An Ugly Truth

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

There is very little that I keep from Emily.

Oh, that is not to say that I allow her access to what I consider to be Adult worries or information. My own mother with her non-existent boundaries taught me that my child was not my friend and confidant. I had that role. I hated that role. I will not be repeating that particular role with my child.

I do my best with discussing the issues around her body changing and the changes she notices and feels. I won't pretend that it is easy or comfortable. There is a part of me that wants to run into my closest and close my eyes and LA-LA-LA-LA it until she has moved out. However, that role has currently been taken by Terrance, so one of us has to buck up and get out there and provide some guidance. Tonight, I read her an article by the fabulous Dr. Lissa from the BlogHer feed about what vaginas should smell like....and while she was vaguely horrified at my use of the terms "Fish Taco" , "coochie" and "pussy" ( and perhaps the ease in which her mother allows such terms to roll of my tongue) she was also curious and attentive. Par for the course in our house.

Nearly three weeks ago, however, I broke a barrier with her that I have held back until now.


My sister has made two suicide attempts. The first one, the tester one, was minor as these things go.  Em knew that I went to my home town and that her Aunt was sick....but nothing more. She knew that her grandmother and I had progressed to a fairly spectacular argument that sealed my decision to keep my mother at arms length. However, since we still encourage Emily to call and chat with her well as occasionally spend some vacation time with her ( all done without me being involved in transport or drop off/pick up) she doesn't think to dig any deeper.

I have not kept my own mental health issues from Emily. She is aware, for instance, that I am currently changing medications. That this may mean that I am slightly crabbier (or not) as I feel out the changes in regimen.  She understands that I manage depression. That I take medication for depression. She has known what the pills are and look like and that they are Not candy and Not for her.

I have always wanted her to know that Yes, Depression is real and it can be managed and that it is just a part of life for some people.  I wanted her to know that My depressions have nothing to do with HER, are in no way her fault and should not be held inside her as some kind of criticism of the wonderful person I know her to be. She also knows, from my comments, that depression is something that my "runs" in my family.

I have always been frank with her because I wanted her to be aware of  a predisposition within 50% of her genetic makeup towards major mental health issues. Mental Health issues that I know, from the copious research available, start to emerge in the age 14 range for many teens.

We were at a breakfast place with the television on in the background. I wasn't listening terribly closely, as I was waiting for my cup of coffee. She must have heard something on the television, however, which prompted the question.

"What's suicide?"

Unlike the inherent weird freaked out feeling that your child asking about sex gives you - like OH MY GOD THEY KNOW THAT THEIR FATHER AND I HAVE DONE "IT"!, this question sends a wholly different feeling through you.

Fear runs through you. Deep, Deep Fear. The same fear you felt when you were five and realized that your parents could Die.  That your force of will could not stop something from happening...that your existence in the world could not wholly protect people whom you loved.

Looking into your child's face; The person who makes you both crazy and utterly joyful and reaching for words to explain the urge to extinguish your own life? The desire to simply brush the question away with a deflection or a "You don't have to worry about that" is profound.  As is the desire to start to cry.  Which would be it's own type of deflection. For it is in those moments, I think, the moments when you sense your own parents discomfort that foundations of future trust are built or eroded.

And I want Emily to trust me, implicitly, for I know it is not going to get easier as she moves further and further beyond my influence.

I started plainly. Suicide is when people decide to kill themselves. Not by accident, but by choice.  This led, predictably, to questions about WHY anyone would want to do that.  Emily remains in that sweet spot of 12 when she is both old enough to understand some things, but still impervious to some of  the sorrow of being older.

I did the best I could, explaining that sometimes people feel that their problems are too large, that they are too sad and worn out to feel like they want to keep being alive.  That this can be caused by lots of different problems - Drugs and other addictions....and mental illnesses, like depression.

In a voice filled with incredulous indignity Emily said, "Yeah well YOU'VE Never wanted to kill yourself...."

I admit I couldn't fess up to it to her. I couldn't tell her of some of the worst parts of my depressions.  It simply isn't for her to bear at this point, just as the details of abuse at the hands of my biological father is not for her to bear.  Know someday? Yes. Burden her with it now?  No. I couldn't.

Instead, I told her the story of my sister. She remembers when her aunt was in the hospital?

I told her how she had drank antifreeze. How this had very nearly killed her and how she had to be air lifted to a larger hospital, dying at least twice before being put on dialysis to cleanse the poison out of her blood. I explained how her aunt had to stay in the hospital for a couple of weeks to recover and get her medications to a place where she was well enough to come out.  How all of this was due to the depression that we - as a family - must manage.

Emily was shocked. Her aunt, the aunt she loves and adores, the aunt who is bright and smart and young and beautiful....THIS aunt tried to kill herself?  She didn't want to live?

Yes, my beloved. Depression is a terrible illness and it can trick you into believing things that simply are not true.  I tell you this not to scare you, but to arm you against an enemy you may have to face someday. You may not. You may be  protected by some combination of genetics and luck....your uncle seems to have escaped unscathed to date....

But most importantly - MOST importantly, there is nothing that is so terrible that it can't be shared. That there  is nothing that she can tell me which would make me love her less or run away from her.  That everything changes in time - even things which feel unchangeable and insurmountable.

I explain that I tell her this not to scare her, but to let her know that I am willing to face anything with her.


Boogie all night long to the sounds of Pristiq!

Monday, September 27, 2010

And here is where the camera would pan away to the dazzling outfits of the girl band, (ala Labelle)

while a heavy funk groove begins.

So, I am switching medications after 9.5 years on the Prozac-tacular Prozac. of course, I am worried because the LAST time we messed with my medications?

Oy Jesus. Bad Moon Rising.

But my sleeping is way out of whack and I am needing increases in doses with a greater frequency to keep the depression at bay - and I have now been off the Prozac for 2 and a half weeks and while I am not in full withdrawal mode, I can feel the difference.

So I am willing to try it, even with all the crazy shit about it being a derivative of Effexor and will it help, or won't it help, or will I need to go back on the Prozac in a low dose too to make my brain function in some vaguely human way?

Because sleeping for 13 hours a day and still feeling exhausted is no good. Especially when you then are awake until 3 you then feel more exhausted.  Its a lottery where the continual payout is more shit.

But like all people with messed up brain chemistry, you just want it to WORK. NOW.
You want to wake up in the morning and think "Hey. I feel pretty good - Lets get going!" rather than this sloggy feeling of being in opaque water.

So I will either feel better, feel worse, or feel nothing. I'm not loving these odds, I must admit.

"I'll take Parental Guilt for 1000, Please"

Saturday, September 25, 2010

When I made the announcement at Mother Daughter book Club last night, the last thing I expected was to be awake at 4 a.m., later that night, in full panic attack mode, envisioning my daughter as a destitute crack whore living in the crevices of St Catherine.

Now in my defense, I have been off my meds since last week when I ran out.  Since I couldn't see my doctor until this coming Monday, I have been crazy Med free for nearly two weeks..... for the first time in more than 10 years.

 (And don't get me started on how the pharmacist wouldn't refill and the doctor couldn't be gotten to fax a script in to refill and me, off meds and getting increasingly angry with myself for not being more on top of things and thinking vaguely that I DESERVED withdrawal, but I increasingly digress as the symphony in my head gets louder and adds in more critical voices )

It was the utter silence, I think, that unnerved me.

In choosing books for the upcoming months, and trying to work schedules etc, there was a sudden uptick mother voices talking about the high school entrance exams and how they aren't sure if they are going to be able to make the October meeting because everyone has eight billion entrance exams scheduled. Now, this isn't just for private schools in Montreal. Oh, No. They do this shit for the "better" public schools too.

Me being Me, cheerfully announced that I opted Emily out of ALL of that - that our stance was it was all Bullshit, and we weren't going to put Em through it.  "No reason", I said. "The tests are meaningless. She has two parents with PhD's in education, she is going to be just fine."

I might as well have announced that I had conceived Emily through Alien anal probing. (although god knows, Terrance does try every now and then)


One of the Moms who knows me a bit better smiled at me. I am the quirky parent after all. Who KNOWS what Dawn is going to say.  Sweet Dorothy even said "Well, that is really refreshing!" I know she was sincere. I am sure it WAS refreshing. I may have been the first parent in the history of English Montreal who made that statement in a public room with other parents present. I may as well have said "I hope for Emily to be a stripper in one of Montreals various skin clubs. Maybe a stripper with Herpes. And a Meth addiction."

In that moment of silence, the panic saw it's opportunity and nestled itself in my reptilian brain.

In the light of the day, I can look at that panic. I know it well. It was the same panic that came to stay when her brain injury was first diagnosed and I envisioned her, 32, living in my basement and walking to her minimum wage job. No college. No marriage and children. Nothing.

And it was my fault. Me. Her mother. I didn't do something right. I was depressed. I drank coffee during my pregnancy. I put her down too hard in her crib one night. I didn't love her enough and I ruined her life before she could even escape me. It is part of that panic that whispers to me to have another baby, you know. Have another baby and prove you can do it better. Be absolved.  Which is ridiculous. And uber Crazy.

In the space of hopelessness it feels like something. Something I can do. Prep her for a test. Make sure she gets into the best high school, make sure I am doing everything right so if it goes wrong, I can be held blameless.

It is our collective parental nightmare. Our moments of indecision, of selfishness, or disinterest or sheer exhaustion in parenting are going to revisit us. They are going to sit in our kitchen and stare at us with dead eyes and accusing words.

When Terrance found me flighty and sleepless this morning, I garbled all of this out to him.

"We are doing the right thing, right? It will be all right, right? This is the best thing for her and she will end up in a good school? She will be happy? Should we start looking to see if she should take these tests?"

He soothes me. This episode was small compared to the panic after the diagnosis when I curled in bed and sobbed for my daughters imagined future. Professional Dawn has taken a powder break and left the Uncertain, anxious, parent in her place.

He holds me. "Dawn, if there was ever two parents who can exert sheer force of will, it is you and I. She will be fine. This will all be fine. We will find the right place where she will be happy and succeed, we always have..."

I hold the panic at bay.

Testing for Kindergarten? I Call BullSh*t.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Yesterday, Professional Dawn opened her email and saw something which made her so angry that she sputtered and choked her way into the University where she is a PhD candidate, and then proceeded to sputter and choke about what she had seen in her email inbox to her PhD partner in angst.

What could have caused Professional Dawn this type of reaction?

An invitation to a chat with an "expert" in Kindergarten Testing.  An "expert" with no actual degrees or experience TEACHING children. An "expert" who has written a book and is trying to sell it to worried parents afraid their child is going to be left out of some thing that , if only they bought the book, would solve the problems of getting their child into that exclusive preschool, or Kindergarten. This will, of course, lead to your child being prettier and popular and eventually getting into Harvard with a full scholarship.

I call Bull Shit. Do you need me to CAPS that statement?


Professional Dawn has, of course, TAUGHT kindergarten. Professional Dawn has degrees in Education (Both Early AND Elementary) and Child Development and is in process of her very own PhD in said Educations. Professional Dawn is a Mom too.  A Mom with a child with a variety of diagnosed learning issues.  Professional Dawn is married to Professional Terrance , a man who did his PhD in Psychometrics. Do you know what that is?

Here, let me give you the Wikipedia fast and dirty definition:

Psychometrics is the field of study concerned with the theory and technique of educational and psychological measurement, which includes the measurement of knowledge, abilities, attitudes, and personality traits. The field is primarily concerned with the construction and validation of measurement instruments, such as questionnairestests, and personality assessments.

OH SNAP! We have a REAL education Expert AND an Expert in EDUCATION TESTING DESIGN in the same house!!! You can see why we may make a fearsome parental duo.

And do you know what we two experts KNOW about the designs of all of these tests?

They don't measure shit.  Not your child's intelligence or interests or ability to succeed in life. Not who you will marry or how happy you will be later in life. They are arbitrary tests which give institutions a Number in order to control the supply and demand of any given product, in this case, Education. 

Alfie Kohn calls it "a way to separate the wheat from the chaff children", and you know what that is veiled code for right? Rich and Poor. White and Non White. Haves and Have Nots. 

These books - these programs to "prep" your child for anything? Lies. They do nothing. 

Do you know what does help? Reading to your child. Talking to your child. Taking your child on walks around the neighborhood and discussing what you see. Listening to music with your child. Cooking with your child. Laughing with your child. 

I can tell you that the brain isn't fully developed until about age 21 when the pre-frontal cortex comes fully on-line. This is why teens have such crappy decision making skills, they are still growing the part of the brain that is needed to MAKE decisions. I can tell you that until age 7, the true Concept of Reading is not really accessible to most children. Sure, they can repeat words. They might even be able to sound out letters and sounds if you drill them enough....But the mystery of Decoding for information? Comes on-line about the time they move into the Piagetian "Concrete operational" stage.

I can tell you all sorts of things about children and learning and brain development. I can tell you that a healthy diet and protecting uninterrupted sleep  is as important for brain development as reading to your child. I can tell you it is the Quality of experiences and not the Quantity of experiences which shapes brains and intelligence. 

I can tell you that if Parents were to refuse to allow their children to participate in these tests that the Institutions would eventually stop demanding them - JUST like most schools no longer require GRE scores for Graduate schools. If you have no test scores to arbitrarily assign value to, then how are you going to Know a child as a learner? Maybe watch them? Get to Know them? Talk with them?  If you've got no test scores and no parents willing to comply with providing them, then your product (the school) becomes devalued. You are then forced to change your metric of admission. 

I can tell you that Anybody can slap "expert" next to their name and talk about things they have no right to be talking about as "experts". 

I can tell you that these books, these programs, do nothing but take your money and stress your children out. 
As Alfie Kohn says more eloquently:

"And once you realize that the tests are unreliable indicators of quality, then what possible reason would there be to subject kids – usually African American and Latino kids -- to those mind-numbing, spirit-killing, regimented instructional programs that were designed principally to raise test scores? If your only argument in favor of such a program is that it improves results on deeply flawed tests, you haven’t offered any real argument at all. Knock out the artificial supports propping up “Success for All,” “Open Court,” “Reading Mastery,” and other prefabricated exercises in drilling kids to produce right answers (often without any understanding), and these programs will then collapse of their own dead weight."

However, until PARENTS stand up and say "Absolutely Not, there is no basis or reasons for this" OR Schools come out and simply honestly say "We are trying to keep THOSE children out of this school, you know, the poor/black/stupid ones..."  this nonsensical hamster wheel of ridiculousness will continue. 

And it makes Professional Dawn crazy mad.

Final Straw

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I had resigned myself to living with that awful teacher for 2 years by the end of last year. My only hope was that she was smart enough to NOT harass my kid, given that I had no problem rolling into the principals office, the school board, the parent representatives, the Education professors at McGill or You, the internets to voice my concerns.

Of course, she just HAD to shot one across my bow with the "Only Child" comment. She just H-A-D to do it.  Couldn't help herself.

Ok. I will let that one go. Chalk it up simply to her being the incredibly miserable human being that I know her to be.

But it was when Emily came home the following week and shared with me the way this hag decided to completely humiliate a boy in front of the rest of the class, that was when the final straw was placed.

Em's school has uniforms. No big deal, white shirts with the crest and navy blue pants. The shirts run between 22 and 30 dollars a shirt. Which isn't a huge deal...except when you have a crazy growing kid, OR one who is especially hard on clothes OR one of the billion other weird and unexpected scenarios that any parent has come to understand as Shit Happening.

While this is a public school and we are in a solidly upper middle class neighborhood, the school attracts children from a variety of backgrounds and socio-economic strata. Which we like. If we wanted Emily to be surrounded by  a homogeneous group, she would go to one of Montreal's MANY private schools.

Now, I know this little boy. He is, in fact, a bit of a hellion. I have watched him since he was in kindergarten in this school and he has remained a bit of a rambunctious badass boy. It doesn't help matters that he is TALL. As in "looked like he might be 11 when he was 5" Tall. So you have a boy who has always looked like he was MUCH older acting like a normal boy of his age, but drawing attention because he looks like he is old enough to know better.

He is the oldest of three children. His family is not one of the ones who lives in one of the big houses around the park, but I see his mom walking he and his sisters to and from school nearly everyday.

So what was this boys great crime? His mother, in what I can only guess was an attempt to stretch the money spent on uniforms, cut the crest off of an old shirt and sewed it onto a plain white shirt.

Mrs X felt the need to bring that to the attention of the class.

"J", she called out, "Why aren't you in your uniform?"

The boy, according to Emily looked a bit confused. He was IN the white shirt and blue pants like all the other Cycle Three kids. He responded that he WAS in his uniform. Mrs X was not satisfied.

"That isn't the correct Uniform, J. Do you not HAVE an official uniform?"

The boy remained perplexed.  Mrs X circles in for her kill.

"YOUR shirt has the crest on the RIGHT side of your shirt. The official uniforms have the crests on the LEFT Side of your shirt - did you not notice that?"

According to Emily, this is when J - and the rest of the class - figured out what was happening.  The boy does his best to refute the teacher, "My mom must have sewed it on the wrong side...."

Mrs X isn't done. "Yes she did!  You need to tell her to put it on the left side of the shirt so it will be a proper uniform shirt. She needs to correct her mistake...."

The boy, according to Emily, simply doesn't respond. Mrs X lets it linger and moves on to whatever new torture she is devising for her students.

When Emily tells me this as she debriefs her day, I fight the urge to either burst into Tears, or run into the school and punch this bitch directly in the face.  I am somewhat speechless as I look at my daughter. My kind and compassionate child who would never have known that J's shirts were not "correct" had it not been announced by this sorry excuse for a human being.  I ask her what J did afterwards. She shrugs.


I didn't sleep that night. I also didn't tell Terrance about it. I just lay in bed thinking and thinking and thinking about what I could do - what I was supposed to do - what I had a responsibility to do. To tell you all that I literally lay awake with this chewing at my guts is in no way an understatement. People who bully children based on Financial status? On the actions of their parents?

I simply can not abide it.  Simply Can Not.

By the morning, I was ready to tell Terrance. His reaction was similar to mine.  The phrase "I am going to go kick this fat bitch in the ass" may have been uttered by Him. While he continued to digest the horribleness of the action, I had already decided I needed to go in and speak to the new principal.  No matter that the action was not directed at my child, I had an ethical obligation as an educator, as a Mom, as a human being to speak up about this.

So I did. I told the new principal everything. I gave her the card for my blog and encouraged her to read the stories about this teacher. To ask other parents who have suffered through this sadist's reign of terror over their children. I explained that Terrance and I had both worked for most of our professional careers for equity  in educational opportunities for ALL children, but particularly children from low income families.

I told her that No child - NO CHILD - should be made to feel less than anyone else because of a SHIRT.  That if the teacher had a true concern, she could have written a note in the agenda to the mother rather than draw the whole classes attention to this Boy and his shirt.

And Finally I said: "We want Emily out of that classroom."


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Yesterday - after the visit to the Cat hospital to visit Loki, the newest and therefore immediately sick and needing serious medical attention member of our family - Emily and her father had their First Annual "Arguing over homework" fiesta.

It ended, predictably, with her in tears, Him yelling and her retreating to her bedroom.

However, there is a change. She shuts her door now.

The child who refused to shut her door for the past 12 years - to the point of screaming and vomiting and writhing around on the floor-  has suddenly discovered that Shutting her door = Being Left Alone.

I had noticed this earlier in the summer, but kept quiet. She IS 12, after all. Her life is rightfully changing into Hers... in a way that does not privilege Terrance nor I. Stronger Boundaries are being built - Delineations between Her privacy and what she wants to share.

Its funny being on the outside looking in at her. Logically, I know lots of things about this stage in her life. Logically, I know that her need for privacy is right and good. That I am raising a healthy, strong girl, and that part of that means separating her identity from mine, from her father. I know that there will be more secret keeping and that I will have to negotiate access in a very different way in order to make sure that the balance between healthy secret keeping and bad decision making is attained.

When Terrance heard the door shut, he immediately came into the hall. "Emily? Is everything Ok? Are you OK?"

He opens the door and looks at her. She is sitting in her bed doing her homework.

Her tone is that of an exasperated teen. "Yeah Dad - I'm Fine. I'm just doing my homework."

He closes the door and walks into my bedroom. I meet his eyes.

"She's 12", I say.

"I forget she is 12", he says.

"There is no forgetting. ", I say.

Our baby bird is building her own nest.

Opening Volley

Friday, September 03, 2010

You know, I try. I honestly do. I don't ever start out as a raving lunatic. But People, certain people, well they just PUSH ME OVER THE EDGE.

One of those being Emily's Teacher. For whom I have many private names,  none of which shall be shared publicly.

Yep. Against all hope, meditation, and small animal and child sacrifices, her teacher did not retire over the summer. The Same teacher from last year is with us again this year.

With a summer away from this miserable specimen of humanity, I had almost forgotten the brand of craptastic crap she can say in any given day.

So, we sent Em off to school on Tuesday. All seems quiet. There is a new principal who seems fresh and no-nonsense.  Perhaps this year will be smoother. Perhaps this teacher has learned from the fury I visited down upon her Last year to Leave This Mother Alone. Do not throw rocks in the direction of this Mother. Do not poke this mother with a stick to see if she will open her eyes. Do not taunt or otherwise wave obvious battle regalia in front of the mother. Do not give weak explanations for stupid decisions you can not back up, because THIS mother...she is smart. And she does not suffer bullies well.

Today, I pick Em up. It is a hot day. All this week, they have been going swimming and taking field trips to ease everyone back into school. No homework has been assigned (not counting the thesis-level-stack-of-forms I have to fill out).

Em hops into the car, and immediately starts reminding me that we have to buy her exercise books. You know, those little papery composition books? Apparently they were on the list, and I forgot to buy them. No big, I think - we will pick them up on Saturday. Everything else that was on the mammoth sized list was sent in on Tuesday.

I turn to Em and say "Emily. You have already reminded me about those books. I told you we would pick them up on Saturday. What is the big deal - you don't have homework, do you? And have we EVER sent you to school without the supplies you need? Ever? In all of your life? "

Em pauses.  She says "No....but...."

"But what?", I say.

"When I told Mrs X that I didn't have the books yet and I was going to get them on Saturday, she said  "You're an only child, right? Didn't your parents have all summer to get the things on the list? Its not like they have six other kids to take care of before you....""

It is fortunate that we are now a good ways from the school, since I most likely would have had to speak with Mrs X about this little comment had we been within a 2 block radius. Of all the rotten, shitty, bitchy ass things to say to a 12 year old!

I simmer. "Did you tell her we were too busy sending you to camps and wonderful vacations BECAUSE YOU ARE AN ONLY CHILD?"

Emily giggles, softly.

"How about this", I say,"My parents just took me and my best friend to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for 10 days BECAUSE I AM AN ONLY CHILD!"

"Yeah", Em says, "I wanted to say "Hey - "we were kind of Busy", but I didn't want to aggravate her, so I said nothing."

"Lets just get through the year, sweetie - then we never have to see this Hobgoblin again."

Cat Days of Summer

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

School is back in session and Terrance and I have too much time together again.

This morning he left for yoga, while I was doing my morning nap.

I arose at noon and began to get my tasks underway. Litter box cleaning for rabbits, then cat. Washing floor of my room with vinegar for rabbits have indeed decided to urinate wily nily to express their displeasure with being boarded for 10 days AND the appearance of the feline.

Then washing of the throw rugs in vinegar and hot water to kill the scent of rabbit urine so I can place them back down on the floor. Rabbits and hard wood floors = funny but irritated slipping rabbits.

After I took care of the rabbits, I began to search out the cat. He is 2 days post neuter and I wanted to give him a once over look. He has only used the litter once since we brought him home Monday night so I want to make sure his incisions are not bothering him and therefore keeping him from using the box.

Can't find the cat.

OK. Cats are infamous for finding obscure spots and hiding. I look everywhere else Loki has declared to be His spots. Nothing.  I call him. Nothing. I shake the treat bag. Nothing.  Hmm.

My first thought was that Terrance let the cat outside. Terrance is itching to let the cat outside. He hates litterboxes with a passion and the fact that I have brought in a cat who will HAVE to use a litterbox, at least for the near future, galls him.

The more I think about it, the more I am sure. He let the cat outside. Which now means the cat will disappear and I will be left to explain to the inconsolable 12 year old that the cat ran away. Which also means I am out 125 bucks for the adoption fee. This pisses me off not because I resent paying an adoption fee to the SPCA, but money is tight and school has begun and I have a series of cheques to write to the school totaling @500 bucks. Its the time of year when I fear looking at my chequeing account balance.

I open the linen closet to get a towel since I might as well shower if I have to go roaming the neighborhood shouting a name at a cat who doesn't know his name.

Loki is sitting there looking at me.  Terrance had locked him in the linen closet on his way to yoga.

Phew. I give him a rub and shoo him from the closet. I take my shower.

As I finish, Terrance comes home.

Wrapped in a towel, I say: "honey - you locked the cat in the closet.- remember to look for him before you shut doors."

He immediately becomes defensive. "How do you know I did it?"

Um, Ok. Is this how we are going to play this? Really? I pause.

"well, he was with me after Emily left when I was reading, and then I fell asleep and you got ready for yoga and when I woke up and started to look for him I found him Inside the closed linen closet...." I trail off. I mean, do I really have to go balls to the wall legal defense for this question?

"Huh. Ok, Maybe it was me. But I want you to get dressed and march out to the car because there is some candy bar melted in the drivers side mat and it is a mess, it is never going to come out. There is caramel which is stuck on the mat. I think we are going to have to cut out that section of the mat"

I stare at him.

Several things flit through my mind:

1. I KNEW I dropped that damn candy bar. I just couldn't find it again after I was done swearing at the other drivers.
2. Yep. Totally my bad.
3. Cut out the section of the mat?  Its a CANDY BAR, for petes sake. It has no industrial powers of adhesion. How hard can this be? Sugar dissolves with hot water - let alone the tropical rain forest heat we are enduring at the moment.
4. Why did I marry the man with some anal fascination with the state of the car mats?

Terrance is seething. Quietly , but seething. I give what I think is the least offensive answer.

"Ok - I'll get dressed and go take a look."

I have exhibited none of the shame I was supposed to display. I mean, in Dawn world - It's a Candy bar. It is summer. It can be washed off.  Really, no big deal.

In Terrance world, it is one more example of what is wrong with Dawn. Her utter lack of attention to the niceties of life, including things like clean houses and clean cars. Her trifling , nasty whiteness.

He begins to expound on the insolvable qualities of the caramel until I finally snap.

"IT IS A CANDY BAR! It doesn't need to be cut out of anything, It is CARAMEL - not a Greek tragedy!"

"Well, I touched it and it didn't move..."

Now I am pissed. Really pissed. I storm out to remove the offensive 2 ounces of chocolate and caramel which has so enraged my spouse. I grab the mat from the car. The candy bar falls off nearly in its entirety.

You have got to be %^$%$#$ kidding me.

I march into the house and into the kitchen. I run some water on the mat and in less than 30 seconds, the mat is candy free. Not a speck of the offending caramel remains.

I run into his bedroom and hold up the mat: "See! Good as new. Cut out the section? What is wrong with you? "

His response: "You didn't water-log the mat did you?"

To my credit, I DID not throw the mat at him, although I sorely longed to do so.

Nope. I placed the mat in the sun to dry and came in here to write all of this down.
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