Like I Do

(Writing from September 12, 2011.)
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I think it might be prudent to rename this blog: Tawni Channels Your Crazy Grandmother. Sometimes I feel like all I ever do here is whine about my latest health malady. Recipes, pictures of questionable quality, and bitching about my new and exciting versions of physical weakness. Yep. That pretty much covers it. I’m a kvetching old lady trapped in a middle-aged woman’s body.

So… pink eye. Pink eye is sooooo last week. I went to the doctor, I got the costly eye drops, I can once again open my left eye first thing in the morning. Such a luxury.

Today, however, to quote my son in the middle of the night when he woke himself up hacking like a baby seal and I was putting a blanket under his pillows to raise him up and he coughed a wet, sputum-filled cough directly into my mouth… today, “My thwoat feels like it has wocks in it.”

Ahhhh, public school infections. The gift that keeps on giving.

But I got a major perspective check yesterday. Like I do. A few of them, actually.

First, I spent the day (9-11) avoiding Facebook and the millions of trite feeling, “I was eating a sandwich and scratching my ass when it happened,” types of posts.

(The winner: “Today is a sad day for many reasons, but one being….It’s the last episode of True Blood for the season. *sad emoticon*”)

(Copied and pasted directly from Facebook. I’m not even making that up.)

I mentioned to my husband that I was avoiding Facebook for this reason, and sensitive, psychologically healthy human that he is, he gently explained that people need to share their feelings with each other to move past grief. (He didn’t even call me a cold, unfeeling bitch! Special man.) And I agree. But still. I guess I am just not grief-friendly. I’ll work on it.

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Our son goes to church with his grandparents, my husband’s parents, on Sundays. My husband and I are not religious, but our social butterfly kiddo loves Sunday school, the grandparents love the time with him, and we love being able to do the week’s grocery shopping together in peace. It’s a win-win-win.

So we finished the grocery shopping early, because if you go before the non-heathens get out of church, the store is a ghost town, which is awesome. Then we turned on the television and watched the horrifically scary and heartbreaking-ly sad 9-11 ten year anniversary coverage. I sobbed on the couch watching children who lost parents and parents who lost children. Like I do. And I read the Sunday paper on the couch, which was full of more of the same, and cried over that. Like I do.

Then, right in the middle of my media-induced, nervously worked-up, heightened state of emotional vigilance, the stupid city I live in decided to sound the tornado sirens for a few minutes. Yes, the creepy fucking tornado sirens that scare me the first Wednesday of every month at noon when they test them. And even though I know it’s a test, there is a part of me that thinks, But wouldn’t it be brilliant to launch your attack at the exact time of the monthly siren test so nobody would take it seriously? Because my brain is actually neurotic enough to go there.

But the test never happens on Sunday. Wednesday, not Sunday. And it was the anniversary of major terrorist shit going down, which makes it more likely that shit will go down, according to America. And with everyone already thinking about shit going down, and scared of more shit going down, why would you ever set off a fucking warning siren across a city?

So even though it was high noon when they started up, I absolutely freaked out. Like crying and shaking. Full panic mode. Obviously it was intended as a tribute or a show of respect, but really, my city? Really? How about we just fly the flags at half-mast and call it good? On a day when the media has been scaring us about another potential attack, on a day when there is possibly a higher chance for a terrorist act, on the anniversary of something so unimaginably horrible… do you really think it’s a good idea to sound the fucking emergency sirens?

It felt like a bad joke. Like a mean prank. It felt apocalyptic, like the tornado sirens always sound to me during tornado season, and I hated it, like I always do.

(I have had a monthly post-apocalyptic nightmare since childhood. I blame The Day After. They showed this terrifying end-of-the-world movie to us at school. We lived in Lawrence, Kansas, one of the nuclear-destroyed cities. I’m certain I wasn’t the only one traumatized by it.)

There has to be a better sound they could use to announce the arrival of our impending doom. Like if it’s a tornado, maybe they play “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” (Actually, nix that. That would be way creepier.) Or maybe if it’s a terrorist alert, they could play, “You Dropped a Bomb on Me” by The Gap Band over the speakers. You know. Have a sense of humor about it. Why not go out laughing, right?

But no. We just have those awful, haunting, ghoulish sirens, howling mournfully like the dogs of hell coming to take me away.

Or something less dramatic.

In the middle of my psychological meltdown, sirens still wailing, me still shaking and crying and pacing, my sweet husband tried to hug me, saying, “It’s a tough day.” He was just trying to make me feel better, or possibly trying to make me feel less stupid for reacting like a four-year-old to scary noises. But I snapped, “It’s not the fucking day! It’s those eerie motherfucking sirens! Why the fuck would they set them off today? Who decided this was a good idea?”

I was really pissed off at whoever decided to set them off. But it wasn’t my husband’s fault. I shouldn’t have snapped at him. I should have called the non-emergency police number and asked them what the hell they thought they were doing. (At least print something in the local paper, warning people that you’re going to use the same sirens that tell us we might die soon to do some sort of 9-11 tribute. Please.)

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The sirens finally turned off, and I stopped pacing around the house while weeping and looking out all of the windows. I collected myself and felt stupid. Like I do after an emotional outburst. I was about to apologize to my poor, long-suffering husband when his phone rang.

It was his aunt telling us that his dad had collapsed at church. The paramedics were there. And we needed to come get our son.

We got in the car and drove quickly. The ambulance was leaving for the hospital when we arrived. A paramedic told us what had happened. I guess his dad’s blood pressure was rapidly dropping while they checked him out, and it took them awhile to stabilize him for transport.

My husband handed me the keys to our car and left immediately for the hospital with his mother and aunt because they were shaken up and needed a driver for their car. I had the job of collecting my son from the Sunday school nursery and getting him home.

Luckily, my little guy had seen none of this, as the church ladies were kind enough to entertain him in the back of the church, which I appreciated so much. I found him surrounded by adoring women, which is his favorite place to be in the world: amongst his fans (I birthed a major ham… shocking, I know). He was blowing some bubbles someone had given him, and of course, when he saw me, his first question was, “Where’s Granddad?” Sigh.

I fake-brightly told him that Granddad wasn’t feeling good, so he had to go to the doctor for a check-up. He was disappointed, but came with me when I promised him a stupid Happy Meal. His grandparents always take him out to lunch after church and he was upset, so yes, I pulled the classic Happy Meal Maneuver shared by parents across the land. It worked. I have no shame.

We got home and waited for updates from my husband. They are hoping the incident was caused by a too-high dosage of blood pressure medicine, but they are keeping him in the hospital for a few days to run heart tests and other such scans. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the blood pressure medicine thing, because obviously, that would be an easy fix. I hope he’s going to be okay.

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One important thing I’ve learned at this point in my life is that whining has absolutely no place in it. Ever. The minute I complain about anything, the universe has a way of making me feel ridiculous, almost immediately.

And I should feel ridiculous. Because somebody always has it worse. It’s funny how life finds ways to remind you that it can always be worse, isn’t it?

Oh, you have pink eye and a burning throat? Poor you. Would you rather be jumping from a burning building, or taken by ambulance to the hospital today?

No, thanks. Turns out, I’m doing great. We cool.

Hope you’re having a beautiful week, friends.

xoxo.

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