Beware the Ice Weasels.

Yesterday we didn’t set our alarms because the district called a snow day by 7pm the night before. We woke up at 9am, a blissful lie-in. As we watched the remaining defining landmarks around our neighborhood continue to lose shape and disappear under the snow, CC looked up from his computer and confessed.

CC: Umm, your flowers aren’t going to make it here tomorrow. Because of the weather.

Me: Flowers?

CC: Yeah, for Valentine’s Day. None of the trucks delivering fresh flowers are getting through. They all have notices up.

Me: Oh. You won’t be receiving your gift, either. It’s kind of a project that involves me leaving the house. That isn’t happening except for the digging out to go to work part tonight.

I’ve long held the view that Valentine’s Day is the largest BS, commercially-fabricated holiday, surpassing even “X-mas”. However, I am a huge fan of chocolate, and flowers. And finally, later in my life, I am a fan of love. So in honor of Valentine’s Day, here are a few thoughts about love.

FROM MY WEDDING INVITATION:

“Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come.”-Matt Groening

FROM MY FRIEND TRACI, WHOM YOU CAN FOLLOW ON PUNCHNEL’S, ON MOM LOVE:

I told my son that I loved him so much it almost hurt. He said, “I love you more, so it does hurt.” If he keeps suggesting that he can outlove his mother, I’ll show him hurt.

FROM MY FRIEND AMY, WHOM YOU CAN FOLLOW ON 50 DATES IN 50 STATES, ON DOG LOVE:

At work, I usually take a moment when things get intense or low or too quiet to ask: Have I told you today how much I love my dog? To which they answer, I don’t think you have yet, today. And then I say: I love my dog so much, it’s stupid.

IN RESPONSE TO MY QUESTION, “WHAT MAKES A HAPPY MARRIAGE?”

My mom, happily married to my stepdad for 18 years: “Let your spouse be him/herself. Keep your sense of humor. Encourage each other’s interests. Learn the skill of listening and patience.”

My stepmom, happily married to my dad for 30 years: “A sense of humor and lots of prayer… not always in that order.”

Me to #5: What do you think is the key to a happy marriage?

#5: umm…I don’t know?

Me: Why?

#5: Umm… I’m eleven?

Me: Okay, what do you love more than anything in the whole world?

#5: Ummm…. I don’t know.

Me: Dad? Jack? Video games? Bacon?

#5: I don’t know. Can I go now?

I love chocolate so much, I don't care if it has 5 different kid spits on it.
I love chocolate so much, I don’t care if it has 5 different kid spits on it.

Happy Valentine’s Day. What do you think about love?

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

Love Letters and Cheap Applause Lines- a guest post by CC

 JM’s note: This was totally unsolicited but CC asked if he could do a guest post, and then he actually wrote it and sent it to me, and I may have cried a little bit when I read it and had to pretend I had just jabbed a mascara wand in my eye. It wasn’t intended as a Valentine’s Day post (I mostly hate that holiday) but it seemed appropriate that I post it today, to call out to that grimy, blackened, decaying romantic that lives in all of us. I don’t deserve his praise but what the hell, I’m leaving it in there.

Love Letters and Cheap Applause Lines by CC

Those of you that are lucky enough to know my wife JM in the actual world know- and those that are readers of this blog get a glimpse of what a lovely and exceptional woman she is.  One of her favorite words is “badass” and believe me, she is.  I thank god for every day she shares my life.

Don’t worry, this is not an obituary, she is fine.  We are just both working two jobs at the moment, and she is too exhausted at the end of the day to write, so I am hijacking her site to give you all a story and an update.

We have all watched a comic, or a celebrity on television and heard them say something like “so I just got married” or “we just had our first baby” “I stopped drinking”…and the audience applauds and “WOOOO’s” obligatorily and the world dims a little for the effort.  It is a cheap applause line, and I always find it a bit tacky.  But I digress….

Hey, look.  A puppy:

Last week was busy.  Not in itself unusual around here, but at one point JM realized that there was a document that she needed THAT DAY (JM’s note: umm, it was my union card), so I found it, and after my production meetings were done I headed uptown to deliver it to her.  I slipped into the theater, and sat in the back as the crew worked on loading in the show.  I know many of them-it is a small community- but they were busy and I was content to sit in back, watch and wait for the end of the call to chat and catch up.  JM was onstage wearing her favorite new black work boots and a white hard hat while they all moved the heavy main speaker arrays into position to rig and fly.  This is the glamorous part of theater, folks.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I was the department head on a tour of Aida for the Walt Disney Company, and AK, one of my dearest friends and at the time my assistant, was leaving the tour for greater glory.  I needed to replace him quickly.  In our world, for contractual reasons positions cannot go unfilled for long and everyone I knew and didn’t hate was working.  I was at a loss and started asking for resumes online from people in the industry.  Someone passed me JM’s name. We spoke on the phone, and she joined the tour in Kansas City. She did a terrific job learning the gig and –just as importantly- fitting in with the company.

Several months passed and we found ourselves taking the show into Los Angeles, the land of all things Disney Corporate, and for the show, A VERY BIG DEAL.

Slamming a million bucks worth of sound gear into and out of trucks week after week is hard work in the best of circumstances, but sometimes the theater gods conspire and scheme, and when they do, little good comes of it.  We had a rough week.

The set didn’t fit through the loading doors.

The band didn’t fit in the pit.

Disney scheduled press events around and during the load in.

The choreographer arrived for a “brush up rehearsal” and spent the week making our lives……interesting.

We adapted, we persevered, and we made it to the opening night.

My last image of JM before that show started was of her in a black polo shirt and jeans and Doc Martens with her hair in a ponytail, holding a screw gun, ready to replace yet another piece of equipment that had chosen that moment to commit suicide, while I walked to the front of house to start the show.

What I came back to after the show was breathtaking.  The jeans, polo and ponytail were gone and in their place were a midnight blue dress, heels and hair perfectly done.  It was stunning.  It was magic.  It was like something out of a Disney movie.  I was done for.  The theater gods laughed.

All these years.

All these years, dozens of cities, thousands of shows, 10 or so new productions, 4 apartments, a couple lawsuits, five kids, a wedding, a house, 2 puppies, more midnight grocery runs than I can count, a few more shows.  More than a little good has come of it.

The word “soul mate” is deadened by overuse.  But damn is it true here.  JM is my best friend and I am a better man for her love.  The theater gods are still laughing, but I think it is because they are happy for us.

Now for the cheap applause lines:

#1?      Started University

#2?      Honor Roll

#3?      Honor Roll

#4?      Honor Roll

#5?      Straight A’s

That’s right, folks, we got ourselves a house full of freaking geniuses.  And puppies.

photo: Jill B Gounder