You’ve got to earn the right to be wrong

The woman in the pizza shop carries her kid on her hip like it’s some growth, a Mini-Me, an evil puppet you can’t control that just talks like that and won’t stop.

Because I’m not employed and my wife is over-worked and we’re living with my mother-in-law, I make a show of any tasks that are mine, adding flourish with grunts and drawing the work out so it takes longer than it should, acting tired when I’m done, complain I need a nap, complain a second time when I don’t get one and go on about why I didn’t as if someone cares, and then blog about it.

I’m now in charge of coordinating play dates with the other kids’ moms but bad with the details, slow with the texts, I get lost in the developments because they all look the same and take the long way to kill time, then have to rely on Lily’s 10-year-old friend to clarify the way — I expose them to a live show by The Fall in a car that has no air conditioning and makes us leave the windows down so everyone’s loud and either laughing or fighting back there, wedged in and rolling into each other with every turn like they’re at the amusement park with hair everywhere, screaming — I juice the volume to see how long it takes until someone says something, but no one does. They’re lost in their worlds and I’m lost in mine.

Charlotte is picking her nose with a plastic straw and I cross the center line when I turn to yell and all the teens out here are learning to drive in these souped-up cars that say SWERVE on them, which is a terrible name for a driving school — like Honey Bucket for portable toilets or FATBURGER for a restaurant. Don’t put fat in the name, start there.

"Wilhelm II. 1905" by Reichard & Lindner

“Wilhelm II. 1905” by Reichard & Lindner

We watch the backstory leading up to WWI, our man Kaiser Wilhelm II and his English, German, Russian cousins — how a chill set in when Queen Victoria died, how she bound them by her mere presence and pretty much kept them in line. How just one ass can yank the whole train off the tracks and leave it overturned, how we forget we’re pretty much all related.

At my mother-in-law’s I think about assuming control of the kitchen which is like taking Asia if you’re playing the game Risk, it’s hard to lose when you’ve got Asia.

But I have no control and nor should I, and that leaves me fidgeting with the blinds and taking the tomatoes out of the refrigerator and describing why they don’t belong there in a way that’s not as nice as it could be and may not be right — changing the station from the news to Classical, playing with the downlight settings on the microwave — I would be hard to date.

Dawn is in the basement with a headset talking to her computer that’s either a video she’s on or a phone call it’s unclear, but she’s in the same sports commentator go-to-battle pose as air traffic control batting back the emails and the IM’s as they come in, tamping them down — and upstairs, it’s wind chimes if I’m lucky and the smattering of ad voices or news commentators if I’m not.

I sit on the back step looking out over the lake, below a deck that’s on stilts with the screen door open and a Sleeping Beauty VHS spilling out, mixing with the night sounds, the final scene with Maleficent cackling and baiting the prince, burning everything, turning herself into a dragon. The fairies launch a counter-spell that charms his sword and he throws it into her chest and she topples over screaming, disappears into the bottom of the screen.

I agree to cuddle with the kids upstairs because they’re scared, and Charlotte rocks back and forth saying she misses mom but concedes to me, gestures for my place on the bed, and settles in near midnight.






Categories: humor

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

17 replies

  1. Yeah, this is probably the best thing I’ll read today. Goodnight, everybody!
    That whole second paragraph, my God. Funny stuff.


    • Thanks Ross – I had a different ending in mind, thought better of it, and now the title doesn’t exactly match the content, but so be it. Life is WIP. Cheers to you and yours, and your smart-aleck style was much of the inspiration. Thanks for blowing pollen through my screen.


  2. I have to fight the urge to tell my husband and daughter what I do every day, with dramatic flourish of course. They’re not asking, although sometimes they’d like it if I did take over the kitchen and feed them on occasion. Life is feeling a little claustrophobic these days. Glad you get to break out of it soon. Travel is balm for people in limbo.


    • I’ve fallen back into this stereotype I pictured perfectly and resisted for months, and now I’m settling in for the time being. Funny, how hard it is for us to just rest in the present and not get preoccupied with what’s next or the perfection of the past. I wanted this to be about breaking grammar rules but it didn’t work out that way – glad you liked it just the same Michelle, thanks.


      • I would have likely missed the boat on broken grammar rules. I’m guessing it would have been a pleasure to read regardless.
        It’s hard to stay in the moment. I try to remind myself that life IS limbo, so any change is actually more of the same. Sounds dull when I put it that way, though.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Michelle — you know, the navel-gazing is interesting and sometimes bears fruit, and other times I realize I’m just kind of breathing in my own cocoon. But it’s really good just the same.


  3. You are out of your element. You are not genetically predisposed to play date coordination. Can you hold a Blogging for Toddlers and Exhausted Mothers seminar instead?

    I always make damn sure they know I’m running the vacuum without having been asked to. Attention must be paid.


    • Yeah, I don’t want to get good at it either (the play date coordination). I like the blogger seminar instead, there is something to that Mark.


  4. Your second paragraph killed me. I’m still laughing. As for Risk and Asia, I could never hold it. I might get all of the territory, but some jackass would grab Siam and then I’m back to square one. I hope it is easier for you to hold on to the kitchen, I find no one bothers me when I want to work there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jon – great to hear from you! I just emailed a ranger about the Paradise fire over there on the Peninsula because I was planning a camping trip out there by Kalaloch next week. Kamchatka was my favorite territory to grab because you could bop over to Alaska, I think. We’re all connected somehow. Hope you’re well, and I’m going to bop over to your post from today to catch up.


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