party in the u.s.a.

“Is there a reason the cat is eating frozen peas off the living room floor?” my husband asks me this afternoon.

Now before I answer that, first off, it’s endearing he says “the cat”, sort of casual as if we have one, as if our life isn’t sort of a constant Feline Shame Parade and it could be any staggering leggy fleabitten beast in any state of disarray doing Lord Knows What. And of course he’s not even accusing me much, his voice is almost mild and vaguely sedated, he’s been a daddy for many years now and is used to Whatever Is Going On (or has he puts it a minute later, “Clown House”, while doing a funny penguin walk) and that he might come home to total Chaos or Preternatural Domestic Calm and it’s really anyone’s guess as to which one, wheeee!

And actually there is a reason. For the peas. But before I get to that it’s confusing Ralph is even here at 2:30 PM (turns out he needed to pick up something at home then head back to work), and now what is really troubling me is how I’m going to relate the fact that we’d made a little run to the recycled clothing shop (hat for Nels) and the bookstore (Christmas book for Phoenix, shhh!) then stopped at the little charity shop where I donate my well-organized sewing scraps (they love us there!), and the proprietress at this latter venture gave my children these tiny little noisemakers that play incessant tinny Christmas tunes, and I was thinking it’s funny one kindness many grownups show small children is to give them either candy or noisemakers, and I don’t really think they’re being sadistic haw haw, just sweet (and it is sweet!), and it was kind of funny how the kids were playing these horrid things when we got coffee at the diner and I’d thought it might annoy customers but the two people sitting closest to us were profoundly deaf (for real), so a few minutes later we’d pulled up at home and I was going out of my mind with the repetitive Christmas carol MIDI crap and I leaned down in the car to rescue the box I’d carried my fabric scraps in from the footwell and I’d brought my arm up just as Nels leaned down to help me and the corner of the box caught him right in the eye and he howled in anger and I realized this was the first time (I think) I’d ever hurt him like this and quick as a flash I got him inside and wet a dishtowel and wrapped it around a few frozen peas in a plastic bag and set him on the couch and Phoenix entertained him on YouTube for a few minutes while I put away groceries and went pee and hopped on the computer and –

I guess the bag, you know the one with the peas, it had a hole in it.

Despite odd and weird and disconcerting mini-drama (due to our quick action Nels barely has a scratch evidenced) it’s been a good day. Over coffee I asked my mom for a loan to buy fabric for Christmas sewing and – gasp! – sewing for myself. Tonight we have a friend over for a sleepover and after the girls took an adventure (“We’re going to play in a ditch,” Phoenix informed me airily) we cleaned up and visited the gallery for their Winter Christmas Show (where we met new people and the kids made a straight beeline for the appetizers). Back home I slogged away at some sewing (a baby bunting, exactly no one is surprised) while Ralph made dinner (turkey meatballs over fettucine with almond pesto, salad with butter lettuce, cherry tomatoes, carrot and cuke, and lemon broccoli) and then we bathed the kids and I folded all the laundry and some of the cats rolled around in ecstasy –

warm house, yule tree, friends, red wine, B-movie, blankets and soft laughter.


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