a how-to book that reads like a thriller

Our dryer broke today but only after I had about eight loads of wet laundry waiting. I search online and find a heating element but in the meantime, we need towels and clean sheets. So at 10 PM I’m sitting on my mother’s couch waiting for a single load to finish; the rest of our wet clothing and linens are bundled into large black garbage bags and rest on her tidy laundry room floor. We always talk about world events and cultural phenomena when I visit with my mother. Tonight I mention the disturbing, disgusting tax breaks our country’s mega-rich receive and my mom interrupts me to angrily hold aloft her popsicle, “Like these! These are half as big as they used to be, and they cost twice as much! It makes me so angry!” I look down at my popsicle – lime flavor, duh! – and I realize, Sonofabitch, this damn thing is smaller. Life’s a bitch.

My oldest son sits next to me on his phone, and by “next” I mean almost in my lap. My kids have a lifelong habit of sitting RIGHT up against me and I mean directly. At restaurants they might start in a sensible location in the booth but by the time I’m halfway through the entree they’re leaning up against me. It’s the best thing ever, I can’t lie, and it’s only a tiny bit disconcerting that they are now taller than I. Nels has surpassed his older brother and now is the second tallest in the home. It’s wonderful watching your children grow up so healthy and true but daily I am diminished, unless I redefine myself and that’s what I’m trying to do.

Today I also finished reading Gavin de Becker’s The Gift of Fear, a stunning book that both deeply unsettled me in many moments, but also is helping me a great deal. I have a harasser in my life, and although his behaviors have been so far only minor annoyances, I was grateful to find such a great book.

I wish I’d found it when I was about thirteen years old.

So finishing up seven shirts these last couple days in lovely, deep neutral jewel tones; tomorrow I slip into more work on a super-secret cosplay project. My sabattical starts soon but in the meantime I have four more t-shirts for clients, a project to re-do (client error but these things happen), a slip to sew then overdye, sleeves to apply, a chambray men’s shirt, and a pair of athletic shorts to alter. Then yes – it is also time to start planning for Halloween and Christmas. But for today, merely having my studio buttoned up and my delicious shirts hanging in the closet, cheers me up sufficiently with regards to my workload. Time to light the candle, perform my evening ablutions, slip into pajamas, and prepare for my novel, then – sleep.

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