I went completely deaf at 3:30am this morning, and awoke from my deep slumber in a panic.
To understand how alarming this moment in time was to me, you need to know that when we moved from the busy Bay Area to a quiet rural road outside Ithaca, NY, I found the extreme quiet to be discombobulating. It was TOO quiet at night, and I would wake up at the slightest sound — a creek of the floor as Scott tip-toed around, the cat munching from his food bowl, a bird flying through the forest outside the window. Anything — everything — woke me up.
I started sleeping with a fan on, which was nice in the summertime and less nice in the dead of winter.
A few birthdays ago, I got a white noise machine, and everything changed. I love that thing. It’s loud, it’s consistent, and it drowns out the quiet. Which sounds ridiculous.
So this morning, when I woke up suddenly and realized the absence of my security blanket of noise, my heart leapt into my throat. My first and only thought was, “Oh great, now I’m deaf.”
Then something miraculous happened. Scott bashed into the wall outside our bedroom door, and I heard it! And then I heard him mutter “damnnnn” under his breath.
I was cured!
“Is everything ok?” I asked.
“The electricity went out and I stepped in cat puke.”
And thus began our Monday morning. It didn’t get better.
My alarm went off at 6:30, which was pointless because I hadn’t fallen back asleep. The lights were still out. Our normally toasty bedroom was freezing. I pulled two giant quilts over my shoulders and ventured into the hallway. Scott was asleep by the gas fireplace, inside a 6 foot semi-circle of warmth, and the two cats were asleep on top of him. I moved on to the kitchen, where a thermometer told me it was 8 degrees outside. It felt like it was about 9 degrees inside. I fumbled in the dark for a few chocolate covered espresso beans. This would have to be my cup of coffee.
I was already dreading this morning because it would be my first day back to work after almost two weeks of winter break. Re-entry is always hard.
I pawed around my office until I felt the familiar shape of my headlamp. I strapped it on and went to the bathroom. Obviously a shower was not happening. I stuffed a brush, my flatiron and a washcloth in a bag to take to the office, where I would have to clean myself up enough to get through the day.
I pulled back the curtains to try to let in a little natural light so I could dress.
And that’s when I saw that some jerk had trashed our lawn.
There were papers strewn about the yard. The bushes in the front yard had bits of paper stuck to them, and as the wind whipped around, empty cans of soda bounced around at the bottom of our trees.
There was Christmas wrapping paper everywhere, and I let loose a low grrrrrr as I thought about what idiots had done this to us.
Then a big piece of red glittery paper flew across the sky. Why did that look so familiar?
It took me another few seconds.
Oh my word, that’s OUR ENTIRE RECYCLING BIN.
Actually, it was three recycling bins… that’s how much we had this week, thanks to the holidays and home projects. And now all of it was scattered throughout our yard, in the neighbor’s yard and flying down the road towards the state forest.
I pulled on my sweater, stuck my unwashed, un-straightened hair in a hat and opened the front door to start collecting our trash. A gale force wind slammed against the front door, pulling it out of my hand, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a black shadow scurry across the porch and down to the side yard.
Now a cat was loose.
I chased Leo around the yard for a few minutes, as he hissed at me and tried to take in a few moments of freedom. I finally caught him and returned him to
prison home. I walked over to my car to start it so it had time to warm up as I cleaned up the yard. I sat in the driver’s seat, depressed the clutch and turned my key.
The battery was dead.
It was 7:45 in the morning.
This was my first day back from winter break.
Did I mention how much re-entry stinks?