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Ringmaster to Her Circus

Finally.  After suggesting this prompt, I am the last to join in.  Go figure.  Karen over at TableFor1 already posted hers and so did Marc over at Sorryless  Funny how these prompts came about through simple comments back and forth.  It has been a fabulous journey playing with these two.  They sure push me to do better.

The stage was set:  bathtub filled with hot, sudsy water; candles lit, strategically placed all around;  lights dimmed; iPad propped to watch something on Netflix – if the inspiration hit; current book; journal; pen.  All at the ready for whatever inspired her.  Or didn’t.  There were no rules for the next hour or so.  Don’t forget the bathmat or the towel.  Perfection.  She disrobed and slowly sank into the hot bubbles, sliding down until the water covered her shoulders.  Ahhhh.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, for the two-man tub that permitted both boobs and knees to be covered in hot water.  Not possible in a standard tub when you are almost 5’9″.  One must appreciate what one has.

She closed her eyes and felt all her daily stresses slip away and for a few moments, all thoughts were silenced.  Not a sound.  It was bliss.  It didn’t last long.  Fucking hamster has to show up here too?  Couldn’t he wait for his usual 3:00 a.m. appearance?  Was there no other way besides drugs to obliterate that pesky rassembleur of thoughts and to-do lists?

And so it starts.


The house.  So much has to be done to make it ready for sale.  It’s too big to keep.  I don’t need all this space.  I hate housecleaning.  I need to downsize.   The boys are not much help.  Well, that’s not true.  When I blow a gasket, start yelling like a banshee, they then pitch in.  Well one of them does.  He’s been pretty darn good.  The other is going through anxiety at turning 20.  20.  Seriously, Dude?  Fuckssakes.  On top of that, he is “his own man and doesn’t like to be told what to do”.  Oh excuse me.  Sucks to be you.   Guess what?  In real life, sometimes you have to follow orders.  And, it’s not like I even ordered you.  I have asked you.  Repeatedly.  So very glad you can’t wait to get out of this house but don’t want to lift a bloody finger to make it ready. Oh, you want to help but not when we want you to help.  And yet, I know if I don’t nag, eventually you will do what needs to be done.  You just don’t understand – or want to –  how each piece needs to be put in place for the next one to be taken care of.

The mother-in-law, Jean.  Ah hell.  It’s become a full-time job trying to juggle all her shit.  Her landlord – he wants his 3-months’ rent.  The pharmacy at the home want to stop giving her her meds because the bill is up to $500.  The home is owed 4 months rent.  I can’t do anything because the friggen co-mandatory won’t sign the document resigning her part in the mandate. And now blocks my calls.  Bitch.  No access to her funds – and I sure as hell cannot afford to cover her expenses.  Cannot have her mail redirected to me.  Must keep driving out the 40-minute drive to her appartment to pick up her mail.  Can’t sign her Income Tax Papers.  Get phonecalls from Jean where she gives me hell for putting her in that god-forsaken place.  Reassure her I had nothing to do with it.  Promise to visit her.  Put it off.  Get the boys to come with me to visit her for her 83rd birthday on Sunday.  She is getting worse.  Never could tell them apart.  Repeats that she loves A’s hair.  Repeats she loves I’s sweater.  Lists off the birthdays and for the first time, she gets them all wrong.  Definitely getting worse.  Remembers she asked me for her “papers”.  I ask her which ones.  She says the ones regarding her funeral arrangements.  Oh, no worries, I assure her, I have those.  Asks me if I brought her her papers.  Sigh.  One-and-a-half hours later, I am done.  The boys are done.  Promises are made to go back and visit.

The finances.  Seems every time I turn around, it’s costing me another $300 here $400 there, etc.  The damages caused by water leakages and impatient kids and bad quality items needing replacement, and appliances failing needing repair, etc. are making my head spin.  I know I’ll be able to recuperate all once this house is sold but till then… gulp!  I try not to focus on stuff – you know, the Universe is listening so I don’t want it to think I want more things to break!

The boyfriend.  I hate to admit his going away for two weeks to lie on a beach sans me still bugs the shit out of me.  I barely missed him – probably too angry to.  Mind you, I kept myself busy with friends and house stuff but should I not have felt a small twinge? Was I feeding the situation with unnecessary negativity?  Or was my gut telling me something?   It doesn’t help when I am asked where’s the boyfriend?  And I answer gone on vacation and I get the response, without you?  Then it all starts roiling again.  So confused about this one.  Will have to let it play out when he gets back.

The mother.  I worry about her heart, her health.  Taking care of her husband, who had a stroke two years ago and is paralyzed on the left side, is exhausting her.  My sisters do a lot for her and I try to do my share as well but we still worry.  It is not an easy situation.  We sometimes worry she will kick the bucket before he does simply by burning herself out.  It scares me.


These thoughts criss-crossed her mind, one colliding after another, balling up inside her belly and turning her shoulders into knots.   Enough was enough and time to shut down that hamster wheel so she turned on the iPad to listen to some Arvo Pärt – Spiegel im Spiegel and whatever else followed.  YouTube was good for keeping one in the mood.   Ahhh… eyes closed, each tensed muscle began to relax, her mind once again emptying itself.

An hour later, sufficiently pruned, she started to shiver, the water no longer comfortably warm.  Time to get out.

As she was towelling off, her mind started up again.  The boyfriend liked to call her the Captain of her ship and her boys, her sailors.  He said she was in charge of the household and responsible for its functioning and for keeping her sailors on point.  She didn’t like that analogy.  Did not fancy the idea of being the one who went down with the ship should it sink.  Nope.  Another title was in order.

How about Ringmaster of a crazy five-ring (or was it six?) circus.  So many things to juggle, so many acts going on at the same time, not all with the same intensity, but each requiring her attention.  Yeah, that was more like it.  Ringmaster.  Had more pizzazz than Captain.  This was definitely her circus and maybe some, but not all, were her monkeys.


69 thoughts on “Ringmaster to Her Circus

  1. Q-Sizzle,

    This is what that classic Calgon commercial would look like if Pink Floyd wrote it, bwahahaha!
    You, the ring leader? Perhaps. You, the Capitan in knee high boots? Possibly. You, the lead singer in a band full of miscreant dudes with attitudes aplenty? Yes!
    I love how you left it to the very last, you wonderful tease!


    Peace and bubble baths

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I stopped 3/4 of the way to go get a Hershey’s with almonds. This was too good to read without chocolate. I saw myself throughout your story. It was eerily real. And your reaction was spot on. I loved every moment, every word. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love your post, Dale, your honesty, your ranting – and that bloody hamster! I think we’ve reached ‘that’ age, that sandwich age where we still have responsibilities towards our kids, are still working, still running a home and having to take care of ageing parents too. Makes your head spin, doesn’t it? I love the idea of a ringmaster – does that mean you get to wield a whip? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My dear friend,

    Your story says it all so eloquently. No doubt the ringmaster also feels she’s the high wire act without a net. Like all of your pieces, this is brutally honest and entertaining at the same time.
    One of my many therapists told me that my sense of humor was what saved me from jumping off a bridge. We’re sisters in that regard, aren’t we? As for the boyfriend? Sheesh…what a rube.

    As Jack Nicholson said to Adam Sandler in Anger Management, “Goozfraba.”
    Love, hugs and shalom,


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, dearest, raising some serious prayers for you… and here I thought I’d had a rough week, falling and nearly breaking my leg, car wipers colliding and then not working in the middle of a snow storm, removing life-support from brain dead brother-in-arms, and then car repairs, all in two days…. I think we both need a full week of Calgon bathes and wine!
    ~Jelli, in disguise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah. A tad sarcastic on my part. I could have been just returning 🙄
      But have no fear… October is a good time for Europe. Or maybe New York in May…


  6. OMG – you poor poor thing! I think I could cope with all of it bear the mum-in-law (from a hot place, it seems). I don’t know any of the ‘before’ stories therefore I shall refrain from using language. I suggest you are the ringmaster of a truly Olympic sized circus, therefore 5 rings me believes, or not? So happy that a long bath does you good, I’ve stopped taking baths since knowing showers but sometimes I wish I’d have the energy to fill our lion claw HUGE bathtub with water – although it would probably be an ice bath by the time the tub were filled…. And leaning towards Karen C….. (but don’t tell her), I snuck out to my kitchen to get a glass of red wine – to enhance the circus feel, strictly for that, you understand!
    I LOVE Arvo Pärt – have several CDs of his music – a genius and this is a perfect music for lying in the bath and listening to …. every note a drop of water! Marvellous choice.
    Shall I say something regarding your boys? Nope, thought so…. Only this: By the age of let’s say 35 they will realise that mum wasn’t THAT bad…. I know it’s a long time but then, times are flying and when the moment comes and you hear: I’ve got actually a cool mum – it will be worth the wait and the anger management, and the lips of mother hanging down in stripes because she had to tell the same stuff over and over and over….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Let’s just say it’s an eventful time…. Yes, I am the ringmaster of a five-ring (because I refuse to delve further and get myself even more crazy. I’ll take it as an excellent sign when my reader goes to get herself a snack or glass of wine to accompany her reading of my stuff!
      My bath is huge and it does empty the hot water tank (mind you, by the time the water turns cold, it is necessary because it would be too hot!
      Ah… Arvo Pärt – what a wonderful discovery. Marvellous indeed.
      As to the boys. I know deep, DEEP down one day… Just yesterday was my eldest’s 20th birthday and he allowed me to hug him. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • lucky you…. 😉 🙂 Happy belated birthday to your boy!
        I’m a compulsive (impulsive) hugger and it’s one of the blxxy hardest thing for me to refrain from taking everybody I like, in my arms and give them a good squeeze. I ‘may’ now hug my son of 40 (last week) but I also have one sis-in-law who is, after knowing me for a good 20yrs, is still keeping herself as stiff as a wooden plank and ‘air_pecks’ me like a bird – and she DOES like me very much! It’s beyond me but hey, what can you do?!

        Liked by 2 people

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