Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Get Into My Car. . . (Part 2)

      So I did what I had threatened, and showed up at Abby's dance studio, Billy Ocean blaring.  Singing, feeling the stress leave my body in waves of 80's memories, I was starting to relax from my crazy day.
     My dancing girl plopped herself in the front seat, and began unplugging my iPod.
     "Hands off," I said, "I want to hear this song.  Because I really did.
     "Moooooooom," she said.  "I just don't feel like sixties music."


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Get Outta My Dreams. . .

HEY (hey) YOU (you)
Get into my car!
Who me?  Yes you!
Get into my car!

I can't get this fantastic Billy Ocean song out of my head.  Usually that happens when I see my cousin Julie and we've spent some time looking back on our trip to Europe when we were 16,  but that's another story, one that also touches on the song "Obsession" and me wearing some bad striped overalls.

But I haven't talked to Julie today.  No, this verse is ringing in my head after hours and hours of driving loops around my town dropping off and picking up children at their various activities, because it's what I want to yell from the parking lots.  The baseball field parking lot, the acting studio lot, the church lot, the dance lot. . .  "HEY, YOU!   GET INTO MY CAR!"

There's a lot of driving this year.  To be clear, we are close to attaining another driver in the family,which will, at some point, alleviate some rounds of this hamster-wheel-like-circle that I can't seem to get off between the hours of 3:00-6:00 PM on any given day.  This, of course, depends upon my future willingness to allow my son to drive in snow, rain, sleet, sun, cold weather, with a cold, fog, or if the day just feels generally indisposed to teen driving.

I'm trying to drive with joy, with a positive attitude, with the intent to spend quality time with whomever happens to be next to me in the seat.   Abby wants McDonalds?  Sure, here's a Snack Wrap and how was school?  Sam wants Dairy Queen on the way to baseball drop off?  Sure.  Here's a small cherry-dip cone, and now WHY do I have a cone with sprinkles that I'm trying to balance while driving.  Not to mention sprinkles on my white shirt.  Sam, that was not a good idea.  Don't make me order a cone again.  Bad Sam.

I am, as I wrap this up, off to pick up Abby at dance.  She will, without question, get into my car and begin playing her iPod through my speakers.  Tonight, there will be a different rule.  My car.  My iPod.  My Billy Ocean song.  Her eyes will roll, but I will sing (yell?)  HEY (hey) YOU (you)!  GET INTO MY CAR!

And I will do it with the windows down right in the dance parking lot.  Funny, I'm suddenly looking forward to the ride.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Bellinis and Bookstores and Blow-Dries. . .OH MY!

I'm turning 42, I think I'm turning 42, I really think so. . . .

I had the best day.  I have to admit, I didn't think I was going to.  In fact, I had kind of geared myself up NOT to.  Adam and Jono are out of town, so many friends are out-of-town, Abby had a 6-hour rehearsal. . . where was this birthday going to go?

But starting yesterday, it went in all the right places.

I was getting my hair cut and highlighted (I think it was a full highlight; if it was a partial, Jack didn't tell me, because he knows I don't like to have any hair processes done half-way.  Why drive all the way to Chagrin Falls for a partial anything??)  So anyway, a free blow-dry for my birthday.  That's good stuff.  And good hair, I might add.  Which, of course, just inspires me to buy product on my way out the door.  Smart Jack.

Jack, who asked me on my way out the door, "So what are you doing for your birthday?"
To which I answered, "Nothing, really.  And it doesn't matter.  It's okay."
He stopped flat-ironing and looked at me.  "I know you better than that.  That is not okay."

And then, when I arrived home, a Barnes-and-Noble gift card waiting in the mail from my parents.  It's like relaxation in a card.  The promise of trolling a book store, looking at all the books, magazines, stationary, pens, reference materials. . . birthday heaven.   And two musical cards from dear friends.  One made me cry, the other made me laugh out loud.  Things were looking up, way up. . .

Abby brought me a little paper bag late in the evening.  It was a bead for my bracelet that she had bought at the Hudson sidewalk sale.  "I know you like blue and white, and there's a little red in your bracelet.  I didn't want to wait until tomorrow."

Oh, me either.

But tomorrow came.  Which is, to say, today.  And here it how it went.

I wake to Lisa calling at 8:21 am.
"You weren't supposed to answer!" she yells.
"But you called me," I yawn.
"I just wanted to sing my birthday song," she said.  Which she does.  And we have a lovely chat.

A giant, giant, GIANT hydrangea bush is soon delivered to my front door from Adam and Jono.  My favorite.  With a butterfly adornment-- another favorite.  From my favorite boys <3

Cindy tells me to drop Abby at rehearsal and come at noon, to drop Sam.  He will spend the day with her son, Ethan and her husband.  They will go to a movie and lunch.   And suddenly we are off and running. . .

*Diet cokes and french fries for brunch.  Oh, this is going well.
*Crocker park for strolling and shopping.  Too good to be true on a sunshine-y day.
*A new ruffled, sparkly cardigan from J. Crew.  On sale.  Ruffles.  Sparkle.  CARDIGAN.
C'mon. . . have you met me?
*A sparkly headband.   It's almost like a tiara, only a little bit more subtle.  Like me.
*Drinks and appetizer at Brio.  With a waiter named Donovan who brings surprise frozen Bellinis and a    surprise chocolate dessert.  We might have mentioned my birthday once.  Or twice.  . .
*Presents in the car from Cindy that make me smile and cry.
*A stop at TJ Maxx on the way home.  Sparkly flip flops for $6.  Is there a theme to this day?
*Dunkin' Donuts to get breakfast for the kids tomorrow.  We might eat them in the car.  We might not.  This is a birthday secret.  Why doesn't Dunkin' Donuts have diet Coke?  Why do we have to go to McDonald's next door?  Because we do.  It's my birthday.

There are 10,000 Facebook messages on my page.  I love them all.  I might be exaggerating, but it's my birthday.  And that's what it felt like.  Abundance.

I miss my boys, my family, Lisa, and having a party with a theme.  I look forward to lunch next week, to cake, to more presents (can't help it; it's true.)

But this day was everything I needed today.  I like 42.  It feels very me.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I Love Summer

I love summer.


I love Bomb Pops (mostly the white part,) my birthday, sleeping in, and reading trashy magazines by the pool.  I love ducks on the lake, kids in the lake, and drinks by the lake.    I love singing the Glee soundtrack in my car with the sunroof open after driving through Dairy Queen with the kids.  Don't Stop Believin'?  Okey-Dokey.  I won't.
We love summer so much around here, that Sam made a checklist to make sure we got through the summer activities without fail:

I love light green nail polish and fresh cut flowers.  My hydrangeas bloomed blue this year for the very first time!

Rotisserie chicken, watermelon and lemonade.  I am a new fan of this particular summer-y combination, because my kids devoured it last night for dinner, the 5th night without a working air conditioner.  So, today, I love my new A/C.  I didn't love the process, the price, nor the "ask your husband" line that the installer fed me, but my 86-degree home is cooling (currently at 77) and I'm grateful.

It's movie night tonight (note: checklist) and we'll be lounging on the couch, watching "The Spy Next Door" in a cool family room.   Ahh, summer :)

Lisa's 6-month scans came back clear.  Last summer is a sad, icky blur, and the only thing that got us (me?) through was knowing that we would absolutely get to THIS summer, eat popsicles, swim, play and look back on that time as a memory.   I love summer, always.  But I really love this summer.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Numb Me Up, Scotty

Ow. OW. OW. OW. OW.
Stupid dentist visit.
Stupid granola bar.  I was eating my Planters Nut Energy bar, trying to figure out how to scan its barcode on my new iPhone app (The Daily Burn-- I love/hate it, check it out--it scans barcodes for nutritional information) and I realized I had something stuck in my tooth.  Then I realized. . . no. . . there wasn't something stuck to my tooth, there was somet hing missing from my tooth.  I had lost a filling.  By the next morning, I thought maybe I had lost a crown.  Hard to say, really.  From one tooth to another in my mouth, it's really a crap shoot.  Off to the dentist, who surprises me with his answer.

"Your filling is intact, Christy.  You've broken the tooth all around it."

That's a new one, even for me.

Let the numbing begin.  Topical first, then the giant needle full of Novacaine.  And when the humongous drill headed for my mouth I tried to relax, tried to remember that I was numb and wouldn't feel a thing.  But I did feel it, and I jumped.

"Is that sensitive?"

"I think so, or maybe it's just me," I said.  The dentist laughed at me, which I rather appreciated.  But I actually meant it.  Was I imagining it?  More anesthetic.  Wait a little longer.  Try again.

Drill.  Jump.

"I'm sorry," I said.  "It's not horrible, but I can feel it."

"You don't have to be sorry," he said.  "I'm going to be doing a lot of work there.  But this is a new anesthetic, and it works great on most people.  Let's give you a few more minutes.  You shouldn't have to feel it."

"How about you just knock me out?"  I ask.  Everyone laughs, but I'm totally not kidding.  I hear the drill, and I'm thinking of the scene from "A Million Little Pieces," you know, the fake memoir about the drug addict, in which the author writes about enduring dental surgery with no anesthesia.

Put a hood of laughing gas over my head.  Knock me out.  Time warp me to the eighties and bring me back.  I hate this so much.  I am now ripping a Kleenex to shreds in one hand, and gripping my thigh with another.  He's coming back.   My body is shaking.  Can they see?  I can feel the numbing working all through my skull, but I swear my tooth is totally awake.

"Let's check."  Check?  It seems like there should be some controlled way to check without drilling into my tooth and see if it hurts.

It did.  Again.  But quite a bit less.  And this time, I did think it was the panic talking, and I said so.

"Are you okay?" he asks.  "I am," I answer.  "It felt sensitive for a second, but now it's fine."

I am deep breathing.  I am trying to forget where I am.  Breathe.  Breathe.  Breathe.  My nose itches.  Breathe.  Finally, the drilling is done, and it is time for the gels, the pastes, the bands, the pressure.  I can do this, I think to myself.  I can do anything after enduring my own personal Million Little Pieces.  Then he taps my gum with his sharp little explorer.

"Can you feel this?"

"Gyaaah."    Translation.  Are you kidding me?  You touch one tiny spot in my mouth and I can feel it?  After three shots I still can feel my gums?  Why can I feel my gums??

"I'll numb you a little more.  I need to insert a metal band there, and it will irritate the gum."

Super.  Bring on the hypodermic.  I can't feel the shot, but I think I feel the drugs rushing to the gums, and maybe to my brain.  I can't feel the dentist opening my mouth.  I can hardly even see the dentist because by this point, I think my eyes are numb.  There has finally, finally, FINALLY been enough medication administered.  But I'm not sure, because I think my feelings are numb.

Have I mentioned that I take 6 pills a day in order to NOT get a headache?  Is it any wonder that I am. . . um. . . numb to the effects of numbing pain?  Bring on the big guns, Doc.  I require big meds to feel no pain.

"You were stubborn with that anesthesia today," he tells me when it's over.
I'm thinking, "Don't be so stingy with the meds, Dude."
Don't judge me for being rude in my head.  I'm was a little dopey.

If I remember correctly, I spent about a 1/2 hour with my dentist after the appointment trading iPhone apps.  I wonder what recommendations I gave him with my droopy mouth and slurred speech.

And now, eight-and-a-half hours later, I'm still numb.  It's just wearing off and starting to hurt.  I can't pronounce any F or PH sounds, but I still managed to eat a Chipotle Bowl.  Granted, I had to use bottles of hot sauce to taste it, and much of it slid out of my mouth, but I made a good effort.

From a prone position on the couch, about to not be stingy with a few more pain pills,
Christy Chaf(drool)e

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Calling Miss Manners

All I'm trying to do is write a few freelance assignments.  I have the contact information, I have the details, I have the emails, the phone numbers and a general outline.  What I don't have is an interview.  And apparently, what my contacts don't have. . . is time.

I get that.

I get that people are busy.  (Have you noticed that it's May?  Please don't ask me if I've accidentally cried at a baseball practice because I'm not sure if I can possibly go to one more meeting after driving to ballet and sitting through lacrosse.  The answer is yes, yes I have cried, but please don't ask.  And while we're at it, don't ask me how many meetings and luncheons and parties are scheduled in May.  DON'T MAKE ME WRITE ANOTHER POEM PEOPLE BECAUSE THIS ONE MIGHT HAVE THE F-BOMB IN IT.)

But I digress.

So anyway, I'm writing articles.  Well, so far, I'm sitting at my dining room table with very organized questions.  And allow me to explain that the articles I'm writing will highlight the individuals in question in a very favorable manner for their company.  Lots of accolades.  Whoo-hoo-to-you, so to speak.  For one woman, I've left three emails and two messages, but no return call.  I'm ready to go, but I can go no further.  I can't write about her if she won't call me back.  

To be clear, I don't really care all that much about "how you respond to the changing face of your customer base" but I'll write circles about it if you give me ten freaking minutes of your precious time.  I'm quite certain that there are plenty of calls that I haven't returned, and emails too.  But if someone wanted to write an article about how great I was-- I'm pretty sure I'd phone that person for a quick chat.  Do we so quickly give up the opportunity for fame, however fleeting?  I know I wouldn't, especially if it involved a crown.  Maybe I need to start offering tiaras and prizes.

In one email exchange between a contact and an editor, there is the phrase, "I'm very busy, but she can try to reach my on my cell, but I'll be hard to reach."  The "she" is me.  Oh, "she" will try.  I sent this busy, busy man a couple of emails to set up a phone call.  He's traveling this day, interviewing someone that day, and Monday was "officially crazy."  Flights here, and travel there, but "could I call his cell to set something up?"  I could.  And I did, trying, actually, to catch his cell phone voice mail when he was traveling to just leave him a message with some interview options.  To not disturb this exceptionally busy person, perhaps the person with the most valuable time on earth.

Here's how the call went down, because, in fact, he answered.  Let's call him Bob.

(ring, ring)
"Bob."  This is how he answered.  With his name.  Which is more confusing than you may think, because his real name isn't Bob, it's acutally something that sounds much like my own name, so I thought he was speaking to me for a moment.
"Hi (Bob)," I said.  "This is Christy Chafe, calling about the article for XXX magazine."  (Now, I just made it sound like porn, but it's not.  I was just trying to be anonymous.)
And here's where it gets good.  Here's what I get.  Not hello, not even hi.

"Your timing is TERRIBLE.  I'm getting on a plane."

I'm sorry, what?  MY timing is terrible?  Well, heavens to Betsy I'm so sorry, I must have forgotten to correctly tune my ESP signal before I CALLED YOUR CELL LIKE YOU ASKED ME TO YOU
D-HEAD.  That's right, Mom.  I wanted to call him a dumbhead.

"I'm sorry," I said.  "I know you have a busy day.  I was just hoping to leave you my phone numbers so we could set up a time to talk."

"It will depend on blahblahblahblah what flight blahblahblah maybe that flight blahblahblah.  Can I reach you at this number? "

"You can," I said.  I don't care about his flights.  I was still stunned by my terrible timing.  Here's an idea-- if you're boarding a plane, DON'T ANSWER YOUR PHONE.

"Shoot me your cell phone in an email," he said.  "I'll call you later in the week when I know my travel schedule."

"I'll do that,"  I said.  I won't be doing that.  Only nice people get my cell phone number.  And anyway, what would I do, interview this guy from my folding chair at a baseball game?

"Listen," I said, trying to salvage, "I get how busy you are, and I certainly wasn't trying to bother you.  Have a safe flight. . ."


No good-bye.  Well, is that really surprising?  There wasn't ever a hello.  Obviously, there's no time for that in this guy's busy day.

I would like to thank my friend Lisa for asking me this question.  "Why is their time any more valuable than yours?"   I'm thinking of this now, as I find myself waiting at the dining room table, yet again, for calls to be returned.  

Of course I will still try to contact my contacts--a girl's got to get paid.  But when this one particular busy, busy person calls me back, there's a huge part of me intends to tell him that his timing is horrendous and I'll get back to him after my Pap smear, unless of course, he'd like to be on speaker phone.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

It's All in the Jeans

See full size image
Back to the grind, I say.  Time to write that novel and update those blogs and shoot an article or two off to a magazine.  And I'm ready.  The Easter migraine has passed (another blog for another day-- it wasn't pretty, friends--complete with drooling, crying, and narcotic-induced candy binges) and it's time to get to work.  I got up, I put on my writer's jeans (What? I write in jeans that aren't too tight to sit comfortably for hours and hours but aren't so loose that I look icky.  Writer's jeans.  Note to self:  patent this idea) and I gathered my writer's things.  Macbook, notes, bag, legal pads, folder of great ideas, paper clips (I have a weird addiction), phone, chargers.  Also, bills that I need to pay, on my break from all of the writing, of course.

Once the kids are off to school, I hop in my car and head for the library.

Crap.  I forgot to eat breakfast and I have no highlighters.

I love Drug Mart.   Breakfast and pens in one place.  I find Special K Protein Bars, a bottle of Vitamin Water, pink and yellow highlighters, new pens, some Post-It flags, and some Shout, which I need for Jono's baseball pants, so this is just a lovely time-saving bonus.  Back in the van, I re-load my writing bag, organize it, trash all of my old yucky stuff, put my nice new pens inside, and get myself all set.  For the writing.  So I should probably leave the Drug Mart parking lot.  After I throw all of this trash away.  I get back out of my van, quickly clean my whole car out with a baby wipe and a Drug Mart bag and go to the library.

Which is where I am now.  Kind of, because I don't like the really quiet part of the library.  I like the cafe part.

Two trips to the bathroom, one to the magazine rack for "Writer's Digest" and "The Writer" and only one quick visit to Facebook, paid my AT&T bill, cleaned out my wallet, and now you can OBVIOUSLY see that I'm writing.  Or what would you be reading?

So it's a start.  Back on the horse, if you will.

And I'm riding this horse in my writer's jeans.  Looking good. . . .