Tag Archives: I am fluent in Dorkish

This thing that happened today

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So this evening I took it upon myself to finish the project I started yesterday.

Yesterday evening I got a wild hair to clean the minivan, Moby Titanic.  It had been a while and the filth level was teetering on the brink of acceptable levels of sloth.  It’s one thing to say, “Oh dear, sorry about the mess, you know how it is with kids” to the poor co-worker who has been forced to hitch a ride to lunch with you, as you toss a few library books and a stray sandal into the back seat.  It’s quite another to say, “Oh, you’re riding with me?  Give me about ten minutes to stuff all the crap into the stow-and-go compartments and hang half a dozen Little Tree air fresheners to hide the smell of moldering graham crackers and despair.”

And so it came to pass that I spent a carefree ninety minutes clearing away various bits of domestic detritus from the van’s interior,  vacuuming every last crevice and cleaning various of the grimier bits with spray cleaner.

It was during this time that I spied something between the front passenger seat and the mini-console next to it, something that I had long since given up for lost: my car keys.  They disappeared around New Year’s, because the last few days before you get married are obviously the ideal time for your keys to come up missing.  Evidently they had fallen there at some point during the frenzy of preparation or possibly the night we went to the drag show where I had a certain number of adult beverages, numbering perhaps three.  For me this is something like depravity.  Don’t judge.  Anyway, a stray Home Depot receipt or similar had then fallen atop them, concealing them completely from view in the narrow dark little space.

So this means that for seven months we drove my keys around, wondering all the while where they could possible have gotten away to.

I didn’t have time to wash the van’s exterior what with all the OCD detailing and lost-keyring-finding exultation going on, so this evening I fired up the garden hose and went to town on that thing.  It turns out that beneath the crusty layer of filth, it’s a fairly nice white minivan that we have.

My nine-year-old joined me in this which is to say that she pranced around with a soapy washrag taking swipes here and there at random locations on the van and then entreating me to spray her with the hose.  I enthusiastically reluctantly agreed  and thus was she soaked to the point of drippy saturation.  When she wanted to go in the house a bit later I got her a towel and brought her around to the back door so she could strip down out of view of the neighbors.  If we let her drip all over the newly-installed floors our handyman would probably kill me on sight.

My kid is what you could call an enthusiastic nudist, charmingly free of self-consciousness and all too ready to get naked whenever the occasion calls for it.  In another year or two this might become cause for alarm but for now it’s just the exuberant innocence of youth and I for one applaud it.

The Lovely Rhonda might have applauded it also up to tonight, but maybe not so much any longer.

I am not sure what in the world caused me to say it but my mouth opened and words came out:  “Hey Delia, I dare you to go over and press your naked butt up to the patio door.”

Perhaps it was that I remembered seeing a perfect print of her nose and mouth to the glass surface of one of the French doors a couple of days ago, and perhaps also it was that I possessed the knowledge that TLR was seated at her desk just on the other side of the doors.

Very possibly it was just the whispered voice of mischief keeping me from getting too close to sainthood.  Nobody likes a goody-goody.

My child doth not disappoint.  She raced over to the door and gave it the full moon, laughing and grinning like the juvenile delinquent that I am evidently raising her to be.

I am sorry to say that I then dared her to wave it back and forth, which she did.  At this point TLR came over to the doors and under pretense of unlocking them,  lowered the blinds in each one without a word and then yelled through the closed doors that she would never be able to get that sight out of her mind.

I laughed until I cried.  Eventually she let us in.

I am still laughing.  I am a terrible person.

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Family Camp Week

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So every year for the past four years, and conceivably for all future years, we have attended Family Camp at our church’s camp out in the sticks.

I say for all future years because there are people attending this camp who have been doing so nearly all their lives, and they are older than I am.  And I don’t think it’s any big secret that I am terrifyingly decrepit.  So apparently once you begin attending this camp you can expect to continue doing so for all eternity.  There are two ladies who have got to be in their 80’s who still come every year.

Now, “church camp” stirs up all kinds of impressions which I would like to hastily dispel.  We do not have lengthy camp meetings with laying on of hands or speaking in tongues.   Nobody thumps a Bible at anybody else.  It’s not brainwashing.

What we DO is we meet in the morning to talk about a certain amount of church related things (Jesusy stuff, you wouldn’t be interested) in the laid-back groovy UCC way that we have of doing things, and we eat lunch and go swimming down at the swimmin’ hole, and we have dinner and vespers which is a totally awesome way of saying we get together and talk about church related things again for a short time, and then we have campfire.  Also in there between swimming and dinner we do some crafts if we are so inclined, and some people also manage to get in a certain amount of napping, no names mentioned *COUGH COUGH RHONDA FOR FOUR SOLID HOURS ONCE COUGH COUGH*

Oh, and there’s also field games and hiking and all kinds of stuff.  This camp is on a couple hundred wooded acres with creeks and cabins and trees and dirt and bugs and stuff like that.  There is lots of The Nature to wander around in, if one is so disposed.

This was our first time going for the whole week, and we stayed in a rustic (translation: electrical problems meant that the stove hood light worked at random intervals and one room upstairs had no power at all for reasons that were unclear) cabin with our BFF Kirsten and her three magical offspring, the youngest of whom is only nine months old.  The other two are nearly exactly the same ages as The Lovely Rhonda’s girls.

The cabin is divided into two bunk rooms downstairs and two bedrooms upstairs, with bathrooms adjoining to the bunk rooms as well as one upstairs for the bedrooms.  We put the five girls in one bunk room and Kirsten, the baby, TLR and myself in the other.  Another camper stayed in the upstairs bedroom that did have power.  It was groovy.

Did I mention  how infants like to wake up in the middle of the night or very early in the morning and scream?  They do, in case you were uninformed.  This is useful information for those who might be tempted to travel with infant-having persons of their acquaintance, and so I mention it now in case this might describe either of you, dear reader(s).  I like to be of service to my fellows.

Kirsten was afeared that we would disown her for this but Happy Fun Ball is such a cheerful, adorable baby who smiles ALL THE TIME  that we couldn’t really hold a grudge.  Not much of a grudge.  Not too much of one.  Not much.  Of one.  Of a grudge.  Thing.

What was I saying?  Fatigue has made me a bit punchy.

Anyway, we made sure the cabin was stocked up with snacks and Cokes for late night cribbage and towels for swimming and fans for the incredible sticky wilting summer heat, and we had Family Camp.

On the last night we had a very fun campfire with lots of singing (I have become a Camp Song Dork) and s’mores, and then we coerced the camp counselors to hang out in our cabin while the children slept so that we, the alleged grown-ups, could sit in the lodge and play games.  This was super fun, made even more so by the fact that when we broke out the modest array of snacks that we had remaining, the response was so enthusiastic that we dispatched The Lovely Rhonda back to the cabin for more, and then watched as everything that was offered was devoured nearly instantly.  I think it is safe to say that neither of us expected these people to eat cheese doodles and peanut butter M&M’s, after seeing them eat salad all week, but they did, and with considerable gusto.

Camp is this place with singing and crafts and really, really nice people, and for all that it is an hour from home it’s a magical hour such that when you drive out to town to get something it’s like you’ve re-entered civilization.  We love it.

However, we’re not as wild about the mounds and mounds of funky camp laundry that we have to wash when we get home.

Still worth it though.

Man for a day

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So this morning was Monday.  It turned out to be Monday all day long.

First thing I decided to take the car in for a quick emissions check because the tags are expired.  One of the things I meant to do before we left for vacation, but you know how it goes.  Kinda didn’t think about the fact that the check engine light had been on for a while.  We’d had it looked at by our local shop and they told us that an oxygen sensor was out.  “But you have two,” they said, “So you can drive it like this without any problems.”

Neither I nor The Lovely Rhonda really connected this with emissions testing, but it turns out we should have.  The pimply faced teen at the emissions place smugly informed me that it failed because of the bad sensor.  I wanted to smack him and yell, BUT IT HAS TWO SENSORS AND THE OTHER ONE WORKS!  But, I held that in.  I just said it inside, where it counts.

I took it directly to our local shop, again, and dropped it off for repair.  How much for a new sensor, you ask?  I asked the same thing.  “Well, I won’t know until I look it up,” said Jack, “Could be a hundred dollars, could be six hundred.”  Yikes.

Pretty soon the sullen rental car agency guy came to get me.  “Sorry if I’m not all that talkative,” he eventually said.  “I’m operating on about one hour of sleep.”  Judging from his appearance and general demeanor, I’d say he must have spent the rest of the night smoking interesting things and playing PS3 games with his loser buddies, but I didn’t say that out loud either.  We drove on in companionable silence while I wondered which utility pole Mr. No Sleepy was going to slam us into.

We arrived at the agency in due time and I was taken out to the parking lot to choose my trusty steed.  Which ones are up for grabs?  “Oh,” said the perky young lady clerk, “Anything from those two rows.”  There was a few boring white sedans, a dark red Honda.  And then I saw it.  At the end.  The black one.

“Uh, okay, um, I guess I’ll take that one over there, that one on the end,” I said, nonchalantly wiping a small amount of drool from the corner of my mouth.

“Oh, the Charger!”  She turned to walk me back into the office.  “That one’s very popular with the younger male drivers.  Like, 24 to 29 years old age range.  They always ask for that one too!”

After the walk-around and the signing of the papers — she even had the slack-jawed lot jockeys wash it again, because it needed it — I drove off in all my rented glory.

charger

Friend(s), I was Walter Mitty for a day.  I drove that thing like an extremely repressed boss.  I took off slightly faster than average at stoplights and careened around corners on 3.95 wheels.  I turned the Soft Rock Hits of the 80’s, 90’s and Today up rather louder than usual and enjoyed the deep bass, mainly because I couldn’t figure out how to turn it down.  I even went several miles above the speed limit at times.

I know.  I almost don’t know who I am anymore!

I posed a picture of the car on Facebook and TLR commented, “You’re the man.  That is the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen.”  She was in the minority though.  All the really cool people thought it was neat.

This evening we dropped the rental car off before going to get my trusty old Mazda back.  I dropped the keys into the key return thing at the rental car agency.  They clunked down into the hollow armored post with an air of finality.  I sighed and walked away to climb into the minivan.

Maybe someday.

(Hey, if she thinks it’s ugly maybe TLR won’t want to borrow it?)

The Last Valentine’s Day Post, I Swear

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So  I was in kind of a funky place all day vis-a-vis the whole Valentine thing.  Not so much because I was feeling pressure to meet some societal standard of adequate gifting etc.  The standard is self-imposed and is one that I’m comfortable with.

No, the problem was that the item that I had carefully hand-selected has not arrived.  And when I went online to check on its progress through life, I was informed that the website was sorry but that it could not provide updated information about whether it had even shipped, let alone where in the hell it might actually be.  I was welcome to call Customer Service.

I was not, frankly, in the mood to call Customer Service.

So, I resorted to the next best thing which was to substitute a place-holder gift to tide The Lovely Rhonda over until the real deal finally makes it off the slow boat from China or wherever it will be coming from.  Thus did the children and I hop in the van and head over to a place where such things could be obtained.

Just before leaving I was struck with some kind of flash of inspiration, or maybe it was something I ate — there is a wicked virus blowing through the house, more on that later — and found myself sitting at this very keyboard tapping out a little something.

I’m not much for mushy cards full of Hallmarky sentiment, but it turns out I can churn out a limerick for any occasion.  Behold:

There once was a nurse with red hair

Whose life needed urgent repair

She stole a man’s wife

‘Mid stresses and strife

Despite all advice to beware

 

They married, those ladies bespoke

And some might think she treated it a joke

But love is mysterious

She takes it quite serious

So, disregard naysaying folk

 

I love you more each passing day

I’ll go anyplace that you say

I’ll stick to you always

And chase you down hallways

If ever you scamper away

 

Be mine always

…. I didn’t really steal her but it sounds better that way.

And the virus?  Two kids out of three so far.  We would not have made that trip to the place in the van this afternoon had I realized it wasn’t just one of those things for the first kid.  It hit the second one as we sat at the dinner table.  Lucky us!

The Weddin’, Part IV: MAWWIAGE

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So we got married on January 5th, twice, and the second time it was a little fancier than the first.

I’d made this powerpoint of photos of the five of us, arranged chronologically, set to music.  When we met, the younger of The Lovely Rhonda’s two daughters was only a year old, her older one was not quite three, and mine was just turning four.  It’s nearly five years later, so they have changed a bit.

This powerpoint was playing on the gigantic plasma screen in the sanctuary as guests were filing in before the ceremony.  I can’t include the music without paying for some kind of upgrade, so imagine Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World playing as you view it, and if there is time, Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds singing You & Me.

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Then when it was time, Sting’s The Secret Marriage.  This is a short song, only about two minutes, and I think it kind of sums up the way it is for people who for whatever reason cannot marry: 

No earthly church has ever blessed our union
No state has ever granted us permission
No family bond has ever made us two
No company has ever earned commission

No debt was paid no dowry to be gained
No treaty over border land or power
No semblance of the world outside remained
To stain the beauty of this nuptial hour

The secret marriage vow is never spoken
The secret marriage never can be broken

No flowers on the alter
No white veil in your hair
No maiden dress to alter
No Bible oath to swear

The secret marriage vow is never spoken
The secret marriage never can be broken

Toward the end, Rhonda’s youngest emerged as the flower girl.  She walked very slowly at first, tossing each hand-selected petal carefully first to one side, then the other.  After a few such occurrences she looked up and realized everyone was staring at her.  At this point she bolted to the front of the church to stand in her appointed spot, mortified and alone.  So I am told, as I was waiting in the entryway of the church like a good bride.  The ring bearers walked out in turn without incident and soon we stood before the altar, our super awesome minister poised above us.

There was a brief pause, and then, a la Peter Cook in The Princess Bride, Pastor Don opened his mouth and intoned:  “MAWWIAGE!  MAWWIAGE IS WHAT BWINGS US TOGEVVAH!  TODAY!”

mawwiage

…Okay, so when we asked him if he would do this for us, he had never seen the movie.  We showed him a clip of that scene on YouTube using Rhonda’s phone and he immediately agreed.  “I’m a bit of a ham!” said he.  We were fairly sure that many of our esteemed guests would be fluent enough in Dorkish to get this, and we were not disappointed.  There was a roar of laughter.  This very neatly set the tone for the rest of the ceremony.

After this there was the usual stuff about what makes a marriage and all that mushy stuff.  There were things we were made to repeat to each other.  Rings were produced.  I helpfully indicated which finger the ring should be placed upon.

helpful

At one point the minister asked the assembled guests whether they would support us as a married couple to which, to my great and happy surprise, they responded shoutingly to the affirmative before he could even finish asking the question.

The minister from the church we used to attend was there too, reading poems in between things that we were repeating and so forth.

After the third and last such poem I turned to face the assembly.

“Okay, so, Rhonda doesn’t know about this part,” I said cheerfully, and pulling a folded poem that was tucked into my highpockets (as my Grandmother called it), gave the signal to the computer guy running the show in the back to fire up the secret powerpoint that I had smuggled in earlier.

highpockets

Here I have inserted the poem into the powerpoint so that both of you can see it:

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I must say that it was deeply satisfying to express all of this in the nerdiest way possible, i.e. using a powerpoint and a piece of paper retrieved from one’s brassiere.

At the end of the ceremony there came that magic moment when you could kiss the bride.  There was kissing, despite the fact that I am not the sort of person inclined to do such things whilst on display in front of my family, friends and co-workers.  It was made clear to me that this was necessary, to the point that bodily harm may come to me should I merely present a cheek for the kiss.

I am told that the flower girl chose that moment to throw, with great enthusiasm, the petals remaining in her wee basket.  This constituted a lot of petals since, as stated earlier, she only cast a few down before stampeding down the aisle in a panic.  Nevertheless, the timing was perfect.First Kiss

We made our retreat accompanied by hooting, catcalls, cheering, applause, and the ringing of a sh!tload of bells, lovingly crafted into beribboned fistfuls by stray members of the behind-the-scenes wedding party (millions of thanks to Bobby and Alison).  The song, not that anyone could hear it, was Lyle Lovett’s She’s No Lady. 

It was, in a word, perfect.

Stay tuned for the gripping conclusion:  The Weddin’, Part V: The Reception

With Bells On

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So we didn’t send out too many paper invitations, because the wedding is pretty soon upon us and we are lazy busy people.

They turned out nicely, for homemade from a kit.  We are also cheap budget-conscious.

This is the reply card:

Did you hear a bell ring?

As you can see, Mother will be in attendance, allegedly with bells on.

The whole bell thing got The Lovely Rhonda to thinking.  It’s customary to shower the bride and bride with something as they leave the sanctuary, the church, the billiard hall, the Walmart — whatever location they have chosen for their nuptials.  It used to be popular to use rice, but then everyone got upset about the poor birds eating uncooked rice and getting tummyaches or something.  Then it was birdseed, but it turns out this makes for slippery conditions, and no one wants a newly-married man or lady to end up in the hospital with a sprained ankle (youthful bride) or broken hip (me).

So, says TLR, we shall have a basket of little bunches of bells, and so they shall ring us out.

Now, I can see a few flaws in this.

For one:  there will be children in attendance.  Children cannot hold still.  They like to ring bells.  They think that wedding ceremonies, no matter how awesomely lesbian and long-awaited, are super boring.  They will jingle bells when bells ought not be jingled.  There will be shushing, and perhaps crying.

Also: that is a LOT of bells.  I know, because I went to the place where you can buy such things and I bought a sh!t-ton of bells.  It will sound like a hive of angry yuletide wasps.  I’ll be surprised if we escape with our eardrums and/or sanity intact.

And?   Holiday PTSD.

But, despite all this, or perhaps because of it, I think it’s brilliant and look forward to sitting around tying bunches of bells together to put in a basket.