It’s a Clare Pooley Kind of Day


I wake up at 3:30am, sweat dripping from every crevasses. Hungover? Hah, no. I’m 141 days sober. I’m locked in my house with an 18 month old and the flu. Good week for my husband’s job to send him away… well, good for him at least.

I send a text to my boss at 5am, because I’m still awake in my king size bed with the two foot toddler draped across my chest. I offer to come in at noon, proving to be the good sport that I am, except I have no intention of coming in at all.

I try reaching for my kindle without waking the sleeping beast, eager to continue reading Clare Pooley’s The Sober Diaries. It’s attempt 487 at reading this book, always interrupted by a crying child, a scream from a potentially crying child, or collapsing eyelids, from my day with the crying child.

To be honest, he doesn’t cry a lot. Daycare tells me he’s wonderful, he laughs and shouts in joy with daddy, he loves being with his grandparents and his aunts and uncles… he saves the other side just for me. I’ve been told this is because he feels safe around me. That’s wonderful, but what about when I don’t feel safe around him because his other side leaves bite marks and frequent head concussions when he sleeps next to me.

We’ve been isolated in our home going on five days now. I love him so, but being sick at work is actually more restful than being sick at home with a sick kid.

Our day starts out fine, except every time I sit on our couch I smell the three day old throw up mixed with the clorox wipes that never properly dried and now smells moldy, which was then topped with Febreeze. It’s terrible enough to wish for a poop diaper to brighten the stench.

I post on Facebook that I’m looking for recommendations on places to buy furniture. Someone recommends a process of cleaning the couch. Well, that seems more plausible since I had to charge milk this weekend. It suggested taking baking soda and coffee grinds to the smelly area and let it sit before vacuuming it up twenty minutes later. I search through our cabinet for baking soda, finding three almost empty containers of it. I bring them over to the scene of the crime and throw it at the patch of disgustingness. Except the spot is upright, and the baking soda is just falling to the bottom part of the couch and in between the cracks. Maybe I need the coffee grinds? I walk over to the coffee pot and remove this morning’s used coffee grinds. That’s what she meant, right?

Upon smearing these coffee grinds into the baking soda that is supposed to be sticking to the perpendicular angle, I begin to realize that I may be doing this wrong. I walk the coffee grinds back into the kitchen to chuck in the garbage, but not before I drop the wet grinds all over the floor. It’s as if a ghost with a sick sense of humor follows me around daily causing these sort of antics. As I’m trying to vacuum wet coffee grinds, with no luck, I turn on the carpet brush and the grinds go flying through the kitchen. The baby comes walking into the kitchen with the remote that he is not supposed to have (he has not successfully replaced this with the toy one that santa brought him), but I don’t have time to correct him right now. He looks at the floor and says, “Uh oh, momma” to which I reply, “so now you know your English?” and I carry on, sweeping the wet coffee grinds from the floor.

This leads me to want to make a mocktail from Clare Pooley’s book. She describes a virgin mojito, which sounds amazing. (A “fo-jito, if you will!) I even bought the mint leaves at the store during the two hours I escaped from the house this weekend. I start to make the “honey simple syrup” that I found in the online recipe. It’s a mix: 2 parts water and 1 part honey. Heat on low until honey is dissolved. Ten minutes into the dissolving, nothing looks dissolved. So, I turn it on high for just a moment to get the ball rolling. Through all of this, I have a tissue permanently in hand to wipe the snot from the baby’s face, as it is a never ending flow that could probably fill the Nile River. About thirty seconds into my executive decision of “turning it on high,” I hear the boiling over of water… and not only water, sticky honey syrup water. But I will not drink. I will not drink…

With wet coffee grinds still smeared on the floor, honey simple syrup burned onto my stove, I look over at my son who is taking the magnet that we use as a child safety lock for the doors under the sink (it locks in all the cleaning supplies and is only opened with the magnet from the refrigerator) and he’s lodging it into his mouth. I run over to perform a magnet exorcism and successfully extract -the child safety magnet- from his mouth.

I walk back into the living room and look at the sad mess of wet coffee grinds and baking soda smeared recklessly on my couch and wonder if I have the manpower to push the couch out of the door and just light it on fire.

The baby looks like he’s getting ready to nap. This shows me there is good in the world. I lay him on the non-coffee-grinded-baking-soda chair in an upright position so he can breathe and let him rest. Oh thank god: peace. Now I can do the one thing that provides me so much guilty pleasure, it’s better than any buzz from my days of wine and vodka: watch last night’s episode of The Bachelor. I just have to find the remote. Where’s the remote? Where is the mother-f****ng remote?????

The baby had it last… when I was tending to the coffee grind explosion. So I search.. and I search.. and I search.. With no luck. Of course we don’t have a normal television system where I can just use the dials on the TV. My husband has a whole sound system rigged up so that eighteen remotes are needed to operate our television. I might as well make my virgin mojito now and just pretend I’m getting wasted.

I mix the mint leaves, fresh lime and ice into the cup. Now to muddle. Except I don’t have a muddler. What can I use? A spoon will have to do because I refuse to use anything I have to hand wash. I pour in the seltzer, or “sparking water” if you want to be fancy, and the boiling honey simple syrup… It’s okay. Hmmm Clare, you got my hopes up and this was a lot of work. Okay, let’s think. Let’s throw in some cranberry. Ahhh, that’s better. But this ice, and the mint, it’s all up in my lips and teeth… I need a straw (and don’t even get me started on the ban of plastic straws in New York right now!! Curse you, Cuomo! You should have started with Amazon’s packaging techniques before making me put paper in my mouth to enjoy a freaking mocktail at a restaurant!) (Sorry, rant over.) So with the cranberry, the straw, and all else combined, the virgin mojito (my fojito!) is a lovely drink. I just didn’t need the wine glass, seeing as a straw sitting in a wine glass is like those Christmas reindeer antlers sticking out of the windows of a BMW.

So now I will go in search again for my remote so that I can find out who Pilot Pete decides to let back on the show this week after dumping them already. And if that fails, I will open The Sober Diaries for the 488th time.

P.S. I coffee-grinded the wrong side of the couch cushion…

P.S.S. and then the baby fell head first, fully clothed, into his running bath water while I was peeing.. Great. Day.

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