you can tell me you wouldn't buy that book but i wouldn't believe you.
if i had to buy the life story of someone i know i would choose a friend of marty's. i would do so based upon the following facts.
1. she grew up with the last name of Grief in a small, midwestern town.
2. in her family there were six girls and one boy, born last, which made them known around town as The Grief Girls, even after the arrival of the seventh.
3. her home had a communal underwear drawer which meant on any given day you could be wearing a lean pair of jockey briefs or a tattered pair of hip-huggers worn by your mother the week before.
if you don't think the above points to a house, a home, or a group of lives of interest, you and i do not agree on what is note-worthy.
the settings on my camera got jacked up and i was trying to get things back to where they should be. to help with the focus settings i called bella and alex up and asked told them i needed to take a couple of pictures and could they stand there for me. this was the result.
that's how it starts. and it goes that way just about every work morning. alex asking if he can help put on my belt and tie. this has been a ritual for over a year now. i don't recall how it started, it just did. and it's always the same. the belt goes first, every time. he asks if we're doing the black side or the red (cordovan) side this day. it's usually a red day and he studies the reversible belt to make sure it's set up right and then he feeds it into the first loop. after he pulls the belt through he quietly says "turn". he says this after each belt loop and does so with an air of concentration and seriousness in his voice. to this instruction i spin in place one belt-loop worth at a time. when i've come full circle he grabs up the other end, feeds the belt through the buckle in his practiced way. if i reach to help him in any way he quickly waves me off saying he can do it. and he does. sometimes when he cinches it tight i make an exaggerated gasp to which his face darts up looking to see if he hurt me. when he sees i'm ok he many times will caution me to "be for real dad" which is kind of like when i'm clowning around reading books and he frustratedly tells me he doesn't want any of my funniness right now.
after the belt comes the tie. i usually pick it out and throw it around my neck. i'll then sit on a bed and call alex asking him if he's doing my tie today. he always is. here he climbs up on the bed behind me, pulls my collar up straight, exposing the inside corridor. he then feeds the fat end of the tie through the left button hole and pulls it straight. he then feeds the skinny side of the tie through the other side. after both are pulled through he lowers the raised collar and smoothes it out with his small hands leaning around both sides making sure it is properly flat all around.
then i stand up and begin pulling the tie back and forth getting it properly centered to be tied. here alex, with great excitement and anticipation in his voice, says "do that funny thing again". the funny thing i do is tell a story when i tie my tie. the story involves two characters. sometimes it is a bunny and a bear. sometimes a squirrel and a lion. and sometimes alex and i. but always one big and one small. to start, with each hand i grab a side of the tie. i hold the little one up and say this is alex. then i hold the bigger side forward and in a deep voice and say this one is dad. then, alex and dad were at lewis park when dad saw alex and said i smell biscuits so alex ran under the slide thinking his dad couldn't get there but his dad could and chased him under there. then alex ran up to the top and and said his dad was too big and fat to get up there but i did. then alex jumped down the slide and said his dad was too smelly and scared to go down the slide but i wasn't and i jumped down the slide too.
as i'm talking i'm flinging the tie around in the usual manner to manage the knot. sometimes when i finish the tie is wrong. too long, too short, sloppy knot, and i have to do it again. alex learned that if i mess up he gets to hear the story a second time and even though the second-telling of the story is always much faster and less animated, alex is always rooting to hear me say "doggonit! stupid tie!. ok here we go again. this here's alex. and this is dad ..."
when showering with another person there is an imminent battle for position. your success in this battle is key to how much you will enjoy your shower. lose the battle for position and instead of basking beneath sixty, hot, riveting jets you'll find yourself shivering in the back of the tub settling for a paltry mist ricocheting off the other person's heated frame. what sucks in my case is i'm getting bested in this battle by a two year old who doesn't even reach my waist.
the first few times anthony appeared outside the shower, pulled the curtain aside, and excitedly pointed in saying DA! DA! i was stoked that the little man wanted to hang out with his papa. i'd lean out of the tub and ask him if he wanted to get in. this was met with an exuberant yes. i'd unsnap and pull off whatever clothes he was wearing. then he'd bow his legs a bit and i'd rip the velcro tabs of his diaper causing it to drop heavily to the ground. as soon as it hit the floor he'd throw his very chubby, very white leg up on the side and pull the rest of his also chubby and also white body over the edge. as soon as he had boots on porcelain he'd confidently march forward, directly to the pole position to stand beneath the shower's jets. the cat-bird's seat. then he'd just stand there, head bowed reverently (which was pretty much what i was doing before he arrived). if you lean in above him to, say, wash soap or shampoo from out of your eyes and in doing so interrupt his water empire he will, without lifting his head, grunt and groan and push on your thigh relegating you to the back of the tub and out of his space.
this experience has led me to believe a house cannot support two shower fetishist who both want to just stand under a stream of piping hot water for twenty minute stretches, twice a day. one chilly winter morning, i recall standing above anthony, looking down on his thin, blonde crown of hair. i stuck my tongue out at him, but did so only momentarily and not because i was afraid he'd see me but because i found when i did that my tongue, like the rest of my body, got cold and shivery there in the back of the tub.
bookguy cast his vote blaming me for missing last years outing so allow me to cast mine...it's hard to ski with someone who decided to move to the other side of the world. 'nuff said and ... snap!
while it's hard to pick just one moment from our tenth annual ski vacation as a favorite, a real contender would be the moment our hostess told bookguy and i that her female friend asked if he and i were a couple or not. after making a twisted face of disbelief bookguy threw his hands in the air and said that the two of us didn't even talk to one another the whole time her friend was around us and why would she think we were a couple let alone even know that he and i knew one another.
ten more of these trips and people will brand us as married without asking a single question.
one day last year for a reason i can't remember, i was walking around the house in a pair of shorts and a fleece ski vest. that's it. no socks. no shoes. no shirt! just me, a pair of shorts, and this dark blue fuzzy vest. when i rounded a corner and came into marty's view for the first time in this dashing ensemble, she about birthed a fourth kid from the laughing i induced. i guess my wispy guns, concave chest, and protruding gut can't pull off the fleece vest, no shirt combo. before running into marty i was thinking it was a good look for me. and even after running into marty, i wasn't totally convinced i should abandon it just yet. the only thing i did know is marty and i wouldn't be doing any role playing sporting me as the buff ski patrol guy there to save marty the damsel from the perils of mother nature. i may be more confident than all reason says i should be, but a breaking point does exist. not many people can reach it, but marty is one who can.
this is all to say, decision time has come. i'm going skiing this week and i'll have to decide wether or not to unleash my new look on all the rich folks strolling the park city boutiques. if nothing else, it should add fine fuel to peoples' curiosity wondering if bookguy and i are guy chums or gay lovers.
yesterday was marty's birthday. she turned 38. the first words said in our home on the day of marty's 38th birthday was, "dad, i think i'm going to vomit." it was said by alex who was at the time of his utterance laid out next to me. we had both been cast from our usual sleeping spots and were sleeping on the futon in the ping pong room. i was displaced by anthony (who has been very camped out in my spot as of late) and alex by a rogue spider we're having problems locating.
after alex said he felt like he was going to puke i threw the sheets back and stumble-tripped downstairs pushing on the walls with my hands to keep me vertical. marty's brother taught me something about parenting. he said that when you hear the words THINK coupled with PUKE or VOMIT you should run. you should run very fast. and get a bowl. and put it in front of the complaining child as quickly as possible. the last time he heard those words and didn't run fast, he spent the next twenty minutes of his life spooning gelatinous chunks of mostly digested food out of the many creases and folds of his child's bed.
and for the more superstitious folks out there, this initial comment of the day did not dictate the day's mood. fortunately. and i think i did good on presents. there may be some she actually doesn't return.
bella told marty that a boy in her class said she (bella) was hot. marty asked bella what she thought that meant. bella thought for a moment before saying she thought it meant he liked the way she looked. marty agreed that that was probably what it meant but the problem is that it didn't take into account her spirit and there are lots of folks who look good, great even, that lie and cheat and are mean to those around them so how they look is irrelevant and what matters is how beautiful their spirit is.
bella came home from school the next day and reported that the boy liked her spirit too.
our house is bad at checking messages. the last time i checked them their were nine, the earliest of which was from five days prior. as i saved and deleted my way through them, one in the middle went like this:
hello, this is bella dearmitt. i was calling to see if bella would like to come play at my house tomorrow and if she would like to come to my house on march 6th for my birthday party. ok. again, this is bella. bella dearmitt. thanks. goodbye.
i mentioned this to marty. she casually said that when she checked the other day there were nineteen messages, six of which were from bella inviting herself over to play.
in response to yesterday's line: i'm noticing i suddenly have a lazy nipple. did you even know such a thing was possible? one droopy nipple! i gotta admit, it wasn't anywhere on my radar.
one reader wrote: Consider yourself lucky that you don't have DD breasts. My nipples are now closer to my belly button than they are to my chin...
i quickly filed that message in the 'no sympathy for troy' folder which between my prostate gripes, circumcision woes and decade-turning whimpers has been getting quite full in recent months.
and to you mrs DD, if it's any consolation, i'm told that i have something that in time will be headed south for the winter as well, only mine will be getting closer to me knees rather than my belly button. i bet there are few people who can't wait for me to start documenting that phase of my life.
and in the name of full disclosure, i've often considered myself lucky i don't have DD breasts. i'd look funny at the pool.
between the ages of 25 and 35 i was a full-on hypochondriac. any persistent discomfiture would send me to my doctor complaining of shortness of breath, bloated lymph nodes or persistent fatigue. my doc was a patient and kind listener to my woes until one day, visibly frustrated at my ongoing-angst, he told me that the human body is an amazing structure, the most amazing thing any of us will ever see, and it can shoulder the most ridiculous sorts of abuse for many years before it begins to show signs of wear. he said at my rate of malfeasance i wouldn't experience overt signs of physical debilitation until i was forty and that before turning forty all my pieces and parts would continue to operate as advertised. you know what ... he was right. and seeing what has happened in just the last few months, i've constructed the below model for your own benefit and edification.
i would liken a pre-thirty year old body to silly putty. you can do the stupidest of things to that flesh colored nubbin and it bounces back each and every time proving just as resilient as the day you first took it out of its two-tone egg.
i would like a thirties body to play-doh. still lots of fun and able to do plenty of neat tricks but not quite the gamer the silly putty was. play-doh isn't going to recover from being run over by mom's car tire in the driveway nearly as well as its near cousin, putty, is.
now a forties body, and i'm quite new at this, but a forties body i would liken to day-old play-doh. you know the play-doh that got left on the kitchen table overnight, taken for granted, forgotten. we all know, too well, no matter how much you re-work it in the palms of your hands or how many drops of water you secret into its folds, the stiff cudgel of doh is never as pliable, moist or sweet smelling as it was before the trespass.
the moral of the story is, take care of your play-doh today because you do reach a point where there's no getting it back tomorrow. and if that hasn't got your attention, i'm noticing i suddenly have a lazy nipple. did you even know such a thing was possible? one droopy nipple! i gotta admit, it wasn't anywhere on my radar.