“Because I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!”

Today we got up early, loaded a basket of food into my trunk, put a carafe of coffee up front, trundled two sleeping kids (one in underwear-only) into the almost-warmed-up car, and headed to Seattle.

I had a volunteer commitment for the day and I’m only just now getting home.

And just in the moment – I’m tired, overworked, overthinking, and irritable.

I was touched my family joined me, in an expression of support. I found it especially sweet they came along since none of them are super-keen on getting up and driving instead of sleeping in and screwing off at home.

There were compensations. Ralph took the kids to the aquarium while I was occupied. They got to see dwarf cuttlefish getting fed (unfair!).

Nels + Phee Ride Orcas

And apparently they found an extra child, but they didn’t bring him/her home or anything.

In other news, Ralph and I have made rather large change in our lives. I will now be the primary manager of our family’s financial woes operations. He’s been doing this job for about eight years. I’m sitting here with a stack of plastic next to my computer, and I’ll be making room for a stack of paper soon. I’m feeling pretty daunted. Not because of any other thing in that, I’ve not done this for a very long time, and back when I did it I was drinking, so that helped.

I’m also breathing deep because seriously it feels like a huge responsibility. What’s the worst that could happen? I could fuck it up ENTIRELY. So.

* breathes into a paper bag *

OK, then.

“Is this supposed to be sexy or am I broken?”

Last night after dropping our kids off at my mom’s Ralph and I took our sunny drive and met with Seattleite and awesome mama K. to share Vietnamese food in the International District (okay srsly: living in the city? A plethora of delicious and affordable cuisine from all corners of the world? Almost makes me want to live there. & yet an evening of traffic-ass and parking issues cured me of that wistful premise tout de suite). After hugs we headed down the sunshiney sidewalk to the Market Showbox for our show.

The live showing of Cinematic Titanic (a white nerd-fest if I ever saw one) was long-anticipated, long-saved up for (Ralph bought me tickets and set aside fundage over two pay periods as a Mother’s Day gift), and delivered the goods: supremely. I’ve been an avid MST3K squee-fan since the mid nineties and here were several beloved individuals right in the room with me (celebrityhood is a weird thing because love isn’t reciprocally personalized).  The show delivered laughs like crazy and Ralph delivered me gin and tonics which were delicious and soothing. Dave Allen’s warm-up bit was extremely fun and included a beatniky haiku – with snaps and walking bass – dedicated to Jason Voorhees;  he finalized with a rap over Al Stewart’s “Year of the Cat”, clever and delightful.  The riffed film itself was a sword-and-sandals “epic” (but not really) set in Mongol China and complete with greased-beefcake “hero” in a tiny red skort. The jokes were so good I was doubled over a good portion of the time (careful not to spill the beverage). Ralph and I spent our evening next to a sweet-seeming Redmond IT drone named Matt (Matt is working on a master plan to quit the tech sector and live in Japan for a while) who laughed hysterically and incessantly on my left.

We almost didn’t make it home: our parking garage had shut down with no warning about a half hour before we got to it. A local resident saw our buzzing-about-in-distress bit and came over to direct us on a super-secret way to sneak in and activate the door out (Seriously: thank you so much Seattle resident!) and we drove right home.

In my husband I can’t ask for a better date. I feel fortunate he is someone I truly look forward to spending time with (although of course I did choo-choo-chooose him), and someone who knows how to treat me to a good time.

Meanwhile my mother with our kids had suffered a small series of minor catastrophes.  After taking the children out to Ocean Shores to see a film they went to restaurant after restaurant because no one would  serve children after 9 PM (they eventually ended up driving the half-hour back to Aberdeen for Denny’s to grandma’s gastronomical sadness). In putting our chickens away my mom lost the key to the car and had to leave the vehicle at our house and walk home with the children; part way home she realized our kitty Harris was following them and she worried and fretted and then escorted him home (not necessary; he can follow a long way and still find his way back, but she worries so). On this same walk her dog, necessarily off-leash as she’d not planned on having to walk with him, wandered into the road and had to be swerved from – by an ambulance!

I’m pretty sure she had a few stiff drinks and collapsed by the end of the evening (the kids fell asleep on a made-up bed in the living room watching their favorite dinosaur film). Hearing about her night earlier today served as a reminder of how many daily challenges I handle in, it must be said, relatively competent and good-humored fashion.

Our children were happy to see us. Nels had something on his face and I asked; my mom said, “He likes to go in the lilies and paint his cheeks with pollen.” Nels looked at me out the side of his eyes and from under his fall of blonde hair and nodded, sage and pleased.

sea change

Last night we finished folding the laundry and bundled the kids up into the car and headed out of town. On the way we left the children at a friend’s; a couple hours later my mom would grab them up for a sleepover at her house. Ralph and I are off to Seattle to (first) phở followed by a three-band set at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard.

After we dropped the kids off I was quiet in the car for the first couple minutes of our trip because, truth be told, I didn’t want to drive to Seattle. I wanted to be in Seattle for a rock show – hell yes, with our kids would be nice, but with just Ralph is awesome too. But five hours of driving? Ugh. I’m just not really into mandatory periods of stationary activity (not even sleep, which I struggle with).

However what Ralph hadn’t really got across to me was that A. the band he was interested in was pretty excellent, and B. we’d be seeing friends from a decade back (two of which were in this band). In fact the “boys” I knew who more or less followed Ralph’s little math rock effort around have now become men – with beards and mustaches and seemingly feet gained in height – and two of them have stayed consistent in their hard work at TEH ROCK to become musicians of an incredible prowess and creativity. It was sheer joy to watch them and even more enjoyable to catch up, to talk and to share again. All four men resisted my proffered handshake and instead enveloped my husband and I in warm hugs.  Two of them recently married, they seemed happy to see us perhaps in part because ten years later we’re happily partnered, are raising kids and loving it, and Ralph still plays music.

I like going to shows with my husband, but it was an unexpected blessing to see these “boys” again (there are four in all) and to remember a time in my life fondly, that of Ralph’s little band groupie chemical-engineer girlfriend hanging out weekend after weekend at this-or-that pissant show. It was a Christian punk scene and I’ve never since encountered a group more open, alive, awake, earnest, energetic, humble, loving, and enthusiastic.

It’s a good thing.

On the drive home I think to myself that those times in our life we’re so passionate about, those things never really go away, even if we forget them for awhile…

This morning and afternoon the stellar sunshine took a turn. Being a one-car family? I totally love it. But the inconvenience factor makes itself known now and then, as today when the kids and I ran errands in a wind- and rainstorm – on our bikes. However it was actually delightfully warm and the wind, which was strong enough to knock out power here and there, threw Nels off his bike a time or too – to his utter wild happiness.  We took our time and made our way safely about town, hanging our coats up at home and cranking the heat.  The gift balaclava my girl Abi made me is long-stretched into ridiculousness; today I pulled a yarn bull of a rich red tweed out of my little cupboard and cast on seventy stitches for a warm hat for the spring gusts.