Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Part Time Model

He flashed her one of his killer smiles, his upper lip slightly higher on one side, exposing an almost imperceptible chip in his perfectly aligned front teeth. Then, with a subtleness that would leave her wondering if it had really happened, he winked one long lashed eye, before turning to grasp the hand of the woman he had come in with.

Flirting wasn't part of his vocabulary, at least not yet. There was no ulterior motive behind his actions, after all, he would never leave the woman he was with. It was charm. Not that he possessed, but that possessed him. He was born with it and it exuded him like an expensive perfume - just enough to scintillate the senses but never overpowering. A lingering sensation that he was altogether unaware of.

She hadn't noticed the woman following them as she held his hand tight, weaving their way around the racks of clothing and into the shoe department.

"What's your name?" she asked in a syrupy kind of voice as she sidled up beside the two of them.

"I'm Salem" he responded offering a hand in greeting as he gazed up to her with eyes of molten chocolate.

"He's just so cute!" she exclaimed.

"Thank you " she answered with a tight lipped smile, as if she were responsible for it all.

"Would you consider letting him model in our fashion show?"

And so, this is how he (my mini man of two) became a part-time (or possible one time) model.

We shall see how the story ends. It's this Saturday at Nordstrom if you care to see him strut his stuff.

Charm may only get you so far in life, but so far, it's getting me 15% off in the children's department this Saturday morning!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Lucky Duck

He was anticipating my return, waiting at the door with an expression I couldn't quite decipher. Pride? Excitement? Yes and yes.

"Look Hun...won't these look great here?!

The these that he was referring to are two mounted ducks and the here he directs my stunned gaze to is the front wall of our formal living room.

"Ok...well...maybe...but....", I stammer, trying not to verbally paint myself into a corner.

The ducks had met with their untimely death last fall during a weekend of coastal hunting. They had been recovered, cleaned and stuffed by an expert taxidermist and they now sat perched on pieces of driftwood; their cold glass eyes staring at me without feeling.

"Don't you think maybe they might look more...uh...ummm...appropriate at your office or even the deer lease?" I ask trying to sound encouraging without being too pushy.

"No, they would never last there. It's too hot and dusty."

"But they're already DEAD sweetie- they can't suffer anymore," I say in my most empathetic voice.

I could tell by his deflated body language that was disappointed, maybe even a little hurt by my recommendation. This discussion was taking on the tune of a bad country song with a title something like...My Wife Is Gone But My Ducks Ain't...or...This Ain't Duckin' Fair! I didn't feel good about moving in for the kill when he seemed so vulnerable, but it had to be done. I had to finish the job. Like a hunter putting a wounded animal out of its' misery.

"I really, really, REALLY don't want those hanging in here-they just don't go with the rest of the decor." There, I had administered the lethal dose that would put this discussion to rest with all the swiftness and precision of a sharp shooter. A twinge of guilt bubbled up inside me. I am no friend of PETA. I don't condemn hunting, fishing or circus trainers. I'm more than a little proud to carry a leather handbag and adore the supple, hand-tooled leather on a pair of Michael Kors peep-toe pumps. But these unfortunate fowl with their fixed expressions do nothing to stimulate my artistic senses. Especially here, in the formal living area of my abode.

In my dream house, I would have a special room built just for him. He could do as he pleased there in his sanctuary of testosterone. I imagine that there would be pieces and parts of once living creatures crowding the walls. Trophies brought back from great hunting expeditions, lit by flashing red neon. A pool table centered under a Budweiser-Clydesdale themed light fixture and a urinal in the corner for convenience sake. Vintage Smokey and the Bandit posters will give a visual to the Jerry Reed theme song on continuous play blasting from the coin-operated jukebox on the opposing wall. And a 10 inch thick security door installed to contain the smell of a deep fryer, preventing this and other offensive odors from permeating the rest of the house.

But at the moment, this dream house is a pipe dream. So we do what we must to ensure the future of our 22,995 (but who's counting) days of marriage. We compromise. Our feathered friends will reside at his office and I will keep the title of Interior Decorator. In return for his sacrifice, he is granted unlimited excursions to his make-shift sanctuary of testosterone. He may take his weekly sojourns to Dodge City with his buddies at his leisure. All the while, collecting more relics to one-day adorn the walls of his sanctuary.

The sport of compromise must be practiced and concessions have to be made for a relationship to endure. In this aspect, I am one lucky duck.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Slippin' Away

Oh no, it's happening again. She shakes her head and refocuses on the task at hand. Just finish making the bed, pick up the dirty socks in the corner and oh yeah, don' t forget to set out the chicken to thaw. Bed, socks, chicken...bed, socks, chicken...bed socks, chicken, She repeats out loud to herself. But the voices come again. This time louder and even more saccharine. There's an animal in trouble...We just got a letter....We're going on a trip in our favorite rocket ship...La,la,la la...la,la,la,la..Elmo's World..." Like an experienced diabetic who recognizes the onset of an impending sugar crash, she self diagnoses. A quick check to make sure the TV is off and the children are occupied with crayons and hot wheels reassures her diagnosis. Yep, auditory hallucinations. A sure sign that she is beginning to slip.

In the beginning she thought she might really be loosing it. Terms like clinical and certifiable popped into her head. During the first few weeks of her newborns life she had kept the bedside monitor on the highest setting. She would be Johnny-on-the-Spot if she so much as heard a whimper or unusual interval of breathing; not to mention the stocking-masked cat burglars that where surely out there, ready to snatch the adorable baby and hold her for ransom or sell her on the black market.

She finally came to her senses and begin to trust her 'motherly instincts'. She had read the books during pregnancy, but never really believed that she herself would develop these instincts. She needed proof, something tangible, to reassures her that she was capable of keeping her newborn safe outside the womb. She had yet to realize that the tingly, electrical charge that surged through her body (making her milk come in) was the physical manifestation.

She had asked her own mother, just days after the birth, "I feel so scattered and forgetful, when will I get back to feeling like myself? When will the postpartum symptoms go away?" "You won't ever feel like yourself again-not completely. This is the new you. You get used to it." her mother answered. Now, a mere four years as her new self, she was beginning to accept and recognize the life she was living.

Even the most rewarding and sought after careers have their drawbacks, occupational hazards, and creative burnout, recognized, diagnosed and treated by mental health gurus without stigma or fear of demotion. Major coorperations budget millions to study the direct correlation of productivity and the emotional balance of their employees. Hours, days, even weeks are set aside as necessary 'days-off' to ensure the mental and emotional fitness of a valued employee.

She left the shower running and grabbed a towel as she sprinted across the tile floor. She was sure that the "MOMMMMMY...!!!" cry for help she had heard was real. She envisioned a bloody lip or overturn piece of furniture. But as she stood there wide eyed and dripping, all she observed were two pair of deep-set eyes, without a trace of pain or suffering, smiling up at her.

All was quite on the home-front so she returned to rinse the shampoo from her hair. Great, now I've got the visual hallucinations to accompany me on my little trip into dementia! She thought.

She quickly scribbled a mental prescription for herself as she finished her morning routine: One day of self-directed therapy to be taken ASAP. No Harvard educated psychoanalyst needed. She knew the correct dosage required to bring her back to "sane". She fancied herself sitting at a linen draped table, chilled glass of chardonnay in hand. She would finish the chapter she was reading and lay the book to rest so that she could make astute observations of other patrons. Listening in on the details of last night's date or who was sleeping with who at the office.

No, too extravagant. She could feel the phantom pains of the severed emotional umbilical cord. She mentally scratched out the Rx and wrote out a new one: Physical therapy in the form of Retail Aerobics followed by a Cool Down of Cinematic Appreciation.

She could already feel the lunacy subsiding and the 'normal' drifting back into focus as she planned her upcoming day of treatment.

Moose Coming May 27th!!