And So It Goes…

…but where it’s going, nobody knows.

The combines are starting to show up in corn fields and I’m finding myself stuck behind very slow trucks loaded down with straw bales. And when I say straw bales, I mean imagine a flat bed driving along a narrow winding two-lane country road hauling a small house made of straw, like what the first little pig built so that he could host big First Little Pig Parties for all his best pig friends.

Summer is coming to a close. This makes me sad because soon it will be autumn and while there are many good things about autumn, for me, the worst thing about it is that winter follows behind like an annoying baby brother. Even when you don’t hear him you can smell him. He’s coming and there’s no stopping him. Time out never works. Even in the South.

This summer was….different. Frustrating and fun and anxiety producing and productive and quiet. The kids attended a camp or two, Dusty took another stained glass class, there was a beach trip (now so far in the past it feels like it never happened), and they spent a goodly portion of the summer in the city with their dad. I had scads of time alone and made, I hope, the most of it. I did a lot of work around the house, tended to my garden, mowed the grass a bazillion times, met up with friends, slept late, watched a lot of movies, worried about everything, dealt with some financial disasters, and painted.

I’ve just about finished work on my bedroom. Once the paintings are hung, I’ll post some befores and afters (unless, as is likely the case, I forget). I lost a computer and eventually replaced it thanks to angels in my midst. I lost a friend or two and regained some old ones. I fretted about the fact that I’m old and washed up and my prospects for love or companionship way out here, surrounded by people whose beliefs, values, and interests are very different than mine, are close to nil. I cried and I laughed. I missed my kids and I didn’t. I variously cooked a lot and ate meals cobbled together from whatever was in the fridge. I made refrigerator pickles and zucchini bread and a thousand things involving tomatoes. I watched the fireflies and the stars, listened to the rain come down. It rained a lot this summer. A lot. I got attacked by a dying groundhog and worried about every conceivable thing.

One very super good thing that happened this month was that I took the girls to a concert in DC to see their favorite band.


These tickets were Christmas gifts and eight months is a lot of delayed gratification. It was also eight months of horrible anxiety for me because – and I can say this now, out loud – I was never entirely sure that they weren’t fake. I’d purchased them via the stadium itself rather than one of those ticket selling sites and I printed them via an email. They had someone else’s name on them and all kinds of fees had been tacked on due to all kinds of third-party things I didn’t quite understand but no longer cared about. When I bought them, I needed them however I could get them. That kind of desperation often backfires for me. So, I called the 800 number and was assured they were real, that the seats were resold on behalf of the seat holder who I guess had season tickets to baseball games but…I still wasn’t 100% sure that all this was legit. How do you know any more? Where do you go to determine their legitimacy? There are so very many ways to scam people particularly when everything’s done online.

But. I kept my concerns to myself and just lived with that little thread of low level anxiety. I didn’t feed it but it didn’t starve itself. It was quite self-sufficient living in my gut all those months. It kept me up at night and gave me bad dreams. It was good at turning the dial from “a general nagging doubt” to “big fucking disaster” at 2:00am.

In the meantime, while the sun shone, I put the date on the calendar, bought train tickets, reserved a hotel room, took vacation days. I planned for the best but steeled myself for the chance that our tickets would be rejected, that I’d have to somehow deal with the crushing disappointment of my children, that I’d once again failed (them) and failed spectacularly. If this didn’t work, would they ever trust me again?

Nevertheless, we rode up, dropped our stuff at the hotel, and took the Metro to the stadium. We waited in the short line (the VIP line was much longer) and then the moment of truth: we stuck the bar codes in the scanner and…..

We were let through the gates!

Holy hell.

Everything would be all right.

They were real. This was happening.

I killed off that deadly thread with nachos and popcorn. We had a fantastic time surrounded by Dusty’s tribe of band worshippers. It all happened and it was all good. After all those sleepless nights of ridiculous worry, I didn’t mind the noise, the crowds, the crush of thousands leaving the stadium at 11pm at the same time in the rain, filling the streets and forcing us to walk blocks to the less crowded Metro station and squeezing ourselves into the last train going back to the transfer station.

I’d done it. I’d actually made this great thing happen. I won. We won. It was a great summer and I’ll miss it. One for the record books.


6 thoughts on “And So It Goes…

  1. You are awesome!
    I know that worry that somehow the electronic tickets are fake and will be rejected and the kids will think you’re failed at what seems to them an absurdly easy task. As they get older, they will get more forgiving, I think. I had a ticket fail in London when I found out that instead of reserving seats for a 7:30 pm show, I’d reserved them for one that began at 23:59. Midnight, in other words. I trudged up the stairs to tell the rest of my family, and they…rallied. We went to the midnight show.
    The end of summer is so good…and goes so quickly.
    We love the hay bales. Around here, because it’s so wet, they often shrink-wrap the bales in white plastic. So we call them “marshmallow farmers.”

  2. Love this post so much. I read it at work, on my phone (hard to comment on my phone, well mostly it’s just a drag) and wanted to give you a high five.

  3. Just saw a poem by Nina Cassian I thought you would like, at least this part:

    I know what’s awaiting me—
    the winter of my discontent.
    I have a reservation
    outside on a hard bench
    holding a bag of frostbitten potatoes.

    That’s why I swim so far out,

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