That was May 9th.
Since that time my baby sister graduated college. My father was murdered. My darling girl turned 4 a week after my darling husband turned 41. My life is moving too fast most days, and other days I just plain sleep through. But for my loved ones I push and push and push and hope to gain forward ground. I'm trying.
She called 2 days ago. No apology. Nothing reasonable even, although the unreasonable is always expected. She left a message saying she wished to see Rio and Bear. Call her back. This is her number.
Not a call from a therapeutic environment so, I did not return the call, as commanded.
Yesterday's message. "I'll be heading down your way on Friday and I would like to be allowed to see Rio. Call me."
She doesn't know my father was killed or she'd call and say something completely fucked up. I can't see her in a weakened state. I don't want to anyway. But does anyone want to guess who can't sleep?
Bear offered to call her. Tell her no. Tell her she's not welcomed. Tell her she's breaking the rules. Tell her she can not make me leave my house. My house.
She knits cashmere sweaters for her dog. She writes letter after letter; to the editor, the governor, old boyfriends. She has never given Rio a single gift. She has never sent one card. Not one 'Happy Birthday' card. Not one 'Happy Holidays' card. Not one. Ever.
She didn't keep us safe in her house and now she's planning to bring it here? I don't think so. I am on edge and waiting til Friday, Saturday, Sunday pass safely.
Watch the papers. This could go terribly wrong. Or maybe just right.
What else is new?
So, if I go you handful of faithfuls will be rewarded with a site that no longer sucks and rambles. If I don't, you can look forward to more of the same.
My mother made it as difficult as possible to 'find' him. She lied about our heritage, our father's knowledge of us, her state of residence, where she attended high school ... difficult.
I meant to get in here and tell you all about the week of May 17-24. My little sister graduated. We had a ball. My father and his first granddaughter, Little Miss Rio, really bonded. We have many pictures of the two of them - Rio dragging him by his fingers, Dad beaming. Rio trying to work the silly string can he just gave her, Dad beaming. Dad beaming. He started making plans to be on the east coast by her birthday. July. For good. He's moving! Big news but he's long been known for his devotion to all the children of his side of the family. Rio grabbed his heart and headed east with it. He planned to follow.
There are 'shirt off your back' people and that applies to my father in such a complete way. He'd give anything. If he had a lot, you had a lot. If he had little, you had half. Just that way. Pretty famous for it.
On May 31st he gave his life protecting a friend in need.
The story is long, complicated, stupid, and mostly tragic. But he's gone. I find myself in pain in a way I didn't know existed. Getting through the days seems impossible and yet, I have no choice. Really, it's all I can do to get out of bed and try to make sure my daughter, husband, brother, and sister are okay. I know this will change, but for now, I'm just done. This will be my last post and I don't know for how long. I don't know anything anymore it seems.
I asked him for strength so I could stand and deliver a eulogy. I wanted to make him proud. Although the details are fuzzy, I've been told I pulled it off.
My father was a man of passion and action. Occasionally ill-advised, and always with great gusto. He was the sort of man you would hope to have on your side both in joy, and in sorrow. Although I found him later in life, I have had the opportunity to create many beautiful memories of him that I shall cherish always. He was a friend to all who knew him, evidenced by the beautiful and pure emotions we witnessed yesterday.
I'd like to share a story that encompasses both his immediate call to action in any crisis, as well as the joyous lunacy that seemed to be such a part of his life.
My sister, V*, left for college and left her cat in my dad's care. Just as he happily walked my Auntie R*'s dog every day, he happily undertook this responsibility of the cat. One day he arrived home to find the cat on the step, hungry for a meal. He prepared a dish for the cat, no doubt inquiring about the cat's day and whatnot, and placed the meal down and the cat ate heartily. After the meal was finished, my father tried to pick up the cat and continue their conversation with some nice petting and snuggling. The cat went crazy – hissing and scratching my father. Me, being a dog person, would have returned the cat to the outdoors and wished it well in its ventures. But my father jumped to action. He thought, "Oh no! What if the cat has rabies or distemper?! What it he ate something and he's sick?! If there's something wrong with this cat it will break V's heart. I have to get it to the vet immediately!"
So. He found a box, cornered the cat in the house, and at great personal risk and eventual harm, he wrestled that cat into that box. He put the hissing, howling box into his car and drove out of the driveway. Two houses down the road -- he saw his actual cat. He told me the cat was sunning himself on a deck, and he craned his head and smiled as my father drove by; no doubt wondering at my dad's errand and wondering at the identity of the howling and hissing cat in the box.
That was him. Immediate action.
The first time I met him, it was at the Chicago airport. My sister was with him and she stood a bit behind him. Protected by him, and peaking out at me. He embraced me and launched into an unprepared but very content rich soliloquy. How he never stopped loving us. How he thought of us every day. How he tried and tried to find us and he was so happy to have us again. He told me we have a great big family that loves us and never forgot us. I looked at his hands on the steering wheel and thought, "My brother has those hands." It has been one of the best gifts in my life, and in my brother's life, to wander into this fantastic family.
I feel blessed to have his blood running through my veins. From my father I have received uncommon courage, an inquiring mind – even if I don't use those powers to try to apply the math for the stress patterns of titanium to the stock market, or to use things like the Mayan calendar to predict the exact date of earth's last day -, the ability to speak at superhuman speeds, and, obviously, his devastating good looks. He's given me an amazing family. A wonderful brother. An adored sister. His granddaughter, Rio, cherished him from the moment she met him. I know how she feels.
We will share his stories and I know he will continue to live in the hearts of his friends and his family. Thank you all for being a part of that.
So, for you today, a story. The best ever turn-down-Nita story.
I was living in Rotten-Groton and I was more than a little nuts. I had broken up with a guy who was purely evil to me. I didn't know, but while I was in a monogamous 2 year relationship, he was trying to screw his way into Guinness World Book. I'm a little slow like that... anyway, I met *him* in a round-about way. He was the son of the woman dating the father of the guy who poached me from my bartending job to work for the family company. How we doing so far?! Let's call him CS.
CS was not my type at all. He had red hair. He had a small human that he'd made. He lived an hour away. He was grumpy. He was still in love with his ex. The attraction, you ask? He had no interest whatsoever in me. None. So, in that temporary insanity phase of my life - it was love at first sight for me.
I pursued him mercilessly. I often dined at his mom's boyfriend's house and made doubly certain to be there when CS was visiting. I invited him places. I hosted BBQs whenever he was in town and bought insane amounts of prepared foods and booze in an effort to sway him with my fake cooking. I dressed up. I dressed down. I played with children before I knew that I could play with children ... I really tried.
We were sitting on my front porch, watching the boats go by, and I told him that there was not one single reason *I* could think of that I should NOT be his girlfriend. I liked that he lived far away. I wasn't needy. I was non-jealous to the point of oblivion and he could check with my ex on that fact! I had my own deal going. I had 3 other boys that I was dating so he didn't have to worry about me wanting to see him all the time. I lied and said I was not crazy. Still, he wasn't buying.
This is how he explained it. I shit you not.
me: Seriously. I'm a great girlfriend!
CS: Okay. Listen. This is how I see it. You're a John Deere tractor. Except - you're the total high-end model. You have the special sparkle paint job. You have every single attachment that John Deere makes. You have a leather cushioned adjustable seat. You have a sunshade.You even have chilled cup holders.
But I live in Brooklyn. I don't got a lawn. See?
And at long last, I did.
Is it just me, or is that the greatest turndown eva?!
My one friend's husband got a promotion. He can now work from anywhere on the east coast. They moved here when they were young and this is their first house ... they brought their babies home to this house. It was home. But they are alone here. All extended family lives in another state. And my friend and her husband miss their families.
So, they put the house on the market. I told her, "It's not like no one is ever going to buy a house again! Yours is in great shape, priced reasonably, and is highly desirable."
I usually don't mind that I'm always right.
Sold. In less than a week.
I'm very happy for her but it makes me very aware of our situation. I'm estranged from my mother, but Vermont will always feel like home to me. Most of the people who are so important in my heart and life are there and there are many of them! I love 'going home' and Bear is always great about my frequent visits ... I just am feeling a bit conflicted.
My in-laws are awesome and they made CT so nice. Now they are an island of warmth, cupcakes, babies, and love there - and we're here.
We just got back from spending a week with my father's family in Wisconsin and Chicago area. That side is mostly Mexican and the family unit is huge. Rio had a sleepover with 3 cousins and she had the best time. I called my aunt to see how she was doing and my darling aunt said, and I quote, "Girl! She hasn't even asked for you! She's fine. See you tomorrow." That's how it rolls out there. Fluid. Family.
I just feel like there are quite a few places that are welcoming havens for our little family ... and we're pretty far from all of them.
Having a child and not working is a very different life. I don't meet people all the time, and it's not like we go to happy hour or things like that. I've never been so isolated in my life and most days it's fine. Most days I am so wrapped up in school, shopping, cooking, gym, dog, life ... that I hardly notice the big space that used to be filled with so many friends. So much family. Yah, every once in a while I feel lonely and the phone just doesn't cut it. We can't really move until we do a ton of work on this house and we've decided to be here for at least a few more years. Then Rio'll be in school and so we have to try to plan life around a move and if/when/how that impacts her and even looking down the road is so freaking complicated.
How did we get here? Where are we going? Who is this new me?
Life has been insanely busy of late. I feel like summer is coming and that's good. I've got Rio in a once a week dance class ... and that's it. We have a zillion little trips planned and I'm enjoying my new job and we have all been so tightly scheduled that I resisted the urge to sign her up for more stuff. I feel sorta guilty but as a mom I'm finding that it's pretty normal. If I'm going to second-guess myself, at least I'll have the proper amount of time to do so.
My darling little sister took her last exam at 9:30 pm. While I've thoroughly enjoyed (drip sarcasm drip) learning all about the communication styles of different cultures and learning all about global warming and the shrinking polar ice caps thanks to my ridiculous offer to proof all paperrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrs, I am ready to stop having homework. She got an 86 on her final exam, a 95 on her global warming paper. Sunday she'll be walking in a ceremony celebrating the fact that here, in the land of opportunity, you can spend tens of thousands of dollars, get a degree, and still be essentially clueless. I say that with tongue in cheek and the fond memory of when I was 23 and still knew everything. Congrats, V, no one is more thrilled than I that this chapter is complete. I'm proud of you darling girl.
Work. Work. Housework. Work. V's work. Bear's work. School. Committee. Gym. Work. Dog. Laundry. Work. I need to get a handle on things. I haven't had enough me time lately. Or any, really. When we get back from Wisconsin I think I'll head to VT for a few days of R&R. I need to recharge the batteries and something tells me a week with my extended family in WI/IL isn't going to be too restorative. But it should be interesting...
last conversation with random family member:
me: [dials number my father called me from] Hey dad.
male voice: Dad? Who's this?
me: Your firstborn, dumbass.
mv: I don't have a girl ...
me: Oh, so sorry. I thought I was phoning my father. Is he available?
mv: You don't know who this is, do you?
me: Nope. Sorry.
mv: It's your cousin James*!
me: Oooh, hi James! Long time! How have you been?
mv: How have I been? What's the matter? No one told you I was doin' time?
Yup. Should be biiiiig fun.
Rio is just so much fun right now. I'll be better about posting for you, Peachy;) But today we took a nap together which is a singular joy. And she's in the habit of late of dressing up and asking me, "May I have this dance?" which about slays me and probably explains why I'm super good at 'Princess Ballerina Twirls' and super far behind in workworkwork!
Happy Birthday Meredith! We had a girl's night out with her friends who are all, without exception, smoking-hott-wicked-fun-charming-hilarious women. It was soooo fun! I got picked up by my other mom friend, C, who kept saying, "Have another! I'm driving!" and so I kept having another.
Today sucked donkey balls. I had a great plan to come home from dropping Rio at school and go back to bed but I had a 30 minute conference call for workworkwork that went until 3 minutes before school got out. I'm hurtin'. But! It was literally so much fun that I have a girly love buzz paving over my hangover.
Also, I found a pill in the bottom of an old purse and I took it and whatever it was really helped me feel better.
I shall obey. And post more. But not today. I'm up to my eyeballs making sure my cherished sister graduates college everrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
So, I leave you with a 'seriously' ...
IKEA* - seriously?
*thanks to Ian who could make a potty joke out of a Pope's speech.
I rode the carousel with Rio on Friday. Three times. She fears the horses (and I'm thrilled the up and down on a pole gives her cause for concern) so we rode the carriage. Three times. She totally could have gone allll day, but I got motion sick. In the carriage. I'm officially old.
Meals are drawn out ordeals with Miss Rio. That kid is the slowest eater everrrrr. After a prolonged lunch, we had ice cream cones. She had chocolate chip with chocolate sprinkles.
[one hour into eating the cone, a nice old man sits at the table next to us]
rio: 'Scuse me, (points with her pinky and one eye closed) what's your name?
old man: Roland!
[long story short. he tells her a story about his grandson, she laps the cone and half ignores him. he continues with stories about kids and his kids when they were young, and he ends up telling a tale that cracks him up. he laughs and exposes a mouth of, um, not a shining example of oral health. one in the front is missing, and the rest are summer teeth; some are pointing this way, some are pointing that. all are the bright yellow of a summer sun.]
rio: 'Scuuuuuse me, Roland. Why do you have cavities?
me: sotto voce Hey buddy. Don't ask that again and we'll talk about it in the car. Okay? Please don't say 'cavities' again, okay?
rio: 'Scuuuuse me, Roland. Do you brush your teef? Do you ffffffffffffffffoss?*
*As she struggles with certain complicated sequences, she sometimes draws out the stumbling block. So 'floss' becomes 'fffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffoss', which gives me an extra 4 seconds or so to die a thousand deaths. But that's okay, because, you see, Roland wasn't really paying attention to Rio and her 'fl' struggles...
roland: Oh, hohoho, she's so adorable.
me: thanking the deaf gods Oh, she's something.
roland: You're not so bad yourself, you know. In fact, you're a real looker. You know what that is?
me: Oh, heh. Yes, I'm familiar with the concept.
roland: soldiering on in his deafness A looker means when you walk past men, they look at you.
me: Have a nice day, Summer. C'mon Rio, you can finish that in the car.
Motion sick on a carousel and hit on by a deaf bum. What a day.
TOP TEN REASONS I NEED A NEW BLOG
1. I have a really great name saved, but I'm not motivated enough to start writing on it. It's really good. Great, even. And if I end up one of the bloggers who gets an amazing book deal and then I tour with James Frey and end up all hammered at YOUR local pub, I will totally call you. Promise.
2. Have you noticed how badly I effed up this one? Seriously. And I totally can NOT put things back the way they were. I'm a techtard.
3. It's free. I have to save all my monies because my daughter is so cute I dress her up all the time. Mostly, she's soooo neat. She hates things on her hands - so she wipes everything on her belly. It's darling. And expensive.
4. Bear forgot my birthday. And he gave me a tractor for Mother's Day last year. He said it was a coincidence. If that's true, he forgot Mother's Day, too. So I need a present.
5. Everyone in my house is sick. I've been doing laundry, grocery shopping, making soup ... oh, I'm sick, too. But I guess that's scheduled for when I'm 50.
6. Which is kind of soon.
7. Yellow is supposedly going to be big this summer. I look horrible in yellow. So, if I have a cool new blog to inspire me to write on my cool new site, I won't have to make people vomit in the street with how I look in yellow.
8. Okay, um, I just need it, okay? It's not like I'm asking for a kidney. Which reminds me ... I'm totally thinking of joining the kidney bank. Does anyone else think medication might be a good thing for me?
So, just click. Visit. Maybe have her do *your* blog. Me likey her stuff!
We were at my darling Anna's house. Rio starts going upstairs to chase down The Daughter, who is 7 and fabulously kind. TD starts to come downstairs to see Rio and Rio pops a squat on the stair, pats the one next to her, looks up at TD and says:
Have a seat, TD. What's up, sista?
I have a friend, Rina, with a great booty. Genetic, methinks. She came over to see us in VT. Rina's having coffee at the breakfast bar - fetchingly perched on a barstool. Rio walks around Rina two or three times. She's looking at her butt; looking under the stool; she ran a toy across the faboo booty. Then she gets over to the side of Rina and says:
Excuse me, Rina. You have a biiiiiiig butt!
A lovely woman who's smack in the middle of the whole transgender process was attending the same luncheon to which some fool invited me and my lippy 3 year old. Rio checks her out for a loooong time. Finally she says:
rio: I don't paint my nails.
me: [thinking 'here we go'] No, you don't. You still suck your fingers so until you don't suck them anymore, no nail polish!
rio: Maybe I'll paint my nails when I'm a grown-up boy.
Yeah. Maybe you'll just plain take pity on me and catapult me to click greatness. You know, before I end up getting smacked....
*I broke up with my mom. Again. It's serious this time. She questioned my parenting. Them's fighting words. And fight we did. Oh well.
*My new job continues to fascinate and challenge. I really like it! I'm having a tough time scraping 20 hours a week together, and my house looks rather tenementesque, but I really do like it! The job, not the slovenly way of life....
*I made a little wager with my darling little sister. She's gotten into the bad habit of not working out ever, and complaining, well, pretty much always. It's snuck up on her - much like the 4 remaining papers she has between her and graduation. So, I'm helping her with the last papers. And all she has to do is work out 5 times a week and not complain about it. If she drops the ball (or whines about it) and still wants me to help her, she'll need to pony up big bucks. I'm telling y'all now that I will take her money and buy risky stocks for Rio. :)
*I'm going to Stowe for a bunch of days. Rio and I have been bouncing a virus back and forth, and our travel plans are all screwy, so we're just gonna ignore the calendar and go for it. I can't wait! Although I always start to miss Bear as soon as we hit the highway, I need to recharge my batteries.
*Bear and I have been sleeping horridly for months. Our fabulous and comfy bed hit the wall so freaking fast. At first it was less cushy, but it made the rapid descent into flop house mattress. We finally did something about it. 1-800-MATTRES gets my unsolicited eternal adoration. Those peeps mofo KNOW BEDS. Every bizarre angle and bit of info. We ended up with the Sealy knock-off Tempurpedic. I forget why, but some sort of wicking technology that the Swedes are lacking ... anyway, we got two. XL Twins. Why, you ask? Because they're foam so you can't really tell that it's two mattresses. And, because, we got these extra special platforms:because they were totally on close-out sale. You see, company blahblahblah is now sourcing the motors in China blahblahblah and so they have blahblahblah left at this super close-out price blahblahblah blahblahblah blahblahblah .... feel me?
So, yeah, up and down beds. Not just for the elderly.
By 6:45 tomorrow I must prepare a cultural dish and flags that represent Rio's heritage. Namely:
I'm thinking of bringing a ratty afghan that's made with all the crazy colors. Oh, and maybe some Taco Bell, potato chips, and blood sausage shishkabobs. Sprinkled with peyote, mais oui.
That kid is lucky she's not polka-dotted, she's such a mutt.
The reality is one of those things that is at once so beautiful it restores your faith in humankind while it speaks loudly and clearly to the evil that lurks.
Watch that stupid Hater Mills-McCartney try to get in on it ...
Today's nuggets? In the space of one conversation she shared that she now has fibromayalgia, a bean-sized dark spot on her brain that is a stroke, more work than she can handle, no money, and the best stress test her doctor has ever seen.
Oh, and she smokes and eats a stick of butter and two meats with every meal including breakfast.
Baby switches happened a lot more in the 60's, right?
The test results should be in. You know they're going to see the doctor this morning, you just don't know how long it will take. Should you call? Or just wait. Prepared. Ready to take the hit and start moving.
Then she calls.
"It's nothing!" she screams.
You are speechless. You are not prepared for this. But as joy shoves despair to the ground and steps on its face, the relief starts to bloom and you become acquainted with the taste of fear as it flees. She's fine. It's nothing.
Parties used to be full day affairs. A sample 'big party' day, in olden times aka my misspent youth, aka 'the 80's'....
*10:00 - roll out of bed. look at boy. giggle a little. call girlfriends to meet for breakfast. don't wake boy.
*10:30 - make fun of boy. give boy a nickname. use it in front of him. order greasy eggs, potatoes, milkshake. eat it all, blissfully unaware of transfats.
*12:00 - leave breakfast joint. stop for slut-butts, aka marlboro lights. go to friend's house for sun bathing; nude and PABA-free.
*12:03 - decide champagne will help with hangover. drink 3 bottles.
*2:00 - 4:00 - nap.
*4:00 - back to my house to try on 114 outfits. try to decide between boobies hanging out and ass hanging out.
*5:00 - begin makeup prep. eyelashes, hair, and the ever critical layering of 8 lipsticks/glosses/pencils to achieve that 'just so' kisser.
*7:00 - makeup continues. start taking Advil because the shoes that accompany the ass hanging out dress neeeeed to be 4 inch stilettos. they will hurt. Advil is a brilliant preemptive strike.
*7-9:30 - continue with finishing touches, smack talking, and television watching. take time out to discuss how exactly inflation works. no kidding. and maybe how to identify actual social change. vow to leave the planet better than how you found it.
*9:30 - put bottles in recycling. giggle at how tossing bottles in your recycling bin sounds just like tossing them in the dumpster behind the club. wave to neighbor lady who always shakes her head at you.
*10:00 - go to starter club before party. have dinner. dinner = olives.
*11:00 - arrive at party. do damage to your internal organs that won't be felt until your 40s which are soooooo far away! hahaha! booze AND Advil. hahahaha. this cheese plate looks fabulous. i'll eat it all! hahahhaa. sleep? who sleeps? hahahahaha. have fabulous time.
cut to today
*8:00 - monkey crawls into your bed. snuggle, then get her breakfast.
*9:00 - explain 18 ways why she can NOT open the present for Anna.
*9:30 - explain why it's not grown-up Anna's birthday and why she still can't open little Anna's' birthday present. explain why grown-up Anna can't open little Anna's present.
*10:00-10:30 - explain why she can't wear your big girl shoes to the party. explain why she can't wear dark lipstick to the party. explain why she can't bring the dog. explain why she isn't having a birthday today. explain why she goes to a different school now. explain why she STILL CAN'T OPEN LITTLE ANNA'S PRESENT!
*10:30 - get in car and go to Paint-n-Party. have fabulous time.
spitzer: I .... did NOT .... get a chance .... to have sex ... with that woman..........
*laying around saying, "I feel cruddy," for 3 hours.
*play with dad, who gets home about when she gets up from her nap, thank you very much daylight savings time...
Yesterday she had him drag out blocks and the marble run. No ordinary marble run, this one makes towers that parking garage people study for maximum storage capacity ...
bear: Okay, Rio. Dinner's ready. Let's clean up.
rio: [terrific snort] Uh, you do it.
bear: Hey buddy. We all clean up.
rio: I don't clean up. You can do it allllll by yourrrrselllllf.
bear: Okay, I'll do the blocks and you can clean up the marbles.
rio: C'mon Daddy. I'm really disappointed in you. [and walks out of the playroom]
In my defense, I never ever say that to her. Ever. I don't know where she picks this shit up, but it's like she picks up messages from airwaves and saves the shticky bits for mom and dad. Oh, the perks of this job.
Private matter. Duh.
Now, what would YOU do? Seriously? I didn't marry til, um, lateRRR in life. I clearly remember a conversation I had while working at the Spa at Topnotch. I asked a woman if she would leave her husband if she found him cheating. That was not the first question, you'll be happy to know :) But what she said has stayed with me always.
"It depends. Is he getting a hummer from a call girl? Or is he having an affair with his assistant? They are not the same thing. We have a business; a family; kids; a life. You'll see, it's not always simple."
Simple? SIMPLE??!! Send your warm thoughts to Silda. This can't be easy for her. And it does land on her head, no? Man, was simple ever part of the deal?
No longer. Poor kid is a snotty mess. So, we rest. I'm set up to work in the dining room so I can watch her play and lay. Lots of Clifford, lots of 'I feel cruddy', lots of Charlotte's Web. Lots of the Web....
Here's the question: I've watched it a ton of times, and heard it even more. So why is it that when Charlotte stays behind at the fair to die, I cry? Every time?
Every morning Rio climbs into bed with us - my side only. The very first thing I hear every morning is, "Scoot over. I want to snuggle in," and then she sidles up against me until we're better sealed than a scuba mask. It's so great. Well, you know how I was all worried cuz she did everything so late? Walking, talking, all that jazz? Shows what I know. This morning the snarky-teasing-nya-nya gene kicked in.
Bear came flying out of the bathroom to grab undies and get dressed. He was running late, you all will be shocked to know ... but I digress. Rio takes one look at him, pops the fingers out of her mouth, and sings:
Daddy's got a naked butt. Daddy's got a naked butt. Daddy's got a naked butt.
She has arrived.
On another note, Rio and I have enjoyed our 2-weeks-of-nothing-to-do together. She's definitely ready for school, and I'd like to start smoking cigarettes again.
People, please slow down. You do want to get where you're going, yes?
nurse: Hi there! You're so pretty. What's your name?
rio: Rio. R.I.O. But call me 'Mater.'
me: Rio, c'mon.
rio: [looking back at nurse] Call me 'Mater' puleeeeease.
This directive is so consistent that Bear and I have actually started correcting ourselves when we let "Rio" slip ...
Yesterday I was on the phone trying to have an important conversation. I was sitting on the floor and desperately trying to keep her occupied by playing 'throw-guy-in-the-air-with-this-expensive-silk-scarf' and she wandered off. She climbed up on a big, puffy green chair. She was jumping around and all of the sudden she was 'whomp!' right on her face on the floor. Carpeted, but still.
me: Jeez Rio! Are you okay?
rio: [croaks] 'Mater.'
There is no doubting her dedication. I only hope this miraculously fades before we send her to the new school next week.....
Now. Lindsay Lohan is another one. Her mother seems to be at every party with her and she wonders why the kid fell into the abyss? C'mon. Kids need their parents to lay down the law, not help them to subvert it. I see this kid hitting multiple rehabs and then swilling champagne from the bottle with a look of desperation in her eye. Happy New Years. Now this.
I got 2 words for you, LiLo: sunscreen and parents. Good luck, kiddo. It would appear that no one is at the helm and there will be no joy when you run ashore.
That's all well and good, except Miss Rio calls me 'Sally' and Bear is now 'Lightning Queen [sic]' and she will only answer to 'Mader.' As in 'Tow Mater', the mildly-slow buck-tooth tow truck of the show.
She's taken this 'Mater' bit to the nth degree lately. She won't answer to 'Rio' and she insists Bear 'talk like Lightning Queen' and she'll say 'Sally Sally Sally' until I give in and just take my new name.
Yesterday, we went to the Providence Children's Museum. It was fun, insanely packed, and just a tad exhausting. We saved the water room for last. The kids don smocks that kind of keep them dry, and then all hundreds of little people run around huge suspended pools and splash and generally revel in the insanity while the parents either A. act responsibly and keep their kids upright, not throwing, not splashing others in the face or B. chat with the other parents who believe that kids should fall all over, throw heavy things at everyone, and dump water on the heads of children they don't know ... but I digress.
I tell Rio it's almost time to go. When the big hand hits the 11 we're going to pack up and head for lunch. At the appointed time she becomes the yelling child. I look at Bear and tell him to just pick her up as I strip the soaked smock off and we head out of the crazy room.
rio: [still screaming] I WANNA STAY! I DON'T WANNA GOOOOOOOO! PUT ME DOWWWWWWWNNNNNNN!
me: Rio. I told you it was time to go. You're behaving poorly which is not cool. We're going to have a nice lunch and we will visit here again.
rio: [goes limp in Bear's arms]
me: Okay then. Are you ready for lunch?
rio: [no response. still limp. head hangs]
me: Bear, just put her down. She can walk it off.
rio: [walking in a catatonic-like state, arms hanging straight down]
me: Nice job calming down buddy. Now, let's go have a delicious lunch. Would you like some miso soup?
rio: [with a completely flat affect, eyes all cartoon spirals] Call.Me.Mader.
Yeah, cuz I was such an effing huge Disney fan already ...
I'm pretty sure the wand is the source of her power. If only I can get it away from her...
Anyway, today I received an email proudly sponsored by Scholastic. The inbox title:
Your Soooo Missing Out
Is it just me or does stuff like that make you crazy? Sponsored by Scholastic, no less. They must be so proud ...
Speaking of crazy, if you know the woman who drives the giant SUV with the Mass plate 'TANKA', bitch-slap her for me, wouldya? I was at BJs and it was freezing rain. Their cart system isn't the best - you really have to grab one in the myriad of covered shelters in the parking lot. So, she unloads her groceries and pushes the cart so it's evenly encroaching in the crux of four parking spots. I catch her eye and point to the cart shed that is literally 10 feet from her battleship. She ignores me, gets in her car, puts on lipgloss, backs out and then gives me the finger. So, yeah, bitch-slap her and pull her hair, okay? It's a good thing I don't have access to motor vehicle info or I'd totally abuse it to write people letters explaining why everyone loathes them.
What else? Not much really. We've been painting and doing some projects. We still have that dumpster. Bear still hasn't cleared the garage or basement. What's a woman to do?
Rio spent 4 days/3 nights with my inlaws. No one cried. Everyone was exhausted and lots of fun was had by all. She's really in such an amazing place. She now has the verbal skills to make me insane and she presents new and interesting challenges every day, and I can't imagine loving her more. This rocks.
We're sending her to a Montessori program T-Th starting in March. She's ready for more than play. She's writing her name and she's always asking how to spell things. You know, like everyone says, 'She's very advanced for her age.' But we think it will be a good atmosphere for her and it's super close to the house so I could get right back into bed. Ha.
I got a CD from another blogger and haven't had a minute to listen to it. I did move it to the car so that's hopeful. I'm also making jewelry which is fun. I'm sending him something and I'll post a picture when it's done. I swear. OH! And then I'll do a contest. Yay! Right now I have to participate in The Great Interview Experiment because I signed up for it before I suddenly got stupid busy. And I hate to break commitments. I'm like Britney that way ...
So, in the very near future: picture of the necklace I send to him, my interview with her, and whatever else I've been promising. Oh! And one more fun thing. I've signed up for a trainer at the gym. I share him with a friend who used to be competitive skater. Luckily, she's in such great shape that when I ducked into the bathroom to lay down on the floor and pray about not puking, he didn't notice. I am stupid.
Does that mean that I can wear sweatpants and a NEW YORK GIANTS hat to the interview?
I have cultivated mothers. Mostly by accident. Serendipitous women that have come along and helped smooth the rough hole. Some old, some young, all wonderous bricks in the 'me' I've had to build. You all know who you are and you know I'm thankful.
So my darling friend calls me today. Her babe is really sick. She is, too, but that almost is beside the point. She has to make the call about calling the doctor and perhaps a trip to the ER. The nurse gets back to her, is noncommittal, and so my darling friend has to make the decision. She has to make the decision.
We speak. She carefully weighs the facts, the numbers, her feelings, the distress which cannot be voiced by her babe - and decides to head into the Emergency Room.
I tell her it's exactly what I would do. She is thankful to me for saying so. She wasn't sure she was right. Was she overreacting? Should she wait? Should she have waited so long? ... She is comforted knowing I would do the same thing. We tend to validate one another's instincts. Because we're both motherless.
You're singing along, 30 thousand feet, and you wonder how it is all possible. It probably isn't possible but somehow, together, we make it through.
The thing you least know about me is that I've abused this body for nearly 43 years. Downhill skiing. Sometimes crashing hard. Competitive field hockey. With many extra miles run for being 'lippy' - go figure. An ill-fated foray into rugby in my 30s....??!!
Anyway, at my yearly exam with a new, and completely intelligible non-drug pushing*, doc I was informed that the saran-like noises issuing from my knees are deteriorating cartilage and a kneecap that isn't tracking properly.
Now, for those of you keeping track, since moving to Massachusetts I've had a botched lady-parts surgery that required immediate surgery to keep my urethra from being completely severed, and I had a root canal that was so haphazardly executed that I required weekly trips to a specialist in Boston so I didn't lose half my face. Evidently, 'practicing medicine' in Massachusetts means something different than other places.
So, I call the best guy in VT and I know the receptionist [how many people are named 'T***a'? I was psyched!] and she got me in for a consult and x-rays on Wednesday morning. So, I won't be here. For our playdate. I suck. Forget you know me because although, ostensibly, I have no life - it turns out I'm over scheduled. Heading north and probably again when it is determined that I am, in fact, falling completely apart.
* our last doc did all communication via his scrip pad. I never understood what he said, but he gave the best treats ever :)
**AMENDED TO ADD: Just when you think life has thrown all its lemons for the day right at your eye and you were looking away and 9 out of every 10 lemons hit you right on the cornea ... well, then the phone rings and you foolishly take the cold pack off your eye and answer:
woman's voice: Hi! Is this Nita?
me: Yes. How can I help you?
wv: I'm calling from the LaLa Animal Hospital. We haven't seen Hobbes in a while and I'm just calling to see how he's doing and if there's anything we can help you with!
me: He's dead.
wv: Ooo, sorry. I'll be sure to update our records.
me: That would be really, really lovely.
And that, my friends, is about all I've got for today. Tata!
So, I cleaned up as best I could and headed to Vermont. I miss my best friend, she's in a funk, I'm in a funk, blahblahblah I just needed a little change of scenery. We'll be home by Saturday in time to finish the projects with Bear and restore order. But I couldn't look at insulation for one more minute.
Anyway, Rio has always got some new game she wants to try out. On the four hour ride we talked and talked, and then she napped a bit, and then when she woke up she wanted to play 'Switch.'
rio: You are Rio and I'm Mommy.
me: Okay, I don't want a nap! I want vanilla milk! I don't need a bath! [this is rewarded with a big smile and much snickering from the backseat]
rio: You are taking a bath! No shoes on the bed! No saying 'No Jack'! Fruit makes you poooooop! [she breaks this highly unflattering rant to ask for my water bottle. stupidly, I hand it over]
me: I'm thirrrrsty! [totally mocking her] I'm thirrrrrrrrrrrrrsty! I'm thirrrrrstyyyyyyyyyyy! Can I have your water?
me: Really, can I have it back?
rio: No! No! Nooooooooooooooooooooo! [at this point she starts laughing maniacally and waving the open water bottle around like she just won the Indy 500, soaking the backseat, the back of my head, and eliminating the last bit of liquid and I really was parched!]
Am I really like that?! You can be honest....
I know you folks have real and serious issues that you're confronting and I support you! That said, I'm getting some real and serious issues of my own rolling here. When I heard somewhere in the din of motherhood that the strike might mean 'more reality television,' well, I didn't know how that would impact me.
So far this month I've developed an unhealthy obsession with Celebrity Apprentice and I'm glued to American Idol right this very second. Can I just say that our entire country is delusional? Not in the harmless way, either.
But I just saw an ad [Bear, please fix the old TiVo. Real-time is going to be the death of me.] for 'Moment of Truth.' Evidently, people are allowing themselves to be hooked up to a lie detector machine and then they are answering the most horrid questions. "Do you think you'll be married to your husband five years from now? Would you cheat on your wife if you knew you wouldn't be caught?"
Seriously? They should just call it, "Fuck Your Marriage Beyond Recognition in Front of Millions." I wonder if they'll be doing updates with Nancy Grace on the people who shoot each other after the show ...
So, um, please? We're totally getting in so deep ... wait, can I tell you that I have no idea who Payton Manning plays for but I live for his commercials?!
Nevermind, I'm already gone.
And your home is 12 long minutes away.
Funny thing? The whole time I'm driving and she's throwing and screaming like she's being flayed, I'm thinking:
I know you can't punish a dog after the fact. They don't get it. You've got to catch them in the act or a correction seems out-of-the-blue to a dog. Is it the same with kids? Aside from the fact that her foreknowledge is making this trip seem like an effing eternity - is a time-out appropriate when we get home? Will she understand why she's on the naughty spot? Should I have given her the time-out on the stairs of the post office? Does she know I wish her carseat was on top of the car? If I'm a Mormon, can I put all 'family members' on top of the car and not get arrested? Or go to hell? More?
Yesterday was horrid. I can only hope today is better. She has 2.5 hours of school. I plan to look in the window and if she is still sporting 'the face', I'm just gonna leave her there. Really, what are they going to do? Tie her outside? No, a teacher will take her home. And call Bear at work.
Yeah. I have a plan.
Stay tuned to your local news.
So, my little monkey is trying out 'Bratty Rat Girl' this week. We get snarky answers to almost everything, lip galore, defiance, and the occasional near tantrum. The fact that she won't throw herself down anywhere dirty really saves me on this one ... but I digress. I had the best ever idea!
We went to IKEA today [Bear will no doubt mention in the comments that I had us drive for an hour in the wrong direction so I repeat - who is the dumbass for letting me give directions? Huh? Huh?] and got cool storage things for her gear. All of it. But it would appear that everything isn't going to fit. So, I'm toying with the idea of:
A. curbing bad behavior swiftly and harshly by
B. throwing her stuff in the mostly empty dumpster in the backyard!
me: Rio, please pick up Candyland
rio: No. I don't want to!
me: You're finished playing with it, and it's all over the place. Please pick it up now.
rio:Wellll, you could pick it up! [by the by, this is what she says all day now... you could do it!]
Strict mommy takes Candyland and chucks it off the deck into the dumpster.
In no time at all everything she owns will fit right in the perfect drawers ... Yeah, tomorrow is going to be awesome!
Today I am sick. Started last night. Sour stomach. Woke up in the middle of the night with false puke alarm. Today -- headache, aches, tired, earaches still ... and I asked Bear if there was any way he could stay home, or come home early.
Nope. As a matter of fact, he'll be staying late tonight.
My question is -- what is my sick policy? Who do I see about staying in bed? How do I request time off for made up events?
On a fun note, I'm going on a big girl sleepover at the end of the month. Next month, I'll be doing a trip to DC, maybe with the nugget, maybe without. The daily benefits of this job are pretty great. It's just the sick-leave that sucks.
It's times like this that really, really make me miss Vermont and Connecticut.
And then, like a beacon in the darkness I saw this. A show where a lawyer might be a chosen prophet and he knows this because GEORGE FREAKING MICHAELS SINGS IT SO! Can it be better? Why yes, it can. GEORGE FREAKING MICHAELS is actually appearing as his own bad self!! Can it get even better? Again, yes! The guy playing the lawyer is Angelina Freakshow Jolie's brother! I'm a little shaky in anticipation.
I can hardly contain my excitement. Tragically, I'm completely serious.
We've been going back and forth on it. I had to open a dispute ... long story short, he was responsible and today he refunded me before being made to. So nice! And I got a nice email, which is not the norm when you're fighting with a stranger. Anyway ...
I promised Rio she could watch 'one of her shows' while I did my morning round of calling all the local Best Buys, Circuit Citys, and Targets. Phone call number 2 YIELDED A GUITAR HERO! 3! FOR Wii!
So, I asked the girl if she would please, please, please hold it for me! She said:
"We're not supposed to, but I totally recognize your voice. It'll be here for you!"
Now I gotta hustle the kid and go get it!
rio: Mommy. My ears hurt ...
me: [instantly awake and in a sweat with prickly fear of the first earache] Okay honey. Can you tell me where it hurts? Or how it hurts?
rio: [standing next to my bed holding a pilfered pack of Big Red from our last plane trip] Um, well, I could just have some gum to feel my ears better ...
The very first thing this morning:
rio: Mommy. Melanie [pre-school teacher] says that I can too wear dark wipstick to school. Dark wipstick is beautiful for my wips....
I have got to put every motherfucking thing I own on higher shelves.....
*I suck because I can't even remember my husband's birthday, and I look at him every single day.
*I suck because I actually made everyone email me their birthdates, loaded them into some random birthday reminder generator, then abandon the site where I had all the wonderful info sent.
*I suck because when I forgot last year, I scribbled a note in my address book, and wrote the wrong date.
*I suck because I should remember to celebrate the birth of one of the most wonderful people presently dancing on the planet.
Happy Birthday, Mar. Without you I'd still be a smack-addicted hooker all Stockholm-syndromed over my pimp.
Um, sniping isn't one of those things that effs with karma, is it?!
Gotta go whip myself ... or give Rio a bang-trim. Six of one, half dozen of another I say ...
I have one. And it effing hurts. Suggestions?! Besides booze, cuz I have that covered.
I had insomnia.
Today he's all bright eyed and bushy tailed. I want to hit him with a broom. I have sleep-envy.
I've always wondered at the political commercials where the candidate is showed from this angle, then that angle, up, down, all around. I've always found the commercials a bit vertiginous but now I understand it.
John Edwards did a commercial with a head-on shot. Solid, looking straight at you, head-on shot. Only thing? He's got a googley eye stare going on. Freaky. Doesn't everyone see it?!
I need a job as a political advisor. Can you see it? [wavy dream sequence...]
Edwards camp. Roomful of honchos. Lots of Brooks Brothers shirtsleeves rolled up. Whiteboards, crumpled papers, lots of stuff on walls with big circles. Busy place ...
honcho 1: We need something totally out of the box.
honcho 2: Do you think we could get Obama to agree to a boxing match?
honcho 3: How about crossing out all the 'n's on Clinton's posters? Again?
h1: No, and no. Now that we have to claim commercials, I think we should shake up the status quo.
h3: Porn angle?
[everyone stares at h3, wondering again why he seems so familiar]
h1: I've got it! We'll shoot a commercial and have him look right into the camera!
[h2 - h47 all murmuring 'Brilliant! Inspired! Emmy material!']
[make-up, prep - don't blink and look sincere, $400 from petty cash for a haircut, and we're rolling!]
h1: Gather around and behold my brilliant moment!
[everyone watches intently. more protestations of the brilliance!]
me: Um, felllllas. Anyone else notice he looks, well, a little slow?
h3: I thought you were here to pour coffee.
h1: Jorge, for the 483 billionth time, she represents the common man!
h3: Shoot, I don't think she's a man!
me: Seriously though. He's doing such a great job reading that his eyes only move enough to be disconcerting.
h3: I think his eyes looks [sic] fine!
h1: Commoner, for the jillionth time it's ground breaking! Epic! Brilliant!
me: Maybe those commercials are done a certain way for a reason...
h3: Woman, you're a man of reason. Lissen to the men-folk and, ah, I'll have a coffee regular. Got any fritters? Or, what, how do you say that in Mexican...
me: You pay me to give you the impression of someone who is not blinded by payola. Not an insider. Not a moron. I'm telling you, he looks crazy! Ask any 'normal' person! Scary, low IQ, crazy ...
[wavy dream sequence ends]
So, where should I send my resume?
It's weird seeing celebrities duke it out, but I like it. Right this second I'm hoping and praying that Carol Alt slaps her silly!
Okay, gotta see who The Donald fires!
1. keep my distance from my mother. although the guilt pretty much steadily nibbles, it's not as bad as the toxic encounters. until she can really change the way she treats me and my family, she's just not allowed to continue to fuck with me.
2. write anything. a short story. a book. a how-to give yourself the best pedicure pamphlet. anything. and try to sell it. to someone besides Bear ...
3. by the time 2008 comes to a close i really have to commit to figuring out my next 'move'. i'm still stuck on it being law school. either unstick from that, or just effing go. any lawyers out there love what they do? loathe it? lemme know!
4. use a quarterly approach to exercise. the first quarter of this year i commit to being in my gym OR equivalent sweating experience at least 3 times a week. next quarter - 4 times a week. by summer, i will have some sort of physical exercise as part of my day monday through friday.
5. i have to fall out of love with beer and cheese. *lesigh* this sucks because i seriously think i love beer and cheese more than anyone with the possible exception of rosanne barr. if i can replace the beer/cheese passion with husband passion, we're all winners, right?!
6. i'm not saying, 'i'm tired' anymore. it's boring. everyone is tired. i'm not saying it anymore.
7. enjoy my time in this non-universe that is stay-at-home-mom. i bet it's fun with staff, but with no staff it's all about cooking, and cleaning, and errand-running, and playdoh, and painting, and not yelling, and feeling crazy ... i'm not recognition driven by any means, but it is mind numbing some days. and then i think about how quickly we'll come to the time when she's only going to need a 20 and the keys to the car. *sniff* enjoy this time. i'm so fortunate to have it.
So, on that note, I'm going to go make playdoh animals. Yesterday we painted rocks that she and Bear dug up under the snow. She's so easy to please, and she's a lot of good fun, and I think if I keep that in the forefront of my mind, the rest is easy. Easier.
1. introduce Rio to White Russians. they have calcium and pretty much guarantee a nap every day.
2. never let one cupcake get past me. not one.
3. only wear really high heels every day. if that means i can't stand for long periods, so be it.
4. hack into Bear's 401 and invest in my fake business.
5. liquidate Rio's school fund and finally get the giant lips I secretly covet.
6. set-up a website where people can pay me to live green and minimize their carbon footprint but i'll take the money and really live like/with Britney Spears Federline Spears.
7. totally sign up for Kentwood foster care and jostle to the front of the line so i get Jamie Lynn's babe when it hits the system in the spring.
8. throw the dishes out the window into the yard after every meal.
9. eat McDonalds griddle cakes or whatever they're called ... the fake pancakes with fake eggs and fake sausage and the whole thing oozes fake syrup. it may not sound so great the way i say it, but Artie from the Stern Show described it in a way that made me want one and it's stuck in my brain still!
10. hmm, the last fantasy resolution....hmm, well, it would have to do with Keanu Reeves, the high heels and the fake syrup, but the end product hasn't come to me yet. gimme time. gimme time.
*Ground Hog Day is our anniversary. I swear. We don't give much thought to anything, if you want to know the truth :)