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Don't Provoke the Bear and Then Play Dumb


The perfect image of how I feel




I hope you had a wonderful weekend, dear reader. As I sat watching the news, a segment came on about two Allegheny county districts going to virtual learning today so that the schools could be deep cleaned. Apparently, there has been a norovirus outbreak, and it’s a doozie. The symptoms include fever, vomiting, upset stomach, and diarrhea. I can say check, check, check, and check to all symptoms. Thank you, Allegheny County, and no immune system for the tremendous week-long illness. Sigh.


Although I am not feeling 100%, I am at least able to function. My diet has consisted of toast, rice, hot tea, cream of wheat, and soda. Did you know saltine crackers are the latest victim of the supply chain shortage? Seriously, saltines? Anyhow, I was able to do some laundry and vacuum the downstairs before collapsing in a heap on the couch to watch my favorite show, CBS News Sunday Morning. I have been watching CBS News Sunday Morning since I was in high school. It is ninety minutes of television that I look forward to every week. I grab a cup of coffee, put my feet up and enjoy the stories about art, literature, music, everyday people doing extraordinary things, and feel-good topics. All I want is peace and quiet for ninety minutes. I don’t want to answer questions about where things that are not mine have been placed. I do not wish to converse about things that could have been discussed at any time besides 9-10:30 on Sunday morning. I don’t want to listen to someone sing a made-up little ditty about my bowels, odors, hair, or pasty white appearance. I just want peace and quiet from 9-10:30.


I did not get the peace and quiet I was looking forward to for the entire week. Instead, I declared Sunday a phone-free day and had to put up with The Bean. My child has an unhealthy relationship with her phone. She’s constantly “checking her snaps” or watching some idiot do something idiotic on YouTube. I regret ever getting her a phone, except when participating in extra-curricular activities. I miss her and her face without having a device in front of it. I have waged war on screen time, and The Bean was ready to make me pay.


She sat with me for the entire ninety minutes and talked, not during commercials, oh no. She waited until a segment came on that I really wanted to watch, and then she would engage me in conversation. She tickled the dog and got him excited. She cackled like a hyena when he got the zoomies on the couch where I was sitting. She then sat rattling the wrappers to her Ho-Ho’s, all the while watching me out of the corner of her eye. I finally snapped. I stood up, took her Ho-Ho and fed it to the dog, threw away the wrapper, and smacked her over the head with a pillow. She then tried not to laugh and feigned a wounded look. When my show came back on, she said, “Mom, what are you doing today?” Sigh.


My response was, “For f***’s sake, I would watch my show if you would let me! Ninety minutes! Ninety f****ing minutes is all I want! Go wash the chocolate off your face, brush away that baby dragon breath, comb your hair, and put on clothes that match!” Again, she tried to act wounded and grumbled her way up the stairs—finally, peace and quiet. That is until Eric comes in singing songs about me and my illness. I missed the last segment and the last few minutes of Moments In Nature. Sigh. By now, I am just grumpy. I overhear Eric’s and Jordan’s conversation, which begins with, “God, what did you do to piss your mom off?” I then hear giggles and “Guess what? I made mom drop the F-bomb!” I then hear more giggles, guffawing, topped by more giggles in response. Sigh.


When they come back downstairs, they look like the cats that ate the canary-which only fuels my irritation. I stomp about, grouse at everything, and scold them both for minor infractions. The Bean puts her arms around me and askes for forgiveness. I hold her at arm’s length and explain that one cannot poke the bear and then be upset when the bear bites. She cocks her pretty little head off to the side and says, “I said I was sorry. Why are you talking about a bear?” That’s it; I’ve had it with them both. I send them both out the door with instructions not to come back in unless they are bleeding. Instead of being wounded, they are laughing the whole way up the sidewalk. I can hear them mimicking me and laughing at each other and my responses. I can’t help but smile at their similar antics. Heaven help me; she acts more like her father every day.


They did indeed disappear for the day. Once they checked on everyone in the barn, they went to GramBarb’s house for lunch and picked up a Christmas tree. When they are gone, I miss them, but I just want them to go away when they are around. I know it’s because I don’t feel well and I’m edgy. However, neither seems to have enough common sense not to provoke me when I’m not feeling well. Sigh. As always, dear reader, stay safe, be smart, don’t provoke any sick bears—I know you know what I mean, and of course, wash your hands.


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