I need to start this post with one very important truth; I love my kids. Very much. Almost ridiculously so. All I ever wanted in life was to be a mama. Really. That was my number one priority. And of course, I achieved it.
They were wonderful little kids, a delight. Both of them. But something happened when they 'pubertized.' They became totally senseless, selfish individuals. I know, this is normal. We all go a little crazy at that age. And we generally all survive it and come out on the other end of the dark stupid tunnel, intact and a bit wiser.
I have a delightful son. (and daughter, but this is about my son.) He just turned 20 and is trying to become a man. And that's fine. But hes going about it in a shit ass way. He thinks manhood is epitomized in two ways, both of which drive me insane:
1) by how many females hearts you can break
2) by how well you can defend yourself against your male peers who are also going about achieving manhood in a shit ass way.
I recently finished reading 'War and Peace'. It took me all summer and tho I feel proud that I accomplished this, (including reading every dullodulldulldull battle scene, word for word..) I was relieved to have finished and was anxious to move on to some light hearted reading. I chose 'Julie and Julia,' by Julie Powell.
Early in the book I cam across this sentence:
"I love my husband like a pig loves shit."
I laughed out loud. In fact I have laughed over this for two days straight now. It's just sooo damned appropriate and so perfectly describes my love for my son RIGHT NOW.
This is the deal; my son has moved into the house of this little not too bright gal(she describes herself as a natural bleached blonde. See my point?) Anyway shes cute, I'll give her that. Okay, I can live with their cohabitation. What irks me is that he bought her a diamond engagement ring. Btw they have been dating for exactly one month. Did I mention that he just turned 20 and she's 18?
I love my son like a pig loves shit tho, so I recover, after falling into a dead faint.
Now here's where the story really gets good. Last week some other testosterone laden kid stole my son's Ipod out of his girlfriend's (fiance's? Oh god,,,) car. My son saw him later at the Mall and confronted him. The perpetrator, whom I will refer to as TLK...testosterone laden kid..from this point on happened to be in a gang and his gang 'homeys' happened to be scattered around the mall. One phone call resulted in my kid having the living crap beat out of him. There is a video on youtube that some idiot posted but i cannot link it here for some reason. I will try to do that later. But its not a pretty thing to watch, so its probably just as well. I am, as a mom, appalled that some girl stood there and filmed it. But there it is, and it kills me.
I get a phone call from my sons fiancee (Oh god..) and race to the hospital. The doctor tells me my son has a concussion and he will be ok but cannot go home until hes coherent. My son just wants to get out of there but he thinks its the year 2012. So he has to stay.
Hes out now and trust me, has a full appetite. which means that things seem to be back to normal. In fact, things are so good that he was able to get a second job. he needs another job, it turns out, to pay for the diamond ring he just bought for his fiancee (Oh god..)
What can I say? My kids are both events-about-to-happen. And I love them just as they are. In fact, I love them like a pig loves shit.
Earlier this week, I happened to be alone in the house for the night. My husband was in Mobile, spending the evening with our daughter and my son had recently moved in with his girlfriend. Normally I love one of these rare times when I don't need to cook or clean or tend to anyone else but myself and our 14 year old lab/boxer dog, Abby. I can eat chex mix out of the bag for dinner, and lounge around in my terry cloth robe, totally relaxed.
All went well until the following morning, when I heard Abby struggling to breathe.
"That can't be the dog making that horrid noise!
But it surely was the dog.
"Abby, what's wrong? Come get a cookie, baby."
Nothing. Abby, who typically starts her day with a boisterous delight in her morning treats, rolled her eyes up at me as if to say, "Help me, mom."
Oh no, thought I. Abby is terribly ill!
I frantically phoned our beloved vet (when you have a dog, a cat and two Australian lizards, you can bond with your vet as if he was your trusted personal Francis of Assisi.) and made an appointment for Dr. Martin to see her, ASAP.
I phoned my husband, phoned the bookstore to tell them I would be a little late for work, and pulled and tugged Abby into the car. This is no easy feat; Abby, at just under 100 lbs, has never captured to art of being on a leash and usually drags me, helter skelter, wherever her nose wants to take her (us..)
When we got to Dr. Martin's office, they immediately led us into her 'big dog' examining room. Abby slinked in, breathing labored, head lowered, looking near death just barely warmed over. I thought, this is it; I'm going to lose my beloved Abby, my favorite child, my baby.
Dr. Martin came in and examined her head to tail.
'She's certainly not herself," he said, after taking her temperature.
"I want to take some x-rays and run some blood work."
Now I'm shaking. Abby rolls her eyes up at me in a pitiful silent plea for help.
The vet assistant leads Abby out the door and down the hallway. I am near tears. After a long wait, they return and Dr. Martin comes in with x rays.
"Well, we found the problem." says he.
"Whats the diagnosis, Doctor?" I am almost afraid to hear the news.
"She has a full stomach."
"Her stomach is so full that its pushing against her lungs."
He inserts he xrays into a lit up screen on the wall and flips off the room's lights. I see my dogs innards and sure enough, where her stomach lies is q huge bulbous balloon, taking up more than half of the xray.
I look at Abby.
"Hog."Tho I am glad the problem is not a big one, I cannot believe I have gone through all of this because my dog is a hog.
Dr. Martin writes out a bill and hands it too me. I can't take my eyes off the sum written across the bottom.
I pay up, drag Abby back into the car and drive off. Abby has her expensive little nose stuck out the window, ears slicked back in the wind.
My cell phone rings.
"How is she?" my worried husband asks.
"Fine. She's fine."
"well, are you going to tell me what's wrong with her?"
"Sure. She has a full stomach."
Silence. Dead silence on the other end of the line.
"It cost $227.86."
"Oh shit." John replies.
Abby feels better now. Apparently her stomach has emptied because she again is exuberant over her morning treats. and all is well.
My dad was a musician, primarily a guitarist, though I don't think he ever picked up an instrument that he couldn't play. And I don't mean that he simply toyed with music. It was his life, and as such, it was the entire family's life. I grew up with live music reverberating throughout our home. We had a constant flow of company, often other musicians, and I sometimes think the music is still echoing through the rooms of that old house, even after all these years.
My dad loved to travel. He would load all of us into the car and off we would go, on long dusty road trips that would often stretch on for weeks. He would stop at various music stores at various little towns, walk in, take the best guitar off the pegs on the wall and begin to play. Invariably, everyone in the store would gather around him (he was that good) and often he would get a job offer or two in just about every town. He would just chuckle.
As soon as I could walk, I could dance. Mom would dress me up and dad would pull out his guitar and begin to play and sing, and I ws encouraged to dance. I was a cute liittle thing, born happy, dancing and twirling and laughing. of his three daughters, i was the only one who inherited his love for music and it made me feel like I was the most special to him of his kids.
I wanted to learn how to play guitar early on. The only problem was, I was too little to hold a full sized guitar. Dad solved that problem by buying me a ukelele. I never learned how to play the thing, but I carried it with me everywhere I went. I have no memory of this, but I bet anything I slept with it. I loved my little ukelele. I loved it right up to the minute I whacked my cousin over the head with it and it broke in half. End of the ukelele. Dad decided to get me a harmonica. (he could play a mean harmonica..) it wasn't my ukelele, but I liked it well enough. I liked it right up until I discovered that if I blew hard on it next to our dog's ear. I could make the dog howl outrageously loud. The harmonica immediately disappeared.
All the neighbors knew, of course, that my dad was an excellent guitarist and, in the natural course of things, they began to ask him to teach their kids how to play. I don't think he ever refused a musical opportunity and soon we had a steady stream of boys coming into our house for lessons. This coincided with my early teen years so I was in my absolute glory. I would keep track of when the cutest guys were due to show up, and I would preen and primp and perch myself in the room where dad gave those lessons. It didn't take long for dad to put a damper on this fun routine and I was told I couldn't sit in on those lessons unless I was going to learn myself. No problem! I began my own lessons. (Eventually I went on to play classical guitar for many years, even considering, for a while, going to South America to study for a summer.)
My friends loved hanging out at our house. I think a few of them had a secret crush on my dad. He was utterly charming. I hated that. Hated it, because as soon as he would pull out that guitar, they would gather around him, leaving me sulking alone in the background. He seemed to always be the center of attention witohut even trying. He attracted people like bees to honey.
My dad is gone now, but I have his guitar. I don't play it (nor do I play my own which is leaning in the corner behind me as I write this.) Dad's guitar still has his old strings on it. They would probably snap in half if I tried to pluck them, but they are HIS strings on HIS guitar and i will never change them. Ever. Eventually, that guitar will probably end up in the possession of one of my kids but they will not cherish it the way I do. I wish I could find someone who loves guitar as much as he did to leave it to, but that probably will not happen. Maybe later today I will go and take it out of the case and just reminisce. Maybe not. It would probably make me cry. Or, on second thought. maybe it would make me smile.
My earliest memories include that of my dad singing this to me every night before I fell asleep.
It all came about early one morning while I was brushing my teeth. I turned off my sonicare toothbrush as soon as I saw them. Yup, there they were, right on the top of my head by my part, three silver hairs, proclaiming their existence by glistening in the sunlight pouring in on them from the window.
"Good God, no!" thought I. "I will not tolerate this!"
I quickly put on some clothes, jumped into my car and raced to Wal-Mart. I found the aisle with the hair coloring kits and chose a shade as similar to my natural color (medium to dark brown) as I could find, slinked to the checkout counter hoping nobody I knew would see me buying hair dye.
On the way home, I passed the local Sally's Beauty Supply store. The alpha beams entered my brain and I had one of those spontaneous, seemingly brilliant thoughts that always backfire.
"I need to strip my hair!"
For those who don't know, stripping is when you add a potent chemical to your hair that pulls out all the color. It's also known as bleaching. And, I now know, this is something that should always be left to the ptofessionals. Hind sight is truly twenty twenty, isn't it?
Fast forward about ten minutes and I am again in my bathroom reading directions on the bottle of the hair stripping chemicals. I can do this! I have such a false sense of confidence over something of which I know nothing! What total conceit!
Fast forward another hour. My hair is rinsed of the chemical and it has worked. Sort of. My hair is no longer medium brown. It is orange. Worse yet, it is neon orange.
Ohhh Nooo! What to do? I know! I need to go back to Sally's Beauty Supply store and get more stripping chemicals! I try to act blase while walking into the store, as if neon pumpkin orange hair is the most gorgeous color in the world. I pick up another bottle of the stuff I came for and wonder if I should get a gallon of it. Just in case. No, I'm going to be positive about this. I am going to strip my hair again and trust it will be perfect.
Again, we fast forward an hour. Mission accomplished. The orange is gone. I now have pink hair. Sweet. Real sweet, to be honest, because it now look like I've plastered flamingo pink cotton candy on my head.
As luck has it, my beautiful daughter, Shannon (the one with the perfectly colored hair, yep that's the one..) comes into the bathroom. She is doubled over laughing at me.
"Ma! Hahahahaa!! What were you thinking! Haahahahaahhaa!!"
Yeah, real funny, kid.
Shannon phones her stylist who happens to also be a color specialist. We make an appointment and I wait in tears until the time comes to get this mess fixed.
Jaime, the specialist, takes one look at my hair and I see the corners of her mouth twitch. She is trying not to laugh. The corners of my moiuth also twitch. I am trying not to cry.
Now, let me tell you, I had hair almost to my waist. I have always considered my hair to be my pride and joy, right behind...and just barely behind...having my children.
"You've totally ruined your hair." sez Jaime as she reaches for her scissors. The corners of my mouth are no longer merely twitching. I have now succumbed to a complete melt down and I am fully focused on not wailing out loud in the crowded salon.
As she crops my hair to my shoulders, she asks, "What color should we go?"
I need something to make me feel attractive again because I certainly did not feel attractive with pink hair.
"Blonde!" I say. "If I only have one life, let me live it asa blonde!!"
A couple hours later I walk out of the salon with shoulder length blonde hair.
Living life as a blonde for the last couple years has been a delightful experience. I have loved it! But I have recently become bored with it. So last week I went back to my natural color. My hair is mid way down my back and, since I faithfully see Jaime every six weeks, there asre no little wiry wilver hairs doing a mocking sun salutation on my head. I look like ME again!
A few weeks ago, a lizard from the wild ran into my house. The cat and I made simultaneous mad dashes to catch the little scaly critter. I thought the cat was going to be the victor, until the lizard ran into my shoe that was by the back door. I picked up the shoe, ran out the door with it, and dumped the tiny home invader into the grass. Hence, the title for this blog.
I am a lizard lover, and the owner of two large bearded dragons which are indigenous to Australia. the picture above is of my male lizard.