No one ever tells you before you have kids what a great source of entertainment they’ll be. They focus on the really terrifying and awful stuff and never really spend time detailing the amount of full blown belly laughs you’ll have, compliments of your children, and how truly hysterical the innocence of childhood is. Well, this is when they’re not being assholes.
Sawyer’s favorite teacher is a gal named Miss Lauryn. I am guessing she is the favorite by the way he responds to her, loves being around her, and talks about her after school. That’s the thing with Sawyer. There are only three people he wants to talk about outside of his brother Sultan, and those people are his male best friend Garrison, his three year old girlfriend Addison and Miss Lauryn. Every day it’s the same.
How was school, Sawyer? Did you have fun today?
Garrison, Addison, Lauryn! Garrison, Addison, Lauryn! We play. Toys. Noodles. Trucks.
You saw Garrison, Addison and Lauryn? Wow. Great!
And then he ignores me and stares out the window silently until he decides he doesn’t like which way I’m taking home and then instructs me, NO MOMMY, NO NO NO! THAT WAY! and the ridiculous part about it is that he fucking knows how to get home and he actually has an opinion about which way he prefers. I apparently had no idea what two years old was.
One thing Sawyer HAS NOT mastered yet in life, though, is anything having to do with race, ethnicity or culture. It was ok until now, but now all he does is talk, and so I asked Miss Lauryn the other day,
Hey, when do you think we can start some sort of race relations lesson going in the classroom?
She looked at me like what happened now and laughed and said, Well, they are reading books about slavery down the hall. What happened now?
We probably don’t need to talk about slavery quite yet, but I continued with my story to make a point.
So you know how I told you a few weeks ago that he thinks every black women around the world is Miss Lauryn?
This is a true story. Everywhere we go, doesn’t matter the country or city, if there is a black women in eye sight, Sawyer starts pointing, then shouting, then shrieking, MISS LAURYN! HELLLOOOOO! MISS LAURYN! MISS LAURYN! And if we’re close to this poor, unsuspecting person, he actually tries to break free to go run and see “Miss Lauryn” which results in my dragging him away by the arm giving some sort of life lesson sit down like,
No, Soy, remember we said not everyone that looks like Miss Lauryn IS Miss Lauryn, remember?
And no, he doesn’t quite understand and so every black woman remains Miss Lauryn, which is actually probably flattering. Or not. It’s probably the start of terrible racism later in life. I don’t know but somehow I feel like I’m failing at this shit. I continue with my story.
“So we have a new twist to the story. So I’m pulling up to daycare and I have both boys alone so I have Sawyer waiting on the sidewalk while I try to get Sully out of his side and all of a sudden I hear Sawyer shouting,
“LAURYN’S DADDY! LAURYN’S DADDY! HIIIIIII. LAURYN’S DADDY!”
and I look up and am horrified because we all know I’ve never met the daycare worker’s Daddy and it’s actually some guy I work with in my office, and he’s trying to get his daughter out of the car and take her to school. So now I’m like JESUS STOP WITH THE YOU CAN’T TELL THEM APART SHIT SAWYER because seriously, he can’t really be that white kid that is running around acting like this and I have no idea what to do and so I walk really fast over to Soy and grab his hand and wave to the guy and smile, knowing he probably wasn’t listening anyway, and said,
“Soy, we’ve never met Lauryn’s Daddy. That’s that little girl’s Daddy.” And then it occurred to me that he meant Daddy as in like, he’s my Daddy, in the he gives it to me, sense, not that Sawyer would think of it that way because that’s perverted, but I suppose I refer to HIS Daddy like, hey Daddy, want to come watch TV or hey Daddy, can you grab me a drink, instead of Hey Chris, so then I’m like OHMYGOD he thinks that man is Lauryn’s boyfriend and he has chosen Daddy to be the way he refers to boyfriends or husbands which is an issue itself and fuck, I have no idea how I’m going to fix all this.
I finish the story to Lauryn with, “So I think he thinks now every black man is your husband. I’m just guessing.” She shakes her head, says GOOD LORD, and picks him up and takes him to the breakfast table. He waves. At least he’s cute.
So because not much else is going on in my life this week, I tell my friends, who find this funny. I tell Chris, who is horrified and tells me to stop telling people this stupid shit because we don’t need people thinking we are raising a racist child. Anyway, I obviously ignored him because I continued telling the story for the whole week.
Yesterday, the guy Sawyer mistook to be the lover of his favorite teacher happened to be at his desk when I walked by and so I stopped and said to him, and no, I don’t know his real name so I just kind of jumped in with the details and kept talking.
“Hey. So you know how we drop off our kids around the same time at daycare?” He just looks at me and says yea and like, why are you talking to me for the first time in a year for no reason? I just carry on.
“Well, here’s a somewhat inappropriate but kind of funny story for you.”
The six guys that sit behind him, who love a good story, perk up, stop typing and push their chairs back away from their desk.
“So the other day? Did you hear my son shouting at you? You know which one he is, right? Sawyer, the blonde one?”
“No, I didn’t hear him but I know who he is.” His daughter is in Sawyer’s class so I was hoping this story would be received well.
“Well, so, Sawyer may or may not think all black women in the world are Miss Lauryn.” All of the guys looked at me with big eyes and humored.
“I mean, he’s not racist or anything, he’s only two, but apparently he thinks every black women is Lauryn from school and whenever he sees someone, he yells and waves and causes a goddamned scene and the worst part is that when they don’t respond, he is actually fucking defeated and I can’t really fix that because I have to spend a few minutes talking to him about how that woman is actually nothing like Miss Lauryn but he’s more upset that she didn’t say hi back and so the whole thing is sad and weird and awkward. “ I pause to take a breathe and the guys are laughing, including the one I’m about to get to in my story personally, so I’m assuming everyone agrees that this is a nice afternoon story to tell.
“So back to you. So the other day, when he was yelling at you, he was shouting LAURYN’S DADDY! LAURYN’S DADDY! LAURYN’S DADDY! and I was horrified like OHMYGODSTOP because now apparently all black men are dating Lauryn because I think he means it like Baby Daddy, not like Father Daddy, I mean, I’m just guessing because sometimes I call his father Daddy instead of Chris and his grandfather is Poppy or Papa so if he thought you were her actual Daddy, he would have shouted Papa so the point of this is really that you, because black, are now Lauryn’s boyfriend and so if this continues, let’s just ignore it and have a good laugh and I’m sorry.”
He laughed and the rest of the office laughed and then I had a good laugh and was like phew, good. We’re all laughing at the tiny racist. I start to walk away and the guy stops me.
“Hey Heather.” I stopped.
“Yeah?” I turned back.
“My daughter is Lauren.” I looked annoyed and like, har har, shut up and when he kept staring at me with raised eyebrows like ? and then I was confused and just shrugged my shoulders.
“Lauren, my daughter? The one in Sawyer’s class? Her name is Lauren. I AM Lauren’s Daddy.”
And so again, the moral of this story is that I am the fucking idiot.
My kids. I survived another week with children who behave just like me. This week, though, was a fucking train wreck.
First of all, I blame home. It all started with one kid sick, who got another kid sick, who got a third kid sick. They all got me sick and between that and jet lag, fuck trips across the pond. That shit is not happening again until 2017. Yes, that means the double baptism is cancelled, let’s all keep our fingers crossed that my kids don’t go to hell.
Now. They’re back, they still don’t sleep and Sawyer has been a gem all week. In fairness, he was outrageously sick. In my head at the end of a 9 hour day being bossed around by him, he’s a been a needy dick with a super attitude problem and control issues. Like he can’t fucking control himself to not launch a glass of nicely poured juice on my lap while he looks me in the eye, or to behave like a sane person when I tell him no shoes on the bed, under my covers, on my side, and instead decides to use stomach to practice kicking on, all while screaming for his father. Begging for his father like I’ve done something other than take off that stupid pair of sneakers that he insists on wearing 24 hours a day.
Oh, your father can come home and take you to a place where I can’t hear your ungrateful cries, you, child who painted my couch with yogurt and then ran and hid when I asked you if you thought it was funny. Hid and laughed extra loud, which made me want to sit in a corner and try acid.
The day he vomited on himself like an adult three times, I felt terrible for him, even though he refused to be picked up and wanted to sit in the awful smelling pile of sour milk smelling bile. I didn’t even get mad at him when he stopped sobbing long enough to shout, Go Mommy Go!, something he usually shouts while I vacuum in a condescending tone, but this time while I dry heaved on my rug at the smell of the insides of his foul stomach. I forgave him, though, and we both got naked and sat in the tub, playing with his ducks until he poked my nipple, smiled and said, nice boobie, Mommy. I was proud, then slightly uncomfortable and then decided maybe only naked bath time with Daddy from here on out.
The worst of the days, though, was the second day I was stuck home with the sick kids, when both were home, because the tiny one can crawl now and he is also usually hangry and while tending to the big sicko, #2 spent most of his time trying to eat something that would cause him to choke to death. Seriously, I went to the bathroom for 4 seconds, half peeing down my leg in an attempt to pull my pants up so fast, and STILL came out to hear him choking. Jamming my finger and sweeping his throat I pulled out a banana sticker. No idea when the last time I bought bananas, but sure as fuck, a sticker found its way in the choke zone of Big Red.
That’s it, I sighed, everyone is getting a diaper change and then Elmo is babysitting for the rest of the day. I put Sully on the couch and asked Saywer to kindly hand me the wipes as he stood next to me. I could smell a poo and upon opening the diaper, I saw what resembled bouncy balls and deer pellets of assorted sizes and colors. Real food was making this child shit like a man. I turned my head to find his new outfit, then back to Sully, who has a passion for grabbing himself aggressively each diaper change. “Sully, PLEASE stop yanking your walnut like that.” He giggled as I removed his super strong fingers from his walnut. I was considering how much earlier Sully took an interest in his bits than his brother when i heard Sawyer shriek, “I got it. I got it. I got the egg.”
“You already ate. We are not having eggs,” I stated firmly. Sawyer loves eggs like I love ice. It’s a sickness and I hate eggs. I will not make eggs.
“Here, mommy. Sultan’s egg.” He calls Sully that, and it is sometimes cute and sometimes annoying. I looked at him. “Sully does not…”
He had shit in his hand. He had a medium sized ball of shit in his hand proudly and I could tell he was one second away from squeezing it out of excitement.
“Oh! Nice,” the fucking fake games we play. “Give mommy the egg!” I was smiling so big my fucking face was going to break and I stuck out my hand flatly to receive the egg.
It’s our fault he thinks to call it an egg. From a year on, we’d change his diaper proudly and squeal, who laid a dinosaur egg? And now I was fucking paying for it.
I wanted to toss him out on the porch and hose him down with hospital grade bleach. Instead, I used an entire bottle of baby wash on his upper body, washed all the laundry in the living room, put them down for bed and ate an entire pint of pistachio B&Js because I am a grown ass woman who emotionally eats in sweatpants and doesn’t feel an ounce guilty about it.
And today? Today, tonight actually, the bloodshot eye that the doctor told me is due to dehydration two days ago looks suspiciously like that anthrax pink eye and I swear to God if his eye is crusted over tomorrow morning, we are bleaching him, the house, lighting the place on fire and starting over by living in a tent.
Otherwise, though, it was a pretty standard week.
I’ve taken a few weeks off from writing for a few reasons and I thought I shouldn’t share, was advised I shouldn’t share why, but then I thought again and have decided, FUCK IT. There is no censorship on this page. There is no censorship in my life and there is certainly no censorship in my writing. And so, I’m going to give a recap with a little side of NO FUCKS TO GIVE and we’ll pick up from there.
I’m going to keep the details brief.
First, I started supporting a refugee replacement effort in Germany in November, in my town, because I think it’s an important time in the history of the world, in the place I raise my children in, and I want to be part of the solution and not the problem. That is the bottom line.
The way I chose to do this is to volunteer myself as the American liaison to my village, offering to provide them with clothing, shoes, school supplies, toiletry items, money for community outreach support and other assorted items that come up as these 150 people assimilate into our tiny part of Germany.
The way I chose to support this was through FB and email groups, reaching as many people as my big mouth could reach, and hope for the best, and really, I received the best support and the most humbling amount of love, donations, support offers and kind notes and new friendships.
Unfortunately, what I also received was a whole lot of fear and hate fueled bullshit. I received emails, texts, phone calls and FB messages, some private and some not so private that declared me a bitch, a cunt, a terrorist sympathizer, a threat to American society, an uneducated housewife, a bored liberal and a downright terrible human being.
I’ve already called myself most of those things so again, very little fucks to give on that.
However, some of the messages and interactions did end up becoming more than I wanted, some threatening, some naming they knew where my house was, some mentioning I should be careful what I do in the future, and you know, I can stand for a lot of things in life, but I won’t stand for being bullied.
It got to the point where a fun individual decided to try to inform my community here about the last 7 years of my public writings, choosing only to show selective screenshots that were less than desirable upon first look, those that pegged me as someone who hated Germans, children, old people, and pretty much everyone with two legs. There were screenshots of things I said: I hate Germans, I hate Germany, I hate children, old people are awful, blabbity fucking blah. And these were posted on as many community FB sites as I could count. I sat one day and watched my name get smeared all across this charming little high school world we live in over here and I have to say, it threw me for a fucking loop.
I said those things, while out of context, but I said them in a public forum. And during that time frame, there were chat groups of grown ass adults, most that I know, that were commenting on them, judging openly about who I was as a person (God! Can you believe this bitch is the same person claiming to want to help people!), and it was humiliating and humbling and infuriating.
I wanted to crawl in a hole and never come out and I wanted to flip a table, light something on fire and punch 23 people in the throat. But instead, I remained silent, which I promise you, was the test of all tests in my life.
And I went off FB for four days. (ohmygod FOUR DAYS!) And I put my blog on private. And I didn’t talk to anyone about anything for a bit. And I got a bit depressed.
But then, after the fog cleared, I snapped back into my reality, and so here’s what I’m going to say about my sabbatical, what I think about people who intimidate others, and what I think about people who judge me without knowing me.
Fuck it. Fuck it and fuck them. And I’m perfectly happy if that’s not received well. I write a satirical blog. I live my life with the hope that I can change people by making them laugh or cry or just making them feel something. I do not care who agrees with me. I do not care who dislikes me. I do not care who I offend, because LOOK. I offend everyone, all the time. It’s my thing. I don’t mean to always, but I do. And to be honest, I’m an equal opportunist. I’m not after Germans, I’m after EVERYONE. So if you don’t like it, don’t act fucking stupid. Don’t highlight yourself in a way that makes it easy for me to mock you and give everyone a good laugh.
As a writer, I assure you, there can be a difference in someone being an entertainer and also being a good person. I’m not even going to defend this notion, but I will defend the fact that I’m not a racist or elitist. I’m human and I make observations, funny ones at that. I’m not here to write publications on human nature. I’m here to entertain and I’m here now, in my village, to support people that no one else cares about. I’m here to give people hope and give children clothing and to give those unaccompanied men that everyone treats as predators footballs, so they have something to do in their spare time. This is a revolution, the world accepting refugees of displaced people who have walked and crossed oceans of hundreds of miles to escape realities that none of us reading this blog will ever, EVER, have to realize yourself.
But back to the hate. Back to the issues I’ve faced. Most importantly to me lately, I want to be clear after the shit I’ve experienced in the past two weeks. In approaching me from here on out, this is a disclaimer: DON’T YOU DARE, ANYONE, try to intimidate me, scare me, or deter me from living my life the way I want to. I will not be bullied. I will not let people I care about be bullied. I will not apologize for my opinions and I will not waste my time or the time of my friends forming defenses to a public that lately is nothing but judgmental, hateful and downright against any humanist movement I’ve ever witnessed.
I’m ashamed to have to tell you the ways people have treated me in the past three months because I am attempting to help people we have been taught to hate. Look. I’m a grown adult with a degree and a career background in diplomacy and engagements. I do not need permission to feel empathy and kindness and love towards strangers. I do not choose to pick fear and hate as my first reaction to a people different from that of my family. I am well aware of the risks. I am playing by the rules. I am serving merely as a POC that is trying to bring a broken community together to do better for each other, for the lives of new friends, for the lives of existing people here. And while doing that, there are a few things I won’t stand for.
I won’t stand for the stirring of fear and hate and propaganda against people who don’t deserve it. White, brown, German, European, American, Persian, or otherwise.
I won’t stand for excuses. I don’t want to hear why you hate these people you’ve never actually met. I don’t want to hear why you CANNOT help. I don’t want to hear why you’re not allowed. Kindness is a gift that is found within everyone. You literally do not have to ask permission from ANYONE to utilize it.
I won’t, I WILL NOT, stand for bullying. Bring your best game, and I assure you, posting my address, my name, my anything, it will not stop me from practicing in my life what I believe is right. It will not make me quieter. It will not make me ask for less of my community. It will not weaken my efforts. If nothing else, it will fuel me to accomplish when I have set out to do in less time, in a fashion I could have never imagined from the very beginning. Do not challenge me. I promise you, you will lose.
And do not EVER, EVER, EVER FUCKING EVER, think you will get an apology from me.
This is my life.
This is my blog.
These are my causes.
This is my new, small but supportive and very powerful, little community. And we are doing great things. And no one, not one small minded, hateful, prejudiced, testosterone driven asshole, will get in my way.
And so yeah, I’m fucking back. Take a screenshot, blast me in public, talk all the shit you want or just send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). I’ve got little fucks to give but I have a whole lot of opinions waiting.
Sabbatical IS OVER.
Today my friend Erika, a fiesty, mouthy Puerto Rican, comes down to my office to grace me with her presence and to ask me about an email. Halfway through our conversation, I notice that she has tattoos on her arm, some of those Asian characters next to a cherry blossom. I ask her what they stand for and get the standard, courage, strength, happiness, response everyone gives and just to fuck with her I say, Do your people get offended that you have Asian markings on your arm? And no, I didn’t know they were Chinese because I’m not a fucking linguist and I have no idea how to differentiate when it comes to hieroglyphics of the Asian nature.
So she says no and smirks and follows with, I have a Spanish tattoo on my back, as though having one tattoo in her native tongue gave her permission to have another in someone else’s language.
Obviously I’m going to get up and look at it because I also have a Spanish tattoo so I pull down her shirt and she has this large spiral of words in Spanish and blabbity blah I have no idea what it means because I used Google translate the last two years of my college Spanish to do my homework but it looked pretty. What looked even prettier was the tattoo she had on her shoulder for her kids and so I told her so and then listened as she went on and on about her guy in Orlando who is a tattoo magician and he’s a miracle worker and he can create, draw freehand and fix any tattoo in the world.
“I need to go to Orlando then, to see your guy. I have this tattoo I need made into something else because I hate it.” The tattoo on my lower back, my third one, was the result of a long night of gin drinking.
She asks what it is.
“Well, first, I have a tramp stamp I got when I was 18 when I was in Panama City beach.” She makes a face like I was probably being a drunk slut and I’m not going to bother arguing that because you just can’t when you have a tramp stamp, can you?
“No, the tramp stamp isn’t my issue. That’s only about an inch long and is of a Libra symbol. I don’t care about that tat. It’s the one I got in Amsterdam when I was hammered that is stupid.” I need to stop getting tattoos when I’m drunk.
“You’re not supposed to get a tattoo when you’re drunk,” she offers, like me getting a terrible tattoo was life’s way of punishing me for breaking the sobriety rule about tattoos. I ignored her.
“Ok, so anyway, I was drunk and I told the guy I wanted to tattoo this word on the inside of my arm but then Chris said I can’t go walking around with a tattoo on my forearm because of my job and also because I’m basically not bad ass enough which is just bullshit. But, to avoid long term marital issues, I said FINE, but I will have my arm tattoo one day but until then, I will put this tattoo on my back.” I keep going.
“So I tell the guy I want to write the word in my handwriting and he’s like no, I don’t do that, which in retrospect basically means he’s a fucking shitty tattoo artist. But, because I’m drunk and this particular evening very agreeable, I say fine, put it in the writing you do and put it up by my shoulder. He says, no, it won’t look good there. So I say fine, put it on my side. He says no again so you’d think I’d stop right there and be like, look. I’m paying you to write on my body, why do you even have an opinion but I didn’t say any of that and he says something like, I will put it where it looks good and because I’m a fucking idiot, I lay on my stomach and let him tattoo my back where he pleases.” She looks at me like I’m an idiot.
“What’s the word?” she asks.
“Vacilando,” I say and smile proudly, thinking I am so fucking worldy and smart and clever.
Her eyes almost fall out of her head and she bites her lip.
“I’m sorry, what? Did you say VACILANDO?” and I realize she’s trying not to laugh.
“UH YEAH, vacilando, as in it’s not the destination, but the experience? the journey? Like I’m a wanderer?” I said it like it was obvious.
She makes the most intense, WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT, face and bursts out laughing and says, “Write it down for me. Maybe you said bailando,” which isn’t even close to vacilando and I’m not going to tattoo something in Spanish about dancing on my back.
I write it on paper and when she bends over to read it, she laughs so hard she can’t stand up.
“That is not what vacilando means,” she is laughing so hard she’s almost crying and now I’m getting defensive.
“Yes it does. The internet says it does and I’ll show you.” I google it and sure enough, the goddamned internet says the following:
“Vacilando. It does not mean vacillating at all. If one is vacilando, he is going somewhere but doesn’t greatly care whether or not he gets there, although he has direction.” —John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America
So I’m pretty proud of myself at this point and also if Steinbeck says it, it’s true and I am clever for having it tattooed on my back.
She is laughing so hard that she claims she’s getting an ab workout and I am not impressed.
“That is not what it means. You cannot google a Spanish word on English websites,” as though she thinks I spend a lot of time frequenting Spanish sites.
“What does it mean then?” I demand and now my other coworker is listening but not like she could avoid it because I am shouting.
“No, I obviously DO NOT KNOW IF THAT IS WHAT IS TATTOOED ON MY FUCKING BACK.”
She could not have found this funnier and my other coworker who already thinks I’m insane was now positive that I was also a moron.
“Don’t you have any Hispanic friends?”
“NO I OBVIOUSLY DO NOT HAVE ANY HISPANIC FUCKING FRIENDS. I am the fucking whitest girl from Maine and I DO NOT HAVE HISPANIC FRIENDS.” Now I realized it would have been fucking useful to have one or two.
“Well,” she carried on, “it actually means to walk crooked, like not in a straight line, like stumbling around.”
“Fuck you it doesn’t.” This could not be happening to me.
“It does, look it up on a Spanish site. Google Definicion de vacilando.” Sure enough, all Spanish sites popped up and I’ll be damned if we didn’t go through every one of them. Not one, and I mean NOT ONE FUCKING SITE, had my definition of the word. Here is the list of what this stupid word apparently does mean:
Moving from one side to another with the impression you’re going to fall
Moving without being firm
The more she read them out loud and translated, the harder she laughed.
“Don’t you think you would have been positive about a word you put on your back in another language?”
I put my face on my desk. Fuck this day.
“Let me see it again,” she said as she pulled up my shirt. I just let her. I deserved the torment.
“Nice Mexican cartel script,” she laughed so hard she choked.
I cried out in pain, pain of my fucking ego shattering in a million pieces. “IT IS NOT MEXICAN CARTEL SCRIPT.” It 100% was and I already hated it but I never had a name for it. Ugh. It was so Mexican that it killed me.
“You’re right. It’s more chola. Mexican gangsta.” and then she puffed out her chest and threw her hands up at me like she wanted to fight.
“Seriously? Isn’t chola like those Mexican women that shave their eyebrows off and draw in brown pencil eyebrows? You just called me chola? Fuck off. I need to fly to Orlando this weekend to see your tattoo guy.”
My god. I had a Mexican tattoo of a word that meant to stumble like a drunk on my back. For four years. In a location you can see in a bathing suit.
“Do your people get offended that you have Mexican markings on your body?”
I deserved that.
I was in the parking garage, walking back to my office the afternoon he called and asked me to meet him in two hours at the bar. We hadn’t planned on meeting that week until Thursday, and he was fucking with me by calling me on a Tuesday on such short notice, not that I had anywhere else to be. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t drink on Tuesdays, because I did, but it was hot as fuck out and I had been parading around the city on foot doing errands and I was least of all prepared with deodorant to reapply before I sat down to drink with someone I had only seen behind my own eyelids every fucking night for the past year straight. Also, I wasn’t wearing my drinking clothes, the uniform of romance I had put together in my head so many times, one that at the very least included a low cut tank top and a massively padded bra that somewhat matched my underwear.
Instead, I was wearing a sleeveless, powder blue sweater and grey and blue plaid pants, my hair looked like a nest on the top of my head and most of my makeup had slipped off my face somewhere between errands 1 and 4. The worst part, though, was that my armpits, legs and most certainly my vagina region resembled that of a peasant woman in rural France, a complete crisis situation that made me want to avoid the happy hour entirely. While I didn’t see the night ending with my pants around my ankles, I certainly wasn’t going to feel comfortable sitting around with the crotch region of a Woodstock hippie, not if these were the nights that would cement the foundation of the rest of my life.
I went, though. I went to that happy hour, bushy pube region and all, and then to twenty others in less than two months, and we slipped immediately back to where we had been the nights I lived two floors below him, those nights I could hear his bed thumping against the floor while he did this and that with that fucking twit girlfriend, while I miserably blew out massagers sold at Brookstone that were probably not meant for between my legs. It was intoxicating and miserable and for some awful reason, I loved every last second of it.
It was mid summer the night he casually asked me at the bar to go camping with him a few hours away in Virginia. We were sitting side by side at the bar, watching the Red Sox after work as we ate dinner–the chicken finger platter, extra honey mustard, and the caesar salad wrap, both with French fries that I’m positive were double or triple fried and therefore extra delicious.
“Yeah, I’ll go camping,” I said calmly, trying to slow the racing that just crept into my veins. I kept my eyes up at the TV that sat above the bottles of liquor, up and to the left. I drank my drink more aggressively, but quietly, so you couldn’t hear it being swallowed in gulps so big and fast that it caused brain freeze. There is nothing charming about drinking yourself into brain freeze when you’re guzzling gin in absurd quanities.
“Next weekend, with some of those Peace Corps friends. You’ve met a few of them, remember?”
Next weekend was his birthday. He never said it was his birthday but he knew it was his birthday and he knew I knew it was his birthday but he wasn’t looking at me when he asked me because I could see his reflection in the mirror that sat behind the bottles of booze and he was looking at his chicken Caesar wrap which while delicious, was not interesting enough to stare at directly with such casual intensity.
He had just asked in a mere ten words if I wanted to go share the most pivotal romantic weekend of my entire twenties near a body of water, under the stars, in a tent, in the middle of summer where clothes were pretty much optional as the temperatures rose and booze, dear god there would be booze.
“Yeah, I remember them,” and by them, I think I knew one of them, and now I didn’t know what to panic over more, meeting fifteen infamous Peace Corps kids, most of which dated back from his days in the International dorm at UConn, or the part about the tent and the booze and the hot nights.
That particular group would end up including an ex girlfriend, two stoners that I’m sure someone told me were brilliant but I found somewhat unremarkable yet generous with their weed, which was actually very kind of them, two lesbians–though not dating lesbians, separate lesbians, one of which was foreign and outrageously sexual and confident and made me frightened to lock eyes with because she was also slightly crazy but also super charming and she actually just petrified me with her lesbian powers. There was the elf-like girl that I knew was infatuated with him who spent most of her time in my presence staring down at me from a branch she was perched in, twenty feet in the air in a goddamned tree which no one seemed to think was bizarre but me, two hippies that I think were on the run from the law or Sallie Mae or someone, an exotic girl that I disliked for no good reason and two unshowered, long haired guys that smelled of hemp but offered a supply of bows and arrows and targets and other assorted carny games not meant to be played in groups that ingested large amounts of liquor in short amounts of time.
“So you’ll go?” he asked, still not looking at me but now at the mirror at me, and so I looked back at him in the mirror, up from my chicken fingers, and said as casually as possible,
“Sure, sounds fun. Can’t wait to meet the rest of them.”
For the next five hours we drank gin, jager and soco, to calm our minds from the plans we had just made, and I couldn’t tell if it was the anxiety or the booze that was making me sick. I casually stood up from my stool, excused myself, walked in a crooked line to the back of the bar and threw up in the pissed covered stall they passed off as a woman’s room. Wiping my mouth, I applied a coating of gloss to my lips, most of which missed, patted my hair down and walked back to the bar, grabbed my things, leaving the bar with an exit that included a punch on the arm, and giving him an awkward cross eyed glance I confused with winking and a crooked smile that was involuntary because I had drank my face numb. I drove myself home on autopilot and woke up four hours later on my couch with my clothes on, forty eight minutes before I was supposed to be at work, still drunk, with little ambition to do anything but crawl into my bed where I belonged, lay my head back down, sober up and casually masturbate to the possibilities of next weekend.
We drove to Shenandoah in a rental I picked up at lunchtime on a Friday. Something was wrong with my car that week and I knew we wouldn’t make it in his Jeep, which could barely make it five miles to our favorite bar without overheating, forget to the Valley with the chance of hitting rush hour traffic or escaping back woods rednecks. It was a midnight blue Dodge stratus, and I can only remember this detail because of what happened to the car that weekend, but again, I’m getting ahead of myself.
We packed up a backpack each, a tent, two sleeping bags, a cooler we’d later fill with ice, booze and not much else, one dog, a driving playlist and a suffocating supply of sexual tension that kept me on edge for the entire three hour ride. I was trying to find a balance of creating more film score moments without ruining the chance of a long term opportunity with someone I had been chasing in my head now for just over three years.
We stopped in the town closest to the Valley to stock up on the important items—two jugs of Jim Beam, two bottles of ginger ale, a few packs of cigarettes, a pack of cards, batteries for our radio, candles to keep the bugs away, a bag of ice, a tin full of gasoline, which I actually can’t remember why we bought it in the first place, solo cups and three cartons of chinese food, because we had other things to get to besides wasting the night grilling.
We found a spot around a bend, two miles down the dirt road past a canoe rental shop run by stoners and college kids. We almost missed it as we barreled down the road, but stopped short with a slam of the brakes after seeing a rickety gate, weeds and overgrowth tangled in and out, creating a web. We obviously weren’t supposed to go in, but there was no one else in sight, we could see it was the gateway to a lush field that ran along the river’s edge. It was deserted, it was off limits. It was perfect.
We ripped our way through the tangled web, pulled the gate open, crept the car inside onto the long and vibrant green grass and pushed the gate closed behind us. A once driven path snaked through the field and opened up at the lake. There were thirty yards of lush field, untouched for some time, a large fire pit lined with large stones, ashes and coals black and gray, the ground forever blackened and the lingering smell of burning wood, wafting from the tented camp area down the way. I turned around in a slow circle, surveying our spot, then stopped and took a few minutes to stare out at the reflection of the sun setting on the lake. I wiped my sweaty palms on my jeans and then jammed them in my pockets, mostly because they would not fucking stop sweating. The sun was just setting, the cool air was starting to roll in and the water splashed loudly against the rocks and the brush that lined the banks, swishing and swooshing, rocking some of the anxiety out of panic stricken body.
Unpacking the car, we piled every thing near the fire pit, loaded the cooler, dumping ten pounds of ice on the liquor, prioritizing our efforts, finding sticks and fire to burn second. I think it was an unspoken rule that we’d trade warmth by fire for booze at all cost in the next 48 hours. You can’t blame poor decisions or awkward first sexual encounters on hearty fires but you sure as fuck could blame them on a handle each of Jim Beam.
I plopped down on a wooden stump next to the cooler and poured us each our first drink, strong and dark, and put it to my lips as he fucked with his phone and tossed the pile of wood stick by stick into the fire pit. His dog laid down next to his outstretched legs, and he twisted his head side to side, cracking his tanned neck as he took a long, slow sip of his drink and looked down at his phone again.
“Oh, I forgot to tell you,” he said lightly, “the rest of the group isn’t coming until tomorrow.”
And I knew by the way he half looked up at me, half buried his face in his red solo cup, that they had never been coming that night, and then I too, buried my face in my cup, looking back up again only when I came to the bottom.
It was going to be a very long night.
So in case you missed my post on FB yesterday, here’s a recap.
Each night, we take turns putting Sawyer to bed. Putting Sawyer to bed entails a few things:
1. Dressing him in PJs appropriate for weather. I say this and some people would wonder why I added the part about weather but his father sleeps ass naked every day of the year and doesn’t seem to understand why sending Soy topless and in shorts to bed in January isn’t a great idea, even if he thinks our 2 year old has the body heat and metabolism of a 200 pound man. Seriously, if he didn’t think he’d wet the bed, I’d have three naked wee wees in my bed all week long and I never thought I’d say this but that is too many wee wees for me.
2. Wiping his face and brushing his teeth– unless he is in a snappy mood, in which case, just put him to bed dirty because it’s either that or risk him biting your wrist, something no one wants to deal with at the end of the day. I would say I don’t feel bad about this but I got drunk recently and then cried hysterically stating something like, “(insert wailing) I’m a terrible parent. I can’t get him to eat his food or like to take a bath or brush his teeth that are going to rot before he’s five and he hates me. He HATES me. Why would he chase me and slap me otherwise??? (continue wailing for five minutes)” I don’t feel as bad about my parenting when sober, though, and I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.
3. Cuddling, reading and watching “yellow trucks” videos with him on youtube for 30 minutes. We made the mistake of showing Sawyer youtube videos of contruction vehicles one night when he was being an especially big dick and we wanted to go to bed and from then until present day, all he wants to do is watch “yellow trucks.” He thinks every kind of truck is a “yellow truck”, though, so there are lots of videos to choose from. Also, luckily, most ARE yellow for some reason.
4. Playing dead and getting the early shift (7pm – 1am) to sleep. If you take Sawyer up, you know that the other person doesn’t expect you to make it back down. If you stay downstairs, you get to watch TV and fuck around while Sully sleeps his normal nighttime shift, which is 7pm – 1am. If you’re with Soy, you seem interested until you think he’s close to sleep and then you play dead to get him to stop poking you in the face.
So basically I was upstairs, in bed with Sawyer, getting ready to play dead and sleep when the Mr. texted me from downstairs.
I had bought a very large and delicious canister of cheese balls for Sawyer’s birthday party. We cancelled his birthday party when he came down with kid swine flu ebola and so Mommy had been dipping in to them from time to time.
I obviously knew exactly where those cheese balls were. I had been eating them drunk one night the weekend before while the Mr. was out having a boys night. After knocking back 1/4 of the jug, I had hid it on myself on a shelf up in the spare bedroom.
I could smell his desperation and I could hear him stomping around on the first floor, slamming cupboards and doors. For whatever reason, he thought to look outside, which is fucking foolish because i’m not going to hide my snacks amongst the animals or Germans.
I thought the girl offering up some puffs from the tub was a perfect response.
I honestly have no idea why he thought telling me slamming back an entire box of mac and cheese would help his cause. Now I felt even less badly for him and didn’t think he even needed a snack. So then he sends me what he considers is a peace offering, one of Adele’s latest hits on video. He knows I’ve been singing Adele dramatically since HELLO came into my life. Wasn’t going to work, though.
And yes, I won that 2012 Wife of the Year Trophy, fair and square. Why is a whole other story.
So just when I think the battle of the cheese balls is over, I get this today while I get to sit at work:
You would not understand what I’ve (WE’VE) been going through all morning… It’s been hectic. Rainy and cold out so we’ve been forced inside to watch MORE 80’s karate films, Sully was timed at 47sec. as his best time before Finch bucked him off, I fit a record 25 Cheesy Balls in my mouth, he only fit 5 (!!!!) and at 1100 we’re doing a Power Hour before second nap time.
God I hate staying home.
If that crib is filled with cheese powder, I’m going to fucking kill him.