Also holy shit. Is it daylight savings time? My mom used to call me and remind me. I guess she thought that, at 40, and with all of today’s technology I shouldn’t need her to tell me. Boy was she wrong. I’m old school baby. If my grandma was still alive, I’d still call her and ask her to look at the newspaper to tell me what movies were playing today.
When I worked at Mazda out in California I knew a guy named Serban. I’m a bit ashamed to say that I don’t remember where he was from but only a bit. After all it’s been more than 20 years and memories get bored and decide to fuck with you after a while. I do remember he was a neat man. He had an accent but was easy to understand; he had a great smile and was incredibly friendly. He looked older (or what I thought was older back then. He may have been in his 30’s or 40’s!) but his demeanor was very young. I remember when he started working with us, my boss told us that Serban majored in math just like he did. I asked Serban why in hell anyone would want to major in math. I remember thinking how useless it would be. Psychiatrists major in Psychology, doctors major in Biology, Wall Street dudes major in business or economics or both. But math? I remember thinking that Serban could certainly be a math teacher if he wanted to. So I asked him about it. And I’ll never forget what he told me. Not because it was Gettysburg Address important or meaningful, but because it was an unexpected answer. Plus I really dug the way the man talked. Not because of his accent but because of how his words were arranged. His delivery was like it had been feng shue’d for maximum effect. It worked. He told me (and I’m sorry, words diminish those important moments in life, that’s what the great Stephen King says and that fucker is always right) that the reason a person would major in math is that math just gives you another way of looking at a thing.
It was one of those moments in life I’ll never forget, and I’m glad it’s a good memory. For some reason my brain prefers to hang onto the shitty ones. As though they were suckers licked for an hour and then cast aside by some careless toddler. They stick around is what I mean. They’re impossible to clean away and just nasty to touch. To visit. Serban’s words come back to me time after time, and I apply them to all kinds of situations and they always fit. They’re like a universal jig saw piece, a wild card (twos and jokers baby, twos and jokers). I use them with Ash. I use them when training others at work. I use them because they’re true.
Now, as usual, I’ve gone way off point to get to my actual topic this morning. But I just ask you, if I hadn’t, would you know what the hell I was talking about? You might. But would you take my meaning? Fuck I don’t know. Maybe. But I like to think that you wouldn’t. If for no other reason than to think my gray meat works this way for a reason.
I’m my own worst enemy sometimes. And today this took on new meaning for me. (Slow learner and all that). I dreamed terrible dreams all night last night. They were still Seussy, because that is one exception my brain never makes. My dreams are all gibberish nonsensical bullshit but the bad ones always seem to mean something despite their lack of sense. I have nightmares about the hatchet man. Sure I do; don’t you? But most of the time my bad dreams have nothing to do with that fucker. The “bad guy” in most of my dreams is “being alone” or “doing it wrong” “being laughed at” “being fat” “being left behind”. By everyone. Bear, Ash, the rest of the people in the race. While they’re all paddling or running or flying northward, I’m a full lap behind and am therefore going southward, against a sea of people who just want me to get the hell out of the way. Only at the same time I’m trying to do all the laundry and pack all the suitcases so we can leave in the morning. And that’s all I want to do. I want to get my family and our stuff and leave that place. Before they realize they like that place better than they like me. They like the other “winners” while I’m the one that couldn’t get all the way to the finish line.
Now here’s the really shitty part, and also a bit of a tangent. I swear it’s like every part of my head gets distracted by shiny things. Normally when I dream, if I have to pee in real life I also have to pee in my dreams. Good dream, bad dream, doesn’t matter. The pee takes over the dream like a virus. I wake up and pee and go back to sleep. I haven’t yet peed the bed but it’s probably only a matter of time. Poor Bear. Did my pee take over last night when Bear and Ash were hanging with Amy Shumer and her people and the rest of the people that weren’t left behind? Fuck no it didn’t. One of Shumer’s people tied my dream bladder up and stuffed a dirty rag in its mouth to keep it at bay. Or so I assume. So not only did I wake up feeling sad and ashamed for not being able to keep up, to tie my shoelaces fast enough or stay afloat on my raft at the same pace as the others, but I also woke up with a bladder which is now in more discomfort than even my stupid head. And the worst part is– well, maybe not the worst; the bladder discomfort was pretty bad– that because my dreams are Seuss dreams, I didn’t even understand why I felt the way i felt. I felt sad and inadequate and mean. What a shitty way to start a day. I’d rather have woken up with the damn stomach flu. Instead I’m sitting in my chair, snuggling Simon and watching Lincoln. Letting Daniel Day Lewis’s voice soothe me and make me feel better like it always does. That man’s voice is the pepto bismol to my diarrhea.
Enough time has passed that the details of my dream have begun to diminish. The feelings though, they leave residue every time. Like skid marks in Fat Bastard’s sumo wrestling thong.
I’m not depressed or anything like that. I make enough distinction between dreams and real life for that. Not “real” depression. Just disorientation. I’ll forget about it in time. If not by the time Lincoln ends then at least by the time we get to Tattoo Convention today. I’ll be in my element. Instead of Amy Shumer and her people, it’ll be me and my people. And that’ll be just fine by me. Fuck you Shumer.*
I’m glad Serban told me about looking at things in a different way all those years ago. It helps me to let the bad dreams dissolve and sometimes to keep the good dreams alive. So thanks Serban. Wherever you are. I hope that you are successful and I’m sure you are. And I hope you still have that wonderful and infectious smile. In a way, I suppose your words to me were a bit Gettysburgy after all.
Couple of post scrips here: I’m getting DDL as Lincoln tattooed over some unsightly old lady spots on my leg. So that’s awesome.
Second, I get to see my good friend Mike today. He also happens to be the best damn tattoo artist in the whole damn world.
Third, Peach Treats always has a booth at Convention. I see new earrings in my future.
*Sorry Amy Shumer. I honestly have no idea why I woke up hating you. I’m sure I’ll get over it.
I love it when unplanned quality time reveals itself. Today I took Ash to his first orthodontist appointment– with the very same Ortho who did my braces almost 30 years ago, if you can dig it. I thought for sure he’d have a stick propping his head up but he actually wasn’t that old. 60s I’d guess. Anyway. Our drive there was quiet. I was tired. I’d never been to the location before so I was listening to my GPS lady who sounded like she was fucking whispering the directions.
But on the way back I decided to play Ash a little bit of Blondie. He likes classic rock and said he’d heard of Debra Harry so I thought he’d be interested to know that as he was coming into the world, The Tide is High was playing on the radio in the OR. He thought that was pretty cool. We listened to a few more of the popular ones like Call Me and Heart of Glass and talked about seeing some rock concerts this summer. It was lovely. When you think of spending quality time with your child, particularly (in my opinion) if that child is not a child but a teenager, it’s usually time you planned for him or her. You plan a Disneyland vacation or a trip to the Lego Store or even an exercise date. You don’t plan on a half an hour ride from the orthodontist in five o’clock traffic being something memorable, but it really was.
When we got home we decided to have some French bread pizzas and watch The Burbs. “I wanna kill everyone. Satan is good. Satan is our pal.” 😂 that shit is never not funny. At the same time I was perusing the Instagram where 90% of the people I follow are hairstylists and salons and I decided to ask Ash if he would go wash his hair so I could style it for him, just for fun. I thought for sure he would say no but he didn’t. By the way if you don’t see Ash often enough to know, he is currently sporting a pretty badass pompadour with a fade on the sides and a slick hard part on the side. I love that he loves it because as y’all know, I love me a pomp and have worked hard to perfect them over the last couple of years. I showed him how versatile his haircut could be, talked to him about blow drying and told him that if a place also sells food, then it is not the right place to buy product or tools. Look man, every parent has to pass down something to their kid, right? Bear and Brandon are teaching him manly things and comic books and that stuff so I felt it encumbant upon me to teach him the truly important things in life: product, product, product.
Anywho, you guys don’t give a tin shit about the minute details I’m sure, but it was really great for me, and I think he enjoyed the time just as much as I did. Even more noticeable to me was the fact that I’m fairly certain that he was actually listening to my advice. I swear, by the time he gets married he’ll be slapping his wife’s wrist when she attempts to pick up hairspray at her local grocery store. (Although if I’ve done my job right then that relationship would never have gotten far enough for marriage. Shitty product is a deal breaker my friends– unless you have a floor to polish).
Well that’s that ladies and germs. It wasn’t snarky or really even clever. It didn’t change anyone’s life (or even ruin anyone’s life, which is like a win win). But if my blog always had you rolling in the aisles my life would be a lot different than it is and we might not know each other or get to spend this time together.
Take care. Be kind to one another. And for reals, please don’t use shitty product. I cannot stress this enough people. And take this Tom Hanks gem to bed with you why don’t you: “So what if they kept to themselves. Can you blame them? They live next door to people who break into their house, and burn it down while they’re gone for the day!)*
Ps. Seriously. Good product is key. And dont call me bossy when I’m sure the word you are searching for is “enthusiastic.” I am blessing you with this PSA. You’re welcome.
*this quote is better if you read it in that flipping out Tom Hanks way. You know the one I mean.
Pps. If you don’t know what I mean, then I’m sorry I just can’t do anything for you.
Ppps. Those of you who do know what I mean… awesome huh? Shake, shake, shake, turning red in the face and Jimmy Dugan says to Evelyn “You use your head! That’s that lump that’s three feet above your ass!)”
Pppps. Yep. I did. I just sailed right into A League of Their Own. Probably you’re used to me doing shit like that by now though eh?
I’m pretty sure my physical therapist is a sadist. I’m currently undergoing “therapy” ahem*! Cough*! (Torture) for three different tunnel syndromes and tennis elbow and all kinds a other shit. It’s like both of my arms were removed, stuffed into a Ninja smoothie maker and then reattached half assedly, and now Deanna is just grinding the meat around in there like she’s preparing hamburger helper. I like the stroganoff. Please save me some Deanna.
My left arm is bruised top to bottom. My right arm is possibly bruised too but since that sleeve is almost complete I can’t see much skin; so whenever I look at my ugly left arm and get sad I need only glance over at my beautifully tattooed right arm to feel dead sexy all over. I can only assume all tattooed people are trying to cover bruises from sadistic physical therapists or abusive spouses.
Anyway just checking in. I’m super broken as always but my mind is almost not crazy for the last couple of weeks so two thumbs up and a mother fuckin twist. This last weekend was wonderful for no reasons related to sadism or men who beat their wives or even tattoos, but I haven’t found my voice on that yet. Possibly its stuck in the Ninja with one of my arms. When I find it though, you will be the first to know.
Happy Valentine’s Day Y’all
I’m not quite sure why, but restaurant wait staff seem to talk about me for one reason or another. I don’t know if last Valentine’s Day was the first time it happened or if it’s just the first time it dawned on me to remember.
We were at Culver’s for a romantic dinner for eight, planned by our menfolk. We were all dressed up in pretty clothes, probably showing too much cleavage and sat around this big table in a beautiful room with a fire place and people drinking wine and staring into each other’s eyes. Anyone who knows me knows that I am an extremely picky eater. Like seriously, 8 year olds have a wider pallet than I do. So Bear told me which was the thinnest cut steak and then I asked for it to be butterflied and cooked well with no pink. Additionally I informed the pretty waitress that the table ketchup appeared to be missing. As my husband and six friends pointed and laughed (with love, I assure you. Salt of the earth these people.) the waitress took our order to the kitchen. When she came back with our food she said the the kitchen staff said they wanted to come into the dining area and see the girl who ordered burnt steak and ketchup.
Fast forward 12 months.
Today I went to the Olive Garden for a lunch break. I ordered bread sticks, alfredo and zeppoli, which are these glorious little scone things with powdered sugar with raspberry and chocolate sauces to dip them in. So heavenly. I ordered a Coke, so I could make sure there wasn’t a shred of nutrition in front of me, took out my e-reader and started on the final hundred pages of The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest. Yes I’ve read it before. I’m a repeat offender folks. Always have been. Someone ask my mom or sister how many times I’ve seen Grease. You’ll shit yourself.
Anyway, three separate waitresses stopped by to tell me how charming my lunch set up was. The gal waiting on me said she told all the kitchen help that she had a customer having zeppoli and reading a book and they were all like “that is so wonderful” and all enchanted with me like I was sitting at a white swirly table in Paris, probably with a view of the Eiffel Tower as the sun was going down and like a hot French dude is serenading me and French chicks are all staring at me, hairy arm pitted and wishing they were me.
People, had I known that this was such an enchanting thing to do, and if I had a higher lunch budget, I’d do it way more often. I just love compliments, don’t you? Before I left, another waitress stopped to tell me that she loved my hair color. I can die now. And happily.
Did someone set this up for me? Like being on Punk’d but in a good way? Oh my gawd I totally just invented my own tv show. Producers wanted, people. (And a treadmill, because the cameras add twenty and a hundred pounds).
Driving back to work I must have been a bit dreamy eyed thinking about my lunch break and I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a very good driver. Have I? Well I’m totally not. While turning into the parking lot at work I damn near hit a Sales lot tech in a brand new car. I swerved to avoid him and waved apologetically thinking, jeez, there wasn’t even a gummy bear on the floor to pick up or anything. I just did that out of pure shitty driving. (For those of you who are stellar and Good Samaritan type drivers I’ll let you in on a secret: it’s always easier to play off your bad driving with a distraction. Like this “I totally dropped my gummy bear and when I bent to pick it up I ended up in the next lane and heard a number of horns honking and saw just as many birds flipping.”).
The moral of this story is this: if you see me in a restaurant, you should probably take a picture of me and whatever I’m eating and ask me to sign it. I’m guessing you’ll be able to sell that shit on eBay when my Nice Punk tv show tops the ratings. And then when people go, have you heard of this cool new show by Jess? You can say “bitch please. That girl likes burned steak with ketchup. Tell me something I don’t know about her.” And then it’ll be all inside information and suddenly you have more Facebook friends and relatives and junior high school classmates coming out of the side hatch just to get close to you because you know the Nice Punk gal. You’re welcome.
Ps. I’m not prepared to say that the gummy bear thing actually happened, but I’m not prepared to say it didn’t.
PPs. But I can tell you that when the guy told me I needed a new wheel and asked what I had hit, I totally lied and said Brandon did it. 😂
Ppps. Sorry Bran. You knew I did that, right?
Oh holy shit that happens in real life.
My day started with a wee hours text that my cousin Casey had her baby last night; complete with a pic of my UJ holding beautiful baby Brooklyn. Sweet. ❤
Then it was dry shampoo day so I took a quick shower and then got cereal and settled in to read during time which would otherwise be used blow drying and styling. Then I thought to myself, I can wear makeup, or I could read for another 15 minutes… so yeah… I look ugly for the whole day now, but it was totally worth it.
Ya still with me? Cause I swear I have a point. What can I say? I have to build the scene for you so just hold onto your damn potatoes and I’ll get to it.
Now ordinarily I get in my car and put on whatever audiobook I’m listening to. At the moment it’s my second go-round with Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. (Great book btw. I highly recommend it). But when I plugged my phone on it was The Used singing Sold My Soul, so I left it on music and rocked my heart out. Ya know, like you do when no one is looking. Sold My Soul gave way to Thanks For The Memories by Fall Out Boy and that’s what was playing as I pulled into my Holiday for a morning Coke Zero with cherry. I bee bopped my way in, went to the fountain drink station and as I dumped the remainder of yesterday’s drink into the little ice tray soda catcher thing, I wondered to myself if Webb and Susan were ever like “don’t you just fucking hate people who dump half a drink in here instead of walking their happy ass over to the sink?” I was contemplating asking Webb if this was the case so I could avoid future shit-listhood. I put a lil splash of cherry in my drink and was singing Thanks For The Memories under my breath. I sang “Get me out of my mind, get you out of those clothes” when I hear Webb call out “Good morning Jess!” And I could hear some laughter in his voice. I looked up and noticed he couldn’t possibly see me from where I was standing. I walk around the popcorn machine and see Webb and another faithful Holiday patron just busting a gut and smiling at me. Not in a dick way, but in an aww-ain’t-she-cute-and-retarded way.
I asked if they heard me singing, and I was positive they would say no but both of them said yes, amidst fresh peels of laughter. I said I thought I was singing quietly, more under my breath than anything and the patron at the counter said that no, it was quite loud indeed.
Let me refresh your memory as to the lyrics I was apparently bellowing out like Barbara Streisand: “Get Me out of my mind, get you out of those clothes..” and holy shit on me I have now experienced something I had previously only seen in the movies. And guess what? That shit is just as embarrassing as you would think.
The good news here is they probably didn’t notice I wasn’t wearing makeup because of how the embarrassment had blushed my cheeks for me.
It’s all about silver linings folks.
Seriously. It’s almost exactly like Abbott and Costello Meet the Monsters.
Only not like that at all.
Mental note to self Jess: men you see in your waiting room do not react the same as the women when you pass by and stop to compliment how awesome their coat is. I just walked by a customer on what felt like my 20th trip to pee and stopped because he had this awesome North Face-y looking coat in a really nice olive drab color like it just came off of one of those dudes on M.A.S.H., only way more fashionable. In a matter of seconds I imagined how awesome the coat would look on Ash and so I asked him where he got it. I should mention that I totally caught him off guard; his face was in his phone and I sort of surprised him with my completely unsolicited excitement. Poor guy. Anyway he answered that it was a gift in a sort of quiet, “get away from me you crazy hag” sort of way but I could tell he was trying to be nice about it. Man… if he woulda been a she, that would have been a totally different conversation.
Anyway, my point in telling this is to prove to y’all that yes, I can make a complete ass of myself at work and after only having been left alone for a few seconds. I’m pretty sure they might have to hire someone just to follow me around saying “focus!” whenever I get side tracked by a fancy schmancy M.A.S.H. Coat or a cute pup or even just some random woman whose highlights were so poorly done that i can tell where all the foils were. Seriously. It’s all I can do not to give those poor ladies Samantha’s business card and saying “When the time comes, call this number.” It would be like one of those unwed mothers groups in the sixties. You know, where you say it all quiet so as not to draw attention to the unfortunate girl’s situation, and then pretty soon your whole goddam waiting room is pointing and whispering and taking random lowres pics with their phones while pretending to hold the camera screen in front of their face for a whole different reason other than to post pics of bad hair on their Instagram pages. I mean, I would never do that, obviously; because I am a fucking classy broad. (By that I mean I mostly stick to the pointing and whispering. And sometimes whilst standing too close to my victim and not whispering quite as low as I thought I was and then Bear walks away mid-sentence and pretends he’s not with me.) That’s legit y’all.
Ok Well that’s all. I guess even the greatest of bloggers has to have some posts that are of absolutely zero importance, right? Right.
Ps. Text me if you want to see the bad hair pics.
PPs. I’m kidding. What kind of asshole do you think I am?
Ppps. On the other hand, you know what they say: if you can’t find something nice to say, come sit by me.
Do people “get over” or “beat” mental illness? Or do they, like me, just manage it? And sometimes by “manage” I’m talking barely manage. This has been one of the longest weeks of my life. I started feeling sad for some stupid reason: waiting for Kris to try on clothes at the mall. She’s so beautiful. I wish she knew it. But, like me, mental illness is an asshole to a lot of people and for some reason her flavor of mental illness beats her over the head with what seems to me and anyone else who would look at her as nonsense. She’s thin, got a cute little caboose and the best personality in the entire fucking world. And she chose me to be her best friend. Although I prefer the term “soul mate.” She makes me laugh all the time and has even showed up at my house with a DVD and ice cream at 10:30 at night when she knew I was having a bad case of the mean reds.
Anyway I sat there in the dressing room looking at myself in the cruel cruel mirror and fought tears until I could say goodbye and get into my car and let go. That was Tuesday. And I was mostly fine. Upset for no reason at all, and certainly nothing that she did.
Wednesday I started thinking about the new job responsibilities I’m about to take on this summer. I started training with my work roommate Tom, another member of my little circle of crazy. Not because he’s crazy, because he’s not, at least not like me; but because he’s one of the few people I can be around when I get like this that it doesn’t bother me to be around. I started focusing on the fact that I’m taking on all this extra work, that I won’t get a raise, and not because my boss is an asshole or anything, because he isn’t. He’s completely amazing and always so good to me. It’s just one of those things that can’t happen and that’s ok too. I know it’s ok. I know I’m well compensated and I’m not alone in my finances like I was for so many years. Bear takes the best care of me, financially and emotionally. And plus he’s just a funny mother fucker and I could not be luckier to be the one he chooses to share his most intimate and hilarious moments with.
I’m so blessed, to use a Jesus Jumpers word. It’s true, I am. So why is it that I focus on the little bit of negative the mirror showed me and the little bit of negative my job made me feel and then let unleash the unhealthy fury of my dark passenger? I can’t have a raise. And I can’t quit and not just because I love my job. Where else am I going to go and make what I make doing something I’m great at? I’m not very good at a lot of things. For reals. I can make popcorn like a mother fucker though. Come on and take the Pepsi challenge with that shit and I’ll win every time. But there’s this shitty asshole inside me pointing out that I’m fat, no matter what color my hair is or what cute shoes I just bought. Pointing out that I’ve gone as high as I’ll ever go in my job; that the minute I take over as a warranty administrator, any look the Brass ever gave me with consideration of an office manager or service manager job is gone. I’m taking a step back instead of forward.
And why do I have to remind myself that that’s ok? I love being a WA. I love knowing that my techs and service advisors will have a good paycheck because of me; because of the effort I put into it and because I love them all like the little asshole kids I never had. The few times I’ve filled in for Tom this year I’ve gone home happy. I’m doing what I’m good at and what I enjoy. So why am I seeing a wall? Why I am I seeing that this is the highest my mountain will ever go? That I’ll look around at those other mountains around me and watch as they grow and I stay the same (except for when my ass gets too big for my chair and I’m forced to push a fucking love seat into my office.).
Why all the self loathing? Why can’t it just stay locked up somewhere and let the happy person that I usually am just be? I know good things about me. I do. Lots of them. I’m fucking awesome y’all. Unfortunately I’m also and always will be “not good enough.” For me. Or no one. Fuck I don’t even know. I just know that the reason I take xanax and love it is not because it makes me feel good. It makes me feel nothing. And at times like this that’s all I want. To feel nothing. Thoughts like that can get a fluffy girl like me into trouble.
So I’ll get my hair done because it makes me happy to do so. I’ll spend my evening with Bear because he always makes me happy and makes me feel safe and secure. And I’ll wait for this shit to move on down the road for a while. Because that’s all I can do. I can’t beat it. I just have to manage it. Try to work with it. Try to be one step ahead of it. And when it gets the better of me, as it eventually does, I just have to dig my heels in and ride the angry shitty wave into smoother waters once again.
I’m not very political or smart. Having said that, here is my question: what are we hoping to accomplish with all the protests and marches and anti-trumpism? And I ask that not being a fan of his. (Not in a political sense, the man just has terrible hair. I can’t get behind someone with that much money who refuses to do something about what he’s got going on up top.). I mean that. What good is it doing? Abraham Lincoln said if you’re going to do a thing, it ought to do some good. So what good are we doing? Are we just hell bent on showing that we can bitch about something like no one else on earth? And I say that as someone who can complain until the fucking cows come home. Honest. My genuine curiosity is dancing a jig wanting to find out if anything can come of this except for funny signs (my favorite so far said “I was told there would be cake), people getting trampled in crowds and looting from stores?
I’m not political. But I do love my country; so please don’t accuse me of being unpatriotic. Stupid maybe. Politically ignorant, absolutely. Almost always unaware of what is going on around me; dead on point.
Is it true that 90 million people didn’t vote? And are any of those people in a march right now? And people that I think are so awesome are In support of this so please tell me what I am missing.
Fuck, or don’t. I’ve been pretty happy and blissfully ignorant for the last 40 years. I think people that let themselves get so worked up by this stuff end up balding prematurely and dying of heart disease before they’re 50. Heart disease scares me; of course it does. But I don’t have much more hair that I can afford to lose, so maybe I’ll just drink my coke, pick up my book and stay off social media for awhile. And when I get back to work tomorrow, perhaps I will talk to Abe about it. The man is my Dumbledore, and has been dumbing things down for me for a lot of years now; and never in a condescending way. If you’re gonna pick your Jiminy Cricket you might as well pick someone who doesn’t make you feel like too big of an idiot.
Have a good day everyone. Turn off your phones for a while and watch a good movie. My favorite home movie at the moment is Civil War. I can’t get enough Ant-Man or Spider-Man. Those two are super funny. Or better yet, pop your own popcorn because movie theaters aren’t as good as mine, and sneak it in to the Megaplex and go movie hopping. Turn away from the anger and hate for one day. Who knows, it might be the thing that helps you live longer, if only one more day.
Today I’ve decided to blog away the sad, which is sort of like praying away the gay, only not total horseshit. Here goes.
I’ve always looked forward to family events. When I was very young I would attend Christmas and Thanksgiving parties with my family and watch as the grown ups drank beer and played Pictionary: boys against girls, loser does the dishes. In the summertime we would go boating and even sometimes camping, even though I’m not terribly outdoorsy. (Gosh you never knew did you!) If we weren’t boating we would play volleyball in our backyard at a 4th of July party and the grown ups would drink beer and laugh and someone would surprise someone else by starting a water balloon fight. At night my uncles and cousins and step dad would play kick the can with my friends and me, also with beer and laughs, in the cul-de-sac where our house was. I looked at my aunts and uncles and grandparents with awe and longing. I loved them and I couldn’t wait to be one of them.
Now I’m 40 and have my own parties, only there is rarely beer for this girl. It’s just yucky and I still consider it to be for grown ups, which I can’t possibly be. I have blue hair for Chrissake. But laughter always. I still love being surrounded by these people. And those of us who were young are older and those who were babies are having their own babies and still I look forward to any opportunity to be with them. My first friends were family members: Cousin Danny from moms side of the family; he would play Baby Joey whenever we played Barbies because Joey was way less girlie and it was probably not as though he was playing Barbies at all, right? On my dads side of the family my first friend was Cousin Christian, but everyone just called him Cree. He and his brothers were the first people I ever watched play baseball, something else I couldn’t wait to do. I have so many fond memories of them both. Perhaps I’ll write about them some day.
The person I became closest with at a young age was my cousin Lacee. When she was born I knew I would hate her because my grandma and everyone else had another baby to love that wasn’t me. I’m five years or so older than Lacee so I was pretty little when she was born. She grew into a Grandma’s Girl like me. We were like, the presidents of my Granny Goose’s fan club. We still are. By the time I was old enough to babysit, I’d gotten over the attention I was sure she’d steal and just loved her instead. She was my first try at being a mommy. (Poor girl. Christ, I should have known right there I would be a bit sucky at it)
As I am now a weird adult, so was I a weird child. In those days I had a white day bed and instead of sleeping on it, I slept under it; even when I had a sleepover or was babysitting Lacee (and it was not just so the hatchet man couldn’t find me when he came into my room at night. I’m pretty sure all the cool kids were doing it.) I can remember very clearly, and I know she can too, that when she was about six (give or take) she slept over with me, under my bed, and slept with her arms in a strangle hold around my neck and her legs in a strangle hold around my waist. She did not let up as the night progressed. On the contrary, she was like human Devil’s Snare, where, if I tried to wriggle my way free she would only tighten her grip on me. So I accepted my fate of discomfort; I loved her too much to be upset by one night of very little sleep, but eventually I did fall asleep. Only to be awoken in the middle of the night by Lacee Nicole singing her ABC’s at the top of her tiny little voice. My memory is a little foggy here, as I can’t remember if she was awake or asleep at the time; but she was off pitch and loud and absolutely, irresistibly adorable.
I wonder now if she slept in the Devil’s Snare position because we had watched Nightmare on Elm Street, but I can’t remember if that was before or after the night of ABC’s. I do remember she was at our house quite often. Our family was still pretty close at the time, and not as big and spread out as it is now. One time we played hide and seek. I know it was me and Lacee, but can’t remember if it was my step sisters Jenna and Shana who were with us, or if it was the neighbor kids from across the street, Mike and MacKenzie, but I do remember zipping Lacee up in a suitcase in our unfinished basement. Man, ain’t no one was finding my sweetie pie. Time passed, everyone had been found but her, and the more I think about it the more i think it was Jenna and Shana with us. Jenna hated being “it.” Boy did she. So naturally I was an asshole about it and loved that I’d hidden Lacee so well. I said out loud “don’t come out Lace, just keep still” or something to that effect; only to hear her small voice cry out in a loud whisper, “ok.” So yeah, game was over at that point, which was probably for the best because I think Jenna was good and pissed by then, and, looking back as an adult, I think it was a damn good thing I hadn’t smothered Lacee to death zipping her up like that. I’m pretty sure I left a little airway though; but that might just be wishful remembering.
When we were both a bit older, Lacee and her mom moved to San Diego, and I got married and moved to San Clemente. It was awesome because I still got to see so much of her. She would still come and sleep over, only now she was older and required actual food, which, as anyone who knows me can attest to, was not my thing. But I didn’t care. I was 20 and cool because I was a grown up with a car and money (these were my thoughts) so we went to McDonalds and got buckets -literally, buckets – of French fries. Then it was a stop at Luckys, our local grocer for Oreos. Now that is a meal of champions. Olympians and shit people.
I remember all of this with fondness. It was with Lacee, as well as with my Baby Daddy and friend, Brandon, that I discovered and fell in love with California. For years after I moved back to Utah, I thought I would go back. That doesn’t seem likely now, but I guess you can never say never. I did once and got my ass burned pretty good.
I like to think that Lacee remembers this with fondness too, and that, perhaps, she and I have contributed to each other’s grown up lives in some fundamental and slightly fucked up way. We discussed today that it is perhaps she whom I may blame for my anxiety; after spending those nights in complete silence, waiting for sleep until the baby orangutan attached to me would start wailing the ABC’s. Talk about anticip—–ation*. And I, in my little way have perhaps helped form a little of the way she has in the kitchen, which is apparently not much of a way at all, at least compared to the culinary prowess of the rest of our family. Sorry about that Lacee Nicole. But fries and Oreos and goulash are all pretty badass, right? Also, and we didn’t discuss this, but if you’re closterphobic, I can’t imagine it would be because I zipped you up in a suitcase as a five year old. No way. Right?
Eventually Lacee got older and my aunt Jill had her babies, Cody and Weston, both of whom I babysat. Those are tales I will get into another day but what I remember most about babysitting those little boys was how, one night when Jill and my uncle Brad came home from wherever it was they had gone and it was time to go home, uncle Brad gave me a single red rose along with my babysitting cash. To this day I remember that as one of the most thoughtful things anyone has ever done for me. Such a simple gesture. And if he were still alive, I’m not sure he would even remember it; but I will never forget it. It’s just one more memory firmly planted way deep down, one more way the grown ups of my childhood shaped who I am and the kind of person I’ve become. How lucky is that? Pretty lucky. All the bad that has happened to me in my life can’t touch all the good these people have brought me.
More later. They’re pretty fabulous, my family. I’ll tell you enough to just make you jealous and then be all “haha they’re mine, bitches! Now go find your own orangutan!”
Ps. I realize there was a lot of beer and laughter when I was growing up. I swear they’re not a bunch of drunks. And if any of them are, I’m quite sure they are very distinguished drunks, thank you very much.
PPs* if you didn’t catch the anticip—–ation thing, then you apparently ought to watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show before tuning into this blog again. Honestly I’m not even sure I want you as a reader now.
Ppps. If you don’t know what Devil’s Snare is you are obviously not a big enough nerd to be in my club. Harry Potter people. Read it. This won’t be the last time I reference that bit of genius.
Pppps. Brad if you’re reading this from Heaven, thanks again for the rose.