My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

Beth Kaplan logo

MORE gloom and doom

My friends, I think I used to be perky, setting out cheerily for new adventures, perhaps fun to be with.

Maybe again sometime. Not right now.

It’s all too much, right now. The excruciating daily news, the abasement of everything we hold dear – the Ontario government cutting after-school programs for at-risk kids, British politicians screaming abuse at each other as their country disintegrates, as France disintegrates, as the U.S. flops and flounders and makes a disgusting spectacle of itself. As the worst side of humanity flourishes. Is this ALL due to Russian interference, as we’re finding out every day? To the internet and the Russians? Just how evil is Putin? It hurts to read or hear. It makes me sick.

But my personal situation is also making me sick. As we renovate, we become embroiled in one snafu after another, blundering about here, making mistakes because we’re nice people with no fucking idea what we’re doing. A well-meaning mistake today may take months and much, much more money to fix. At the moment, in any case, it’s Christmas – really? Christmas? – and everything has ground to a halt. My second floor is a skeleton, my Xmas presents for family are all stored on the third floor and the staircase to that floor has nearly been dismantled, and my Xmas tree is a one foot high Ikea fake I bought for Auntie Do once and carried back in my suitcase last month, in case I needed it. I need it. Christmas is about as far from my thoughts as it’s possible to be.

My stomach heaves, my heart pounds. And then I say – well, what’s the worst that can happen? It’ll take months of chaos and dislocation, you’ll be in debt for a long time, and, of course, little will get written. Okay, it happens, you’ll survive. But I’ll have – eventually, if we ever get there, if we ever can move forward – a renewed house with many problems solved. (And many new ones unearthed by the reno and, perforce, we hope, solved.) The house is worth a lot of money and will be worth more. My children will be very sad when I die, but they will receive generous compensation for the terrible loss of their mother. That is, if I don’t sell this place soon and move to Bali and spend all my bucks on martinis.

I’m sad and scared and pissed off at my stupidity, at embarking on this vast project without knowing what I was getting into. But I know I’ll pull out of it. Today was a terrible horrible no good very bad day, that’s all.

Perspective – talking to a dear friend today whose husband’s Alzheimer’s is getting worse; on a recent trip to Cuba, they got on on a double-decker bus where she sat him in the handicapped section downstairs and went upstairs to sit. When she came back down, he was gone; he had followed someone off the bus. Her husband, who cannot speak Spanish and doesn’t even know his own name, was wandering the streets of Havana. Eventually, he was found, but what a nightmare, ongoing, getting worse for her. A loved friend is awaiting a biopsy. Not to mention countless others with life-threatening problems. And I – a renovation that’s gone wrong. Well boo hoo.

My father did a literal translation of the great French term “s’emmerder” – ‘beshitment.’ He used to talk about “the human search for beshitment,” at making life more difficult and complicated. Well Dad, I have chosen quite a little packet of beshitment. Wish you were here to laugh me through it.

Today I got home and left my bike outside while I rushed in to deal with whatever – and an hour later Ed, Kevin’s helper, pointed out that I had left the bike unlocked. Yesterday, I left my most loved cashmere scarf at the dentist. Got to get it together. This too shall pass. That’s what everyone is telling me, and it’s true. So get over it.

My fridge is making strange chugging noises I’ve never heard before.

Tomorrow, just to lighten the mood around here, the termite treatment begins.

Just got this, from a former student submitting an essay for consideration for So True next year:
On another note, you are a fantastic teacher who is enriching so many lives, in other words – thank you and happy holidays.

Thanks, Jody. I needed that.



2 Responses to “MORE gloom and doom”

  1. theresa says:

    From the other side of the ocuntry, I am following (and sympathizing with) your sense of dislocation in your own house. Of course it is stressful. World news does nothing to make anyone feel comforted. Put on some sweet music and pour a glass of wine. The new year is coming…

  2. beth says:

    Thanks, Theresa. Believe me, there has been and will be a considerable amount of wine. Sweet music, good idea. And mostly, just remembering that this isn't what matters most in life. Perspective, hard to remember when you're in the thick of it. Friends and correspondents help a LOT.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


Coming soon

A new book by Beth Kaplan, published by Mosaic Press – “Midlife Solo”

Join the mailing list to stay up to date on this and other exciting news.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.