15 Minutes

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Last Wednesday we landed on the cover of the local weekly paper.

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The interview came about the normal way, which is weird in and of itself, to think of interviews as being normal. There was less angst over clothing and talking points this time since it’s our sixth time in one paper or another in the last couple of years (seventh if you count an impromptu television interview). It’s both cool and surreal to see RR grow up in newsprint.

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It also satisfies something inside that with each interview we’re getting closer to equality. The evolution from captioned activist photos on the front page to below the fold interviews to DOMA updates to a sizable interview in a weekly has come with more tolerance and more acceptance (and a better photo each time). Our interviewers have become increasingly more well-informed and relaxed (and so have we). We sound more confident and articulate each time (thank goodness).

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Pride was this weekend and Debra sat under a dripping tent while RR and I donned raincoats and  camped out on a blanket in front of the stage. Our allies stopped by and friends joined us on the blanket to have a very short but gratifying conversation about queer space.* I was prepared and sort of nervous to be recognized since our pictures are tucked inside a news box on every corner but we slid through the day peacefully. It was a weird feeling wondering whether people were identifying us privately but not saying anything or whether we were surrounded by 2000 gay folks and their friends at a gay celebration who hadn’t picked up the gay issue of the popular weekly.

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To top it off, Debra was quoted on the front page of Sunday paper having very briefly talked to a reporter at her Pride booth. The butch-focused booth was a new endeavor for her and I was thrilled to see her hard work well received by the community. And, while we live in a progressive town, having something about butch identity on the front page is a major accomplishment.

I say all that to say this: I’m hugely proud of my family and I really hope this is the last time we are in the news talking about our rights. If we’re in the paper again, I’d like it to be a wedding announcement.

*While we have super friends, super super friends, there’s something to be said for that moment when everyone at the table (or blanket, in this case) is coming from a common place of understanding. I’m delighted to be able have it both ways and the first makes the second even more cherished.

 

Fire Cider

Saturday was for cold season. Although we’re all healthy, we are anticipating that the giant petri dish that is working in a University will eventually gift us some kind of cold. So we tried our hand at fire cider. I can’t explain this to you. Go here for a recipe and here for a video.

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We usually muddle through with a combination of good luck, strong immune systems, and a healthy dose of elderberry syrup, but it seemed as though this horseradish-boasting recipe* could blast through a stuffy nose. This is the bane of my winter.

I have no idea what to expect but I can’t wait to give it a shot!

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*Debra was on horseradish duty. Unfortunately, I may never be able to convince her to do this again. Then again, maybe those were tears of joy at grating duty?

Falling Fast

We lived August hard. Wore it right down to the nub. Twisted and wrung and stretched out the last bits and slurped them right down. As RR likes to say, nuhfing for you mama, nuhfing for you.

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Speaking of what RR has to say, summer camp delivered one outstanding thing to us. Yes, we delivered a child who could use the potty, and got back one who couldn’t, but in exchange for basic toilet competence, we got a child who can say her Ls. Thank you, Liz, for apparently being very committed to having your name said correctly. Ls. I don’t even miss I yuv you, mama. Well, maybe a little.

Not only does she have Ls, but she also has a new, sweet, tolerant, way of correcting us. Constantly. Mama, did you fought I wanted the window open? We, of course, did. Did you fought I wanted to have you pull my hair when you put it in the ponytail? I didn’t. Did you fought I didn’t want the last cookie? I DID. She says it so gently that you can almost forget she is contradicting the very thing she said the moment before.

We didn’t get married. Even though we really thought there was a chance we could. Yes, we understand the Supreme Court’s decision was a forgone conclusion but, if that was the case, it was all the more heartbreaking that they waited til almost the last minute to decide. I have a lot of feeeelings about this but dragging them out has proven harder than expected.

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We dug in the sand, swam in the ocean, and hopped waves holding hands. Whether it was the sun or the salt air, we brought back a child at least a foot taller. We also brought back a child who consistently used the potty, at least to pee. When I dropped her off for her first day at school I wasn’t thinking, oh how cute, oh how big she is, oh my little baby is all grown up (well, mostly not) I was thinking, so help me god if my child has an accident on your watch I will…well, I don’t know what. But SOMETHING.

I have a lot of feelings about potty training AT FOUR, too, but apparently they are lodged right in that place where you can’t speak for fear you’ll choke. The teacher tells us she can multiply. And while I swallow it, I want to say: can you work less on math and more on poop?

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But she is back at school AND peeing in the potty, but not without prompting, and not with a promise of doing it again the next time, but we take what we can get. And she IS so grown up. And so tall. And suddenly her little-girlness is so much…less.

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Four years of first day of school pictures and next year she’ll have cleared the railing. She’ll be on top of it, too. She is brilliantly daring and enthusiastic and oblivious to heights (but don’t you dare help her down).

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There’s more stuck behind the feelings. How somehow I feel like we’re shooting down a steel chute with nothing to catch hold of, just the chance of locking our nails on the rivets. She’s having a hell of a ride though.

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Snip

My wife is off right now cutting her hair. I’m not sure what she’ll come home with. Less hair? A lot less hair? No hair? There’s a novel here about her hair and her feelings about it and maybe she’ll tell it. I suppose it’ll depend on how she feels about her new hair. I suspect she’d also like me to have feelings.

Wife, standing at edge of bed and holding her hair in her hand: I’m getting this cut tomorrow, you know. How will you feel about it?

Me, reading in the bed: I don’t really care as long as you’re happy.

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This has been going on for some time and I do just want her to be happy. I’d also like her to get on with it while she’d like to consider it from every angle, for years if necessary. Hair is complex and personal so I don’t blame her for taking her time.

I don’t talk much about our relationship. Sometimes I wish I had a tell all where I could dump steamy thoughts and torrid tell alls but I usually just work out the fraught moments with my wife and there’s nothing left to write. Sometimes though, there’s something still unsaid. I suspect she’s worried that I won’t love her if she has less hair. I worry that she’ll expect a reaction other than the one that comes naturally to me. I hope this will rejuvenate some part of her. I want this to not be tied to me or how I feel.

Is this about hair or being married?

Out of Office

I was in Kruger National Park sneaking up on a cheetah when my radio beeped loudly and I lost the moment. It wasn’t the first time I’d ignored my boss on that trip, though in retrospect, talking to her would have been preferable to listening to my ex complain about the early hour for elephant watching. Mind, she ranked right up there with my number one worst boss who, on my first day at work in my very first real job, asked me to crutch seven blocks and then berated me not only for being too slow but for having broken my ankle in the first place.


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At the time of the cheetah sighting I was on vacation and remained connected to civilization and the Embassy (we’re talking post-9/11, mid-Anthrax) by radio as required by the friendly neighborhood security officer. I was on vacation. I wasn’t working. I was vacationing.

I learned quickly that in the Foreign Service you need to be in between somewheres to not be working. Otherwise, the emails are piling up, the deadlines are shorter, the bosses shriller. Regardless, I placed a priority on work-life balance and took the shrillness and heat that came with it. There was heat, my friends. Some people don’t understand the meaning of the word vacation.

I am also very firmly in the don’t-check-your-email camp. It’s hard to avoid working when it’s so so easy to hit the mail icon on your phone. I don’t take calls or check my voicemail ever, much to my mother’s (and telemarketers) dismay. It’s vacation. Right? Turn it off and mentally rejuvenate.

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But it turns out that the work that piles up when you’re away starts to be more stressful than actually doing it. And when your mother calls and says, “By the way, we’re going out of town the week you needed us to watch RR AND we need you to dog sit Duncan*. Pity it’s when you planned your vacation.” and your wife says, “Oh but look! We can move it to the following week (profanity about your mother redacted).” then you’ll say, “Fair enough.”, completely forgetting that you are tied to the academic year and everyone else took their vacations LAST week and everything, everything, is happening the week you’ll be gone.

And you are trying very hard to get a promotion by being very awesome and it’s hard to be awesome when you aren’t actually there.

And so here I am. Feeling relieved that I’ll be working, at least a little, while I’m on vacation. I won’t be awesome, but I won’t be feeling overwhelmed when I get back. I think I’ve picked the lesser of the two evils. I hope so.

 

*Upon looking for a link to give you so that you could reacquaint yourselves with Duncan, I realized that I had not told you nearly enough about how overwhelming he is. Fortunately, my wife captured it here, here, and here. Since we’re dog sitting this week, I was up at the obscene hour of 6am to keep him from barking himself crazy. I sat in the recliner and watched Face Off. Don’t judge.

We’re Almost Going to the Chapel

We’re one step closer to the courthouse as the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals rules the gay marriage ban in Virginia unconstitutional. 

You guys.

Can you imagine what it will be like when we finally stand on the steps of the courthouse? It’s this close.

It’s a BED for Pete’s Sake.

Ages ago, back in the time of the Eternal Occupation, we offered my parents the beautiful iron bed from our spare room. We did this so that they would move out since the stated barrier to the move was that they didn’t have anything to sleep on. They didn’t move (obviously) since the stated reason was not the real reason at all (that may never be known).

But they still are taking the bed.

Indeed, they announced that they needed to pick it up so that they could furnish their spare room. I quickly calculated in my head the degree of emotional upheaval vs bed possession and decided that I was happy to let the bed go. This has been a sore point with my wife who, despite complaining about the bed since we got it, wishes to keep it. My new calculations have resulted in a heap of shit, despite desperate attempts to fudge the math.

This morning I suggested they might try to find a bed nearer to them so that they didn’t need to drive to us to pick it up and then to drive back. I thought this was a good solution, considering that it’s an hour each way. This was a grave error, my friends, and has transformed into not only the gift of a bed, but three days with them since they are inexplicably coming tonight in order to watch RR tomorrow afternoon and then staying until Sunday at which point we will drive with them to set the bed back up again. That’s our entire weekend.

This is a flagrant abuse of the internet, to complain about a bed.

For me, it’s a horrible glimpse into the creature I’ll probably become. Not one visit has passed without my mother reminding me that everything we do for each other has some kind of accounting. Redirecting her from something she wants or expects can result in disaster…or not. I see our similarities and wonder if it has already happened, this becoming. And in my worse moments, I’m certain it has. There are more of those than not lately.

It’s just a bed. To be honest, the sooner it’s gone, the better.

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