You guys! Dig if you will this picture: I innocently walk out of my room into the living room this morning and it’s a fucking pig sty. Ice cream wrappers all over the floor, an empty box of drumsticks (ice cream), an errant strawberry under the couch, blankets and pillows everywhere and sleeping children. In the kitchen I find more of the same plus melted chocolate ice cream all over my counter top. I go into the bathroom and there on the floor are clothes and crackers. Did I mention the toilet hadn’t been flushed? Pigs, I tell you! PIGS! Animals. Drunken wild boar with no manners. Assholes. My kids.
I fly into a rage that sends each of them scattering – of course not to help me pick up, just to get the fuck away from the crazy woman on a rampage. I somehow get the youngest two out of the house and to their day camps. I spend the next two hours cleaning up their messes, muttering to myself and wishing I could just get drunk but I can’t because I have to pick the little shits up from camp.
Cut to this afternoon where I’m doing laundry, the kids have helped me pick up and I’m trying to go through their crap they brought home from school. The doorbell rings. A nice guy man is standing at my door with a beautiful bouquet of spring flowers with little airline bottles of vodka coming out of it!!!! Topped with a fucking butterfly! PEOPLE it’s like a gift sent straight from heaven. It was sent from an angel on earth, my sweet friend, Christina.
How freaking thoughtful and awesome is that?! Just when I was about to kill them all and myself too. (kidding, but you feel me)
When I was in my 20’s what I desired most was to be someone’s wife and mother. It was the 1990’s and my 1950’s yearning wasn’t very fashionable. Young women were forging their careers in finance, marketing, and a myriad of other professions. While I went to school full-time at night and worked full-time during the day as a secretary I harbored this secret wish of becoming a housewife. Completely unglamorous and completely lacking the need for any sort of brainpower. Therefore, I had to pretend to have aspirations beyond housewife and mother.
In order to keep up the ruse of wanting to have a career I decided to get my law degree. Sure I had an interest in the law. My father was an attorney as were many, many, many of my friends (there will never be a shortage on lawyers in our country). I am a bleeding heart liberal who truly loves the law and is passionate about equality, justice and the Bill of Rights. But come on, I was never going to be William Kunstler or Alan Dershowitz. I’m a Gen Xer and lived up to that slacker reputation my generation had in our twenties. I didn’t have a strong work ethic.
In my late 20′s and early 30′s I finally graduated from college (it only took ten years), got married and earned my law degree. In those years at law school I decided I actually did want to practice law. So what if I wouldn’t be the greatest civil rights attorney of my time – I could still help people. Also, it would be nice to pay off the student loans I (Big Daddy) was facing.
I studied for and failed the bar exam twice. I took the bar review course offered at my school and another big name review course I paid through the nose for. I hired a tutor. I failed. Twice. I was in the middle of studying for my 3rd attempt when my mother suddenly passed away.
My mother and I were very close; her death was hard on me. My husband and I moved in with my father the day she had her stroke. My father had Parkinson’s and needed caretaking. It fell to us because we didn’t have kids and we could get out of our lease.
I went ahead and took the bar exam again. I don’t think I studied after my mom died, but I might have given it a half-hearted attempt. I was hoping all the studying I did for the last two exams would somehow get me over that finish line. I was wrong.
Two years went by and I had a baby. I decided I was going to go balls out and study for this fucking bar exam one more goddamned time and I was going to pass this time. I failed. Again.
Truth was I finally had my dream: a happy marriage with a wonderful guy, a beautiful, healthy baby girl and another baby on the way. Fuck the law, I’m a stay-at-home-mom, motherfuckers and I love it! I don’t need anything else.
Or so I thought.
Another homework assignment (don’t get mad, I don’t have a lot of free time for writing blog posts these days, so homework assignments it is. The good news is, class is over. Schools about to finish up for the year, so I’ll have a lot of mommy ranting to do in this space. You’ve got that to look forward to!):
Take this poem and change out some of the words for my own:
IF THEY CHOP OPEN MY BODY by Julia Alter
They’ll find an engine the size of Tavarua
They’ll find a Navy Seal, then a little girl
In a magenta pinafore saying out loud
Over and over, I’m getting tired of walking.
A road of misshapen stones, tulips
Spiring out between my ribs. They’ll find
That all along, a woman named Rita has been in there
Ding the cha-cha in a swishy black dress
And turquoise beads.
They’ll find a stop sign, a bolt of corduroy,
An olive tree, an unopened pack of Djarums,
A half-drunk bottle of Gran Marnier.
A tattoo of a giraffe on the inside of the heart, a bag
Of marbles, a silver Suburban with the keys in it,
Idling there by the vertebrae.
And I wondered why I could never meditate or fall in love.
For years I wondered what the hell was wrong.
And they are lifting from my body a sleeping child,
The jackhammer and the sickle moon.
IF THEY CHOP OPEN MY BODY
They’ll find a heart the size of Gibraltar
They’ll find a pile of hair ties, then a little girl
In cut off shorts saying out loud
Over and over, I can’t take it.
A river of martinis, olives
Spiring out between my ribs. They’ll find
That all along, a woman named Trixie has been in there
Pole-dancing in a sailor costume
And a g-string.
They’ll find a no-trespassing sign, a stack of books,
A list of movies not yet watched, an empty bottle of Grey Goose,
An unopened box of couscous.
A tattoo that reads “love me” on the outside of the spleen, a box
Of river rocks, a red Ferrari with the keys in it,
Idling there by the liver.
And I wondered why I could never be patient or selfless.
For years I wondered why I was broken.
And they are lifting from my body a 100-pound weight,
A bag of cement and a thundercloud.
I am taking a memoir writing course at Hugo House with Claire Dederer. I cannot say enough great things about Claire. She is a great instructor and her class has been so inspiring and educational. (If you have not read her book,” Poser: My Life in 23 Yoga Poses” you really must!)
One of our recent assignments was to write a character description about one of the people we will be writing about in our memoirs. This is mine.
Tall, dark hair, green eyes, pale skin, full lips, straight teeth, legs too short for his body. If he’s not careful to wear pants with just the right fit he looks like Dorf. He only wears jeans and t-shirts. Gamer t-shirts, band t-shirts, Dr. Who t-shirts – that sort of think. But he is not a hipster. He does not wear them ironically. He wears them with all seriousness. He has 4 tattoos; one is a Sailor Jerry type with a swallow holding a banner, there are hearts and stars and his children’s names. The three tattoos on his other forearm are all Dungeon’s & Dragon’s related.
When he speaks he sounds a little bit like he has a hard candy between his cheek and gums. He’s a man of few words and is quiet unless he knows you well. He will make the effort to get to know new people and to make conversation. If he doesn’t like you, he won’t fake it. He’s been known to be the life of the party with his hilariously inappropriate remarks and antics. He’s the sort of person who will drop trou in your backyard to pee. He’ll also tell your wife he’d like to bend her over his pinball machine. He delivers these lines in such a way that no one is offended, they just laugh.
He’s funny but he thinks he’s much funnier than he actually is – at times he’s unable to properly finish a funny story or get to the punch line because he’s already cracked himself up. This, of course, ruins the joke for those listening, but he’s oblivious and only hurt by his audience’s lack of laughter. His ease with jokes is as endearing as it is unnerving. He will come up with the perfect one-liner to make you smile just when you are feeling your crummiest. But he will also appear to make light of something significantly melancholy to you and your knee jerk reaction will be to kick him in the balls. You will wonder at how can he find humor in something so serious and sad. But he’s honestly trying to make you feel better. In that way, he’s like a child.
He is steadfast and loyal and can always be counted on. Well, 9 times out of 10. He is human after all. He has an exemplary work ethic and takes great pride in a job well done. His family and their well being come first. Almost everything he does, he does with them in mind. I don’t think he realized the depth of love and responsibility he would feel for his wife and children. He can’t fathom anything happening to any of them. God help you if you try to fuck with any one of them. He loves spending time with his 3 daughters and has since the first one was a newborn. He doesn’t mind doing things alone with them and has taught them all how to play video games, old school DND and how to use a computer. His daughters are pretty kickass and that’s partly because he doesn’t treat them any differently than if they were boys.
He loves writing tabletop role playing games and playing them. He plays the ukulele, listens to punk rock and Daniel Johnston. He hates anything pop music or top 40 but took his wife to see Rod Stewart for her birthday because that’s how much he loves her. Fourth row seats no less. He’s a computer geek and loves to play video games. His cocktail is a scotch neat but he’ll drink watered down beer beginning at 10am if he’s got home projects to do. Watered down so as not too get drunk before the project is completed.
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