Setting: Kitchen – dinnertime. Tempest has had extensive dental work and cannot open her mouth very much. She must eat things like oatmeal, scrambled eggs and the like. Thunder thinks he can finally – after all these years – get a few moments of quiet peace. He is mistaken.
But then again, he’s the foolish man who brought home a rather large roasted veggie and balsamic sandwich for dinner.
Thunder is standing at the kitchen counter, facing away from Tempest, getting beverages and napkins. Tempest takes a small nibble of her sandwich, barely making a dent.
Tempest: Hey! Look at me! I look exactly like a Brontosaurus!
Even after all these years, he visibly shudders. Still facing away, he stops what he’s doing and just stands there. After a few seconds:
Thunder: I’m trying to imagine what I’m going to see when I turn around. IF I turn around. This could be a life-changing decision.
Thunder takes his time, but then does turn around to find Tempest nibbling daintily at her large sandwich and chewing in the front of her mouth, trying to use only her very front teeth.
Thunder: *blink* *blink* “…thinking… And how exactly is it that you look just like a Brontosaurus?
Tempest: (without missing a beat) They’re vegetarians.
Thunder: *blink* O…kay…
Thunder takes his drink and leaves the room. Tempest continues to sit and nibble at her sandwich. Thunder returns to the kitchen.
Thunder: Ummm… Koalas are herbivores. Why wouldn’t you say you were exactly like a cute, cuddly Koala?
Tempest: Because I’ve never seen a Koala eat.
Thunder: (thinking) Yeah, okay. (thinking) But you’ve seen a Brontosaurus?
Tempest: Yeah. I had a picture of one on a transistor radio I had as a kid. I think we got it as a gas station giveaway. One of the oil companies had a Brontosaurus as its logo. So..I’ve seen a picture of a Brontosaurus… on my transistor radio. It think it was green. Looked at it all the time.
Thunder: Was it chewing?
Thunder: Then how do you know that you look just like a Brontosaurus chewing?
Tempest: Because I’ve seen Bogie The Dog chewing. He chews just like a Brontosaurus. Just like I’m chewing now.
Thunder is completely stupefied at this point.
Thunder: Okay, so even if you know just how Bogie The Dog chews, how do you know that it’s… Just. Like… you’re chewing now OR even if it’s… Just. Like… a Brontosaurus?
Tempest: (disbelieving) …well, he certainly doesn’t look like a Koala! You seem to be putting a lot of thought into the behavior of our friend, the Brontosaurus.
Thunder: I should just accept, without question, your little convoluted view of this whole thing?
Tempest: …thinking… Isn’t it usually easier for you that way?
Thunder: (staring…and then…laughing…) You know, you’re absolutely right. I’m not sure why I even asked.
Thunder turns and walks out of the kitchen.
Tempest: (yelling after Thunder) And suggesting that your wife isn’t cute or cuddly just because she’s a Brontosaurus and not a Koala isn’t cool, man! It ain’t right!
Setting: Sunday evening in the living room. Giants game has just started. Tempest is typing on the computer, while Thunder is trying to focus on the game.
Tempest: (suddenly letting out a yell) AHHHH! Look at my face! Look at my face!
Thunder: Uh-oh. You’re beet red!
(reaches out and touches face and now worried)
Holy sh*t! Are you sick? You’re burning up!
Te: No, I feel okay, but my face is on fire! It’s on FIRE!
Th: (reaches out and touches arm)
You’re arm is perfectly fine. But you look like a thermometer – are you having a stroke!? What should we do?
WE?! We? WE can’t do anything. It’s the ‘pause! It’s the ‘pause!
Maybe I should splash some cold water on it. How come YOU never ‘pause?!
Th: I’m…pausing…right now…because no matter what I say, it will be wrong.
Te: Damn straight it will be wrong! I don’t know what to do! Should we do something?
Th: (looking flummoxed and a little panicked reaches over to get a Tupperware container - holds it out to Tempest)
Te: (reaching in and now calm)
Oooooh. Thank you!
(turns around to face the TV)
Okay, what’s going on in the game?
Th: (tentatively) Ah, I don’t know. I have it…paused…
Te: (head whips around, but Thunder is smart enough to avoid eye contact as he resumes the game)
So…you know…how…when your husband is sound asleep – I mean completely sound asleep?
And he’s naked because the room is so warm, and he’s lying on his stomach with those oh-so-white buttocks on display?
And…you know…how …when you find a black magic marker as you’re straightening up the room around the sleeping husband?
Well…if husband wakes up before you finish drawing and makes you stop… who exactly is at fault if the picture doesn’t look like the pirate ship you intended but instead looks like a gravy boat.
Who is to blame for that? I really need you on MY side on this one…
Setting: Driving down Route 10 in Whippany, NJ. A fleet of leathered-up motorcycle boys and girls pass our dinky RAV4. Some riders are on Harleys, some on Hondas (I believe), two on a bike and sidecar setup, and one on a Can-Am.
Tempest: OOOHH! Look - the forward trike. I want one of those. (approaching a traffic light) Roll down your window so I can shout a question to him!
Thunder: NO! There is NO way that am I rolling down my window so you can shout across me out of the car at a biker.
Te: You don’t want me picking up guys while sitting next to you?
Th: Pick up all the guys you want - especially if they’ll fix things and make us dinner. I just don’t need to be in the middle of a conversation that begins with a middle-aged woman shouting questions out of a Mom-mobile and ends with that 22-year-old kid and his friends blowing Harley smoke at me while they peel out.
Te: I just want to talk to the Trike Boy.
Th: Besides, you are not allowed to have one of those anyway.
Te: Why, because you think I’m not coordinated enough for a bike - not even a trike? Because you think I’m not a good enough driver for a motorcycle?
Th: Yes, to both of those, but the real reason is that my mother is still alive.
Th: I’m pretty sure the twice-daily phone calls to see if I’m okay would start immediately. Sorry - I have to wait until she dies.
Te: …And if you can’t have one, I can’t have one? Is that it?
Th: *blink* You - riding a bike. Me - driving this car. Seriously?
Te: : Tee-hee! HEY - WAIT A MINUTE! Did you call me middle-aged?
Th: *blink* *blink*
Dear Man With Whom I Live:
Within one week, you have referred to me on separate occasions as “middle-aged” and “menopausal.” I would like to take this time to remind you that we are in an election season. While I won’t make my final decision until you debate the other candidates, I feel I should mention that your position as ‘Husband’ may be in peril. I’m sure your campaign coaches and counselors will help you polish your message and reinforce your platform as Election Day approaches. I will keep an open mind until then.
In my hunt for a new job, new location, new life, I’ve been searching education jobs in the Northwest. At Western Washington University (Bellingham, WA - one of my areas of interest), there is a job posting for a
“Vagina Memoirs Facilitator”
Here is the posting:
Sure, I meet the general qualifications, but…
The Women’s Center Vagina Memoirs Coordinator plans, facilitates, and implements the Women’s Center annual production of “The Vagina Memoirs.”
“The Vagina Memoirs” is an empowering night of performances by Western Washington University students focused on breaking the silence around many issues impacting marginalized peoples. The memoirs performed during the event are the true stories and experiences of female-identified students and community members.
Setting: Tempest and Thunder walking into Shoprite on a Sunday Evening
Tempest: I feel like S’Mores - what do you think?
Thunder: Nope. You can’t have a S’More. You CAN have a S’Less, though.
Th: Yeah, graham cracker…uhm…Kale…and uh…Hummus…
Te: I hate you a little bit right now, you know that?
Th: Yep. But hey, I could have changed the graham cracker to melba toast.
Te: hate, hate, hate…
Th: Just for that I’m heading over to the cracker aisle….
Something has been rolling around in my mind for a little while.
I need a Hogwarts letter.
Now. At age 50 (okay, so I hit 50 a little while ago, but still).
This is when we need magic, no?
Go live in a castle with others who are ready for a new adventure. Learn spells and charms to repair what’s falling apart. Exercise our brains in new ways but have an owl for some of the legwork (or wingwork). Fight for good.
This assumes that I can get through Gate 9 and 3/4 without breaking a hip.
Even though technology and the internet and the 24-hour-news cycle has made our world faster and more sophisticated, it is still something to note that so many of us still seem compelled to dig up a patch in our yard and set down some seeds. There is a satisfaction and contentment in getting our hands dirty in the soil, planting new things. It is something instinctive that technology can’t destroy.
Once bitten by the gardening bug, we are energized by our task, trying to make sure we have given our little garden enough of what it needs, provided enough fertilizer, wishing the clouds away. Did we water enough? Too much? Standing at the window with our cup of tea, watching for squirrels or rabbits. Rainstorm coming: rush, rush, rush outside to cover it with hay, or burlap, or whatever we can to protect it from who knows what. Not my plant. Not today.
This special something that we grow seems nearly exactly like every other of its kind, and yet is absolutely nothing like anything but itself. Our love, our care, our nurturing. Sometimes frustrating and exhausting. But mostly wonderful and amazing, this garden we tend so lovingly. We create this miracle, this something so indescribable from nearly nothing. And ultimately, it has its own cycle. All of our love, our effort, our ministrations - connecting us with other forces on and in the earth - can’t stop its own cycle. And when the cycle ends, we try to find the strength in the void to understand that by pouring our entire being into our garden, we made the earth a better place. We created a fresh, clean, new place for plants to flourish, and that those efforts in our own garden reach beyond our yard and have impact beyond. The fertilizer and weeding and careful tending, the roots we establish and nurture spread out and improve our neighbor’s garden as well. We’ve become part of the majesty and beauty of nature. We’ve improved the earth. The earth to which we will someday return when our own cycle ends.
Two old friends are mourning their just-turned-18-year-old son this week. I know it will take some time, but I surely hope they can find some comfort in knowing that the love and care and sweat and tears they poured into their own garden improved the earth. Many people for many years will think back and smile at this “Nick story” or that one, and remember him and them fondly and with love.
There’s something primal for me about that much water moving so fast.
The idea that we could stand two feet from the water’s edge and no more than three feet from the top of the Falls - fascinating. The rail was nothing, really. Nothing to stop you if you really wanted to do it.
We wandered around a little, but we didn’t go on the Maid of the Mist. The line was long, and we’d both been on it before (not together). It was nice to watch from the edges - all those people getting soaked.
So, gambling (Thunder) and waterfalls (Tempest). The train took us there and back without very much trouble and for just a little amount of money. Not a bad deal.