Saturday, June 30, 2007

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

Hello Hello
I don't know why you say goodbye, I say Hello

Dear People Who I Think Have Kidnapped Finny:

I believe that you have him, and that you love him. I believe that he needed more stimulation, and perhaps a Lucy-free home. I don't know why she is so hostile to other cats. I rescued her, and maybe she just thinks I am her savior and anyone who threatens that, threatens her personal safety. Well. Lucy, I am your savior, and I will protect you and love you all the days of your ever-bitching life. I love you anyway, honey. I love you despite.

I have been very angry, thinking of you people, how this really incredible boy walked into your homes and you fell in love, but I'm angry because he walked in with a collar that speaks of my care for him. Of my concern, of my worry, of my mother-instincts. His collar tells you his name, and the phone number of where his home his.

And if you took him from me and did not call that phone number, you are evil, awful people. I have worried and cried and searched and cried and searched and worried about Finny. I have called for him and walked for him and cried and cried more. I have hoped for him, I have prayed for him, I have yearned for him with an intensity that would burn you up, that would immolate you and everything within a 10 mile radius of your sick, nasty heart.


I have been thinking that karma will get you someday. You will have terrible troubles befall you - things that no good person should endure, and you will endure these things because my wrath is a wispy finger of smoke - it may take years for my wrath to get to you, but I will damn you, for all time, for eternity - for taking my baby from me. I will meet you on the other side and I will slap you to hell and back only for the opportunity to slap you again, only for the opportunity to shake you and shake you and shake you because you took my little boy and you never let me make sure he was safe, and you didn't consider that I would cry while thinking of him injured and needing me, and that all my failures as a human being and a mom flew up in my head and battered me, battered me bloody.

You were so unkind to me.

But if karma gets you and you have my baby, then karma will hurt my baby, and I cannot withstand that.
So I forgive you. I release you from all the wrongdoing of what you did. I give you my forgiveness, so that my little man is forever safe and sound. I forgive you, I forgive you.

Now love him. Love him within an inch of his life. Love him as though the stability of the earth itself depended on it.
Love him when he is darling, and love him when he is exasperating and love him, love him, love him through all of your trials and tribulations. Think of him as a gift. He is my gift to you, he was my gift from the moment I laid eyes on him, he is a gift, he is a dear, he is my love.

Take very good care of my baby. I will meet him again someday, and I want him to have been loved.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Day Two In Ohio

I'm having so much fun. Unbelievable.

11:55am - I wake up. Everyone's up, my dad's gone and my mom's in the shower. Usually on a weekend I hear my dad watching TV in the mornings, because they always put the loud stuff under my bedroom, knowing how accomodating I am to noise and the whatnot.

1:00pm - after 1300 cups of coffee (and grape leaves and hummus) and much chatting with my parents, I help my dad plant his planter box and several large pots with seasonal flowers for the summer. This is the man from whom I've inherited every green thing about my thumb. If I were to try to tell you how much it meant to me to garden with him for three hours, I would fall desperately short of how cool it was. So I won't even try. Except to say that it was an unexpected gift this weekend. Especially since Father's Day is right now.

3:45pm - My mom and I go grocery shopping. Agony, because we both hate it, and they were out of limes, and then the next place was out of my dad's brand of cigarettes. So we stopped at three stores and we both hate shopping. Blech. We immediately made a drink when we got home. It is so comforting to be around like-minded individuals. There is no time when I want a drink that they are not thinking the same thing. I am truly back with my peoples, from whence I am sprung.

7:15pm - We go to a benefit for "Rally for the Cure." The entire NW Ohio contingent of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure against Breast Cancer is dedicated to my mom's dear friend Georgie Navarro, who passed away in January from Breast Cancer. And that should tell you what an AWESOME lady Georgie was. My mom wins a silent auction for a print of St. Andrews Golf Course, and most of you will know why she bid on it. She said, this is so special to me, this weekend, with you here and what you guys are going to do, I just couldn't pass it up.

8:45pm - we are all hammered, and everyone is wearing pink at this thing. We were going to go out for sushi, but instead, everyone is coming to my parents' house to play the Wii that my mom got my dad for father's day. We have pizza and a Wii tournament, and we all suck royally, and then everyone leaves and my parents and I do the most awesome thing:

WE SIT IN THEIR NEWLY REDONE BASEMENT AND WATCH THE BEEGEES IN CONCERT ON MY DAD'S DVD. With surround sound. And I know every word to every song, and I can't figure out why, until my mom tells me they were her favorite band, and when I was a little girl she played their albums constantly, OVERANDOVER again, and even still, she is laughing and delighted that I know them so well, and a piece of my personal life puzzle clicks into place and I think, THERE. That's one parcel of me explained.

Then we watch Roy Orbison and Friends, then Queen, and then Monterey Pop Festival, and then Fleetwood Mac, and then the Eagles, and now my dad is rocking out to Rod Stewart. I had to go, because I am drunk and we are going to my grandfather's grave tomorrow morning to drink mimosas and tell him how much he meant to our lives. We're all meeting there. All of us.

You guys, you have no idea, I'm home and I all of a sudden remember who I am. I forget from time to time. But this is my legacy, and all of these things explain to me exactly who I am and why I do the things I do. And I think it is to my detriment that I am away from my family so much. Because you can't possibly understand me, if you don't know them.

Friday, June 15, 2007

First Full Day In Ohio

It is 11:35pm in Ohio right now, and my mom went to bed because she wrenched her shoulder getting my grandmother's present out of the car (an automatically retracting hose wheel for her garden, it apparently weighed 50 pounds and my godmother Joycie laughed at my mom and hauled it one handed (after 5 margaritas) into her own car) and my dad is drinking a glass of red wine and watching a cooking show whose camera angles are making my head spin.

But perhaps that is because I have consumed more alcohol in a 12 hour period than I have for the last six weeks combined. Welcome to a Tice/Wilhelm Ohio visit!

I'll recap for those of you who have never come here with me.

6:23am - my dad gets up and goes out to get the paper. The security system beeps when he leaves the house, and beeps again when he comes in. For some reason these two beeps wake me instantly and completely. I lie in bed and listen to my dad make coffee and then I pad downstairs and get a cup. It is now 7:00am and my father's mouth drops open in shock to see me. I drink two cups of coffee and then head upstairs to lie in bed and read my book.

8:45am - my dad leaves for work and says something to my mom. This is after he walks in and out of the house at least 13 separate times, sending the security system into apoplectic shock.

8:50am - I peek my head into my mom's room and she is doing the crossword puzzle in bed, drinking coffee. I ask what my dad said and she says, "He said to pace ourselves today, because we have a long night ahead of us." She means my grandmother's birthday lunch at our favorite Mexican place, Loma Lindas.

10:45am - after my mom and I have read the paper, had three more cups of coffee each, and looked at photos she's taken over the last 17 years (her memory chips holds, currently, 700 pictures, to which I say, what the hell is wrong with my camera that it is full after 10??? Ridiculousness) we head out to get pedicures. We laugh and chat the entire time and then we head over to Lomas to surprise my grandmother.

12:30pm - EVERYONE is at Lomas. EVERY single member of my mother's side of the family are there. I walk in to surprise my grandma (after sitting in the parking lot for 15 minutes because Joycie is late, as usual, and doesn't want to miss the surprise. So we wait, and as soon as she walks into the restaurant, we do too.
My family has taken over one whole room in the restaurant, all the waitresses know us by first name (at least one member of my family is at this restaurant every day of the week except Monday, because they are closed that day). We have been doing this for over 30 years. I walk in and head over to my grandma to surprise her. She sees me when I am about 10 feet away and her mouth drops open in shock. She stands up so quickly she knocks my cousin Adam in the head with her arm. She bursts into tears and lights up with the biggest smile I've seen from her in a while. I want to freeze this memory in my mind, because it is the single best feeling in my life. My aunts freak out, too, because they didn't know I was coming. Everyone is crying and rushing up to hug me and I haven't felt this loved in a long time. It feels great, and I'm smiling and crying and laughing and hugging people into comas.

We eat lunch and she opens presents and Joycie hands me her card to Grandma, saying, read this, Ena, you'll cry your eyes out. And it is good, but Joycie has taught me well, Grandma opens my card, the card I bought about three hours earlier, and the one that made me burst into tears in the card aisle. Joycie reads over my grandma's shoulder and bursts out crying and declares me the winner.

I am covered in cousins and aunts and my mom's best friend is sitting across from me and my grandma is sitting next to me and my mom and I are laughing at our own jokes, and I just cannot tell you how much I need this. I absolutely love my family, I love them dearly. I miss them more than I realize. What a great place to be from.

Somehow we drink 4 margaritas and each of us only take a few bites of our food, what with all the joyous chaos. My mom and I grab PJ, Allison and Mallory (cousins, PJ is my favoritest of favorites, and he's a total computer whiz.) We stop by their house and my mom buys his friend's Wii for my dad for father's day. Then Mallory and PJ come over and PJ rewires the house. No kidding, he just set up wireless internet and hooked up the Wii, but the guy is incredibly impressive with his technical skills and know-how. I swear there is NOTHING this guy can't do. We bowl and play tennis with the Wii for a couple of hours until my dad gets home, and he plays my 12 year old cousin Mallory in bowling and she almost beats him. (oh and I have a beer, while my mom has a beer and then a scotch and my dad has two martinis.)

6:30pm - we head down to the Toledo zoo for Toledo's biggest event of the year, the ZooTo-Do. Expensive tickets, and the men wear tuxedo coats, shirts, cumberbunds and then shorts and tennis shoes. The ladies wear high end dresses and tennis shoes. You buy drink tickets and all the best restaurants in Toledo have booths where they have samples of their food and the food is excellent and it is free. I drink two cosmos and a margarita.

We stay until the thing is breaking up, my parents know every single person in Toledo and they all tell me I look JUST like my mom and there are three bands and it is just awesome. I argue with my dad about whether the band is playing Queen or Def Leppard, and I'm right. I have to sing along to prove it and he gives up, whether because he believes me or just wants me to stop singing, I'm not so sure.

We drive home, I'm having a glass of red wine, and tomorrow I'm going to go shopping with my mom and then come home and help my dad plant his flower baskets and then I think we're going out to dinner. On Sunday I'm golfing with my mom, dad and my uncle Bob which right there are three of my most favorite people on earth. I couldn't be happier right now.

I'm home.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Not My Life

I'm completely dialed into the grief outpouring that is the lost pet community.
There's a woman who's been looking for her dog for three months. She posts on Craigslist every day. I listen to the shelter hotlines each morning, to the point where now I know the schedules of the different workers who call in.

There's the one guy at the Seattle shelter that they must be testing out, but he is too cheery, and says everything in a way that makes it sound like a joke, and I want to call him and say, this is no joke, buddy. This way I feel? It couldn't be LESS like a joke. And if you announce the arrival of one more deceased family loved one with that cheer in your voice, I'm going to come over there and beat the shit out of you. For myself, and for everyone who is dialing that number (that they now know by heart) just hoping to hear that their baby was found and turned in, and that you insensitive fuckers at the pound don't harrass and stress them out too much.

In addition to the 100s of lost cat ads posted daily on various websites, there are the occasional FOUND cat posts. I check all of these with so much hope in my heart, and then I see these stupid cats blinking back at me, photographed in all sorts of weird area, sinks, tubs, wherever their fear has driven them, once they gave up and allowed themselves to be caught.

And I think, Finny, honey, will you please let someone catch you? Because I know how smart you are, and how tricky, and how absolutely impossible you were to catch when you didn't want to be caught. Remember when we used to use the flashlight to lure you inside at night? And when you wised up to that we used the laser pointer? And when you wised up to that we pulled weeds and tossed them, knowing that you would run over to help, and to chase the weedlings and pounce on them? And when you wised up to that, Mommy just let you stay out. She just kept the bed warm, and made sure that when you finally came in, you knew you were wanted, and loved beyond all reason. That's what Moms are for.

But then I also think that Finny was such a joy, such unadulterated love and purity, that I wasn't supposed to have him the whole time. That maybe there's another harried woman, coming home from a job she despises, into a house where she could use some help, and now that I've got a light at the end of my tunnel, and my husband doesn't work insane hours, well, now I've got things to lighten my load. So maybe Finny was needed elsewhere.

But then I think, no. NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.
He was MINE and that was the deal. That was the deal. You weren't the one that woke up in the middle of the night because an 11 week old kitten was biting your feet, and you looked at the bedspread and it was bloody, because he was teething. And you didn't pick him up and let him chew on your fingers for an hour until he conked out in your arms, exhausted and with freshly broken new back teeth in his little mouth. You didn't do that for him. I did.

Oh, tinks, it is so hard to keep going on with this hope. And Lakshmi wants to walk with me, but I'm afraid to let her see what I get like when the hope overwhelms me and then leaves me broken. When I think maybe today, maybe this time I call, maybe this time the phone rings, or someone emails me with a Your Lost Pet subject line, when they post of an orange male neutered tabby anywhere within a 30 mile radius of me, and then CRACK. I'm back to three weeks ago when I walked into the house from gardening and thought, "That's funny. I haven't seen Finny since I got home."

But it isn't funny. It wasn't then, and it isn't now, and for every 40 cats that go missing each day, they find one or two per week. And I don't think that any of those FOUND postings are going to be you. Because that is not my life.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

What You Do

We threw a baby shower yesterday for my dear friend Gaia.
We threw it co-ed and things got out of hand, as all good parties do.

There was much drinking. There were shots.
My husband ended the night early, nauseous and complaining of a headache.

When I woke him this morning he said, "I don't feel well."
I gave him another 1/2 hour to sleep while I unloaded and loaded the dishwasher.
While I was doing that, I thought the following:

OF COURSE you don't feel well! You drank a lot!
That's kind of the deal you make when you drink.
You start talking to your body the day of the party, and you say,

Liver - going to need your help tonight. Have you been working out? Good.
Brain, be prepared, because you might hurt tomorrow, and please don't lose yourself and start being honest with people again. We've talked about that before, and Remorse is very upset about the last party, as are Guilt and Embarrassment. So let's keep it together here.
You talk to your Balance and you say, Keep Me Upright All Night, and I will take that yoga class you've been asking for.

After thinking a minute, you say, Gag Reflex? You might want to get a babysitter. Not sure if I'll need you, and fergodsake don't show up early, but I'm making Grandma's margaritas tonight, and you know how that goes.

Then you go to the party. You drink your ass off, and all the while, all your body parts are rooting for you (or against you, as the case may be) and you have a great time and you laugh loudly and then someone puts on dance music and you don't remember much else.

And your body hangs with you, and helps you recover the next day (or if you're in you 30s, the next three days) and that's the DEAL. You feel lousy because they're pissed at you, because they have their normal jobs, and then you throw overtime into the mix and THAT is why your body breaks down when you're in your 70s and 80s.

Because by that time you no longer call the shots for yourself, and the organs and other various functions have their way with you.

So what I really mean by all of this is, SUCK IT UP, POPE. You feel this way because you drank too much, NOW GET UP and help me unload the dishwasher.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Household Math!!

Husband Math:

Comet + New Scrubby Thing + 30 minutes = Stunningly still-grimy tub and bewildered wife.

Wife Math:

Comet + New Scrubby Thing + 5 minutes = Sparkling Clean tub and grimy wife.

Husband Math:

One tall can of baked beans = Enough for 12 people

Wife Math:

One tall can of baked beans = You're out of your fucking mind, buy more beans.

This is Bullsheet

I am getting ready for a party, and trying to make all the beds (two) with clean sheets.
We have clean sheets, I remember well that one Sunday evening where I washed and folded no less than 30 sets of sheets.
Which, for two beds, I was incredulous!!

So this morning I go and there are two mishmashed sets of white clean sheets. Only, no, they're not complete sets.
One bottom sheet, two top sheets and three pillowcases.

WHERE DID EVERYTHING GO? And WHY do I have a set of sheets for a twin bed? When did I have a twin bed?!?!?!

Oh right, in college I had a twin bed. Which was, mmmmmm, 432 years ago.


UPDATE! Found a wadded up bottom sheet under all the clothes in my husband's hamper. GREAT.

And as luck would have it, I'm almost out of detergent. You know when you have to hold it up in odd angles to get the very last drops? Yes, that's where I am.

In other news, the bathrooms look really great when they're clean. Must remember this.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

This Dark Apartment - James Schuyler

Coming from the deli
a block away today I
saw the UN building
shine and in all the
months and years I've
lived in this apartment
I took so you and I
would have a place to
meet I never noticed
that it was in my view.

I remember very well
the morning I walked in
and found you in bed
with X. He dressed
and left. You dressed
too. I said, "Stay
five minutes." You
did. You said, "That's
the way it is." It
was not much of a surprise.

Then X got on speed
and ripped off an
antique chest and an
air conditioner, etc.
After he was gone and
you had changed the
Segal lock, I asked
you on the phone, "Can't
you be content with
your wife and me?" "I'm
not built that way,"
you said. No surprise.

Now, without saying
why, you've let me go.
You don't return my
calls, who used to call
me almost every evening
when I lived in the coun-
try. "Hasn't he told you
why?" "No, and I doubt he
ever will." Goodbye. It's
mysterious and frustrating.

How I wish you would come
back! I could tell
you how, when I lived
on East 49th, first
with Frank and then with John,
we had a lovely view of
the UN building and the
Beekman Towers. They were
not my lovers, though.
You were. You said so.

Still Not Over It

Dear Finny,

You have been missing for over two weeks now. Going on three. I don't check your places anymore, but I still sit quietly outside listening for you. The kids behind our house are tormenting me, because their far off cries sound so like a meow that it stops my heart, over and over and over again.

Life goes on. It always just trudges right along, disregarding the rent in the earth which represents the day, the minute, the second I realized you were missing. Disregarding the broken pieces of my heart that I'm trying to hold together as I run to catch up.

Your brother and sister are okay. They are different now. Happier, and that makes me so sad. Because you made ME happier. And now they are benefitting, because I am just so glad for the love, and soft furry affection, that I am pouring all the hurt I have over you into love for them, and they are revelling in it.

A lady said that she saw you - she called me and I was away, I was in California, and she wasn't sure when it might have been that she saw you, but she was pretty sure she saw you, and I called your Dad and he went right over there and called and called and called. He put posters everywhere, but I want you know, he loves you, Honey. As much as me. And we both decided that you wouldn't come if he called, so when I got back, I risked all pride and arrest to prowl that nice lady's yard and call out to you. But you didn't come, and she wasn't sure when she saw you, so you could have been anywhere at that point. But I want you to know that both Mommy and Daddy are worried and looking, and not giving up.

Listen, baby, if you found another family that you like better, that is okay. I will understand. I'm your Mom, and all I want is what is best for you. And Dad and I are going to be moving, and that is traumatic to me, because what if you are still lost and it takes you months to get home, and when you finally get here, we are no longer here? And I lie awake at night, crying, because Honey, I would never do that to you. You were supposed to come with us. You were always supposed to come with us. But listen, I will leave the back door open my whole life. I will always be waiting for you. Mommy is really scared right now, because so many things are happening, and she is afraid that something will teter out of balance and offset the whole equation. And things are falling apart elsewhere and she might just be the only one that can truly see that.

You know, your Mom doesn't get scared very often, in fact, this is the first time in a long time that I can remember being afraid. And I'm excited, but it is a big committment, and you know your Mom isn't good at those. It also means saying a pretty indefinable goodbye to some people who mean alot to me, and for one of the first times in my life I'm not so sure I can do that. Of course you know I will, because above all else, I am an adventurer, but it weighs heavily on my heart right now.

Finny, maybe you are dead, and that's okay, too. I wish I knew for certain, so that I could stop worrying and just KNOW, but I'm a realist. Everyone wants to tell me about all these cats they know that went walkabout and came home months later, but I know you, baby. I know you loved me and came home every night so I could rub your face and stroke your fur softly as you slept beside me, becoming vulnerable for only the briefest moments in an entire day. And if you died so that some coyote mommy could feed her babies, well, I can understand that. It doesn't mean that Mommy won't kill the next coyote she actually sees, but I can understand the motivation.

But I still dream up incredible heroic rescues, where I climb 300 feet down a ravine and tuck your weary body in my shirt and climb up with tree roots to drive you to the vet and save your life. I walk around the neighborhood and imagine you peering out of someone's front window, and I walk up and rescue you and bring you home. I imagine you walking through the backyard and I'm in the garden, and you see me and you're tired and dirty and you start running toward me and I start running toward you and the music of life swells in the background and we are reunited and never to part again.

I dream all these things because I love you, little man.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

What Happened on Monday

We went to see a movie with Lakshmi and DB.
Oh, right, you don't know DB yet!!

Here is DB:

We were attending the 5:40pm showing of Spiderman 3, along with about 37 chattering toddlers.
NOTE TO MOTHERS EVERYWHERE: I did not pay upwards of $20 to listen to the nonsensical babbling of your (admittedly adorable) kids. GET THEE A BABYSITTER, before my eyeballs pop out of my head, what with all the glaring.

Anyway, I digress. DB had slept late. I wish DB would stop doing this, because it really hurts my efforts to shame the Pope out bed before 3:00pm on the weekends. A little help, here, guys!!

Oh, here's DB again:

Are you kind of getting a sense of this guy? No? Well, I'll elaborate a bit. He's the greatest guy. He is incredibly fun, intelligent, funny and good-natured. He's the kind of guy that you meet and you're just blown away with all the awesomeness. Adjectives fail him. He's someone that creates joy whenever he is around. Really, you should meet him. I'll give you his phone number.

He also buys drinks for anyone in a 3 mile radius, and that's never a bad thing. (Unless you're his lovely wife, Lakshmi. Or have boobs, because he can get FRIENDLY.)

So DB woke up just in time to scurry out of the house. He stopped in the garage and slipped on his shoes. He noticed somethng on the side of the shoe. It was sticky. He wiped it away a bit, and then they got in the car and drove to the theatre. As soon as DB put the shoe on, he thought, "my sock is all jacked up in the toe! Oh well, it'll work itself out." BECAUSE DB IS GOOD-NATURED. You see? Any woman would have immediately and irritatedly sat down and unjacked the sock, because women are not generally good-natured.

As they drove to the theatre, DB thought to himself that his shoe was really feeling tight. Maybe my foot swelled, he thought. Gout does run in my family. (No it doesn't, or I don't know if it does. I'm enjoying a bit of artistic license here.) He noticed it, but didn't say anything. He thought still that it would work itself out.

He and Lakshmi arrived at the theatre, and we proceeded into the RomperRoom viewing of Spiderman. While Lakshmi and I were trying to enjoy the movie, amidst all the glaring and shushing we felt compelled to do. We were the two bitchiest women in the theatre (as we are the two bitchiest women WHEREVER we go....) and it was our job, really, to educate the mothers on their lack of etiquette.

For the three hour movie, DB was exploring his shoe with his toes. "Wow, there's really something in there," he thought. "My shoe is really tight. There must be an extra sock in there. It isn't hard, I can push it with my toes, and get more room, but I've got to take care of this when we get out of here."

And then he smiled, as he always does, and watched the movie. Good-naturedly.

We filed out of the theatre, Lakshmi and I giving a very audible impromptu press conference on "rude fucking people everywhere" and she and I beelined for the bathroom. Did I tell you that Lakshmi and I are the same person, except she's smaller and prettier? Yeah, sucks for me, but what are you gonna do? At least there's a version of me out there that is hot.

As we were in the bathroom, DB and the Pope chatted about the movie. As the Pope was nattering on about the film, DB was fidgeting with that one shoe. While still in conversation, DB leaned down and took off the shoe, shook it (it rattled) and then he tossed the item out of the shoe and onto the floor. The Pope leaned down and said, "is that a mouse?? Is that a toy mouse?" The both leaned closer.

DB said, "Noooo, that would be a real mouse."

Lying on the hideous, Vegas-style carpeting of the movie theatre was a seriously managled, ripped up, bloody, dead mouse. And not a small mouse. I saw the mouse. It was gory, dead and a fairly normal sized mouse. That had been in DB's shoes for about 3 hours now. As he played with his toes, scrunched it to the top and wondered, good-naturedly, about what it could be.

Oh that sticky stuff? That would have been mouse-blood.

And with that, ladies and gentlemen, I introduce you to DB: