Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Ready, Ready, Ready, Ready to Run
I survived May. And might survive June.
The laptop hard drive is still crashed, along with all my legal files for the last three years, the family photos, and the iTunes of over 1,500 songs. Not to mention the hundreds of Sims characters that died with it—to whom Adam didn’t get to say good bye properly. Apparently, I got it so hot it actually melted. The hard drive itself is in a freezer somewhere, right next to Ted Williams, hoping for a resurrection in a kinder technological time and age. That happened May 1st, an auspicious start to the month, that only went downhill from there.
The Supplemental Reply to the Supplemental Opposition to the Reply to the Opposition to the Motion for Class Certification is being stamped at the San Diego Court house as I write. Every case has been checked twice, every subtle allusion to Defendants’ incompetence and disingenuity has been slightly smiled at many times, every legal premise tied firmly to the extant case with a simile so clear even the thickest judge could draw a favorable comparison.
The water has been restored. Turns out the little swamp to the north of the house that gave us bulrushes so beautiful we could reenact Moses in his little basket boat wasn’t really a natural spring. And the pipe that dripped water wasn’t really just part of the old irrigation system, but actually our water main—which the landscaper cut early on a Friday afternoon. (Did I tell you Provo City doesn’t work on Fridays? Part of the very efficient four-day work week). We’ve gone without toilets before (and discovered that our sewer line runs in an L-shape about 650 yards down the hill), but without water for three days! You can’t fix that with an Albertson’s bag and a shovel. No teeth brushing, no hand washing, no dishes, no laundry (the silver lining?), no cooking water, no showers, no baths, no watering the garden, no fresh water for dogs, cats, birds. By Sunday evening I started to understand why Christian organizations build wells and houses before they teach the message. Somehow a Saviour seems just a little theoretical at the point where you have to walk seven miles to fetch water in a paint can propped on your head. Forget living water, just water will do fine.
The U12 AA Division 2 soccer championship has been won, which required me coaching games about every night of the week for the last week of April and the first week of May, at the same time as Little League started, as the same time as Spring Basketball started, at the same time as All-star Softball started, at the same time as every possible end of school year function and important sporting event: Softball Banquet; National Honor Society banquet; Senior Prom; Senior Dinner Dance; Senior Tribute; Seminary Graduation; Seminary Graduation Talk; mother-in-laws Mother's Day Brunch; Ranger’s soccer tryouts; the dance festival; the third grade Legends of the Corn God play in which Adam played a rock; the fifth grade American Heroes Wax Museum, in which Seth played Colonel Saunders with live chicken in a cage; the New Scouts overnight; the Cub Scouts day camp (not attended—more guilt); the UVU basketball camp; the interminable weekend spring basketball tournaments; the Fathers and Sons camp; the AAU tournament; the beginning of lacrosse. All the while, I was thinking, I have no documents from the past three years; I have no documents from the past three years; I have no documents from the past three years, and our family has ceased to exist in photographic form.
New soccer teams have been found and formed for next season—which all need to be registered for tomorrow, and I still need to figure out how to resize a photo, and track down a birth certificate for a boy whose parents are, apparently, in Denmark.
The oldest child, and only daughter, has graduated from high school. If the pictures showed my ankles that day, you could see a dirt ring where the mud from the pond that leaked oozed over the top of my sandals about thirty minutes before the ceremony started. The curly hair is not a style; it’s a minimal effort, and has, if you could touch it, dirt in it, which only provides more volume. The tears that burst out of me like (no joke—a broken water main) when she walked across the stage were completely spontaneous. I turned to Kevin and sobbed, “I can’t remember her life at all. Did she have a good one?” “Pure Victorian hysteria,” said was the expression on his face.
The Senior All-night party, thrown on the night of graduation, is over. The consequent sinus infection is almost. I had not believed it possible to entertain fifty seventeen- and eighteen-year old boys with five dodge balls and a basketball from midnight until five in the morning. Who knew? Those 3.99, Ben Stiller, dodge balls were the afterthought bought hurriedly at Shopko after the ping pong tables I lined up to deliver to the high school all proved too big to get out of their basements. They’d all been assembled down below and had never seen the light of day. The basketball was dredged up from the back of the car, a remnant from basketball season, and covered up with balls, cones, pinnies and ladders from soccer season. Forget the inflatables, the bingo, the karaoke, the DJ, the hypnotist. The boys played dodge ball for hours across the width of the gym, with a basketball game played blithely in the middle of the killing ground.
The stream through the backyard has been relined with river rocks. (My children DO know how to work!) The hill behind the house is cleared of Chinese Elm and partially planted with perennials and covered with chocolate bark. The others still wait. So far I’ve lost one ruby red gaillardia to unplanting and a few speckled yarrow are looking iffy. But the cone flowers and the sage are doing swell, and I’m sure the transplanted red hot pokers will make a strong comeback next year. (I laugh at the plants in the nursery whose tags say, “Prefers well-drained, evenly moist soil with regular fertilization.” Yeah, don’t we all?) The baby blessing for 60 and the surprise 40th birthday party for my sister with about 100 guests five hours later on the same day came off without a hitch; barely a rain shower.
The sprinkler system is currently being installed. For one brief shining moment that was known as June 6, 2009, the back garden in my own home matched the back garden in my dreams. No more. Now it looks like a giant mole has made its home beneath us. Either that or a really low budget WWI movie is being shot on site. No more irrigating with moving pipe and skirts tucked into my underwear. I’ll miss those mornings, when the water arrives with a rush over the waterfall. My best watering days were on Sundays when I’d run home between meetings to check to see whether it had shown up yet (we’re at the end of the line). If it had, I’d strip off my dress and shoes, and running in underwear and pearl earrings, move sprinklers and watch watering patterns, my feet soaking in the cold water moving across the lawn. I’d return to church, wet around the edges and under my bra, hair dripping mist, smiling—my own communion.
The trek has come and gone, as has the post-trek commemoration a week later. Enough! I haven’t finished that laundry yet, or returned the borrowed tents. I also still haven’t mailed out our Christmas cards or Julia’s graduation announcements. I might do that by the end of the summer. While I’m at it, the Christmas wreath is still under the couch; and as I don’t remember using it this Christmas, I’m thinking it was from last Christmas; but we might have used it as a centerpiece this year; that’s a definite maybe. (It will take me about three minutes to take it downstairs to the wall in the basement that holds the various wreaths. But, last time I was on my knees looking for the remote under that particular couch, I thought, "Aaaagh, is that still under there?" and made no move to take it downstairs. Don't know why I resist so.)
In the very middle of it, I swore off matching socks for the rest of my life. The vow went something like this: “I am not matching socks anymore. From this moment on, I am not matching socks. See that bin right there. You can all go dig in that bin. Matching socks makes me feel very bad about myself. I don’t want to feel bad about myself anymore. “
Three days later, “Mom, I can’t find any socks.” “I told you, I am not matching socks anymore. See that bin right there. You can all go dig in that bin. Matching socks makes me feel very bad about myself. I don’t want to feel bad about myself anymore. “ “But what else do you do all day Mom, except play on the computer.” “I am not matching socks anymore. See that bin right there. You can all go dig in that bin. Matching socks makes me feel very bad about myself. I don’t want to feel bad about myself anymore. “ He’s been wearing the same pair of yellow baseball socks (unwashed) for the last five games. He takes them straight off, sometimes after sleeping the night in them, and pairs them back up so that he knows where they are. It works for us both.
Not to mention, it has rained for three weeks straight. Grey skies; hail on Father’s Day. It feels like Utah has up and moved to Oregon, or London, but with no added benefit of Wimbledon. I'm getting to the point where I pack eggs away in the microwave and my keys in the fridge. As for the six-layer dip that we bought at Costco last week and Seth swears he brought in from the car, I'm afraid to find out where it actually is. We haven't seen it and can't find it. I'm sure we'll smell it pretty soon.
Yet I breathe.
And can I tell you my deepest thought, after all this? I fear I am at the stage in life where my boobs have become a bosom—that broad, table-like shelf, one continuous form, upon which one might rest one’s arms, a baby, or one’s dinner plate. The body part whose configuration forces one to choose either above or below when learning up against a window sill, or a fence, or a counter. The kind of body part that looks good on the front of ship or the front of a hospital matron who walks competently through the dimly lit corridors, clipboard clutched to side of said bosom, said bosom trussed up in a contraption (that comes with its own instruction manual) from Dillards Lingerie department and draped in water-colored silk, with a brooch pinned to the upper left, the first thing one sees as it breaks the air in front of her. “Good morning, I’m Sister Tessa, and this is my bosom.” I don’t mind getting my mother’s hands. They’re earned through months of mornings and afternoons spent pulling weeds and planting. But, my grandmother’s bosom! I already have her Shetland pony legs. Did she have to bequeath me the bosom?
Title: Dixie Chicks, Ready to Run.