Sunday, July 24, 2011

Surviving a heat wave. Or a dirty bomb.

Heat wave hits Washington, DC. Temperatures to reach 103 degrees.

But my apartment is cool. And shady. Mainly because my husband is a master of something he calls, Shade Management. He is so serious about this concept that as I type, he's on the roof blocking our skylight with a blue camping tarp. My son squeals with joy "It's blue in here! Can we leave it like this forever?"

I'm not exaggerating.
Until the heat breaks, I will be living in a bunker-like fortress with a hodgepodge of makeshift window treatments giving my home a certain crack house chic. Or perhaps meth lab circa 1990s. I'll have to ask my decorator friend.

Naked windows let in the view. And the scorching sun. So, he's taped cardboard to one, clipped a beach towel over another and, in the kitchen, stapled one of my favorite sheets to the wall, promising that he didn't put a hole in it. And here I've been living foolishly under the impression that making a hole is integral to the stapling process.

He also rigged the floor ducts with pencils and books to redirect cold air away from the windows where it immediately gets sucked out and burned to a crisp. They look like a snares for trapping small woodland creatures should the take-out grid go down. Which is exactly why I'm a loyal viewer of Dual Survivor. They cover things like that.

Some would complain. But actually, it inspires the survivalist in me.   

Wind-up flashlight? Check. Canned tuna? Lots. Can opener? Got it. (You need only have that nightmare once.) Plenty of candles, bottled water and Zip Car on my speed dial should my attempts at hot wiring an escape vehicle fail.

I go into survival mode very quickly. And becoming a mother has only quickened my response time.

When a tornado warning threatened DC, I packed emergency food supplies before the first raindrop fell. Actually, I was still breast feeding at the time and therefore a Survival Goddess. Not only would I be able to feed my son without modern technologies, but I could also treat wounds because breast milk acts as a topical antiseptic. When choosing teams in a game of Judgement Day, always pick the nursing woman.

So, as much as my aesthetics are assailed by all the barricading, I kind of enjoy temporarily living in a shit-just-hit-the-fan film. As long as it's not the quiet, apocalyptic delight Right at Your Door because nothing goes as expected in that one. Although, I do recommend it. 

And of all the decorating styles out there, Modern Armageddon isn't so bad. The only thing I'm missing is a bad-ass costume which seems to be a necessity when all systems break down.

Though, as great as this full-length leather trench would be for looting a grocery store of all non-perishables while evading armed foreign interlopers, it could be a little hot in a heat wave.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Variation on a Personal Debt Crisis

"Hey, let's buy a lighthouse."

He says it just like that. As I'm picking up toys off the living room rug. 

Excuse me? Who are you and how did you get into my apartment? 

Okay, yes. He is my husband. And yes. We have saved and are ready to buy our own place. But a lighthouse? I think I've mentioned a ranch house. But never a lighthouse. Ever. 

"They're cheap right now," he adds.

His attempt to appeal to my frugal side is transparent, yet appreciated. Regardless, is a lighthouse really something you want to buy in the discount bin? What if the roof leaks? Hell, what if the walls leak? It's just begging to be a great party story. "Did I ever tell you about this couple I know who bought a lighthouse ..." 

I suspect my husband may be trying to recapture some of his childhood that did, in fact, involve shark fishing with old, crusty, drunk fisher people. Mine didn't. To me, Jaws is a cautionary tale and the ocean is mainly a backdrop for lobster dinners, tropical cocktails and a cute bikini. Not necessarily mine.   

Admittedly living in a lighthouse is not without its allure, especially the possibility for themed dinners and costume parties. Though the pirate motif could get stale pretty fast. And I can't really pull off Ralph Lauren's nautical line.

There's also my son to consider. It could very well shape his future. Or scar it. Either way, he could write a book about it one day. "My parents decided it would be a good idea to raise their son in a lighthouse. Here's my story ..." It is our job as parents to give him options after all.  

But a lighthouse?

What if it doesn't look like my idealized, romantic image of a lighthouse? Like this.

What if it looks like this? 

Or this?!

But I'll consider it. I like an adventure. And besides my husband does go along with some of my less-than-stellar ideas like the time he agreed to juggle eggs while I tap danced around him to the song "Me and My Shadow," a piece I choreographed for a retirement home performance. 

You could say I owe him. Big time.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Connect The Dots

Let's play a game.

First, name three things that have seemingly nothing in common. Then find a common thread that connects them together in 500 words or less.

I'll go first.

1. Fisher-Price Little People
2. Yoga
3. Drunks

Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market, Washington DC
It's Saturday morning in Mt. Pleasant, my charming-yet-sometimes-crime-infested Washington, DC neighborhood. I'm going to the farmers market, a quaint scene that unfolds near my apartment each Saturday. Not bad for urban living less than two miles from the White House.

I also work there. (At the market. Not the White House.) But not today. Today I'm here to rendezvous with a stranger who wants to buy my son's Fisher-Price Little People collection. I'll be the tall, curly haired woman carrying a plastic roller coaster, I tell her. She responds that she'll be one of two Asian women with a tall white guy.

The racial profiling helps. I find her easily, something I expected. It's a small market. What I didn't expect was my emotional attachment to these little plastic people as I explain how much they meant to my son. "The school bus sings a safety song," I sniff.

I pull it together and buy some peaches. Then mingle. I see Holly, my son’s favorite yoga instructor. He’s taken as many yoga classes as I have and has been infinitely more successful. Once I fell asleep and drooled all over the rental mat. Another time I was kicked out. But that’s deserves its own 500 words. 

Holly knows this about me but invites me to an open house at Past Tense yoga studio anyway. Sure, I’ll come. It’s near my apartment. There’ll be free food and drinks. And I won’t have to wear Lycra. I'm at peace with all this. 

Heading back to my place, I run into the shoal of drunk, homeless Latino men who have taken up residence on my block and have been pissing on my trash cans. Some are asleep. Some are singing a song in Spanish that sounds really dirty. You can just tell.

Remembering what I heard in one yoga class, I tell the Universe what I want. "Please don't let these drunks see the flyer and understand the meaning of 'Open House.' Namaste." I realize this makes me a candidate for some sensitivity training course. I'm at peace with that too. 
Passed out? Or meditating? Who's to say.

But the owner of the studio is so sweet, she just may let them in. You know how yogis are. She may see yogic potential, like the guy in the photo on the far right who seems to be doing The Savasana, or Corpse pose. It's important to know the difference because in DC, if you call 911 for a corpse-like drunk, the fire department will show up too and, unlike the Little People Lil' Movers School Bus that I just sold, there's no easy on/off switch for the sirens and sirens can really ruin the peace and harmony of a Saturday morning in Mt. Pleasant.