Press "Enter" to skip to content

Sometimes ya got it, sometimes …

… ya don’t.

I’ve been deadlining the past couple of weeks and have about a week and a half to go. The work is going well, but doing a number of small projects at once crowds my brain. I’m also going gangbusters on house projects in my spare time. (Ah, spring! It brings out the constructive insanity in a body.)

All that’s to the good, and life is dandy fine. Don’t get me wrong.

But the last few days have also brought a steady stream of itty-bitty time-wasters and irritations. Not one is of the slightest importance by itself, but you know how it goes. After a few days of having the cat wake you up at 3:00 a.m., losing your Internet service repeatedly, having a dog vomit on your shoes just when you’ve almost gotten that idea you’ve been struggling with, answering too many phone calls, and trying to replace a defective (yes, you warned me) car part for something less than the cost of the federal debt … well, today I feel like a) crying, b) kicking a dog (any old dog), or c) taking up chemical abuse.

I’ll do none of the above, of course. But I figured I owed you an explanation for my lack of brilliance and productivity.

There. Having gotten that out of my system, I’ll probably think of something just devastatingly witty and insightful for tomorrow.

Uh … but don’t count on it, okay?

It’s times like these that I wish I had a wife … a nice “helpmeet” to prepare healthy meals, take care of the pesky details, and ensure that the world is kept away while I capital-C Create. Or a gloriously efficient and nearly silent assistant who could just Handle It All. Not that I’m comparing myself favorably to the greats (what nerve), but I’m very darned sure that Michelangelo couldn’t have been Michelangelo and Shakespeare wouldn’t have been able to write Shakespeare if they had to wait for the Internet repairman, cook their own meals, or worry that the library lost the book they absolutely knew they had already returned.

Heck, forget the greats. Even the mediocres need mental space to create. I’m pretty sure Thomas Kinkade couldn’t have painted all that glurge and John Grisham couldn’t have written all those potboilers if they didn’t have somebody else taking care of life’s little necessities for them.


  1. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal April 24, 2012 3:38 pm

    All I can say is be glad you don’t also have a 4 1/2 year old who has a knack of suddenly “needing” you immediately just at the moment when “flow” was achieved and the words were coming automatically. (Of course, the fact that she can, and frequently does, mimic, perfectly, the “melodious” sound of the cat puking gives the day some comic relief…)

  2. EN
    EN April 24, 2012 3:51 pm

    I’d rather have vomiting dogs than a 4 1/2 year old. 😉

  3. Claire
    Claire April 24, 2012 3:59 pm

    Yeah, that kinda does put things in perspective. 🙂 When a dog pukes on my shoes (or just stands there staring at me, wagging a tail in the sure and certain knowledge that I’ll stop whatever I’m doing and do something wonderful for her) I can take care of the immediate situation — then shoo everybody out into the back yard for a few hours.

    I think they call it child abuse when you do that with a little girl.

  4. naturegirl
    naturegirl April 24, 2012 7:28 pm

    I think it’s called cloning, you need 3 Claires……Claire the writer, Claire the Repairwoman, Claire the details caretaker……Ok, 4 ~ plus Claire the one who gets to have fun w/no work…..

    Then the dogs won’t know which one is the “right” one to puke on 😉

  5. Ted Dunlap
    Ted Dunlap April 24, 2012 8:50 pm

    I thank my wife quite regularly for keeping me alive, well fed and in a nice house. I have taken on way too much to do those things too. She is happy with the bargain. It meets her needs as well. Some of those things she wants and doesn’t have the abilities to make them happen.

    Anyway, a good team-mate is a godsend. I did serve time as a self-employed, single dad of three girls. Fortunately I was young and didn’t concern myself will non-essentials like liberty (as if there was time left to do so).

  6. Claire
    Claire April 25, 2012 7:06 am

    Cloning … Yeah, that’s the answer, naturegirl. It could definitely come in handy. Of course, then the question becomes … could I stand to have me around? LOL

    Ted Dunlap, you’re a gentleman with a lucky wife (perhaps in part because you’ve been there and done that as a solo?)

    I think about this a lot. In a relationship, I could happily be on the “support” side of the team. Although for most of my life I’d have considered it unthinkable, I could cheerfully give up all this working for a living to keep house, cook, clean, and just be there to meet the needs of the guy who’s taken on the hard job of earning the money. But whatever the roles (and for many years now, I’ve known more househusbands than housewives) appreciation and understanding makes all the difference.

  7. Ragnar
    Ragnar April 25, 2012 7:21 am

    Rub vodka on it…

  8. Pat
    Pat April 25, 2012 7:28 am

    Cook, Claire? Does he like Cream of Mushroom Soup? 🙂

    BTW, I recently acquired a microwave oven, and bought “Microwave Gourmet”, by Barbara Kafka, one of the best cookbooks I’ve ever seen. Got it used for $12 through Amazon. If you’re still using the microwave, it’s got fantastic recipes, and simple to learn. GREAT vegetable recipes. Takes the microwave to a new level.

  9. Claire
    Claire April 25, 2012 7:47 am

    Vodka? Canned cream of mushroom soup? You’re talking about a diet I could easily get behind here.

    But rub the vodka on … what? And does who like soup?

  10. Pat
    Pat April 25, 2012 7:52 am

    That working guy you’re willing to cook for.

  11. Matt, another
    Matt, another April 25, 2012 7:54 am

    One of my Mothers passions was sewing. She was an exceptional seamstress. Whenever Mom needed time to sew a difficult project, or to figure out what the pattern company really meant, she would shoo me and my sisters (and several freinds ususally) out into the back yard to play. In the summer we would hear don’t come back until dark unless you are injured. “The past is a different country, they do things differently there.”

  12. Claire
    Claire April 25, 2012 7:58 am

    “That working guy you’re willing to cook for.”

    Ohhh, that guy. The imaginary one. 🙂 Since he’s an incorporeal being, I expect he eats things like donut holes. At the next seance I’ll ask about mushroom soup.

  13. Claire
    Claire April 25, 2012 8:00 am

    Matt, another — “don’t come back until dark unless you are injured.” Can you imagine? Today, that would bring a SWAT team down on poor old Mom. Not to mention a series of articles in the New York Times on the problem of inappropriate child-rearing in the age of roaming (never mind few and far between) predators.

  14. Ellendra
    Ellendra April 25, 2012 9:35 am

    I remember overhearing my mother back when I was a kid, lamenting that what wrking women need most are wives.

    I keep wishing for a partner, too. But so far all I’ve got is the imaginary kind :p

  15. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty April 25, 2012 10:37 am

    Ah, I remember so well… I was five years old, and my sister was three in 1951. Luckily, we lived in Southern California so summer was about 9 months long. Even in “winter” we could usually play outside most of the day. That was not usually REQUIRED, but I don’t ever remember mother forbidding us to go out. We just had to come home by dark.

    We lived in an old “housing project” near the edge of town. Just beyond the houses was a wonderland of trees, a railroad track, a big green, gooey pond and a steep hill to get to it all.

    The older boys built “soapbox” cars, and we watched in wondrous horror as they smoked the dust to the bottom of the hill – with the occasional added thrill of seeing them sink into the pond!

    Little folks like us were usually content to wade in the pond, collecting jars of polliwogs, or gather wildflowers to take home as gifts for mother. Sometimes we could actually catch a frog as well, to mother’s even greater joy.

    We played hopscotch and jumprope, jacks and balls, tag and a dozen other games on the one chunk of sidewalk in the “project.” The older kids played softball in the dead end street in front of the houses. We had rope and tire swings and “forts” made of scrap lumber in the trees, tents made of old bedsheets over the clotheslines, and enough dogs and cats to keep everyone company whether their family owned one or not.

    I don’t remember anyone getting seriously hurt, though we had all manner of little cuts, bruises and sunburn. We learned not to do things that would hurt us… evidently.

    Going to “school” the next year was a major trauma and tragedy for me… but I did get to play after school. First graders didn’t have laptops and homework in those days. sigh

    And yes, I suspect that world is gone forever. But I hope not.

  16. Debby rich
    Debby rich April 25, 2012 10:38 am

    I don’t have problems with kids any more. She is in college, but I
    do have a problem with any annoy neighbor. He calls at 6:30 in
    the morning while my husband is trying to get to work. Or his horses got loose yesterday and then stops by again at 6:30 to
    apolize for getting our dogs upset. If he just took himself and his
    horses down the road, the dogs would settled down.And when
    he called he had a hot water tank problems. My husband said that
    he would stop by after work.f He went after hay and didn’t let us
    know that he had the problem solved.Consider your selfes blessed
    that you don’t have him for a neighbor.

  17. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal April 25, 2012 3:21 pm

    Yeah, a partner to help would be nice. Or, even just the lack of a nemesis would be a good start…

  18. Claire
    Claire April 25, 2012 5:51 pm

    Sigh. Kent, I remember that you have unfortunate ways with the women in your life. Yep, a mate can be a blessing or a curse.

Leave a Reply