Horseshoes & Hand Grenades

Love is like walking through a mine field. You can make it through okay or end up blown to pieces. It’s a dance of will (s)he, won’t (s)he, (s)he loves me, (s)he loves me not. Am I ruining my kid’s life by not allowing her to date until she’s graduated from college? OK – maybe I took creative liberty on that last one but you see where I’m going. We are all put here to love and be loved. A common denominator in everyone’s lives is relationships.

A former boss of mine used to say, “Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.” I absorbed many of these “isms” over several years of working for him and now feel many are poetically apropos for where I find myself on this tour. This one has become a mantra.

Our 10-year-old daughter/equestrian/cerebral maniac responds best to me when I speak to her in horse terms. After several unanswered attempts asking her to take the dog’s harness and leash off, I resort to playing horseshoes to get her attention. “Make sure you untack Jezebel and put her up before you go out to play.” or “Can you be jump crew and take down the course you set up?”. At any time my garage will become a “covered arena” complete with an entire course of skateboard ramps, softball bat & water jug jumps and serpentines for Jezebel’s events. Zoe digs it & has a happy heart when working with animals. Plus, speaking in horse terms is our thing. I think there are two, maybe three, people who speak this language fluently – and that keeps us close to her. Which is crucial for coordinating this chaos positively. For now.

This language will change soon enough into make-up and what shoes go with what outfit, dressing age appropriately and Instagram. This is what I speak with the Jr. High Schooler. I like to add a valley girl twang just for emphasis. If I do it right, I will be rewarded with an “Oh-my-gawd, Mom, You’re SO embarassingah!” (Scoff!) The technology we have to police as parents is exhausting. Social media is going to be a major part of their generations successes and failures. It is written like code into their programming and we best embrace it and learn it so we can teach them to use this tool for good and not evil.

Then there are the bombs that Big D likes to hurl my way without warning. Sneaky, sneaky – very CoD of him. Like, Thursday Night Football. Meeting up with the guys to catch the Seahawks vs Niners game. “Where ya going?” I inquire.
“I dunno – Todd said he wanted to go to Hooters or something like that?”

Or something like that? Like what? Like more naked and with a hint of mint & a side of rhino or big tittied waitresses in short shorts? Why can’t he just shoot straight? When will he learn to not give my over active imagination wiggle room?

He can see through me like a cheap plastic shower curtain. He’s mindful of his breathing and trying not to smirk knowing full well he has just pulled the pin out of the grenade. Dramatic pause…I can’t hide my laughter. “I’m totally cool with that. You know Kaylin was talking about waitressing there.” See what I did there? A true statement, and with a giggle and a twinkle in my eye, I have turned every one of those waitresses into a reflection of our 19yr old daughter. Counter strike.
“Just don’t sample the titty-sprinkles and you’ll be alright.” I lean over and seal my approval with a kiss. He exhales and relaxes. Big D lives to fight another day. That was close!

I sit cross-legged in the middle of our bed as he’s getting ready for his show. We talk about softball coaching strategy, his lack of show shirts and what costume he’ll be wearing for the Adult’s Only Halloween Party we’re going to this weekend. He casually works into the conversation the shows the band has booked in Arizona this February. I can feel my entire body tense, fists clench and nostrils flare – Big D has now casually tossed this grenade over his shoulder and right into my lap. He has roughly 10 seconds before he loses his face in an explosion of razor sharp claws and swear words.
D: “We talked about this”.
V: “I’m sure you have had this conversation in your head but you have never said these words out loud to me.” He thinks he is going to mind-trick me on this one. Energetic stand-off ensues. Big D makes no eye contact and braces for impact. I acquiesce but only because I am calculating the cost of a very large tattoo I will now book for myself in February. “It’s fine. Really. It’s fine.” I purr, twirling a strand of loose curls around my finger and retracting my claws. Kiss of Death.
D: “We talked about it”
V: “I was not included in that WE.”
D: “This is FOUR MONTHS NOTICE – I’m sure I told you!”
Convincing, yes. But only to the untrained and this isn’t my first rodeo with Captain Omission. I would recall something like OUT OF STATE gigs. I am chewing the inside of my mouth raw, trying not to crack a smile, singing Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” in my head as a distraction.

You can’t Jedi mind-trick a Jedi, Padawan. Especially a Jedi wearing a crown of snakes.

He drops it. Was it survival instinct or the power of the snake helmet I was wearing? (I’m going as Medusa this year for Halloween and have been donning a viper head-piece at home since I bought the costume. My neighbors look at me like I am insane. Most of the time, they’re right.)

The Art of Doing Nothing (and squeezing in a smallish nap or two)…

Loving, Living, Coordinating – it’s all an art form in some way or another. An individual interpretative dance of sorts. As a whole, it seems like we must be busy doing something – scheduling more chaos, planning predicaments, in order to feel some shred of accomplishment. Before we know it, we are falling victim to our own impossible-to-please self judgements and ill-tempered inside voices. Slowly turning fetal under the self-induced pressure to be productive and in dire need of a nap.

We are like the White Rabbit – hopping from task to task, errand to errand, reciting “I’m late, I’m late” in between heart palpitations and caffeine fixes. Never once stopping to smell the freshly painted roses before the Red Queen called Time lops our head off.

I fall into this rabbit hole often. Tumbling through the pages of paper days filled with lessons, appointments, work schedules, class schedules, ball games, horse shows and pub shows. I fill in the blanks for my family months at a time in advance, referencing two different web sites for Big D and multiple electronic calendars necessary for raising Hell. I have my entire life color coded by family member in my iPhone and on the desk blotter in my office. No matter where I may be on any given day, I am alerted and reminded (to death – it feels like sometimes) as to where I need to be in the next 30 minutes. I awake every morning to an email (from myself – how sick is that?) mapping out each and every stop along this tour, day in and day out.

Every once in a while, I stumble upon a blank square. No scribbles. Empty. Nada.

Of course, my inner nasty nay-sayer perks up to remind me in her cheerful, sarcastic way, “Clearly, you fucked up and forgot to log something in!” I scan my gray matter as I simultaneously swipe through my phones memory in a self-induced sense of panic.

Nothing? Really? A day “off”?

A parade of glittery confetti and streamers float around in my now short-circuiting cranium, the heavens part and angels serenade me in a lovely chorus of Hallelujahs. I double-check to make certain I’m not looking at the wrong square or someone else’s page of paper days. Not a fluke – This is really happening. NOTHING is really happening.

The hyper-active housekeeper in me chimes in, “Great! Now you can do the floors, and deep clean the stove, scrub that fuchsia mystery stain off the counter in the girls’ bathroom and shampoo the carpets.” The creative writer interjects, “After that – you can work on your book and catalog your journals according to chapter and inspirational bits of genius.” The sex kitten purrs, “But before you climb into bed, you really should slather yourself in that brown sugar and honey body scrub, shave your ENTIRE body and give your husband a blow job. You know if you don’t, one of those desperate hookers in the pubs will!” I attempt to hush all the voices with my best Winnie The Pooh impersonation, ” Let’s begin by taking a smallish nap or two.”

As always, after a delicious and well deserved cat-nap, the shame-induced guilt dance begins. Why do we do this? Why do we beat ourselves up for doing nothing? For savouring the nothingness of a much needed, unscheduled day?

The Italians have a phrase, l’arte di non fare niente’. Translated, the art of doing nothing.

This phrase means more than lounging around on your couch watching bad reality TV all day. Although, if that’s what you want to do, do it! Remember, there’s no judgement here. This art form is about doing something, ONE thing, simply for the pleasure of doing that ONE thing. Carve out time to do nothing in the form of a two hour window during the week or once a month, all day long. Whether it is a twenty-minute nap in the car while waiting to fetch your up-and-coming over achiever from a lesson or enjoying a glass (or three) of wine after the day has wound down to a dull roar, after some time the nothings amount to something.

These perceived insignificant, unproductive blank spaces in a society of Go-Getters are just as important as making sure our children live up to their potential and our spouses slumber in a sex-induced, sedated state at night. These undefined, zero calorie sweet treats are crucial for those of us that find ourselves juggling fifteen different things while running in place on a treadmill to shed that last 10 pounds. Blank squares are imperative to our survival and success as rock wives to be able to stop, catch our breath and not feel those twinges of guilt stab us in the side, chipping away at our self-esteem and self-worth.

If something’s going to stab me in the side, it better be a tattoo needle. I am well over-due for some permanent art and the catharsis of an all day ink session. I had better go fill in a square for that right now. In the meantime, take a few minutes to flip through your pages of days and make sure you have left some blank squares. After all, you work hard. Don’t you think you deserve a huge helping of nothing?

Horns Up, Lovers.

Laundry, (White)Lies and Lighter Fluid

It’s dirty. Mine is anyway. Laundry is what I do nights Big D is playing in pubs until 2am. It’s a zen rock garden chore. There has always been something calming about the process for me. The repetition. The smell of clean clothes. It’s one of my favorite tasks on our divide-and-conquer list of chores necessary to keep this show on schedule.

Laundry for me is more than piles in the hallway separated by color and water temperature. Clothes are sorted by texture, family member and purpose. There are show clothes and work clothes. Horseback riding clothes and softball/gym clothes. I am completely OCD about it and cringe when someone fucks up the chi and washes jeans with tee shirts in the same load.

I have removed everything from American Girl doll accessories to hair elastics and bobby pins from pockets. Fished candy wrappers, guitar picks and lip gloss from the recesses of the dryer bin. One time I pulled a phone number from my husband’s pocket. Then I blacked out.

Maintaining one’s balance as a rock wife takes a certain amount of investigative skills. My private dick senses kicked into hyper-overdrive.

Whose writing is this? Who is Roma? What area code is 818?

The voices in my head debated back and forth between “Kill him!” and “Certainly there’s a perfectly logical explanation for this.” I grabbed my phone and searched what cities fell under the 818 area code. I knew well what the answer was but I was desperate, hoping to prove myself wrong. I frantically scanned the fragmented parts of my grey matter trying to piece together where he had been the past week, both for work and the band. He played in Santa Monica last and this was a “show” load that had the shorts he was wearing that night in it. So much for having a zen moment.

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me!” I mumbled under my breath. So I walked into our bedroom, crumpled paper in hand, and did what any perfectly sane wife would do when she finds another woman’s phone number in her husband’s pocket.

I set it on fire.

If I kept this slip of paper as evidence the psychotic bitch stalker personality would take over. I would not only call the number but enlist the help of my BFF/PIC to find out where this hose beast lived and pay her a visit. I could tell from the 2nd grade like penmanship that this woman was either incredibly intoxicated when she attempted to earn my husband’s attention or had meat-paw hands with sausage links as fingers. I opted to go with the latter only because it made me laugh.

Several images of death, destruction and smorgasbords flashed through my head as I watched the paper disintegrate into wisps of smoke and flames. I dropped it into the toilet and flushed it, bidding Roma adieu. “Shit ends up at the bottom.” I hissed and went back to reclaim my zen. I suppose I can’t blame a girl for trying.

D and I talked calmly (I swear!) about it later that day. He claims he has no idea who Roma was or how he ended up with her number. “Someone must have slipped it in my pocket when I was at the pub.” he pleaded. I suppose its probable. To this day I am not entirely sure I buy into that theory. I do know that D has always had a tendency to omit details from me. In my heart I understand he does this for my own good and that it does not come from a place of being shady. I chose to let this go and not add any more fuel to the fire.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, you better fucking run!

That was his one.

Backstage Pass – VIP Exclusive

Smart, Sexy, Fierce – In no particular order. That is how I roll. Married for 13 years to a local, Celtic-Punk Rocker and coordinator of chaos to our three daughters, three dogs and two beta fish. After years of hearing “You’re so witty. You should write.” here I am, naked (not literally) and fearless. Exposing all of my trials and tribulations with you. I am a foul-mouthed, painted lady with a sadomasochistic POV. Should you be more of a lily-white sissy la-la, I won’t be offended if you redirect yourself now. This is not the guide you are looking for. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

To be a Rock Wife, one does not have to be married to a rock musician. One must merely be the force that holds it all together. The rock. The fixed asset. The comfortable chair. The warm body – you get it. By the way, if you feel you resonate with more of the latter, please log off now, schedule an appointment with your hairdresser immediately and get in touch with your inner sex kitten STAT! I’ll be here when you get back and you and your husband can thank me later.

I am fortunate enough to have married a man who can not only handle the many states of my insanity, but also rocks the shit out of a bass guitar and looks damn sexy doing it. I mentally divorce him every other day for some insignificant and completely fabricated reason or another and I tend to pick fights with him, but mostly because the make up sex is mind-blowing! No one knows me as well as he does and in my ice-cold, black, heart no one can love me like he does. Madly, passionately and without reservation. So what if I have to reserve a date night three months in advance due to his band’s schedule. He’s living his dream and I am happy to stand front row, tits out (again, not literally), and watch him be the Rock Star he is.

Coordinating chaos (AKA parenting) has been my biggest challenge. I find a wicked sense of humor, an ability to improvise on the fly and a few (ok – several over the duration of many child-rearing years) shots of whiskey essential for good, solid parenting. With my first-born (now 19 years old) I read every “What to Expect” guide published. I consulted at least three different sources for any topic I was second guessing myself on. I phoned my mother, grandmother and sisters before making a decision. Every hair on her head was combed and in place, her outfits perfectly coordinated and her backpack stylishly accessorized to go with her patent leather mini doc martens. By the time our third daughter came along, we were fine with leaving the house with her dressed as a dragon wearing two different shoes. “Whatever works for you, Babe – Just get in the (damn) car!” Each one of our daughters required a different approach and I am convinced my multiple personalities were key in cracking this code. Despite who people perceive us to be, our two youngest still get rave reviews from each of their teachers and the oldest is a full-time college student, part-time employee and intern as a budding graphic designer. No juevie stints, no expulsions from school for profanity or fighting or stealing – just intelligent, polite, well-rounded, super cool kids. So far. Knock on wood! Pretty alright for the guy with a mohawk and his tattooed, potty mouthed wife!

I hope this guide can serve as a “How To” or a “What Not To Do”. You can print it out, roll it up and smoke it if that’s what blows your skirt up, although I don’t recommend it. It can be a validation for those of you that feel like you were not cut out for any of this “til death do us part” or “motherhood is the best job ever” bullshit that’s force-fed to us every way we turn or it can be somewhere you go to sip your coffee and have a giggle at my expense. I’m winging it – throwing it against the wall to see if it sticks. If it doesn’t one of the dogs will get to it before I clean it up anyway.

Hope you enjoy the show.

Horns Up, Lovers!
V.

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