January 30, 2009

Adventures in Tucson




Let’s just hit the highlights, shall we?

Airport Men’s Rooms. It’s not just for politicians.

The Toddler was a Holy Terror at each of the airports. She wouldn’t sit or stand or be held or eat or drink or just breathe in and out. It was as if the very nature of the airport and it’s miles of walkways and rows of seats and $2.79 small bags of M&Ms just made her act like a crazed animal that couldn’t decide WHAT to do, another than that she didn’t want to do anything that anyone else wanted her to do.

The other travelers waiting for the boarding shifted uncomfortably in their chairs while Kory, The Teen and I took turns chasing her down and trying to calm her. We gave each other grave looks and sighed audibly.

You know what isn’t cute?

A giant, pissed off pregnant woman run/waddling behind a lightening fast toddler with little yellow piggy tails — who barely catches her in a clothesline/strangle-hold by grabbing the collar of her shirt as she rounds the bend to run full tilt into the airport Men’s Room.

Flying through the air. So yummy! So yummy!

Both ways, not bad at all. The Toddler was shockingly good and slept at least ½ of each way. When she was awake, she was happy and quiet.

Good parenting?


“Yo! Gabba Gabba” on my cellphone and endless sticker books. Also, gummy worms.

The Bastard Toaster Oven that looks like it’s set to 250, when it’s really on BROIL.

We happened to arrive the week that my mother and grandmother’s stove was out of commission. This was fine with us because our laundry list of places we HAD TO EAT was lengthy and diverse. However, on the 3rd day, I decided that I not only had to have granola… but I needed to MAKE MY OWN. Not the easiest task without a stove.

My mom suggested I use the toaster oven and while it meant halving my recipe and baking it in small batches, I was game.

I turned the oven on at 250 (the lowest temp) and sat back contentedly as the house filled with the warm and sweet odors of almonds and toasting oats.  Incidentally, if you aren’t paying SUPER CLOSE ATTENTION, setting it to 250 (straight up and down) looks remarkably the same as setting it to broil. (500 degrees)

The yelling started about 5 minutes after that.

FIRE! FIRE! IT’S ON FIRE!”, yelled Kory.

I waddle into the kitchen to find Kory running in little circles, holding The Toddler.

The toaster oven looked like a tiny fireplace with large flames shooting up and out the door…. Black smoke pouring out…

I pulled the electrical wire out of the wall and armed only with a dishrag, I yank the door open and pull out the flaming pan of granola. Kory throws open the back door and opens the garage door as I run through the kitchen, into the garage, and out into the driveway holding a pan of granola with 2 foot flames coming off it and fling the entire thing onto the asphalt.

The house now smells like a giant oaty ashtray and the Seniors home-owners association are already preparing to cite my grandmother for disorderly fire-throwing.

My face, the spider nursery. Maybe.

I woke up on the 2nd day with a giant red swelling on my upper lip. It didn’t hurt. It was just big and red and puffy. The next day, it looked exactly the same. The day after that it was same, except seemed to be spreading. You could also clearly see a bug bite/chewed area in the middle. The day after that, I attacked it in the bathroom with fingers and Q-tips and tried to squeeze it into submission, deciding that I must need to get some venom out or it would never heal.

Anyone remember how sensitive that particular area of your face is?


Go tease a cat until it’s growling and then stick your lip in it’s face and see how that turns out. Or better yet, go stick your upper lip in a wasp’s nest.

Are you with me on this journey now?

Ok, raise your hand if you know this one…. What happens when you attack a giant bump on your face and squeeze the living shit out of it?? Anyone? Anyone?

Correct! GIANT SCAB! Excellent!

What? Are you telling me that no foundation or powder on the face of the earth can cover a giant scab the size of a dime? Seriously? Oh…

Day 13… scab on face still present and accounted for.

A special thank you goes out to my friend Tanya who suggested that perhaps I should be worried about baby spiders being laid in my face.

Another to my husband, whom I forced to research the terms, “Arizona” “Spider Bite” and “Lays eggs in face” on WebMD.

And to my friend Rob, who also brought up the baby spiders gestating in my face theory and then engaged in a “The Believers” or “The Serpent or The Rainbow” argument with me over lunch.

It’s important to have this kind of support during times of crisis.

The Mountain Lion that could have eaten the Toddler, but didn’t.

We went to Sabino Canyon and took the tram all the way up to the top of the canyon and back down again. We didn’t get out because they’d given us a giant pamphlet about WHAT NOT TO DO IF YOU MEET A MOUNTAIN LION… and the numero uno on that list what not to bend down to pick up a small child if you encounter one… and also, point of fact, small children are like little walking Quarter Pounders with Cheese to Mountain Lions… just FYI.

Since Kory and I couldn’t figure out how to make The Toddler levitate into our arms if we came across a mountain lion, we just stayed on the tram and I pointed out the cacti and the desert mistletoe and mentally catalogued the truly amazing array of hemp and puka shell jewelry on the gay couple on the bench behind me.

It’s just to be expected…

· The fight with my mom over the TV remote that was on the wrong setting for a moment, but was fine minutes later. Jokingly, I told her she was being a troublemaker. She didn’t find that one bit funny.

· Forgetting the laptop and both our phone chargers in Arizona.

· The Toddler sick the entire time… 78 degrees out and we are smearing her with Vicks and running the humidifier

· The bored, bored, bored Teenager.

And surprises…

· Being in Arizona when the Cards win the NFC Championship and go the Superbowl for the first time in 30 years.

· Standing in my grandmother’s kitchen… 4 generations of us… hugging… holding hands.. tears in our eyes watching President Obama make his inaugural speech.

· I think I’m kind of over Carl’s Jr. I really think I am.


It was great to be there. Great to see my mom and my grandmother and have them spend time with my kids. Both of them were amazed by how mature and lovely The Teen has become and blown away by how funny and smart The Toddler is.

It was worth the time, expense and foibles… every bit.

Even if spiders hatch out of my face.

Of course, if that happens I’ll certainly fall into a state of catatonic stupor, which would be a little worse then living without our laptop and cells phones for 5 days. But not much.

January 15, 2009

90 degrees

Filed under: Life — Tags: , , , — denise @ 3:24 pm

No, I’m not pondering right angles.

I’m thinking about the difference in temperature between today and tomorrow.

Today…  20 below zero.   Tomorrow… 70 above zero.

90 degrees difference between today and tomorrow.  How often does that happen?  It happens when one flies from Minneapolis to Tucson in January.

As I was driving in this morning, I was focused. I mean, with black ice everywhere you have to be focused… and even with the focus I still had one giant OH SHIT moment where there was a red light in front of me and even though I was only going 25 mph, the car wasn’t stopping.  THE CAR WASN’T STOPPING. IT WASN’T STOPPING EVEN THOUGH I WAS PUMPING THE BREAKS AND SCREAM/CHANTING, “NOT STOPPING! NOT STOPPING! NOT STOPPING!” as I watched the cars whizzing by in front of me… and just as a raised my hand to begin the vicious honking that tells everyone driving perpendicular to me that I’m NOT STOPPING and am about to t-bone them or be t-boned, I feel the tires grip… and the cars slows…

I start to relax when I realize that if I couldn’t stop, then probably all those people behind me aren’t going to be able to stop and they’ll probably smash into me and force me into the intersection that I just narrowly avoided!  But no… they are stopping… they are stopping….

And then the bucket-load of adrenaline hits my body and I can no longer feel my hands, arms, legs or feet. I can feel my hammering heart, of course – but limbs are out.  This is particularly problematic when attempting to drive.  I hope this is a long red light as I whisper to my little guy in my belly…

I’m sorry honey… but you are about to get a wallop of adrenaline that is going to knock your socks off.  Mommy didn’t mean to release that into her bloodstream, but shit, these things happen and the car WASN’T STOPPING.  Brace yourself.

As I continued on my drive to work, I finally noticed how beautiful it is when it’s this cold.  The molecules are so cold, everything just sort of hangs in the air, unable to move.   Every chimney, laundry vent, grate on the street has a large puffy white cloud that just hangs suspended and immobile in the air.  The morning sun takes up an entire quadrant of the sky with it’s fuzzy, photo-filtered blear of yellow surrounded by rings and rings of yellow and white… as if even the light is frozen in place.   A rainbow is frozen in place,  as well…  and I’m like wow… all this color… all this fuzzy diffused light… this is just like…

Well, it’s like being on acid, if you have to know.

I’m not sayin’.  I’m just sayin’.

And then, as it will sometimes, the music on my satellite radio decided to be the perfect soundtrack for the moment as “Lights” by Coldplay came on and I cranked it up and just WAS in the moment.

[Side note:  I love Coldplay’s “X&Y” so much I could listen to it every day.. but this new Coldplay is SO ANNOYINGLY WEIRD WITH THEIR STUPID MATCHING OUTFITS THAT LOOK LIKE A CROSS BETWEEN LES MISERABLES AND SESAME STREET!! Lame! Lame!  And I’m already sick of the new songs and they aren’t cool and I hate Chris’ weird poodle hair and enough with the colored ribbons before I totally snap!!!!!!!!]

And then “Human” by the Killers came on… and there is this line in the song…

“Sometimes open doors make me nervous”

And I could totally relate because, you know… open doors make me kind of nervous, too.   Probably partially from my upbringing that if one wanted to get yelled at in my house, a good avenue to that was leaving the goddamned door open… and partially that I have an almost irrational fear that someone will break into my house in the middle of the night and hurt my family…  and if I’m being REAL, partially that open doors metaphorically freak me out a little because it always seems like you are supposed to go through them, you know?  But what if you don’t want to?  Or don’t feel like it?  You are a jerk for not going through the door?

My best friend is the opposite.  She hates closed doors.  She wants endless possibilities and for all of them to remain possibilities for as long as they can and she mourns doors that close… and I’m more likely to go, “Well good. Now I can move on to other things”.  I’m not saying I don’t like choice.   But I am DECISIVE.  When presented with choice, I decide things very quickly and I’m uncomfortable… nervous… the longer the door stays open.

Which has almost nothing to do with frozen air… except they are both things that are left in stasis – hanging in the air – literal and metaphorical representations of that which is both beautiful and an enormous pain in the ass.

January 7, 2009

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