Posts Tagged ‘1993’

The paging story

September 23, 2013

This is a story I could not tell you in person, because the memory of it sends me into fits of laughter. I’m sure it will not come across as as funny as it was to me at the time, so I’ve put off including it.

It’s time.

One night my husband had gone to the supermarket for something or other. We mostly didn’t shop at the supermarket. We went to the groovy bulk organic hippie store on the corner. But now and then we needed something like Tylenol or Oreos, and it was off to King Soopers.

So my husband was gone to get a thing and Jer and I were at home talking about how it’s been 20 years since we had Tang.

Suddenly we had to have some Tang.

This was before cell phones, and we were thinking it was tragic we didn’t have this thought 10 minutes earlier.

Then we thought, hey, they have phones at King Soopers. Let’s call him there. They can page him.

This struck us as both brilliant and hilarious. We imagined his face when we told him we paged him because we wanted Tang.

While we waited for him to respond to the page, it occurred to us that it would be even funnier if we said we just called to say hi.

So we scrapped the Tang request and went with our new plan.

He didn’t even laugh a little.

The kayak story

June 17, 2013

There’s a house in my neighborhood with a kayak on the front lawn. According to the sign, someone’s asking $400 for it.

This reminds me of a story that ends with me getting in a lot of trouble.

I moved in with my husband immediately after the wedding. It wasn’t great. He had refused to ask his friends who rented rooms in his house to move out.

One of the guys was particularly unaccommodating. He insisted I park around the corner so the guys could use the driveway. He told me I wasn’t welcome to use the grocery bags with the handles on them.

One day a kayak showed up on the front lawn. The place was disgraceful enough, what with the couch and broken stove on the porch. I took a stand against the kayak.

Unaccommodating Guy said he was keeping it for a friend, and there it would stay.

A couple of weeks later I was playing poker, and a guy I had never met commented that he really needed to win, because he was saving up for a kayak.

How fortuitous.

I shared that there was one for the stealing on my front lawn, and I implored him not to let this opportunity pass him by.

Two days later Unaccommodating Guy ran in the front door and dialed the police. This made me extremely uncomfortable. I hadn’t thought of that.

Then my husband ran in looking distressed. “Someone stole the kayak!”

It flashed through my mind to try to look surprised, but I’m no kind of skilled liar. I’m too afraid of getting caught. “I invited a guy to steal it.”

It got quiet. All eyes were on me.

I acted brave and sure, “It’s my house. No tenants have the right to use it to store other people’s things against my say so. Show me more respect next time.”

The police showed up and made a report. Our homeowners insurance replaced the guy’s kayak.

I’m a different woman now, and there’s a lot I would do differently if I could go back to that part of my life.

But not this.

The dirty water story

March 13, 2013

My husband will eat or drink anything not in someone’s hand. I have almost no complaints about this man, but I have this one.

Tonight my daughter had a cup of chocolate pudding. I don’t know where it came from, but she was excited to find it in the cabinet. We made a deal: She could have it if she made the sandwiches for tomorrow’s lunches.

She opened it, put a spoon in it and set it down to get to work. Then my husband walked by and picked it up to eat it.

Spoon in hand he denied my accusations. I was forced to remind him of the time he got what he deserved.

My babies were born at Christmas time, and winter in Boulder was brutal. Our house was always cold. Instead of baby wipes, I used to fill a plastic cup with warm water and dip a washcloth in it. I did not use a cup from the kitchen.

I had changed a chunky diaper and ended up with a sleeping infant in my arms, the dirty water stranded on the table.

You know what’s coming, don’t you?

In walked the reason I only ever got half a cup of coffee. He saw a cup with liquid in it and couldn’t resist. It had to be his. Fine.

I let him drink it.

He didn’t change. So much for learning through natural consequences.

And he didn’t get a kiss for a week.

The phone cord story

March 1, 2013

I can’t go having an I-am-an-idiot category without telling this story.

Like most babies, my son used to like to play with the phone. Maybe today’s babies play with cell phones; their mamas can’t tell this kind of story.

To prevent calls, I would slip the cord out of it.

One night he was doing this on the couch with Uncle Jer and me.

The baby abandoned the buttons and reached down to the cord, which was still plugged into the wall. He put the end in his mouth.

Then he gaped, ready to wail. It was one of those wails you know is going to be bad, because the sound follows the expression about five seconds later. Usually the delay of sound was proportional to the loudness of the wail.

I was puzzled by his reaction. I knew phones worked when the power was off. Surely there was no electricity.

I closed my mouth around the end of the cord. It hurt.

I pulled it out and went, “AAAAHHHHHH.”

“Really?” asked Jer, who picked it up and put it in his mouth.

Idiocy loves company.

The shower

February 6, 2013

Today it rained. It was the heavy, wind-driven rain that draws people to the windows to stare.

It was the kind of day that has me running for a hot bath, cocoa, a novel and a fire.

My most memorable rain storm was on a summer night in Boulder. We lived on the busy passage that linked the Flatiron mountains to the town. With the exception of one snow day on which I trudged knee-deep up the center of it, it bore the most traffic in town.

On the night of this story, the rain was coming down like they describe in tall tales, and I knelt backward on the couch watching it in the headlights of cars coming down off the mountain.

In my peripheral vision I could see my husband watch it for a minute from the open front door, which was on the side of the house, facing the dark driveway. There were many trees lining the driveway, and it gave the illusion we were set farther back from the busy street. We were right up against the busy street.

He closed the door, went upstairs to the bathroom, and came right back out with a bottle of shampoo and a towel.

“Might as well conserve water,” he said. Then he flipped off the light, stripped naked, went out the door and showered in the driveway.

Holding hands

January 28, 2013

My son is 16.

When he was an infant in my arms, I showed him off to one of my husband’s co-workers. Her son was 16 at the time.

Teary-eyed she told me she had realized the other day that he doesn’t hold her hand anymore.

“I wish I had known, that last time, that it was the last time,” she said.

This haunted me.

When my son was old enough to hold my hand, I ordered, “Warn me before you stop holding my hand.”

Everytime he held my hand he would say, “Don’t worry Mama, this isn’t the last time.”

I just realized the other day, one of those times was a lie.

Migraines

October 18, 2012

I woke up in the dark hours of this morning with a migraine.

Somehow I made it to the bedroom doorway, but couldn’t get farther. My husband woke up and got me an Excedrin Migraine pill and some water.

Let me give a free ad to this product. You’re about to read what my migraines are like. Nothing else works. Since it was invented I’ve kept a bottle in the car, my purse, and several places in the house. It’s made a big difference in my life.

I was 17 when I got my first attack. I had come home from work with just a bad headache, but by the time I had gotten upstairs it was so bad I couldn’t get to my bedroom. I lay in the hallway, thinking there was no way I could survive another 10 seconds of that pain, as it went on for minute after minute.

The second one started while I was playing Trivial Pursuit at my family reunion, which you read about in Sonnets. It rained that day, and the whole fam damily was packed in Auntie Barbara’s great room, which I ended up lying in the middle of with my arms pressed over my eyes before my boyfriend peeled me up and drove me to the hotel. I was 20.

My third struck when I was 24, and my fourth when I was 27. But the summer I turned 28 I had a bunch of them. I ended up in a CAT scan machine.

Over the years, my husband has found me on the kitchen floor, the front lawn; once I got one while I was driving home from the grocery store. I was around the corner from home when it got bad enough I had to pull over. I had toddlers strapped in th back seat wondering what was going on.

This morning’s was one of the worst I’ve ever had. My husband gave me a pill and some water, and I waited, chewing that familiar dread of an in surmountable few more seconds of pain. I tried to come up with ways to cope until the medicine broke through. That’s what it’s like, a balloon bursting. Excedrin is the cavalry, ride in to save.

I tried to think about lying on a beach, watching football, being hit on.

It didn’t come. Twenty-six minutes went by, and the relief didn’t come. I sent my husband to get me another pill.

Sitting up to swallow makes it worse for a little while. I’m a rational woman, but while I waited for the second one to work I was thinking about having my husband take me to the hospital to have me put down.

Then it washed it over me — freedom from pain. It brought its buddy, the will to live.

And here I am, woke to blog another day.

The birthday cake story

July 23, 2012

I just got back from Costco with my son.

There were photos under the glass at the photo center showing the different sizes you could order. My son was pointing to one of a baby with a handful of crumbly goodness, which was also all over his face.

My son said, “I wanna know what this kid is eating.”

I looked over. “It’s birthday cake. He’s turning 1,” I said.

It doesn’t surprise me he couldn’t figure this out. He, himself, did it all wrong. I told him as much, and reminded him of this story.

From birth, my kid couldn’t stand to be dirty. If something was on his hands, he held them away from his body and went “Ah ah ah ah ah” until somebody got him to a sink. He howled as soon as his diaper was wet.

Anything sticky was right out. I wish I had videotaped the day I tried to give him peanut butter and jelly on crackers.

Jump to his first birthday party. I had ordered a cake from the local bakery. Globs of colored frosting made Sesame Street characters on top. Grama placed it excitedly in front of him while we sang “Happy Birthday.”

We gathered around with our cameras for the ceremonial grabbing of frosting.

What were we thinking?

He looked at the cake. He looked at us.

We smiled. We nodded. One of my aunts yelled, “Go for it!”

We waited.

Finally he looked at me helplessly and said, “Fork, please.”

My most embarrassing moment

April 22, 2012

Today I was asking my students my questions, and one of them got, ‘What’s the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?’

He was rock climbing and his pants came down.

This reminded me of something that happened in college. I can’t believe I didn’t think of this story before.

Throughout my phonetics course I was working on a research project. We each had a date at the end of the semester for a presentation.

I had a rough go of it from start to finish, but finally finished.

The morning my presentation was scheduled, it snowed heavily. My bike ride to school was only about three long blocks downhill and across campus, but snow meant I had to leave early.

I put on a button-down sundress with a wool sweater, knit tights and UGG boots. Boulder has a different standard of style and formality.

When it was time to go, my 5-month-old son was still nursing. He was on the cusp of sleep and still gulping milk.

I waited as long as I could, but finally had to pluck him off, hand him wailing to the babysitter, tug down my sweater and go.

I pedaled hard and arrived in a sweat — half from the workout and half from nerves.

I ran in a little bit late. I assumed my name had been called, because people were looking around the auditorium in question.

Once I got to the front, I took a deep breath and peeled off my sweater. My dress was still unbuttoned and my nursing bra flap was hanging open.

I looked down at my exposed breast to see a swell of milk drip to my shoe.

My professor, a sweet little woman with graying curls, quickly stepped in front of me. With her back to the crowd she smiled and tried to offer comfort. She said, ‘It’s OK, we’ve all been there.’

That being the case, I guess this wasn’t a very interesting story.

The mac n’ cheese story

March 19, 2012

I have an update on my friend recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She had her surgery and is doing great. She looks great. She feels great. I’m proud to report she rejected the treatment suggested by her first doctor — a mastectomy — and instead found a doctor who would do a simple excision.

I e-mailed her when her surgery was scheduled, asking if i could take dinner over for her family that night. She e-mailed back that her daughter requested I not make mac n’ cheese.

She said I knew why. I do.

I was having company for dinner one night when my son was a baby. My guests had told me that their children were finicky eaters, but that they would eat macaroni and cheese.

I put the grown-up meal to simmer and set to making the mac n’ cheese 15 minutes before my guests were to arrive. Uh-oh. I had used all the milk in my main dish.

There was no running to the store. By the time I scraped the ice off the windshield, shoveled the drive and warmed the engine people would be here. Further, the baby was sleeping in his crib.

And it seemed ridiculous to purchase milk from a cow, when I had several cups of human milk, for free, right there in my bra.

Naturally, I pulled out the measuring cup, undid my blouse and squirted out a quarter cup — quickly, hoping my guests weren’t running early.

That family never knew what I did.

Apparently this story scares children, who grow up afraid to eat my cooking.