Wednesday, April 30, 2008

veni, vidi, vici

The sidewalks of Chicago are strewn with shreds of diva fabulosity. We pillaged Nordstrom Rack and Loehmann's as if we were being pursued by Satan, which we were, seeing as how we were half-buzzed on jello shots before we made it over the state line. Once I saw the Sears tower and the Hancock building my aggressive driving kicked in and we whipped onto Lake Shore Drive like the Furies and skidded to a stop in front of our hotel in under 3:20 -- with only one pee break!

I fucking HATE driving on the toll road, but I love it when we hit Lake Shore. All those tall, phallic buildings! The lakefront condominiums! The bronze lions in front of the Art Institute! Michigan Avenue, the Chicago River, and Hugo's Frog Bar! Most fun of all, the burly Chicago men!

I have a strange ability to get hit on in Chicago. Maybe that's why I love the city so much. Every time I've been there, men flirt with me, and it never happens anywhere else. Take it from an almost-50-year-old -- if you are under 40, you need to get your flirt on NOW. Be shameless! Flirt with the bellman, the sandwich guy, the UPS man -- anybody with a decent bod that doesn't stink like motor oil or rotten fish. If only I'd known how cute I was 20 years ago, I would have had HORDES of men to play footsie with. This time I got into the hotel elevator in search of ice for my martinis when a cute guy about my age chatted me up -- I almost invited him up to our room, but the last time we picked up a boytoy we ended up face down in the bar at the House of Blues from him buying us Chicago River martinis. It sucks being a good girl.

Anyway, besides the men of Chicago, obviously we love the Shopping. Normally I despise those discount stores like TJ Maxx, but Nordstrom Rack is the high-class, more organized version and they have the best deals anywhere. I found a metallic-silver linen Tahari blazer that fit perfectly and was half-off -- it is utterly classic and I will wear the hell out of it. I got a couple cute T-shirts, a couple more blazers for work, and a darling little summer Coach purse (70% off!) at Loehmann's. Excellent foraging!

After that there was a blur of martini-drinking in the room during which a fifth and a half of vodka spontaneously disappeared or evaporated or something, five women getting ready in one bathroom which led to lots of picture-taking of random butts and boobs which were mysteriously sent to various spouses' cellphones, wearing my most fabulous brown crocodile-patent-leather patterned peep-toe stilettos, heading out to redlight for dinner (exquisite! if you go, order the mango martini), after which we collapsed into a taxi and after that I don't remember. All I know is I woke up and my feet were killing me, but I still had my underwear on. Good sign!

So for roughly 36 hours, I forgot about my husband, kids, bills, diet, laundry, chores, homework, aging, job worries, and general suck-assedness and bonded with my girlfriends as only women can. This is as close as I'll ever come to being a diva, but it gets me through. I love my friends.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

My kind of town

I can't even think straight this week. Five of us are making our semi-annual trip to Chicago this weekend, and I've hardly been able to think of anything besides how fun it will be. These are the things that join us on our trip:

Jello shots, a couple of Playgirl magazines (because who can get enough of naked men posing with their wangs all greased up), a cooler full of martinis (lemon drops this time, made by ME), and a dashboard dickie on a spring just to make other drivers swerve crazily to see it. Last time we went, we also took a male blow-up doll who we proceeded to maul in the front seat to raucous laughter.

And that's just the drive up there. Hold on to the sidewalks, Chi-town, the divas are on their way again.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Words I HATE

In no particular order, here's a bunch of words I hate:












And a whole host of others I can't think of right now because I have successfully driven them out of my head. When I read those words I get a cramp in my neck and my eyes revolt, making me squint, and that gives me wrinkles. These words are the stumpy-legged, irritating, blathering in-laws of the dictionary, and they should be sent out back to the mini-barn with the rusty gardening tools to await the junkman. Or be eaten by a dog, so he could vomit back up all the individual letters and we could repackage them into prettier words to be used more eloquently in some other sentence. Geez.

I am no fun to play Scrabble with.

Monday, April 7, 2008

for the famous Hairbanger

Two events in the past week caused me to ponder the profession of hairbanging (or being a stylist, for those of the cosmopolitan persuasion) -- a viewing of "Steel Magnolias" with my 13-year-old daughter, and a trip to the local salon to get my son's hair cut.

I love the movie, smarmy as it is, mainly because of the Ouisa character, and also because it's set in Louisiana, the home of fabulous Cajun food and good times. I should have been born a Southern girl. I would've made a killer Southern librarian, all dried-up books and glasses and earnest discussions of Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote, while going hog-sausage-wild at night, hopped up on gumbo with extra hot sauce and gallons of planter's punch. Plus, my nails are ALWAYS done.

My goal in life is to become Ouisa Boudreaux. Rich, pushy, foul-mouthed, blunt, and sarcastic. I'm halfway there, but I'm not telling which half. Suffice to say I haven't gotten up the nerve to act as bitchy as I think.

The bitchiness would have come in handy as I was taking my son to get his hair cut. It is a chore I dread, because he is now 10 years old and is beginning to take himself very seriously. He loves to wear his hair long and shaggy, and it doesn't really get to me until it's grown down over his ears and neck and past his eyes so that he's always flipping it out of his face. The flip side of his ten-year-old-ness is that he hates taking showers or generally cleaning himself, so as he does his little boy stuff like jumping in creeks and throwing gravel at his friends he tends to come into the house looking like Bigfoot's midget brother. Chunks of dirt have fallen off his head before without his notice.

I made a deal with him that he could let his hair stay long until spring break was over, and then he'd have to get it cut. D-Day was yesterday. We grimly drove to the salon, one of those walk-in places (I KNOW, I KNOW) and a gnarly-looking guy with a ring in his nose and horrible teeth took my baby boy back to do the deed.

I told the guy, just take most of it off the sides and back. The bangs I can deal with, as he can usually manage not to get food or other effluvia stuck in them. But the sides and back were so long and shaggy they made him look like he'd lost his ears in a tragic earmuff accident. So the guy started cutting -- excuse me, HACKING. Once he cut off the first inch of hair there wasn't really anything I could say or do but hope he evened it out.

Ten minutes later, he's done. My son is red-faced and crying. The guy is very nice, but my son is having none of it. Even his older sister, the monster 13-year-old, is trying to tell him that he looks fine. He scowls his way out the door as I pay. All the stylists in the salon are looking at me and shaking their heads sadly, "uh uh uh, he gonna be in a bad mood allllll day now Mom....." as I brace myself for the emotional onslaught.

It comes with breathtaking fury. He is crying and moaning and telling me that he will NOT GO TO SCHOOL ever again, that he looks like a DORK, that it's HIS HAIR and why do I make him cut it when it's just fine when it's long, that everyone he knows will make fun of him and no he will NOT GO IN to the store while I shop, and when I force him to get out of the car he screams "I HATE YOU MOM!" The dagger has been unsheathed.

It's then that I wish I could be bitchy. Bitchy and blunt to the guy who cut his hair, so as to absolve myself of the blame, or at least bitchy enough to tell my son to shut up and deal with the haircut before I get out the razor and shave his head, or even a teensy bit bitchy enough to say "I hate you TOO" to my son. But I just can't. I will never be Ouisa Boudreaux.

Anyway, before the day was over, my son sidled up to me and put his arms around me. He said he was sorry. I told him I forgave him. He said "I love you Mom, I don't really hate you ever," and I assured him that I loved him too. Whew, drama over. But I'm never going back to gnarly nose-ring guy. Hmmmm, does anyone know a good hairbanger that makes house calls in Indiana?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April is for fools

Today is my 4th wedding anniversary. I thought it was awfully appropriate to get married for the second time on April Fool's Day. My husband and I have both lived through Spouse Version 1.0 and the resulting system failure, and to get married again and start on a whole new operating system is a celebration of hope over experience, as they say.

There are days when he irritates me to the point I want to pack up his shit and kick him out the door. Really. I keep trying to quantify what exactly our differences are that cause so much irritation, as I'm sure there must be something about me that annoys him equally. Ahem. Being the nit-picky word-nerd Virgo that I am, I keep questioning various underlying philosophies about personality. Is it because he's a Libra and therefore his answer to every question, from "should we go to the store today" to "do you believe in the vast eternity of the universe" is "Yes and no?" Is it because I'm an INFJ and therefore one of the pathetic 2% of the population who are apparently too sensitive to live? Is it because he's an extrovert and I'm an introvert? Because he's loud and funny and I'm quiet and wonky? Because he's a male being from planet Bizarro and I'm a female being from planet Shut the Fuck Up I'm Trying to Read?

The worst thing about living together is that you immediately become accustomed to all the good stuff, and all the bad stuff just annoys the hell out of you. Stacey thinks that men and women should live in separate apartments, possibly connected by a breezeway or maybe a dungeon, and I think I agree. I know I'm much happer and more tolerant of everyone's behavior when I've had a chance to be away from them for awhile. My husband, thank Buddha, knows this and does his best to accommodate me. Although if we were both animals, my husband would be a frisky dog, while I am a lazy, bed-hogging cat. He even drives with his head out the window, while I curl up in the passenger side with my coat around me, trying to stay awake on the long trip from point A to point B. I can't help it. My only true talent is sleep.

Anyway, my dear puppy dog of a husband version 2.0 took me on a little getaway for our anniversary, where I was as pampered and fed and groomed as any spoiled little Persian kitty could be. And just this afternoon I was treated to an enormous bouquet of lavender roses, sent to my desk at work.

For my part, I am taking him out tonight to one of his favorite red-meat restaurants, and this time instead of seething with annoyance while he takes 37 minutes to decide between creamed spinach or grilled asparagus, and then between prime rib and filet, and then asks the waiter to hold the tomatoes on his salad, and wraps up his order by asking for extra horseradish sauce "instead of au jus, and could you put it on the side" while requesting a Heineken "extra-cold," I will patiently remind myself that dogs, while yappy, frisky, and stupid enough to roll in goose shit, are also the most loyal and loving pets. And they're always happy to see you, which for the parents of three teenagers, is a minor miracle in itself. Happily ever after, 2.0.