no man’s land

I wrote a poem once about how 3 am is a no man’s land. It’s too late to still be up partying or whatever you’d like to do, and it’s too early to be up for the day. But here I am, for a couple reasons.

I went to bed around 10 pm, after watching Ghost Adventures. My alarm was set for 3:15 am so I could get up and shower before I finished packing and headed to the airport. (I’m off to visit my friend, Laurel, for the 4th of July.)

Around 12:30 am, I woke up. I think I was nervous that I’d sleep through my alarm, although I haven’t done that in years. I went back to sleep, but I woke up again around 1 am and felt little points of irritation on my body.

I’ve taken to sleeping in the buff because I read that it’s supposed to be better for you. But as I took stock of what I was feeling, a couple points on my left leg near my knee, a couple points on my right arm, a couple points on the backs of my thighs, I went to the bathroom to see what were clearly bites, I’m guessing spider or maybe mosquito or something I don’t want to know. They itched a little but not much. I put some aloe vera on them, shook out my quilt and sheets a bunch and crawled back in bed.

You can imagine I had a hard time falling asleep. I was hyper aware of any perceived touch on my skin that wasn’t a sheet. I didn’t know if I should keep my limbs under the covers or out. I think I slept a little bit, but then I thought I felt more irritation. I got up again, it was around 2 am, and sure enough, more bites on my left shoulder, about 4 on my back. I think I counted a dozen bites all together (“A DOZEN BITES”). When I am bitten, it’s not pretty. The bite area turns white and the histamines (?) in my body surround it so it’s white with a big red circle around it.

There was no going back to sleep at this point. Plus I wondered if maybe whatever it was was in my hair. Yuck. So I stripped my bed and got in the shower. I feel somewhat better now, the bites are subdued, but it’s strange, at this hour, to be doing regular morning things. Even though it was not that much earlier than I was planning to get up, showering for your day at 2:30 am is not normal for me.

I also couldn’t help but think that this is the first night without Widow in 3 months. (Who is Widow? Widow is a cat that I’m ‘temporarily’ housing for a friend’s son until he finds a new place to live. I’ve taken to calling him the Deadbeat Cat Dad.) Was she (Widow) taking on little creatures as I slept ensuring I was free from attack? It’s a funny thought but could be true?

Enjoy your holiday.

NPM – 24 of 30

hole in the floormat

my driver’s side floormat
has a hole where
my right heel has
worried through
the fabric

I don’t know how
long my heel has
worked to accomplish
this feat

I have noticed it
slowly growing
I have rearranged
the floormat to
slow the growth

but it always
inches back
to the spot
where my heel
rests in the hole
~~
what else in my life
has sustained such
pressure to have altered
its appearance

what part of me
has such sustained
pressure to cause
that alteration
~~
for some
the pressure
is intangible

for some
the intangible
is pressure

NPM – 6 of 30

“a hard cry could draw walls in, it could bend metal,
it could turn a full moon into a sliver”
– from The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

not as much as before
not like it used to be
tears enough to drown in
sorrows fit for a crone

but the aftermath produced
no supernatural
redemption, no relief
just fatigue

slow unrolling
of hours, lists of
ingredients for recipes
that will maybe
get made, wait on
stovetop for others
to maybe eat

waiting to give in
to sleep, to hear
one or another return
not call out to me
the awkwardness
seemingly too much
to overcome

if only the sobs
could have broken
open more than
just my heart

if only the weeping
could have been
a baptism, a beginning
rather than the exit
sign that finally lit up

NPM – 3 of 30

uneven

last night, my chin gushed blood
due to an unfortunate launch
of the cat from my face

in sleep, an apology given
soothed a troubled mind

in the morning, as I brushed
my teeth, an unexpected
tilt
I tried to balance myself
tried to steady what I
didn’t understand

it turned my day upside down
from the start, brought a
foreboding I tried to manage
mostly successfully

as the workday wore on
I distracted myself from
fear, telling myself it was
in my head

but now as I prepare for bed again
I still feel like I’m trying to right
something

‘we’re going to die in this stairwell’

Mid-morning yesterday, the emergency alarm sounded at work. Unlike our last building, this one’s alarm comes with a voice that says, “There is an emergency in the building. Exit the building immediately,” along with a piercing alarm sound that continues repeatedly.

I work on the 6th floor of an 11-story building. In the last building, I was on floor 3 of a 6-story building. I made my way to one of two stairwells along with everyone else on my floor. We merged into the mass of people heading down from the floors above. It was slow-moving, and then we stopped.

We all assumed it was a drill (which it was). But as we were stopped, literally not making any progress to exiting the building, several people joked how we were going to die in the stairwell.

I was surrounded by people I didn’t know. I could see some of my co-workers above and below me, but no one I knew was immediately next to me. Even though the majority of my heart and mind understood that this exercise was a drill, and that the people saying these things around me were joking, there was a small part of me that went to the other extreme. What if this wasn’t a drill? I mean, it’s not unheard of in the times we’re living in, that there could be an actual situation somewhere in the building that other people wouldn’t know about. My mind flipped through scenarios — a gunman in the building, a bomb threat — my thoughts even registered that a fire might not even be as bad as those things. I thought of the stories I’ve read about people who were in the stairwells of the World Trade Center, then I was back where I was, in the stairwell of my building, not moving an inch, surrounded by all these bodies, people who didn’t comprehend or consider that we actually might be in danger, and I came within moments of a panic attack.

Thankfully, I was able to calm myself before I fell off the edge of rational thought, and also it was around that time that we slowly continued our descent. I still am not sure why things got so backed up. Once outside, I made my way over to the 6th floor safe zone and talked with a couple people and waited until the all clear.

When the all clear call came, I knew that the line for the elevators would be crazy. There are 5 elevators for all floors and 1 elevator (express) that goes to the top three floors only (meeting rooms, executive offices). Instead of waiting in line, I decided to use the rest room and try to collect myself further away from the mass of humanity that would be in the lobby.

Even after I used the bathroom, I could tell from the din coming from the lobby that it was still crowded, so I decided to use the stairs to go back to my office. My friend Mike often asks if I want to take the stairs up after we get coffee in the morning. I always say no. And now I know that my answer is justified. I wouldn’t want to be huffing and puffing next to him. I had to take breaks as I walked up to the 6th floor. My legs buckled on the last couple flights. I get why the stair climber is such a popular exercise apparatus. It’s a great workout. But when you’re dressed for work (even though yesterday was College Student Friday so we could dress down), it’s not cool to be sweaty when you return to your desk.

Ironic isn’t it that people said we were going to die in the stairwell on the way down, and me thinking of the way I might describe how I felt as I was on the way up.

what in the actual f**k?

Seriously. Gun violence in America is out of control. And I don’t just mean the tragedies that happen like today’s awfulness in San Bernardino or previous incidents in Sandy Hook, Roseburg, Colorado Springs, and numerous other places. I also mean the hundreds of children who die because they find a gun in their home, their mother’s purse, or because an older sibling accidentally shoots their kid brother or sister. I’m also talking about gangs and gang violence. And I’m also talking about police.

I saw one tweet today that said something like, “Everyone in America is a sitting duck.” I totally feel that way a lot lately. I was in Starbucks this morning, before San Bernardino even happened, and I thought, “What if something happened here?” Or when I was at the hospital for my ultrasound with the fire alarm going off.

When shit like this happens, you often hear people say, “You just never think it can happen to you.” That’s not how I think. I totally believe something like that can happen to me, to people I love. It’s numbing. I try very hard to not let it get me down, to focus on good things, to be grateful, but damn, it’s tough to do sometimes.

I did a small thing tonight. I signed this petition: http://act.everytown.org/sign/Join-This-Fight. I’m tired of just being upset about it. I don’t like guns. I don’t want guns in the hands of kids. I don’t want them in the hands of mentally ill people. I don’t want them in the hands of terrorists. Like I said, it’s a small thing, but it’s something.

“And I wish that I could take
All the guns in this sick place
And melt them into coins
And buy compassion for the human race
And I know it sounds cliche
But, I’m tired of this violence…”

  • by Steve Poltz from “Your Ghost”

I forgot!

I totally spaced on blogging yesterday! Sorry! To make up for it, I will post twice today.

Yesterday, I went to work with my pie and cookies. Around 11:15 am, we started putting food out. A lot of people were off so there was a small group, around 12. The newly appointed VP, and an old friend from RRS days, was off, but he was going to come in and bring the turkey. My boss was also off, but he was going to come in and bring a ham. Well, the ham got there, but the other guy didn’t order the turkey and struck out at Honey-Baked and Boston Market. So there wasn’t turkey at our Thanksgiving potluck. It was okay, there was plenty of lumpia! The cookies and pie were very well-received. There were leftovers so I brought them up here to LM.

We were told we could leave around 1pm, but I had a meeting so I ended up leaving around 2 pm. The roads were already crowded. I used Google maps to get me there the fastest, but it still took about 3 hours. I went on toll roads, side streets, and random freeways, but I was moving pretty much the whole time which is what I like. I detest sitting in traffic.

When I got here, things were a little tense because I was upset about something which made my mom upset. After things calmed down, it was fine. Mom made BLAT’s and Trader Joe’s mac ‘n’ cheese. We watched “Survivor” then I just went to bed around 10 pm. It was weird, it didn’t even occur to me about the blog until this morning!

Until later today!