Today in Alexandria

Today in Alexandria I volunteered with a Presidential campaign phone bank. I was stunned by the power of autodial technology and also by the number of people who (a) did not want to say which candidate they supported or (b) were watching football. I begin to suspect I really am out of touch with the political pulse of the nation. I may need to call in Muppet Labs to study the matter in greater depth.

Today in Alexandria my next-door neighbors are having a party. About once every two or three months the music from next door cranks until the wee hours and we hear sounds of dancing. I am starting to think the music may be live and that maybe our neighbors are hosting house concerts.

This evening (also in Alexandria) Mouse and TeenBot parked in the basement with me while Dino Spouse napped on the living room couch to the sweet sounds of “Snapped” after watching “Unfriended” on demand.

I don’t watch the candidate debates for either party because I dislike listening to staged arguments. If I can’t have some Lincoln-Douglas action or “Hamilton”-style rap battles, I want none of it. So I was going to work on writing an essay and/or a call to arms for a new federalist papers project, but I watched the premiere of “Mercy Street” instead. Now I have resorted to blogging about my day and listening to the neighbors’ musical stylings. I believe this is a sign from Providence that I should do the damn dishes instead. So is the fact that Mouse just edited this post.

 

A Few Weeks Later

Podrostok (or maybe I should start calling him Soldatik in honor of his new adult station in life) came home for the holidays. It was fun having him around and having an excuse to visit a friend of mine who lives near Soldatik‘s base during the pick-up and drop-off trips. (Always life-affirming to see people whose ambient chaos levels resemble or exceed one’s own, plus I got slept on by some dachshunds. This last fact almost makes up for the fact that he introduced the film “Love, Actually” into my life, but only almost. It’s the cinematic equivalent of eating an entire bag of Starburst jellybeans in one sitting, and it makes me regret the loss of my gag reflex in much the same manner. If I had won the Powerball last week I would have paid for a sequel in which Emma Thompson’s character teamed up with Laura Linney’s character to wreak havoc on all the smug happy people in the film. It would end with Laura Linney and Liam Neeson living happily ever after, Emma Thompson bonking the dude who plays Rick on “Walking Dead,” and the chick who seduced Alan Rickman subjugating and blackmailing Hugh Grant while performing feminist consciousness-raising intervention on his girlfriend. Colin Firth and his girl friend can stay together, though.)

No Dinosaurovs (or Protosaurs) were harmed in the making of this Christmas, for what that’s worth, nor were the police summoned to my belle-mere‘s apartment. I couldn’t summon the holiday spirit to decorate the house in earnest, but I did at least trim up a table festively and make some cookies, and my sister had a lovely Christmas dinner for the lot of us.

I went another round with the nightstand last week, but this time I pushed it out of the way as I was rolling on to the floor (diving to the floor of a metro car to avoid gun fire in my dream). Dino Spouse was startled by the noise but neither of us was wounded. I guess that means the nightstand and I are even now? I’ve gotten a referral to a neurologist and a sleep specialist.

Mouse discovered the musical “Hamilton” at some point during the holiday and it took over our brains completely. Unfortunately, anxiety and despoir also took over Mouse’s brain during the school break, with the result that my girl has attended four of the last ten days of school. We have logged a lot of quality time with mental health professionals in the past two weeks. I am grateful that I will be seeing mine on Monday, because dang.

Duelling Scar

In my dreams, I often resort to violence and screaming. Literally. Dino Spouse wakes me at least twice a month, often more, as I begin shrieking or furiously kicking and punching him in my sleep. I frequently reflect on how fortunate it is for me that Dino Spouse, an amateur heavyweight boxer, is not the one with the predilection for fighting in his sleep.

On Tuesday night, I dreamed that I was being pursued and leapt over a fence. Somehow this involved me engaging my nightstand in single combat. It won, so I have a lovely black eye.

This Month

I spent most of October developing new bureaucratic processes and redeveloping them when they didn’t work the first time. I suspect I will spend November similarly. In the universe of bureaucratic labor as game play* I default to the role of the person who gets sent off to find the box that the game came in (or the Scrabble dictionary or the freakin Hoyle) and then reconcile what it says with the host of the party. (In real life, I default to the role of the person who hangs out in a corner in intense conversation or dies of boredom waiting for the game to be over. I’m not sure who runs the controls of the KateBot during the work day, but I promise you as taxpayers that she’s much more sensible than I am.)

*It’s a David Graeber metaphor. No disrespect intended to my livelihood or my fellow taxpayers.

Happy New Year

Happy fiscal new year to all of my fellow federal public servants! The worst thing about the fiscal year cliffhanger this year was that Dino Spouse switched from his usual true crime TV fare to watching Congressional debate on C-SPAN. I never thought I would miss “Snapped,” but such is the power of Ted Cruz’s oration.

Fall seems to have arrived in Washington with the fiscal new year. Unpleasant discovery #1 of the fall: my cherished leather jacket, the $300 buttery black delight I found at a local Salvation Army two years ago for $20, has gone all stinky. I believe it may have been saturated with rain and snow a few too many times, and now it emanates a smell reminiscent of wet dog or wet wool. I can handle looking shabby (and probably the jacket is looking a little rough, since I patched a rip in one of the pockets last year), but I cannot abide stank.

We have yet to hear from our Soldier in Training at length, but he is in the second week of boot camp. We’ve seen pictures of him thanks to the big-hearted spouses of the soldiers running basic training and the regimental Facebook pages. The first two or three action shots of Podrostok showed him looking stressed and/or confused, but last night’s feed included an excellent picture of him running and looking, well, army strong.

In The Morning

Today my first-born will be sworn in as an Army recruit at a Military Entry Processing Station and ship off to basic training. We dropped him off a few hours ago at the hotel where they gather, and in the morning we’ll go en famille to see the swearing-in and hug him again before seeing him off on the bus.

Dino Spouse is bereft. Podrostok is his boy through and through. It will be a rough day.

I really ought to go to bed now.

They Grow Up So Fast

Mouse: (looking out car window on way to my office on Labor Day because $%#@!) Everything is funnier if you look at people and imagine them falling.

Me: Everything is more beautiful if you look at people and imagine them suffused with joy.

Mouse: That is not how I raised you.

Maternal Circuit Overload

Odd, isn’t it? I can contemplate Podrostok‘s impending enlistment (your US Army, ladies and gentlemen) with complete equanimity. I got through his high school graduation without shredding a tear or even misting up. He turned 18 recently and I was totally calm. But the sight of the SF-1199 (a venerable federal government direct deposit form, for non-initiates) struck a chill into my heart when it appeared on our kitchen table after his induction. Now the act of opening savings and checking accounts for him online feels like farewell, the kind you know will hurt for a long time but in the moment you only want to throw up and your mouth won’t sit right. My little boy is an adult and he’s leaving soon.

I guess I’ll go clean something now.

These Are Quiet Times

They’re quiet times for me, anyway. Podrostok goes to basic training at the end of September. I took more procurement training and visited Denver for work. (That reminds me, I need to add Colorado to my list of places where I am seeking employment.) The younger kids, having completed their annual visits to the Protosaurs in Florida, are doing a whole lot of nothing for the rest of the summer.

I have arguments in my head with people I don’t know on the Internet, but I don’t write them down.