Sunday, August 29, 2010
Back to School is this week. Usually each summer I am counting the days until school starts.
Hey, in Palm Springs, when it is 115 out, you can’t really say: “Kid’s! Stop it! Go outside and play.”
(And what? Don’t get on the swing set, cuz you’ll sustain 2nd degree burns?)
So usually, with clenched jaws and the help of a teenaged girl who can take them to the water park, we get through. Cuz it turns out, none of us do well with a lot of unstructured time.
But not this summer.
This summer we discovered the mountains and kayaking and lake swimming. (Can we talk for just a minute about that ooglie stuff that you have to walk through in the lake to start the actual swimming?)
There has been fishing (catch and release Baby – I don’t want those suckers in my house . . . even if my house is a trailer), reading, movie watching and crawdad catching.
And we finally discovered the magic of being able to say: “Enough! Go outside and play . . . in the creek!”
And on our last weekend at the lake? They met other kids (trying not to judge the other trailer park people here). Imagine, kids coming over and the four of them running off in a pack to the lake, to kayak in the cove and chatter incessantly amongst themselves.
Heaven. I read three magazines and didn’t brush my teeth that day. The liberty of it all.
Now? I don’t want summer to end. These gorgeous summer days without the routine of homework, reading tests (AR tests? Anyone else?), hurry home from school to get to piano/ballet/soccer/jazz/sax (fill in your own list of endless frickin’ activities here).
WTF? School is starting?
Sunday, August 22, 2010
My daughters have discovered magazines. In a big way.
During our first magazine shopping experience, I bought a Seventeen with Selena Gomez on the cover. Hey – she’s on the Disney channel. Why not?
OMG! When we got home and I saw the articles: Making out with my Boyfriend; Teen Pregnancy – I Kept My Baby; My Boyfriend hits me.
Oh Shit! Well, I just ripped out every inappropriate article. And handed my shocked daughters back a magazine that had about 20 bedraggled pages in it.
American Girl is just right for my little Glowie, but still, we wanted MAGAZINES. (It this the part where I tell you about my love of People and O Magazine? Will you think less of me if I add in that I read Newsweek too?)
So my older daughter wanted Car Magazines, National Geographic and Science. She’s a very sweet, serious kid.
Glowie however wanted anything with Justin Bieber on it. So I bought a Tiger Beat.
And that magazine was GOLD! GOLD I tell you! She read, QUIETLY for more than an hour. And she did this over and over again for days.
Then later I heard them fighting over it. The Tiger Beat. The magazine my older daughter sneered at. She’s no Justin Bieber fan she wanted me to know!
But locked in the quiet of their room together, THIS is the magazine they can’t get enough of!
And there are Tiger Beat knock offs. Who knew?
So if they do their chores, their homework, have a good attitude and pick up dog poop with a smile on their faces, they get magazines.
But all they really want is Tiger Beat. Sorry National Geographic. Sorry Discover.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
It is effing hot in Palm Springs in the summer. You think you understand, but unless it is blazing into the 110’s and above . . . uh, you don’t. And don’t tell me it’s a dry heat either. Cuz Baby, that is a load of crap when it is 123 degrees in the shade!
I now understand why the summer population drops to like 204 people. (But hey, you don’t need reservations to dine out!)
So we envision our “Vacation Getaway”: You know, where we unload the car, breathe in the mountain air, and take the kids and the dogs for a walk? Yeah, that’s the ticket.
Hey, the stock market had taken a dive, so I thought that we’d be able to sweep in and pick up a lovely mountain cabin for mere chump change. Baby, we are gonna be in like Flynn – I just KNOW it!
Turns out, I was the chump.
Oh yeah, you can pick a little something up. Of course it was a recently abandoned meth lab which needs “tender loving care” (i.e. calling the Haz Mat Team).
And did I mention the “Lake” thing? Turns out if you don’t buy a property with “Lake Rights” you can’t do shit in this place, except maybe stand somewhere and watch Other People boat, fish and swim. #longingly
So we gave up.
Until my husband read an ad in the local paper about a Mobile Home for sale.
“Uh, I’m not getting a Trailer DUDE!” (Cuz you know, I’m snotty like that.)
Then he read me the price. Which INCLUDES Lake Rights. And a dock.
What? Holy Cow! Mecca Baby – Kids, get your coats, we’re going for a drive!
Then we got there. The trailers were kinda close together, so I was worried about people hearing my constant yelling at my kids, you know, so they wouldn’t bother the neighbors.
Or, yelling at the flipping dogs to shut up. So we’d be the people with the loud kids and the barking dogs and the harridan that was always YELLING at everyone.
Shit, all I needed was a cigarette hanging out of one side of my mouth while I yelled. (I want you to know, I quit smoking cigarettes out of one side of my mouth DECADES ago!)
Then we find this one little trailer, all by itself, on a hill. And I had heart palpitations.
Cuz I could yell and my kids and my dogs and no one would call Social Services OR the SPCA.
But what really sold me? It had a little outside shower . . . I have some bizarre, unnatural love of bathing outdoors. Claustrophobia mixed with a healthy dose of exhibitionism and there you go. I was sold.
So we bought this little Trailer in the woods, bought a tempurpedic bed and lots of bright colored paint and carved out a little piece of nirvana.
And this weird thing has happened to us in this 700 square foot place. If you leave your shoes out, it creates a Level 5 Hoarding situation.
But oddly enough, we feel more connected as a family in this tiny little place.
We can hear each other breathe, uh . . ., all the time. We can hear the kids playing down in the creek. We take walks together.
There is no Wii, but we did get Satellite. (I didn’t say I was a Saint, did I?)
And there is fishing (May I just say: Thank God for the Kindle, cuz that fishing shit is BORING.)
There is something precious about being snowed in, and something magical about being out on the deck in the summer.
And when we go back to our big ricocheting lives in Palm Springs, we yearn for our time together in the mountains.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
So we bought a kayak.
We had this whole fantasy about buying a boat, but now that our house isn’t worth shit, but our payments are huge, the kayak seemed like the way to go.
But here’s the problem. I’m not bendy like I used to be.
Some of this is age, some of this is weight. (Hey – you try flitting around in heels carting around a couple of hundred pounds. There I said it.)
But most of this is my shitty bones and joints. Four back surgeries, a hip replacement, a major spinal fusion (uh, is there a minor spinal fusion?).
So this old girl can’t twist and turn. Shout yes. Twist and turn, not so much.
Now, the kayak. It would be the “getting in” and the “getting out” which is at issue. By “issue” I mean it is a near engineering impossibility. But I perservere. Cuz I’m an idiot like that.
There is screaming and weeping. And that is just from the guy watching me from the dock. So two big guys (one is my hunky husband) hold the kayak, cooing reassuring words at me (that would be the other guy, my husband had his jaw clenched) that it’s really stable and it won’t tip over.
After three near fatal attempts, I manage to land in and NOT dislocate my fake hip. SCORE!
A lovely evening kayak trip, enjoying the scenery and the fact that I am getting exercise SITTING DOWN! Whoo hoo!
Until it is time to get out of the kayak on another dock.
No extra set of hands and reassuring words. My husband needs to hold the kayak, so he’s not really available to help me.
Many attempts, I’m softly weeping, my husband is starting to get stern, cuz it is getting dark and I’m pretty sure I’m spending the flipping night in the kayak. Which btw, is no longer that comfortable. And don’t you think they could have told you that it fills with water so your ass is soaking wet?
I manage to slide my ass out of the kayak, with trembling arms across the splinter filled dock (no more will be said on THAT subject).
Even getting up off my back (yes, that is how I scooched across) is almost impossible cuz the dock is so narrow. So I’m standing there watching my husband get out.
And I watch, as in slow motion, the kayak moves away from the dock with his legs in the boat and his arms gripping the edge of the dock.
I’m transfixed (which is a nice way to say: I don’t move to offer an assist) as his ass ever so slowly descends into the lake and the kayak gently floats away.
I would have rushed to his aid, except I thought I was going to have a stroke myself. Why? Was I terrified for my dear husband? Well . . . uh, no. I couldn’t get any oxygen cuz I was laughing so hard.
”You know Honey, they say endorphins are good for you, right?”
Uh oh . . . I may have just peed my pants – just a little bit.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
On the 4th of July we went to a party by the Lake. Little Glowie had some mixed feelings about swimming cuz she thought the lake/seaweed stuff might try to get her.
Perfectly understandable. So the TaxMan walks her to the dock, cuz she wants to jump in and swim to the beach. But she panics and can’t.
Then I take her, pretty sure the reason she didn’t go is cuz her dad pressured her. Nah, she won’t go for me either. But she does eventually go with some other kids. All 34 pounds of her 7 year old self.
Off the dock, into the lake, swimming (the dog paddle, cuz hey, she’s not putting her face IN THERE).
And then, she starts screaming. Just loud, scared, did I say loud? Screams.
So I say, in my meanest, hissingest Mommy voice that everyone can hear – Glowie – stop screaming. Look at me and swim. You can scream when you get to shore. (Hey, we could have jumped in any time, but this was going to be a win for her dammit. And I didn’t really want to jump in there with all that lake/seaweed stuff myself!)
A few more blood curdling screams and cries and the lake stuff touched her legs. But she kept her eyes on me and in she swam. And we had our joyous moment, celebrating her bravery, her willingness to push through the fear and really accomplish something.
Whoo Hoo! So while she is in the outside shower, and I am holding a privacy towel up and begging her to HURRY UP, I try tucking the towel into the shower thingie. And I knock a huge piece of dry, rotted wood down – ONTO THE TOP OF HER HEAD. So I’m holding up the broken piece of wood, while now standing in the shower myself, while holding my screaming kid up to me, telling her how sorry I am that that happened.
She is screaming the words: Goose Egg.
Yes Baby, you are going to have a goose egg. One helluva Goose Egg. Mommy is so sorry.
Clean, dried and happy.
During dinner, she silently gets up and stands right off to the side next to me. I am telling a story and gesticulating wildly (cuz how else do you tell a story?) and my elbow cracks into her face.
Oh Baby, Mommy is so sorry. Oh Honey you were so close and I didn’t see you. Hugs, hugs, hugs. But now I’m starting to get Glowie-worn-out.
Now we go to this little hill to watch the Fireworks over the lake. Glowie wants to play patty cake (do you know this one? Lemonade, Ice Tea, Coca Cola, Pepsi???). Our friend Dennis says: Come over here Glowie and teach me.
Lemonade. Clap. Iced Tea. Clap. Coca Cola. Oops.
That patty cake had a little more power behind it (hey, Dennis IS a former Marine – he really puts some muscle into Patty Cake, Dammit!) Chloe lost her balance and pitched over backwards, ready to plunge down the hill.
It is only a last minute grab to the bottom of her t-shirt that Dennis is able to avert disaster and keep Glowie upright. There is more screaming, more comforting, more holding.
Now she’s got a goose egg, a black eye, and a torn T-shirt.
So when I say my little one is a handful and people say, ah, she’s not that bad – she only weighs 34 pounds, how could she be a handful?
People … This was just three hours in the life of Glowie and her Mom. And people wonder why I have all these odd nervous twitches.