and so it goes


the Things 3 are all home today for various complaints.

Thing 1 is just plain exhausted. he gets up at 5:50 each morning to breathe over his breakfast. after that experience is over and his autonomic nervous system makes sure he doesn’t choke on said breakfast and then takes care of his digestion, other synapses in his brain fire to enact the large motor skill known as standing up and walking. he does this without fail, complaint or apparently consciousness in the dark at 6:30am to his bus stop which is about 100 yards away.  when he gets tired, his leg jitters. he’s about 120# and less than an inch shorter than i am (doesn’t matter how much less he weighs, a*hem; it’s all muscle on me anyway, right? RIGHT?!) and so when that leg starts going, it has a tendency to make his head bounce. he has a beautiful head; it is covered with lush (really, Patrick Dempsey-lush) chocolate-brown hair under which bright green eyes twinkle, observe or glower, depending on the mood he’s in. he’s more than 13 now, 14 is right around the corner. his voice is cracking due to his raging hormones (which really don’t make him too rageful, Things 2 and 3 will have that covered, i’m afraid) and we’ve had to buy new shoes for him every 10 minutes. but the dancing legs tell me i’ve got a tired manchild on my hands and he needs his rest. plus, today marks the end of the quarter and he’s doing fine in all his subjects.

the phone just rang. it was a 202 number. Washington, D.C., which is no big deal really because it’s nearby and my husband has a meeting in The City today, so it could’ve been him. nope. i just hung up on Anne-1202 from Political Opinions of America.  REALLY. as if i’m in the frame of mind (ever frankly) to “participate in a short survey about our nation’s pathetic and deplorable condition.” (they didn’t actually say that, i cut off cyber Anne-1202 right after she stated her the name of her sponsoring organization.) if it doesn’t allow me to talk about the state of politics that would make a longshoreman blush and hide, i don’t want to be a part of your survey. simply pressing 1 for “never agree” or 5 for “always agree” isn’t quite visceral enough for me.

Thing 2 is home because he is now 11. yesterday was a big day for him and i think he’s mourning the loss of his first double-digit year. he also has an upset stomach and “a really bad >ack sniffle ack< feeling in his lungs.” whatever. he actually looks worse than he’s trying to say he feels. strep tends to bypass his throat and go straight for his belly and three kids in his class are out with it so, we’re gonna hang tight. he is in that stage of life where he’s starting to need showers. his sweat is no longer that sweet slightly dirty smell which emanates from little boys (that’s all i have, so i don’t know if girls’ sweat smells like cinnamon or jasime or cereal). he is very compliant in the morning for the most part; the process still requires a bit of light tampering with is ultra-straight hair and gentle caresses to get him to open his almond-shaped eyes. when they are open, they are like patina’d copper; dark green with flecks of copper and they sparkle almost all the time. he can be moody like his mom, but he’s generally very optimistic, imaginative and playful. always eager for a hug or a moment to be nearby on the couch. tragically, when he does sit by me on the couch it means i have to stop watching “Tabatha’s Takeover” or “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” because, well, c’mon. “i hear worse stuff at lunch and at recess, mom; besides, they bleep it out on TV.” i shudder. beneath his eyes and across the bridge of his nose is the most delightful patch of perfectly placed freckles.

Thing 3 is home because he’s been coughing at night. just at night. i think it’s allergies again because the bloody winter here has been anything but wintry and that means some pollens are probably coming out. today it’s going to be 60˚ and well, at the end of January: i consider that to be meteorological treason and Thing 3 and i plan to talk to the D.A. and have winter brought up on charges of fraud, conspiracy and extorsion to force spring to spring against its will and a commission of a big, fat disappointment. i can hear the birds outside. thankfully when he’s unwell, Thing 3 is the most cheerful, cuddly and kind kiddo. he’s an early 8 and his sweat still smells sweet and clean like dirt. say what? i like the smell of dirt; true earthy dirt actually smells –to me– very clean. his eyes are the perfect shade of periwinkle, my favorite color in the entire universe and he’s starting to get that little kid/stork body. he is likely to be the tallest of the three. and probably the snarkiest.

so our water filters arrived today and during the experience i endured to replace the refrigerator filter … reading instructions always helps and i’m an ass for not reading them — you should have seen me: i was lying on the floor because the filter is on the front lower left of our model to access the old filter. directions are for losers, i say. well, i’ve got one hand on the fridge filter and i’m bracing my legs against the cabinet doors directly across from the fridge (it’s about 4′ across, it’s a very narrow kitchen i have) to help me push even hard against the little button that releases the filter. i can’t push it in any farther; Thing 1 is crackle-voice telling me, “mom, the fridge is banging against the wall.” and instantly a surge of pride overwhelms me because his telling me that means my leg muscles are still ass-kickingly strong. but pride doesn’t extract the filter.

after about five full minutes of this, i called in reinforcements: i put on rubber gloves for traction; and got out Mom’s Trusty Tool: the sacred salad fork for desperation; and asked Thing 1 to brace against me to help me push the fridge. even his probable verbal suppression of a litany of epithets he’s heard on the school bus didn’t inspire the filter to budge. “how ’bout we read the instructions?” he crackles. (Things 2 and 3 are supposedly reading in their rooms.)

“no. i’ve seen your father do this. i can do this.” eventually i submitted, examined the instructions and double checked them for accuracy in their french and spanish versions and laughed aloud at my idiocy. stubbornness (wow, did you know “stubbornness” a triple double-consonant word? – talk about coinci-irony in a word that clearly won’t give up…) is apparently one of my finest traits. my parents would likely both claim and deny any responsibility for giving me that one.  after i triumphed (it took all of 40 seconds once i got my hubris in check), i had to program the fridge to expel 3 gallons’ worth of water before it would be considered potable. i tossed the first gallon down the sink and realized as i was about to toss the second gallon that i could put it and the final gallon in the fish tank which was running low. (people would come to our house convinced that our ceiling was about to collapse because the water fountain sound coming from the front of the house where the tank is was so profound… i wonder how long many of them didn’t say anything about it, fearing for their / our lives.)  

and then i read about how to dispose of the old filter. can’t be recycled. can’t be recycled. can’t be recycled. and it got me thinking. in this First World world of ours, we filter water to make it safer to drink so we don’t ingest the chemicals used to make things we use in our First World that leach into the soil and hence the aquifers and then our water supply; then those filters can not be recycled so they end up in landfills with their plastic coverings likely containing some chemical that will seep into the earth and continue the cycle. i think about landfills a lot. about what i contribute to them and because of my family’s authentic genetic programming for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, i can fairly easily attach myself mentally to concepts and thoughts and behaviors. so almost on a daily basis i think about landfills and the wonderful movie “Wall-E” which i absolutely adore from the hero’s clunky 1970s-looking embodiment to the Steve Jobs -inspired “Eva” his robo-love. and i think about my Things’ future and their planet and how even though the U.S. is enacting laws and making changes and doing what it can –on paper– to protect our environment and our planet for our kids’ great-grandchildren, there’s a big part of me that wonders if what we’re doing is enough because we’re sharing this blue planet with 7 billion other people and our First World isn’t the Only World anymore.

i could go on and on and on and on about this but i won’t do that to you; i’d like you to come back. my sense is that just bringing this up is enough to start your wheels turning.

and so it goes… maybe i shoulda taken that phone survey. i hope Anna-1202 calls back.

thank you.

About Grass Oil by Molly Field

follow me on twitter @mollyfieldtweet. i'm working on a memoir and i've written two books thus unpublished because i'm a scaredy cat. i hail from a Eugene O'Neill play and an Augusten Burroughs novel but i'm a married, sober straight mom. i write about parenting, mindfulness, irony, personal growth and other mysteries vividly with a bit of humor. "Grass Oil" comes from my son's description of dinner i made one night. the content of the blog is random, simple, funny and clever. stop by, it would be nice to get to know you. :)

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