My close friends, when they hear about one of my “adventures” will shake their heads, look at me and say “Only you, Janet…. only you.”
This is one of those “Only You Janet” stories….
Soooo….. recently I woke up in the middle of the night and it felt like my arm was tingling….. being a former nurse, I am aware that tingling can be a medically related sign but then it went away…..however, a few minutes later the feeling returned but it felt like my leg was tingling…. and then a few minutes later, I realized that noooo……. this was not a tingling sensation but something was crawling on me…….
I leaped quickly out of bed; put my glasses on; popped out my sleep apnea mouthguard (why I thought I needed to do that is beyond me…. as if I was going to talk to the unknown creepy crawler); wrapped my fluffy baby blue bathrobe around me and stood very still.
It is moments like these that I hate being single…I cannot wake up a sleeping spouse and say… “hey you….. Freddie…. handle this”.
I cautiously pulled back the covers and, to my horror, running around in circles between the sheets was….. a very big roach.
I quickly threw the covers back over him.
NOW WHAT? How do you kill a roach running around in your bed?????
I will confess one thought did cross my mind. As readers know, I had a very successful first on-line date in March with Mr. Motorcycle Man and we are still dating. He has told me he likes me and is always offering to help me with small projects.
I wondered how he would respond to a 3:30 AM phone call where I would ask him to come kill a roach in my bed…… but then I glanced at my reflection in the mirror and decided that perhaps keeping the illusion intact (the one created by make-up and good hair days) would be better to do at this stage of the relationship.
Soooo…I went to my bathroom and got my hand towel—I figured I could swat the roach with the towel—I could towel him to death.
I bravely walked back to the bed……flung back the covers…..screamed and the startled roach ran down the bedspread onto the floor and I began chasing him and whapping him and screaming out loud “Die Roach Die” and after a few more whaps… he flipped over onto his back and had his legs up in the air….but I was not sure if he was dead or merely messing with me.
However, at that point, I had another problem (of course I did) ….. you see, all the Whap Whap Whap on the floor with the towel had triggered my security alarm as it thought those sounds were someone breaking a glass window in my bedroom…… I left Mr. Roach…..ran to my alarm that was going Wuuu-Weee Wuuu-Weeee very loudly and turned it off.
I then had the pleasure of speaking to Brian…..my alarm tech… gave him my secret code and had to reassure him that I was fine (well… maybe not so fine) and explained how I was running around the room whapping a roach.
When Brian was done laughing, he made sure I did not need any more help (as in help from him) and I promised I would not turn the alarm back on until the roach was in a trash can. I could only imagine his filling out the report and putting “Roach Break-In” as cause of alarm.
I go back to check on the roach and although he looked pretty still, I have been fooled by critters in the past so I got a very big piece of toilet paper to pick him up and as I did ..…
He was not dead…. he was merely stunned or did not know how to roll over…. he jumped out of my hand and ran quickly under the nearby closet door. However this time….. he ran into the wrong closet….. he ran into the closet where I keep all my grandchildren’s toys and games…..
Now he has made it personal…….you don’t mess with my family….
So, I got my Brooks running shoe…..opened the closet…. We stared at each other and he made a run for it and this time… three whaps later…. He was finished.
However, the night was not quite over…there was still one more small issue.
You see, Mr. Roach had been running around in MY BED BETWEEN MY SHEETS and I was not about to put my silky smooth skin next to those sheets (ok –well maybe not so silly or smooth but allow me to hold onto that illusion)…anyway I was not going to share my bed with roach cooties.
Which meant I had to wash the sheets…. which would not be a big deal except when I moved years ago from my big house to my condo post-divorce….. I became a minimalist…… I have only one set of sheets. Each Saturday I dutifully take them off the bed, wash them, and put them right back on the bed.
By now it is 4 AM and I realize it will be a while before I can actually go back to bed so I got a book and poured myself a scotch (and added two ice cubes) and got comfy on the sofa while I listened to the washing machine and began reading a couple of pages… and then it hit me…
The giggles….. I could not help it….. I started laughing and thinking how absurd I must have looked running around in my bathrobe… screaming at a roach and trying to towel it to death….. and the next day, as I acted the entire story out for my grandchildren….. there was even more laughter.
And that is one of the greatest joys in my life….. and one of my secret weapons…. to be able to laugh ….. at situations and at me.
There is a BD Janet and an AD Janet…. the BD Janet is the Before Divorce Janet. That Janet truly had a nice Cinderella life…. great parents… married to a good man….. a wonderful son and a sweet but somewhat spastic dog….. financially secure. Yet the BD Janet, over the years, had forgotten how to laugh.
I was always so focused on solving problems; trying to control outcomes; being a good mother and a good wife… all of those are worthy endeavors…. But along the way I forgot to laugh….I took things way too seriously.
It is one of my biggest regrets as a parent.…that I did not laugh more.
The AD Janet… the After Divorce Janet….this Janet has not had the Cinderella life…..this Janet has cried a boatload of tears post-divorce and post broken engagement … and yet the truth is…if I had to do it all over again… live these last ten years again…I would do it in a heartbeat.
Because in the process I learned to laugh again.
Life is messy….and it will always be messy … and there are certainly events/problems that forever create great unending emotional heartache…..
But I have learned—when dealing with all the other day-to-day hiccups and challenges of life—that laughter gives me strength…. It makes me feel more alive… and allows me to see a world filled with bright colors…
What about you, Dear Reader…. Can you look in the face of disappointment or challenges and wave your fist and say you will not defeat me and laugh…. Or have the issues of day to day living dulled your senses so that you only see in shades of gray…. do you seldom smile much less laugh out loud?
Whether it is quiet soft laughter that comes from inner joy or laughter that comes from a ridiculous night where you run around trying to towel a roach to death…. laughter makes us feel more alive….. It is a gift we give ourselves.
I hope it is one you will be willing to open…..