Hot Date

I have a theory–a double theory, really– that for any topic you can name, there is either an X-Files episode or a Jonathan Richman song about it

From When I Say ‘Wife’ by Jonathan Richman:

When I say ‘wife’
it’s cause I can’t find another word
for the way we be
but ‘wife’ sounds like you’re mortgaged
‘wife’ sounds like laundry

I’m a wife. I was planning on never being a wife, but here I am. “Wife” had always sounded like laundry to me too, back in those days when I was planning to never be one.

I pictured going blind trying to distinguish between black and navy blue socks in order to match them up; I pictured having to learn how to starch and/or iron. When I said “wife” I imagined Friday night casseroles, yard work on Saturday mornings, and uncomfortable, too-warm clothes that made me pass out in church on Sundays.

Then I got a career that ran nights and weekends and a boyfriend who both cooked and did laundry (not to mention, kept his socks to a respectable black or white only). And “wife” started to look like a giant mystery to me. If it wasn’t what I had always believed it to be, then what was it?

I decided to find out.

One of the common misconceptions that people have is that romance dies once you become married. The way to combat this, according to all the magazines, is to have Date Night. The importance of hiring a babysitter is stressed, and you should put on cologne and pantyhose and drive far away to pay too much money for dinner and a show. In our jobs, both CC and I assist in providing the entertainment for everybody else’s Date Night, so that doesn’t really appeal to us.

Besides, he gets really grumpy if you ask him to wear pantyhose on his day off.

So we have Date Morning.

Every Friday we have our standing hot date. I took all of these pictures to prove how hot our dates are because nobody believes me.

We start by getting dressed up:

I'm ready.
I’m ready.

Then we go to the bank for grocery money. Yeah, we’re going grocery shopping. Because grocery shopping is hot.

When we get to the teller, CC turns on his charm.

CC: She’s so mean to me, Rita. At home, she makes me call her “mistress”.

Well, I am wearing leather.

He will repeat this joke to every teller that passes within earshot. If there are some that don’t pass by and miss it, he’ll make sure to go see them at their desks on the way out.

Our next stop is the Farmer’s Market.

These same magazines that specify how you’re supposed to do Date Night also make a Big Deal about Farmer’s Markets. They refer to seasonal, outdoor markets that are supposedly a great savings and if you don’t frequent them you are killing both your family and your community, not to mention your soul and probably a couple of kittens somewhere.

In New Jersey, those types of farmer’s markets are subsidized by the State and sell produce that may or may not be “organic”, and may or may not have had pesticides sprayed all over them, but are most definitely about FOUR TIMES the cost of anything at the grocery store. I’ve got five kids and I figure I’m already supporting those markets through my taxes.

The farmer’s market that gets us all hot & bothered- and I DO mean hot & bothered- is year-round inside a zero-frills building.

If you’re one of my kids, you may want to stop reading here to avoid thoughts that you can’t unthink later.

Although they tell me at the entrance that I’m not welcome there, they never actually check. It does make me a little nervous, which only adds to the excitement.

No thank you, alcoholic.
No thank you, alcoholic.

You know how when you go to Whole Foods you walk out with only one teeny paper bag even though you laid out like eighty frickin’ bucks? The farmer’s market is the total inverse of that. A full cart rarely tops out over forty dollars, which I have to admit makes me more than a little breathless. Plus they have all of this:

Celery Knob
I swear to you here, on a pile of kittens, the sign for this item reads “Celery Knob”
potato. . .sack
potato. . .sack

(C’mon, I can’t be the only one who thought that.)

Feeling lucky?
Feeling lucky?
I forgive your errant apostrophe because of your errant "h".
I forgive your errant apostrophe because of your errant “h”.

By the time we check out, our minds are full of images of lewd produce and thongs.  We’re thinking about testing out the window tinting in the backseat of the minivan.

Next to the farmer’s market is the “meat” market where you can get your Santeria supplies. I think it’s kind of lame that one might buy one’s goat eyeballs and rooster hearts at market, but it is nice to know the resource is there if you need it in a pinch. (The only reason I didn’t get pictures of those particular items is that it smells really bad. Which is why nobody ever buys any eating-meat there.)

Chickens have neither fingers nor paws, people
Chickens have neither fingers nor paws, people

What more excitement can there possibly be after being around all that suggestive produce, lingerie, and “meat”?

Well. . .Plenty.

You, Flock of Seagulls. You know why we're here?
You, Flock of Seagulls. You know why we’re here?*

Because there’s Fairway, newly opened near us.

Oh, Fairway. *sigh* When I think about you, I just. . .

We know why you're here. Get a room!
We know why you’re here. Get a room!

 Fairway is all of your grocery dreams come true. Even if you think you don’t have any grocery dreams.

Because you totally do.

I am very sleepy and have always wanted a kitten. Can I borrow your kid for a minute?
I am very sleepy and have always wanted a kitten. Can I borrow your kid for a minute?

All my grocery store fantasies are here. Fresh-baked chocolate croissants. Cheese samples. Eleventy-billion types of cold-pressed olive oil with store-baked baguettes for sampling. At this point in the date, it’s all I can do to keep my mind on the grocery list. The store isn’t exactly helping. It’s like they want us to be inappropriate right there in the aisles or something.

That's so sweet.
Wait. How did they know his pet name?
You're not helping, coupon.
You’re not helping, coupon.
Hmm.
Smackin’ Whip? Hmm.

Even Costco is in on it. And I feel like I should remind you once again that these are actual pictures from an actual hot date.

DSCF7354

DSCF7355

This picture makes it look as if his member were handicapped, which I assure you is not the case.
This picture makes it look as if his member were handicapped, which I assure you is not the case.

With great effort, we refrain from putting up that”Sorry, this lane closed” sign and spending a little quality time together right there on the checkout counter. Even though I see it as exactly the same as a “Do Not Disturb” sign, CC reminds me that this would be a pretty ridiculous reason to get arrested and that besides, the only kid who would have enough money to bail us out is #1, and she probably wouldn’t do it because she’s saving all her money to get away from us.

GOT ANY GOOD GROCERY STORE STORIES?

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR DATE NIGHT?

*update: I just found out at dinner last night that my Flock of Seagulls reference is yet one more joke that I make to CC all the time that he doesn’t get, and yet has never said anything about. Even though he took #1 to see Pulp Fiction while she was an infant. So for him, I give you this link. The Flock of Seagulls line isn’t until about 2:00 in, but it’s a great scene.

Oh, there’s also a Jonathan Richman song called Abominable Snowman in the Market, thereby double-proving my theory.

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It’s Giving Me Nightmares

Okay, fine. I’m one of those people who’s all  jaded about Valentine’s Day. No need for justifications and rationalizations; you’ve heard them all already from everyone else. I’m just not a fan.

But when you have kids, you’re not allowed to not celebrate the holiday.

My parents always gave my sister and I each a card and a little box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day. Some years, my mom made a heart-shaped cake (we had a special pan) with pink frosting and candy hearts pressed into it.

This year I thought, why be all bah-humbug to cupid? I decided to make heart-shaped chocolate crackers for everyone at work, homemade bath sachets with eucalyptus for my writers group, and a heart-shaped cake with pink frosting and candy hearts pressed into the edges for the kids, even if I don’t have a special pan.

Then I remembered who I am.

There were lots of doctors appointments, significant snow, and a shitload of paperwork that had to get done right now. Instead of staying up late to bake, I stayed up late watching Iron Maiden’s Flight 666 and Rush Beyond the Lighted Stage.

Because they’re awesome. And I didn’t want to do my paperwork.

I had a work call and two shows the day before Valentine’s Day. The florist shop was out of eucalyptus. There was no baking. There was no crafting.

Let’s be honest: there never is any crafting.

Two days before Valentine’s day, I was in the city and went to the drug store for gifts and cards.

Doesn’t two days before Valentine’ Day seem like a good head start? You’d be shocked at how few cards the average drug store in New York carries for such a commercial holiday. You’d be even more shocked at how few are left by February 12.

You’re standing there with all the other poor bastards who also think that two days is a good head start, maneuvering for leverage in front of the two and a half feet of shelf space where the last twelve cards are.

I needed exactly half of them.

I found two semi-sappy cards that didn’t make me want to strangle kittens and set those aside for #2 and #3. I found three cards that were supposed to be funny but weren’t that I thought could be salvaged with written modifications.

(I was remembering a birthday card my assistant had given to me years ago. It was a truly awful rhyming birthday card that was supposed to be from a husband to a wife, and everywhere it said “wife” he just crossed it out and wrote “boss”. I die laughing every time I remember it.)

I still needed a card for CC. I had one in my hands made of thick black paper with red metallic script. Gorgeous. And hands-down, the single worst godawful rhyming card I’ve come across in a long time. It had real potential. In fact it was so bad and so long that I couldn’t even finish reading it. I got him a Chinese New Year card instead. Which I then lost.

The card that referenced chocolates I gave to the kid that hates chocolate (#4). The one that was made for a toddler with a picture of a bee and the obligatory Bee Mine! we gave to #1 (the 19-year-old), with hand-written references to VD. Because that’s the kind of thing you can write in a 19-year-old’s Valentine.

#5 got this one:

Yikes.
Yikes.

Inside I wrote: Dear god, I hope that cat doesn’t eat you. Because I love you! Happy Valentine’s Day!

His father wrote: Dear Son, She’s Nuts. Love, Dad.

#5 woke up before everyone else (as usual) on Valentine’s Day and opened his card. Then he texted me: Dad’s right. You’re nuts.

When I tucked him in he informed me that the cat’s smile was big enough and bright enough that when he wakes up in the middle of the night, he can see it in the darkness even without his glasses.

#5: It’s creepy.

Me: Excellent!

On the way home from work Saturday night he sent me the above picture with the accompanying text It’s giving me nightmares.

I believe my work here is done. Clearly I have a future career in greeting card modification.

***

Huh? (A Valentine’s Day Post)

We’re leaving for work, going out of the house through the garage. It’s cold. CC is wearing a ski cap that covers his ears. I have on the purple fox earmuffs he gave me for Christmas, a gift selection he made without fully considering the ramifications of having to appear next to me in public when I wear them.

The button that opens the garage door is mounted high on the wall. My hands are full and I’ve been having physical therapy on my shoulder since before Christmas and still can’t reach overhead some days.

Me: I can’t hit the button.

CC: Do you want a water?

Me: Do I have a flyswatter?

CC: A water! Do you want a water?

Me: I have a water right here.

I wiggle my water bottle at him. But only at waist level, cause I can’t lift it higher. At this point he practically runs into the garage door, realizes I didn’t hit the button and goes back to push it. We get in the car.

Me: I have a water and I would be willing to share it with you.

CC: You’re in love with the shipwreck of me?

Me: No! I have a water and I would be willing to share it with you!

CC: Oh, good. ‘Cause that was sounding like a Loudin Wainwright song right there.

Me: A Tom Waits bong in midair? Huh, I guess it does kind of sound like Tom Waits. I like that house.

CC: A light mouse?

I point to a house we’re passing in our neighborhood.

CC: Yeah, I like that one too. I really like that tudor behind it though. I’ve always had a fondness for tudors.

I look at him sideways.

Me: Does this mean you’re sleeping with Lucia Roga?

CC: What? No, I’m not sleeping with My Sharona.

Me: No, Lucia Roga! The math tutor?

CC: Why, does she live there?

Me: Tudor? Tutor?

CC: I didn’t know she lives there. That’s ironic.

He smirks. I smack him. I hate it when he turns my own joke back on me.

I flip on the seatwarmers and, as I always do, I sing their theme song. Which I made up. Which goes to the tune of the orginal Transformers cartoon theme song. And also steals most of its lyrics from it.

Me: Ass-warmers! More than meets the eye!

CC: That doesn’t make any sense.

Me: What?

CC: You always sing that song and it doesn’t make any sense.

Me: I’ve been singing the seat warmer theme song since we got this car four years ago and you’ve never known what it is?

CC: Yeah. Because it doesn’t make any sense.

Me, incredulous: It’s the Transformers theme song. You know, the cartoon?

CC: Oh. Now I get it.

Me: I can’t believe you’re just now telling me you never got that. Is this part of your newfound commitment to us improving our communication?

CC: Yeah. Remember when you said back there in the bathroom, ‘I look crazy!’ and I agreed with you? That saved me like twenty minutes trying to argue with you that you don’t look crazy. And you do look crazy, so it’s honest.

Me: Asswarmers! More than meets the eye!

CC: I can see the monkeys, jumping from tree to tree in your eyes.

I adjust my earmuffs.

Me: I can’t hear you. I have foxes in my ears.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

image by cellar_door_films via WANA commons
image by cellar_door_films via WANA commons