Monday, July 30, 2012

so much virtue: does it call for a renaming?

Recently I went to a fabulous tiki party held by a very old friend, someone I met back in the mid-nineties, and I saw a lot of people I used to run around with back when I was livelier and childless (and many of them have, like me, married and spawned and live a G-rated existence for the most part).  At the tiki party my iron willpower was much on display, as I was on a liver vacation (no alcohol for a month whatsoever to let my much-abused liver regenerate long before going to Burning Man).

"You really need to rename your blog," said more than one old friend.

"I know," I said.  "I especially need to change the description, where I say I don't get enough exercise.  Now I exercise all the time; I get panicky if I can't work out."  Everyone laughed.  I didn't mention it, but the "thinks too much" part of this blog's description is, more sadly, no longer accurate.  My brain has atrophied over the years, alas, and I am continually reminded by my spouse and children of how little I think.

And the iron willpower will continue to be exercised, thanks in large part to my attending that party.  A couple of old friends I hadn't seen in years were chatting about a game they are playing.  Being a gamer of sorts, I wanted to find out more about it, and it turns out they were in a diet competition.  For four weeks teams diet, exercise, drink a metric fuckton of water, and taunt one another, and then the winners are declared at the end.

"It's so much fun!" one said over and over again.

"Get ready to pee a lot," said the other.  "And it's so much fun."

I was interested.  "We're starting a new game soon," they told me.  I followed up, and now it's on.  My team is called the Jaguars, and we are taking on quite a few other teams in the "Game On Diet",

Over the weekend I tried to figure out the basics of this rather ambitious program.  "Wait a minute," I said after I got the impression this diet banned drinking. "This is terrible!  I'm just coming off a liver fast, and I need to get my alcohol tolerance back up before Burning Man.  How do you other lushes handle this?"

A friend given to the consumption of fine alcohols reassured me.  "You can drink on your day off, have a drink with your meal off, and I usually take a 25 point hit for drinking on another day."  I decided I could live with that.

This diet is more than a diet; it tries to harness the power of competition to reform a person's life.  We are supposed to give up a bad habit and acquire a new one, a habit which is unrelated to food.  I pondered this.  I already took up exercise, cut back on my drinking, and have been virtuous in no end of ways; what else do I need to do?  I'm not thrilled with becoming any more virtuous than I currently am; I know my limits.

Finally I decided to make my good habit writing every day and my bad habit asking my husband to get things for me, a habit acquired after my hysterectomy and reinforced after my terrible ankle injury.   "That's pretty vague," criticized the husband.  But he was able to see the upside.  "Does this mean you'll stop asking me to get out of bed and turn off your bedside light?"  I didn't bother to mention, yet again, that my stubby little arms can't reach the bedside light.  I just said, "Yes.  Yes, it does."  Pleased, he wandered off to do whatever it is that he does of an evening, and I went off to drink more water, eat sensibly, write, and no matter what, not ask my husband to help me with small things I could theoretically do myself.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I am under surveillance

Over the last year I decided it was time to start building a new social life for myself, outside the children.   I had the horrible realization that I was on track for one hell of an empty nest syndrome when the children leave home.  I should have more of a life outside the home; the children are growing up rapidly and needing me less, and my purpose for living is proportionately dwindling.

The Sober Husband supports me in this goal but does not share it.  He mused recently over how he doesn't need to socialize.  "I guess I don't like people as much as you do."

Not everyone is supportive.  Iris über Alles grills me over where I go, what I do, and who accompanies me.  One new friend became known as "Mommy's creepy friend", with a heavy implication that it was stupid for me to spend time with a "creepy friend" when I could be with my darling children.  "Why did you have us, if you didn't want to spend time with us?"

And now the heavy hand of the law has intervened.  Lola has formed the "Fun Police."  Every time I have too much fun (mostly meaning that I go out and stay out past the time Lola falls asleep), I get a ticket and a very stern lecture.  Lolz recently took the time to document the Fun Police's anti-mommy policies:

A ticket
A ticket is a warning from the FUN POLICE. If you stay out too late for an event, you will get a ticket. You need not keep track of your tickets, the POLICE will take care of that for you. If you get five tickets, you get a penalty which is a stern note from the Chief of POLICE, a guilt trip about it, and stern-ness from Lolz.  Your tickets are kept track of in the Ticket List. Each person ha a seperate Ticket List, and your Lists are refreshed when you get five tickets.

What are events?
To put it simply, events are any type of party or bar or camp you go to.

Can I lose tickets?

Do you like milk?
-The chief of FUN POLICE

What do you look like?
We are spheres with arms twice the size of us that fly in the air. We are robots too.

Do you like pastries?
Yes. Continue with important questions.

Resonable hours to come home
Resonable hours to come home are from 6:00 to 11:00. If you come home later than that, you will get a ticket. If you come earlier, you will not get a ticket. If you come home earlier than 6:00, you won’t get a ticket either.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

harsh truths

A good friend of ours has four dogs, little bulldogs who are unruly and high energy.  Our friend and her husband have elaborate systems for containing them and separating them (certain subsets of the four dogs are particularly volatile and must be avoided), and essentially the main thing you notice when you enter their home is that these dogs take up so much of our friend's life with their exuberant craziness.

Recently she reached a point of despair and found a powerful dog trainer to visit her dogs.  I stopped by that afternoon, and the dogs looked shellshocked.  Far from jumping up on me and licking me, as they normally would, and whining and whirling about, they were lying scattered on the ground, staring blankly into the middle distance with a stunned expression.

My friend was gleeful.  She told Lola and me about the trainer.  "He said, 'You're letting these dogs make all the decisions, and the problem is they don't make good decisions.'"  Lola and I nodded.  The dog trainer forced the most aggressive dog to sniff the most bullied dog's butt, making the bully to act like a caring pack member.  When he and our friends walked the dog, he scolded our friend.  "Don't say good dog!  These are not good dogs!  They are assholes!"

Our friend laughed and laughed.  The dogs laid still, evidently processing their morning of discipline, their reign of misrule sadly coming to a close.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

what is this feeling?

There's something strange going on.  After months of being in a deadly funk, the old Drunken Housewife has been seen smiling and even laughing, sometimes dancing a little in the kitchen while she's cooking.   Could this be... happiness?

It's somewhat of a sudden onset, this feeling of pleasure at being alive.  Just a few days ago I was ranting angrily over the butt-ugly new fence which mars the beauty of my little yard, raised at my neighbor's behest (I had to kill all my beloved jasmine vines AND pay half the cost of this #*@&! ugly fence!!).  Not that long ago, I semi-politely asked the Sober Husband, "Please do not say anything which could be considered REMOTELY STRESSFUL.  Thank you."  It seems like just the other day I was sunk in despondence upon the couch.

What gave me this turn-around?  Some credit goes to the children, who have been so charming and funny and well-behaved lately.  Some goes to our current batch of feral kittens, so clever and smart and beautiful.  The Sober Husband is always a source of support.  I've made some new friends lately; I've been taking some social risks which have paid off generously.  I've been exercising like a fiend (I've lost 37 pounds), and the endorphins are powerful.  But in the end, who can say why a person is happy?  Better to enjoy than to over-analyze.

Monday, July 02, 2012

catching up

I've been off in a funk, except when I was up at Camp Mather for our annual week of rusticating without internet or cellphones.  It's been a rough time lately for me, but I've been doing my best, exercising like a fiend, socializing feral kittens, and reading some good books.  Here's a quick alert of the state of affairs:

Lola has been doing well, enjoying some time now school is out with her oldest friend (sometimes referred to as "Lawyer, Jr." here), which has the added bonus of driving her older sister crazy.  Iris über Alles hates Lawyer, Jr. and views it as a crime against humanity that Lawyer, Jr. is not just allowed but invited to come into our home.

Iris has formed some powerful ambitions for the future after a weeklong field trip to Washington, D.C.  She's studying for the SATs, teaching herself a programming language, and attending a mock trial summer camp.

The Sober Husband is working diligently, dabbling in advising some friends who have start-ups, dealing stoically with a very long commute, and has finally gotten back into hobbying.  He's making me a programmable corset, which will have over 200 lights flashing into various, changing colored patterns.  This is for me to wear at Burning Man this year, where the question is whether it will be sturdy enough for the extreme weather conditions and idiot-proof enough for me to keep it going while he's off in another state.