Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bygone dog days of summer

Ah yes, the dog days of summer. Those lazy afternoons, the inviting dip of the pool, cool of the shade and days folding in and out of each other until one loses track of time.
I loved this summer, but it was zipping by as summers do. I looked at my calendar and realized, summer is nearly over. School starts earlier this year, for my kids at least, Paradise Unified school district (sick bastards) decided that August 11th would give ample time for students to get in enough Xbox hours, swimming and eating their parents out of house and home.
Suddenly I noticed, we had less than 28 days of summer left. I had yet to start my summer to do list:
1. Annual house de-clutter
2. Garage sale of said clutter
3. Finally finding the matches to all those damn socks-makes my Tupperware graveyard look sparse
4. Resurrection of the Tupperware to move on to bigger or recycle places
5. Kids school supply list purchased
6. Family dental visits
7. Family annuals
8. Animal annuals
Already feeling like a failure, I noticed a looming red date marked on my calendar-July 15th-4PM, Lucky dog and Jack the cat to the vet. It was going to be a red-letter day in the Wycoff home, one time at band camp....

Usually, the vet journey is accomplished with less fuss than it was taking my kids to their doctor appointments. Most people can lie to their animals, we are no exception. The fur members of our family at least, fall for our family code phrases such as, “Oops, dropped it,” when we drop a freshly cut vegetable and our intellectually-challenged dog gobbles it up without much thought, except perhaps, after his gobble wondering, Why does steak have an after taste of zucchini?
The operative phrase for going to the vets was, “Let’s get ice cream.” Our dog, Lucky, will bless our house with long spider web streams of saliva upon the mere mention of ice cream. Of course, we lose brownie points from our vet for the number of times, “Let’s get ice cream,” really meant getting ice cream, rocky road to be exact.
We call it creative training.

Today's vet visit would require the same code phrase. The kids enthusiastically belted out the phrase, "Let's get ice cream," and before the words were out, streams of saliva trailed behind our faithful four-legged beast as he lumbered into the back seat of my soccer mom mobile, tongue dangling below his chest, madly wagging his tail. I felt a little ashamed, noting that my car was now the scene of my falsehood crime. Jack, the cat, normally a very docile and congenial cat, darted past the dog, running low and dove, head first into the Hydrangea bush, orange tail whipping madly as he growled and clung to the wispy branches.

Oh Oh. Jack was onto us. Score one for feline brainpower.

While the kids rallied to find a box to capture our reluctant patient, oops, I mean; ice cream compadre, the dog decided to jump from the back seat to the front, simultaneously locking us out of our car while blaring the horn. This really didn’t help put at ease, our somewhat camouflaged feline, who had at that moment decided the roof was a more adequate place to hiss and growl at his would-be captors.

Fifteen minutes later, two harried kids, one wrestled, hissing and yowling cat, four scratches later (one that required stitches), we attempted to reason with our happy wannabe Nascar driver to give up the fight, he wasn’t driving. Ten minutes of locating spare keys, hot dog coaxing and eight gallons of canine drool later; Lucky dog finally relinquished his driving privileges and hopped back into his designated area.

We were now ten minutes late for the “ice cream” appointment. Driving carefully, to avoid the freedom-seeking body slamming cat-in-the-box, we zoomed to the vets. The despairing cry of my children, “The drool, the drool, there’s no escape,” regarding Lucky’s contribution to draught relief sent me into overdrive as I sped down our winding road, trying to outrun gravity. In typical Wycoff fashion, I was covered in fur, blood marks from scratches and now a large, wet, long snail trail of drool, edging its way down my seat, onto my shoulder, threatened to settle into my cleavage. I was going to resemble a modern day tar and feathered prisoner: Coated in drool, blood and fur.

Wisp's of fur flew out the cracked car windows and drool marks clouded every square inch of visibility. To anyone passing us on the road,our car probably resembled an animal control vehicle, complete with Lucky's tongue protruding out the crack of the windows.

Flashing lights and a quick peek in my rear view mirror confirmed that yes; I was getting a speed ticket. Pulling over, I was careful not to roll the window all the way down, explaining to the patient officer our dilemma. Getting off with a warning and lecture on the proper way of safely transporting animals, I felt relieved, though we weren’t out of the woods yet.

Arriving at the vets, the cat finally escaped, popping his head out of the box and getting two talon-fixed paws out ready to strike his next victim. We decided the plan of action was to leave the cat in the car, taking our slobbering, happy dumb dog in first. After a desperate phone call to the Vet, The vet assistants met us in the parking lot, decked out with gloves, and toting a crate, ready for battle.
As my kids escorted our ice-cream bound dog, the vet’s assistant gloved up and helped me with the hissing devil, formally known as Jack the cat. Carefully opening the door, the vets assistant grabbed our feline as I covered, hunkering down behind, praying that #1 the assistant didn't have gas and #2 that I would be able to grab our orange, fabulous flying fur ball.

Finally, Jack was safe in the arms of the vet, the annuals were completed and we reluctantly made our way back to the car or rather, scene of the crime.
Our ride home was considerably less active, our cat growling softly, effects of a small sedative working, while Lucky dog, still reeling with confusion as to why the Vets exam table didn’t taste like ice cream, gave the back seat interior a bath.

Ah summer. The kids and I sit, gorging on rocky road ice cream, Lucky dog continues to lick his bowl clean of ice cream. His aggressive licks tell me that he knows in his pea-brain: If he licks long and hard enough, making an annoying clang of the bowl, more ice cream will somehow magically appear.

And Jack, still angry; has that, weird angry drunk look,sniffs disapprovingly at his bowl of ice cream. His dark cat thoughts are audible with every whip of his tail, "Dog days of summer my arse, next time, I am taking off an arm!"

Friday, May 22, 2009

One time at Band camp...
I woke up and saw that we weren't in Kansas anymore. We are now in the land of greed and money monger celebrities. It shouldn't have shocked me, but now it's infringing on my livelihood and art form!

The lines have been drawn and once again, the greed of the wealthy seems to have waged war on the average person. Since the beginning of America’s love of pop culture there has been a war brewing: Performing artists (some of the world’s wealthiest citizens) have decided to enact The Performance Rights Act, rallied by Bono and other major bank celebs. It has me wondering, what the hell? If we activate this Red Herring of radio stations paying royalties for every song they play, the line in the sand will become very blurred and then, where does it stop?

As it stands, Celebs want royalties every time one of their songs is played on the radio. Radio stations are creatures of habit; they play the same songs (usually the top ten) in the same order for the same duration of time. How do songs get on the top ten? Radio stations play them. Ratings go up or down (according to the taste of us, the average Joe) and then the songs become part of the elite top ten. Listeners run out and buy the CD because they have liked the sound of the artist or group. See? It was the great circle of Americana life.

As a playwright, I’ve used snippets of popular songs during seating, blackouts, scene changes, line deliveries, intermissions, etc. The audience relates to the songs and it moves the play and atmosphere along. I’ve paid for the music and I have made my own CD mixes for each play and if I don’t, every song I’ve suggested in the script is backed by the theaters owning the music, meaning they own a CD or song closely resembling the one I suggested. In addition, the theaters that have been host for my plays have a “blanket insurance” policy. Moreover, they have a clause which states that their patron fee for the showing of my play only covers the bare minimum of the performance (believe me, my royalties average out to be cents, which is why I have a day job). In addition the theaters give credit to the artist by listing the songs and artist in my play programs. Now I’m wondering, do I have to pay an added fee for the chorus of Boy Georges, Do you really want to hurt me? After one of my characters offs her husband with a frying pan? I’m thinking, yes. Even though it’s the theaters track? Definitely yes.
One more thing, on top of the billion other things I have to do just to get something from my twisted brain staged (blog to follow, I promise).

So where does the line in the sand end? While the greedy singing sensation horizon inches its way toward cover bands, Karaoke lounges and Community Theater, Do we sink into the sand or jump for solid ground? It’s bad enough that we have to sing really lame renditions of Happy Birthday in public (including classrooms and soccer fields) because a certain celebrity owns the copyrights to that staple of American culture.

What’s next? Will celebrities make the public put a quarter in their dashboard when the DJ announces, “Next up, PINK with ‘I wanna start a fight,’ please insert .75 or you can listen to three and a half minutes of Enzyte commercials.”

Saturday, May 9, 2009

One time at band camp ...

I looked in the mirror and saw my mothers face, frowning back at me. I used to be embarrassed that I was like my mom. I didn't like that I have her eyes, coloring and her smile . I didn't like that we carry the same gait and our laugh is hearty, complete with snorting, once we get going-- so unladylike! I didn't like that we share a love of throwing a good bash. I really detest that she and I share a weird (if not sick) sense of humor. Upon my announcement of being pregnant with my second, my mom threw in my face, complete with a snide grin, "Karma dear." To this day, I shiver with those words..I know just what kind of trouble I was. I was in deep trouble!

I am truly, my mothers daughter, both physically as well as crediting her for some of my personality quirks. Of course, I can't blame my mom for all my oddities. My strong personality often (here's a shock) gets me in trouble. My discernment becomes blurred when the things I perceive to be in my control, suddenly run through my fingers like water. I am a wanna be slob, but because of my need for control, the struggle between the slob and clean freak turn me into one frazzled woman, unbalanced between my creativity (cooking, writing, baking, playing) and June Cleaver.

On this, the eve of my son's thirteenth birthday and mothers day weekend, I somehow feel very out of control. I have no control over the fact that I am now the shortest person in my house. I am 5' 8" tall. When did this happen? There is a new baritone voice at the other end of our dinner table, in the back of my car, on the other end of the phone. When did this happen? There is men's deodorant in our bathroom, a razor in the medicine cabinet and huge shoes littering the living room. When did this happen?

I truly didn't see this coming. With Emily, my now fifteen-year-old, her thirteenth birthday arrived in party form, lacking these vivid feelings of inadequacy, loss of control and a deep, deep nostalgia of birthday parties past. I have a young man in my house now. No longer the pudgy baby nor little boy, but a lanky young man. A thirteen-year-old who, despite the fact that I hope to come a close second to being as gorgeous as my mother, I am his mother and unintentionally embarrass him. Our relationship has shifted and there are now implied rules of engagement between us.
Lately, he hasn't wanted to hug me. I get the "side" hug or worse, a high five. There is the unwritten rule of boydom that you absolutely cannot acknowledge your mom while you're with your friends, no matter how loud she calls your name. Asking why you should do something repeatedly will probably get you out of doing something your mother wants you to do, especially after she worked a ten-hour day. Hording and eating constantly is a good method of keeping your mother out of your room, because what the hell is that smell? You must have at least four friends over (who sound like 'Dory' from Finding Nemo because their voices are all changing) to play endless hours of Xbox 360 and farting is required. This also helps to keep the nosey mother out of your room. Karma, it's a bitch.

I've had my share of being embarrassed by him too. As a precocious three-year-old, he marched up to our Pastor's wife and announced that he had a penis and she had a vagina.
He was a hard baby. Nothing stayed down, he spit everything up, usually, I'd be prepared. During an outing with college friends, I was showing them some of the sights of Chico. Nine-month-old Joshua projectile spit from his car-seat, instantly spraying my friends and the windshield. I literally waited for his head to spin around, thinking he was possessed.
During an over-the-hill party for a friend, a 'Fart' book was read aloud. One of the pages read, "Girls don't fart" and an animation of a girl swinging, farting and birds falling out of the tree, dead. Joshua stands up and announces, "My mom farts! She is the biggest farter in our house. Sometimes, her farts are so loud, they shake the house!"

Ahhh yes, memories. Tomorrow, I will have four farting, eating, loud teenage boys in my house. My mothers day encompasses rousing pizza-hung over and XBox play-off boys with pancakes, hopefully getting them all out of bed before noon, so I can enjoy my Mothers day. My daughter has abandoned me and has resolved to house sit for a friend. The only consolation is that my fridge is full and my bedroom is my sanctuary. I have a large TV, DVD player and I am not afraid to use it. Though my bedroom lock has been picked many times by my dear kids, I know for a fact that the boy party will not intrude.

Two weeks ago, I was in the realms of my shower experience, shaving, shampoo-ing and singing, at the top of my lungs, Stings 'Roxanne.' Little had I known that four farting, hording, eating boys had moved their Xbox play-offs into my room. After all, I had the bigger TV. Grossly involved in their game, the boys ignored my singing antics (only reserved for the shower) and continued with their game. Meanwhile, I finished my shower, towelled off and strolled, stark naked to my bed, to retrieve my robe.

Needless to say, I had some esplainin to do and after several giggles from the farting, eating and hording boys and groans from my poor son, I made the necessary apologies and rapid phone calls to parents.

Yes, as I look into the mirror, I really have become my mom. My son is thirteen as of now, midnight. Hopefully, I will get to endure thirteen trillion more memories. As for now, this moment, I think I will enjoy a bit of Karma and get my video camera ready for postings of "four teenage boys asleep," on Youtube. Karma. Makes me chuckle complete with snorting!

Happy mothers day!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

One time at band camp...

I reflected and finally dealt with the losses I've had to endure of late: Loss of a cell phone, loss of my youth and loss of a childhood/lifelong friend. Of course most people feel the sting of loss and grief in their life during the holidays and I was no exception.

My cell phone committed suicide, tired of the abuse it took during its short life, took a final plunge into Bidwell creek from its lofty perch atop my bike shorts. Guess it finally reached the end of its rope (or in this case, signal), when I downloaded naughty pics from my girls weekend in Reno. Hey, Patron really does make your clothes fall off. Perhaps my cell, my precious was sick of the teenage slobber and verbiage when my kids borrowed it? Possibly, it became bored with all the telemarketers from colleges wooing my straight-A high school sophomore? Maybe it was just sick of my eclectic play list?Whatever the reason, my precious was no more and like Homer Simpson, I wailed, "Dough!" as it swan dove over the bridge into the icy depths of Bidwell Creek last Monday. One minute, connected to my world, the next, seemingly lost. Having to rely on my home phone dealt me a blow. My teens have no secretarial skills:

"Mom, someone called." Let the interrogation begin:

"Was it a man or a woman?"

"I dunno."

"Well, was it one of my girlfriends, like Meg? Or Tonya? How about ,Auntie Fran, Bri, Kathie or Kelly?"

"I dunno, guess it was a girl."

"Was she from my work maybe? Was it Dor, my boss?"

"I dunno."

"Was she Auntie Lynn or Grandma?"

"I dunno, guess they'll call back."

"Oh, did you get the number?"

"What number?"

"Never mind."

Seriously. This conversation nearly had me in an early grave and gave me more grey hair to hide amongst the lagging blond streaks. My friend and hairdresser extraordinaire Stephanie weaves the multitude of white(grey) into the blond and adds Carmel, thus giving me the illusion (and I use this term loosely) of being a young woman, of mysterious age, or so I told myself. Apparently the mystery was solved and my white hair gave away my maturity as my friends sauntered into a dance club, giggling when the bouncers checked their ID with humorous scrutiny. I however got the go ahead wave. How insulting! Not even a bat of an eye, just the old, "Go ahead," and wave. Defeated I skulked into the dance floor. However this latest deflation kind of goes with the series of losses and downtrodden mindsets.

David's death leaves me spiritually numb. He is the third friend I have lost in two years.

Like so many of my golden friends, Dave and I grew up in the United Methodist church in Santa Rosa, having been inducted into the close-knit church families. We'd camp together along with thirty or so other families. We went on ski trips, hiked and picnicked at Annadale Park,backpacked through the Sierras, roller skated at Cal Skate, slurped ice-cream Earthquakes at Swensens, snuck into movies, attended the same schools and Junior college, griped about the injustice of teachers and their politics and always intermingled. The best way to describe our relationship: Rolling, repetitive waves of childhood fun, youth group activities and general good times.

Dave was my brother, both spiritually and personally as we found a kindred spirit in our silliness and love of nature at an early age. One of our favorite pastimes was to compete in pranks and jokes. Unfortunately, many people didn't get our humor and we'd be the only two hyenas in the group. If only to find camaraderie rolling on the floor, tears streaming, laughing. Yet we also shared a love of essays and poems by a modge podge of writers.
We'd find each other often on weekends, me, leading my horse Samantha, Dave wandering, at the field near what is today, a junior high school in Rincon Valley and we'd just walk, shortly greeting each other as if we had caught each other in some awful crime, of wandering and then just hike through the field. In a way, recognizing and embracing each others struggle of wanting the solitude life like Thoreau, yet knowing we were social beings. Caught in between to insure our torturous teen existence (I suspect that is why we both worked very hard at entertaining each other and others, sort of fooling ourselves to ensure that we were "normal").

During early college days, we'd bump into each other on Santa Rosa Junior College campus, reminisce about days gone by, jokes gone good, bad or ugly and then our lives, like our childhood friendship, dissipated into the mists of growing up and apart. I'd catch up with Dave now and again via Christmas cards,phone calls, visits back home and news from worried parents.

Parents, no matter how much you try to teach them, will always and forever worry. Especially it seemed, our set of folks. Our youth group was so close, a vestibule of love and sharing which poured and seeped into individual lives, in a time when one is supposed to be discovering independence; our youth group grew closer, tighter and involved parents and clergy alike. It wasn't a cult,yet had those facets; a commune of love and a large sense of extended families. I knew in my heart that if I had an issue with my parents (which, I had a lot, just like any teen), I could go to any of my friends parents and share without judgment. What I percieved as little tragedies of teen drama would seep out and disturb the peaceful pond of our little haven. But in all, those relationships have molded who I am today, taught me about the love of Christ, the fellowship of belonging and the rules of engagement with the opposite sex. Those feelings of warmth and love will never be replaced, no matter how hard I try. I can only pray that my kids will embrace the hope of similar friendships in their church upbringing.

After my first move away from my hometown, I went through mourning and actual with drawls from those relationships. Trying in vain to recapture those warm and fuzzy feelings, but no one could ever replace those friends, the golden friends of my childhood and youth. One very callous person even suggested that I stop trying, stating, "You will never, ever find friends that you are close to as you had as a kid. Just deal with it, grow up and settle that you may find one or even two very poor substitutes that you can go to a movie with now and again, but you'll never have a group of good friends like that again." Ouch! Looking back, I can clearly see that this person had and still has issues in their own relationships.

Like anyone in my early twenties, I'd make the annual pilgrimage to my homestead for holidays, as a young bride, squeezing in my husbands family to accommodate the guilty visits of relatives. Filtering in time in for home-bound college and youth-group friends became more and more difficult as our ever extending family demands enveloped the short visit like thunderheads, bullies; rolling over a grassy meadow, pushing the sun away. We all tried and for some, the attempts paid off and they are, as proof on their face book and my space pages, close as ever.

As fate would have it, Dave swept into my life again, dating my step-sister for a short while and giving all of us the best extension of self: His daughter Lexi. Lexi is just a few months apart from my son. As parenthood overtook our lives, our friendship rekindled and we embarked upon revisits of old stomping grounds; introducing our kids to Swensens earthquakes, Roller skates and ice skates, picnics at Annadale, birthday parties and shared family gatherings. For an all too brief time, our silliness re-ignited and though it wasn't exactly the same as when we were kids and youth it came a close second. His troubled relationship with my step-sister strained the extended relationships and made it difficult to cut through the bull. Our kids grew up and apart, family gatherings were less frequented and again, the relationship dissipated into annual Christmas greetings and phone calls.

Running through Annadale the morning of Dave's memorial left liminol and sharp images folded through-out my memories, as most memories are. We remember as if on rewind, fastforward or pause and that is the way I will always remember life with Dave: Lexi and Josh with bright orange water wings toddling into the shallows of Spring lake. Dave and I in our teens, jumping off the lift during a youth ski trip, just because there was a ginormous pile of snow below us and well, we just had to do it, nearly killing ourselves but rendering us helpless, both from the wind being knocked out and our laughter consuming us. Introducing our kids to kite flying at Salmon creek. Cutting fourth period high school business class (which happened to be taught by one of my future in-laws) and stealing away to Perry's deli. During another cut day, on a dare, jetting off to indulge in SF's Ghiradelli hot fudge sundaes. Walking barefoot on Queen Willemina's lawn in SF directly after Dave's chronic illness diagnosis. We munched on carrot sticks and enjoyed a rare warm day. His teasing, calling my kids, "Anne-and-Tomically correct" putting my name and my husbands together-ha ha! The last conversation I had with Dave: Debating whether or not to put in my garden this year. I vehemently didn't want to battle the critters and possible fire issues, but Dave urged, having of late becoming quite the avid Gardner. My tomato plants are budding. I hopefully gaze, now in anticipation, as small bees do their thing and I will be able to make Christmas salsa, yet another one of Dave's recipes.

In some ways, I concede to affirm that once callous friend's prediciton: No, I will never have the friendships nor friends for that matter I had in my childhood or youth. Being the social creature I am, my friends today are soul sisters and brothers, I have found during some of the most challenging aspects of my life (rather I think, they have found me as God sent them). I probably wouldn't have had the wisdom nor discernment in my childhood or youth to befriend such treasures of souls. Yet as the recent trip to Daves memorial brought those golden friends together again, I truly miss those times of yesteryear.

I mourn Dave as I mourn my other friends who have passed; complete heartache, but his death leaves a deeper wound. I can only sum it up to the feeling I get when I watch the end of Black Beauty: In dreamlike state, the horse settles in his old age, lying under the shade tree gazing over the pasture he and his friends used to run free in and he remembers as if it were yesterday; carefree, mane and tail flying, playing and romping. Knowing that their friendship is forever.

I can almost empathize the deep ache and sadness the disciples had for Jesus's death, yet they hadn't the knowledge I have, that I will see my brother again.
There is nothing more to say other than my poor attempt of rambling in the ache of missing my friend and friends.
I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from

Henry David Thoreau

As surely as the sunset in my latest November
shall translate me to the ethereal world,
and remind me of the ruddy morning of youth;
as surely as the last strain of music which falls on my decaying ear
shall make age to be forgotten,
or, in short, the manifold influences of nature
survive during the term of our natural life,
so surely my Friend shall forever be my Friend,
and reflect a ray of God to me,
and time shall foster and adorn and consecrate our Friendship,
no less than the ruins of temples.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

One Time At Band Camp

One time at band camp…

I went to the movies with my teenagers. OK, scratch that, I was the driver to the movies for my teenagers and their horde of eating machines. This was the second time in a week that I’ve become aware of my nerdiness. Last Sunday, I went down to my friend Chucky’s new Tattoo studio and there I was, in all my marmish glory: Mom jeans, no makeup ( I figured I would be crying since this time, I would be sober during my inking), a very ugly KISS t-shirt. I Completed look with a monolith mom clip in my hair to keep it off the vulnerable area. And, there they were; Chucky, his apprentice and a friend…all tatted up and smiling. Great! Even if I did entertain thoughts of chickening out of this escapade into mid-life crisis, I’d have to suck it up and carry through. Forget about crying or wincing. I had to take it like a man. I did. Not one sound did I make, nor any muscle moved. With the help of my Lil’ Wayne, Black-Eyed Peas, Ray, Smash Mouth, Hootie, Cold Play, music… I took it like a woman. However, though I was tough and as my friend Jess said, “I always said you had ovaries of steel,” I still didn’t come off as one of them. I was still (the now tatted mom), in mom jeans with mom hair and a really big, goofy triumphant smile as if I had run yet another marathon. Plus, while cracking a joke about woman pain versus man pain, I snorted, which really startled the macho men. Shocked, they just stared at me, as if I had made some really poor off-color joke, which probably would have gone over better as opposed to my poor attempt at tattoo humor and snort laugh. I’m pretty sure after my sheepish departure, they were laughing.

You can take the mom-jeans off the nerd, but the nerd will forever be present, ready to snort laugh at the drop of a slapstick bit, ready to “join in” a conversation no mother should ever, ever think about joining into and ready to call her teenagers “honey” in front of their friends. So, there I was, back at band camp, driving gum smacking, giggling, “Whatever,” and “Oh my God, no he didn’t” lamenting teens to the movies. I was supposed to have met some friends, but they flaked and there I was, banished from the teenage wasteland of the upper rows and into the depths of dotted single seats a dozen rows in front. Obligingly, I took my seat next to another lonely old lady. As the infomercials and previews popped onto the screen, I desperately repeated in silence my personal ‘no laughing out loud’ mantra.

My laughter has been given many a grace period from many people. Though I try to abstain from a total outbreak of snorting, sometimes, I just can’t help it. It starts off with low giggling, a stifling of snorts and then out right belly laughter, along with the snorting. Once committed to the comedic cause of the moment, it’s a futile to stop it. The animal known as my laugh is loose and running amuck. Believe me, my family has attempted to stop the laughter in its tracks with, a harsh, “Shh,” hand gestures and “Mom, really, please be quiet!” Finally in desperation of actually hearing the movie or conversation, they demand I leave the room. It’s gotten so terrible; they have even suggested an intervention. The thought of a laughter intervention sends me into a tizzy and I roll on the floor, now at the age where gaseous eruptions join in the horrific display of nerdom. Imagining a room full of my family and friends, sitting and judging, trying to hold me down as they show slapstick, recant family jokes and comedy routines and make me admit the wrongs my laughter has caused them, the dinners I ruined, the family gatherings and the holidays I will never be invited to again, unless I seek help. My imagination runs over as I finally leave the room, drooling, tears streaming, on all fours and still laughing down the hall. My family turns up the volume or declares a do-over for their conversation before they were so rudely interrupted by the hyena-mom.

So there I sat, trying desperately to stifle my giggles and my reluctant movie-partner leaned over to “Shhh” me. Familiar with this term, I apologized and was abruptly “Shh-ed” again. The stiff patron attempted to teach me movie etiquette five times. A gruff gentleman behind us became so aggravated with her disciplinary actions, he told her to close her pie hole. Yes, he actually used the term, “Pie-hole.” This term sent my flash-drive into overdrive as it scanned memories and imagination coming up with a Jackie Gleason character telling Alice to, “Shut your pie hole.” Immediately, Alice reaches into the ice box and throws a pie in Jackie’s face. Of course, this just added to my already delicate state of being and my giggling immediately turned into quiet snorts. An entire row of patrons glowered at me and I was”Shh-ed” yet again from Miss Frigidaire. Mr. Pie hole leaned over and actually told us he would escort us from the movie if we both didn’t shut our ‘Pie-holes.’ The echoing snort broke out before I could grab it back, Miss Frigidaire tried in vain to declare that she and I weren’t together and Mr. Pie Hole actually started to shake his fist at us. To which she of course contested that he was threatening her and he of course countered with, “Oh ya wanna see a threat, huh?” Shaking both fists and telling her again to, “Shut her pie hole.”

The shaking of both fists did it, reminding me of an Popeye cartoon releasing the full-on nerd snort laugh from me and causing some patrons to join in the laughter and a few others to become angry. I could hear my daughters’ voice, somehow through the lofted noise that I created, mumbling, “Please mom leave, just leave, please mom, leave, now, leave…” Before I could leave, an usher came to our seats and escorted Miss Frigidaire, Mr. Pie Hole, his wife and I out of the movie. On the way to the lobby, Mr. Pie hole demanded I pay their movie tickets without their senior discount of course and Miss Frigidaire declared that she wasn’t a senior. To which, you guessed it, Jackie Gleason reincarnated told her to, “Shut her pie hole.” This sent me into my usual bout of snort laughter. Studying the man through my now red, tear streaked face, I would gather this is a guy who is a couch jockey, only eats out on coupon days and thinks a great anniversary present is a vacuum. Miss Frigidaire huffed off into her Honda Element. Mr. Pie Hole jetted out the door, wife following exactly ten paces behind to what I would assume to be Dodge.

My friends showed up just as the Pie Holes were leaving. After enlightening them as to why we wouldn’t be going back into the movie theater until the kiddies got out, we decided to do the next best thing: People watch at Walmart. See? Nerds. We usually travel in packs.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Night stands and Naughty thoughts

The night stand has such an innocent name. Most people have a night stand as it comes with the bedroom furniture. Since a young age, the "night stand" had revealed itself to me in its true form as the naughty drawer (I was visiting a relatives home, snooping), evoking strange thoughts and new ideas.

Being married since the ice age, we have a naughty drawer. Most couples who have been together for any number of years have such a drawer. While single, most naughty drawers contain contraceptives, lotions, candles and perhaps a thong or two. Even in pubescent newlywed bliss and blindness, the combined items of individual sexuality can be found in the naughty drawer. The proximity of the naughty drawer is of utmost importance. In the heat of the moment, no one wants to get out of the warm bed and walk, exposed, across the room or into the next and grab whatever is necessary to carry out a night of passion. It the same concept as to who loses the bet and has to sleep in the wet spot.

As relationships age, so do the items in the naughty drawer. Since the birth of our children, we use it as a make shift rite aide; flashlights, candles, massage oils, cold medications, earplugs, Kleenex, some old Christmas stocking stuffers I seem to annually misplace, an industrial-sized padlock for our bedroom door and a boom box. BB King’s opening serenade is immediately followed by several groans from our teens bedrooms, "EWWWWW! Not again!" Why be so obvious? The reasoning is simple: To insure celibacy in our teenagers (we are still counting on the gross factor of humping parents to dance in their heads and that their libidos haven’t quite kicked in) and self preservation. Long ago in a galaxy far away, our children were safely tucked into the young hours of the evening. My precocious five-year old daughter, crawled out of bed, answered a phone call from my sister and when asked where I was and what I was doing, answered, "She and daddy are breathing, giggling and talking in their bedroom." We will never live it down. To this day, my sister will call, snickering, asking if she is interrupting any breathing and talking sessions.

As the anthology of our naughty drawer spans before my marital lifetime, I can see into the future and the contents turning it back into it's former self: A night stand. The use of romantic enhancements will evaporate into accumulating rite aide items with the added old fart shopping list: Ben Gay, Viagra, KY jelly, Hemorrhoid cream, reading glasses, ace bandages, teeth and large cotton granny undies. Being a frugal person and I would assume in my old age, I’ll probably use my former thongs for dusting. Waste not, want not.

Currently our naughty drawer has evolved into something that is desperately kept from our kids, therefore it is also secured. When we get in the mood, we secure our bedroom door, and upload the latest BB King CD. Our new strategy dictates to wait five minutes for the inevitable knock from our nosey teenagers who were perfectly content on their computers and game boys just moments before. We answer gruffly, telling them we are busy and turn up the volume, anxiously awaiting for the, "Ewwww, not again" groans.Satisfied that we have a few moments of uninterrupted bliss, we turn down the lights, fold back the covers and crawl into bed. My husband reaches into the naughty drawer to retrieve our small ice chest. As our fingers touch through the ice, we simultaneously grasp our dove bars. Anxiously unwrapping the bars, we bite through the chocolate, sigh satisfactorily and savor the realization that we have an entire carton at our disposal, thus ensuring at least ten minutes of rapture.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A new day

A new day which has long awaited is coming to our country. Tomorrow, January 20th, Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th President of our United States. He offers to our country a new face, both young and hopeful, yet also determined to transform the country into a more united states. On that note, it seems this country; our wonderful United States has, in its usual unintentional, big, boisterous American way, gone into Obamanic Thrust. We are united alright; united in outlandish and crass showmanship that most of our adversaries and allies detest us for.

The new rage for Presidential inauguration spectators are various souvenirs of hats, flags, pins, buttons, iPods, cell phone bling and unmentionables. You can even go online and buy from Amazon, a piece of Presidential history. I would imagine in just a few short days, the onset of YouTube images of Obama-girl in her sparkled Obama thong, totting safe sex amenities will break any firewall and commence the onset of waterhole gossip and office forwards. Though I would agree, the best marketing tactics are those presented by opportunity, it is over-the-top Obamania.

In addition, our Nations capital is now overrun by the throngs of appearances by the big wigs of the music industry, and celebs (not to mention those artists who outwardly shout to the left of politics). Sort of an Oxy-moron mantra of the man who professes that he wants to unite us without the ramifications of class, age, sex, creed, race, lifestyle or political agendas.

The parties started last week upon the arrival of several celebrities, the only ones who could afford the $1000 a night hotel rooms. Even the Jonas Brothers, who in my humble opinion, can’t sing worth beans are anticipated to show up and at least gyrate their way into history. In all our celebration and overboard hoopla, perhaps we have done a disservice for our new President intent on uniting this country? Do we really need to get the latest Botox treatment just for our spot on the mall, even though we would be watching with thousands of our countryman our new Presidents face across a large screen? I don’t know about you, but the last person I’d want to stand next to during a Presidential inauguration is someone whom I have seen plastered across the media as one who has acted badly in public, whose inauguration attire probably exceeds my salary, spends their holidays not with their families but in St Croix, has dogs instead of children because of choice and has said they want change, hope and smart politics and yet doesn’t reflect that in their own life. It is indeed a celebration, but are we celebrating in bad form?

I find it interesting that this newly elected President, the first black President of our country unintentionally overshadowed this precious day, Martin Luther King Junior Day. Though there are celebrations that this country has always held for MLK day, it almost seems underscored by all the hoopla of President-elect Obama’s inauguration. Barack Obama didn’t elect (excuse the pun) this date of the Presidential term. And I would venture to say that Martin Luther King Junior wouldn’t have it any other way. To be outshined by the first black President of the United States, is what Martin Luther King Junior had envisioned in his, ‘I have a Dream’ speech almost 46 years ago.

I didn’t vote for Mister Obama, in fact I didn’t vote for a president this year. So, I resolve to uphold my oath to myself that date in November, seemingly so long ago: That I will continue to pray for this dynamic man and his family. That he continues to look to our God for answers and that he continues to uphold what his vision set for him to do and I pray that our forefathers, including Doctor Martin Luther King Junior, continue to have great and enormous influence on any decision President-elect Obama makes. It's a new day in this country and no matter who you voted for, the best thing to do right now is pray and have confidence that our fellow countryman (and women), have voted for the best of the best.
And afterall this pomp and circumstance, ridicules celebrity hoopla dies down, Obama can get to work.
Oh-and one more thing, a sign that Obama is going to do well in his new job, he looks to one of the wisest people in his life: On several occasions, when the media verbiage crossed and he and his wife disagreed, he looked to his wife and said in quiet resolve, “Yes dear.”