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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Please, Don't Publish My Nightmares

Well, I feel really sad for anyone who has been opening this page looking for a fresh blog. Life has gotten so busy I am more amazed at what gets accomplished than what falls off the list. But that might be good, right? Oh, please tell me that might be good!

I had this dream last night. Now, this was not an MLK kind of dream about equality or freedom. This was a night terror—the kind that is so real you wake up searching the bedcovers for damning evidence—blood, maybe. In the dream it was two AM; screams and crashes were reverberating from the kitchen. I stumbled downstairs and found my older twins making a cake—flour and butter and sugar and egg shells covered the floor, the counters, the stove, and both of their pajama-clad bodies. Every light in the house was blazing—my younger twins were in the living room playing Cranium Cadoo and listening to NSYNC. I wandered around the house in a panic until I found my husband on his computer, cruising Craig’s list ads. And I asked him . . . OK, I shouted at him: Why is everybody awake at two AM on a school night?? And he answered me, cool as cream cheese: Geez, is it that late? Couldn’t tell you! When I went back upstairs I discovered that someone had stolen my bed. Only a pile of cold sheets lay wadded on the floor. So, I curled into a knot and tried to sleep—the alarm was set for 4AM because I had to get to the hospital by 6.

I guess this dream would be scary for any mom, but for me it morphed into a night terror because it is way too close to what actually goes on around here! One cause of the nightmare could be pinned on the Ecuadoran tortillas I had been frying up with my son at 10 PM for his Spanish class project. The fat in one of those things (think hush puppies stuffed with mozzarella cheese) makes Big Macs look like watercress. There’s more of a learning curve to making stuffed potato patties than you might guess—by the end of the first batch the kitchen ceiling was splatted with oil and mashed potatoes had been ground into every crevice between the floor boards. Somebody’s irreplaceable hand-written homework essay had been artfully grease-stained, and there was a raucous fight going on about it. I finally popped in some ear plugs and collapsed into bed, ignoring the laundry flooding down the hallway, generously laced with a box of spilled cat food. All in all, I think the dream was better than the reality.

But good stories need irony, and the irony here is that just the day before this the Seattle Sunday Times had printed a lovely article about me and my family, based on an interview I had given a month or so earlier. You can link to it here: I bought six copies to ship off to my parents and sisters! The journalist and photographer did such a great job it made me want to be friends with myself! Who is this woman who holds down a responsible job, raises her kids, writes novels, and apparently actually does the laundry and sorts the mail? How could this reporter have printed only half the story—the competent half—and turned such a considerately blind eye to the gritty truth?

Oh, that’s right—she never actually came in my house!

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