An article about airport screening caught my eye in the Wall Street Journal. It was most amusing to find out that a man in the article, yelled at when he grabbed at his beltless pants which were falling down as he was x-rayed a the airport, is most likely the brother of a guy I dated in college, or at least, I'm pretty sure it is him. He filed a complaint with the TSA for his rough treatment.
The next day, I took Anna to Cincinnati to look at my alma mater, and finding the program much shorter than we anticipated, I called my mom and her husband for lunch. They suggested the Panera Bread near some errands they needed to run. And there, in that Panera bread, in that place at that time, sat that man. The one that I had read about the day before but hadn't talked to or even though about in 23 years. Is that weird or what?
He looked over at me and I could tell he recognized me somewhat, but seemed puzzled. That "don't I know her from somewhere?" look. Obviously in a business meeting with another man, I minded my own business. Otherwise, I thought it would be amusing to walk over and say, "Hey, Mike, congratulations on getting your name into the Wall Street Journal."
Dh and I enjoy doing barn chores together in the evening. It gives us a chance to talk. One night we were discussing what answer to give William. Scheduled for baseball practice the next day, William's piano instructor had also invited us to a group performance class during our piano lesson. I hadn't known about the performance class and had already committed to the baseball practice with a team to the coach.
"I want to go to the performance class, not baseball!" William declared in front of his piano instructor. This of course thrilled the instructor and frankly, since we are working on motivation to study piano, me as well. But....well, he had baseball practice.
Despite being happy at William's interest in the group piano practice, we talked it over and decided he should go to baseball. We'd already committed, a team was counting on him, you can't practice baseball alone or make a spot for yourself except on the bench unless you practice, and so on. In addition, there was a tiny, niggling suspicion that it was an attempt to not have to exercise in the hot sun, though it was a morning practice. Decision made, we returned to the house, chores done, and told William: You must go to baseball practice.
We woke up this morning to a steady rain. We went to piano.
I'm going to segue from reading Sh*t My Dad Says, a Twitter account that turned into a New York Times best seller, into writing a book of my own: Sh*t My Husband Says. Maybe I'll make a cool million, too. Maybe not. I could write sequels, including Sh*t My Teenagers Say and Sh*t William Says. I could go on endlessly.
Just this week, I found that I was going to have to reorganize the kitchen, moving all the heavy dishes to the pantry, and the food in the pantry to the dishes cabinet. The cabinet shelves are falling apart, the shelves bowing. There was much moaning by family about how it was going to be confusing to remember where everything is located.
Dh looked in the cabinet and declared that he didn't see a problem; I should just put the dishes back in. I pictured my obituary in the paper, Woman killed by falling bowls and dishes. I declared that I'd move them, knowing that his statement meant he wasn't going to fix it.
"Why am I responsible for fixing it?" he asked today. Because, I declared, as the man of the house he was responsible for maintenance. That was not a very feminist viewpoint he countered. Fine, I compromised, I will fix the cabinet while you grocery shop, wash your own underwear, and fix us all dinner. He laughed. Really, we are just enjoying teasing each other. As I sit here typing (a short break from my duties), he's out in the sun mowing. But, I did move the dishes. (Truth is, I've not a clue how to fix the cabinet.)
Everything is falling apart. My basement refrigerator caught my friend Christine's refrigerator's virus, and after 20 years of freezing everything that should only have been refrigerated, it no longer cools. And yes, I've cleaned the coils. The kitchen cabinets, nearly new when we moved in but of that laminate crap, are coming apart at the seams. The shelves are falling. It seems when things start to break, it's an avalanche.
Such is the case with me as well. I think I've foundered. Horses walk mainly on the human equivalent of one large toenail. When they eat too much, the wall between the living and dead (toenail) tissue separates, and the horse has "foundered". In the worse cases, the bone goes through the hoof wall. Lose the hoof, lose the horse, and it must be put down. Before you put me down, it is only my right foot that is totally breaking down, and it can be saved.
I have had bunions as long as I can remember, at least back to age ten. The word itself conjures old women playing bridge and moaning of their aching feet. I don't want to be that woman. I want to hike mountains in my old age. So, doctors are going to next month take my foot apart and reconstruct it. No driving for six months nor riding for three. Lauren is teaching me to ground work the horses so that I can help with them without riding. It will be good for me. I am looking forward to being pain-free. At least on that foot.
As for losing my mind, I can feel it coming. That sharpness I once had is slipping now and again. Today, for instance. I took Eugene to BigOh because the front right tire felt like it was going flat, but wasn't. What was up? They looked it over, balanced the tires, took it on a test drive and said maybe it was the transmission but they weren't sure. They didn't find anything. On the drive home, it hit me. I had parked at my hairdresser's hilly driveway and put on the emergency brake. I had forgotten to release it. So on my drive home, yes, Eugene shuddered like an old man trying to make it up the hill. It was the emergency brake. But my hair looks good.
Likely, when they took him out for a spin, they noticed, released the brake, and voila, no problem. And I remember putting on the brake and saying to myself, "You idiot, you are going to forget the brake." And answering myself, "No, I'll remember." Gah.
Mean old man. Lauren said my reaction was immature but my husband and other daughter later laughed at the story. Lauren and I were driving home from downtown when I saw that I needed gas and took the exit for Cost-Mo. I knew I should have been in the left turn lane, but somehow found myself in the right.
After turning, I now had to cross two lanes to turn into the store. Looking into my rear view mirror and over my shoulder, I had plenty of time to get over but had to accelerate. A mammoth SUV was moving in fast despite my blinker which clearly indicated my intentions. I crossed both lanes without causing the gas guzzler to even brake. As luck would have it, we both came to a stop a the intersection with a red light.
As he pulled past me, he turned towards me with the meanest, pure hatred I've seen in awhile and mouthed several choice words I could not distinguish. His anger was visible. He hadn't counted on my lane getting permission to move ahead first, and as my old van passed his new "I-own-the-road-mobile", he again turned his visage to me and shot me pure venom.
My instinctual response was to blow him a kiss and smile. I couldn't help it. I laughed as I drove away. Lauren chastised me for my immaturity. Oh, the sad thing to behave like a middle schooler and get called on it by your now adult daughter. Loved it. Would do it again. Then again, there was no way for the guy to follow me, trapped as he was in his lane and obviously he was on a mission from God and he was running late. He was professionally dressed; I might have not attempted this with a skin head sporting a Confederate flag from the flat bed of his truck. I could only feel sorry for the poor family to which he'd go home tonight.
I justified my behavior as milder than showing the man one of the digits of my hand. Dh imagined the instant judgments the man must have made because of my old beat up van. "He didn't know who he was dealing with!"
Lauren came up the stairs around the time I was fixing dinner. Were our arbor vitae shrubs, just outside the garage, hit by lightening the other day, she asked? I didn't think so, surely I would have noticed, but I went to see what she was talking about. One of the 8 foot tall shrubs was pushed over, and three of them were missing branches, all at the height of a miniature horse. Roxie.
I stood up and staked the leaning shrub and we examined the damage. Roxie is known to rub against anything if she is sweaty and itchy, particularly arbor vitae and pampas grass. But she'd never done anything to these shrubs. Yet these had not only been rubbed, but eaten! A quick Internet search showed that only in a great quantity was it toxic. Yet what is a "great" quantity for a mini? Hours later, she is fine. I'm not so sure about the shrubs.
More storms rolled through tonight, but it appeared this night to be more of a light show than anything. Hopefully, it will remain that way.
I had William and his friend, Z, in the car on the way home from a fencing class. I told them I needed to stop at the Church office to pick up some photos from William's First Communion. Moans came from the back seat. Really, I assured them, they could sit there in the air conditioned car, I'd park right at the door, run in, NOT TALK, and get the photos. Seconds, I promised.
Z said, "Yeah, MY mom always says she won't talk either. Then she does."
Anna and I have been searching for a college that has a great program in painting while allowing her to double major in English. Last Friday, we made a visit to a university that had what we thought was a large college devoted to the arts. Surrounded by architectural models, graphic and industrial designs, we searched for evidence of a quality oil painting program. We walked the halls of the irregularly shaped building (which to us was more annoying than innovative), finally finding an art gallery where two oil paintings were hung.
One was okay, though not remarkable, an image of a young girl sleeping. Here, I called to Anna from across the room, here is another painting. It was a life-sized painting of Bill Cosby, the canvas eight feet by four feet. Naturally, your eyes were drawn to his face, not a great likeness, but good enough that Anna recognized him (it took me a minute). He was wearing a long sleeve shirt and a pair of brown pants, title "The Darndest Thing".
We stood there, mother and daughter, evaluating the skill of the painter, until our eyes drifted downward, suddenly noticing that Bill was, shall we say, "exposed". "OHH," we both said a the same time, turning away. Then we turned back to check that we saw what we thought we saw. Then we laughed.
The painter certainly succeeded at the shock factor, which seems to be the point of a lot of art instruction these days. But I'm not at all convinced that this artist had succeeded with her painting skill. Today's artist must be edgy, "say something", and make anyone viewing it uncomfortable to be considered successful. The works of the great masters would be considered too bland for today's art world. It is too bad, for I feel we are creating a great number of "artists" who can't paint.
We were relieved to meet an artist and instructor this past weekend who said he could have saved us that trip - that the university in question was "terrible". He offered to meet with us and give us a list of colleges that he'd suggest for Anna. It will save us much time. He also said that having a "voice" or being edgy is all fine, as long as you paint well. What a relief it is to hear that.
I stood at the windows last night, waiting for Lauren and Anna to get home. Before the power went out, the radar showed a huge storm coming our way, and they were out with friends to a movie. They had a short window of time to get home before another round. As I looked for a flashlight, a large lightening bolt hit. The girls got home just as emergency vehicles began stopping right at our driveway. Our neighbor's house must have been hit by lightening. Three large fire trucks, paramedics and ambulances lit up the road. We stood on our front porch and tried to see through the rain. Our house is set back a ways from the road, and we couldn't really see much. Eventually, the lights went off and we went to bed to the rumble of more storms.
It was a very full weekend, art lessons, baseball practices and a graduation party for Lauren with four other graduates. It was a very nice party and great to see friends. She is working hard to prepare for her final recital as a high school student in July.
"It's because it was designed by men," I remember her (not to be named) saying. The complaint was thrown at the dishwasher, used daily by women, but designed by men (she assumed). A woman, was the implication, would have designed it differently, better.
I thought of the comment when I was in Wally World the other day and stood perplexed in front of the suntan lotions. I wanted Coppertone rub-on lotion because I love the smell of it. (I know, it's like going to buy a car and the color being the most important feature. It's really not that important, but the smell reminds me of vacations.) All of the lotions, just about, were spray on. No rub on.
This has to be because most of the people formulating and manufacturing sun tan lotion are older men: men who are married and don't really want to rub the suntan lotion into the back of their wives, who could really use the soothing, relaxing back rub by a pool on a hot day. No, now it is "spritz, spritz", "There you go dear, all done." Progress isn't always progress, you know.
It got worse. One can also buy a self-applicator for suntan lotion. Now that's just sad. It folds up to fit neatly in your purse. You can spray your suntan lotion over your shoulder, and then make sure it is evenly spread by using the applicator to rub your own back. Or use it for rub-on lotion if you are lucky enough to find some.
Suntan lotion these days should come in five gallon buckets. We wouldn't dream of going outside without it. We feel profound guilt and judgement as parents if our children turn red from exposure. "That's just child abuse," I overheard a parent observing a child badly burned in the sun. "They ought to know better." Dh and I reminisced about our youth, when suntan lotion was rarely used, maybe only on the beach on vacation. Maybe. One was expected to get a little red the first day or two, which would then turn browner for your base, and you built your suntan on that. Suntan lotion was used to enhance tans, not prevent them. If you really wanted to protect yourself, you could get spf 8! Now it goes up to sfp100.
And don't think, men who design suntan lotion, that I'm not on to you concerning price either. Those spray on cans contain very little suntan lotion. $7 for a can that lasts my family two days. The rub on is much more concentrated, more lotion for the money. But then, we'd have to rub it on, wouldn't we?
When I was in college and living at home, I remember that my darker skinned sisters (they took more from our Italian heritage) were tanning in the yard using baby oil (!) to properly cook themselves. I took my German skin outside, applied the oil, and burned my forehead so badly that it blistered. The fluid in my forehead moved south, nearly swelling shut my eyes. Perhaps lotion is progress after all.
I got my first check for writing from GoogleAds, which registers each time someone clicks on ads displayed on this blog. $105 and change. Before you congratulate me on my accomplishment, consider that this is for the period of time from December 2004 until the present. At this rate, I'll be rich in no time. Emphasis on "no time".
My mind has been a bit foggy lately. As I sat watching William's piano lesson yesterday, items I needed at Stuff-Mart kept popping into my head. I wrote them down so I could let go and pay attention. That didn't work when the word "snake" came into my head. Snake, Snake, Snake. No that isn't the right word. I picture a long green snake. All the while, Mr. B, the piano teacher is talking to William, and the words float around me. It's a short word I want. Not snake. Then finally, it surfaces: hose. A long, green hose. I think I'm losing my mind.
Anna and I were in the kitchen making strawberry freezer jam. Our hips accidentally bumped into each other and I laughed: Did you know, I asked her, that there was a dance when I was growing up called "the bump". I demonstrated. "Don't even tell me," she said, "that people actually did that in public."
A few weeks off were called for due to pain in my wrists. The time off confirmed that it is carpal tunnel syndrome, as the pain has lessened with much less typing. A lot of driving didn't help, nor did the odd behavior I seem to have when I sleep. I wake up with my wrists bent up under my chin. So, occasionally I may have to take a break, but I am aware of those of you that are asking for more blogs. I'll do my best.
I'm also doing my best not to age, but it seems that isn't working. The world knows it, too. I'm sure it was an accident that the Old Farts Club (or whatever they're called) from Church left a message on my answering machine inviting me to a Derby Party last month. The AARP letter I got in today's mail was also not welcome.
Pentecost Sunday in the Catholic Church is a "high" Mass, where many of the prayers are sung instead of spoken and small bells are rung at critical times. As the bells chimed the first time, a little boy near the front said out loud, "WHAT'S THAT?" There was a small amount of snickering. A little while later, again the bells sounded. "THERE IT GOES AGAIN!" he said. William started laughing uncontrollably. Of course, this made me laugh, and I had to take him out and talk sternly to him about reverence, all the while swallowing my own laughter.
At the end of Mass, Father recounted when the bells were rung at Christmas and a young child hollered out, "SANTA'S HERE!"