Wednesday, April 20, 2011
We recently joined the Y. This has changed my average day because there is a child watch room. Yes, for an hour a day, I get to workout while someone else keeps the kids alive. I don't have to get up before the garbagemen to run. I have discovered water aerobics along with all the retired teachers in my hometown. I don't know why everyone thinks it is only for people with arthritis. It seems to me if you workout in the water as opposed to the gym in your thirties you could keep from getting the arthritis in the first place. Let's be proactive, people.
Anyway, there is a flaw in my plan. That flaw manifested itself in the form of a stocky, curl-haired toddler around whom my world revolves for the other twenty-three hours of the day. CJ does not appreciate my hour as he is not spending it with me. The room full of toys and kids and snacks and nice women who love his curls and dimples is no substitute for his mother who may or may not cry because he kicks her when she tries to change his diaper. So most days I get a report that he would be OK for a while then get fussy and cry and need comfort. Sometimes he would go to Leila for a hug which everyone thinks is really sweet. True it is. It would be nicer if he didn't need comfort at all. The staff in the child watch room changes daily, so some handle it better than others. Some say he was really fine. Others say we almost came and got you. But all of them understand how important an hour it is, and no one has ever come and got me out of my class or the gym. So the level of guilt I felt was not too bad. Oh, wait. I should explain something here. You are probably thinking I feel bad that my son is so upset. OK, that is never good, but really, he's fine about two seconds after I walk in the door. By the time we get to the car, he's giddy. No, I feel guilty that other people have to deal with my fussy kid. I have THAT kid. The kid they probably all hate to see coming. That is what I am afraid of and where the guilt bubble originates. This is what keeps my eye on the door waiting for the interruption that never comes because all the babysitters feel sorry for the mom with two kids seven months apart.
Then came Tuesday. Tuesday, CJ had a great day! He didn't fuss at all. Huzzah! Freedom was in my grasp. So when I dropped him off today, I felt better. Maybe I would get a class in without looking at the door. Then he melted down before I even shut the door. It was not a great day. It may have been his worst yet. One step forward and all that.
Maybe Monday. I may have guilt, but I also have hope.
God stood with his hands clasped behind his back, watching the scene that was playing across his office window. He gave a long sigh and the image disappeared. God closed his eyes briefly then opened them, trying to let the beautiful visage of clouds and sky that had replaced the violent escapades calm his nerves. His shoulders slumped. It hadn’t worked. Rubbing his temples he said out loud, “Peter, could you please send Adam and Eve along with Lassie the First to my office, please?”
“Of course, sir,” Peter’s efficient voice replied.
For the hundredth googolplex time, God wondered why he had created humans. Zox made having sentient beings in his universe look like so much fun. Zox, Fum, Tob, Rog, and God had spent hours watching their antics and laughing. And Zox had more populated planets than even he could count. God could barely handle the one. He knew it made him Infinity’s joke, but really. No one had bothered to explain independent thought and free will to him. Zox just snorted and told him he should have gone for his masters in Deitism before populating his world. He said they spent a millennium alone on creating pre-destination and fate. To give himself some credit, God had been in the middle of a correspondence course and had really only created Adam and Eve as a model for what he was reading. It wasn’t his fault if while he took a nap between cramming sessions they had gone and eaten a node from one of the Earth’s computer antennas. He had never even fathomed that they might find it eatable. Another lesson he had apparently not reached in his course, sentient beings will try anything once. He had had to change his whole ecosystem after that. Zox still got a kick out of having computer parts delivered by the pizza guy.
Once that “apple” as Adam and Eve had coined it (language was another thing that had gotten out of hand) had been damaged, the whole system had gotten skewed. The computer started spewing out a whole history for the planet complete with natural disasters, genocides, and TV evangelists. At first God was just annoyed. It looked like it was going to take a lot of programming to undo the problem, but there was too much. Change one line of code, and everything fell apart. So he had tried a new hard drive, and the damned system wouldn’t recognize it. Finally, he had gone to the Central Omniscient Beings Office for help. They had dumped a huge ancient book in his lap. It was the Laws of Creation. The clerk had highlighted one subparagraph on the last page for him. It stated, “Once an Omniscient Being has decided to become a deity and create a planet that includes sentient life, said life can not be destroy. It would damage the structure of the multi-universes and all that. Plus, it’s really messy. The planet and its contents must play out the original course laid out until its conclusion. Such actions will be closely monitored and regularly audited by the COBC.”
So God was stuck with the Earth and the damned smart yet determined-to-be-ignorant Homo Sapiens. He had tried to make things better. He had bent the rules and tweaked history a little and inserted a nice and enthusiastic carpenter to try and explain to everyone how much better the world would be if everyone lightened up and loved each other more. The death toll from that had been so large that the COBC police force had come along asking questions about his intentions for this small planet. They had threatened an audit of his galactic taxes to make sure he wasn’t trying to somehow use his planet for fraud.
And each time he tried to make things better, something else was made even worse. The trials over religion verse evolution had given God the worst headaches. Therefore he had to content himself with just keeping things on track until the end of what his humans called "time". (It was their problem if they wanted to make that time as miserable as possible.) With all of that free thought and whatnot, they kept trying to screw it up themselves and make changes for, what they were always sure, was the better.
God had done one thing right. He had created Heaven. Thankfully he had read the chapter on mortality before making Adam and Eve. So each time one of those things stopped breathing, the computer grabbed the essential signal, or “soul”, and put it into service helping to keep everything running smoothly. Adam and Eve had been the first in this mission, as they were the first in everything. And they were among the best, along with Lassie the First. He should have stopped when he had created the dog, God thought, not for the first time. The dolphins were OK too. Animals often made the best recruits. Their sense of right and wrong was much less complicated. Anything based on smell usually was.
* * *
As these thoughts ran through God’s head, Adam and Eve and Lassie were in an elevator on their way to his office, as ordered. Eve smoothed her skirt a bit, even though it wasn’t wrinkled. There were no wrinkles in Heaven. That did not pertain to noses though, and she wrinkled hers as Adam light up a cigarette. Lassie thumped her agreement to Eve.
“Must you?” She asked Adam.
“Well, it’s not like it is going to kill me, is it?” He replied threw a stream of smoke. He slipped his lighter back into the inside pocket of his flannel double-breasted, navy blue, pin striped suit jacket. If there was one thing Adam and Eve were, it was well dressed. Lassie figured it was a subconscious reaction to running around in fig leaves for a lifetime. Along with the impeccably tailored suit (Adam could talk Versace into anything) his wingtips were shined to within an inch of their lives. Eve had on a suit as well, but it was gray silk, also highly tailored without any flare. She had on chunky blue heels, and her still very long light brown hair was pulled into an artful bun at the nap of her neck. Eve always favored the look of the forties.
“You would think he would get rid of the smell, though.”
Adam gave her a sidelong glance and a crooked grin. “You would think. Suits me though. It covers up the smell of his office. I hate going up there.”
“You need to get over it already,” Eve replied.
“Look, I haven’t eaten an apple in, what, well, since The Apple, and just the smell of them is enough to put me in a foul mood.”
“It’s not like he makes his office smell that way on purpose. It’s the computer system. You just smoke to annoy him.”
Adam took a long draw on the cigarette and considered Eve’s comment. “True, I suppose. But do you really think it was necessary to make his desk out of The Tree?”
Eve frowned a little and said, “Well, I suppose even God needs a bit of old fashioned vengeance therapy. It could have been worse. We could be his dining room centerpieces instead of the snake.”
Adam just humphed in reply. Lassie felt a headache coming on. This was the usual reaction to working with humans. She rubbed up against Eve’s leg, and Eve reached down and scratched behind Lassie’s large, pointed eyes. That was better. They were good for some pampering at least.
The elevator door opened and the original couple looked out into God’s reception lobby. The floors and wall were all clear, except the right side where there was a door and opaque brown wall, giving the occupants a spectacular view of the clouds and sky of Heaven. There were several people sitting around in the brightly colored overstuffed chairs that sat around the perimeter of the perfectly circular room, reading any number of magazines. Straight ahead of the elevator was a large brown lacquered desk where Peter stay with his back to the room, looking out of the wall behind him. Lassie moved to the right and lay down in front of the door to God’s office. Eve and Adam walked to the front of Peter’s desk. They glanced out of the window to see what had the usually diligent Peter distracted. There was a volleyball game going on outside. In Heaven, this was always an interesting sport, as the players would play with wings attached. It made for some very exciting spikes. Adam cleared his throat. Peter jumped and turned quickly around.
“Oh, sorry about that,” he said as he shuffled some papers around his desk. “This is a big game. Gabriel and I have a bet on.”
“Really? Do tell,” Adam said.
Peter went slightly pink and cleared his throat. “Well if the gold halos win, I do as well. Gab’s got his bet on the silvers.”
“And what, pray tell, does the winner get?”
At this Peter blushed even more and cleared his throat. “The winner gets to be god.”
As seriously as he got, Adam replied, “Don’t we have more than enough of those around here?”
“Oh, not God, but god,” Peter said in a rush. “Whoever wins gets to go down to Earth and put on the show next time some fanatic gets into an overzealous and/or drunken state. I really hope I win, because I really want to outdo Gab’s Joseph Smith performance. It’s legendary.”
“It should be,” Eve said. “It’s caused enough problems.”
“Yes, well, be that as it may…you are, naturally, expected.” And with that Peter went back to the papers on his desk. “Mr. Nixon, I will now hear your appeal for entrance into Heaven. Do you have all the necessary paperwork?”
* * *
And just when I didn't think hotel sex could get better, we became parents.
All the cliches about parenthood and sex are pretty much true. The presents of children in a household do not make for much time or energy for the romance. So hotel sex? Yeah, it takes on a whole new level of fun. It can become the priority it once was. There is no chance of the cockblocking screams from the nursery. There will be the chance to sleep before and/or after. We could have morning sex again! And then go back to sleep!
It is easy to lose the importance of sex in a relationship when it leads to the existence of beings who are way more needy than either of the parents are. Hotel rooms are a great way to remind ourselves.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Yes, I have dear friends in this world, some I am related to even, to whom I will always turn in hard times while I will always seek them first to share the good stuff. (This list includes John, who is now blogging at daddyrunsalot.com. Go check his writing out.) Seeing how none of them are home all day like me, I end up talking to a lot of voicemails. So I'll tweet something and/or post it on Facebook. And within minutes, people I have never met or some I haven't seen in a while, are there with their support or just joy in sharing in my happiness. It is totally awesome and can make a hard day easier or a good day better. I think that deserves more than a smirk and an eyeroll.
Ultimately, we want the same thing from any relationship we are in, understanding. We want the people around us to understand what we need, what we like, what we want. We like them to know when to listen and just sympathize or when we really need some advice and help. We like to make them laugh and have them make us laugh. We want to be close to other people. That doesn't always have to be physical proximity. "Luminous beings are we. Not this crude matter." The soul travels even in cyberspace.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
We joined the Y as a family. John's swimming to train for an Iron Man, and we're taking the kids for parent/child swimming lessons. So there are lots of benefits to a membership. One of them is childcare while I workout. No longer do I have to get up hours before the sun to run. There are people, usually other moms, who care for my children while I workout. Huzzah!
I have been to the Y twice and discovered that I like water workouts. Somehow I think they have gotten a cheesy reputation, maybe because the average age of participants seems to be 70 (Good for them, I say.). But I have found both of my classes to be full body conditioning and cardio. I am sore in the right muscles afterward, and my heart rate was up. And no sweat! Well, yes, sweat, but hey, I'm wet anyway. It is totally less gross.
The side benefit is what really has me hooked. In some of the exercises, my ears go underwater while my face stays out. Suddenly the world is muffled, not just the physical one around me, but the one in my head as well. Somehow it seems to be connected to my auditory sense just like physical hearing is. For those moments, I can think about what I want to think about and not what I need to think about. I think we can all agree that this is platinum. It's not something we get to do a lot in the world of adult responsibility. And it's not about shutting my brain off and not thinking. That's something else, and something I am not good at and really don't need. Part of me stays focused on my body, making my muscles optimize every movement, feeling my heart pump to help them. Then the other part stops worrying about how fussy the kids are in the childcare room and what chores I have on my list, and just thinks about stuff. Writing this blog, working on some fiction I will get to again someday, movies, tv, books, anything I want. Superficial is OK. Deep is OK. But need goes away. Want stays.
Then my thirty seconds are up, and we are on to the next thing which might not be as cocooning, and that's fine. I find I don't need a lot of these moments. As much as adult responsibility can be heavy and wearing, I chose it because it is absolutely the most fulfilling. There is nothing I will do in my life that will make me as joyful and content as being a wife and mother and dog and cat owner and daughter and big sister. These roles fulfill these needs because of how important and meaningful they are. They are the big moments that need me as much as I need them. But I like my little moments of want too. They make me want the need.