Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Stupid Is The New Black

I don't know when being educated and articulate became so contemptible in this country, but in a blaze of stupid glory we have been waving the idiot flag with gusto.

Was it when Sarah Palin couldn't name a single publication that she reads on a regular basis and her supporters felt that she was being unfairly criticized by the left?  Or was it when the Housewives of Orange County/Atlanta/New York/New Jersey/Beverly Hills started enacting a vapid, empty life devoid of anything of substance (save for collagen and Botox) on Bravo seven days a week?  Or when 24-hour cable news needed to fill a whole lot of time and so they'd drag anybody in to offer an opinion whether they were qualified or not.

I used to shake my head at these kind of people and pity them for their ignorance, because it turns out you really can get pregnant when you're raped.  That expelling of rape sperm is completely made up and when you go on an interview and start saying stuff like that you look like a fool.

Except in this country you don't any more.  You have your fan base who will fight to the bitter end saying that you were misunderstood, and a media who is complicit in repeating the myth.  Months later, the race for the U.S. Senate seat is still too close to call which to the even minimally informed person seems ludicrous.

My fool limit has reached its max.  The Kansas House passed a bill to make it legal to not serve gays.  Though it didn't make it to the Senate I'm pretty sure it will come back in a different form because dumb people just mix the sentences up and present it again, much like the way they answered the essay questions on the history final in high school.

Arizona, not to be outdone on the stupid meter, passed a bill making it legal to not serve anybody you don't like.  The governor is being coy on whether or not she'll sign it.  Seeing as how they are hosting the Superbowl next year this should be very interesting.  Even exceptionally dumb elected officials know that money talks. 

At a party we were at on Saturday, a woman was telling me about a conversation she had with an acquaintance who joked that she went out for drinks with friends and completely forgot she had a loaded gun in her purse.  Isn't that hilarious?  Wouldn't that be a hoot if it went off in a crowded restaurant?

Which brings me back to Kansas and its quest for ignorance superiority.  One representative has introduced a bill making it legal for a teacher/principal/babysitter/daycare provider to spank a child up to ten times.  Marks, of course, could happen in the "disciplining" and would not be grounds for any criminal charges.

Many families are familiar with the dreaded relative that makes an appearance at Thanksgiving and sits at the table reminiscing about the good, old days when blacks knew their place, homosexuals got beaten straight, and the only Hispanics they ever saw was in National Geographic.  Thankfully, the onslaught of racism and homophobia is an annual event to be endured, and you can't be baited into an argument if you're shoving another piece of pumpkin pie into your mouth. 

Now that guy is your representative.


Monday, February 24, 2014

It's Gotta Be Somewhere

It's been a rough couple of weeks here in Speckled Troutland.  A simple replacement of an old crown has turned into a saga of pain, infection, antiobiotics, barfy stomach due to antibiotics, allergic reaction to prescription oral rinse, and three trips to the dentist within a week.

Sheesh, I'm a weebly mess when I have to have my teeth cleaned so this has put me over the edge.  Or on the edge.

In my desperation to feel better, I said to The Big Daddy, "I can't find my mouthguard.  Maybe that's it.  Maybe since I haven't been wearing it things have gotten worse.  Maybe I'm grinding that temporary to smithereens at night."

He nodded.

"And my free sample of laser repair cream from Clinique.  It's a little blue bottle.  Maybe it's green.  Let's call it a bluish green.  It says Laser Repair Cream on the front.  Have you seen that because I can't find that either?  I really need that since this tooth is keeping me up every night.  It promises to make you look less haggy in two weeks if applied twice a day after moisturizing."

He nodded.

"My mouthguard and my laser repair cream.  They're both missing," I said.  Or shrieked.  Or pounded my fists into the mattress.

The Big Daddy snapped to attention and offered this piece of sage advice, "It's gotta be somewhere."

"WHAT?  WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?  IT'S GOTTA BE SOMEWHERE?  DID YOU JUST SAY THAT?"

He did.  He said that.

Two weeks ago he had to drive to a big meeting and before he left I told him he needed to fill the tank.  Ten minutes later he called from the gas station because he had locked his keys in the car.  Friday he left his wallet here.  Friday night he left his keys at work.

That is but the tip of the iceberg of lost, misplaced items that he loses on a daily basis.  The things I mother him through.  Did you look in your briefcase?  Do you think you dropped it somewhere?  What about under the seat of the car?  Did you look there?  Did you go out to lunch today?  Maybe you left it at the restaurant.

And all I get in return is  "It's gotta be somewhere."

It is a given that I am grinding day and night.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Packing For The Rapture

After a perfect weekend with not one, but two parties, The Big Daddy and I were chatting on the way home from party #2.  The dinner party with the prime rib that we've talked about over and over because we talk about great meals with gusto, much like the local weatherman forecasting spring's first whiff of tornadic activity.

The BD had to go and ruin the prime rib honeymoon I was enjoying by asking, "If you had to leave home and didn't know when or if you were coming back and could only take two suitcases what would you put in them?"

Not only did this leave a sudden acidic taste in my mouth after such a delish meal, but this is the kind of question he normally only asks when there is a Republican in the White House.  Maybe 2016 already has him worried.

I am used to these sorts of thinly veiled panic attacks from him, though, and so I answered quickly and truthfully, "Photos and underpants."

"Bwahahahahahahahaha," he chuckled.  "No, really, what would you take?"

"Really, that is what I would take.  Photos of everybody I love so I can look at them and clean underpants to change into for the end times.  In case I realize I'm being left behind and you know, have an accident."

He was being serious.  So was I.  We went back and forth like that for awhile but there really wasn't anything else I could think of.

A knife to stab myself?

A Tide pod and Clorox to wash my underpants?

Floss?

Granola bars?

I am lightening my load around here lately.  There is a stack o' crap in the basement that will be stickered and hauled out this spring for MY LAST GARAGE SALE EVER.  We are down to two vacuums instead of three.  I have pitched dried up paint cans by the dozen.  Have a dog?  Need a kennel?  Free for the taking.  There is a bag of clothes to donate and I'm still at it.  If it hasn't gotten worn this winter, is too tight, too loose, too short or too tall it has gone in the bag.  I am being ruthless about getting rid of stuff.

Stuff.  Overwhelming stuff.

Last week my mom turned 86.  A darling, vibrant 86.  Believe me, we are well aware and enormously thankful that we have her and she is in good health.

If I'm forced out of my home and into the unknown, I'll clutch her photo and my suitcase of clean underwear and forge on with hope, faith and a wicked sense of humor.  Just like she's always shown me.


                                           .Photo: This beauty is 86 years old today, and is still 86 million times cooler than I will ever be. Happy birthday to the best G-Dawg in the world!



Thursday, February 13, 2014

My Little Valentine

Part of the dilemma of writing a blog is trying to determine which stories are yours to tell.  I could post something new every day, but most of the time the story belongs to somebody else and is not mine to tell.

This may be one of those times but I think on the day of big love it needs to be out there in the light.

Recently, I was with some friends and one of them invited a young mom over to join us for a glass of wine.  During the conversation, the mom said she was asked by another mom if she would be bringing Valentines to daycare.  It had never occurred to her and the other mom implied that it wasn't an option.  "And not some cheap Target cards but something homemade.  Something Pinteresty."

"How old are we talking here," I asked.

"One. They're one year olds."

The other seasoned mom and I said, "Nononononononononono."

"NO.  And don't let anybody guilt you into that."

That's life in suburbia with our first world problems.

**********

I texted Maggie about going to the thrift store on Monday since we are both off for President's Day.  She was up for it even though she had just gone.  One of her little 1st graders is newly homeless and so she went after work to buy him some clothes.

That is life on the other side of town with its real problems.

***********

Happy Valentine's Day. 

Spread the love.

Ditch the cards.

Be somebody's champion.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Wedding Feast In Topeka

When we moved from Illinois to Maryland, I became accustomed to using the word "soda" instead of the Midwestern "pop." 

When we moved from Maryland to Kansas and had been here all of three days, I was in a line at the grocery store and said to the woman ahead of me, "If you don't mind I'm just going to put my soda up here."

"We don't say soda.  Where are you from?" she asked.

"We just moved from outside of Washington D.C.," I replied.

"Oh honey," she said, "you're going to hate it here."

I was amused and kind of scared and I have told that story a hundred times.

Kansas isn't my sweet home Chicago nor is it the epicenter of world politics, but it has had its perks over the years and has felt like home.  When things go off the rails around here I have plenty of like-minded friends and we commiserate over that which make us crazy and homesick.

Things have been going off the rails a lot lately.

This week the Kansas House passed a bill making it legal for anyone to deny service to gays based on religious belief.  By religious belief they mean Christian because if there were ever a religion that is being oppressed it's Christianity in America.  

You would think anything that discriminating would never get anywhere in a legit, legal process but this is Kansas, after all.

Proponents of the law say it was necessary because of a fear of lawsuits like the one filed in Oregon when a gay couple was denied service from a florist based on their orientation.

Are florists attracting such blockbuster business these days that they can turn down any business?  If you owned a floral shop and two guys came in with a whole lot of disposable income would you really tell them to go across town because they're not your "kind"?

Or would you upsell them on boutonnieres like any florist worth their roses would do?

Across the state line Michael Sam stood up and said "Yep, I'm gay and I play football," and sports enthusiasts cheered for the first guy gutsy enough to say those words out loud.

Here in Kansas we keep trying to shove those people back into the closet but they keep trickling out one by one.

So in a God-fearing state like this maybe a wedding planner need only ask "What would Jesus do?"  He would listen to his mother.  When the wedding in Cana was running short on wine his mother told him to do something about it.  He turned water into more adult beverages and the party got better.

Make the floral arrangements.  Bake the chicken and put it on a buffet with green beans and mashed potatoes.  Make sure the microphones are working for the toasts and that the bathrooms are spotless.  Watch the grooms dance with their mothers and have some fun in the back with your waitresses doing the electric slide.  Hire a bartender who is better at estimating consumption than the wedding consultants at Cana.

Make your customers so happy they tell everyone they know to use you, bank your profits and tip your employees for all their hard work.  Go home and tell your wife that if this keeps up maybe you can take a vacation this year. 

Whenever you doubt whether or not you are doing the right thing, open your Bible and remind yourself that all we have ever been asked is to "Love one another."

And twenty years from now tell your grandkids about the time that there were people who tried to make it legal to hate others but you chose not to participate.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Punxsutawny State Of Mind

One of Mark's favorite movies is Groundhog Day. 

Ned?  Ned Ryerson?

I'm not a fan but Mark says it's because I don't get it.  I did, in fact, get it but my failure to love it as much as he did was due to the fact that I got bored watching the same scenes over and over.  It is too much like my real life every February.

Get up, go to work, come home, drag myself into the kitchen to make dinner and then park myself on the couch.  I try to will myself to do something besides nothing, but though the mind is willing (sort of) the body is not.

All month long.

I wonder if this is how it went in pioneer days.  Working feverishly until the cold swept across the prairie and then Ma and Pa would settle in the cabin until the March winds blew the first hint of spring.

I wonder if Ma lounged on the sofa with her ipad scrolling Facebook and Pinterest while watching The Biggest Loser.  Did she become more alert when her phone dinged of a new email?  Groupon?  Thai food?  Goose Creek sale?

What is Goose Creek and why do I get emails from them all the time?  

Even Valentine's Day does little to perk me up as I have always been disappointed by the expectations of that day.  While flowers are being delivered at a record pace I insist that it isn't necessary to buy something for me on that day.  Do I really mean that?  I don't even know the answer to that so how is my husband supposed to figure it out.

To add misery to a miserable month, I had to get a crown replaced.  I made dozens of excuses to put this off until it got to the point where the dentist's office was no longer going to let me off the hook.  There I found myself on a dismal Friday morning with my shaky, anxiety-riddled self sitting in the dentist's chair for a two-and-a-half hour appointment.

The old crown was not giving up the fight very easily and if my darling dentist drilled any longer I think she would have hit my spleen.  At one point, she gave me a break and her assistant (who happens to be gay and can talk hair products like a pro) asked us if we'd watched the Superbowl.  "I only watched if for the commercials," the dentist said.

Looking at me, he then asked what my favorite commercial was.  "I loved the Coke one," I told him and then the dentist piped in that Coke was always about being inclusive so what in the world was all the fuss about.

We all agreed, and then Cutey Patootie Assistant asked, "Do you guys want to know what my favorite commercial was?"

"Sure."

"David Beckham."

"Oh yeah.  I forgot about that one.  He is pretty hot," I said.

"How could you forget about that one??!!!  Girrrrrrrrrrrrl......when I saw David Beckham running around in his underwear I was like I'll take a pair of those whitey tighties and you can include him."

That conversation has made me giggle all weekend, and though Cutey Patootie Assistant isn't named Phil he sure felt like a welcome blast of fresh air.


Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Sum Of Our Parts

When Will first came out to us he was a mere fifteen years old.  My first reaction was utter fear for him.  In one of our many talks that followed, I asked him if any of his friends knew.  They did.......for is anybody ever shocked to learn that someone is gay?

Rather early on I said to him, "I'm not asking you to keep it a secret, but I don't think you need to share this information outside of your circle of friends right now.  Maybe down the road but not just yet."

He agreed because besides being born gay he was born agreeable.

If I could take that back if I would.

While I will likely always fight the fear of somebody hurting him, the unspoken truth of my request was because the whole idea of him dating freaked me out.   All of my kids were late bloomers when it came to that, but sometimes I wonder if over time I made my problem his problem.

After high school he spent four years at college in rural Kansas which hardly offers a variety of dating options outside of straight, conservative, Baptist farm boys. 

Now he is home, employed, and confident and has decided to put himself out there in the dating world.  I am not holding my breath this time but being rather being pleady with my prayers. Pleasegodpleasegodpleasegod let there be one great guy out there who thinks he hung the moon.   One guy who makes him love life even more.  One guy that we can't wait to cram around the table for Sunday dinner.  One guy that will embrace the annual-after-Christmas-family-bowling tournament.

Just one guy.........

Recently, Will met someone for a beer and we all pounced on him for the details later.  What did you think?  What's he look like?  Did you like him?  Are you going to go out again?

"Well," he said, "it was okay except everything he talked about was being gay.  I mean I know I am, too, but that's not all I am."

A rising tide lifts all boats.

That kid is our tide.