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.)


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!


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