Monday, May 31, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

Greater than the invention of electricity

We now have instant Netflix  via our Wii. We pay $10 a month to view an endless stream of movies whenever the hell we feel like it. If I am in the mood to watch Wionna Ryder and Christian Slater kill off the Heathers of their high school, I can sit down on my craigslist-purchased Ikea couch and watch it.  If I want to see Matthew Mcconaughy sporting a creepy mustach in Dazed and Confused I can, or if I feel like hearing Judd Nelson, aka John Bender Yell "NO DAD WHAT ABOUT YOU!" in my favorite John Hughes flick, I can do that too.  

It's almost like having the ability to fly or time travel but possibly far awesomer.  I can watch millions of movies and TV series whenever my hardcore, TV-addicted self, feels like it. It's kind of getting in the way of my life. We are living in filth due to the fact that I have chosen to spend the last 5 days being a worthless, lazy bum, watching the last three seasons of weeds while the kids are in school. It's such an entertainingly trashy show. Also, I wish that I had Nancy Botwin's wardrobe minus a few of her really slutty looking dresses. I would love to live in the pink villa she shares with Esteban. I think it's somewhere in San Diego.


Every Thursday two of the preschool moms and I take turns hosting playdates with our girls. Amelia, Hailey, and Naomi are inseparable. At school they absolutely must sit near one another. In the morning Amelia will say, "Today I am supposed to wear red. Hailey and Naomi are wearing red and going to have princess hair. Mommy, can you braid my hair please?" she will ask.

At ballet all hell will break loose if another student dares to stand in Hailey’s usual spot to the right of Amelia. They are in love with each other the way little girls often are with their very closest friends. When they fight it is epic. It's like something out of a trashy reality show with lots of name calling and crying and screaming. I cannot even image how brutal they will be to one another once the teen years hit.

Last week while driving them home from school Hailey told Amelia, "My mom loves me much more than your mom does. She spends more time with me. You have to go to preschool four days a week. I only go three times."

"My hair is longer then yours!" Amelia retaliated

"But mine is the longest." Naomi added

"But yours is curly,” Hailey added spitting out the word curly as if it were a swear word.

From the backseat there were tears, lots of tears. Every three weeks when they play at my house it is the same thing: fighting, crying, and laughing. Despite all the bickering, they can be so sweet to one another. Last week when Amelia was outraged because Naomi and Hailey took all the hot pink play-dooh, Hailey handed over her half to Amelia without even a thought. When a boy at school called Naomi a baby, Amelia insisted that he apologize and never call her that ever again. When Hailey cried because she had to leave one of their playdates early, Naomi insisted that they have a group hug “We won’t do anything fun when you’re not here.” She promised. For all of their meanness they make up for it with such love and kindness towards one another.

At first I didn’t know how to handle the three of them. I have been raising boys for 11 years; boys that are rough and sometimes wrestle and throw things at one another. They could care less who has a hello kitty t-shirt, whose mom is nicer, and whose hair is cooler. They just like to play and punch each other. Their fights are quick and consistent and almost always end in a physical altercation. They get over it and never dwell on anything that happened last week or ten seconds ago for that matter. My boys don’t hold grudges. I know how to deal with their style of fighting.

Emotional terrorism is new to me. As a kid I played with boys, rarely girls because their baggage stressed me out. The girls in my class thought I was weird. I was a strange little girl. My mom left for work early so I dressed myself in eccentric outfits and rarely ran a brush through my hair. My most prized possession were my Nike Jordan’s that were exactly the same as my older brothers. I liked to play with bugs to ride to school on my yellow Nash Fireball skateboard that I received from the boy around the block. I traded a toad that I caught at flag creek for his beat up old board. I didn’t want to play with Barbie’s and I hated pink. I just wanted to run around the playground with the boys. I'm pretty sure everyone thought I was a lesbian.

Every now and then I would hang out with a group of girls that were high drama but our friendships were always short lived.  In high school I befriended a group of stoner girls who smoked far too much pot to ever get upset about anything. Our drama was over whose parents found their bong, never over the typical girl stuff. The world that Amelia lives in is new to me. It’s taken me years to master the art of handling the girly issues that occur in her life. I think Amelia and I are a nice balance. She is so completely girly but has terrific moments of tom boyness that make me so proud.
Amelia and Hailey

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

An epic rant

A family that I do not know is now occupying my childhood home. This bothers me more then I liked to admit. They moved in during early May just two weeks after purchasing it.

Aaron, the kids, and I will be in Chicago on June 5th. The thought that we will not be driving down the familiar tree lined streets of my youth, over the rickety wooden bridge in Hinsdale, past Spring Rock Park, past the place that was once Hippie Hills and is now a hideous townhome development, before parking in front of my sturdy brick house that my dad spent years remodeling, depresses me. I don't like being depressed. I am more of the type to shove it all down and try hard to think of rainbows as opposed to the dark stuff. I am a little annoyed with cancer right now. I just want my dad back.  I am starting to feel like his death is total bull shit.

After my dad died it was hard going home. Everything seemed outplace.  There were no crossword puzzle books placed on the ottoman near his comfy TV chair, he wasn't sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of tea waiting to greet me back home, and his garage full of tools was eerily empty. Every visit home since he passed, there was moment in which I would forget that he was gone. For a second, a minute even, I would expect to see him emerge from his upstairs bedroom, or hear his van pulling up the drive. Even though he is long gone it was comforting that his memory was still in that house. He wasn't there but it felt like he was.

For some reason the idea that my childhood home is gone makes my dad's death real. I have had a year in a half to accept his death. Still it is hard to fathom that I don't get to call him up on the phone or sit in the living room of my childhood home with him anymore.

As much as I try to rationalize what happened him, to convince myself that there was a reason behind his sickness, that it all part of god's plan for our family, I can't help but feeling angry. I have moments of complete peace over his passing but there are other times where I am heavy with rage. I miss him at random moments like during my neighbor's son’s birthday party where his father kneeled down and tied the shoe of 5 year old Eli, or when we attend my best friend’s family functions and both sets of grandfathers are there, proud and loving on the little people in their lives. On my Birthday I miss his voice, and the funny little pictures he would draw on the kid's birthday cards. I miss his dumb jokes and gentle presence.

I don’t think I have given myself the chance to miss him. I try to remind myself how blessed I am. I am so very blessed to have had him as a father. Some people never have the opportunity to know their fathers, or worse they have a terrible one. I had a great dad, and I got to be his daughter for 29 years. I have no right to complain.

In 10 days I will be confronted with the idea that he is really gone. I have a feeling that arriving at my aunt’s home from the airport will be harder than dad’s funeral. The house is gone; his garage where he spent countless hours building and creating things is now, more likely than not, occupied by a minivan and bikes with training wheels. The shelves are no longer lined with jam jars housing various nails and other carpentry tools. A different man and woman are sleeping in my parent’s upstairs bedroom and their young children have taken over our other bedrooms. I wonder if they will love that house the same way we did. I will be south of Chicago instead of west, and everything will feel ass backwards. The whole thing makes me feel sad.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

It's all thanks to two bags of shrooms

Aaron Will be 34  tomorrow.   I met him one week after his 23rd Birthday. 

I’d like to believe that I loved Aaron on the spot. All it took was a glance in his direction from across busy 19th street to know he was the one.

The events of our meting were absurd. I had stepped outside onto my doll sized porch to get some much needed space. My apartment was occupied by more than a handful of nineteen year-old girls who had ingested two bags of shrooms. It was the last day of K.U.’s spring semester. It was their way of celebrating the fact that they had made it through their first year at college. Half of them were convinced that they were melting into my floral sofa. As they giggled loudly about the bizarre tribal patterns forming over my dully painted white walls, I thumbed through my CD collection looking for something to tune them out.

My friend Kylie had brought them over. She was crashing at my apartment until the first of June. “They just need some place mellow to hang out for the day,” she reassured me. Kylie and I had unwittingly become their babysitters.

Kylie sat down next to me on the porch.

“Sorry about them,” she offered while tilting her head in the direction of the mushroom girls.

I shrugged. “At least they are entertaining.”

We both laughed.

We sat out there together escaping the madness for a good 15 minutes before Aaron made his entrance into my life. Kylie spotted him first; she had seen his signature blonde bowl cut from across the road. She squinted her eyes and said, “That’s my friend Aaron!” She waved madly until his gaze fell on the two of us. He smiled his dimpled smile and crossed the street. He gave Kylie a hug and sat on the wooden stairs at our feet. I can still picture the tan and brown stripped shirt he wore and the blood encrusted scab that was running up his left shin from a recnt mountain biking accident.

From the second he sat on my rickety, weather-worn steps he seemed familiar. Aaron felt like home. From the moment I meet him I felt more at ease then I ever had before. He stayed over most of the day and into the early evening. By 9’oclock I asked Kylie what his story was.

“Ohhhhh, “She said in a long drawn out way “My friend Star is super into him. She has liked him for months now. He’s kind of off limits. Besides, he’s kind of crazy and weirdly smart. He’s not your type at all.”

I didn’t care. I liked him.

Maybe if Kylie had not brought over a house full of her tripped out friends, or perhaps if I had sat on my front porch as opposed to my back one, or if Kylie had not been so adamant in making it clear that I was not to date Aaron, my life would have turned out all wrong. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if the chain of events from that day were different. I wonder if my life would be drastically altered. I have a feeling that  Aaron and I still would have meet, maybe in line at the grocery store, or at a random party filling up our keg cups at the very same moment. I am certain that Aaron is the person I was supposed to be with. Despite everything, despite how different we are and all the things that we have gone through, I wouldn't change a thing. I love Aaron today just as much as the nineteen year old me did sitting on the porch of my tiny yellow apartment. I am so glad he is my husband.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010