Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Putting the Kibosh on a Tattoo

Sorry. I've been too happy to post anything crabby lately.

Well, today is different. Don't you hate when you get on the phone with an unnamed relative and it's a perfectly nice day with flowers coming up and stuff but by the time you get off the phone, you feel bad about yourself? You wonder if getting a tattoo would help the look of the varicose veins on your legs, and you want to become someone else because just being you is not good enough for some people.

Yeah, that.

I have a message for anyone who doesn't like how I look. Shit, I can't say that in mixed company.

It's not working. I'm still feeling bad about myself. Plus, Nick came home from school and, because I was considering getting a tattoo and had one displayed on the computer, has begun to describe a tattoo for himself. Did I really want him to do that? A peace over power symbol or a Nordic symbol for strength?

Maybe we'd both feel better if I told you a story. 

Nick scootched me off my chair at the computer and went to work on his own search. I stood next to him, looking over his shoulder. Tattoo photos could be dicey material. I wasn't going anywhere.

"What will that thing look like when you're sixty?" I asked him when he pulled up an image of the Nordic symbol on the computer. It wasn't a bad symbol, but what would it look like with hair? Or wrinkles?

"Would you make me a smoothie?" he replied, staring at the screen.

"You can make your own smoothie," I said. I walked into the kitchen, knowing he never makes his own smoothie and that he's not likely to look at anything embarrassing since I was only ten feet away. Since bananas, strawberries, rice protein, and milk are pretty healthy, I know I'll make Nick a smoothie. I paused for a minute at the empty counter, then walked back out into the living room to face him. He had moved from the computer screen to the big screen, booting up a video game. "So, would you be embarrassed if I came home with a tattoo?" I asked him as he blew away some figure on the screen.

He just looked at me, a look that said that anything I did was an embarrassment. Public breathing was an embarrassment to him. The teenager.

I went back into the kitchen and got out the ingredients for a smoothie and yelled to him in the living room over the music on his game.

"You should imagine that symbol on your shoulder with hair on it," I shouted. I put the frozen strawberries and bananas into the cup of milk and the scoop of rice protein. I added some stevia. Nick groaned. I dug four ice cubes out of the ice maker, dropped them in, and stopped talking while the blender drowned out my voice.

"You should really imagine that symbol on your dad's shoulder. Imagine hair on it and a skin tag, yeah, a skin tag." Nick can't stand skin tags.

See, I might be more cool as an old mom with varicose veins if I have a small, tasteful tattoo covering that spot, a tree or a river with waves or something, but do I really want to imagine my son with a tattoo? I can put a stop to that.

Thank you for listening, jules

Sunday, March 15, 2015


It's raining. My birthday was last week. Mike gave me my very own kayak, an inflatable, that I can carry all by myself to the lake. I made a list of lakes I want to visit. I bought an air pump, a beautiful green paddle made by Werner, and a new pair of cat straps. Nick said I'd probably fall into the water and reminded me that I would need the cat straps to keep from losing my glasses. Why do they call them cat straps anyway?

So, I'm here for a reason. All of that stuff just makes me happy. My kayak makes me happy. My beautiful paddle, air pump, and cat straps make me happy. Even my old wet suit, neoprene socks, and paddling gloves make me happy. My dry bag might be mostly dry. My booties are ugly but very comfortable. My bright yellow paddling life jacket makes me incredibly happy. Even in March, I'm ready to go in any weather.

If it's raining? What do I care? I'm going to be wet anyway. It will just mean that I'm more likely to have the lake to myself.

What I'm here to complain about is life. On Monday, I had to walk the dog with a friend and go home to babysit guys who were cutting down a tree that threatened to land on my house. It was a tall tree and was leaning. Afterward, I didn't have enough time before we needed to head out for karate. While Nick was kicking people and getting whacked, I went out and bought my beautiful new green paddle.

On Tuesday, bought an air pump and I had to attend a long meeting about drug dealers at the public library.

On Wednesday, I had to take the dog to the vet and write a reasonable transcript of the long meeting about drug dealers at the public library.

On Thursday, I volunteered at the school library, worked with a friend over coffee, and took Nick to a noisy meeting at his high school campus about classes, sports, and clubs. He was tapped on the shoulder by the football coach from across three boys and a mom. Football. We've known this day was coming since he was an toddler and men, total strangers, would pick him up in the park saying he was built for football. We don't know a thing about football except that the Seahawks didn't win the Superbowl this year because of a single play and that boys and men who play a lot of football get more concussions than soldiers in Afghanistan. Football it is. I can become a football fan, I guess.

When I got home from the noisy meeting at the high school where Nick finally got tapped to play football, I wrote the article about drug dealers at the public library. Have you ever tried to squeeze seven pages of information into one page without losing any details? I managed to squeeze it down to a page an a half and the editor took it, so I'm good. But it was four days past my birthday and I still didn't make it to the lake to paddle my new kayak.

On Friday, there was another long meeting, partly about the drug dealers at the public library and partly about how the DNR made changes to a local levee to support Chinook salmon in the river. Before the meeting was over, a bunch of us went over to look at the river and the changes and how great the plan was working. It was agony to stand there on the bank of that water and know that I had my beautiful green paddle in the car next to my brand new inflatable kayak. The air pump was on the seat along with my wet suit, my life jacket, my booties, my dry bag, and my cat straps.

On Saturday, I was already scheduled to stretch and strengthen with a friend of mine. I didn't mind that so much because it was going to make paddling easier. But then, before I knew I got my very own kayak for my birthday, I had agreed to meet a bunch of friends for lunch and a walk through a quilt show. It took so incredibly long! I tried to be patient. I did. I tried to have fun. I suppose I did, but I wasn't on the water.

And here we are. It's family day. We aren't doing anything interesting. It's raining harder today. That lake would be completely vacant. But today, we're having fondue and hanging around together with the TV on. It's the first day in three weeks that Mike hasn't gone into work. His project is nearly done and he's on call, so he can't go to the lake where he would be out of range with our phone company. Bummer. Besides, this is a single person kayak. Who wants to wait by the shore while someone else paddles.

By this point, I would. I would sit in a chair and look out over the lake and breathe the air and play in the shallows with my dog and I would toss rocks into the water to hear the plunk of them until it was my turn. I would. I wouldn't mind being second or third. I wouldn't.

But neither of them, not even the dog, wants to go out in this shit and I don't want to leave my husband when it's the first day in three weeks that he's been here.

So, come hell or high water, come snow, sleet or torrential rain, come high winds or meetings or lunches with friends, tomorrow, after everyone has gone to school and work, after I've run the dog with his friend so he'll be tired out, after I stop to see how changes at the public library are going, ...

I am paddling on the lake with my beautiful green paddle and my new kayak. And I'm not coming home until I damned well feel like it.

Thank you for listening, jules