laura ingalls wilder is my therapist

i have been stressing out the last couple of days. i’ll be honest, jared & i had a bit of an argument on wednesday night. it might have involved a lot of crying on my part, & then possibly i went out & bought a pack of cigarettes because cigarettes are my last-ditch anxiety mediator. even though they are so disgusting & make me feel like shit.

& they make me look high, apparently.

i got up the next day & didn’t feel like doing anything but drudge work. i stamped through the ice & snow to therapy, & even though it was bitterly cold outside, it felt good to be out there, muddling along, being in the elements, alone with my thoughts. so i loaded up the wheeled wire cart jared & i use when we need to transport things like groceries or laundry (we are trying to get through at least our first year in lawrence without a car…especially because i never really learned how to drive [at least not well enough to pass a driver’s test, even though i tried three times when i was sixteen]) with all the recycling we have accumulated in the last month & dragged it to the recycling depot. lawrence doesn’t offer free curbside recycling service. you can get it, but you have to pay for it. if you don’t want to pay for it, you have to bring your recycling to a recycling depot yourself. it’s like living in 1989. & dealing with the recycling is just one of many errands that would be a lot less onerous if we had a car. sometimes it’s ironic to me that jared is studying environmental history in a place that seems designed specifically to force us to compromise our environmental standards in one way or another.

after the recycling was taken care of, i trooped off to the grocery store. our cupboards had been bare for several days, forcing us to go so far as to order pizza for delivery one night when jared came home from the library. we are not really “food delivery” people. why order pizza when you can make a pizza of better quality for way less money? but you can’t make a pizza without cheese (at least not one i’d want to eat), & we didn’t have any. so jared collaborated with me on a grocery list & i went to the grocery store alone. this is the kind of errand that we usually do together. jared is a better cook than i am, & he seems to enjoy cooking more than i do. he knows a lot more about vegetables than i do (although i have learned a lot from him in the year & a half we have been living together). we usually go to the grocery store together once a week & stock up on everything we need to make breakfast, lunch, dinner, & snacks for two people for the week. we lug everything home in our wheeled cart & we’re good to go. but it’s the tail end of the semester & jared is swamped with final revisions for all of his papers, he’s been spending nine hours a day at the library, so i went alone this time.

jared is making us some delicious dinner!

while i was there, i stopped by the pharmacy to see if my questionable new doctor had called in my birth control prescription. i don’t have prescription drug coverage anymore (long story), & my old prescription was, shall we say, a financial hardship (ie, ludicrously, criminally expensive). i found a new doctor in kansas specifically to get a new prescription for something cheaper. she also recommended something with less hormone, which suited me fine. but when i stopped in to pick it up a few weeks ago, the pharmacy said it had never been called in. i had to call the doctor’s office & get them to call it in for real & it was a pain in the ass. when i went to pick it up this time, they informed me that i owed them $120 (for a 90-day supply), which 50% MORE EXPENSIVE than my previous prescription! the one that was prohibitively expensive! & the doctor had called in a prescription for a pill that makes you only have a period every three months. i find that shit really terrifying. if i wanted a “seasonal cycle,” as they euphemistically phrase it, i would just get a depo shot. but i DO NOT want that, & i have never said anything to any doctor i have ever had that would indicate that i want that, & this doctor was specifically asked to prescribe me something a) inexpensive, & b) lower in hormones. i think she must be getting kick-backs from the pharmaceutical industry or something.

anyway, i called her office, hulked out a little bit, named a specific birth control pill i wanted that was inexpensive &, you know, normal, & hopefully they will get their shit together & call it in for me.

i toted my groceries home, stripped the bedding, & loaded it into the cart to hit the laundromat. jared has weird allergies & was worried that maybe he was allergic to dust in the bedding. we have a washer/dryer in the basement, but the dryer doesn’t actually get anything dry, & it’s too cold to hang stuff on the clothesline. hence the laundromat. which was so much further away than i thought. i started to feel like i would just keep walking & walking, with my sad cart full of sheets & a copy of the “new yorker” stashed in my purse, until i got to the rocky mountains or something. & then the laundromat didn’t have any heat. everyone else there was huddling over the dryers like hobos around an oil drum fire. i burrowed into my coat & ridiculous pink crocheted hood & read what the “new yorker” has to say about obama’s recent policy decisions regarding afghanistan (pretty right on, i felt) & atul gawande’s dire misstep in comparing useful health care reform today to agricultural reform of the early 20th century. i hear what he’s saying–there are no easy answers, reform needs to be flexible & reflect policies that can be proven to work as opposed to partisan rhetoric, but…holding up agricultural reform as a shining beacon to which health care reform should aspire? really? oh, atul.

& then i rolled my freshly washed bedding home, made the bed, swept the apartment, washed the dishes, wiped down the sinks & countertops, changed into pajamas, & was just sitting down to drink some milk, eat some ludicrously rich milk chocolate, & watch some “friends” (embarrassing confession: “friends” is hands-down my favorite TV show of all time, even more so than “america’s next top model” & “project runway”; i have even thought about starting a blog dedicated to recapping every episode…because i have them all, all ten, on DVD) when jared came home. he hates “friends” (can this relationship be saved?), so i had to retire to the bedroom to watch & leave him in peace.

sometimes i have days when cleaning & running errands makes me feel like laura ingalls wilder working on the farm, churning butter, darning pa’s plowing pants, making a little doll for her sister, etc. sometimes i enjoy the mindless (yet necessary) toil of cleaning & acquiring provisions & tidying. this is also why i love to balance my checkbook & pay bills. it requires pretty much no creative energy, it’s just about efficiency & completion. my creative energy is often at a premium. i have been neglecting the shit out of my paper journal in the last few weeks.

my journal, on my desk, with the pink crocheted hood, oversized sunglasses, & enormous headphones.

but apparently a lot of people read this thing, or at least give it a once-over before navigating away to pithier pastures, so i want to try to make it something worth reading. in the meantime, allow me to obsess over my cat a little bit more. so, when i started dating jared, charlotte just fell in love with him. he even borrowed her & had her live at his house for a few weeks once, because he had a bit of a mouse situation going on. charlotte usually hates everyone except for me, but not only did she take to jared, she actually allowed him to teach her tricks. her most enduring is “hopping up to get pets”. you hold your hand just above her head, & she stands up on her hind legs & allows herself to be petted. i have taken dozens of photos in the past week, trying to capture this phenomenon on (digital) film. here are a few of my favorites:

possibly i enticed her to hop by dangling a catnip mouse over her head...but it's all the same thing.
look at her standing there, like a little rory calhoun.
the trademark hop position involves keeping her front legs pointing down.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

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