The whole point in retiring early was to spend more time with the kids while they were growing up. It wasn’t a tough choice to make. I was never the ambitious young lawyer that most of my peers were. That retirement proved better than I ever imagined was a bonus. I had the opportunity to make good in a second (blogging), a third (print media writing) and even a fourth (teaching) career.
Still, sometimes, I feel that my life is almost surreal. A house (not a mansion) in the suburb, beautiful children, a faithful husband who worships the ground I walk on, dogs, cats, a small garden of potted herbs that I plan to expand to include some salad vegetables. I cook, I bake, I pack my kids’ school lunches with home cooked food… It’s almost like a movie that it’s freaky.
I’m not complaining. No. This is how I always imagined life should be — enjoyed at my own pace, doing things I love to do instead of slaving to please my bosses, being a real mother instead of one who only tucks her kids to bed at night and spends the day social-climbing, getting massages and facials and working out in the gym with the illusion that she can compete with women half her age who manage to catch her husband’s roving eyes without even trying.
It’s such a wonderful life. Perfect — well, almost. Until the poop. Then reality comes crashing through. What poop? Poop, you know, is there any other kind?
So, I was writing my column earlier, and I was already behind schedule because I had to go to the supermarket first, and the dog came into the bedroom and decided it was going to be his domain for the next few hours. He stationed himself by my feet and decided that the stack of pillows under my desk on which I rest my feet while working was the best place for a nap. Fine, I thought. In fact, it was one of those surreal movie-like scenes that I mentioned earlier. Writer pounding on the keys, dog resting on her feet… It’s a movie scene, alright.
Then, the dog got up, seemed restless and started exploring the floor. When I glanced at him, there was a pile of poop in front of my closet. I don’t know how other writers operate but when I start writing, I don’t like pauses. I work in bursts and when the burst happens, I let it run its course and that’s usually enough to write a complete piece. But there was poop on the floor not three feet away from me and the burst dissipated. I stood up to get a nylon-bristled broom and a dustpan. I couldn’t have been more than a minute out of the room but when I came back, the dog had almost finished eating his poop. Dammit, really.
That was when I started screaming, rousing the house helper who was taking her after-lunch rest. I didn’t want to disturb her, actually, and that was why I went to get the broom and dustpan myself. But cleaning a pile of poop was one thing; cleaning smudgy half-eaten poop was something else. Then, it turned out that not only was there poop on the floor, there was also a pool of pee.
Never mind the surreal life of a suburban wife. Mine has poop in it — it’s got to be real.