With thirty-plus years’ hindsight, the ’70s were awesome.
PBR was awesome.
Patrick Swayze was awesome.
H/T to my friend Steve Burke, who is the 2011 incarnation of this guy:
On the heels of the “ghetto-party” drama at the esteemed University of California, San Diego this week—which I will be writing about shortly, believe you me, oh yes I will—my husband’s business partner found a note on the ground, lost by, presumably, one of the University’s fine, over-achieving students. It concerns me how this individual is managing in life and more so, how she/he is going to get through tomorrow without the lost memo.
Hand written in pencil on a postcard-size piece of paper with violins and cats on it (see? Already, I question the functional capacity of this person), is the To Do list:
- 7:10am = Sleep
- 7:40 = Get ready
- 7:45 = Walk to school bus
- 8:00 = Get to class
- 8:50 = Class
- 9:00 = Walk
- 9:50- Class
I mean, where on this list is this person supposed to squeeze in breathing?
I am not a homemaker. I have three or four recipes I can cook and proudly stake claim to (I’ll put my chicken pot-pie in a blindfolded taste test any day of the week), but in general, I’m a hurricane in the kitchen. Ditto in the laundry room. Yes, I manage to get things agitating without soap bubbles pouring from the closed lid, but inevitably there’s a tinted lip balm in a pocket or a new red shirt mingling with the whites. The same goes for sewing. The simple task of replacing a button brings out the OCD in me: There aren’t enough knots in the universe to hold that sucker in place and so I keep tying them, one after another after another, knots lining up like an endless string of ben wa balls, unable to stop myself until the button disappears beneath a big clump of thread.
I thank my mother for my domestic ineptitude. It is she—the Queen of Beige Food, the one who boasts of her culinary ability to prepare all things pasty and grey—who once forgot to add sugar to Baked Alaska.
In her defense, she was probably high when baking it, so despite the sour look on her guest’s faces that night, she’d had a good time in the kitchen and eventually, after the initial horror wore off, a good laugh. Still. Baking-while-stoned only further serves as a reminder of the old apple-and-tree cliché, a fact I’m intent on defying as I’ve made it my purpose in life to break the mold.
And so it goes that a couple weeks ago, while under the influence of Vicodin following a little abdominal surgery, I decided the time had come to hem the curtains on the French doors in my bedroom. I’d purchased them at Ikea and go figure, they were three feet too long. Damn those Swedes and their extra-tall doorways.
Not to fear. I asked a talented seamstress friend, who makes fabulously stylish Mad Men-era clothes for herself and her daughters, if she would hem them for me and then never got around to bringing the fabric to her house. Which is aaaaall the way across the street. Instead, my mother-in-law pinned the curtains during one of her visits and that is how they stayed, no one the wiser, for five years, six months, three weeks and four days. I am lazy. And pathetic.
To offer some perspective on my state of mind at the time of the “hemming,” I had been unable to pee without immense effort for two days. Were you to have peeked through the bathroom window during this time, you’d have seen a very disheveled me, sitting on the toilet with my laptop open to this:
I was drugged and delirious and fighting tooth and nail to avoid catheterization. I was dribbling urine after hours of concentrating on Niagra Falls and then lying sleepless in bed—bladder full—on top of Ruby’s special potty-training mattress pad just in case my urethra came to in the middle of the night. I actually hoped to wet the bed. Isn’t that sexy? This was new turf for my relationship. Suffice it to say, being bedridden did not suit my mental health. I had no business using scissors. But enough excuses.
I’d been staring at those curtains from my bed for three days and the more I stared, the more I began to resent them. Their imperfect existence was a reminder of my domestic shortcomings. They were unfinished and they needed to not be unfinished immediately.
How hard can it be? I thought. By following the hem line, I can cut them to the proper length with just enough fabric left over for a little break. Any caveman can do that!
I shuffled to the kitchen, grabbed the scissors and shuffled back to the bedroom where I knelt at the curtains, careful not to bust the stitches in my bellybutton. I lined the scissors up and I cut. Slowly, at first, but then I picked up speed as I cut and cut and cut. It was cathartic in a nobody-gets-hurt, NO! MORE! WIRE! HANGERS! kind of way. I may have grunted. I was a caveman. I was Wilma Flintstone.
And I have Flintstone curtains to prove it.
I know that Southern California lacks the intense, crackling beauty that comes with changing leaves of autumn. I know we don’t ever get to watch from our windows as the season’s first snowfall covers streets and lamposts and begs for the making of hot toddies or snow angels or love beneath layers of quilts. I know we don’t get the luscious green that comes with spring or summer nights so hot that you don’t ever need to have a sweater on hand.
I know all this and I do fiercely miss the changing of seasons.
We’re boring around these parts with our sunny-and-73 nearly every day. But it’s pretty damned nice to watch the sun set over the pacific.
While wearing shorts.
I had a little coughing fit in the car this morning—I hate it when my coffee goes down the wrong pipe—and decided to keep both hands on the steering wheel as I tried to simultaneously clear my windpipe and merge into rush-hour traffic. A certain 39-inch passenger was unmoved by my predicament.
“Cover! Your! MOUF!” she ordered from her throne in the backseat.
I didn’t know whether to be proud or terrified.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Eat pot brownie before drinking 10 glasses of champagne.