[Mom – this one’s for you.]
My mom and I often talk about how laughter is good medicine. Have you ever gotten tickled about something, started laughing and couldn’t quit, and then felt better afterwards? Well, I’m sure you know that laughing IS actually good for us. Studies show that chemicals are released in our bodies when we laugh. Our bodies include our brains, and some feel-good chemicals get released there as well. Our physical bodies get a dose of good medicine and our thoughts and mood get a mental kick in the right direction, too.
You know that last week was less than pleasant here. By the weekend, I could feel the weight of it. I was worrying. And despite all of my best efforts, I was not seeing the kind of improvement in my animals that I’d hoped for. I didn’t need to be as bummed as I was, but I couldn’t seem to pull out of it. Then an incident of complete frustration provided a bit of relief.
This past weekend was supposed to be the FIRST Saturday Yard Sale of the Spring. I did the yard sales last Fall (September, October, November, and even into December). It was a lot of work, but three animal organizations benefited – the shelter where my daughters work, my own Winnie’s Wish, and Older Daughter’s Wild Angels Wildlife Rehab. Since December, I have been going through closets and drawers and rooms and the basement, collecting things to sell this Spring. I have been storing all of this “stuff” in our one BIG closet which is in our bedroom. This couldn’t be called a walk-in closet because it is upstairs on a wall where the roofline falls off steeply. The closet is long, providing lots of room, but when you step IN you have to crouch down and walk in this fashion from end to end. Rising up means crashing into the clothes hanging bar or the clothes themselves. Stepping deeper into the closet means crouching even lower. Standing up in this area means bashing your head into the steeply slanted ceiling.
I’ve been storing things in this closet all Winter. This past Saturday was supposed to be the first Spring yard sale. Finally, I could take all of this stuff OUT of the closet. But we had, as did much of the country, a wintry weekend that definitely made the yard sale undoable. Now please picture the inside of this closet. It’s long. You can walk in it if you bend over the whole time. It contains all of the normal things a bedroom closet would contain. Then, in addition, there are stacks and bags and boxes AND LOOSE STUFF crammed and packed into every available space.
On Saturday night, I went upstairs to give Sammi her last pill for the day and to get ready for bed. All of the animals know when it’s bedtime. Most of them follow me up. This particular night, Ressie and Rolly and Benji came up. I noticed Pipes and Evers and Amelia as well. I gave Sammi her pill, changed into jammies, and went into the bedroom. During the Winter, we keep two comforters on our bed so that we can stay warm at night. Long ago I started putting TWO on the bed because one or the other of us always ends up hogging all of the warm bedding, leaving the other to shiver through the night. As I turned back the comforter on my side of the bed, I realized my brain had detected something that wasn’t right. There was something about the other comforter. It suddenly hit me that it was too bunched up right in the middle. I reached over to see why, and as I lifted to straighten it out, I saw that it had been peed on.
Now I know many of you have probably not had this happen. Some of you might be reading with your mouths open at this point. “WHAT? Her animals peed on her bed?! Oh, my. That’s disgusting!” But I know there are others of you reading this right now who are saying – “Yep. Been there.” I remember years (and I mean YEARS) ago when I would act like, in conversation, that my cats didn’t get on my kitchen table. Ha. They always did. The difference is that now I don’t act like (to other people) that they don’t. Well, I’m willing to admit that one of those little sweethearts who followed me up that night, jumped right onto the bed . . . and peed.
I quickly pulled the comforter from the bed. Noooooo! It had already soaked through to the sheet. About this time, Husband entered the room. I was standing there with this big comforter all bunched up in my arms and I couldn’t just throw it down on the carpet (with pee on it). I quickly told Husband what was going on. He grabbed the fitted sheet and pulled it up. I ran to the bathroom and threw the wadded up comforter on the floor. I came running back into the bedroom and helped him get the sheet off the bed and a new one on. To do this, I had thrown my own comforter into the chair. I picked it up and was about to tell Husband that we’d have to share a comforter that night when I felt a damp spot. YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING! This comforter had been peed on, too.
Now by this time I was very much unhappy. I took the second comforter and threw it into the bathroom. I was stomping back into the bedroom when Husband quietly mentioned the fact that we now had NO comforters. Wow. I stood there staring at the bare bed. I knew where another comforter was. It was in the big closet. The one that now had stacks and stacks of “stuff” piled in it. And where did this needed comforter happen to be in the closet? All the way at one end, folded up in a corner, deep into the recesses, behind and under all of that stuff. There was absolutely nothing to do but dive in. Husband offered, but no way could he get in there and past “the yard sale.” I started making my way into the closet. There is a light in the closet but you have to fight your way halfway in before you can reach it. I made my way to the light, leaned to pull the little chain that turned it on, and then repositioned myself. Suffice it to say that turning on the light was the last reasonable thing that happened. There wasn’t enough room in that closet for me and all the stuff. I battled my way to the far corner, turning sideways, reaching, balancing on one foot. I felt down til my hand touched the comforter. Now I had to pull it out while standing sideways on one foot and not throw myself down into the piles and piles of stuff. I tugged and I pulled and I mumbled incoherently. At one point the closet door eased open and I yelled out that if a single cat ended up in that closet with me . . . . !!!
I can’t tell you how long it took for me to bring that comforter out from under all that stuff. I tugged and pulled and repositioned. I lost track of time. It started to feel like I’d gotten lost in another dimension. Husband was far far away, presumably keeping the cats from entering the closet and thus preventing a murder. I was warm. Too warm. And I was too far away from the entrance to this dimension to ever make my way back. I started trying to remember what my bedroom looked like. How long ago had it been that I’d first discovered the peed-on bedding? Would I ever get back? And then suddenly, I had the comforter in my arms. Now all I had to do was make my way back. This would be the easy part. I took a couple of steps and realized I had to turn back so I could pull that little chain to turn off the light. As I turned toward the light, I lifted up too far. My head crashed into the steeply sloping ceiling. It bounced off that surface and into some empty hangers on the clothes bar. As I was falling to one side, I released the comforter to try to catch myself. But there was no need. My hair tangled in the hangers and I was kept upright – by my hair. This last movement must have come with quite a bit of noise. I could hear Husband’s voice on the other side of the closet door – Are you OK? I didn’t answer. I reached for the light chain, pulled myself into darkness, took the hangers that were tangled in my hair off the bar and let them ride out with me. I collected up my comforter. I moved towards the sliver of light and pushed open the door. I stood up from the crouched position I’d been in, hangers hanging from my head, and presented my husband with a warm comforter for our night.
Husband promptly fell asleep. I sat up in bed with the television on, no volume. I stared at the TV screen. As I sat there in the dark, with nothing but the light from the television to illuminate the room, I reached over and picked up my phone. I was picturing what I must have looked like when I emerged from the closet, hair hangers and all. I got tickled and had to work hard not to laugh out loud and wake Husband. I picked up my phone and texted my daughters. Younger texted back a story about one of her dogs finding the bag of coconut fiber mats for her hermit crabs. The dog had torn them into a million pieces and Younger had just finished cleaning them up. Ah, the joys of living with animals. Older texted back – Mom, I know that must have been so frustrating. But I have to tell you. It really cracked me up.
I smiled and turned off the television. After a week of worrying, and being much too somber, this was probably just what the doctor ordered. Laughter is good medicine. Even stifled laughter. All by yourself.
Have a good Tuesday.