11 December 2007

Over the hills and far away

Cold morning and windy. Remnants of the system that brought some rain over the weekend flit over the sun. There are thunderstorms over the ocean.

My ankle cracks painfully as I put my shoes on. I pull a light running jacket over my tee and venture out, the heavy breeze cutting through my lightweight Adidas pants.

I cannot get warm, even though it's not that cold out: sunny and maybe 50F. I pull the arms of the jacket down over my hands, and I'm off.

Over the hills and far away.

Blame it on "Malignant Narcissism." I am nothing if not consistent in everything, even pace and gait. MalNar happens to pop up on the playlist right at the place where I turn and stay on the flat, or go straight and into the hills. The sheer irony of the moment never fails to strike me. Malignant narcissism, oh yeah.

Home again, four miles later.

The cat and I discuss the relative merit of his consuming a bit of the pork roast that is stewing in the pot of the posole. He makes do with dry kibble instead and retires to sun himself in the middle of my bed.

Time to pick up the kids. I give the posole one last stir and tamp down the pot lid against cat assault.

The son is in a preternaturally good mood. His debate team did very well in the weekend tournament and the kids are still riding the high of success, toting their little trophies around everywhere. They also had a field trip to the Juvenile Detention Center today, and perversely, this made him very happy.

"Mom," he says with tremendous excitement, "the judge reminded me so much of YOU!"

I raise an eyebrow in query.

"He said, 'I am not here to be the friend of these children; I am here to punish them! I do not regret punishing them.' He sounded just like you!"

"Ohhh boy," I breathe. I'm not sure how he manages to make my parenting style sound like I was trained at Guantanamo.

"It was just so cool," he continues to enthuse. "He was just like you. Mom, I LOVE YOU!"

"My Mom," I say to the sky, "Inspiring love through terror."

"Yeah, exactly!" he grins. "It's GREAT."

Dear God.

Send them off to do homework after they have a snack. Time to shred the pork roast. I turn on "Kashmir." Loud. Dance around the kitchen while I collect up instruments for shredding. The cat dances under my feet; he's been on posole watch for the last three hours, and finally! Action.

The daughter appears, bearing math homework.

"Geez, Mommy," she says, putting her hands over her ears,"do you have to listen to the music so loud?"

"Yes," I reply. That's me: torturer, latent teenager.

The spouse calls.

"You've reached the house of the woman who inspires love through terror and whose children complain that she listens to music too loud. Can I help you?"

Choking on laughter, the spouse asks, "Oh my God, what are you listening to?"

"Right now, 'Black Dog.' Next, 'Immigrant Song,'" I tell him.

Always a curiosity. Over the weekend, one of my neighbors was rhapsodizing about my style of dress. "You're so classic," she told me. Perplexing, because she usually sees me in workout clothes. Or, if we're all very unfortunate, first thing in the morning in my pajamas. At the moment, I'm wearing shreds of pork on my jeans. And shrieking to a song about Vikings and threshing oars.

The cat mews hopefully below.

Many is a word that only leaves you guessing
Guessing 'bout a thing you really ought to know
You really ought to know...
I really ought to know...


Go listen to some good music: "Over the Hills and Far Away" from the album Houses of the Holy by Led Zeppelin.

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