Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Middle

I've been thinking a lot about the Middle - not the sleeper ABC comedy that comes on TV tonight (which, incidentally, I quite like).  I've been thinking about being in the middle of life.

I just dropped Don off at the bus because he's going out with some work friends tonight.  After I dropped him, I went to the grocery store to get some goddamn expensive grain-free dog food, because the dogs have to have grain-free dog food for reasons I've forgotten, only I know they were important.  The grocery store was in an AT&T dead zone, so when I tried to text Laney to see if she'd started her homework, I couldn't get through.  I thought about panicking that she was dead in a ditch since I go from zero to dead-in-a-ditch faster than any other human being alive (I'm thinking about adding that to my LinkedIn profile).  But I decided to forestall the panic because the check-out line was pretty short and I could text her from the parking lot.

So I did.

You'll be glad to know that Laney was not dead in a ditch.  She had not, however, started her homework.  She's started this extra math thing at school that starts at 7:45, which means we have to get to school an hour earlier than we had been accustomed.  This, in turns, means that we're trying to get Laney fully abed by 10:00 - even though, if I were a good mother, she'd be in bed with lights out by 9:30.  (I know I'm a good mother... I'm using that expression ironically). But we have yet to even make 10:00 since she started this class (to be fair: she started the class two days ago) because the homework is never done until 9:15, and then there's bathing and going through her Instagram feed and hanging out with me and Pokemon Pokemon Pokemon.

So, leaving the grocery store parking lot aware that Laney had not started her homework, I knew that when I got home I was going to have to nag her about starting her homework.  I HATE being a nag.  I want to be that parent who is all super chill and then when the kid gets in trouble for not doing homework is all, "well, lesson learned" and then the kid does her homework from that point only without being nagged. But I'm pretty sure that parent is a damn fiction and that when we're raising children we just have to nag them to do their homework.

And so I was prepared to, sigh, nag when I got home.

The traffic was gnarly, but "Midnight Train to Georgia" came on the radio and so I sang along to that with the windows down.  That was fun. I didn't even care when people looked at me like I was weird when I made the train-whistle motion during the "whoo whoo" part (I tend to sing the Pips part instead of the Gladys Knight part, which I think exposes some sort of psychological weirdness).

When I got home the dogs had wrecked the garbage because they are dogs and dogs do shit like that  no matter how much goddamn expensive grain-free dog food you buy them.  Also, one of them had peed on the floor, which I accept as my own fault for not letting them out before I left.

I'm still pissed at them, though.  They haven't gotten any of that goddamn expensive grain-free dog food that I brought home yet.

I nagged at Laney to start her homework and since she was a little worried that I was going to fly off the handle because of the wrecked garbage she started it right away.  Put that in the old win column.  I did not fly off the handle, though.  I just glared at the dogs, which they don't understand because, again, they are dogs.

Now I have to go [technobabble speak deleted. Replace with: do some work work].  Then it'll be time to feed the child, the dogs and the me, finish the laundry, put the house back to rights.

There is no small level of banality involved with being the mother in the middle. But, I picked this life on purpose.

And, guess what? I love it.

Later on tonight, when the homework is done and the house is put to rights and the dogs have been let out for their final ablutions of the day, Laney will come and lie in bed with me while we watch some TV (probably "The Middle") and she'll tell me about Pokemon and I'll nod like I understand, but will really just enjoy that she wants to be with me and snuggle. The dogs will snore and fart contentedly on the floor, digesting their goddamn expensive grain-free dog food.  Later on, Don will come home and get into bed with me (depending on how much he has to drink, there may be some snoring and farting there too).

And then I'll have that moment where I know that everyone I love is safe and fed and taken care of and tucked away for the night.

And that, I think, is what this middle part of my life is all about.  Turns out, I love taking care of people.  And dogs.  More people than dogs.  The dogs are OK, though.  If they'd just stay out of the damn garbage.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Berning the Emmys

I enjoyed last night's Emmy's a lot. I was fully on board with Samberg as host.  The opening number was great - a little Hamm, a little Kerry Washington, pretty solid Castle joke and, you know, there ARE a lot of shows about wives!  Samberg dropped a pretty solid Trump burn during the monologue.  And then after that he showed up briefly and not too often and was funny every time.  All in all, well done.

Three black women taking home trophies was pretty awesome, and that speech Viola Davis gave was one for the ages!  And even when the person I wanted to win didn't win, I still liked who won.  To wit:

I was obviously all in for Titus Burgess:

But, come on, Tony Hale is great!

And how does Amy Poehler not win for her last chance as Leslie Knope?

Well, here's why:

Yes, you are, JDL.  You are really fucking great.

Veep is such a good television show.  Firstly, it is really so very funny  To wit:

But the second thing it does is satirize brilliantly how focus-grouped and sterile and bullshitty American politics are.  

You never know what party Selina Meyer is.  Typically, I abhor "both sides do it" talk as its own super special kind of mega-toxic bullshit because generally one side is worse than the other.  A lot. (Hint: it's the grand old one).  But when it comes to spit shining every last ounce of genuineness out of policy-making, well, both sides do it.

A quick Molly Ivins aside:

Politics is not a picture on the wall or a television program you can decide you just don't care for.  Our entire lives are set into and written by the warp and woof of politics.

Political decisions affect your life every day in thousands of ways - whether the food you eat is safe, what books your children read in school, how deep you will be buried when you die, if the lady who dyes your hair is competent, how safe your money is in stocks or banks, whether you have a job, whether your kid has to go fight in a war, who is qualified to prescribe your eyeglasses - that's all politics.
(Man, I wish Molly Ivins were still around, don't you?  She would fucking love Veep! ) 

I think this is a thing a lot of us grok on a fundamental level.  Politics matter and our politicians do not take them seriously enough.  The things that matter matter less to our politicians than whatever shiny object is bouncing around the 24 hour news cycle and their own ambition.

Enter: Bernie Sanders, a dude who cannot keep his hair combed and says things like:

And I think that he does find it vulgar that we're having a war of billionaires.  I believe when he says:

He doesn't mean it because he thinks it will play well for some sought after demographic.  He means it because it's true and it's right.

Look, I know I'm too old to be a true believer.  I know I'm supposed to take my lessons from the very successful Obama presidency and remember that you have to play the game to win.  But after eight years of competent executive government endlessly fucked with by incompetent reactionary congressional bullshit, I am sorely ready for someone willing to shovel the bullshit away.   

I know the Beltway pundits and pols turn their nose up at someone like Bernie.

But I really like him.  I'm all in for #Bernie.  You?

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Stupid Season

I guess, for me, it started getting really stupid around the time of the Hanging Chads.  Or maybe it was the Lewinsky debacle.  Or, shit, I dunno, maybe it's always been this stupid. I'm not a historian.  Maybe the Lincoln/Douglas debates were really just a couple of dudes in hats flinging poo at each other, arguing over who had the bigger dick.  I don't know.  I guess I could look it up.

We are still more than a year away from the election and the stupid has already gotten so thick, I can hardly stand it.  But I'm calling an end to one piece of the stupid now.

Donald Trump will never be president of the United States.

I know.  I know.  It isn't impossible, per se. Nothing that does not violate the laws of physics and nature is impossible.  But it is extremely unlikely.  It is less likely than President Palin, and that is extremely fucking unlikely.

Please, let's stop quaking at the specter of how totally embarrassing it's gonna be when Trump refuses to attend the G8 until President Hollande publicly states that Ivanka Trump is hotter than Hollande's wife or mistress (ladyfriend?  partner? The French are so sophisticated about les affaires des coeurs!).  Instead, let's start quaking at the really scary stuff.

As Albert Burneko so ably laid out over in the Gawkerverse today, the GOP is spread out over Business-y Libertarians (by the way, I know who John Galt is: he's that asshole at the party who never chips in for beer and also never fucking SHUTS UP) and the Megachurch Jesus people (not your normal Christian, I'm talking about the one who believes that the best way to show Jesus how much you love him is to loudly yell at all the whores and homos that Jesus doesn't love them, and then wait for the Jesus money to start flowing.  Amen.).  And that makes for a splintered, fractured party.

They have just the one cause they can all rally behind: all the babies need to stay inside of the mommies from the moment the daddies put their penises inside the mommies until the babies want to come out.  

I doubt any of the GOP candidates care about abortion one way or another, the whole thing is just a damn front to cover up the fact that they have nothing else to offer as a party - except giving all the money to rich people and moar war for everyone!!!  

And so they lie. They lie and say that Planned Parenthood profits off harvested organs.  They lie and say that abortion causes breast cancer.  They lie and say that abortion causes infertility.  They lie and say most women regret abortion.  They lie and they lie and they lie and they lie.  

And they get away with it!     

I'm not worried about President Trump.  But I am worried that my daughter is going to grow into a woman in a country without safe, legal abortion. And, oh my god, that is SO STUPID.  

But it's also very serious.  

I'm going to spend this godawful, long, facacta, stupid stupid stupid election season making sure I call out every goddamn dirty lie those soulless, cynical power-brokers on the right make about abortion.  

I hope you do too.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Socks and Proscrastination

I'm working on a book.  The story is that there's a woman and a man who were best friends and bandmates back in the 90s.  But they drifted apart and now she's a Mommy blogger with four kids and a husband who does the kind of work I actually do and he's a guy who got to the verge of making it as a rock and roller but didn't quite and is now sleeping on his sister's couch.  They reconnect in their mid-40s and figure out that they're not, in fact, failures.  It's done in POV - like she talks and then he talks and then sometimes the husband talks.

And, you know what, you guys? I would read the shit out of this book.  What I've written thus far is a damn entertaining read.

But oh my god writing is a DRAG!  I keep putting off accomplishing anything and doing things like writing on this blog or making Spotify playlists.

I made a Spotify playlist of 90s music which I listen to when I write (or goof around on Facebook and not write).  The song "Lightning Crashes" by Live just came on and I remembered buying that CD when I was like 24 and listening to it while sorting laundry and reassessing my failure to be a writer.  Inspired by warm laundry and the band's weirdly specific lyrics about childbirth,  I  dumped a whole bunch of unmated socks onto the floor and ignored them in favor of writing an essay called "Too Many Socks."

I don't know what happened to it.

These days I am manifestly more organized and responsible than I was when I was 24.  I was mostly drunk when I was 24, living in squalor and prone to making really terrible romantic and sexual choices.   Nowadays, I am mostly sober, I pick my socks up off the floor and only have romance and sex with the guy I'm married to (who, it is worth mentioning, does not pick his socks up off the floor, but whatever).

I still have too many socks, though. They float around in a basket (not even a drawer), unmated and unworn.  I am a sloppy sock person. I am a sock wastral. I own socks that have not seen a foot in fifteen years. I may still own some of the socks I dumped out onto my bedroom floor in 1993.

(The socks are a metaphor, people!  Keep up.)

There are people out there that always have their socks perfectly mated; people who always have an even number of socks in the dryer.  This is not a matter of faith for me. I am related to a person whom I would bet dollars to donuts has a sock drawer that would make me weep from the beauty of its organization (hi, my brother).

But, alas, I'm a person who has likely never pulled an even number of socks out of the dryer.  I have a basket by the laundry that is teeming with unmated socks.  And I can't help but think if I could get my sock shit together, I'd be up to the task of mastering the drag that is writing this book.

I can't help but think if I could get my sock shit together, I'd be less prone to straining metaphors like this.

I guess I should go work on my book.  I don't wanna.  What would Kim Kardashian do?

I like the way you think, Kim!