Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Of social fabric and sweater vests

It's been quite an eventful January here in the frozen tundra. I'm sure Indiana is still here under all the snow and ice somewhere, but it's been a while since anything has been normal.

And not just with the weather.

Much to my dismay, Indiana has a law on the books that outlaws same-sex marriage. Not content with that, a group of folks decided we needed to amend our state Constitution to define "marriage" as between one man and one woman. And then, just to be sure they weren't misunderstood in their zeal to keep basic rights from a certain group of their fellow Hoosiers, they added a sentence that banned civil unions and domestic partnerships, too.

Most Hoosiers I know wish our lawmakers would spend their time repealing that law and addressing things like education reform, environmental issues, child safety, and getting social services to those who need it. But no. Our elected representatives launched into Session to double down on a bad law.

I won't get into the shennanigans that ensued. Suffice it to say I was working on my second letter to my reps asking them to oppose the resolution when Ali wandered by. Learning what I was doing, she suggested that I revise my intro. "You should tell them you're married to Dad so they know it's not just gay people who are against it," she said.

Not only is she a good editor, she might have some political savvy. Or maybe it's her father's art of persuasion that's rubbing off. She was right. I revised.

I would like to say, "Happily, our lawmakers saw the light from the thousands of others like me who wrote or called or attended hearings and now that bad Constitutional amendment idea is dead." They did remove the second sentence, which because of rules you don't care about, means it may not be on the ballot for a couple of years now. But there's still plenty of session going on and it could come back as originally drafted and still make it to referendum.  Unlikely. Still possible.

But that's not all of why I can't start my paragraph with "happily."  Because even if the constitutional amendment IS dead and no one ever again wants to amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships, etc..., Indiana Code still bans it.

That just saddens me. I'm not heterosexual because one day I shut my eyes tight, clicked my heels and wished for it to be so. I am who I am because I came out that way. And so did you.

People who didn't come out like me shouldn't be denied any right I have because of who they love and who they share their lives with. 

As I see it, if we're all part of the same cloth, that makes us all equal threads in the fabric. And right, now if that fabric were a winter coat, Hoosiers would have frostbites on parts of us where the threads are bare.

Remember laws that banned interracial marriage and allowed businesses to refuse service to people of color? Doesn't it seem unbelieveable that anyone ever thought there should be separate drinking fountains and restrooms based on color? Are we really so slow we can't see the parallels here?

Sigh. Anyway. 

Speaking of fabric, I'll end on a lighter note. For Christmas, I bought Jeff a sweater vest. Because, yes, I like sweater vests.  He finally broke down and wore it to work today with an Oxford shirt and a tie, of course.

Jeff is a bit of a clotheshorse. He's used to people complimenting him on his fancy ties and ensembles. I know this because he reports such discussions to me. Today at work, he received no such compliments. If you can believe him. Which I don't.

According to him, he was the source of great amusement. "That's not your usual," "I've never seen you in something like THAT before," and other comments he implied were more precisely negative about his attire.

He claims his response (and this I think I DO believe) was something like, "Well this was a gift from Cheryl and I would like to continue to have sex with her, so I'm wearing it."  He may have followed it up with, "You may notice that I don't have any meetings today with anyone outside the office."

He's a charmer, that one.


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Menage a trouble

Alison, Jenna and Breanna are reunited again. This time it's at our house, and I don't mind admitting that I've been as excited as Ali has been to have them over.

Last night, Ali went to bed early and slept in til almost 11. "Mom, if I'm going to take on both Breanna Tabor and Jenna Louise Tokash, I'm gonna have to get some rest," she informed me as she took to her bed. I couldn't argue with her.

Everyone's off school and work tomorrow but me, so it was a good opportunity to have them entertain each other. The Sunday Sleepover was my ill-disguised ploy to avoid being short-changed. 

Ali and Jenna, of course, met in some sort of metaphysical vibe before they were born (or so they claim.) We met Bree at Day Nursery six weeks in. This is them at Alison's 1-year-marker.

  They were doing their best to eat the all-natural, no sugar carrot cake cupcakes What to Expect When You're Expecting, Years 1-5, insisted was the way to go. Yes, I know. It was a mistake, but hey, that book was my Bible in the early years.

So the house has been full of their giggles and screams and protests.  "Let's play on the Wii!"  "I don't want to play on the Wii"  "We can play different games." "I don't want to play on the Wii AT All." 

They've settled on a game they learned at camp called BS -- you tell a story or define a word and the others vote on whether you're lying. I know this because they came up to raid the pantry and left with bowls, pita chips, cheddar flavored rice cake chips, Goldfish and Sriracha-coated peas. 

"You need one bad thing for when you lose," Alison was saying.

"Um. What are you doing?" I asked. Jenna explained while Alison kept scrounging.

As I pondered whether to let them punish each other with Sriracha, Alison came over to me and started petting me. "Shush. No more questions," she said, shooing the others downstairs to escape my half-hearted attempt at parenting.

It's so much fun to eavesdrop on them that I might not get to the gym. Their first activity was to apply makeup to each other while the apply-er was blindfolded.  I figured it couldn't be a worse mess than their fingerpainting days, when I just dumped them in the tub until all the paint came off. At 12.5, they're able to clean themselves up. I can always buy new towels.

They bickered for a while about how bad a job the others are at makeup application. The best thing about these kids -- and Team Ogden -- is that they are mercilessly honest to each other. With newer friends, there's sometimes that hesitancy or that need to win their approval so they might go along with something they don't necessarily really want to do.

Not so with these guys. As they cleaned off the makeup, they discussed pimple care and the state of each other's skin. 

Tomorrow, they will accompany Alison to an early morning appointment with her doctor, who will freeze off the remaining warts she has on her hand. Jeff, commenting on whether the sleepover was a good idea, suggested I might have forgotten about the appointment and that perhaps a later arrival might be better.

Silly Captain. He'll be lucky to keep them out of the examination room so they can watch. As Amer put it, "Alison and Jenna will probably go to each other's pap smears. No need to reschedule, Captain Reed."

In other news, Jeff and I and a bunch of others competed last night at the Christ the King Triva Night/fundraiser for the 8th grade trip. We came in 5th out  of 42 tables but more importantly had awesome snacks and a fun night.  The theme was time travel so Jeff dressed up as Dr. Who. I used Alison's Christmas snuggie and went as the Tardis. 

We'd discussed me going as Amy Pond, one of the Doctor's companions -- a young, British redhead who generally wears a mini-skirt.

"I don't think you can pull it off, Mom," Alison said. "I mean, I really don't want you going to my school in a mini-skirt."

Sigh. The snuggie was warmer anyway.

Shots of the 3some through the years:

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Snickerdoodles, Snow and Snowmageddon

And so Snowmaggedon came to Indiana today. We are all OK here on Castle Row, but 35,000 of our fellow Hoosiers are without power and the mayor is urging everyone to stay indoors tonight and tomorrow if possible.

Jeff and Alison are off work and school tomorrow; I'm to report in at noon.

I hope my body will be functioning by then. We'd been warned -- perhaps over-warned about the coming storm so I wanted to get work outs in before my gym closed. I work out at work when I'm there, but the Jordan Y is closer to me, so when I'm not downtown, I tend to go there instead of back to work.

All the other gym rats had the same idea I did on Saturday -- get the weekend work out in before all frozen hell broke loose. I called before I went in this morning to be sure they gym was open. It was, but by the time I got there, they'd already decided to close early. I was there in time to get a good work out in, though.

So after my work out, I came home and took stock of the storm. Snow had started falling in a straight light and had continued while I was inside. I think we ended with about a foot. Jeff didn't think we needed to shovel until it stopped.

I reported sightings of other shovelers but he implored me to ignore them. Shovel smart. Shovel once, he begged.

But then I caught sight of the snickerdoodles. Sure I'd had two for breakfast on Saturday, and another couple throughout the day, but I'd worked out, right? They'd used whole wheat flour and no one liked them but me. And they were calling my name. Again.

I decided I could have a cookie if I shoveled. My sweat had cooled and I was only a little stinky. I could shovel, have my cookie and then shower, Right? Right. How hard could it be?

The snow was pretty. So pretty. But like me (in my dreams) it weighed a heckuva lot more than it looked like. And Jeff was tres annoyed that I was violating the shovel once agreement. I tried to send him inside. I was doing snickerdoodle pennance, he wasn't.

He decided I should bring wet wood in while I was out there so if the power went out, we'd have the fireplace. A good idea. But first I had to shovel a path to the woodpile. We'd been piling up snow from the driveway at the entry to the backyard and the woodpile. It was maybe 4-feet-tall.  I broke through.

I stacked the wood and then I turned to the drive. The snow was still coming down but as I shoveled, I was glad I'd caved in to the peer pressure. Surely getting the first layer up would make it easier laters.  It seemed like there was already a foot of snow down, and underneath it was a little soft, so I was glad to reduce the chance of an ice layer.

Jeff came out with Alison wearing her minion hat. He set her to work knocking snow from our shrubs and small trees, which were so loaded down, they were bent over.  After a while, she started grabbing snow from my pile to start a snowman. I was near the Subaru when we heard a creak and a bunch of snow fell from my neighbor's magnolia tree in between Ali and me.

Right behind it came a tree limb, happily missing both of us and the little SUV.  I had Ali clear out of there and sent her to the front yard. Jeff had started on the far end of the drive and we kept at it until we'd cleared the path.

As I was clearing the front porch, another pile of snow fell on me from our trees. I felt like a donut being sprinkled with powedered sugar. Cold powdered sugar.

We finished the drive, chatted up the neighbors and helped Ali with her snowman before we decided to tackle the tree limb. It had brought down enough snow that we had to shovel again, and Jeff had to get the chainsaw out to get it drag-able. Playing with power tools lifted his mood, so I was no longer in trouble for premature shoveling.

We must have been out there three to four hours. The temps are to drop to sub-zero tonight. Tomorrow's high is to be something like 30 below zero. For once I'm not exaggerating. So we're happy to have power; happy the drive is passable and happy to be snug and comfy.

Jeff made Grammie's chili for dinner so we're pretty full right now. Although I fear another snickerdoodle might be in my future....