MONDAY: Woke up. Got my wrap on and put on my slippers and stood on the front step while I watched dog do her business. It was a beautiful crisp cool day. The birds were chirping, the chipmunks were teasing, the sun was shining and the sky was a bright blue. Back inside, I cleaned the kitchen. Like more than just put dishes in the dishwasher clean. Like lifted up toasters and plants and stuff and cleaned under them cleaned. Went downstairs and wrote for a bit, cobbling together thoughts into a post. Tried ignoring the chipmunk crawling up the screen but he was persistent and I was easily distracted. Chased him off, finished post and “published” it.
Went back upstairs, stopped for a moment to admire the shiny and fresh smelling kitchen. Patted myself on the back for being awesome and really productive so early in the morning. Got dressed and drove down to Target and bought stuff that we “need” like tissues. The Starbucks tempted with its sweet smelling coffee mixes and its empty line. I resisted and bought some coffee and hot chocolate to make my own mocha. Finally home, I put groceries away, gave the counters quick wipe and started the mocha making process. Proud of my thriftiness as I put one spoonful of coffee into my favorite green mug, followed it with a packet of hot chocolate and a slice of chocolate orange.
Slight bump in the road to bliss when I discovered I’d not bought instant coffee. Called myself names and laughed at my stupidity I watched the granules float to the top. But the sun was shining and I’d already won the day having cleaned, written, posted and shopped before 9am. I decided all was not lost. If I strained the mixture into another mug, it would still be drinkable. Right? Right! Found the strainer I inherited from someone hiding in the drawer of kitchen utensils we never use. Placed it carefully over the new mug, lifted the other to pour…
And learned that it takes approximately two years for the superglue on the broken handle of my favorite green mug to give out.
Coffee granules everywhere. Chocolate drops splashed everywhere else. Favorite mug in two pieces again. Mocha everywhere but in a mug.
Mug-less handle in hand; I stood looking at the explosion of coffee and hot chocolate all over the kitchen… Called the mug some names as I stood there dripping... Burst into laughter...
Then began the process of cleaning the kitchen again.
Life. Two steps forward. One step back.
A few months ago I did a very calculated, and some might say, quite mean thing: I moved one of my birdfeeders to the front yard. You see, for the first two years of our living in this house, there has always an owl sitting in the trees to the left of our dining room. But lately, the owls have been elsewhere. We’ve gotten glimpses of them and we hear them nightly but they’ve been hiding. I’m fully aware that this is likely due to the Red-tail Hawk hanging out near their nest. But me being me, I’m sure it’s connected to my excessive stalking but they are so freaking awesome and I am more than slightly obsessed…
Which brings me to the birdfeeder move - I figured, if there were birds eating seed, there would be seed falling to the ground. And if there were seed on the ground, there would be chipmunks coming to scavenge. And if there were chipmunks coming to dine, there would be owls hunting for dinner. Cruel, yes but that is the way mother nature works. And I like owls waaaayyy better than chipmunks right now.
My dastardly plan worked! Since the feeder relocation, I’ve seen the owls again. Mr. and Mrs. Owl have been in and out of the tree and the youngsters from last year have been out and about on the branches. Yesterday, I watched this guy from the kitchen door for about fifteen minutes. Note the Dumb Squirrel that was trying to get down to the seed and chose the wrong branch to use as his freeway. Good thing Owl apparently did not want Dumb Squirrel for dinner because he ignored him, waiting patiently for the right distracted chipmunk to show up before he swooped down to get dinner.
You can see he thinks it’s my fault. He’s probably right. I was pressed against the window with the camera making high-pitched squealing noises.
After several dirty looks, he took off to wait on a branch for another chance.
Then, Husband spotted his brother hunting in the backyard, swooping down for a chipmunk and also missing. Sadly, we took no pictures of that. We were too in awe of the spectacle to remember to shoot. I also missed getting pictures of the “my branch, get off” wing fight they had minutes later but it was wicked cool to see. Sibling wars are the same species wide.
Now if I could only see where the new nest was life would be good. There is nothing more awesome than watching the babies waddle their way out and learn to fly.
Is it wrong that I’m currently pricing bird feeders on Amazon so I can increase their hutting odds?
Probably not as wrong as screaming in my best football fan voice, “GET HIM! GET HIM! GET HIM! DIE CHIPMUNK, DIE!!!”
Might need to find a therapist. I don’t seem to be all right in the head.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about going shopping with my friend for a new ‘style.’ I spoke about feeling lost and unsure about whom I’d become, that my clothing always used to serve as sort of a uniform to inform my self. That it used to be that 'When I put them on, there I was.'
I babbled quite a bit about my loss of self because, in my mind, that is what my problem was. Then I wrote this sentence, 'Now, I hate shopping and I am totally not fond of the body I currently have…' and babbled some more about finding my self. Which is what the whole thing was about. Or so I thought.
But I must have been mistaken because then Husband read the piece and came to me and said, “If you want to lose weight, I can help you with that.” And then he launched into a lecture of how I could best lose weight which was/is ironic because he's not much better off than me.
Apparently boy ears hear differently than girl ears. And boy eyes see differently than girl eyes. And Husband's are always helpful in not quite the right way.
Because since then – and heck, even before then – Husband has been ragging me on my diet. "You shouldn't..." "You should..." "If you just..." Whatever!
My diet is poor, I will admit. I am currently addicted to potato chips in a way that is unhealthy. My psyche is working through some stuff and using fat and salt to do it. Bad food unhealthy has always been my drug of choice, perhaps because my mother wouldn’t let us eat it. See how I worked “It’s my mother’s fault” in there? That takes practice, folks!
Anyway, Husband’s vocal food shaming has led me to sneak chips into the house and hide my face-filling from him, waiting until he’s in the basement or outside with the dog or in the shower to sneak a few chips and quickly munch my feelings quiet. The guilt was starting to weigh on me. To which I hear Husband say that guilt was not the only thing ‘weighing’ on me.
Whatever, Husband. Because right, after the intense lecture I’d given myself to make healthier choices opened the fridge candy drawer and found this!!!
Now Husband is free to make the point that giving myself a "to be healthier you must eat healthier" lecture and then opening the candy drawer means my lecture was a bust BUT I’d like to point out that everything you see is his. EVERYTHING!!!
AND, by the way, that is the drawer in the fridge designated for vegetables! If I can't call a potato chip a vegetable, he sure as hell can't call a coco bean one!
So, Husband can preach till my ears bleed but we are BOTH guilty of eating our feelings.
(I will be played by Cate Blanchett and Husband will be played by Jason Momoa in the movie version of this story.)
During the Spring, when the whole of Nashville froze and we were iced into our house/drive/neighborhood, we took Tigger the Dog out the back door to do her business. This was mostly because of the four staples sized hole she’d given herself trying to get up the front steps and Husband’s subsequent falls while trying to clear said steps. It was two weeks of weirdness where it felt like nothing got done but I was wrong. In those two weeks, the lovely Cardinal couple put all their efforts into making a nest. We watched them gather bits of branch and pine needles and the like from the office window and flit off to some bush to make their home. It was quite entertaining to watch, though Tigger the Dog did not find it as amusing as we did. She was on drugs due to the aforementioned staples and in the Cone of Shame. Nothing was amusing.
Well, it turns out, that Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal made their lovely nest in the big bush right next to the front door. The door that Tigger the Dog exits multiple times a day. Not really a problem for them initially. She wasn’t interested in them and they knew she couldn’t reach their new somewhat shiny home so after the first few startled flutters they ignored the whole routine.
And then Tigger the Dog murdered that chipmunk and her goal in life became getting another. She would tremor with excitement every time we opened the door and all but bust through the storm door to get at them, running full speed around the house to catch one unawares. Which was not a problem for the chipmunks or us. She never was fast enough to catch one and her galloping gave everyone enough warning to flee to whatever hole was closest until the threat was gone.
And then it rained for three straight weeks and the ground around the house was a mud pit worthy of Woodstock. Then Tigger the Dog's murderous hunting routine of chasing beasties around the house would result in digging and sliding and generally covering herself in muck. We couldn’t let her out the back because that’s where the buggers were hiding and so that’s where the biggest holes were. We couldn't let her out the front because she would ignore her bathroom needs and just take off through the mud hunting. A simple “Tigger, need a pee?” became a routine of putting on a leash and restraining eighty pounds of pissed off dog down the steps to the lawn and then back.
All of this excitement meant that now Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal had a house next to a noisy grumbling pair of grown-ups shouting “NO!” and “TIGGER THE DOG!” and generally being shit neighbors. No longer content to ignore us, they would fly off in a flit cussing as they left. That didn't work. We kept coming out and making noise so they tried the invisible sit and hid in the nest, which worked for a day or two. But the dang chipmunks started teasing Tigger the Dog and running to the opposite side of the steps and hiding under the Cardinal's bush resulting in some leaf shaking and more digging and shouting. Not at all the neighborhood they had moved into.
And now it seems like Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal given up and left the bush all together. The nest is empty and quiet and it’s led me to this question: At what point do you decide that the big dog and the even bigger and louder people are not worth your pain and efforts to create a home and just leave?
At what point do you give up on your dreams? At what point do you walk away?
I don't have an answer. Apparently, for the Mr. and Mrs., it's three weeks of rain and screaming and digging and general chaos. For me? Well, who knows? Perhaps this is the lesson I'm needed to learn.
Deep mucky thoughts.
How great of a start to a story is that; “One time, I got so drunk I lost my teeth...”
To make her feel better, I told her I’ve been that drunk before. Not drunk enough to lose my teeth – but that’s only cause they are still attached to my mouth - but just drunk enough that Husband has had to fill in the blank bits. Drunk enough that there are sections of town in NYC that I had to avoid in case there was a poster of me up on the streetlights asking, “Have you seen this woman?” with a picture of me puking in a garbage can.
Yeah, Mom, this is not going to be a post you can be proud of.
The "Once, when I was drunk in NYC..." stories aren’t as humiliating because I was just of legal drinking age and didn’t know better. I thought bar hopping from one end of town to the other was a cool idea. That when we got to bar number seven and sat down and the German tourists bought me a beer and asked me to explain why O.J. driving slowly in his white bronco was on most of the TV’s and not the World Cup, I thought I was speaking coherently. So inexperienced that when my friends ditched and left me with the German tourists, I thought I could match them drink for drink regardless of their larger size and many years of practice. And, when I finally realized that I was out of my drinking league and their faces were swimming, I thought a bus from the Lower East Side to the Upper East Side was a better choice than a cab. I was young. I was stupid. I threw up in garbage cans from 86th to 92nd.
But I was young. I bounced back. No, the story I told my friend was not one of youth and ignorance and stupidity. The stories I told her were of pure vanity and blind rage.
Let me set the scene: it’s my friend’s husband’s fiftieth birthday. She’s gone all out; fancy cocktails and hors-d'oeuvres by the pool. I was wearing this pretty top I’d bought to get married in before I knew we were getting married in a drive-thru. When I’d bought the top, I’d weighed several years of marriage less and now the top was too tight and only looked good if I just stood and tried not to breathe deep. So I stood by the pool and sipped wine and refused the hors-d'oeuvres, thinking I’d wait for the meal and not bust my zipper.
But the hors-doevers WERE the meal, something I should have remembered from my friend’s planning sessions. Apparently that crucial information went out of my head with that first glass of white wine. Which is why I ended up standing and drinking and trying not to look like a sausage in my too-tight top the whole night.
It was not one of my best decisions. Neither was pinning my high school drama teacher up against the wall, berating him for not attending my most recent theatre production. Or when Husband pulled me off said drama teacher only to catch me having the same conversation with him again and again. Just awesome when you can show how grown up you’ve become to someone you respect. And to add to this humiliation, my Father-in-law was visiting and got to witness most of this drama.
At least three bottles of wine and no food later, I passed out in my friend’s all white Good Room where Husband found me having just dropped Father-in-law at home. I lay across the ottoman in a not so ladylike way while the entire family was sitting IN THEIR PJ'S BECAUSE THE PARTY WAS OVER AND EVERYONE HAD GONE HOME!!!
And then, to add a cherry to the top of this rather revolting display, I, refused to leave until Husband played ‘The Bus Song.’ Refused to leave like I melted like a toddler when he tried to pick me up and generally made things worse. Then, when Husband finally played ‘The Bus Song,’ I picked myself up off the ottoman and gracefully marched myself to the door of the foyer and promptly passed out. He had to pull over twice on the way home for me to be sick. Good times, right? Humiliating, right? Would never do that again… right? Wrong.
A year later: same people, different house, different party. My friend had set up an open wine bar in the courtyard next to her kitchen. I was wearing very high heels and the cobblestones were treacherous so I planted myself next to the bar and chatted with the very cute college bartenders that my friend had hired. As I type this, I honestly can’t remember if they were cute. I can’t remember what they looked like at all. I just remember the heels and the cobblestones and the fact that Husband took my wine glass away from me when I went to the bathroom so I drank twice as much when I got back just because he told me no.
The next thing I remember is waking up in our guest room naked - but for the pearls around my neck - and still drunk.
Apparently what I’d done is drink my mad into oblivion, get poured into Husband’s fancy car holding a very glamorous plastic grocery bag which I proceeded to use several times on the ten minute ride home. Then, while Husband was panic cleaning his car, I took myself in for a shower, in my pearls because I couldn’t get them off, and then put myself on time-out in the guest room.
I’ll pause here for applause.
I realize that none of this shows me in a good light but when does drinking your fears/emotions away ever end in a good way? The only thing I have going for me is that my life lessons are entertaining. Well, at least to me they are. And that is only after allowing the humiliation to fade and the funny to come through.
As I said to my friend, I haven’t ever lost my teeth but that’s only because they are still attached to my mouth. Give me time and I’m sure to lose them and my dignity one drunken night when my logic takes a vacation.
I can only hope that no one is recording the debacle as it all goes down.
My name is ej. I'm a girl. I say that because with the short hair and the short initials, folks aren't always sure. More brilliant insights to who I am in About me