Tuesday, September 8, 2009

. . . but do I listen to my own advice?


You know, the part about less words - say without saying - laugh in the moment.

Which I truly feel would not include running away from home Friday night, gusting all martyredly, "Fine. Fine. That's it. I can't - I'm going . . . to sleep in a hotel room. I'll see all of you tomorrow morning." Leaving Fritz and the three youngers sitting around the table, exchanging glances.

[insert here pic of idiot woman with head in hands, moaning way to build family unity at a time like this, Emma J - ]

I could claim extenuating circumstances and pre-existing conditions, i.e. -

#1 - a long-planned weekend to celebrate our anniversary, viz. -

biking into the city of a Friday evening to stay at some little B&B (like here or here) and then tootling around in the early morning, watching the city wake up, going to the farmers' market, biking through the park blocks, maybe breakfast at that Danish place or that café with the great name or even the Blossoming Lotus, then wandering through the art museum, coasting past RiverPlace, biking the Esplanade, getting lost and then finding ourselves, maybe staying a second night and biking back home only when we felt like it

- the kind of thing we almost never do - which great getaway weekend had been shifted (because of a friend's daughter's wedding reception) and then postponed (because of a youth dance that required chaperones) and now put off again (no biking for a week, per doctor's instructions). Oh, well. These things happen. But it all adds up.

Especially when you add in:

Kids at home antsy to start school, etc.

Plus, early mornings and late nights. So much so that when I drove Middlest in that afternoon to replace running shoes for cross-country, I'd had to pull off in the parking lot of Fred Meyers only a few minutes into the drive and take a quick catnap before continuing into town because I couldn't keep my eyes open.

Plus, coming home at last after errands that kept piling on top of each other, wanting my bed, past dinnertime, and everyone sitting around like frogs waiting for an errant fly to offer itself.

Not to mention extenuation/ pre-existing condition #2 -

"It feels like you're taking these pictures so that a year from now you can be like, 'Boy, we sure miss him. Poor guy. Too bad he's gone.' "

"No, no. This is simply . . . it's . . . This, my dear, is part of an historical archive. And don't you think it will be interesting for our grandchildren to see how . . . well, we faced things in the olden days. How we made it through. Our good luck charms. Like writing wishes on balloons and releasing them?"



Which was the beautiful idea of a kind friend who even brought balloons and a marking pen, along with French onion soup, beautiful bread, cheese, plums from her tree, jam. And a note:

Cheese est pour sur le haut le pain, toasté, qui continue le haut la soupe.
I assure you this is French of the most authentic and complètement comme il faut - but of course! I know this because the onion soup certainly was. And the bread. And the homemade jam.

I'm not going to repeat the conversation that led to the running away because if you've never heard this kind of dismal spiral I wouldn't want to be the one to introduce it to you, and if you are familiar with the D-spiral, you know all too well how it goes on from "I wish you guys had enjoyed the beach more," "But we did," "Well, you didn't act very excited," "No, we had fun. I mean at first we'd had to readjust our plans but we made the best of it," "I just wish when I . . . " and ending nowhere.

So there I am, Friday night, driving away from my home and my waiting bed into the dark, thinking well, that was idiotic. Do I really want to spend $62 to sleep on hotel sheets at the anonymous-identical motel down on the highway all by myself? And I didn't even bring my contact lens case.

Impossible, of course, to stay anywhere without a lens case, so I drove back. They're all still eating as I whisk past, "Forgot my contact lens solution. And I forgot something else. I want you - so throw a toothbrush into a bag and let's go." My daughters told me later that Fritz just sat there at the table, then said to Middlest, "You heard your mother. Better get ready and go with her."

"Dad! She means you!"

They say he sat there, a grin irresistibly spreading across his face, "Oh." And we left a few minutes later, telling the children we'd be back maybe tomorrow, maybe not until Monday.

Of course, it wasn't at all like our long-planned weekend. No bike, of course, no B&B, and we were too exhausted to enjoy the jacuzzi in the only (and overpriced) room available at the Embassy Suites we finally stopped at. The next morning was cold and rainy (real rain and not Oregon's usual mist-that-drips-a-bit) so wandering around farmer's markets before breakfast lost much of its appeal.

In fact, since the light fixtures we needed to return to Home Depot and replace with something better were in the backseat of the car, we decided to take care of that instead. And instead of breakfast, Fritz ran into Trader Joe's and got (I thought it was going to be bagels) pepper-vinegar potato chips, cottage cheese, Hansen's organic root beer, and multigrain biotic crackers (mm-mm?). We spent the rest of the day wandering around lighting stores in the greater metropolitan area, gazing up at sconces and pendant lights like children in an orchard of brightly lit glass.

We did stop at the farm on the island for our CSA share on the way home that evening and picked up from the farmstand the next farm over: Blunt-nosed cucumbers. Red-speckled shell-beans. Green-and-white striped watermelon that responded to our slap-taps with a satisfying vibe. Two tiny blue-green cardboard cartons of fresh figs - purple black on the outside, all sweet pink seeds inside.

And when we came home, the youngers had made . . . Thanksgiving dinner(?!) (cf. freezer meltdown of earlier post which provided turkey defrosting in the fridge.) So, we all sat down to (and I quote from the 3x5 on which they planned out their feast):

  1. Turkey Bird (the most beautiful I've ever seen)
  2. Punkin Pah (YoungSon reportedly made all the crusts himself)
  3. Bread-squits (flower-shaped southern biscuits)
  4. Mash Taters (wonderfully light)
  5. Graave (seasoned to perfection)
  6. Creamed Corn
  7. Jumpin' Jello (another YoungSon exclusive)
  8. Weedies (a.k.a. green salad)

Okay, my children are actually aliens impersonating humans, who think cooking a Thanksgiving dinner for practice is a form of entertainment, but fear not, humankind, they are apparently benign.  And their cooking is truly out of the world.  Of course, their mother is an idiot. But as Fritz keeps reminding us all (not quite, but nearly, ad nauseum), "Life is good."

Despite . . . because of . . .

3 comments:

Mrs. Organic said...

You certainly did listen - you went back. And you let Fritz know you needed him. And even though the weekend wasn't perfect, you were together. The soup and bread sounds wonderful and the picture is a really good one of Fritz.

Melissa said...

I'm continually amazed how you make a stinky situation into a much better one. What a great idea to run away with your Fritz. (Even if it took two leavings.) That surely is one of the joys of having children of an age that they can be left for an entire day. And how thrilling to come home to a full feast. I am enjoying reading how you and yours work through things together. It is inspiring.

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

These are my three favorite lines today:

" . . . everyone sitting around like frogs waiting for an errant fly to offer itself."

"Fritz just sat there at the table, then said to Middlest, 'You heard your mother. Better get ready and go with her.'"

" . . . a grin irresistably spreading across his face, 'Oh.'"

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