Thursday, August 28, 2008

Does this make me an old lady?

A few days ago, Mr. Wonderful and I crossed another concert off our bucket lists – we saw Bruuuuuuuce.
Yeah, Springsteen.

We were rushing to get to the show, and then there were huge lines to get into the arena. We rushed to hit the concession stand and we rushed to hit the restroom and we rushed to find our seats. Finally, we settled in, ready for The Big Show.

And we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Finally, our boy Bruuuuuuuce came on … 80 minutes after the time printed on the tickets.

Now, I fully expect concerts to start half an hour late. Forty-five minutes was even borderline acceptable. But by an hour? By an hour, I was starting to get annoyed.

Don’t get me wrong: Bruuuuuuuce brought his shit. And he’s still got that something something that makes a woman say, “Hmm!” The band was great and the show was so high energy that I considered what would happen if Bruuuuuuuce and My Boyfriend Dave Grohl had a rock-n-roll baby. I shuddered at the arena-destroying thought.

Bruuuuuuuce played for three hours … and lots of people had to leave before the show was over because they had to get back to babysitters. On a school night.

I’m torn. Part of me thinks, “Rock and roll, baybee!” And part of me thinks, “I paid $70 for a ticket in the nosebleed section. At least let me get to bed before 1 a.m.”

So. Old biddy? Or perfectly reasonable?
Image courtesy of Rolling Stone

Saturday, August 23, 2008

In which I am completely self absorbed.

About three years ago, I cut my hair. Like, really cut my hair. Although I could never dream of achieving her level of coolness and street cred, it could be argued that my hairstyle was reminiscent of Ms. Joan Jett.

It was a good fit, really. I am petite and my hair is crazy thick, so this was pretty much the only hairstyle I've ever had where I didn't have the option to literally hide behind my massive, Cousin It-type hair.

So I rocked the thick-haired girl's version of a pixie for a couple years and loved it. And then, the woman who has cut my hair for the last nine years went on maternity leave and all hell broke loose.

The woman she recommended I see in her absence was nice enough, but the cut just wasn't the same. It was too heavy and always poofed over my right eye. And my dueling cowlicks? Let's just say they combined forces to ruin my life.

So, I saw a new stylist who told me all about her porn-star roommate and cleaned up my 'doo to fascillitate ... growing that bitch out. Yes. I decided to grow out my hair. Perhaps to a long short 'doo? Or maybe go all out into a sassy bob? Only time will tell.

Which was all well and good until I realized that I have a class reunion in a month. A reunion for which I will undoubtedly have hair like this:

Because right now, I am totally looking like Match Game-era Marcia Wallace.

But I'm so unaccustomed to this volume of hair that I feel like I am rocking a Klute-era Jane Fonda shaggy mullet (shullet? magg?):

In all seriousness, though, right now my hair probably doesn't look like the overgrown disaster that I perceive it to be. No, it probably looks more like I'm about to give birth to the devil. As you do.

Is it any wonder that I've spent all weekend inside?

All photos courtesy of Google images.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Check, please.

I just finished talking Mr. Wonderful through some negotiations with his ex about child support and time with the Ladybug. Emotional landmine, anyone?

So, to cleanse my palate, I’m going to tell you about my favorite moment from our recent Oregon excursion.

Mr. Wonderful worked far longer than we had anticipated on Thursday, which had us heading to the beach several hours later than we had initially planned. We drove through Portland rush hour and finally found ourselves at Cannon Beach.

It’s basically the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen.

We walked up and down the cool sand, and decided that we would enjoy Seafood Feast! before driving to his aunt’s house. We put our names in at a nice restaurant right on the water, and we waited.

Finally, the young hostess seated us … at the only table in the entire restaurant that didn’t have a view of the beach. Seriously. The entire restaurant was windows, and our seat faced … a planter in the lounge area.

Mr. Wonderful has the ability to make a fuss and sound really nice about it. He worked his magic, playing the “We’re from the Midwest” card. The hostess’ eyes lit up, and she said she would take care of us. Turns our her supervisor is from Nebraska. We all became fast friends.

In a few minutes, darling hostess led us to the best table in the house. It was a corner table that directly faced the beach and Haystack Rock. The view was breathtaking.

The table to our left was noteworthy because there was a modest bouquet of roses on the table, and a young couple that looked to be about 12 years old. Ok, maybe not quite. They were in college. And they weren’t drinking. And she kept looking at her left hand.

They had just gotten engaged a few minutes before we sat down. It was lovely.

I took their picture for them, but was worried about encroaching on their very special moment.

A few minutes later, a man and a little girl approached their table. Because I am skilled in the ways of eavesdropping, I know that he introduced himself and his daughter, and then he said this:

“My wife and I couldn’t help but notice that you two are having a really special night.”

The young couple beamed, and she showed her ring. They chatted a bit more. Finally, the man said, “You just reminded us so much of us – we’ve been married 11 years but I remember getting engaged like it was yesterday. We’d like to help you get started out on the right foot and pick up your tab tonight.”

The girl looked shocked. The boy’s jaw dropped to the floor. It was obvious that the dinner, which probably ran about $40 since they didn’t have drinks or dessert, was a stretch for him. The man shook their hands, wished them the best, and said a few words to their server. He and his daughter then sat back down at the booth behind us, with his wife and son.

A few minutes later, the young couple approached their table. The humble and reserved boy said, “Thank you so much! Please, can I at least get the tip?”

The man and his wife would hear nothing of it. And somehow, the man ended up outside with the couple, their camera in his hands, taking tons of pictures of them in the beach twilight. As Mr. Wonderful and I saw him joyfully capturing the moment, we heard his wife explain what it meant to get engaged. “It means that they’re going to promise to be best friends forever – just like me and Daddy. Isn’t that exciting?

She then told the kids, “We don’t know these people, but we’re doing something nice for them. See, this is what you do. We’re paying it forward. And they’ll tell their friends and their family, and then they’ll all be inspired to do something nice for other people, too.”

Finally, the man and the couple came back into the restaurant. They were all jubilant. The man introduced the couple to his kids, and the young man told the little girl that maybe someday – if her dad says it’s ok – she can get engaged, too.

I didn’t cry, but I was close.

And that was pretty much the best dinner ever. I had the halibut, but that wasn’t the main course.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Today is my houseversary!

Two years ago today, I signed away my life and any future earnings for the privilege of living in a home that was woefully in need of a new kitchen, a new bathroom, and yeah, maybe new plumbing, too.

The plumbing is (knock on pipe) ok. I remodeled the bathroom and the kitchen. I pulled up the carpet and refinished the floors. I have painted until I could paint no more. I love this house.

Buying a home was a big deal for me. I had owned a home with an ex-boyfriend, and when we split, he stayed in the house and I ended up in an apartment with the thinnest walls ever. It was a very painful ego blow to leave a house that I had done so much work on. I was reminded of this blow three times a day, as I walked my dogs around the apartment parking lot in snow, sleet, rain, two nice days, and then blazing hot sun.

I was determined to buy a fenced backyard with a house attached. I saw it as getting my footing back, a sign that I had recovered from The Recent Unpleasantness.

I bought my house at a time when I probably shouldn’t have. The market had started to recede, but it was still fairly high on the hog. I was self employed and could have scored a much better loan had I waited a few months. But I was emotionally ready, and it was possible, and it happened.

Yes, I bought a house while working full-time (and then some) as a self-employed writer. This was less than two years after I decided to leave my ex, despite the fact I had exactly $25.33 to my name.

I’m just starting to realize that this was a pretty sweet thing. So, happy houseversary to me.

But here’s the weird thing: the house that was once the culmination of all of my work and dreams is now just sort of … a house.

I’m only there half of the time. I know that once we are married, I will sell my house and move in with Mr. Wonderful. While I once thought that would be incredibly painful, right now it looks fine. I’m looking forward to not having to shuttle the dogs back and forth between houses and not maintaining two houses. I’m looking forward to not being banished every two weeks when Mr. Wonderful has the Ladybug.

I know I will look back on this time and miss it, miss having my own space. But right now? Right now, I’m just tired of moving all the time. This house has ceased being my refuge.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Checked bag or carry-on?

I have just returned from several days in Oregon. I had never been to the Northwest before – it is lovely. But it’s flippin’ hot. I expected cool ocean breezes, and instead was met with 100 degree temps. The cool ocean breezes? Only within 15 miles of said ocean. Who knew?

Mr. Wonderful had to go out to Oregon for work, and I tagged along. After one of his customers tried to kill us via alcohol poisoning (wine tasting + pre-dinner martini + bottle of wine at dinner + round of port with dessert + jet lag = OMFG), we hung out with Mr. Wonderful’s family for a few days.

It was an aunt and uncle who love Mr. Wonderful like he was their own son, their actual son, daughter-in-law and two high-maintenance grandkids. And then there was the infamous uncle, who is actually the standard by which all things are judged. I’m not kidding – at one point, Mr. Wonderful and his cousin were discussing a pole in relation to the size of their uncle’s forearm.

A good time was had by all, and they are very welcoming and friendly and warm. It was interesting, though – there would be comments like, “Well, Mr. Wonderful, at your wedding, remember Uncle Jim and blah blah blah?” Or at breakfast this morning, his aunt asked Mr. Wonderful if she had given him a recipe box for his wedding, like she had given his sister.

Later, she asked me if I ever go pick up the Ladybug from her mother’s house. I must have made a horrific face, and the first thing that blurted out of my mouth was, “Ex-Mrs. Wonderful doesn’t even make eye contact with me.” Then I attempted to gather my reserves and said, “I don’t think I even exist in her world.”

Mr. Wonderful’s aunt laughed and said, “Maybe that’s a good thing.”

And his uncle chimed in, “Just be thankful they only had one kid, not two!”

Now, the infamous uncle’s ladyfriend peppered her conversation with references to her three former husbands, just like it was a fact of life. I caught myself wondering if that bothered infamous uncle at all, but seeing as how many of his stories featured “the gal I was living with at the time,” I figured not.

This morning, in the car to the airport, Mr. Wonderful apologized for all the references to his wedding. And I opened my mouth to say it wasn’t a big deal, only to find that I had a frog in my throat.

The rational truth is that he was married before. And his family loves him very much, and the wedding was a celebration of his happiness and a family reunion and a joyful time.

The irrational feeling is that it makes me feel like a hanger-on, like I’m late and not necessarily welcome at the party. Which makes no rational sense, as I have been very much welcomed by the family.

I’m not hurt, I’m just lonely. Lonely, floating along on Girlfriend Island, which is not far from the Island of the Misfit Toys. I’m not a stepmom or a wife. I’m a girlfriend who has been handed a whole mess of luggage. I vacillate on thinking it is baggage or it is treasure. Probably some of both. But I still have to figure out what to do with it all.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

How I spent my summer vacation, part V: Stop talking about your damn vacation already.

We went to Colorado. Dave Grohl got sick and stood us up for the two nights (Two! Nights!) we had tickets to see the Foo Fighters at Red Rocks. We went hiking. I got altitude sickness. We went hiking some more.

And then? Then, we drove home.

And for the duration of the very, very long drive, we argued a dilemma: Do we use the tickets we have to see Boston and their two not-Brad-Delp singers? Or do we try to scalp some tickets to Foo Fighters, for a show happening at the same time as Boston?

Do we give away our Boston tickets? Do we throw our lives into the hands of the scalping gods?

But mostly: Can I ever love Dave Grohl again? Can I truly give him my heart after he abandoned me?

The answer: Yes. Hell yes, I can love Dave again.

We ate the Boston tickets, which made me sad, as their singers are now the dude from Stryper and a dude who worked at Home Depot. (I’m not kidding.) But I saw the real Boston with my love Brad Delp, so I’m ok.

We scalped some sweet tickets for Foo Fighters. We missed both opening acts. The air was electric.

And then? Then, the lights went out, and My Back-Together-Again Boyfriend Dave Grohl came out and just walked down the stage walkway. No music. Just Dave prowling the audience and telling us without a word that this concert was going to kick some serious ass.

For the first few songs, I thought perhaps he needed a barrette or headband to keep the hair out of his eyes. And then I just got over it and enjoyed being back together with My Boyfriend Dave Grohl. Reunited and it feels so good!

The music was awesome. The showmanship was mind-blowing. And My Boyfriend Dave Grohl? The funniest dude in the entire universe, with the exception of Mr. Wonderful (sorry, but it’s true).

Seriously. He needs a reality show where they just follow him around. I can think of nothing more entertaining that grocery shopping with Dave Grohl. Or Dave Grohl at the vet, discussing his dog’s anal glands. I mean, really. The set included a triangle solo. I can think of no greater example of My Boyfriend Dave Grohl’s coolness.

So, that was my vacation. There was disappointment, pain, joy and, ultimately, redemption.

Oh, and pizza. We ate pizza three nights in a row.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

How I spent my summer vacation, part IV: All I need is the air that I breathe.

It’s been awhile. Let’s recap.

Part I: Dave Grohl pisses me off.

Part II: I worship at the porcelain altar.

Part III: I don’t drown.

Which brings us to Part IV: The greatest and most gaseous day ever.

Mr. Wonderful and I had Words about how our vacation was not turning out as he had planned. Because I had obviously planned to enjoy altitude sickness. There was grouchiness.

And then, we met Stu.

Stu works in the visitors’ center at Rocky Mountain National Park. And if you need to know anything about anything, Stu is your man.

Stu set us up on a hike to Cascade Falls. Picture it: walk five miles, starting out on a private driveway (!) along the Colorado River (!) and end up along the most gorgeous waterfall ever.

There were so many reasons why it should have been an awful day. The mosquitoes were vicious, even biting through clothes. I looked like I had chicken pox, as I was covered head to toe, despite repeated applications of Off.

We were noshing on nothing but Balance bars, which we later figured out are the nutrition bar equivalent of refried beans. Seriously. We were both so incredibly farttastic that we began warning each other to pick up the pace and outrun the funk … as if the other person hadn’t heard the fart to begin with.

And we got caught in a mid-afternoon thunderstorm. In the mountains. Safety? Not so much.

But I must tell you, it was amazing.

The falls are incredible, and the entire trek just felt like such a gift. I love water, and the sound of the falls was so soothing.

The crappy thing about the mountains is that no photo, no description can ever do it justice. So I’m going to stop trying, and just say that it was good for my soul.

This day was three weeks ago. As I mentioned before, I returned to Corporate Behemoth to the sprint-to-the-finish portion of a drawn-out and painful project. I’m struggling with where I belong, both professionally and personally. And the beauty of those falls seems very far away.

I’m going to Oregon next week and hope that it will act as a stress-relieving booster shot. Because Cha Cha? Is exhausted. And spent the day shuttling the Geriatric Poodle to his holistic vet, then taking Foxie Doxie to the other vet clinic, as he had been barfing and shitting since 2 a.m.

And my house smells like you’d expect.

Next: Dave Grohl makes it up to me.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Proof I am the person I want to be.

I received these two voice mails last week:

1. Cha Cha, it’s Mo! Ohmigod! You will never believe this, but RICHARD SIMMONS is going to be at MY WALGREENS tomorrow, IN PERSON! He’s going to be signing copies of Sweatin’ to the Oldies or something. I don’t know why, but this totally made me think of you. I wish I could go. Love you – bye!

2. Cha Cha, it’s Alice. Listen. We’re at the roller derby and we need your help. We can’t remember the rules, but last time you knew all the rules and nuances and we need you. If you get this, call me back right away. Ok? Bye.