Sunday, May 23, 2010

My kind of church

It seems as though our schedules these days only allow for free time on Sundays. Work, home, responsibility, kill. But Sunday, glorious Sunday. If the planets align, and someone remembers to send out a text message, we all get to ride. (And by "all" I mean our merry band of bikers, totaling 5-7 people.)

Today I realized that these Sunday rides have become like church for me. Since I don't have a bike and simply ride on back of The Man's, it allows me a freedom to reflect, absorb, and think. My ipod holds my songs of hope and love and serenades me down the road.

The trees and sky have become my sanctuary.

"Took a look down a westbound road, right away I made my choice. Headed out to my big two-wheeler, I was tired of my own voice" ~Bob Seger

I can contemplate my place in the world.

"All this time I can't believe I couldn't see, Kept in the dark but you were there in front of me" ~Evanescense

I travel through this day with those I love, while their minds also turn to greater thoughts.

"Fly the ocean in a silver plane, see the jungle when it's wet with rain, just remember till your home again, you belong to me" ~Jason Wade

At the day's end, I feel renewed and refreshed. My spirit has been healed of its bruises and bumps and I can face a new week with a strong heart again. This may not be for every one. It may not be the stereo-typical service on bended knee. There may not be prayers recited by rote, but there are prayers.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

It's not a hoot.

As I'm sitting here writing this, the man is snoring in the recliner. Did I mention that it's 11:00 pm on a Saturday night? And that he's been sleeping for an hour? Ummm, yeah.

He works nights. I work days. It sucks.

For the seven plus years that we have been together, this has been our schedule other than a few odd months here and there. Occasionally the powers that be would change his work shifts, but the majority of our time has been spent...apart.

From Sunday nights until Friday mornings, we spend the days with brief phone calls during lunch breaks and with notes and reminders left on the dining room table. Again, sucks.

Yes, we have a three day weekend together every week. (Neither of us works on Friday unless something important comes up at work.) But some days I'm not sure it's worth it.

We only eat dinner together as a family once or twice a week. Bette and the Blonde are at their father's house every other weekend, so the chances of us all four sitting down together for dinner as about the same as the odds of my mother not saying something to make me feel guilty every damned time she calls. It's rare, I say.

Friday mornings he sleeps. Sunday nights he stays up until 5 am, while I sleep. Sometimes I hear him snore way more than I hear him talk. I'm much more likely to see him wrapped in sheets than clothed.

I hate being home at night without him. I hate sleeping in the big bed by myself. I hate not having someone to say Goodnight to. (Yes, I say goodnight to the chirren, but they just roll their eyes at me and sulk away to tell their friends how lame I am.)

Most people don't get the hassle that is working a "different" schedule. Hell, his mother still doesn't get it. She still calls at 9AM on Friday morning. I rush to the phone, trip over the dog, knock the phone to the floor trying to keep it from ringing again, just to hear her say, "I didn't want to bother you, but...".

I joke to my friend that the secret of our longevity is all our time apart, but the truth is I wish it wasn't so. His job pays well and the benefits are nothing to sneeze at, so there will be no changing jobs. It will continue to be 12 hour shifts with a ninety minute commute each way. I will continue to adjust and try to be thankful for my flexible schedule that allows me to be home on Fridays with him.

And maybe...just maybe, when the kids are grown and gone, I can be a night owl too.

Monday, May 17, 2010

55 MPH Photography

So we jumped on the bike Saturday morning and met up with some friends.

It was a simple plan. Just five people, four bikes and no particular destination. Our only criteria for the day was to play follow the leader. See, everyone has their "spot". There's a leader and he determines which route we take. Next in line (staggered for safety) is the one I keep my eye on. His/her illustrious job is to point out potholes, large debris, and roadkill. Glamourous it ain't. The man and I always ride in the back. He likes the back. I tell myself that he likes riding back there so that he can appreciate the bikes in front of him, the way they lean and glide in synchronized movement with the road. Truth is, I have no flippin' idea why he wants to be in the back. The others don't mind, mostly because they don't have to see the blinding whitewalls on his tires.

This was not a scenic route. It's pretty much typical of every other county highway in this state. But sometimes, blue skies, good friends and some wind in your hair makes everything...better.

The first small town we came to was holding some kind of ummmm.... reunion/festival/tribute to Lotus Dickey. Who's Lotus Dickey you ask? I have no friggin' idea, but I have the mentality of a 12 year old boy, so the large name on the large sign had me giggling on my passenger seat. Also check out the big gold roof section (cupola? turrent? thingy?). It was an awesome over-statement of fabulous in a simple small town.

The festivities were to be held in the courtyard. From the amount of chairs, Mr. Dickey was well loved. (*still snickering*)

Past fields and barns, towns and places too small to be called towns, we made our way south until we ran out of Indiana and right up to the river.

There's a diner/bar that we have visited before and that's where we stopped for lunch. We sit outside on a deck at picnic tables surrounded by others, most of which are doing the same thing we are doing. They too have ridden down. The parking lot is full of bikes (as it has been everytime we've been there)and you can hear tales of trips and discussions about bike parts and gear.

We joke about being bike snobs. But I know that for all their joking, my friends are not snobs. They're simply opinionated. And mouthy. And slightly snarky.

After teasing the waitress and eating our lunch (hello new waitress that shouldn't have admitted that she was new and we were only her second table)we made our way back out. The plan (as if there ever really IS a plan) was to take a different route back and wander our way home. Sounds like a goood plan, right?

Mother nature had different plans. First it got less sunny. Then it got grayish. Then wet stuff fell out of the sky. The end. (just kidding)

There is no such thing as a gentle spring rain when you're on a motorcycle. Twenty miles an hours feels like you're being pelted by a swarm of hard-shelled bugs. Fifty-five feels like a shitstorm of angry bees all jacked up on testerone and Red Bull. In other words, it hurts like hell. Since we are opposed to hurting, we headed for sanctuary. Better known as an abandoned carwash.

There was much discussion and cloud studying. There were mild profanities directed at tv weathermen.

It was a small shower, so as soon as it stopped we headed out again. Tempting fate. And the weatherman.

Ten miles or so down the road (it seriously could have been 500 yards or 300 miles, I have no sense of distance) the big rain came. It was like a giant tattoo needle of rain. Quick! Find another place to pull over.

Alas, our heroes made it home safely and mostly dry. And a good time was had by all.

I really need to learn to focus my camera while sitting on the back of a bike while zipping down the road. I'll work on that.

It wasn't that kind of revival

Today I had to have a Come to Jesus talk with other people. Twice. No, this wasn't religious in any form. It was more along the lines of "Straighten your ass up, or I'll make your life hell" kinda talk.

The first group was my employees. How I managed to hire a full dozen people that never matured beyond second grade is beyond me. The meeting was productive and I think that some necessary changes should help make everyone's day's easier, but sweet baby Jesus, they are a loud bunch. Ex-inlaws loud. Monster truck rally loud. I think I still have a little reverb going on inside my head.

The second talk was with my eldest. She's testing her boundaries as a teenager and pushed too far again tonight. There was the standard "Oh shit, I'm caught" moment. The five minutes of yelling time. The requisite twenty minutes of pouting silence, and then the hour long talk. Or should I say TALK. (It deserves capital letters.) My daughter seems to be under the misunderstanding that I should be her friend. All her friends are BFF's with their mothers. Their mothers understand. Their mothers share.

Ok, listen kiddo. I'm not your friend. You have plenty of friends for that. I've met them. I'm your parent. It's my job to make sure that you grow up to be a respectable human being that can take care of herself. Someone who will consider consequences before she acts. Please understand that when you're older, I'd love to hang out with you, but right now it's not in the job description.

Years ago, my cousins were causing some trouble. They were teenaged boys and involved in many stupid acts that teenage boys can get into. There was drinking, drugs, pregnancy scares, wrecked cars, detentions, arrests and boot camps. When their mother, my aunt, was filling us in one evening on the latest escapades of debauchery, she made a statement that has seared into my brain. She said, with all the nonchalance she could muster, "Well, someone had to be Charles Manson's mother." Ummm....really? She was excusing herself for everything? No-second guessing? No regrets?

Now what my child did is nothing compared to the cousins. It's a blip for an otherwise good kid. She goes to school, her grades are excellent, her friends are not wanted by the police. But did I over-react by not being her friend? I don't think so.

And dear Bette, if years down the road you ever read this, I love you but I was right. We can be friends now, but back then you needed a parent.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Milkdud with a side order of Asshole

I believe that I have previously mentioned the hilljack that I married and divorced several years ago. Also known as MilkDud. See previous post as to why. I can go several weeks or even months without ever hearing from him...or needing to hear from him. But every now and then, he rears his ugly head and plunges it into my world.

Tales from Bette and The Blonde have informed me that his new wife has packed up herself and their two children and moved out. Now, on most levels I couldn't care less. On one BIG level, I worry about how it will affect my kids. They have been told by the evil step-bitch that they are the source of much of the stress in that house. Apparently, the twenty-something, young-enough-to-be-his-daughter, known around here as the Bimbo, that slept with my husband and then married him, has a hard time dealing with my teenage daughters. At one point a few years ago, she called to tell me how to raise my children properly. After all, she HAD taken a class on child development in college. Surely she must know more than the person that expelled said children from said person's girly parts. (Note - this took place before she had given birth to any children of her own. Clearly, she is qualified.)

So, no love lost on the Bimbo. But today, MilkDud reared that ugly head and plunged it into my workday. It started with my receiving a text message with him bitching about the summer vacation schedule. According to state parenting guidelines, he has until April 1 to inform me of what dates he would prefer for visitation with the kids over summer break. Ummmm, today is Cinco De Mayo. Although the MilkDud probably thinks that this means it's a national holiday for eating mayonaisse out of the kitchen sink, surely he must realize that it is at least no longer March. Or even April.

He did not ask for me to reconsider his schedule. He did not ask about the kid's activities and the problems in scheduling around them. He simply accused me of not wanting them, so therefore dumping them off on him at the earliest opportunity.

My children know that The Man and I take two vacations a year. One with kids and one without. They have no problem with that. They generally take a vacation with their dad, so they end up with two vacations also. The only person with a problem is MilkDud.

Our (The Man and I) vacation this year will be spent on a motorcycle. (Also see earlier post. Yes, we're "those" people.) We have planned a week-long, multi-city ride to vist some places in neighboring states. Now, according to The Dud, I should be sitting home with my children and not out being a "biker bitch". (His quote, not mine.)

So his problem is my mode of transportation? Or my bandana? Maybe it's the fact that I'll forget sunscreen and come home wind-blown and burnt? Who the hell knows. All I know is that I'm going. I refuse to let him make me feel guilty about this. I spend way more time with my kids, and participate in their lives and activities than he can ever imagine.

I have let him know that we have another vacation scheduled with the kids later in the year (not that it's any of his damned business)and then thoughtfully also let him know that he could go screw himself.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Blonde Bombshell

In the past I have discussed my eldest spawn at great length. Now, in the interest of fairness (of which you will generally find none in this household)I will introduce you to The Blonde.

Blondie was an "Oh, Shit" baby. Not that she wasn't wanted or loved, but in the "crap, THAT'S why I feel so weird sense of things. At the time I had a two year old at home, a demanding job and a red-neck husband. And law classes. And a huge case of the tired.

So when the weirdness began, I did what any responsible adult would do. I took a break in the middle of business law exam and peed on a stick. What? You've never taken a pregnancy test in a community college bathroom? I'm a busy woman, folks.

After class, I called the red-neck at work and broke the news to him. His response was a grunt. Or a growl. Possibly a snort-grunt. Hard to remember.

After the whole cancer in my girlie parts, I quickly decided to go see Doctor Giggles and let him know that it was time for round two.

(Geez, cut to the chase woman!) Blondie was born about eleventy-hundred years later in what could possibly be a Guinness World Record Breaking How Frickin' Long Can This Pregnancy Last Marathon.

She is the quiet one. The shy one. The Oh My God Where did you get those manners living with us heathens,one. In all reality her name should be Empathy Gracious YesMa'am. If all children were like this child then everyone would be a Kate Gosslin. So see? Rotten children are saving the world. From The Kate.

Now the one thing about the Blonde is that she is well known for talking in circles. What starts out as her simply telling me what happened at school today, spins around and around and over and over to become a 2 hours babble-fest of the same thing revisited before she actually gets to the point. And while she also is wicked book-smart, she lacks a, shall we say common sense? Now seeing how she isn't even officially a teenager yet, I suppose this has time to rectify itself, but it's funny and annoying at the same time. Let me share with you a few snippets of recent gems from the mouth of the Blonde.

(On doing subtraction homework for math class) Why do they call it borrowing if you never give it back?

(On extra-curricular activities) You should totally let me run track this year. I run like a gazebo. {ummm, gazelle?}

(On watching a commercial for the Great American Smoke-Out) Why does everyone want to quit cold turkey? I love cold turkey. Would they rather have it warm?

(On being told that she has the attention span of a doorknob) "turning knob many, many, many times" I still don't get it.

I love her with all my heart. She's a wonderful person and her spirit is so pure that people flock to her without knowing why. But sometimes I have to pat her on the head and tell her that I hope she marries well.