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He Worships at the Altar of the Boob

Dear Cooper:

As a guide son, you are flawless, that requisite dose of captivating cuteness mixed with a heaping helping of “I know exactly how to get you to do whatever I want.” Even if it is rock you for an hour (me) or carry you around in circles until you fall asleep on a shoulder (MTM.) We are not baby people. We do not typically do these things.

But, we are Cooper people.

Here are the things we learned from meeting you:

1. You like to lie on your back and wiggle, free and clear of any encumbrance. Perhaps this is typical baby behavior, or maybe it is just your evidenced glee at being released from the jerking ministrations of me or MTM. I think you laughed for several minutes running, staring up at me from your back, and I don’t know if it was because I make genuinely funny faces or if you were saying “I am SO HAPPY you stopped trying to cuddle me and put me down.”

2. If you are ever constipated, I am the cure. Me. Your name for me will probably be Ex-Lax Lady, or maybe Correctol Mommy if you swing in that direction. I think you pooped your pants almost every time you were transferred to me. In fact, my first foray into holding you caused you to relieve yourself after a 72 hour dry spell. Dang. I’m good.

3. You like some boob, and you’re not picky. You stuck your whole arm into my dress more than once. Poor MTM didn’t know what to do when you tried to burrow your way into his shirt. I tried to excuse your behavior by telling your violated guide father this is just what babies do, even though I have no freaking clue what babies do.

4. I will never understand what it is like to be a parent, how to nurture and grow a person from seed to adulthood when all one really wants to do is stop time, capture random moments and freeze them into a collection of things they can revisit whenever they want until infinity. Knowing what it is like to gaze into your two-month-old eyes looking up at me, realizing that the next time I hold you won’t be that newborn-baby intimate – that’s tough. Don’t misunderstand me. I can’t wait to see all the variations of you: the sounds of your voice as your grow, the colors of your hair, the opinions you form and the interests you have. I don’t want to stunt you in infancy, to leave you tiny and helpless.

But, I know I will always long for the time when I held you. And, you looked up at me from the cradle of my arms. And, you smiled.

Too Much is Just Enough: Treasured Moments

The Architect and his Vomit of Chintz

For those of you who are fairly new around these parts, my husband MTM is an architect. This means a girl has to live with a lot of quirks the uninitiated may not understand. For instance, I can't just go out and buy stuff to decorate our house. The architect has an opinion about every minute detail, things normal people don't even notice.

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I Did the Funky Chicken

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Surely you recall that dreadful dance, Dear Reader? The funky chicken dance had to be devised by someone who was blotto, flapping arms and waddling legs an evidence of too much Everclear. Or Jack Daniels. All I’m saying is that grain alcohol had to be involved.

It is a dance that is beneath me. I have always been too hoity-toity to do it.

Until yesterday. I was slaving away at my desk and happened to look out my window. Behold! My urban back yard contained……live poultry. Squawking poulet. A FREAKING CHICKEN.

I’ve already squealed on my neighbors to all of cyberspace about their possibly illegal city-slicker hens. As long as they give me fresh eggs to keep me quiet, I don’t care WHAT they’re doing in their back yard.

But, that was before I discovered that chicken can fly. Or, they like to climb things, like my fence. I didn’t realize they became curious about their surrounding area and would decide to go exploring.

Once I saw the stupid bird, I couldn’t forget it. I tried to shoo it back to its own domain, flapping my arms and waddling my legs in tune with its ever-thrusting head. It looked at me like I had lost my marbles and tried to peck my foot, sending me screaming around the yard in a high lather of panic. “Who’s the chicken now?” it seemed to taunt me when I ran into the house and slammed and locked the door.

It was still OUT THERE, though, in the yard. Milling around and pecking things and generally harassing me. I had to GET RID OF IT. So, I did the only thing I could think of: I asked my friends on Facebook and Twitter how to catch a chicken. It was less mortifying than calling 911. Scads of ‘helpful’ commentary poured forth from my friends.

Bethany Vozel: Link sneaks up behind them and picks them up and throws them. (Great. Link wasn’t here.)
Brian PJ Cronin: Throw a towel over them. It confuses them for long enough that you can scoop them up. (But, what if it poops on the towel? Or on ME?)
Brett Myers: lol….. (Well, I’m glad SOMEBODY was laughing at my predicament.)
Karen Snyder: Ya’ gotta be quick. (I cannot be quick in a pink silk frock. Ain’t happening.)
Lou Mello: First, you have to cross the road. (Ah, Lou. You know me so well. You knew the only thing I would be capable of was RUNNING AWAY.)
Ginger Crawford Phillips: Where is that, in your backyard? Put out some scratch, or old veggies, oatmeal, something. Drop it out about 10 feet from you, then, a few feet closer to you, until it is right under your feet, then slowly pick her up. (The chicken already tried to EAT MY FOOT. I am not putting food next to any part of myself, thank you very much.)
Jackie Ng: Cuddle it. (Ew. EW. EWWWWWWWWWWW.)

Pretty much all of these comments have a common theme: the assumption that I will touch an actual live chicken. The very thought of having to touch the mangy thing caused me to have nightmares. I was fully awake, so I guess that means I hallucinated the Behemoth Bird Being. My ridiculous phobias left me with no choice. I had to call out the big guns.

Thank God, I slathered paint on my face yesterday.

I went outside and did my best impression of Southern Damsel in Heaps of Distress. My production caught the attention of one of the workers next door. He dropped everything he was doing and rushed over to rescue me from the Hideous Chicken Monster.

I don’t care that he called me a chicken over his shoulder as he walked away.

Too Much is Too Much: Live Chickens in my Back Yard

My Father the Swinger

Few things make me more squeamish than having conversations about anything to do with SEX with either of my parents. I don’t want to hear about their sex life. I do not care to share a general outline or any details of mine and MTM’s time between the sheets. Or wherever. I am a forty-two-year-old woman who believes the stork brought me, dumped my lard baby butt on the front porch, and picked a set of amazing parents for me.

Do nothing to disabuse this notion. Please.

Even though, my Father already has. He’s retired, and the only thing he cannot live without (besides his recliner and possibly my Mother) is the television. Seldom are his visits to my house because we do not posses an HD, or whatever they are dubbed these days.

Dad’s viewing tastes are, ahem, eclectic. Of course, he watches hours of sporting events and CNN, two things that were invented by drug companies to ensure endless streams of high blood pressure medication doled out to people above a certain age. I didn’t need to know that he also mixes some Jerry Springer and Dr. Phil in with his “Bill Gaither Gospel Hour.” I found out about his viewing habits by accident, though he blabbed it to me on purpose, just to see how violently I would react.

He does that to me.

Trapped in the house with him, with no escape route possible, I made the mistake of asking him a banal question about television, an open door to enlighten me on his recent viewing habits.

Swingers. Know what they are?”

Most children never, ever expect the word ‘swingers’ to come out of the mouth of a parent, unless they are referring to a trip to the park with the grandchildren or a pastime reserved for a piece of hanging furniture on the front porch. The look on my Father’s face spoke volumes about the conversational gutter in which I was about to be baptized, because it was clear he wasn’t talking about either of those things.

Swingers. You know them? Huh?”

“Dad. Um. No. I don’t know any swingers.” (Stupid. I. Am. Stupid. I thought saying I didn’t know any admitted swingers would veer him off course, save me from this hell of a talk topic.)

“Well, I was watching one of those talk shows the other day, and I KNOW what swingers do. They—–“

“I’m glad you do, Dad. What time does Mom get home from work?”

“——meet at a house, and they take all their clothes off till they’re all buck-nekkid, and they trade spouses and have sex. They get nekkid, and they have sex. LOTS of sex. You know, SEX. Huh?”

Dear God, please save me from this conversation…….

“HUH? Swinging SEX? HUH?”

“DAD! I DO NOT WANT TO TALK ABOUT SWINGERS! I DO NOT WANT TO TALK ABOUT SEX! I DO NOT WANT TO HEAR YOU TALK ABOUT SWINGER SEX! CAN WE PLEASE TURN ON THE TV AND WATCH THE BILL GAITHER GOSPEL HOUR????”

And, when I lost all control, my Father just laughed.

He got me. Again.

Too Much is Too Much: Parents Talking About Sex

My Father. My Hero.

My Dad had to be born during a thunderstorm, and he probably popped out making mayhem, heralding a personality that’s, well, LARGE. For the length of his life, he hasn’t wanted for attention. He engenders it, either because he inserts himself in front of complete strangers and forces them to listen to him talk, or he conjures ways to ask the same nosy question in fifty variations, or he has the television turned up loud enough to be heard in China.

Dad harbors lots of things about himself that even I don’t know. He talks a lot, but he really never reveals much when all is dissected, the bits and bobs sorted. Kind of like thunder. Big show. Makes an impression. Gone before you know it. But, you can’t forget.

My Dad is a hero of sorts. Of course, he’s one of my heroes, but he’s the genuine article.

Dad loves to talk about the University of Georgia, his alma mater. In almost every conversation of any duration, he will work it in: the hallowed halls, the football, the Varsity, the funeral home where he lived and worked while in Athens. Dad was there in the early 1960’s, a thunderous time in the history of the South. Desegregation. 1961.

His version of the story exceeds mine.

He was hanging out with his buddies at the mortuary, waiting for the next call of the Grim Reaper. Going to pick up dead people was his main job. When the phone rang on that fateful day in January, 1961, he headed out thinking he just might end up with someone dead: Charlayne Hunter, the first African American woman enrolled at UGA.

A riot broke out at the University on the day of forced desegregation. Thrown bricks and hurtful words, along with kicks, punches and other displays of intolerance. It escalated until the administration feared for the safety of the two enrollees. I don’t know why they called my Dad at the funeral home during the riot. Maybe the police thought a hearse or two would be necessary, with the stormy, out-of-control, surreal day.

When Dad and his co-workers pulled into the teeming mass, the first thing he saw was the famous Dean Tate, pushing and shoving through the mayhem, suspending random rioters by demanding their student ID’s. I think Dad loved and feared that man even more after he watched him wade through the madness, unafraid to call things what they were. Risking his life, really.

Dad risked his life, too. He ended up with Charlayne Hunter in his hearse – alive – and they were able to drive her away from the riot. At least, that’s how he tells it. I’m glad to know he was there, on the right side, that he made it out of that teeming mass alive, to celebrate more than a half-century of birthdays.

Like the one he’s having today. Happy Birthday, Dad. I love you.

Too Much is Just Enough: Another Birthday

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