August 30, 2005

Things a Mother Hears

While we were in Montana, friends of the theatre hosted a party for the cast, crew and other hangers-on. My family and I were some of the hangers-on.

The location was a gorgeous suburban setting in a wooded valley, a lovely home with a large deck overlooking the river. Upon arrival, we were greeted at the door by the hostess who welcomed each of us individually. She was warm and friendly, asking about our relation to the theatre and where we were from. Turns out all three of her children were born in the same hospital where The Boy was born. Small world? Why yes, yes it is. We chatted briefly and I entered the house in search of a cold beverage.

I realized Wendy had not followed me in. I retraced my steps and found her still talking to the hostess, both of them looking puzzled. It only took a moment to understand Wendy was struggling with how to explain who she was. Yet another issue with a lesbian relationship. One never knows whether it will be taken in stride and, as we were there representing The Boy, she did not wish to just blurt it out. The three of us stood there awkwardly until the hostess said, "Oh, you are Suzanne's partner! I get it! Welcome!" Whew. As usual with a theatre crowd, acceptance of homosexuality is no big deal.

We ate, drank and socialized. I really enjoyed talking to the actors and techs as it brought back good memories of being part of things during The Boy's high school productions.

A large man with a shaggy gray beard, the theatre's producer, regaled me with his opinion of what a nice young man The Boy is. Oh yes yes yes, a mother can listen to that all day.

"He's quite talented and such a hard worker," he said.

I nodded and smiled.

"And punching that fellow in the bar! Well that's just not something actors are known to do! He was quite the gentleman looking out for the lady."

I nodded and smiled automatically but then what he had said sunk in. The Boy punched someone? In a bar? WTF? That's not something I could imagine him ever doing! All the worst case scenarios of bar fights, or what I imagine bar fights to be, scrolled through my head like a movie in fast forward. My baby!

At the next available opportunity, I pulled The Boy aside.

"That man," I said pointing, "just told me you punched someone in a bar?!?"

The Boy looked chagrined. "Yeah," he said. "The guy was being a real ass. This woman was there by herself and he wouldn't leave her alone. I punched him in the face and he left. I don't go to that bar anymore."

I just stood there shaking my head, but refrained from getting all maternal on him. What could I say? Don't defend a lady in distress? I wasn't there and did not know the circumstances. I know he had never punched someone in anger before. It could not have been his first choice to resolve the situation. I have to trust he did what needed to be done in that instant. But geez. I was torn between pride in him standing up for someone and fear over what could have happened. My baby!

My thoughts on him hanging out in bars will be the subject of a coming post. Yeah, I've got a few thoughts on that and they just might surprise you. Maybe as much as hearing The Boy punched a stranger surprised me.


August 29, 2005

Naked Toenails No More

Wendy just finished applying a fresh coat of nail polish on my toenails. I had stripped off the old polish when we returned from vacation. They'd been naked ever since. I'm carefully poised to ensure the polish is allowed to dry uninterrupted. Sometimes I have trouble sitting still. Usually when I am supposed to.

I know many folks enjoy professional manicures and pedicures, some of you even on a regular basis. Not me. My girlfriend takes good care of me. Yet another benefit of living with a woman.

Although there must be men out there who pamper their wives by applying their nail polish for them. Aren't there?


Unadulterated Maternal Adoration

I'm not referring to me adoring my mother. (Although she is a fabulous woman and certainly worthy of adoration. It's just not her turn at this moment.)

We were sitting in the audience awaiting the start of one of the shows at the Bigfork Summer Playhouse. The night's offering was Chicago. Before each performance, one of the actors gave the spiel on turning off cell phones, no photography, blah blah blah. The announcer also welcomed any "special guests" in the audience for the show.

That night he said, "Let me tell you about one of our actors. He cooks. He spends his spare time in the gym. He plays guitar. He speaks fluent French. On top of all that, he looks like Jude Law. He is the Perfect Man!"

As the audience laughed, the announcer shook his head and said, "No, no, it's not me. It is *insert The Boy's name here* and his family is here with us in the audience tonight!"

Folks, you heard it here first: we've raised the Perfect Man. For some reason, his reputation for keeping his room so messy that merely opening the door causes clothes to spill into the hallway doesn't disqualify him from holding that title. Go figure.


August 28, 2005

Tender Nipples

Ah moving day! College students are heading to campuses all over the country. The Boy is no exception, his junior year about to begin. He, however, will not arrive back on the east coast until Monday morning. Classes start on Tuesday. Good thing he has parental pack mules to haul his crap to his new apartment, yes?

Do you drive a mini-van? If so, please accept my condolences. There is no excitement in driving a mini-van, except perhaps if it is loaded with a pack of screaming children. Yet our thanks go out to Tina who loaned us hers to carry a goodly portion of The Boy's motley collection of furniture down south. They do hold an incredible amount of stuff. For practicality, mini-vans rule.

We got a late start, unsuccessful at shrugging off our usual Saturday morning lethargy. Before we knew it it, it was 10:00 am and we were still in our pajamas. The van and truck were not yet packed. Not bothering to dress, we frantically sprang into action.

It happened to Wendy first. She was moving items around in the basement and a hook on one of said items snagged her right nipple, almost ripping it from her breast giving it a goodly sharp yank. Truly I was empathetic, murmuring compassionately while struggling not to giggle out loud as she bounced from foot to foot, clutching her breast with both hands.

Then it was my turn. Wendy stood in back of the van pushing as I pulled from inside to manuever parts for The Boy's bed into the van. Somehow my right nipple got caught between the bed frame and the back of the seat. Wendy kept pushing because she didn't hear me silently gasping. Gasping, pushing. More gasping, more pushing. Sounds a bit like childbirth, doesn't it? I assure you, having experienced both, having one's nipple caught in a vicelike situation is by far the more painful.

It dawned on us that brassieres are not just a mere fashion statement, they are vital to nipple safety!

The rest of the trip was non-eventful. Driving, unpacking, sipping margaritas, shopping, more unpacking. I'm pleased to report there were no further nipple injuries.


August 26, 2005

Childhood Memories

Ah, another meme! Gina over at Just Another Day says she'll be sobbing at night into her pillow if I don't play along. Those SoCal girls are so sensitive. I dislike making people cry, especially nice folks like her. So Gina, this one's for you.

First, the rules to this meme game: Remove the blog at #1 from the following list and bump every one up one place; add your blog's name in the #5 spot; link to each of the other blogs for the desired cross pollination effect.

1. -A-
2. Heather
3. Suzanne
4. Gina
5. Suzanne

Next: select new friends to add to the pollen count. No one is obligated to participate. (Edited by me to add: I, unlike Gina, will not sob into my pillow at night should you choose not to play. No no no, I'll just let silent tears roll down my face and try not to drown in them. Yeah right. Sure I will.)

1. Lisa
2. SassyFemme
3. Jennifer
4. Kristina
5. BentFabric

Let the game begin!

What 5 things do you miss about your childhood?

I miss:

1. Being not-in-charge. What a carefree and clueless existence I had back then. Oh sure, I had chores and obligations such as school. But my mother told me what chores to do and usually when. I was a compliant student and just went with the flow. I had no worries about mortgages, college tuition, what to eat for dinner, pets and parents growing old, the state of our country, broken washing machines, etc. etc. etc. I miss the carefree nature of my childhood. I miss not having to make so many decisions with so much riding on said decisions. I miss being not-in-charge.

2. Visiting my grandparents in Montgomery, Alabama. Family road trips are the stuff of which good memories are made. My sister and I would squabble in the backseat of our Ford sedan. Other times we'd play nicely. We'd get to spend the night in a hotel. Back then I believed the difference between motels and hotels was that motels didn't have bathrooms. Where did I ever get that idea? Then came the luscious creamy center: my grandparents. Both sets of grandparents lived in Montgomery, on opposite sides of the tracks. I was not in tune to class differences back then and never noticed. I'll share a few things I miss from our visits with each set.

My mom's folks: My grandfather owned a gas station. We never went there, but I remember driving by once. Rumor has it he really wanted to be a farmer, but adopted suburban life to please my grandmother. He had a huge garden and loved tending it. They also had two or three huge fig trees in their backyard. I miss picking figs right off the tree and eating them with my grandfather at my side. I also miss fresh figs in a bowl, halved and doused in half-n-half, a regular staple of breakfast there. We always seemed to visit with the figs were ripe. I miss my grandmother's fig preserves. She'd can them whole and I'd eat them on heavily buttered toast. We always got to take some home. I miss the way my grandmother covered her mouth when she giggled. I miss the way a visit with my grandfather always meant a trip to McDonald's for cheeseburgers.

My father's parents: Granny and Pop lived on a street named Magnolia Curve. Yes, the street came by its name due to the magnificent magnolia trees. They had a cool backyard, rather a jungle of a garden. Rumor has it my father used to shoot squirrels out there as a youth. My sister and I enjoyed exploring. We also enjoyed exploring an outbuilding, a garage plus some other rooms. There were all sorts of crap interesting items in there. I miss Alice's fried chicken and family meals in the dining room. We never had to do the dishes there. They had a bed in a guest room that had big ornamental wooden balls adorning the footboard. I miss perching on those balls and pretending I was a creature, like a rooster or a pterodactyl. (And I would do it now given the opportunity.)

3. The way we used to just let our dog Mutt outside, no leash, no fence, no nothing. She'd mostly stay in the yard or at most wander into the neighbor's yard and back again. Their dog did the same thing. (The neighbor's dog was named was Pixie. Pixie came to a truly unfortunate end when their teenage son with his brand spanking new driver's license ran her over in their driveway. Oh the scars that must have left on him! Can you imagine?) I miss walking Mutt around the neighborhood, again sans leash because she always stayed close by. Neighbors back then didn't mind a little dog walking through their yard to explore a bit.

4. Riding my bike to the neighborhood swimming pool. My sister and I would hang out there all day in the summer, swimming, diving, playing shuffleboard. I miss the vending machines and reveling in having enough change to buy a grape Nehi and a Zero candy bar. (One day a little squirt named Jimbo B slipped on the high dive and knocked out his upper teeth on the board on his way down. Ouch. Talk about a bloody mess! The pool was closed for a day after.) I miss seeing my name on the large plaque celebrating the swim team record holders. I was the 8 & Under champion in freestyle for a good long while. (Yes, I peaked early. I wonder who holds that title now?)

5. Seemingly unlimited time to read. I miss climbing the big willow tree in our back yard toting a pillow and a book, spending quiet hours nestled where the branches forked high up in the tree. I miss reading under the covers with a flashlight after lights-out and rarely being asked to stop. I miss having someone else worry about library fines.

I had it pretty good as a child. It was difficult to keep this list to only five items. I'd better go thank my Mom and Dad, don't you think?


August 24, 2005

Ticking Away

I was reading a friend's recent post about how the time is flying by, tugging at her skirts like a strong breeze. How her children are taller, older, smarter. How her husband is gray and her 40th summer almost over. I know how she feels, as time flies for me too. Reflecting on our grown child and visiting with my family is a reminder of just how fast it does go.

Since our return from Montana, I've felt so good. We returned to the same life we departed, yet somehow it is different. Our son still is far away, Cosine is still old and sick, home improvement projects still loom large and threaten to absorb any free time and money Wendy and I may have for the next bazillion years. Time still flies by each time I blink, but instead of feeling like I am swirling along windswept and out of control, I feel a sense of peace.

I'm looking at the future with a fresh sense of excitement, much like an adventure awaiting our arrival rather than focusing on the past and how things used to be. A great deal of this new outlook is due to The Boy and how he has matured. This visit, we saw a few glimpses of the teenager he was when he left home, but we saw more of the wonderful man he has become.

Time is still fleeting, yes. But times past have laid the groundwork for times future. From where I now stand, the past was well spent and the future is bright. I'll be patiently waiting to see what is to come.


August 23, 2005

Good Eats

If there is one thing my family all has in common it is the love of good food. Something we discovered on our trip to Bigfork is that there are quite a few good restaurants in that area. Who knew such a place would have such great dining out options?

Dinner out with my folks usually includes wine. Wendy and my father have developed quite the rapport over bottles of wine. It usually results with Wendy being hungover the next day. Not on this trip, though. We ate more than we drank although we drank while we ate.

This photo was snapped in nearby Whitefish. I decided nearby in Montana constitutes anywhere one can travel in an hour or less. We dined at an interesting restaurant named Mambo Italiano. Fresh spinach layered in my lasagne? Score! I'm all about the fresh spinach, dontcha know.

It was The Boy's birthday. What the picture does not show are the other tables occupied by a bunch of his fellow actors and technicians. We were fortunate enough to meet many of them while we were there. Quite the boisterous crowd. One would be hard pressed to find a more melodious rendition of the "Happy Birthday" song.

Yes, my face is red. We'd had an outdoor adventure that day.

Oh and look! I'm wearing paisley!


August 22, 2005

Suburban Sauna

I've never been in a real sauna, like at a gym or a spa. The closest I've ever been to one is watching the fat old men in their towels on the television. Or, more enjoyably, the women from Sex in the City in their tinier towels.

Wendy and I took a sauna Sunday. At the laundromat.

A few years ago, on another occasion when a different washer was broken, we learned The Rules for the neighborhood laundromat. The Rules are not meant to be questioned or judged. They are simply The Rules. Like it is important to look as skeevy as possible. This is best achieved by wearing old clothes and not combing your hair. Definitely do not shower first. A bra is optional.

There is something mildly thrilling about leaving the house in such condition. Guaranteed few will make eye contact, fewer still will speak. We prefer to maintain anonimity at the laundromat.

For efficiency's sake, it is best to choose a time when common sense dictates the facility will be least populated. We chose bright and early Sunday morning, which to us means around 10:00. Well, we meant to get there at 10:00 but we really arrived at 11:00. We figured we'd still beat the church crowd, kinda like going out for brunch. It would just be us and the rest of the godless heathens who eschew Sunday services for more practical endeavors.

Perhaps not surprisingly on Sunday mornings at the laundromat, men outnumber women about three to one. There were few children around. Heavy duty fans deployed in strategic locations around the large room moved the sweltering air but did little else. The air was heavy and thick, quite moist. Washers were lined up in the center, dryers along the edges. Empty washers and dryers abounded, no waiting involved.

I brought a book with me, but only read about half a page. It was more fun watching the people or being hypnotized by the clothes spinning in both washer and dryer.

By the time we were finished two hours later, $26 dollars poorer, drenched in sweat, baskets filled with clean sweet smelling clothing, the place was just about empty. Perhaps others know to avoid the laundromat on a sweltering DC summer afternoon.

I left feeling thankful, grateful our new washer is on the way.


August 20, 2005

Princess of Unpacking

Gina and Mel often mention how stacks of family laundry are the bane of their existence. But I'm spoiled and our laundry rarely requires my personal attention. I live with Wendy, Mistress of Laundry Efficiency and Dedicated Provider of Clean Fresh Panties.

When we returned from our vacation, immediately she scrambled to unpack our suitcases. Her primary motivation was to begin processing the laundry as we both had to work the next day. A marvelous side effect was that all the crap we brought home with us was put away promptly. I don't recall what I was doing while she was industriously working. I'm certain it was equally as productive.

The whites went in first, fortuitously as it turned out. Halfway through the second load, our washing machine emitted a foul burning smell and ceased agitating. Hmmm. We looked at it, poked a few buttons, gave it a kick, turned a few knobs, looked at it some more. Then we shrugged and decided we'd deal with it later. At least we had clean panties!

Yesterday morning, the washing machine repairman pulled into the driveway and 30 minutes later declared the machine kaput. Lovely. As he headed out the door, he glanced over at where Cosine was fast asleep on the dog bed. She hadn't moved since he arrived. He looked concerned and said, "Is that dog okay?"

I smiled and assured him that yes, she was fine. Just old and unaware. But fine.

Farewell, old washer. You did us proud. We loved the way we could stuff the king-sized comforter into you and have it gently laundered to sweet smelling fluffy freshness. We adored the efficiency with which you processed a load of any size. We cherished the simplicity of your controls, your flexible options for water levels and temperatures, your bright white exterior and your sleek black buttons. Farewell, old washer, farewell.

Now we must go shopping for the replacement. That's something every family returning from a vacation wants to do: spend more money.


August 19, 2005

I Wish I Had a Private Jet

There's nothing quite like air travel in the peak of the vacation season! Entire families on board enmasse! Youth abounds! Strollers, car seats, stuffed animals, bulging diaper bags! Sights, smells, sounds galore!

I've never really minded when infants wail. I enjoy watching their little faces screw up tight and turn red, then their mouths open and WAAAAAAA! It's alive! And alive they most certainly are! Therein lies the beauty.

On our recent airplane flights, however, I learned the limits of my tolerance. The breaking point of the beauty is somewhere between zero and eighteen months. If the tot is older than that, the thrill is gone.

In the row behind us on our first flight sat a family. The momma, a toddler, and a nice quiet infant. In the row across from them sat daddy and older two boys, say eight and ten or so.

The toddler had a piercing wail that he freely shared with the rest of the passengers. What a generous lad! It would emanate unexpectedly from the seat behind me, the howl boring into my eardrums, causing me to startle and tense and lose my place in my book. There were no regular intervals, oh no no no! He liked to mix it up, keep us on our toes. No, he was not in pain. He was just being a little brat, a traveling parent's nightmare they share with anyone unfortunate enough to be in the vicinity. One can tell these things.

As we boarded the flight for our last leg home, it was obvious we were heading back to D.C. I chuckled at the number of passengers, all male for whatever that's worth, who were intently staring at and busily punching buttons on their Blackberries.

Then we got to the row we were to occupy and I cursed silently in disbelief. A family was behind us again! Initially I thought it was the same family that had been behind us on the first leg of our journey, but then the toddler squawked loudly. It was not the same family after all. The timber of this irritatingly squirmy and loud toddler's screeches was completely different from the first one, yet just as invasive.

I thought back to the lady I had been sitting next to on the previous flight from Montana to Minnesota. She settled in to sleep almost as soon as she sat down. All was well until she started snoring loudly. I looked at her sideways and thought "WTF?"

On the ever-so-infrequent occasion when Wendy snores, my approach is to plant my pointy elbow in her ribs until she rolls over. Or sometimes I'll pinch her nose shut, which has the same effect as my elbow in her ribs. She is quite compliant in the rolling over department.

Still, I'd rather endure the disturbance of a woman snoring in the seat next to me over a whining toddler who kicks the back of the seat and screams petulantly. I mean really. At least with the woman, I had some options. I had my elbows, after all.


August 18, 2005


In case no one but us is counting, today marks a full year that Wendy and I have been non-smokers.

Don't hold the applause.
Can't you see I'm begging for it?


Domestic Partnerships

The cantankerous, cynical and introverted lady over at Princess Wild Cow tagged me with this meme just before we left for vacation. I think it only fair for me to knock this out before I start blogging about our vacation, don't you? (I didn't write the questions and the grammatical structure gives me the willies! Not that I'm obsessive about such things (ha!). I just would have worded them differently.)
  1. If we are single or in a monogamous relationship?
  2. Wendy and I are happily monogamously coupled.

  3. How long we have been with our partner / significant other / boyfriend / girlfriend?
  4. As previously discussed, we cannot settle on an exact date for our anniversary. The general time frame is between seven and eight years.

  5. How we met?
  6. Well, read right here: Part I of our "story." At the time, I intended to chronicle the rest but haven't gotten around to it yet.

  7. What we like to do together?
  8. The fabric that holds Wendy and I together is woven from our common interests. We love to spoil our pets. We are intense baseball and football fans. We love to read and share books. We both adore playing on our computers. We enjoy toe snuggling (and all other forms of snuggling). We revel in lazy weekends. We are committed to parenting our fabulous son and maintaining quality relationships with our families. We like fires in the fireplace and cheap beer. We socialize friends regularly, but take great pleasure in just being home alone together. Match made in heaven.

  9. If we are single, what life with our ideal spouse/partner would look like?
  10. Not applicable.
I probably should tag some of you other homosexuals out there with this meme, but I'm far too shy to do so. Please feel free to continue it on your blog if you desire.

Our Partnership Deserves Legal Recognition.

The rainbow bar and the link beneath is to a site supporting gay marriage. The text under the bar originally read "Marriage is Love." However I am one who believes there is no reason for homosexuals to emulate heterosexuals by using a word evidently so precious to them (despite the casual way it is treated by so many these days). I desire legal recognition of my relationship and I don't need it to be called marriage.


August 17, 2005

Getting Back in the Groove?

We have safely returned from the Land of the Homogeneous Population! If I use all my fingers and just a few toes, I can count the number of non-Caucasians and people of the homosexual persuasion we saw in Montana. It was rather surreal. Regardless, the trip was grand. More on that later. I'm still processing.

Today was the first day back at work. I wore the only pair of capri pants I own. I don't wear them often. Somehow I feel completely silly wearing pants that only come down to mid-calf.

So I wore my capri pants, a tank and a blouse. I once wore the same blouse one day when I was working with my friend Bonnie. She said, "Who told you paisley was in again?" Nice huh? I like my paisley blouse and wear it with pride.

It's August and it is hot. Like August should be. I also wore my fake Birkenstock sandals because they are comfortable and matched my outfit. What more could I ask from a shoe? A certain friend of mine doesn't like fake Birkenstocks or even real ones, for that matter. She mercilessly stereotypes them as dykey, although I will give her some credit because she is at least attempting voluntary deprogramming. The next time she implies they are ugly, however, she may find herself eating one of mine. There is beauty in comfort!

So where was I? Oh yeah. My capri pants. They are black. It wasn't until I got out of the car in the Metro parking lot that I noticed they were covered in dog hair. I made a feeble attempt to brush it off, but quickly realized the futility. Oh well.

Home sweet home!


August 15, 2005

Happy Happy Birthday, Baby

The Boy and his girlfriend share the same birthday, one year apart. That day is today. Happy birthday wishes to them both!

(Me whining about my baby turning 20 will occur in the near future.)

I think they like each other!

PS: Thanks go out to The Girlfriend for sharing these photos, although how she took the one of them kissing, I'll never know!


August 9, 2005

Flying High!

Ah yes, the time is upon us for our much anticipated vacation to Montana. I'm so excited I may wet my pants. You'll have to look elsewhere for your entertainment for the next week or so.

You could head over to Emerald Pillows and see if the August edition is out. Read my piece, then come back here and tell me I'm full of shit. Or that I have a point. Better yet, just share your own personal opinion on the topic. I'm all ears.

I've also posted a tale of mortification that appears under this post. Laugh with me, call me a pig, whatever.

Catch ya on the flip side, people.
Try not to miss me too much.


Sharp Eyes

It started out innocently. My boss invited Wendy and me to accompany him and his wife to a Nationals game.

When I first started working at this office, I'd taken Wendy to the office holiday party, introducing her as my roommate. Yeah well. I didn't know them well enough to say, "Folks, meet Wendy, my red-hot lesbian lover." Roommate worked well enough. They could make of it what they would.

Over the years since, I've only openly discussed my sexuality with one co-worker, but others have figured it out. The boss who issued the invite has acknowledged he knows I'm gay. He's very open and accepting. Hence the invitation for both of us to go to the game.

So there we were in our seats, sipping beer and wiping sweat off our brows. It was a hellishly hot evening. We all clapped and cheered and chatted while enjoying the game. Then a young couple came down the stairs and sat in the empty seats in front of us.

The woman was hot. Not hot like the weather, but hot as in gorgeous. Her perfect skin was perfectly tanned, her long hair worn in a pony tail poking out the back of her Nationals ballcap. Her perfectly flat stomach peeked out from under her cropped t-shirt while her exquisite legs were shown off by her pleated white mini-skirt. Make that a mini-mini-skirt.

Wendy and I enjoy girlwatching together so I elbowed Wendy and motioned for her to take a look. We smiled and smirked. The couple stayed for an inning or so and then stood up to leave. We, being the practiced ooglers that we are, watched her ascend the stairs. That's when I realized she didn't have much, if anything, on under that short, short skirt. Holy hell. Gotta love the city sights!

The game ended, the Nationals losing due to their own ineptitude. My boss and his wife dropped us off at the Metro. A nice evening all the way around.

The next day I was at work, my friend, the one I girlwatch with during our lunchtime walks, came over to my cube.

He said, "Hey, Bossman told me how you and Wendy were checking out some hot chick at the game."

My jaw dropped and my eyes widened. He had noticed Wendy and I oogling? How mortifying! It's one thing to enjoy watching pretty women, it's something else entirely when your boss (and his wife!) catches you in the act!

I put on a brave face and said, "Yeah, but did he notice she had nothing on under her skirt?"

Then his eyes widened and we both just grinned.


August 8, 2005

War Games

I recently watched a rerun of King of the Hill. Hank and company were humiliated by a pack of teenaged boys who repeatedly pummeled them playing paintball. In the end, however, the old folks triumphed, good defeated evil, and there was peace on earth. In Arlen, Texas anyway.

I've long had a hankering to play paintball even though I know I'd suck at it because my aim is rarely true. Good thing I wasn't incarnated as Cupid. I've heard it hurts to get tagged by those flying pellets of paint. Considering I bruise like a peach and move as gracefully as an elephant, it's probably a good thing I've never pursued my delusions of grandeur in the paintball arena.

Laser tag is a whole different story. Do kids these days still play? It was an activity of choice when The Boy was a young teen. Being a mom who likes to be in on everything, I'd be the first one in line to accompany them to the laser tag facility.

Some parents would just hang around the lobby, the floor shaking from the loud thumping music. The walls were painted black with fluorescent accents. Some would drop off their little darlings and head over to Linens & Things next door to shop while their children stalked and shot at strangers and friends alike.

Not me. I'd strap on a vest, tightly grip my laser rifle and enter the dark maze that served as the hunting ground. The music inside was even louder than in the lobby. The walls were still black with splashes of design hither and yon. Strobe lights and shadows cast an ominous aura around the expanse of doorways and halls and little hidey-pocket spaces connected by ramps and surrounded by walls of various heights. Adrenaline had my heart racing.

Then the buzzer sounded and the game was on! I'd run to a corner and hide take a moment to get my bearings. Shapes and shadows would flash by in the distance, the voices of the players calling to each other echoing off the walls. Running in the arena was taboo, but we all did it anyway. Leading with my rifle, I'd duck and dive from one obstacle to another looking for my next victim target.

My only goal was to score more than at least one of the teen boys in our group. Just one. I'd be damned if I was going to be the big loser of the day. Thankfully there were usually smaller kids playing too. Size didn't matter in my quest for scores. I'd ruthlessly target the slower less savvy players who left themselves wide open. I'd zap them as I stumbled by giggling crazily with the sheer joy of success.

The round would end, the excited buzz continued as we returned our equipment and huddled breathlessly around the scoreboard. I'd poof up with relief pride to see my nick, Momarama (yes I know I'm a dork), near the top of the list.

It's the little things, people.
Don't rush by and miss them.


August 6, 2005

Family Plots

Once upon a time in a wee little town, a boy was born.

Right down the road, in another wee little town, a girl was born.

The boy grew into a man and the girl into a woman. They each had life adventures, yet neither ventured far from the wee little towns of their birth. Eventually they met, fell in love and got married. They settled in yet another wee little town nestled smack dab between the wee little towns in which they were each brought up.

A home was established, a family raised. Those three wee little towns all grew a bit bigger. The family still lived in the middle one.

Time flew. The man and woman aged. Their children grown, they retired and enjoyed being part of the community. They each kept roots in their respective hometowns and grew new ones together. Their family cemeteries contained not only long gone relatives but also people with whom these two had grown. The woman got into genealogy and traced her family history quite far back.

Therein lies a dilemma. The woman wishes to be buried with her ancestors in her family plot in her hometown. The man would prefer to be buried with his ancestors in his family plot in his hometown. Nothing of them will remain in the town in which they lived and raised their family. The desire to be buried with their ancestors obviously precludes being buried together as husband and wife. When they talk about it, they shrug and don't make eye contact.

I've never contemplated a situation like this before and wonder how other families handle it. Would you prefer to be buried with your spouse/partner or your ancestors? My partner wins that contest hands down everytime. I don't feel as connected to my ancestors as I do Wendy. Plus they hail from a different part of the country than I call home. Pity the genealogist who attempts to trace my family! We've scattered all over the States.


August 5, 2005

Too Darn Hot Again

Oh yeah baby, it's hot around here. Eh, summer has that effect. Weatherbug flashes a big bright 100° down on the task bar. Hell, the attic fan was still running at 8:00 yesterday evening, long after the sun went down. The sun is evidently not the real issue.

The evening found our little family snuggled on the couch, Wendy is wrapped up in her Texans' blanket. The Boy observes from his picture frame. It's like a refrigerator in the house. I like it that way and Wendy adapts.

How lucky are we?


August 3, 2005

Ours is Pink, But Sometimes Blue

I was half-watching late night TV when a commercial came on about how unsanitary kitchen sponges can be. I'm clueless to what the commercial was advertising. It was the visual that caught my attention.

A lady was "cleaning" her countertops and appliances by wiping them down with a raw chicken quarter. She joyously rubbed that chunk of bird on everything and everywhere, a glowing smile on her face as she left sticky nasty raw chicken goo trails behind.

I immediately got up, threw out our kitchen sponge and replaced it with a fresh one.


I immediately thought about getting up, throwing out our kitchen sponge and replacing it with a fresh one.

Have you sniffed your kitchen sponge lately?


August 2, 2005

The Many Faces of Vegetables

I stopped by the grocery store on my way home the other day. The parking lot had been freshly paved. There's nothing quite like the smell of new asphalt on a hot summer evening. It smelled as if my shoes should stick when I stepped on it.

I had a retarded cart. About every five steps one of the front wheels would stick hard, the cart stopping abruptly, the handle jamming my mid-section. I kept trying to anticipate the rhythm but never did get it right.

My cart lightly loaded, I pulled into the express checkout lane. The cashier was a young Jamaican woman. Her hair was braided and big, resembling a calm Medusa. She set the first bag of veggies onto the scale, then looked up at me and asked "What are these?" in her delightful lilting accent.

"Thai eggplant," I replied. "T-h-a-i. Eggplant with an E." I smiled. "It's quite tasty. You should try it."

She looked up the code on her flip chart and punched it into the register. Then she picked up the next item and looked at me questioningly.

"Zucchini," I supplied. "Starts with a Z." She again consulted her chart.

The man in line behind me said, unsolicited, "I like to chop up zucchini and put it in spaghetti sauce."

The cashier and I looked at him, nodding and smiling, both wondering why he thought we'd care. She bagged the zucchini and put the next item on the scale, glancing at me expectantly.

"Asparagus," I compliantly spoke. "With an A."


August 1, 2005

This Sucks

We have a most wonderful neighbor, a delightfully spry woman who has kids our age. Well okay. She has kids Wendy's age. She's retired but always on the go. We knew her socially through Tina's family for a number of years before we became her neighbor. A better neighbor one cannot find. She's friendly and helpful yet unobtrusive. I've become quite attached to her in the two years we have owned this house.

She has been our enthusiastic pet sitter since the day we moved in. She has a few cats and her daughter's dog stays with her from time to time. Our pets have adopted her as one of their own.

An excellent pet sitter, she goes the extra yard by doing things like hanging out at our place to keep them company when we are away. She's doled out medications on the complicated schedules Detail and Cosine have had. She doesn't mind our odiferous dogs who shed and occasionally drool. She and Fig were buddies. She's just one of those pet people. Like us.

So here's the dilemma. I've blogged about Cosine getting old and infirm. It is no secret I anticipate her death in the near future. As she deteriorates, she requires a much higher level of care and attention, like being carried outside and followed closely as she goes about her business. She doesn't keep her balance well. It also affects how she eats, as lowering her head seems to really throw off her coordination. So we hold her dish up to chin level.

After her meals we guide her over to the water bowl, which must be kept filled to the brim because she can't seem to drink from it otherwise. We encourage her to sip and eventually she gets it. Her pill schedule is the easy part these days.

We're going to Montana. Not this week but the week after. We arranged with our neighbor to pet sit as part of making our travel plans.

But Cosine wasn't nearly as infirm then as she is now. And how infirm will she be by the time we leave for our trip? Her care is going to be the most intensive our neighbor has had to undertake. Is it fair to ask her to do it? If we don't, then what the fuck are we going to do? Can't take her with us. No way can we board her; leaving her in an unfamiliar place would be cruel.

While the most obvious solution may be to cancel our trip, the thought of that breaks my heart. I need to see The Boy. I'm excited about hanging out with my father for a week. Practically speaking, we've invested a good deal of money I'd hate to just throw away.

Geez, how selfish am I?

I comfort myself by saying if she doesn't get any worse, our neighbor will be able to handle it fine. I've been procrastinating about having a heart to heart with her because I'm afraid of what she may say. I already know she's a bit nervous about the "what ifs" while we are gone. Wendy and I are also nervous about the "what ifs."

Should Cosine get worse... well duh. Honestly, I know she's getting a little bit worse each day. Her quality of life grows suspect. Wendy and I observe her and wrestle with just what it is we are seeing. The imminent departure date for our vacation cannot be a factor in a quality of life decision. It just makes things harder.

See what I mean?
This sucks.