Monthly Archives: May 2010

Stupid Idiots

Whatever you do, don’t piss off Rowan.  This 4 year old has plans for you.  Plans that will only be unleashed it you piss him off though so, if you can avoid that, you’re cool.  For now.  But for the ones that piss him off?  Well, I can assure you that his wrath will suck, preschool style.

Over time I have come to realize that although it is sort of funny to have a child that speaks like he’s David Attenborough and Kenneth Branagh  (“The Mother Smilodon [that’s me] quietly creeps toward the kitchen to get juice for her young, but the sun suddenly blinds her.  She stumbles over a log and falls to earth just as the predator attacks her, killing her instantly.”) the vocabulary that he is gleaning doesn’t quite match his comprehension.  For example, after a particularly rough day at preschool where one child picked Rowan up and tried to toss him in a wagon, Rowan described his counter attack like this:

“Well, I took my razor sharp saber teeth and I sliced his lungs open so hard that one of my teeth broke off.  I just attacked him and then tossed his body UP in the tree.”  As if to say “no biggie.”

As I watched him describing this fictional retaliation, I realized that he is learning to deal with conflict by creating a response tantamount to his experience in the conflict.  Because I can tell you that this kid does NOT like to be manhandled or wronged.  And in the moment, he looks like a deer caught in headlights.  A friend just told me after watching Rowan get tackled by a boy at school that during the tackle he looked like he couldn’t decide if he should like it or not.  His confusion wasn’t over whether he DID like it (he is pretty clear on that) but whether he SHOULD.  Poor little dude.  Once he realizes that,  in fact, he hates to be pushed around, his imagination goes all Rambo and what he says he’s going to do to you?  It ain’t pretty.

A couple of weeks ago my dear, sweet, politically motivated husband decided to write on the back window of my car “Vote YES on Prop 100.”  For those of you who don’t live here, Prop 100 proposes a 1% increase (one cent per dollar) in the Arizona state sales tax.  Two-thirds of the revenues generated would fund K-12 education and the other one-third would fund health and human services and public safety.   The sales tax would automatically repeal on May 31, 2013.  So obviously it is an evil, soul-sucking, horrible proposition that will only lead us down a path of suckass.  After the Proposition passed (YAY!) we, being the lazy and unmotivated people that we are, left the back window of my car unwashed.  On my 4-year-old’s birthday (after the kegger) we were out running errands and this fucking bitch in a minivan drives up next to our car and gives us the finger.  My first thought?  Well, I must have cut her off accidentally.  Then my , sweet, politically motivated husband reminds me that the back window still displays our vote.

So this evil prop?  Could have passed with thousands of votes less than it ended up getting.  It was a freaking landslide.  But apparently, we are singlehandedly responsible for it passing.

So the fucking asshole bitch (sorry, but I can’t say this out loud in front of the children—allow me to vent) slows down about a quarter mile later and shakes her ugly middle finger at us again.  I tried to stay all calm and diplomatic about it and John and I had a nice discussion about how odd I find it that people’s passions seem to rob them of basic social skills, but,  let me tell you, Rowan saw her do it and he is pissed.  So pissed that last night (two days after the finger attack) while we were getting gelato, he saw a woman with blonde hair and a pony tail (same as the miserable finger attacker) and began a tirade that continues today.

“I am going to gather all of the mosquitoes, bees, and dung beetles I can find and throw them at that lady that pointed her finger at me!”

“Dung beetles?”

“They will poop on her!”

“Oh, good idea.”

He wants to break off her fingers and smash her car.  Send hawks to attack her and dinosaurs to eat her.  He actually called her “stupid,” which, when I asked him what he thought it meant, he said “mean” and “bad.”  And today he laid down next to some ants and started whispering to them.  When I asked him what he was doing he said, “I am directing the fire ants to put their fire on that lady!”  Not a bad idea, actually.

Between this and Luca yelling, “FUCK IT!!!!” at the top of his lungs, I think I need to start really monitoring what I say.  But more importantly, I ask of you to please . . . PLEASE . . . pretty please . . . NEVER piss off my 4-year-old.

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Filed under Children., Confessions.

The Unit

When I first saw where my boyfriend, now ex (let’s call him Thor – he would like that) was living, I was actually relieved.  I hadn’t lived in Santa Fe long at that point and it was a new relationship.  For a little over a month he had been the single most evasive person I had ever met in my life.  We met in a whirlwind of hippie love and anyone that was around will tell you that it was specifically a whirlwind of hippie love.  Whatever you are picturing?  That’s probably it.  Actually, we met over sugar snap peas making it all the more poignant. He was older and beautiful and unlike anyone that I have ever met before – and ever again.  But he wouldn’t tell me where he lived.  He always had me drop him off in the parking lot of the same grocery store-we always met out somewhere.  I was beginning to think that he was either homeless or insane, possibly both.  Hot homeless insane man.

I can’t remember what led him to finally bring me to the storage unit he was living in but I can tell you what it looked like.  It was jail cell – bachelor chic.  He slept on an old bunk bed mattress WITHOUT A SHEET.  (Sweet Jesus!) And everything that he own was tossed haphazardly here and there.  Cups filled with urine lined the floor up against the walls, a stack of unopened personal mail greeted you at the door where he had stacked some milk crates.  Remember the requisite cinder block and plywood shelving that I will bet you $20 that you had when you were 19?  This was worse.  He was thoughtful enough to burn Nag Champa for me as soon as we got there so um, that was sweet.  The unit was unique in that it was totally underground.  Main steps took you to the main door which led to a clean, dry hallway with more doors behind which were units of different sizes.  If you’re going to live in a storage unit, that’s the way to do it!

It was only a few months later that he invited me to live with him.  Swoon!  You know you’re jealous.

I had a few requirements before I would commit:

1) We had to redecorate.

2) I wanted carpet.  Wall to wall, baby.

3) Paint.

So in true hippie love fashion we went dumpster diving.  While cramming the wall to wall carpeting (Plus padding!)  into my little Mazda (He only had a bike.  Of course.) he got angry and broke the handle off of the door in anger which a normal person may have seen as a sign but I observed with empathy.  Carpet?  Check.  For the paint?  A nice vivid purple and green.  My lord the pot I used to smoke.  We painted, laid down the carpet, stole about 30 more milk crates to create a false wall, jimmied the electricity and then went to management to tell them our big “we will be at the unit a lot to rehearse” lie.  (He a drummer, me a singer.  I think I also told them I would be beading because I thought they should know? Sigh.)

The false wall was his idea.  By now I had learned that what I originally thought to be evasiveness was actually a deep rooted paranoia.  He was always concerned that the rental company would discover us, burst in on us and arrest us.  (The entire time that I lived in the storage unit I was managing a juice bar and coffee shop.  I had no phone (for some reason this was OK) and I wasn’t “allowed” to tell anyone where we lived.  I became as evasive with my employees and friends  as he had been with me in the beginning.)  Eventually, this led to more and more extreme behavior which I may get to later.  The crates stacked floor to ceiling, secured by classy duct tape and stuffed with crap that could pass for “storage” items.  If you knew to go around the wall (we made that hard by tossing junk in the way every time we left the unit) what you saw would stop your heart.  It was so beautiful.  We had a queen sized mattress ($10 futon – used), a night stand, I hung a mirror, strung up a place to hang my clothes with hemp (of course) between two nails, some photos hung, and a nice lamp.  It was home.

Within a month we rented another unit down the hall. For storage.  (Oh!  The irony!)  I began sleeping 14, 15, sometimes 16 hours at a time.  We had no windows and no air. I slept like I was in a coma. Yet  I would wake up exhausted. It was awesome.  Within a couple of weeks Thor created an air circulation system – basically one fan (painted purple and green, of course) mounted in the doorway  and another at the top of the main stairwell.  Each night, Thor would wake up and open the doors, bringing in a burst of fresh air at about 2 am, late enough that we wouldn’t be discovered. I’m pretty sure it didn’t help at all.  Still, it was sweet.

Thor’s fear grew and grew.  (I’m sure the copious amounts of pot we smoked was a real help here.) He attacked and assaulted a homeless man that slept in a puddle of urine at the bottom of the main steps to the storage facility.  He insisted that we were being watched by a man in a truck parked many yards away from the building.  He bought a gun and began shooting lessons.  But this isn’t a story about him and I don’t want you to get the wrong impression.  I tell you this so you can understand the intensity of living there.  We weren’t the only “tenants” and someone HAD already been evicted for living there, so on some level, that fueled the fire for my ex.  (Also, the pot.)   It also made me pretty nervous.  But for $36 a month, what do you expect?

Let me read your mind.  I peed in a bucket.  I don’t poop because I am a dainty lady so, that wasn’t an issue.  Getting my period sucked ass.  We worked at a natural food store and ate on the cheap or for free, although sometimes we used my coffee pot to cook rice.  We scored (by one of our unit neighbors) a cheap membership at  Ten Thousand Waves, a Japanese health spa set at the top of a mountain.  That’s where we showered. It was like, 1 or 2 hours of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous (in the nude) and 22 hours of ghetto.  If I left anything out, ask away.

Thor comes off wrong here because really, he was an exceptional person.  He had issues, yes, but if you don’t, then I’m not sure I want to know you.  He once found a baby bird by the side of the road, came back with a shoe box to take him home in (this was post-unit), then he built a nest for it and fed it through a tube from his own mouth.  He soaked all the seeds and ground them into a paste first to make it more digestible. When the bird died weeks later, he was inconsolable.  There is no replica of Thor and I hope there never is, for he is not to be duplicated.  He is a novella (and possibly a blog post) all on his own.  He loved me better than anyone had before and never once judged me.  Ever.  And he’s the one that led me to my husband, so although he has disappeared (his typical MO) I still consider him my favorite ex-boyfriend.

This is a fraction of the story that there is to tell.  When I look at pictures from this time in my life I barely recognize the girl in the picture.  And telling this to you feels almost as if I am telling someone else’s story.  Like it was happening all around me.  Has this ever happened to you?  If it has I want to hear about it . . .

We left Santa Fe in the middle of an ice storm in January, with the futon  (10 whole bucks, people!) strapped to the roof of my little Mazda and Thor’s bike attached precariously to the trunk. Heading to Tucson, our days of living in a storage unit was officially over. My only requirement for our next place?

A toilet.

(For more posts about “Thor”, please check out The Gun and Nudie.)

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Filed under Storage Unit., Thor.

You expect a title too?

Part of my problem is that my thoughts fire like sperm.  (Right off the bat you ought to know that I have a potty mouth.  Or a trucker mouth which sounds gross but is probably more accurate.  Not that all truckers swear like sailors but . . . Hey!  Sailors!  That’s a better analogy, because I may know a trucker but I can guarantee you I don’t know a sailor. The other thing you ought to know is that my internal edit button sticks.  And really, I have no desire to unstick it. I’m too tired, and if I do get some energy, I should focus on the laundry. So, there you have it. Suck on that!)

I love that people find me funny in that sort of “who knew you were funny?” way.  It is both slightly offensive (keeping the old ego in check) and slightly flattering at the same time.  Although I must say that I don’t find myself nearly as funny as I do morbid and inappropriate.   But that may be another blog post entirely.  Let’s see where the sperm takes me . . .

This is supposed to work in themes?  I can’t do themes.  Even my 4 year old can’t do themes.  It’s in the genes.  Rowan turns 4 on Friday and he is having a dinosaur and Ernie party because, like his mother, he just can’t commit.  I find it absolutely impossible to be sure of anything.  And when I say anything we are talking about things from whether to have a turkey sandwich for lunch (which is silly, since anyone who knows me knows I never have a freakin’ turkey sandwich for lunch—always salad) all the way to is there a God.  I think that this has probably caused me some problems in my life.  I should probably look into it therapeutically.   But you know what?  That’s right!  Too tired.  Anyway, just because I can’t commit with confidence doesn’t mean that I’m not in awe of people who can.  There are people in the world who feel so strongly about religion and injustice that they set themselves on FIRE!  For reals!   I’m here to tell you that I will never set myself on fire.  Ever.  On purpose.  I would be sitting there doused in flammable liquid, holding the lighter and think, well, the <insert religion or injustice of choice here> really have a good point!  And then there are people in the world that have “always known” that they wanted to be a doctor/lawyer/hairstylist/mother.  Really?  REALLY? That.  Is.  Fascinating.  There isn’t one single thing that I have “always known.”  Even the things I THINK I’ve “always known” have been called into question!  I am pretty sure that at one point I said to my husband, I  “always” wanted to be a mother.  Um, that was before I had kids.  Now that they are here?  Well, let’s just say it ain’t how I pictured it.

The thing about my unable-to-commit “condition” is that it allows me to remain open.  Anyone who knows me knows that I adore my career.  It is the single most perfect decision I have ever made in my life.  (And yes, my decision to marry John and have kids was a great blah blah blah decision also but it wasn’t just mine.)  It suits my personality, my sensitivity, and my attention span, and I think I do it well.  But every single day of my life I can imagine myself also doing about 1,000 other things for a living.  I don’t just imagine them but I sort of morph with them and find myself BELIEVING that I can do them.  That could be why I’ve had 37 jobs.  Anyone remember when I was going to open a coffee shop?  How about when I applied to be an international nanny?  Voiceover artist? Rock star?  Papermaker?  Early childhood education teacher? (Until, I SWEAR TO GOD—wait, is there a God?— my mother reminded me I would have to wear pantyhose and I was all like, screw it.)  Then we have all of the times that I have decided to move.  How about that?  In my adult life I have verbally committed to or at the very least researched moving to New Hampshire, Maine, back to New York, Cincinnati, multiple cities in Virginia, Austin, North Carolina, Kentucky (yeah, Kentucky), Colorado, Eugene, Pennsylvania, and I am sure that I am leaving about at least three other places, but you get the picture.  Maybe this would be a good time to openly apologize to the friends and family that have had to hear this from me for years.  But HEY!  I have a CONDITION!

This leads me to a realization.  Even though I’m always looking for what else there is, everything I have is here.  Right here in my house and in my emotional, personal, and professional life.  I measure things against death.  (There’s that morbidity!)  The things that matter in the true sense of the word are the things I will be grateful for as I’m dying.  And I can guaran-frickin’-tee you that whether or not I moved to Austin will not be what I am thinking about.  How I live in the world matters.  Who I am and how I treat others matters.  There is one thing that I am sure of and that is: right now?  I’m here.

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Filed under All of them., Children.