Tuesday, July 28, 2009

You Can't Always Get What You Want

Trust me, I just tried.

We're in the middle of an ridiculous heat wave in Seattle. My last week here and I get unbearable heat that none of us are prepared for. 90% of the homes don't have air conditioning (including the bazillion square feet of "oven" we currently own). There is not even a breeze blowing. The ocean air has failed us.

The odd thing about Seattle is that we are unprepared for the abnormal. If you need an umbrella, you can find one anywhere. If you want to grab a fleece in the middle of July, someone sells one. If you need a coffee, and don't like the Starbucks you are standing in, go walk across the street to the next Starbucks for your midday non-fat soy milk double mocha frappuccino with a nonfat shot of hazelnut flavoring.

But try to find a snow shovel when the first inch falls. Or de-icer. Trust me, I've tried. The two bags per store they stock for a normal winter were sold to the old Asian man who cold-cocked a school teacher as she reached for the stuff on the shelf. I was lucky enough in one odd winter snow to find the last box of ice cream salt which works in a pinch.

Last night, one of the three fans we possess died. Tonight, my little guy couldn't sleep, so I gamely went out in search of a fan. As I suspected, none existed. Well, there was a clip on car fan that worked on a car adaptor, but I figured if I was going to sit in the car to get cool, I'd just run the AC.

I went home empty-handed. Frustrated. It's not like I was a poor planner - I just happen to have a fan who had to be taken away to the farm. You know, where they send old dogs and ponies to enjoy their last days.

It may sound trivial, but I felt like I was living in a third world country where you couldn't find bread. This is America, darn it! Home of crass consumerism and overindulgence! I could get a Hannah Montana backpack, a Wii Fit, 57 kinds of shampoo and a pair of Juicy sweatpants at 10:30 pm tonight, but not a darn oscillating fan? Why have I supported capitalism all these years?

I'm sure my mood will improve when the heat passes. Although it looks like I may need to board a plane to the Bay Area to escape it this time. Who knew you'd have to go south to cool down.

If I melt, will someone drizzle my remains in my Choos, and tuck the box neatly in the freezer?

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Monday, July 27, 2009

Where Are You From?

It seems like a very easy question. Los Angeles. St. Louis. Maybe you think bigger. Texas. Michigan. Maybe even the US.

But if you really asked people to tell you where they "came from", you'd get different answers. Sometimes it would be lineage ("I'm a Kennedy"). Sometimes it would be cultural heritage ("I'm Irish Catholic"). Sometimes it would be based on other formative factors ("I'm a steel-mill worker's kid" or "I'm a military brat").

I never had a great answer to this question. I wasn't born to money or fame or a lineage anyone cared about. I was born in a town no one has heard of if you didn't live within 50 miles of it. I grew up in an even smaller town. Sometimes I would say "I'm a farmer's daughter". It represented a work ethic; gave people the clear idea that I was not born of privilege, but a mere plebeian. But my family had no pedigree. My hometown had no claim to fame. I don't think I met any famous people until I left the state.

When I graduated high school, I left home, with no real intention of going back except as a visitor. And I had good reason. While I loved my family, my hometown held nothing for me but family. No opportunity to stretch my wings or reach for more. My life goals felt incongruous with the way others lived their life. I wanted something bigger. I was the first in my family to get a bachelor's degree. First in my family to get a master's degree. Even now, I have little in common in my day to day life with most of my relatives.

I went back to Wisconsin for a long weekend and family reunion. To the house I grew up in . A house that is barely 1,000 square feet and now holds 4 adults and 2 children since my brother and his wife and kids live with Mom and Dad. As much as I can hardly believe they can all live on top of each other like that, when my Dad was a child, he lived there with his parents, his grandmother, and a total of 8 children. And the house actually had about 200 less square feet. How 11 people lived there and didn't kill each other, much less find time and privacy to procreate, is absolutely beyond me.

I spend time thinking about my family, and what would I say the next time I was asked where I come from. They are simple people, with no pedigrees or credentials or material things to envy. Some have married "up", but most have lived quiet, average lives of contentment, right where they started and right where they'll die.

But this weekend, I was reminded that they are good people. They do not have money or goods to be generous, but they are generous with their time and efforts. They will help each other do anything. They will welcome you into their home. They will share their food and drink, asking only a dish to share. But if you didn't have one, they'd feed you anyway, because that's what you do with guests. They'll share your joy over your kids latest achievement, or your woe over the latest economic hardships.

They are good people. Not rich people. Not famous people. Not history-makers. Just good people.

Funny thing is, when I think about my close friends, and my extended network of friends, I notice that the bulk of them are also "good people." Not always rich, not always famous, but good people.

So next time someone asks me where I'm from, I know the answer. I'm from good people.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

My Butt, the Sequel

I know you're all hanging around in suspense, so I'll just get to the good part.

My ass is slowly recovering, even without multiple smooches from my blogger brethren (sistren?). Limited bruising, some referred pain to my sciatic nerve and shoulders, but it could have been a lot worse. Think my ego was wounded worse than my physical being.

I appreciated the offers for help. Was a little sad, to tell you the truth, that Waffles didn't jump on that one. Trying to not take it personally (I couldn't be losing my touch!), and assuming something really important must have come up.

You may return to your regularly scheduled programming.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Kiss My Butt . . .

I took the kids to the pool tonight. No road trip is complete without a hotel that has a pool and time for your kids to play in it. For those of you who are not parents, have children not old enough to swim, or somehow haven't yet gotten stuck traveling with your niece/nephew/significant other's kid . . . trust me, a pool is a lifesaver.

I've become immune to the "no running" signs, although I spend a significant amount of time saying to my boys "no running!" I know there is a safety issue with slippage and wet surfaces, but I always assume its mostly to keep from annoying other patrons.

Tonight, the boys were playing and I was taking pictures in my black polka dot bikini and sarong. I walked around the pool to grab some towels and headed back to our designated table.

There is a moment, in mid-fall, when you realize there is no compensating for gravity. My feet were out from underneath me before I knew what was happening. Somewhere in a millisecond that felt like forever, I realized that the wet pool tiles and I were going to meet, and not in a nice way. In no time at all, I was a heap of skin and black swim attired, splayed out in a pose that was probably not my most provocative or flattering.

Somehow, I managed to keep from damaging the camera, although my ego and my ass took the brunt. I had that moment where I wasn't sure I could walk, but once I caught my breath, I realized I wasn't paralyzed, just humiliated, annoyed, and in for some serious aches.

I'm heading to bed, dosed with some prophylactic Ibuprofen and hoping for the best. Right, now, the only evidence of the incident is a red line on my upper left bum cheek. Tomorrow, it could get ugly.

When my kids got hurt, they typically ran to me and said "kiss my owie . . . " It always made everything all better.

Anyone up for the task?

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Not the Beach

It started simply enough. Dental appointments for myself and the boys (yes, a shudder is appropriate here). Pick, pick, scrape, scrape, polish, polish, and out. Right?

Except I started my appointment with "can you have the Dr. look at my crown she did a month or so ago? There seems to be a chip on the porcelain."

Anyone who knows me well knows that dental appointments are some of my least favorite. In the last 3 years, I've had 3 porcelain crowns put on to replace cracked and aging fillings from 20-30 years ago. Which is a bitch on the mouth and the pocketbook. I can't do it without Valium, and from dental appointments alone I have a stock of Valium to rival Pauly.

The dentist took a look. "Yeah, looks like the porcelain was too thin there and chipped off the metal. I can put a new one on for you for free and I'll do a rush on the crown. Just be back here at 12:30 pm to get a mold made and a temporary put on."

* * * * *

She says it like "stop by and grab a sandwich with me" but I know her sadistic little mind is whirling. She mentions sedation, etc., but I'm thinking she means when she puts the new crown on. I'm thinking "cool, extra Valium." I run home, do some work, write down some numbers, and run back to the dentist office ready for my appointment.

"You need nitrous?" the little assistant asks.

"No other way to do it," I comment, as she straps on that piggy nose. I inhale deeply.

Ten minutes later she stops by and asks "how is the nitrous working?"

I have a count system when I take nitrous. One margarita, two margarita, three margarita, floor . . . I was honest with her and explained the count system. "You usually can't start work on me until I'm on 'three margarita' and I don't even feel like I've had my first sip."

She looks at the dials. "Ooops." I was getting only oxygen. The nitrous part of the oxide was turned off. "Here, this should help."

The Dr. comes by. Perky little Asian woman. "What time did you take your medicine?" My blank stare is not lost on her. "The Valium?"

I admit I thought that was the plan for next time. She arches an eyebrow, then puts on her poker face. "Well, we have to do a little drilling." She looks at the nitrous oxide gauge, and leans over to make an adjustment.

She must have cranked it a little extra. It was like IV margaritas, and the next thing I know I was sitting there with a pair of cheap black plastic shades and fingers in my mouth.

* * * * *

I was lounging in the chair. The temperature was perfect. I could feel the buzz of the margaritas. I inhaled deeply. So relaxed. Too hard to lift my head, or my body. Couldn't remember if I put on sunscreen.

Pity my beach scene was being drowned out by some terrible racket. Sounded like construction. High-pitched machines and drills and such. You'd think such a nice resort area wouldn't do construction in the middle of the day while I was lounging and relaxing.

And where was my margarita? I can feel I've been drinking them, but there doesn't seem to be one close at hand. I can hardly hear the music over that damn construction noise. Maybe I should call the cabana boy.

But there are fingers and stuff in my mouth and I can't talk. How did that happen? Where did I put the damn margarita?

And why is there a large bird sitting on my head? I can't see it, but I can feel it. His weight, concentrated in the middle of my forehead pressing down. Damn bird. Ruining my siesta. So heavy on my head.

And where is my margarita? And the cabana boy? What was his name? Alejandro? Jorge? Delicious? And the music? Why can't I hear the music? What is that incessant whining of machinery?

There's a cute little Asian chick next to me. Maybe she's here to help. But she's wearing a mask. Mexico . . . swine flu . . . she's talking. Not Spanish. Good. Don't want to think so hard. Translating is hard. She's talking again.

"Ok, a little pinch."

Pinch of salt? For my margarita? Before I can ask, I feel the left side of my face slide a little lower in my lounge chair. Come on cheek, back up next to your partner. I need you both high and tight if we're going to get Juan's attention when he comes back with that margarita. But I can't see him, because cute Asian chick with the mask is in the way. Wielding something in her hand. Fingers in my mouth.

I don't think this is how resorts treat their guests. But my tongue won't make those words. She keeps her hand in my mouth. Says something. I respond in my mind, but apparently the words stop somewhere between there and my mouth. Breathing through my nose. Margaritas are good.

The construction noise is like bees in my ears. I think I hear a truck backing up. A saw cutting through something. Water splashing on me. Maybe Carlos is cleaning the pool. I want to look up but can't lift my head. Damn bird. Damn construction.

Cute Asian chick says "Did you feel that, Mrs. Chako?" I get a rush, like flight or fight. Something tells me that's a bad question. But I don't know why. When I don't respond, she sticks her fingers in again. She's close to me. I can she her diamond necklace. Dangling, so close. Maybe she's going to kiss me. Where is Javier?

But its just her fingers in my mouth. And still no margarita. And still I can't hear the music.

* * * * *

The music starts to come back. I have an ache in my jaw. But the bird is gone. So is the construction noise. And cute Asian chick.

Now I'm left with average-looking Russian chick. With her fingers in my mouth. Making the ache worse. Pushing, prodding, pulling. My head hurts.

I start to get that tired, icky feeling. Like you've stayed to long at the bar. And notice the guy you've been talking too all night in the bright lights after last call. And he's not Jorge or Alejandro or Javier or Carlos and he's not wearing a tight pair of shorts and carrying a margarita. He's named Bob and he's losing his hair on his head and growing it in his ears and drinking an old Milwaukee and didn't buy you one and wearing too much cologne because he's convinced that's why his wife left him. And your friends are gone, leaving you to go home by yourself or with Bob.

And I'm not on the beach and the cheap sunglasses I'm wearing are pressing too hard on my forehead and there are no drinks. And she's still got her fingers in my mouth jamming a temporary crown on as the Novocaine wears off and the nerves start to talk. She wipes some extraneous spit and cement from the corner of my mouth like I'm a baby, and pulls off the pig nose thing.

"There," she says cheerily. "You've been breathing oxygen for the last 10 minutes or so. You should feel back to normal."

But I don't feel normal. I feel like I just french-kissed Bob in the back of some yucky dive bar and then got punched in the mouth in the alley by his ex-wife who was ticked off about the child support and I'm nowhere near the beach in Mexico and I've got to be able to talk coherently for a critical conference call in 30 minutes.

Maybe now I need some Valium.

* * * * *

Editor's post-script #1: Dental work is ALWAYS better with Valium.

Editor's post-script #2: Beware dentists offering free crown replacement. Sadistic bitches.

Editor's post-script #3: Getting a crown suck. Getting a crown replaced sucks worse. Apparently the glue they use the first time is really meant to hold a LIFETIME.

* * * * *

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Sign on my Back

So I was trying to relax by registering for a few 45 player NLHE MTTs.

Here are my first three results:
  1. Don't play many hands except blinds. Lots of loose players. Get AA in early position. Raise to 5x blinds (which are still low). Get re-raised. Two callers. I go all in (ridiculous over bet). Re-raiser calls. Has me out-chipped. Chip leader calls. Has re-raiser covered. Flop is A-K-10 (yayy trips!). Re-raiser goes all in. Chip leader calls. Re-raiser turns over Q8. Chip leader turns over J5. No one suited. Turn? Blank. River? Q. Chip leader takes the pot. Out in 25th.
  2. Don't play many hands except blinds. Lots of loose players. (see a pattern?) Get JJ. Raise. 3 callers. Flop comes AJ9, two diamonds. Runner-runner flush to the guy with no other draw (and not even nut flush - K2). Out in 20 something-th.
  3. No good cards. Loose aggressive guy raises a ridiculous amount. I know he's full of s**t. I have A3 hearts. I hate A-rag. But I know he's full of s**t. And I just had two sets busted. On stupid draws. I call. Sure enough, I'm ahead against his J-7 off. Until the 7 hits. No other cards for me. Out in 16th.

Don't think I played bad. Just ran bad. Or maybe I missed the sign taped to my back that says "Kick me."

Maybe its telling me I need a new hobby tonight.

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

I Missed You

Me and my best girl are back together . . . .

If you see something fast and red in California that just hums gently, you'll know the Wife was there.

Vroom! Vroom!
Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Wild Palms

I'm staying at this boutique hotel in the Bay Area. Its old, and some of the furniture and such is showing its age. But she's a quaint old beauty, and they keep her clean and neat. She has that air of old Hollywood, 1950's California chic, and much like an aging Hollywood starlet, under some soft lights, she still looks alluring.
I decided to take some shots with the night setting . . .
Reflections in the fountain pool

Across the pool from inside the cabana

Poolside, under one of the cabanas

The pool

A moonlit night by the pool

A view of the pool from one of the mosaic patio tables

The view from the patio

The moon reflects in this part of the fountain
More reflections from the pool area

The fountain next to the pool, with reflections

The open air lobby

Another view

The hall to the open air lobby, flanked by old benches and palms

One of the murals painted at the end of each hall

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Good Days . . .

Include things like . . .
  • Lazy breakfast
  • Talking to your family
  • Watching a little TV
  • Lunch and shopping with one of your BFs
  • Laying out by the pool
  • What Not To Wear Marathon
  • Taking yourself on a date to the movies
  • Watching "The Hangover"
  • Sitting in the hot tub
  • Taking night pictures of the quaint hotel I'm staying at
  • Sitting in bed in my skivvies watching Hugh Jackman in "Swordfish"
  • Playing a little online play money tourney poker

Only thing that would make this better?

  • If the moron to my left had not called the all in ahead of me (pocket sixes) after I called the all in (holding pocket Js) with his QJ offsuit to go runner runner to get his boat and knock me out
  • If my boys were here and I could kiss them all goodnight

Tomorrow could be good too!

Respectfully submitted,

The Wife