Friday, August 9, 2013

Becoming Un-Un-Dead

Things (meaning my brainy neurons) are getting better and better around here. I feel like I should be walking around in a visible cloud of smiley emoticons and exclamation marks.  Each week the gains thrill me.  I am about half way there with the vestibulo-ocular reflex stuff and am gaining on the stamina.  I still have a bit (as in months to a year) to go yet, and still need a large mid-day nap, but the momentum is gaining.  It's like a glorious snowballing effect.  The more gains I make, the more gains I can make off those gains, and so we are charging forward. I will try to ride a bicycle later today, when someone is home who can take me to the ER (later: success!  And now Blue is fully trained on stopping blood gushers and dealing with broken vertebrae, not that she had to use those skills, but I did prepare her for multiple possibilities)

Zombie Poppy
Several people a week are telling me how much better I look, from my complexion and coloring to the clarity in my once cloudy eyes.  Even people I see only once or twice a month are noticing. Apparently what I thought was mostly invisible to the naked eye (that would be failed and partial synapses in my head) was visible to all, especially in my eyes. These noticing people call my eyes clearer, sharper, sparkly, more focused. Boy, it seems like if you take the reverse of these, I must have looked like some sallow zombie with dead, foggy, dull, unfocused eyes wondering the planet: "Brains!  Brains!  BRAINS!!!" Was I really that scary? that gone? Someone said I look like I'm "there" again. And you know what?  I feel like I'm here.  Not all the way, but I've been mostly beamed back to Enterprise, so much so that my particles are actually taking on a Sarajoy-ish look, apparently. It's only been about nine months.  It's like I've been in gestation: Here I am, world! Spank my booty and clear my nose, I'm being born!
failed selfie from the Zombie days
And now I'm looking around the house and noticing that, yes, the house keeper has been out for about nine months.  The kids have kept the bathrooms up and Huck has vacuumed and swept and taken on the kitchen a few times, but the backlog of baseboards, cupboards, light switches, dresser tops, closets, nooks, crannies, desks, cubbies, et cetera, et cetera that need to be scrubbed and re-organized is overwhelming. I expect that it will take at least 6 months to revamp this place. Oh gosh, my brain is overheating just thinking about it. Maybe I'll work on just preventing the current level of disarray from getting any worse for a few months before I start strategizing my plans for victory in the Great Household Entropy War of 2013(-14?!).

They still thought they could win, silly kids!
And there are recent signs and symptoms that the kids are growing up.  In a first stab at re-organization, we cleaned out the craft hoosier and tossed out all of the playdough and plastic beads; we are now officially too old for such things.  And then I started to notice lots of things my kids are too old for now.  For example, no one even tries to get in to the bathroom while I'm using it for my nefarious purposes; and it's been a good six years since anyone tried to nurse on me while I am doing business in there. No one has wet my bed for a very long time.  I haven't picked up any cheerios or noodles off the floors or walls in years.  No one uses a stool to reach the sink, therefore there are no longer any stools to stub my toes on.  Am I supposed to be nostalgic for those days? I'm not feeling it.  Maybe it's just the zombie in me.

With age has also come new viewing pleasures.  Once we were a screen-free family, when the kids were still of toilet-top nursing age.  It was only a year ago that we ventured in to Wii territory.  And only a few years ago that video games (educational only!!) crossed the digital threshold of our home.  But now, with zombie-mom holding court, it's been the Summer of Screens.  It's disturbing for me to watch them watching; I'm squirming.  But I'm really not bringing anyone to a life-guard-free Millfoil Lake where I'm the only person responsible for these precious lives. So what are we doing? Coyote: Mine Craft, like legos online.  And Blue and I: Buffy the Vampire Slayer!

When Buffy came out, someone described it to me in breathless tones of over-excitement: a blond cheer-leader-type highschooler kills vampires in Southern California.  Sounded way too gimicky for me.  And then a few years ago I was listening to Ira Glass (of "This American Life" on NPR) chat with Peter Sagal from NPR's Wait,Wait, Don't Tell Me.  And Ira was saying that his wife liked Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  And... I remember I was driving and I was near the corner of White and Cedar and I nearly drove off the road because IRA IS NOT GAY! Holy Moley on Stick! My whole world exploded and turned upside down. Anyway, I then began to reconsider Buffy.  And there it is on Netflix.  And so we began the Summer of the Slayer.

just bee!
At first I was very very nervous as it's rated TV-14 and Blue is only 12.  But she is 12, which is not 7.  And then I was nervous because the show addresses all sorts of creepy issues like teachers hitting on students, relationship violence, first sexual experiences and yikes!  At first I would narrate through the show: that's inappropriate, that's not a good idea, oh my she doesn't seem to be thinking clearly.  But then I began to see that that's what the show does, it deals with those issues in an awesome, non-clunky, non-after-school-special way.  I don't have to point out that a teacher's sexual interest in a student is inappropriate because in this show that teacher is going to turn out to be a praying mantis monster, or that ill-advised first sexual encounter is going to have big consequences.  I've learned to trust the show, shut up and let it speak for itself.

I also appreciate that the main characters usually portray great integrity in their interactions, unless they're the one doing the learning in that episode.  Buffy doesn't go to the dance with Xander because she doesn't like him like that.  Willow doesn't go with Xander because she doesn't want to be a Buffy-substitute, even though she does like Xander.

Buffy Blue's last time in my antique debutant dress
But the best part is the kicking and stabbing.  When it gets too mushy, (and it does!) we yell at the screen "More Slaying! Less Smooching!!"  Blue's 12 year old smoochy-squeamishness is a perfect match for my mother-of-a-12-year-old smoochy-squeamishness, so we're in synch with our rants, an anti-cheer squad. I hope that what Blue gets from Buffy is a full entitlement to defend herself in any circumstance.  Yes, girls can kick. Yes, girls can fight back.  The most powerful person on the show is a blond teenage girl.  I want her to see that.  I want her to know she has rights and the power and entitlement to defend them.  If only men, if they turn in to monsters, had facial changes so you could tell when it was time to defend yourself.  Unfortunately, the part about self defense that catches so many women off guard is that two seconds before, that demon supposedly loved you more than any one else. It's not usually the dark parking lot ambush.  It's the vampire you've invited in before. It's hard to go from smoochy to slayer that fast, to recognize the moment play switches to war and respond accordingly.  But Buffy can do it and I hope Blue can too, if ever the need arises.


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