Sunday, June 30, 2013

Everybody Sings the Blues Sometimes

On my way to Kroger this morning, I was struck by the particular blueness of the wildflowers on the side of the road. ( I think if I ever searched my posts for all of the times I've used variations of the phrase "on my way to Kroger" I would die of embarrassment. Or sheer depression. But I've digressed.) These flowers -- some might call them weeds, because they are unplanned and not carefully placed in carefully tended gardens, but I've always liked wild, unplanned flowers more than I like cultivated ones -- really called to me today. Perhaps it was the way the early morning sun was lighting them -- giving them an almost unearthly glow and definition. Perhaps I was just in the right frame of mind to be beckoned by something wild and beautiful. For whatever reason, their role in the landscape took on more importance than it perhaps deserved as I made my emergency run for half and half.

I mused on their lovely hue -- and how it resembled the blue of the sky when the sky is such that you can't help but be happy. Blue flowers, I thought, blue skies, blue jeans, blue moon, blue blue my world is blue, blue jean baby, somebody turned the blues on me, I got the Sunday morning out of half and half running to Kroger blues.

Would you think I was making it up for the sake of the story to say that I parked next to a blue van when I got there? Because I'm totally not.

We almost bought a blue car this week.

I am not a car chick. Tom will argue this point -- because I turn to goo at the sight of old muscle cars or new muscle cars that look like old muscle cars or even some high end performance sport cars. They appeal to me on an almost visceral level for one and only one reason -- they are beautiful. My attraction is entirely superficial. I like the sexy, powerful lines. Open the hood to show off the hooziewhatsits and that's where a true car chick or car dude will start to show signs of what often appears to be physical arousal. I'll take a glance at it then wander back to reverently touch the upholstery or the dashboard. True car chicks and dudes are cringing -- amazed that I don't want to wax rhapsodic about torques or valves or any other number of things that hold absolutely no interest or meaning for me whatsoever except for the fact that they're housed in a bitchin' chassis.

My favorite favorite, bar none, is a Mustang. Make it a convertible and I become sort of incoherent.

My Accord is on its last legs and my life is -- hmmmm -- not where I'd expected it to be in these, the middle years. Tom thought maybe putting me in my dream car would put me back on the road to things making sense. I do like that Tom. Long story short, we ended up test-driving a couple Mustangs that we thought were in our price range. Both were blue. Like sunny skies and wild flowers and everything that is good and right and sweet and true. But when we actually brought ourselves out of the clouds and thought about it we realized that it is not quite the right time for us. I could run to Kroger and pick up half and half, maybe, but I couldn't haul the groceries for the four of us for the week. I could get the girls to their appointments and lessons and practices, but it would be cramped and uncomfortable for them. It just wasn't worth pushing our budget to its absolute limit so that I could soothe what is probably essentially a midlife crisis. 

Opting out was the right thing to do and we both slept better once the decision was made.

And we did just buy an uh-maze-ing new tandem which we should take possession of by the middle of this week. Tom says we'll need new shoes and helmets. Maybe they come in blue.

Monday, June 3, 2013

My Three Gripes

Since becoming a stay-at-home again, I have had to make a lot of adjustments. My self-esteem took a hit, my financial situation took a hit and my schedule took a hit. I am actually busier now than I was when I was working. The major difference (aside from the aforementioned hits), is that now I get to watch TV between chores.

We gave up cable years ago and dedicated ourselves to Netflix, but recently friends gave us rabbit ears so we can get a few channels. It's enough.

I had a little routine for my daytime watching, saving all the Netflix business for when Tom gets home. In case you're interested, my days looked something like this: Local News, My Three Sons, Donna Reed, That Girl, I Love Lucy, Leave It To Beaver, Rachael Ray, Anderson Cooper, Local News, Days of Our Lives, The Talk, Katie, Ellen DeGeneres. It's not like I watch all of those shows straight through every day -- I don't. Ever. But that's the schedule. That's what's on when I'm home. And to continue to be clear -- just because it's on, doesn't mean I'm sitting passively watching it. I do knock out a chore or two throughout the day. And when I AM sitting, I'm knitting. And you know what? I don't have to defend myself to you. It's not like every minute of your every day is filled to the brim with scholarly pursuits. If it was, you wouldn't be reading this.


Most of it is just background noise, but I almost always sat down and attended to My Three Sons and Donna Reed. My Three Sons is an old favorite, so there's a nostalgia factor, but there's more to it than that. First of all, like me, Ernie is adopted. Just like in real life, this is totally not a big deal. It is not ignored, but neither is it emphasized. It just is. I love that. But Ernie isn't my favorite, oh no. Like a good parent, I like all of the sons equally. The sons are not without their charm, but that Steve Douglas...  Now there's a man worth watching. What I love the most about his character is his ability to put everyone he encounters at ease. Sometimes he does it with a little twinkle in his eye, but he always does it. He is my parenting role model. He allows the boys to make their mistakes and pay the consequences in a spirit of gentle lovingness. He is the Mister Rogers of TV fathers. I want to be the sort of parent and friend that Steve Douglas is. I'm not. But I really want to.

And speaking of role models -- next on my viewing agenda is the venerable Donna Reed. I have never watched Donna Reed before. It was a little before my time when it was first run and I always sort of thought of it like a Leave It To Beaver sort of sappy salute to a perfect time that didn't really exist. I thought she was the quintessential submissive housewife and I really wanted no part of it. What a happy surprise it has been to discover that I was wrong. 

Of course ALL of the sitcoms mentioned also give me the added bonus of teaching me a valuable social lesson every day. Thanks to my viewing habits, I now know that it's wrong to lie to or manipulate or use people. I know that family is more important than money. And, thanks to Lucy and Donna and June I know that just because I'm unemployed doesn't mean I can't wear a nice new fit-and-flare dress and fix my hair. Even if Ricky -- I mean, Tom -- thinks I already have enough dresses.

So this morning, after dropping Liv off at school, I hurried home to pour my coffee and enjoy my daily dose of gentle wholesomeness with Steve and his boys.

I was not pleased when the familiar instrumental did not involve three animated sets of shoes tapping their toes and junk. MeTV had changed their schedule without consulting me, which seems rude, since they have Me right in their name. Family Affair is not the same. It's not even a good substitute. Now, if I want to spend a half hour feeling reassured by Fred MacMurray, I'll have to do it at 5:30. Which is, I suppose, a more pleasant way to wake up than the Local News. I'll adjust, but I won't be happy about it.

I looked into the rest of the changes -- I Love Lucy has been subbed out for The Lucy Show, which is NOT the same thing.


I adjusted to staying at home and to a new normal. Fine. But now I have to adjust my TV viewing habit, too? Enough. 

Uncle Bill is no Steve Douglas.

Mr. French is no Uncle Charley.

And I? Am crying uncle.