Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Miriam Margaret Helen 3:00 AM 1989

One of the most important people in my life was born on today's date nineteen years ago. I called her Doodle Bug when she was younger because of her propensity to draw on wall paper. Privately I think of her as 'The Quiet Woman." She is. Very quiet. Not shy. Quiet. Unless she gets pissed-off. Those stories are the ones I love best about her, and I have many. Quiet does not equate to placid. I have one of those stories of her today.

We had a major storm in early June. Oodles of rain on a thursday night. Buckets. shit loads. and then some. It went from being a perfectly civil day to a deluge of water, thunder, high winds, funnel clouds and such-what &stuff. Really serious and dangerous weather. flooded rivers, swollen lakes, broken dams, washed out bridges, closed roads. It is a good thing I was safe at Oblio's.

I had gone down to pick up some free tickets to an outdoor rock show but ended up riding out the storm drinking beers with Billy Lang and checking radar on his laptop. And trying to get in touch with the kids.
I have two kids, one of each, ZPG&Family planning, three years apart&alla that stuff; Bubba is in what his sister refers to as his 'First Last Year' of college. Bug just finished her first year and can't decide between physics or art.

-----so that night Bub was doing sound on film they were shooting about twenty-five miles south, right where Billy Lang's Radar showed three tornados, (Billy has some sophisticated Pilot's Radar program-really weird looking stuff) And he doesn't answer his phone. And Bug isn't picking up hers. Seriously getting worried. It really was that nasty.

I finally found them at about 10pm. Miriam (I only call her Bug to her face) had her phone turned off and Bub had left his in the car. They were both OK, but the ex-wife took two feet of rain in her basement. Bubba had just moved all his stuff down in the basement because his new lease doesn't start until September. All of Miriam's Art stuff was down there. As well as a lot of 'my' old furniture.

We had fun the next day. The ex is tense (hey, and THIS time she has good cause) and is only a fraction away from turning into psycho-mom. All of Bub's Senior Project TV show tapes and his CD's and DVD's are all major-league fucked. His futon and furniture is just a curbside collection. All of Miriam's sketch books are junk.

Bubba just kept staring at his TV show tapes. Six episodes of 'Causal Socks'. It was two parts Monty Python and on third Kafka. Kinda black, ironic comedy. He had written it, produced it, financed it, rounded up actors, edited it, added sound and spent literally hundreds of hours on it. He just kept staring at the tapes. He wouldn't talk.

Miriam opened the box that had contained her Senior High School yearbook and all the photos and articles she had written when she was Photo Editor for the school newspaper. Her lips became taunt steel wire and danger flashed in her eyes. THERMO-NUCLEAR-LOOK-THE-FUCK-OUT-DANGER-WARNING. Then she found the box that had contained her old collection of Barbies and Beanie Babies and other assorted child-hood stuffed animals and stuff......and lost it. Uncontrolled. Inconsolable. Just let it go. I-AM-S0-REALLY-PISSED-DON'T-TOUCH-ME-LEAVE-ME-ALONE-I-AM-SO-PISSED. When the quiet woman gets that way it is best to give her hundreds of miles of space and eons of time. Or twenty yards and a minimum of a half-hour, which ever is handiest or easier to achieve.

Bub picked up on it right away and he turned his red, blood-shot eyes into me. "Let's go check on Mom," he said, and I followed him back into the house and into the basement. The ex was on the phone with her insurance agent. Her washer and dryer are fucked, probably the furnace, too. Bubba and I walked into the finished room where he had put all his stuff. We just stood there for awhile. Ten minutes of silence is a long time, just looking at an empty room with water lines.

"Ya know," he finally said, " my next show is gonna be twice as good! Three times as good." Small rivlets left his eyes. "I'm gonna call it 'Wet Casual Socks'. Add some porn to it. Hot babes. I'll have better lighting, better sound. Really HOT CHICKS. ." Now he is standing taller than his six foot two and poking his finger into my chest. ".....and I'm gonna sell the script to HBO. Opening shot will be right down here! I should have filmed all this!!!!! WHAT a great shot this would have been!! All the fucking floating boxes and wet shit! Hey, let's just flood the whole thing again and film it!!" He's grinning now, big time, right through his tears, his pencil thin mustache framing over 3K of adolescent orthodonture. "Aw, fuck it, Dad!", he puts his arm around my shoulders, " let's go get the Kid and go to Leon's!

We dodge through the assorted rubble and wet shit in the drive and find Miriam in the backyard. She is pinning stuffed animals on to the clothes line and singing.....

....down came the rain and washed the spider out
out came the sun and dried up all the rain
and the itsy-bitsy spider
went up the spout again....

"Miriam," Bub hollars," we're going to Leon's"
"Sounds good to me!" she calls back. "Hey, it's not so bad. I called Ms. Williams at school. She thinks she can find me another yearbook. And these should dry out, ok."

Sometimes you can fix things and sometimes you can't, but you can always go to Leon's for frozen custard or add a little porn to your movie or........ just hang the animals on the line to dry.....

I love my kids and like them even more than that. They are OK.
I love you Bug. and so does Bubba.


Anonymous said...

Dammit. I hate that for you kids. One of the hardest parts about being a parent is not having the ability to fix or prevent the bad stuff. The desire might often be there, but it's just not possible.

And, in the long run, I suppose, that's how we sort out the good from the bad.

Happy birthday to your Bug.

Randal Graves said...

What dcup said. Being hamstrung by reality sucks.

Watch it though, man. You keep posting this kind of stuff and we'll all start thinking that you're an honest-to-Satan, emotional, thinking good human family dude instead of the beer-swilling robot we all assume that you are.

Scarlet W. Blue said...

I love that story, esp. the way they rallied at the end. Troopers.

DivaJood said...

What Dcup said, and Randal too. Speaking seriously as a grandmother, I love that Bug rallied with "itsy-bitsy spider." That says a lot.

Your kids sound amazing.

okjimm said...

Thanks, Dcup....actually they are both really nice. They piss each other off all the time....until one of them 'really' needs something, then bango, no problem.

Gees, Randal..'emotional, thinking good human family dude' I guess I better work on tarnishing my image more.

Scarlet....like, ya know...thanks&stuff ;) ....love your food post at Jonestown....break me up!!!

Thanks Diva... they are good kids. There may be smarter ones, cuter ones, more ambitious ones....but for the life of me, I really doubt it. :)

Liberality said...

man, getting flooded sucks. losing stuff sucks too. but still being altogether and all that family stuff too--priceless!

susan said...

Knowing when to back off and let things settle in the face of disappointment is the sign of wisdom. Your kids sound wonderful and you too. Troopers all.

Anita said...

What a lovely, lovely story!! if i were OKJIMM I'd say "Wowsers!"

And my own personal recommendation on a major for Bug is:

double major Art and Physics. It will satisfy the mind and the soul (the Left and Right sides of her brain) and, in combination, provide amazing insights about the world.

okjimm said...

Hey, Anita, you can say 'Wowsers' if you like.

Bug was real disappointed in her Freshman physics class... she had the advanced course in High School and the Freshman class was just a lot of reiteration for her. I think she wants to do graphic design....

Anonymous said...

Okjimm - what Anita said. Wowsers. You and the ex must have done something right if they can all bounce back the way they did. I'm glad it all worked out and that you got to Leon's for some frozen custard.... Oh yeah... my best to DB on her birthday.

Mary Ellen said...

Darn- I was gone all day yesterday and missed this.

That's the great things about kids, we learn so much from them.

Great post and Happy Birthday to Miriam!

okjimm said...

pfffft,,,taking a day off! How un-Nunly of you! And then staying up late watching baseball of all things! I'm reporting you to the POPE!

Scarlet W. Blue said...

JIMM, did I mention that I love that name, Miriam?

okjimm said...

SWB, no you didn't. I like it bunchs myself. We named the kids after the owners of the original Woodstock farm, Max & Miriam Yasgur. Or in case they decided to convert to Judaism. Pick 'em.

okjimm said...

Sparts....the ex and I split over issues other than sex,drugs,alchol or violence. We both agreed that the kids were neve gonna be 'victims' or pawns in a power struggle. It seems to have worked as well as possible. Ya know, I took that as a very high compliment, ana wanna thank you very much. :)

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