Where. Are. My. Panties.

26 Jul

I seem to have misplaced my funny. I’ve looked everywhere —rending my hair— and no dice.

It showed up for a couple of moments at the Rock-es party on Saturday and got me a couple of guffaws from the puzzled crowd. Probably just sympathy laughs for the shell of my former self that was clearly on display.

I’m pretty sure I’ve lost it somewhere in the piles and bags and mounds of stuff that used to be called my life. But is now consistently underfoot in the basement. Posing a serious hazard for my shins at every turn.

So it is with great regret that I sit down to write the most boring set of words put to blog paper. I apologize in advance. Let’s just get this over with.

•    •    •    •    •

My life just came 360. I am at my desk in the room of my house that was my original office. Way back before kids. Way back before we had a basement. It’s a bit surreal. This time there’s no guest bed to sit on while I type. Just a real, grown up office for two with room to move.

Now. Allow to me to peel away the onion and reveal to you why this is officially MONUMENTAL. Mmmkay?

We headed to the southland on our CANCER VICTORY TOUR 2011 after all of the insanity of moving out, shuffling furniture around to various locales (thanks, meggie!), my head spinning into orbit, packing up and trying to leave things in a somewhat organized state to return to.

We did the rounds back east. Four nights in Flotown, culminating in a somewhat spontaneous Simmonds gathering. The hubby cheffed up an awesome dinner while I worked the crowd. Then it was off to Cola to see the B and SIL + new house + spend Father’s Day on the lake and then leave in their car for the month. Two more days back in the so-hot-your-face-will-melt-off-the-minute-you-open-the-door heat and we were officially losing our shit.

My mom has created a lovely life for herself. Cute house (all hers!) with great friends and one of my aunts now living right across the street. Two dogs, three birds, fans going full blast 24×7, no doors that actually close because of all of her cute shit and just enough space left over to walk sideways from front to back.

Needless to say, an extra family of four with enough suitcases for a month just doesn’t quite fit.

And when you add in that chitlin-making heat, you are pretty much dead in the water. (Though some water could have helped.) I hadn’t had the foresight to line up outings with friends (mostly because we were supposed to be with the hubby’s fam at the beach, but they were all sick). So there we sat. Fancy, the parrot, squawking her bloody head off, the hubby trying to conduct con calls, and me trying to keep the girls from knocking over or breaking anything during those long days cooped up inside.

Just before I was due to lose said shit, I put in a text. Our dear friend, Deb, came to our rescue with her house in Mt. Pleasant and off we went.

On our own for a bit, we relaxed into a rhythm befitting a vacation. Early mornings at Sullivan’s on the beach with coffee. Girls wading in the surf, trying to catch periwinkles (or tellins) before they burrowed away. Then the hubby would log on for work in time for the Californians and the girls and I would hit the store for some supper fixins and come back to nap before dinner. We met up with friends at their funky little yacht club on James Island or stayed in with some pizza procured at Whole Foods.

This idyll lasted three days. And was marred only by a rather large delivery van that side-swiped the borrowed car in the Whole Foods parking lot.  The girls (who were inside screaming at each other while the hubby tried valiantly to participate in a con call just beside them on the grass) emerged shaken, but unscathed. The driver of the truck was more shaken than all of us. Miss-miss said, “Mom, I think he’s going to cry.” I just hope he didn’t lose his job…

From aptly named Mt. Pleasant, it was off to a week at our rented beach house in the Outer Banks. The evening before our departure, we mapped the drive. We’d been skating along — completely oblivious to what came next. Taking it one day at a time like a bunch of recovering alcoholics. The GOOGLES delivered the results: ESTIMATED DRIVE TIME 8 hours 26 minutes. Uh-whaaaaa? Holy sheep shit on a shingle. We had no effing idea.

After the collective dust settled and I retrieved my dropped wine glass from the floor, we took a big, deep breath. Then hit iTunes for movies, more movies and shows to download AND FAST. Then picked out the skimpiest clothing we could imagine. And started packing. We went to bed with every single Apple device we owned plugged in and downloading. Trying not to think about the lack of air conditioning in the now wrecked borrowed car.

I am not one who takes road trips lightly. The longest we’ve driven with both girls is about 7 hours south to Santa Fe. We had snacks, movies via portable DVD player and the works all set up and it was still PATENTLY MISERABLE. My mother was crunched in between two bickering small ones — on the hump. And it wasn’t until I switched positions with her and had to use the jaws of life to extricate myself from the backseat of the Volvo when we stopped for a potty break that I realized THIS PRETTY MUCH SUCKS.

Nowadays, we are sportin’ the ultimate road trip car. Hank the Pilot. He is all muscle. Comfy, bluetooth headsets in back, dirty rap playing up front. Road trip? BRING IT.

Even then, I wouldn’t be savoring the idea of 8 or 9 hours in the car. But off we went. Decided to take the backroads vs. the freeway to stay by the ocean and steer clear of interstate boredom. The air conditioning worked well enough to keep an egg from frying on our heads. The movies seemed to keep the backseat quiet enough. We sought out some decent eats via yelp and generally just made the best of it.

ELEVEN HOURS LATER. We arrived at OBX. Jiminy Christmas on a cracker. That was one LONG ASS DRIVE. (Uh Google? I’d like my money back please.)

But with the ocean in sight again, we quickly began to shed a few of our butt calluses.

The week went fairly well considering you have siblings with nearly polar opposite political beliefs and views of the world, 5 girls below the age of ten, two married-ins who go mollusk-like when the shit hits the fan and one unwilling-but-now-official-family-matriarch who is used to living by herself on her own terms.

And I was the smart one who went into this all completely unmedicated.

After only one, but rather large blow up over some thrown away salad (I said throw it away, he said WTF?!) — with the sis-in-law downstairs cleverly explaining to the alarmed children that their mom/aunt and dad/uncle were just acting out a part in a play — I talked myself a mile down the beach where the hubby found me gesticulating wildly in the air. I was leaving. Decided to wait until morning. And then it rained all day so we drank and played cards and generally pretended like nothing had happened. An endearing family trait.

I was dreading the return drive, but found salve in the excitement/anticipation the in-laws were displaying with their already prepared dinner and cocktails waiting. We stopped in Wilmington for a quick visit with the hubby’s aunt and uncle. And all was right with the world.

The next week was seamless. Moving from coffee on the porch watching the pelicans, hawks and eagles to a full afternoon on the beach that stretched into happy hour each day. The hubby was finally on vacation from work and didn’t have con calls and emails and work to think about. The girls and their dad, uncle, great-uncle, grandparents, cousin and 2nd cousin rode in the annual super soaker DeBordieu 4th of July parade in the back of a pickup. We braved the heat to walk the brand-spankin new boardwalk in Myrtle and took a ride on the skywheel. We even coaxed my mother down for the weekend — with one of the crazy aunts in tow — and then hit IOP to see the Blue Dogs play after too many years without.

Then it was time to return west. To our new kitchen, fresh paint and life as it was. But that would only happen after we’d endured a cancelled flight, extra night’s stay and 2.5 hour shuttle ride to Charlotte vs. the 45-minute puddle jumper we’d booked.

We were so excited to see what transformation our house had undergone while we were away. Our contractor had worked two 15-hour days to ensure we’d arrive to some semblance of normalcy. But I think I had in my crazy head that it would all be MOVE IN READY.

I do that. Think those crazy thoughts. They are the unspoken expectations that repeatedly get me in trouble. Won’t I ever learn?

I did that with the trip. It was the CANCER VICTORY TOUR 2011 in my mind. I envisioned red carpets being rolled out. Confetti. Champagne corks popping. And there were hugs. Good-to-see-yous. But there was mostly ANGST. Unspoken emotional angst that had been bottled up like that champagne and was ready to blow. So some of it splattered onto us in the melee. So. We learned: it was a year of worry and hurt and devastation for EVERYONE. And only a very few people were really able to see it through our eyes. The truth of the hell we’d just endured. Without the veil of their own emotions clouding it all. Interesting.

So we arrived. Haggard. Travel weary. Having slept in six or more different beds in four weeks. And he had made big progress. Fully working kitchen. All shiny, new appliances installed and ready for action. Sink working. Floors stained. Some of the paint completed. New built-in cabinet in the nook.

And I went and ruined it all by honing in on the not done stuff. About how we couldn’t move back in truly until the situation with the floors was rectified. I’m a real peach.

But picture having to pack a kid for a week of sleep-away camp when you can’t find ANYTHING in your house. Or having a full week (nearly) of a hubby away, a bean in tow, no internet, roads all around your house being paved and blocked off, just home from four weeks away, your yard is skyhigh with weeds and still living in your basement with shit piled on shit. Yea. That.

I’ll just say that after all of those weeks of living out of suitcases (and living like campers with our makeshift kitchen in the basement for the two months prior), I am just CRAVING normal. Ready for us to have dressers. Our own rooms. A table to sit at that isn’t outside and at the mercy of the whims of mother nature. Lights we can turn on and be able to see our way clear through a room.

It’s the little things. So when we were able to finally move our office and have one room that was functional, I got a little misty.

I’m sure my funny will turn up soon. It seems like it’s hovering out there just waiting for me. I just need to be ready to RECEIVE it with open arms…and stop being such a prissy bitch.

TODAY’S THEME SONG: Great Expectations. Jurassic 5. Don’t expect me to smile cause it’s in good taste. I know cats that’s no mistake smiling in my face. And don’t expect to try and guess if I’m mad or not. Or if I’m cold or hot, you would know if not.


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