Monday, February 28, 2011

Unemployment, We Had Some Laughs



Behind this Post Lies Star Mama’s

Un(der)employment

September 30, 2007 – February 28, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Black Sheep and a Renegade


Five-year-old Neighbor Kid is rapidly becoming part of the family. He’s even asked me for a key. We do like him, but that might be moving a little fast. He continues to drop hints, “I really like keys” and “I’ve never had a key before.”


I’m not sure what it is, but having NK around means the girls get eons more exercise. They are happy circling the courtyard on their scooters for hours, they climb on things like trees, and when we go to the store, the three kids jog enthusiastically instead of walk. When NK isn’t with us, the journey to the store is often slow and labored, impeded by drama.



Yesterday afternoon, the kids were coloring at the table. They were having one absurd conversation after another, such as, “Would you like to use lines paper or straight paper? Straight paper is when there are no lines.”

“Then straight paper for me.”



And . . . Daisy turns to Violet, “Should we let NK take home his picture?”

“Um . . .no!

"Violet!"

I mean, yes!”

“We’re going to let you take home your picture.”

NK declines the generous offer with horror, “No, this is a picture of a flower. You’re keeping it.”



As they colored, the girls were blasting a lullaby CD that I purchased under the influence of pregnancy hormones. You could tell NK wasn’t into the music, though they all sang along. He asked for a turn to pick a song, then flipped through the radio until he found Highway to Hell. Turns out NK is an AC/DC fan.



Now they’ve formed an AC/DC cover band. NK is the frontman because he’s the only one who knows the lyrics, and the girls are dueling drummers who occasionally beat the crap out of each other in the middle of the song. We have to find more instruments.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Face Time



A few family friends have emailed me about the blog, and I appreciate the positives. One said something like, “Your mother must be proud.” Um, I guess . . . yeah, she won’t read it. She did like the puppy post and printed that one out for the great-grandmas and her sister. But other than that, no interest really. She explains it this way: she’s living it; she doesn’t really need to read about it. I can see that.


But you’d think she'd be interested in reading my email. I sat with her one time when she logged into her account. She had three emails. One of them was from me, from two weeks prior, and it was the only one she hadn’t opened. What? Mom, you’re not really overwhelmed with email here. She told me she was planning to open it later.



And it’s not just her; my younger brother is the exact same. He’s never looked at the blog, which is fine, but he also rarely opens an email from me. He explained it this way: I see it’s from my sister, and I know it’s important, so I decide to look at it later. Later meaning never. Because it’s important.



I think what they’re trying to say is: they get their quota. I see them regularly, they take care of my children, they listen to whatever I’m babbling about in person . . . why extend that experience into the internet oasis?



Well, if you read the blog, you might notice that Dad, Middle Bro and Mathilda all get good face time in the posts. They read the blog AND respond to my email. I’m just saying.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Seafoam

The king tide wasn't noticeable, but there was seafoam.










Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's

I was wondering how Valentine’s was going to strike me this year, the first one I’ve been single for in something like 18 years. I know you’re not supposed to celebrate that stupid holiday in my town. Just like you’re not supposed to buy Taylor Swift CDs, but I’m not scared. I have nothing against love. And Valentine’s was fine. After a nice walk and a quick stop by the spa, it was even good.



Living with kids means you celebrate the holidays. That includes Groundhog Day and President’s Day weekend. You can try to do your own hippie, commie thing and skip them. But you know if you do it that way, your kids will always be looking at the normal-holiday kids with envy and probably get stuck on the mainstream, groupthink path for life.



The girls and I put up a few shiny Valentine's decorations around the apartment. We got their little lovenotes ready to pass out at school. And at CVS last week, Daisy led me to the Hallmark section, “This is a Bug ‘em. You fill it with treats and leave it on my pillow Valentine’s Day morning . . . or you could have it waiting for me with my breakfast.” Oh, can I now?



A supporter of retail therapy, I returned to the store on my own a couple days later to pick up a Bug ‘em.





Meaning two Bug ‘ems. Show ‘em you love ‘em with the Hallmark Bug ‘em. Guess how much? Ten bucks each. And they’re greedy little f@#$% s. Look at the tags. Whatever, Hallmark. The cashier laughed at me when she saw them on the counter. I know, I shouldn’t let my daughters watch commercials.





I wasn’t joking about the Taylor Swift CD. That was my next stop. The kids have been taking turns relaxing with music on a boombox in our bedroom. Daisy’s big on Taylor Swift, and I think seven year olds are absolutely Taylor’s demographic. I also got a Natasha Bedingfield for Violet and a Taj Mahal for them both to check out.



The guy who rung me up for the CDs has been sporting the Abe Lincoln beard for years; he’s one of those fixtures of downtown. He made a disapproving sound when he saw what I was buying but gave me props for Taj. Look, I never thought I’d be buying Taylor either, but my daughter likes her, and I’m OK with that.



He disdainfully explained that Taylor Swift was a model for Abercrombie and Fitch when she was discovered . . . her whole career is based on her looks. He gave me his recommendation for quality kid music: Emmylou Harris. I can see that. He said his nieces like Emmylou, but her voice is almost too much for them . . . it’s so dark and haunting. No, I need light and cheerful. So, why don’t you put that on my credit card – it’s the American way - and yes, I’ll take a bag, plastic if you have it. Then, I’m going to grab a latte across the street at Starbucks and pick up some McDonalds on the way home . . . I’m taking the long way because I have a full tank and might as well eat in the car. That reminds me . . . don’t you totally miss Styrofoam containers?



The kids were very excited when they saw their treat-filled ladybugs and CDs on Valentine’s morning. No regrets there. My ex invited us over for fondue in the evening. I hesitated before accepting. It’s just very soon, and the whole Valentine’s theme makes me a little skittish. However, I do think it’s important for our family to function as best we can under the circumstances. My mother’s advice recently was to look for opportunities to come together as a group. She told me that Larry David and his ex-wife have dinner with their kids once a week. Well, if Larry David’s doing it – and he never puts himself in unnecessarily awkward situations – I'm there.



The fondue night went well. My ex and I have plenty to talk about. We’re in contact regularly anyway. Leaving was brutal though. The kids were sorely disappointed we didn’t get back together right then and there, and they cried all the way home. This morning, Daisy told me she really respects her dad because he’s trying his hardest to get us back together. I keep reminding her she’s the kid, and all she needs to know is we’re still her parents, and we love her. But sometimes, when she talks like that, it makes me want to bang my head against the wall. It really does.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Lovenote










Community Kind

I had the vague plan to watch Music’s Biggest Night with the kids on Sunday. I was tired. Saturday night was an extra special birthday warm-up for my friend Quinn in Marin. So on Sunday, my greatest expectation was to relax with my girls, who I reunited with after four days, in front of the Grammys.



But those rabble rousers remembered what I had promised them last week: we were going to clean up the neighborhood playground. With plenty of prodding from Daisy, we gathered our supplies. I grabbed the dog, and the girls jumped on their scooters.



When we arrived at the playground, it was filled with hyperactive children, all from the same birthday party. We decided to lay low until the party crew vacated. After they all ran off at once, back to their party, the girls and I suited up. We put on our latex gloves and distributed the bags. Daisy was on recyclables. Violet and I were on trash.




The kids weren’t consistently helpful throughout the process. There were a ton of cigarette butts, and initially, they refused to gather those, because weren’t they “dangerous for kids to touch?” Yes, and hence the gloves . . . did you know that one summer, Middle Uncle and I picked up hundreds and hundreds of cigarette butts in state parks with our bare hands? And we liked it! (And maybe it wasn’t with our bare hands, but we sure as hell weren’t whiners about it, I can tell you that much.)



Once we got going, it was very satisfying to make the play area clean. Violet may have wondered briefly if we were doing it "cause we don’t like to have fun, right?”




Not true. In fact, hello free entertainment on a beautiful evening.




Anyway, you can play when you're done with your good deed.




There was a time-out or two.




But here’s what we removed. (Trash was even bigger than it appears.)





We concluded our good work by throwing the trash into the nearest park receptacle and leaving the bag of recyclables on top for a passing homeless or retired person to grab. Oh and finally, the kids stripped off their latex gloves and tossed them on the ground before running off to play . . . um, guys?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Last Pieces


My dad learned he was going to be a parent in his senior year at Long Beach State. He was an art major. My mom was living in Humboldt at the time in what should have been her senior year at Long Beach State.



I never really appreciated what that must have been like for them until I became a parent. Here they were, in the height of their ideals, and those were some pure ideals in 1970. I imagine my dad being excited about getting out of school and into the buzz of the experimental real world. I doubt he expected to be responsible for supporting a family at 21 years old. Then his baby came, the ultimate in buzz kill technology.



In my early years, my dad got a day job but stayed up late to do his art. I told people I wanted to grow up to be an artist, because HELLO, I like to paint too! And, what's a day job? We had his modern art throughout our home. One painting was hung in a diamond-shape in our living room. My dad ditched it at some point.



When I was in kindergarten, I woke up at what seemed like the middle of the night wanting water. I walked downstairs and found my dad hovering over a large canvas crowded with loud colors. By the following morning, it had become frothy swirls of grays and whites that resembled an aerial view of the ocean. How did he do that? I think he eventually tossed that one in the trash.



My dad is infamous in his family for destroying his art. There is a story I haven’t thought about it in a long time, and I’m sure my details are wrong, but it goes something like this. My dad was showing his work at a party in Humboldt. Maybe I was on the way. He overheard some partygoers talking about his paintings. I have no idea what they said, but you know how people talk about modern art . . . oh, it’s a circle on a square? I could do that! I hate it when people talk like that to this day. Don’t you get context and concept? Have you heard of symbolism? There are worlds below surface understanding, People.



My dad wasn't a fan of the responses his art elicited, so he lit his paintings on fire at the party. That can't be right . . . that just seems so unsafe. Maybe, he ripped the canvasses off the wood frames and kicked them a little. Anyway, I still find it upsetting that he destroyed his work.



There may be only two pieces left. One, I’ve had for a while. When I was packing my belongings a couple months ago, my ex said he was really going to miss it. I relayed that to my dad, who suggested I offer it up for twenty bucks. See? He’s still trying to get rid of his art.



Here it is. It’s called Earthdance, and it’s dated 1969. I haven’t hung this lovely in the apartment yet, but I will. It reminds me of damp earth.



I’ve been eyeing the second piece for a long time in my parents’ garage, making them promise not to get rid of it. My ex claimed it gave him vertigo, so I left it where it was. But when I moved, I knew it was time to rescue the second painting and just in time too. My mom said my dad tried to throw it in the trash while they were cleaning their garage the other day.



There’s a story that goes with this one. When I was in first or second grade, I had a small chalkboard on wheels in my bedroom. I walked in one evening to find my dad intently focused on my chalkboard. He had been drawing something that looked like sound waves, like music. I’m not sure if that’s how he described it or if I made that up. He told me he was going to get my mom, and as soon as he walked out of the room, I erased his picture so I could get started on my own. When he excitedly brought my mom back to show her what he had created, probably over no short period of time, it was gone.



My dad was obviously upset, which offended my little girl sensibilities. What? You don’t know that chalkboard drawings are only temporary? It was my turn! Anyway, he turned his concept into a painting, and here it is. I’m so glad it’s safe, but I’m documenting it just in case he does away with it when I’m not looking.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cute Neighbor


I keep talking about this heavy transition the kids are going through with the divorce. The new apartment is controversial with those two. When their emo outlook is bleak, they tell me they hate it. Violet has asked, “How long do we have to live here?!” When she’s particularly displeased with me, she hits the wall or jumps on the floor as hard as she can in hopes of disturbing our neighbors. I think a lot about how to help them make the adjustment to living in two homes.



The kids scootered in the courtyard in front of our apartment for the first time yesterday. Violet was the one who initiated the whole thing but then was so pissed that I made her wear her helmet that she stood frozen with her scooter, shooting bad vibes in a semi-circle around her. I walked up the stairs from where she was to end the stand-off, and a very normal thing happened that seemed like a miracle.



A kid came out to play with them. When he went to grab his scooter, the girls raced up the stairs to ask if they could play with the boy. You go, girls. Violet was suddenly very charming. She was doing her best scootering and her loud social laugh, shouting “woo hoo!” as she passed the boy, who is between my girls in age. She was trying to interrupt the steady flow of conversation between the boy and her big sister, whose first conversation began with the status of their parents’ relationships. I could see and hear them like crystal from my apartment. And now, my neighbors who were home at the time have a pretty good rundown of my divorce and how much I vomited this weekend.



It was amazing to see what most people of my generation and older experienced in the good old days, when you played with the random kids who showed up outside in your neighborhood. None of this parents wooing each other, comparing calendars. Just kids getting together for some impromptu fun in the fresh air and sunshine. Although, I have spoken to the boy’s mother and like her.



After about an hour, the girls rushed in to ask if the boy could knock on our door a little later because his mama wanted him home for dinner. Sure enough, the boy showed up a little later, and he’s a remarkable kid. He walks in and says, “Wow. I like your place. This is nice.” He’s five years old. The girls are falling over each other to show him the features and point out the details of their so recently despised apartment. The boy listens politely and responds enthusiastically to anything the girls want to do. At one point he says thoughtfully, looking around, “Now, do you have any toys I’ve NEVER SEEN BEFORE? Because, I think I’d like to try them.” When he announces he needs to go to the bathroom, I tell him to go ahead, and after he shuts the door behind him, he yells, “Are you allowed to lift the toilet seat in this place?” That kid kills me.



The girls’ moods were transformed yesterday evening. Daisy proudly announced the existence of her first real friend at the apartment. But the clincher was that in their first 15 minutes of playing with the boy, Violet bounded up the stairs from the courtyard to ask, “Hey Mom, how long are we going to live here? Can it be forever? Please?” I kid you not. All it took was a cute neighbor to ease the transition.



It does twist my perspective of how to help the kids adjust. Playing is really fun AND healing, and it can’t all come from me.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Out of Commish


I’ve been so sick – hit me hard Saturday night. The kids were dropped off Sunday morning all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Their dad offered to take them along to a Super Bowl party, but we declined. He mercifully left a care package of Gatorade and soup and stuff that got us through most of the day.



Sunday morning, I start out hopeful, suggesting to the kids that we color. I’m thinking pencils on blank paper. The kids are thinking fussing on top of drama. When I join Daisy at the table, she has lined paper set out for each of us with our names written at the top. I explain that I’m going to use blank paper, but thank you. She argues that we should all do it the same. I told her she isn’t the boss of the world – I’m going to do it my way, and she can do it hers. 



Violet joins us at the table just as Daisy leaves in a huff. I decide to draw nice relaxing flowers, and as soon as Violet sees the first flower, she wants me to draw the same thing on her paper, but just the outline so she can color it in. I do that then go back to my picture, and Violet notices the center of my flower looks like a star, and she wants that too. I try to replicate it on her paper but can’t. Violet leaves in a huff. I consider coloring by myself, but I’m far-out spacey sick.



New approach. I pull out the couch bed and cover it with toys and invite the kids to play next to me as I lay prone and miserable. Every few minutes, I have to roll myself out of bed to shuffle around like a middle-aged, cursing Ozzy Osborne to attend to Needs 1 and Needs 2. I get everyone ready for the park at one point then curl up on the bed, exhausted and dizzy. Park's canceled. How about a refreshing bath?



We did eventually get to the park, and it really wasn’t that bad of a day. It was relaxing, especially when we watched the Puppy Bowl. Daisy loves that; Violet kind of loves, kind of hates. I’m just floored that something involving puppies could be that excruciatingly boring. And don’t get me started about the kitty half-time show . . . there was nothing going on there!



It being another sweltering winter day, we spent a good deal of it in our underwear . . . one of the member privileges of our girls club. Violet actually put one of her nighttime pull-ups on. When I questioned her choice, Daisy set me straight, “That’s the way she rolls when she’s relaxing, Mom.” Oh, Ok. So you agree with her on that? Shouldn’t we be having a shouting match about pull-ups vs. big girl underwear?



Because that’s how most of the rest of the day went. The kids fought over what wii games to play, sharing water for their paints, having to sit next to each other on the bed, what show to watch on TV, what videogames they were going to play on their Leapsters, if they should give each other tastes of their Gatorades, if it was an actual race as they scootered to the park, who’s turn it was to climb up on the monkey bars, if it was fair that Violet opted for Tic-Tacs while Daisy got gum when we ran by the store . . . it didn’t stop. And in the relative silence, there was poking and punching.



I thought I was going to lose my freaking mind, and I was weak. So, I refused to get involved, gave calm warnings, gave agro warnings, gave time-outs, threatened to take things away, took things away, made jokes, laid down and laughed, ignored them, played the sick card, pleaded, scolded, begged.



Not my most effective parenting work. It’s bugging me how even when I’m not sick, I’m not operating at full parent capacity yet. I’m still working on a new structure that melds with another household, and the kids are frenetic with the changes. They are relentlessly pushing to feel for the boundaries. They also want info. Violet, my four-year-old, has asked me repeatedly if I was going to “change my mind about Daddy.” During a playdate last week, she started to explain the new living situation to her friend, and then shouted at me, “Why are we doing this hard stuff again?”



I’m not satisfied with my responses to her questions – working that out with my counselor. At the state-mandated parenting class a few weeks ago, I did appreciate it when the court official bellowed in her cop way of talking, “This is a time when your children are going to require more from you, and this is also a time when you are going to be at a diminished capacity to give them what they need. Do the best you can, forgive yourself when you make mistakes, and your children will most likely go on to lead happy and fulfilling lives.” Her point was that 53% of children in California split time between households. There are plenty of people who are making it work. I just know it’s going to get a lot better for our reorganized family than it has been in a long time, but we’re not there yet.

 
 
picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/crazylegs/2240532200/sizes/z/in/photostream/

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Early Eve










Super Love


Bionic Woman was a little upset when she discovered I had set up profiles using her real name and picture on the dating websites she keeps sending me links to. What a pain it is to fill in those questionnaires. I answered every single question completely accurately for Bionic. She didn’t think so, but her grasp on reality isn’t always so tight.




I did use my zip code and also, unfortunately, my email address. Now, my inbox is being bombarded by horndogs wanting to meet Bionic. She’s quite the hit in my town. I think she really needs to come for a visit soon so she can realize her full player potential. We could set her up for breakfast, lunch and dinner dates, making it clear upfront that a lady never pays. There’s a money saving tip, Bionic. You could even have an afternoon snack date if you wanted. Get yourself some candy.



The only thing about the dates is Bionic might have to wear her superhero costume because I used her blog profile pic. Don’t forget the blonde wig. It really makes your eyes pop.



I’m a little concerned because I deleted her profile last night on Plenty of Fish, but I’m still getting emails from fish wanting to meet Bionic. I got three in the last 20 minutes. I think I doomed myself to pimping out my friend. But she’s getting emails for me and god only knows what she’s doing with those, so it’s good to keep my contacts handy for swift retribution when needed. You hear that, Bionic? I’ve got my contacts ready to go.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Bionic Woman and Her Randomness



I’ve been getting harassed since posting Too Many Men, Too Little Time. Duh, that was a joke. But that doesn’t stop Bionic Woman from making it her mission to find an eligible guy in my area. She’s got her buddy in Portland on the case as well. I can promise you that from what I understand about those two, I can look forward to meeting some delightful fellows. No, it’s not going to happen, Ladies.



I’ve seen a few profiles on the free dating sites. The problem is that to see what Bionic Woman wants me to see, I have to set up my own accounts. Here I am vowing to never join one of those things, and she’s got me joining all over the place. But that’s OK. What she doesn’t know is I’m using all of her real information for my profiles. Because she’s single too and for a lot longer than me. I’ll help her out right back.



One of the major reasons I don’t want to look at those profiles, besides the fact that I’m NOT LOOKING, is that I get worried about people, and I really have enough worries already. But I can’t stand it . . . like that contractor in San Jose who posted a picture of himself with his grown daughters – he really needs to find himself a nice lady. I can see he’s been through a lot, and now it’s his turn for a little love. Let’s find someone. I wonder if my mom knows any single yet mature women at her hospital . . . see, I have to stay away from those profiles.



Bionic wrote a post about me in her new blog. It reads like a public service announcement about the dangers I face as a divorced woman. Is my life totally screwed, Bionic? Is that what you’re trying to say? If you don’t like the randoms you’re contacting for me on the sites, then don’t do it.



I’m going to add Bionic’s blog to my required reading list, but I have to say something first.

Dear Bionic Woman,

You know I think you’re hilarious, and I love you. But don’t use your blog to be mean to people. Let’s not be talking shit about your neighbor’s dental problems. What I wanted you to focus on is all the crazy ways you save money and also how you leave a light carbon footprint and volunteer in the community. And maybe you could share your ironman/triathlon/exercise experiences with some of us non-athletes. There's also traveling.

I’ll let you know when I’m looking for a man (not). In the meantime, I'll send you the links to the eligible bachelors that have already received your profile. And by the way, I’m surprised you were so critical of the guys on those sites. I couldn’t find any losers.

xxoo

Star Mama



picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jbcurio/5324138894/sizes/l/in/photostream/

Thursday, February 3, 2011

It's Hip on the Mothership


Have you seen my sparkly new profile picture? Well, look up. So excited! My middle bro and Mathilda sent a card to the kids recently featuring Mathilda’s drawings. When I saw the shooting star in the corner, I wanted it SO BAD.



Mathilda, the graphic artist, was nice enough to scan it and send it over. I wish I could draw things that people would get all excited about . . . please, Star Mama, draw me a unicorn! Actually, the kids still get pretty excited about my drawings, so I better take advantage before they pass me up in a few years.



When I replaced that totally lame profile picture with my new rad one, bubbles of happiness burst in my brain. Not really – that just sounded cool for a second – but I was psyched enough to make an unnecessary comment on someone’s blog just so I could see that puppy in action.



I feel the need to explain that my middle name is Star. I’m really not hippie or even New Agey. It’s just the name my parents gave me when they were still living the flower power dream. And my first name is even weirder. Thanks guys for changing your minds about being hippies AFTER you gave your daughter the permanent mark of groovy times. My mom does have a sliver of hippie left. A matter of injustice can bring out a good slogan or two, maybe an arm gesture.



Actually, you can still see a sliver in my dad too, like when he plays his congas, his bongos, his tambourine. He would never admit it though. He’s even asked if I wanted to apply for a legal name change. But no, I’m attached to having a name that is so often mispronounced and questioned as being generally suspect. I am also strangely drawn to all that is star-related . . . Van Gogh’s Starry Night, George Clinton’s Star Child, Little Twin Stars.



Mathilda's shooting star gives me that nostalgic hometown feeling because it reminds me of 70s starness. And guess what? She offered to draw more, so now she’s going to create a whole new blog title graphic WITH the star theme. More happy bubbles bursting in my brain (so maybe there’s a smidge of hippie in there somewhere but don’t tell anyone).



Thank you, Mathilda,

mi hermana en espíritu.

meine Schwester im Geiste.

min søster i ånden.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

But I Digress



My mom has called me her absent-minded professor since I was a kid. I never really enjoyed that nickname and can’t remember my dad using it until this week. He seemed a tad annoyed at the time. Earlier, I had quickly handed over a bag of supplies at grandkid drop-off. Grandma was at work, and I was running late. My dad called when I was still racing to class because I had handed over a bag of reusable shopping bags – not the arsenal of kid supplies I had intended. Sorry to leave you with nothing, but I can't help you now.



My dad’s all about exercising his grandkids. He’s even procuring used bikes for them to use at his house (once he teaches them how to ride those things). I did remember to drop off the scooters, but apparently, Violet fell and skinned her knee on Grandpa’s watch in her Barbie-in-a-Fashion-Fairy-Tale costume dress. She needed pants, not reusable grocery bags, for basic knee protection.



While I was teaching that day, standing by the dry-erase board, I suddenly wondered where I had placed the spousal support check I had received that morning. I thought I had thrown it in my laptop bag, but it wasn’t there. During my riveting lecture, I casually strolled over to my purse and ransacked it. No check. Uh oh.



At grandkid pickup, my brother reminded the kids to go to the bathroom before we got in the car. Oh yeah . . . listen to your uncle. Violet refused, and I let it slide. Of course, we were on the hill when Violet came on to a true emergency. There was the worst moaning you ever heard with bouts of crying, panting and grunting. It made our trip home so unnecessarily stressful because there was no place to stop. I wouldn’t let it go, NEXT TIME YOUR MAMA TELLS YOU TO YOU GO POTTY, YOU GO POTTY! Daisy chimed in with sincere shouts of encouragement for her sister to HOLD IT . . . HOOOOLD IT. Sometimes, I get annoyed with the moms who make such a big deal about children having to do stuff like Go Potty! before leaving the house . . . chill out, Bindy. However, the live-and-let-live approach doesn’t always work out so well.



After 25 minutes of misery, Violet was grave yet triumphant in her dryness as she ran into her dad's house on a quick stop. And when we got home, I got the kids up to the apartment. Returning to the car to grab the rest of our belongings, I noticed a rectangular piece of paper in a muddy puddle. So, I slipped off my reading spectacles and stepped away from the podium . . . hmm, what do we have here? Yeah, it was my spousal check. Soaking wet with tire treads but still there after eight hours. Score!

 

picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cushinglibrary/3673301174/sizes/l/in/photostream/

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

So Many Men, So Little Time


On a couple occasions recently, my younger bro has said something like, “I bet you’re really going to like living on your own. I could see you like Great Grandma kicking it in a silver airstream trailer – keeping it real solo for the rest of your days.”



He didn’t really say it that way, but I like to think of my great grandma kicking it in her trailer. When she had a bigger trailer, my middle bro and I would spend the night with her regularly. She was an independent thinker and very interactive with us kids . . . playing games and discussing her ideas with us (e.g. God is a she). And when I say discussing, I mean she literally wanted to know what we thought instead of just telling us how it is. We loved her, and Daisy’s middle name is hers.



I’m not sure I’m aiming for a solo trailer mission though. Maybe. I’m not saying it’s a bad option. I doubt I’ll ever get married again. That’s a whole other post and probably one I should shelve for a while. But I do picture having another companion at some point.



It’s a trip, though, to check out how my single friends go about things. I have a lady friend who has made internet dating into a substantial hobby. She also spends thousands of dollars to belong to a singles group that is advertised heavily in this area. Her weekends are filled with events like piano bar night and singles camping, aka Overnight Hookup Fest. From what I understand, she’s made more connections to other single girls in the group than to guys worth mentioning. But that doesn’t deter her – she’s fully committed, and I admire that, though I would probably opt for the airstream if that was the last way on earth to meet a guy.



I have a guy friend who is also an avid internet dater. He was sharing war stories recently, going over possible leads. What struck me was how much of it seemed to be intellectual for him – what he was looking for, plusses/minuses. For me, falling for someone has always been poetry, not science. But last time I was single, I was in my twenties, so my thinking is probably in need of some fine-tuning, otherwise known as major adjustments. Still, airstream over internet dating for sure.



What I forgot to mention is that both single friends have always been hot commodities with the opposite sex. I think every guy I know has had a thing for my lady friend. Part of being her housemate involved escorting her steady stream of heartbroken rejects to the exit. And my guy friend is the Pied Piper of Hot Women. To this day, he has women approaching him with scenarios that most men only experience in their minds. To see those two working so hard at meeting someone special doesn’t leave much hope for the mortals.



But don’t worry about me. I have PLENTY of options, and I’m not even looking. Exhibit A: my special friend at the apartments I call The Host. My landlord told me he only rents to professionals, so I’m guessing The Host is a professional drinker. He’s an older gentleman with a toothless smile and can be seen in the courtyard with a glass of red wine in hand by 10 a.m. on many mornings. He sits and reads and gives shout-outs to people he likes. He calls me “Mother of the Redhead – Oh Shit.” Actually, he doesn’t cuss when I have the kids, but you get the picture. Anyway, this morning I was on my way to the laundry room when I saw The Host make a bee-line to his apartment and emerge a few seconds later, proudly displaying a crumbled paper bag. He stepped into the laundry room to announce he had something special for the beautiful young lady of apartment #(censored). Inside the bag was an unopened box of strawberry pop tarts WITH frosting. And guess what, Ladies? The box wasn’t even expired . . . don’t hate me because I’m lucky.



I actually really like The Host and his good vibes. We totally wouldn’t work though. He likes red wine in the morning; I like white at night. We’re like ships passing at opposite times of day. That’s why it’s best to keep my options open. Like tonight, as I was walking back from Safeway, there was this hippied-out younger guy begging for money at the intersection as I was waiting to cross the street. I glanced at him and looked away. Suddenly, I heard this very reasonable voice say, “Hey, are you busy tonight?” I looked back at him, you’re not really standing there with your change cup asking if I’m busy. He was really nice about it, “Yeah, I bet you’re busy.” It was tempting . . . he certainly was resourceful and outgoing . . . and you know how much respect I have for those cougars. I could have asked him to give me a call when he had collected enough for dinner . . . hmmm.



Yeah, maybe an airstream.



picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnrobertshepherd/5399587998/sizes/l/in/photostream/