Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Restless in Colorado

It took me four minutes to unpack from a trip to KC that was about four seconds long. Even when I decided to go on a weekend when there was nothing going on - no milestone birthdays, extended family making a visit or holiday hoopla - it still turned into this hurried frenzy of activity leaving me to sort it out and digest it after the fact...but mostly just leaving me wondering what the hell happened. Being pulled in 40 different directions isn't as glamorous as is sounds.

After mining the flashes in my brain that made up the weekend, the little quirks of home began to surface. I really can't get over how much my parents' house has turned into Mema's wonderland full of kid friendly adaptations of adult products and little trinkets hidden in closets and cabinets. While I'm no longer removing the tiny red Mickey Mouse potty seat from the toilet to pee, then washing my hands with pink, foaming Disney Princess soap, at least for a couple more years, I was bombarded with The Biebs and Slutty Cat Face Barbie.

I'm not sure why I found the Justin Bieber doll chilling barefoot on the kitchen counter so funny:

However, far more hilarious was when my oldest niece, Remi provided me with a choice of playing Barbies or bonker balloons and when I chose the obvious Barbies, she pulled a normal brunette Barbie out of the cabinet for herself then handed me the tard-faced blond one.

She explained that she had given Barbie a "cat face," while I thought it looked like she had just passed out in frat house...but that was mainly because she was naked. The choice of outfits wasn't much better as you can see. I exclaimed at how slutty Barbie's wardrobe had become, then I remembered that I was fairly sure I had something similar from 2003 lingering in my closet and I shut up.

Slutty Cat Face's alias was Elizabeth and after a short identity crisis typical of five-year-olds, the brunette became known as Grace. Elizabeth and Grace went to a prom and at the request of Grace, went straight to the bar where a puppy bartender served them up a dirty martini and a beer. When I told my sister about her daughter's advanced Barbie playing skills, she laughed and said, "In our house the women drink beer and the guys drink foo foo drinks!" A jab at my bro-in-law's anti-beer-ism. It reminded me of my friend Shaunna's Facebook update a while back that said something along the lines of, "my child can't say please, but she can say fart...#goodparenting." She did report to me on this trip that the child can now in fact say please, but quite frankly this is the stuff we all wish mommy blogs were made of. Brilliant children with a sense of humor - I can't think of anything better, except for maybe my friends amusing themselves with Slutty Cat Face after a few glasses of wine:

 Our first morning, Pat and I got a visit from Wolfgang, the little dog that goes ape shit on such things as a plunger, the hand held vacuum and Remi's bonker balloons. I just laughed out loud thinking about his attack on our balloon party during my visit causing screaming followed by uncontrollable little girl giggling and Remi's relief to get away from that "bastard dog." Shocking? Appalling? No, just a five-year-old sharing her feelings with her aunt. It's called being socially savvy - understanding things like subtle humor, witty banter and what she should and should not say in certain company - things that a lot of adults never pick up, unfortunately.

Did you hear that ole Woof? The little one called you a bastard, but you're totally not...neurosis just runs in the family.

After our morning snuggle, Wolfie and I wandered into the backyard to carry out a tradition that makes my mother cherish each one of my visits:

I don't think I can take credit for allowing the garden turtle statues to become better acquainted because I'm going to blame it on my cousin, Jake who totally started it years ago. When him and I are not quoting the South Park movie or saving each other from the fat, clumsy opposite sex at the bars (pre significant others, of course), we're providing humor the entire neighborhood can see and understand...but maybe not appreciate the way that we do.

Soon after, the remnants of Hurricane Issac soaked the city for two days and promptly flooded my sister and brother-in-law's basement. The first thing they saved were all my old dance costumes that Remi now uses to perform routines in the basement with her neighbor friends. Signs that instruct visitors not to enter if music is playing because dance is in progress are taped to the door along with faux awards for best smile and best choreography. I provided some award ideas to my sister a few weeks ago over the phone that were clearly a hit. I pawed through all the costumes that were now hanging over backs of chairs in the dining room from a night of drying out and Febreezing and 18 years of my life plus thousands of my parents' dollars flashed through my head. One year, I wore 16 different costumes if that gives you an idea of how many there were. I'm glad they're getting some use.

Remi and I postponed the dance moves until "the studio" had dried up and settled on building a fort in the living room. The big sister was gracious enough to allow her little sister to join us:

I must say that this little pumpkin:

Is quite the scene stealer. I asked Remi if she liked her and she said, "Yeah, but she doesn't share Mommy." She also made a request to her Mom that Auntie Harn only, "spend a minute or two with Kailer." I had to divide my time carefully. Kai is a head strong, yet nonchalant tank that loves to grab, eat and squeal and thinks Remi is hilarious. She's jolly like Remi was, but her personality is much different. She's way more chill and slightly less ornery. I saw Remi nearly every day from birth to age three, but this time I just have to rely on Skype, updates and occasional visits. It's something I'm having a very hard time with, but by the end of the visit Kai was smiling and reaching for me, so I feel my magical auntie powers still have the same effect from 600 miles away.

Sometime during the three days of crazy, we went to a soccer game for Kate's birthday. The Kansas City Sporting team has exploded since I left KC to the point where I'm now pretty sure my friends have joined a cult with all the drums and the chanting and the flag waving and the me saying I need 12 more beers before I can relate to this. Having somebody sit next to me that actually understood soccer probably would have helped too...though still an interesting experience.

My favorite part of my four second visit was combining my loves on a Sunday night with good friends, family, Mom's BBQ ribs, ample amounts of wine and dirty humor. Pat and I finished the clean up well after midnight and long after the parents had retired to bed. I used everything short of tackling to convince the heavy handed helper not to empty the dishwasher because it would wake up my mom. There are some things you never forget even when you move away. Of course, there are things that change too, like the size of my mother's glasses. Those tiny little slivers of spectacles that perch on the end of grannies' noses the world over are now in her possession as we discovered during our clean up. If she gets one of those beaded chains that hold them around her neck alla Sophia Petrillo of the Golden Girls, I'll have to intervene. This is what my mom will do when she reads this:

But, good thing for me, she can take a joke. Love you mama!

Before we went to bed ourselves, I shifted some things around in a drawer to make room for the extra paper plates and ran across another gem unique to my household:

Ketchup, soy sauce - same thing. This is surely something my dad ripped off his daily calendar and slipped into the drawer secretly in hopes my mom would find it and crack up. It's just short of a slapstick comedy routine that they've done all my life. My favorite was when a mechanical, stuffed kung fu hampster kept showing up in various places around the house to rouse a chuckle - in the office, on the bed, in the refrigerator...only a homesick Kansan would get sentimental over a redneck joke.

Then, it was time to go and half a second later I was washing and putting away clothes I had just worn as if I had never left. I tend to wallow around depressed for a few days after my visits home, but this time has been much worse. It probably didn't help that as I was grudging putting away the clothes I didn't wear out of my over packed suitcase in my typical fashion, I literally just leaned on the bathroom counter and it snapped like a twig.


Either I have reverse anorexia and that thin person I see in the mirror is actually a fat ass, or I really need to lay off the 'roids. Pat has compared me to Bruce Banner when I yell at my uncooperative hair...
Or perhaps the seemingly beautiful, cool apartment we moved into is really a piece of shit in disguise. Dammit. At least the leasing office didn't threaten to take away our deposit or our souls when I called them about it today.

Mishaps aside, Colorado has been so good to me and I often walk out of a store or drive down the street, see the mountains and feel lucky to live in such a beautiful place. But, I can't tell you how many people have taken it upon themselves to assume I don't miss Kansas because the superficial content of where you live is apparently the only thing that matters. I have to stifle the inner Bruce Banner when that happens and turn it into pity for those people. It's about the company you keep and the experiences you seek out that make your life interesting, not the scenery and sunny days. I moved to Colorado because I wanted an adventure and a kick in the ass and I got that. Been there, done that. Now it's time to reevaluate where I'm planted and what's important to me now that I've gotten to this point. It's amazing what a quick trip and a cracked counter can do for a restless mind.

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