Saturday, May 27, 2006

My Apologies, Or... In Case you heard the blood-curdling screams on Friday

A forenote: Anyone who has had a crappy, overworked or otherwise sucky week should probably save reading this for... much later. You see? In my endless quest to help my readers, I will attempt to discourage you from reading any entries that may make you hate me depress you.

Its official... for this week, I'm degenerating back into a slacker. Yesterday was the second day this week that I completely blew off house/work and went to the beach. I've got the tanlines from two radically different bikinis (one halter/bikini style, the other a sort of mini-halter triangle with a little circle at the top) and am about ten different shades of tan/brown/white/light. However, if you a) knew that I worked at least eighty hours last week b) checked our weather b) looked at where I've been hanging out I'm sure you wouldn't blame me.... that much.

Sure, I could spend eight hours a day cleaning my house. Sure, I could clean and clean and endlessly clean my house, only to have it magically filled with a cat detrius (fur, shredded paper items, broken glass, litter) man-crap*, and the other stuff that piles up on an hourly basis when one lives in a tiny house with a packrat, and is perhaps, creatively inclined (read: rather messy, as opposed to naturally neat, or freakishly neat, plus related to me. Oh the shame. Right, so the choices are: Clean, to absolutely no avail, or go to the beach in some of the most perfect weather I can remember.

*I'm not kidding when I say "Man-crap": My entire area between my kitchen and the living room is filled with DJ/musical equipment, plus he has an entire room to himself filled with...crap. That room should be my guest-room/office combo. Instead, it houses thousands of CDs, knives, computer boxes and electronic crap, plus all the clothes S keeps in an elaborate "filing system" that I have yet to crack after six years. This is the same person who has the entire wall-to-wall closet in our tiny bedroom to himself. I have a tiny chest of drawers and a 2-by-3 closet, plus a bookshelf for my shoes.

While other people have been wrestling with major issues, my days have consisted mostly of ocean-swimming lessons for little Bella*, cold water and edamame for snacks, and a liberal basting in high-octane sunblock. Yesterday Christy and I managed to sneak away for a couple mile walk, leaving Jeremy with the kids. After about a mile or so on the sand, I turned towards the row of "European cottage-style" homes, (if cottages came with five bedrooms and a master suite) and started up the cool green lanes of Hammonds' Meadow trail. Padding up the dusty, nasturtium-lined walk in the late afternoon warmth while clad only in bathing suits seemed the sort of indulgence that the wealthy or well-connected could savor.

Passing only a few other walkers, we slipped right by those homes (sadly, most of them are either part-time residences or vacation homes with staff on stand-by at all times - what a waste!) talking about nothing in particular, stopping to stare at the exceptional homes or pick a flower. Naturally, as a recovering florist, I ended up with a tiny tussy-mussy of wild Queen Anne's lace, orange and yellow nasturtiums and giant nasturtium pads, wrapped with a long strings of tiny thin seaweed. Christy remarked that I'm a 'bouquet junkie' - I leave you to draw your own conclusions.

About the swimming lessons, here's a sample swimming lesson conversation between Bella and I - we start each one this way, after she jumps up and down and says, "Go paddling? You go paddle with me? Take me paddling!"

Me (at top cheerleader volume): "Ok, ocean swimmers, what are the two most important rules for swimming in the ocean? Number One?!!" (clap-clap-claping hands)
Bella: "Take a grown-up!"
Me: "Good! Number Two?!!"
Bella: "Watch the water!"
Me: "Ok, are you ready to jump and hold your breath?"
Bella: "Yeeeeaaaaaaah!
This child is not afraid of water at all, let me tell you - she gets knocked down in knee-deep water and comes up laughing. In the space of two days, she's made vast strides in holding her breath when we dunk under a wave, blowing bubbles, kicking her legs and floating on her back - pretty impressive for a three year old.

This behavior, as opposed to her brother, who on being splashed in the face in the shower, screams and stiffens - this would have been good information for me to know yesterday before he enthusiastically wanted to "go swimming with me." Poor little tyke - I said, "Ok, now hold your! and we'll go under, ok?" Since Chad is a good little sport, he nodded 'ok' and we ducked under for about three seconds total. Halfway through the immersion, I felt his entire six-year-old being go absolutely rigid with terror. Even though he'd been having fun up till that point, I felt a stab of utter guilt run through me like a sword.

He came up for air wide-eyed and utterly panic-stricken, the type of bottomless, unfounded fright that makes people stay lost in the woods, drown, sink, eat snow and freeze. I had him wrapped securely in my arms, he hadn't swallowed any water; he just hates getting his face wet. 'Things I wish I'd known,' I thought as I tried to calm him down as we were coming in to shore. Poor kid - I wrapped him in a big towel and sat him in a chair with a snack to get him to calm down a little bit. A little while later, he'd calmed down a bit, so I said, "ahh Chad, I'm sorry, buddy - I didn't know you didn't want to get your face wet," and still felt like the Biggest Heel Ever. Half an hour later, he and Bella were playing delightedly with me, their ball and the waves (throw the ball into the water, let the waves bring it back) and he was clearly over the whole thing. I was a bit more tramatized, to say the least.

Speaking of tramatized... S. and I went over to their house for tacos and margaritas - no, no, I did not go overboard on the tequila, I promise. After a couple of margies and some random rants/conversations, Christie said to me, "You've got to try the Swing! It is SO much fun!" Please note: The Swing is, and shall ever be, referred to in capital letters. The Swing was built... some time ago by a sixteen year old (stoner? adrenaline junkie/part ape) neighbor of our friends'.

The rope, handily equipped with a small round 'seat', hangs from a giant eucalyptus tree that grows near the bottom of a small (I'd say 40 feet wide) natural ravine - it is attached to a limb that sticks out at a right angle from the tree. About fifteen feet down from the tree there is a building, and across the ravine there's a very large pepper tree growing. Are you with me on this? No? Ok, just picture a gauntlet of large, hard objects made of wood, concrete and metal - and now imagine me launching myself at them, wearing only a jean skirt and a tank top. Awesome! Where did I 'launch' from, you ask? Well, NOT the top of the ravine, no, no. That would be too easy. Good ole' Neighbor Boy put a giant ladder-like structure up, the better to leap from - you first walk up an eighteen inch plank, the end of which is about five feet tall, reach up about three feet to the first step (a two-by-four) which is one of three. Above the last step the wood stretches another couple feet of boards.

Standing on the first 'step', my feet were about thirteen feet from the ground, not far from the top of the ravine. There was only one thing to do... yank my skirt around my waist, clench the rope and its' tiny round seat between my thighs, and hope the stoners in the bushes couldn't see my rear view - great day to wear a thong, Maya.

Of course there was that one last important thing to do: Leap out to the side and hold on for dear. sweet. life.

That, and do it again, from the next step up.


Lorena said...

Hee. "Man Crap". Oh sistah, don't I know it!

Meepers said...

Ya... M.C. is pretty much my life at this point. Last year I BEGGED to move to this house across the street (we own, but I was willing to rent our house out). Totally ready to pack everything up and move just because there was a long room in the back of the house that we could have used as a combo office/guest room and actually had ROOM for both of us to have a desk. Well, that and the fireplace and the half-garage that I could have consigned all his crap too. C'est la vie!