And then I'm all, oh, here I am on my stupid little walk for my stupid mental health, on my stupid little safe, bomb-free sidewalks in Washington DC, and I'm mad that it's not warm.
While there are people living in subways in Ukraine trying to avoid dying from Russian bombs.
And every disgruntlement or inconvenience is like this.
(Though I remain bitter that it's so cold. I just feel guilty about it.)
We got a new rug.
Well, first we needed to get two old Persian rugs fixed.
These rugs are nice, and they have memories attached.
Prior to the revolution, we stopped in Tehran for a couple days on our way to Cairo, and our parents spent the afternoon looking at and haggling over rugs, drinking tea, chatting. My brother and I ate biscuits and climbed on mountains and mountains of carpets.
(Honestly, I use rug and carpet interchangeably. I don't know if this is correct.)
Anyway, I love these rugs, and they are old and pretty and hell if I was going to let the edges all fray off to nothing.
So I asked around, and a friend whose mom is Persian said she had a guy. He passed along the number.
This guy, now our guy, came over to pick up the rugs.
Naturally, as it's his business, he went from rug to rug on the ground floor of our house inspecting them.
He lifted them and expressed horror at the state of our rug pads.
Which, apparently, are a big deal. He explained why.
Also, he's Persian carpets or nothing, really. He has the goal of eventually "upgrading" all our rugs.
So we have a few good ones, and then, gasp!, a number from other places, like Afghanistan. Some purchased in Afghanistan, I might add.
The one in the kitchen, which I think rather horrified him, is a legit hand knotted carpet purchased on Craigslist. It may also be from Gasp Afghanistan or Pakistan.
(I didn't point out the Big Yikes IKEA one, but he spotted it anyway.)
So he said that if you're going to clean two carpets, which we had to do prior to getting them repaired, because they hadn't been cleaned since like the aughts, then you need to clean all your carpets at once.
He described these carpets as house filters. And once they get full of dust, you have more dust in your environment. You can't bring one clean one in with all the others full of dust.
Furthermore, he begged, don't buy the kinds of carpets with glue on the back. Because eventually the glue breaks down and then you're breathing in glue.
So there's that. We're unintentional glue huffers.
But in any case.
It kind of turned into if you give a mouse a cookie kind of thing. If you've read those books.
Soon they had all our rugs from the ground floor. Only one rug pad was left, because it was still in good shape.
Also, we've been destroying the old when my mom bought it at auction in Cairo hall runner because it's just not the kind of sturdy that can withstand the traffic. We need a new one for that space.
So not only is that being cleaned and repaired, but we're on a runner hunt.
Of course we went to his store and looked at carpets. We keep taking them home and trying them and bringing them back. We've been a revolving door of hall carpets.
We seriously visit him every Saturday now. It's becoming a running (runnering, heh) joke.
But in the meantime, the floors, they are naked.
This has Wanda perturbed.
Finally, one Saturday, we bought a new rug from him for the dining room.
I mean, that wasn't where we envisioned it, but once we took the stained and deteriorating IKEA rug out of the black (glue huffing all the while) we had to reconfigure everything.
So we got this new and beautiful Persian carpet and I love it. I just love it.
Wanda also loves it.
She loves it so much she has urinated on it thrice.
One time I saw her nonchalantly prance over to the rug and squat. I bellowed at the top of my voice, scared the crap out of her, and lost my everloving mind.
And if this whole story seems like a weird sidebar, let me get around to the actual point.
The point is that of course I'm obviously not cool with my dog peeing on my carpet.
I love that Wanda, but I'm not gonna lie, she's broken my trust.
But I'm also like, oh, here I am with my stupid beautiful carpet, while people are escaping carrying their children and what, maybe some clothing. It's freezing, and the Russians are shelling women and children.
And Russian citizens are being arrested for protesting the war. Because they don't want it, either.
I've given money, because we always give money. To families separated at the border. To Afghan refugees. To Ukraine.
But I feel so powerless. So privileged and powerless.
The other day I rounded the corner onto our street, and the sun shone on the houses in such a friendly way. The sky was a spectacular blue with really interesting clouds.
And I felt guilty for enjoying the beauty and serenity.
I had to remind myself that I can simultaneously be upset about atrocities elsewhere in the world and enjoy the beauty of a beautiful day.
I have to remind myself of this regularly. Because the guilt and despair can paralyze me.
A friend said that we have to take the beauty when it comes, as it's the only way we can survive.
And maybe that is the perfect way to put it.
I need the beauty of a sunny day. I need to feel grateful.
What I would really like is to watch Ted Lasso on a continuous loop. I know Nick thinks it's weird that I'll finish with a show I like and immediately rewatch it to feel good all over again.
I'm OK with this. I feel grateful Ted and his kindness. And also Roy Kent and his angry hotness.
I feel grateful for my family, for my friends, for sunshine.
I feel grateful for my little hound.
My little, rug-peeing, poo-eating, kibble barfing hound.
Apparently just the act of searching your mind for something to be grateful for changes your brain chemistry for the better.
So here I am, grateful.
And also here I am taking my dog on a stupid walk for my stupid mental health and to reduce the amount of pee available for stupid peeing on a stupid beautiful carpet.