Jazzy

"C'mon, Edward," I said. "Let's go. Time for school. Move it along. Last day before the winter break."

With the exception of the vacation carrot at the end there, this is standard morning chivvying. Repeated so often as to become white noise. Routine to the point of monotony. I say X; he does Y.

So I was completely taken aback today when - rather than begin the slow shuffle toward his shoes that he always does - Edward did a little dance. And then he sang.

Something like:

NooooooOOOOOOOO

I will not gooooOOOOO

You cannot make me

You will. Not. Take. Meeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!

 

I stared at him. "What on earth was that?" I asked.

"I'm writing a refusical," said Edward.


It Picks Up At The End

I think with pets - elderly pets, you understand, who have lived long lives filled with sunny windows - it is not so much the death that hurts us as the dying. My vet friend once told me that everyone hopes their animal will slip away peacefully as they sleep.

"But they never do," she added darkly.

When I met Steve he had a cat named Rusty. Rusty was an orange and white cat with eyes like a lizard and the ability to walk a few steps on his hind legs if he thought you were holding something worthwhile, like a haddock. One day Steve and I returned home from a trip to the sounds of someone being murdered in our apartment. Further inquiries with our neighbor - who seemed peeved for some reason - lead to the discovery that it was Rusty's habit to cry (loudly and without ceasing) every time he was left alone.

Steve thought we should move to several thousand acres in the middle of Montana where Rusty would no longer disturb anyone in his loneliness. I thought we should get another cat to keep Rusty company.

So we got Jam. Jam was a tiny grey striped orphan who had been found in the middle of a busy street in Chicago. We got her from a woman named Mrs McAdams. Mrs McAdams had nine cats and when her daughter rescued Jam she agreed to foster but not keep her. Nine cats, I guess, is acceptable but ten? That's just crazy.

And speaking of crazyville that is exactly where Jam drove Rusty. Rusty was in his stodgy middle age and Jam was a kitten who kept biting his ears. Like Queen Victoria he was Not Amused and - as I mentioned above - when Rusty was displeased he was loud about it.

Steve suggested that we move to Montana where Jam would have thousands of isolated acres in which to burn off all that youthful energy. I said I thought that we should get another kitten so that Jamy could have a playmate and Rusty would still have companionship.

So we got Darwin. Darwin was grey striped like Jam but he picked up where she left off. The most Jam has ever weighed in her life is perhaps five pounds. Darwin had hairballs bigger than that. He was barrel-chested and beefy with the highest, daintiest meow you have ever heard. He also adored Rusty, who didn't seem to mind him nearly as much as he resented Jam. Jam moved into our closet where she remained with her towel bed and her litter box for the better part of a decade.

Three cats. Perhaps a little more cat than was strictly necessary but we were happy with them.

Then one day we went to look at a litter of ragdoll kittens and Steve refused to leave without one, so we got Kelvin and for the next many years I became a little vague when anyone asked how many pets we had. Four cats, after all, is only five cats away from being a Mrs McAdams.

But that was a long time ago. First we lost Rusty to old age and then Darwin a few years later. Kelvin is still with us, although he sleeps a lot and ignores everyone but Patrick. And Jam? Jam is now eighteen and a half and she is slowly dying and it is hard.

On the plus side, her great age has brought with it the healing balm of dementia. For the past several years she's been almost social and in the past weeks she has become positively cuddly. She actually sat on Edward's lap and let him pet her which six months ago would have been the feline equivalent of me climbing into a bathtub full of snakes. On the minus side we had the vet out on Monday and are trying to walk a fine medication line between managing her racing metabolism and killing her outright. Last week she fell off the chair next to my desk and landed in the wastepaper basket, where she remained - blinking at me - until I lifted her out again. Five days ago she stopped being able to drink from a bowl and decided she can only get water from the bathroom faucet. Two days ago I gave her straight-up canned tuna in an effort to appease her seemingly endless hunger, which made her very happy until it all came shooting out the other end in a... well. Enough said. And at three o'clock last night she tried to help herself to the traces of chicken broth left on my bedside table. I woke up to the clanging sound of a metal headboard being hit repeatedly by a cat whose head is trapped inside a soup mug.   

Sad, sure, but also hilarious.

My poor little closet cat. She doesn't seem to be in any pain so we don't want to let her go yet but... it is hard to watch her deteriorate like this.

   

PS To end on a slightly more cheerful - although still pet death related - note: one of our betta fish is suffering from some weird condition that makes it impossible for him to do anything but float at the top of the tank. He's not dead, he just really really looks dead. So much so that - in between feeding him minute pieces of green pea by hand since the internet said it might help - I have been hoping that he'll pass on to his eternal watery reward so I can replace him with a new fish. One that will swim around and look pretty and not cause Caroline to gasp and clutch for her handkerchief every time she sees him.

As I tried to express this sentiment delicately to Steve during the course of a discussion about how very not alive Skye appeared; I did not want to say that I wished I could flush him to his maker (I was standing right in front of his tank!) Instead I said I wished that I could just... you know. And I raised my eyebrows and gave what I thought was a meaningful and understandable tilt to my head.

Steve - who clearly had not been listening to a damned word I had said - perked up at this and said, "Oh! Do we have time before you get the kids from school?"

And I said, "What? No! I meant: I wish I could euthanize the fish! Good Lord!"

To which Steve optimistically replied, "Huh. I'm not familiar with that particular expression but... OK!"

I told him to keep his pants on and left to pick up the children. 

Euthanize the fish.

Worst sex euphemism EVER.


Intermezzo

Edward has been home sick for the past two days. Not so sick that he's miserable but sick enough that I'm pretty sure they would've shipped him back to me if I tried to unload him on the school; all raspy and sneezy and gunky as he is.

I like having Edward around. Not only is he good at keeping himself quietly entertained for hours on end, he is just so... quaint.

"You know, Mom," he said this morning as he looked thoughtfully at his Cheerios, "cereal is sort of like the soup of breakfast. It comes in a bowl, you eat it with a spoon, it sloshes and when you ask for something else when you're done with it no one thinks you're being greedy."

Reeeally makes you think, doesn't it?


Thanksgiving Post... Postponed

In order:

^   I returned those cleats to the hot pink hell from whence they came (at least that was my intention; Frodo was looking a little peaky as he set off with the UPS box but I'm sure he'll be fine) and ordered a pair of men's Diadora turf shoes from Zappos. All hail overnight delivery.

^  Diadora allows each of a person's fifty-two foot bones to occupy its own space. This is in contrast to Adidas who doesn't understand why toes can't just double or triple up, like when the cousins sleep over at Christmas. I think Adidas cleats are intended to be multipurpose: you can wear them to gain extra traction on the field, or you can use them to shiv someone while serving time in soccer prison. 

^  Although I love the idea of outdoor nighttime winter soccer I don't think anyone in Minnesota does that. We'd all be staggering around in the dark, clawing our way through drifts of snow, shouting "I think I might be open" and "It's possible you should center it" and "Wildfire?" to no avail. Without a rope tied around the ref to guide us back to the midfield, we'd be lost.

And speaking of losing... no. I'll get to that.

So in answer to your question, we play indoors on artificial turf. On an enormous - and I do mean enormous - field. Very fancy.

^  The first thing I saw when I got to the sports center (centre for you Canadians - miss you. love you) last Friday was a sea of striped jerseys which eventually coalesced into a group of men wearing actual soccer uniforms. Speaking of fancy. My team had been instructed to bring one purple and one white shirt - presumably from our personal collections of purple and white shirts - and I was nonplussed to see these guys with their matching shorts and moisture-wicking fabrics and... good god. Was that advertising on their backs? Was I in the wrong place on the wrong night with absolutely the wrong level of soccer? Then I thought, ahhhhhhh. Some high-level men's league must play their games before co-ed. Of course.

So while I waited to see someone walk in who might possibly be on my team, I admired the deft lacing of their cleats, the confidence with which they adjusted their shin guards and the adroitness with which they were able to bounce balls from their knees to their heads to their heels and back again. I was particularly impressed by the way that one little, svelte fellow with the long ponytail...

HOLY

HANNAH.

Women!

Not all men. Men and women. The sheer matchiness of the jerseys and bulginess of their collective calves temporarily mislead me but, sure enough, the group I had originally mistaken for Stoke City was - in fact - just another coed team in my new soccer league.

Forgive me but..... fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

I almost fled right then. Really. I almost grabbed my ball and my water bottles and my bag full of old shirts and escaped. I would become that person who says she's going out to play soccer on Friday nights but in fact just sits in her car in a suburban parking lot, streaming Celtic radio and eating mcnuggets.         

Then a couple walked over to the benches. He was wearing a shirt that was approximately the color that Grimmis might be after he spent five hundred cycles in the washing machine and she was even shorter than I am.

I approached them tentatively.

"Are you... is it possible... are you guys are on my team?" I asked.

"Are you a purple shirt?" she asked.

"Yes! Yes!" And I quickly pulled my purple shirt out of my bag as if she'd just asked to see my license and registration. "I am! Purple!"

She said, "I can't believe I'm doing this. I haven't played soccer, at all, in, like, thirteen years. We had to get a sitter so I could bring my husband along as a sub for moral support."

"Ohhhhhhhhhhh," I breathed, happily, feeling much much better. "It'll be fine. We'll be fine. This will be fun."

And, in a way, this wound up being true. But in another, equally real way, it was a total freaking lie.

#######

Aw damn it. I've got to get to work on Thanksgiving dinner so I'll need to summarize the rest:

1. With the exception of the goalie, I am probably the oldest person on my team.

2. I was, with no exception, the absolute worst player on the field.

3. We did not play the stripey team. Yay!

Instead we played the stripey team's younger, taller robo-clones. Gurk.

4. As my very first ball came flying towards me I reviewed the options: trap the ball and then neatly pass it up the line like Fabregas; head it across like Lukaku; shoot to score from deep within my own side like Lloyd; punch the closest opponent in the back of the head and then fall down like I was the one who had been fouled, a la Diego Costa? So many possibilities. Instead I swung back my leg and... I missed it entirely. Kinda like Hazard.   

5. The other women on my team all know each other from crossfit.

6. Half of the men on my team coach high school sports for a living.

7. The women on the opposing team were still in college, playing recreation to stay in shape during the winter. So each and every blessed one of them could score from almost anywhere on the field. And they did. Frequently. As an older adult woman I wanted to applaud their athleticism and their competitiveness. As the older adult woman trying to tackle them I also wanted to slap them, especially because - and I hate to say this - they were totally bitchy. When my new friend from the lobby made excessive contact trying to defend and said Sorry! the response was, "You fucking better be."

I.

REALLY?   

It was all I could do not to leap onto the field and grab the opponent by the ear, "If you were my daughter, young lady... ."

8. We lost 8-2. Or maybe 9-2. 11-2? Could it have been 13? Anyway. We lost. Emphatically.

9. Which lead to the following as my team took off our cleats and talked about how, in retrospect, we should have met for beer before the game -

Teammate 1: I know for me the most exciting part of any game is the goals, so that was GREAT.

Teammate 2: Well. At least it wasn't one of those heartbreaking 1-0 losses.

^ I'm not going to lie to you. The whole experience was awkward. I was even worse than I thought I could be. It was embarrassing. I did feel like a fool. 

But.

My team is sincerely nice. Some of them were legitimately funny. The other team made me feel like I should offer to recompense them for their time but they were like that to all of us and as a group we laughed it off like the bunch of losers we were. I played for almost the entire game and nothing hurt the next day. I did not taste blood afterwards. I do, truly, love football. 

I think... yes. I think I consider it a victory.


Comfort Zone.............................................. Me

After a return to soccer following my eighth grade retirement from the sport, many analysts thought that that would be the final curtain on my career.

How wrong they were.

Temporarily maddened by the triumph of knocking over children while avoiding their flailing cleats; I - apparently; it's all a little hazy - sent an email to the local rec sports coordinator expressing an interest in joining some sort of a team this winter. He acknowledged my email. I mentally acknowledged his acknowledgement. And that was that. Until a few days ago when a request for two additional players arrived in my inbox.

I thought: !!!!!!!!!! Then I thought: !!!!!!!!!! Then I wrote back and said OK but I'm not, you know, good. And the team captain wrote back and said, buck up, you'll be fine, welcome aboard.

Having thus committed myself I created a good intentions list. Good intentions are so important, aren't they? Ninety-nine percent of exercise, really. Thus, I promised myself that I would, very soon: Stretch. Start running again. Practice dribbling around those little orange cones. Buy some little orange cones. Oh, and find something sporty to wear that isn't a pair of pajama bottoms. And cleats! I would really need to get some cleats and start breaking them in before...

The second email arrived: "Roster set. First game Friday. See you all there!"

Aw, hell.

What HAVE I done? Remember when I signed Patrick up for soccer and he said, oh no, I'm going to be terrible, this is awful, I am going to be humiliated, why oh why?

Well: OH NO. I'M GOING TO BE TERRIBLE. THIS IS AWFUL. I AM GOING TO BE HUMILIATED. WHY OH WHY?

I am so worried I'm about to make an utter fool out of myself. Me. On a team. With people I have never met before in my entire life. People - if their email addresses are to be believed - with soccer names like Guillermo and Enrique and Kailee.

Also the game is at 9:30. NINE. THIRTY. On a Friday night. That's like, second glass of wine o'clock. Have you ever, seriously, looked around your living room at 9:30 on a Friday night and said, "Wow, I wish I was participating in some vigorous sport right now." No. No you have not.

Finally

lord

FINALLY

do you want to know what happens when a wider footed woman goes to her local sporting goods store and asks to see a selection of cleats in her size? The sales guy looks dubiously at her elegant albeit curvy hoof and steers her toward the men's section who in turn tell her to try the internet. 

And do you want to see what happens when a wider footed woman proceeds to order cleats off the internet?

IMG_1580

The grey and black sole on the bottom belongs to my running shoe. The hot pink and orange... teeny tiny wedge shape arrow head bone crushing thing on top came in a box labeled Cleats. Ha! They are lined up at the heel and both, incidentally, purport to be size 7.5.

Now I ask you, do those two things look like they are even remotely the same size? No.   

I can't believe I signed up to do this.


Miss Marple And Me

Patrick ohhhhhhhh sooooooooo casually asked me how a person might go about talking to another person if they - let's call them A and B - always sit at different tables at lunch.

[Allow me to stop here and list all of the things I did right from this point forward:

  1. I didn't say Oh my god WHAT?
  2. I didn't ask him who B is
  3. I didn't suggest "Have you, I mean A, tried sitting down at the other table and saying hello?"
  4. I didn't point out that it was after midnight and perhaps not the best time for a social strategy session

OK. That's it.]

After choking back instincts one through four I tried to remember everything I could about being thirteen. Which... shudder. Then I started singing that Big Star song in my head. Then... focus! How DO you traverse the labyrinthine shoals of junior high? How did I? I don't think I did. Gak, junior high. In the end it took me a dictionary to find out the meaning of unrequited... FOCUS!

"Uh. Huh. The... the person always sits at the same table?"

"Yes."

"With the same people?"

"Yes."

"Are any of your friends friends with her or one of her friends?"

"Not really." [SEE WHAT I DID THERE? Ahem.]

"OK. Well. What if... what if you made a big batch of something interesting like... like bacon buns or... or doughnut holes and then went to a couple of different tables offering them to people and then wound up at the table in question?"

"Bacon buns??? You want me to walk around with a basket full of bacon buns??? And offer them to people??"

Well, when you say it like that anything would sound stupid.

"What about a shrimp boil?" And, seeing the look of utter incomprehension on Patrick's midwestern face, I translated: "Slap some newspaper down on her table and then dump eight gallons of peel-and-eat shrimp on top."

This, at least, made him laugh and in the meantime I promised I would think about it and get back to him.

So, you know, let me know what you socially comfortable types would do if you were A and wanted to get to know B better. Because I've got nothing but crustaceans.

PS Speaking of shrimp, I make a conscious effort to treat Caroline more or less exactly as I would have hated to be treated when I was her age. I mean, of course, love security structure et cetera but I have to remind myself that everything I found worry inducing at seven; Caroline mainlines. Saying yes to her requests for independence is easy (easy now that my own anxiety is managed) but encouraging her to push boundaries that I cannot even see is much harder.

But I try.

So she empties the mousetraps and reads National Geographic and when we were at the grocery store today I sent her to the seafood counter to negotiate for half a pound of shrimp. I walked a pretty good distance away - clear over to dairy - and then I watched the encounter like a charming silent movie. At first the butcher couldn't see her so she rapped on the glass of the display case and then he leaned waaaaaaay over to talk to her. They had an exchange that lasted longer than half-a-pound-of-shrimp-please and eventually she reached up and he stretched down and she left with her white paper parcel.

"Thank you," I said.

"Certainly," she replied.

And that was the end of it until I looked at the package tonight and saw two things: one, the guy had drawn a smiley face on the paper next to the label; and two, he had charged her one cent. Point Five-Two pounds of peeled deveined shrimp at a per pound cost of one penny.

Clearly I need Caroline to do my marketing more often and equally clearly it IS possible to express friendliness through shrimp. So HA! NOT such a stupid idea after all, Patrick.

PPS Thank you. That was EXACTLY what I wanted to know about programming. EXACTLY.


Just Asking

I was in the shower trying to decide whether or not to shave my legs when it occurred to me that the larger question is what I want to do with the rest of my life.

The first thing that came to mind is: I want to be a computer programmer.

The next thing that came to mind is: WHAT? What are you talking about?

Followed quickly by: Do you even know what a computer programmer does?

Then: No. No you do not.

Finally: Programmer! Ha! Good luck with that.

Since I am temporarily no longer speaking to myself, I decided to ask you. But first I googled career aptitude tests comma free comma not scammy, which brought me to four different sites with four mostly similar questionnaires.

The first one promptly pegged me as a funeral services director.

I... I am trying to think of something for which I could possibly be less suited and I am coming up blank. Literally. Take everything at which I am absolutely terrible (dealing with strangers, emotional confrontation, Things That Are Really Sad, corpses, flower arranging) wrap them up and blammo! You have the world's worst funeral director.  

Moving on.

The second site said I should be a marketing manager and to be fair I probably am suited to be a marketing manager. I was a marketing manager. Part of me still secretly markets things, like: Frittata? You egg-hating children want to know what this frittata is, exactly? It's ham-and-cheese PIE that's what. But do I want to be a marketing manager again for real? No. Marketing never ends if you know what I mean. There is never a moment at which any company, anywhere, ever, says, ok, great, job well done marketers! Go home, take a rest! We have the perfect number of people demanding our product.

Personally, I need more closure. 

Site number three came up with: buyer. Also not a bad guess since before I was a marketing manager I was a retail buyer. But again, no.

The fourth site - the superior site - thought that I should be a computer programmer. Well, eventually. At first it thought I should be a shift supervisor in a non-retail setting and then it tentatively explored plant management but after that? Computer programmer and or slash video game designer. Boom.

PS Offhand do you know of a more reliable way to assess interests than online testing sites that are also willing to evaluate which Lord of the Rings character you would be (Aragorn)? Also, since I am actually kinda serious about the computer programming thing - no matter what my mind my say - do you, uh, know how... I mean... how exactly does one go about learning a little programming. I don't want to be very good at it, if that helps. Are there... I don't know. Community Ed? Library books? Where does one start? Do I have to pick a language? Are some languages better than others?


Core Competence

Walking from the car to the house Caroline suddenly shrieked, "Mom! Mom! Don't look!"

This - because I am human - caused me to stop in my tracks and immediately start looking all over the place

"What?" I asked.

"No. DON'T look. Just don't look. That's right. Keep moving."

I felt two small palms over my kidneys, gently but firmly pushing me toward the door. She steered me into the house and onto the couch, where she took one of my hands in hers and started patting it.

"Am I in distress?" I asked.

"No. Not yet. But. Well... ," she paused, "Dad put me in charge of the mouse traps while he's away" [Steve's gone for about a week] "and there is a... a corpse. In the garage."

Every fiber of my being wanted to laugh. My ribs creaked with it. But my role in this melodrama was obvious and it would have been cruel not to go with it.

I put my fingers to my lips.

"A... a corpse?" I faltered.

Caroline snatched my hand back and started patting it again.

"Yes," she said. "A mouse," she clarified - which, WHEW. "But don't worry. I know what to do. Dad showed me exactly how to handle it and he told me not to let you see. Because it upsets you. You know, dead things and all that blood and mushed up organs and broken bones and smashed... ."

"Yes," I said quickly. "I know."

So she brought me a glass of water and then bustled off to get... I dunno. Paper towels? Rubber gloves? A shovel? Lye? Bleach? I lay down on the couch and proceeded to look pale.

Later that night Steve called.

"You put Caroline in charge of emptying the mouse traps?" I asked.

"Of course."

"And told her not to let me see any bodies?"

"Yep."

"Because you think that our seven year old daughter is less of a delicate blossom than I am?"

"Clearly."

I thought about this for a moment. I thought about the ramifications of implied paternalism and potential marital inequalities. Then I thought about how squicky a jellified mouse can be.

"Oh. Well. Thank you," I said.      


Just Like The Carpenters

I waited in the carpool line and watched as Caroline trotted toward me. Although the DC public school kid in me believes that elementary school uniforms are fascist; I have to admit that she looked adorable in her crisp white shirt, navy jumper and striped tights with the bunny faces on the knees. I studied her fatuously as she bounced along. Then she swung open the car door and I realized that something was wrong. Patrick articulated it for me.

"Caroline! Where's Edward?" he asked.

Caroline closed the door, tossed her backpack down and started to buckle her seat belt.

"I have no idea," she said. "He never showed up for the carpool line. Did you bring me a snack? Do we have karate or are we going straight home?"

"What do you mean he never showed up? Where he is?"

"I have no idea," she repeated, patiently. "Is that an apple?

Patrick and I stared at each other.

"I'll go find him! I'll go look for him! I'll go get him!" Patrick - who for the secret record is about a thousand times more alarmist about the twins than I am; he won't even let me play Frank Turner when they're in the car because some of his songs use Language - started to fumble with his seat belt.

"Ohhhhh," said Caroline from the back. "You knoooooooooow." She took a bite of apple. "Maaaaaaybe."

"What?!"

"I think he might have gone to chess."

Ah.

Yes.

Chess.

I have signed both Caroline and Edward up for an after school chess program this Fall and although this was the first time I had utterly and completely forgotten about it, it is never very high up on my list of things to remember. Everything was fine. He had just gone to chess.

But sweet mary marjoram! I thought I was going to have an apoplexy. Edward! Missing! And Caroline calmly asking about our afternoon plans as if we were just going to leave. Without knowing where Edward was. I can't decide if it's funny or alarming.

To be fair I suspect that Caroline knew where Edward was but was just trying to get out of going to chess herself, as she has discovered that she dislikes it. She had complained in previous weeks that her chess partners are mean to her and I was willing to sympathize until Caroline went on to explain that she tries to expedite games by removing more than one piece from the board at a time. 

"She cheats," Edward clarified.

To be more charitable I think she doesn't have the attention span for it and just wants the game to end. Edward, in contrast, loves chess. He has even developed a delightful habit: as he studies the board he reflexively strokes his chin and then draws his fingers down to a point a few inches below it. He has an imaginary chess beard. I think I am about to use the word adorable for the second time in less than 500 words... yes. I am. It's adorable.

Finally, and only vaguely tangentially, this morning I asked the twins if they might be interested in starting piano lessons.

They both said yes but...

"But not piano," Edward said. "I want to play the modern pipe organ."

"But not piano," Caroline said. "I want to learn the ukulele."

Then she turned to Edward and said, "O M G-O-S-H! Edward! You can learn the organ... "

["Modern pipe organ," Edward corrected]

"... and I can learn the ukulele and then we can start our own band!"

 

Toccata and Fugue in Tiny Bubbles Minor. I can't believe it hasn't been done before. 


Patrick Told Someone That My Midlife Crisis Is Soccer

Next up in the random question queue (number 39):

How you are coping with Chelsea's poor performance this season?

 

I have nothing to say.

 

Heh. Mourinho's post game interview? Anyone? After their 3-1 loss to Liverpool at the Bridge? It was like the journalist was Sisyphus, vainly trying to push his boulder of questions up Mourinho's steep slope of recalcitrance.

It went like this:

Q: What do you think of this defeat?

A: I have nothing to say.

Q: Don't you think the season has been a disaster so far?

A: I have nothing to say.

Q: Does this raise some concerns for you, ahem, personally?

A: What do you mean?

Q: YOU know (while, no doubt, the interviewer was making the universal gesture for You're About to Get Tim Sherwood'ed)

A: I have nothing to say.

Q: You have nothing to say?

A: I have nothing to say.  

The only actual response Mourinho gave was when he was asked if he had some message for the fans and he answered, "The fans are not stupid."

When the interviewer noted, "They were chanting your name"; Mourinho replied, "Like I said, they are not stupid."

It was all so amusing that I saved the recording in order to play it for Steve later and I can easily see it becoming part of our shared vernacular, charming Portuguese accent and all.

Who left the milk on the counter all afternoon? I hahv nothink to say.

What do you mean you don't know when you are coming back from the farm? I hahv nothink to say.

Sigh.

So to answer your question: I am trying to keep my spirits up, doing as well as can be expected, putting one foot in front of the other, getting out of bed in the morning.

For you non-futballers it is hard to fully express how very good Chelsea was last season and how very bad they are now. It's like the Patriots getting beaten by the Titans 51-3. At home. Every week. It's like the '95-'96 Chicago Bulls losing to the Washington Generals. It's jaw-dropping. It's baffling.

But if I am going to be completely honest I will admit that while loss after Chelsea loss engenders feelings of bewilderment and gloom in me; it is nothing - nothink - compared to the emotions I experienced when Poland scored that one critical goal against Scotland in the last freaking millisecond of the Euro qualifiers in October. I was curled in a ball on the couch moaning, "Blow the whistle, blow the whistle, blow the whistle" and then... Lewandoski. Speaking of shared vernacular 'Lewandoski!' is now what I exclaim when I slam my finger in a drawer or discover that the milk had been on the counter all afternoon. It is the bitterest of expletives and while I grudgingly acknowledge that he is a brilliant soccer player - who did I just watch Bayern play? I don't remember but I was struck by the fact that Lewandoski can hover six feet off the ground - I will never forgive him.

But enough about that. It is STILL too soon to talk about it. It will ALWAYS be too soon.

So yes I am grieved by Chelsea (Hazard in particular. What happened to him? Is he doing this on purpose? Did someone threaten his family? Blink twice if you're not acting of your own accord, Hazard) but I am discovering that to football is to grieve. It comes with the territory and I now understand the true purpose of fanwear. I use my Chelsea scarf to cover my eyes and I chew on my Scotland jersey when my nails are gone.

PS I posted this and then went to watch the last fifteen minutes of Chelsea v Stoke City. Gak. Gak gak gak gak gaaaaaaaak.

PPS They lost, by the way.

PPPS Of course.