September 21, 2012

The Low Spark

Max's 7th birthday party is tomorrow. It is the same party we've had the last 3 years - an inflatable water slide in the backyard, but each year is a different theme. This year it is legos. Last year it was Wizard of Oz.The year before it was Toy Story. And every year, after the party, I tell my sister, "I am not doing this again. Next year we are renting a place and I am not having all these kids at my house grinding cake crumbs into my rug and couch."

 And then every year we have the same party at my house. My brain is like a sieve.

I am filled with anxiety tonight. And it is not even about the party. It is everything but the party - I got a new laptop for work and it is a Mac and while I think I am cool and savvy, so far I think it has cut my productivity in half and the keyboard is giving me carpal tunnel syndrome. Additionally, I am convinced Max is going to drop out of school when he is older and that he will still demand to drink out of a sippy cup when he is 20 and he is also not going to ever be able to form his letters and numbers correctly.

And I am afraid the cake I ordered and paid WAY too much for is not going to be ready in time. And I think I am going to get fired because eventually someone will figure out I am really just an idiot with a big vocabulary.

I don't like this anxiety and I want to tell it to fuck off and go away. Yeah, that's right, I said FUCK YOU anxiety. Get out of my head!

Oh and I think I might curse too much.

June 27, 2012

Run Away, Run Away, Run Away

Max ran away today. He went to the neighbor’s house. Kim and James have 2 little boys so they are used to chaos and temper tantrums. He ran away because we would not agree to adopt a little baby girl. In fact, I think up until today, he may have thought he was adopted.

In the midst of the tantrum he said, “I wish you had never adopted me!”

I was like, “Um, you’re not adopted. I had you. You grew inside of me.”

He looked really confused and said, “I thought you went to Texas to get me?”

“You were born in Texas, Max, but you are not adopted,” I replied thinking all of this nonsense would be over and done with.

But no. He still ran away with a handful of quarters and a water balloon making toy. Mike called the neighbors to let them know he was on his way and then about 30 minutes later Mike went and got him. He was not happy and insisted he lived there now. I said that his dinner was ready and he instructed me to bring it to him at his new house. I instructed him to sit down and eat. He told he wished I had never been born, which was exactly what I was thinking at the time. I sent him to his room to think about what he said, which was really just buying me time to eat my dinner in peace.

If my blog were read by more people, I suppose I could expect comments telling what I did wrong in the situation and how I could have handled all of this better, but it’s not. I am 43 and my husband is 50 and I want a 2nd child almost as much as I want to have a root canal. But, I do feel bad for him. I mean, he sees his friends who have siblings and wrongly thinks they are having a ball. As the youngest of 4, I can assure you they are not. They are hoarding toys, stealing food and finding small spaces in which to hide and be alone if even for a few minutes. I used to hide in a coat closet on the 2nd floor. It was hot as blazes because there was no AC vent in there, but I would sit there sweating my ass of just to have 15 fucking minutes of alone time to read and sing and just generally not be harassed by any one.

Last night I was thinking about how my mom, when I was maybe 7, participated in some consumer study to get free dish towels. She had me eat some new snack and then asked me a bunch of questions about it and whether I liked it. It had peanut butter in it, which I despise, so I no doubt said, “It tastes like hell and you know I hate peanut butter,” but she filled in the sheet and got a dish towel. I endured peanut butter for a dish towel. We did all this sitting at our dining room table, where very little dining actually took place. We mainly used it as a desk – I wrote just about every high school and college paper sitting at that table. Anyway, it made we wonder what weird scenarios Max will remember about his childhood. Will he remember the night he ran away?

We also used to collect green stamps. In fact, I am pretty sure we got the bird cage for our parakeets using green stamps. Charlie and Loretta lived in a house purchased using the 1970’s equivalent of American Express points.

The real fact is, I do kind of feel bad for Max. We pay too much attention to him. He has nowhere to hide. There is no one to distract us from him. It has to be enormous pressure. In a family of 4 kids, you can sort of disappear for a while if you need to because your parents are so beat down and tired. But, there is no way I am adopting a kid to relieve that pressure. Maybe I can just tell him to go sit in a closet somewhere. Or I can send him to sleep away camp or something. I suggested to my husband we get a new puppy and he suggested I shut my trap. It was totally called for – I was verging on hysteria at that point.

June 16, 2012

Blah, Blah, Blah..

Why is it I had time and energy to write every week for a year and now I can barely manage to eke out a post every year? I don't know why that is, but I don't have that much to say even though a lot has happened and continues to happen. I guess it was the horror of the hurricane and having my first kid while evacuated in Houston and then my mom dying of cancer like all at once that provided the fodder for the blogs (and my therapist) so if I never post again because my life is too calm to have anything to say, well, then I am fine with that. But, surely I cannot be so dull that there is nothing worth posting about without life events that are so devastating and catastrophic that it takes the National fucking Guard to quell the chaos? Right?

Or maybe not. Maybe this is it and the well has run dry and now I have a completely pedestrian life that does not inspire creative quips and stories. Pack the lunches, make the breakfast, drink coffee, go to work, stop here and there for various things - funerals, vacations, hysterectomy, and then climb back in the wheel and keep running, at not quite a leisurely pace, but certainly not the clip of my youth. Ah, my youth, how I both miss it and smile like an asylum patient that most of it is behind me. Sure, I miss breasts that defied gravity and hair that was naturally the color of coal, but oh the pain, the pain of being so fucking stupid and so unbearably insecure. I will happily keep my gravity-beaten body to feel the warmth of self acceptance that I never felt in my youth. Had I one inkling back then that everyone felt as stupid as me, I would have, well, probably not lived to tell the tale so perhaps it is best that the whole thing came crashing down when I was 22 and I quit the rocky road of self-destruction then.  Well, at least the drinking part of the self-destruction. The rest of the package has slowly eased up and gone away over time. It really does heal all wounds.

And now I watch my son, in his 6 year old sweet boy mind, deal with life. And I do my best not to put my shit on him, not to feel the pain of my shy and awkward youth in his tiny life. But, I fail, every day. And that is ok. I love him more than anyone has ever loved a son and that is enough. It has to be, but it is the only constant, the only one sure thing. The rest is, as we say in the Big Easy, lagniappe. It is tenable and definitely not the northern star that is my love. It can all go away with one fell swoop, but my unconditional and undying love will be the bedrock upon which the rest is built.

February 25, 2012

I Smell Toast

Dude, I have not written in forever. I have lots of thoughts, most of them random and unconnected in any way, so it's hard to put them down in a coherent blog format. This past week I was on vacation. My sister came in from Seattle and the other one from Houston came in as well. We went to dinner Sunday night for Seattle Sister's 50th birthday and I went home feeling full, confused and like I was 13 years old again, but in the bad way, not the good way. It was fun, but weird, which pretty much describes my 13th - 19th years of life.

On Monday, we put my father's ashes in his final resting place in a crypt in the mausoleum not far from my house, along with my mother, Memere, and Uncle Henry and Aunt Raquel. It is a Murphy plot, but so far, my Dad is the only Murphy hanging out with 4 Ferrys - why should his afterlife be any different than his life on earth? Afterwards, everyone came to my house for lunch and then later that night we went to the Orpheus parade followed by, the next day, a fun-filled Mardi Gras roaming the French Quarter.

Knowing that I did all of that in a 72 hour period, I think I am forgiven for having random and unconnected thoughts, don't you think? I mean, in a 48 hour period, I went to 3 parades, dressed up as a ringmaster, helped my son dress as Willy Wonka, buried my father's ashes, had 20 people over to my house for lunch, had a birthday dinner at Ralph's on the Park, and got kissed by several of the Pete Fountain's Half Fast Marching Krewe - all in all, I would say the first half of my vacation week was very successful. I did not check email even once, partially because, ok, mainly because we upgraded to Office 365 over the weekend and I would have had to set up my email on my iPhone to check it. I held out until Wednesday to do that. I actually don't even remember what I did on Wednesday. In fact, Wednesday and Thursday are both a bit of a blur. I swear, I do not drink and I am only 42, how is it I actually do not remember Wednesday and Thursday?

Friday was the day I wandered around the city waiting for places to open so I could do something before meeting my husband for lunch. Seriously, how do people who don't work fill their days? I guess I could get used to it and maybe I would be more productive, but I truly accomplished nothing on Friday except going out to lunch with my husband and then out to dinner with my 2 sisters and their families. We went to Jaeger's Seafood House in Metairie on the first Friday of Lent with a party of 14. I truly expected us to have to wait for 2 hours for a table, but we called ahead and had no wait at all. I don't see how eating char-grilled oysters, boiled crawfish and shrimp po' boys is any kind of penance, but I'll take it.

This post is completely disorganized and I am now starting to question whether I am having a stroke of some sort. I smell toast...

January 21, 2012

All That Jazz

I drove into the city today from the airport after dropping someone off and tried to look at New Orleans through the eyes of a tourist. The first thing Marge from Montana might notice as her filthy cab careens under the railroad trestle just past the I-10/610 split is the cemeteries. We do cherish our dead don't we. I mean, if burying them practically above ground next to a major federal highway can be considered a form of cherish. Really, what must these tourists think? Surely, they assume we are all idiots.

A friend once told me that the jazz music piped into the airport in New Orleans sounds genuine, as compared to the Don Ho forced upon people at the Honolulu airport. I don't know what that means really. Are we in New Orleans more simple than the people in Hawaii? Or are we just better at making people believe we all eat alligator and all know how to play instruments? Or maybe he just likes jazz better than ukelele music.

Look, I said I was going to try and post every week. I did not promise that it would be all that interesting or even all that good.

I did go the ER yesterday. That was both exciting and anticlimactic, as I am still alive. I had what they called a "visual disturbance." Yes, it was very disturbing that I LOST THE ABILITY TO SEE for 30 minutes. Yes, that was scary and I thought I was having a stroke or a TIA or something. But, in the end, they could find nothing wrong with me and sent me home with 2 tickets to the IMAX theatre because I had to wait more than 30 minutes. Seems kind of mean to give someone who might be on the verge of blindness tickets to a movie. I guess I better use them soon just to be safe.

In spite of the fact there was a fatal shooting down the street from my son's school, I would still rather live here than anywhere else. Does that make me an idiot? Perhaps, but frankly, my family and I just won't fit in anywhere else. People would assume the husband and I are drunk all day if we lived in Iowa, where as here, because when we are dressed up Mardi Gras day as the Bearded Lady (the husband) and a Ringmaster (me), since we remain upright and with our eyes open, everyone knows we are the sober ones.

Maybe this is what my friend meant about the jazz music in the airport....

January 11, 2012

Passion? No thanks, I'm good.

I am sitting in an airport. I wonder how many of my blog posts start with that sentence. I bet a lot. I spent the past three days at a big sales conference. There were over 1600 people at the meeting. It was insane and bizarre (I am not a salesperson) and I often felt like I was in a live action Saturday Night Live skit or a trippy dream. But, I guess the sales people were motivated. I, on the other hand, kept my bitter and sarcastic comments to myself…mostly.

I have to keep most of my opinions about public education, motivational speakers, Power Point Presentations and hotel food to myself, but I will tell you this, Death by Deck meetings are alive and well in 2011. I barely escaped with my life. Why, oh why, did anyone ever in a million years think Power Point was a good idea?

I do not think I have had sun on my face since Sunday. I have been in a windowless conference room for 3 days being told to Live Big! Follow my Heart! Be Impactful!  I may have developed rickets from lack of Vitamin D. They asked us often what our passion was. In fact, you were supposed to write on your name tag what you were passionate about. I could not think of anything to write. I realized that I am not really passionate about anything. I think maybe I used to be, but now I am not. Now, I find passion to be a bit exhausting and annoying. Think of the people you know who are passionate about something…they are annoying right? They show you pictures on their phones, they tell you long and involved stories; they shake their fists and spew their righteous indignation. They spit when they talk.  

I will leave the passion to those who have the heart for it and I will continue to put one foot in front of the other, taking each day as it comes, trying to be a better human being, trying not to walk away from everything. I will drink my coffee in the morning and do my job. I will kiss my son and walk the dog. I will try to be as kind and loving toward my husband as I want him to be with me. And I will do it again the next day.

I used to be passionate about ideas and values. But now, I just show up and smile.

January 5, 2012

Down in New Orleans Where the Blues Were Born...

 Mike's parents used to have a Little Christmas party every January 6th to celebrate 12th Night or the Feast of the Epiphany. This is when the three wise men made it to baby Jesus and brought him Frankensense and all that jazz. I have fact-checked none of this so it might all be wrong, because here in New Orleans, January 6th, or King's Day (I think some people call it that) is the first day of Carnival Season. Yes folks, Mardi Gras starts on January 6th every year. That means the good people of New Orleans get one week between the Xmas holidays and the start of Carnival to dry out and eat like normal people and then we get right back up on the horse - we eat King Cake and drink have parties and dance in the streets like crazy people right up until the day before Ash Wednesday. And then we repent. And we quit eating sweets and drinking (except for Sundays, of course) until Easter. And then Festival Season begins - Jazz fest, French Quarter Fest, Strawberry Festival, Mirliton Festival...we got a festival for every vegetable and every genre of music. You name it, we got a festival for it. Then summer comes and it's too hot to eat or drink so we're good until Halloween, more or less. And, bam, the whole things starts up again. It's exhausting I tell you.

So, tomorrow night is our Little Christmas Party. Anywhere from 20 -100 people are going to show up at our house (the good people of New Orleans are also not very good at RSVPing or sticking to the RSVP selection) and we will have food and drinks and a live band.

The gumbo is made.

The Christmas Tree is a fire hazard at this point.

But the mirror is masquerading already.

My cousin Beth's beautiful Mardi Gras quilt is gracing the wall above our table.

And Kenny is tired already.