My writing mojo has flown the coop, gone on a hike, decamped, whatever. I sat at Panera for several hours yesterday and wrote the worst crap ever. All cliches, nothing interesting, bad, bad stuff.

To give me a little credit, I had trouble focusing for a good reason: I was afraid I was stranded. See, my husband and son are in Pittsburgh working on my brother’s house, my two littlest are in West Virginia at my parents house, and so it’s just me and my daughter at home, and she was at a friend’s house for the day. So I could write long, eloquent, charming essays, whatever.

Except one of the van tires kept going flat. My husband said I had to check the air every day and then fill it up.

“Check it how?” I wailed. “Fill it up with what? Every day, are you serious?”

“Stick this thing on it and the stick should pop out to 34. If it’s less than that, fill it up with air. Beccaboo knows how—have her do it.”

I didn’t do it the first day he was gone, but the second day I dutifully stuck the little stick thingy on (making even more air whoosh out)—it read 15 pounds. So my daughter filled it.

“I’m getting tired, Mom. Here, take a turn,” she pleaded.

“No, no. You’re doing fine.”

Two things to note about this picture. First, her shoes. My mother gave her a traditional Japanese outfit complete with these horribly uncomfortable wooden shoes which she now wears all the time. They’re loud, too. Second, the hole in the van bumper. There’s a story behind it (of course)new blog readers can learn all about it here.

I discovered the source of the leak when I got to Panera so I went inside to write an SOS email to my husband, via my brother’s email. It read:

So I’m at Panera. I get out of the van and hear hissing. The roads were wet, so I can see the air bubbling out. There is a nail stuck in the tire. I pushed it in even farther and the hissing slowed.

I may be stuck at Panera till you get home.

Send advice.

He didn’t send any advice (I wasn’t surprised), so I finished writing my pages of crap and nonsense and then drove around town acting like I didn’t have a nail sticking in my tire. I called my husband once I got home (I don’t have a cell phone—be shocked, I don’t care), and he ordered me straight to a tire shop to get it patched. The end.

I mean, “And that’s why I couldn’t write yesterday. The end.”

I can’t write this morning for the dead mouse on the kitchen counter. I’m supposed to be baking, but my daughter set a trap and caught the little bugger, but she’s still sleeping and I am not about to touch that trap. I mean, I could, but I’m ethically opposed to cleaning up my children’s messes. Even if it’s a mess she made to help me.

Really, I just don’t feel like it.

I keep checking the mouse to be sure it’s actually dead. It doesn’t move: no breath puffs, no tail twitches. It remains perfectly flat, still, quiet, GROSS.

I guess you could say the dead mouse is making me write. Because otherwise I would be baking.

I have an impossibly long list of things to cook this morning, things like pretzel crack and mozzarella cheese and peanutella and peppernuts and cheesy polenta and eggnog. I’ve been eating so poorly since my family up and left me. Coffee, mostly, and pretzels and cider and peppernuts and hot chocolate with whipped cream. I’m so ready for real food—thus the reason for the cheesy polenta. I’m going to saute some kale and collards to go with it and can hardly wait. My very veins are yipping with anticipation.

This same time, years previous: marshmallows, the big snow, power paranoia, and turkey in a wash basket


  • Dan and Diione Murch

    Sorry to hear about your flat. I had a nail stuck in a tire. I took it to a repair shop and they replaced the WRONG tire. I went to pick it up and there glaring at me was a nail sticking out of the tire and a brand new tire replacing the one the had NOTHING wrong with it. Oh…cars and I do not get along. Hope everyone has a safe trip home. Merry Christmas! Hopefully we'll see you soon.

  • Suburban Correspondent

    I always have them place the traps where I won't see them. And my husband just had a nail in his tire, too. We have so much in common! Except I actually have a cellphone…

  • Margo

    you are so funny! I'm very careful about what I do with dead mice – mostly I ask my husband to handle them.

    I am shocked that you don't have a cell phone since you are so internetally advanced. I thought it was a package deal.

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