The Princess and the Pea Green Turtle

I described myself the other day to a writer I met, as the black sheep of my family. Since then I have given some thought to that term, and how it pertains to my current mid life crisis. We bandy about terms like that to label ourselves, put ourselves in our own comfortable pigeon holes. In reality our lives are our own creative journey, what is the point of trying to be someone you are not. It’s becoming one of my mantras – I will not apologize for who I am. Perhaps I only say that because in numerology I am a number 7, the intuitive loner. Number 7’s aren’t good at generally being subject to any one else’s agenda. So when I had my daughter Eva three years ago my life changed more than I could have ever anticipated or like to admit. She has reminded me of the value of my own time by essentially taking it all. She also inspired this blog. My daughter Eva reminds me of me, something that you need when you are almost forty and your own mother is trying to get you a job as her friend’s personal assistant.

In fact if I am the Princess in my own fairytale then Eva is the pea, my responsibility, my fate, my niggling destiny. She is my reminder that when life throws you twenty mattresses, who you really are will keep you up all night, like Eva has on many occasions, in sickness and in health through tantrum and night terrors, never will we part.

I subscribe to the Universe, not only the actual Universe and its mysterious workings in our favor but also Mike Dooley’s daily email list. He sent a zinger the other day,

“For every fork in the road there are two paths to choose, the one you should take and the one you want to take. Always take the second. “

Eva always takes the second; she is a toddler after all. Her “courage always overrides her common sense,” another note from the universe, and as her mother I wouldn’t want it any other way.

A couple of weeks ago Eva was invited to a dress up birthday party for her friend Scarlett’s fourth birthday. When it was time to get ready, I brought out her dress up box and asked her a rhetorical question, “What would you like to dress up as for the birthday party? A Princess? A Cowgirl?”

“I am a Turtle.” Eva always owns not only, who she is but who or what she wants to be. For the last year, that has been a pea green turtle. It was Halloween when I fulfilled her wildest three year old dreams by buying her a felt Turtle costume complete with a stuffed shell. Six months later, I am only able to pry it off of her occasionally to wash it, the stuffing is coming out of the shell and the seams are loose but Eva isn’t phased by loose strings and imperfection because she is, “a turtle.” Abstract scribbles come home from school which she informs me are “turtle paws,” in reality the scrappy outline of her own hand. She cannot have her hair brushed because, “turtles don’t have hair.” She won’t eat her vegetables because, “turtles only eat jellyfish.”

Eva makes me live up to my every word, and for her I am grateful almost as grateful as Eva the turtle is for dress up birthday parties. When we arrived late at Scarlett’s house, a Princess tea party had already begun. My little turtle wedged herself in between two among the twenty members of the royal family, in time for cake. She stood out like a sore flipper: a turtle in a sea of princesses. I was worried but there she was forging her own path to the glass slipper cakes.

glass slipper cake

I spent the party following her around while she played by herself, occasionally interacting with a princess over entry to the trampoline or playhouse, but most of the time blissfully in her own little turtle world. It reminded me of a birthday party I went to as a child. My mother went to war with me about wearing a party dress, to my committed refusal. It became a battle of wills, which I eventually won. When I turned up at the party in trousers and a t-shirt I was the only one not in a dress. The birthday girl, half offended and half bewildered questioned me on why I had not worn a dress, to which I responded, “I didn’t want to,” to her committed dissatisfaction. I probably did not get a loot bag. Times have changed however and turtles are more accepted by the princess world, and I would not trade a turtle for a princess any day. There were at least five Elsa’s from Frozen at the party and I would rather have a turtle that simultaneously stands out from the crowd, and does not even notice.

Here she is showing me her turtle flipper.

turtle paw

 

All of my thoughts on Eva’s sparkling individuality came home to roost when I was sitting with several other mothers on the couch and a princess ran up to us and said to the woman sitting next to me,

“Are you Avery’s mother?”

“Yes” the woman answered.

“Avery said she was going to kill Lucy.”

Our collective mouths dropped and Avery’s mother went off to teach her daughter the ten commandments before she stabbed someone with her plastic tiara.

“Everyone hates a snitch.” I thought at the same time as, “Thank god I gave birth to a turtle.”

group shot

As much as Eva is an individual she still does the same things as other kids, I have the mommy moments that are predestined, having stomach flu at the same time as your child, or just last weekend standing in the ER because Eva had stuck purple play dough up her nose and inhaled it followed, three days later by a multitude of popcorn kernels. The only difference is that Eva does it all in a turtle costume, and during the most recent episode she said, “ Mommy, I stuck popcorn up my nose, I need to go to the vet.”

Eva does notice differences sometimes like those important ones between boys and girls. She said to me the other day when she got out of the bathtub and was inspecting her own body, as she will for years to come,

“Sadie is a girl because she looks like me.”

“Yes Eva.” I said

“Not like a boy, boy’s have pee pees.”

“Yes Eva that is right. “

“Caelan likes to play with his during story time.”

“Oh really.”

“Yes he likes to swing it around.”

Eva already knows everything she needs to about men at age three. I suppose I might be forced to reconcile that my little Eva won’t be a turtle forever, but as long as she keeps the same qualities of defiance, individuality and compassion she will be just fine and I will be her constant reminder. We will each be the pea to each other’s princess. Eva might even convince mommy to follow her through the dog door once in a while, just to be different.

dog door

Xx Derelict Mom

 

4 20 : A Geriatric Purple Haze

When my life as I knew it ended in December 2011 with the birth of my daughter Eva, I never thought I would see a mountain or ski slope ever again. It took me four years to get back to Colorado but get back I did in 2015. I spent a week in March in Vail with my parents, who by divine intervention could not find anyone else to share their timeshare. Enter last minute air miles flight purchase, ski pass and just a credit card between me, a fabulous holiday week, and an empty bank account. Mommy only lives once.

My last minute holiday plans took some getting used to, especially for Eva’s father who was informed that he would have to do all the drop-offs, pickups and lunch boxes for the six days I was gone. He had not done this since I went to a wedding in Greece when Eva was six months old and not yet on solid food. Mommy likes an adventure.

One day Eva will be old enough to come with me, maybe when I move to LA. J

As it turns out my globe trotting Sagittarius friend had just been in Vail and said she was going to leave me a package at the front desk of my hotel, but that she had not been able to because she had consumed all of it.

“What was the surprise?”

“What else do you come to Colorado for?”

“Skiing and? … Oh, Oh yes.”

“You have to try it.”

“No, I have to get my mom to try it.”

“I’ll send you a link to where we went.”

“I think I’ll tell her that I have planned a shopping trip for her.”

“She will certainly buy that.”

And buy it she did for a brief moment. I let my dad in on the cover story. We were going to get the doorman to drive us to Native Roots and tell her it was Colorado’s version of Gucci. My mother, although she has a loveable gullibility, also has a compensating controlling nature, which must be in charge of all minutia. The rest of us could not possibly cope without her mastery of our every move.

“Mom, I am going to organize the doorman to take us to the boutique.”

She whipped out her ipad.

“What is it called?” Her pointer finger hovering over the Google toolbar.

“Let me organize it.” I pleaded

“No, What is it called?”

“Native Roots.” I say tentatively the corners of my mouth curving up in the hint of a laugh.

My father shakes his head.

My mother hunts and pecks and presses enter.

She squints at the screen, puts on her reading glasses, squints again then flips the ipad in my direction.

“Is this it?”

“That is it.” I say with a big smile.

“It’s not a boutique, it looks like a marijuana farm! “

“It’s legal here mom, it will be like a rite of passage.”

“I am not smoking weed.”

“You don’t have to. You just have to buy weed, exercise your legal rights.”

“Whatever, if you insist.”

“I insist. It will be an adventure. ”

“I better not get arrested.”

“I told you its legal in Colorado, even for socialites.”

“The doorman of The Sebastian is NOT taking us to buy weed, I will find a driver.”

She flicks her hair, and flips open her address book from circa 1980, and turns the page to a well worn bookmark, never considering once the option of not going, but a firm commitment to find the right method of transportation.

“Shall I call High Mountain taxi, or Mountain High Car Service?”

My father and I burst out laughing. My mother seemed oblivious.

“I think I will try Mountain High, High Mountain did not call me back in 1986 and I almost missed the first Pepi’s Wedel week, Ill never forget.”

She dials, and in her best telephone voice, “Hello we are at the Sebastian in Vail, and we would like to go on a sight seeing tour to the marijuana farm.”

“Native Roots in Eagle Vail.” I say pedantically.

“If you could please pick us up at 4pm.”

“How long will it take to get there?”

“Approximate arrival time, 420pm, perfect.”

“420pm,” I echo, “Perfect.”

My mother hangs up the phone and announces,

“I am not buying any marijuana.”

“Mom, Ill buy it for you, because you are over age. “

“What do you mean?”

“When you are underage you get older friends to buy you beer, and when you are overage you get your daughter to buy you weed.”

“We will work something out,” she says giving me a side eye.

At 4pm we milled past the fur coats and leather carry alls that littered the lobby, and piled into our Mountain High chariot.

“Thank you for taking us,” my mother broke the ice, “It’s my daughter that wants the weed.” In another universe she could have been my pimp, running my life, getting me to buy her drugs, and speaking for me.

“It’s a marijuana factory we don’t want to buy any, just take the tour.”

I could see Mom was restraining her self from asking our driver if he was a regular.

“I haven’t smoked weed since 1969.” She said to the driver.

“That’s not actually true.” I said.

“Yes it is.”

“No its not.”

My father just shook his head and said nothing.

“You don’t remember because you were drunk.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Anna Laura’s ( my sister) twenty first birthday party.”

“The indecent proposal party.”

“Yes you made an indecent proposal.”

“I did?”

“Yes you went up to a young girl who was smoking weed, she was mortified convinced you were going to turn her in to the police or worse her parents, and instead you asked her if you could have a toke.”

“What’s a toke?”

“A puff mom.”

“Oh yes its all coming back to me now.”

“I don’t think it had any effect on me.”

“It had an effect on the young girl, she was shocked.”

“Do you remember what happened next?”

“No.”

“ The next weekend, Giles ( my younger brother) was at the local bar and picked up a young girl, they were making out on the golf course and she told him about a raging party she had been at the weekend before when an old woman came up and asked to share her joint. “

“Oh yes I remember this,” my father said.

I continued, “and then Giles said, Oh my god that was MY Mother! At about the same time as you drove up to the bar in a rage beeping your car horn, because he had missed his curfew.  Giles left the young girl on the golf course, and sheepishly got into the back seat. I am not sure though who was in more trouble that night him or you.”

“Okay that’s enough no more story hour in front of the driver.”

“He has a name, it’s Doug.”

We pulled into Native Roots, in Eagle Vail at 4:19pm.

“One minute to spare.”

We posed for pictures outside. I got this particularly nice one of my parents “sightseeing” about to “tour the factory.”

Native Roots

When we arrived, I announced that we were tourists, and I handed over my passport. My mother slipped her passport under the Plexiglas divider, and the woman on the other side picked up the other end of the passport. My mother would not let the other end go, her grip tightened and she started to pull it back.

“What are you going to do with my passport, you better not report me.”

“Mom, it’s a formality, you aren’t being done for ten years in the Bangkok Hilton, relax! “

She let go.

“This woman needs some weed.”

The strung out cancer patient in the corner laughed and offered to take our picture, it becoming increasingly obvious to everyone in the establishment that we all had never been there before, had no idea what we were doing, and not smoked weed since at least 1996. Which was not quite as long ago as 1969.

The doors clinked open and the woman behind the Plexiglas motioned us forward, like the bellboy at the Ritz as far as my mother was concerned.

Mom sauntered in, “What now?” looking at me, expecting wait staff, a silver tray, or an opium den or all of the above.

“We stand in line,” I said assuming our spot.

We shuffled up to the boy behind the counter.

“My goodness, you look younger than my son!” My mother exclaimed.

“You have to be at least 21 to work here, it’s the law” the boy pointed to the sign.

“Your son is 32 years old, mom.”

She ignored me, “We would like something light. I haven’t smoked weed since 1969.”

“1996,” I countered. “Wine at lunch makes her dyslexic.”

“Nothing has over 10grams because we are regulated by government.” He said staring straight ahead but pointing to another sign as if he had done this thirty times that very day.

“Now what do you want?”

My mother looked down over the display cabinets moving her ringed pointer finger around, “I would like to see this one,” she said as if she was choosing an engagement ring from the millionaire’s club at Tiffany’s.

She sniffed lavender kind buds and held the Sour Kush strain up to the light before wafting it toward her nose. She discussed the merits of buddery like she was discussing the fine citrus notes of a glass of Chablis.

“Look they even have a Harlequin bud.”

Then something important distracted mom just as she was nearing a decision, after pulling everything out to the young man’s quiet annoyance. He was given away by the frustrated wiggle of his backwards baseball cap, and the eye rolling. She was taken in by the metallic glint of a rack of clothing. She finally felt at home in the drug den.

Pointing she said, “I would like to see that t-shirt in a women’s medium.” The young man walked so slowly into the back wardrobe, his pants almost fell off of his non existent butt. He returned with a Native Roots T-shirt in a plastic wrap.

“I am taking it out of the plastic wrap.” She announced to him. He shrugged.

She unfolded the t-shirt and put it up to her and to me and my father.

“It’s a women’s medium.” I said.

“Right you are, young man fetch me a large.”

He returned eventually with a large, she gave him a don’t even try to stop me look, and took the large out of package, made my father hold it up by the shoulder seams while she held up the medium to gauge the difference in size, fit and texture.

“Now let me see a men’s large.”

He disappeared and returned.

“Now a men’s medium”

When she had taken almost every t-shirt in every denomination out of its package and ummed and ahhed about size, color and who would get what for which birthday. She decided on five t-shirts, which she stuffed in her purse like she had just bought postcards in Tuscany.

“Do you take credit cards? “

“No, cash only.”

“Don’t you take gold credit cards?” She said waving hers around.

“No, marijuana is still illegal federally so the banks don’t want to have anything to do with us, it’s a cash business.”

“Someone should talk to them, credit is king! “

“We are a weed dispensary, would you like to purchase any weed or just the t-shirts?”

My mother gave him the side eye and adjusted her David Yurman.

“I want two lemon drops.”

“And a vapor stick.” I added.

“In vapor sticks we are selling two for the price of one.”

“Look mom they must have known we were coming, they are having a sale! “

“What flavor would you like?”

I remembered my friend’s advice and so I tried to sound like I knew what I was talking about. Like a truly almost middle aged mother, I said,

“I would like the Stevia flavor.” Assuming of course that it was flavored naturally with the calorie free sugar like herb.

“You mean SATIVA not Stevia.” He said smugly while reaching into the case.

“Yeah whatever that is.” I said mortified.

He took two vapor sticks out of the case and put them in front of me on the counter.

“One for mother, one for daughter.”

“I have a question.” My mother interjected. The young man had had enough of us by this point. Mother rattled her lemon drops.

“Can these be smelled by sniffer dogs?”

The young man’s annoyance abated into amusement.

“She will be 70 soon.” I added for effect.

“I don’t think anyone will find it if I hide it with my vitamins, no one will be the wiser. Can we take it to Bermuda?”

“YOU can do whatever YOU want, Mame.”

“In Colorado.” I added.

“What happens in Colorado stays in Colorado.”

“Can we get a printed receipt for customs in Bermuda?”

“Yes.”

“One more thing, can you take the weed off of the receipt?”

Mom winked at him, the rest of us rolled our eyes.

When we finally got back to the hotel mom laid her stash out on the cocktail table, fixed herself a four finger vodka and contemplated her return to the world of drug use.

“What is it going to do to me?”

“Relax, you might like it better than booze.”

We both knew that was impossible.

Mom turns the lemon drops over in her hand, reading the label.

“There is too much sugar in this.”

“Mom, this is not the time to be health conscious. You are about to get high.”

“What is THC?”

“That’s the active ingredient.”

“Oh, Maybe I shouldn’t do this on an empty stomach.”

“You never have an empty stomach.”

She tried to open the child proof pinch and pull triggered lever to open the box and couldn’t.

“It’s geriatric proof.”

“No match for my heavy duty kitchen scissors.”

When she finally got it open she looked at the lemon drops as if she was about to take one.

“What happens if I go nutcase?”

“You already are a nutcase.” Dad said.

Dad was cooking steaks and the grill started to smoke up the hotel suite.

“Can one of you open the door, we don’t want to set off the alarm everyone will think it’s the drugs.”

Mom got up opened the door, and went to fetch the cordless phone, she put it next to me.

“Just in case, so you can call 911.”

“Mom, I am not a responsible adult, I am sucking on a vapor stick.”

“I know you aren’t a responsible, but you are capable of dialing for help.”

“Just take your lemon drop mom.”

She did, and then chased it with vodka.

“I should take one of these before I go down Riva Ridge.”

“But you won’t even go down Lodge Pole?” Dad said.

“That was before I discovered lemon drops.”

She cranked her lazy boy into a full recline and removed her fur lined snow boots, dressed still in head to toe David Yurman.

“Does it get into your system really fast because its got so much sugar? I feel mellow.”

“Maybe I should take one?” Dad said.

“You need at least two because you are bigger.”

“I am not that much bigger.”

“They look like cough sweets.”

Mom popped another one in her mouth, “If its legal can it still fuck you up like LSD?”

“Wait, you took LSD?”

No answer.

“Do you get hangovers from this stuff.”

“I don’t think so, time will tell.” I said.

“Is it addictive?”

“I am going to take one of these before I get on Chair 4.”

“I am not sure if that’s a good idea,” I said imagining my mother with the giggles getting plowed over on the carpet by a series of young sober people.

Mom looked at the ingredients again.

“We got jipped, these only have five milligrams each. We should have gotten rookie cookies.”

“Mom take another lemon drop.”

“Pass me your vaporizer.”

I obeyed, and she took a deep inhale.

“What would be better is if they invented a ganja humidifier and then everyone could have some.”

“The lemon drops must be kicking in.”

“Pass me my ipad.”

I obeyed.

“I am going to post something on Facebook.”

“Don’t say we are getting high.”

“Why not?”

I realized at this moment that in college dorm rooms across the world people were getting high and surfing facebook, but there probably weren’t many 70 year old grannies, dripping in fur and David Yurman in a fancy hotel suite in Vail doing the exact same thing.

“Shit, I have done something to my facebook, can you fix it?”

She passed me her ipad. I took a look and erupted in a fit of vapour induced giggles.

“Mom, how on earth did you set your Facebook to Chinese.”

“I feel Chinese,” She giggled while squinting at me from her old age recliner.

I managed to switch the language back to her native tongue, giving me a translatable look at her Facebook profile.

“Mom it says you like Justin Bieber?”

“Who is Justin Bieber?”

“He is a juvenile.”

“I don’t know how that happened.”

“Blame the lemon drops.”

“Where is the stuff I am supposed to snort?”

“We don’t have anything that is snortable.”

“Thank god.” Dad said. He was still sober.

“When you are finished, you had better hide your paraphernalia from the maids.” She said to me waving her pointer finger.

“Mom we are in Colorado, and when you are done there will be nothing left, especially if you start snorting lemon drops.”

“I think they should open a Native Roots branch in Vail proper. I was looking for one last year.”

“Really?”

“I am going to put the rest of the lemon drops in my makeup bag, and take them home.”

“Mom you really can’t do that, ending up on the Bermuda drug list will be mortifying for a socialite. If there are any left just pack them in the crate and we can have them next year.”

She checked the label again, “Oh they don’t expire until 2018.”

“Hopefully we don’t either.” Dad said.

Mom packed what was left into the crate mumbling, “I am putting it away in the crate because no one will let me take it home.”

“We could send it to Henry and Judiann as a surprise, or give it to Malin.” I said

“I don’t think you should share your drugs with your ski instructor.” Dad said.

“I am feeling a bit hazy, I might have to lie down.” Mom started to stagger.

“It’s called a Purple Haze.”

Mom later fell asleep and started snoring in her recliner.

I said to Dad, “I bet she is dreaming of smoking weed with Justin Bieber.”

“She could be his grandmother.”

“Great Grandmother.”

Mom survived without a hangover and lived to smoke/inhale a vapor stick, another day.

Mountain high

Xx Derelict Mom.

Hello Vodka This is Mommy Calling

I was thinking the other day, that Reza could be my mother. If my biological mother had decided to leave me on the side of the curb in 1976, Reza would have adopted me, I know she would have. It would have made her a teenage mother, and in someways I am surprised she wasn’t a teenage mother, her big heart is always taking in strays. Stray dogs, stray people, stray people’s problems, stray teenage adoption- not such a stretch. I distinctly remember showing up one Saturday morning sometime last year to see Piglet while Reza was out, and noticing a suspicious car in the yard. It was an unmarked car parked next to the swing set with two men wearing matching grey suits and ray bans. It was then I knew her latest stray who she was hosting in the spare room, was a bit more trouble than the usual alley cats. A few weeks later something happened between them, someone called the cops, Reza kicked her out, and has been locking her door ever since. She won’t tell me what happened, and although I wish Piglet could talk he doesn’t divulge any of Reza’s secrets.

Reza, much like my own mother, also gives me parenting advice. She tells me Eva needs a sibling. I tell her … “Just like I need to saw off my arm.” She is horrified, tells me I spoil her, and looks at me suspiciously when I say no then give in and say yes because by the time Eva has had two lollipops what harm does a third one do? kind of like wine. It’s irrational but I am sticking to it – but only on Saturdays. Then mid sentence Reza runs outside and starts mowing the lawn in her way too small nightie with bizarre and at the same time random timing, like she left the kettle on or something. The noise makes me loose concentration and I start thinking I am in my own version of the Truman Show.

IMG_2026

Reza is always trying to convert me to religion, to save me, to earn her golden ticket to heaven, and be my spiritual guide. My cynicism of religion has not budged but I was searching through my drawers last night for a pen and found a poem on a card about Motherhood with an image of Mary Magdalene. Reza probably gave it to me, slipped it under the door, or with her bill. It read:

Dear Lord,

It’s such a hectic day, with little time to stop and pray. For life’s been anything but calm, since you called me to be a mom- running errands, matching socks, building dreams with stacking blocks, cooking, cleaning and finding shoes, and other things that children lose. Fitting lids on bottled bugs, wiping tears and giving hugs. A stack of last week’s mail to read- where’s the quiet time I need? Yet when I steal a moment, Lord, at the sink or ironing board, to ask the blessing of your grace, I see them in my little one’s face, that you have blessed me all the while. And I stoop to kiss that precious smile.

I thought of my own mother and how she is still doing a lot of these things, she still nags us all to be her best version of ourselves, she has taken in our partners and all the grandchildren in kind of like strays and nags them too. Last weekend she was throwing a dinner party and wanted Chris and I to attend, but we declined not because we had a better offer but because it was the only night we have off all week because life with a three year old and jobs is otherwise hectic. She twisted our arm and convinced us to come for a drink.

“Why do we have to come for a drink?”

“Because the Gig man is here and he is English.”

“Who is /What is a Gig man?”

“Your father has brought him over to start the pilot gig racing program in Bermuda.”

“Reza’s father was a pilot.”

“The Gig man does not want to meet Reza he wants to meet Chris.”

“Why does he want to meet Chris?”

“Because he supports the same team as Chris, he is a Tottenham Hotspurs supporter.”

“Oh they have a huge game on Sunday.”

“So you have to bring Chris over for a drink.”

“Okay fine.”

We came over, my mother had hired staff for the evening, unbeknownst to me I was drafted too and spent cocktail hour passing canapés. Then my mother requested that Chris make her a cocktail. We started gossiping together in the kitchen like Anna and Bates in Downton Abbey. Chris was fixing her a drink, while I was arranging toast points.

“Do you think that is enough vodka?” he asked me looking down at the two finger vodka he had poured.

“For my mother, not at all, why don’t we double it and make it a four finger and just put a touch of soda water in it.”

“We can’t do that.”

“Yes we can, she can send it back and we can water it down if need be.”

“You are going to get her drunk.”

“Not off one vodka, it will be funny, come on.”

He poured the stiffy.

“I want to see if she flinches.”

I took my almost seventy year old mother the drink.

“Chris wants you to taste it to see if it’s okay.”

She raised it to her lips and drank with reverence.

No flinch.

I returned to the ante room and reported back to Chris.

“No flinch.”

“Wow.”

I looked down and started laughing.

Chris said, “What are you laughing at?”

The cocktail napkin, its so mom.

Chris looked down and read it: “I laughed so hard tears ran down my leg.”

A Life in Cocktailnapkin002

Then I started to think…. It would be a pretty hilarious character portrait to hunt through all her stuff and find all the cocktail napkins in her collection.

“It would be quite a portrayal.” Chris said…and so I did, like the good researcher I am, collecting all her cocktail napkins my mothers own pracied memoir, a life in cocktail napkins. Maybe that is what I will entitle her eulogy.

Here goes:

I tried jogging but I couldn’t keep the ice in my glass

A Life in Cocktailnapkin003

At our age swimming is dangerous, lifeguards don’t try as hard.

A Life in Cocktailnapkin007

SLUTS: Southern Ladies Up to Something

A Life in Cocktailnapkin006

Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle

A Life in Cocktailnapkin008

You will always be my best friends, you know too much!

Hello Vodka, this is mommy calling.

A Life in Cocktailnapkin004

This last one is especially fitting. I am thinking the three of us kids, should ask her to choose one for her epitaph.

Later on, when we were invited out of the kitchen, Chris finally got to meet the Gig man.

“Hey, I hear we support the same team – YID ARMY! Woot. Woot.”

“Huh? Oh You are a Spurs supporter? “

“Yes”

“You have a big game tomorrow.”

“Yes WE have a big game tomorrow.” Chris said.

“ I support Torquay United. “

“Torquay?”

“Typical”

“Maybe we did give her too much vodka.” I said later.

“It’s almost impossible to get a third division team like Torquay confused with Spurs.”

“Almost isn’t good enough.”

“Write that one down.”

“What for?”

“Your life in cocktail napkins, the abridged memoir.”

“We should do one for Reza too.”

“If Reza was my mother, I would need a four finger vodka.”

DM signature001

WANTED: Personal Assistant… God Needs a Day Off.

The closest I ever got to self help was reading a book called the Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron. There was one chapter which talked about how creative people often have crazy makers in their lives, people close to them who sap all their energy and time with demands, crisis and otherwise high drama. Hmmm. Sound familiar.

The book recommends that you either cut these people out of your life completely or distance your self from them in order to nurture yourself. I have several of these in my life, we all probably do but instead of distance myself I have decided to mine my experiences for the blog, but sometimes it gets me down. I have a hard enough time managing my ridiculous career, my own expectations, a three year old, and I could go on but it wouldn’t be flattering.

My mother unsubtly suggested during a moment of unemployment last year that I become her friend’s personal assistant. It was never a career I aspired after or even looked up to nor would it be something that I would be good at because it would be really hard for me to have my heart in personal assistance and when it comes down to it, I am just too stuck up.

Maybe it was the threat of divorce or maybe it was the book’s advice but I finally came to the decision last year to re-home Piglet who had been driving the household crazy for eleven years with his bullying and fleeting attempts at murder of his brother, filicide . Everyone had finally had enough. It was me or the dog.

When Reza agreed to adopt Piglet I was relieved but I was of course inheriting another crazy situation, just different kind of crazy, crazy on a different day but still crazy, belovable crazy.

It became even crazier when someone ( not me) took Julie Cameron’s advice and decided to create some distance, and as of January Reza was out working on her own instead of for her brother’s company which before neatly took care of all her taxes and health insurance, depositing a sum every month in her account. Now she was out on her own, and Piggy was diagnosed with diabetes, all of which added to the stress of her situation and mine.

“Don’t worry, I am not worried, God will provide.”

So in January God lined up at the bank got a token and all the information, sat down at her computer with Reza, devised passwords and set up internet banking. God also typed up information sheets for all her clients to fill out with their details and contact information. God organized a photo shoot and designed a business card. God also monitored all her ashamble finances for the last two months, tracked down missing payments and worried about how she would pay her car registration or even get the car passed through TCD. God then realized that Reza had not signed up for health insurance, so God will take it upon herself to sign Reza up for the government program, and pay for it directly.

“God will provide.”

The problem with Reza is she is not an effective communicator. It took me weeks to understand the communications she had had with clients over the missing payment. She seems to commune with God just fine but he is not providing the translation. She also has a short temper which is made worse by hunger, sickness or tiredness and Reza like myself seems to always be afflicted by one if not more of those.

The other day when we did her photo shoot it took about an hour to get one usable picture because she was shouting and yelling and carrying on, sending one dog, east, another west, and at least three cowering. She was shouting at me, at her self, at all eight dogs and the sky. She was Fing and blinding and then apologizing to Eva who wasn’t even there.

Then there is the old station wagon God helped her buy last year and its various afflictions. Every car Reza has owned or driven has ended up with a bumper tied on by a piece of string. Reza’s impulsivity drives her to careen over small objects, perhaps even dogs, she has certainly mounted my small boundary wall every now and again. A ding or a dent in a car over the span of a year is hardly news worthy, but fifteen dents and the body work she had to organize before taking the car in for its test. To my sheer amazement, Reza told me the other day,

“You know I used to drive buses. I loved it.”

“You mean public buses with people on it, who pay for you to get them home safe and sound.”

“Yes.”

“Lets not go back to that.”

I thought to myself it either didn’t work out because she was sideswiping customers or letting them ride for free, or both. When a bus took out a sidewalk of cars while I was away I was convinced Reza had taken a position as a substitute.

I lay awake nights waiting for the phone call from Reza and then it came one morning.

“The car has broken down, and I have no food or insulin for Piggy.”

“Reza we were just at the vet with Piggy for his glucose curve three days ago, I told you specifically that there is no need to be in this situation, you can charge on my account at any time, I told you to keep at least a week supply at all times. You know you cant mess around with a diabetic dog.”

“I know I know, I am just so worried can you get me the food and insulin.”

“I wasn’t planning on driving to town today, but I will- it will take me two hours out of my way, but I will deliver the food and put the insulin in the fridge.”

“Thank you Thank You Thank You.”

“Reza, don’t let this happen again. “

“It will never happen again.”

So instead of working I spent my Thursday afternoon driving up to the vet and without telling Reza got a case of food and a vile of insulin to keep at my house. I can say with Darwinian certainty that this will happen again.

It turned out to only be her spark plug, the week before she had been leaking oil down Speakers Drive, so we had her oil filter replaced. God provided again.

While I was at the vet I rested my head against the counter as they rang up my credit card and I thought… to myself,

“My god I need a personal assistant.”

Then my second thought made my mother’s suggestion bear fruit.

“My god, I am Reza’s personal assistant.”

This weekend when I came to visit Piglet, and brought Reza some vegetables from the family garden. ( my god maybe I am an enabler.)

She told me that by some miracle her car had passed its inspection. God gets a day off.

Then she started on about politics.

“Do you know that they are taking away our post office, did you know that we only got the post office in St. David’s in 1966, we were last, and now they are taking it away.”

“Reza, that was almost fifty years ago.”

She continued unabated.

“I heard the only reason they kept our medical center open was because they were going to put all the people with M-BOLA in St. David’s. Can you believe the nerve. I don’t want M-Bola.”

And she continued.

“And why did they close the Severn bridge, if something happens to swing bridge no one who lives in St. Georges will be able to get medical attention. They should have kept Severn bridge open, it was all made out of wood- it wouldn’t have cost anything to maintain.”

“Reza they closed Severn bridge in 1937, before you were born.”

“Humph.”

She has a little backpack which had the PLP ( Progressive Labour Party) logo, and it was crossed out with a ballpoint pen and in her handwriting the letters OBA for the current government’s party etched on top. I imagined she would be crossing it out again soon and writing Say No to M-Bola.

I decided to try and steer the conversation away from politics and decided to bring up the lack of health insurance.

“You have to have health insurance Reza, so this is what is going to happen, when I get back I will set you up with HIP insurance and I will pay it directly, and then pay you anything else I owe you for walking Piccolo. “

“Okay, thanks that would be great but don’t pay me anything extra, you keep that, whatever it ends up being.”

“No Reza, I won’t keep it.”

“I want you to have it.”

“Are you trying to tip me Reza?”

“Well you should get paid something for being my secretary.”

There was nothing to do but laugh, so I laughed.

“My Secretary…. I think I prefer GOD.”

Reza photo