It is a caring mother’s responsibility never to let her head throb like this. But last night, amidst the chaos that is laughably called our newly-painted apartment, I dug out my leather pants, got Jackson’s girlfriend (babysitter) to come over, and went out to dinner with Jack and his business partner and their employees at a fancy, exclusive, charming little mud hut where I guess I drank too much wine. It was hard to tell, my glass was just always miraculously, Jesusly full of local chardonnay. This morning, my child demonstrated a knack for knowing just when to hit me over the head with a bike pump. So he went to work with daddy for a little while. I should be napping, but I’m talking to you. To prove my love. Before I go back to clinging to the life raft that is my king-size, freshly cased pillow.
Phew! We’re alive, no worries. Dad’s okay, recovering in the hospital from a quintuple bypass. If he manages to shake it off and pee for the nurse, he’ll have a new life as a morphine addict, but hey. Somehow in the middle of all this our landlord arranged to have our apartment painted. You know how a three-day job always takes ten days. We’re digging out. Love to everyone for the good wishes. More tomorrow.
A few thoughts on Thanksgiving in Palm Springs.
1. Driving past the Betty Ford clinic on the way to buy ice cream can fill you with a slightly darker brand of holiday spirit. Not the Belushi speedball spirit, and not a Bukowski boozy-old-man spirit. Kind of a Carrie Fisher/Robert Downey, Jr. drugs-guns-ammo-and-bleak-self-referential-rehab-comedy spirit. I only know one person who’s been to Betty Ford and it sounds a lot better than state-ordered, state-run hospital rehab. If you can stop yourself before you become a dangerous embarrassment who needs to be arrested, I think everyone would agree that private rehab is the way to go. Some places even have scholarships (I love it that they call it that) so you don’t have to pay much. This is your Holiday Public Service Announcement: you get to choose between One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest and Postcards From the Edge. Choose wisely. Thank you.
2. Why did they tear out the ice skating rink at the mall in Palm Desert? Was it because they needed their own nuclear reactor power to keep it frozen during the annual 100 Days of 115° Heat Festival?
3. Jack can (and did) cook a bird and four side dishes for eight people without breaking a sweat while also managing to keep track of numerous football and two basketball games. My hero.
4. We also had some problems with our in-room movies. (We settled the Nut with Grandma and cousins and then snuck off to a hotel for five nights so we could remember what it’s like to sleep past 6 a.m.) The deal was, you paid $21.99 and got unlimited porn until noon the next day. I’m not a conoisseur or anything, but it was better than usual hotel porn. So it was morning the next day and we switched on the TV expecting to surf through Naughty Neighbor’s Wife and Teen Panty Party, or whatever, and the TV tells us we’re being charged for the privilege again. So Jack calls the front desk and describes our problem to the girl who answers. And the girl says, “Alright, I’ll send a technician right up.” And Jack says, “No, you won’t. I’m in bed. With my wife. Picture in your mind’s eye.” Picture in your mind’s eye! (Did I say he was my hero yet?) We were just lying around in our robes, but still. What was she was picturing? Angry middle-aged people for whom lingerie and booze just aren’t enough anymore. No, and I also want erased from my in-room movie bill the godawful third Austin Powers movie. I didn’t much like Road to Perdition either, but Bourne Identity was pretty good.
5. I’m sorry to say that yes, a person can get tired of room service toast.
6. Jackson had an absolute ball with his cousins and Grandma, and he completely fell apart when we drove away. The he fell asleep. Then he woke up and demanded cookies. When I ran out of cookies he cried some more, so I gave him a lemon. He took a bite of it and then threw it at my head and cried some more. Cried/whined for about an hour, until Jack finally just yelled at him HEY! WE’RE ALMOST HOME! RELAX! Which scared him, and the real crying began. Then, two minutes away from home, he fell asleep. The good news is that Grandma inadvertently trained him to sleep for eleven hours, from 8:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., a trend that I hope and pray will continue until at least until the next time change comes along and fucks everything up. But Jackson is a total love dog and seems to have forgiven us for strapping him into a car seat for three tedious hours. Forgiven us with kisses. (After we gave him ice cream.) Oh, I can’t wait to put him on a plane tomorrow.
7. Ice cream isn’t bribery, it is a vital parenting tool.
I’ve never indulged in so much recreational eating and, at the end of it all, found that I’d lost weight.
Which, you know, supports the cancer (or any other wasting disease you want to contribute) theory. Except that my bloody HMO doctress left me a bright little message saying that my blood tests were perfect. No details, no numbers, just lots and lots of holiday cheer and a very subtle implication that I am probably mad. Not angry-mad, but more of a John-Barrymore-in-Svengali mad.
While I’ve been casting around for reasons to undergo blood transfusions, my father took the time to become genuinely ill. He had a heart attack. It was, I’m told, the best kind of heart attack you can have, and did very little damage, but he needs a bypass anyway so I’m packing up the Nut again and tomorrow we’re flying to Denver. We will do our best to cheer the old guy up with interesting health facts. Dad, I will say, did you know that your nipples are made of the same type of skin as your penis?
Updates will again be suspended unless I can convince my father that now is the time to get an Internet hookup.