From the Hands of Babes

Posted: January 22nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Books, Food, Friends and Strangers, Husbandry, Miss Kate, Moods, Other Mothers, Paigey Waigey Wiggle Pop | 2 Comments »

A friend came over for dinner recently and brought a bottle of wine and a copy of The Girlfriends’ Guide to Getting Your Groove Back: Loving Your Family Without Losing Your Mind. It was written by that chick Vicki Iovine—the skinny-ass former Playboy centerfold turned domestic advice-giver who’s married to a gazillionaire music exec. Or maybe they’re divorced at this point.

Whatever the case, it’s crazy how much she and I have in common.

Anyway, I haven’t cracked the book, nor do I intend to. I’m a firm believer that reading about how overwhelmed you are is neither entertaining nor productive. Whereas reading about absolutely anything else—say, hot teen vampire sex—has a much better chance at alleviating standard-grade housewife malaise. (Note: I have not yet succumbed to the smut-lit allure of those books. But I do have the first one in a pile by my nightstand.)

And I wasn’t offended by my friend’s offering. I didn’t think it was some sort of hand-patting, “Honey, really, read the book” kinda intervention. Especially since it wasn’t even intended for me. (Or so she said.) Her daughter had allegedly been rooting around in their house, and dragged it into the living room. And seeing as my friend’s groove is apparently intact, she dropped the book in her bag in case I, or the other friend we were seeing that night, were in need of some groove restoration.

But the truth is, I had been lamenting that ever since the calendar flipped to 2010 I’ve been in a bad mood. My groove in this new decade–or lack thereof—has been informed by my wretchedly out-of-whack back, my agita over getting Kate into a good school next year, and the dreary fact that my book proposal has gotten nowhere closer to being completed than it was in, say, early November. Add to that the extra pounds I packed on over the holidays, for a nice veneer of flagging self-esteem.

Even though it’s just been sitting here, my friend’s kid having unearthed the groove-regetting manual maybe did have some impact on my psyche. Perhaps by its mere presence in my house, the tides of ill-humor have started to change.

First-off, we’ve made progress on Kate’s school applications. Two of them are already handed in (despite an 11th-hour explosion of loose powder blush that came close to rendering the hand-written one, well, “Warmth” pink.) All the nail-chewing over writing the damn things has suddenly changed into an optimistic excitement about how amazing it’ll be for Kate (and us) to be part of one of these cool schools. I’m already planning to volunteer in the classroom constantly. (They’ll have a maternal restraining order out for me by late fall…)

My back still sucks. As in, hurts nearly constantly. But Paigey got into a fabulous preschool for next year. And my book proposal’s still dead in the water, but I’m resolved to get childcare in the coming weeks to make some headway on it.

And I’ve got two great trips to look forward to. A hopefully snow-covered jaunt to Rhode Island and a most-certainly white-capped visit to Vancouver. Thanks in no part to my athletic prowess, I am going to the Olympics!

Also, in a totally not-me move, I decided to Just Say No to my book group book. Just not read it! How liberating is that? Usually I stressfully speed-read in the final days before we meet, as if I’m prepping for the LSATs or something. But after reading the first five of the book’s 400-plus pages, I simply decided I just wasn’t 400-plus-pages-worth of interested. To some this may seem a minor act of rebellion, but for a rule-follower and perfect-attendance gal like myself, this felt as bad-girl liberating as the Queen must feel peeing in the shower.

I also recently picked up a wee freelance gig at My first piece, a recap of the show Brothers & Sisters, wasn’t half-bad. (At least according to my father.) Mark’s also got a 14-pound brisket slooooow-cookin’ in the smoker I got him for Christmas. And really who can feel gloomy at the prospect of the lifetime of smoked meats that now extends before me? (His enthusiasm for this new toy is such that we may also be eating smoked breakfast cereal Chez McClusky soon.)

Even my dream life is showing signs that I’m relaxing a bit. Like last night, I had a kinda sex dream about one of the schools Kate’s applying to. And I call it a sex dream, but when I described it to Mark he pointed out that there really was no sex in it whatsoever. But you don’t always need sex for sex, right? I mean, didn’t we learn that lesson years ago from Bill Clinton?

So in the dream I’m at this school (our top pick for Kate, in fact) and I’m taking a tour. And on the tour all the perspective parents get shunted into the school’s wood shop, where there’s this strapping, black hottie of a wood shop teacher. (This, by the way, is nothing like their real wood shop teacher. It’s a dream, people.) And then in that weird dream-way that you just skip over some of the boring how-things-unfolded parts, next thing you know he and I are in my car! But no no no, not groping each other or anything, just driving around. You know, with our thighs all close together and almost touching in the way they are when you are in a close-quartered dream-car next to the hot wood shop teacher. Like you do.

So he tells me he’s been working at the school for 30 years, but he says, “thirty years of radiation” which in that weird dream-way I don’t find to be an odd turn of a phrase and simply take to mean he’s been getting cancer treatments all that time. But it’s not like that’s a sad thing. In fact, this virile wood shop teacher who for some reason I’ve kidnapped mid-school-tour looks altogether healthy. And I just say to him, “Yeah I don’t want to go there.” And, dreamily, he’s not offended at all, and we just keep driving and I think, “I really should get back to the school tour.”

And then I woke up.

Chaste. And still even Dreamland-loyal to my husband.

Several weeks ago we were at a birthday party. We were at the friend’s house who brought me the Groove book. Paige was still somewhat new to walking. One of her favorite places to toddle off to and explore is bed-side tables. They have fun little drawers it’s easy for little hands to open.

So as we’re in the kitchen chatting with some other parents, Paige staggers from the back of their house out into their living room and heads towards me with a violet-colored tube in her hand. Turns out it was our hosts’ Astroglide. Ahem.

Of course, those of us in the kitchen who saw what Paigey had poached found it uproarious. Funny enough to not sweep it under the so-called carpet, but to send Paige back across the guest-filled living room with instructions to hand the item over to its rightful owners.

Paige obliged. Much giggling and blushing and good-natured heckling ensued. Good times.

Thinking about that now, I can’t help but wonder if Paige was on to something. Was it really a random offering? Or was she trying to communicate in some childlike intuitive way, “This is what you people need. This is the answer!”

Now I’m not implying that Paige thinks I should have a romp with the dream-based wood shop teacher. There’s a time and place for people from The Land of Make Believe. I think she was maybe just making her own down-home suggestion about how us Mommies and Daddies could get our groove back.


2 Comments on “From the Hands of Babes”

  1. 1 Jeff said at 5:01 pm on January 22nd, 2010:

    Glad to have you back! I love how your blog entries can be so far-reaching yet neatly wrapped at the same time. Thanks for expertly interpreting Paige’s message for us all.

  2. 2 Friend X said at 8:59 pm on January 30th, 2010:

    Just saw this!! So freaking funny. Glad to help you with your groove, with worthless books and old lube. Hot stuff. I’m hoping the recent chicken tikka was the last little “gift” to push you over the Jan. slump and into the Feb. groove.

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