To bend without breaking

By Mir
June 7, 2005

Last year, I bought a cheap “canopy” from Big Lots to set up out on my deck, which had the annoying habit of heating up to approximately 3,492 degrees during the summer. I really wanted one of those little screen houses, but I couldn’t swing it at the time. So I bought the cheapie thing that was hard to set up and just meant that now the mosquitoes could come munch on us in the shade. Wasps nested in the folds, and the thing started springing leaks the second time it rained. Still, I suppose it was better than nothing.

This year, I was able to get something nicer, and this past weekend I already had a taste of what the lazy days of summer will be like out back with the kids (“ZIP IT UP BEHIND YOU! YOU’RE LETTING THE BUGS IN!”). However, although I waited until the Torrential Rains of 2005 had passed to set it up, it’s rained a couple of times since then. And on two of the four sides, the rain collects in the canvas right at the edge of the frame. On those two edges, the roof bulges inward as the water pools, trapped between the sloping canvas and the metal framework, until I go outside and push the bulge from the underside, releasing a gallon or more of water in one spectacular gush.

Sometimes I forget to push the water off until there’s so much collected up there, I can’t believe the frame hasn’t snapped.

Not a lot has changed in my life between last week and this week. Almost nothing, in fact. A few nice things have happened, even. But last week, I was just puttering along. I was aware of various… ahhhh… issues, both current and upcoming… but I was okay.

Wait; I know how to be clearer. It was commented to me yesterday (not for the first time) that it’s not in my nature to go with the flow. (Really? What do you suppose was the first clue…?) So, to hop on that metaphor: Last week, I was treading water.

This week, I’m drowning.

Again–it’s not that something changed in the last few days. A few things changed a little bit. Whether they really carry the import I’m assigning them… I dunno. Mostly my perception has changed, or–more to the point–my ability to bend has reached its limit.

Experience teaches me that no matter how many times I reach “I can go this far and no further,” each and every time my brain does not melt, my head does not spontaneously combust, I do not (permanently) lose touch with sanity. Nope. Something always shifts, and life goes on, tralala. Why this isn’t more comfort in the midst, I have no idea.

In this corner: Devastating news for a dear friend who reads this blog and will mightily kick my ass if I start talking about her business to the whole internet. As it is she will probably smack me upside the head for admitting anything other than the stoic acceptance that is our mutual, tacit agreement. Suffice it to say, she has the fight of her life ahead of her, and I feel helpless, and stunned, and SO ANGRY I don’t even know what to do with myself. It’s her battle and she is surrounded enough by people inappropriately trying to make it about themselves. I don’t want to add to her burden. At the same time, I find this is bringing up issues and fears for me that I didn’t even know I had. Meanwhile, I am cracking jokes and making light and trying to force her to join me in the “I’m okay You’re okay We’re all okay!” method. It’s sort of working. Except that my heart is still breaking, and I can’t even imagine what’s going on for her.

And in this corner: An official report on my daughter which details over a dozen or so pages much of what we already knew about her brilliant, tempermental little self. I think it would’ve been much nicer for all the trees slain and experts involved and thousands of dollars spent and time involved in arguing with the insurance and doing the testing if we’d all just agreed that the classic poem could’ve easily substituted for the 2″-thick folder they now have on her:

There was a little girl, who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead.
And when she was good, she was very VERY good…
But when she was bad, she was horrid.

Yes, I highly recommend the process we went through to obtain that information. In fact, for the same two grand, I will happily evaluate your child for you over the internet and you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your home. So it’s a bargain, really.

And so now, what? We know more, but we don’t really; and we have a plan of action, but it’s not really any different than what we were already doing. So.

Top it all off with work, day-to-day life, and an upcoming commitment I made a while back–when I was still, you know, dealing–which I am now dreading. Fabulous.

It is not enough to be strong. Strength without flexibility is disastrous. And if the options are to bend or to break, I guess I keep bending until either the pressure lifts or I snap.


  1. Karry

    My daughter is finally controlling her temper. Well, okay only a little bit but it’s better than before. (no new holes in the walls lately!) My mother-in-law suggested that I give her responsibility. Not just a chore, but an actual job of taking care of a living thing. So, now she’s responsible for one dog (of our four) and that dog is solely hers. She’s also responsible for a plant on the front porch (I usually kill them so I gave the job to her and it’s surviving!) and she’s liking the “special teaching job” I’ve got her doing with my littlest – drilling her on letters and reading words.

    I’m sorry the results weren’t great (not bad, but not great either) and I’m sure at some time that things will improve. Until then, we will all laugh with you and we will also cry with you.

  2. ben

    Just wait till the day she wants to go to school wearing a “When I’m good I’m very good, when I’m bad I’m terrific!” shirt.

    And then reminds you: you started it.


  3. Dawn

    It sounds like you’ve got a lot on your plate right now. I don’t have anything constructive to say, but I just wanted to let you know my thoughts are with you. Good luck!

  4. carson

    For the water, I’ve found that brooms work quite nicely. Just pretend like you are sweeping the ceiling of the canopy.

    I got nuttin for anything else, except a sure sense that you will make it through.

  5. Karen

    Well, if you’re feeling you’re about to snap from the pressure, make sure you position yourself so as to dump that spectacular gush of water onto someone DESERVING! {{hugs}}

  6. Jules

    Don’t make me flick you with my eye patch ;)

  7. Kestralyn

    I’m afraid I don’t have any special words of wisdom, either. What I do have is good thoughts and I’m sending them your way.

  8. Amy

    Oh, dear…have you gotten to the point yet where you’re jealous of the people who CAN snap? Because the bending is starting to hurt so much? Yeah. That sucks.
    My mother used to say that poem about me. You and Chickie will be in my prayers!

  9. Melody

    I have been considering buying a canopy…after reading this post I think that maybe I’ve changed my mind. You may be able to have a little fun if you make sure that someone you are not overly fond of is standing under the bit “gush” of water when you empty it from your roof.

  10. Her Ladyship

    Just wanted to add in that I’m sorry to hear about the shitstorm you’re going through. I hope that things get better soon.

  11. laura

    You know, if you’re the canopy with too much water hanging in the folds, you know we are all the lady with the broom getting ready to poke you real good to get that water off. Do you like my skillful use of the metaphor? Shall I do another? No? OK, then. You sure I can’t send you a bottle of wine=alcohol=drugs=medicine?

  12. Amanda B.

    I’m sorry you are going through a hard time right now. I know you will get through it, not because of strength, but because of willingness. I am always here if you need me. :D

  13. Jenny


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