Vacationed With Toby Keith, For Real!

We flew the crew up to Maine to celebrate my son’s 2nd birthday with G’s family.  I will not detail the wondrous experience that flying with two lap babies can be, particularly two babies who outgrew laps long ago.  I couldn’t describe it if I wanted to since I’ve already repressed every memory to a dark recess of my mind where it will peek out to plague me the moment I book the next non-refundable plane trip.

As traveling parents can attest, you must divide and conquer if you want to escape the airport with your life intact.  Our arrival strategy boiled down to me waiting with the bags and the kids while G rented a car.  He would drive it around to the baggage claim doors to collect us.

We waited.  And cried (yes, all of us).  And waited some more.  And cried some more.

Finally, G called my cell phone to say he’d be pulling up in 1 minute.  He closed with:

“And I got a sweet upgrade.”

As I scrambled to organize babies and bags, I heard a grumbling baritone from outside that I realized, with a gasp, could only be Air Force One landing on a nearby runway.  Presidential families do summer in Maine, after all.  I wiped away snot and tears and implored my children to abide proper etiquette when meeting the First Family of the United States.  That is until my own manners flew out the window with a statement that went something like, “What the shit is that?”

That was not Air Force One nor the Obamas at all.  It wasn’t even the Clintons.

It was my husband idling the engine of our rental car.  His sweetly upgraded rental car.

See this Sweet Upgrade.

I guess sweet upgrades mean mud flaps, staggering gas bills, and a larger fuselage than the plane we disembarked to some people.

So, no, I did not see the Obamas.  And I did not actually vacation with Toby Keith.  But Toby did call to say that  he done want his truck back.  And the firearm under the driver’s seat, too!

One more memory to repress.  Now if only my mind has enough space to hold a 4 door V8 pickup truck.

Super Bowl, Super Fest. Semantics, I Say.

If opposites attract then G and I should be like Paula Abdul and that freaky cartoon cat.  Two steps forward, two steps back.  We come together ‘cuz opposites attract. God, all valuable life lessons can be learned in the lyrics of the early 90s.

It is in our pastimes that our differences become abundantly polarized.  His:  Sports and Coors Light.  Mine:  Seeing Movies By Myself and Vitamin-Infused Water.  I have to aim low with two babies.  My hobbies can’t be distance knife throwing and hookah pipes shared with Costa Rican natives anymore.

Sports is truly the area that we fall on opposite teams (whoa, was that a sporting analogy? I dare say it was).  I grew up in a family of athletes, helmed by a father who played professional baseball.  That sounds cool to say, but what that means is that all of my memories involve bleacher seats and ball park hot dogs.  It doesn’t take Electric Shock Therapy to deduce why I’m now a vegetarian.  Then I had to go marry myself a college baseball player.  Somewhere within me, buried deep under layers of cookie dough, there must be an innate pull toward men who can crack a ball with a bat.  God, I hope it’s that and not men who chew Skoal and scratch their balls.

This difference over sports emerged quickly within our relationship when I repeatedly referred to the Super Bowl as the Super Fest in front of a room of stunned male onlookers.  G was so horrified;  He looked at me like I’d just told his friends that I was an adult bed wetter.  I felt dumb enough; I could have done without the ‘I’m not sure who that is’ line he used the rest of the night.  And situations like this have persisted over the years, coming to a head at the close of each and every sporting season.

G:  Big night tonight.  Championship game!

E:  That was fast.  I thought you were just watching opening night last night.

G:  Jesus, this is BASKETBALL.  Last night was BASEBALL.

E:  I didn’t realize overlap was allowed.

G:  Allowed?…What are you talking about?…Yes, it’s allowed.  And it’s glorious.  And  the TV is mine tonight.

Okay, Wizard of Oz, like it ever isn’t…And then I tried to show him a funny You Tube clip during a time out, but my offer was met with the confusion and pity reserved for drunk people who give inappropriate speeches at weddings.

Finally, the night culminated in this spectacular display of patience and good will toward wives.  I innocently passed in front of the television, gracefully and flitting like a little wood nypmh, sprinkling fairy powder and glitter in my path, when G growled, “Erin, stop walking in front of the TV.  I can’t miss this game.”   To which, I whispered in my sing-song fairy voice of gumdrops, “But I have to get the dirty dishes you’ve left piled here on the coffee table, my darling.”  And then he said:

Then walk behind the couch.

I’ve included a photograph of our couch setup so you can see just how ghastly a suggestion this is.

latest nardies 011

latest nardies 013

The only housewife fitting through that space is Teri Hatcher and still with the aid of a shoehorn and a lot of petroleum jelly.  This no man’s land is also the area where G’s dog, considered by most to be the Abominable Snowman, hibernates.  Careful kids, she bites.  Even if I were to wedge my swollen body into this crevice, I’d surely be disfigured by Maui.  If I miraculously traversed her Valley of the Shadow of Death with non-fatal puncture wounds, I’d certainly fall to my death upon G’s collection of empty beer bottles that he ‘hides’ during sports games.  Death by Coors Light shards is not how I plan to depart this plane.

No!  You know what?  I’m not walking behind the couch.  The TV can walk behind me.  That’s right, that’s what I said.

Man, Paula Abdul must have been hitting the pills even in the 90s.  She was so ahead of her time.

Scary Mommy Outdone by Spousal Scary Stupid

This fledgling blog hit a milestone this past week.  Scary Mommy, whom many of you know and laugh with daily, commented on a post.  My post.  And to see the comment come through felt like I’d sipped from the Holy Grail.  If I never attract any more people to this site, at least I can tell my grandchildren, who will all likely be blogging as fetuses on iWombs by then, that Scary Mommy once posted on my site.

And I’m forced to anticipate a conversation that is 30 years off in the future because telling those newborn babies will be more rewarding than conversing present day with G about this.  It felt a little like talking to a Chinese tourist who stopped listening to the directions they asked you for.  As is, I always tread a little carefully in discussing my blog with G since he believes I am truly plotting to kill him and has wire-tapped my phones and installed high def spy cameras in every room.  But this really hit new lows:

E:  So I had a BIG thing happen today.
G:  You got a raise?
E:  Umm, no.  Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  Part-time people don’t really get raises.
G:  Says you…what’s your news?
E:  Scary Mommy, who is a big deal in the blog world, posted on my site today.  And she seemed to think it was funny.
G:  Why is she scary?
E:  She’s not scary. It’s figurative to describe the underbelly of mothering.
G:  Should I call you Scary Erin then?
E:  What is wrong with you?  This is important to me.  This woman is a figurehead.  She’s like a celebrity in the blogging world.
G:  In your Dungeons & Dragons world?
E:  Shut up.  I’m not some 40 year old sleeping on a cot in my parent’s basement, playing Nintendo.
G:  I haven’t heard of her.
E:  That doesn’t mean anything.  You’re not the demographic.  And if you read the Times, you’d know.  And you probably can’t tell me the name of my blog.
G:  ‘I could kill him.’
E:  Wrong.  You’re a terd.
G:  Liken her to a celebrity that I’d know then.
E:  That’s a challenge since you didn’t even realize you were peeing next to Robert DeNiro in a urinal once.
G:  That violates manly bathroom code!  You do not look at your neighbor.
E:  You do if it’s DeNiro.  You only know athlete comparisons, and I only know the names of two athletes, Derek Jeter and A Rod, and I’m not going to compare her to those barbarians.  She’s known for writing words and they’re famous for hitting a ball with a piece of wood.
G:  Then pick an actress I’d know.
E:  You don’t know any.
G:  I knew Rebecca De Mornay and you didn’t.
E:  I told you not to mention her name to me again [see this post].  Okay….hmmm….since you only know the cast of Friends…she’s like Courtney Cox.
G:  She’s good lookin’.
E:  That’s not the point.
G:  Wait, which one was that?  The dark haired or the blonde?
E:  No, the blonde one is Jennifer Aniston.
G:  Why can’t she be like Jennifer Aniston?  I like blondes.
E:  Jennifer Aniston is known around the world since she does a lot of movies and magazine covers.  And she married Brad Pitt.  If you had to compare to bloggers, Jennifer would probably be Heather Armstrong.
G:  Is that the one whose site means poop?
E:  Oh my god, dooce means to get fired, not poop.
G:  I beg to differ.  Ask any dude.
E:  Anyway, if Dooce were Jennifer Aniston, then Scary Mommy is Courtney Cox.
G:  I think Courtney Cox is more famous than Jennifer Aniston.
E:  Oh, do tell, Ryan Seacrest…
G:  Because she did movies that I know.
E:  Like Ace Ventura?
G:  Of course.  Classic.
E:  This is 4 minutes of my life I can never reclaim.
G:  What?  I said, ‘good job.’
E:  No, you didn’t.  You just had to lead me down this winding trail of irritation.
G:  Good job.  I’m glad Scary Mommy posted on your site.  I’m sure you’ll really rock it at Comic-Con next year.
E:  Oh my god…blogging is not like reading comics.
G:  Yeah, sure.
E:  I don’t want to talk about this anymore.
G:  Okay. What’s for dinner?
E:  For you, microwave popcorn.

Post-Modern Domestic Squabble

This is an excerpt from an actual conversation between me and G as we prepared for work:

G (standing before me stark naked):  I’m running dangerously low on underwear…

E: You’re living safer than I then because this is Sharon Stone Basic Instinct Day 2 for me

G: I’m not as dirty as you.

E:  You could wash your own underwear, you know.

G: Hundreds of years ago this thing called ‘division of labor’ was conceived…

E:  Yes, which means individuals can do things for themselves.

G:  No, it’s really how we defined our country’s ability to trade with lesser nations to increase productivity.

E:  Then I’m the US and you’re China.  Sanctions on.  Starting now.

G: No, you’re not China.  You’re a smaller developing nation and I’m the leading country in the global economy.

E:  Yeah, that sounds about right.  I’m like a third world country, like the Sudan, that gets thousands of pounds of garbage dumped on their country by the U.S.

G:  It creates jobs.  And they’re happy to take it.

E:  They get paid to take it.  I’m being exploited for free.

G: It’s how you will emerge a prosperous and sovereign nation.

E (grumbling):  You should send your underwear to the Sudan for laundering.

This modern discourse makes both G and E long for a simpler time when G would have a wife in a pastel dress who’d have hurried to the basement to bleach his whites.  And E would have been a wife who sipped Brandy Alexanders all day and slipped sedatives into her husband’s meatloaf dinner.

Arson Would Be Easier Than Cleaning

I used to really love to clean.  That is, prior to children, and marriage, and cohabitation.  I guess it would be more accurate to say I used to really love to clean…after myself…and only my things.  I could wile hours away using a Magic Eraser on parts of my apartment that no earthly person would ever even see.  I would buy exotic textiles, like hemp mixed with Orca blubber and Asian baby hair, so that I could buff the floors to a shine and lay supine on the hardwood to stare at a ceiling fan turn while Fiona Apple and Bic Runga played moodily in the background.  Now the only person in my house who gets to lay on the floor and stare at a turning thing is my 10 month old, and it’s only after she has passed out from the fumes rising off the floor I’ve just cleaned.

Now that I’m shacked up with some of the world’s messiest humans and canines, I have had to lock away my toothbrushes, erasers, and cloths in favor of more expedient methods, like the leg of my sweat pants or my own palm.  If I didn’t have to worry about shooting a baby’s eye out, I’d use a power washer and an extension cord for my daily wipe down.  I am still investigating a black market stun gun so that the second I see a sippy cup starting to topple or a bowl of apple sauce about to launch, I can zap my offender into a paralytic position.  Baby or not, that’s one Pavlovian response they’ll learn real quickly.  G would be in a permanent state of ‘stun’ as I’d have to zap him the second he crossed the threshold to the home, just prior to that point where his work clothes, shoes, bag, and contents of every pocket combust into a thousand airborne projectiles.  And then he’d have to stay in that state straight until I push his stiff body back out the door in the morning.  What’s that, honey?  You need your cell phone?  Well, it’s not like you’re actually going to pick up when I call you 14 times today, but here you go! (toss out the door.)

Particularly now that we’re selling our home, I’ve had to up the ante on cleaning, in an attempt to make our home feel – in a word – sanitized.  And it’s grueling work.  There truly is no worse answering machine message to overhear when you’re in the midst of feeding a baby and a toddler than a realtor chirping that they’ll be bringing people by in 20 minutes.  Call back only if that’s a problem!  Call?  I don’t even have time to search for the phone and then hit 10 digits.  How about I just light a match and throw some flares;  When you pull up to find the house ablaze, you’ll know it wasn’t a convenient time.  Arson is a much simpler solution than actually trying to clean.  It feels a little like exploring a petrified forest when you attempt to deep clean a home overtaken by children and men.  You’re breaking out tools used only in archaeological dig sites to clean the counter and putting on, not only gloves, but protective facial masks, when attempting the bathrooms.

I’ve had to wave my white flag of surrender to G since putting the house up for sale.  I just can’t find the time and/or inspiration to keep the house clean 24/7 on my own.  This means, relinquishing some of my Type A preferences in favor of working as a team to get the house pulled together.  I wouldn’t quite say we’re a team as that implies a 50/50 approach.  It’s more like I’m the disgruntled coach and he’s the last player on the bench, to whom I have to yell, “come on, kid, don’t you want to play? Put your jersey on, and get in the game!”

And it takes MONUMENTAL control on my part to turn the other way when I see him clean with the only agent he’ll ever use:

gregs cleaning agents

Yes, that’s water.  No additives.  Just old fashioned water.  Not renowned for it’s cleaning properties in Western society but quite coveted in third world nations.

Whereas I’m packing this kind of heat.  If cleaners formed a gang, we’d throw out hand signals that look like squeezing a Windex spray bottle as we roll in our SUVs.  ‘Sing with Me’ tapes up loud, bass up high.  Wassup, Arm & Hammer?!

cleaning agnets

I guess I can’t complain that he’s not Mr. Clean.  G, to his credit, does still boast a full head of hair.  Though I keep trying to tell him that Mr. Clean – in all his shiny baldness – probably pulls a lot of chicks.  Nothing gets a housewife hot and bothered like a muscle-bound man blasting through oven grease, particularly if his name is Don Limpio (check out that image I found)!  Alas, I hope to soon be out of house sale mode and will retire G’s cleaning jersey to the same high shelf that my long lost hemp-Orca-blubber-baby-hair-cleaning-cloths rest in peace.

Now to sneak some Clorox into that bowl of water…(hopefully he doesn’t drink from that bowl in between wipes).

Someone is Crackin’ Up

I introduced G to a family tradition of mine the first Easter we spent together.  I filled my jacket pockets with raw eggs and led him, puzzling the whole way, to Central Park.  Once there, we squared off like cowboys in a pistol fight.  I revealed the first egg and told him that we would be tossing it back and forth, stepping further apart with each successful catch.  The crazy glint that washed over the eyes of a boy who grew up in a lawless household of seven children flashed bright.  The pre-kids obsessively neat and orderly former self of mine (I’m the Artist Formerly Known as Clean) had surprised him with my very spontaneous and messy game.

Ever since that day, G has become a faithful disciple of the raw egg toss, enjoying it more than I ever did as a child.  This is likely because he was a college baseball player, which puts him in good company with my father, a former baseball pro, and my brother, a very good catcher, and my mother, the only mom for miles who could do back dives and cartwheels off a diving board.  A tight clique of athletes, who always loved a physical challenge, I was the one who had to be roused from my Easter basket Butterfingers and marathons of Saved By The Bell to join in the annual egg toss. Fortunately, I was usually eliminated within the space of a commercial break and speedily returned to Zach Morris.

The raw egg toss even made an appearance at our son’s first birthday party last year, which we hosted as an Easter Brunch.  I love remembering the faces of our friends dressed in their party wear, as G brought out a carton of raw eggs and started drawing up a bracket worthy of the NCAA tournament.  I got knocked out (almost literally) in the first couple of rounds, but G made it down to the top 4, squared off against my mother.  There is nothing more unsettling than watching your husband trash-talk your mother while throwing rockets filled with Salmonella at her head.

As Easter approaches, G has begun the heckling.  With years and years of egg throwing mediocrity under my belt, I’ve gone pretty Zen about my prospects and realize that I will not be scouted by any farmer-baseball teams anytime soon.  G, however, talks about his prowess like it’s become a new dimension by which women should rate men.  He is tall, has a good job, smart, good education, and OH YEAH, he can throw a raw egg like it’s nobody’s business!!

But no amount of egg-throwing anticipation could have prepared me for this scene from yesterday. I was upstairs doing God-knows-what with two babies, one tucked under my arm and the other hanging on my leg.

G:  E, can you come to the landing for a minute?

E:  Yeah, okay…

I walk, still holding a child under one arm Superman-style and lugging the other on my leg, down two stairs.  I turn to face the bottom of the stairs, when…


An egg came soaring at my head.  And unlike an athlete (or a Labrador Retriever), my impulse is not to ‘catch the ball.’  Instead, I watch in horror as that egg travels in slo-mo on a crash course with my beige wall.  I momentarily contemplate dropping my children down the stairs to keep that egg from cracking against my wall, but my mothering instinct overrides and I keep a tight hold on the two of them as the egg breaks its yellow yolk in a sloppy, slick, Salmonella-y pile.

G (laughing rioutously):  You’re not ready for the egg toss!

Before I can right myself as I’m convinced I must have been teleported into the Sigma Tau frat house in some Budweiser commercial alternate universe, G has already switched gears,

G:  Awww, man, E!  You can’t let the kids draw on my work papers.  Look at this!  You have got to have some boundaries!

Say whaaaaaaat?

E:  You just threw a raw egg INSIDE the house.  Are you really going to talk to me about boundaries right now?

I’m off to tap microscopic cracks into all the eggs in the fridge so they break upon first catch.  After all, I don’t have any boundaries.

I’d Bet A Bajillion Dollars

It’s no secret that man’s thought processes and the actions that result from such processes can mystify us women.  I am constantly trying to levitate my brain out of my own cranium in attempt to make order of the things G does.  But the second I creep up on his rationale, my brain says WTF and goes screaming for the sane hills of Womenland.  However, there are those times that us ladies know exactly what our male counterpart is thinking, maybe even before he knows.  It’s like a game of chess;  He lifts that pawn, and suddenly we’re Bobby Fischer and know just how he is plotting to checkmate our king, 12 moves ahead.  And if an outsider wanted to, say, wager on our little chess game, we’d taunt, ‘Bring it…I’ll bet you a bajillion dollars I know where he’s going with this.’  And for those who read my last post – I do know how to know that a bajillion dollars is a totally legitimate amount of currency.

It takes time to truly memorize your mate, and there will always be a wild card thrown from time to time.  And, in my experience, cherish the wild cards!  Those are usually the positive things that confirm you chose a good egg.  It’s the times you could win a hypethetical bajillion dollars that make you tear at your hair and wonder why you couldn’t have married Mr. Belvedere or one of the Golden Girls.

One such time happened during the labor of my first child.  G, my mother, and I were packed into his truck early in the morning, heading to the hospital.  I was to be induced given my son refused to leave his personal hot tub despite the fact it was drained of water.  G dropped my mom and me off at the front of the maternity ward while he went to park the car.  And, as any first-time mom would know, particularly those who have been induced, when you’re hit with that Pitocin, you think the baby is arriving 37 seconds later.  They won’t, for those who don’t know, you just feel like they will.  But for the woman who is feeling like their baby is about to arrive in 37 seconds and their husband is about to miss the entire thing, it’s a harrowing experience.  My mom kept assuring me that he would arrive soon, convinced that he was wandering the hospital, dutifully checking each room or, perhaps, buying me that bouquet of flowers before arriving.  After I could no longer tolerate her excuses for his tardiness, I clutched my bed rails and hissed, “He is going to miss the birth of his son because he is in the McDonald’s in the lobby, eating 3 Egg McMuffins and a Sausage McGriddle.”  Oh no, she decried, he would never be in McDonald’s, after all we’d stopped at Dunkin Donuts per his request en route to the hospital, she began to rationalize.


And I would go on to win that bajillion since I smelled the remnants of McDonald’s grease on his face before he even rounded the corner into my room.  The cops could have put me on a canine bomb sniffing squad when I was pregnant.  I was like a German Shepard on uppers.

E:  Where were you?

G (without shame or chagrin):  McDonald’s.  That birthing class teacher said to be sure to eat before labor since it could take all day.

E:  I believe they were talking about the mother!


These situations happen more often than I’d like, and they seem to increase in frequency when my mom comes to town.  The latest occurred last week while my mom and I took the kids to Virginia for a little escape.  I am one of those freaks of nature who insists on scrubbing a house top to bottom before I leave town.  I had cleaned, done laundry, taken out garbage, sorted recycling, etc.  G’s only job:

Get the milk and eggs from the dairy box on Wednesday morning.

We get our dairy delivered by an actual milk man each week (don’t ask, I have lots of ill-founded appreciation for the things of yesteryear).  He arrives to our house in his truck very early in the morning and drops everything into a metal box kept on the porch.  Beyond serving a nostalgic purpose, it’s supposed to be convenient.  Easy.  Simple.  Fast.  Reliable.  Particularly in situations where the family is arriving back to the house late at night with two babies who crave milk (leche!) round the clock.

It occurred to me while driving back on Friday night just how crucial that milk was going to be.  I muttered to my mother, “There’s no way G got the milk inside.’  My mom, always his staunch defender, immediately started her pro-G rally.  So I laid down the gauntlet.


But it’s so simple, she declared, the box is right there!  Even if he didn’t remember the delivery had come, he’d trip over the box as he was leaving the house for work!  Of course he moved it all inside, she continued, as she unknowingly locked herself into a lifetime of high monthly payments to yours truly.  Yes, yes, all true.  The box is right beside the door.  Every person to enter or exit our house would nearly trip over it.  It requires only lifting the lid, removing the dairy, and walking 20 steps to the fridge.  Truly, the only way to make it simpler would be to have a small little dairy gnome enter the window with his little bag of milk products and place them directly in the refrigerator.  Or possibly someone has invented a way to hook expandable hoses to travel from the udders of the cow directly into the mouths of our children, no matter how far off the farm they get.

So when we pulled into our driveway at 8pm, I sauntered – nah, I swaggered – up to that dairy box because I already knew the answer.  I knew what was going to be under that lid.  I knew I was going to be throwing away 10 pounds of over-priced organic dairy.  I knew that in one hour I would be trying to convince my screaming children that the water in their sippys was actually clear milk.  I couldn’t even be annoyed because I was relishing the imaginary weight of a bajillion dollars filling up my pockets as I opened the box to find…

dairy box


BAJILLION.  I take cash or money order.  No personal checks, please.  I will be investing this money in the research and development of dairy gnomes and expandable udder hoses for the men of the world to utilize.

What You Say Will Be Used Against You In a Court of Law

When a gal gets hitched up with a lawyer, she gets a little cocky, feels a little invincible, believing that she has just solidified a lifetime of never paying parking tickets and having free representation should something catastrophically unlawful happen, like discovering a severed thumb in your Taco Bell.  Erroneous!  (Sorry, courtroom jargon flare-up).  I’d have been far better served by marrying a pediatrician or a mechanic.  My kids or my car are always acting up, but I have yet to bite into that bloody digit in a 7 Layer Burrito.  As for parking tickets, please, I’ve paid every one plus interest.

What marrying a lawyer actually offers is a lifetime of answering questioning from a prosecutor…under oath!  Every word I say is carefully weighed and analyzed for ulterior motivations.  He studies my mannerisms when I tell a story, the way my brow furrows or my hands fidget.   If I offer a simple explanation for tardiness, like ‘there was traffic and I needed gas,’ I am bound to receive the first part of the probe, “At 2 o’ clock on a Tuesday?  Did you leave the gas tank on ‘empty’ again,”  Next thing I know, I’m coughing up details, true or not, like I’m on Death Row with no more appeals, “I left the house on time, but as I was headed to meet you, I saw a Clearance sign at the Carters Outlet.  The kids needed shirts!  They don’t have shirts!  Don’t you think kids should have shirts?  And then they were hot from their shirts so I had to pull into a drive-thru to get water – and those stupid toys.  No, my jeans are not new.  I’ve had them for years!  A tag?  I just never saw that tag on the pocket….for years.”

I want the truth, he declares!


Word choice and word economy is very important to a lawyer.  They’re trained to answer a question succinctly while not revealing anything of import.  I am the opposite kind of speaker (as you all well know by now), prattling on and on, requiring multiple deep exhalations to fuel the rest of my rapid-fire run-on sentences.  If G asks me for a fact, but I give an opinion (same thing in my book!), he looks at me like I’m Elle Woods and he’s the Harvard Class President.

But the absolute, hands-down, sure-fire WORST thing about being married to a lawyer…They never forget.  ANYTHING.

It’s like he has a teeny tiny court stenographer sitting in his jacket pocket with her little typewriter machine, who will quietly whisper to him, “Court document #472, dated January 23rd, at 2:40pm,  E said, ‘A vacation this summer would be a bad idea.’  Huh?  I never said that!  Why would I have said that??  That shrew whispers again, “because there’s a big project due and her mother might be planning a visit.”

And that steel-trap memory of theirs has a particular knack for remembering the most humiliating and ludicrous things you have ever said.  Try this one on for size:

We were in the car, taking a weekend drive with the kids.  We were being led by the GPS system as we didn’t really have a firm plan in mind.  G asks me to figure out how many miles we’ll be on the NEXT road.  Without boring you with a discussion of the inner working of our Garmin system, the bottom line is I don’t know how to ‘look ahead’ beyond the immediate direction it is providing.  I only know when to make the next turn and the ultimate time we’ll be arriving.  So, while struggling with the buttons of the Garmin, I say:

I don’t know…how…to know.

Translation: I don’t know how to figure that out.  I’m stressed out because I hate machines.  I hate this British computer woman who always decries, ‘Recalculating!’ and I really don’t understand why you NEED to know the exact mileage of the next piece of roadway.  Just wait till we get to the next turn in 7 miles and then Miss British Chippy will tell you how long we will be on that road!

But as soon as I said it, I knew…oh, I knew.  I knew it was a super freaking stupid thing to say because it’s the exact sort of statement his legal eagle man brain can’t fathom.  And I knew as soon as I saw his eyes light up and the lips curl back in a dumbfounded grin, that I had just dropped my very own Monica Lewinsky statement (I did NOT have sexual relations with THAT woman) that would be parodied and ridiculed over and over and over again.

This was 6 months ago now, but I am still suffering the ramifications in every context from:

What time is it, E?  Or do you not know how to know?

Where’s the remote?  Do you  know how to know?

Do you know how to know when the car needs an oil change?

It really rears its ugly head whenever I try to talk about something heady like Healthcare Reform or Social Security.  He’ll stop me short and say, “Whoa, are you sure you know…[I wince]…HOW TO KNOW?”

I have no more questions, your Honor.  The witness can step down from the stand.  That is, unless she doesn’t know how to know.

I know how to know that Garmin is going to ‘blow out the window’ on my next outing.

War of the TV Worlds

Today is a somber day in my life.  My brother, my only sibling, ships out to Iraq with the Navy today.  We are not a military family so this is scary and unfamiliar territory for us.  I am prone to fits of crying when confronted with a picture of him as well as obsessing over his communication possibilities.  If I ask one more time if there is Wi-Fi in the barracks he might throw some ninja smoke and rip out my jugular.

Something else happened this week to bring me into yet more scary and unfamiliar territory.  G spontaneously suggested we tackle a new television series together.  People, the notion of watching television TOGETHER is so rarely explored in this household that when he uttered the words, I double checked the address on the mail I was sorting to make sure I hadn’t wandered into some other house on my block.  I sent a quick prayer up to the heavens that Sports Center hadn’t created a ‘family’ series exploring the lives of such fascinating people as Larry Bird.

Unfortunately, Larry would have been a better alternative for me since the show he centered our tv date night around turned out to be the new HBO mini-series The Pacific, a show about young men being shipped off to serve in WW2, leaving behind terrified family members.  Please re-read the second sentence above.  My brother…a young man being shipped off to war…leaving behind terrified family members.  After viewing more crying mothers and bleary-eyed sons to make me solemnly vow to duct tape D to his potty chair for the rest of his life, I decided to call a cease-fire on the show.

E:  I don’t think this is a good show for me.  You know?  Brother.  War.  You know…?

G:  I think this is more of an historical piece than a show about war.

(as bombs drop in deafening roars on surround sound)

E:  Is there going to be love in it?

G:  I doubt it.

E:  How about elaborate wardrobes?

G: Probably a lot of camouflage.

E:  Will Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett be appearing soon?

G:  Sssshhhh!

Unless it winds up integrating the character studies and costuming of Mad Men with the smoldering gazes from Pearl Harbor, I think I’ll pass on this 1940s piece.  Chalk this one up to another failure on the part of men to see that we highly emotional and evolved women tend to carry with us the things we see on television, like shooting guns, suffering boys, and crying mothers.  I’d rather he suggest we watch Biggest Loser as I’m stepping on to a scale (after stripping off every stitch of clothing including earrings and hair ties!).  Or rent Lost season 1 the night before we fly somewhere.

We’ll be returning to regularly scheduled programming around our household - G trying to convince me that sports does not constitute TV watching while I try to convince him that Private Practice doesn’t ‘count’ if I only watch it while folding laundry.  I guess late-night television is the battlefield where we both come armed, on opposite sides of the cause.

And speaking of battlefields, Brother, if you’re able to read this…you know if the barracks have Wi-Fi??…be safe.  You’re a brave soul that the world must hold tight to, Dark Warrior.

And I think you’ll really irritate the crap out of a future wife some day with your choice TV watching, so I’d like her to be able to post on this website.