Saturday, May 11, 2013


My guys went on a Scout hike today without me. I wanted to go. I really did. Mike said I could go.

I'm very sad to say that I didn't go because Nick needs to struggle with things without me. He's growing up. I'm at that point for which my very presence interferes, even when I keep my mouth shut, which I don't, even when all my looks are encouraging, which they aren't, but I try. Mike and Nick were both gone all day.

Oh, I did okay on my own, though I'm realizing that this time through the Scouting scene, my involvement is very different. When Mike and I were dating, I did no planning and got to go on every trip. These days, I realize that my role, in order for Nick and I to stay sane, has to be more distant. Instead of hiking, I went to listen to a presentation by Debbie Dimitre, who portrayed Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I love watching this woman. She lives and breathes the parts to the point that some people think she is the actual historical person she portrays and they ask her questions about 'her life.' It's a great way to learn history. Afterward, I took the dog to the off leash area and let him run and wrestle until he was lying on his side, panting, and only pretending to play with one of his favorite friends there. When I got home, I made a big salad and some iced tea and ate it on the deck.

I'll be honest. After that, I took a nap. I needed a nap. I deserved a nap after only five and three-quarters hours of sleep last night. I would have slept longer this morning except that just twenty minutes after they left, Nick called.

"Mom, I need you to bring me the fingernail clippers," he said. I opened one eye and looked down at the blanket that was tucked in around me.

"Not a chance," I croaked. My larynx had already gone back to sleep after the guys left.

"But Mom," he said in that special voice kids use. "I really need them."

"Really? Nick? Really?"

"They hurt. I really need the fingernail clippers. I was going to get them before I left, but I forgot." Now, our communication broke down at this point and I believed that Nick was saying that his fingernails were too long and were beginning to hurt. I get that, but he'd have to live with it, I thought.

"Maybe next time you'll remember." I said. Don't you just hate when people tell you stuff like that? But I imagined leaving my cosy nest, jumping into the car to bring the boy a pair of fingernail clippers, and seeing the looks on the faces of the men who were meeting there for the hike. It seemed ridiculous. Does it seem ridiculous to you? Plus, I was so comfortable in my spot on the couch and already faced a day of sleep deficit. Life is strange on a sleep deficit.

What I didn't get was that he'd let his toenails grow until they'd curled up and that Mike thought his feet would be more comfortable if his nails were trimmed. We were already worried about his asthma, the Osgood Schlatter disease in his knee that required six weeks off from running in gym, and his feet which are 4E width and tend to hurt when he hikes. Right now, a six mile hike is pushing it for the kid. Long toenails could have been the nail in that coffin.

I said no, of course, being half asleep and not making the connection between the 'fingernail' clippers and Nick's toes. After a couple of additional texts, Mike told me that he'd stopped at the store and I felt like a shit sandwich for being so stingy with my sleep time. Still, I dozed off for just a half hour more, only to have bad dreams about Nick needing my help and not getting it.

So late this afternoon, I woke up when Mike and Nick got home. Nick was grousing at Mike about something. It would have been me if I'd gone with them. I was kind of glad at that moment that I didn't go, though the hike looked beautiful from the pictures Mike showed me. He said that Nick did pretty well. We'd been worried. Even Nick had been worried.

"Well, you should be proud of yourself," I told Nick. "You did it!"

"He did better when I wasn't there," Mike said and told me how he'd run back down the trail to see if he could find a canteen that one of the kids had left behind. Nick really is growing up.

"And Mom?" Nick said.

"What Honey," I said.

"These," he said and he held up a nice new pair of fingernail clippers, "are MINE."

Well, okay, he's beginning to grow up.

Thank you for listening, jules

Friday, May 10, 2013

Truly Ugly

I'm pissed about this Abercrombie & Fitch thing. Have you heard about it? The CEO says that he hates fat people. Have you seen any photos of Mike Jeffries? Kind of dog-looking, don't you think? Yet he hates fat people. Well, I hate bigoted people.

I really hate bigoted people.

This guy doesn't want anyone to wear A & F crap unless they're 'beautiful, thin, and cool.' I'd like to go stand in the front of their store, mucking it up with my cellulite legs, with my thinning hair, my age spots and wrinkles and bad attitude, and complain about how bad A & F clothes look when I hold them up to my body. Maybe I should stand near the window, as if I'm a mannequin. What if a dozen people did that? What if a thousand of us real people walked into one of their stores, with no intention of buying any of that crap, but just stood there looking human, big, pimpled, frizzy, and lumpy in their display windows. What if we all took pictures of ourselves holding those crappy clothes to our bodies and put it on Facebook as if the only ones who ever shopped there were imperfect? Oh my God, imperfect!

What if I went in and asked a sales guy if he thought this crappy outfit made my butt look big?

I'm not sure I could make myself do that. It would be too insulting to me. It turns out that I'm too cute to shop at Abercrombie & Fitch.

In truth, I don't have to portray Abercrombie & Fitch people as ugly. Mike Jeffries is doing it himself. He has just advertised how Abercrombie & Fitch can only attract uglies, twisteds, and creeps? It's true. It comes from the top.

Yes, I can be ugly, but I'll never be as ugly as Mike Jeffries.

Thank you for listening, jules

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Insomniac, Part 26

Harold took a deep breath, sighed, and walked out of the bathroom. He might never understand that feeling he got there, the way some people said someone had just walked over their grave. What was that saying for anyway?

On his way to the front door, Harold went to the fridge, opened it, stared at the collection of food there, dumped a container of enchiladas that wasn't bad yet but he knew no one would eat, and grabbed a bag of grapes. Sasha wouldn't beg if he brought grapes. Sasha stood quietly behind him as if she still didn't believe a walk was in store. He might have a leash in his hand, but they'd gone outside and come back in with it. He turned and nearly fell over her on his way to the door.

Before he clicked the front door closed, he patted the lump in his pocket where his keys were. He thought about driving, but felt like the neighbors might be able to see him parking his car at the bottom of the hill. The problem with living in the city was that you could feel watched if you thought about it for very long. Harold knew that when he hadn't gotten enough sleep too many days in a row, he felt watched more often. Little problems made him anxious. Had he paid this month's rental on Hilly's clarinet? Did Victoria really think the hair that grew on his back was disgusting? Should he try to have it waxed? Would he get into a cycle of having it ripped out and then scratching at it with the ladle when it grew back in? Those kind of things got to him when he hadn't slept. Did other people worry about this stuff too?

"Fuck other people," he said out loud. It didn't work. He still worried if he was doing what most other people were doing. He looked around, wondering if anyone had heard him talking to himself.

Sasha paced around him. It was annoying, but maybe standing at his closed door and staring at his car was annoying to her too. Sasha always got the short end of the stick. When they got busy, she didn't get a walk. Sometimes Harold forgot to feed her until the afternoon. He clicked the leash onto her collar and headed down the short driveway, turning right down the hill.

Harold felt the click in his left knee as he walked down the hill. He'd knew he'd be heaving as he walked back up it later. He hated how that might look to someone watching him out their window. He was always vaguely sweaty when he got back up the hill to his house. He wondered if going down the hill was pushing him closer to knee surgery. Roger had had knee surgery. That thing was ugly. He didn't want to have knee surgery if he could help it, but was that click he felt going down the hill an indication that he was going in that direction?

Harold was never sure.

He noticed he must have spilled some coffee on his jacket. There was a long narrow brown mark there. He wished he didn't always have some kind of food or another on the front of his shirt. Picking at it didn't work. It never did.

Thank you for listening, jules


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Insomniac, Part 25

Harold looked for his keys. They weren't on the kitchen counter where he usually dropped them. His wallet was there. He picked it up absently and slipped it into his back pocket. You never knew when you might need to be identified. The fall. He had never thought that way before the fall.

He wished he had a beeper or a ringtone on his keys so he could call them and hear where he'd left them. He walked back through the kitchen again, through the living room, up the stairs, into his room, into his bathroom and finally found them lying on the edge of the tub next to the soap.


Harold picked up his keys, put them into his pocket, then stared at the floor where he had woken, naked, with faces of strangers staring down at him. He didn't walk into his bathroom without thinking of it. The embarrassment was almost worse than the pain had been. Almost.

The dog came into the bathroom, panted a little, stared with intent into Harold's eyes, then laid down on the tiles with his head on Harold's feet and then he sighed. Oh the drama. His meaning was obvious. What happened to the promise of a walk? he seemed to say.

"Alright, already. I'm coming," Harold said. Did other people talk to their dogs as if they were people? His name popped into Harold's head after having been missing for a few days. Henry. What a stupid name for a dog, Harold thought. Poor Henry.

Thank you for listening, jules

Mother's Day Crap

I have to admit that, despite the Hallmark nature of it, I want a Mother's Day present. I really do. Last year, the guys forgot and had to run out to get flowers for the deck after I cried. It all around sucked because I also found out that my favorite florist for my mother went out of business. I used to be able to call them up with a crazy idea and they'd laugh, make a suggestion to improve on my idea, and I'd let them run with it. My mother loved it! One year they decorated a flat of petunias with fabric and ribbon so she could plant them in the ground when she got around to it.

I know I'm running late on making plans for Mother's Day, but I acknowledged that today when I started making phone calls. I decided my mom needs a tree, a tree that will bloom every spring.

Crap, I don't want to tell you about the stupid people I talked to at the nurseries. Really, I told them how much I wanted to spend and that I knew I was too late to get it planted on time. You'd think they'd find a way to take my money. You'd think.

Picture me on the phone with a sick kid who is still trying to do homework on the computer and I'm trying to convince someone from my mother's town to help me give her a present. I wasn't showered. I was ill at ease, and aching a bit because I knew this idea wasn't going to work. The third company never bothered to call me back.

I ended up feeling strange. Why didn't I order roses and be done with it, I wondered. You know when you finally come up with an idea, the idea and it isn't working? I was derailed. See, this morning, Nick had a cramp just as it was time to leave for school, a bad cramp

Yes, I appear to be complaining about my son, but it isn't his fault. Stuff hurts sometimes. I thought it was the stomach thing he'd had the day before. I imagined the poor kid, sitting in class with some teacher saying he couldn't use the bathroom when he wanted to, when he was cramping, when he needed to. I hate that about school, that they won't let a kid go to the bathroom when they need to go. Tell me that you haven't been there and I'll tell you that you're full of shit.

Out of sorts. Pathetic.

What kind of daughter am I? I can't even get a tree delivered for Mother's Day.

Thank you for listening, jules

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Funny Drunk?

I can feel the melatonin slowing me down, sloooowwing me down, sloooooow wing me down. I don't like that I can never remember what I read just before I fell asleep after taking it. I probably won't remember what I'm trying to say here. I hate feeling drugged. It's harder than it should be to sit in this wooden chair. I hate the dizziness. I hate that sleeping seems so boring compared to trying to remember how to spell 'boring' without a 'y.'

Okay, so they made marijuana legal in the state of Washington. I haven't smoked it. Have you? I haven't even considered brownies or anything. I never liked how that felt anyway. It made me sick to my stomach and I never knew if I was supposed to be happier afterward or not. Yes, I smoked a few times in college and a little bit afterward. My drug of choice in college and after was alcohol.

Yes, I drank too much in college. Who didn't? I drank too much after college too. I had a great set of coworkers. We played league baseball on Tuesdays. I dented the trunk of my new car from the inside by slamming it on a keg after the game one time. I was in charge of the keg. Why did being in charge of the keg mean that I had to drink too much too? On Thursdays and Fridays, we went to happy hour and danced. We drank then too. On Friday and Saturdays, I went into NYC with other friends and we'd go to Avenue One to dance until dawn. Okay, so I could never afford to drink more than one or two gin and tonics in the city since, so I mostly held onto a nearly empty glass and danced. They were watered down anyway. But we danced all night as if we were drunk. Is that place still there? It was on First Avenue. That always made me laugh. We danced on their tiny dance floor in a circle so the guys wouldn't gang up and smash us between them, grinding their bodies against ours. The circle kept them out until one of the others said she didn't want to be protected. I always went home alone from the city. I was always the one dropping people off at dawn after we had breakfast at the Greek diner. Oh, feta cheese omelets. That place was amazing and I don't even remember its name. Sometimes we went to an Irish pub instead and listened to a live band. Oh, I wanted to marry one of those guys, the ones with the sweet Irish brogues. I was too embarrassed to even go up to them to speak. They were famous, at least in the pub, they were famous.

I did marry my Irish guy, but when I met him, it all became less important, the drinking and staying out all night. He didn't need me to make him laugh. All of the others liked to see me get drunk enough to tell my worst jokes. You know, the joke about the penis and the tennis shoe talking about whose life was worse. Oh, I could drag that one out forever. In the end, the penis wins by saying, "They put a raincoat on me and make me do push ups until I puke." Is that even funny? There's the question for Michael Jackson about where the other glove is. I forget the punch line though. Oh, I used to get so drunk, I'd tell these long embarrassing stories and play the piano at the bar. They loved the embarrassing stories. The bartender loved the piano.

I never remembered the embarrassing stories thank God, but I do have a vague recollection of peeing behind a bush in Central Park after the Team Xerox marathon run. I also went for a long walk barefoot in the snow one time when I got too drunk to play the piano and this mean guy made fun of me for it. I hated that guy.

When I met Mike, I figured out that I could have a great time without drinking. It was as if I opened something up in my head, the seriousness came loose, a little and didn't required alcohol to do it. After that, sometimes people thought I was drunk when I wasn't. I was happy. There was no convincing these people I hadn't had a drink but I was there with Mike and that's all I needed.

Still, my old crowd was annoyed with me after that. I get the part about the enablers when it comes to giving up alcohol. Guess I wasn't as fun without a few drinks in me. I didn't tell as many self-incriminating stories.

Well, okay, I guess I just told you a self-incriminating story now, didn't I?

Thank you for listening, jules