Curious how our Klassy Klan is faring in the snowy trenches? Head over to my Her Nashville humor blog for further proof that East Nashville does it differ'nt.
The O'Brien boys and their homemade "sleds" head back up the sledding hill at Shelby Park.
If you're coming here by way of Lindsay's Super Sweet Suave Party Part 5 Post at She's Still Got It, welcome! Grab a cup of coffee and have a look around! We can ignore our families together!
(Screams offstage left: DO YOU THINK GOD GAVE YOU ARMS SO ICOULD ZIP YOUR SNOW SUIT?)
Speaking of snow--does anyone know where I can get a sled in Nashville? Not that our sled made from an old electric chainsaw box isn't the bomb.
I just thought something a little more ... not cardboard would be easier to steer?
At least we have quality snow boots.
Right store, right price.
To clarify something I referred to in my last post:
I was not—I repeat, NOT!—in a sorority at Vanderbilt. Do I look that delightful?
Fine. Then divide my current delightfulness by 900, cut that number in half, multiply it by 0.2, put a minus sign in front of it, dye its hair a brittle blondish orange ... and THAT is how delightful I was as a college freshman.
BUT I HAD MY PRINCIPLES!
Oh did I have my principles.
If only you could have heard me RANTING and RAVING about the “SYSTEM” and the INJUSTICE and the UNDUE EMPHASIS ON PHYSICAL PERFECTION and the OUTMODED SOCIAL BLAH BLAH BLAH SORORITY WOMEN BLAH BLAH BLAH UNWITTING ACCOMPLICES TO THEIR OWN OBJECTIFICATION OH MY GOD I WAS SUCH AN INSUFFERABLE ASSHOLE.
It’s a miracle I had any friends.
So, no. I did not partake of the Greek Life. (Not that it would have necessarily partaken of me either.)
I did, however, do musical theater! LOTS of musical theater. (You might recall the time I was costume director for our Broadway Revue Troupe's production of CATS!
Because at some point, you're going to have to sing and clap.
We all do.
Speaking of singing and clapping(!), let’s have a round of applause for Patrick O’Brien, bringing down (our) house with his bluegrass-tinged rendition of "John Jacob Jingleheimer Shmip." (His name is Patrick's name, too.)
On Saturday I was invited to join nine delightful women for a Suave-sponsored hair styling party at the home of Lindsay Ferrier of Suburban Turmoil.
I can't tell you how often I get invitations like this. Mainly because the word OFTEN does not apply. Words like "NEVER" and "VERY VERY SELDOM" and "WHAT THE? DO YOU THINK SHE GOT THE WRONG BLABBERMOUSE?" come to mind, but not "OFTEN." So naturally, I jumped at the invitation. I might have even pranced a little, I don't remember.
(Larry has just confirmed: I did prance.)
When I arrived, Ellen and Gabrael, two chic (and nice!) stylists from the super hip Nashville celebrity salon Trim were on hand to take our hair from bland (in my case) to beautiful.
THIS is my story.
(Cue sad violiny bad-before-hair music)It's true. My hair is basically an enervated foster pet that lolls around my head not doing much. It doesn't bounce. It doesn't swing. It doesn't like loud noises or to be scratched behind its ears. It's tame; I'll give it that. But the charm ends there.
BEFORE (my hair in its natural habitat):
Do not make any sudden moves or you will frighten it.
So let me back up for a second.
Did I mention I went to Vanderbilt University?
Did I mention I went to Vanderbilt back in the day when women still wore cocktail dresses and high heels and felt compelled to have a date to attend Saturday football games? Did I mention that many of my classmates still hot rolled their hair every weekday morning before attending classes? Did I mention that I CRIED during practice*rush rounds because BIG HOT ROLLED HAIR + ADULT WOMEN SINGING + ENERGETIC CLAPPING + DELTA! DELTA! DELTA! = GAHHH WHERE AM I AND WHY ARE THE EXITS NOT CLEARLY MARKED LIKE THE WAY THEY DO THEM ON AIRPLANES!?
*Yes. I did say practice rush rounds. Because apparently joining a sorority is an artform so complex and difficult, you actually have topractice in order to get it right.
So the big curly hair has connotations for me.
Not that there's anything wrong with curls!
Look at Angie Smith from Bring the Rain. She looks gorgeous in her curly Suaved-out tresses.
But for me and my above-the-shoulder locks? That's a bad Shirley Temple movie remake waiting to happen. A Little Princess I am not. So there I was, watching and waiting and racking my hair covered brain for other things I could ask the stylist to do without sounding high maintenance. Like, perhaps she could just brush my hair? Or put it in an interesting ponytail? Or we could sing I Got You Babe a Capella and call it an afternoon. I'm flexible! Just pleeez no curls.
Lucky for me, Kelly Hancock from Faithful Provisions went right before me, opting for a casual up-do AND giving me the courage to ask for something other than the curling iron.
The end result?
Cool, casual, not overly "done."
This happens to be exactly how I would fix my hair myself if I had three hands, fourteen fingers, and six-foot-long monkey arms.
And it looks like I have a lot of hair, no?
To think just over a year ago my hair was here:
(Or NOT here as the case may be.)
In case you're wondering (gentlemen, I KNOW you were just ITCHING to ask!), despite the tousled nature of this 'do, the hair did hold up. As a matter of fact, it carried me late into a night-long jam session with friends. HAIR-CAM ACTION SHOT:
From upstairs in the boys' bedroom:
Patrick: Gus, how come girls don't have peepnises?
Gus: They have Jinas. Puh Jinas. Pee Jinas. (Heh heh heh.)
Patrick: Hey, Gus. Do you want to go see the Great Wall of Jina?
Great Wall of ... is he changing the subject or making a dirty frat boy joke?
Boys are just different, I tell you.
When Gus was first born, one of my uncles told me that boys and girls are really no different at all--we just make them that way. By giving them trucks and guns instead of dolls.
It's an age-old argument, and a lot of people believe that, but with all due respect to my uncle: HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA ha ha ha HAAAA.
HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA ha ha ha ha ha ha.
Boys and girls are all kinds of different.
You can tell a girl, "this a valuable object and you may not touch it", and the girl will not touch it. A boy, while he understands the words that are coming out of your mouth just as well as the girl does, is genetically hardwired to not believe them. The boy is not interested in your opinion about this object. He wants the facts. In order to assess an object's true worth with any degree of accuracy, he has to destroy it and measure how hard you cry.
It's the only way.
To that point, I'm thinking about pitching a script for a PBS spin-off called Gus & Patrick's Antiques Road Show.
This is a mahogany Chiffonier I inherited from my great great great Grandmother Dorothea, who was instrumental in helping slaves through the underground railroad. Her initials and those of all the slaves she assisted are carved into the inside of this drawer. I figure it's worth quite a bit, but--
Well, let's take that drawer out , Eleanor, and see if it would make a good police boat. You be the bad guy (pretend you're drowning!) and I'll jump around in the boat with these dirty golf cleats I got at the Goodwill and shoot you.
Pchoo. Pchoo. Pchoo. You're DEAD, Eleanor. She's dead, Gus.
Many tears I have shed over the demise of our couch, our coffee table, our carpet, our walls, our dresser, the dining room chairs, our kitchen table, the knobs on the cabinets, Aunt Ali's painting, Aunt Elizabeth's painting, THE PLATE GLASS WINDOW ... and many days I have wished to have just One. Nice. Thing.
But if you really want to know the true value of things--which is to say they're just things--boys are just the little people to drive that lesson home.
Now I'm not saying boys are more difficult than girls--or that I have it harder than mothers who have girls ...
Yes I am.
We moved the boys’ upstairs this weekend. They’ve shared a small first-floor bedroom down the hall from us for the past three and a half years, and now they're sharing a large upstairs bedroom. The move means they no longer have to be in space-saving bunk beds, which equates to 75% fewer head injuries (theirs) and heart attacks (Larry’s. See also: Mine). And, in addition to moving their beds (a neck spraining, back seizing, marriage building ordeal if ever there was one), we moved every single toy, game, car, puzzle, book and musical instrument they own, so there is absolutely nothing of interest to a young person on the entire first floor of our house.
We never see them anymore. They never call. They never write.
They just stomp.
OH GOD WITH THE STOMPING!
And the THUDS! The glass rattling THUDS! Why can they not step gingerly out of bed? They hardly weigh anything. Well, Patrick does. But Gus? So spry! WHY? Why do they have to launch themselves UP into the air and DOWN onto the floor, permanently rearranging the molecular structure of our home—all in the name of “we’re justplaying, GOSH MOMMY.”
So, the relocation will require some adjustments in my medication. Namely, I will have to start taking some. Do you know which one’s the drug that makes you not scream in horror every time your child hops out of bed to get a book?
Thudnil? Side effects may include headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, diarrhea, heart palpitations, sweaty palms, dirty toenails, gout, gonorrhea, excessive gas, bloating, chocolate cravings, gender confusion and delusions of being Elvis. Reported side effects have been mild to moderate to severe requiring long-term hospitalization. Ask your physician or healthcare practitioner whether Thudnil is right for you.
“Since I’ve started taking Thudnil, I no longer cringe when the ceiling shakes and paint chips sprinkle down into my lunch. Pass the peanut butter and banana sandwiches.”
On top of the thuds, there’s one other issue that the move has exacerbated. GUS. The child is five and a half years old, and he’s STILL not sleeping through the night. He used to come in to our room once a night, but since he’s been upstairs, it’s been two or three times a night, saying he’s thirsty, or lonely, or scared. Of the monsters. Of having another nightmare. Of being by himself. And he’s not even byhimself, because Patrick IS RIGHT THERE SLEEPING LIKE A PASTRY.
“He’s just a little kid,” Gus says. “Of course he sleeps.”
I see. Patrick has yet to experience the eternal darkness of the soul that plagues you world-weary kindergartners.
I know I should be more sympathetic. I should figure out why he can’t sleep. I should strive to understand what is on his mind and comforthim. But it’s hard with the voices in my head screaming HE’S BACK! THAT SELFISH LITTLE BASTARD IS BACK! YOU WILL NEVER SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT AS LONG AS YOU BOTH SHALL LIVE!
So I’m tired. And when I’m tired, I’m mean. And when I’m mean, I shush and bark threats. And when I shush and bark threats, I stress my kid out, and when he’s stressed out, he can’t sleep and neither can I.
Which brings me here. To my new downstairs office, at 4:30 in the morning, in the room where the boys’ bedroom used to be.
I’ve been lying in bed since 4am, writing a post in my head, and I have to tell you, my head is a terrible place to write. The keyboard in there has itty bitty little letters and an enormous delete button where the space bar should be. And every time I hit Enter? I fall asleep.
The reason I could not get out of bed this morning is that there is no coffee. Or rather, there is coffee, but I can’t have any. A nurse is coming to do my life insurance physical at 8am, and The Packet says I can have nothing but water for 8 hours before the exam.
Nothing but water. What good is water?
Water is dead to me.
Water is just liquid with all the coffee taken out. STUPID STUPID WATER.
Let’s hope this nurse is not trying to assess my will to live. If she is, I'll just have to tell her: It’s in the kitchen cabinet, UNDER THE COFFEE.
If there's one thing I've always said about Larry, it's "Now there's a guy who wears his balls on his sleeve."
Also? Who could resist those lips?
Gus is really into drawing this year. Considering we could barely get him to pick up a pencil for the first four years of his life, I am thrilled at the time he's been devoting to his art.
Yesterday he was in my office, and he told me he would like to make a book "similar to something by Maurice Sendak."
Pfff. Get in line, man.
"A lot of people want to get books published, Gus. It takes talent and hard work. Plus you have to have an AGENT. No publisher is going to take an unsolicited manuscript from a first-time author."
"Do you have any blank paper?"
I gave him some paper, a few Sharpies and a random flesh-toned marker from my desk drawer, and he proceeded to illustrate and bind his masterpiece. "I'm going to sound out the words to put in later," he told me.
Way to not get bogged down in the minutiae, kid.
If there's one thing I believe in, it's synchronicity. A few weeks ago, my friend Kym Colella at Earthdog twittered the following:
thing #1 i've learned from my kindle: chris kattan is the spitting image of emily dickinson
I have a Kindle. I too have been haunted by its screen savers. And I have to agree with Kym. The resemblance between Chris and Emily is quite striking. Here's the Kindle's Emily Dickinson screen saver:
And here's the hilarious Chris Kattan, of Saturday Night Live fame.
If he hadn't gone ahead with the eye lift? LIKE BROTHER AND SISTER, THOSE TWO.
As if all that weren't enough UNCANNYNESS (can you ever really get enough uncannyness? Can you ever really get enough of saying the word UNCANNYNESS? Can you eat it with an English muffin and have uncannyness with nooks and crannyness? HA! HA HA! IT'S FIVE IN THE MORNING shut up.)
As if that weren't enough uncannyness, Kym tweets that tweet, and then a week later, I wake up to find Gus on the counter "making breakfast."
Which, come on. Who is it?
Now, whether this means that I'm going to be getting a phone call asking me to host Saturday Night Live, I CAN'T SAY FOR SURE, but I do feel like something very special is about to happen.
If I recount for Larry a particularly horrific nightmare, say, a nightmare in which he walks out of a mall, clutches his chest and drops dead of a heart attack right before my very eyes, he’ll smile and say, “A DREAM IS A WISH FULFILLED.”
Drives. Me. Nuts.
First of all, no. Okay? If I learned anything from my Vanderbilt education it’s that Sigmund Freud needed to calm the hell down. He may have inadvertently said one or two things that made sense, but I can assure you of this: a dream is not a wish fulfilled. A dream is just the universe's way of ensuring I AM RIDDLED WITH ANXIETY AT ALL TIMES.
So last night, I dreamed that I dropped my iPhone on the sidewalk outside my office, and it fell so hard it bounced off the concrete leaving a giant chip in the top left corner of the case. (Totally just figured out the significance of this dream but will not bore you with the details lest I reveal the dull inner workings of my psyche.) When I tried to access the Internet to see if the iPhone was working, the connection was r e a l l y s l o w and h E rk y JE rkY, and I spent the remainder of the dream trying to concoct a lie to tell to the guy at the Apple store so that he wouldn’t know I dropped my phone—and would give me a new one for free.
(The nerve of me! What kind of person am I? A lying sack of iPhone-related lies, that’s what kind.)
I finally decided that if I just removed the case, where the chip was, there would be no evidence of oh my GOD, so obvious! Why don’t we all say the meaning of the dream TOGETHER? Polly McSimpleton-Head.
So, but my point is, when Patrick woke me up at 4:45 a.m. (after Gus had woken us up at 1:30 a.m.), at first I was livid because “FIRST MY iPHONE AND NOW THIS?” But as I settled Patrick back into his bed, it dawned on me that I had been dreaming. In reality(!), my iPhone was safe and sound!
Which was my wish all along!
Which means … that actually ... waking up is a wish fulfilled.
And Sigmund Freud can pretty much suck it.
Please direct all inquiries regarding any honorary Ph.D’s you may wish to bestow upon me for this extraordinarily insightful post to my assistant, Anna O.
Amanda O'Brien is the author and sole proprietress of Blabbermouse, a blog she launched in February of 2005.