Saturday, July 28, 2007

Trust me on this

Things NOT to do on what should be the 5th anniversary of your marriage, but is pretty much already wrecked by your having been widowed 1.5 years earlier:

1. Sit at the restaurant table next to two obnoxious and affluent young couples who decide to share anecdotes about their courtship and marriage.

2. Think "it's too much trouble to move now," when they discuss their respective proposals and vows.

3. Tell yourself, "We're almost finished eating, anyway," when the younger of the two women complains that her then-future M-i-L "wouldn't cosign for anything over a carat" when her now-husband purchased her engagement ring, or continue listening as she scoffs, "I won't even wear it, now." (Who cares about sentiment or symbol if it's less than a carat's worth?)

4. Totally lose it when the husband of >1-carat-bitch remarks that his wedding ring is titanium, the same as your husband's ring, which you still wear, along with your own, on your left hand.

5. Drive to evil corporate megastore in search of cheap jeans, thereby compromising every ideal you and your late husband cherished and making a mockery of his memory.*

6. Realize while slogging up and down the aisles of ECM that "They" (the communists, terrorists, neo-cons, Chinese, or bogeyman of your choice) have already won, because "we" are so engrossed in purchasing ever more, more cheaply made consumer goods that a)we are too fat and slow to escape an attack; b)we are too buried in plastic junk to breathe for ourselves, let alone defend our repulsive way of life; c) we've purchased our way into international servitude for the savings on one plastic beach ball and some "Hello, Kitty" flip flops.

7. Answer the phone when it's your M-i-L calling. Especially since she won't even mention what day it is.

8. Get out of bed at all.

*Actually, he'd say it's not a big deal to go there one time. He frequently thought I made too big a deal out of such things, and he was right.


Friday, July 27, 2007

Hard Day's Night

Hi Babe,
If you were here, what would we do tomorrow? I'm guessing we'd watch some early coverage of the Tour, with me feeling bad about the doping scandals, and the breakaway guys who work so hard all day and then get caught just before the finish line. And you'd try to explain again to me how Europeans aren't so hung up on our Puritanical anti-doping crusade, and why this year's implosion probably won't have any lasting effects on the sport, except maybe in the U.S., but since most U.S. fans only care when one of "us" is winning, it doesn't matter.

Then, maybe, we'd stroll with our daughter to the local farmer's market, hoping that the peaches are in season (soon, soon). We'd probably have a sandwich at our local restaurant, and maybe take our girl to the library for some new books and, indulgently, a "Thomas the Tank Engine" DVD.

In the evening, we'd maybe drive to Former City for a really nice dinner--maybe at what used to be our favorite place, so we could talk about how we liked it better before the remodel, when it was only 4 tables. We'd revel in our two-ness, sharing for the umpteenth time how lucky and surprised we are to have found each other; how finding each other was like locating a missing piece that we didn't even realize was lost. We'd drink a little too much rhone wine. We'd share a dessert. On the way home, we'd put Wilco's "Summerteeth" on the CD player...we loved that album, and without you, I can't even bear to get it out of the case.

When we got home, we'd pay the sitter. We'd sneak in and kiss our sleeping daughter goodnight, and pinch ourselves for how lucky we are to have her. Maybe, if you were here, she'd have a sister coming. With you here, we'd have the money and the time for the second little girl we wanted. With you here, everything would still be possible.
With you here, I'd still be happy.

I love you. Happy 5th Anniversary,
your wife


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What are they thinking?

True story told by my daughter over tonight's sushi dinner:
Mama, today we saw a movie [at school]. It was about a girl who couldn't talk and she couldn't see. And she couldn't hear, either, 'cause she had a BAD, BAD fever. And....Mama? Another lady came and made signs on her hands. But she was pretty bratty....

Me: The lady was bratty?

Daughter: No, the girl was. The girl who didn't talk, Mama, or see or HEAR.

Me: Um, was the girl named "Helen Keller"? And the lady was "Annie"?

Daughter: That's right! You are right, Mama!

Me [aside]: Dear God in heaven, what are they showing the kids next week, "The Exorcist"? And WHAT ON EARTH WERE THEY THINKING, SHOWING THIS TO 3 AND 4-YEAR-OLDS??? I mean, this is a child who already fears that when she gets sick, she'll die, because her papa was sick and then he died, right? Sure, Helen Keller is a wonderful inspiring figure, once you GET PAST all the TRAUMA. How much am I paying for this fancy private program, again?


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

In which I confess that I suck

I've lost our passports. Both of them, which gives me some faint hope that they are together, but after systematically rifling through umpteen drawers, bags, and file folders, they continue to elude me.

Since I'm not planning an imminent overnight in Paree, this shouldn't be a big problem. However, I need to acquire a citizenship document for my daughter, the price of which increases astronomically at the end of the month*. In order to acquire this document, I need to provide her original, Chinese-issued passport, which is the one that I lost. **

They are not where I always keep them. They are not in my luggage. I even went page by page through the contents of each possible folder they might have been mistakenly dropped into. I painfully and painstakingly exhumed the contents of my husband's dresser, even though I know that my sister (who kindly packed up all of his small personal belongings when I was too devastated to face them) would Never. Be. So. Foolish. As to pack them away like that.

My passport can be replaced, of course, with a certain amount of time and inconvenience, as befits an idiot who loses her passport at home. And I am sure that China has a replacement policy for passports, too, but not one I care to embark upon in English, from across the Pacific, for a child who was removed from their country over three years ago.

This is the second major calamity of its kind. The other thing missing is my wedding photos. All of them. Which I packed up very carefully, to be moved by the family. But when we moved, my husband was in intensive care, and the boxes ended up all over the place.

So the exercise is not being done, the article is not being written, the dog is not getting out--all while I paw through the various nooks and crannies of my house, the antique tax returns, and the heartbreaking memorabilia my husband left behind. Ergo, it sucks, and ergo, I suck.

* Seriously. By, like, 100%, if that means that it will now cost twice as much. Or would that be 200%? Actually, it will cost twice as much, plus some. Total extortion. And this is why I'm a Humanities prof.

**Apparently, a U.S. birth certificate, social security number, and adoption decrees from both China and the U.S. do NOT guarantee citizenship after all. Since I don't really want my pre-kindergartner to end up at Gitmo when they come after my for my anti-administration ranting, I'd better get her more, and more costly, documentation Because my husband was too ill to travel, she arrived here with insufficient citizenship status, and had to be formally readopted in the U.S., and issued a birth certificate. Had she been fortunate enough to have two healthy parents, she would have received the certificate automatically. Sigh.

Life Imitates Art

At the risk of destroying my credibility (but in tribute to my fiction-writing skills?) I confess that my previous "Dear Mr. Netflix" letter was entirely made up. I was awaiting "The Queen," and was worrying about whether she might meet a grisly fate in the jaws of the dog, but, in fact, aside from a little shredding around the edges, she arrived just fine.

However, Bree of "Transamerica" was not so fortunate. His/her cover was completely decimated, and the disk was punctured multiple times. I fear my dog is not politically correct with respect to transgender issues.

And I'm not sure if I'm prescient (insert jokes about "the wrong queen" here), or if I've simply been suitably punished for my audacious bit of fantasy.


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Dear Mr. Netflix

Dear Mr. Netflix:

I wish to inform you most humbly and with utmost apology that my dog seems to have eaten "The Queen." I realize she was arriving today, and I had set out the tea cozies, prepared the scones and clotted cream, and polished the silver. Unfortunately, she seems to have arrived while the house was unattended (except by the dog; see above). Perhaps she is simply lost in transit, and you can notify her of my address via her royal GPS. However, the presence of oblong silver plastic pieces, many with tooth-marks, and the tattered shreds of slightly damp red and white paper would appear to indicate her untimely end at the jaws of my otherwise abundantly friendly pitbull-mix. Perhaps it was the whole Corgi thing. He hates Corgis, and I must confess, I don't see the point of putting a big dog head on that short, stumpy body. Plus, they don't seem to realize that they are funny looking, and so they always manage to be arrogant and offensive, especially after one-too-many pints at the pub.

Please tell the people of England that I am really, really sorry--and so is my dog. As an apology, we will be donating the leftovers from our high tea to a food bank in London, if we can afford the refrigerated shipping.

Really, we are most embarrassed, and we are sorry that this sorry fate didn't befall that "last king of scotland guy" (who, by the way, was never shown among his Scottish subjects, which made the movie very confusing. And I have not had any luck in discovering just how he was related to Mary, Queen of Scots. I don't mean to complain, but I have a pretty good handle on my European history, and except for maybe Napoleon III (okay, there were those rumors about Hitler), I am pretty sure none of the monarchs I studied were people of color. And by the way, what happened to the kid with epilepsy?). At least the scottish guy genuinely deserved to be eaten.

Sincerely yours,

P.S. Can I keep the slightly dented tiara I found under the couch?

Labels: ,

Monday, July 2, 2007

Free to Good Home

One-time only offer!

One 4.5 year old girl, with less than 20K miles.
This is the upgraded, import version, featuring:

*Sturdy digestive system, developed by time spent on the floors of third world country.
*Airport friendly: has already traveled from China-U.S., and multiple domestic travels.
*Healthy appetite: no known allergies or sensitivities. As a bonus, she enjoys most vegetables!
*Completely housebroken, except when she's "too busy" to make it to the bathroom.
*Self-bathing, with moderate supervision.
*Excellent weeder, chopper of vegetables, and stirrer of batter.
*Skilled dog-wrangler, cat feeder, and laundry folder.
*Literate: can decipher most 3- and some 4-letter words.
*Accounting skills: Can count to 20-14, addition between 0 and 10.
*Artistically skilled--cottage industry possibilities.

Minor defects include: Occasional bouts of surliness, inexplicable willfulness, and a non-debilitating addiction to "Angelina Ballerina" and "Thomas the Tank Engine." Video/DVD library included.

This child has had all vaccinations, regular dental and medical check-ups, and has been cared for impeccably (okay, maybe a bit too much chocolate milk). With a diet of gruel and hard labor, she can certainly go another 250K miles and care for you lavishly in your old age.

Apply below.