A true story from the trenches

Description: close up of a chicken, in profile, in a cage. @careerusinterruptus

(Some hyperbole may apply to the description of nocturnal temperatures in a sub-tropical spring; sadly everything else is fucking true.)

Lying with one of the Kids Who ‘Should’ Be Over This, I fall asleep. Around midnight I wake. Take my chilly ass to my own cold bed. Just generating enough BTUs to melt the ice on the sheets when the other KWSBOT appears, needing a cuddle and a little chat – and wanting me to lie with them, too. That’s cool. Lying with this kid means ‘on the red sofa’, which I loooove. It’s the comfiest thing in the entire house. I conk out immediately.

Well, it turns out that the hip brutally unfucked by the physio 36 hours ago no longer likes the red bloody sofa, so some time later I’m awake with nerve pain down that leg. Bugger.

Move back to my freezing bed. My tummy declares, loudly, its need for filling. Equally forcefully my bladder declares its need for emptying. My sciatic nerve continues swearing. Well, one of those I can ignore, but not the whole damn chorus. I try, of course, but after a while I accept reality, think some unwholesome words of my own, and get up. Go to the loo.

Surprise! Apparently I am still getting periods, despite only having had two this year. Oh, peri-menopause, you unpredictable funster! Now where are my supplies?

Having sorted that, I take two ibuprofen from the bathroom cupboard. Go to the kitchen, at the other end of our long house, for a snack.

By now the over-thinking has kicked in: Toast? Cereal is faster, but milk is cold. Microwave! Oh yeah: WARM MILK. With that amino acid that helps you sleep … … Tryptophan. Yay! I remember!

Boo! I also remember that my children have bat hearing: the microwave buttons’ pips will sound to them like an air raid siren.

I think some more unwholesome words, which is appropriate as this precisely is when I step in the biggest puddle of cold cat sick I’ve ever encountered.

It’s 04:16. I’ve shed my soggy sock and cleaned the cat sick – ish, I mean, just enough that no one else walking through the doorway will encounter similar joy; I’m not completely insane – and by golly now I deserve calories. So I treat myself to peanut-butter-and-banana toast. Swallow the ibuprofen. With (cold) milk.

Then I sit down to read. Not any of the current books – the scholarly work on democracy, power, and digital media (too terrifying), the other scholarly book on contemporary activism (too inspiring), nor the Georgian romance (too scintillating). Instead I settle for the Australian Women’s Weekly, which has recently been donated to feed Mum and CraftyFish’s scrapbooking, and which I never normally read on account of … well, the title. Ugh.

Sky’s lightening when I finally head back to bed. Which is still frigid. And as the entire week’s clean laundry is piled up in baskets in the bedroom, I don’t even bother looking for a replacement sock. What kind of sissy can’t sleep in only one sock? Me, apparently. So I lie awake for a long time, wondering: Do I take the other off and have two cold feet? Try to arrange myself so that sock foot warms up cold foot? And more importantly, if I found that feature about the Country Women’s Association identity struggle interesting, am I now the Australian Women’s Weekly target audience?!

I bet you think that’s enough, right?


This is my once-a-week-designated-writing time, so naturally as soon as I’ve mustered the brain cells to get through breakfast, the kids discover that one of the chooks isn’t opening one eye. I get on the forums to learn what this means. (Answer: a minor irritation caused by dirt/potentially fatal highly contagious respiratory condition, that should/should not be treated by bathing with saltwater/betadine and/or chlorsig/antibiotic cream/oral antibiotics. Useful!)

Having calmed the kids’ hysteria, we’ve isolated the bloody bird. I’ve rung The Skeptic, who’s out, asking him to go spend a fortune on avian antibiotics and texted him the name. When I finish my goddamned writing time, I will bathe the eye with warm salty water, hang the naysayers. Meanwhile, she’s in a crate in here (because a lonely chicken is a screaming chicken) watching me. With both eyes. And the others are out there hollering for her; I can hear them over Bono.

There’s not gonna be any happy braining today. Writing morning has slid through lunch and into gardening, clothes-folding, baking afternoon. It’s the last week of term; CraftyFish has a follow-up appointment at the Children’s Hospital across town; I’m looking after Mum three times; we have overdue library books and more physio on Friday. I will charge at this, all uncharged because what other options are there? This is why #Imissmybrain.

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