Sep 27, 2010

who's on first?

i used to know a lot of things.

things like which of the umpteen piles of clothes in the basement was clean and which was dirty. i used to know when my kids assignments were due, when we had to send things in for the bake sales, what forms i needed to sign and checks i needed to write for field trips. the pile of dishes in the sink? the dust bunnies on the stairs? the semi-folded laundry covering the dining room table? i had it all under control. i knew exactly when i might or might not get around to it. i used to know when we were out of milk and coffee, when we needed to get more wine and when it was probably time to pick up all the poop in the backyard.

ok. i still know when we need to get more wine. that's a knowledge you never really lose.

but all the other stuff has gone to shit. especially the shit in the backyard.

ever since my husband casually said hey, why don't you put that degree of yours back to work and i went down to the basement to research myself to put together a kick ass resume, everything's been all cattywompus around here.

cause i got the job.

which is good; but it took my husband and i about four months to figure out who was gonna do what around the house. we've been married 17 years and had really settled into the roles we carved out for ourselves and our family. it worked for us. he went to an office and brought home the bacon and i stayed home monitoring the growing laundry piles, working on the dust bunny relocation program, making sure we were stocked with wine at all times and signing the kids' school forms. i was on top of it.

now, i go to work and he works from home. and mostly i think that because he's home, he should just take over all the stuff i used to do; but he insists that even though he's been in his boxers all day & it might look like he's just been hanging around, he's actually working.

and so this is why the breakfast dishes are still in the sink when i come home.

and this dishes still in the sink thing resulted in a bit of a rough patch where neither of us really did anything cause we didn't know who was gonna do it; nor could we really figure out when we'd actually be able to squeeze it in what with all the putting on races, ballet class and rehearsal transporting, picking kids up from school, bourbon slushie making and hosting folks who were putting on races that we had going on. so naturally, neither of us did a damn thing and everything was supremely messy.

our girls would come home from school crying over the missing homework stamp they got cause their deadbeat mom who went back to work was no longer on top of it all and kept forgetting to sign everything. kids would yell from the shower cause there was no conditioner. i'd be stuck in the basement bathroom with no toilet paper. we'd wake up in the morning and be out of butter or milk or clean towels or god forbid - coffee. no one had any clean clothes and those damn dust bunnies kept multiplying.

it was hard for me to let go of so much of what i had been doing for the last twelve years and delegate it to someone else cause i didn't really like the way the someone else folded the towels or the jeans. so i kept trying to do it all, but then my head almost popped off.

so, four months later, we've sorta sussed it all out and have settled into something resembling a routine. he makes the coffee & puts the thermos in my bike basket for my commute to work. i shop for food and pack the lunches. he sorta does the laundry. i still don't know when the kids' assignments are due cause that's not my job anymore. the dishes eventually get done, the 14 year old cleans the dust bunnies off the stairs, the laundry is in its' rightful place on the dining room table, the backyard is still covered in shit and i still make sure the wine never runs out.

it all seems to be working. which is good. plus, i remembered i had this blog and snuck in some time to write again.

Jun 13, 2010

here’s the thing of it

i pinned a number on and raced last weekend. and then i did it again this weekend.

i still do that occasionally.  pin a number on and race my bike. ‘race’, as always, being a strong word, cause sometimes i like to think of it as just riding my bike around in circles in which i happen to be with other people.

i just don’t do it as often as last year, which was just about every. single. weekend. we cut back on the racing this year. cause it’s a lot - to race every weekend, pack up the airstream and bribe the kids with donuts.

plus, all that racing requires a lot of training, hard work and dedication.

i couldn’t muster it up anymore. the dedication. something had to give. so, we’ve been busy with other things:

like trying to show some pride in home ownership, cause all that racing and being gone every weekend on those long base mile rides and stuff and your house will start to take on an abandoned, near-condemned sorta look, and the backyard will turn into jurassic park. at least in kentucky it will. i’ve lived a lot of places, but i’ve never seen anything like what one weekend of rain’ll do to a backyard here. neglect it, and it will take over your life. and it takes a long time to reclaim it.

so we’ve been painting, and sprucing things up. we even put a new roof on the house. we got tired of putting out that bucket on the floor of our third floor bedroom while the backyard grew into a rainforest every time it rained while we slept. we’re digging trenches for better drainage, and we’re finally clearing out the garbage tower of doom in the basement and putting it in our front yard - much to our neighbors’ [and i quote: “in fifty years’ this neighborhood has never looked so trashy”] dismay - for junk pickup. which, as you can clearly see by the entire neighborhood, nay, the entire city, mrs. barnsworth, that it is junk pick up day in louisville. perhaps you should have scheduled your “fancy executive” meeting for another week  - plus, that should give you plenty of time to hang some more doilies in your front window.

i’m sorry. what was i saying?

oh yes – pride in home ownership. as soon as a clean spot is made, all the other stuff that hasn’t been spruced up yet really starts to stand out and look, um, bad. and the list gets longer.

the long list, among other things, put racing and training on the back burner.

this wasn’t that hard to do cause cause sometimes i just didn’t want to do hill stomps or intervals and i didn’t want to feel bad for not wanting to do them. what made me feel bad was that 3 next to my name – the one that put me in the same racing category as the 1’s and 2’s.  so i downgraded cause i just really wanted to be a happy cat 4 and go back to the place where riding and racing was fun and happy. and i didn’t have to work so hard.

so in addition to painting nearly every damn room in my house and rearranging just about everything, to clear the room for more, um – painting - i’ve just been “riding my bike” as opposed to “training”. imagine that- when i’m done painting, or pissing off my neighbors, i just go out and ride my bike for the heck of it. sometimes i ride with people. sometimes i ride alone. sometimes i drag (and it’s the very definition  of “kicking and screaming”) my ornery, reluctant fourteen year old out on rides & you’d think by his protestations that i had just announced i was gonna pull his fingernails out one by one instead of “hey lets go for a ride”. and we ride and it doesn’t take long before there is a smile on his face and he says “yeah, this doesn’t suck”. 

score one for mom.

and then, when he just sits on his bike in the dining room where we currently store it cause i’ve rearranged us out of a place to put it what with all my pride in home ownership and rearranging and such; and he says, “hey, i wanna go for a ride” - it’s all good.

i ride hard & fast when i feel good and super slow when i’m feeling not so good. sometimes i pin a number on and race and feel good and sometimes not  so much. sometimes i don’t ride at all and instead i stay home to be a mom. or paint. or clean. or sit back and just drink a beer.

this is my training plan.

plus, racing less just give us more time for – you know, a little pride in home ownership.


Apr 14, 2010

rose avenue

i always get to thinking about stuff on april 15th. usually, it’s two things: i’m wondering what we’ll spend our tax return money on and i’m remembering the anniversary of moving to louisville.

except for last year. last year i was thinking i was knocked up and the tax man hosed us. i wasn’t knocked up, but the tax man did hose us. maybe it wasn’t the tax man, but it was someone. last april 15th was the start of one of the worst years i think we’ve ever had in our lives together cause of all that shit hitting the fan at my husbands company. tomorrow marks our twelfth anniversary in louisville and brings with it the slightest sliver of a shimmery silver lining. i’d take a deep breath if i wasn’t worried i might put the whammy on things. but it all got me to thinking about the place where we started our life together.

we’ve lived a lot of places, and as much as we fantasize after every episode of international house hunters about selling everything and moving to bora bora i really think this louisville gig is just gonna stick.

springtime in louisville is one of my most favorite times of the year. i’ve never lived anywhere that had a real, honest to goodness springtime. we lived in maine for a while, but it just goes from winter right into mud season and when we lived in southern california, there were no seasons. it was just 70 and sunny all the time. which made me a little nutty. i gotta have seasons.

the kids always ask us to tell them “about the time you lived in california”. whenever they see scenes of the venice boardwalk in movies and we say we used to live there, they’re wide eyed in disbelief. i think they thought that a dreadlocked, roller skating, guitar playing dude was just made-for-the-movies material. they were gobsmacked when we said we saw him all the time on out morning walks to our favorite breakfast place. “you mean he’s real?” 

yeah, he’s real. or somethin’.

we lived on rose avenue. just a half block from the boardwalk. i always knew once i graduated college that i’d go somewhere. cool. i think nyc is the coolest place ever, but i spent plenty of time in new york city growing up, so new york was out. so during my spring break senior year, i flew to san francisco for a few days and then to los angeles. i stayed with friends and marched into every private elementary school i could find looking for a teaching job. the school in santa monica was the one that called me back and offered me a job. i love it when others make my decisions easy. santa monica it was.

i graduated that june. and spent the summer cocktail waitressing, bartending, and taking flying lessons (and this would be the summer that began the rest of my life). in august, my mom and i packed up my graduation gift; the 1979 280 sel mercedes (it must be said: british racing green with proper tan leather interior and the original becker am/fm cassette radio) that she and dad had driven for years and drove it across the country. we arrived in santa monica and went on an apartment hunt that i think slightly horrified my mother. mostly because the apartment hunt was not taking place in lovely santa monica, but in the more quirky, affordable venice beach where the digs were too small and slightly dirty. and i’d hear the occasional, is this a safe neighborhood?

i think the only thing that saved me was the thing that i actually thought would get me nearly disowned, or at the very least – in a really big fight with my parents. i was fully planning on living in sin. and told her so.

in fact, i had five thousand dollars in cash from my partner in crime from the sale of his racing bike and every.single.thing.he.owned. yes. he sold his racing bike. and we had only just met. sorta.

i met him about four months before moving across the country – this was part of that summer that would begin the rest of my life - and invited him to come with me. i knew if i didn’t invite him, he’d show up on my doorstoop one day anyway. my mother was relieved that i wouldn’t be living alone. i’d just be a sinner. she promised she wouldn’t tell my dad.

i made good on the whole thing seeing as i married him. but my dad knew all along anyway. it’s stuck for nearly seventeen years, so i think we’re good. anyhow. i digress.

we lived on rose avenue. in a pink building that looked like the one in the karate kid only minus the pool. we’d walk the boardwalk and see the dreadlocked, roller skating dude. and i never knew that muscle beach was a real thing until i walked by it that first time. we had our favorite breakfast place on the boardwalk and i still make the frittatas that i fell in love with there. i almost got a tattoo – several times, but am glad i waited until i was 36 and 40 to make that leap. we used to go to rose cafe up the street and the firehouse restaurant around the corner. our regular coffee shop haunt was the novel cafe and i remember shopping at what i am pretty sure was one of the first whole foods a few blocks away.

we’d go north to zuma beach when we wanted to swim or walk along a shore that didn’t have garbage rolling in with every wave. we’d hike in the santa monica mountains, and go for day long motorcycle rides on the pacific coast highway and in topanga canyon.

steven worked two jobs at van nuys airport. one involving emptying the honeybucket. not cool. and another involving refurbishing gulfstream jets for the rich and famous. very cool.

i was an assistant kindergarten teacher and would watch as some kids got dropped off in the carpool line in limousines and others were brought into to school by their very famous parents and i could chat for a moment with them or hold their new babies and talk about connecticut.

we shopped at lucky market with a calculator and put things back when the number got too high. we ate a lot of rice with sautéed zucchini. i’d go to gelsons now and then to just ogle the gorgeous perfect pyramids of fruit.

we’d go to the third street promenade in santa monica to catch a movie, but not before standing outside the wells fargo atm machine on fourth street to get money for said movie and changing our withdrawal amount down to an amount we actually had in the bank.

we were there for the 1992 los angeles riots. i walked home from work that day as shopkeepers on fourth street were boarding up their stores. the skies were black from the smoke and our landlord told us to have our bags packed by the front door in case we needed to evacuate. we went out to walk the boardwalk the next evening only to find it lined with armed national guards telling us to go home.

we thought a few days after the riots broke out would be a good time to drive the mercedes into south central to volunteer to bag and hand out groceries. i’ve never seen anything like it. everything was burned to he ground and buildings were still smoking. i still think of it when my kids get crazy and i say things like can’t we all just get along.

we think about our stint in california every now and then. we wonder what it would be like if we had stayed. and we think it would be fun to go back and visit all our old haunts.

we’ll probably go back someday when we go visit our kids. cause our son will be working for, or running pixar someday and our youngest daughter, lulu – who wants to be a roller skating waitress at sonic when she grows up - will likely be a surfer girl living in a vw van that my husband refurbished for her.

Apr 4, 2010

happy easter

we're not exactly regular church-goers. i'm a bit of reluctant catholic. but that good ol' catholic guilt always makes an appearance around the holidays and i feel a need to suddenly drag everyone off to church.


so i start making arbitrary we're going to go to church announcements. sometimes weeks in advance. sometimes days. sometimes i just spring it on the kids on the actual day of the most holy holiday of the year just as they dig into their baskets.

my husband says i should work on my timing.

so annabel goes downstairs and announces to lulu
mom says we're going to church.

IMG_3454 to which lulu responds
what! that's gonna ruin the whole day!

and then annabel says
lulu! it's a big day. it's the day jesus rose from the dead.

and lulu says

well, it's not like he's a zombie or anything.


we never did make it to church. instead, we planted some seeds, picked up some poop from the backyard, went for a bike ride and had some friends over for a beer and the tour of flanders.

i’ll be going to hell in a handbasket someday. i hope my husband takes the kids to church.

Feb 19, 2010


you’re gonna need to put together a resume.

i’ve been dreading hearing these words. so much so that i’ve been thinking maybe i’ll just go back to waiting tables. they don’t ask for resumes to wait tables, do they? surely i can channel my cocktail waitressing days. i really was a whiz at the one handed tray full of drinks while weaving through a drunken crowd thing. figured it would be a double bonus cause i bet i’d get to see some friends when they came in to eat and we could catch up between can i get you something to drink and would you like your buns toasted?


when i called the lady to say i heard through the grapevine that there were some openings and i was thinking about maybe thinking about maybe applying for the positions, only i didn’t quite say it like that – it was so much more professional - she was excited and said you’re gonna need to put together a resume.

i told her it had been a long time since i had a resume. she said not to worry and assured me i had plenty of life experience with which to fill up a resume.IMG_8574

so i was all excited and fired up to list my life experiences but when i sat down to type out the list, i couldn’t remember anything. so i went to the basement to look for old papers and the yearly calendars that i’ve been keeping for years. and photos. anything to jog the memory of any fabulous shit i’ve done that might help me land a job.

but i’ve been cleaning the basement lately and all those old papers and boxes of memorabilia to jog the memory of where i’ve been, what i’ve done, who i was, who i am and what i can be was shoved into the farthest reaches of basement shelving. i hadn’t anticipated needing to research myself. IMG_8570

so down i go to the basement for my research. and then i forgot why i was down there and what i was doing.

cause i found the david clark headset and my log book and remembered my first solo flight and hearing through that headset the warnings from the tower that there were two people on the edge of the runway. i figured it was my mom and grandmother trying to get a better picture. as i came in for the landing, sure enough – i could see my mom and grandmother jumping up and down. they were escorted away. but not before getting some good shots.

soloskilled at landing small aircraft, able to come in high and hot and grease it on the numbers.

scan0002i found the picture of myself the morning of my first solo cross country. you don’t go cross country, but you have to leave one airport and land at another, then return to original airport. i thought there was a bit of a discrepancy between the instruments and my charts. namely, i noticed that the river on the chart i was following wasn’t headed right into a mountain, but i was.

successfully able to vector a course to get back on track before crashing into side of mountain. learned valuable lesson on trusting instruments.

i found the page in the 1999 calendar where i was practicing and deciding how we should spell our second childs’ name. annabelle or annabel. we went with the latter. and the one in the 2001 calendar when lulu was born and we brought her home on the fourth of july and i wrote: claudia comes home. huge hole in kitchen ceiling. (courtesy of the pipe that burst in bathroom upstairs). ceiling still not repaired. claudia is eight.


highly adept at keeping entertained during the early maternity leave months by spelling baby’s name in alphabet noodles. on his face.

i’m trying to remember the years i started and ran my own business and i wonder why i folded it. i go into my craft room and think of another business to start -

extremely creative in a manic, whim sort of way and optimistic that folks want to purchase the things she makes so she doesn’t have to come up with a resume.

- but not before throwing the pile of laundry at bottom of chute into the washing machine.

able to perform mundane tasks year after year. after year.


i hit the mother lode when i found the drawer-full of old cassette tapes mostly from college and had to go through every one of them. was not was? cocktail waitressing. john hiatt? flying lessons. everything but the girl? senior year boston university.

uncanny ability to recall specific events and songs in direct relation to each other.

i found wedding albums, yearbooks, old letters, five shoeboxes full of photos of various cross country road trips, our various homes and apartments in los angeles, boston, maine and kentucky. there are milk crates full of school work and drawings of thirteen years and three kids.

christmascard (2)writes everything down. engaging writer with enormous attention to proper grammar and a flair for artistic license - someone should pay this girl to write a book – it would be a nice addition to a resume. partial to sharpies. likes a colorful calendar page. has had the same handwriting for ten years. possibly longer. may benefit from organizing the five shoeboxes full of photos.

wait a minute. what am i doing down here again?