Underneath the Driver’s Seat of the Mini-Van

…roosts a treasure trove of random crap: gum wrappers, quarters I could’ve used for the meter, water bottles, Cheerios, plastic doohickies, tupperware containers of goldfish crackers, ex-boyfriends (now shriveled and woebegone, embodiments of life without me).

This post is just that: a heap of random crap that I can’t be bothered to clean up. See it’s my Spring Break week, which means my five remaining brain cells are off duty. They’re in the Dominican Republic, lying on cabana chairs, sipping Trujillo Wallbangers, leaving behind only the shell that is my body.

Here’s what my body has been occupied with this week:

1) Going on walks and hikes with Groomeo, which we can do since THE KIDS AREN’T ON SPRING BREAK THIS WEEK LIKE WE ARE. And that’s the best invention ever. Three times now, Groom and I have completed sentences to each other in something resembling conversatin’. I even learned his middle name and that he reads the newspaper!

Speaking of Groomie, and typing about him feels like speaking about him since it all comes back to the voices in my head, he just had his final follow-up appointment after starring, against his will, in the reality show called Vasectomies Gone Wild. Since His Nibs had been advised not to do any impactful exercise until the swelling goes down–and since, almost seven weeks out, the swelling isn’t entirely down (Sometimes we play a little coochicoo game where I scratch him behind his ears and ask in an overbearingly syrupy voice, “Who has a testicle the size of a chicken’s egg? Who has a testicle the size of a chicken’s egg?”)–well, he hasn’t been running and has missed that outlet dearly. Thank heavens he still has the drink.

At any rate, the urologist, who again complimented Groom on the “impressive” hematoma he brought into the ER back in January, says it will probably be another two months before the swelling finally abates (what better time than now for him to join the ballet and capitalize on those assets, I ask you?), if it does at all. Ever. As in, he also noted that the one chicken-egg testicle could stay that way permanently, dismissing it with a, “You might never hang the same way again.” If that’s the case, I think Groom should start walking with a cane–or maybe pushing parts of himself in a wheelbarrow–so that he can explain to everyone who inquires that he has to because he’s so prodigiously hung.

On the one side.

In fact, in addition to us going for walks this week, we also went to yoga for the first time in eons, and His Groomishness actually couldn’t do Cobra because of his crazy man hump.

This isn’t Groom. It’s a guy trying to find his missing contact lens. It just so happens he’s using cobra pose to hoover the room as he searches.

2) During this Spring Break, my ears have been very busy listening to Gary Paulsen’s HATCHET. As much as possible, we listen to books on CD whenever we’re in the car, and I love that Niblet is old enough now that we can listen to YA fiction. Last month, we listened to MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN, which I hadn’t read since I was about 10. Now we’ve been listening to HATCHET, another tale of wilderness survival, and pretty much any time we get home, Paco and I end up sitting in the car for an extra ten minutes, just to hear more. I love hearing about a shivering 13-year-old boy who eats turtle eggs to stay alive, especially when I’m snug in a parka and heated car, my belly full of granola and yogurt.

3) My full belly has also been warm because I’ve recently tapped into the glory that is the sweater coat. Thinking that one had to be either tragically raggedy or extremely well-groomed to pull off such a garment, I’ve always avoided them. However, I grabbed one off the rack a few weeks ago, my attention snared by the 80% off price tag, and now I’m addicted. I went back to the store last week and dove into the clearance racks again, emerging, tousled and breathless, with two more in my arms. (Incidentally, doesn’t this sound rather like some women in their quest for multiple babies in these modern times?)

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t necessarily think I’m rocking the sweater coat look. I haven’t actually worn one in public. But in our 56 degree house, I am, for perhaps the first time in months, warm. I love my sweater coats so much that sometimes I lick them when no one’s looking.

This isn’t me. This is a mannequin trying to find its missing contact lens.

4) Because even a billowy sweater coat can’t cover every sin (Hey, don’t you want to start yowling “I Have a Coat Of Many Colors” from JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT right about here? Especially if you’re singing it as though you’re Donny Osmond when he starred in the touring production and was feeling a little bit Fabio but not even a little bit rock ‘n roll?)

…so, yea, okay, since my sweater coats don’t provide complete coverage, I’m using a food journal and actually tracking every bite that goes into my mouth. The point is to get a little bit more aware of the nutrional value of everything I’m eating so that I can shove myself towards better choices.

The truth is, though, that food journals should just be entitled PATHWAYS TO DEPRESSION because pretty much, you can eat 5 strawberries and 4 celery sticks and be at 1,500 calories. Food journals are high-glycemic suck on a rice cake.

5) This week off of work has also been devoted to lining up large expenditures. After many agonizing years, members of my family are just starting to get some of the inheritance money from my grandma and dad’s estates. To say it’s a long story would be like saying Paula Abdul has a little bit of a problem when it comes to picking outfits.

Clearly, Paula is missing both of her contact lenses and cannot see her reflection in the mirror.

At any rate, we are experiencing–gasp!!–an influx of some money, and so this week has been devoted to lining up roofers to replace the moss-covered shingles; to scouting out our first-ever non-hand-me-down couch (oooh, and also a chaise lounge, I hope, if we can make it fit…but then I’ll need a smoking jacket, right? Then I’ll need a pipe and some scotch and an ingenue to seduce and then and then and then…); to meeting with a design/build team about remodeling our kitchen. As it turns out, inheritances, like salaries and the love of a good man, never stretch as far as you’d hope.

This is not the chaise lounge we’re considering. It’s just a chaise lounge that’s looking for its missing monocle.

6) Instead of staring at students and online classes this week, my eyes have been peering into lightweight fiction, the kind that doesn’t require my five vacationing brain cells. Specifically, I read OUT-TAKES FROM A MARRIAGE by Ann Leary, and it was only when I was halfway through that I suddenly realized Ann Leary is the wife of Denis Leary, comedian and star of tv’s firefighter drama RESCUE ME. Her contract with Random House is unrelated to that fact, I’m sure.

Just like Kevin Federline’s rapping success wasn’t at all dependent on his wife’s clout. And how Matthew McConaughey’s girlfriend is a really talented purse designer.

I’ve also been reading Candace Bushnell’s new book, ONE FIFTH AVENUE, and have found myself taken aback that one of the characters in it is a young woman who moved to New York City because she loves SEX AND THE CITY and wants to be Carrie Bradshaw and, well, I kind of have to holler at Candace Bushnell, “Can you DO that? Can you write a book like SEX AND THE CITY and then, after it’s a big success, write another book in which the characters are motivated by the iconic series you spawned? Really? You CAN?”

I dunno. But I am pretty sure that if even three of my brain cells come back from the DR alive, I’m going to have to lay off the chick lit.

7) Lastly, and certainly most attractively, I’ve been fighting off another flare up of the damn ringworm that has built a beach on one my hands. The patch is consistently there, but every three weeks or so, it gets bumps on it and becomes crazymaking itchy. So right now I’m trying everything at once: an anti-fungal cream, Head and Shoulders shampoo (the active ingredient of which fights off all kinds of tinea), and wild spritzes of fast-actin’ Tinactin.

Crunk it, but nothing’s helping.

The good news about living in Minnesota, though, is that any itch that plagues you during Spring Break is overshadowed by the lower back pain from shoveling.




25 responses to “Underneath the Driver’s Seat of the Mini-Van”

  1. Shania Avatar

    Wow. What a coincidence! I too keep shriveled and woebegone exes under the bed. It’s close enough to under the car seat to count.

  2. kmkat Avatar

    Poor Groomeo. Excellent plan about the ballet, though.

  3. ArtSparker Avatar

    Makes me want to quote Dorothy Parker:
    Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
    A medley of extemporanea,
    And love is a thing that can never go wrong,
    And I am Marie of Rumania.

  4. Pam Avatar

    Duh…why didn’t I remember Duluth was in Minnesota – I’ve been to Minnesota in my twenties! Delighted by the snow there,but then I didn’t have to shovel it. Thank you so much for your beautiful comment on my blog – it meant a lot. This was an excellent post about many things.Was wondering how Groomeo was going – continuing wishes for good luck with everything, including enjoying that handy inheritance at last.xx

  5. Kylie w Warszawie Avatar
    Kylie w Warszawie

    Spring Break for us actually falls in April, the week after Easter. Which makes SO MUCH more sense than Spring break when it isn’t even technically spring yet!

    I enjoy random capItaliZation. Thank YoU for aSking.

  6. Shieldmaiden96 Avatar

    I promise I was paying close attention to the post at hand and that I’ll comment again about the post later on, like, when I finish reading it, but I was completely derailed by the Joseph picture. Is that Joan Collins as Potiphar’s wife?

  7. Jazz Avatar

    5) you don’t need a smoking jacket with the chaise. Since you’re a GIRL (as evidenced by the bad chick lit) you get to wear a marabou trimmed dressing gown and mules and lounge around eating bonbons. Course, that’d sorta defeat the purpose of your food diary, but the chaise is worth that sacrifice.

  8. furiousBall Avatar

    “His Groomishness actually couldn’t do Cobra because of his crazy man hump.”

    i struggle with this too. folks will say, “oh just do the Silence of the Lambs tuck”… nay, nay i say – you do not know the power of the my humps. my humps. my crazy manly humps.

  9. the cubicle's backporch Avatar
    the cubicle’s backporch

    I didn’t know Candace Bushnell had another book out. Have you read “Trading Up”? That was a good one.

    It does seem sort of “Look how successful” I am for her to have a character who moves to the city b/c of Sex and the City.

  10. Pearl Avatar

    Now how did I get by without reading you???

    You are so funny. We should be friends. 🙂

    Love your writing. I’ll be back!


    p.s. I was born in Duluth. Wheeeee!

  11. Becky Cazares Avatar
    Becky Cazares

    Oooh, I haven’t finished reading yet (had to take a breathing break from the LOL parts!), but had to note that I’ve started listening to books on CD, too, whenever I’m in the car. Beats talk radio and tends to keep my brain “school-ready” a bit better than anything else has. Tend to miss chunks while daydreaming or dodging pedestrians, but most of it does sink in. Haven’t done fiction yet, just Economics-related stuff so far.

  12. citizen of the world Avatar
    citizen of the world

    “any itch that plagues you during Spring Break is overshadowed by the lower back pain from shoveling.”

    That’s the good news about about living in Minnesota?? Yeesh.

    And I believe Paula is missing more than her contacts.

  13. chelle Avatar

    egads the crazy man hump (I just wanted to type that) prevented him from the cobra!>>??

    What a spring break you are having!

  14. Minnesota Matron Avatar
    Minnesota Matron

    Your comment on my blog made me want to throw a few punches. I know how you’re feeling tonight. XO XO Mary

  15. Jeni Avatar

    OMG, girl! You had me chuckling from beginning to end of this post. I loved the “Vasectomies Gone Wild” reference followed by his maybe never being able to have ’em hang the same way again. Just too darned funny and I’m sorry that I’m laughing this much at his misfortune but gee, sometimes the only way to recover from something is to make fun of it too, ya know!

    Now, that chaise -if you got one of ’em, then groomeo could wear the smoking jacket, have the came and a monocle too and look completely at home in a scenario like that. Provided of course that he has a veddy, veddy British accent.

  16. flutter Avatar

    crap, I just dropped my contact!

  17. Midlife Jobhunter Avatar
    Midlife Jobhunter

    Perfect post for a Saturday afternoon group of giggles, if I may be alliterate. I used to let my dog into the van to eat up all the “extras” left by my kids. Have to say, even the dog kept his distance in later years when it started smelling like a locker room. And I loved Hatchet! Read it to each boy.

  18. Fragrant Liar Avatar
    Fragrant Liar

    Poor Groomeo’s testes. I just can’t even imagine the discomfort you must be feeling about not getting any until the egglet has deflated. Oh, and I’m sorry Groom’s having to experience it too.

    You have been very busy this week. What’s it going to be like next week when the kids are on spring break? Hmmm?

    I like the sweater coats too, but they stretch out where my butt sits on them, and that’s just not attractive — Oh, oh, oh! Wait! Don’t anybody move! I’ve lost a contact!

  19. yinyang Avatar

    Judging from this post, people (and objects) would be better off if they wore glasses instead of contacts.

  20. Teresa Avatar

    His vasectomy…your ringworm…all in one post. I gotta say, it gives me the squeams. Speaking of which, do you ever hear from Diana of Piffle anymore? She was good at sqeamish scenarios from the Dr.’s office. I suppose though, I could email her.

  21. lime Avatar

    don’t all exes deserve to be kept shriveled and under a car seat along with some kid snacks that have grown hair?

    i am thinking the sweater coat is a whole lot better a fashion statement than the snuggie and would be easier than the way i shuffle around with my favorite wool blanket.

    oh and let’s compare itchy bits….”i’ve got a lovely bunch of eczema…here is it all creeping up my leg”….sing it with me….

  22. movin' down the road Avatar
    movin’ down the road

    I know the words to every single “Joseph” song. Just so you know. I was in the play when I was in school. AND I saw it with David Cassidy’s brother on stage in Boston a few years ago. HAWT

  23. heartinsanfrancisco Avatar

    I’m kind of blown away by the nerviness of Candace Bushnell, too. There must be a word for that particular kind of egomania.

    So sorry that Groom is still suffering. The gift that keeps on giving… but hope you guys enjoy your Spring Break anyway. It’s encouraging to hear of someone with money flowing IN, for a change. You always were a terrific role model.

    I hope you find your contacts soon.

  24. Prefers Her Fantasy Life Avatar
    Prefers Her Fantasy Life

    I agree with Pearl–you’re one funny writer. And you like My Wilco!!! Tell me you’re a beer drinker, too.


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