Monday, May 18, 2015

The Saga Continues......

........and the saga continues!

 At 5 am MrB woke up and poked me and said "I am afraid we can't make it to your brothers house by 6".
"Oh dear" sez I, trying hard to care as I fought my way up thru thick layers of sleep infested brain, still feeling very grudging that he had not admitted that my hair was pink. And in spite of all my crazy middle of the night smearing with this and that onto the roots of my hair, the pink had just subsided into a dark punky pink. Were I 10 years younger then I am, it might have even looked kind of good. Instead I felt like I resembled one of those old ladies who teeter around town with their arthritic, corn infested toes, stoically stuffed into high heels, and their hair wildly odd colors not even approaching a natural color range.

  But I reached down deep into my very core where the farm girl of steel still resided, and I yanked her up and put her to packing our clothes, while I sadly watched from my miserable sleep deprived little corner. She dressed the children, washed faces, wiped noses, gathered up diapers, filled bottles, checked the dishwasher, realized "normal" El had not started it the night before, started it, cleaned up the house, loaded the kids, the iPad, the computers, the chargers, the hand sewing, the books and all the other ridiculous amount of paraphernalia that I need to survive a short stint away from home, and then I simply walked out of the house and said "its as good as its going to get" threw my hands in the air, threw in a towel, lost some marbles, got in the car and off we went.

  This was happening, in spite of the pink hair and the condition of my house.

We had to drive separately, so MrB picked up breakfast sandwiches for the children and a very large coffee for he and I. (It was  just a size medium but it seemed huge to me) I sipped it and felt a few tendrils of life seeping into my bones. I sipped it some more, and felt a tiny little bit happy. I managed to get half that coffee in before I had to stop to fill the car with gas, but it was ok, because by then I felt capable. I pulled in, feeling quite young and carefree with nary a child with me, the sun roof open, the sun shining down on my pink head, and my carefree Owl City music trilling gently from the speakers. I parked, popped the gas cap, swiped my card, stuck the nozzle in and felt a niggle of discomfort. Wait.. what?
"Whats wrong"? the inner El asked the outer El.
"Its nothing, hurry up" the outer El responded.
But the inner El was obtuse and insisted on standing there and staring at the nozzle in my hand. It was green, why is the nozzle green? I looked up and beside me was a truck with a very practical man standing there watching me with a delighted grin on his face. "do it" his face said "do it so I may make stupid women driver jokes" ... I laughed and called over to him "that was close"!  He threw his head back and roared "ahh din't think that cah was a diesel" he shouted back happily with his southern accent. I felt a little shaky at just HOW close I had come to putting diesel fuel in my little gas car. The whole universe was trying to trick me into being forced to give up this trip. But I am stubborn and stoic and even tho the shame of the whole matter was thick on the back of my neck, I pulled up my big girl underwear to around my armpits and I put gas in the car, and headed on after the car with my man and kids.


We dropped the children off, and the 2 yr old seemed fine. He went happily into the house to play with trains. I glanced back wistfully as we wound out through the trees. All my children except the baby was there. Already I missed them. Already I wanted to go back and take them with me, and yet the very idea of taking them with me, made me not want to go anymore. I was quickly made happy to sit beside my husband, all by myself, with just the baby in the back seat. His hand on my knee and my hand sewing in my lap. It was sheer bliss!


  We drove for hours and by the time we checked to see how soon we would be there, we were almost there! We didn't run out of things to say, and we took a few selfies without a single photo bomber! I deleted them tho because I was not quite happy with them, I don't like selfies and generally look down on them, but the truth is, we would have almost no pictures of ourselves without the selfies.

  Now you have to understand just how much I was looking forward to the eating parts of this trip. All alone, just me and my man (and baby, but she hardly counts) but because we were so busy talking and laughing and even singing together (yes, I know thats cheesy) that we forgot to stop until we were on the outskirts of St Louis on the Illinois side. You know what that means, right? It means we stopped to eat, and had two choices. A Mexican restaurant and a Chinese restaurant. Both looked disreputable. We walked into the Mexican restaurant, glanced around and stampeded for the door. We warily opened the Chinese door and smelled eggs. The cat waved serenely. We walked up to the bar and read the menu and resisted the urge to bolt while the cat waved. But we were both starving so we stayed. It seemed as if there were only two people working the whole restaurant, but still we hoped and watched the cat wave. The food came out, mine was good, his was not. Our appetite was suddenly dampened and we didn't eat very much. Afterwards we walked slowly out into the humid warm afternoon. We got into the car and started off down the road. I imagine the cat was still waving.

  A few miles down the road the cramps hit. I saw MrBs face tighten and a pained look came across his face, just as I heard a heavy gurgle in my stomach. We both turned white and started sucking down Altoids.
"I have to use the bathroom RIGHT NOW" I shouted
"WHAT"? Shouted MrB back feebly?
(you think its not possible to shout, feebly? then you have not experienced the sick urgency of a meal gone horribly wrong)
"Babe, we canNOT arrive at my friends house and stampede over her to get to their bathroom only to stay immobile in the bathroom for the next hour" I said in horror.
"Well what do you want to do, stop again"?
(yes, I took a picture of our misery)

By this time we had arrived at the short cut to her road which just happens to cut thru a school parking lot, and of course the gate was closed! Salvation was literally 2 minutes away, but the gate was closed! My misery was complete, we were both so miserable now that we no longer had dignity and honor. We just wanted a bathroom, NOW. So we headed miserably back into town which is only about 1 1/2 miles away, found a bathroom, bulldozed in the door, elbowed our way to the bathroom and didn't come out for a long long time. We felt a little conspicuous as we left, but honestly, I can't imagine we were the first victims of the seedy Chinese place. They probably get them in droves everyday. They probably snicker as they watch yet another horrified, bloodless face come screaming in the door.
   
   And now my dear people, I must depart once again and leave this story sit on the end of its ball of yarn, and soon I shall come back and impart to you all that happened while on this ill fated but wonderful St Louis trip.......

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Preparing to Trip...

You know how you make these plans, and you decide to do something and then you try hard to make that everything falls into place so that "The Plan" will work?
  Well do you also know what happens when "The Plan" refuses to happen no matter your best intentions? This happened to me recently. Very recently in fact. In fact it was so recently that I still quake and turn white at just the memory. I imagine as the memory will become more distant, I will be able to once again live in the moment and forget the things that can happen.

  So we made a plan to go to St Louis where my very bestest and dearest friend resides with her husband and kids. Every few months I get this wild hankering to see her, talk to her, and eat ice-cream and shop with her. You have to understand just how important this relationship is to me. This woman "gets" me. She is not dramatic, she takes me at face value and does not read into the things that I tell her when I attempt to communicate to her without having had wine before hand. (you see, those of us who grew up in a very strict atmosphere where communication was not encouraged and even in a lot of cases was discouraged, we have a far harder time using our words to get the feelings from the insides of our heads to the outside where it might bear fruit) but anyway I am drifting far to the side of my intended target. Allow me to proceed....

  So, the plan was to leave on a Friday morning early, and drop the kids off at one of my brothers house while we are gone. I felt quite relaxed the Sunday and Monday before and found myself calmly drinking coffee and perusing my messy house with a condescending air. "you will be clean by the weekend, when I shall walk out of my perfectly clean house to go on vacation, so that I may return to a perfectly clean house" I boasted glibly.

  Tuesday came and I felt like it was far too soon to actually clean for the trip, so I didn't. I spent a very calm and relaxed day doing who knows what.

  Wednesday came and I started getting a small feeling of pressure inside. But I didn't clean or pack because everybody knows its still far too soon for that. (seriously, how many lies can one  tell oneself and believe?)

  Thursday came and I decided to pack. Only I didn't have anything to wear. So being somebody who is not held back by lack of ability to go shopping, I hurried to my sewing room and started to sew and snibble and frolic among the glories of my sewing room. Pretty soon I had a gorgeous knit shift dress that showed every single flaw my 8 months postpartum body possessed. But never mind that, I knew how to fix it. So I got out my Alabama leaf stencil and I mixed up some Annie Sloan paint and I carefully stenciled the whole dress so that I might hand stitch it and create a piece of art. I planned to do that on the way up and then wear the dress on our night out. (again, what was I smoking?) (did you know its a classic sign of ADD to over extend and under estimate the amount of time a project will take.) But of course then I was having fun in the sewing room and even tho by now it was after lunch and it was time to clean my house and pack, I just blissfully kept snibbling and sewing. I did this until early evening and I finally guiltily cleaned up the sewing room, packed the childrens clothes, and hastily gave the house a ridiculous lick and a promise. Around 5 pm, MrB called home and asked what clothes does he have that are good enough for vacation? I encouraged him to stop and pick something up on his way home oh and also could he pick up some hair color for me so I could cover my grey roots. He got a little excited at the prospect of so much power at his fingertips. Which gave me a niggle of fear, ya know? Just a niggle. Not an outright clamoring.

   That night he came home looking very proud of himself. I excitedly met him at the door to see what wonderful clothes he had picked out. I felt worried when I saw the TSC (tractor supply co) bag. I reached into the bag and drew out the most horrific, horrible, horrifying pair of washed off 80s style jeans. They literally had to have been lost in the bowels of this store for years and years and years, whereupon my hapless husband reached out his hand and thought "oh, my wife would love these because she loves vintage".  I gasped and cringed, and pulled out the matching shirt. It was a lovely medium blue button up. The color was the first and the last thing that was nice about it. It was so stiff that I actually thought it was cardboard. It whined loudly when I scratched it with my fingernail. I even opened it up and it stood all by itself on the table with its arms extended stiffly out the sides. ok, that last bit is stretched but it almost did that!  Poor MrB looked at me in consternation and said "don't you like the clothes I picked out". (that was a statement, not a question) I looked silently at him while I tried to gather my thoughts in such a way that the words that I would speak would not crush my poor husband. I lined up some tactful words on a parchment paper in my head so that they would not stick and I opened my mouth to deliver them. But instead of a tactful loving neat row of words, a river of choice descriptive words flung themselves in front of the parchment paper train and poured out before I could stop them. I won't repeat them here. I won't ever repeat them again. I can't even remember what all I said but by the time the parchment paper  train came rolling out, the damage had been done. He stared at me in shock and then to my enormous relief he started to laugh and laugh. "help me" he said , "babe, go shopping for me quickly and help me".

   Of course I was noble and went shopping for him. I gathered up 3 of the children and we left for town. First we took the unfortunate TSC clothes back, and then we hurried to Stockdales and picked out 2 practical pairs of jeans befitting a country farmer, and 2 soft cotton shirts that would fit my MrB to a T. (wow that was corny) Then we hurried home again.
  I fed all the children dinner, tucked them in bed, and got the house cleaned up, again. By then it was 9:30 pm. I grabbed the box of hair color that had been brought home and went into the bathroom to attend to my roots. Once again I felt that pesky little niggle of a warning. I shrugged it away and got to work. A few minutes after the hair color was on my hair, it suddenly turned bright luminescent pink.  I resisted the urge to wash it out immediately and persisted for another 25 minutes. I rinsed it and tried hard to not panic as the water that washed out was neon pink. I even stayed brave and circumspect as I blow dried it. And then I looked in the mirror and I instantly lost all my marbles. I threw them all up in the air and they came clattering down around me. My hair was bright pink. I am not talking a sultry, funky pink. I am talking a fierce neon pink. I woke up MrB and hissed at him that we were going to have to cancel the trip to St Louis and  to come to the bathroom. He came squinting and putting his glasses on, looking very perplexed.
"Its PINK" I whisper yelled
"Its NOT pink" he whisper yelled back
I gasped "how can you not see that my hair is PINK" I not quite whisper yelled
"Its NOT PINK" he whisper roared back
"GO BACK TO BED" I bellowed in a whisper, clearly I was getting no help from that corner.
I stood at the mirror in utter despair. No way was I going anywhere with pink hair. It was on the same level of going outside of my house without any teeth.
"I am not going" I assured the hollow-eyed pink haired woman in the mirror.
But then I remembered the Henna in my cupboard, black henna that would surely cover all my pink hair.
 So I took sleeping pills,  brought water to a boil and I mixed it, applied it, wrapped my smelly hair in seran wrap and went to bed.  What an awful night. All night long I dreamed and obsessed that my baby would be kidnapped by the babysitter in St Louis, and I obsessed about the 2 yr old going to my brothers house and I obsessed that my house was so messy. At 2:30 am I woke up, washed out the henna, blow dried my hair again so it wouldn't discolor my pillows and wearily crawled back into bed to resume my obsessive dreaming.  To be continued......

PS. I applaud you if you have made it this far.