Dryer Lint Cake And Other Projects

Four days without work flash by at a different rate of speed. It’s like weekend speed, but on steroids.

Four days wasn’t long enough.

Do you ever feel so anxious you schedule time off from work to find your center? Then, the last day happens and your anxiety peaks?

Yeah, me too.

At this moment, I am afraid that my anxieties are all valid. All of my self-recriminations are deserved and time is slipping away. No, not slipping. Rushing, like water over Niagara Falls, and I’m experiencing nothing more than the mist.

I am afraid that when I am looking through life through my anxiety lenses, then that is when I am seeing reality with clarity.

I honestly don’t know if I’m seeing life more clearly now or not. I am terrified that I am.

Four days off did not cure my anxiety issues.

I did, however, accomplish some things over the past four days. I got to experience a few things that made me smile.

For instance, last Thursday, the first night of my days of relaxation included drama, fireworks, and dryer lint cake.

Randy and I had a few drinks on Thursday. I decided I wanted something sweet. I never remember to do those things in the right order. Joey was at work, so I couldn’t send him to the store.ย Here is where I lead by example: Don’t drink and drive, kids.ย 

While I won’t operate a vehicle under the influence, I will bake the shit out of something while enjoying cocktails.ย By ‘cocktails’, I mean I was drinking shots of tequila.ย 

The only sweet thing we had was a box of tie-dye cake mix we bought for baking with our grandkids, and one envelope of Dream Whip.

I read the directions for the tie-dye cake and disregarded most of them. Do you know how much effort goes into making those tie-dye cakes? Really, do you? Because I just read a few lines before giving up. I decided that we would have a purple cake instead. I mixed together blue and red dye in with the batter.

Do you know what purple batter looks like after it bakes? Well, after baking, taking it out of the pan to cool on a wire rack too soon, and breaks into pieces? It looks like dryer lint.

So, I decided, fuck it. We’ll have dryer lint cake with minion colored Dream Whip topping on top.

Honestly? It wasn’t good. Cake needs a flavor other than purple. I still ate it because cake.

Randy fell asleep early because that’s what he does. I was not ready to let go of my first night off and stayed up for a while.

Some neighbors behind us were having a celebration one would expect on the Fourth of July out in a field somewhere. I have no idea what they were celebrating on a Thursday night but they were partying like it was 1999.

They live on the street behind mine, so I sat on my deck and watched massive fireworks detonate directly above me. A few times I worried if the ash would burn out before it reached my house or my deck. Or me. But I didn’t need to worry, nothing burned. Not at my house at least.

At one point they lit off a series of firecrackers, only these weren’t little black cat firecrackers, these sounded like dynamite as they exploded for at least 2 or 3 minutes. They were awesome, I could feel each one explode in my chest and the feeling actually made me laugh out loud.

Their neighbor lady, however, was not as enchanted with the show.

I couldn’t see any of them. I only heard disembodied voices in the night.

Pissed Neighbor: Some people have to work in the morning. Jesus Christ!

Fireworks Neighbors: HAHAHAHAH. BOOM!

Pissed Neighbor: What is wrong with you?

Fireworks Neighbors: HAHAHAHA. BOOM! BOOM!

Pissed Neighbor: That hit my car!

Fireworks Neighbors: No it didn’t. BOOM!

Pissed Neighbor: This is ridiculous.

Fireworks Neighbors: We’re sorry.


Pissed Neighbor: I’m calling the police.

Fireworks Neighbor: HAHAHAH! BOOM!

Then, the show ended. I don’t know if the cops came or if the neighbor ran out of fireworks.

My four days wasn’t supposed to only be for finding my center.

I have writing projects to complete.

I have an outline and a proposal to rewrite. I also entered a fiction contest, which isn’t like me. I really don’t write fiction. I mean, I wrote scores of horrible fiction years ago, but haven’t tried again since. This contest dictates a 1000 word limit, so I gave it a shot. My genre was ‘ghost story’.

Randy and I worked on the story for two days. That is honestly the most effort I’ve ever put into 1000 words. I don’t care what happens with the contest, I’m happy with my story.

My older son, Zach, turned 28 last week, so we had lunch with him on Saturday. I always feel a little melancholy on my kid’s birthday. I just want five minutes with them as kids again. Just five minutes.

I set some unrealistic writing goals that I still haven’t come close to meeting, but I’m not unhappy with my progress.

It’s mid Monday afternoon. I’m watching the clock tick away the last of my four days off.

I was not unproductive.

I am still anxious.

Wish me luck at work tomorrow. I’m going to need it.

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  • I tend to try to cram a lifetime of to-dos in one weekend. Then Sunday evening comes rolling around and even though I know I accomplished a lot, I still feel like I fell short. But I believe it’s because I try to do it ALL.

    Your fireworks story reminds me of when our neighbor went out of town and left her son to his own devices. I guess he and his friends thought it would be funny to set off some leftover fireworks at like 1am on a weekday morning. We didn’t find it so funny. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • You’re just teasing us by telling us you’ve written a story and that you’re happy with it and then NOT REALLY SHARING THE STORY, aren’t you?

    All will be forgiven once you share the story. I’m being lenient because the way you wrote about your Fireworks Neighbors had me laughing so hard co-workers coming over saying, “Please share”. You may be getting a slightly larger than usual number of hits soon.

  • You centered me to laughing about the fire works and then giving me a big awwwww over your wish to just grab back 5 minutes again with your son! Good Luck.

  • I really enjoyed reading this! So glad Elena Peters has us posting our blogs together. I’m going to look for your Twitter etc now. Thanks for the laugh – and the tears – my son turned 18 last week and I too would love 5 minutes with them a littles again. Cheers!

  • I have always found that attempting to relax just makes me more anxious (and don’t even get me started on “meditation” – panic attack city).

    Sounds like you were at least able to enjoy your time off, though. Good luck with the writing contest!

    • Yep…all I did was increase my anxiety. Fucking anxiety. And thank you! We’ll see. I don’t have high hopes..but I am glad I tried my hand at fiction.

  • I wish you all the luck for your writing and your working. I know how regular anxiety bites you off, one small nip at a time. When it ramps up, anxiety can turn into Sharknado, chomping whole limbs off with terrible teeth.

    Just know that you can do The Things. Anxiety (much like depression) is a lying liar. It will distort your view and gaslight you into thinking that you arenโ€™t whole, real, or seeing clearly.

      • I have that issue too.

        I am a horrible Mom.
        I suck at all The Things.
        I am a fuckwit.
        I have screwed up all the People’s lives – ALL of them.
        It’s my fault.

        It becomes this negative vortex of lying SUCK that eventually becomes this horrible self-fulfilling prophecy.

        Don’t believe it.

        • This is the BEST description of anxiety that I’ve ever seen! Except that it would of course, go on and on and never stop.
          “Those people over there are laughing at me. How do they know that I’m the world’s worst mother?”
          Etc. Etc.
          When one isn’t in the vortex – it is even kind of humorous – really? You suck at ALL the Things? Yes. Anxiety. I do – thanks for reminding me!

  • good thing the neighbour vouched for hearing the fireworks too – I was going to say maybe only you saw the fireworks because of tequila and dryer lint cake. lol
    Seriously though, I hope your anxiety lets up soon – maybe you can ask it to go bother someone else – as long as that someone else isn’t me.

    It was a holiday monday for us yesterday – BC day (as in British Columbia) so maybe your firework neighbours are Canadians!

  • I’d totally drink tequila and bake purple cakes with you. (even if I can’t actually *have* any of it)

    On the topic of purple cakes, I’ve done my share (bakery days). The trick is to add so much food coloring that the batter is almost royal purple-y / blackish, and then you get “purple velvet” cake. I did tons of these for purple-themed weddings instead of red velvet cake. Also.. yellow velvet and hot pink velvet.

    OH. my gosh- What you should have done is make “Tequila Sunrise” cake. Which is where you add food coloring, grenadine and tequila in large doses to the batter AND the icing. And then it doesn’t matter what color it was…because tequila.

    Can’t believe I forgot about all the boozy cake recipes I used to use…
    *major flashback*

  • I started out thinking you were talking about ACTUAL lint… and I thought… hmmm this should be interesting. I thought MAYBE… just maybe you had an epiphany about dryer lint and I could do something useful with the plastic grocery bag full of lint in my laundry room. I started throwing it away… and my husband said NO…its a great fire starter for bonfires and stuff…ok… 15 years later we have had one bonfire. All the rest of the lint went in the trash. Purple or not … real cake is always good.

  • 1,000 words? That’s only 200 more than a newspaper column. I would read the shit out of them anyway… Hope you are feeling better soon; at least it sounds like you had a good time.

    • I’m sure I will…still just waiting for this medicine to right itself. I am happy with the story…I mean, I don’t know if it’s any good or not, but I liked it.

  • I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Except the parts about your anxiety. Those parts sucked. (Not your writing, the anxiety). I have it too, but the adderall seems to help. I have a fear I’m going to die in a car wreck. Anyway, the loud obnoxious neighbors sound fun and a lot like my family.

    • I am afraid of getting shot. I realize how nutty that sounds, who would shoot me? When I’m really anxious, I think every other driver on the road has a gun pointed at me.

      And thank you ๐Ÿ™‚ I am glad you liked it.

  • Tequila shots, purple cake, deafening fireworks, quarreling neighbours, more writing commitments… and you thought you’d find your center?? M, you might need to book yourself into the nearest (or farthest) ashram. For, like, a month. I want to read your story.

  • Shots of Tequila that sounds so good right now. That and cake. Then I might not get all choked up about spending 5 minutes with my kids when they were little and still believed in all the wonders of the world. God I miss sitting with them and just feeling like I was showing them them all the magic ahead. I better go to bed before I get into a funk again.

  • Sorry the weekend didn’t work all the magic it was supposed to but at least you got some of that writing checked off. I’ve been in a horrible way myself and am slowly but surely making my way out. I do have to tell you a) good for you for not drinking and driving and 2) that cake was a little scary :).
    I have to know if it left stains. It looks like it would. Also, yes! Those tie dye cakes are assholes. My daughter made a camo tie dye cake for my husband for his birthday and I had to help because it was an asshole. And messy. I wanted to throw it against the wall.

    • It didn’t leave any kind of stain! Well…other than in my head.

      I am glad you are working your way out of the pit. We deserve some peaceful days, sister.

  • I can totally relate to the anxiety thing getting worse when you are not at work. I’ve been at my daughter’s place in DC for over a week to help out with my new grandson (and I have a bit less than a week left). I stressed before I got here, while I’ve been here, and I’m already stressing about going back to work. I had visions of getting a lot of writing done, looking for a new job in this area, doing a bunch of freezer meals to leave for my kid — and I’ve done none of it. I’m finally starting to cook today, so maybe I’ll at least get the meals done — but my blog has been totally ignored and I chickened out on actually making the first move to relocate. I just keep telling myself “baby steps” — make it through the day, maybe cross one thing off on the to-do list and call it a win.

  • Vacations can produce lots of pressure to be happy and do happy things. That can cause anxiety. Sometimes I think work is good because it keeps us so busy we forget to be anxious. But we still need vacations…quite the conundrum.

  • ‘Hahahaha boom’ Too funny!

    The purple cake sounds interesting, don’t think I’ll be rushing to try that ๐Ÿ™‚

    My counsellor and I decided that my anxiety is based on a reality that I cannot change, so I’ve decided that reality needs to be ignored as much as possible. It’s working for me, mostly, just occasionally I let the real world and all its misery in and then I regret it.

    My new plan that I’m trying to follow, (not very successfully), is to take each day for what it is and enjoy the little moments of joy without feeling guilty.

    Look forward to reading the new story and hope you win!

    • I am not holding out hope for a win…but I’d like to make it through the first round or two.

      Yes..keeping the misery out is a good plan. I need to do that

By Michelle


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