I’ve always been a homebody, but in the last few months, my previous inclination for solitude has developed into something almost pathological. I’m tempted to describe the feeling in terms of becoming a hermit, but that’s not quite right because I still welcomed piano students and visitors into my home. Maybe I just developed a mild case of agoraphobia.
I’m sure I must be exaggerating, but in my memory, it seems like I only left the house to take children to the doctor or to pick up prescriptions. I only went out if it was truly necessary. If there was any way around going somewhere, I became very good at finding an alternative – either by sending my teenage son to run an errand for me, asking my husband to stop somewhere on his way home from work, or just opting out of activities altogether. At first I thought I was just being practical – I was sick or I didn’t want to drag kids out, it was snowing, it was too cold, there was an inversion – I was just conserving the car’s energy and my own. No big deal.
Then one day, when I had almost completely recovered from my lingering cough, I remembered I needed more treats I was using to bribe students to get their pieces all memorized and I needed to replenish the stash before my afternoon lessons started. I put on my shoes and coat, grabbed my purse, and then just stopped when I got to the door. I could almost hear the cartoon sound effect as I practically skidded to a stop. Did I really need to go? I thought about each student who was coming that day: “That kid hasn’t practiced regularly for weeks, and his sister always struggles with memorizing. They probably won’t even earn the Skittles anyway. But I probably won’t be so lucky with the next two…” That’s right. I was secretly hoping my students would fail just because I didn’t want to leave the house. That’s not normal, right? I saw nothing wrong with it and quickly rationalized that I could just write an IOU to any kids who earned the treat and pay up the next week. Just like that, off came the shoes and coat and I crawled back under my warm blanket.
This week was different because I wasn’t really sick anymore, none of my kids were sick, and I had actual obligations which forced me out of the house every single day. I couldn’t retreat to my room so I didn’t. And then, since I was up anyway, I started tackling all the little organizational things I’d let slide for so many weeks – pay this bill, make that appointment, return these phone calls. And then because completing a tiny task feels just as good as conquering a big one, I felt energized enough to go beyond the basic just-getting-by household chores I’d been doing since Christmas, and I got back into my regular routine. And then because the house looked cleaner, I became more diligent about folding laundry right away instead of letting it pile up in baskets at the foot of my bed. And then today, miraculously, I returned to the gym for the first time in 2016!
It felt great to get back to real life again. I was pretty much Super Mom – baking, checking homework, helping with Valentines, helping my kids practice. I stopped fearing the outside world and hating everyone in it. (Last week I texted my husband, “I hate everyone except you and some of our children,” and I wasn’t joking.) Things were going so great for me, I forgot to write my blog post. Totally spaced it. I did complete a task, though, and since finishing this will let me check of another box, here’s a quick report on this week’s challenge:
I’ve never ever watched the Super Bowl. I’m not big into any sports, but I think the sport I am least interested in is football. I have nothing against it or anyone who loves watching it, but it’s just not my thing. Or, thankfully, my husband’s. (Sidebar: For a while he was in charge of making appointments for the bishop, the lay leader of our congregation. One Sunday he saw a guy the bishop needed to talk to in the foyer of the chapel, and asked him if he could come in after church later that day–oblivious to the fact that it was Super Bowl Sunday. “What time?” the guy asked, a bit perplexed. “4:30?” my husband asked–oblivious to the fact that that was kickoff time. The guy stared incredulously at him for a moment, then asked, bluntly, “What the hell is wrong with you?!”)
Since we have no cable and get all of our tv online, in order to watch the Super Bowl I had to find someone who does have real television and then I had to invite myself over. This alone seemed so daunting that last year when I was supposed to do this, I gave up and wrote a bunch of thank you notes instead. Luckily, it turns out my parents have cable and I always invite myself to their house. They live an hour away but it feels like it’s just over the river and through the woods.
They went all out with the snacks. I think my dad made a full gallon of guacamole.
My parents’ tv is in their room so we all cuddled up on or around their bed. Drinks were served at the wet bar (the bathroom sink).
My youngest was really enjoying the experience. This was a whole new world for him. My middle two have been waiting their whole lives for this moment.
These two also enjoyed the experience. Sometimes they even looked up from their phones to watch the game.
I didn’t love it (come on, it’s football), but there were moments that caught my attention. Like when that one player slid right through the legs of the dude who was blocking him like he was sliding into third base. Or that touchdown when the guy leaped right over everyone else into the end zone. Those were cool moments.
And then the cable went out about ten minutes before halftime.
Somehow, the only channel out was CBS. Antiques Roadshow came in fine. So did AFV. Just not the Super Bowl. Way to go, Xfinity (Comcast)! The signal was lost for the rest of the game. We didn’t even see halftime.
I took a nap while everyone else watched Doc Martin. I guess I should have been more disappointed but I wasn’t really invested in the outcome enough to to care. That doesn’t mean I don’t think Comcast is The Worst because how lame is that? But I was secretly relieved not to have to work so hard to appear interested in football. Somehow I don’t think my kids felt the same.
Maybe next year I’ll watch the entire Super Bowl. Or, if I can’t bring myself to try, maybe I’ll just take another nap and eat a gallon of guacamole in honor of those who do. So, to recap – Football: Still Boring, Comcast: Still The Worst, Me: Back in the Game!