Thursday, October 06, 2005

Good Luck

If I were a very successful magician, my token incantation would go something like this: “Murciélago, Diablo, Countach, Gallardo, Miura!” And not necessarily in that order. Ten points for you if you already know what would materialize.

It was so cold in the water plant today that our lips and fingernails were turning blue, so we fired up the rumbling make-up air units that cost the City almost $8,000.00 a month to operate during the coldest part of the Wyoming winter, which is certainly not now. We huddled in the warm control room until things heated up, arguing about fuel mileage. When I stepped out, I was overwhelmed by that distinctly California scent: hot air blowing slowly over cold water. It doesn’t matter where I am; that sweet smell invariably picks me up like the cyclone did Dorothy and plops me right down in the middle of the football field at Mar Vista High, a rather benign Oz on a foggy weeknight under brilliant stadium lights. It seems to be the final practice before a field show tournament on Saturday. Mr. Garcia is being his usual flamboyant self on that embarrassing, rickety podium, and I am obsessed with getting home and wiping the condensation off the lovely curved brass bell of my bass trombone, before it has time to do any damage. Those delicious, damp nights were when I learned to love autumn, and Broadway showtunes, and myself.

This afternoon after Jeff left, Travis and I divvied up responsibility for covering the approaching holidays. He generously offered me Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day off. “Well boucoups comp time for you, Sasquach.” He’s going to need it. He and Shannon are expecting their third son in January, and they’re going to experiment with paternity leave. I don’t foresee it going very well. Travis is perpetual motion personified, and he’s not going to take well to sitting at home with the baby, even though he’s a great dad. I know I wouldn’t.

Oh… let’s focus on that for a moment. There may possibly be something terribly wrong with me. I cannot possibly be the only woman on Earth who is terrified of babies, can I? I’m big on communication. Babies are not expert communicators. They smell horrible (there’s poo, and then baby powder is one of my least favorite smells ever, not worse than skunk spray or Brussels sprouts or liver and onions, but close). They’re whiny and loud, expensive, demanding, utterly dependent, and not particularly attractive. In short, they’re like most of the men I’ve dated (except for the attractive part, and the smell). Don’t get me wrong. I want to be a mother. I am confident I’ll make a much better mom than most women, especially those ignorant, trashy hags who frequent my favorite laundromat, with their sadly neglected, ragamuffin broods. After all, I’ve had an excellent example in front of me for twenty-six years and counting. And she’ll make such a wonderful grandmother that I can’t possibly deprive her, although in her infinite understanding and tolerance, I doubt she’d resent having dogs and cats as grandchildren for the rest of her life. The truth is I’ve just never been around babies, being The Baby myself, and Garrick and Angie, Sara, Mark, Amanda, Libby, Stephanie, Andy and Zach came along not far enough behind me to really help. My not-direct-niece-of-confusing-relation (one of three), Kindra, was born when I was nine, but Kindra was born a genius and a supermodel, a truly extraordinary baby in every way. (Hard to believe that occurred seventeen years ago this month. Happy Birthday, Koo. Contrary to popular opinion, you’re turning out just fine.) Babies are everywhere this season, though, with Bekah (the most glowing pregnant woman that ever was, and my God, when did we grow up?) due, as well as Shannon, Misty (oh wait, she popped last week), Camielle, Amanda, and Gina. Joel the ex Mrs. Goodwrench unwisely had one last month (see above description of her fellows at the laundro, and shudder with me as I predict the sad fate of that child, fathered by Joel’s decade-her-junior trailer trash live-in. They all exist on one Wal-Mart salary, now.), and Ronda’s daughter (yes, your first grandbaby is an acceptable excuse for missing orchestra rehearsal), freaking unqualified Britney Spears, and several others I may regret forgetting. I got razzed the other day by an acquaintance who, having also noticed the local baby boom, asked, “so is it something in the water?” You’ll think, Buster. Morgan will inevitably beat me to the motherhood club, which is fine because she’s a) older, b) better suited, and c) wants to be a mom more than anything. As always, I’ll learn from her and be all the better for it.

Tomorrow is the start of my four-day weekend (I flipped Jeff for Columbus Day and won, so he’ll hunt with his boys next weekend), and I have to document a distinction. I love four-day weekends now more than ever, but not because of some horrendous grind I’m escaping from. When I paid the bills for the City, each day of a four-day weekend plunged me progressively deeper into despair, because the prospect of going back to City Hall was like a death sentence. I knew exactly what kind of shape my desk would be in when I got back, what kind of messages would be on my voicemail (“bad ‘uns,” as Jeff says), and what kinds of problems I’d have to solve on all the girls’ computers (“I swear, Sue just sat down in front of it and it died!” Sue has a strange effect on computers). But now, I can stay up all night, sleep until noon, make Halloween costumes, write and paint and bask in the glorious company of my sister and mother knowing that nothing waits for me Tuesday morning but another day of peace and order on E Hill, regardless of what sort of problems arise, with stoic Bud at the helm and springy first mate Jeff and utterly straightforward Travis for cabin boy (absolutely no guile, that one), and whatever position I fill. I’m probably the navigator. I can say “sextant” without smirking. And I thank my lucky stars again that I am where I am, doing what I’m doing.

Mom returns from sunny Monterey Sunday; remind me to wash the dishes, make my bed, and fold my underwear (how do you fold a little triangle scrap of cotton and two strings, and why bother? They can’t wrinkle, and even if they did, it wouldn’t matter because there are no witnesses lately) and I had better vacuum before then, too, or she’ll do it all in a fit of rapturous but never smothering mothering.

Jeff’s younger son Jared ambushed me at my dumpster (a mysterious dumpster that never reeks) tonight, having suffered a futile day of hunting and apparently longing to successfully stalk some living thing. I should have known when I saw the sexy silver Monte Carlo in Hank’s driveway that the boy would be lurking about. Actually he was just emptying the trash from his pack, but he still enjoyed my panic a little too much.

I could be an absolute blog-post-factory today. I’m at the early point in my potential writing career where that easy flow, that perfect obsessive zone, doesn’t just happen on command, and I am forced to take advantage of the occasions when things fall together easily. Unlike this post, which sashays rudely in and out of coherence. Thank you for hanging in.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Murciélago, Diablo, Countach, Gallardo, Miura!"

I'm picking seriously expensive tractors. ;-)

I was going to post a theory on my blog about babies. It came about as a result of a post on LingoSlinger's blog about babies. You'll never trust a baby ever again

October 8, 2005 at 12:45 AM  
Blogger a572mike said...

I know what you mean about babies being everywhere A. Since moving back to Wyoming, one of the things that drives me most nuts is how people are so hell bent on getting married and reproducing at such a young age around here.

October 8, 2005 at 11:17 PM  
Blogger A said...

Exactly. My theory is they do it because they don't think there's much else to do around here, which is bull. Either that or it has something to do with welfare, or a certain locally prominent religion (wink wink, nudge nudge).

I am a firm believer that in many cases, older parents are better parents. Mom was in her 30's when she had my sister and I, and I've never, ever seen a better mother. It's partly personality, but it also seems that she waited until she was ready to give everything she had to us, and strong enough to let us learn a lot for ourselves that most mothers try to spare their kids. Morgan calls them Helicopter Moms, and they render their children incapable of independence. I could go on about parenting all day. Maybe I ought to keep my mouth shut until I have a chance to prove it all with kids of my own.

Wookie, I'd kill for a tractor that goes over 5mph, let alone 150. Lingo's blog is great. Thanks for the link.

October 8, 2005 at 11:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have just posted my Conspiracy Theory on my blog.

My life is in danger so if you don't hear from me for a while it is because of this.

October 9, 2005 at 3:54 PM  

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