Saturday, February 22, 2014

teaching old dogs new tricks

BC does not have the best gift giving track record.  In fact I might dare to label his holiday awareness as seriously impaired. I try not to take it personally. This year he had so much going on I was sort of hoping my birthday would slip completely pass him so we could both avoid the uncomfortable moment when he tries to explain why he couldn't pull anything together which usually makes it worse.  If it was as simple as 'I love you happy birthday didn't get you a gift', that I could handle.  Somehow BC has a way of making it more like 'I totally forgot you existed as a human being and now I am mad at you for it'. The man who once took a piece of cake away from a female friend in a restaurant at a table full of people watching saying to her, "You've had enough." He can take awkward to horrific in about 30 seconds flat. 

Unfortunately there was no way around him finding out. And the other people in my life spoiled me rotten all day long. Despite being sick I had a fantastic day. A hundred birthday wishes, enough bake goods to start a bakery, & a rolling pin which was a very well thought out gift- see for all the pizzas I make from scratch I don't actually have (until now!) a real rolling pin. 

Over the course of the day BC had left to run 'errands' three times. Each time a tiny part of my heart hoped he was getting me a gift. I can admit, specifically I wanted a big bowl of hot and sour soup- that would have been the best birthday gift ever! BUT from BC anything saying 'I took the time to think of you and I am glad you were born' would have been the best gift ever.  Each time he came back empty handed I was feeling a little less sure that I was as happy about my day as I thought I was. 

My last hold out for hope was dinner, surely he was doing something for dinner if not for my birthday at least for how sick I was.  But when he called upstairs asking if I wanted him to start something I thought well that was the last chance of a birthday surprise from BC.

So I made pizza with my new rolling pin and served it with yummy cake.

Then I announced the day of birthday fun was over. I was heading to bask in a hot shower before going to bed. I had little to no voice, my head hurt, my back hurt, my elbow hurt, my hair hurt....and I was a tiny bit sad.  

BC followed me into the bedroom holding a shoe box.  You can't go to bed without opening your gift and he handed me the box.  It was awfully light. And when I opened it, it was awfully empty looking.  
He laughed, "I got you an empty box."  
Let me stop the story right there.  That was a very dangerous thing for BC to have done.  We are both lucky I didn't burst out crying or punch him in the nose. I was so unsure of what was happening I just stood there holding the box. "What is this?" I asked him, probably not very nicely either because that was the moment I was convinced he was making fun of me or at the very least trying to make a not so cute joke about him not getting me a gift. Seeing that I wasn't going to figure it out on my own he pointed out the little white envelope among the tissue paper I had missed.  He explained. "It is gift card to the running company so you can go and fitted for any pair of running shoes you want."

I think new running shoes will go very nicely with all that cake! 

Running shoes = I took the time to think of you, I am happy you were born, and I hope you live to run a very long time. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

of being mom

I was in the middle of pulling apart my entire kitchen when I was summoned to the ER by the pain of her broken toe.  And when I returned to that spot 10 hours later nothing had changed. Quart bottles and cans covered the kitchen counters, dirty dishes in the sink, pans & their lids in a pile covering the stove top.  Hot soapy water in the sink had cooled and the bubbles all burst.  The plans I had for the day were washed away by the morning spent reading x-rays and an afternoon into night on the mom bench watching to make sure she would be okay.
I'm a little exhausted and exceptional sick.  
BC is in Moab.  
And a horse waits for us in the stables. 
I think to write an apology for skipping out on the days original plan but when it goes like this "thank you for watching your child for me".  I see I can't send that even to a best friend....
We had big bowls of soup and tender toast for dinner with grapes too sweet to be winter grapes.  We passed the phone around as BC asks each of us about our day.  "He sounds tired." Beach said.  He sounds drunk, I laugh to myself.  Moab is always a good place to be.
I had wanted the whole house spotless by the time he came home.
I had wanted to take Beach to see her horse.
I had wanted to go on a walk with Chelsea.
I had wanted to pack the fridge with fresh vegetables and bowls with fruit. 
Organize the pantry, finish the laundry, play with the dogs, laugh at the falling snow.

Before bed I spent a half hour on the phone with my ex helping him and talking about our kids. I am sick I gasp or cough when I have to say more than a sentence so I mostly listen to him.  It ends as it always does when it gets uncomfortably friendly for both of us. It is our love for them that does that to us.
Beach slept poorly in my bed.  I didn't do much better.

In the early morning stepping over sleeping dogs I wandered downstairs for coffee alone. The kitchen has improved very little the jars and cans have been sorted and placed on the edge of the counter to be taken out to the pantry.  The dirty dishes gone. Bills are paid.  Good cheeses in the fridge.  BC is due home tonight.

I think if we hit the stables early enough I can come home and get the house mostly clean before BC rolls back in.  We can finish Beach's math and get her toe some rest.

I'm a little exhausted and exceptional sick but very, very happy to be here. 
Happy to be swallowed whole by motherhood again and again. 
Happy to be drown in domestic life with visions of running grander peak. 
Tomorrow I get to turn 41.
I really should bake myself a cake.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Last night I slept with the tv on.  It meant jumping up 5 times to reset the converter box so it didn’t automatically turn off.  Commitment to total nonsense to throw myself over my sleeping child to turn back on the tv I was not watching.

The first night BC was gone, working an out of town job, I didn’t do this. I had felt sick and slow up until the Super Bowl.  There, at a party surrounded by friends, I perked up  And that night I went to bed late but I slept.

Yesterday started the same as the day before only there was to be no perking up only a slow soft downward spiral.  Nothing was so wrong as much as nothing was so right.  A puzzle nearly completed by a week's worth of work knocked to the floor by the mischievous hands of a 4 year led to a 10 year old sobbing in a puddle on the ground 3 minutes before she was to leave for gym. It is a complicated eye thing. The perfect puzzle size, not too big to be a baby puzzle but not too small that she can’t do it . And all that work based on the teetering faith that a second hand puzzle would have all the pieces.

I drove a balling child to gym when I should have been working on my pieces for the paper.
I called home to check on the teenager I have been given to parent for the next 5 months. When he didn’t answer I called BC out of town who let me know the kid had changed his planned on me and instead of going home after school he was going to movie and be out late, ~might need a ride~ ‘oh, should I have told him to just get on the bus? was the last thing I heard clearly.  Staring at 5 months of what I say not mattering one bit seemed like a long time.

I checked the Pro Shop calender and discovered I had all my dates wrong of when I worked.
I worried endlessly about the writing I needed to be doing but wasn't.
I stopped at 4 stores looking for a new puzzle and found nothing that would work for her.
I drove up and down 33rd south trying to settle myself on something that would help me keep it together long enough to get Beach from the gym.  I slipped in and sat far down the bench pretending to be invisible. Turns out that is not a power I have.  One of Beach's very sweet teammates told Beach she thought I looked super sad  and when she passed by me she thought it looked like I had been crying.

Driving in the dark down the interstate, Beach clutching an Oreo shake and a $2 bag filled with second hand treasure of miniature items I found while puzzle searching, I remembered doing that drive with her brother.  I remembered driving it with my Ex.  I remembered driving it with my sister.  I remembered driving it as a small child in the backseat of my father's car. Several lifetimes ago and yet I am still so just me

By the end of the day the inside of my eyes simmered, my brain felt like dingy drooping wallpaper inside my skull. My thoughts walking where there is nowhere to stop and rest.  Nowhere to refuel and running on empty....I slept with the tv on.

Because no one was home at dusk the chickens were not in the coop.  They roosted in the trees and woke frosted with a layer of snow.  The baby chicks spent a cold night alone in the left open nursery coop their young mother forgetting in her freedom to go back to them and she bedded down with the others.

I too wake to the snow.
I can’t imagine wanting to run. again. ever..  It seems like way too much work for nothing.
I wonder about Jack and where she went or if she is anymore at all- like the little old man or the naughty black dog.
It reminds me that Scout, BC’s cat’s body was never found.
I think about how my new blue coffee cup will only get broken, so what is the point having it in the first place?

But I know too well how much I enjoy its blueness and strong straight lettering and the way it feels in my hand.  I will enjoy it while it is here.  Same as the cat and the dog and night drives that fade away with little voices that whisper, "mom I love you.".

The things I am supposed to accomplish may not get done today.
And I’m going to enjoy that too.