Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Give me money, give me drugs, slow wet kisses, all your love..

I'm going to see Wyatt tomorrow night at the Nick. It's going to be a good show, and I hope that everybody who reads this can make it out. If you can't, go over to their page and give them a listen, and maybe you can make it to the next show.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

All I wanna do is to thank you, even though I don't know who you are.

Well, Jude doesn't have strep throat, Reed doesn't like Kane and Jude's bitchy doctor who is rude to me (Dr. Judy), and my car MIGHT be ready on Friday.

You know how they say you learn something new every day? These are the things I've learned today. So, you know, it's two steps forward and one step back.

I really am happy to know that Jude doesn't have strep throat, since my throat has been hurting a little too and I was afraid we might both have it. Of course it doesn't have anything to do with Jude's feelings and wellfare! I just don't want to be sick again, when I'm still not really over the sick of last week. Besides, do we know why Jude has been a little under the weather? Because it's mothergrabbin' OCTOBER and they went to "the lake" to catch crawdads, and Jude went into the water WITH HIS SHOES ON. I realize that this isn't the first time I've mentioned this; it's just that I can't get over it. You know what they did a couple of weeks ago? They had cotton candy FOR BREAKFAST. Now, I know that you guys are thinking, "Man, I bet she's a lot of fun. NOT." But it's just that this is the norm. I'll go over there to pick them up in January, and it'll be 33 degrees outside, and Mary will have all the doors in the apartment open so her cigarette smoke won't stay in the apartment, and Kane and Jude will be wandering around with icecycles hanging off of their BARE TOES and frost accumulating beneath the bottoms of their SHORTS.

What's my point? It's like fucking Neverland over there; there's not a TRUE adult in sight, as least not one who isn't on some kind of heavy, mind-altering substance, and they've all decided that they're never growing up! It's all very fun and cool and "look how much better they like us than they like you guys!!" So when Kane and Jude are at our house it's a real drag to have to, you know, eat stuff that isn't composed entirely of sugar and fairy dust, and to have to do really ridiculous, outdated stuff like put on socks and wash your hands. I continue to have to play the role of the demeaning, ornery, enraged, evil bossy bitch on that front.

But that's okay. I've had a lot of practice. So I was totally okay with the hurt, spiteful look on Jude's face this morning when I told him that he can't wear wet sneakers to school in 45 degree weather, and that he might not ever be able to wear those shoes again as they were emersed in lake water- which, in Alabama, equals fish-stink and pollution. HE WILL GET OVER IT. That, or he'll shiv me. But I'm ready for that, too. I've got two long-bows underneath my bed, bitches. Just in case the revolution comes.

Monday, October 23, 2006

L.A. Fashion Week, where L.A. stands for "Leeds, Alabama".

Today Jude wore an entire outfit of new clothes- new clothes that I bought him. Unless you know him, you have no idea what an unnatural feat this is. I mean, I figured when I locked him in the basement and provided him only the clothes that I bought him, he'd break eventually, but I never thought he would just.. wear them.

Now, when I was seven years old FOR PETE'S LOVIN' SAKES I don't even think I looked at what I was wearing. I think I just put stuff on to keep the cold off, you know? Hell, my mom might have still been dressing me, I don't know. I think, once in a while, I might have seen a dress that I liked and showed it to my mom, who would inevitably say, "Oh, we can make that." But besides that, I just didn't give a honk.

Jude, on the other hand, is a SNOB. He is a snob, folks. And it's so completely off-setting, because he's so punk rock, skateboarder, bmx biker, criminal extraordinaire, that you'd sort of assume that he barely thought about what he was wearing, too. But NO. NONONONO. I noticed several years ago that he had favorites in his wardrobe, and would wear dirty clothes over and over again. I finally told him that he had to put on a CLEAN shirt when he got out of the tub, and he had a crying, stomping fit; he then tried to get us to wash the same shirt every night, so he could just put it on again the next morning.

Since Kane and Jude have moved in with us, I often buy them clothes. I mean, you know a boy can put on a new shirt and it will have disintegrated off his body by that evening, so they always need clothes. Anytime I'm at Target or Old Navy I glance through the clearance stuff to see if there is anything in their sizes, and if I find something that (a) is the right size, and (b) looks like something they'd like, I grab it. Kane always thanks me over and over again, and sort of holds it up to himself to show how approving he is. Jude, though, usually looks sort of constipated and then lifts his nose a little higher, shakes his head in the "no" fashion, and walks away. I'm not kidding- that is the routine for "when Buffy brings clothes home". And, people, we like to dress our children in "cool" clothes; it's not like I'm bringing home bonnets and saddle shoes.

So this morning, I went to make sure that Jude was on his way to being ready, and he was wearing a new t-shirt that I bought him last night, new jeans that I bought him a couple of months ago, and new sneakers that he had completely disdained, so much so that I was intending to take them back. And he looked so darned cute, I even told him how darned cute he looked.

Of course, he went on to tell me that the reason he was wearing the new shoes was because his other shoes were "still wet" because they went hunting for crawdads and he went in the lake WITH HIS SHOES ON in 65-degree-weather and, people, 24 hours is just not enough time for Sketchers to dry, okay?

I wonder why his throat was hurting this morning?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Today is a good day, I think. Today is one of those days in which a whole mess o' stuff happens, and you hardly even notice it, but you feel good at the end.

I cleaned the floors. I spent a lot of time with Reed. I did a lot of laundry. I liked Kane and Jude, and I think they liked me. We talked about Halloween, and how much fun it's going to be, and how cute Reed is going to be on his very first Halloween in his monkey costume. I went shopping with my mom, and she reminded me again why she is one of my best friends. I kissed Jason, and meant it.

And through the whole day, I was thinking SO HARD about somebody I love, and somebody else who I'm pretty sure I love and really want to love, and I was worrying so much about them. And even my mom was worrying so much about them. And at one point I even thought, "If I went to church, and at church they did that thing where they ask if anybody needs prayers, I would ask them to pray about this." Because this is one of those moments, you know? Those MOMENTS, where you know several lives are really going to be totally changed, and it's really hard to figure out which decision makes people's live better, and which decision makes people's lives worse. Because you have to try SO HARD to think about the long run, right? It is so difficult to even figure out what the long run would be, with each decision. Suddenly your head is spinning, and it's just so much easier, and so much less painful, and so much more painful, not to think about it at all. And there are times when you just really want things to be easy, but you can't even figure out which thing is easy, you know?

And right now I'm just proud. I feel pride that I had a day in which I just felt good. I didn't feel despair, or loneliness, or isolation, or rage. I didn't want to run away, or break some stuff, or take a big ol' glass o' FUCKSHIT and throw it at anybody.

But I kept having these moments, these MOMENTS, in which I was thinking, "Our lives are about to be changing, because THEIR lives are about to be changing." And it was just so damn scary, and sad, and, sort of, pensive. What's going to happen, you know? What are we going to do? How can I just GET RIGHT IN THERE and wave my magic wand and fix it all up? And, you know, I can't.

And then I made a little phone call, and I was so nervous about making my phone call, because I just didn't KNOW, you know? But I did it, and we talked, and I came away from it thinking that things are really going to be okay. No matter WHAT ends up happening, things are going to be okay. This is why God made ears, beers, and cheese cake brownies, people. BECAUSE THEY HELP YOU. We all need to slow down a little bit, listen to each other, take a minute to figure things out. Conclusions should NEVER, nevernevernever, be jumped to, because you might miss the most important stuff. The bottom line, I think, is that we all deserve happiness, but MOTHERFUCKER it's just so damn hard to locate sometimes. We all have to learn to be patient enough, and hard working enough, and "I'm gon' ignore the fact that I just want to CHOKE A BITCH" enough to allow ourselves to stumble upon it.

I, for one, am excited and anticipatory. Is "anticipatory" a word? WHO CARES?! I am taking a minute to enjoy my happiness, and relief, and my shitting with glee. If I happen to make a couple of grammatical errors along the way, it just doesn't even matter.

I'm going to go get a cheese cake brownie. Okay, a beer.

And my anal ass will probably be back later to remove "anticipatory" from this post, because EW, grammatical errors!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I want to get high, so high.

Eh; I wadda go hoooooooooo-buh!

I'm pretty sick, and it's getting to me a little bit. The medicine that makes me feel the most better has codeine in it, and so I can't take it while I'm at work. I'm all stopped up and coughy and snorty and snotty and whiny and I honestly DON'T CARE how your day is going because I feel really baaaaaaaaaaaad, okay?

You know, a couple of months ago, Kane, Jude, Reed, and Jason all got sick, one by one. They had the runny nose, and the sinus crap, and the wet cough, and all that stuff that kind of gives you the full-body shiver and makes you scrub your body with Clorox wipes. MAN, I cleaned the house and sprayed us all down with Lysol every day, and somehow, I managed to avoid the sickness. I kept waiting for that tell-tale day in which I started to feel really low, but it never came. Eventually, everyone was well, and I still hadn't gotten sick, and I thought, "Hallelujah! I've finally gotten to a place where I can be around sick people and not get sick!"

So when Jude started coughing about three weeks ago, I hardly even thought about it. Then Jason got really sick, sicker than Jude, and I worried a little bit. But I kept thinking that I'd just keep shuckin' and jivin', and I'd give this one the slip as well. Then I started to feel bad around Thursday of last week, and I was so disappointed. I thought that I might as well deal with it, because it was my fault anyway, since I hadn't been Cloroxing our silverware and toothbrushes as usual.

However, it has since come to my attention JASON, that it couldn't have been avoided no matter what I did about it. I mean, if I didn't live with people who scoff at germs as being figments of my imagination and things better left unthought-of, I might have avoided it. But as it is, I live with JASON and JUDE, so I really couldn't have avoided it.

One night last week, Kane and Jude were having sandwiches for supper; it was one of those nights when I was not ABOUT to lift a finger for anyone besides myself, as I was too busy having massages and bon-bons and shit, so they were making the sandwiches themselves. Usually when they do this, Jude puts a modicum of jelly on one piece of bread, folds it in half, and calls it a sandwich. On this particular evening, I had called in from my pedicure and foot rub to tell him to use two pieces of bread for pete's blue-eyed sakes, and put some God damn peanut butter on there too! So I was standing there, and Jude was making his sandwich, and he put a teeny-tiny smear of jelly on the bread, licked the knife, and then DIPPED IT BACK INTO THE JELLY JAR, and then LICKED IT SOME MORE. After I awoke from my simultaneous stroke/coma, I said, "You CANNOT put that knife back in the jelly after you've LICKED IT." And what I actually intended was for him to put that knife in the sink and get a new one. As much as these guys love to clear out our cabinets and fill up the sink with dirty dishes, I know that any other day Jude would have put the knife in the sink and got a new one. But on this day, he ran the knife under the faucet for about .3 nanoseconds, and then stuck it right back into the jelly jar. And then he licked it. And then he stuck it back in there again. And then I had my second stroke/coma for that day, but this time there was also a seizure thrown in for good measure.

In an event which shall now be known as "not at all fucking unrelated", Jason and I were at Target the other night, and he said, "We need batteries." He went on to tell me that the batteries had been out in his toothbrush for some time. Then he dropped the bomb: "Yours will probably go out pretty soon. Because I've been using your toothbrush since my batteries went dead." Now, people, before you get all "God, you're a prude!" on me, I don't necessarily have a problem with the occasional sharing of toothbrushes WHEN YOU ARE BOTH WELL AND HEALTHY AND HAVE NO DEADLY PLAGUES TO CAST UPON THE UNKNOWING VICTIM OF YOUR TOOTHBRUSH-RAPE. In this case, however, I feel like Jason could have SHOVED OFF and used his own germ-infested toothbrush for the duration of his illness.

So, to wrap up, (a) I am sick, and (b) It is not my fault. I might as well have been asking Jason to spit in my mouth and paying Jude to direct all those nice, juicy coughs right into my face.

I do dot like beig sick, ad dow I'b sick, ad I wadda go hobe, suck dowd sub codeed with a bartidi ad proceed to let Calgod take be away.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Hit me with your best shot.

Kane got suspended from school on Thursday.

Apparently some kid thought that Kane was breaking in line, so he pushed Kane, and a few minutes later punched him in the back of the head. Kane pushed him back.

My immediate reaction was to be a little freaked out, a little worried, a little mad. After having some time to think it over, I am just very proud. It takes a frail and delicate balance to raise a kid who can take up for himself. You don't want to get a kid so hyped that he ends up being a bully and a smart-ass, but you also don't want to teach a kid that he should back down when confronted. There's a lot of back-tracking and contradiction in teaching a kid to find the middle of these two things. "Don't ever hit or push anyone else, and don't ever snatch something away from another person. If someone is making you feel bad or threatening you, just walk away; be the grown-up in the situation. If someone ever hits you or pushes you or makes you afraid, you should tell the teacher immediately. But if you think you're about to get beat up, you need to pound on him just a little."

We're trying to raise MEN over here, you know? I want them to grow up to be the kind of men women can trust, can confide in, can depend on, can be proud of. I want them to be the kind of men who are smart and brave enough to ignore shitty assholes, but are confident in the fact that, if need be, they can BEAT THE LIFE OUT of those shitty assholes. I want them to be the kind of men who stand out in a crowd because they are SO honest, and have SO much integrity, and also know how to smile and mean it. Because boys lose that sometimes, and I think that loss in turn causes girls to lose it, too.

There was a time in my life when I was surrounded by boys- friends and lovers who took care of me and knew that I would take care of them. These were people that I would love forever and do love now. But that time passed eventually; I was lonely for a long time and it was hard to grow up and realize that these relationships grow and change and, sometimes, break. But it has occurred to me over the past few months that it's just a new group of boys now. Four boys- Jason, Kane, Jude, and Reed- is plenty. And the fact that our relationships are even more intimate than those I've had with boys before- it takes a special kind of person to scrub the skidmarks out of the underwear of someone who doesn't even call you mom, okay?- just makes it all the more intense. There are fights and disagreements and misconceptions and hurt feelings; we laugh hard and we cry harder.

But it is LIFE, man. There is not a day that passes in which I don't think, "Thank GOD I'm alive, or else these guys would be wearing some NASTY skivvies and eating blow pops for dinner." Really, though, without even realizing it, we are grabbing the grittiest part of life by the balls and sayin', "Bitch, please!" Because, for some of us, just making it through the day alive is an accomplishment. Drugs, and drinking, and partying, and being crazy, that is the easy stuff. Explaining, for the FIFTEENTH TIME, to a seven-year-old why he can't lick the knife and then put it BACK in the peanut butter, while doing laundry, feeding a ten-month-old, and helping a ten-year-old with his homework? These are things that YOU DO NOT LEARN IN SCHOOL; you teach yourself to do these things and you teach yourself not to drag the new kitchen knives across your throat somewhere in the process and that's why it's such an accomplishment. There are always easy ways out. There is always something more fun, more relaxing, less "IF YOU LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT ONE MORE TIME I'M GON' CHOKE A BITCH!" that I could be doing. But I am sticking with it, 'cause it would be a shame to waste these past three years of sheer exhaustion and self-doubt by giving up. And I'm getting pretty good at this whole "multi-tasking" thing. And I think I might be setting a good example for my boys while I'm at it.

There is some one out there right now who needs that last paragraph. I am tearing up and thinking about you right now. I hope that it's not too late, because we can deal with this. YOU can deal with this. But if it is too late, we will deal with that, too. I am finding out that we are more alike than I ever even wished we would be. You are a member of my family, so you will never be alone.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Winning and losing: what's the difference?

When I was a kid, I was best friends with Kristi and we played together all the time. We loved playing outdoors; we'd disappear for hours at a time in the woods and my mom would have to send our dog Poochie to find us. I always knew that when Poochie came running up to us expectantly, it was time to go home.

We played a lot of indoor games as well. We played board games, and we played house with baby dolls, and we played barbies. However, Kristi and I were, how you say, creative children, so sometimes we got bored and had to find other ways to entertain ourselves. [This is not about to get dirty or sexy, so just hang that up at the door.] One of our favorite things was to tear the legs off of barbies and play with them as if they were individual people. Seriously. Each leg was its own person; we would put dresses on them, change their shoes, whatnot. We had great fun, and I'm pretty sure that we came up with some pretty elaborate story lines.

When I think about it now, I realize that my mom had a great deal of patience, as well as the ability to let slide that which is not important. That second one is really a double-whammy, because not only must you be able to let it slide, you must be able to discern that it's not important. This may seem obvious to some of you, but it is not obvious to me. I have a lot of trouble figuring out what is important and what is not. I mean, if Shu Shu goes onto the front porch, I let it slide; I know that it's not important, that she'll come back in when she's ready. But if Jude and Kane were ripping their action figures apart, and making the legs walk around and talk, I can't say that it wouldn't FREAK ME THE FUCK RIGHT OUT. I mean, if they were actually doing that particular thing, I would probably think it's cute since I did it too, and the three of us could revel in the freakoutification that Jason exhibited. But you see what I mean; if they were destroying their toys in some way that I hadn't thought of myself, and doing really weird things with them, I would be crossing myself and saying a few "Hail Mary"'s.

My mom had the balls to just ignore us, and assume that we wouldn't be serial killers, or animal abusers, or Bay City Rollers fans, and just move on with things. That's something that I'm afraid that I haven't acquired.

I think if I came home and Kane and Jude were yanking the arms off of their transformers and playin' with 'em, I would secretly fear for the rest of my life that the next step in their dementia was wearing roller skates and singing "S, A, T-U-R, D-A-Y, NIGHT!"

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Ah, what was that?

Okay, so a woman in Iowa bought a wedding dress from a local street vendor, paid part of the tab, and offered her son to make up the rest of the balance. Davenport, Iowa, police charged 31-year-old Marcy Gant with one felony count of sale of an individual. She is accused of trying to sell her 4-year-old son.

A pitcher for the Yankees flew his plane into a residential building in New York City.

A woman is struck by lightning while brushing her teeth, and the lightning travels through her body and out HER ANUS. She's being treated for severe burns in her mouth and BUTT.

And my freakin' car MIGHT be ready by Friday, but who knows? It might not.

It's been a long day, people. I'm ready to go home.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Smartness of Children, the Dumbness of Everyone Else.

We went to a parent-teacher conference yesterday with Kane's R.L.C. teacher Mrs. Webb. These things are always a little nerve-wracking; you expect that the teacher will say a bunch of really wonderful stuff, but you're afraid she'll tell you a bunch of stuff that you weren't ready for. "Your child likes to beat up other children and then rub feces on them." Having said that, we are always pleased after going to these things; Kane and Jude are the best.

Yesterday was no exception. Mrs. Webb said that Kane is extremely bright. In fact, she said, "This being R.L.C., all of the kids are bright. But Kane is brightest among them." She went on to say, "You know, he doesn't just sit around doing math problems or anything like that. This kid has got ideas; he's got stuff to SAY." And I knew exactly what she was talking about, because I complain regularly about this aspect of Kane's geniusness. If you've ever wanted to eat a meal whilst being told, IN GREAT DETAIL, about every, single, minute movement that is made and word that is said on an episode of "Family Guy"- I mean you can't even say "Pass the butter." because this kid doesn't even stop to BREATHE- then you need to call Kane, because he can take care of you. He can take care of you all day long. If you value ridiculous, petty, outdated ideas like "peace" and "quiet", don't come to our house. We cannot help you.

Anyway, we were so proud to hear her say what a joy he is in class, and how smart he is, and how much he deserves the best schools we can send him to. Jason and I have been concerned for some time about Kane's staying in the Leeds city school system. I love Leeds, folks, but the school system has been on the long, hard road to hell for quite some time. The elementary school is an award-winner; the junior high is in a neighborhood where you can buy drugs from eight-year-olds. Junior high is the barrel we're staring down currently, since Kane is in fifth grade this year. We're working on a couple of ideas, and I'm confident that we'll figure something out. Because he DOES deserve to be challenged, just not in the "Who in my school sells the best crack?" kind of way.

This conference brought up clear memories of Kane's teacher at Vestavia telling us that Kane had ADHD, and needed to be medicated for it. We were also told that, in October of Jude's kindergarten year, after being there for only a little over two months, with seven months left in the school year, Jude needed to repeat kindergarten. We said, "Oh, is he behind the other kids? Is he having trouble keeping up? Are the other kids ahead of him with reading and counting and stuff?" She replied, "No. He's the youngest in his class." (Jude was five at the time. I was five in kindergarten, Jason was five in kindergarten, most people are five in kindergarten.)

I have since read articles that talk about a practice called "red shirting", in which children are held back until they are six to go to kindergarten, because it allows them to test better and it gives them the advantage over younger kids- meaning they'll probably do better than younger kids, and therefore stay at the top of their class all the way through high school. That particular article was saying that parents did this to keep their kids ahead of the rest, but I realized that a school could encourage this in order to have really high test scores. Vestavia is considered one of the best school systems in the state, based on their really high test scores.

Hmmm. Interesting.

Jason and I spent a lot of time freaking out about Kane getting drugged because some TEACHER diagnosed him with ADHD, and Jude being held back for no particular reason. These were the deciding factors in their coming to live with us; we wanted better for them. We wanted them to have teachers who were excited to see them in the morning, and who enjoyed their uniqueness and creativity. It still surprises me that we found that in Leeds, a town that is going broke and can hardly pay its teachers. Thank you, Leeds, for taking care of my kids, if only for a little while.


Friday, October 06, 2006

There is nothing "official" about this place.

If they were going to give the world an enema, they'd stick that lil' tube right here in Leeds!
-Ryan, quoting his father

There are currently two bars in Leeds. There used to be the legendary Fuzzy Mule, but, alas, it was torn down before I turned 21. I heard tell that it had dirt floors, bad smells, and all the rednecks you could eat with a spork and a little gravy. There was a delicious rumor that there was a mechanical bull at the Fuzzy Mule, and I was determined to ride that thing before I died. But, the Mule died before I could get to it.

The Central Club and the Office Lounge have both been there for some time, I think. I heard of people who went to high school with me hanging out at the Central Club, but by that time I was such a Southside kid that I thought, "MY GOD, what would possess them to go to one of those bars?" I'm pretty sure that the clientele was similar to that of the Fuzzy Mule. The Central Club burned down several years ago, and while I have no idea what actually happened, I'm pretty sure foul play was involved. Either that or stupidity. Either one would make for a pretty good story, really.

Anyway, when the Central Club was rebuilt (and I use the term "rebuilt" loosely, as a big metal shed can't really be referred to so much as "built"; a big metal shed is more "moved", or "placed", I think), the clientele changed somewhat. I wasn't really aware of this change until I tried to go there one night not long ago and found that I was surrounded by a lot of young people, younger than me, who all might as well have been hissing, "You don't belong here, weird uncool person!" But that isn't what stopped us. It also wasn't the booming booty music, so loud that it almost knocked me down, so loud that I, once hip and cool, actually thought, "Does it really have to be so loud?" The $10 door charge stopped us. I ain't payin' $10 to get into a metal shed in Leeds, booty music, hip youngsters and all.

When we left the Central Club that night, we moved right along to the Office Lounge, a place that I had never before even considered going. It really just never even occurred to me. There was no door charge, and the beers were $1.50 a piece. I was like, "Hey, I'm actually saving us money by going here!" We stayed for an hour or two, had a couple of beers, and left.

We went back the next weekend for a little karaoke action. I love some karaoke, 'cause when I rock the mike I rock the mike right. See, below, Kristi reacting to my rocking of the mike:

And, yes folks, she really is that cool. But, naw, she likes my rocking the mike. That just happens to be a picture of Kristi at the Office Lounge, so I found it to be appropriate. We rocked the mike, even "singing" a truly inspirational rendition of "Pump Up the Jams" (after which, some lady playing video poker even had to comment at how badly we suck).

That was a good night, and tonight, we're going back. I have a feeling that the scissors will be stuck in my forehead again tomorrow, but I will tough it out for the sake of singing Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'".