Tuesday, May 30, 2006

You can't go home again...

...unless you have a really, really good sense of direction.

Late Friday night, after driving for two full days, I pulled off of the highway and into my hometown. The town I grew up in. The town I was lucky enough to be forced to escape when I fell in love with a man who had wings on his heart.

It was a clear night but the roads were dark. Very dark. Dark and winding and the most impossible roads to navigate you could ever imagine. These are the roads that horror movie victims traverse in unease.

And I turned the wheel and stepped on the gas and drove across town by memory.

Whenever I come back to the town that my parents call their own, I am shocked at what I left behind. Did I really drive my little, red 1984 Ford Tempo down these skinny streets in the dark and rain and snow? Did I really pump gas there, and go swimming there, and go parking there? Did I ever really think of this place as home?

It's not home now.

It would kill my parents to know that. Even the dusty, haunted halls of my husband's Cape Cod house feel more like home to me.

This town is filled with commuters who drive their cars or take the commuter rail into Boston everyday for work. Yet I rarely went to the city in all the years I lived here. It was a scary place, I was told. A place you should never go alone. A place with impossible traffic. A place that was dirty, stinking, and not worth the stress of getting there.

On Monday, Patrick and I spent the morning in Boston. And I walked the streets and the commons and saw my city in a way I've never seen it before. I took a deep breath and blew out the stress that my parents instilled and I really enjoyed Boston for the first time in my life. Now I get why people want to visit here.

I had felt like Patrick had made a gift of New York for me. And now I feel like he's made a gift of Boston for me too. Boston. My own city. A tourist had to give me that.

What a waste.

If I can wrench my children away from my parents and my brother's new pool, I'd like to give them that gift too.

But maybe the gift isn't the city itself. But a love of exploration. A love of discovering new things. A love of adventure and travel.

And the roots of a heart-based home to which they can always return.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

On the Road Again

I had so much I wanted to share before I left on my trip. But now time has run down and I haven't packed yet and I'm starting to pull my hair out and I just can't do it!

I made the decision today to leave my computer at home.

Can you believe it? "What am I going to do without a computer?" I asked my husband.

"I don't know. Relax. Read. Go to the beach. Write a book on paper."

Yeah right!

So for the next month I'll be blogging from my phone, and Patrick's computer, and my father's computer. Maybe I'll get creative and audio blog or photo blog. We'll see. One thing for sure, I'll be taking lots of pictures at GB:NYC3 next weekend, and avoiding the cameras as much as I can. (You can still join us! I got Jet Blue tickets for $100. It might be worth it to see me drunk.)

Right now I have twelve hours before I hit the road for our 1730 mile drive. If I don't start doing laundry, I'm going to be driving naked.

See you guys in a few days. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Note to self: If you're going to come out of your shell and comment on a blog with a huge readership like Joe My God, at least make sure you have something decent posted for the new visitors who will follow the comment link.

I've been thinking about blogging lately. No, no. Don't run away. This isn't going to be one of those blogs about blogging. Or at least not really.

I've long thought that blogs have a life cycle. Many of the blogs that I read are in the two-year-old range. I think it was probably in 2004 that blogging really broke out to the masses. And now a lot of those bloggers are running out of things to say. Me included. I mean, come on! Have you been reading this drivel?

But I still have consistently more hits than ever. (And less comments but that's another topic.)

You see, the thing is...I haven't really run out of things to say. I just can't say a lot of what's on my mind because my blogging circumstances have changed so much in the last two years.

For one thing, I used to talk about sex a lot. It was cool when it was just me spouting off to a dozen or so gay guys and a couple of fellow housewives. But now I've met a lot of you people. And some of you have met my husband. And I have a lot more military folks reading. And do you really want to read about how my husband mistook my ***** for my ***?

See. Ew! I get the creeps just typing that.

I also used to use my blog as a way to articulate my feelings and disappointments and fears. Because I hovered in complete anonymity, I could get away with ranting about people, insulting so-called friends, and getting all feisty.

But now, some of my closest friends are fellow bloggers. My best friends are bloggers. What used to just amount to me blogging about my life, would now become a serious breach of trust and friendship.

I treasure my blog because of the connections I've made through it, while I hate it for the living, breathing, thing it has become.

To write is to have faith. I know that. Faith that you will once again come up with a funny one-liner. Faith that you will have a story to tell that will draw people in. Faith that you'll touch someone, even if only to make them laugh at you. Faith that the words won't just go away.

I'm keeping the faith. I am. Right now I'm just spewing word vomit in the hope that something interesting will come out.

My daughter has been writing stories lately. Her computer is littered with Word files filled with tales of goldfish and birds and horses and princesses. Her Daddy told her that Mommy writes stories too. "Everyday she writes a little bit," he told her. I know he thinks it's amazing that we like to write. I know he's proud of me and encouraging her.

Sometimes I wonder if it is worth it.

And then I think of what my life would be like without it.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Sometimes quickies are best. Try to keep up.

My husband left this morning for a short TDY (business trip). Does anyone else think it's odd that he had to drive?

Remember when I said that I was just trying to make it through to May 27? Well, my daughter exerted her influence and we've decided to leave for Cape Cod on May 25 instead. Actually, her begging to leave early didn't affect me at all. I just realized that it would probably be easier to drive before the holiday weekend.

I don't know if it is cosmic payback for making fun of my friends for being old, but I've hit 33 and suddenly I'm totally out of gas. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I never sleep and I never slow down while I'm awake. Hmmm. I'll have to think about that.

So I have three days to completely pull my shit together before we head off. So far, all I've done is coordinate the in-drive entertainment. DVD players for everybody!

My husband will be home briefly on Wednesday night, before we all head off in different directions. You can bet there'll be some sumpin, sumpin going on. He owes me birthday sex.

He took me out on a birthday date on Saturday night. For some reason, I've wanted nothing but Mexican food lately. We also went to see Mission Impossible 3.

I didn't think I'd be able to put aside T.C.'s freaky-ass weirdness to enjoy the movie. But I actually didn't think much of it, after I calculated how much of my ticket purchase would go toward Scientology. What I was really distracted by were Tom's teeth.

Dude! You went through the humiliation of adult braces. You should have worn your retainer!

Ole' Tom's teeth were so far off midline that it was distracting. I'm sure another set of braces are out of the question now that he has to save for college.

Speaking of kids, I've seen the face of Satan and he's disguised as a three-year-old. I somehow got roped into manning the water slide at my son's preschool end-of-year party. (And no, Patrick, I didn't not say no. I just sort of did it because the kids were hurting each other as they fought to get up the ladder!) SW was on one side and I was on the other and we were physically pulling kids off of one another. God, I hate parents who ignore their kids disgusting behavior!

Which reminds me, my mom asked me to help her babysit all of my nephews on May 31. I hope I live to tell about it.

Is it bad that I'm starting to count the hours until I'll be on vacation? Responsibility-free in T minus 106 hours. Woo hoo!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

It's All About Me

Since my husband has to work all day today, he gave me my birthday cards this morning.

"I'd walk for miles for one of your smiles. I'd crawl through glass for a piece of your..."

Yeah. He gave it to me when the kids weren't around.

He has this thing about buying me multiple cards on holidays. Especially Valentine's Day and my birthday. I think that is really adorable.

He also gave me the School House Rocks DVD, Brokeback Mountain DVD, an iTunes gift card, and a new workout bag. I've really been wanting a cool new bag for the gym, and this one is pink. I love it.

"See," he said. "I listen to you."

To celebrate my 33rd year on this earth, I'll be shopping for forty pinwheels for the first grade picnic, going to AH's kid's birthday ice cream outing, going commando wearing a thong that I found at the back of my drawer, doing laundry, and not wearing my retainer.

Woo hoo. Go me!

Update: Never open a package containing a $50 box of Godiva truffles in front of your four-year-old son. If you do, tell him they have alcohol in them and distract him with the bubble wrap.

Another Update: My mother had to call to ask me how old I am turning. "I'm your child!" I told her.

"Well, I'm 56 so you must be... *thinking* *thinking* ...31."

"Mom, I'm 33."


"Oh my god!"

Yet Another Update: When my mother was my age, her kids were 13 and 10.


Oh my god!

Still Yet Another Update: My parents sent me lobsters for my birthday.

Godiva and lobsters. Do you think the people who love me know me at all?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

That River in Egypt Boils Over

Damn my husband. Damn him. Damn him. Damn him!

Okay, don't actually damn him. I love him. I love him so much that he has the power to set off my emotional trip wire.

And he did it, but good, today.

I've been down for a few days. Maybe even a few weeks. And I haven't even been trying to hide it. Which is something new for me.

I've been telling the people who love me, "I'm down." Sometimes I can honestly add, "I don't know why." But when I do know why, I've been trying to be honest about it with some seriously mixed results.

I've been worried and stressed. Mostly about money. Often about the kids' stuff. And sometimes by people and things that let me down. (Why does someone volunteer to be a room mother/board member/hostess if she doesn't actually want to do anything? And why do I always pick up the slack? And do I have some magnetic field surrounding me that causes every computer I touch to have cardiac arrest?)

I've been blaming my hormones for my vacillations between anger and despair, but that can only account for so much.

Hovering just below the surface is that thing that I'm not thinking about. That news that I've been expecting yet still shocks me.

My father is sick. And getting sicker.

And in all of my quiet moments I keep thinking about that day when I get the phone call that he is gone and I have to tell my children that their grandfather is dead.

My daughter still talks about her damn dead goldfish.

It's going to be devastating.

So as my husband and I were sharing a nice lunch of leftover pasta, he had to drop a casual bomb on me.

"I hate to say this but I think once your father starts to go, he's going to go quick."

And I started to cry and I haven't stopped yet.

I love that man but he's made this weepy mess. And he's going to have to deal with it.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Appreciate Me

I'm sort of sad that Mother's Day is over. I've been using the May trifecta of Military Spouse Appreciation Day, Mother's Day, and my birthday to, oh, get my way here and there.

"Appreciate me!" I tell my family when I want them to stop watching car shows, or clean their rooms, or buy me stuff. Once my birthday is over, I'm going to have to go back to good old fashion bribery to get what I want.

My husband had to work on Sunday, so he brought me a box of Godiva chocolates on Saturday night. Smart man. You know what I hate about Godiva chocolates? That eventually, they're gone. I could live on that stuff.

My kids made gifts for me at school. Now I have a Preschool-3 handprint plate from my son to match the one my daughter made at the same age. Their preschool teacher also has the kids complete a "language experience" where they fill in the blanks about their mothers.

Here's what my four-year-old had to say about me.

My Mom

My mom is 40 and a half seconds years old.

My mom is the prettiest when at Mom's Day.

My mom likes to make a person.

My mom always says, "No."

My mom is funny when she makes me laugh.

Can you explain what he means by "a person" because he can't? And it is a damn good thing he added that "seconds" part to the forty and a half, or we'd be having words.

At three-years-old, my daughter had this to say.

My Mom

My mom's job is to take care of my baby brother.

The best food she cooks is eggs.

We like to play outside.

She looks pretty when she's wearing a dress.

What she probably should have said is that the only food I cook that she'll eat is eggs and that I so rarely wear a dress that it is shocking when I do.

All in all it was a nice weekend. I'm a little down right now, but I'm sure that by the time school let's out next week, I'll be back to my old self. At least I hope so, because I'm facing a 28 hour drive in a mini van with two kids and a dog and it is best to start out in a good mood.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Tuna Out of Water

We're simple folk.

We really are.

We live pay check to pay check. In fact, this month, I had to do some creative shifting of funds to even make it to our next pay check. Don't worry for the Tuna Kids though. One of the reasons we live pay check to pay check is because we put away huge chucks of cash for them.

My husband may be an officer in the military, but it is not the glamorous life some civilians expect. He's what I would call a mid-level officer. And I know for a fact that he makes about 60% of what he's worth in the civilian world.

Yes, we live on base (which means we don't get a housing allowance) and our house looks pretty nice from the outside. But inside it is mostly creaky floors, rotted doors, and tampon-clogged plumbing.

But, because of the extreme generosity of a member of my husband's family, we are able to own a summer home, drive decent cars, donate to some worthy causes, and most importantly send our kids to a private school.

Every year this family member makes a sizable donation to the school in our kids' names. So every year we are invited to the Donor's Dinner for people who donate more than $5,000 to the school.

This is the first year that we have been in town and able to attend.

Holy crap, you guys! You should have seen the neighborhood we went to for this party. It was a country club neighborhood with an actual armed guard at the gates. The houses could justifiably be called mansions. The one we were in was decorated to an inch of it's life. And that includes the back patio which looked out onto the golf course.

They had valet parking, but at least half of the guests arrived by golf cart.

How the hell much does it pay to be a doctor these days?

I'm sending the Tuna Man back to medical school. The I-fly-in-an-airplane-for-a-living-stuff just isn't cutting it. Of course, the Tuna Man quickly pointed out that I could succeed in medical school just as well as him.

We did have fun though. SW was there and we were cracking each other up. As much as my husband and I are technically out of our element, we always find a way to enjoy ourselves and fit in.

The whole experience has me thinking. As much as the life of an officer's wife has a certain amount of pomp and circumstance to it, it's nothing like this. Most of the officer's wives I know would have been blown away by the house and intimidated by the people.

Most of the people at that party are very good, very nice, very well-respected people. But they could never understand the life of a military spouse.

Today I sat in traffic on base for about ten minutes while two squadrons ran by on their weekly PT. Today I sat in traffic again while a parade of golf carts filled with sombrero-wearing aviators made it's way from the officers' club to the golf course. Today I heard someone complain about how their husband will be away for an entire weekend and I shook my head. Today I heard someone complain that they had to move and I thought of the eight times we had to move in the first four years of our marriage.

Today is Military Wife Appreciation Day. (Appreciate me, damn it!)

While I have been unsuccessful at convincing my son to remind Daddy of that fact, I'm not really thinking of myself today.

Because as I swim in and out of these social groups, I know that I am lucky. Very lucky. Extremely lucky!

Today is a good day to remember all of the military spouses who make food stamps stretch to feed their families. Remember the spouses who stand in line for bread at the chapel. Remember the spouses who are afraid to watch CNN because they don't want to find out about their husband's fate that way. Remember the spouses who are by their beloved's bedside nursing him or her through a lost limb. And remember the spouses who have received the folded flag off of their husband's coffin with grace and dignity.

I'll remember them as I remember to be thankful for every safe return, every dinner invitation, and every day my husband is by my side.

I'll give thanks that my luck hasn't run out yet, and I'll try and prepare for when it will. While living in one of those country club mansions would be really nice, for now, I'm happy to be here on base, with my sisters in military spouse-dom.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Sleepy Girl

Yesterday, I turned down a nooner.

Only to wake up last night at 3:30 a.m. for a late night romp.

I need to get some time management skills.

And a cup of coffee.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Embarrassing Stories, Part 2

Seeing people at their lowest moments is a great way to get to know the real them. Don't you think?

For example, knottyboy shares some embarrassing moments (with video!) and makes us wonder how he's kept his pretty face. And you can't help but love him for it.

He reminded me of one of my finer moments. I wonder if it will offer insight into me.

During my senior year in college, my softball team attended spring training in Florida. My coach (who didn't even want us to know that she existed off of a softball field) surprised us by deciding to have a pool party at the home of her best friends from college. They had a beautiful home with an enclosed pool.

At some point, I decided that I needed to go to the bathroom. I got up from the side of the pool, dried my feet and hurried toward the bathroom.

And walked right into a closed glass door.

Luckily, I didn't go through the door. I didn't quite have enough speed going for that, (plus I weighed, like, 120 pounds back then). But I bounced of with a big "oof" and landed on the concrete patio.

Where I started laughing. Hard.

So hard that I wet myself. Right there in the middle of the party.

As much as my pride and my body were bruised, I had a bigger problem. We were on our way to the airport, and a four hour flight home.

I used my scrapes and bruises as an excuse to get some clean clothes out of the van. But I needed to clean up somehow.

I crept into their bathroom and took a sneaky shower. Don't ask me why I didn't just ask to use their shower. Maybe at 21 years of age I was still intimidated by a pair of massive bull dykes.

But I wasn't sneaky enough. My coach caught me and yelled at me for using the guest towels and I had to explain the whole I-don't-want-to-smell-like-piss-for-the-next-four-hours thing to her.

You know what? I just realized something. A lot of my stories involve pee. There's this one. And this one.

I guess I've been doing these Kegel exercises for something other than my sex life.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Who knew that the Little Tuna Girl would become an author before her mom?

My daughter's school has the sweetest tradition. The first graders write and illustrate their own story. They even bind them with a cover, dedication, head shot, and biography. Then they each take a turn reading their story out loud. And the whole event culminates with a tea party.

My little girl went first and her story was very cute. It was about a horse that she and her friend save from a mean trainer. When they bring the horse home to their backyard, they find out she is pregnant. Then each of the friends can have a horse of her own.

She ended the story like this: "I made up this story but I really do want a horse of my own!!!"

That made all of the parents laugh.

I was warned that seeing her all dressed up and reading her own story to a crowd would make me cry, but I actually, for once, didn't feel like I was going to cry at all.

But, I didn't make it through the morning without crying.

One of the girls in her class wrote the story of how her family moved from New Orleans because of Hurricane Katrina. She even dedicated the book to all of the people who lost their homes to the hurricane. She told of how scared she was the day they drove away from her house and about how they had to leave her pet bunny behind.

I had to fight to keep from sobbing! I'm even tearing up now just writing about it.

So many of the hurricane victims are settled in now, but there are also still shelters full of displaced families here in our city. I know that this little girls' family was very fortunate. They had the resources to relocate and her mom was able to set up another medical practice. They even rescued their pet bunny. But the hurricane is something that has probably shaped her personality for the rest of her life.

It's one thing to put a human face on tragedy. It's something else all together to put a six-year-old's face on it.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Counting Days

You just have to make it through May 6.

You just have to make it through May 6.

You just have to make it through May 6.

That's what I've been telling myself for a couple of months now.

Oh, hey! Look at that date up there. It is May 8. I made it through May 6.

And nothing is any better.

Saturday was the culmination of a year's worth of over-committing, of over-scheduling, of over-doing every thing. We had ballet dress rehearsal, swim class, music graduation, violin recital, and a ballet recital all in one jam packed day.

I barely made it through. The kids were happy though, and that's what matters.

But I have been so looking forward to May 7 for so long. And now nothing really is much better. New commitments replace the old. New stressors come as old stressors go.

I need a vacation.

Oh, wait. I'm getting one. Thank all that is good and holy!

What? Have I not mentioned this?

I'll be going to GBNYC3 this June. And I can't wait.

My husband is going on a long work trip (Don't worry. He'll be in the states and having fun.) so the kids and I leave for Cape Cod on May 27. The kids are spending the first weekend of June with their grandparents. And I'll be partying it up with the likes of him, him, him and even him.

I just have to make it to May 27.

I just have to make it to May 27.

I just have to make it to May 27.

Friday, May 05, 2006

What Separates Us

I was standing in the living room playing with Buffy the wonder puppy last night. I was swinging her toy back and forth and she was racing back and forth to catch it.

At one point she doubled back and tried to snag it on the back swing.

"Ha!," I laughed at her. "You think you can outsmart me? I'm a human!"

Then I cocked her toy up to fake a throw and prove my superior intelligence.

And I swung it right into our chandelier.

I'll be going to Target for replacement globes today.

I think Buffy won this round.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Gym Confessions

I saw a real live penis today.

And it wasn't attached to the man I love!

I was innocently working out at the gym. Someone had turned the pull down machine to face the entrance to the men's locker room. Now, I wouldn't normally stare into the men's locker room.

What? I wouldn't!

But there were two women in that hallway and I was wondering why.

It seems they were taking care of the plants.

As soon as they rolled away an ailing ficus tree, a guy peaked around the corner. That caught my attention too.

And then I saw a tall, towel-wrapped guy stride across the entrance.

If the men's locker room is set up like the women's than there is one lone changing area that you have to pass by the entrance to get to. I suppose towel boy had left his clothes in there.

I continued to heave and ho my fifty pounds on the pull downs, but I hadn't even finished six reps when I saw a white towel wave in front of the entrance.

Of course that caught my attention enough to look again.

This time towel boy was holding his towel to his chest as he strode completely naked by the entrance.

And he was staring right at me.

I saw pee pee and butt!

I laughed. And then I realized that his was the first real live penis (other than the one I vowed to take in sickness and in health) I've seen since I was seventeen-years-old!

Flacid penises look weird.

So my husband wants to know exactly what kind of cruisy gym I go to. And I told him, "Hey! He wasn't even hard!"

I've always been fascinated by men and their behavior. I'd love to be a fly on the wall in a men's locker room just to see if all of the stories I hear are true.

And I'd love to know what makes a guy wag his wee wee at a random housewife. Any insight?

Maybe next time hot bicep man will forget his towel in the changing room.

I'll be watching. But only if something attracts my attention first. Because you know I'm not one to stare into the men's locker room


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Forward Thinking

Lately, I've been taking Tylenol PM to fall asleep every night.

I'm trying not to think about what that means.

Today, I smiled at myself in the mirror and found three new lines below my right eye.

I'm trying not to think about what that means.

In a couple of weeks, I'll turn 33-years-old.

That means I have more sleepless nights and eye wrinkles to look forward to.

I'm trying not to think about it.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I've Got a Friend

Alternately titled: Tooting My Own Horn

Alternately titled: Blowing Smoke Up my Own Ass

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Making friends as an adult is just like dating. And being in a military environment, where people come and go so fast, makes the process even harder.

Since CB moved away (and AH is soon to go too) I've felt pretty friendless. Oh, I have my blogger friends. And you guys rock. Seriously. And I'll always have Patrick, but it isn't the same as having a friend close by who you can share your daily trials and tribulations with.

So I've been purposely trying to be open to making new friends.

But I've been feeling pretty crappy lately. I've been feeling like I'm buried in commitments without anyone to lighten the load. I've been feeling ugly and stuck and tired and like my kids will never grow out of this stage. I've been feeling like a troll.

But isn't it amazing how every once in a while someone reaches out to you, just when you need it most.

There is a women whose kids are in the same classes as my kids who I've always liked. She had braces when I did, and she was one of the few "in" moms to ever make a point to talk to me. She used our braces as an ice breaker. She's thin and beautiful in a very Barbie way, which would usually make me hate her on principal. But, you know, CB was thin and beautiful too.

I think I'm going to call her SW.

SW sweet talked me into serving on the hospital board last year. I thought she was just flattering me at the time. But she is really a very sincere woman. Actually, she's a pretty wonderful person in every way.

Last night, I sent an e-mail to all of the class parents about some room mom stuff. And she sent the following reply back to me.

"By the way, you have absolutely set the bar for all of us who might potentially decide to be room mother in the future!! Seriously, I can't thank you enough for all of your efforts. Your hard work was evident with each program, holiday and event! I have been amazed. Also, on a side note (since I'm being honest) You truly exude the kind of genuine warmth and kindness that is absolutely worthy of praise! Your quiet confidence, (that I used to mistake as shyness) is enviable! Thanks for all that you did this year to make it so special."

She's changed my entire outlook on life with that one e-mail.

She didn't have to do that. She didn't have to take the time or risk to express herself that way. And she's said these kinds of things to me in person before. But she tagged the three qualities I think are most important in just a couple of sentences.



Quietly confident.

That is all I ever really hoped to be.

I don't see myself ever really being a part of her group. For one thing, I can't afford it. For another, I don't have the childcare options they do. And for a last, I'm a huge dork who never fits in anywhere. (Okay, that's not really true. But it is that kind of feeling that keeps me from inviting myself on their annual girls' weekend like AH did.)

But when I see SW at carpool today, she's getting a big hug from me.

Sometimes I need a reminder that people like me. People actually like me. I'm a likeable person. Who would have thought?

I hope that in my own way, I've done for someone else what SW did for me today. I hope I have at some point been that well-timed friend to tell someone how I really feel. Because I can't really give that gift back to SW, but I can pass it on.

It's time to get over my phone shyness and give CB a call.