SHE SAID: Mom, Dad, I’m home!

June 4, 2010

Readers, you have been unaware of some momentous news: from May 31, 2010 through June 4, 2010, both Jeremy and I are living with our parents.

Let’s review some of the facts: Jeremy is 28, I am 31 and we are both living in our parent’s houses.

I should be pouting, but I am gleeful for two reasons.  First, Jeremy has been making fun of me for the entire 2 months I have been living at home.  The comments are varied and some are more witty than others, but they are constant and he has received much joy in their delivery.  Now he is a card carrying member of the parentaly housed club.  Second, I am moving out on Friday.  That’s tomorrow morning.  I can not only see a light at the end of the tunnel, I am being blinded by the light that I have been denied for so long.

Having the option to live at home, is great.  I didn’t want to renew a lease since I knew I was moving in a couple months and my mom was gracious enough to open her doors to me.  I am so thankful.  She has had to put up with my lifestyle and I can only imagine how it has impacted her quietness and daily routine, although not as much as it would have if Lindsey Lohan were to move in with her – which I remind her.  I also had to accept some changes: the whole flavored coffee thing threw me for a loop (I was distrustful of the machine for over a week and switched over to tea while at home in an effort to avoid hazelnut altogether).  I also am used to being asked, “who are you texting?”  every time I pick up my phone in her presence.

But living at home when you’re not lamenting an incoming pimple whilst conference calling your two best friends about what one overheard in study hall, is a bit of a tough transition.  My brother, who lives with his European girlfriend’s parents, tells me I’m being really Euro by living at home. The spin did give me a quick come back to some of Jeremy’s jokes, but the truth is, I’m dying for my own space, as I’m sure my mom is.

There is something immensely humbling about living at home once you’re past the acceptable age – which I so clearly am.  My mother offers to fold my laundry, to be nice, and I feel like the world’s most incompetent loser.  She makes me a sandwich for lunch, and I feel guilty.  I feel like one step up from Britney Spears under her father’s concervatorship.  I feel frozen in time: here as an adult, but defined by the teenager who still haunts the house in cringe inducing photographs.  The Delta Spirit lyric “Your family just knows half of where you’ve been” echos over and over in my head.

I look forward to coming home for visits.  I look forward to my mom coming to visit me in my own place.  And I look forward to the next five weeks of being able to make comments about Jeremy living with his parents from the safely of my own place.

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SHE SAID: Golf

May 19, 2010

I think golf is ultimately more of a man’s game because where else can you be in someone’s presence for 4 hours or more and not have to talk?  I’m surprised more couples don’t play together.

golf

One could make the argument that I’m not that into golf because I stink.  And yes, that is a huge part of it.  I swing hard, it just goes even faster into the woods.  I try to keep my head down and end up missing the ball.  I think you get the picture of what a round of golf with me is like.

Golf is similar to shuffleboard in that anyone can do it who isn’t confined to a wheelchair.  If you’re 300 pounds overweight, your swing will be different than the 90 year old woman suffering from osteoporosis, but you can both be accomplished golfers.  Somewhere along the line, golf acquired more street cred than shuffleboard, and I’m still trying to figure out how that happened.  I think it has something to do with greens fees.

Which brings me to my next point: golf is ridiculously expensive.  While I’m all for preserving expansive areas of undeveloped land, I don’t think you should have to pay out the wazoo to walk a piece of land with a club.  Between the membership fees, the cart fees and then what it costs to get a bag of clubs together, I could have built my own tennis court and redone my kitchen.  And, if I want to spend my time with painful people, I already have plenty of occasions, and I certainly don’t need to pay money for more.

But golf also takes up time, and by time, I mean, eons.  And I don’t have four hours of free time to spend chasing a ball on a regular basis, which would be required in order for me to enjoy playing without my current level of frustration.  If I want a work out, I run, hike or go for a bike ride.  If I want to play a game, I play tennis, corn hole or volleyball.  All of those can be accomplished in around an hour, maybe a little more.

It made sense that my grandfather was into golf.  About all he could do was walk and it gave the poor guy something to do during the day since he wasn’t working and his wife had died.  And his passion for the sport, well, I chalked that up to having literally nothing else to do other than offer us grand kids twenty five cents for drinking our milk.  Then my dad got into it, but he was also getting up there and it made sense for the most competitive person I’ve ever known to attempt domination of a new activity when his fitness level was less and less impressive and he was approaching his golden years.  Once he couldn’t put his kids to shame athletically, he said he took up a game requiring more skill than athletic ability.

I’ve wondered whether he did it to get away from life for four hours.  If being out on the golf course was kind of like going on a high mileage run in that your mind is able to free itself from the minutia of your daily grind.  For four hours, he wasn’t an employee or boss or father or husband or brother or son.  Or maybe it doesn’t get that deep at all.  Maybe it really is just about getting a ball in a hole.


SHE SAID: Nicknames

May 7, 2010

My mom always said that nicknames meant you were well liked. This theory arose coincidentally around the time I was dubbed “sniffer” and I have a sneaking suspicion they might be related. My nicknames included Fire, Snifter, Brandy Snifter, and Kid Sister. I’m sure I’m forgetting some.

I tried to drop my lifelong nickname freshman year in college. I had everyone calling me by my given name, the unused one typed in on my birth certificate, for two whole weeks. It seemed, and still does, like someone else’s name and going by it was kind of like stepping into someone else’s skin, albeit briefly. My brief flirtation with normalcy was cut short when my dad came to visit and let the cat out of the bag. I see people from elementary school who are surprised I still go by my nickname. One of them said, “I thought you’d have grown out of that by now.” It appears I have only grown more and more into it.

I had friends called names that would make my mom blush. Names they would accept as monikers despite me being embarrassed to say the word aloud, much less address someone as such. I have had friends name their significant others something lame and terrible and oh-so-cheesy. I’ve had friends name their or someone else’s body parts, which I don’t really think is all that necessary. I had friends that fought nicknames tooth and nail, a tact which seemed only to make the name stick with more zealousness. And yet, I’ve had friends lament their nicknamelessness.

But if we are going to do a High Fidelity type list, as my co-writer is so fond of doing since everything seems to be rateable in his book, my favorite nicknames of the peer variety in no particular order are:

Log. One of my good friends was called Smokey after alerting the authorities to a fire. Since I was already called Fire, we got a kick out of the link. Our third friend, wanting to get in on the action, suggested we call her spark or flame. Smokey decided that no, Log was a much better idea.

FurPud. A guy I knew, called Pud by all who knew him, moved out West and dropped the nickname in the move. When some friends came to visit him, he reminded them that they were not to call him Pud since he didn’t want it catching on out West. His Eastern friends discovered, however, that his Western friends called him Furball, due to his extensive body hair, and when they all got together, Pud/Furball became Furpud.

Pearsie. When I was growing up, my best friend’s parents called his brother Pearsie. They said it was because he had looked like a pear when he was born. It always struck me as incredibly sweet, maybe it was the way they said it, and I remember it fondly to this day.

Kat-breath. I don’t know this woman, she’s a friend of a friend. But all her friends call her this both behind her back and to her face. Seems a bit … too specific. I hope she’s not a close talker.

America’s Guest. He came. Sometimes invited. He bummed a ticket, invite or twenty off of you. He was adored, stayed too long and entertained everyone the whole evening. Again and again and again.


SHE SAID: Turning into our parents

June 18, 2009

All of my friends rolled their eyes at their parents to differing extents. There was always one who got along well with their parents, had good mutual respect and communication and we all would gravitate to that person’s house. The rest of us, to varying degrees, had a tough time with parents and I heard many utter more than once that they were never going to turn out like their parents. Make their parent’s mistakes. Treat their children like their parents. Conform or compromise like their parents. The list goes on.

turn into parents

And then, of course, one day, somewhere in there, you find yourself doing something so shockingly like your parents that you catch yourself and think, “Oh shit.” And usually, it’s okay, you accept it and move on. Realize the rationality of the sentiment or the action that was so elusive while you were younger, and think for a fleeting moment that maybe your parents weren’t the morons you thought they were. It’s inevitable. It’s endearing. It’s humanizing. Acceptable also mainly because you’re still able to define yourself without borrowing entirely from your parents.

But what I’m talking about, is turning into the the guilt trips, the “can you turn that music down”, the refusal to accept us as grown adults with occasionally significant and viable opinions, the neediness, the expectations and disappointment at our failure (read: possible disinterest) to live up to those expectations, whatever it is that drives one crazy about one’s parents. Maybe I’m being too specific here about my own struggles.

Perhaps it is fixed. We are raised and molded by them, so susceptible to their personalities, opinions and whims. Maybe we are on a path from day one to be a replica of one of them. Maybe it is impossible to resist and a waste of energy. Maybe in our fight we are merely reenacting their own struggle against their parents which is mind numbingly depressing and makes everything seem despairingly pointless. I hope the urge to reproduce isn’t simply because we want to continue ourselves, leave something behind once we realize that death is inescapable.

I think both my parents are incredibly remarkable people and I have learned much and know I still have much to learn. But, I do not want to turn into either of them, however futile that stance may be. I don’t want to guilt my children into doing anything, I don’t want them ever to feel that in their interests or choices that they have let me down, that I would have wanted them to turn out any differently then the people they choose or chose to be. While I realize I will not always understand, I hope to be able to comprehend their stance the majority of the time. I hope I can remain open minded, accepting and curious for them. I hope that while I may pass on tidbits of useful information, that I will also be open to learning from them.

And I hope that my friends will help me. Because I’m realizing I might need a lot of help with this one.


HE SAID: Turning into our parents

June 18, 2009

I’m going to keep this short and sweet, because it’s hump night (Wednesday Evening, no real humping going on unfortunately), the Red Sox just won again, and I just crushed a delicious half caesar salad and chicken pesto panini from The Alchemist.  I fear if I delve too deeply into this subject it will leave me listening to Elliot Smith all night staring at large quantities of pills.

Bottom line is I’m lucky, I realized from a very early age that there was no way I was escaping the destiny of taking on many of my parents traits.  I’m far luckier in the sense that I am ok with that.  I’m especially turning into my Dad…he is a dork who likes to plan things out far in advance.  Wait, on second thought, I am already my Dad in that respect.  I am a dork who likes to plan things out far in advance. 

When it comes to raising children, I think my parents did relatively astounding on that front, especially given what they had to work with.  Sure, there are some things I think they could’ve done differenty.   I mean, as much as I liked going to beachfront resorts and out west to ski, looking back on it a few more cultural type vacations might have been a nice change of pace (I realize that they avoided this because myself and my siblings would have raised all hell while on vacation, but I still think it would have been beneficial overall). 

I also (along with my siblings) have my share of problems, which I’m sure through reading this blog you have become all to aware of them, but we all have problems.  And since I sent my Mom’s Mothers Day card late (and no gift), and I will probably do the same to my father, I’d like to publically give them a pat on the back and thank them for raising me to become the man I am today.  A man with a small one bedroom condo, subaru forester, low paying job and who can’t hold down a steady relationship! (kidding. well not really, it’s all true, but like I said earlier, they didn’t have much to work with…)