Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Together Through Life

Making her laugh.

My parents' relationship has always been a mystery to me. They met in October of 1971 and married in March of 1972. You could say, as Johnny Cash would, that they got married in fever. Except, it seems there was no fever.

My mom had two dates the week she met my dad. She went back to work on Monday and told her friends, "Well, it's certainly not that Ray guy." That Ray guy would be my dad.

They were both divorced when they met. Both had two kids. Other than that, I'm not sure what they had in common.

The way my mom tells it, she wasn't even attracted to him. He was blonde and blue eyed, she preferred men with dark hair and dark eyes. She was unimpressed. He worked in a factory, like she did, and he told her he ate dinner at his sister's house every night. She was not impressed by that either.

For their second date he asked her if she wanted to go see Elvis. Sure, by that time it was fat, drug addled Elvis, a few years away from death Elvis, but still, it was Elvis, and she wanted to see him. So they climbed into whatever old wreck he drove at the time and headed for Kentucky to see The King.

"He didn't have tickets, we had a flat tire, and he locked his keys in his car. It was a nightmare," she says.

She smoked back then and when she went to flick her cigarette out of the car window a piece of ash blew back in and landed on my dad's shirt. She was too embarrassed to tell him and thought he might not notice. Which he might not have, except it burned a hole in his shirt and started to burn him. All he said was a dry, "Thanks a lot."

What happened on that second date was they got to know each other, and when she got to know him she thought he was... funny. And if you can make my mom laugh, then you've got her. A more good-natured and good-humored woman you will not find, and she will laugh until tears roll down her face and she goes completely slack.

That second date led to a 38-year long marriage.

My mom claims this is untrue and if I have I don't remember, but I swear I've never seen a wedding photo of them. I am still not entirely convinced they're even married because of this, nor do I believe they had any type of courtship. (No evidence, no dice.) Everything I know about them I've had to extract. They are private people, and while they tell stories about growing up or what have you, they don't tell many stories about their beginning. It's very peculiar to me. I don't know that I've ever once even seen them kiss on the mouth. Maybe when I was younger.

A few weeks before their wedding they went back and forth on calling it off. What about the kids? Would they get along? Did he really want to move back to Kentucky? Where would they live if they stayed in Marion? Typical cold feet kind of stuff. But when he showed up at her house in "his little blue suit and tie, he just looked so handsome," my mom says, and off they went to the church.

"Plus," my mom says, "My friends at the factory had taken up a collection for us, it'd have been kind of humiliating not to go through with it." (Good a reason as any I guess.)

It was just them, their two friends as witnesses and the preacher.

They were supposed to get married on a Saturday, April 1, but that was April Fools Day. So they sealed the deal on Friday, March 31 instead. It was a full moon.

Last night I asked my mom why she ended up with my dad rather than the man she thought she liked more on those first few dates. The other man was a green beret, had a college education, made more money... all the things on paper that you would think a single mom at 30-years-old would want.

But in the end she thought my dad was kinder, funnier, a better partner for life... and his background was more aligned with hers. "He was hard-working, like my dad" she says, then laughs, "Though there were plenty of times later I thought, 'Man I could be living on easy street right now!'"

When I was about 5 my dad starting working third shift so he could go to technical school to be a mechanic, so we could have a better life. I carried his giant books to his truck every morning. He was so tired he says he often didn't know what day it was or if he was supposed to go to school or to work, so he went where my mom told him he needed to go. They talk about it now as some of their leanest years, how there wasn't much money. But it always seemed like there was plenty to me, and they were able to send me to college on that mechanic and factory worker's salary.

My mom and I laugh now about some of those 38-years, tolerating my grumpy-ass dad. And sometimes I truly didn't know why she put up with him huffing and puffing around the house, grouchy and groaning for what seemed like years. But then, he was also a good husband and dad, and he always made sure she was happy above all else. My mom didn't ask for much, just to be taken to dinner on Friday nights and a quiet room to read her books in. And so off they went, every Friday night for dinner. The rest, eh... it would work itself out.

And when she'd nag him to death (a skill moms excel at), he'd never snap or yell, he'd just look at me and roll his eyes and we'd snicker under our breath, bonded in our laughter.

At the end of the day, they liked and appreciated each other. My mom supported his interests and friends, and he always supported hers. Even in what seemed like the worst times, they had each others back. My dad wouldn't say a mean spirited word about her if you tortured him. And for all his faux grousing, when she said she wanted a porch and a new porch swing, he bought the porch and built the swing.

Idyllic? Hell no. But together through life.

So, happy 38th anniversary, mom and dad. I am so glad you found each other.

Monday, March 29, 2010

That Was Fun

Friday night a valet informed me his ex-girlfriend was a bartender at FBs and disgustedly added she was probably getting hit on by a bunch of dudes. I shrugged and figured he was probably right. Then I had a little too much fun at happy hour with some old friends and some new ones and lost my debit card.

Saturday afternoon I went out for ice-cream, twice. Graeter's is better than Aglamesis and don't let anybody tell you anything different. Saturday night I played a spectacular game of Ms. PacMan and then got into an argument over who won. (I did.)

Sunday at brunch I grossly oversyruped my waffle and learned that my worst injury is a "chick injury." And if Jack White were to wail on his guitar and come bleeding from his fingers into my apartment the drops of blood onto my hardwood would form into the shape of Jesus, holding a guitar.

Sunday night I invited myself over to Erin and Adam's for another homecooked meal (see photo), this time linguine with clam sauce plus bread and salad. (Bread and salad, y'all.) It was divine. We toasted to our fantastic new Sunday night ritual.

Oh, and then I got my debit card back.

Hope everyone had an equally fabulous weekend.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Oh Good, Bad Girls Club Reunion DVRd

Oh wait, I never ever, ever want to watch The Bad Girls Club Reunion. Or The Suite Life. Or Saved By the Bell.

See people, this is what happens when you are out of town and you have Ronson check-in on your cats. You come home to really stupid stuff recorded on your DVR. The last time it was the Price Is Right. It was a sneak attack. I flipped through my DVR list wondering, When the hell did I decide to record The Price Is Right? Did I get crunk and fall off a curb last night?

I live in fear of what might show up over the next week.

Please let me know if you are available to cat sit. I pay in dinners.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Why Where I Work Is Awesome

This was sitting on my desk when I got back from Atlanta. Carolyn, the coolest chick in the office said, "There was no way we were having 'chocolate last supper day' without you getting an Apostle. And when I stuck the pairing knife in, Matthew just popped right out."

Obviously this is deeply significant, as all things chocolate and Biblical are, and if I knew anything about the Apostles I could extract the meaning. But as it is, it means Carolyn rocks.

You can't tell, but it looks exactly like what a chocolate Matthew would look like. Exactly.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hotlanta, Not That Hot

In fact, Hotlanta was cold. And windy. You really disappointed me Atl. I was super looking forward to saying things like, 'It's hotter than Georgia assa-phalt in mid-Ju-ly down here." Sad. Though I did hear a shuttle driver say "pert near." Fortunately, I speak southern (I learned it from my pappy) and that translates to, "Lil' darlin', yer almost there.'

The highlight of my dirty south adventure though was surely eating at Ludacris' restaurant, Straits, in Midtown. Y'all didn't know Luda represents with Asian fusion, did ya? Can a girl get a wonton? Thanks LUDA!

The joint has a jazzy/cool vibe and everyone was dressed real fly while instrumentals of R&B classics played loudly on the overheads, including Nite and Day. (Don't front, you know Al B. was smooth as hell back in the day.)

Unfortch, I can only assume Luda is in some kinda battle with the cabbies of Midtown because it took 20 minutes to get one back to the hotel. What, cabbies don't like Asian fusion? Luda get all Luda up on them after one too many dranks? Luda-Cabbie Midtown turf war? Whatevs.

Glad to be home.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

And I Don't Have This, Why?

If the Boss Men really wanted to make me happy (and they should!) they'd get me this chair.

I'm off on a little work trip, my faithful readers. Perhaps I will run into those emblems of stability and modesty known as the Housewives of Hotlanta. NeNe, girl, you so craaaaazzzzy.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

The End

The number 30 is an old symbol in newspapers that signifies the end of the story. That's how I feel about this week, ready for it to be over, finalized, in the books and done with.