Full Disclosure: Zombies, Detours and Pipeline Dreams

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Transitions are hard and change is often difficult for creatures of habit like me.

There is enough uncertainty in the world, so I like to keep a few things consistent—sometimes to a fault. For much of my adult life, my guilty pleasure was red wine. Even on a steamy hot summer night, I would opt for a hearty goblet of room temperature Cabernet. After years of indulging, red wine started to give me intense migraines. Yet, fully in denial, I would carry on, afraid to break up with my vino. It took me years and countless Crest whitestrips to switch to white wine. Bingo! No headaches (and whiter teeth). Sometimes you just have to get out of your way and embrace change or new routines.


The end of the school year was a frantic mad dash to some arbitrary line in the sand called ‘summer.’ One cannot go from an all-out sprint into chaise lounge mode, without some time to downshift and decompress. However, I am finding it easier said than done. Nothing is easy these days. Even relaxing can be challenging.

I prefer the school year, when my kids are forced into action at daybreak. Like taking defibrillators to the chest, we Gelvins are normally shocked out of bed from September to June. My modus operandi is to engage the snooze button as many times as possible, providing enough of a window to get the kids to school looking relatively kempt—and just enough to throw off Child Protective Services.

Currently, our summer mornings are one big, drawn-out zombie waking session. One child arises at an early hour, foaming at the mouth and scouring the house for an iPad that I had hidden the night before. I vaguely recall some sort of screaming match about how I am a horrible mother for not allowing my kids to play Fortnite.

My soon-to-be-teenager awakens late morning from an intense female hormone regenerating coma. And for some inexplicable reason, she is equal parts irate and sleepy—a state that defies both logic and science. Sort of like a night terror, if you’ve ever been lucky enough to witness one, but more of a midday estrogen-fueled terror-tantrum.

At this point, I have given up entirely on providing breakfast, since I cannot communicate with my zombies. I don’t speak ‘Grunt,’ a guttural, Germanic language that is meant to convey frustration, anger and apparently, hunger. My stockpile of Walter Stewart’s blueberry muffins are always in reach, in the event someone is interested in helping themselves out of hanger-zombie-mode.

As if it isn’t challenging enough getting out the door with these two and catching some chill summer vibes, the state Department of Transportation and Neversource, I mean, Eversource, have conspired to make driving around town a virtual video game. Are they in cahoots with my arch nemesis to literally drive me insane? Every major artery into town has been blocked off for tree removal, paving or natural gas pipeline excavation. Don’t get me wrong, these initiatives are wonderful, I think, but hitting South Avenue, 106, Main Street and White Oak Shade all at once is just mean. Not all of us relocate to a summer home on Nan-canaan-tucket.

Apparently, all of this seasonal change and road rage has me on edge, plus I feel slighted and taunted by the introduction of natural gas to only a small portion of town. (The irony here is that the massive Tennessee Natural Gas Line crosses my front yard.)

Clearly, I need to extricate myself from the frustration of my pipeline fantasies, roadblocks, excavators and the occasional masturbating traffic control agent.

Sending my kids to camp this month for multiple weeks should be an interesting test to see how they handle big transitions and overcome change. One thing is certain, by late July, I will find my best summer self … sans zombies.


While my campers are away, I shall kick up my feet and enjoy a glass of crisp, cool, migraine-free Pinot Grigio and fully embrace the summer in a quiet household. That kind of change should be doable.

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