Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Last days of summer

The shift from summer to fall is somewhat meaningless in Southern California. By mid-September we still face potentially a month of triple digit temperatures; no rain or chilly air will be felt until Thanksgiving, possibly even Christmas. Not complaining, mind you. It's just an odd fact I have not gotten used to even after 23 years "out here" as I like to call it. I tell Bobby fall is coming as I switch on the air conditioner and make sure they have plenty of ice water to get through the night. Cognitive dissonance at its best.

Last weekend I took the kids for haircuts, bought them used shoes and Halloween costumes (monkey for Theo, skeleton pirate for Bobby), took them to a playground, took them in the hot tub for desultory swimming lessons, and took Bobby to his very first concert, Kraftwerk in 3D at the Hollywood Bowl. He was very well behaved and loved it. The people around us gave him fist bumps and called him "little dude". I'm sure he'll never remember this, but I will.

I am still scrambling to tie up loose ends from my event - pay the hotel bill, follow up on uncashed checks, send an awkward email banning that guy from attending my event again - but I feel a lot more on top of it now than I did a week ago. I am hoping to tear down my old termite-ridden shed and build a new one in the next few weeks so I can finally have some proper storage for my event stuff, which is taking over the house.

I am also hoping to do a bit of refurbishment on myself, too. Maybe it's a mid-life crisis thing, maybe it's a the kids are finally getting older thing, but now that we are out of the high maintenance baby years and I have a sense of what my body will be like for the foreseeable future, I want to overhaul my general look. For a very long time I've been in ethnic hippie mode; as much as I love that stuff, I'm kind of sick of it. Also I feel like being a mom softens me up enough so I feel I'd rather harden up my look a bit. I went to Old Navy today and scored big time - looking for a combination of mod/punk/ska/80s/60s/50s stuff. My inspiration is the kick-ass Teddy girls of Britain in the 1950s. I think their general spirit embodies everything I think I am and still aspire to be:

It's nice to get to the point where you can focus on yourself a little, you know?

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


I believe this drawing by 4 1/2 year old Bobby sums up my attitude towards parenting right now:

I am still exhausted and fed up from the event, which is not helping, but oh man, is going back to being (nearly) full-time single mommy to two kids under five is fucking brutal. Once again I find myself gritting my teeth through each day with my endless mantra, ihatethisihatethisihatethis running through my head. 

Everything is a fight. Everything is a threat of punishment to get even the most basic things accomplished - putting shoes on, eating, peeing. I love that my kid (Bobby) is so irreverent and questioning of authority. But you know what I've discovered? Behind every awesome, kick-ass adult is an exhausted mother. There are memes going around Facebook of mothers praising their daughters' independence but wishing that independence wasn't asserting itself right now, in this supermarket. Right?

I don't know what the answer to this is. Does parenting ever get easier? More often these days I feel like it's gotten harder, not easier, as we shed the baby years and go full throttle into big kid stuff. And will only continue to get harder as they become less gullible and less easy to please. 

But five years into this game, I definitely still have the Stay at Home Mom Blues. I am considering having Theo at school five days a week instead of three, even if that will cost $300 more a month. I feel guilty even thinking about it. I may never make the call. But I am considering it. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Number nineteen

Well, back to our stupid lives!!!

Number nineteen (my nineteenth event) is in the bag. It went well. I don't even want to look at my bank account until all the checks have been cashed, my $10,000 hotel bill has been paid, and my credit card bill. Only then will I really know how I did. But it was a record year, so I'm not concerned.

The event wasn't without drama. My worst fear - that my bandleader's wife would go into labor two weeks early and leave the entire event rudderless - happened. We had a contingency plan, of course - but it meant a lot of careful guidance on my part; the guy left in charge of the band and contest music was a bit panicked and needed tons of handholding from me, and many disasters were narrowly averted. 

Some of my old friends ended up being real troublemakers. I am faced with the unpleasant task of banning someone who's been to every event since 1998 because apparently he's been preying on women the whole time, unbeknownst to me (oh, hi, Code of Conduct). And one friend attempting a comeback and failing has been railing on Facebook about how my judges suck, I suck, the event sucks, I only care about making money, with resultant sycophants cheering him on.

You know, the usual. 

In the past this kind of stuff would freak me the fuck out. Now? Meh. They'll all settle down. Maybe I'm getting used to handling malignant narcissists.

My tabulator came with his wife who has been battling stage 4 colon cancer. She was thin and frail, but she's here. A shag dancer in our circles who had been battling ovarian cancer died Monday morning. She was 31. 

And my bandleader is a new daddy. Sunrise, sunset. The profundity of this is not lost on me.

For now I'm still scrambling to tie up loose ends, get some rest, and reconnect with the mommy in me that has to be pushed aside for a few weeks each summer. Perhaps later I'll roll around naked in my money. I believe I've earned that.