Where I come from if the whole house starts shaking you look outside to see how windy it is. You usually see the trees and bushes being blown by the strong wind. Not here. Today when the whole house started shaking and I heard dishes clattering and trembling in the china cabinet I looked outside to check out the wind. Nothing. Oh....I get it.....THIS is what an earthquake feels like. It was all over in seconds. 5.8, they said. Epicenter east of L.A. Now the local news is filled with people telling where they were and what they felt. The usual after-storm stories. One friend of mine in Chicago--a fellow news junkie like me--called me minutes after the quake to check on me. Thank you Trixie!!! I called Mr. Minivan at work and told him..."time to move." "Stop," he told me. He thinks I'm kidding. That's the funny part. Why would I want to live somewhere where, if the earthquakes don't get you, the fires and mudslides will? It's been a couple of years. We gave it a shot. We did the Disneyland thing, we've done the celebrity-spotting thing, now we've done the earthquake thing. Maybe this is a sign. Maybe it's time to get out. While we still have all of our dishes and mirrors.
It's been a tough year. A few months ago I realized something that no one should ever have to face. I never really had a first birthday. My brother stole it. Let me explain. I was born January 1. That same year my brother was born December 30. So do you really think anyone was celebrating my birthday just two days later? I don't think so either. I was probably lucky if someone remembered to change my diaper at that point. I'm sure all the attention was on the new little squalling bundle of joy. That whole thing was tough enough to come to terms with but I've worked through it and I was on my way to a full recovery. Until tonight. I was at a friend's house for dinner and had brought my dad along. My mom is out of town and my dad's Poker After Dark wasn't on til later so he had a free night. We were sitting around the dinner table and I mentioned that I had never been to any Disney park til several years ago when my dad let the cat out of the bag. "No that's not true--we went to Disneyworld and maybe to Epcot too." "No, Dad, I've never been to Disneyworld or Epcot and I've never been to Florida with you." "Yes, we went," he confessed. I mean--he went on, "I remember because I had to go on the Hammer and Thunder Mountain with the boys." "Wait a minute," said one of the guys at the table, "that must have been when you were at college because that was around the time Epcot opened." Suddenly it was all clear. They packed me off to college with my hot pot and a few quarters for the pay phone and immediately headed south. And the fact that it was apparently a family conspiracy of silence was just the icing on the cake of their betrayal. I've quizzed my brothers and they claim I knew at the time and just don't remember. Of course that's what they'd say. I've seen 24 and Total Recall. I know what's going on. What's next? Will I find out that I was found on my parents' doorstep? That I have an evil twin? I don't know how much more of this I can take. UPDATE: My mother claims that they were very disappointed that I didn't go with them as I wanted to spend Spring Break with my friends in Miami. It's all very suspicious to me. I DID go to Miami with my friends during one Spring Break in college but I just don't remember the rest of my family going to Disney. Could my own mother possibly be in on the conspiracy? Is my whole family trying to alter history or my memory? The plot thickens.........
I am so depressed. I am minutes away from Botox or bangs. Today I dropped by my aunt's house and she showed me a DVD she had just picked up from the photoshop. She had had some VHS movies transferred to DVD---- note to self-- do the same--and we sat down and watched for a few minutes. First her kids popped up--adorable toddlers and children--now 27 and 30--and the best part was that although there were a few birthday parties and other "events", the most interesting part of the video (DVD???) was seeing the ordinary, everyday things her kids were doing back then. Riding the Big Wheel, learning to roller skate, the 3 year old pushing the baby in his swing, etc. Note to self--take more videos of the kids--FAST!! Then we saw a few family parties-my brothers and I sticking our tongues out every time we saw the camera. Grandparents as we knew them as kids--not how we remember them when they died--and other older relatives who at the time of the filming were younger than I am now. And then back to some everyday moments. I saw myself at about age 20 or so coming into my aunt's house and playing with her kids. And guess what--I was so cute--yes, I was--beautiful hair, beautiful smile, a few less pounds--OK, OK--a few few less pounds, no wrinkles, etc. But I know at the time I didn't think I was as cute as I was. I thought--"if I could only lose 7 pounds....", "if only my hair were different.....", "if only......" And now I look back at this cute girl on the DVD and I think--"Wow--you wasted some of that pretty because you didn't realize you had it." Why can't we be happy with ourselves as we are? If in 10 years I am going to look back at a photo of myself today and think--"Wow--what a babe!"--why can't I do that today when I look in the mirror?
When your kids are at camp, the LAST phone number you want to see on your phone is the camp's number. Camps don't call to say "hi" or to tell you about a great sale they ran into at the mall. They don't call to ask you to meet them for lunch or to take a walk. No, calls from camp are usually bad news. The last time I got a call from camp it was Boy #1's first summer there and it was the day before Visiting Weekend. He was going for 4 weeks and we were going up for Visiting Weekend and then bringing him home. I was coming back from a girls' trip with some of my peeps and my cell phone rang. I saw the caller ID and my heart started to pound. "Hi, it's Jane the camp director," she said, "Everything's fine.......but.....Boy #1 fell and we think he broke his wrist." Um, so then everything's NOT fine is it? Boy #1 HAD broken his wrist. Luckily, or unluckily, he had broken the same wrist a year or two before, so I was somewhat familiar with broken bone protocol.
Anyway, today, strangely enough--the day before Visiting Weekend-- my cell phone rang, and the camp's name popped up on the screen. Uh-oh. Pounding heart. A man's voice--one I barely recognized--said, "Hi Mom." OK, at least I know he's alive. "Hi, Boy #1," I said. "Nothing's wrong, Mom, I'm OK. Everything's fine." Clearly, he had been coached. "Are you sure?" I asked. "Well, maybe something's a little wrong," he said. "What happened?" I asked. "I did something stupid and let one of my cabinmates cut my hair and one of my sideburns is all cut off," he said, "so I want to know if they can take me into town and get a haircut or a buzz cut." I don't think I have ever been so relieved. If he had asked me if he could shave his head at that moment I would probably have said yes. "Sure," I said, "but don't get a buzz cut unless you really want one--remember--you have 4 weeks of camp left and it will have grown back by then and there will be something to work with. You can just have them even it out. And if you want to wait til tomorrow we can go and get your hair cut then." "No, I want to go today," he said. "And, Boy #1," I added. "Yes, Mom?" he asked. "Don't let anyone near your head with scissors, razors, or shavers, OK?"
Letter from Boy #2 which arrived today:
Dear Mom, Camp is awesome! We have started the Spectacular (competition). I am a Dayton Flyer (team). Boy #1 got a haircut and it looks bad. I can't wait to see you! Love, Boy #2
Boys #1 and 2 are in the middle of Wisconsin at camp. They are having a great time. So far, two and a half weeks since they arrived, I have received 4 letters from Boy #2 and one from Boy #1. I have been writing them every 2 days or so, but apparently that isn't enough. Writing and sending packages--mostly Archie comics--is becoming a full-time job. What about MY summer vacation??
1st letter from Boy #2
Dear Mom, Camp is great. It rains everyday here. Write me more letters. I am the only one who doesn't get letters. I love you. Love, Boy #2
2nd letter from Boy #2
Dear Mom, We had a camping trip. It was really fun. We slept in tents and we had s'mores. We built a fire and told scary stories. I didn't get scared. I just wanted to tell you. Love, Boy #2
3rd letter from Boy #2
Dear Mom, Sorry for sending this letter. It is letter writing day and I have nothing to say. I love you. Love, Boy #2
4th letter from Boy #2
Dear Mom. I am appaled (appalled) ! Not just appaled, scared (scarred) for life!! Today Boy #1 got a package of Archies and letters. AND No, he has NOT GOTTEN the package from Grandma yet. Why don't I get packages from Grandma. I am very angry. I took biking club and have excursions today. I am going bowling.
A very Angry, scared for life, not accepted,
So of course, after receiving letter #4 from Boy #2, I immediately ran to the bookstore and mailed him out some Archies and a Simpsons comic book. And how's your summer going?