Start by drinking coffee, good cofffee, hot coffee, mmmm. Sorry got distracted there for a minute.
1) Write an email to your ex-spouse, in a foreign language that you no longer speak well, just to keep up some good will in case s/he wins the lottery.
2) Re-organize everything, shelves, closets, your life’s priorities.
3) Take the last few of whatever random vitamins or supplements that have been occupying precious shelf space for, ahhemm, years. Complete project number 2 first and you will be sure not to do anything dangerous. Also, read labels for side-effects and interactions. Caution: never proceed directly to project number 1, wait at least 3 hours. Also, make sure you have consumed food, not just several cups of coffee before beginning.
4) Floss. Yeah, right.
5) Find a recipe which will use up your entire dessicated and long avoided supplies of odd food items like dried coconut powder, tamarind pulp or brewer’s yeast (or combines them all like a chef version of Jekyl and Hyde, then serve the concoction to your significant other). Oops, coconut powder was moldy, definitely don’t serve to your beloved.
6) Research the effects of an overdose of apple cider vinegar pills at the earliest onset of dizziness.
7) Spend quality time with your pet, they are as bored as you are today and probably irritated that you have been re-organizing everything. See how annoyed she looks.
8) Whatever you do, DON’T read any self-help books, otherwise you might end up crazy like the mom in American Beauty. You can read self-help books on sunny days, cloudy days even, but never on rainy days. If you feel compelled to learn something get your car manual out and find the page with the instructions on how to change the clock, copy it and clip it to the front of the manual. Maybe the next time daylight savings changes you will spend less time fumbling with the buttons convincing yourself that you remember how to change it.
9) Remove at least one piece of wall art that has outlived its sentimental hold on you. Dig deep, you can do it.
10) Write a letter (a polite one lest I need to remind you) of complaint to the last store/service/company/$%^&* that was unsatisfactory to you. They need to know, really. Especially if it was your cell phone company. Cell phone companies are evil.
Lastly, drink more coffee, you earned it.
In the bathroom with the exhaust fan on she could almost stop hearing the beating; regular, rhythmic, almost like it was living. The constant loud breath of the fan created a deafness, sometimes ringing in her ears, so that she did not know when the sounds began to blend together and form a screen of silence. She would not know when the beating stopped. Today she had to close herself away from the sound because restlessness was teasing her; it created an edge she had to retreat from. She was constantly moving, pacing, picking things up and putting them down. Futility ruled until some constructive inspiration spontaneously, gracefully, interrupted. She hoped it would be something he would appreciate, inspiration for a new recipe or a new painting, maybe she would find a great book in the boxes still stacked ceiling high in the spare room. If she could finish it before he came home, appear accomplished, like it took the whole day, it could erase this morning of restlessness.
The restlessness could not be explained, it was not a tragedy like unfaithfulness, or even perversely curious like searching the internet or shopping for frivolous objects. Restlessness was a mind trap and it was spinning around and around, the way she felt after drinking too strong coffee. The bread, when the beating stopped and the yeast rose and it was finally done gasping and screaching, that would be a small obligation met, but not enough. She knew that kneading the dough herself could be therapeutic, but instead she let the bread machine do it, even if she had to escape the sounds of its work.
Serially staring into different directions she focused her laser beams on the freckle sized age spots on her hands, kneeled to clean a line of dust from behind the door and conjured images of dancing dust bunnies and their more lethargic friend sloth. Rather more enjoying the image of the bunnies her mind leapt awake. Still frivolous but a gift, she could paint something for her nephew. She turned off the fan, left the bathroom and sat before her paints and paper. The beating had stopped. Over the next two hours as the enticing smell of warm yeast rose from the kitchen she built something, snow fell, cats yawned and restlessness was vanquished by the edges of a ½ inch filbert brush, scarlet red paint sprinkles and imaginary chocolate.
The only swear words I ever heard my grandparents utter were the whispered particulars for the name of their adopted cat “Dee Gee”, my aunt’s cat that inexplicably preferred to live at their house instead of hers. Only somehow “DG” got reversed to “GD” by my grandfather.
I don’t know what DG’s name had meant before he became the bane of my grandparent’s meditative and previously cat free existence but perhaps it had something to do with the fact that DG was the only male among my aunt’s clan. My aunt was a collector of cats, mostly strays or kittens begotten before the vet could safely spay their mothers. She even sewed entire families of cats as beloved cotton calicos and ginghams with felt noses and soft wire whiskers. I think her all time record was 8 cats at once and that was when she lived in a farm house on 20 acres of land. Winter, “Winny”, was the sweetest, mittens was the warmest, not because her name implied a relationship to outerwear but because she slept within centimeters of the wood stove, but DG was a hunter and a sweetheart, the best God Damned all around cat I knew. Maybe that’s what they meant. It was hard to say whether my grandfather’s prickly salt and pepper haired chin dipped inwards for emphasis or for expletive.
Upon further reflection, I may have heard my aunt refer to him as “Damned Good cat”, hence the acronym DG fit more properly with both his personality and the service he unwittingly performed for her in finding another residence.