At dinner, I asked Brian what I should write about tonight.
This is a pathetic gesture which usually means that all the blog post ideas in my little idea file seem too cerebral and my brain is tired.
Asking for ideas is a pathetic gesture because, of the several dozen times I have asked this question of him, Brian has only once actually had a good idea.* Yeah, as a brainstorming technique, it pretty much blows.
“I dunno,” says my beloved.
Sigh. “Useless! What good are you if you won’t give me an idea now and again?”
“Fine. Just write about what it’s like to be so mean and hateful. You know lots about that. Oh, and being a dog stealer. Give me my dog, you dog thief!”
For the record, I never have to steal his dog. She likes me better, is all.
“I’m not mean or hateful and nobody cares where Doodle is sitting. What else ya’ got?”
Carter, not to be outdone in this spectacular battle of dimwits, said, “You should write about your butt hole and how it can poop and fart!”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” I said. “Nothing comes out of my butt hole except rainbows and glitter and fluffy baby bunny rabbits!”
“If you post some video of that, it’s guaranteed to go viral, babe. Let me know if you want me to hold the camera for you.”
My husband is so helpful.
At which point I had to remind him that my readers have had more than enough talk of butt holes, plus there was the time he showed his to the neighbors. I’d hate for us to become known as that family with all the butt hole problems, so I’m thinking I’ll skip the video of tiny bunnies emerging from my butt.
Spencer, having begun his career as a contemptuous teenager six short months ago, was sitting in the beanbag, one eyebrow raised and occasionally shaking his head at his slaphappy family. Desperate, I pulled him into the fray.
“Spencer, come on! You have to have an idea!”
“Write about Lolly,” says the boy who has the dog named Lolly under his left arm. It seems to me that the motto for most teenagers is this: No wasted brainpower.
“I can’t write about the dog! It’s not the kind of blog! I tell stories and I write about issues. I need a story or an issue!”
“Fine,” said Spencer, “tell a story about how awesome I am. You can use one of my drawings for evidence.”
*If you haven’t read the story of our trip to southern New Mexico, you should go do that now. Even if it doesn’t make you laugh, you will get an opportunity to feel superior to me, and feeling superior is always kind of fun, right?
And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.
Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
And God awakened on the eighth day, and looked upon his creation, and God said, “Behold, it is good, but the man and woman should awaken in the morning with a delicious, energizing beverage.”
So God created coffee in the image of deliciousness; Arabica and Robusta created he them.
And the Lord God commanded the man and woman saying, “Drink coffee, and be energized, and enjoy the earth and all of its fruit, especially the beverage made from the roasted bean of the coffee plant.”
And the evening and the morning were the eighth day.
That’s probably how it went, and even if it didn’t, there’s no doubt that coffee is a divine creation.
You know what my coffee is missing, though? A cigarette to accompany it.
If coffee is from God, cigarettes are from the devil.
Damn, but I miss smoking. Miss it hard. If I was one of those people who could smoke just 2-3 cigarettes a day, I would totally do that.
I’m definitely not that kind of person. I’m a smoke-all-day, every-chance-you-get, ruin-your-health-as-fast-as-you-can smoker. I would write an ode to cigarettes here, but I have a feeling that wallowing in fabulous memories of The Cigarette Years would not be helpful in my quest to remain a non-smoker.
I got hooked on cigarettes immediately after I tried smoking. I loved the smooth feel of a brand-new pack of smokes; the removing of one slender, lovely-smelling cigarette from that pack; the snick of my disposable lighter; the tiny sizzle when I took that first drag.
Inhale, pause, exhale.
When I was a (very) young adult, my friends (everyone wave hello to Kim and Courtney!) said I smoked like a non-smoker, which I suppose means I looked . . . awkward, perhaps? Yeah, like I cared. I just wanted to suck on those damn things all day long.
When I was 22, I quit smoking for, I dunno, maybe the 15th time. No way to know if it would have taken but I got pregnant with Jacob and was so sick that virtually all smells made me puke, so that was it. I quit smoking and stayed quit for over 5 years.
Yes, after 5 years smoke-free, I had a fight with my sister and, in a moment of defeatism, bought a pack of cigarettes.
The first cigarette? D I V I N E
There I was, huddled in my backyard, freezing, thinking, “Why did I ever quit this? Oh, my God, this is awesome.”
It took maybe a week before I remembered why I quit: I smelled like shit, I felt like shit, and my bank account seemed to have sprung a leak. Also? Going outside every hour or more in the middle of winter is, how shall we say, unpleasant.
So I quit smoking again.
And a few months later, I started.
And then I quit.
And a few years later, I started.
My best estimate is that I’ve been a non-smoker for 85% of my adult life. I don’t want to be a smoker; much as I enjoy a cigarette (and I do; I really, really do) I can’t afford it, either physically or financially.
It pisses me off that even though I haven’t smoked in several years (or so; I stopped keeping track a dozen quits ago) and I still crave it.
I’m going to make myself a cup of coffee and I’m going to enjoy it sans cigarette.
My rampage of over-thorough household organization continues, and finally, the kitchen is finished. During my quest to quell every last whisk’s desire for anarchy and every saucepan’s tendency toward insubordination, I found this:
So me? I was all excited, like so: Ooooh, I can make something! It will be vegetables that have never been frozen and they will be healthy! I will get an award from Better Than the Average Mother Magazine for feeding my family exceptionally wonderful, expertly chopped vegetables!
I may have a tendency to give myself a little too much credit for some very ordinary things.
This chopping thing was bestowed upon me months ago by my grandma, who handed it to me and said, “I want you to have this so don’t forget it when you leave.” She’s sentimental like that.
I had my veggies all washed and peeled and ready to go when I opened the box, which is where I found this:
First? This thing is for shit when it comes to dicing carrots. Second? It smells like Strawberry Shortcake and Holly Hobby stayed up all night drinking each other under the table, then barfed under the sofa cushions.
I had to cut up all those vegetables with a knife. It was like the olden days or something and required three band-aids and half a tube of antibiotic ointment.
When I finally finished the kitchen, I moved on to my office. Today was Clean the File Drawers Day. Someday, when I am Queen and Ultimate Ruler of the Universe, I will declare Clean the File Drawers Day an international holiday because we all deserve a day off to grieve when we review our tax records and discover that our real household income hasn’t improved appreciably in the past decade.
But there were some happy discoveries, too. The sweetest one was this, a note from Abbie when she was five years old:
I’m all melty on the inside over this. “Dear Mom you r bdfl.” Or, for those not adept at translating inventive spelling, “Dear Mom, you are beautiful.”
Oh, the bittersweetness of that!
And finally, this little gem, courtesy of my great uncle Don* by way of my grandma who never met a piece of paper that wasn’t worth saving. First, the picture, which appeared in the Newton Kansan in 1978:
Don (or Detective Harrold, as he was known back in the day) is inventorying some of the loot that police had recently recovered following several residential break-ins.
First, we all need to take a moment to observe and admire Don’s stylin’ threads.
Second, I’m digging all those stolen electronics, none of which can even be found in thrift stores anymore. I kind of miss owning things with dials.
Also, what kind of thief steals luggage?
And finally, there is a snippet under the picture that offers a list of all that was stolen and subsequently recovered:
a stereo component system and speakers
two television sets
a desk lamp
To which I can say nothing but WTF? They stole lunch meat but not bread?
*Don reads NPS. Please wave hello to him before you leave!