Friday, June 28, 2013

Kids These Days

It's Friday morning. Payday. I was just checking my bank balance online and narrowing my eyes so I don't see the other transactions listed just below the direct deposit (i.e. security deposits, first and last month's rent, a second set of every frickin' kid accessory for the new apartment, THERAPY bills, etc.)  As I'm sitting here poised to click on something that at least appears work related, these two hipster early twenty-something douchebags come swaggering in. A couple of cocky, overprivileged, undergroomed, tattooed, sockless, dumpster-diving, trust-fund a-holes wearing their sunglasses in a wine cellar, oh joy.

These six-figuring "earning" bastards are here to take pictures and "write copy" for the company's Facebook page and guess who gets to field their questions? That's right, ME! Here are some of the more brilliant gems:

Why don't you guys make beer and shit?

Which wine is the panty-dropper?

You play basketball bro?

Is every dude here, like, Mexican or whatever?

Ah, from the mouths of babes. I know I shouldn't "hate". I think my real hang up is my fear that I'm glimpsing a bleak future for my boys. When my grandfather was their age he was a dad fighting to keep his family alive during the Great Depression. When my father was their age he was working in military intelligence during the Vietnam War. When I was their age I was waiting tables. It seems like there's a steady decline from unimaginable sacrifice and integrity to....well, Social Media Specialists. How much lower can it go?

Who am I kidding? That's not my real hang up. Clearly my boys are destined for greatness.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

a'Midwesting We Will Go

As some of you may know, the kids and I are on vacation in the glorious Midwest. Would you like to hear about it? Okay!

We took a red eye out of SFO, because those always seem like a good idea at the time.  Then I remembered that the last time we'd tried this, there was no actual sleeping when there was supposed to be sleeping, which just led to lots of frustration and crying.

Jonah was a helper-extraordinaire, and offered to haul our heavy-ass suitcase in which I'd packed everything we would need for a two-and-a-half week trip. He pulled it for about as long as it took for me to snap this picture.

Turns out my kids were so excited about our trip that while they slept on the first leg of the journey, they just couldn't on the second. That's okay though, they were champs and had smiles every step of the way:

We made it!
The very first thing we did after a decent night's sleep was go to the beach, duh. The kids had never seen or been in Lake Michigan, and come on, they didn't know what they were missing! It's kind of like the ocean...but you can actually go in it, and it doesn't make you want to die from salty overload if the water gets into your mouth.

First steps in...
Love at first swim!

Then they made sandcastles with friends

Then they stood next to this lighthouse

It was a really fun, tiring, Michigan day. Evie fell asleep on the way home, thus starting a trend of her falling asleep in cars every chance she got:

The next day we drove and drove and drove (more car sleeping), so the kids could experience what I like to call...Grandpa Janik's house. I'm not kidding when I say that immediately upon arrival, the kids jumped into his pool, and stayed there for the rest of our time there:

Finally, because we'd done Lake Michigan swimming, and we'd done Grandpa's pool swimming, we decided we needed to do some good old fashioned regular-lake swimming.

Jonah with Bapa on the paddleboat. I'm paddling. It sucks.

After paddle boating, we all piled into a pontoon boat and Jonah drove us out to the perfect swimming spot, where we leapt in like frogs looking for lily pads. Instead we came back with algae lining our swimsuits, but I figured that was close enough.

My once not-so-sure swimmer, having practiced every day of vacation so far, jumped right into the depths of this lake without a second thought. I was pretty darn proud:

Finally, here's a picture that is fairly irrelevant to the story, but I'm adding it because it's basically the cutest picture of all time. This is Evie's new friend Schmetty.

 More to come!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Couch Surfing

When couples break up in the movies it's usually dramatic and ends with someone storming out the door, never to return. The part they edit out is ten minutes later when the dejected lover sneaks back in the front door to retrieve their keys, the most recent phone bill, and a few pairs of clean boxers. Drama is exciting but you have to have clean underpants.

My point is that I've found the splitting up process to be more of, well, a process. I packed up my underpants two whole months ago and have been on a couch-surfing safari ever since. It's been a whirlwind adventure. I have a few more grey hairs now but it hasn't been too bad. I can't really complain thanks entirely to some generous friends for opening their doors to my transient ass and welcoming me into their homes and refrigerators. I'm super grateful to them for making this so much easier than it could have been. You guys absolutely rock.

The whirlwind is due to the usual "working parent" thing combined with apartment hunting while simultaneously trying to sell a house. The house selling was looking pretty grim for a while. Erin and I were sure it was going to be a Take-it-in-the-Shorts Sale at one point, but luck prevailed and in the eleventh hour we got an offer for just enough to break even. Thank the credit gods.

Once we got the offer, my hunt for a new place to live got serious. I suddenly had thirty days to find something great for myself and the boys in a rental market that's been described as "abysmal". The very first place I checked out had promise and I thought I had better go for it, but the space and the location weren't going to work for the boys AT ALL so I backed out. I told the very nice woman that owned the place that it was 'bad timing'.

After that I applied for everything in the Healdsburg area that fell into my price range. This amounted to a grand total of five apartments. After four rejections I started to get depressed.

In my desperation I was quick to call on any number that offered something in my price range. I rang one number with an unlisted address without even clicking on the full Craigslist ad. A woman answered the phone and I switched on my tidiest, rent-paying-on-timiest voice, which is basically my normal voice an octave higher. I'm not really sure why that is.

About twenty seconds into the conversation she talked about a father of two boys, like myself, that had seemed interested but had turned the place down. This was when I realized she was talking about me and I'd just called the woman I'd rejected only a week earlier.

The adult thing to do would have been to identify myself, apologize for not realizing I was calling about a place I did not want, and wish her the best, but "adult" isn't my default, so I started disguising my voice.

At first I just kind of clenched my teeth and used small sentences. This just made me sound angry and wouldn't do. It was too late for an accent since I'd been an American for half a minute already so I just went lower and tried to adapt some strange throaty effect to my voice. I ended up going from a high-spirited, slightly effeminate version of my normal self, to sounding exactly like the serial killer from Silence of the Lambs that tucks his junk and dances in a suit made from women's skin. I think she's relieved I didn't follow up.

At this point I realized I was doomed to end up homeless. Or worse, in Windsor. But with that last performance I kind of deserved it.

I was starting to give up when just this week I went to my appointment to see apartment number five. It was on Haydon Street in Healdsburg, just a few blocks from downtown. Despite living in Healdsburg for thirteen years I don't think I'd ever walked down this street before. It's gorgeous. It's lined with pristine and well gardened Victorian homes enshrouded in enormous oaks and redwoods. I strolled down the street and felt a nostalgia for a period in which I'd never lived. It's the kind of place you'd expect to see the Morton Salt girl walking the RCA Victor Records dog, or something.

About halfway down the block I was shaken from this trance by an out-of-place hideous grey-green cube that, as of yesterday, I am grateful to call my new home. The landlady is sweet, the rent is great, and the place is just fine. When I got back to my old house (I say "old" already) I found Erin there who too had scored a new place to live. Less than a half an hour after this revelation our real estate agent showed up with the final page we had to sign to close the deal with the old home's new owner. Things couldn't have ended any sweeter.

So now I'm feeling a ton of gratitude. Gratitude toward Erin, my friends, my family, to merciful fate, and of course to my two precious boys, without whose infectious laughter and love I wouldn't be able to so easily brave the storms in life like these. I love those little fartknockers and I hope they love their new homes.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

There Goes the Blog

Since Paulie and I broke up over two months ago, I've had several people tell me that my writing is much funnier when I'm single. I mean, people I didn't even know read the blog. I'm not sure what it is about being single that makes me funnier - the self-deprecating snarkiness? The joke I make of my life? The acceptance of settling? Anyway, whatever it might be, I appreciate the feedback. And, I have some bad news:

Paulie and I got back together. 

I know, I know, but what about the blog?! I'm sorry!! That was my first thought too, when he approached me recently and told me he wanted me back and would do whatever he needed to to make that happen. Frankly, I was shocked. I was finally feeling like myself again, realizing I'd survive, considering the idea of dating. Then BAM: "I want you back." What?!

I told him I'd have to think about it. Sure, our relationship was the greatest thing ever and angels hovered above us wherever we went, singing and playing their love harps, but there were a few issues that would need some tending to if I decided to say yes. So I walked away and gave myself time to think about it.

I consulted with some friends and everyone seemed bored before I even started. "Um, YEAH" they seemed to collectively say. "Of course he wants you back, duh! You guys are, you know. You know."

I thought, but wait! I'm just starting to feel back to normal! Nevermind that I'd forgotten how to flirt and had been rejected by an entire audience of men when I announced onstage during my most recent Mortified performance that I was "totally single!" The closest I got to getting lucky that night was when a very drunk lesbian whose eyes went in and out of focus invited my non-lesbian friend to come home with her. Still! I wondered if I should give the single life a little more time?

And then I remembered...that I'd had some drinks with a couple I know a few nights back, and...we'd all decided it was a great idea for me to...make myself available for 'relationships with arrangements' let's just say. I remember saying "well I mean, come on, if I'm going to go out on dates anyway, and probably end up having sex anyway, why not get paid for it, right?!" They wholeheartedly agreed and said "yeah, totally!"

So by the time Paulie changed his tune I had almost completely justified to myself the idea of becoming an upper-lower-class hooker and was wondering if I should buy some different shades of lipstick and maybe a new razor. I'd had an opportunity like this back when I was a teenager, but had turned up my nose at it. Now it seemed completely reasonable.

Sometimes throughout the day I would stop and think wait, have I lost my freaking mind?! But then I'd remember that I'd already had the love thing. I didn't want to try that with anyone else. I may as well pay off some debt, right? Ha ha. Yes, I laugh at myself even in my head.

So let's see. Since Paulie and I broke up I'd spent approximately 8 weeks suffering, had been rejected en masse, then decided that the only way to improve my situation was to become an escort. Yep, things were really starting to look up for me!

Making the decision to get back together was tough, heh. But I'm pretty sure I made the right choice. The debt collectors might feel differently, and I guess all of my fans too...but they'll get over it.