Monday, February 25, 2013

The Reason Beer Exists

I was feeling back into the swing of things this morning. I'd gotten up early, made breakfast burritos, and got Liam to school with his hair combed. I treated myself to a little victory coffee with Finn, ran some errands, and worked on some projects at home. I'd lost track of time a little bit and had to wake Finn up from his nap quickly to go pick up Liam from school. No snack, fresh diaper, or even shoes for baby Finn, but hey, I'd had a flawless morning so far, so what's one little hiccup? (sidenote: What do you think about foreshadowing? Annoying right? Just tell the fucking story!!)

I dashed to school, apologized for being tardy, and loaded up the boys. Liam was extra messy, but hey, we were headed straight home right? (stop it)

Why are we stopped?
I had to get gas so we took a quick detour downtown. I came to a stop at the intersection of Fitch and First Street when the car lost power. This happens a lot. Inexplicably the mini-van goes on strike now and then. Usually it happens at stops like this but occasionally it happens in the fast lane on 101. Very exciting. I put it in park and gave the key a turn but nothing happened. A car pulled up behind me so I pushed the button to roll down the window so I could wave her around, but nothing happened. I put on the emergency lights....nada. I don't know much about cars but that didn't seem like a good sign. The emergency lights always work, right? Isn't that the point? I opened the door and waved her around. She pulled up beside us and asked if everything was all right? I said "yes" with so little confidence I think I saw her cross herself as she drove off.

I decided to try the universal sign for "can you help me push my mini-van with two kids in it" which is to start doing it by yourself. Two construction workers nearby recognized the universal sign and jumped to my aid. Once I had it parked I began to assess: One dead car two miles from home. Two hungry tired boys, one without shoes. Among our assets were a diaper bag, one ERGObaby, one pacifier, and a three-day old balloon. Obviously we needed to go out for lunch.

I loaded Finn into the ERGObaby. We had only used it once before when he was a fraction of his current size and just never bothered again because he hated it. His heart hadn't grown fonder with absence. I had him pretty well secured in the thing but I couldn't buckle the crucial strap across my back so it hung on me liked a snapped brassiere. In order to keep him from falling out I had to keep my back arched and my arms spread out behind me like I was miming a Superman cape. I could have asked the construction workers to "snap me up" but, well, they were construction workers, and I was in no state to press my luck.

We headed out to The Wurst of course. Nothing says, "daddy's sorry for having a shitty car" better than hot dogs, fries, and ice cream. We started down First Street toward the downtown square and Liam was LOVING IT. He had his new best friend "Banoon" in tow which was his constant companion since they'd met on Saturday and he could not live without. But why would he have to? We were just walking through the downtown area on a really windy day? (I promise that's it, I'll stop)

New balloons are great. When a kid loses his grip on a new balloon it floats away as he screams to the heavens. Three day old balloons aren't so great. They hover just a few inches off the ground like little round, quadriplegic pet pugs that can levitate. Liam lost his grip on Banoon half way across the crosswalk on the busy intersection of Center and Matheson. He never got more than a few feet away from me gave as I gave the universal "ALL CARS CEASE FORWARD MOTION NOW" sign, which is to flail your arms in the air screaming "STOP" while a pissed off one-year-old hangs precariously from your loose ERGObaby.

Yes, I made her take our picture
A brave citizen managed to overrun Liam in his hysterics and stomped on Banoon's string. Liam of course assumed this stranger was trying to kidnap Banoon and his howls tripled in volume and desperation. I tried to thank the stranger but I don't think he heard me.

I decided it was time to stop cutting corners. I tied Banoon to the belt loop in Liam's corduroys and stopped the next woman in her forties (i.e. likely to be either a mother or a least an aunt) She was happy to help me fasten my bra strap. After that the trip to The Wurst was uneventful. I texted Erin the car's location so she could retrieve the boys' seats, as well as our location so she could retrieve us. Luckily she was about to take lunch too so we ordered for her.

Ben Franklin is often credited with the quote "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy". Historians say he's not the author of that line, but I've always liked it nonetheless. The reason beer exists is an enigma. It's true that the fermentation of sugar into alcohol is a beautiful, natural process, that occurs so easily and with little intervention or coaxing. This fact has been exploited by man long before recorded history and thrives to this day. Scientists do a poor job of accounting for alcohol's existence and its purpose in nature, but I think that's because scientists have trouble meeting girls, and therefore don't have kids. To the rest of us its purpose is obvious.

That's my second pint

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Harrowing Tale of Heart Breaking Sacrifice

With the rainy season winding down I figured it was just about time I scrambled onto the roof and cleaned out the gutters. The cool thing about cleaning your rain gutters in February is the leaves have all decayed and become a kind of pulpy-grainy-dense mud. Most of this has to be scooped out with one hand while cursing, but a small portion can just be smooshed through the rusted sections that have cracked and split open.

I'd gotten three quarters of the way around and was working on a precarious corner when I caught a movement in the corner of my eye. A small, chubby, flannel-jammied movement.

It took me a split second to size up the situation. Erin, most likely feeling guilty knowing the father of her children was risking life and manicure on a nasty job, decided to do some chores around the house herself. She sent the boys to the back deck to play but didn't check to see that the side gate was shut (I was later blamed). Finn, discovering this, decided it was his chance to really stretch his legs and was bolting toward our busy street with his arms tucked up, sprinting forward, mouth open, looking oddly like the T-Rex from 'Jurassic Park'.

So pop quiz hot shot:  What do you do?!

Option 1: Find a soft spot to land. Soft enough that you'll at least have one working leg after impact. The bark mulch doesn't look too bad. There's the half wine barrel with the dead lavender. That would shorten the fall by a foot and a half but that's pretty far. You could dangle from the edge of the roof first but there's no way that rain gutter is going to hold you. Why isn't that thing in better shape??!!

Option 2: Scream for help.

I went with option 2 while contemplating option 1.  Erin didn't hear me but Finn did and thought it was hilarious. Fortunately, the neighbor across the street also heard me.  She sized up the situation even faster than I did, but to be fair my blood-curdling screams were a bit of a give away.

I sheepishly thanked her and called Erin on my cell to "please come and get Finn".  "Oh shit!" Erin said and dashed out to the front yard to do some sheepish thanking herself. I guess I could have first told her on the phone that Finn was fine, but I'm a vengeful bastard when my pride is hurt.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My St. Valentine's Day Massacre

Wait, Valentine's Day over? Dammit. I totally missed it.

After last year's miscommunication over how I felt about Valentine's Day (as in, I thought I'd at least get an It's It, but...I didn't), and several warnings from my sweetheart about how he hates all the commercial hullabaloo that surrounds the day, I was determined to make the day my own. I'd initially said that we didn't need to bother doing anything, but then I thought about it: what's wrong with a day dedicated to showing the person you love how you feel about them? The Hallmarkiness can be ignored, but the holiday itself isn't going to just go away. So why not make it just a tiny bit special - minus the shiny boxed crap candy and overpriced carnations? A home cooked meal, some daffodils ripped from the neighbor's yard, and a bottle of bubbles are all easy enough. I started developing a speech about not being a Valenscrooge, and "if you did shit like this all the time* it wouldn't make me want it on this one day...but would it kill you to just give me this one day? Just this ONE DAAAAAY?!?!" Luckily I didn't get a chance to throw that tantrum.

Instead, I woke up at 4:30am on The Big Day after a night of gluttonous guilty-pleasure snacking with girlfriends. When I woke up in the wee hours, I didn't feel so well, but I assumed it was the overindulging.

Turns out, it was the stomach flu.

After I'd seen the other side of snacks like red licorice and chili con queso nacho cheese dip, I emailed my boyfriend and said "I just threw up SO MUCH!" Then I collapsed into my bed and passed out into a fever-riddled sleep, only occasionally waking for more vomiting.

Luckily I managed to get all of the unpleasantries out of the way before I had to pick up my kids from school the following afternoon, but the lack of eating and all of that sleeping had left me exhausted. The kids were given strict instructions to watch as many movies as they wanted, and I settled in on the couch with my book so as to appear at least somewhat involved.

To make up the lazy Friday afternoon and Saturday morning to them, we went to see some music at the Hootenanny on Saturday afternoon, and then had a big huge beach day on Sunday. About 20 minutes after we'd arrived at the beach, Evie climbed into my lap. Mother. Fucker., I thought. If this kid ever stops moving, it means she's sick. After an hour or so of lap time, she and I retired to the back of Paulie's truck, where she napped for the rest of the day. Once home, she napped more - almost straight through until 6 this morning, in fact, at which point she threw up, slept for another hour, and then got up asking for an egg pancake. I was so thrilled that she was hungry I almost didn't notice that her egg pancake had self-formed itself into a sweet heart shape.

But I did notice it. Which reminded me of the time the same thing happened the first time I made breakfast when Paul and I were in Hawaii. Which made me think of Paulie, and hearts. Which made me realize that I'd totally missed Valentine's Day! By five days! Good god.

Then I realized that my boyfriend probably thinks he's off the hook since I was sick and delirious on his most-hated holiday.** That man has another thing coming, oh yes he does. I'm chilling a bottle of Domaine Carneros right this very second that I will force him to share with me while eating cheeses and breads and other delicious frivolous snacks as we cuddle on the couch watching a romantic comedy of my choosing on an evening when I've shaven my legs and put on underwear with no rips, weird stains or malfunctioning elastic in them.

BAM! I'll show him!

* To be fair, we do cook a lot, and we drink a lot of bubbles. But not with any sort of doe-eyed romantic intentions; just for the simple purpose of carrying on the important functions of eating and drinking bubbles.

** I can't confirm that this is his most-hated holiday. He seems to hate all of the holidays. Except for the ones I hate - he likes those.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Man Check

The fathers of sons know what this is, but most women don't. A "man check" is when a small boy strolls innocently up to his father, balls up his tiny fist, and in one lightning quick swing confirms that daddy is, in fact, a man. For some reason it seems to be just a boy thing. I don't hear of girls doing this to their fathers.  This is mostly likely due to the fact that boys are evil and girls are good, but I believe there's a larger story behind it. I think it's some kind of residual survival instinct left over from cave man days, like lactational amenorrhea or morning breath, where nature imposes a kind of automatic "family planning" that keep adults from procreating long enough to safely ween their young.

Obviously hurting children is an abominable act that I would NEVER in a million years condone. But when one is on the receiving end of a man check there's a fleeting moment, just a flash, where drop kicking your precious child seems completely justified. Fortunately this never happens because A) the rational, loving, nurturing part of the brain takes over quickly and B) you're completely incapacitated for anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes depending on accuracy.

Sadly my boys are balls-on accurate every time. They can nail me with precision using their fists, their heads, knees, elbows, a broom, a bicycle, and one time even a yo-yo. Pretty impressive. Their preferred method however is the under-the-covers kick.  

When they were newborns we avoided any bed sharing. Bedtime meant you went in your cage where you were safe from the world and daddy's nads were safe from you. But now that they're older and have figured out how doorknobs work, late-night bed sharing is an inevitability, and with it comes the crotch walloping .  

You'd think that while lying along side them that their height would be a factor, but nature has figured that one out too. When they're toddlers they prefer to cuddle low, with their heads just about armpit level and their feet at coin purse level. As they get older and their heads get proportionally smaller, they prefer pillows so they scoot up a little higher. Higher head means higher feet which means that every little move they make is followed by a quick WHAM! WHAM! double-shot to the wedding tackle. That nature is a crafty bitch. 

Speaking of crafty bitches forget about any sympathy from your dearly beloved. I can't offer any advice with regard to avoiding the karate kicks. It's impossible. I once even slept with my hands over my junk in a desperate move to get through the night unscathed and woke to find Liam was working away at my cupped hands with his little bare feet, trying to prise them open like an oyster. Resistance is futile. The only advice I can give is do NOT lash out at your wife for laughing every time (women think it's hysterical). This will open up the "You don't know what pain is!" can of worms and that's a fight no man has won.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Dancing Around the Stars

**SPOILER ALERT: If you have never seen the 1987 vampire hit The Lost Boys, and plan on seeing it some day, DO NOT read the third paragraph of this blog post. You have been warned. Proceed.


I have this thing about celebrities. It isn't your usual 'small town girl gets starstruck' kind of thing. It's more that whenever I get the chance to meet someone famous, I try to be super chill around them and treat them like normal people. The only problem is, what actually ends up happening is that I come across as kind asshole.

Take the time I was a hostess at Big Boy in Paw Paw, Michigan. Who should pull up in his fancy-ass vintage car but Edward Herrmann and his surprisingly beautiful family. They strode inside in all of their beautiful-rich-people glory, and I made a point to very casually take them to their booth. I didn't even give them special treatment by offering them a big booth, either. (They asked for one anyway, of course. Everybody wants a big booth at Big Boy).

After they'd enjoyed their meal of gravy-laden goodness and were paying, I decided that I couldn't resist: I said "umm...I'm sorry, but aren't you...." He chuckled a little and said "from the Dodge commercials, yes." Seriously, Ed? Who the fuck cares about Dodge commercials?! I said "no, from The Lost Boys." I added "you were the head vampire?" as if maybe he'd forgotten and needed reminding. He looked at me as if I were a tad 'touched' and then turned to walk away. Before he got to the door I blurted out "you do realize you're parked in a handicap spot, don't you?"

Fast forward about 5 years. I'd moved up a bit in the world and now hostessed for Roy's at Spanish Bay, a schmancy golf resort in Pebble Beach. I learned to ignore all kinds of famous folks there: Clint Eastwood, John Travolta, Matthew McConaughey, Don Johnson, Doris Day...all kinds. But one evening, Damon Wayans came in. He'd been around for a couple of days and had gotten a bit friendly with some of the staff. Not me, mind you, just the pretty and handsome ones. The ones without cold sores.

He sat at the pizza bar, which was right by my hostess station. Various co-workers stopped to chit-chat with him, or cruised by to give him a high five. Needless to say, I wanted in on the action. I also wanted to somehow make it clear to him that wearing sunglasses in a dark restaurant at night looks pretty ridiculous. Luckily my common sense took over and I decided he might not appreciate that feedback. Instead I sidled over to him and said "hey, whassup."

He asked my name, we shook hands...everything was going great! Then my mouth opened and it said "so, I don't know how to tell you this, buuuut...I'm way funnier than you." Wha?! Where the fuck did that come from? I mean sure, it was true, but still!

He lowered his head, turned his ear toward me, and said "excuse me?" Let me say here that when given a chance to fix a mistake, I always don't. "Oh, you know, I just said that I'm funnier than you." He thought about this for a few seconds while I watched my distorted reflection in his sunglasses. I started sweating profusely in my polyester Roy's uniform. Finally he said "okay, tell me a joke." I did not expect that. So I said "huh?" and he repeated "tell me a joke." "Oh," I said. "Okay, I will! Um, right after I answer the phone!" As I ran away toward the safety of my hostess station, I could hear him saying "what? That phone ain't even ringin'!" but luckily I put up the act long enough that he eventually just shook his head and turned to high five a passing waiter.

Things haven't changed all that much in the nearly 15 years since then. The other night I was out at Christie's to see a friend's band play. Early in the evening I'd spotted a man sitting at the other end of the bar. I then spent a good twenty minutes telling Paulie that he was the guy who'd last done my nails, and how he'd done a terrible job, and he was obviously totally gay but pretended he wasn't by acting horrified by the music of Elton John. (Paulie is very patient with my rambling stories). Why I chose to then go up to this man after a couple of drinks is a mystery to me. But I did.

NOT my nail guy. At all. 
Me: "Hey, aren't you...."
Nail Guy: "Hi--"
Me: "--I'm sorry,  I can't remember your name. It'll come to me, sorry.'re the guy who does my nails, right?"
Nail Guy: "Uh, no. I'm a musician."
Me: "You are?"
Not Nail Guy: "Yes. I played here earlier."
Me: "Oh."

Learning from all of my past embarrassing mistakes, I was determined not to geek out when I met Retta from Parks and Recreation the next night when we performed at SF Sketchfest together for Mortified. I did a pretty good job, too. We chatted about the late hour, how tired we were, and other normal-people small talk. She told me I look like Tina Fey. I heard her laughing during my bit, and later she told me my piece was hilarious. I knew we'd be Best Friends Forever!! But I told myself I would not, under any circumstances, ask to have my picture taken with her. She just wants to relax! I told myself. She wants to be able to just hang out without being harassed by a fan. Or, especially by a peer, which technically I am now, right?

I continued on with this internal dialogue until I was interrupted by another Mortified reader and then a member of the band asking Retta if they could have their pictures taken with her. "Ohmygodmetoo!" I almost shouted. Then I remembered the whole be cool thing, and I tried to backtrack. "I mean, I wasn't going to ask, cuz, I figured you must, you know, get sick of it, but...." She laughed and said, "it's totally fine, I do this all the time."

Since Retta is the only celebrity I've ever met that I was not an asshole to, I'm thinking I left a good impression. She'll probably call me up soon so we can hang out more.

I'm sure that at the very least, she'll sort of remember me. I'm pretty sure.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Love in the Time of Colic

Ah, bed.  Hello old friend.  God I've missed you.  Remember me?  It's been eighteen long hours since we were last together and my heart has grown fonder.  The kids are out (finally) and Erin is doing her thing (whatever that is).  It's just you and me baby.

Whoa, what have we here?  Coming to join me in bed a little early tonight, hey honey?  That's cool.  I guess.  I mean I know you don't have to be up at 4:15, but.....

Maybe I should close my eyes.  If she's really interested it's not like I'm going to stop her.  I mean, sure I'm almost lethally sleepy right now, but it will take me all of 20 seconds to change that tune.

I wonder what she's doing.  I'll just open my eyes a crack.  Wow!  Nice.  Jeez, look at that.  To all the mom's who told her "wait til you have TWO kids", I give you Exhibit "A".  "A" as in ass, abs, and that little chiseled part right there, damn.  I don't know what you call that, but I bet it begins with an "A".

How long has it been?  Oh right, I remember.  Was that a Wednesday?  No, of course not a Wednesday.  Must have been a Sunday.  What am I worried about?  I mean, I'm only getting 5 hours anyway, why not just 4 hours and 55 minutes?

Maybe I'll make the first move.  I'll try a nuzzle.

No response.  What's she doing?  That book again?  Why is she reading that?  It's depressing.

When was the last time I read anything?

Bah, that light!  That has to be the brightest bedside lamp ever made.  That light is for surgery, not reading. I know what she'll say "just close your eyes".  She must have thicker eyelids than me.  I can't sleep like this.  Maybe I'll just go for broke.  Should I?  Ah, to hell with it, why not!?

"Hi honey"



Hmm.  She cut that one off.  I definitely didn't cut that one off, that was all her.  I was totally ready to hold that one another full second, that was obvious.  Well then my work here is done.

Tomorrow night, it's on for sure.