Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Last Pirouette

Standing in front of my classroom this morning, I felt nauseous.  It was that icky yellow feeling up and down my belly, from about my esophageal sphincter to the Main Exit.  While we were talking about how to evaluate a web site, I was thinking about whether or not I was going to throw up.

I put me on Auto-Teach so that my mind could briefly run down the possible reasons why I was feeling this way.  What had I eaten?  Not much—my fridge was broken.  I was living out of my pantry, freezer, and a cooler with some food in it, but to be honest, I was so pressed for time these days that I’d been living on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, yogurt, nuts, and apples.

Yogurt.  I wondered if that could be the cause of my icky feeling.  The last cup I’d taken out of my dying fridge had seemed kind of warm, so I ate it because I didn’t want to waste it.  Maybe it had been too warm.  I don’t know.  Could just as well have been the string cheese.  All I knew was that I’d had this uncomfortable feeling on and off for a couple days.  I would put all the warm food from the fridge into the garbage when I got home, and only eat the cold stuff from the cooler until my new refrigerator arrived.  

Problem solved.  Resume Teaching.

Driving home, I wondered what my cats were doing.  I was pretty sure they weren’t fighting anymore because Sara had handed out The Pecking Orders a few nights ago, and everybody signed.  It was Sara, Leo, then Lucy, poor Lucy.  There was finally peace in my house.  But Sara had even made me sign: I had to waive the rights to sleeping alone.  No longer would my three cats be banished, together, to their room at precisely 9:15 every night.  Instead, they could sleep on my bed or not, roam around or not.  My only rule was “don’t bug me”.

I got home and noted the absence of a paper in my driveway.  My heart panged a little for it. I canceled it because I don’t have time to read it anymore.  I’ve also been meaning to cancel my membership to Costco and Netflix, and pay down my second mortgage more.  These things fall under “Financial” on my to-do list though, so they got put away as I walked from my garage into my house.  There was enough to do right now without worrying about that.  

My next immediate task was moving Leo’s litter box out of my bathroom and back into the cat room.  I couldn’t wait.  I’d been stepping out of my shower, clean, onto kitty litter for the last week.  He also seemed to choose my purest moments for taking a dump, like when I was doing my final gentle pirouettes into bed, made up with fresh linens.

I walked through the door with two bags of ice and said hi to everybody, then walked around the corner into the kitchen.  My refrigerator was still there, looking beat-up.  Some of my magnets were knocked off and even broken during Sara and Leo’s skirmishes in the kitchen, so there are bare spots, and now you can see the dust next to the shiny patches uncovered.  I put the bags of ice down, picked up the cooler and let it drain in the sink, then put it back down and opened it up.  The sight of yogurt cups pushed the yellow ribbon of ickiness up from my esophageal sphincter more towards the back of my throat.  I poured the ice on top and shut the top.  I wanted to get to Leo’s box.

I strode down the hallway because I’ve been feeling confident lately, back through my bedroom and into my bathroom.  My poor bathroom.  It has the same midget toilet and “vanity” that came with the place in 1984.  The vanity has a newish wooden toilet paper dispenser screwed to the side, just two posts and a spindle—somebody trying to spruce up the place.  The two posts are installed too far apart, so the spindle always falls out.  Finally, I just left it out.  I put the toilet paper wherever I felt like it.  

After looking at those two wooden posts for about six years—and having recently spent more time than usual in this bathroom, with the toilets backing up and Leo being in here and for other purposes too— I got the bright idea of sticking two rolls of toilet paper onto the posts themselves, suddenly supplying the toilet paper user with twice as much toilet paper as before.  The more I tested it, the more I realized that I was also cutting down on waste.

This, I think, is worth having to wait six years for, especially because it was my dad who installed those posts, at my request.

I might leave them up forever.


  1. I love the bit about The Pecking Orders. And, yes, poor Lucy.

    Hope you're feeling better soon.

  2. I only learned a couple of years ago that there is such a thing as an esophogeal sphincter. My coworker mentioned he was going to the doctor to have his sphincter stretched and I nearly died laughing. Until he explained he has swallowing problems that could make him choke to death. And here I thought he was just, quite literally, a tight ass.

  3. Thanks to dad you'll always have a back up roll of toilet paper.