Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Older, but not Wiser

Last night, I was ready to go to bed after watching House. But John texted me and asked if I wanted to hang out. Then Heather called and without violating either of their privacy, it was clear that they both sort of needed to hang out a bit last night, so I told them to come on over. Two other people joined us, and Dereck, so we all hung out and ended up toasting my birthday at midnight.

I went to bed finally at 1:00 a.m. I got up at 3:00 a.m. to test Christian's sugar. I got up at 6:00 a.m. and went to his bedroom to test his sugar before having him leave his warm covers for his shot and then his bath before breakfast. (He eats 1/2 hour after his insulin shot, and he is not supposed to go back to sleep in that time).

While I was in my bathrobe in Christian's room, I heard my friend Chris's voice in the kitchen, talking to Sam. I thought, "Why is Chris in my kitchen at 6:00 a.m.?"

By the time I went in to find out, Chris was gone and had left: A full thermos of coffee; additional packets of Paneira coffee (we don't have a Paneira in town, by the way); a loaf of bread from Paneira, and a lovely fruit and cheese danish tart. Oh, and a lovely, pottery forest green pitcher filled with brightly colored sunflowers, with a card from him and Talia. Isn't that a nice way to wake up???

I tried several times to return to sleep today, but the phone rang, and then I had to de-skin some chicken breast for dinner because Dash had to run to campus. And then I had too much coffee, so every time I tried to lie down, I couldn't sleep. I had coffee with a friend this morning, and then Heather and Chris came over for some House this afternoon. So, it was a great birthday, except that I am psychotically tired right now, and am expected to show up at karaoke because not only is it my birthday, it's a BIG birthday. I am so tired, I was trying to help Christian with his sixth grade math; I didn't understand it, so I was snapping at Dereck, who was trying to help. Heather was nodding off at the table, and by then, Chris has left for work and Talia and John had gone to play rehearsal.

Dereck finished up the homework, while I dozed on the couch. Heather left to go brush her teeth. Now, I am counting the minutes until I put the little ones to bed and wondering if I can lie down for an hour before karaoke. On the one hand, I really need to go to sleep. That would be the responsible thing to do.

In these situations, I always think of a line from the great Richard Russo book Straight Man. The lead character is a beleaguered chair of an English department at a university in a small town. His wife is out of town. He has excruciating gall stones. He has recently caught up with an old friend whom he doesn't even particularly like. They are in a bar, and his friend has engaged in a fight. So, our weary narrator thinks about his pain, how mad his wife will be, his job, and says, as he rises to join the fight anyway, "We do not want what is good for us."

That has resonated with me for the past ten-to-fifteen years since I read the book. Sadly, I have based some unfortunate decisions (that usually involve staying up way too late) on the fact that I also do not want what is good for me.

I'm going to karaoke.


  1. That line could pretty much sum up the majority of my life.

  2. It feels so good to be bad. At least until the next morning. another round of happy birthdays to you! XOXOX!

  3. Jen, you have not blogged in almost a month. This is not a good thing. You must keep us 'posted' ;) or I will start pulling my fingernails and set my hair on fire.