Thursday, April 22, 2010

5 Ways to Ruin a Perfectly Promising Night Out

1) Say something to your middle child that will kick-start all of her persecutorial feelings in one limb-flailing tantrum -- five minutes before the babysitter arrives.

2) Apply new "luminating" make-up in your one-bulb-out bathroom and notice, thanks to the last minute check via the car mirror outside the restaurant, that you look nothing like Jessica Biel and everything like a very shiny Oscar statuette.

3) Engage in any conversation that includes these three words: sister, in or law.

4) Choose the seat with the best view -- of the glittery divorcees, the incredibly sad childless mother, and the young couple who really need to get a room.

5) Hear your husband, newly released from the clutches of an Icelandic volcano, say that he has "to work tonight" after you order another beer and he doesn't. Major buzz kill.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Stuck Inside of Hungary with the Small Town Blues Again

Dear Icelandic Volcano With the Ridiculous Name,

Back the eff off. I would like my husband to come home now.

Thank you for your cooperation.


Ms Picket

PS: If this is some kind of prank on your part to make us all think that Nostradamus and the Mayans were correct, I do not appreciate it one bit.


Uh-huh, the Kid's been held hostage in Budapest for 11 days thanks to pesky volcanic ash. I think he might be in a car now crossing through Serbia to get to Istanbul to get to maybe Dubai or maybe New York or maybe Vienna. I have learned more lately about the geography of Eastern Europe than I ever did in high school, which is disturbing on an entirely other level.

And it's vacation week -- woohoo! -- so my kids are determined to make me less their mom and chauffeur and cook and tutor and more their camp counselor and clown and granter of wonderful wishes like new toys every day and cookies for dinner. Um, what Short Drunk People? Are you drunk or something? I mean, I might take you out to dinner and make some cool stuff happen (a trapeze flight! sleepovers galore! overnight visits to besties towns away!) but you still have to brush your teeth and clear the table and OMFG! I will not be buying you a ripstick because it is a "beautiful day."

Nice try though.

The Kid, meanwhile, has needed to buy new pants and a shirt because while he was able to clean his clothes, I think he just got bored with the ones he had. Or all his clothes were being washed at once and I'm pretty sure his Hungarian host would prefer he keep his bits covered at all times. I think that's how they do things in Europe: no nudity around your co-workers. Prudes.

When my mother had little kids, my dad would travel for months at a time. This makes me feel like a whiner, but honestly, it's not the time away, it's the lack of knowing when the time away will end. It's the planning for his re-entry, changing that plan, the kids getting psyched that Daddy might be home, letting them down, that makes me sick and sad and self-pitying. And the same is true for the Kid: in the last five days, he's been booked on more cancelled flights from more parts of the world than most people will ever experience in a lifetime.

We've only spoken once on the phone throughout all of this. When we did, I told him that someday he'll tell a great story about being part of a hugely significant world event. He was very tired, so maybe he didn't hear me. There's a delay on the cell phone, so maybe that's why he didn't respond. But who's kidding who? I'm pretty sure I know what he was thinking and didn't have the heart or the time to say: "Listen, Picket: historical event my ass. If I could, I would plug up that volcano with my bear hands. I need a decent burger and my own bed and I need to hug my kids and kiss you. Screw this. I wanna come home."

And I would have said, yes, yes, me too. And also: who names a volcano hjwgehtuagjgjsdkull?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Can We Just Give All the Months Cute Animal Metaphors? It Would Make Me Feel Better

Look at that: it's another month. Last I felt all mouthy and writey, it was the lion of March but apparently that lamb has split, and now it's April and you know what that means?

I don't know what the hell that means, except that we've lived to see another month and two whole weeks have passed without
a puppy training accident
a kid of mine breaking a bone
me refusing to buy/cook/do anything for anyone ever again
something leaking and/or flooding in my house
my father disclosing a serious medical procedure -- ten days after the fact
anyone getting arrested! Hurrah!

It's obvious my daughter Rory should be encased in bubble-wrap 24/7 -- which is why I am secretly working on a cool looking bubbly body suit, patent-pending. It's also obvious that all members of my household should greet my generosity, culinary or otherwise, with a sweeping round of applause and the occasional trophy. The other stuff is less obvious but for a mere 20 grand, at least one of them can be fixed for 30 years gahr-un-teed. And I'm not talking about the dog.

(The Kid to roof salesman: "if we tile Name Of Your Company into our roof, will you give it to us for free?" Roof salesman: "uh, well, um..." The Kid: "Howzabout 75% off?")

See? Some funny stuff happened. Just couldn't find the keyboard -- or something.

I thought when The Short Drunks were all at school I'd have buckets of time and energy to be all Professional Writer Like but as it turns out... It turns out I am mostly lazy. Maybe a little busy fighting the good fight for Small Town schools and scrubbing the kitchen floors on hand and knee (which just made me laugh) but yeah, mostly lazy and also very day-dreamish. That's how weeks can pass with me barely typing more than a To: or a TO. (Oh I went there CarolynOnline.) It's very easy really to be extraordinarily busy accomplishing very little.

But that doesn't mean that I don't see, as in thinky see, what is happening. Time is like some dude in cowboy boots in the bar of my life. The sauntering click-clack of his boots seems so out of place and also mildly annoying but I can't take my eyes off of him and his hat.

The trees are busting out all their chartreuse promise for the future and each of my Drunks is oddly doing the same: I am watching them get shockingly more sober by the day. Write a schedule for multiple team practices? They read it and gear up accordingly. Refuse to put laced sneakers on the feet of a six year old? He opts to find his Crocs. When we walk across the street together, I rarely need to reach for the hand of scrappy runaway, though I still love holding hands.

The garden is coming back to life -- my eleventh in this pile of dirt! -- and I know that April is here again. I know my kids are in the sweet spot of their childhoods when everything is mostly fun and love between them and me, easy at last, and I know this is what I will want to remember. But the easy: it stokes my daydreamy laziness and has turned me inward and indulgent. At last? At the wrong time?

Lions turn to lambs and April showers can beat it. And though I see it, I need some karmic kick in the ass to write it. So there.

PS: I did post this over at Polite Fictions where we've been writing the Alphabet of Regret. Shit doesn't stink, people. Really. Go here for all kinds of ways to be made happy and sad and utterly delighted. Really. GO. Now.