Thursday, May 27, 2010

How does he do it..?

My husband is an exceptional person. Aside from his innate decency, good looks and even temperament- he really likes to have a good time. I tend to be a little less inclined to have as good a time because I can't escape my responsibilities by simply getting a sitter and going out. The ordeal of preparing to go out-the tidying so the sitter doesn't judge, the staging of monitors, the preparing of the meals/snacks/craft activities so the house doesn't get destroyed-it is exhausting. By the time I have showered, gotten my hair to an acceptable level of unkempt, dug through the closet to find something to wear that doesn't make me look actively fat, put on makeup that is flattering without being too drag queeny, squeezed into my Spanx and teetered down the stairs in my rarely worn stiletto boots, I am sweaty and cranky and ready for a nap. That is right when my husband usually pulls in from work. He drives home in rush hour traffic, on the phone the whole time, sometimes multiple calls at once. He often sits in the driveway in his car for twenty minutes, calling back the hundred plus people who grace his phone sheet on a given day. I get in the car, an uncomfortable, irritated mess, and it usually takes me until well into the entree to realize that I am supposed to be having a great time, not a so-so time, because the price tag is for a great time. Sitters are expensive when you are neurotic and don't have a teenager or live in help. Restaurants are expensive. The whole evening can be three hundred dollars in a heartbeat, depending on who is being entertained. We usually come home by eleven and stagger upstairs, knowing the little beasts will be up in a few short hours.
My husband, despite the phone calls that come from seven am to ten pm daily, manages to compartmentalize his issues and deal with them separately, rather than the jumbled swirling mass that hangs over my head on a daily basis. He usually has a great time, no matter where we are, and his responsibilities are tremendous. His flock is a motley crew- the clients, his family, his friends, his inner life. His job is similar to mine, the dynamic of one party asking for the world and the other party expected to deliver it yesterday. The difference is that my job is to set limits and create balanced empathetic human beings. His job is give people the world-to be the person that Hall and Oates sing about in "You Make My Dreams Come True”. He is to cater to every whim, fancy, desire with no mention of limits or any sort of negative spin on anything or he might get fired. Try as they might, my children can't fire me. They drive me bonkers with their irrational demands and unpredictable mood swings. My husband has been almost fired on a few occasions due to the very same irrational demands and unpredictable mood swings( one client demanded my husband hasten his experience through U.S. Customs on his way back from a movie shoot).Having been an actor for the better part of my adulthood, I understand their insanity all too well. They have chosen an impossible dream. And my husband is the Dream Weaver ( cue music..).
So while I raise our kids, he tends his flock of talent, both factions needing the same reassurance and constant attention. Yet, at the end of the day, I am the one pulling out my hair and drinking at 4:15. He takes his abuse is stride and comes home cheerful and ready to make some mischief with the kids before they go to bed. I resist the urge to run screaming into the street and pour another 20 oz glass of whatever I can get my hands on, watching the clock go tick tick......
Do some people just have a better outlook than others? Or is his stress simply buried deep within his body somewhere, waiting to erupt on some unsuspecting flight attendant who refuses him the lavatory because the seat belt sign is on....? Is it my latent actress self, over dramatizing everything, yelling and beating my chest to my children's consternation about trivial nonsense, like who is to pick up all the Easter grass strewn about the lawn after the performance art piece the girls put on? or is he just better equipt to be a parent, with his endless patience and limitless energy for playing?
The truth is, he wouldn't pick up the Easter grass, and it wouldn't bother him a bit. I would notice it every single moment that I was outside, decomposing on the real grass and tangled in the rose bushes.It would drive me nuts. So, ultimately, it becomes my problem. It seems that the role of wife and mother has a lot of these issues of character foibles that dictate the domestic landscape. If a sea of toys on the playroom floor gives me hives,of course I am inclined to clean it up,even though it was HE and THEY who made the mess. I will encourage them to help,which they often do, but they rarely do it well. Usually there are several parts to various toys left jumbled in a bucket or a purse,never to join their toy family again.And no one seems to care except me. Which is well and fine until HE goes to work and THEY start chewing on ME about where the purple fairy with the broken wing is or where is the other pinto bean sized shoe that goes with the pink doll?? This is no competition, I know. We are certainly co-captains of the same team. I used to think that he should be more like me, and that our life would be that much better(read-more organized and cleaner) but now, after almost fifteen years together,five of those married with kids, I am thinking that it is I who should be conforming to his way of things. He somehow manages to take it all in stride, not sweating the small stuff( an expression I loathe),consistently happy and ready to greet the world every day with a firm handshake. I manage to trip over every bump,taking nothing in stride,sweat the excruciating minutiae, be consistently grumpy and ready to greet the world with a lewd hand gesture. It begs the question -How does he do it....?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hell hath no fury....

I can't really give all the details about why I was an accomplice to breaking and entering and vandalism, but I can tell the story. I didn't get caught, which was the beautiful part, but my partner in crime did, though I think she wanted to.
It started like this:
I was in another state, shooting a movie, and was approached at the wrap party by a sweet, buck toothed eighteen year old named Lara. She started with a lot of small talk about having been an extra for a few days on the movie. She flattered me with praise and called me a movie star, which made me laugh. Little did she know that I got paid about as much as she did.
She had a bit too much to drink and started sharing the gory details about the male lead, my co-star, and his rude and inappropriate conduct regarding their off the set liaisons. Evidently, she had visited his hotel room on a few occasions and was less than satisfied with her treatment following said visits. Basically, he screwed every girl that knocked on his door, and cut them loose like so many stray dogs. Lara didn't like that. She wanted to be special. I think she said she was a virgin before crossing his threshold and was out for revenge. Lara was one scorned female. I felt for her and commiserated the best I could. I, too, had developed an enormous crush on him from the beginning and was treated with such nonchalance that I soon grew secretly angry that he had so little regard for my obvious feelings.
After a little more conversation, Lara and I slipped away from the party and went to his room-which was across the parking lot-for what purpose, I wasn't sure. The windows were dark. He clearly wasn't home. I started to head back to the party when she slit the screen with a key and was opening the door and hurrying me in before I could react. She turned on the light and started going through his things, tearfully, and saying that she might love him and thought that he might have loved her, too, if she had been given a chance. She pulled all of his CD's out of their cases, snickering at his taste "heh, Bob Dylan..(pronounced dialin')". While she ransacked his room-mocking his underwear "heh, tightie gay..", emptying out the dresser drawers and tasting all of the juices in his refrigerator-I stood by the window watching for his approaching shadow, trying to figure out how I would explain my presence inside his hotel room with this lunatic were he to return in the midst of her rampage. This was my big break, after all. It was very early in my career. I didn't need anything scandalous quite yet. I had worked with my co-star for many weeks and found him to be an egomaniacal, self involved, competitive asshole that was lucky to have a career. I was very ready to go home the next day at seven a.m. never to deal with the macho shitheads that I had encountered on this movie again, but Lara was still in full swing. She was going through his toiletries when she came across something that changed things a bit. She said "heh, Zovirax (pronounced Zawvuhrax)..whatever that is..". I felt the need to mention the purpose of this medication, as the TV commercials weren't airing in primetime quite yet. She probably had no idea that one in four Americans is afflicted with something requiring Zovirax, and that it is prescribed for maladies affecting multiple areas of the body, not just below the waist.
Needless to say,she freaked out."He has HERPES!!!oh, my GOD- that fucking asshole!!!". She cried, quite hysterically, for a few minutes, then whipped out a lipstick and wrote something profane on the mirror. I think I wrote something as well, because he really was a dick, but I honestly can't remember. As much as I knew she was a little whacked, it was kind of nice to see him pay for his bad behavior a little bit, even if it was just lipstick and a little rearranging of the furniture. I also felt badly for Lara, as this might be the only brush with a movie star she would ever have.
This whole debacle lasted about forty five minutes. It was pushing midnight, and I had to go back to my hotel and pack. I asked her if she was going to be okay and she said, with certainty, that she was. She crawled into his bed and curled up under the covers, waiting to confront him with her rage and tears. How I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when he returned, probably escorted by another unsuspecting new friend.
I woke the next day, packed up and got into the van to go to the airport. There was the regular chit chat as we swung around to pick up one of the other actors at the hotel where I had been so lawless the night before. The guy got into the van and said, almost immediately "Did you hear about what happened to __?". I shook my head along with everyone else. He went on to tell of a crazy girl breaking into __'s room and ransacking the place, graffiti all over the walls (come on, it was a little lipstick already), who was asleep in his bed when he came back. He woke her up, and she flipped out, security was called and she was dragged from the room screaming "He drugged me! He drugged me!”The best part was that she stole his first class plane ticket before she was taken away, and he had to fly coach all the way back to LA. Everyone shook their heads in disbelief, and I just smiled and nodded. If her display of torment didn't take him down a few notches then flying coach definitely did.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Goin' to the chapel and we're....

I possess the uncanny ability to spot odds and ends around the house and make a mental note. Roseanne Barr called it a uterine tracking device, which she denied having, but,unfortunately for me, I do have one.I know where everything is, unless, of course, it belongs to me. My family always asks me to find their lost shit, generally before they have even started looking for it themselves.  In most cases, I  had a hand in putting it away somewhere out of sight,usually after I stepped on it,stubbed my toe, or just got sick of looking at it. Everyone else seems content to accidentally kick the same stuffed animal every time they pass through the hallway door, with no inclination to pick it up and put it away.It ricochets off the baseboard and goes careening under the dining room chair where it will stay forever and be slowly devoured by dust bunnies if I don't crawl under there and pick it up. When it comes to my own lost shit, however, I know that only I will ever find it, since no one is picking up after me.I have no one to whom I can holler down the stairs "WHERE'S MY _________???!!!".
My misplaced stuff is in good company, I think, with all of the single socks from the dryer, single diamond studs whose partners languish in my jewelry box ( and I have long since given up trying to determine which is real and which isn't since they all look exactly the same) and most recently my wedding ring. Yes, you read it correctly, I lost my fucking wedding ring. It is in my house-my chaotic, disorganized house, somewhere- but not in any of the usual spots. I have looked in every logical place and failed to produce it. I will say that I took it off a lot because it wasn't very friendly to my finger. It tended to irritate the skin and eventually had to come off for a day or two at a time.This has been going on for almost five years, so it never occurred to me that I might actually lose it. The funny part is, when I tell people-like my husband and my girlfriends- everyone gasps and clutches their chests and tears up. I must seem terribly cynical, but I don't feel that broken up about it. I am more annoyed with my inablilty to be consistent with my belongings. For me, the ring doesn't represent our marriage.Our whole life represents our marriage-our kids,our experiences,our pictures.The day to day stuff is what our marriage is about, not a single metal band that we picked out together while I bounced out first child on my hip. I had Big three months before the big day and was overwhelmed and running on fumes when I walked down the aisle.
We got married at a vineyard in September, and I couldn't see the touching sight of my boyfriend/fiancee of nine years welling up at the sight of me in a wedding dress because I didn't want my glasses to ruin the pictures. My father kindly narrated so I could react appropriately, but I was already focused on what I was actually able to see, which was the bare cement walkway that was supposed to be sprinkled with red rose petals. With my background in catering, this was unacceptable, and impossible to miss, but hardly the time to address it. We said our vows,which were traditional, and naturally omitted "obey".They made no mention of him being the rock and, I, the island or anything remotely resembling "our own vows". We kept it short and simple and traditional. Afterward, we ran  down the aisle to happy applause, and I actually felt like I was there for the first time. 
The party began. I spent the next five hours watching our guests,including my new husband, revel in our happiness. Don't get me wrong-I was very,very happy, but with two families/two worlds colliding, at our request, and a newborn that was feeding on demand,relaxing isn't a word that came to mind.Just when I would begin to settle in and grab my glass for a small sip of champagne, someone would tap my shoulder and whisper " it's time". I would beeline for the limousine where my new baby was being watched by a sitter and her eight year old.I'd squeeze inside in my enormous dress, and, as I sat with the tulle of my full poufy skirt rising up around me,nursing my child, the sitter would tell me another installment of the saga of her life. Why she brought her son to the wedding lasted for the first two intervals, then it segwayed into why her husband left and finished with me telling her,kindly, to go home early because Big finally fell asleep. My favorite photos are of the wedding in full swing and someone-an aunt, uncle, sister, holding a bundled Big in her nubbiest blankie, her chubby ankle peeking out.
My wedding also had lots of drama. It was very cold,despite the thirty heat lamps we scrounged up (and paid a fortune for) at the last minute.There was a screaming fight in the parking lot.Several guests had issues with the very nice Port-o-Johns we rented for lack of any indoor facilities and chose to urinate in the vines instead. Many drank too much and later returned to the vines to vomit. The owner actually found a pair of pants in the vines, which belonged to a guest who had to change his clothes on arrival. My dear friend arrived late and rushed to the aisle in a sweaty wife beater and shorts so as not to miss the moment,which was actually quite charming. A female relative was given some sort of illicit substance ( I think she was dosed) that made her act literally retarded, then caused her to vomit all the way home in the limousine-a three hundred dollar cleaning fee. And that is the stuff I can actually put in print.
Again, I loved my wedding,but hopefully it wasn't a template for the rest of my life.It was a big crazy party to celebrate our decision to make our family legit in the eyes of the world. In my eyes, we had already committed to the long haul when we got pregnant and had a kid together.
So, sorry I lost my wedding ring, but the less expensive substitute I now wear that doesn't irritate my skin makes me feel just as married as the one I can't find. Thank God it wasn't the engagement ring( which will be the topic of its own post).Given my track record with losing really nice things,I can now feel fortunate that I am too fat to wear it.

p.s. I just found a very expensive pair of sunglasses(ridiculous but well intentioned Christmas gift from Husband who was horrified by my 99 cents store frames) that were declared officially lost almost a year ago.They were in a miscellaneous bag of craft times, shoved on the upper shelf of the linen closet.How they got stuffed in a bag of fake flowers I will never know but I can't wait to see where my ring turns up.....

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Evil Triad

In my younger days, even before I met my current squeeze, I wasn't a big meet a guy at a bar and take him home type. I either always had a boyfriend, or just never met the right guy. I did, however, endure excruciating hours of lame conversation with the wingman of the guy that my single friend would eventually take home. It went like this:
Single friend with amazing legs wants to go out.We meet up,go have dinner and are approached by two dudes doing the same. Dude one, we'll call him Gordon, because that is about all I can remember about the actual night this all happened. Gordon was basically Sam Rockwell acting like a an asshole. Same physical type but not a self effacing bone in his body. Zero charm. Everything about him said "I think I am so cool", including his big fat mouth, except that he backed it up a lot of posturing and average conversation. My "date", who I will call Jose, was cute looking and perfectly nice, but I was not interested. I had a boyfriend.I made sure he knew this so there would be no unpleasantness later like on so many other occasions. In the past, I have had the wingman get all hostile and say things like "well, you aren't that hot anyway" in response to my polite refusal of a post bar beach walk. My friend generally went home with everyone, so it got a little awkward almost every time we went out together.
Anyway, Jose and I chatted about this and that and then he revealed to me a secret that "will change the face" of his industry forever.He worked for Taco Bell, started as a taco roller and climbed up into the corporate office within a few years. He was now in marketing and the new campaign was going to be huge. He leaned in and whispered the concept: All over Europe, instead of a lone KFC or Taco Bell of Pizza Hut, there would be restaurants that housed ALL THREE AT THE SAME TIME!!!! Revoluntionary....really,though I had a hard time containing my total contempt for, well, every word that came out of his mouth after "Taco Bell" because it was just wrong.The whole thing was as wrong as it could be.Despite his amazing rise from the bottom to the middle, he had no concept of the terrible impact of fast food culture and how it had already ruined our country's health and was on to greener, thinner pastures. The evening was over for me,though my friend did take Gordon home. I shudder at the visual on that little tete a tete.
About a year and a half later, I remember seeing the first commercial on American televison for the Taco Bell-Kfc-Pizza Hut combo joints and wondering, if I had murdered Jose in the alley, would this still have come to pass? Did I have the chance to thwart this evil plot to destroy Europe and not take advantage of it? I will always wonder, though never inside any of those combo restaurants. I did come across this little ditty on NPR, the liberal but willing to take corporate money radio station that keeps me informed about the terrible state of things:

Well, at least something mildly amusing and really fucking catchy came out of a hideous three way that should have been shamed into walking home at three a.m,never to be spoken of again.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


In 2001,my boyfriend had a great great year. He saved his earnings and decided to buy a house the following year. I actually found the house online, and instantly fell in love with the modern,albeit eighties, vibe and the amazing views of downtown. It had been owned by two gay men, evident by the black marble floors throughout the kitchen and dining area,a floor to ceiling faux Greek column in the foyer and a mural on the two story living room wall that was purple and gold. I finally understood their intention with the mural on the first morning we woke up in the house. The sun rose and lit up  the purple wall like something out of Raiders of the Lost Ark. It was a cool effect, I guess, but a little much for every day living.
The house had  five levels: one had the master, one the kitchen,foyer,dining room, the next the living room, the next a guest suite with its own entrance and the last was two bedrooms and a screening room. It had decks on all levels and a total of five doors that led to the outside, each containing two locks. Soon after we moved in, I made the requisite call to a locksmith I found in the Yellow Pages to change the locks.I made an appointment for the following day between noon and three.
The next day, as three approached and no locksmith arrived, I started getting aggravated. Home ownership is overrated, in my opinion. It is a whole lot of annoying attention to detail that I would rather leave to a landlord, but there I was, ten past three and no locksmith. I called the number and the same guy answered.
ME :Uh, Hi.. ??I had an appointment between twelve and three and it is now three fifteen.Are you guys coming?
HIM: oh, yes, we got another job this morning. a really big job. you know the Troubador? the club? they had a break in and we were down there all day, like three thousand dollars .....
ME: ?? Uh, okay, so you aren't coming because you got an better job?
HIM: yeah, you want to reschedule for tomorrow?
ME: Uh, I don't think so, you have basically just wasted my time.
I hang up. I am furious. Fucker. Who does that? What happened to customer service?
The phone rings about two minutes later. I pick it up.
HIM(menacingly): Cunt. I like wasting cunt's like yours time....
Me: ????
I hang up again.This time I am mortified. In a total panic, I realize that he has my address and is obviously more than a bit unstable. I rush to the phone book and look up the listing. John's Locksmith Service in.... Oh My God, there is no address?!  Why did I pick the only place with no address?! He could be a guy working out of his fucking car for all I know! I call my boyfriend and, as I tell him what happened, the hairs on the back of my neck are standing straight up. He demands to have the number so he can call the guy. While I am appreciative, I remind him that the guy has our home address and detailed directions to our house. I remind him that the guy is a fucking psychotic locksmith, not someone you want on your bad side in a house with five doors that lead to the outside.He is quiet for a moment, then he agrees. I hang up and go around the house and make sure all the doors are locked, like it is going to make a bit of difference. That is what you get when you blindly call an add in the Yellow Pages.Only morons like me do that, or people in horror movies.
I then call another locksmith with a clear physical address that I cross check on the computer and make an appointment for the next day at ten. When he arrives, at ten on the nose, I have a screwdriver in my back pocket and enough adrenaline to kill a woolly mammoth if need be. Who knows, they might all know each other, right?
The moral of the story is get a  reference, that is all I am saying.