Remember when I said there was nothing quite so scary as waking up to an email with the subject line "MUM IN HOSPITAL"? Well, it turns out there is. Here is the thing that is scarier than waking up to an email with the subject line "MUM IN HOSPITAL": it's getting an IM from your sister in the middle of a meeting that says "Can you call dad? Mum has collapsed and been taken to hospital in an ambulance."
I'm a little late in saying this, but I do hope none of you were too badly affected by Superstorm Sandy last week. We lost my brother Tom for a while—text messages and emails unanswered, phone straight to voicemail, a low-grade alarm mounting everso slightly as the hours ticked by—but he turned up in the end and he was fine.
First of all, is it weird if the adult accompanying the child holds out a trick-or-treating bag too? That's kind of weird, right? Is it? I don't even know. I was just pretty excited that we even got some trick-or-treaters after the unintentionally creepy note I had to leave on the front gate.
Come on, children, walk into my vestibule and knock on my door! I'm not a serial killer! Would a serial killer draw you such an adorable pumpkin?
In an unsurprising display of immense unoriginality, I would like to announce that my favorite season is fall. Fall? Autumn? Which should I have said there? I realized yesterday that I've lived full-time in the states for exactly ten years—plus six part-time years before that—which means I probably shouldn't feel such a fraud saying "fall," and yet I do because it's not what I grew up saying. I mean, what if I'm turning into Madonna, except the opposite? Would somebody tell me if that was happening?
Every morning, my alarm goes off on my phone and I grab it and shut it off and spend the next five minutes lazily scanning the subject lines of my emails in a half-asleep haze. (Do you do this too? Reach for your phone upon waking? Do I need an intervention or has this just become acceptable behaviour these days, I can't tell. I stopped knowing what was borderline sociopathic and what wasn't when the guy next to me answered his phone in a movie theatre. This is how societies fall apart, people.)
Oh dear, I've been terrible, haven't I? Haven't posted for at least a week, and there's no real excuse for it except that I've been so busy at work, and when I haven't been busy at work, I've been busy getting to work—and from work, come to think of it—because I have a two-hour commute these days (hour and a half if I'm lucky), and that seems to truncate the days an awful lot. Other things I've neglected recently include my email, my eyebrows, my roots, the towering pile of overdue library books on my bedside table, and the state of my house in general.
When we moved into this house in June 2010, I remember saying—in the self-assured way that new homeowners have of saying things like this—"it's all going to be done by Christmas."
Oh, self. Oh, sweet, idiotic self. I'd roll my eyes skyward right now if they weren't already stuck from rolling them every time I've remembered saying it.
I know I've talked about it before, but I am super enamoured with Zumba. What's not to love? It's a solid hour of high-impact jumping-around-like-an-idiot—the sort of thing that used to be called aerobics, before aerobics became not very cool anymore—and it has so far managed to be the only physical activity about which I haven't thought, a few minutes prior to doing it, "oh god, I don't want to do this."
One of the things that never fails to crack me up is remembering a conversation my brother Luke once had with a customer service representative. When she asked him how he was doing, in that polite but rote way customer service representatives have of asking you things, he somehow got supremely flustered—in what I can only imagine was the sort of bumbling Englishman stereotype for which we have good old Hugh Grant to thank—and ended up conflating "not so bad" and "pretty well."