Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Plan B

Okay, it's dawned on me that Plan A kinda sucked so I have a Plan B.

(My neighbor said that saying things like I'm going to be a new person tomorrow makes me bi-polar and that I need help, but we're going to ignore her for now.)

In Plan B, I am going to become a new person tomorrow.

I'm going to wake up every morning at 7AM. I'm going to take a ten mile bike ride. I'm going to come home and flip pancakes for the kids and wake everyone up with sunshine, unicorns, and rainbows.

I'm going to work for a bit on the computer while they play.

Then, I'm going to cook a nice hearty dinner of meat and potatoes, but I'm not going to eat it because I'm going to live on carrots and hummus and kale (It's part of the new me.)

Then, when fall comes, I'm going to send the kids to school where their intellectual curiosity will die and they will be diagnosed with ADHD or ADD or nature deprivation disorder or something. Labels don't really matter; what's important is that they get a Ritalin prescription.

Then, I'm going to steal their Ritalin everyday because I'll need it while I work full time and go to law school and never sleep and generally embrace a totally average hegemonic boring lifestyle.

And those are the broad strokes of Plan B. Two days ago I was considering becoming an alcoholic/novelist so this might even be better.

A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (and my secret plan)

So today was a horrible, terrible, no good, very bad day but not to worry because I have a secret plan. Basically, I'm going to get a time machine and stage a massive life re-do. Don't look at me like that; this is way more realistic than the five years I spent wanting to be a Southern Black gospel singer.

I'm going to take my machine to 1996. Then, when my parents refuse to co-sign the loans for the tuition at Georgetown, I will not petulantly say, "eff, you and your money. I'll just go to the U of MN and pay for it myself." Instead, I will say, "That's a reasonable position; why don't I just go to a mid-cost school like Notre Dame or St Ben's. I hear they're pretty good."

But if I'm still petulant and stubborn (because I'm prone to be those things) and I still go to the U of MN, I'm not going to major in something pointless like Women's Studies, and I'm not going to rush through it in three years. Instead, I'm going to spend five years getting a finance degree.

But if that can't happen and if I'm still compelled to get edjumacated for the sake of knowledge, I'm at least going to wake up early on the morning of the 36th anniversary of JFK's assassination. That way I'll catch the number 19 bus. But if it's still icy and I still oversleep (because even with a time machine, I'm still just me, right?) and the 19 still slides by without stopping and I have to walk over to the 16, I am definitely not going to talk to that secret agent from the future.

But let's say that I do talk to him (just to ask about where to find a time machine), I am definitely not taking his $600 or his audio tapes from the angel that had appeared to him the night before.

But it's $600 so if I do take it, I'm going to invest it in an IRA. I am certainly not going to buy myself and my best friend two round trip tickets to London where I'll just end up wasting a year and a half backpacking around and falling in love and other bullcrap (I'm cutting down on the swearing for my favorite little person, but only for a second or so).

If I do go to London, I am not taking acid in a park in Brixton. That way I won't convince myself that I'm going to catch pregnancy from my knocked-up roommate. I was pregnant within the year and clearly that micro-dot is to blame so I'm just going to say no to micro-dots. Ya gotta think about this stuff.

If I can't say no to the micro-dot, I guess I'll have to catch pregnancy, but if I do, I am going to tell Dan that he's stupid when he recommends the Continuum Concept, and I'm going to laugh at Jennifer when she gives me the copy of Mothering magazine, and I am definitely never reading any stupid books by the Sears.

I'm going to stick the babies in little cages (cribs or whatever they're called) and take them to daycare and get a job so that we can avoid festering near the brink of financial ruin all the time.

But maybe none of those are the right things to do. Maybe, Judith Viorst was wrong when she said there's no bad days in Australia because I've been there, and I never had a bad day there. So, I'm going to take my machine back to Sydney circa early 2001, and I'm going to break up with the Canadian just like I had been thinking about doing. Then, I'm going to hang out on the beach until I meet an old rich guy. I'm going to marry him for money, and when he dies, I'll find Howie and marry him for love and share the windfall.

That's it, it's a perfect plan.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Man

Nine and a half years ago.
A bistro in Granada.

We'd just finished an argument where he'd told me, "If you were in another country you still wouldn't be far enough away from me," and then, he was interrupting the enjoyment of my ox tail stew while he scrambled around the table.

"What are you doing?"

"I'm looking for something to use as a ring," he said.

Then, he pulled a bit of tin foil (It's in my underwear drawer right now) off a wine bottle, fashioned it into a ring, and said, "Will you marry me?"

"When you get a real ring."

"No, I'm serious. Will You marry me?"

"Sure, when?" Keep in mind, that I had spent the whole week in Spain with my head tipped to the side, gazing at him and giggling like a fool. God, I was smitten.

"Next September. Then, I have time to change my mind if I need to."

"Yes, Yes, I will."

That was in October, six months after we had met, and we got married the next September. Possibly against my better judgement, I took the man forever, and I don't regret a single miserable or good minute of it.

To be honest I'm a terrible wife:
I hate to coddle people.
We have conversations that go like this: Him: Will you take out the trash. Me: (while bursting into tears) I went to college, why would you say that to me.
I've thrown and broken chairs, tables, phones, and other assorted things.
I have mood swings that don't correspond to reality.
The list goes on.

And he stays.

No one has ever made me laugh more. No one has ever made me cry til my eyes hurt or made me wish that my reality were not the one it is  more.

But I stay.

Why? Because at the center of all the drama, all the fights, we completely love each other.

And, God, do we fight. We once had a thirty minute screaming match about where the dog should sleep.
We don't have a dog. We're not planning on getting a dog, but we're damn passionate about where this dog is going to sleep, dammit.

More than once, I've wondered if it were a good idea to marry the other person who always wanted to be the last one to leave the party. Yeah, let's leave the club at eight in the morning and find the after club. Let's stay awake til ten in the morning then head to a pub. Let's....  who knows what we did that year we were dating. We were together for a year in London. Then, for the six months before the nuptials, he stayed in London, I went to St Paul, and we met at the alter.

I've said many times that I married him because he was the first person who made me want to wear sexy underwear, and if that's not a foundation for marital success, I don't know what is.

I got pregnant six weeks after wedding, and I'm not sure if being the last people to leave the party, any party is a skill that translates well to marriage and child rearing.

The year that he worked eighty hours a week and I stayed home with two kids under two and a couple day care kids, I said, "that was bad; if we made it through that, we'll stay together."

That year I had another baby, my dad died, we moved across the country, and he lost his job, I said,  "that was bad, if we made it through that, we'll stay together."

That next year when he still didn't have a job, I said, "that was bad, if we made it through that, we'll stay together."

And more than once, I've worried that we were staying together because we're both too stubborn to admit that we've made a mistake.

But I've thought about it a lot lately. Somebody advised me to write and process. So I wrote, I processed, and I found that many things led back to the man and how I felt about the man. And I feel like I like the man. Quite a lot, actually.

His partying skills mean that he can take any dull family evening with the five of us and turn it into a spectacular event. Music. Food. Dancing. He knows what to do to make us pull out the best most festive parts of ourselves.

I love a million and ten things about him.

I love how he apologizes by heading to the kitchen to make us both a snack. Who needs words? I've got a giant plate of food.

I love how after I've given the boys a hit on the shoulder and told them that they're okay after an injury, I find them cuddling up to him for real sympathy and first aid.

I love how when he's feeling confident, he can command a room full of people to listen to his tales and laugh at his wit.

I love how I can wave a little hand at him, sit back, and watch him win any political debate.

I love how when I hung up a piece of ripped sheet crookedly over the kitchen window, he said, completely un-ironically, "Oh, honey, how nice, we got new curtains."

And I love a lot how he gave me a little bit of quality cum that I was able to make into three of my favorite people.

He's not easy, I'm not easy, but I believe it's worth the fucking effort.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Not Too Bad: A Review of the YMCA of the Rockies and My Little Family Reunion

A few months ago my mother summoned me, my four siblings and our assorted clans to our "family reunion" at the YMCA of the Rockies which is a few miles outside of Estes Park. Obviously, when SusieQ summons, we yield, and who in their right mind would turn down a free vacation.

If you want to lay by the side of a pool while gay Puerto Ricans and girls in bikinis who have escaped the monotony of the Midwest serve you cocktails with umbrellas, you should not go to the YMCA of the Rockies. Apparently, it should have been clear from the title that we were vacationing at a summer camp, but I am not always the brightest bulb. However, if you are into wholesome family fun, beautiful scenery, and crappy food, the YMCA of the Rockies is perfect.

Luckily, the Festival of Enlightenment was happening there so all the fat people in turquoise jewelry gave me a visual reprieve from all the bible-toting Jesus-loving teenagers. It's sort of ridiculous how in a mess hall full of hundreds of people, I could instantly identify the bible thumpers from the enlightenment seekers. I mean what was it about the guy across from me at the buffet that I could just tell he was a super-energetic-let's-get-the-kids-praying-high-on-Jesus-jumping-up-and-down-type-of-guy-who-probably-likes-to-give-hugs-and-maybe-just-maybe-massages-teenage-girls-shoulders-with-a-little-too-much-familiarity-kind-of-guy. (Uh, Minger, it's one thing to identify a guy as a Christian group leader from the way he looks but maybe quite another to assume he is a border line molester of teenage girls.)

Anyway, as you may have picked up from some of my previous posts, my family isn't always my favorite group of people. They're clean and orderly and boring, and I'm dirty and unorganized and completely fabulous. However, in spite of their many faults, we had an excellent time. (Lest any of my relatives read this, I'm going to underline the fact that that last statement was slightly tongue in cheek.)

We had a meeting room rented which had a great patio for drinking a little beer and getting sunburns. Since there were eighteen of us, we were able to have a couple of really fun and funny games of softball and beach volleyball. I really hope my kids remember those forever because I have some really fond memories of playing kickball with my grandma, aunts, cousins, etc. When sporting contests are on the agenda, it works really well that Catholics are such prolific breeders. And, I even have to say that while we were sitting around the campfire under an almost full moon listening to my niece (who in my opinion is a stellar song writer) play her guitar and sing her tunes, I even got a little teary eyed at how much I love all those people.

One major highlight of the trip was that only one of my kids dropped an eff-bomb only one time. I think five days and one eff bomb is a new record for them.

And I am deeply impressed that my husband who makes his living designing and cooking dishes like
Fire Roasted Shrimp- fire roasted shrimp served with a yam 
   stuffed anaheim pepper and shrimp bisque sauce
Stuffed Steamed Trout- rainbow trout filled with bacon, 
   organic mushrooms & bleu cheese served with a cranberry 
   butter sauce
was willing to spend a week eating cafeteria food. Kudos to you, good sir. One night, however, he said he couldn't eat the food because it looked so gross he wouldn't even feed it to the dogs. I, on the other hand, had two heaping plates full of it (but I am a little trashy). It worked out for the best because on the way back from McDonalds, we saw the tiniest littlest mule deer suckling her mama mule deer, and I love love love suckling baby wildlife so I was happy that his high standards forced us into the gourmet and tasty arms of that world class chef Ronald McDonald.

All in all, it was a great time. The YMCA of the Rockies is big enough so that I did not feel like I was on top of the Bible thumpers. The setting is gorgeous unless you're one of those people who doesn't like snow capped mountains, blue skies, wild flowers, and herds of elk. There are a lot of free things for kids to do (swimming, mini golf, disc golf, hiking and even more that we didn't get to like a craft room), and we were all glad not to have a TV in our lodge room. I'd probably recommend it if somebody asked. My kids would certainly recommend it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Desultory Tidbits

There I was in the kitchen getting in touch with my inner-geezer-bird by pouring myself a white wine spritzer and thinking to myself, Minger, it's been awhile since you've blogged. Then, out of the blue, my phone started beeping. It was a Facebook wall post from my ol' aunt Judy reminding me of my blog. Whoosh (that's the sound it makes when Minger's head explodes).Well, Kitty, I'm back and I'm ever so sorry to have neglected you.

Desultory Tidbit One:

My first date (it wasn't officially a date since I still had the tattooed Canadian in my bed) with my husband was in a bathroom. I asked him to meet me after his work shift. Then, wearing my best see-through white tank top, I cleaned the thick layer of gooey grossness off the shower wall while he watched. I feel, perhaps, that was a bit misleading. Sexy clothing and cleaning, what was I thinking? More on the man later as I have had him on my mind and am preparing a blog post regarding my great love for him.

Desultory Tidbit Two:

My almost eight year old still cannot read. I am not at all concerned about this fact and am utterly confident that when he is ready to read it will happen relatively quickly. However, we are going to meet my immediate family for a little get together next weekend. Between my siblings and their spouses and children, we number nineteen and we're going to spend a "fun" filled five days in Estes Park where hopefully no one will bring up the fact that Johnny can't read. More on that topic later.

Desultory Tidbit Three:

Here is more proof that the gods hate atheists. Instead of letting old age creep in with a nice gray pub (short for pubic hair not public house) or something innocuous, God has smote me with arthritis in the middle finger of my left hand. No more on that later. That's all I have on that particular topic.

Desultory Tidbit Four:

I've been wrapped up in pursuing my Ayn Rand/Nathaniel Brenden moments and the damage control regarding the execution of such moments, and all that sinning has distracted me from blogging. Oops.