Monday, February 28, 2011

down by the river...take two

“You know, I think it's about time we start looking for a house.” My son said this to me casually enough the other day while we were driving in the car. He means in Massachusetts. Since as much as we all like the school we saw 50 minutes north of here, we can't seem to reconcile the housing prices, neighborhoods, etc for the life we want. We've told him that.

He's not all that thrilled with the idea of moving across the country. He's told us that too. He's been fragile and regressive and generally difficult. It's a lot of unknowns. But he's a realist. Appealing to logic with Isaac has long been a strategy we rely on with him. It works. My son and I are different in that way. And so, he's trying to move his mind forward to a Massachusetts life.

Isaac is, as usual, right. About the house that is. We need to find a house. Problem is not much has been coming through what with that pesky little winter thing going on out there.

We have, however, been checking out vans and other odd vehicles that we might use to drive across the country to our new life we think, maybe, sort of, we will probably, we're not sure, be going to, like this summer, or, not, but well, likely, in a way. (See how much closer we've moved to a decision! Our resolve is stunning.)

The imaginative play is always the first give away to what they're thinking about. “Okay, these people are homeless,” Isaac instructs his dad as they both lie bell down on the living room rug, a dozen or so Matchbox-sized cars and trucks between them. “They live in their camper van.” I've already posted the Chris Farley bit on living in a van down by the river on this blog, so that punchline's out.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

random bit

This is the elephant trophy Isaac made and awarded to Mike for winning the scramble from the Sports Center to the car last Friday. (Though Mike maintains the kid threw the race.) Engineering design to get the thing to stand up all his.

It's the end of an era. My kid has been swimming on Friday nights with his dad since he was a baby. At six they kick em out. It's called "Tot Time" after all. They celebrated with pizza and, apparently, an award ceremony. Time for a new tradition.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Birthday

So Isaac had his birthday and turned six. It must be like the Grinch in Who-ville at Christmas – it comes without blog entries, comments, or tweets. Amazing. Better bloggers/mothers than I am would have posted many words accompanied by many pictures on the actual day of my child's birth. But you, dear readers, are stuck with me and the piece meal retrospective.

As I travel through the first year without my mom, every landmark is a landmine. Isaac appeared at my side at the breakfast table the morning of his birthday with a heart-shaped stone a friend gave him at Christmas time. “When I roll this around in my hand, it makes me think of grandmom,” he says to me. “Try it.” I dutifully take the stone. “Can you feel it?” he asks hopefully. “It makes me think of her because you think of her, honey.” I try to give it back to him. “You can keep it,” he urges, “I don't need it.” And so he doesn't. As for me, I carried it in my pocket for days.

We had a party. Isaac sharing my inability to narrow themes, had requested a T-Rex party with a pirate treasure hunt and a king cobra cake.

We played “Pin the Useless Little Arms on the T-Rex.” We had a treasure hunt for dinosaur bones (Inside, Arrgh, Matey! since the rain refused to cooperate. Successful thanks to my husband's mathematical genius and the small size of the guest list.). We played a dice game where the kids themselves were the game pieces tromping through a giant game board I constructed that I'm sure my son's friends' fundamentalist/creationist parents loved (“Ichthyostega crawls out of the swamp and breathes air! Move ahead 3 spaces!” and “Asteriod hits! Go back 100 million years!”).

What can I say? I'm here to offend. Really, I'm here to amuse myself and it takes priority over much else. How else would you expect me to survive half a dozen women I don't talk to on any regular basis and have nothing in common with parked on my couch for three hours discussing recipes and Facebook? Without other sources of sanity, I'd have to take a page out of Isaac's book and hide in the closet. Which is where I found him at the end of the day – the two girls at the gig otherwise occupied and content, the four boys engaged in a massive balloon fight in his trashed room, and the host, my sensitive son, holed up against the din and chaos. 

Below: Isaac and a friend at their behind-the-scenes tour of the aquarium - only available to 6-year-olds and up. Notice the birthday button.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

'tis the season

I wrote this a couple years ago, actually. In honor of the this goofy day of hearts and in honor of Husband-Guy:

Love Poem

Like with every other incidence of toil
in my husband's life,
at each small upturn in his struggle
with the stomach flu
he swears he's over it,
is convinced
he has passed through the worst,
never to return just before
the color in his face drains
and he bolts
toward the bathroom.
We are so unalike:
me - staring into the black
of the world and knowing it
for darkness, him –
riding the tunnel again and again
to the light, unfazed
by the echoing chamber,
the swelling nausea no reason
not to perk up the next time
he feels a spark of relief.
It is optimism
that borders foolishness,
at the very least, a disregard
for simple reason. This
must be why I married him,
to sleep next to that sense of wonder,
bathe in the electricity
of an essential determination
that everything is fine,
to trace the stubbled chin
of goodness with my cheek,
and then, to write it down.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

the break up

I've said for a long time that Monterey is like a bad relationship. It has all this potential, you see. You keep waiting for things to get better. (He's really a great guy when he's sober!) Because it has so many great qualities.

It's gorgeous, for one thing. The two best-looking men I ever dated I dated for about a week and a half combined. One was a guy I met in a bar that my friends and I continually referred to as “Random Guy” throughout our brief time together. He was hot alright, but I brought him home for the cat test and he failed immediately. Bunda didn't like him. He had to go. Then there was the Mexican exchange student. Yum. And he could DANCE. Isidoro. (“Jus' call me Izzy (wink).”) Except he was so full of himself I could barely breathe standing in the same room.

And now, as we consider this move, Monterey has become even moreso the relationship you can't quite shake. (You'll never find anyone else who wants you like I do...) I mean, after all, it's not perfect, but it's what you know – and isn't that better than venturing into unknown territory? There'll never been someone like so-and-so in my life again! Surely the east coast won't be able to support me in this way. By “this way” do you mean half-assed? Why, of course it will! But I'm blind to it.

As a tourist town, Monterey is that boyfriend that everyone else L-O-V-E-S, that'll do ANYTHING for ANYONE when they ask. (Read: whore itself for tourist dollars – AT&T Pro-Am, anyone?) Everyone thinks he is super AWESOME. But you ask for a little time and whaddayaknow he's out helping everyone else, or else he's just asleep.

The worst part is, if Monterey and I break up, I know he'll steal all our mutual friends.

Friday, February 11, 2011

valid question

Isaac: "Which do you think is smarter, an elephant or a zebra?"

Me: "I don't really know, bud, but if I had to guess off the top of my head, I'd say elephant."

Isaac: "So, what's on the bottom of your head?"

Friday, February 04, 2011

coastal comparisons

A biased, abridged list of the differences between California, where we currently reside, and Massachusetts, where we may possibly move...

Current Weather:
(central coast of) CA – 70 degrees and sunny. MA – nowhere left to put the snow
Native Heritage:
CA – usurps the names of Native Americans for spa and resort facilities. MA – usurps the names of Native Americans for highways
Town Names:
CA – typing random CA towns into Google may bring results including Beach Boys' lyrics. MA – typing random MA towns into Google may bring results including Puritan England
CA – known for the rolling stop, tagged the “Hollywood stop” in Northern CA. MA – known for completely f-ed up intersections that were paved sometime slightly after the Mayflower landed.
CA – liberal lipservice done in every time by Orange County. MA – Gay marriage legal.
CA – just because it's bank-owned, doesn't mean you shouldn't pay half a million for it. MA – affordable housing options
CA – largest deficit of any state, but thank god we've cut the car tax and filled the prisons. MA – also in debt, yet their residents enjoy the anomaly of health insurance.
CA – Awesome Mexican food on every block. MA - ---

The pro/con list has long failed to fit the bill when it comes to decision-making.

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