Monday, February 18, 2008

My Fairy Tale Life

My kitchen and I debuted on Friday in the first of the cooking videos we are producing. The kitchen was photogenic and my three man/one woman crew was amazing and wonderfully diplomatic about my complete cluelessness. It took nearly five hours to shoot what will probably be whittled down to about three minutes. This is something I’ve always wanted to do but saying the same line over and over and trying to keep it sounding fresh and natural and cooking the same dish again and again, under hot lights, revealed to me that the only advantage of appearing in the videos myself is that I do know how to cook and that I work cheap.

I was in the middle of a post shoot kitchen scrubdown and worrying about my falling arches and making a casserole for a Hebrew school potluck shabbat when a nasty bit of teen drama arose that I was too exhausted to diffuse. Spuds went for a run to escape the cacophonous clashing of teen and mom hormones that had engulfed Casamurphy and lost his phone and I had to drop everything and drive around in the twilight with him, pawing through the chaparral in search of the lost phone, an icky ending to a hard week. It was also a hard week on cell phones. Leo’s was flushed by one of his classmates down a school toilet.

We gave up on the lost phone and ordered a new one. The Casamurphy Sprint contract now extends about fifty years. Niall and I attended the potluck Shabbat which I’d hoped would ease me into a true Shabbat mode but there were men talking about business with a lot of testosterone and in what felt like a very unshabbatlike way. I would like to feel a spiritual connectedness with our fellow synagogue members, but, I realize that my real spiritual community at this time springs out of bonds forged a dozen years ago at the Silverlake Jewish Community center.

These bonds are nurtured now by Broderick Miller and his goyishe punim, through the Children’s Theatre. Broderick came through for me yet again this weekend and complied when I begged him to commit a small act of subterfuge relating to the teenage drama referred to in paragraph one. I have caused Brod no end of inconvenience although perhaps I’ve signed now, in blood, to a Faustian bargain which will manacle me to schlepping sodas and hawking cookies for yet another theatrical season.

Saturday we visited Himself’s dad in Leisure World. There is a printed index card taped to the front door. "Bell Don’t Work. Knock" He is ninety one years old but looks older, ashen and frail and nearly blind and quite deaf. He stubbornly clings to living independently in his cluttered apartment where portraits of my kids hang side by side with two autographed photos of George and Laura Bush. We took him to lunch at Coco’s which was surprisingly expensive even though himself and I, like the threadbare old couple we are becoming, shared a garden burger. While the kids were stuffing down dessert, Grandpa Charles stood by the railing outside of the restaurant expectorating long cylinders of sputum into the petunias. We were able to transport him back to his Lazy Boy and Spuds untangled his oxygen tubes and we were dismissed from the premises. The kids rang the doorbell as we left. It was louder than a Who concert.

We return from these visits feeling shattered and helpless and even though Casamurphy is without much cleaning support these days and there are huge matted clots of lint and dog fur as far as the eye can see, Himself and I retreated for a rare afternoon nap and we stripped down to our underpants with the stretched out elastic droopy waistbands and clung together, two decaying vessels, under an ancient faded quilt, heart to heart, asleep, breathing together. It is a mitzvah to nap on the day of rest and our brief siesta seemed our only time to steal a bit of shabbat peace.

Unfortunately, I woke to full baskets of dirty laundry. Most people in the world do laundry. I am ashamed to admit that the last month has been the only time in my adult life that I have been subjected to this task. I have been the quick student about laundry detergent and cleaning the lint filter and fabric softener and stain remover and I have learned to fold nicely. The boys are responsible for presenting their dirty clothes to the laundry area and then carrying down baskets of freshly laundered togs to put away. I have suspected they are remiss in putting clean clothes away and yesterday, I found garments I had stain removed and washed and softened and dried and folded mixed in with a pile of dirty clothes. I became Captain Queeg and reneged on a promised dinner out and put on my frumpiest night gown and took to my bed announcing a labor strike.

Sunday beckoned with the glamor of a trip to Costco for Depends and Tide followed by a visit with Grandma. I took the boys with me. They are her nephews now and apparently I am a sister sort of figure. She steals napkins from restaurants and told me I have bags under my eyes. Himself too fell into funk because he was asked to represent us at the parent orientation for the theatre group so I could attend to housework and soupmaking for his dinner. I reacted with a big snit about his grudgingness and lack of graciousness but then realized that it isn’t about Himself not wanting to do for me or do for the kids, it’s that being in a large group of people that makes him sour.

My husband is an introvert. He walks ahead of me unless I grab his arm. My physical beauty, despite what I have endured to improve it, is irrelevant to him and he doggedly addresses the inner beauty that only he sees, ignoring the inconsequential physical. As blessed as I am to be felt as beautiful, it is hard sometimes not to be seen as beautiful too. Yet with him, it is a matter of integrity. While it is hurtful and infuriating to me in my weak and needy moments, when I am strong and being the person who is worthy of his love, it makes me love him more.

My father in law is waiting to die and with every fuck and fight and field trip my beloved and I dance closer to leaving our own vessels. I don’t know how many more sandwiches we will share or how many more explosions of rage and hormones and fear we will endure. I do know that when the heart beats its last in this mutilated vessel, the breathing together and our two stupid bodies and these two lost empty souls that God drew together will have generated a love that is too awesome to be measured by mere time. There is much here to irritate and sadden and terrify me. I am less afraid knowing my dance towards death will culminate in eternal love. I know that Himself and myself will never not be.


Cari said...

Just because I was born without a penis doth not a laundress I make! Early on in the relationship with my soon to be husband, (all of 24 years ago) I firmly established that there was no way I was going to be subjected to viewing my mate's skidmarky underwear or foul smelling socks. Nor would I expose him to my panties used for those "special days of the month". Later on, as soon as Marlene was tall enough to reach the washing machine (with the aid of a small stool) she was instructed in the art of laundering her own garments. Needless to say, she eventually ended up with lots of pink underwear and items shrunk too small to fit. But I am proud to say she has handled this arduous task since the age of six. Now that I suffer from back problems and crazy dogs downstairs in the laundry room, my husband graciously helps with my washing as well, but he'd have every right to tell me to blow off if he wanted to. Oh well, we'll soon be able to afford to pay someone from the outside to wash our clothes for us, what a concept!
BTW: Where do those missing socks go? To the hozone.

Cari said...

RE: Cell phone drama:
If all those crazy conspiracy theorists are right, it won't be long before we will have all communications devices safely implanted in our skulls. Of course that doesn't stop teenagers from attempting to flush each other's heads down the toilet, but the cell bills will be much cheaper.

FionnchĂș said...

Yes, princess, the morning after the ballroom dance and the crystal coach has arrived! But, rest your naturally curly tresses on your pillow, and remember that although neither charming nor a prince, I am your consort devotedly and perpetually. And, contrary to your blunt assertion, I do praise your beauty inside and out to all who may listen. It's just that usually you're out of earshot. xxx me