Monday, February 18, 2013

Things Are Going Just As I Always Pictured Them

I think it's terrific how, as teenagers, we were encouraged to think we were the architects of our future.  That's right, little Christina (I knew about ninety Christinas in my era), just work hard and dream big, and you can write your own ticket!  The world is your oyster - well, yours and your husband Mike's (also ninety Michaels, they all seemed to be named Michael).    Whatever you want to be, you can be!  See the world!  Have the career of your dreams!  The sky is the limit!  It was all about jobs and fulfilling ambitions and that Thoreauvian Suck-The-Marrow-Out-Of-Life crap they made into a movie.

I admit, I bought into it.  I saw that movie more than once.  I even bought the movie.  For inspiration.  And to share with my own kids once they became teenagers.  Oh wait, kids?  I don't recall anyone mentioning kids during all of that dreamy brainwashing.  Motherosity?  Nope, didn't come up.  Not once.  Why would it?  We were supposed to be circling the globe, conquering new worlds, marvelling at how beautiful we all were.  Kids were what our parents had, those old farts.  We were better than that.

 So obviously, given all that fastidious planning and drive early on in life, I've just had yet another stellar weekend.  First, I spent a very restful Friday night sitting on the bleachers at Boondocks High, spectating for a middle school cheer competition.  There were a lot of kids there.  Not sure where they all came from.  On all sides of me were seated my fellow beautiful world conquerors, dressed in various sports jerseys and sucking on straws stuck into 80 ounce plastic cups, cups surely filled with the marrow of life.  I wasn't sure how I got there, really, until I remembered that one of those kids down there was mine.  Her team did well and placed second.  I was proud of them, but not so noticeably as some of the female Tom Bradys seated nearby me were disappointed in the results for their own kids' teams.

Saturday morning brought more cheer.  More kids.  More parents.  More bleachers.  Seventh Grader's team took second again!  Naturally.   With all this victory in the air, you'd think it was just another day in my amazing life, and you'd be right.  Because then I did what all those of my generation do after yet another (yawn!) inevitable win: I went grocery shopping.  And then! I engaged in a battle of Actions Reap Consequences with Seventh Grader, who was grounded, despite her athletic victories, for numerous homework violations. Fighting with teenagers over completing book projects on time was totally in my master plan for the future, so you know. As was having my head chewed off by Freshman, who had been busy all weekend with volunteer activities for her own cheer team and was clearly exhausted but this did not stop her from expecting to do whatever she wanted to do on Saturday night. I said no, you can't go out, and I paid the price. The price being whatever peace and quiet I thought I had coming for the remainder of the night. All in the plan. 

Sunday Funday: Freshman fight hangover, meet birthday party for four year old nephew. Apparently, my sister has a bunch of kids too. Not in my manual for the future, either, but by this time I know that a few chapters seem to have been skipped on the syllabus. Superheroes and balloons and many, many children, plus cake. Cake was certainly in the plan all along, but not necessarily with animal superheroes on it. Then again, everyone's entitled to a few "this never happened" memories, so maybe some crazy exotic night of imbibing with the beautiful people would have resulted in superhero cake being consumed in the original architecture. But we'll never know now, will we? Because I'm so damn tired from this weekend full of kids that I missed my alarm this morning, and was almost late for my glamorous job. In an office, with a computer and a water cooler. And a Keurig. Keurigs I did not see coming.

Monday, February 11, 2013


Two feet of snow landed in these parts over the weekend.  My facebook newsfeed is littered with updates from sick-in-the-head snow lovers frolicking - with sleds and skis and frisky, adventure-seeking dogs - in the special white hell outside my window.  They find this fun, while I find myself at the absolute peak of cantankerous.  The peak!  I tell you.  It isn't pretty. 

But you know, to each his own.  If some people find being boxed inside a cold, washed out, colorless world for months on end to be the epitome of childlike joy, I guess I can't stop them from entertaining this delusionary idea.  And I don't try to, really.  I don't rain on their parade.  (Although I daresay that if I did, it might serve to wipe that snow-eating grin off their faces for a little while when they realize they have to first bite through the frozen topcrust to reach the fluffy fun underneath.)  So why, please tell me, on top of being cold and cranky and nearly colorblind from the complete lack of any tint in the atmosphere other than gray and brown and white, why must I be shamed?  Why must people try to change my mind?  Why must I look at the bright side?  Where exactly is that, anyway?  All I see is gray.  Is it bright somewhere?  I just changed the lightbulb over the washing machine, is that what they mean?  It's only a 40 watter.  Not very bright.  They're not trying to trick me into doing their laundry for them, are they? 

So I spent 72 hours cooped up at home with Husband, Freshman and Seventh Grader and truly made a valiant effort to spin it into a less than torturous experience.  Finished the book I was reading.  Cooked cheese and cream and potatoes all mixed up together and served up the resulting Pan of Comfort over many hours of nighttime board games.  Had Pan of Comfort seconds.  Had thirds.  Read the Freshman's assigned novel cover to cover, plus two newspapers.  Exerted a reasonably large amount of energy demanding that Husband devise a solution to the problem of me wanting to drive the fireplace poker into my temple rather than spend another minute fending off my claustrophobic case of cabin fever.  That was most likely the heavy doses of Pan of Comfort talking.  It turns out that eating large quantities of potatoes and cheese no longer creates an inner feeling of comfort for me.  It does create an inner feeling.  Just not that one.

Poor Husband.  He tries.  He took me for a walk.  It was outside.  I was cold.  It actually wasn't bad, to be honest.  The snow had stopped and the wind had temporarily died down, and some faint kind of yellowish glow from the sky reflected off the whiteness everywhere, rendering me blind so that I had to rely on him to keep me from meandering into the middle of the road and getting hit by a car.  It was like he was taking his pet mole out for some fresh air.  His legs are about twenty times longer than mine, so it was really more like a frantic scurry for me, enhanced with cold and blindness.  It was nice.  Then we went back home, and the madness descended upon me all over again. 

Now I'm reading The Road, which happened to be one of the few remaining unread books on my shelf and what I pulled down upon regaining my sight and needing something else to do so I wouldn't hurt anyone.  It was either read another book or eat all six of the chocolate pudding cups in the refrigerator, which I decided wouldn't feel so good on top of the lingering Pan of Comfort experience.  Did I choose well?  Considering I now find myself 100 pages into a novel about a post-apocalyptic world of gray ash and blackened trees and people wrapping plastic and ripped up coats on their feet to serve as "shoes" while they try to survive?  Um. 

Tonight will be better.  Tonight I will eat vegetables and not look out the window.  I will find something to watch on TV that features palm trees and blue skies.  I will not snarl.  I may toss The Road into the fireplace.  That will feel good, and will be warm.  It will be all right.