We recently decided to replace our carpeting which was a real mess: a mishmash of three different styles, two original and who knows how old; one room used as a sneaky pee zone by the cat, another sporting a faded orange macaroni and cheese stain from an Unfortunate Barf Incident. Also, right after we ordered the new carpeting John accidentally spilled a container of magenta printer toner, which definitely sealed the deal.

I am really pleased with the comfy new carpet, which is a Stainmaster style that’s amusingly called “Subtle Glamour” (“My, what is it about this poorly-lit room featuring cheap TJ Maxx wall decor and littered with filthy boy-socks? There’s just something so … glamorous about being in here”), but oh holy christ was it ever a giant pain in the ass to clear the rooms for each installation.

Bookshelves, bureaus, furniture, it all had to be picked up and located elsewhere, and the most challenging part by far was our 3-seater couch, which is one of those ridiculous WALL-E recliner deals that somehow weigh eleventeen jillion pounds because of the metal undercarriage. They’re all rounded edges, so there’s nothing to grab onto, and the whole thing had to be tilted on its side to get through a tight doorway, and all I can say is that during the whole process both John and I reenacted that classic Friends scene multiple times while playing both characters at once.

It’s all done now and hopefully we’ll never have to move all that crap again without burly professionals, and as part of my investment in not having to replace a urine-drenched floor covering any time soon I bought a cat litter box, because while I have been enormously resistant to doing so it’s clear our one outside/inside cat has become devoted to staying inside because our outside cats Mean Girl the shit out of her when she goes out (ugh this whole explanation is crumbling under the weight of terrible grammar, sorry but there are just SO MANY CATS).

The problem with the cat litter is that there is not one single place in our house where a box can be unobtrusively located. We don’t have a laundry room (the washer/dryer are in the garage), or a, I don’t know, random room isn’t a bedroom or kitchen or human bathroom. So I got one of those shit-igloo things, as recommended by a similarly space-restricted friend, and it is in the hallway, which is subtly glamorous AF.

And THEN we had to sort of … ease the cat into it, because her brain is basically a single Raisenette and at first she was like I WILL NOT STEP FOOT NEAR THIS TERRIFYING THUNDERDOME so we left the lid off for a while and did everything short of getting in the litter our own selves to show her it was an Emotional Safe Space and oh my god.

Anyway, that part wasn’t much fun, but it turns out the most unpleasant part about all the carpet-related wranglings wasn’t the heavy lifting or the litter box strategizing, but rather being confronted with what the underside of most of our tables looks like. Have you ever really looked under a table, particularly if you have kids?

There are times when I feel like I mostly have it together, not in the way that people who really have it together have it together — I mean, I’ve been living in the same ratty Boba Fett shirt all month and eating an inadvisable number of processed cheese slices — but, you know, I’m over here functioning as a semi responsible adult who pays her taxes and has, like, a skincare routine.

This shaky sense of capability is so easily destroyed, though. Take yesterday, when I placed an order on a pizza joint’s website, then waited in vain for a confirmation. I had to call the restaurant (BAD), at which point I was told that online orders go through a third party and I would have to call them, and so I did (BAD AGAIN) but no one answered so I had to leave a message (WORSE), so I had no idea if I was going to be charged for this nonexistent pizza or what and now I had that antsy waiting-for-a-callback feeling (WOOOOORST) plus I’d already had to make two phone calls PLUS the kids were starving and OMG what do I dooooooo?

In this pictorial representation, I am the hapless donkey, while a mild pizza-related inconvenience is the overwhelming load that has hoisted me, limbs slack with indecision, into the air.

I would really like to be the sort of person who can deal with everyday stresses without going straight to CRUSHING DOOM TIME TO REPPLY DEODORANT AND CONSIDER SEPPUKU territory, but, well, I would also like perky boobs and the ability to masterfully parallel park.

You just have to play with the cards you’ve been dealt. I’ve spent too many years wishing I was somebody other than who I am, and at 44 I guess I feel like I’ve tried all the ways of life-hacking my way out of anxiety and awkwardness and most don’t work and some landed me in rehab so it is what is is, dammit. I am often a straight-up flailing mess of a human who has a nearly magical ability to make intimidatingly huge things out of very small things but I’ve managed to keep a modest collection of succulents and two human beings alive so far, plus sometimes I floss. So I’m easily sidelined by things like botched pizza orders — I have other strengths! I am very good at air hockey, for instance.

Anyway, I ended up taking the kids to a Mexican place, where I was able to apply medicinal tortilla chips to the entire exhausting afternoon. Whew.

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