Those damn fruit flies and their fancy tastes

Tonight, date night consisted solely of my husband and I sharing a bottle of wine four times the price of the wine we usually enjoy. I’m talking about Root: 1 Sauvignon Blanc.

Broken foot still ailing me, I’m beginning to master that embarrassing scooter at Trader Joe’s. I have honed my skills on the thing to the point where I can enter the wine section without my previous nail-biting certainty of knocking over those balancing acts of wine bottles they call displays.

I was buzzing along, heading toward my usual stomping grounds, the three-buck-Chuck section, when I heard the wine guy use the word ‘grapefruit-ey’ when describing the Root:1 Sauv Blanc to another shopper. The scooter doesn’t have brakes, but I cut off the power so fast I think the tires screeched. Then he used the words ‘tart’ and ‘zesty.’  I couldn’t take it anymore.  I was sold.

At $9.99, this bottle was a rare treat. Like I said, four times the cost of our usual bottle as, recently, three-buck-Chuck was reduced in price to $2.49/bottle (in California, it’s even cheaper and is known as TWO-buck-Chuck!). I could hardly dare to let myself hope that this splurge would be everything I hoped for.  In fact it was all that, and more.

Magically, as we opened the bottle, the sun came out.  So we headed to the porch and date night consisted of this summery bottle of wine, a bowl of Wasabi Almonds (which went fabulously with the wine — a highly recommended pairing!), a few games of ladder ball (the one ‘sport’ I can really manage on crutches) and my husband and I talking about practically nothing at all for about two hours.

One might think that after ten years together there would be no new stories to tell between two people, but getting so much pleasure out of enjoying this special bottle of wine on the patio reminded me of one my husband hadn’t heard: the time my mom treated my brothers and me to dinner at a ‘fancy’ restaurant in Denver.

Wuthering Heights was sort of ‘old person’ fancy – the kind of place your boyfriend might take you on prom night because of all the white tablecloths and the fireplace. My mom had received a $50 gift certificate from a doctor for whom she worked, and was determined, though she was on a strict budget, to take her kids out for a fancy meal. When we arrived, we noticed the least expensive item on the menu was $15. We’re going back twenty plus years, remember.

So, we all agreed to order the least expensive item.  But wait, how would we do it and still maintain our aura of fanciness?  We devised a plan that one of us would order the item (it was cod) and then the others would ‘change their mind’ and order it too…”Oh, wait, I was going to order steak, but now the cod sounds good, yes, I’ll take the cod.” The last person was supposed to chuckle and say “I’ll make it easy, I’ll have the cod too.”  We practiced this charade when the waiter wasn’t looking, and we had it down pat.

The waiter approached.  We were ready. This was going to be good. He hardly finished saying “Have you decided what you would like –” when my oldest brother blurted out “We’ll take four of the cheapest.”

That night, feeling fancy proved to be short-lived. If only we’d known then that, one day, Root:1 would bottle that faux-fancy feeling! Root:1 Sauvignon Blanc tastes like summers spent vacationing in the Chilean countryside, and it costs even less than the cod.

I guess even fruit flies like feeling fancy because, with the sun, they came out in droves to share our date night. We had only one defense:







Are you there 2012? It’s me, Jenni

Can someone please remind me how we’re all supposed to die this year? All I know is that, for the past, say, 6 years or so, I’ve experienced an impending sense of doom when hearing of the year “2012.”  I have a vague understanding that something catastrophic happens in December, it has something to do with Mayans and their calendar, and that we’re “all gonna die.” And then there was that John Cusack movie I refuse to see. Not because of John Cusack, but because I get images in my head, obsess over them, and then, as Mike Dooley says, “thoughts become things.” If we’re all dead by December, I squarely want that blame placed on someone other than myself.

I remember when we first brought my son home from the hospital in 2007. I was in that weepy postpartum stage. I had run out of things to cry about, the first being the fact that, one day, my son was going to have to experience middle school (I hope my niece, who is heading to middle school this fall isn’t reading this) because it’s absolutely the worst thing that ever happened to me and, you know, I’ve lost loved ones. With nothing more to cry about, I had to cry about the fact that my little boy would only be 5-years-old when…whatever terrible thing is supposed to happen in 2012…happens. But, hey, no middle school! Silver lining…I guess.

I know a Google search would take care of this, but really…is it an asteroid? A virus?

My stepmother, who is a talented hypnotherapist and knows all about things cosmic, told me a few years ago that the real issue of 2012 doesn’t actually describe the end of the world, but the end of time as we see it. As in, as I understood, the measurement of time. Expression of time. How time is spent. How time is valued.

Based on what I’ve experienced over the past 5 months or so, I’m going to go with this idea. Time and space being relative (thank you, Albert Einstein), it sounds like things are going to get dreamy. Recently, I’ve had several ‘real-life’ experiences that have been so dream-like, I’ve had to ask myself whether or not I was awake (and once I figured out that I was, I could barely stand the urgency of making sure I drank in and memorized every aspect of the moment). Additionally, my dreams have been so realistic that I’ve had to remind myself, once I’ve woken up, that they were just that, dreams. It seems like the line between dreams, whether sleeping or daydreaming, and reality is narrowing, or at least becoming more elastic.  It reminds me of the way I felt when I was a kid, like anything was possible. As if magic was all around me in the form of spirits and faeries, not just in Las Vegas in the form of Criss Angel and David Copperfield (with all due respect).

An abbreviated list of these moments includes:

The morning of my husband’s marathon, just as all the runners were getting ready to form at the start line, a breeze picked up and caused a huge Cottonwood to shed a blizzard of blossoms. My son asked how it could be snowing and sunny at the same time.

My son’s last day of preschool, my husband and I walked him from the park to see his new Elementary School. Church bells were ringing (on a Friday afternoon?).  It made no sense. But it was magic.

An ice cream truck just drove down our street…I heard the music first, then waited for the truck to go by.  As it passed, the driver somehow managed to make eye contact with me through the front window and smile. I bet he didn’t even know he was doing it, he was probably just smiling in this direction. It’s a sunny beautiful Sunday afternoon, people are out mowing their lawns, I can hear the radio playing from the porch next door. All was perfect, but I couldn’t run to get my son, or run out to meet the ice cream truck (due to my broken foot), and it felt like an opportunity lost, until I got that smile.

I admit, I may be giving weight to these moments that they do not necessarily, outwardly, deserve. But that’s pretty much what magic is, perception. And I’d rather live believing 2012 will bring more of these dream-like moments, as opposed to waiting for John Cusack to save me from a Typhoon or something.

Plus, how great would it be to feel like this all the time? Maybe once 2013 rolls around, everyone will notice it’s snowing blossoms, not just the 5-year-olds.


Don’t Tread on Me

I have a friend who just climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. My husband just ran his second marathon, shaving 6 minutes from his previous already speedy time, hitting the Finish Line at 3 hours, 31 minutes.  Not bad for a guy who’s turning 40 on Thursday. My eleven-year-old niece is 3 belts away from being a Black Belt.  I’m surrounded by physical accomplishment, grace and endurance.

As for me?  Apparently I can’t even manage the single step from the kitchen to the patio without fracturing my foot in two places.

But, it’s not all my fault.

Here’s the culprit.  The Mini-Tweet. Oh, sure. Cute, isn’t it? A seemingly innocent toy, abandoned, lying on the patio. In my mind, it wasn’t just lying there. It was lying in wait. Look at it, the knowing look in its eye that says, if you step on me, even in your sensible moccasins, you won’t crush me. Your foot will simply roll over me, twisting your ankle, until you hear a loud crack that, I assure you, will not be me.

The loud crack was, as it turned out, my 5th metatarsal.

It didn’t help that I was holding a tray of four squash starts that I was heading outside to plant. When I twisted my ankle, I also instinctively twisted my body in some bizarre pirouette that managed to save the squash plants but left me unable to walk or drive for the next 6 weeks.

My mom came over later that day to, among many other things she took care of for me and will probably be taking care of for me for said 6 weeks, plant my squash.  They are doing great.  Flourishing, in fact, as my foot swells to the size of a smallish pumpkin and, color-wise, looks like the feet that peek out from under the white blankets in all those mortuary scenes on CSI. She asked my husband in hushed tones if the accident had ‘anything to do with alcohol.’ I wish! That would be a better story, and give some explanation to my inexplicable clumsiness. Not to mention the fact that ‘comfortably numb’ would have been a far preferable state at the time to ‘painfully aware.’

One silver-lining (and I tell you, I am searching desperately for them…they have to be there somewhere) was meeting EMT Charles who, while wrapping my foot at the ER, told me incredible, delightful and disgusting tales from the ER to distract me from the pain. He recently began posting some of these in blog form, so others can be similarly delighted and disgusted (and at times, moved). Check them out.

So, this will be the summer of figuring out what I’m good for when I can’t do all the things I normally do. My mom will drive my son to his piano lessons.  My husband will mow the lawn. I’ve already had to use the Little Rascal at Trader Joe’s, which was simultaneously fun and embarrassing (I was disappointed in the ‘horn,’ which turned out to be a tiny double-beep that sounded less threatening than a text message alert). I can’t really ask anyone to paint the commissions I have. I think I’ll have to channel my favorite artist to manage that one:

At the urging of my ‘turn the other cheek’ husband, I deleted the litigious letter I initially wrote in a pain-filled Vicodin haze, threatening to sue the makers of Mini-Tweet for haphazardly selling these adorable accidents-waiting-to-happen without including the following warning on the packaging:

Do not leave Mini-Tweet abandoned on the patio.  Mini-Tweet will take you down. Especially if you are a clumsy, spacey writer and/or artist.