Monday, July 25, 2005

It Goes On, And Then It Rains

I think I have an ulcer so I’m having a Diet Coke, which is sure to mollify things.

Thursday night my very fun cousin Carolyn blew into town with Veuve Clicquot Grand Dame in tow. Friday night Moira, Sheila and all the younguns came over and we had mojitos, Mai Tais, Carolyn's homeopathic barbiturates and Chinese carry out. It was wild and fun; the kids watched The Aristocats and The Goonies. (Disclaimer: they were not barbiturates, but they were homeopathic! Sort of like taking vitamins. That make you sleepy and weird.)

Saturday was lunch with T, my mother and Carolyn at Crystal Thai in Arlington. Swell fun lunch, les grande dames indeed. Ian came along and felt Very Special to be singled out. My mother, T and Caro comprise the Executive Board of his fan club, so he was in seventh heaven.

Dropped Caro at the airport and then stopped at Gravelly Point, where they used to take me when I was a little girl to watch the “hairplanes” (wasn’t I cute?). I wanted to show Ian the “hairplanes” too. Very exhilarating and, of course, slightly eerie, what with it’s being Washington and all, and suddenly planes don’t have that aerodynamic wondrous innocence anymore. Sometimes they look like scary beasties that can so easily become tools for nefarious plots. In Ian’s eyes they remained innocent. This is what cracks me up about todds, you kneel down and point at this lumbering mass of steel that is barreling down the runway and say, “See the airplane?” And todds always say, “Where?” Right THERE!

Then I had a post-Thai restaurant severe abdominal attack, caused in part by this fucking job and the ulcer it is giving me, and I had to swerve the car into a handicapped parking place and grab Ian’s chubby hand and BOLT for the Sani-Jon. I was a little freaked out. It’s a good thing Ian’s only almost-three and will never remember that moment. He’s standing in the Sani-Jon with me and I am holding his hands so he won’t touch ANYTHING and he says, “Can we get out of here?” Yeah. So we take our leave of the “Airplane Park,” hit GW Parkway and cross Memorial Bridge, on a gorgeous, uncharacteristically un-humid summer day.

Come home and sit on the couch and read the People magazine that Caro has left behind, cover to delicious cover, uninterrupted. I don’t even know what I read about—something about Sandra Bullock’s wedding—but it was bliss.

Sunday morning I came to…work. Yes, it’s true. That deadline looms and we were highly mandatorily coerced into coming in. Only one person was there. I brought Ian for comic relief, or as a really airtight excuse to leave when the urge hit me. I printed out about 30 pages of Thomas the Tank Engine coloring pages and he sat in the conference room and “colored” with a purple felt tip, a pink highlighter and a yellow highlighter. Another excellent toddler feature: they think highlighters count as magic markers. When it became clear to me that this was not going to be an England-pulling-together-after-the-Blitz kind of soft focus Disney office camaraderie day, but instead a day when I felt persecuted and ulcerated, I did what anyone would do and promised Ian we could go to McDonalds BECAUSE he has never been. I ordered lunch for the whole family. And I realized the curse of the working class stiff is that when you are stressed and your soul has been systematically sucked out through the meaningless taunting carrot of a paycheck 9-5 world, then you start making weird unhealthy decisions like lunch for all from McDonalds. As though somehow that homogenous, processed, predictable, cookie cutter food will ameliorate all the bumps and bruises of life. Or something.

After lunch I logged onto iTunes and went insane downloading every song I have yearned for in an ongoing unrequited catalogue. It was fun! The best was finding Herb Alpert’s "A Taste of Honey" AND Johnny Mathis (oh YES) singing “Bring Him Home” from Les Miz. I have a very serious thing for Johnny Mathis. I mean, don’t fret, I also downloaded plenty of “alternative” whatever stuff. I just happen to be very multifaceted. And depressed. But I am trying to talk myself out of the latter.

After the download festival we geared up and got ready for a poolside BBQ with parents from Nick’s school. I have a really hard time with “insouciance,” hence my disastrous “casual Fridays” and anything (ANYTHING) to do with “poolside.” All three mommies were in absolutely perfect, fun, definitively insouciant attire. I failed miserably with an Irish linen shirt over a white camisole and jeans. It was the jeans that screwed everything up. The mommies were in halter top/tankini mode.

I like them all a lot. We had irreverent conversation about the new priest at the church. Of course I didn’t know we had a new priest, given my “poor” (nonexistent) church attendance. Nice Dad said, “Maybe you need to move closer to the church.” A reference to our alarmingly close proximity to the church, as in, it’s in our back yard.

The pools at the pool club are terraced into a sloping grassy hill and it’s a very nice affair. There is a wood gazebo and Nice Dad grilled burgers and dogs. I stood at one point on the grassy hill and felt more incongruous than I have ever felt in my life. My kids running down the slope, Nick cannonballing into the pool, Daisy frolicking and girlish, MZA with all the boys hanging off of him in a twirl. And me. The casting director screwed up on me, I think sometimes.

Lady Miss Daisy has taken to waking at 4 a.m. and crying like a disgruntled hyena and can only be placated with a bottle. So now it’s like a nightly tradition. Prior to her scheduled outburst, however, Ian woke up from a bad dream and MZA put him in bed with me. It seems a baby was trying to eat his “leg” which was actually his “arm.” Some body part confusion. So I had a flopping flounder of a kid lying next to me, who kept randomly flipping and tossing until I finally threatened him with a return to his own bed. Then he fell asleep horizontally with me hugging the thin narrow edge of the bed. Awake. Ready for Daisy’s 4 a.m. wail. Which I toughly decided to ignore—let her cry it out—but of course that didn’t work and MZA, from his station on the living room couch, caved and gave her a bottle.

I wandered tragically to the basement and crawled into the futon bed where I lay, awake, until maybe 6 a.m., when I finally experienced a hummingbird-like, fragile, fractured semblance of sleep. My stomach was twisted into a ball and I lay there, looking at the comforting knotty pine paneling wondering when the good part would come. I am basically waiting to inhale, not exhale. I thought, I just can’t sustain this. This being and nothingness. Except for the sporadic good parts: the friends, the acquaintances, the family, the love.

MZA called me this morning so we could commiserate about our epic fatigue. He said, “OK, start…” I interrupted, “Writing my blog!” He laughed and said, “Whatever you do to make yourself happy.”

This is it for now.


Cynicism is another word for reality

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