April 23, 2009

not quite a nuclear disaster

Several events mark 1986 as an important year in history:
Challenger Explosion
Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster
Iran Contra Scandal (Who can forget Oliver North?)
Haley’s Comet
Hands Across America
Statue of Liberty's 100th Anniversary

Somewhere in the midst of that, another event occurred. Lasting 32 hours, this event was so monumental I will never forget where I was when it happened. I will never forget how I felt, who was with me, nor my feelings before, during and after.

Several months prior to this monumental event, my husband and I left the “Lower 48” and moved 4,200 miles away to Anchorage, Alaska where he would serve his tour of duty at Fort Richardson. We had a going-away party with our families, and as we were leaving my mother screamed out these final parting words . . . “Don’t you go and get pregnant!”

I didn’t MEAN to. Really. But “the pill” and I were not good friends. Frankly, she made me sick. And cranky. And, well, after a few months, I gave up trying to make our relationship work.

Enter military work hours: Month gone. Weekend home. Month gone again.

If the FBI were to interrogate me under bright lights with toothpicks holding my eyes open and ask, “What happened on the night of November 9, 1985?” Well, duh. That’s a no-brainer. Remember? Month gone. Weekend home. Month gone again.

Barely 22 and a baby on the way.

Having two “doula births” in May and talking with the moms always brings up those first-time pregnancy memories for me. Those months of walking every day, no caffeine, prenatal vitamins, swollen ankles, childbirth books, unending questions, and dreading the unknown.

So, in the late summer of 1986, I gave birth to my baby girl, after 32 hours of difficult back labor. To this day, my daughter still claims, “the harder the birth, the better the kid.” Not sure I can agree with her on that completely, but I’m sure glad (for once) I didn’t heed my mother’s instructions.

April 17, 2009

i choose to think of it as a genius flaw

Okay, I have this “quirk” in my brain. I have a hard time “seeing” certain things . . . like how to use a sewing pattern, or how to correctly miter corners, (trust me, the inability to properly miter corners becomes an issue at least once a decade), or these horrendous IQ test problems:

Which solid could you make by folding the pattern on the dotted lines?

Uh . . . E. a Chinese take-out box?

Apparently I have “mental rotation” and “spatial relation” issues. I choose to think of it as another “genius flaw”, much like wearing my shirt inside-out all day long. Only much more frustrating. Much, much more.

When Kevin was in-utero, I was sewing this snuggly-thing for him. Basically it was a fleece wrap with feet, wings and . . . a hood. I TRIED to follow the pattern. Really, I did. But after sewing the hood on backwards at least 3 times, I gave up. Then at 35 weeks pregnant, I had to put myself on bedrest. (The frustration with the snuggly and the bedrest are supposedly unrelated . . . I have my doubts.)

Anyway, after a week on bedrest, my nesting instinct got the best of me and I just HAD to vacuum the house and FINISH that stupid snuggly which had been spread out on my kitchen table the entire time. Vacuuming, I am happy to say, went just fine. Sewing however, did not. After multiple times of attaching the hood in various incorrect ways, I yelped a scream of attack, much, I imagine, like a Pygmy warrior battle cry, and threw a spool of thread against the wall. (This is, VERY UN-ME-like.) My husband came in to console me and then asked, “You want me to finish it for you?”

Finish it FOR me?!?!?! NO! This is a matter of principle! A matter of pride! A matter of doggone-it-I’m-an-intelligent-human-being-and-I-am-capable-of-sewing-a-stupid-hood-on-a-baby-snuggly!!! Besides, he had never even used a sewing machine before. So . . . I said “SURE!” knowing he would mess it up and see how hard it was!

He sat down to the Singer, put his foot to the pedal, and zapped that sucker right on the first time. Took him all of 45 seconds.

It’s hard to be grateful and furious at the same time.

Labor started a couple of hours later, so grateful won out.

April 14, 2009

vehicular homicide and carnapping

I am not a car person. By that, I mean I don't know anything about them. Don't care to. Don't notice what other people drive. Don't care what I drive as long as it doesn't embarrass me . . . and has a/c and a cd player. :o)

Kevie-poo has been driving for some 10 weeks now. He does not like driving. Neither does my daughter. I don't get it. I really like driving. I love road trips. I want to be the one behind the wheel. The cowboy says it's because I'm a control freak. I think it's because my brain is so used to multi-tasking I don't know what to do with myself when I am in passenger-mode. Anyway . . . I credit Kevin's lack of enthusiasm for driving to two factors: 1) He is driving my green Taurus, not exactly the coolest car on the block, and 2) I don't allow him to listen to music during this training phase. And since Kevin is all about the tunes, he would rather I drive so he can jam.

All this blogging about cool cars reminds me of my first car: A red 'vette. Seriously. Was given to me when I was 19. (Hey, didn't Prince sing a song about that?)

She was pretty.
Gray interior.
Keyless ignition.
Dull paint job.
Used more oil than gas.
Cool hatchback.

Oh, did you think "CORvette"? I meant "CHEvette". The best thing about it was if you pedalled really hard, you could hit 55 going downhill, just like the Flintstones! And the keyless ignition just meant it was so worn out that you could start it just by turning the ignition-thingy. Which, being a college student, was kinda handy because I didn't have to carry around my keys with me.

However, once my guy friends at the student center discovered this quirky little issue about my 'vette I started "losing" my car. Or rather, they started "stealing" my car and hiding it in various places around campus. So, I would leave class on a rainy day, run to the parking lot to jump in my car only to find . . . no car. Well, lots of cars, actually . . . just not mine! So, there I would stand in the middle of campus, looking very Sissy-Spacek-in-Carrie-like (just soaked in rain, not pig's blood), pitifully wondering which direction to go to start looking for my lost little vehicle.

Nothing quite like practical jokes and good friends.

April 10, 2009

stories collide

Story #1
A few months ago my daughter was coming home for the first time since her wedding. We were doing quite a bit of texting about where we were going to eat out and what dvd’s were going to “make the cut” for our weekend viewing. We really only had time for 2 or 3 plus a couple of Gilmore Girls episodes thrown in for good measure.

Now, to fully appreciate the relationship my daughter and I have, you have to understand that we are two very independent women connected by one brain, one heart, an appreciation for support bras, and a list of 325 movies. Movie watching is like breathing, and to be honest, movie heckling is part of the fun as well. Most people would HATE watching movies with the two of us. (We do, however, realize this and do our best to be on “good behavior” when watching movies with others or in the theater!)

Story #2
A friend’s daughter was getting married the same weekend Kacey was planning to come home. Though this young lady and her boyfriend had been together for some time, the wedding was a quick decision. I had told my friend I would like to speak to her daughter about her decision to get married, as there was a concern I had and wanted to be certain she was taking this step for all the right reasons.

My friend encouraged me to speak with her daughter about her marriage plans.

Stories #1 and #2 collide:
So Kacey’s list of potential weekend movies arrived to my cell phone, minus her very favorite, “Love Actually”. (Hey, any movie that combines Hugh Grant and Liam Neeson deserves frequent viewing.)

I texted: love actually is not there (knowing my daughter would understand that her favorite movie was not included on the list.)

My friend received: love actually is not there and rightfully concluded that I thought her daugher did not love the man she was planning to marry! My friend quickly responded to assure me they were confident their daughter was, indeed, in love.

I quickly scrolled through my “sent” texts. After gasping, and then laughing, at my missent text, I immediately dialed her number and explained to her that “ ‘Love Actually’ is not there” was a text intended for my daughter about her movie choices and NOT about HER daughter’s marriage choices!

Oh, I love my cell phone. And Hugh Grant. But that's another blog.

April 02, 2009

saddles, cell phones and the futility of ironing

Yesterday the cowboy totalled his truck and horse-trailer in northern Florida. He is okay, except that he has a mini-van rental to bring home saddles, luggage and such in. He called to complain that "cowboys" don't drive mini-vans. He is really going to miss his pretty black pickup. Of course we just got it paid off last month . . . isn't that just the way it goes!?

Several people asked if he was going to continue on to Ocala to compete this weekend. My only response to that is, "Do you KNOW my husband????" Of course he is going on to compete. He is staying in a motel instead of the trailer, and he is having to eat out every meal since all of his groceries, plus the fridge and microwave were destroyed in the rollover. So . . . this is going to turn out to be a much more expensive trip than he planned.

I bought the very un-techy cowboy a Go Phone before he left so he would have a way to keep me updated about the competition. I don't want to say he complained about my purchasing the phone, but he made it known that it was NOT his idea to get the cell phone. He called me SEVEN times yesterday. Not to mention all the calls he made to the insurance company, the car rental agency, the Mustang Makeover coordinators, etc. I think, in retrospect, he might actually appreciate the phone. :o)

Okay, so here's the real kicker in this whole process. Before he left I washed and IRONED his competition shirts. Yes, I said IRONED. There are two of them, and they are white with embroidered insignia all over them. Oh, and did I mention they are COTTON? And that I IRONED them? You have to understand, I don't iron. Ever. That's why God created Downy Wrinkle Release Spray and the "fluff" setting on the dryer. When I bought an iron for Kacey before she went to college, she had to ask me what it was. Oh, the sarcasm. So, anyway . . . those beautiful, crisp, white, wrinkle-free cotton shirts ended up crumpled under shards of broken glass and busted cans of food, thus reinforcing the futility of ironing in the first place.

So . . . it's competition time. "Break a leg"! No, let me rephrase that. "Knock 'em dead!" No, you almost did that too . . . well, anyway, good luck with the horse show. Though I am sure there are infinitely better things to do in Ocala.