Dildos I have known, or, rotate your mattress more than once every couple of years.

*****Fair Warning: If you don’t care for TMI, scroll, bitches. But if you’re my friend, you ought to be used to this. And if you came to this site, you’re a magnificent bastard. *****

The Male Sibling Unit assisted me with finishing up my cleaning and rearranging of the bedroom on Sunday. I moved my computer downstairs and set everything up so I don’t have to run up and down the stairs constantly. As I’ve said before, I feel like I only want and need things around me that I love, and so bags and bags of clothes, shoes, and junk have exited this house these past couple of months.

We had to move the bed, and I wanted to rotate the mattress and wash the canopy curtains. The Male Sibling Unit does not understand the logic of rotating the mattress and pronounced this “stupid” underneath his breath. The beauty of my repurposed door as a headboard and canopy eluded him, too, and he kept asking, “Why is there a door here?” I explained it to him, and then he needed to know

Where the door came from

and

What if I wanted to put the door back someday?

Valid questions, I guess.

Now, underneath the bed could only be described as “Lori, you need to reevaluate your choice of flip flops, socks, books, and Tim Horton’s coffee cups that you were keeping because you rolled up the rim and won a fucking donut. And then failed to redeem them.” It also revealed dust bunnies that were actually evolving into dust Predators, and various wadded-up receipts that I made for a cat to bat around. I also figured out where my underwear was disappearing to, and I will have two brand-new pairs of gloves for winter. I found a bag of Halloween decorations I bought after Halloween because it’s ALWAYS Halloween in my head. Now I have chains, a crow skeleton figure, and a rat skeleton figure festooning the boudoir, because this is the bedchamber of a Gothic demoness, after all (Shelby Margaret). Good stuff. But it was one such discovery that sparked a conversation that I never thought I’d have, and that I’d never have wanted to have in the first place.

It’s Shelby’s room. I just sleep there.

As The Male Sibling Unit helped me to pick up the mattress and prop it against the wall, I spied a purple, cylindrical object laying on the box spring and hurried to grab it. I wasn’t quick enough and, as I quickly threw it in the trash bag, he pounced.

“Why,” he asked, “have you got a big, purple crayon under your mattress?”

Disclaimer: I’m a chick, and I have needs. I’m also a chick who has had a hysterectomy. While I don’t feel the need to justify the fact that I own a vibrator, I do feel the need to point out that the husband knows, and in the very early days of being ladypart-free, he had to be EXTREMELY patient while I figured out what worked for me during Sexy Time. I had not ever owned a sexual aid before, but, in frustration, I purchased the Purple Miracle at Spencer’s on a day trip to Erie. It was very, very useful, and friendly, and patient. It also stopped working, like, two years ago, and I forgot it was even under there. I should have thrown it away back when I discovered that its get-up-and-go had got-up-and-went, but I guess I was too nostalgic (being a pack rat and all, growing Predators under the bed). After all, it had helped me through a very hard (not the best description but it’ll do, pig – the husband) period of time when I was afraid that I might never awaken the neighborhood again by repeatedly taking the Lord’s name in vain.


Dust Predator Bunny

So, I could have just said, “Oh, it was for coloring in bed.” I think The Male Sibling Unit might have bought that. Something, though, in the tone of his voice, told me that he didn’t believe it was a purple crayon and that his sister masqueraded as Harold on occasion at bedtime.

Me: It’s not a crayon.

Him: It isn’t? What is it then?

Me: What do you THINK it is?

Him: Well, I dunno. (giggles nervously)

Me: (fishes it out of the bag and shows him) What is this?

Him: (laughs really loud) LOOKS like a crayon.

Me: But it isn’t. Do you know?

Him: D’oh!!! Oh my GOD!!!! (hunches over and slaps his leg, laughing loudly again)

Me: So? What do you think it is?

Him: It’s a, umm, it’s a DILDO.

Extra points to The Male Sibling Unit for knowing his sex toy terminology! I was impressed! But only for a moment, because then, he disturbed me.

Me: So you know what a dildo is, then? By the way, I call it a vibrator.

Him: YES I do! Hahahahaha!!!!

Me: Okay, what do you do with it?

Him: You smack your ass with it!

Me:…….what?

Him: Yes, you do! You smack it on your ass!

Me: Uh…you think I take this and hit myself on the butt with it? That’s it?

Him: Or Scott does it.

At this point, I needed to sit down. The visuals that popped into my head made it hard for me to breath through the honking, nose-running-because-the-dust hysterics that had overtaken me. The Male Sibling Unit was thrilled to have elicited such a response from me and wondered aloud, “I think Carol might like a dildo. I should ask her!” Through my shrieks and choking laughter, I said, “So you won’t have the sex with her but you’ll smack her ass with a dildo?”

“Yes!” The Male Sibling Unit then did a little jig. Through my epileptic-like peals of hysteria, I managed to say, “No….Carol would NOT like a dildo. So please don’t ask her!”

Perhaps the dead Purple Miracle (may it rest in peace) awakened the 15 year-old in The Male Sibling Unit, though. Out of the blue tonight, he sent me a text from his man cave:

See the light, maybe.

I’ve begun a trial of steroids in my eyes again, after a period without them. One has to be careful about how long one administers prednisone, because it increases the pressure in the eyes. After, again, another really bad stretch, I am feeling pretty desperate. The amniotic membranes only provided a bandaid, and after that wore off, the pain, stinging, dryness, and grittiness returned with a vengeance. Cloudiness, aching, light sensitivity, and extreme mattering also have returned. At night, I have to coax them open in the dark. It’s almost as if my eyelids lock closed. The prednisone seems to help, if only a little. I am going through Genteal at an alarming rate. I had it down to one bottle a week, but that’s not the case now.

I don’t want anyone’s pity or for you to feel sad. I do want to apologize to anyone who I may have disappointed because I can’t hang out, or go to meetings, or even just take a long walk. This has limited me in so many ways; my ability to look at a computer screen, to focus on the television, to see my phone. I, the lover of books, cannot read, because we tend to blink less when we concentrate on reading and that dries them out even faster. I pray for decent days so I can read a few more pages of the latest Stephen King book, which, in the past, would have been devoured in a weekend. A pile of brand-new books sits, spines uncracked, waiting for the day I can open them.

Exercise is difficult, because the sweat is like battery acid in my eyes. My “new” glasses are not a perfect prescription, because my eyes are too bad to actually write an effective one for them. The heat bothers them; the cold does, too. There is really no happy medium. There are simply days of mediocrity where I breathe a sigh of relief because I managed to do something constructive.

And there are many more bad days, where I sit in darkness, my mind my only avenue of recreational activity. That is not a good thing when you’re also diagnosed with Severe Moderate Depressive Disorder. I always kinda chuckle at the “severe moderate” characterization, because it feels like so much ridiculousness. How can “moderate” still be “severe”? I know, it’s all in the way it’s interpreted. I have a really bad case of only a medium-to-dark color blues, not the darkest blues that are nearly black. I only feel like killing myself a moderate amount of the time, instead of every, single day. Maybe the futility of this life crosses my mind three times a week instead of seven. You feel me?

The point is, it’s dangerous for a person like me to be forced in to sedentariness. The blues get progressively darker as I contemplate all the things I need to worry about: not currently working because I haven’t yet found something either accepting of my limitations as a person with impaired vision and spinal stenosis, or economically sound enough to do from home. Not being able to follow through on my writing commitments (like here, in this blog) because I simply can’t stare at a screen for long. There are bills that need to be paid, property taxes and such, and at the moment, eating and keeping caught up are proving to be an “either-or” exercise. When I’m really in the low, I don’t want to eat, so at least that cuts that bill down. I’m eternally grateful to my genetic makeup for this; I don’t “eat my feelings” like some; I’d have been dead years ago from morbid obesity if I was that type.

I worry about my family and their individual problems and rail against my limitations, because I could help them if I could “do” more. I’m the mom/wife/sibling who can only listen and advise, not fix dire situations. For that, I feel like the worst and biggest failure of them all. That torpedoes my mood, along with triggering my panic disorder, which interferes with sleep, productivity, and the ability to see past my own fears.

Like flowers in a church yard, I am imprisoned.

I’m not a person who can be forced out of her comfort zone; being my life coach would be the worst job on earth, right up there with working in the Trump Administration. If I don’t want to do it; if I am afraid, or paralyzed by my own darkest thoughts, I’m not going to budge. That’s survival mode for me, so if I say I am not doing the thing, don’t think you can coax me into doing the thing. YOU do the thing. Leave me out of it.

Right now, all the things seem beyond my reach. It is difficult to think about the future when you’re questioning the point of it all. Don’t get me wrong; I feel very, very fortunate and I attempt to channel that at least once a day, for my own sake. It’s just that I don’t think the drugs are working quite as well as they should; perhaps there is simply too much on my internal plate for them to blanket their chemical security over. In any event, I’m sure that, on my next doctor visit, my doctor will internally groan. “Not this again.” She seems to be a very focused, empathetic, caring person; at the last appointment, she enveloped me in a hug, and my “please don’t touch me EVER” resolve just melted and I allowed it. Maybe she really can help me. It’s just that there is so much, too much, and it feels like a crushing weight on my body. I see myself as walking, slumped in half, under the weight of my own life. I used to be able to channel it into movement, writing, doing…..perhaps running away, but it worked. I watched the Robin Williams documentary last night. You can read about it here. I know why I felt a kinship with him; he was the exact same. He had to move. He had to escape the dullness of not being distracted. I want to focus, to obsess over something, so it captures my brain and forces it to go into another room, where there is light. I want to drink, because it numbs me and I sleep. I want to medicate, because that is the great escape. None are the answer, the right answer, or the wise one. I lack the motivation to actually do any of them, and the means with which to facilitate, anyway. Being poor can actually be a good thing in this case.

Today, though, I choose to focus on things that make me pleased. Not happy; pleased.

The two, fat chicken breasts that I am going to stuff and bake for the husband and I for dinner.

Sleeping kittens on my bed, purring away contentedly.

The sunshine and lack of humidity.

The sight of my husband, wielding first a big, gas-powered weed whacker and then a saw as he does yard work and cuts saplings and wild shrubbery down along our property line. The sight of him, working, doing “man things” gives me a sense of great contentedness. He has the best forearms I have ever seen.

The mint green nail polish I am going to put on my toenails which will accentuate the tan lines made by my flip flops.

For today, this has to be, and will be, enough.

We soldier on.

Every time I open my mouth, out comes my mother

On Saturday, I made a comment on the big, blue social media site about how I knew that I would pay, in one way or another, for The Male Sibling Unit’s generosity in staying home that day to help me with housework. Normally, he has an abbreviated day at his community center, Steps. He offered to give it up to assist me because he knew I might let him run the hardwood floor steamer, which he finds fascinating. I did, and he was thrilled.

I was correct, as per usual, about paying for it, inasmuch as he had an ulterior motive. He was wonderfully helpful, a fact he has seen fit to remind me of on an hourly basis ever since. Toward the end of the day, I simply acknowledged his sacrifice and thanked him. By the end of the evening, I was contemplating buying a bag of generic, gold medals to hand out to him for every “sacrifice” he makes because that truly is a motivator.

Yesterday, it was beginning to get a little old. I mentioned – again on that big, blue social media site – that I heard my mother every time I answered him, which was really, fucking irritating, and resulted in me falling into a pretty dark hole, before sleep last night. I missed her pretty intensely. The six year anniversary of that last sunset with her is drawing near and I had assumed the sadness was pretty much gone. It isn’t. I fell asleep with the memory of holding her hand as she took her last breaths and was jarred awake momentarily in a panic because I couldn’t remember if I kissed her. After reassuring myself that, of course, I must have, I fell into a deep sleep. I awoke in a funk.

A recent sunset my daughter captured that reminds me of the night my mother died.

Funks are nothing new; I exist, sharing an uneasy residency with depression in this body, and we go to Funkytown frequently. Depression is such a generous roommate, you see; it spreads the misery 365 days out of the year. Despite the pills and the “be gentle with yourself” messages and the optimistic phrases I repeat to myself, willing them to become mantras, they never really stick. The coexistence is uneasy at best. I might have known, though, because with the worries I have on my plate right now, my roommate has been seeing an “in” and raiding the refrigerator to eat my shit (that was MY FUCKING LEFTOVER PIZZA, BITCH!) and wearing my clothes without asking. You’d think I would have figured out these dirty tricks by now, but I’ll be fucked if I can find a truly foolproof alarm to signal the breech. And so it goes.

This new trip to low-down Funkytown has made me wonder what The Male Sibling Unit actually feels; does he also “hear” our mom when he goads me into flipping out? Does he do it to elicit just such a response? Maybe the reaction he receives, which causes my blood pressure to rise and my voice to take on an ominous, rapier edge, is actually as comforting to him as it is irritating to me. I used to hate how she would fly off the handle at every, single, thing he said, and I pride myself on the fact that I have always had a much higher reservoir of patience with his compulsory chatter. When he pushes me up to and over that edge, it feels like failure to me instead of a comfort. Until today, when I had that thought, I always thought he probably hated it, too. Maybe he pokes me because this is how he gets “his” mom – the one who bellowed, shrieked, and told him to get the hell out of her face while simultaneously buying him all his comfort food and washing his blanket and planning outings for him and chuckling as she called him pet names “Horse’s Ass” and “You shitass” – back for a brief, shrill moment.

Anyway, today we are back to normal, and it is a Steps day, which means he stayed up too late, got up too early, got all his morning chores done, and was chomping at the bit for noon to arrive so he could call the center to ask, “What’s for dinner?” (he already knows it’s leftovers from their Thursday picnic but he compulsively has to ask) and advise them he’ll be there – a fact they recorded Friday, the last time he was there. We’ve already gone through the day’s bullet points:

* Should he eat leftovers for lunch today?

* Should he take another shower tonight because it’s hot and humid?

And

* What am I going to do while he is gone?

The latter resulted in Mom emerging yet again, and I think that’s exactly how he wanted his Monday to go.

Glad I could oblige.

One of the last photos my mother took of The Male Sibling Unit on her phone.