Sunday, February 1, 2015

Feng shei

(Some names have been changed)

On Tuesday I was really concerned about Rachel babysitting the kids while I did a presentation for Carol’s creative writing class. It's not that I don't trust Rachel—I’m grateful—but she has no experience with kids. In fact, when I asked her to babysit she admitted she'd never changed a diaper before."I'll tell them to hold it until I get home." I said.

Because of the change in schedule for the day, my holy hour of nap time was desecrated. For one thing, I still had to shower, my merciless I-look-greasy-in-23-hour hair was lower in priority with some last minute homework, letting Brad go to the temple before work, and reading Fancy Nancy forty times. I also would have to rethink when my Tuesday homework would be done.

After my shower, I realized Lydia was still babbling to herself. NO! I thought to myself. Today of all days you CANNOT mess with our schedule. I checked on her. Dry diaper. Sleepy face. I hoped she'd still sleep for most of the time I was gone.

My creative writing presentation for Carol’s class went fine. She reminded me that my novel is still sounding too middle grade, but then she asked me, "Why do you feel it has to be young adult?" I didn't know what to say. I have no problem writing middle grade, but this book has so much me in it.  Maybe I think middle grade readers won't take it seriously? Food for Thought.

I changed my clothes in the bathroom into my "jogging" outfit. I know I'm starving to get back to physical activity since I've chosen the one form of exercise I HATE. I cannot jog. Even in my national-jumprope-competition days, I couldn't. There's a mental block that's bigger than the physical one. I gave it a shot, but I gave up after three blocks. I don't know what to do with my arms. I think every person I passed on my way home from campus was thinking, "What in the WORLD is she doing with her arms." So I stopped and walked.

Turns out everyone was breathing at home. They were even happy. I'm relieved. I had imagine every horror in the world taking place in the less than two hours I was gone.

Rachel didn't go home right away. She's been spending a lot of time at our house since Vincent lost his job. I think she doesn't want to be at home. She's mentioned all he does is play video games all day, and I know she has 0 tolerance for video games.

I like having her there to talk to me, but it's hard too. Somehow it messes up the Feng Shei of the whole house. I forget how multitask while she's here. My normal juggling is harder with eyes on me. And I never know what to say when she complains about Vincent. I'd never talk to someone about Brad that way, but I know her marriage is Hard.

At one point, I started throwing dinner together, realizing that bedtime was close and Brad would be home soon. As I stirred the tomato sauce, Rachel told me I looked "domestic." Which coming for her is not a compliment, and it sent a torrent of stress through my body. When I her face says, "You're doing menial labor" I feel more menial. Brad got home and Rachel decided to go (I'm was so relieved). Brad took over dinner and tells me to sit and relax. Do something I want to do or catch up on homework. I feel like the world's worst friend, but when she left it felt like a breathe of fresh air. I felt in control again. I felt my importance is restored because the one questioning it left.


  1. I really enjoy your personality and own voice that comes out of your writing. Just a little constructive criticism, although I know how it is being in a rush, but just proofread for grammatical errors just because it can be a little distracting from the flow of the writing. But I thought you wrote with lots of detail and I liked it.

  2. Seriously Valerie, I adore you and the way you write. I get it, I get your writing and it is perfect. I loved the last paragraph, the way you described it totally makes me think about me and how I don't really know how to run either. But I haven't really given it a thought until now! Great description, and word choice, I really liked it.