Starring Goofus and Gallant


A few days after his surgery, Mr. Jocelyn’s Groom hit the skids emotionally, a not uncommon occurrence as the body detoxifies from all that anesthesia and hospital food. In the face of day after day in bed, with two more weeks before he’s allowed to take a soothing bath, and a month or more before he’s able to exercise, a certain natural depression has set in. I’m sure it doesn’t help that I am the brilliant, glowing delight of his life, my very presence offering up all the balm of Vaseline on a chafing crotch, yet I’ve been busy taking out the compost and recycling and folding heaps of laundry and chauffering the kids to Girl Scouts and karate and teaching classes and making tacos and frittatas…which means I only ever sit down and look him square in the face after 9 p.m.

Sweet Nurse Cherry Ames, but that makes for some long, lonely hours of convalescence for Our Hero.

Fortunately, all it took was the projection of a “Groom Needs Cribbage Companions” bat signal into the night sky, and our troops of friends and family have rallied ‘round his tender frame and swollen package. He’s been telephoned and cribbaged and Quiddlered and Mexican Train dominoed into distraction. All these pitcher-inners have been the highlight of the week for us.
Of course, because I’m a licensed member of Life’s Rich Pageant, I’ve had other highlights:

1) I had one of those crazy-ass hangnails that is painful and long—a real sweater snagger—and, stuck in a situation with no nail clipper, nevertheless managed to use my ferocious incisors to gnaw it off, with only minimal blood loss. Snap.

2) The local microbrewery has just put out its seasonal recipe, an Old Man Winter Warmer Ale, which is essentially a barley wine. It’s artisanal stuff, and I am like the National Endowment for the Arts in my semi-constant, passive/aggressive support of creative efforts. I’ll drink their ale. But only sometimes, when it pleases me. This week, it done gone please me veddy much. Other weeks, I save my support for a crucifix floating in urine.

3) One golden day that I’ll call Wednesday, I ran nearly seven miles on the treadmill at the Y, enjoying every minute and setting a PR for that distance. Of course, I was only able to hit that mark due to my immersion in celebrity gossip mags. Thank you, Brangelina, for keeping your twins out of sight and making the tabloids wonder if you’ve eaten them (slow roasted on a spit makes infants particularly tender). I read that story during mile five, which flew by. Jessica Simpson’s high-waisted jeans eased me through the last crippling quarter mile. All I need to get to the finish line is a size 6 frame packed into size 4 denim.

4) Niblet and I reveled in our first visit of the year to one of my happiest winter diversions: the local pack ice. The lad (who also goes by “Paco” around the house these days) got to use his homemade ice picks and scale Everests of jumbled slabs, until scurvy eventually set in and, after a last-ditch attempt to secure help by leaping across ice floes to Wisconsin, well, we collapsed, but not before scratching out, in an echo of arctic explorer Robert Scott, the final words of “For God’s sake look after our people.”

Of course, since Niblet’s six years old, by “people,” he meant his Star Wars Lego Anikin Skywalker and a host of Playmobil soldiers. Okay, and an Ariel The Mermaid Barbie that he sleeps with but nobody needs to ever ask about, so just shut up already and look after them like he asked in his final letter, unless that’s just too hard for you, Mrs. Poncy-Who-Sits-In-Her-Warm-House-While-Some-Of-Us-Explorers-Risk-Our-Lives-To-Um-Well-Er-Walk-On-Ice.

Despite the dangers, we did have a good afternoon sliding around this junk:

Paco has been wanting a pet. I pointed at that rock and told him I’d gotten him a woolly mammoth at Petco. He totally bought it, and now we have to drive back there every day and drop an offering of 100 pounds of willow and fir boughs into a ginormous doggie bowl.

Just as scurvy threatened to team up with rickets and anemia and end the expedition for good, Niblet and I cleverly resorted to cannibalism, ate each others’ ear lobes as appetizers, and found the steam to drive home.

There, while we broke the freeze off our paws and watched Groom wincingly pack another bag of snow to his manlies,


restrained ourselves

from telling him

in breathless detail


the glory that he’s missing.





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20 responses to “Starring Goofus and Gallant”

  1. Kylie w Warszawie Avatar
    Kylie w Warszawie

    Wow! That ice thing looks really cool! I wish Warsaw had real winter sometimes.

    I love Paco and the wooly mammoth. I didn’t know they sold them at Petco.

    Wooly mammoths. Not Paco.

  2. Em Avatar

    All that ice looks so awesome. And…well…a bit scary!

  3. lime Avatar

    i’ve never seen ice like that up close and personal. i wanna go play on it too!

    hope groomeo is feeling a little better each day.

  4. monica Avatar

    good for you – what groomeo
    doesn’t know can’t hurt him…

  5. heartinsanfrancisco Avatar

    It’s truly heartwarming that you are able to find solace while Groomeo suffers on his pallet. I’m sure your sacrifices are not lost on him.

    The light is incredible in your ice floe pictures. Could you please send me a mastodon when you find one? Preferably female, much gentler.

    Perhaps Brangelina was (were?) unduly influenced by Swift’s “Modest Proposal,” being as how they are so literate and all, and how green of them to grow their own food.

  6. Jeni Avatar

    From crucifixes in urine to woolly mammoths on sale at Petco -boy, you do some leaps about there, don’t you?
    Be darned if that rock doesn’t resemble the mammoth though but I think I’ll try not to think about the crucifix in urine. Somehow, that one just ain’t quite right, ya know. I hope you realize too that since my daughter was floating about the room behind me, doing a teensy bit of cleaning, and I was sitting here reading, giggling, chuckling a good bit, she’s totally convinced that Mom is really over the edge, the mind done gone to fluff for sure! If she only saw what I saw by reading what I read, maybe she’d understand this better. One of these days though, she’ll get it.

  7. rak Avatar

    That looks like risky business!! But so beautiful 🙂 And so cool that you have wooly mamoths where you live!

  8. jess Avatar

    What is this “ice” that you speak of?

  9. Sunflower56 Avatar

    I’m enjoying your blog and snippets of your life and style of writing. The ice photos today are fantastic – that must be Lake Superior? I’m in CA and it was a warm spring-like day today – just not right for Jan 31st! Oh how I wish that it would rain … (wish there were a musical note character to post in front of that last part).

  10. flutter Avatar

    well, how is it possible that I didn’t know that you blog from The North Pole?

  11. Jazz Avatar

    I think Groomeo needs to start blogging cause a) it would keep him busy and b) it would no doubt amuse me to hear(read) his side of the story…

  12. citizen of the world Avatar
    citizen of the world

    Oh. My. Sweet. Lord. YOu know that ice would kill me, don’t you? Glad you folks enjoyed it, though!

  13. Pam Avatar

    Wow Jocelyn-great photos. Had to go back and check on your profile to find out where you’re living – I haven’t seen ice like that.I thought I’d be doing the caretaking role you’ve described, and had been warned about the after- anaesthetic emotions, but luckily husband’s heart surgery was postponed.Love how you keep your pecker up, but maybe that has a different context when used in relation to groomeo. He’s better off with ice,sympathy and good company.I can’t imagine how my husband would be trying to recover in our record heat-wave.Get well soon Groomeo.

  14. Steve Avatar

    Groomeo never reads this, thank heavens, so he’ll never know the secrets of the journey to the undiscovered ice country.

  15. geewits Avatar

    That’s crazy ice! Isn’t that Superman’s secret files or something?

    I hope your husband recovers soundly soon, but more importantly, I hope he doesn’t resent you for the trauma. (It can happen.)

  16. liv Avatar

    I don’t care what nobody says. You talk purtyer than a $20 whore.

  17. ArtSparker Avatar

    I came over from born a girl because you left “Wot Larks” in her comments.

    Is that from “Tom Brown’s schooldays”? I can’t remember, It’s driving me crazy.

    One of those photos has something that looks like the monolith from 2001. But generally…just amazing.

  18. kimber the wolfgrrrl Avatar
    kimber the wolfgrrrl

    Amazing ice! Yes, I think you’re wise not to mention how spectacularific it all is — juxtaposed against endless hours of cribbage, that would just be cruel.

  19. Chantal Avatar

    Those pictures really are cool. Poor Groomeo.

  20. pistols at dawn Avatar
    pistols at dawn

    I looked at the ice and thought, “Wow, that looks like the Fortress of Solitude,” then realized that it’s such references to fictional places from comic-book-themed movies that keep me living in my own Fortress of Solitude.

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