Monday, June 18, 2007

How I Came to Be in My Backyard, at 1:00 am, in my Underwear

Last night, I broke a mercury thermometer. Let me back up: I had spent the day going from project to project, without ever getting focused on what I really needed to do. Then my older son got sick (throw-up sick) and I panicked because the last time that happened in my house, I ended up having an expensive ambulance ride to the ER. So there I was, shaking down the thermometer, and I thought "I should do this over the sink, so if it breaks, it will all go in the sink. And it broke. Only it didn't go into the sink. It went all over the floor, and I freaked. My husband cleaned up some of it, thinking it was good enough, but I was worried. So I went online to find out what to do. Some of the sites would have you call the HazMat folks, and some people say not to worry. I took the middle ground, found a site with clear instructions, assembled my tools, and went to work. To be specific: on my hands and knees in the dark bathroom with a flashlight, searching for miniscule particles of elusive, toxic mercury. With the gas mask on. I'm trying to pick up these tiny balls with duct tape, only you don't want to touch it really, so I've got rubber gloves on. Ever try to work with duct tape while wearing rubber gloves? In the dark? At 1:00 in the morning?

It's amazing I wasn't crying.

Anyway, the site said to dispose of the clothes you had on, so....well...I didn't want to take them off INSIDE, so as to spill toxic mercury beads everywhere. I stepped out back and pulled off my clothes and thought: "this is interesting". Then I took a shower, and whilst showering I told the Universe (ever so politely) that I didn't want to be whacked over the head when I was getting out of balance and not being present. Instead, I told it, I would like something more gentle, like, oh, say, my back going out. Then I realized: my back HAD gone out last week. Guess I didn't pay attention.

My friend Kristen kindly suggested that I go for even more gentle: an insatiable desire for a cup of tea and a moment of peace to get centered.

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