Because it sure is surreal sometimes

Because it sure is surreal sometimes

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Now that's a head scratcher!

My head has no dandruff, or even slightly dry skin. No eczema or bedbugs, either. Yet, I’ve found myself increasingly going to it for good scratch lately. That’s because head scratching is the physical manifestation of the acronym WTF? It’s a way of communicating to those around you, “Please help me understand what the hell is going on here” in a non-judgmental way.

There are other uses for head scratching, however, that are a little more personal.

I’ve always been soothed by scratching my own head, in a rhythmic, gentle way. It isn’t anything that most people would even notice; then again, maybe the whole town thinks I have lice. Nonetheless, I can frequently be found scratching my head, whether I’m watching TV, or trying to come up with an intelligible paragraph at work, or actively participating in (enduring) a conversation with someone (misguided soul) I know. Usually, I’ve got my sunglasses on as well, which really helps me to focus on the head-scratching – in other words, my eyes can’t betray what my scratching is helping my ears to hear. There I am scratching imaginary little mini-paths around my scalp, as I’m calmed into a trance that keeps me from making comments like, “What the fuck are you talking about? That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Are you really going there?”

Instead, I let my fingers do the walking, as I do the talking: “Huh. Interesting. Wow. That’s a head scratcher, fo sho.” It helps so much that occasionally, I start to nod off. This is when people usually say, “Well, see you later!” and I say, “Where’d I park?” and we both walk away scratching our heads.

We’ve all been there, and we all know it.

Those moments don’t hold a candle to the head scratching opportunities my kids give me. These moments are like terrible hybrids of both of the above: a little bit sedation, a little bit confusion, all rolled up into one, long, scratch. This week alone, two stand out:

Child (with panic): “Mom, I can’t find my shoes anywhere! I’m late!

Mom: “Have you looked everywhere?”

Child: “Yes! I need them now! Mom! Help me!”

Mom: “You checked the shoe basket?”

Child: “No.”

Mom: “Here they are, in the shoe basket.”

Scratch, scratch, scratch.

Later the SAME day, but with different child, whose name I’ve changed to protect the loony, I was again faced with a moment so odd that I decided to write them both down. Hence, this blog.

(sound of phone ringing)
Doris: “Hi Lisa. I can’t find my folder and I need it.”

Me: “Where is it?”

Doris: “Upstairs on my desk.”

Me: “Ok, no problem, I’ll bring it to you.”
(sound of phone hanging up.)

This really wasn’t a problem, because the child in question never leaves stuff behind. I’m happy to accommodate freak-of-nature situations now and then. Unfortunately, the folder was not on the desk, nor anywhere else that I could see. I called her back.

Teacher: “Hello?”

Me: “Hi, this is Lisa Lucke. May I speak to Doris?”

Teacher: “Sure.”

(sound of Doris picking up the phone)
Me: “Um, I can’t find it. Where else could it be? “

Doris: “Well, I’m not sure. I thought it was in my backpack. I’ve looked through it three times.”

Me: “Let me walk around the house again….(sound of me entering every room, looking under, behind and inside of every conceivable hiding spot.) “Nope, I just don’t see it.”

Doris: “That is SO weird.”

Then came the sentence that I always ask, and the same one that results in my hand springing up to my head:

Me: “Where was it the last time you saw it?”

Doris: “Here at school yesterday.”

Me: “You didn’t use it at home last night?”

Doris: “No, I didn’t have any homework. I didn’t even open my backpack at all.”

Ideas were beginning to take shape. The scratching intensified.

Me: “Have you checked your desk?”

Child: “No.”

What happens when a good scratch isn’t enough? Pocket-sized defibrillators that I keep in my purse, or in my jog bra, along with my iPod, cell phone, keys and boobs?

Funniest thing of all is that on this very morning, I couldn’t find my keys. After I shooed all kids out the door, and insisted that my husband, a.k.a., “The Finder” help me, I found them myself.

In my purse.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Endorphin highs and delusions of 42 things

I had one of the greatest days of my life recently, in terms of productivity. It ranks right up there with a single day in 11th grade when I won a tennis tournament, placed 1st in a district-wide essay contest, changed the oil in my Volkswagon and lost my virginity. Just kidding. Everyone knows Volkswagons are impossible to work on. I was 17. My more current brush with over-achievement was a little different, though no less amazing. The more things I did, the more astounded I was that I wanted to do more. I cooked, I cleaned, I cooked some more, I did laundry, I exercised, I solved problems between my children that could teach those “leading” the Middle East peace process a thing or two. There was bacon. I brought it home. There was a pan. There was a man. You do the math.

Late in the evening of my glorious brush with domestic overachievement, I sat down and composed a list of all the things I accomplished on that fine day, from household chores to showing my fifth grade daughters how to use a self-sticking panty-liner as an emergency sleeping mask.

Scanning the list, I decided that the one plausible explanation was an endorphin high, precipitated by my long run at the crushingly painful hour of 3 p.m., when I’m usually yearning for Dr. Phil and a catnap, but instead find myself helping with science homework or prepping for dinner.

How on earth did a run during cozy sleepy time actually feel so good, and not only that, keep feeling good for the next six hours?

It was the next day that I really began analyzing what had happened. It started during a visit with my doctor, whom I went to for a little relief from my allergies. I asked her how her running regimen was going. She mentioned endorphin highs, and how much she enjoyed them. My ears perked up. The elusive endorphin high. I was not so sure I’d ever experienced one. I didn’t admit it to her, however. I didn’t want to seem like an amateur, like some anxiety ridden sorority girl at a sisterly pajama party, keeping her mouth shut about never having had an orgasm, mainly because she wasn’t sure of the exact location of her vagina. Sorry, that was uncalled for. Of course sorority girls know where their vaginas are located – as does every frat boy in town.

Before I made my list, I guessed that I completed about 42-or-so things that day. Here’s the general time frame in which they happened:

6:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
1. Got up (for those of you who have never combined Benadryl and white wine to overcome allergies that can best be described as “Nazi-like,” you may not appreciate why this qualifies as an accomplishment. Some of you know exactly what I’m talking about.)
2. Facilitated getting four kids out of the house and to school (technically two things, but I’m not one to split hairs.)
3. Finished three loads of laundry.
4. Sent work-related emails from home.
5. Sent home-related emails to husband at work (he loves it when I do this).
6. “Got ready” for work (so many things here, it’s too exhausting to think about, so I’ll just count it as one thing).

10:15 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
1. Saw the doc and got an allergy shot.
2. Took 13-year son’s gym clothes to him at school (please, no comments; I’ll hear plenty about this one soon enough).
3. Did a bunch of work stuff. Who the hell cares how many things that is.

2:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
1. Made a shitload of nachos for all my friends, I mean kids.
2. Delivered three girls to softball practice.
3. Ran 4.5 miles.
4. Went to the grocery store “for a couple things” and spent $174.
5. Made a meatloaf. It was terrible. (I didn’t say I did 42 things well…)
6. Picked up girls from softball practice.
7. Did miscellaneous afternoon dishes.
8. Planted a hydrangea in the front yard.
9. Summited Clean Laundry Mountain, effectively filling up my empty closet.
10. Cleaned the girls’ bathroom. Yuck. (It’s true what you hear about women’s bathrooms being worse than men’s.)
11. Cleaned the main bathroom, which also doubles as son’s bathroom. Double yuck. (It’s not true what you hear about women’s bathrooms being worse than men’s.)
12. Served dinner without killing anyone (sometimes it’s about what you don’t do)
13. Made milkshakes for all my friends! (the kids and hubby)
14. Made egg salad for the next day’s lunches (one with olive oil mayo and one with Best Food’s for the people who think olive oil mayo is “gross.”
15. Wrote this list (it counts!)
16. Put one last load of laundry into the washer, cussing all the way.
17. Performed Satanic Bedtime Rituals, which included: picking out one stuffed animal; no, the other one; no, not that one; served two doses of cough medicine; rubbed athlete’s foot cream in between ten little toes; scratched one back; fed one fish; set up one humidifier the wrong way; set up one humidifier the correct way.

Okay, so that’s six, plus three, plus seventeen, which equals 26. After I wrote this, I took my second and last shower of the day, poured myself a Big Glass of Wine, read something, and retired. All told, about 24 things, give or take a few things that may or may not have occurred during my “retirement,” but that won’t be shared here.

Not 42, but enough. So, on that day, I did at least 24 (or possibly 25-27) things. How could this be? Sure seemed like a lot more things...

Too bad that I bumped into my doctor a few days later at the grocery story and told her about my first endorphin high and the glorious rush of energy that followed. She asked if that happened to be the same day I got my allergy shot, to which I said, "Yes!"

She gave me the bad news that endorphin high it was not, but merely a normal response to the allergy med. Ever the junkie, I asked her if it would continue through the season. Sadly, she shook her head.

Back to doing 24 things.