Her Bad Mother

Friday, August 31, 2007

Rain. Dance.

I'm still sorting through the literal and figurative detritus of the National Lampoon adventure that was our recent camping holiday. So far as I have been able to determine since our return, I think that I came away from the experience with nearly 400 digital photos, 60 lbs of dirty laundry, innumerable mosquito bites in unmentionable places and the discomfiting realization that I am currently marching determinedly into the condition of being relentlessly boring and that that's okay. More on that once the laundry's sorted.

The trip was good, though, on the whole, in that strange way that deeply stressful but enlightening experiences can be, when interspersed with breaks for building sandcastles and paddling canoes and quaffing cheap liquor. As, for example, when two days of sharing a 29 foot long motorhome with my mother-in-law culminated in a spectacular thunderstorm that turned the campsite - shared with three sets of siblings-in-law and their families, living in tents - into a mud slick and drove everybody into the tiny, muggy tin shack on wheels that we were calling home, whereupon there was no choice but break open the tequila, let the children swing from the bunkbeds and upper cabinets and make the best of it. It's moments like those that teach you that when life gives you thundershowers, mud and in-laws all in one messy package, it's best to just pull out the liquor and throw a party. Those are life lessons. They're precious.



It's too easy to forget that most of things that cause us stress and anxiety are actually quite ridiculous, when considered against the vast, inscrutable complexity of nature and the universe and life and everything. That being human is a condition of being relentlessly silly, insofar as being human means struggling against disorder and chaos and mess and thunderstorms. We can't fight thunderstorms. They just happen.



We can't fight a thunderstorm, but we can shelter ourselves against a thunderstorm, we can huddle together wherever it's warm and dry, and maybe have a drink or two or three and sing a song or six and tell a joke or seven to pass the time while the rain and the wind pound the walls around us and then, then, when the rain has passed and the ground is sodden with mud and rain-slicked leaves and we go outside into the fresh-scrubbed air and stamp our feet into the soft ground - then, we can dance.


video


The WonderBaby Mudslick Two-Step: clap, clap; step, step; right foot mud stamp; left foot mud stamp; run. (West African drum stylings courtesy of brother-in-law and sister-in-law; any percussive beat will, however, serve nicely as accompaniment.)

(This is not, perhaps, exactly what was called for in PBN's Make A Move On Me Blog Blast - intended to promote Baby Loves Disco - but hey. It's dancing.)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Home Is Where The Internet Is

Coming soon to a blog near you.

First, I need to scan - no joke - some 900 e-mails. And, wash nine days of RV stink from my body, and try to get the last grains of sand out of various Wonderbaby crevices.

In the meantime: WHAT'D I MISS???

Nine days of NO internet, no newspapers, no television, and did I say NO INTERNET? I can't possibly catch up, so, you know, if you could maybe lend a girl a hand and fill me in? Maybe leave a link or two in the comments to posts that I should catch? (Yes, you can leave your own, or somebody else's, or whatever - just tell me what to read - I can't bear to open Bloglines or Google Reader, lest these cause my laptop to give up and die and/or my brain to explode. HELP.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Of all we can offer

Let me tell you about the boy who broke my heart.

(Hey, why not? It’s not awkward at all sharing my inner most thoughts on someone else’s blog. No way. But when HBM asks, I answer.)

You might think I'm referring to the storied “one that got away“ that everyone seems to have, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. He didn’t get away. Well, he did but then he came back and helped repair my broken heart, then set me free again.

Let me explain.

We met as teenagers, this boy and me, children playing grownup games. We were casual friends, at best, for a couple of years until the late spring evening I finally ended a volatile relationship and went searching for the safety of friends. He came to sit near me next to a bonfire, we struck up a conversation, and when my ex-boyfriend came to find me - as I knew he would - the boy stood up in front of me and kept the craziness of the past few years away. And then he saw to it that I made it home safely and stood up for me again when my ex was there waiting.

That boy was already a fixer of broken things; animals, cars, houses, things discarded. I didn’t know until much later that he was also a fixer of broken people. The damaged seemed drawn to him, and I was no exception. After the night at the bonfire we started a minor flirtation that led to a short but intense romance. Our mutual friends definitely approved of our relationship but then, as young men often are (and I can say now that I’m wiser and… cough older cough - I don’t hold it against him) he was tempted by… How do I say this nicely?

A bleached blonde with a big rack. Damn him. Seventeen years later and that still chaps my ass.

But I digress.

My heart was broken. He betrayed me in the worst way, going for such an obvious tramp when anyone could see I was so much better for him. I spent the rest of the summer listening to sad music and driving by his house at odd hours.

I’m not proud of that last fact. So cliché.

Then, trying to repair the shredded pieces of my poor heart, I met my next big relationship. And don’t you know that boy realized the error of his ways and tried to come back to me, only to find out I was already with another. Too little, too late. I took a sort of perverse pleasure in that. Still do, but I'm a small person.

The summer was over and I went back to college. That seemed like the end of my relationship with that boy, romantic or otherwise. But fate has a funny way of bringing two people back together who are meant to be together, as we obviously were. I’d come home on weekends and somehow we would meet up.

(We still ran in the same circles, it wasn’t hard)

He’d call me at school, we’d get together when I had the time. Eventually, we rekindled our friendship and we became very good friends. That’s what we were meant to be all along. Just good friends.

You don’t believe that either, do you?

You would think that being the reasonably intelligent woman that I am I would have noticed the signs, but apparently I was not reasonably intelligent way back then. There were big neon signs that blinked different colored lights, pointing out the fact I spoke more highly of him than I did of the man I “loved” at the time. No, I didn’t notice. Or I wouldn’t. Good friends commented on it, how my eyes lit up when I talked about this boy, and I dismissed it offhandedly.

This went on for years, far past the point of lust or infatuation. Actually to even mention lust makes it seem so cheap. I relied on him emotionally and I believe he felt the same way. I'd be lying if I said there was no physical connection, because there was. Phew. The boy had a body chiseled from stone. But I can say with all the wisdom of my years that our relationship went so far beyond the physical that it never interfered.

Seriously.

We started meeting in private, away from prying eyes that wouldn’t understand the depths of our relationship. We were friends. Good friends but just friends, we couldn’t understand why people didn’t understand that. We were innocents, whispering secrets under the cover of darkness. We could go for months without seeing each other, but if I needed him I could find him and he would be there for me no matter what.

All the while I was miserable and becoming more so by the day but never while with him. I had gotten in so far over my head that I couldn’t claw my way out, except when I was with this boy. When things got desperate I could slip away and know that I would find safe harbor with him, in his little house, and in his arms.

(You’d like to know how innocent we weren’t, don’t you? Too bad. I will tell you this, there‘s a song from the 90‘s by a very popular southern band that sums up our relationship perfectly. It could have been written for us. You figure it out.)

Right about now you might be wondering why we weren’t a couple, this boy and me, why I didn’t just chuck it all to be with him. It sounds kind of strange but our relationship wasn’t like that, it was too fragile for every day life, and it wouldn’t have been able to survive the harsh light of day. Everyday obligations would have destroyed us. And though we loved each other, and here’s the really trite part, we weren’t in love with each other. In real life, away from our safe cocoon, we were much too different to make it work.

I did eventually find the pieces of myself that I had lost, or maybe I never had them to begin with, and I believe to this day that it was because of that boy, the fixer of all broken things, that I was healed. He helped to put me back together again. And then, through a series of small but unfortunate events, our friendship ended. It was time.

I often wonder what it would be like to talk with him again now that our lives have changed so much, but it would probably be awkward. You can’t go back I guess. Not that I wouldn’t take the chance if it were presented to me - are you kidding? I’d jump all over that - because I’d like to thank him and tell him I’m happy today because of him. He’s married now to a local girl and he lives obscenely close to a relative of mine, but if fate has not yet brought us together then it’s not the right time.

Until the time comes I’ll close the chapter on that part of my life - it seems appropriate since he brought me here to this new one - but I'll always remember him fondly. And not just because of his six pack abs.

Ahem.

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Mrs. Chicky has a problem telling Her Bad Mother’s blog and the Basement apart but is very happy that HBM gave her the opportunity to use her blog as a place to vent her innermost thoughts. HBM will be happy to know that Mrs. C only ate one pint of her hidden Haagen Dazs stash while writing this (hey, you go away on vacation and people are bound to raid your freezer), as ice cream, like writing, is very therapeutic for healing old wounds.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Beary Good Time

by Redneck Mommy

When her royal Highness, er, Catherine asked me to blogsit for her today, it was all I could do to trip over myself and take her up on her offer before she realized the error of her ways and rescinded the invitation. After all, this is the HBM. I'm just a trashy redneck. This isn't an opportunity that is going to roll around every damn day.

I'm taking the keys she dangled before me and rolling around nekkid in her carpets. Gotta mark my territory you know. It's my only chance. I'll refrain from rifling through her panty drawer though. I'm going to try and conduct myself with a little bit of decorum around here. Class myself up a bit and hope it takes.

But I couldn't resist from temptation completely. I had to take a quick peak into her closets. After getting an eyeful of all the different costumes dangling in there, I quickly realized I was out of my league and tried to wipe the image of Catherine in a nun's habit with a whip and stilettos from my mind.

Life is too short to be carrying that image around all damn day.

My life span was already significantly shortened this past weekend when I had my husband's entire clan camp out on my doorstep for two days. I'm still recovering.

Oh sure, they are nice enough people. Clever, kind and they always bring truck loads of liquor with them. (They are thoughtful guests.) But while they are bending their elbows and pouring their next cocktails, I'm running with around like a chicken with it's head cut off trying to keep the oodles of kiddies they brought with them from falling into a dugout or a fire pit.


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Four feet wide and three feet deep. It seemed like a good idea BEFORE we had kids. Now it's just a heart attack waiting to happen.


My sister-in-law is none too thrilled that her youngest child has no eyelashes or brows after they were singed off by the heat of the mostrous inferno my husband created. While she and I and a few others were discussing the merits of white wine vs. red, her husband and mine were to be watching the kiddies to make sure no one fell into the fiery pit of flames.

I guess we should have specified to make sure the the kids weren't standing close enough to have their faces melted off. Stupid me.

Boo and his brother figure the kid didn't need eyelashes any ways. He was starting to look too pretty with them. They fixed that for him.

Sigh.

Then there was the lovely moment when my niece came tearing out from the bush screaming like some pedophile with a sharp knife was chasing her. As I was gnawing on my corn, she happened to stumble upon a wasp's nest. Luckily for her, she was only stung twice. But as she raced up the steps I noticed her pants were covered with wasps trying to burrow in. She had three in her crotch area alone. I called for Boo while trying to convince her to quickly take off her pants without drawing attention that her lady parts would soon be under attack if she didn't get those pants. off. right. now.


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The nest that was right under our deck, beneath the front door. We never thought to check the bushes for ground nests. Dumb asses.


I shouldn't have mentioned her pants. I should have just whipped them right off of her. As soon as I mentioned her pants she looked down, saw the swarm of wasps covering her legs and freaked right the fuck out.

Good times.

And my dog snitched my corncob while I was dealing with the crisis. Bastard.

Later in the evening, when just about everyone had been maimed by a small stinging demon sent from hell, we started to set up the tent for the kiddies. All of a sudden, Nixon, the World's Greatest Dog, Ever. and the neighbour's Rottweiler started to freak out. I looked down and noticed both dogs' hair was standing on end. Like cats on crack.

Suddenly, this mosied on out of the bush:


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HOLY MOTHER OF GAWD...Get the kids!!! NOW!!!


It's one thing to joke about the kids being bear bait; it's quite another to dangle their plump little bodies in front the gaping snouts of hungry beasts.

Turns out the pair were just moving through, on their way to greener pastures, so to speak. But suddenly this meant there would be no tent setting up, no kids sleeping out under the great night sky, and no room to move in my already full house. I had bodies every where, even one sleeping in the bath tub.

I fucking love entertaining.

Oh, it wasn't all bad. The booze was good. We bonded with all the children. We gossiped with the adults and told inappropriate jokes while looking furtively around for any little ears that may be around.

We played a family friendly game of Red Rover, where we took out all of our parental frustrations out on the kiddies. We adults may have got carried away. As demonstrated when my daughter was called over and she chose to try and break through between her daddy and her uncle.

Being the grown, mature men they are, they clothes-lined the poor girl, catching her right under her chin and sending her flying. They somehow managed to catch some of her hair in the process and while my daughter lay gasping for air on the ground, one could see wisps of her long, blonde hair floating through the air.

Thank God the adoption peoples weren't around to witness that.

Ahem.

In the end, we had six kids with wasp bites, one with a bruised windpipe, one slightly singed child, one partly concussed from when she fell down after walking around the slippery edge of the pool and banged her head, eight kids suffering from slight hypothermia from swimming in water 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees for you Yanks) because I had forgotten to turn on the pool heater before hand, one with gravel burns on his hands and knees from a fairly spectacular wipe out on my drive way after demonstrating how NOT to do a wheelie on a bike, all twelve kids psychologically traumatized from thinking they were about to be eaten alive when the bears arrived and one poor child who got a fairly deep sliver only to have a tipsy uncle wield a sewing needle and try and dig it out. I can still hear the poor kid's scream for mercy while the uncle told him to suck it up and quit moving.

Yah, I love entertaining.

I can't wait to do it again next year.