Laughter Is The Best Medicine

One Day At A Time


RIP Bonnie Franklin

I’m just trying to make it “One Day At A Time” like divorced TV mom Annie Romano, except that I have two Barbaras and two Julies, and a boy.

Damn kids.

Let me set the scene. As per usual I was unsuccessful in getting certain tasks completed before the kids came back from a visit with their dad. As per usual none of the kids gave the requested heads up text to let me know they were on their way before they came. (I didn’t know what time they were coming home, only that they’d be home earlier than the required drop off time because one of the kids had a rehearsal.)

So the kids walked in to me in the middle of various projects — hanging a shelf, bagging their clothes they refused to wash, my private journal open on the kitchen table and Sex and The City blaring on all three TVs. (It’s one of my secret single behaviors to turn on all the TVs while cleaning so as I’m walking around the house I can still hear and glance at whatever is on. Don’t judge.) I was startled and felt like I got caught doing something wrong.

Turns out, I apparently had done something wrong.

My cleaning and organizing efforts were rewarded with a fit of rage from the Anxious child. Her twin, the Angry child was — guess what? Angry. As per usual, she did not enjoy her visit with her dad and brought her frustration home to me. The other kids just breezed in, dropped their stuff where they felt like it and perched various places in the house to eat the fast food their dad sent them home with. Someone got the Angry child’s order wrong and she was angry about that, too, no surprise. Somehow this anger was directed toward me.

It is always stressful when the kids get home. They’d only been gone for twenty-eight hours but the whole visitation process: getting them ready and out of the door when they’d rather not go, their behavior when they return, my guilt over how I choose spend my time when they are gone (not getting enough done, not having any fun) is always difficult. See Weekends Off.

After the tirade from the Anxious and Angry twins and my frustrated response, I still had to drive the oldest to rehearsal and get some dinner for myself.

During the drive I tried some relaxation techniques I’ve been reading about. I took deep breaths. I sat in my car for a bit to calm down. And, in an uncharacteristic move, when I returned I decided to sit down and watch something funny. Normally I would hide from my ill-tempered children or launch into a series of chores and attempt to get them to do the same. But instead I loaded the DVD player with my new favorite guilty pleasure, Pitch Perfect. Don’t judge. Okay, go ahead and judge. And yes, we own it.

Pitch Perfect

The girls joined me. When he returned from his rehearsal, the Arrogant one — the boy, retired to his boudoir as per usual. To his credit, he was doing a massive amount of homework that he saved for when he got back from the visit. His choice, his stress.

What people say about humor and music is true. Watching Pitch Perfect made me feel better. Miraculously, both the Anxious child and her twin, the Angry child, calmed down.

But when I got up to go into the kitchen to get a drink, however, I was met with a surprise.

Someone had opened every single cabinet and drawer in the kitchen.

It’s not just a matter of neatness, leaving cabinets open has scared the bejesus out of me way back to The Sixth Sense!

Do you remember the abused ghost wife and the open cabinets in The Sixth Sense?

The Sixth Sense Cabinets

I stopped dead in my tracks. I was already emotionally fragile.

I WAS TRYING TO CALM DOWN!!!!!

But those people I made, those people I grew in my belly like mold, those people know that having all the cabinets and drawers open frightens me!

It probably goes back to Poltergeist as well.

Poltergeist Cleared Tables

In Poltergeist someone or something cleared the table and pulled out the chairs.

Then someone or something stacked the chairs.

Then someone or something stacked the chairs.

I just don’t do well with kitchen surprises. I’m okay with bugs, I’ve dealt with some nasty stuff, see Piss, Puke and Porn, but open cabinets — scare me.

I froze in my steps, mouth agape. When I could finally move I gingerly walked the five steps back into the family room and cried to my four female spawn,

“WHO DID THAT? You know that scares me!”

Then I collapsed on the floor and laughed so hard I cried. I didn’t go back in my kitchen until I got a confession out of the Quirky one and ordered her to go in there and close everything up.

Oh, those people I made all had a good laugh about it. Great big belly laughs. I was a hysterical mess on the floor, but unlike some of my past days, it was in a good way.

Damn kids.

I guess the experts are right that laughter helps with depression and anxiety.

But does it have to be at my expense? Does it?

I just looked at my girl, the Quirky one — the Offender, and said,

“You used to be one of the ones that I liked.”

Just Me With . . . a weird phobia, an unexpectedly devious Quirky child and a good laugh — on the floor.

Given my mood, it was a bold move on the Quirky One’s part. I have to respect her risk-taking.

The mother throws holy water on her offending child in Hairspray.

The mother throws holy water on her offending child in Hairspray.

Shout out to Merbear who inspired me to write something positive about my girls. Well, I don’t know if it was positive, damn kids.

Other Kitchen Surprises:

A Rat In My House and Toilet or Kitchen Sink — Who Can Tell?

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12 responses

  1. Glad I could inspire. P.S. I hate open cabinets too. 😉

  2. I totally support having all the tvs on. I have done that myself so I could continue to sew and not miss anything. My kitchen and den are at the back of the house. I can see the tv from the kitchen. The sewing room is over 100 feet away in the front of the house. I have to go through a hall and three rooms to get there. I like to watch the color tv in the den. But, the black and white in the sewing room allowed me to catch when the show I was watching came back from commercial and some of the dialogue. Eventually, there was no more b/w picture, but the sound served me well. I thought I was the only person who did that.

    My kids were grumpy for two days before they went to their father and two days after they came back. It was not fun at all. I felt more loving and they were not. Next time, tell them and their father you will be out and must know when they are arriving. Then, leave. My ex brought the kids back three hours early on a Sunday and called DHR to report I was not home. The children were emotionally scarred by his telling them repeatedly that i did not even care, come home for them, and no one would even take care of them. If only murder were legal….. Oh, he did call DHR and so did i. The response from DHR–why did you not stay home and wait for them? Idiots!

    Just one cabinet door makes me angry, not frightened. I never saw that movie, thankfully.

    Humor is my best destressor. Lots of humor works well. However, lately I have devoured Criminal Minds. Did you know there are back to back episodes two days of the week, all day?

    Can you get Angry and Anxious to laugh lots?

    1. Thanks so much for this great comment. So glad someone else does the TV thing. I do it with music, too. That way, when I’m carrying laundry or cleaning products or trash bags I don’t miss anything and feel like I have company.

      Yeah, the grumpiness preceding and following a visit is so exhausting and stressful.

      He called the county on you? Ugh. And what a ridiculous response from them.

      My kids are old enough to be left alone and I’ve been advised by my therapist not to be home when they get there. Often I’ll run out just before they get home and come home just after. That way they can calm down before throwing their frustration my way and I might not get that look of pity or anger when they get back. But sometimes I just need to get things done in the house. I don’t want to deal with the Ex, not worth the confrontation, but I’ll remind the kids to let me know, or I’ll text one of them and ask. And probably for my own sanity I need to make sure I’m out when they get back the next couple of times. But I do so much driving for the kids that lately I don’t feel like going anywhere when I don’t have to. That’s another whole post.

      One open cabinet irks me, because it makes the room look so messy and makes them seem lazy. If you ever see The Sixth Sense you’ll know why all open cabinets freak me out.

      Funny you mention Criminal Minds, one of my kids is obsessed with that show, though sometimes it’s too intense for me. So yes, I knew about the mini-marathons. I like the cerebral nature of that show. I’m consciously looking for things that lighten the mood and have been avoiding dramas, but I do have an on going interest in true crime stories. I’ve recently discovered the Investigation Discovery Channel. All murder all the time. I enjoy it, but it’s not healthy for me to watch it too much. Sometimes, like in Criminal Minds, the story is too upsetting and stays with me.

      Angry and Anxious are a tough crowd. They did laugh hard when I collapsed on the family room floor. They enjoyed that immensely, especially when I started to cry/laugh.

      Thanks again for reading and commenting. It’s nice to find people who share my quirks and challenges.

  3. I adore you. I adore this piece. I only have two (both boys) to pack up and send off to the ex but just about every word in this post MEANS something to me. The emotions. The harried return. Pitch Perfect! The scary ass cabinets!! Damn kids. Here’s a big fat interwebs (((HUG))) from me to you–and I don’t usually hug people.

    1. Aw, thank YOU! This means so much. I’m Dixie Chick serious.

      Crushed it.

  4. Great post! And I think you have GREAT kids, especially the quirky one: such perfect timing for a practical joke! Look how it broke the tension; look how it healed you!

    1. It did break the tension. It was so weird because she’s not usually one with the practical jokes. They are good kids. I might have to kill them, but they’re good kids.

  5. I just got Pitch Perfect from Netflix. I’m sure it’s about to become my guilty pleasure movie as well.

    1. It is my new guilty pleasure. I just watched it again.

  6. milfinwonderland | Reply

    I’ve been reading some of your older posts and this one, and I admire you, your way of writing and describing situations, the ability to selfmockery and how you handle things. I think you may be much stronger than you believe yourself. Keep it up!

    1. Thank you! That means a lot to me.

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