness, I plowed directly into a glass door. My head made the telltale "THUMP" loudly enough to get the attention of everyone sitting at the bar. I immediately started to laugh because, in the words of Emily Sailers, if you can't laugh at yourself, you'll cry your eyes out. Kevin, instead of asking if I was okay, pointed, laughed and said "Did you see that?" to everyone within sight. They had.
After raiding the kitchen at 2am for leftover kielbasa, we all fell asleep. I woke up at 8am with that illusory wakefulness that happens after a night of drinking. You wake up early, ready to face the day with the bushy tail and bright eyes, but then you stand up, realize the world is really, really bright and decide to sit back down again after being upright for about five minutes.
After a dip in the lake, we piled back into the car for the hot ride back into Boston. The ex-W and I got dropped off at his house since a) it's air conditioned and b) he had no way to get home from Brookline. We ended up taking a nap since we were both exhausted and didn't eat until 11pm. My body decided to revolt, so I started falling asleep on my plate as the ex-W talked about his quest for the perfect wooden chair for his living room.
I woke up today, not rested at all, my muscles screaming in agony from all the swimming and volleyball, head fuzzy from a lack of sleep and proper nutrition. Today's the company Red Sox game, so I have no choice but to attend. Tomorrow and the rest of the week will be freelance work after work. Other than the people I see every day at work, all my friends think I'm dead. I assure you I'm not. I'll just need to have to check myself into the hospital for "exhaustion," emerge twenty pounds thinner, gather myself up and take a nap. Then I'll be my vivacious self again. Promise.
Monday, June 27, 2005
Posted by Amy at 12:01 PM