Sunday, May 27, 2007

Yo Ho, Yo Ho

Do you ever have that experience when you go to a theater and you get so wrapped up in the coming attractions trailers that you forget what movie you came to see? And then the feature presentation begins and you've been so overpowered by the seductively engineered previews that you're disappointed when you remember what film you're really sitting down to view? That happens to me all. the. time.

Youngest is a yuge "Pirates of the Caribbean" fan. Youngest is 11. Almost 12 now. Talk about target demographic! He has been dying for the third installment to come out.

My brother is a good uncle. After spending the day teaching Youngest how to pour and level cement (and I'm so very pleased to report that Youngest caught right on and did a fantastic job!) my brother decided a good end-of-a-long-hard-day treat would be a trip to the theater to see Pirates III. Number One Son and I opted to go along for the ride. Though why we chose that option is a little beyond my understanding as we both hated Pirates II. Let me amend that. I can't accurately say I hated it. All 4 times I've tried to watch it I have slept through it. I'll just say it didn't do a lot to hold my interest. So why was I going to see chapter 3?

Settled into our theater seats, lights partially dimmed, audience partially quieted, the previews began. First up was the teaser for "Die Hard Umpteen." Surprisingly, it looks like it would be worth seeing. On the big screen. Maybe not a worthy home rental. Some of the stunts were outrageous and creative and humorous.

Number One and I think a lot alike. He asked me how old Bruce Willis is. He was wondering how many more times ole Bruce could get away with dying so hard. And I had been sitting there thinking how great it is for Bruce and his kids that he was able to sock away another 15 or 20 mil. for retirement.

Next up was the latest installment of what has become the "National Treasure" series. "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" is the newest offering. That announcer voice began by making reference to the death of President Abraham Lincoln as the most famous assassination in history. Number One and I exchanged glances. We would argue that Caesar's assassination fills the top spot on the most famous list. But that's just us.

Did I mention Number One and I think a lot alike? At this point we were both asking ourselves whether all the summer movies would be freshly ground rehashes or whether somebody could come up with an original idea. The answer immediately jumped at us in the form of a promo for yet another penguin movie. Followed by the preview for an animated movie by the makers of "Meet the Robinsons." And "Cars." And "The Incredibles." And "Finding Nemo." And "Monsters Inc." Side of toast with that hash?

Then came that slick, alluring sneak peek at "Ocean's 13." What is it about the Ocean's movies that, though I know it will be a sinful waste of my $9, I can't wait for the release? It's the music that pulls me in. Okay, and maybe some of the hunky actors. But mostly it's the music.

And then I got lost pondering the theory my older kids have about movie music and how we would be ambivalent towards characters and story lines without the score to direct our feelings. I notice this phenomenon especially when watching trailers. That's why I get so sucked in. The images and ideas move too quickly to be subdued by reflective thought and the music is unabashedly manipulative--invariably building to a dramatic climax. By the second or third preview I find myself completely lost in movie world. This explains my habit of forgetting what film I really came to see.

That's the reason that when the lights fully dimmed and the audience fully quieted and I rummaged through the files of my memory I thought to myself, "Oh crap. We're here to see Pirates III."

In spite of my pessimism, it turned out to be not so bad! I enjoyed this picture. I only drifted off into other realms of thought during the drawn out battle scene towards the end. There were some surprises--a few things I didn't see coming. Many of the CG images were spectacular--particularly the starry night and the crabs. And my favorite quote nimbly tumbled from the lips of Jack Sparrow: "Calypso, as a woman, has been scorned. Fury like, hell hath no."

Youngest loved it. Number One and I enjoyed ourselves even at the nearly 3 hour length of it. My brother was numb with boredom and could not wait for the credits to roll. Three out of four. Not so bad.

Monday, May 21, 2007

For the Sake of $3 Worth of Chicken

Yesterday Mister was rototilling in the vegetable drawer of the fridge when he came across a package of chicken breasts dated May 14th. Why had I put chicken in the veggie bin? Chalk yet another one up on the side of old age . . .

Six day old chicken breasts. My sweet hubby hates waste of any kind. And I don't blame him for one second. On the other hand, I'm not real fond of food poisoning.

The chicken had been on sale. I paid $3 for a pound and a half. I would have been okay throwing it out for the sake of safety. Mister wasn't so quick to sign on with that plan. Conducting the sniff test, he declared it to be "fine" and requested that I cook it for dinner.

I was scared of that chicken. I didn't want to cook it. I didn't want to eat it. I especially didn't want my children eating it. Plus, I figured the cost of all 5 of us getting our stomachs pumped far outweighed the savings of $3 worth of chicken. I devised a plan:

After the rest of my family left the house to visit Grandma for the afternoon, I would sneak off to the grocery store to buy replacement chicken breast. The six day old chicken breast would be quietly discarded, I would cook the replacement chicken, and nobody would be the wiser. All in the name of keeping the peace. And avoiding the emergency room.

To Albertson's I went. When I entered the market, I was immediately confronted with ripe, luscious strawberries on special. But I had to pass them up because I couldn't very well come home with a grocery cart full of food without Mister catching on to my switcharoo. Pass also on the broccoli, cauliflower, red and yellow peppers and bananas that were on special.

Putting on the proverbial blinders, I headed straight for the butcher counter. The chicken breast, naturally, was no longer on sale. Gritting my teeth, I asked for a pound and a half of overpriced chicken breast. Six bucks. F***!

Knowing I could also get away with sneaking milk into the fridge (Mister wouldn't notice a gallon of milk--go figure) I headed over to dairy. That's when my real problems began.

A handsome, 40ish man passing me in the aisle smiled and said hi. Figuring I must know him from somewhere (otherwise why would he have said hello in such a friendly fashion?) I smiled back and cheerfully said hi, then continued on my way.

Milk in my cart, I thought I could also buy chocolate chips and claim they had been in the cupboard since last time I went shopping. It was a risky plan (we all know about me and my unnatural attachment to chocolate) but warm cookies were worth the risk. Standing in the baking aisle, drooling--*ahem*--deciding which brand of chocolate morsels to buy, the same friendly man wheeled his cart near mine and started conversation. And suddenly I realized, he was chatting me up. Okay--it wasn't 'suddenly' that I realized the situation--it was after he asked me whether I was married that it dawned on me what was going on.

"Yes, I'm married," I answered politely. "Oh. Well, nice to meet you. I'm Keith" he returned while extending his hand to me. I smiled and shook his hand, "Hi, I'm Kristin. Nice to meet you." We chatted momentarily about something (for the life of me I have no idea what we talked about as my internal conversation was all about how intimidated I would be if I were single. I'm just not cut out for this kind of interaction.) And then we parted ways.

Having thought of a few more essentials I could easily sneak into the house and stash away, I continued shopping for a few more minutes before heading to check out. Problem was, on every single aisle I kept bumping into Keith.

By now I was embarrassed at what was in my cart. Did I mention the giant box of tampons? Yeah. Tampons and chocolate chips. I don't often get chatted up like that in the grocery store. Admittedly, I was enjoying Keith's attention. But I didn't want this man thinking I'm just some hormonally challenged, chocolate craving housewife. It would be correct, but I didn't want him thinking it. I would figure out a way to hide extra groceries. I'd be damned if I couldn't leave that store without some normal food in my basket!

Back to produce to take advantage of the good deals. Again there was Keith. Flustered by his continued flirtation, I forgot all about those delicious strawberries. Instead, I stocked up on broccoli. Broccoli. But not strawberries . . .

I managed, in this stranger's presence, to fake a normal shopping trip by loading up on enough regular family food to look convincing. Not just chocolate and tampons. And overpriced chicken.

End result:

Replacement chicken breast--$6

Total grocery bill--$34.72

Looking almost sane in front of charming rogue and not serving my family tainted victuals--priceless!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Date

"What's your favorite flower?" he asked as they wandered the paths of the botanical garden.

At any other moment she would have answered lilac or honeysuckle. But right now she had no care for those flowers. She rejected their profusion of texture, scent and color. She could focus on only one specimen.

With its dramatic, creamy colors.

Its clean, curved lines that led the eye around . . . inward . . . downward.

The rolled edges of the outer petal, like full, ready lips.

Its elongated, cupped form with its prominent stamen.

Like a vagina with an engorged clitoris.

"Calla Lily" she answered with an unseen blush. Her voice still warm in the air, she slid her hand into his.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

sad and angry

Sad for lost opportunities. Angry at wasted time. Grieving for every missed chance to be nurturing and loving that was squandered for reasons that don't look all that important now. The days when I could have cooked that favorite dish but didn't. The lonesome nights when I could have been comforting but was unavailable. Grains of sand. Purgatory in an hourglass vault.

Add these things to my list of regrets.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Cleanliness is next to . . . ummmm . . . never mind

Erin O'Brien is having way too much fun over at her place. I am who I am. The first thing that comes to my mind is, "But how would you properly clean and sterilize them after each use?"

I lay awake last night, concerned with the problem every man would face . . . umm . . . "after".

So . . . how to clean one of these buggers . . .

Maybe they turn inside out?

Take it out to the front yard and use a high powered garden hose? Or maybe a pressure washer?

Run it through the dishwasher?

Maybe it comes with its own special cleaning tool. Something like a baby bottle cleaning brush, except it would be a prosthetic orifice cleaning brush. But then you'd have to clean the brush too . . .

Maybe they come with color coded condoms to promote safe artificial sex?


As if I don't already have enough to worry about, Erin shows me these.

Great. How many hours sleep am I going to lose fretting over how to sanitize these babies? Plus they bring to mind Fembots and Stepford Wives. Opening up a whole new can of worms . . .

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Tragic Comedy. Or a Comic Tragedy? The Reviews Aren't In Yet . . .

Back Story: This year I determined to spend Mother's Day doing what makes me happy.

Setting the Stage: Beautiful is insightful. She gets it. But she has 3 jobs. She hasn't had time to clue the guys in to what would make a great day for Mom. And by "clue the guys in," I mean club them over the head repeatedly with it until they swell with understanding.

Tech Rehearsal: I can't expect the three guys to read my mind. So, for my benefit and theirs, I wrote it all down. Neatly typed and posted on the refrigerator door. My wish list for the setting, the food . . .

So proud of my strategy, I excitedly told Number One, "Hey, go take a look at the fridge!" He went to the refrigerator, opened the door, and looked around confusedly for whatever surprise he thought I had made for him. This doesn't bode well . . .


Last Minute Script Changes:

  • Brother-in-law makes reservations for dinner with the entire family at 4pm Sunday. So much for having an evening at the movies with Mister.
  • Beautiful learns that she has to work Sunday afternoon. There goes my vision of spending the day picnicking at a beach with my family. But we can still salvage something of my plan, right?
  • Sadly, I say to Mister, (and the direct quote is important here) "The beach just won't be the same without Beautiful."

Act I
Scene I

  • Mister wakes up Sunday morning and throws a load of his laundry into the washer. Since it's Mother's Day, and I've been really sick for over a week, Mister is happy to do the laundry.
  • Number One wants to know if we're going anywhere. When I tell him we're doing whatever special thing they have planned for me, he shrugs and says, "Well, if we're not doing anything, I guess I'll go to church instead."
  • Mister returns from local grocery store with a colorful bouquet of this-is-all-they-had-left-and-I-should-have-planned-it-out-better. And then he goes outside to putter around.
Scene II

  • Beautiful surprises me with a lovely basket of Mother's Day goodies--including a pair of really fun shoes!
  • Youngest rides his bicycle to the little country market down the street and spends his hard earned cash on a sweet card and what I am convinced is an expensive and high quality gold necklace. Awwwwwww . . .
  • As I am demonstrating a little irritation with Mister because nothing has been planned (with a quote something like, "You suck!") Mister's response is, "But I thought you told me that you didn't want to do anything since Beautiful has to go to work." [See Last Minute Script Changes for the actual dialogue.]
Scene III

  • Mister decides we are going out for brunch. Reservations be damned!
  • Though we have just agreed on brunch, Number One, in an effort to get back on my sane side, whips up a batch of delicious cranberry scones. Just before brunch . . .

A Quick Costume Change

  • The scones are almost done baking. Beautiful, Youngest and I are dressed and ready to go. Number One is taking a quick shower. Mister sits at the computer in his work clothes. I ask, "Are you going to change so we can go?" His answer is, "But my clothes aren't in the dryer yet." And then I understand. "So what you're saying is that you did your laundry to be prepared to go out this afternoon with your mother?" Mister answers with a sheepish grin.
Act II

  • Brunch with my hubby and kids was great.
  • Received an unexpected, and seriously thoughtful, phone call from a friend who doesn't have kids--but she gets it!
  • Came back home and watched the movie Beautiful gave me, "Because I Said So." The perfect overbearing mother movie : ) At first it was just Beautiful and me snuggled up on the couch enjoying the show. Then Number One joined us. Beautiful dozed off. And then came the scene with the two women discussing--and describing with hand gestures and body motions--what an orgasm feels like. Number One and I did an outstanding job of faking that we weren't really in a room together watching this particular scene of the movie. And we'll never speak of it again.
Act III

  • Dinner with the entire family. The usual personalities. The usual conversation. The usual uniqueness of my 13 year old nephew. For today's entertainment, he made a set of grillz out of mint wrappers.
  • Came back home to comfy sweats and laundry that needs catching up on. (Mister kindly suggested I wait until after midnight so I'm not actually doing chores on Mother's Day : )
Curtain Call

  • The love scene. Director's cut.
Encore

  • heh, heh . . .

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Reservations for Pity, Party of One

Ever have one of those days?

One of those days when the threatening cloud bank on the horizon moves itself a little closer?

When the settlement offer for your husband's injury from the car accident comes in and it's such a low offer that even though you know it's all part of the game and you'll either counter or go to arbitration, you still have a panic attack about how the rest of your life is going to play out depending on this one situation that is hopelessly out of your hands.

When you suddenly feel anxious pangs over whether the 'career' path you're about to pursue, while it might make you happy, might not actually be enough to pay the bills.

When you've been sick and you try to take a walk to collect your thoughts but you're so tired all you really want to do is lie down on the side of the road for a nap.

And in the middle of your "cleansing" walk, your iPod, the thing that has suddenly become the only important, personal, controllable thing in your universe, malfunctions and you can't skip to the songs you really want to hear.

When you realize that someone you think of as a close friend is a guy and not at the same station in life and he doesn't quite understand. And he never really will.

And you have close, attentive, understanding girlfriends but you don't want to burden them because they've already been holding your hand for a year through all the other ill-mannered changes.

And you have your partner--your sweet, loving, steadfast husband--to confide in, but this is all hitting him too and you know that your level of stress is just ratcheting his through the roof.

When you know you're allowing yourself to wallow but you can't quite talk yourself out of it.

And then the iPod shuffles to a song you love but it's poignant and makes you think of sad things and the tears are rushing forward like a flowing tide and the iPod still won't let you skip.

When you realize it's not just that you're a country mouse, it's more a case of borderline agoraphobia and it's affecting your life more and more.

One of those days when you're at Supercuts with your son and there's a young mother who pokes a bottle into her 6 week old, carseat-captive baby's mouth before heading over to the chair to have her hair done for her wedding that's in a couple of hours. And you want nothing more than to hold that sweet baby while he eats or at least take the poor child out and burp him when he's done but you don't want to overstep societal boundaries. And even if you were bold enough to politely ask the mother if she would like your help because you can see in her face how overwhelmed she is today, you can't do it because you're still too sick.

And people who you love deeply are hurting and there isn't a f***ing thing you can do about it. And frankly, even if you could, they don't necessarily want you to do anything about it.

Then the iPod switches to a different version of the same poignant song and now it's not just a few silent tears, an actual cry noise escapes your throat but you're still out walking and you can't run home fast enough. And you still can't skip to another song!

And you get, with zero uncertainty, that the stuff in your life that's bothering you is really just western crybaby crap. You're aware that people everywhere are suffering from problems that are measureless and unsolvable. And yet you still can't let go.

Ever have one of those days?

Yeah. Me either.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

A Hiatus

So . . . I haven't been here much of late. I'm just not feeling it right now. I'm not inspired. I'm not dying to sit at the keyboard every day and work on things. Partly because it's spring and there's so much to do! Partly because there are some pretty major things going on in my real life. Blog life has to take a back seat for awhile.

I hope to pop in from time to time with a post here and there. But mostly my focus will be elsewhere.

You all have been really supportive and so much fun! I so look forward to lunch break every day when I get to sit down and catch up with everyone!

I hope to be back later with enthusiasm and a little less negativity.

Until then, cheers!

Monday, May 7, 2007

Your Friendly Neighborhood Waste of 140 Minutes

I don't like to lie to my kids. Rather than lie, I try to focus on any positive little thing I can grasp onto and go with that. Taking Youngest to see Spiderman III tested my creative limits. I ended up having to tell less than the truth.

It was a special treat for the two of us to go see the newest of the Spidey chronicles on its release date. To prep me (as I had not seen any of the Spiderman anthology--oh how I wish I could still make that claim!) we spent the two prior evenings watching I and II. And I knew I was in trouble. I knew I would have a difficult time sitting still in the theater. I knew I would be thinking other thoughts and not paying any attention to the flashy vacuity on the screen. I knew I didn't want to pay $8 to listen to Kirsten Dunst scream for half an hour. But I had promised.

About halfway through the torture *ahem* the movie, I realized, with a sudden grinding in the gray matter, that as soon as the house lights came up, Youngest was going to ask me if I liked it and I would have to come up with something positive so as not to crush his tender spirit.

Me, thinking to myself: There's plenty of time to come up with something. Start thinking now. I have to use the bathroom. I wonder why the woman in front of me wore that sweater with those pants? 25, 26, 27 . . . 28 ceiling tiles widthwise times 40 ceiling tiles lengthwise equals . . . I really have to use the bathroom. We'll stop at the little market on the way home and I'll pick up some sausage--we'll have pasta for dinner. I wonder if it's still raining outside . . .

Youngest: "Hey, Mom, wasn't that a great movie?!"

Me: Oh no! I forgot to find something positive to say! Quick, think! The dialogue was fatuous. In fact, parts of it made no grammatical sense. Kirsten Dunst is completely miscast. Topher Grace did a fine job playing Eric Foreman. Again. Aunt May and dead Uncle Ben were just as tedious with their long, patronizing, salt-of-the-earth speeches in this movie as in the previous two. The death scene of the character we are supposed to care about was a protracted, saccharine insult. The plot functions were predictable. And abysmal. I find it odd that according to these movies there are only 5 black people in all of New York City: an assistant newspaper editor, a cop, and 3 light skinned 20something hotties. And I can already tell you exactly what Spiderman IV is going to be about and why and who is going to join forces with whom . . .

Me: "I'm so glad we got to see this together!"

Okay, so that was a partial lie. I am glad to have done something that was special for Youngest. I'm not at all happy that I dropped more than $20 for the something to be that particular movie. Oh well. He will always remember what a great afternoon it was with his mom. That's worth the price of a little lie.

Friday, May 4, 2007

That Call I Received on Monday

Number One, Calling from 300 Miles Away At School: Hi, Mom. Hey, when was my last tetanus shot?

Me: What?

Me, thinking to myself: WTF?

Number One: Yeah, ummm, the clinic here said I should call you and find out when my last tetanus shot was. Was it during the last 10 years?

Me: Yes, it was less than 10 years ago. Off the top of my head I can't remember the year, but I'm in the middle of something right now. Can I call you back in 10 minutes when I get home?

The Dude I'm "in the middle of something" With: Do you want fries with that?

Me: Don't panic. He's fine. It's not the emergency room calling, it's Number One calling. He's fine.

Me: What? Oh . . . ummm . . . no fries.


Ten minutes later, after returning home and remembering that I had Number One's immunization record in my wallet the whole time:

Me: Hey, Son. Your last shot was 6 years ago. So . . . do I get to know why?

Number One (as laughingly laid back as possible): I got a little tangled up in a barbed wire fence.

Me: What?

Me: WTF?

Number One: Remember I told you I went camping over the weekend with some friends?

Me: Yeah.

Number One: So, we did a little rock climbing that evening.

Me: All your mathematical/engineering brains combined and it seemed like a good idea to climb sheer rock faces in the dark?

Number One: And then we decided to race back to our campsite.

Me: Why can't you be normal and have wild drunken parties that don't endanger your life?

Me (forcing an almost believable laugh): You were running in the dark in farm country?

Number One: Yeah--only there was a section of barbed wire fence that really wasn't where it should have been.

Me: Farming bastards! Putting their fences up where innocent (and possibly inebriated?) college boys might run into them while holding impromptu Olympic tryouts in the dark!

Me: Did you all get hurt?

Number One: No. Only me. I was way ahead of the others.

Me: That's my boy!

Number One: My friends saw my white t-shirt flipping over something so they stopped in time. We looked at my cuts (there was a little moonlight) and they didn't seem real deep. I cleaned the cuts out when we got back home on Sunday.

Me: So you're saying you just stayed out there camping until Sunday instead of seeking immediate medical attention?

Number One: Well it didn't hurt all that badly after awhile and I wasn't bleeding too much.

Me: Son, there are just some things I don't need to know.

Me: Son, there are just some things I don't need to know!

Number One: I know, Mom. I usually edit what I tell you, but this time I kinda had to tell you the whole story because of the tetanus thing.

Me: I am going to be the proudest mother in all the land when my son walks across the stage to accept his diploma for Stupid Things Guys Do Because They're Guys.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Entirely off the subject, but something jogged my memory . . .

I have only been on one blind date in my life. Mutual friends set me up with this guy. They thought we would really hit it off. Looking back, I'm not sure what made them think that because, as I recall, we didn't have all that much in common.

I was supposed to go to his house with my girlfriend so we could meet. He didn't trust the people who set us up and was worried he would get stuck spending the evening with someone ugly and boring. So he left.

His plan was to drive by the house after he knew I had arrived, check me out from the street and then (depending on my relative ugly factor) either go through with it or hide out for the night. How's that for shallow!

He ended up accidentally bumping into us in town where my girlfriend and I were killing time until the appointed hour. I must have looked okay to him because he did show up at the house.

We spent the evening together with our friends and he turned out to be a charming, funny guy. He did ask me out again and I accepted. In fact, we ended up seriously dating for six months.

I still have such tender memories of that romantic time dating him. We date far less now since we've been married for over 20 years. But he is still the same charming and funny guy he was way back when . . .