Speed Bumps (or, “You hear that thumping sound coming from under the car? That’s the sound of me running over my brother”)

The month continues to be crazy. Well, I suppose I should say “last month was still crazy,” as a new month has now begun. That’s right, folks. It’s February now. I can hardly believe we’re already a full month into the new year.

I think my disconnect has come as a result of a massive amount of traveling. Even though I declared myself “back” a while ago I really haven’t been home all that much. I was gone to Florida for a week and then I was camped out on Maggie’s floor for another week. I wasn’t home for much of the following weekend (guilted into attending a party) and then it was time to go back to Maggie’s. My relationship with my bed is troubled at the moment. It’s complaining that we hardly ever see each other and I’m really beginning to agree. Originally, I had planned some quality time with my bed – burrowed under the covers, catching up on much needed sleep. Alas, it was not to be.

My parents, sister, nephew and I all hopped in the van on Friday after I got off work and hightailed it to Ohio to visit family. Most of my nights there were spent in uncomfortable bedding (a chair the first night and the floor the second). After a blissful final night in a lovely Hampton Inn bed we headed back to Virginia…

…where I came close to throttling my brother.

First off, the driveway, sidewalk and front steps hadn’t been shoveled. Now, keep in mind that the snow that fell on Saturday while we were out of town measured 1 1/2, maybe 2, inches. My brother was off work all day Saturday. When Mom asked him why he hadn’t shoveled his response was “It was snowing all day. I didn’t want to keep shoveling all day.”

Yes. Clearly the light, powdery snow fell so heavily on Saturday that it clearing it once around, say, 5pm, would have been unthinkable.

Okay, my mother continued, why didn’t you shovel at least this part today?

Because he was cleaning.

Now, anybody who has ever met my brother should, at this point, be doubled over in laughter. The boy never cleans. He leaves destruction in his wake wherever he goes, as you will clearly see in a moment.

Of course, he was giving this explanation while standing on the top step watching my mother and I, who were tired and had just finished an 8-hour trek from Ohio, clear as much snow and ice from the stairs and spread ice-melt on the stuff we couldn’t clear. Ordinarily we would have just walked up and down the stairs carefully and come back out to clear things but my father was still in the car. He recently had surgery to amputate a toe and is still dealing with complications from said surgery. He wears one of those open-toed bootie things when he’s walking about which means the snow can get all over his foot and cause additional problems.

My brother came out and watched my mom and I usher my father across the snowy driveway and up the still icy stairs and then disappeared when we started bringing in stuff from the car. He finally came back out when there were about three things to bring in.

When we came into the house it was clear the “cleaning” that went on didn’t occur out in the main part of the house, where everyone else lives. It wasn’t the messiest I’ve ever seen it but it wasn’t neat, either. I finished bringing in our travel stuff and took my bags downstairs.

If I had a soundtrack that played throughout my day, helping to narrate my emotional state, this is what you would have heard.

As always, my brother’s “cleaning” simply consisted of him taking all the crap he didn’t want in his room anymore and throwing it downstairs, stacked haphazardly on top of everything else that was already there, most of which is still there from the last time he “cleaned” his room.

Keep in mind the fact that I live in the basement. I’ve got a bedroom and an office, though most of the office is actually given over for storage for Christmas decorations, Mom’s craft buckets, etc. My sewing area is in a corner of the main room, beside the futon. There’s a little square table I occasionally use for cutting fabric off to the side, in another alcove. All my parents’ stuff from when they moved back from Nashville has been taking up most of the main rooms in the basement for a few years. I live amongst all this flotsam and jetsam. It’s aggravating sometimes but I try to put up with it as best I can. Although it’s crowded, at least there were paths and we knew where everything was.

And things weren’t getting broken.

That is no longer the case. Half of my fabric is missing (including the three yards of fuzzy blue that I need to finish my Popple costume). My Blink Angel wings are bent. I haven’t the slightest idea where the mask has been put and I can’t get to the bucket where the rest of my costumes are stored because it’s now buried under two feet of my brother’s crap and behind at least four feet of random boxes. I couldn’t even get into the dryer this evening, because he put tackle boxes in the way.

My original plan for tomorrow was a morning of THESIS, followed by finishing the Popple and perhaps getting started on re-making the Angel costume in preparation for Farpoint. At this point, the entire morning, afternoon and evening of tomorrow will be spent clearing out all the trash that the little poopoo head has thrown downstairs.

And, lest you think that it’s not actually trash, I will assure you that it is. He admitted as much to my mother. Why he decided it was best to take it all the way downstairs instead of just out the front door to the trash I’ll never know.

For now, I’m going to go make myself a cup of tea, perhaps meditate on a corner of my bed, and try to restrain myself from hurling my brother out the window.

I apologize for the rant. I promise I’ll be better soon.

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