7 Tense Takes

7 Tense Takes November 8, 2019

This cat, who was so ill, is feeling so much better, thank Heaven.

Oh, well, how awful, there’s snow on the ground.

I really hate it when it snows before all the leaves are gone. It’s untidy. Matt, on the other hand, likes it. Somehow, this explains everything about the difference between the two of us.

I deleted facebook and twitter off my phone this week out of a sense of deprivation and emotional fatigue. I think that too much of all the different kinds of work I do involve a lot of emotional energy—witness the Great Clothes Change Over of 2019. I can’t just swap out what’s in bins for what’s in drawers, I have to go through every scrap of clothing with each child while both of us decide, which takes more kinds of energy than the physical act of stooping and folding. It involves—like the worship of God—the whole heart, mind, and strength. Unlike worshipping God, however, it sucks the life out of you. Or rather me. The kids were cooperative, though loud. And then they started weighing in on what they thought others should be allowed to get rid of. “You can’t throw that away, that was my favorite shirt.”

My solution to the problem of bits of clothes that no one wants to let go of is to bin them up and every third year or so, take those bins out and ask again. Usually the emotions have settled enough that I can get a quick answer, yes or no. Unfortunately, most often the answer is still yes, I have to keep it for ever and ever and ever.

Which is why I had to trade the Basket of Broken China for a Drawer of Broken China because now everyone adds to it, not just me. It’s so heavy I can barely open it.

But I was talking about facebook and twitter. My first problem is that facebook can’t seem to actually show me whose birthday it is every day. Which means I’ve stopped wishing people happy birthday. Which is kind of a relief, but also makes me feel guilty. My second problem is that I see things in such a slap dash fashion that I am always frustrated. My third problem is that twitter brings out all my worst inclinations, those inclining towards judgment and bitterness. So, one day, when I was really tired, I just hit delete, and felt a lot better. Now I have to go find a computer or some other device if I want to see what’s going on. Which, I’m finding, I don’t really want to do, except to find links or other kinds of writing fodder.

Our mentally ill cat was shut in a cupboard for a couple of hours this week (accidentally of course, if he’s going to go in there, it’s kind of his fault if someone shuts the door) and was spooked enough that he came downstairs and sat on a chair at the dinner table, while several of us were in there working. So there were two cats on chairs, two dogs under the table, and many tense people, wondering to what we owed this honor. And this morning both cats were sitting next to each other on the kitchen counter. This is pretty monumental because the cats have never approved of each other, and Bander (the one of social isolation and a broken mind) basically refuses to leave Elphine’s bedroom. It’s like the new millennium or something.

Well, there you are. This morning I will finally put the last bin of clothes away and try to return to my former life of actually doing other kinds of work. Just in time, tragically, to have my whole world absorbed in the Christmas Pageant. There I go, careening from one seasonal anxiety to the next, and the leaves not even all off the trees yet.

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