I came home on a high from my trip to New York, excited to see my kids and longing to be home.

When the taxi driver dropped me off at our hotel, I could feel my blood pressure go up.  It’s not that I forgot that’s where I was headed.  It just felt like such a downer to have a hotel be the stage for my homecoming.  Not five minutes after hugging my kids, I started to feel that familiar grip of anxiety, claustrophia, and displacement that this little suite holds.  Soon after, we drove over to the house so that I could see the effects of the asbestos removal.  My house . . . it no longer looks like my house.  It looks like the set from an after-school special about drug users.

Last night was Mark’s birthday, and I tried very hard to put on a happy face.  But I spent most of dinner bawling in front of him, in front of my kids, and in front of everyone else in the hotel lobby.


If I had a theme song for dealing with stress, it might be “Under Pressure”.  (Or perhaps “The Bitch is Back”, depending on who you ask).  If Mark had a theme song for dealing with stress, it would be . . . . oh wait, he doesn’t deal with stress.  But if he did, it would be to the soundtrack of something by Bob Marley or Bobby McFerrin.  So when the insurance folks no-showed for the appraisal of damage THREE DAYS IN A ROW while I was gone, Mark didn’t call for the removal of anyone’s head about it. 

We might be fighting just a tad about that.  There are times – many times – when our differences balance each other out, and when I am grateful to be married to someone so laid-back and impervious to stress.  And then there are other times.

Mark is actually enjoying this little exile.  In his mind, it’s a vacation.  In my mind, four loud children in a small room with no yard is a forgotten level of Dante’s Inferno. 

Have I mentioned that there are TWO BEDS in this hotel suite?  And six people?

Anyways, we spent Mark’s birthday eating a “takeout cake” in our backyard so the kids could have somewhere to run around.  Today I spent the morning channeling my inner Kissimmee on the phone with our insurance adjuster.  If you aren’t sure what I mean by “getting Kissimee on someone”, let me give you a visual.  Think Trichelle from the Real World, doing the Joan Crawford wire hangers monologue, two days before her period, but with the voice of Zuel fron Ghostbusters.  It’s kind of like that.

I think things are moving again.