Recipe for Bereavement

Jicama Dill Salad

  • Peel and slice jicama into julienned sticks (Knife or cooking mandolin works. Musical mandolin does not.)
  • Peel and julienne apple, roughly the same amount as the jicama
  • Toss the jicama and apple with a few moderate gluggs of rice wine vinegar
  • Quarter a couple of handfuls of grape tomatoes and add
  • Wash, dry, and mince a bunch of dill fronds (not the stems) and add
  • Gently fold in a couple handfuls of arugula
  • Pair with chilled sake or soju and eat

The October Epiphany

Driving down 695 on my way to physical therapy, a truck hoisting a maroon shipping container on its back paces next to me. Unbidden, the thought floats: That’s my new home.

Well, not really.

The truck splits away onto an exit ramp. It’s a high container (9′ 6″), not a standard (8’6″), which is right, but Jeremy and I are looking for 40′ longs and this one is only 20′.

Good thing this shipping container already has a job.

Except for a summer break, we’ve been house hunting since this past spring.

I’ve given up on wedding planning because I hate it. It’s seriously the worst. I would say I prefer going to the dentist over wedding planning, but the truth is I’ve never had a problem with my dentist (nor he with me). Maybe we should have the wedding at the dentist.

Jeremy and I were originally considering a waterfront wedding. I was debating how long I would wait until I asked my mother if I could get my dress made out of Lycra so I could go swimming after the ceremony. Jeremy had already rejected my suggestion that we get mood rings for our wedding rings. And when the invite list looked like it was getting rather long, my proposal to give guests staggered arrival times and have both a matinée and an evening performance was ixnayed by all.

Wedding planning is awful.

It’s also obnoxiously and unnecessarily expensive. And I just don’t care enough to spend that much money on one fleeting day.  So, instead of booking a venue, we dropped all the wedding planning and went on a jaunt around Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and Harford County. We even made one trip up to Carroll County, but that was a mistake.

The worst thing about so-called invisible illnesses is that they’re invisible. They consume your life, sap your energy, and yet, since on the outside you look perfectly fine, you find yourself terrified of the fallacious stigma associated with non-obvious disorders. You don’t look sick. You’re just exaggerating. Just get over it already. If you’re ill, why do you have cheerful pictures? Or do things or go places that make you happy? I have days where my body hurts and I don’t stay home in bed all day. If you’re not working, you’re a failure. It’s all in your head. You’re not disabled; you’re lying. 

I’ve been living the past couple of years paralyzed by how I perceive others perceiving me. I have nightmares about failing at school, at work, at life… and I’m not even in school or working right now.

Oddly, though, there is one perk to being sick. One of my diagnosed illnesses is biotoxin illness (essentially, mold poisoning). Just to name a few, symptoms include fatigue, brain fog, memory loss, joint and muscle pains, weakness, shortness of breath, numbness, vertigo, and tremors. I have all of those. And more. (I’m just not in the mood to write them out, because it’s as depressing as trying to fly a kite on a windless day that then rains on you.) But having this disease has turned me into a human mold detector.

As Jeremy and I traipsed through house after house, my mold radar pinged. And pinged. And pinged. I would walk into a building and within seconds could tell if there was something to be suspicious or not about. Out of dozens of houses, we found just a couple that passed my where there’s mold, there’s a migraine test. There were more houses that didn’t even pass the threshold test… I shall not pass. Poor Jeremy often went alone while I hovered in the entryway with our real estate agent.

Sometimes even he didn’t make it past the front door.

The Furballs™ wake us up almost the same way every morning.

Darwin Dog is cuddled up against us; Phebe Cat is sitting on the pillows, practically on top of our heads; and Phobos Cat is ungracefully stretched across the width of the bed, disregarding all beneath her as she purrs.

It’s October when I don’t wake Jeremy up because The Furballs™ are already doing a damned good job of it.

“Let’s just build our own house,” I say. I don’t think he’s really awake, but his eyes are open-ish, so that’s good enough for me. “We can use one of those pre-fab steel frames.” A couple weeks ago, I had read about Amazon now shipping tiny homes and gone down a Google rabbit hole reading about all the different types of partially-built frames that could be shipped to your lot of choosing.

And even though he probably could have rolled over and back to sleep, Jeremy doesn’t say no. He thinks about it. We pro-and-con and spend the morning looking at zoning and building references instead of Facebook. He makes the coffee.

Research becomes decision. A steel frame becomes shipping containers.

But not that maroon container on 695.

That container already has a job.