Pluck it.

You know what I like to do? Nothing. I love to do absolutely nothing. I like to lay down, roll over, move the pillow, keep laying down. Possibly elevate my knees so that my low back can stay relaxed and supple. John and I basically bonded over the fact that we like to lay down. And no, not in that way. Well, actually, yeah . . . either way it isn’t any of your business. Yuck. I feel as if it would be incorrect to describe myself as lazy, per se—I manage to accomplish an incredible amount of crap each day. It’s just that, really, I would much rather be doing nothing. I’m never not doing anything but at the same time, I’m never really getting anything done. It’s a horrible spiral that some people may refer to as “stay at home motherhood.”

There was a time when I had a lot of pluck. If shit needed to get done, I just got the shit done. Now, I sigh heavily, complain, and furrow my now permanently furrowed brow. I see each activity that the children would love as one giant time fuck. I see the mess it will create, the assistance that it will require, the age difference between the two boys looming as an issue. Phrases like, “they are only young once!” and “treasure every moment, they go by so quickly!” are sort of lodged in my head like a tumor I am unable to shake. I’m just not that kind of mother! I’m occasionally sentimental but mostly, the things I think about are all the things I need to get done or should do with the kids in order to be that mom. And I get tired before we, or I, have even begun. I get the shit done, but I can assure you that as I do it, I remain as miserable as humanly possible. I need to reclaim my pluck. Maybe I should start taking meth. They look pretty plucky, meth users. At least until they rot from the inside out. Then they just look creepy and gray. They seriously look like a cancerous lung, from years of smoking. Just grey, wrinkled and hard. You can thank Doctor Oz for that visual.

When I was in my late teens/early twenties I had a car that I still mourn to this day. It was a little white Mazda riddled with the age-appropriate bumper stickers like “Mean People Suck” and “I Love Freaks.” God I loved that car. Once, the windshield wiper motor broke and I had little, possibly no, money. I got an estimate that I remember being under $100 but at the time, it seemed like $1,000,000 to me. I was cleaning hotel rooms at the Red Roof Inn, in Syracuse, NY, making an unlivable wage (which is why I was also working two other jobs at the same time—see? PLUCK.), and to add to the issue, it was winter. Driving in the winter in upstate New York is comparable to being vomited on repeatedly with no time to clean up. It is miserable. I swear to the sweet invisible Lord that if I ever have to live there again, I will need to walk around surrounded by heat fans, fake sunshine, and, like, nice people that actually look at you as if you exist.

I digress.

Since I didn’t have money, yet I had a job that I needed to drive to in the middle of winter, I just got some twine, tied a string to the wiper, thread it through my car window (which was always cracked so I could chain-smoke—an upstate New York requirement for that age, ask anyone) and pulled the string every 15 seconds or more. I even managed to smoke, pull, drive, blinker, smoke, pull, drive, merge without once killing anyone. Because I am awesome. Also, plucky.

Years later, that same vehicle suffered a great loss when the stereo died. So I went to the store, bought a radio/tape player (this was before CD’s, which seems so completely odd to me, as if I have traveled from Uranus to write that) for about $10, bought some Velcro adhesive and Velcroed that mo-fo to my dashboard. Genius! And, let’s say it together now! Plucky. Of course, being new to Tucson I didn’t realize that putting anything on the dashboard of a car was idiotic. Within days it warped in the bright desert sunshine, and it required a quick jab of the fist to get it to work. And then, one day, some stupid fucker stole the $10, warped tape player out of my car, leaving some Velcro dangling from the dashboard.

Probably a meth user.

For some reason, when I think of the time I don’t have any more, I think of this car. Maybe because things happened in this car. I got shit done! I went dumpster diving and shoved wall to wall carpeting in this car! I drove it back and forth across the country numerous times. I shoved everything I owned into this car at least 15 times and moved, over and over again. In one move I even managed to strap my bed to the roof, my bike on the back, and all my possessions inside so that I could move to Tucson. I slept in the trunk, got lost in the ghetto in Iowa—which I was shocked to discover actually had a ghetto—I even fell in love in that car. Sigh. RIP Mazda.

I don’t need much. Well, other than coffee twice a day, peas in the pod every day when they are in season, and a massage at least once a month, I really don’t need much. I’m quite easy to please, in fact! Most people need like, 8 pillows to sleep with, sheets at a certain thread count, a nice, reliable vehicle . . . really some people are downright obnoxious with their needs. Like my husband, for example. Every night (he will argue this) he has a cup of chocolate milk. It has to be Quik, and I know for a fact that he prefers to drink it out of his Quik bunny cup, where the handle is the ear of the bunny. He will be  40 in December.


Go to his Facebook page and mock him, please. Oh! And he also likes to eat Cocoa Crispies or Count Chocula cereal as a “healthy treat” at night, after the boys are asleep. When the kids catch on to that, they are going to be pissed. I suppose he doesn’t require those things, but it sure seems like he’s all settled into a nice routine for life. But like I said, I don’t need much, but I do need to reach some sort of vague laying-down quota. Not that all I’m about is laying down. I am one deep broad, actually. If I could just start with the lying down, that would be great.

I’m not sure why I am even telling you this. It just seems as if I have so much time that it almost looms in front of me, each day. Yet, nothing that I do inspires me and the time that I actually do have is just long enough to write a list of all the things I would like to do but not enough to actually do any of it. Poor me. I’m like a Catholic, but not. Every time I speak, write, or even think these thoughts, the guilt just about pokes my eyeballs out. I realize that I am fortunate to have two healthy, bright children and a loving husband. My life is fantastic, really. It’s just that it seems as if something that once was has passed, and I am, in my brief moments of free time, trying to recapture it. It’s as if I wasn’t even present for the first half of my life, and now I would like to, please and thank you, go back and do it again. I’m sure I am not the only mother or caregiver in the world who thinks, “but, there is so much more to me than this!” and longs for the day when they can prove that to themselves. I long for it at least, and I am pretty sure that I matter.

Well, that was depressing. I need to end on a lighter note. So, um . . . monkey balls. Yeah. That was certainly lighter. And now, I must go retrieve my children from the bathtub, where I have made them stay for the last hour so I could write this and continue to wait for my husband to return home from work so I can finally lay down.



Filed under All of them., Children.

11 responses to “Pluck it.

  1. This happens to my favorite post yet. You started to lose me on the last paragraph–but as a whole–freaking fan-plucking-tastic. Too bad Family Fun magazine would never publish anything acknowledging the boredom/freedom of motherhood. Maybe you should try Cookie…oh, well crap. They folded. Anyway, mothering literature could use a breath of fresh air. So maybe you should start your own mothering magazine–for those “I Love Freaks” people. There’s a monetizing stream to your madness. 🙂

  2. Hahaha! Thanks! But um, you do know that I will now obsess over what it is you didn’t like about the last paragraph, right?

  3. Charlotte

    Love your post Sarah!! You are honest. That is so refreshing that I’ll have to send you a poem I wrote about motherhood and lost dreams. I hesitate to share it with most because it is a little dark.
    Anyway, I enjoyed reading your blog.

  4. If it wasn’t freaking midnight I would totally give you more of my two cents. But since it’s freaking midnight–I’ll just say that the last few paragraphs sort of muddled the humor for me. You begin the essay by talking about how you’re lazy and have lost your pluck. Then you fill the essay with these hilarious antidotes. At the end…it just sort of loses steam. I would delete from…”I’m not sure why I’m telling you this…TO…And, now I must retrieve my children.” And, end with that line about retrieving your children–which is really really funny. Then I would take that paragraph you deleted and start a whole new essay with that as the opening paragraph–and build on it.

    • I so appreciate your feedback Stephanie-and I am really glad that you know me well enough to know that I welcome it! I have to say that I disagree but not without a lot of thinking. One difficult thing for me is that what motivates me to write is usually not funny. In the moment I will be really struggling or feeling like, as Rowan would say, “dung”. Yet I know that some people like to read my blog cause I bring the funny but, I don’t feel funny all the time. It is a hard thing to balance.

      So there. Mwah!

  5. Yay! I love when you post.

    I feel your guilt. Except I’m conflicted, because you make everything sound so funny when I know all of it is not. I mean, the whole thing was definitely funny, but some things kind of struck a chord or something – like the time looming thing. I can relate, I guess is why. Really good blog – I like. I wish I could have seen the car with the bed on top driving down the road. Ha. Awesome.

    And, OMG!! Tell John that as a child/teenager/young adult/whatever I’m considered now, I drank/drink chocolate milk nearly every single night!! Chocolate milk and apples. And it’s ALWAYS Quik. My brother liked Hershey’s, so my mom had to get both because I refused to switch. I’m kind of jealous of the bunny cup though.

  6. Christopher

    Too hilarious. Seriously. I laughed out loud for real (although I often say this, I very rarely do it!). And now I just can’t get that picture of John with a bunny cup and some Qwik out of my head. Thanks so much for always being so wry, clever, and fascinating 🙂

  7. julie (jenn's friend)

    jenn is always telling me that you and i are very similar and after reading your posts, i realize we aren’t similar… we are the same exact person. you say things that i think, in exactly the same words i think them!! it is cray and weird… but i like it! maybe someday we will meet and our crazy ass kids can tear the house apart while we lay down and then sit up to drink some coffee and then lay back down again.

  8. Kristen

    Sarah–I liked your posting a lot; thanks for your witty writing–you got “it” done. It reminds me of a quote I heard somewhere by someone probably really famous and because of mommy brain I can’t remember who said it or even the exact wording of it, but it went something like this “our past history is always living in the present moment and never really part of the past.” Sigh.

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