Friday, June 24, 2011

Another Week

This week was not easy for me.  I have no explanation for that; I can't target a specific "trigger" that would make me especially sad.  I just know it was a beautiful, ordinary summer week and I missed Eliza more than ever.

David went to play baseball one night this week and I couldn't go watch him because I didn't want to face the possibility of making small talking with the other baseball wives.  I was going to go to yoga, but then I was crying too much, so I just sat on the couch and cried and then watched TV and ate cheese and crackers for dinner.  Not my finest evening.

* * *

I am teaching The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison this week.  Possibly one of the most depressing books EVER.  Also (PLOT SPOILER except not really because the narrator gives this away on the opening page) there's a stillborn baby in the novel.  Excellent choice, Brooke.  Way to think through that reading assignment.  Let's not only lead class discussion about rape and incest, let's throw a dead baby in there for good measure and see if you can get through the freaking day.

(The reason this book is on the reading list is because this year I took the easy way out and just assigned the same books I taught last summer, when dead babies were simply a sad, FICTIONAL story and I love the way Morrison gets my students all up in arms and angry with the white male patriarchy that ruins everyone's lives.)

Anyway, I was teaching the book today, and in a totally separate discussion about the character of Mr. Henry, I found myself reading aloud this sentence:

If happiness is anticipation with certainty, we were happy.


I know that feeling.

I remember that definition of happiness.

I'm the girl who doesn't like surprises.  I've always told David that the anticipation of something good--a weekend away, a dinner out, a visit from a friend--makes the whole experience that much sweeter.  You can look forward to it, enjoy it, reflect back on it.  It's the same reason Christmas Eve is more fun than Christmas day.  Because it's already super festive, but you still have more to look forward to.

Anticipation with certainty.

That was me.  A year ago.  I was anticipating a baby with certainty.  And that was the definition of happiness. 

* * *

So this week has been especially crap-tastic.  Over the past several months, I have developed some well-tested strategies for coping with extra-difficult waves of sadness.

I have employed all of them this week.  These include:

* Lots of television.  This week has featured Teen Wolf on MTV (no really, it's good) and Drop Dead Diva.

* Wearing especially cute outfits.  I realize this makes me sound totally shallow, but it all goes back to the idea of being able to hold myself together better when I at least appear to have my shit together.

* Walking the dog.  It isn't always my favorite thing to do (because I often think about the stroller I should be pushing or the Bjorn I should be wearing) but it makes Cooper so happy and when he dances around in doggie-glee, it always makes me smile.

* Tackling a new project.  This one backfired on me today.

So I thought that I was going to write one of those smug DIY blog entries about how super easy it is to take an old glass-top console table with brass legs and spray paint the shiny gold brass a nice glossy black and make the table look great and update my dining room for the cost of a can of spray paint.  And my comments would be full of people saying, "OMG that looks SO great!  Good work!  You are an amazing spray painter!"

I was taking step-by-step pictures and everything.  I was so confident.  I did some online research and bought the right supplies at Home Depot.  I sanded, I washed and dried, I laid down plastic.  And I started spraying.

The primer went on so well.  It was like I was born to spray paint.  It's like I was channeling Banksy, only without the hoodie.  I was shaking the can frequently and holding it straight while spraying in short, even, light, overlapping strokes from 10" away.  No drips, no problems.  It took awhile, but I ended up with the perfect coat of primer.

I came inside feeling all self-congratulatory and had a snack (banilla yogurt with kashi cereal in it) and watched Barefoot Contessa and then went back outside to tackle the black paint.  I fully expected that my DIY home improvement success would only continue.

But I should have known that this is MY LIFE and even when it comes to stupid little things, as soon as I start anticipating something with certainty, it is actually a clear sign that it's all going to fall apart.

And sure enough, the black spray paint behaved nothing like the primer.  First of all, it was much harder to actually push down the nozzle and make it spray and my hand was getting tired.  Secondly, it was so messy!  I had to put on work gloves to keep the paint off my finger.  But worst of all, the paint would inexplicably switch from a smooth, light, even mist to big huge drops of paint that splattered out all over the table legs.

Before you all start leaving helpful hints in the comments, let me just say I was following ALL of the directions.  I was holding the can appropriately.  It was not windy.  It was not humid.  I sprayed it JUST like I sprayed the primer.  The can just malfunctioned every so often until it looked like the freaking table had been SPLATTER painted.

(At this point, there might have been a sort of temper-tantrum that involved throwing the can of spray paint and shouting and stomping of feet.)

Then I called David over to look at the table.

Then I indignantly shot down every single one of his suggestions because I already WAS holding the spray paint properly and spraying in in several light overlapping coats and it WAS NOT windy.

Then I picked up the paint can again and tried to keep going, thinking that full coverage would at least help cover up the splatters.

Then I ran out of spray paint.

Then I went inside to watch HGTV and pout.

It must have been a faulty can of paint, right?

At any rate, David's going to pick up two more cans of it tomorrow and I am going to revisit this project at a later time.

Maybe things will get a little easier next week.


  1. Sorry you are having a tough time...I have had a few days like that lately and it is frustrating that you can't pin down exactly what is going on.

    I find that spray painting can be touch and go...sometimes you get drips and sometimes you don't. Definitely get one of those spray triggers that snaps on to the top of the spray can. It is so worth it!

  2. I've had spray paint fiascos as well. Sometimes the textured paint (the kind that has like grains of sand in it or something?) works better because the texture kind of hides any potential unevenness.

    Big hugs and hoping for an easier week next week!

  3. Sigh.. I have two spray paint stories that will curl your hair. One involves spraying a radiator inside with no ventilation. Awesome. I hope it will indeed be a better week next week. xo...

  4. No judgement here...I had chips and salsa twice this week for dinner...just no energy to actually make real dinner!

  5. I love Teen Wolf. And I love Drop Dead Diva. That sounds like the perfect way to pout. i am really sorry that you had a tough day. they just sneak up and get you just when you are thinking how much you have your shit together. Not so much... Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day for you.
    Oh, and as for the painting, are you sure it wasn't windy? Or maybe you weren't holding the can upright or 10" away?? And you might want to do small overlapping sprays. These are just helpful suggestions. Not sure if you thought of them... :0P

  6. I'm with you on the cute outfit to make yourself at least look like you've got your stuff together part. I do that too. So if you're shallow than so am I.

    Well actually I am shallow, but I own it! : )

  7. You and me both.

    Lately everything I've been doing has failed at least a bit in the beginning. Elliot and I were joke while we refinished our "family" room that everything that could've gone wrong, did... except X. Turns out that ended up going wrong, too.

    Glad you wore the cute skirt, though. It definitely helps the mood if not superficially.

    I won't be reading that book. Sounds like my life on repeat.

  8. Ugh I hate spray paint!I had a similiar misadventure involving a nightstand.

    I think losing a baby robs you of the certainty of everything, which is good in some ways because you don't take things and people for granted quite like you did before, but it also really sucks to not have that innocence and ignorance anymore.

    I'm sorry you have had a hard week.I hope next one is easier.

  9. The only Toni Morrison book I've ever read was Beloved, also about a dead child. I could barely get through it although it was ages ago (15 years ago maybe). Don't think I could read it now even though I think I would appreciate her writing more than I did when I was just a teenager.

    I'm sorry that this has been a rough week for you. It feels like there is nothing to do but ride the rough waves out when they come. Hoping next week is lighter...

  10. there are good times, and there are bad times. this week was kind of shitty for me, too. just missing my boy, wishing for my boy, feeling crappy. one night involved too much wine at a cocktail party, and that sure didn't help. husband is in cali on business and i spent last night watching movies on netflix and eating my "bachelorette" dinner standard: popcorn with extra butter. hell yes. today is better and more productive, but sometimes, we just need to zone out, don't we?

    and hell. that was a crappy can of paint, bansky-ette.

    better days ahead. but maybe not til you're done teaching that morrison book. xo