Over the top…

I don’t know how to start this blog entry any more than I knew how to start this day. I only hope the entry ends as well as the day did.

I woke up from either a bad dream that stayed with me, or a good dream that I didn’t want to end. Either way, it was a jolt when I heard the alarm, and I was confused. I think I managed to incorporate the sound in my dream, then realized what it was. I became aware I was waking up, and felt only a deep, abiding sense of disappointment. I was exhausted.

Once I forced myself out of bed, I started thinking about the dichotomy of really wanting it to be the weekend already, but needing more time in the work week to finish some things. I like my job and I rarely complain about it, which I suspect puts me in the upper percentiles of being blessed, lucky, and/or privileged.

So I’m neither complaining nor criticizing – I have no right to do either – but to understand my overall perspective as of this morning, you should know I’d let some recent work-related obstacles get the better of me. Nothing earth-shattering, nothing life-threatening. Just sort of an abnormally long period of me reacting to things by thinking, “Are you kidding me?” and having to work a little harder (or a little more outside my comfort zone) to overcome the accompanying challenge. In other words, opportunities for growth. Accompanied by stress.

There’s been a bit of stress in my personal life, too. And again, I have no room to complain – my life is good. But lately the worry factor has been amped up a little too much, for a little too long. A few too many commitments, not quite enough time, and a slight feeling of being in a microwave. Between baseball and rehearsals for two plays, Matthew’s had to be too many places at difficult times, while Chris has had opposing commitments and Kim’s been out of town more than usual. This results in me getting pulled away from work – you know, the place where my attention really needs to be.

And I woke up knowing that Chris had a half-day of school and would need a ride home at noon, Matthew had the day off but had school play rehearsal at 2:15 back at the school where we had to pick Christopher up at noon, Kim felt guilty about having been gone and wanted to make it up by handling both of those commitments despite needing to spend a lot of time in her own office to make up for the time she’s been away, Christopher needed a ride to a friend’s house later in the day so he could meet a group of people for prom, Matthew needed a ride to the community theatre for rehearsal a short time after that, Matthew would need to picked up less than three hours later, Christopher would need to be picked up after midnight, I had a lot of work to do, I could barely keep my eyes open, Kim looked equally tired, I was feeling dizzy from either exhaustion or high blood pressure, and oh my God I can’t even.

So, nothing awful – just a few too many smaller hassles. Sort of a perfect storm, but in a teacup.

That’s what was on my mind when I walked downstairs and discovered that the cats had somehow overturned one of their litterboxes. That’s right, I wrote “one of” – as in, we have more than one litterbox in our home. Because we have three cats. And two of them don’t get along with the other one, so they need their own litterbox. In their own room, which the third cat can’t access. And that room happens to be what was once my home office. With a nice hardwood floor. That now had litterbox contents strewn all over it.

How is this even possible? Cat litter is heavy (I know because I’m constantly handling it because we have to buy so much of it) – it’s heavier than a cat, so how can a cat overturn a box full of it? Better yet, why would a cat do that? And who the hell has the time or intestinal fortitude to clean that up? Is it just a matter of sweeping it up with a broom? Can this be working? What the hell? Why is there a clump of it stuck to the hardwood floor? Was it recently wet? Did they actually use the litter while it was on the damned floor? How am I going to get that up? How does recently urinated-on litter have such strong adhesive qualities on hardwood flooring? Why doesn’t it smell like glue if it acts like it? Don’t I have other work to do? Is this room spinning? Am I dying? Am I going to pass out in cat urine and litter?

I hope you’ll forgive me for thinking the day was off to a bad start. As it progressed, I thought maybe I was doing better, because I was feeling empathy for a bunch of friends who were having their own troubles. A Jewish friend had been overwhelmed by someone defending Holocaust jokes; I felt bad for him. A friend’s child was having trouble with a teacher; I felt bad for both of them. A friend with depression was suffering through what sounded like a severe episode; I felt bad for him. I congratulated myself for feeling empathy, then remembered – empaths take on others’ pain. I felt bad.

But the day went on, as they usually do. I fancied myself hanging tough. Until a straw broke this camel’s back. Taking a quick break on the internet, I stumbled right into the thing that alters a person’s destiny, the thing that can’t be undone, the thing that drives the sanest person mad. I accidentally read a spoiler for an epic movie that had opened less than 24 hours prior.

Yes, it was a spoiler for Avengers: Infinity War. And yes, it was major. And no, there’s no way I can convince myself that maybe it’s not really going to happen. And no, it’s not from early enough in the movie to leave a good chunk of it untainted. And yes, I was pissed.

This was beyond the pale. Out of bounds. Over the top.

What could possibly redeem a day like this? That answer is going to have to wait, being that today is now yesterday. Sure, it was still today when I started writing, but by the time I finished, today had passed. Then it was time to pick Christopher up. And now it’s time to go to sleep. So I’m going to save the answer for tomorrow. Or rather, today. But later.

About Dan Bain

Dan is an award-winning humorist, features writer, emcee and entertainer from Raleigh, NC. His collection of humor essays, A Nay for Effort, has earned him fans from one end of his couch to the other. Why not join them and buy one? (You won't have to sit on his couch.) Dan will donate 10 percent of the book's proceeds to education. You can check it out at www.danbain.net; thanks!
This entry was posted in Hassles, Health, Life and how to live it, Parenting, The Kids, The Wife and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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