Saturday, September 28, 2002


Geoff has never been to Wisconsin Dells, and I have never been to Catalina. I can't believe he's never been to the Dells! Alex and I were reading a AAA travel guide and we were sucked right in to the glorious, commercial and fabricated glory of The Dells; the Big Wolf Lodge with all its lodge-like appeal, and the indoor water park, with slides and tubes and cool stuff. I haven't even told Alex about the 'Ducks.' Laura, aunt and travel agent, told me about the amphibious WWII vehicles that take people from water to land and back to water. The boys would LOVE the Ducks. She also told me that The Dells is mostly a tourist trap for people from Illinois. Fine. I'm a tourist. I'll bear the shame. We have to go.

Geoff can't believe I have never been to Catalina. What can I say? It just never happened. 26 miles from Long Beach to Avalon, or something like that. It's an Island; it's not like you can just 'pop over' whenever. People drive to The Dells; convenient. I know you can get T-shirts, sunblock and shot glasses on Catalina, and people ride bicycles and snorkel there too. But it's not as though you can go to the Island and stay in a huge lodge, near a river with rafts and amphibious vehicles, and ride down slides in to big pools of chlorinated water.

Geoff thinks we should go to Catalina some weekend. We can see the Queen Mary; it's a docked hotel. We can visit the Spruce Goose; it's a wooden plane and it's 'docked' too. Then we'll ride the ferry to Catalina, and eat seafood and walk around town and see what they've got. Maybe we'll visit tidepools or The Catalina Island Conservancy. "Catalina, It's Not Just An Island, It's Another World." (I felt a little embarrassed knowing so little about the place; went to a few websites and got info.) I have read "Island of The Blue Dolphins," twice. I just never actually went to The Channel Islands; I guess I figured it's for tourists.

Friday, September 27, 2002

My Ride is Dirty

I might clean the truck. I might spend more time writing about the condition of the truck and then it will be too hot outside for a sane person to be cleaning anything.

In any given crisis mine is the vehicle you would want to be in. Some people have a gift for organization and general sanitation. Their cars smell good and they have no reason to fear public scrutiny when a door swings open. Some people have little vacuums, and they use them, and their passengers aren't obliged to sit between a box of Legos, a snow boot and a bag of grocery bags. But these same people are ill prepared for danger, for the unexpected, for riding in cars with children.

Periodically I clean the car. I clean it adequately and I feel good. Very rarely, Geoff cleans the car, but he over does it. He is too good, too thorough and the consequences can be crippling. He removes all clothing; so when someone pees or vomits we are defenseless, naked! He removes all containers; so the vomit-thing is a problem once again, as well as leaky bags of gold fish. He throws out crayons and scraps of crumpled paper; this leaves us vulnerable to creative children screaming in desperation when we sit in traffic or stop at business offices. He returns all books to shelves; another last defense against boredom is lost.

When all the little party favors are gathered and removed from under the seats, the children miss an opportunity for discovery. If we bring the slightly bent umbrella inside, of course it will rain. In the side pocket of the driver's door are two rusted and seemingly useless tools, and Geoff has tried to get rid of them. These two tools are the only thing that work to release the hinge in the door lock that frequently, but inexplicably, jams.

Recently a man, adrift for nearly 4 months, was rescued off the coast of Costa Rica. He survived by using the resources he had available, and grilling sea gulls. We could survive, adrift in suburbia, in our vehicle, but only if it hasn't been too efficiently cleaned. In my car, I can fix, repair, feed, entertain, heal, inspire and enlighten, for days. At a family reunion, two Summers ago, the hotel was booked; the boys and I slept in the car two nights, but that's another story.

Well, it's still cloudy out. I'll go streamline my operation, remove any perilous material and wipe down anything sticky. But the box of Cheerios, the beach towel, the gallon of organic apple juice and the snow chains stay, because you never know.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

DPMPMS :: Delayed Post-Menstrual Pre-Menstrual Syndrome

My recent bout with zero productivity was interpreted as possibly PMS related.

This is an interesting suggestion, but the diagnostician didn't have all of the related data; it's too late in the month for the 'Pre' portion. Maybe what I am experiencing is a conditioned that has not yet been featured in the New England Journal of Medicine, or Cosmo.

During my PMS window I was too busy for the typical symptoms, but because I could not release those emotions, satisfy the cravings, or honor the funkiness, I created a case of Delayed Post-Menstrual Pre-Menstrual Syndrome, with minor indications of MCB (Middle Class Blues: nameless dread and loss of perspective concerning personal good fortune, material and spiritual.) OR we are seeing Deer Syndrome: Person with so much to do, she is stopped in her tracks like a deer facing an oncoming Winnebago.

Fascinating...this requires more thought, perhaps something with chocolate as well.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Stuck in Place

Butt glue. It is a phrase uttered periodically around our home to express profound laziness and lack of ambition. The expression goes something like this: "I can't answer the phone, I've got butt glue." Also, one might hear: "Could you pass me the catalog from the living room? I can't get up. Butt glue." I think for some people the symptoms may sound familiar, but their condition has simply gone undiagnosed.

I've got a bad case right now. My head is spinning with a 'to do list' that rivals the density of a phone directory. But, I am fixed to my seat. I can't or won't get up, and there isn't a reasonable explanation for my lack of motivation, so it must be the glue. I don't want to clean or organize, or correspond or finish projects or start anything.

There are some bills that require my attention and the truck has passed the cluttered phase; it needs serious detoxing. We could be getting passports, for 'just in case.' I could prepare paper work, to refinance our mortgage. The cabinet by the front door needs purging, and I have about 300 bulbs that want planting. It is reasonable to assume that the children will hope to be fed soon or that the dryer will buzz and demand that I come and fold laundry. Call the dentist, floss, photocopy family pictures, fill albums, finish quilt, sort boy's clothes, clip cat claws, finish assembling out door lights, fix the mail box.

Blahhh. Somebody find me a Solvent, or a Jumbo Spatula with Catapult Action. I need Lift. I need Oomph.

Monday, September 23, 2002

El Rancho Autumn

This does not feel like Fall. There is no Autumn out my front door. Out the back door it is even less like a crisp, brisk, golden leaf strewn season. Rather, it is hot. It is a blistery, gasping heat, with little or no breeze. There are no clouds, high or low. There is only the glare of sunlight and the sensation of peering into a toiling furnace when we open a door. It is baked dry, and hung out to dry and all dried up. We couldn't have asked for better weather. The swimming has been fantastic! We swim in the morning. We swim in the afternoon, the evening and at night. This is a very good Fall, though not like Fall at all.

Friends came to play last night. They came with pie. They came with pumpkin pie. They were most especially welcome, and we were most especially thankful. We swam, and played an inaugural game of Marco Polo. James claimed inner city hardship for his ignorance of the game. He caught on quickly. He was a good Marco and a good Polo. Max liked being Marco, and so no matter who was Marco, Max would call "Marco!" We played and swam and sat in the spa until dark. After pie dinner, Max implored Eema, and James, to come back and swim again.