Ellis & Barnes: Serious Mothers!

Friday, January 18, 2008


They say that stress can affect you in many ways. It can make you physically ill. Your body aches. It can stir up the depression that lurks around all of your corners. It can affect your speech and motor skills. And sometimes you don’t feel the effect of it until weeks or months later. You can only hope that when the effects of a previous stress attack do resurge, that you aren’t in the middle of a brand new stress attack.

I have been stressed out. A lot.

I have ways of knowing that I am stressed.

No…heightened emotions, irrational anger, panic attacks and a feeling of impending doom aren’t the signs. Those states appear to be permanent.

Dropping things. That is sign number one. I’ll get a glass of water and will walk to the couch to sit down and one minute the glass is in my hand and the next minute it is on the floor and I am soaking wet.

Telephone? Dropped it.
Remote Control, aka The Clicker? Dropped it.
Keys? Dropped it.
Books? You know it!
Bowl of fruit at work? Oh yeah!

Next comes walking…or the inability to do it well. I have run into a few walls, the corner of doors…you know, you think you are gonna clear the door…casue it’s a door and you have been walking through them all your life…and then BAM, the door is picking a fight with you, shoving you in the shoulder. I trip a little. It’s like I am under attack from a sniper…my feet dodging bullets, but its not as cool as that…it’s more like my feet hate walking.

Losing things. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t lose things. I am very good at not losing things. In the last two weeks I have lost one of every pair of gloves. The good news is that two of the missing pairs fit my right and left hand so I have one very mismatched set.

To me, when I make it into the losing things zone…or the orange zone as I like to call it…I can accept that something is wrong and that I should work to de-stress and pay attention more so I don’t make a really big mistake…

…like locking myself in the basement.

Two days ago I locked myself in the basement. It was Wednesday night. I came home from work, determined to relax. I lit the candles, I ordered some yummy Thai food, I curled up on the couch, and turned on one of my favorites…Law and Order SVU mini marathon on USA. I have two cats. I let them outside because I believe cats should be allowed to express their wild side. I leave the downstairs window cracked open so they can come and go as they please. Around 8:30, Casper…the cat who loves to be outside, wandered in from his nightly prowl. In order to keep him from going back outside while I try to close his window, I shut the door that leads to the basement, and went down to close...well…you know it…the window.

I head back upstairs. Turn the knob and discover the door is locked.

Ok, nobody panic. I’ll just use the phone we keep downstairs. Oh…turns out it is upstairs because I left it upstairs after I last used it.

Hmmmmm…I bet I can pick the lock. I have a tattoo, I should be able to pick a lock.

Apparently my tattoo doesn’t pick locks.

Ok, so Stefan is at a rehearsal a few blocks away. I know he should be home in an hour, but I have cats upstairs with lit candles and a table covered in thai food. Those things equal potential danger!

Hmmm, what else can I do MacGyver?

There is a computer down here. I’ll email somebody.

Here is the email I sent:

Subject Line: Help please.
“have locked myself in the basement. There are candles burning and cats upstairs, along with all phones, and Stefan is at an EL meeting. If one of you gets this in the next 30 minutes...stop laughing...please call Stefan 917-579-xxxx and ask him to come let me out.Then somebody email me back and tell me if you got him.”

Then I waited.

While waiting I thought “hey, I bet there is a website that tells you how to pick a lock.” So I google “how to pick a lock.” Lots of sites, but the locks were way more complicated than mine.

So just to see what would happen, I googled “I have locked myself in the basement.”

Turns out I am not the first person to lock myself in the basement where the only form of communication was a computer. I found several posts of people in my situation on message boards about locks. Hilarious. I found an article on my type of lock and grabbed my screwdriver to give it another try.

It didn’t work and then I got scared that if I pushed any harder at the lock I would break it and then the door would never open again.

So back to my email.

Livia Scott and Jay Dugre were both luckily online…and after laughing…jumped into action and reached Stefan. Stefan got home shortly after and “rescued” me from the basement…which by the way isn’t awful. It’s got a flat screen with cable and is themed like a jungle room. There are worst places to be locked in.

A big thanks to Livia and Jay for helping me out.

My favorite email that I got in response to my cry for help was from Carter Edwards. It simply said: “... I'm not sure what to saythis is maybe my favorite e-mail ever...”

Thank you Carter.

Hmmmm….so it seems that all signs point to stress. It might be time to take up yoga.


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