Archive for the ‘todd’ Category

Of Tears, Trains, and the Spirit of the Radio

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

I went to bed in a cloud of melancholy. I woke up the same. I cried my way to work. (40 minutes is sometimes just the right amount of time to think. Sometimes it is way too much time.) I usually am really good at compartmentalizing, but today I did a terrible job. I ended up crying in the grassy area behind my building, choking sobs back, rubbing at my eyes with my sleeve, pacing, giving myself the pull-it-together talk. I am really good at pulling it together; I was not able to do so this morning.

I somehow made it through the day. I sat in an hour and a half of traffic. I called two friends and two cousins. I left messages for them. I thought of people I desperately wished I could talk to about everything. I didn’t call them. Part of me thought I should. I called my Mama instead. She picked up, just like always.

I came home and I ran 2+ miles. It was my fastest pace in a long time. I must be running from something. It is like a soothing drug. Squats and crunches and planks are not soothing, but I did those too, because I don’t know what else to do with myself.

It was my turn to do kid duty. I took T. and her friend, M., to eat. It was about 8 pm. They were excited to tell me about their day. They gushed about Cars 3, which evidently has a female protagonist. I guess I will have to see it now, despite the fact that I wanted to shoot myself over all the Lightning McQueen stuff R. loved as a little boy. I miss that age now. I miss Mater, that old goofball.

The girls talked about how to pick a college. (My take was go in state, try to get some scholarships, and avoid loans, if possible, but mostly to just learn everything they can now, and make the best grades they can, and seek out the things that interest them. That would give them options, and the rest would fall into place, and that not everyone decides to college and that is okay too, but it is important to give yourself the option.)

Then we talked about financial security, and about how money isn’t about new shoes or how big your house is. It’s about freedom. Money sometimes = freedom. I also had this talk with my first love’s mother, right after we broke up, in maybe 1993. She liked me, I guess. She invited me to lunch. She gave me Gloria Steinem’s “Revolution From Within.” I may have frightened the girls when I told them that being financially stable was important for women, so that they never had to stay with an *abusive man. That they could always take care of themselves. Sorry, Megan and Andy – #notaprofessionalguidancecounselor

I talked to the waiter about his breakup with his boyfriend. He is maybe 21? I told him he’d live, but it might hurt like hell and feel like death.

We paid the check and walked out into the near-dark. It was cool for June, and we sat and listened to the quiet on main street for a minute. Tiller ran around and up and down the ramp and stairs with her arms out like an airplane. She laughed as she ran. She snorts when she laughs.

The train track signal lights started flashing and the crossing bars went down. The girls yelled, “Train!” and we walked to our car, next to the tracks. I gave both a leg up onto the hood of the car, and they sat on top under the quarter moon and we waited for the engine. It parked and we sat. (I stood. I am too old to jump onto a hood and not fall immediately back off and the whole patio of the restaurant was watching; I only made one attempt. I am going to practice that, though.)

And then it started. Just a single engine, alone, pulling no cars behind it. The girls waved. The driver waved back, not 15 feet away. He blew the whistle. Twice. We all clapped and cheered. The crossing opened back up and the bells went off. We got back in the car, now in the dark. We rolled the windows down.

Rush’s “Spirit of the Radio” was on. I’m not a big Rush fan, but I talked to them about Neal Peart and we rolled the windows down and opened the sunroof and they both put their faces out the windows as I turned onto the main road, as we drove past each streetlight, in and out of alternating darkness and light.

And somehow, at that moment, I realized the day had turned out alright. We would be alright.

* Hypothetical. My husband is not, nor has he ever been, abusive. He is the person I respect most in the world.

Of Tears, Trains, and the Spirit of the Radio

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

Wholesome and Old School Quality Family Time (NSFW)

Sunday, March 26th, 2017

So, tonight’s dinner discussion with my teenager and tween was so horrific, it gets it’s own NSFW blog post. (Mom, that means, “Not Safe for Work.” As in, don’t click on or read it on your work computer. So you’re fine.) For anyone with delicate sensibilities, or who thinks maybe their children are perfect and/or living in a bubble, you should stop here.

First of all, in my head, when I was driving to eat at our local restaurant/bar, I realized I was wearing the shirt I was lounging around in today. My Chunklet Trump Sucks shirt.

Maybe not the best shirt to wear in a very purple neighborhood. So, in my head, we might get looks because I had the word “dick” on my shirt. Some drunk redneck might want to discuss it. I have had this happen one time before and have a prepared rebuttal sure to make angry white men more angry.

But we got to dinner and the UNC/KY game was on (sorry Jason, congrats Dana), so it was unusually crowded and we got seated pretty quickly, but our food took awhile, so you know, that means Quality Family Time.

We discussed upcoming spring break plans, going to the beach, packing lists, games to take, R. going to Disney for his band trip, etc. It was super all-american and white bread. And then. Then, R. started pushing buttons.

Things like, “you don’t get to tell me whether I can take my phone to Disney or not, because Dad paid for it.”

[Needle scratches across record.]

Todd and I both work. Todd did indeed write the check and deliver it to the band teacher. But my head seriously exploded.

I said, “Buddy, you realize that your father and I both work long hours and what we make is both of ours. Daddy did not pay for your trip. Your father and I both paid for your trip.”

So, then I turn to Tiller, in a classic example of attempting to ignore bad behavior, while educating, and say,

“Tiller, did you now that in America, when a man and a woman do the same EXACT job, on average, the woman makes 75% of what the man makes?”

Tiller: “What?”

Me: “For every dollar a man makes, a woman, doing the same exact job, possibly as well, and likely, better, will make 75 cents for her work, while a man will make a dollar.”

And bless his heart, the boy child, he doubled down.

“Mom, why do you have to take everything so seriously? You’re so uptight. I was just joking, and you had to turn it into some kind of Feminist rant, like you always do.”

This was the point where I said, in the exorcist mom voice,

“Rollie, you need to leave the table now and go to the bathroom, because if you stay here, I will make a scene. When you come back, you better have dropped it, because you are treading on seriously thin ice.”

He goes to the bathroom, and Tiller and I discuss wage equality a bit more, and he comes back to the table. He seems to realize he has stepped over the line and is actually able to be quiet for about five minutes.

Then, i think he realizes by my stone cold stare and cold shoulder that I am actually very angry with him. So, he starts trying to make me laugh.

He begins by saying,

“I’m gonna go play something on the jukebox.”

Me: “Okay, no dubstep.”

Him: “Okay, I will play one of your favorites.”

Yeah, I’m not dumb, my guard is up.

He proceeds to play a song that he knows I loathe: Europe’s “The Final Countdown.”

Waiter comes by and smirks at me.

And I don’t let R. completely get to me. I point out that the song was not a terrible choice in light of the ending of the basketball game, but everyone probably thinks he’s a Tarheel now.

So, he again pushes the envelope, coming up with terrible-sounding music choices, that i didn’t recognize. And for every one, I said,

“Oh, that one is so good. I love that one.”

And he seemed to become frustrated, but at the same time, saw right through me.

And Tiller says,

“Can I play one?”

And I say,

“Honestly, if there is any song one might play in here that would baffle, astound, or annoy the clientele, it is most certainly from the Hamilton soundtrack. What song is most popular and recognizable from Hamilton, Tills?”

And she ponders it for a split second, then says,

“‘Alexander Hamilton,’ of course.”

And so that is how it came to be that my son ended up playing a track from Hamilton to a bar full of oblivious basketball fans in Tucker, Georgia. It must be noted that Tiller sang along, proudly, word for word.

And then, we were all laughing at the absurdity and seemingly getting along. But my teenager? He could not stop there. And so he drops the bomb.

Mom, what’s a ‘rim job?’

I am pretty sure I both turned red and spluttered. I don’t know that I have ever spluttered at any other time in my entire life. The waiter came by, took one look at my face, and asked if I’d like another glass of wine? (They are good people there, at Local 7 in Tucker.)

I compose myself and say,

“Where on earth did you hear that?”

R: “Why? What is it?”

Me: We’ll talk about it when we get home, okay?”
R: “Why? I want to know now.”

Me: “It’s like the blowjob discussion; You do not want to discuss this with your sister here, and I don’t think it’s polite dinner table discussion.”
R: [smirking] “That’s okay. It was in a movie Dad and I watched, and he already explained it to me.”
Me: [violent, bloody murder in my head, knowing I had been played, because he just knew it would get a reaction out of me.]

And then I did the only thing i could do. I laughed so hard I almost cried, because he absolutely had me on the ropes.

The waiter comes by to stand at the table:

“Check please,” I say.

R: “Also, what is a dildo?”

Waiter: “That last glass is on me.”

We finally get to the car and they are both jabbering and I say,

“Please, can we leave this conversation be until tomorrow? I really need a break and then I will be glad to answer any and all questions, just as I always do.”

And my sweet firstborn says,

R: “Okay. but I have one more question: What are anal beads?”

Me: “Where in the hell did you hear that!? I’m looking at your history on the computer tonight when we get home.”

And he actually seemed shocked that I might think he had googled it.

“Mom, I heard most of that in the locker room.”

Oh, well, that seems. . . wholesome and old school, I guess.
On another note, what songs would be the absolute worst to play in a bar full of people? Also, I am setting up a GoFundMe to cover my wine costs for the next five years.

Dead, Towel-Wrapped Cat, With a Daisy on Top

Monday, May 9th, 2016
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We had to say goodbye to Scully today. I’m not a cat person, but she was all my sister and I could have in our little apartment back in 1998. I had her before I had Todd, or a house, or kids. She outlived a second cat and a dog. She was a sweet girl, and her gray and white markings made Lisa and I think it looked like she was wearing a beret cocked over one eye. When she was younger, she could be bad. When Todd and I were dating, I brought him a snow globe from Alaska. He set it on an end table, and Scully walked over and swept it off the table and it shattered. Numerous houseguests and my very own mother were on the receiving end of a middle-of-the-night glass of water dumped on their head, courtesy of the Sculls. In her old age, she would walk around aimlessly, and meow at us until we would shake up the food in her bowl. I guess in her senile state, she thought it was empty. These are small complaints. She was a good cat.
Last photo of me and my girl. I'm going to miss her climbing up in my lap while I work, and sneezing on my keyboard.

Last photo of me and my girl. I’m going to miss her climbing up in my lap while I work, and sneezing on my keyboard.

 
In the end, she started going downhill pretty quickly, but she was never in pain, and I think we timed things right. It wasn’t the horrific emergency I experienced with Quint. (Total PTSD after that experience, and you will notice I have still not ever written in detail about it – it breaks my heart to think about him or look at photos of him.) I got to make the decision on my own time, and I held her while she quietly went to sleep in my arms with her head on my chest. We should all be so lucky. They wrapped her body up in a towel and laid a daisy on top and handed her to me, along with a sweet clay imprint of her paw. I was surprised I cried. I thought I was ready to say goodbye. I saw my neighbor, Paula, in the waiting room on the way out, and I could barely even speak. I was just a crying crazy woman, carrying around a dead cat in a towel with a daisy on top. 
Afterwards was a little weird. I got home and carried in a dead cat wrapped in a towel, and then realized I couldn’t bury her until the kids got home. So, then I couldn’t figure out where to put her down, because our house is so packed full of the stuff that used to be in our basement until the toilet backed up and we had to tear everything out. I decided against the bedroom because ew, dead cat in my bed. Decided against the kitchen counter or the kitchen table because ew, dead cat where I prepare and eat food. Didn’t want to leave her on the floor because Brody was WAY interested in dead cat smell. It would be my luck he would eat her.
Aside: This whole part reminded me of my grandma Palmer’s chihuahua, Princess, dying while they were in Savannah. Grandma just put her on ice in an Igloo cooler until they could get back home to bury her. What kind of crazy person drives around all weekend in a pickup truck with a dead chihuahua in a cooler?) In the end, I set her on bench by the kitchen table, with the daisy on top, until the kids came home. When Todd came in, I yelled, “Watch out, dead cat!” (He knew she was gone already; I’m not heartless.)

 

When Tiller got home, I went out to meet her and bring her inside and break the news gently, but old Eagle Eye Johnson saw the cat carrier in the carport in two seconds flat.
“What’s that?” said Tiller.
“Cat carrier.”
“What’s it for?”
“I had to take Scully to the vet to put her to sleep. She got really sick this morning.”
“Aww.”
“You wanna go inside? I brought her home and we will bury her when R. gets home.”
“Okay.”
“What’s that?” she said, pointing to the towel-wrapped cat on the bench in our kitchen.
“That’s Scully wrapped in a towel. You can see her before we bury her if you want, but you know her soul went to Heaven. You don’t have to look at it. It’s just a body.”
“Okay.”
“You want a snack?”
“Okay.”
A few seconds later, she said quietly, “This isn’t as sad as Quint.”
“No, baby, I don’t think it is. She was old. She lived a good life. She died peacefully.”
So, Tiller ate a snack, but not in the kitchen with the dead cat, and then we realized that if we were not going to wake up with a dead cat in the kitchen tomorrow, we needed to dig a hole and throw a cat funeral before 5 pm, because after that, we have karate and swim practice. I started digging a hole, and when R. came home, Todd told him and he came out and he was much quieter about it than Tiller was. I texted my commune sister wife, and invited her girls up to attend, because they loved Scully too.
Todd came out to help me dig the hole deep enough. (I am now interested in how people buried their dead in all this red clay. It wore me out digging a hole for a 6 pound cat.) We went inside to get the kids, and R. wanted to carry her body out. Out of all of it, watching my boy delicately carrying our sweet dead cat across the yard, her body wrapped in a towel with a daisy on top, got to me the most. Todd held her while the kids and the twins all went around the yard and picked flowers (yellow iris, red roses, and orange/yellow tickseed – I picked my favorite, hydrangeas). Then we asked if they wanted to see her one last time, so we unwrapped the towel and everyone looked at her, and talked about how it looked kind of like she was sleeping, but different, and she was still soft, but not warm.
Again, I said, “It’s just a body. Her soul is in heaven.” We wrapped her back up; Todd laid her in the hole. I picked up a handful of dirt and threw it in. “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” I said. “You can put some in, too,” I told the kids. Tiller said, “Do we have to say that?” “No, sweetie, you don’t have to say anything at all if you don’t want to. Or you can say whatever you want about her.” Each of them took a handful of dirt in turn, and tossed it in. No one said anything. “Rest in peace, Scully,” I said. “I loved you. You were a good cat.”

 

Todd shoveled the dirt over her and tamped it down, but just a little.  Then we each took turns laying our flowers on top of Scully’s grave, and then I held Rollie, then Tiller. And then sweet Leah said, “Can we have hugs, too?” I teared up, and I hugged Leah and Syd both. And then we all went inside or back home.

 

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Special Agent Dana Katherine Scully 1998 (?) – May 9, 2016. That’s Eddie Rabbit, watching over Scully from behind the azalea.

 

In the end, Scully lived 18 (I think) healthy, comfortable, well-loved years. She spent much of them sitting inside boxes and in sunlight streaming through windows. She left this world in the arms of a loved one as the breath peacefully left her body.

 

Rest in peace, Sweet Girl.

I Don’t Even Know What to Title This One

Sunday, January 24th, 2016

Friday night is usually movie and pizza night for the family, unless T. and I have plans. This week, we were supposed to go out to dinner with friends for my birthday. (44. My God. But that is a post for another day.) Instead, the weather interfered and we stayed home and watched documentaries (Muscle Shoals and History of the Eagles) with our friend Terri. (If you haven’t seen Muscle Shoals, you need to immediately – my third viewing was as great as my first. Parts of it actually give me goosebumps.)

On Saturday, we decided to watch another movie. Tills spent the night out, so we watched with R. He’s 12, so we can watch a little more with him than we can with her. We usually pick movies out and run them by Common Sense Media. (A great site that tells you exactly what subjects are in a movie.)

We didn’t this time, and we probably should have. T. and I had both seen The Perks of Being a Wallflower before, and I read the book. R. had already read The Fault in Our Stars, so he has read some stuff with more mature subject matter. We didn’t remember anything particularly questionable in the movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower, except that I did remember it had the subject of child molestation in it. I said, “Well, we can discuss that with him, if he even notices it.” I don’t think he did notice it in the midst of all the other OH GOD I FORGOT ABOUT THIS PART stuff.

Within five minutes, it was going something like this:

[Main character sees his older sister being smacked around by her pony-tailed boyfriend. She begs her little brother to not tell their parents. She says she can handle it.]

Me: “You ever see anything like that, you totally tell your parents, you understand me?”

R: “Okay, mom.” [Rolls eyes.]

[Movie references blowjobs.]

R: “What’s a blowjob?”

Me: “Uh, let’s watch the movie and we’ll explain later. You will probably want dad to explain it.” [I smirk at T.]

[Characters drive through a tunnel and one of them stands up in the back of the moving truck.]

Me: “Do not EVER stand up in the back of a moving truck.”

R: “That is so stupid. Why would they do that. Stupid.”

Me: [Oh my god, thank you for him thinking that is a stupid thing to do.]

[Kid in movie takes three brownies at a party, proceeds to get really, really high.]

Me: “Never take brownies from someone at a party in high school. People put marijuana in brownies sometimes.”

[Later, at another party, kid takes a hit of acid.]

Me: “If someone has a piece of paper at a party, don’t put it on your tongue.”

R. looks at me like I’m off my rocker.

Me: “People put hallucinogenic drugs on pieces of paper. Like LSD.”

Me: [Why the hell are these people letting their freshman kid go off with these seniors all the time?]

Interestingly, R. had a full understanding of and zero questions about the gay characters. The only part that we had to explain was that in the year that this movie was set, it was probably harder to be a gay teen, it was less accepted, and that is why the gay football player hid it from his Dad and schoolmates and why his dad beat him up, and why the kids got in a fight in the cafeteria. I’m taking this one as a win and a pretty awesome thing that he didn’t question much of it and didn’t realize that parents might not accept that a child was gay.

He did at one point ask if Charlie, the main character, was crazy. Charlie does try to kill himself and he ends up institutionalized, but in the end he gets help. We told him to watch, but that some bad things had happened to Charlie (his friend committed suicide – only mentioned in the film, but not shown as part of the story – and his aunt molested him and then died in a car crash and he felt responsible for that). But I think all of that went right over R’s head.

There were also some teens kissing and a little groping, and in true Palmer family tradition, T. and I sang “The Bear Went Over the Mountain” during those parts.

At the end of the movie, I got a little misty, because I actually really like the movie and loved the book. I asked R. what he thought and he said, “It was kind of boring.” Which T. and I laughed about later, because usually if R. really finds something boring, he will get up and walk away. He was tired and it was late, so I told him good night and to let us know tomorrow if he wanted to ask questions about the stuff in the movie.

Today, all four of us met my sister Lisa, nephew Dash, and my mom for lunch. Tiller got a little upset at the restaurant about having to leave for her girl scout meeting before getting her dessert. (My sister eats there at least once a week and we know the manager by name, and he gave the kids free dessert.)  So, Todd left to take Tills to her girl scout meeting, and R. and I rode back with mom, Lisa, and Dash to Lisa’s place. I drove Mom’s car, because I was going to drop them all off at Lisa’s, then go look at records. I said something about T. crying at the dinner table.

Mom: “Well, she is getting hormonal. I expect she’ll start her period before long.”

Me: “What? No.”

Mom: “I started in 5th grade.”

Me: “You did?”

Lisa: “Anne and I were both late. We were 14.”

Me: [sigh]

Dash: “What’s a period?”

Rollie: “Yeah. What’s a period?”

Dash: “You don’t know what a period is?”

Rollie: “Well, I know about the period at the end of a sentence.”

Me: “Rollie, you didn’t learn about periods at Fernbank when you learned about puberty?”

Dash: “What’s puberty?”

Rollie: “No.”

Me: “It’s also called ‘menstruation.’ They didn’t talk about that? You just learned about male puberty? It’s kind of like when you get hair under your arms and on your genitals. Except girls also menstruate.”

Dash: “Oh, that puberty!”

[Mom, Lisa, and I bust out laughing.]

Me: “Rollie, I’ll explain later, okay?”

Rollie: “Okay. You also need to explain what a blowjob is.”

Mom, Lisa, and I exploded in laughter. I was lucky that I was in the parking lot of Lisa’s condo at that point, because I just put on the brakes and cried laughing. And, of course, Mom and Lisa had no idea how the subject of blowjobs even came up in the first place. We tried to pull ourselves together, and I finally told them all to get out of the car.

Mom: “No, Annie, I’d really like to hear you explain this one.”

I turned around in the car and wiped the tears out of my eyes and looked very seriously at Rollie.

Me: “Baby, you know I love you, right?”

Rollie nods at me.

Me: “Please trust me when I say that you do not want me to explain this to you in front of your cousin, aunt, and grandma. Okay? We will talk about it tonight, okay?”

I managed to get everyone out of the car and when I got home, I told Todd he definitely needed to have that discussion with Rollie sooner than later.

I swear, I really don’t know what I’m doing with this parenting thing sometimes, but I always feel that honesty and openness is the best path. That being said, I’m super glad that T. will be explaining this one. Although I kind of wish that I could see video of R’s face when he hears what it is, because that is going to be comedy gold.

Check Ignition & May God’s Love Be With You

Monday, January 11th, 2016

I just posted this three days ago on my Instagram for Bowie’s birthday.

Bowie

David Bowie, by Panhandle Slim

I’ve written about or referenced Bowie a number of times here on the blog. I wrote this about the song containing the lyrics above. (And then Todd had Panhandle Slim make this for me. Other Panhandle Slim images here – Have fun in the Rabbit Hole.) He surprised me with it on Christmas a few years ago and I cried.) There was that one time time I got drunk and made a roomful of people I don’t know very well listen to the the song twice at 4 am, because I love it so much. That one time I went down the rabbit hole of YouTube videos of Arcade Fire doing covers with various people, including David Bowie.

I loved him.

I crossposted a few of these words on Facebook when I first found out Bowie died this morning, but I think of my blog as a journal of sorts. When I read journals, I love it when I come across people’s thoughts on historical figures, politics of their time, or cultural phenomena. If someone reads my words one day a hundred years from now, I want them to know I thought David Bowie was groundbreaking and legendary and he often blew my mind.

Words won’t do justice to David Bowie’s greatness. He was a radical, an original, a true iconoclast.

Addendum: It is not recommended Bowie fans listen to “Space Oddity” this morning. They just played it on Kexp.org, and it made me sob. Beautiful and eerie lyrics on the morning of the death of the man who sang them. Heartbreaking and gorgeous.

Check ignition and may God’s love be with you.

More Fun at the Dinner Table (Or, “Why I Drink”)

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

You may remember a while back when I wrote about that time I talked to my 6th grader about strip clubs over dinner. It’s always something at the dinner table. So, tonight, I came home after a canceled therapy appointment. Thank you therapist, for canceling after I’ve already driven from my office in Cumming all the way down 400 and around 285 to Decatur. If you don’t live in Atlanta, just picture the seven circles of Hell. It’s bad.

Since I’m doing Dryuary, I couldn’t even hit Brickstore instead for a beer. I was cold and hungry, because I’m also doing The Fast Metabolism Diet. Don’t laugh, it’s not really a diet, it’s more of a lifestyle of clean eating, and I actually lost over 50 pounds a few years ago doing it, and kept it off. It works and it makes you feel good. It changed the way I eat and is pretty much responsible for the fact that I will eat half an avocado with a spoon, and then just have wine for dessert. I just can’t stuff myself so much anymore. Anyway, it is much better than training for a half-marathon, I’ll tell you that much, which I also did, and I gained ten pounds in the process.

Let’s just say I was the Mayor of Crankytown by the time I arrived home today. But it’s always something at dinner, and tonight was no different. A story in three parts.

Part I

The husband went to the grocery store on his way home and cooked dinner. He’s a good egg. We were about to sit down, but I was still freezing, and frankly, I just wanted to put my PJs on at seven p.m., so I went upstairs to change.

When I came back downstairs, I made a plate and heard Todd and Tiller whispering.

“What?” I asked, eyebrows raised.

More giggling, then leaning across the table for more whispering.

Tiller sat back, looking very pleased with herself, and said, “Mom, 1992 called, and they want their outfit back.”

Let’s back it up here a second and place the blame for this statement squarely where it belongs. That would be Jason B., who just a couple of days ago posted the same thing on my Facebook page when I posted a new profile photo.

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What? I’m wearing a hat, because I’m outside waiting on Uber after watching the football game, by myself with my new friends Saleem and Melvin, at the bar of a local restaurant and it’s cold. And plaid flannel never goes out of style. It’s a classic. Period. I can’t help it if my hair looks about the same as back in 1992. You’re wearing yours differently now, aren’t you, Jason? (You mess with the bull, you get the horns, you know what I’m saying?) Point being, Todd obviously borrowed this little gem from Jason. Moving on. . . .

I don’t really wear PJs. I usually wear a tank top and panties (or boxers if I’m walking around the house) in the summer. In the winter, leggings, and a tee shirt, with a sweater, sweatshirt or hoodie. I like fluffy slippers, and I don’t care how silly they look, as long as they are warm, and they have hard soles that can be worn outside in the damp. I wore holes in my old slippers, so the girl gave me some for Christmas, and they are indeed fluffy on the inside, and they look like Uggs, but shorter, which makes me laugh, because I’m not really an Uggs kind of girl.

Now, the difference is that tonight I had put on my new nightgown, which I purchased mostly because I needed pajamas of some sort that didn’t have any holes in them, and this was the same price as some crap that I returned from Christmas that I will never wear. And so I bought a nightgown. I have not had a new nightgown in over ten years. Over that, I put on my Bitter Southerner sweatshirt, which I love, (Thanks, Todd!) because, as I mentioned, it is cold.

So, Tiller cuts me down, and then everyone laughs at my expense, and I pretended to be mad, but let’s be honest, the joke’s on them:  I was all warm and toasty in my slippers and comfy clothes, and I had taken off my bra after wearing it all day, which all women of bra-wearing age universally acknowledge as the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Let’s cut to the chase. I looked like this:

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Nobody wore Uggs knockoff slippers in the 90s. This sweatshirt didn’t even exist five years ago. And I weighed about 40 pounds less. The kitchen, on the other hand, is completely stuck in the 80s. . . .

And then Tills and I goofed off.

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See how she’s wearing a fleece at dinner? Because it’s cold.

IMG_7299

Brody doesn’t like wrestling or demonstrations of affection of any kind. I mentioned it’s cold, right?

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Part II

So, then, we sit down and eat. Rollie is reading a book at the table. Todd doesn’t like reading at the table, which is anathema to me. He finds it rude. But somehow over the years we’ve come to a truce, and I only do it when I’m having the absolute worst day ever. Or when he is out of town. Then Tiller, Rollie, and I all get giddy and grab our reading material and sit around the table in ecstasy.

“Rollie, are you reading at the table?” I ask.

“Yes.” Sullen 12-year-old. I look at Todd to see his reaction.

“Are we allowed to read at the table?” I ask.

Todd says, “Of course, although I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to sit and talk with your family.”

Rollie, deadpan: “Because we could be reading books.”

Rollie and I high five.

I ask Rollie, “What are you reading?”

Tiller says, “He’s reading my new copy of The Graveyard Book, and he’s bent up all the pages!”

“Dogeared it, you mean, Tiller?” I say. “Rollie, did you ask if you could read her copy of the book? We already have a copy, but either way, you should have asked. And you definitely don’t dogear someone’s book without their permission.”

“Okay.” He doesn’t even look up from the book.

I say, “Thank you for letting him borrow your book, Tiller. Likewise, he has lots of books, and since he doesn’t mind dogearing, I think you can dogear his books when you borrow them. But I would ask first.”

Tiller is aghast. “I wouldn’t want to dog-ear his books! It crumples up all the pages and looks messy!”

My two children are night and day. And that female one . . . well, if I didn’t see her come out with my own two eyes, I would swear we were unrelated.

Part III

Oh Lord. This one takes the cake. I get up from the table to do the dishes. Someone makes a comment about my butt, and my son says: “Dat Turnaround Doe.” Um, if you don’t understand this language (and I really can’t blame you for that one bit), this and this will probably help clear it up. A little. The misspelling will never make sense to me, nor be okay. It’s just wrong.

[needle scratches across record]

Todd and I do turn around and stare at him, and in near unison, “What did you just say?”

R. (tentatively, the boy ain’t dumb) repeats it.

Todd says, “You don’t say that to your mother, first of all.”

“Where did you learn that?” I ask.

Rollie looks at us like we’re dumber than a box of rocks. “The Internet. Duh.”

“Do you even know what that means?” Todd asks.

“Not really.”

“If you heard it on the internet and you don’t know what it means, you don’t need to be saying it,” I chime in.

“Okay, okay.”

Y’all. I’m not sure I’m going to make it through a whole month. I love my family. They make me laugh. But this stuff is part of the reason I drink.

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A Love Letter to Santa

Thursday, December 17th, 2015
Inaugural year of East Atlanta Santa at Joe's Coffee. 2007

Inaugural year of East Atlanta Santa at Joe’s Coffee. 2007

Every year we see Santa in our old neighborhood, East Atlanta. I can’t remember how exactly it started, but a bunch of folks with little kids bemoaned the mall santa cost, lines, and hassle, and we ended up spawning this amazing fundraiser and tradition. Joe’s Coffee (shout out to Dawn!) offered up their back porch that first year. Friends and neighbors, most without kids of their own, offered to dress up as elves. Dogs and adults and all manner of kookiness were welcome. The cost was, I think, a gift donated to Toys for Tots, or maybe even that first year they donated it all to the boys and girls club?

Tiller with Sheila the Elf, at Flatiron. 2015

Tiller with Sheila the Elf, at Flatiron. 2015

This kind of DIY, easy, laid-back event is precisely what I miss most about EAV. (Okay, well, maybe I miss the people just a little too.) One of those neighbors voiced his dismay that some of us who have been every year since they started putting EAV Santa on are now the old veterans. Which just seems crazy; It seems like just yesterday that I was in Joe’s wearing Rollie in a Baby Bjorn. This friend later posted a retrospective of their photos, and I thought I’d do the same. Well, turns out my archiving skills are not up to par, so I didn’t even locate the earlier mall santa photos. I couldn’t even find the actual picture of the kids with EAV Santa that first year (2007), but I managed, with Todd’s help, to locate a photo outtake in the back at Joe’s, along with all the other 8 years with Santa.

I’m not gonna lie, there were tears shed putting this together. My babies are babies no more. But they will have to deal with our yearly tradition of seeing Santa at Joe’s for the foreseeable future. It’s probably my favorite Christmas tradition. (Since my cousins and I don’t exchange Turtle’s Gift Tokens any more.)

East Atlanta, consider this a love letter. I miss you often. Wishing the villagers and the rest of my loves a wonderful Christmas and an amazing 2016.*

Ages 2 and 4: 2007

Ages 2 and 4: 2007

Ages 5 and 3: 2008

Ages 5 and 3: 2008

Ages 6 and 4: 2009

Ages 6 and 4: 2009

Ages 5 and 7: 2010

Ages 5 and 7: 2010

Ages 8 and 6: 2011

Ages 8 and 6: 2011

Ages 9 and 7: 2012

Ages 9 and 7: 2012

Ages 8 and 10: 2013

Ages 8 and 10: 2013

Ages 11 and 9: 2014

Ages 11 and 9: 2014

Ages 12 and 10: 2015

Ages 12 and 10: 2015

* If I put it out there to the Universe like this, maybe karma will make my 2016 a little better than 2015. No, I won’t be doing a Facebook 2015 Year In Review. People would be wanting to gouge their eyes out or slit their wrists in the bathtub reading that.

A Love Letter to Santa

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

A Sloan Kind of Morning

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

SloanI’ve been listening to so much sad and melancholy music this year, but I think I’m pulling out of it. Not that I will ever stop, because I love the sad and melancholy beauties more than any of the others, but I hear variety is also supposed to be good.

A few things have been a catalyst for this . . .  (more…)