I woke up grumpy this morning, mean as a snake sizzling across hot pavement.

Sometimes it happens. I’m not really sure why. It’s not just waking up on the wrong side of the bed, it’s waking up on the wrong side of life. I’ve been feeling a bit grumpy all week, actually, for a variety of reasons. I think I probably need a warm bath, a good massage, and a hot chocolate.

So, anyway, I decided that I would do all of the things which make me grumpy today, since I was already grumpy, and that way maybe I could enjoy tomorrow. I mopped the floors, scrubbed my recalcitrant toilet, cleaned the litter box, vacuumed, and rounded up laundry. I was far too grumpy to even consider subjecting someone else to my presence by using them for a ride, so I loaded all my laundry into my backpack for a trek to the laundrymat.

Doing my laundry makes me grumpy. I got briefly spoiled on the Island with our washer and dryer, but now it’s back to the laundrymat, and I hate the laundrymat. It smells funny, it’s loud, it’s dirty, my clothing never seems to get clean, there are strange people, and it eats a huge chunk of my time. And, not having a car, I have to traipse down Franklin Street in front of Pete and everybody, teetering in and out of the gaping holes filled with gravel and cigarette butts while loaded down with 40 pounds of laundry. I arrived, started a machine, and retreated deep into my book, glancing up now and then to see if my laundry was done. It was hot. I smelled bad. And the laundry seemed to take forever before the machine finally unlocked so I could stick it in the dryer and continue sulking.

Haddock interrupted my sulking briefly with a hello, although my slightly frenzied look and fugue state may have discouraged further conversation. Sorry, Haddock. I hope the Sardine is well, and enjoying the sun right now. (By the way, my bad, Haddock, it was Wednesday, not Thursday. The event to which I was referring. And I am still enjoying the bacon. Oh, yes. Every night is carbonara night in the hobbit hole!)

Even with a brief fishy distraction, I was eventually forced to fold the laundry and load it all back up to hit the pavement again, tromping in the painfully bright sun because I forgot my sun glasses. I figured that as long as I was in the neighborhood, I might as well swing by the post office and pick up a bunch of depressing bills I couldn’t pay, since, you know, I’m already grumpy.

When I opened my mailbox, I did indeed find two bills, along with a thin envelope from my nice student lender*. I don’t like thin envelopes. Thin envelopes suggest some sort of major, pressing problem which could not wait until my next statement. Like a returned check, or a sudden change in my terms. I think my fear of thin envelopes stems back to my college application days, when everyone knew that a thin envelope carried bad news. (Never fear, my college applying friends! My first thin envelope also contained my first acceptance, so this piece of urban lore happens to be wrong.)

I opened it with a sigh right there in the post office, my backpack creaking.

“Dear s.e.,” it said.

“Congratulations on repaying your Group C education loan(s) with [lender]. We will mail you a formal confirmation letter regarding the paid in full status of your Group C loan(s) within sixty days.”

Yipeee! Hoooray! One student loan down, two to go! I cannot fully express in text how happy this makes me, although my exuberant use of punctuation is probably a good indicator. I mean, it was a small loan, and the remaining loan with them is rather large, because it is a consolidated loan, but still. I remember signing the loan paperwork so long ago, not really recognizing that I would have to pay it back someday, and I remember getting my first statement and thinking “ah, fuck, they really do expect you to pay for college. Wait, college cost HOW MUCH?!” So I am really quite stoked to have paid this loan off. One might even call the event a milestone, or the light at the end of the tunnel.

Clutching the letter in my sweaty fists, I ambled outside, where the sun was gently shining and there was a faint breeze. I saw someone I knew and waved and smiled before strolling down the freshly poured sidewalk, briefly sidestepping a section that hadn’t been done yet. I was only mildly irritated when I noted that the City had persisted in putting in that horrible fake wood stuff at the corners. I spotted Baxt in the window of her work and waved, shrugging when she gestured at my backpack and raised her eyebrows. I might even have caught myself whistling as I moved down Laurel Street, and stood at the corner of Main and Laurel by those idiotic fake cast iron lamp posts waiting for the light to change.

When I got home, I shit you not, there was a giant butterfly chilling on the porch, tormenting Loki, who was sitting in the window. The flowers were bright and perky, and the peaches on the mystery tree are growing larger. My laundry is clean, my bed smells of lavender, and all really is right with the world. So right, in fact, that I am going to go sit on my sunny porch with a personal watermelon and eat it while reading a book, so that I can finish before the library closes and return it.

*I have two student lenders. One is a nice, awesome, super cool student lender whom I love to pieces. (Which is a weird thing to say about a company you owe a lot of money to, I know.) The other is a mean, nasty, horrible student lender who refused to sell my ONE LOAN with them when I consolidated with Nice Lender. I’ll give you two guesses as to which lender is administered by the federal government.