Tips from the Universal Household Assistant | Weakness in Children.—

Tips from the Universal Household Assistant | Weakness in Children.—

By MT Cozzola

“When a little one toddles weakly about, as if it had to make an effort to place one foot before the other, bathe its back in weak alum water, and rub gently until there is a glow.”
—The Universal Household Assistant, a Cyclopedia of Practical Information, compiled and arranged by S. H. Burt, published by A. L. Burt, 1884. From an entry on "Weakness in Children,” page 491.

I didn't close the storm windows because I knew Dave would say, “I'll do it.” Then I'd make a show of how I was going to do it anyway and he'd have to say, “I don't mind, really.” So I sit here and he closes windows around me. Then he comes over and kisses the top of my head. “I think you smell good.”

We haven't talked since my outburst. I saw on my phone that he was almost home and I didn't want to do the thing where I say, “Hi-how-was-the-show-I-have-to-go-to-bed-now-sorry-bye,” and he says he understands I can't stay up just because he got home late. So I turned off Shetland in the middle of Season 4 Episode 5. Not a surprise that the cop from Bergen was secretly a right-wing extremist, but it would have been nice to watch Tosh pick up the clue phone.

I went upstairs and got in bed and turned on the WTF podcast interview with Eve Ensler. When Dave came up to change out of his show clothes, Eve was talking about how her father had closed off his heart. And Mark Maron was like, “He did that to himself?” And Eve was like, “It was done to him.” She paused. “By his parents and by his response to the world.”

Need more salt.

Need more salt.

Dave came to the side of the bed, and I hit pause. The room was oppressively humid. I felt bad for Dave and his long-sleeved black shirt, but that didn't stop me from spewing out a laundry list of all the day’s frustrations, including my shame that I hadn't showered in days, which was somehow tied to not having gotten to the pool because I would have taken a shower after that. “And I know it's hot in here,” I semi-finished, “but I thought it was cooler out when I walked the dog so I opened the windows.”

He sighed, a sigh you can only understand if you have the kind of storm windows where you have to open the screen all the way up and lock it, then bring the storm all the way down, and then bring the window all the way down. And only if you have the kind of partner who believes that if you're going to turn the air on, you should also close the storm windows, not just the regular windows, because it's more efficient. And I have both, so I completed my laundry list with, “And I hate the storm windows! I hate them so much!”

“It's okay,” he said. “I'll do it.” He turned on the air and started closing storm windows. The room grew cooler almost immediately. The humidity lifted almost immediately. He changed and went downstairs and I fell asleep.

“A tea-cup of water, a small pinch of salt, and a tablespoonful of brandy is very strengthening to rub on.”

Fifty years ago we put a man on the moon. Last night white nationalists held a rally to re-elect our president. There are so many things wrong and we just have to keep going.

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