For SIX DAYS a bright green rubber finger puppet in the shape of a frog has been sitting on the bathroom floor.
Right in front of the sink.
Right next to the toilet.
It has been killing me, this fucking frog.
As an experiment, I have left it there, lo and these many days, waiting for someone - SOMEONE BESIDES ME - to pick it up. I should not have bothered, I knew how it would end. Every day, leaving it there has eaten away at my soul, and yet I persevered. I never breathed a word of this little green frog, as he was knocked around the floor, first to the left of the sink, then to the right of the sink. Up against the wastebasket, next to the rug, and finally, right in the middle of the doorway, pushed to and fro every time the door opened and closed. Gathering dust and hair day by day. I refused to pick it up. I refused to ask anyone else to pick it up.
For six long, painful days.
Until tonight, when it was joined by some unidentified round metal.....thing. And because I was afraid I might hurt myself stepping on it, or that it was an important part to something, I picked that round metal thing up.
And while I was down there, I picked up the fucking frog finger puppet too.
We are one week into this "vacation" and I have begun taking a daily dose of anti-anxiety medication in addition to my antidepressant because OH MY GOD THE CRAP IT IS EVERYWHERE AND NO ONE IS DEALING WITH IT BUT ME.
Laundry is washed and dried and sorted, and there it sits. Never to be put away.
Mail is brought in and stacked on the counter, where it sits. Never to be opened.
The dishwasher full of clean dishes while the dirty ones collect in the sink.
Recycling piles up by the door, the dog is left unwalked, the backs of every chair festooned with sweaters that have been removed and tossed casually. The rugs need vacuuming and the floor needs sweeping.
And still I wait for someone - anyone - to do any of it of their own volition. To complete a task not just without being asked - but without my assistance in any way.
I don't know why I bother.
This morning as I drove the kids to camp, I asked Lucy to get out the sunblock and put it on her face.
"It's not in here, Mom!"
"Of course it is," I said. And I knew it was.
She insisted it was not.
I assured her it was.
She began pulling everything out of the bag, throwing it across the backseat in a huff. "It's not in here, I'm telling you!"
"And I am telling YOU - it is."
A few moments later, I spotted her as she opened the tube and began applying the sunblock to her face.
I had the good sense not to say a word.
This afternoon as we drove to meet a friend, I asked Max to grab my phone out of my purse and see if I had any texts from them. A few moments later he looked at me, wide-eyed. "It's not in your purse." I resisted the urge to swerve off the highway and dump the contents of my purse on the floor.
"Are you sure?"
So I pulled into a parking lot. "Everyone get out of the car and find my phone, it has to be in here somewhere." (Because the alternative - that it was sitting on the side of the road somewhere - was just unthinkable.) We emptied tote bags, unbuckled the baby's carseat, rooted around under seats, pulled the stroller out of the trunk, dug through the glovebox and the door pockets to no avail.
And then I remembered something. I had taken Max's word for it.
I went back to the front seat, and pulled my purse open. My phone was sitting there, right on top of my wallet. I walked back to the trunk, where Max was dismantling the storage compartment of the cargo area.
"The phone was in my purse."
"Are you serious?"
"Yes. I am very, very serious."
"OH?!" I surveyed the scene. The baby was in her carrier in the front seat, the base hanging out of the back door of the car by the seatbelt. The stroller was in three pieces on the ground behind the car. Two totes and the diaper bag had been dumped out in the backseat. A water bottle rolled under the hood of the car next to us. Receipts and wadded up kleenex blew across the parking lot like tumbleweeds as we stood there in silence.
I am being driven slowly, ever so slowly, out of my mind.
It's not just my family, mind you.
Last week I ordered two sandwiches at Safeway and by the time the guy behind the counter had sliced the bread I was about ready to throw myself over the counter and shove him aside to do it myself. Every move was belabored. There was much staring into space and deep sighing as I paced around the soup display trying not to let on how BATSHIT CRAZY he was making me. And then I began to have a massive panic attack. If I had never had one before, I would have dropped to the floor and begged someone to call 9-1-1. My heart was pounding in my ears, My face was hot, my extremities numb, my breathing labored, my vision dizzy. My throat burned and my eyes watered. People's voices echoed around me as I hung onto the display of Doritos and nonchalantly tried to catch my breath. I finally staggered outside, as the guy began slowly spooning coleslaw onto one of the rolls, one shred of cabbage at a fucking time.....
I literally could not take it for another second.
I threw the car door open and collapsed face first on the seat, grasping for my bag as Max and Lucy stared at me, mouths agape.
"Uh, mom? Are you okay?"
"Yeah mom, are you okay? You don't look so-"
"I need my medicine." I managed to get the words out through my throat which was tight, and over my tongue which felt swollen. I was so glad I had decided to keep these pills with me just in case - I had never needed them more than I did at this moment. Max tore my purse apart, popped the child-proof cap, and started spilling pills out onto his palm. "How many?"
"Just one, are you trying to kill me?" I smiled, weakly. Lucy raised an eyebrow.
Eventually, the sandwiches were made, but the problem has not been resolved.
Today I got my toenails painted.
As I sat there with the baby in my lap, I watched this man slowly - ever so slowly - paint one. nail. at. a. time. stroke. by. stroke. His hand shook. The polish rolled off my nail and onto my toe. He dabbed at it and soldiered on. In the end, my toes looked exactly the same as they do when I let Lucy paint them - only when she does it it's free and I don't have polish on the bottom of my foot afterwards.
And then I had to pay for it. Because the alternative - demanding that an actual nail tech paint my toes instead of her friendly uncle who means well - was just too much to bear.
And through it all, over the last few weeks, I got these texts. They were from two different numbers. I had no idea who either one was, and the only thing they had in common was - and I am not joking - venison.
Now, it is random enough to get a random text about venison from a stranger. But to get TWO texts about venison, from two different, unidentified people, well. That takes some doing. Each time I got a text from one of these numbers, I replied back politely letting them know they had texted the wrong person. And the senders would apologize. And then another text would come through a few days later. Not a lot of texts. 4 or 5, maybe. But all sent to me mistakenly, and all discussing....venison.
And then while I was watching this man apply polish liberally to my toes at a snail's pace, I got a voicemail.
I swear to god I am not making this up.
And I listened to the whole message, and then I kind of lost it a little bit. Because the person who left the message - almost a minute long - started out by saying "Sorry, I guess I have been texting the wrong person, and I don't know how that happened, but I deleted her number and I thought it would be best to just call you.... So we have the venison steaks, and some salad, maybe you could bring some bread....." and it went on.
She deleted the wrong number. She deleted the wrong fucking number from her phone, and she was going to keep calling me, and texting me about fucking venison because she could not figure out how to look at the message I sent saying "you have the wrong number" and then delete that phone number from her contacts.
Of course not.
Now I know that these are not big things. Taken individually, these should not even be blips on the radar.
A slow deli guy. A rubber frog. A wrong number. These are not earth shaking problems.
"You need to calm down" I hear you saying. "You are over-reacting. Maybe you should up your meds." And to that I say YES IN FUCKING DEED I DO.
But I also need to find a way to deal with the fact that we are one week into summer vacation and I already think I might have to go outside and break something, in a dramatic smashy shattering fashion. Maybe throw some plates at a brick wall or something really satisfying like that.
This is going to be a very, very long two months. Unbearably long.
Thank goodness I have all of this
Also, I hired a housecleaner.
She starts tomorrow.