Thursday, 9 July 2009

Drop names like rain.

I always listen to the Allman brothers (at the Fillmore East) when I get tattooed and I listen to Pink Floyd when it rains. My boys have raised me well. I listen to heavy masters jazz through the open window of my vintage neighbors when we walk and I listen to Norwegian speed metal (all kinds) when I clean the house. I fall asleep to Phish and make love to Tool. I'm very picky, I guess.

This house alone is a full-time job, I think. Though the work was outside as we had the mother of all storms this morning. The street became a lake and I put on my slicker and went outside with the big sharp shovel to clear my adopted storm drain, and then the one across the street, too, since I was completely soaked within seconds, and because my neighbors are lazy (and dry!). I wore my sauconys, I'm afraid they won't recover and I'll be in my vibrams this winter. Not sure if that's good or bad, maybe it's just brave. But I did it because it's MY storm drain and it's MY branches and leaves stuck in it from MY yard and MY street, even though I faithfully clear it every time I do any yard work at all.

Once everything dried, we took the kids on a short walk to see the muddy high creek and pick clean wildflowers and then returned to sweep the patio, check all the gutters and assess any further damage. There are roofing trucks parked up and down the street now, and people who thought they had some problems before with their roofs now have emergencies. I don't have an emergency. I got a new roof for my birthday and my house was bone-dry after the storm save for one tiny leak on the north side behind the washing machine. I can deal with that, this house is ninety-five years old and very gracious in her old age.

Lochlan has been the gatekeeper this week, and it's going well. My new routine is to get the kids into bed and then I crawl underneath his arm and fall asleep until Ben calls for a second time and then if I'm lucky I can pick up where I left off and Lochlan is beginning to complain that he is too old to sleep on a couch and he misses his big spendy bed so he gets a pass and I will torch PJ instead with the heat of my nightmares and the damp fear of my dreams. PJ figures sleeping anywhere but home is cause for excitement. The kids just love the fact that he eats all the Froot Loops Ben keeps buying but is never home to eat.

Oh, and when the sun comes out we listen to Switchfoot. Surfing noise from the surfing boys.

Works for me.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Five to three.

Fitful dreams in the heat of Lochlan's arms where I fell asleep in spite of myself last night drove me to the caves underneath my heart. It hasn't rained in a while so there were no puddles to splash through to heed my arrival. I walked slowly, feeling my way with my hands outstretched in case I tripped, the concrete is broken and wedged up along the way. It's a treacherous walk.

I make it to my room and throw the bolt again, an action I can do in my sleep now, twisting it slightly to break the rust. I pull the ring and then automatically wipe my hands on my skirt. The door opens and I call his name because I don't see him.


God turns on the glow light. My dead husband is a Playskool toy. Squeeze him and he lights up. Only I can't squeeze him. I can't touch him. Cole screams from the rafters and my eyebrow goes up slightly in bemusement and fear, too.

He's angry.


It should be his time right now.

It is. That's why I'm here. I can't do this on my own, so you're being prewarned.

Where is everyone?


Now? Have they forgotten?

I don't know. I don't ask.

Cole bellows in agony and a fine cloud of dust descends, settling in my hair, giving a haze to the air that magnifies the glow and makes it hard to see. I call up to him.

They didn't forget, I think they're just waiting to see what happens!

He stops and considers this and Jacob begins again.

Will you be coming here?


You shouldn't, Bridget.

I don't care.

I smooth my filthy skirt again with one hand, trading my contraband to the other fist and he watches me.

What is that?

Nothing. Just a worry stone.

May I see it?


Perhaps next time.

Cole snarls and Jacob puts a hand up toward him and turns his gaze to what I can't see.

Black wings disturb the air, flapping indignantly and Cole is somehow quieted. They've been communicating again. I like it when they do that. Makes things feel safer to know that they are safe together. It's such a tiny room. I can't do any better right now.

When are you coming on Monday?

Five in the morning. Do you have other plans? Does it matter?

I need to prepare.

Ice-cold blood in my veins.

Will you be here, Jake?

Of course I'll be here for my princess.

Will you..will you switch places for a little while for me?

He turns his head and points again and I see that there's a wooden chair in the right hand corner of the room. I couldn't see it in the dark. He has Jesus beams that blow out of his broken fingers. It's like a superhero talent down here.

Thank you.

I didn't put that there.

Yes, you did, princess.

I look up and strain to see Cole's face in the dark. Jake sends some light his way, not enough to burn him, just enough for me to get his attention.

Will you talk to me on Sunday overnight?

He nods, sullen and rebellious.

I'll see you then. His voice suddenly overrides the screeching monster sounds that crawl out of his throat and he speaks to me clear as day. I always look forward to time with you.

It's been a year since he has said so many words to me down here and my breath catches and chokes me. I stand up slowly and turn to step carefully through the door, not willing to trip like last time. Once safely on the other side I turn back and as the door swings closed I notice they have already taken their positions, Jacob is sitting in the chair and Cole is standing in the center of the room, the backlighting from Jacob's glow giving him an impressive, daunting presence.

I spin the bolt, whisper that I love them both and take off down the hallway before the darkness closes in. When I emerge into the bright light again I look down at my hand. Clutched in my dirty fingers is the case from an old pocket watch. Inside are two locks of hair. One is a warm golden brown, tied with a thin black velvet ribbon. The other is white golden and tied with a ribbon of blue. No one knows I have this, and no one ever will.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

My kids were glued to the screen, I was glued to the table (stop laughing).

Yay! I got the zap glue off my fingertips, long enough to touch the laptop and let you know that the last baby peregrine falcon chick has fledged. She took her sweet time. Thanks, CBC!

Synonym toast.

Well there ain't nothing wrong with the way she moves
Scarlet begonias or a touch of the blues
And there's nothing wrong with the look that's in her eyes
I had to learn the hard way to let her pass by
Henry popped downstairs this morning and asked for synonym toast. I think he meant cinnamon, but he's just like his mother and found a way to stand out in the crowd of two in the kitchen.

It's okay. Yesterday as we were driving downtown, I was narrating my usual mix of kid-friendly expletives at other drivers and pointing out neat things and at a long stoplight I said Oh look, a hipster boy with a manbag and a jaunty floral scarf. Ruth gazed at him until the light turned green and then said Awkward.

I laughed for the remainder of the day, I think.

Yesterday we filled up on library books and I snagged a copy of Living with the Dead which made me squee virtually the whole way home. I didn't crack it last night, my eyes were far too heavy by the time Ben called for the final conversation of our day. He said he was craving my lip gloss and my hair for a security blanket and he was tired. That he was back in his hotel and he told me about his afternoon and what he ate for dinner and he asked how long it took Ruth to fall asleep after he talked to them at bedtime and if I was doing any more drawing that I could scan in for him and he said he loved me.

I said I loved him too.

Good day?

Yeah, it was, actually.

Monday, 6 July 2009

A looking in view.

Her footsteps creak the floor
The shadows give away
Someone outside the door
Won't let him in
Here's a bunch of stuff. The brain is being emptied, it's Monday. I like Fridays better.

American Eagle Outfitters is having a sale, just FYI. Plus buy three things and get free shipping. I love their v-neck t-shirts so I ordered three. Two black, one teal. One says East Coast, which yeah, I'll be living in that one for the rest of my life. Girls with gardens to weed can't wear dresses all the time, you know. Also, horseback in a dress? I could probably pull it off, but I'm not sure that I want to.

Before Ben left he put a star map application on my phone. I saw Vega last night and snorted ginger ale out my nose. Vega. They should have sent a poet. I should pull that movie out and watch it again, it's that good. Instead last night we watched half of Pineapple Express and all of I Now Pronounce you Chuck and Larry because I may or may not have a crush on Kevin James. (Fine, I do.) Then I tossed and turned all night. I don't sleep well alone. Ben called four times and I still couldn't muster up enough comfort for a whole night so darn it, I'll have to muddle through.

I think I can muddle through, it's sunny and beautiful out. My grass is growing. The flowers have bloomed, and really I can't think of someone who is more blessed right now than I am. In spite of my efforts to prove that I am nothing of the kind.

Also, FYI for the Alice in Chains fans out there, did you hear it yet? Oh my God, AWESOME! Bravo, boys.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Charm? Right there beside 'Airplane Mode'.

It was one of those Sundays when the sun was too hot, the drive was too long and the nerves were too frayed to play nice except for in front of the children. Otherwise we were prone to throwing insults to the wind, cursing under our breath at each other, slapping steak spice and barbecue sauce on the ribs as they cooked and generally slamming cutlery around in a sort of angry tango. The after-meal walk was more of the same, with Ben stalking ahead of me through the woods, talking to the kids intently, wisely choosing to ignore my mood. Not sure if the emergency of him leaving changed things or if my declaration that he was being a jerk wore him down (it probably surprised him) but by the time we returned to the house he had his arm around my shoulders and I had my customary position with one fist curled around the back of his shirt at the waist.

And then he smiled and grabbed his pack and kissed the kids and I followed him outdoors into the glare of the sun once again, head still splitting from the stress of waiting for this moment, and he kissed me and followed Christian to the truck, headed for the airport, back to work, back to routine, back to a scaled-down version of life on the road but not because there's no bus and seven minutes down the road from the studio is a place that makes even better ribs. He should know, he'll eat them every single day.

Here's the weird part. My bad mood? (Aside from wishing he didn't have to fly out again) Saturday night got away from me and I followed some of the boys onto the vodka train and then fell asleep late, waking up with nightmares of living in Sussex facing a dike, not concerned for the floods but for the small-town mentality and the fact that the apartment we had leased was still full of furniture that wasn't ours. I woke him up with my unconscious hyperventilating and so we didn't get any sleep. Zero. Zip. Zilch.

He said we were sharing, He was hung and I was over.

As usual, he is right.


Friday, 3 July 2009

The blank slate.

I try to save you but I can't
Find the answer
I'm holding on to you
I'll never let go
I was waiting to fill my backpack. A good book, a drawing pad and a few pencils. My favorite jeans and clean shirts and a warm sweater with a hood. A rain shell and a wooden comb. A tiny box to hold my hairpins and my ring while I sleep. My violin case lashed to the front of the pack for when I play and a jacknife dangles from one of Jake's old carabiners. There's a forgotten house key at the bottom of the pack and if I'm lucky a granola bar with chocolate chips.

My phone is in my pocket with my headphones and my glasses are on my face. They're spotted with rain and smudgy but I haven't noticed yet. Hearing aids, check. I'm wondering if I should wear two braids or one or just tie a knot at my neck and let my hair go halo like it always does. Starting out combed smooth and then escaping in wisps all throughout the day until I look like a lunatic at dinner. And shoes. I'll never be able to pick shoes but if I had any say it would be the FiveFingers, though I'll probably be vetoed in favor of something with ankle support for the hard parts.

From here on out it's food/sleep/comfort/experience. Or so I expected, in the beginning. The endurance race that I put off forever, delaying, never starting out for fear of going to the wrong place with the wrong people, or maybe hating it. The perpetual gap year that somehow got lost in a shuffle of appointments for tires and bloodwork, homework, grocery lists and clean sinks.

It wasn't mandatory and I've found that what I thought I needed in my pack isn't enough for any more than a year proper anyway. It just isn't.

And so on this long weekend at the farm I didn't pack sparingly, and I didn't pack like a college student going on the life-changing trek.

I packed like a mom, and a hurting one at that. A magic bag. Iodine, because we always get great ghastly splinters in the barn and on the split-rail fences by the paddock. The book Ben got for me, The Time Traveler's Wife, because I read like a hungry masochist, such inappropriate things and he's not a slave to herstory, as he says. Cappuccino! Because I still need caffeine in the morning or I'm going to become a social pariah, nodding off when I should be sparkling. Warm socks because at night my feet get cold and let me tell you, I look damn cute buck naked with striped blue, purple, and green fuzzy knee socks on.

Okay, so maybe I packed like an aging stripper. My point is it's not about the big trip, the once in a lifetime adventure, no sir. It's about the little things. The little things like the cherry lipgloss I brought because it was in the pocket of my bag with my keys. Ben ate it this morning but promised to replace it when we go back to the city on Sunday. I got a little thrill that shivered up my spine with the promise of a trip to the drugstore where they have a wall of lipgloss for people with the same kind of weird tactile addiction to tubes full of glittery fake-flavored chemicals that I have.

I might be really adventurous and try the papaya one. Who knows? The world is my oyster, after all, and the experience of that will count for everything in the end.

Peach, definitely. Or maybe strawberry.

Okay, strawberry.


I'll have to let you know. I can't make up my mind.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Hello Hurricane this October.


Not my video (I haven't been in California recently) but it kicks ass all the same.

If you find me face-down in a bowl of Cheerios, at least wipe off my chin, okay?

The upside of cutting my coffee consumption by 75% over the past week and a half is that the anxiety issues are a lot better as of late. Or maybe life is just teaching me how to roll with the punches via experience.

The downside? The narcolepsy. It's bac-


Wednesday, 1 July 2009


At eleven last night the doorbell rang. I was already asleep, curled up on the couch under Lochlan's arm while he read a book, phone on the table waiting for the call that never came.

If you live in a city and the doorbell rings late at night, you panic. It doesn't happen. Home invasion? Emergency? Bad news? All the boys either have a key for the back door or call first and I meet them at the door. I never hear that bell. I'm sure it still has Cole's fingerprint on it and possibly Jake's too.

Lochlan told me to stay put (FAT CHANCE) and he went to check. He looked through the window and let out a huge laugh and swore and then threw the door open and walked away.

There were my brown eyes and the smile I like to stick my fingers in the sides of because I hardly ever see it. Lurch goes the heart and everything magically stops hurting.


Woke up the kids, who came booking down the front stairs sleepily and they got hugs and Ben said tomorrow there would be presents and he took them back to bed and tucked them in because love is thicker than blood and he said he was sorry he missed bedtime. They quieted instantly, Lochlan packed up his things and slipped out, to his own house down the street and within ten minutes it was just Ben and I, standing in the front hall smiling at each other.

You big jerk. Why didn't you call?

I was busy working as hard as I could so I could come home, bee. Hell, I married a Canadian girl, I have to be here for Canada Day.

He said if you didn't call-

I haven't had that many pucks to the head. I called him first and let him know I was on the way. Everything's fine.

Everything is NOT fin-

He grabbed my head in his hands and looked right into my eyes, crinkling his up in a further smile. Most people I know smile and their eyes get warm but don't change shape, Ben's go from big black circles to mirthful half-moons. It's amazing. His whole face is handsomely comical when he wants it to be.

It's okay, bumblebee. I'm home.

I nodded and he let go and pulled me into his arms, squeezing hard. Holding on.

We'll figure this out. We've been through worse, bee.

Right, so now we should catch a break.

I love what I do. Besides, I have to put food on the table.

So be a farmer.

If I'm plowing who will sing to you?

And based on the fact that we both found that too funny to continue, rest assured that we went to bed where I inhaled enough airplane-fuel-smell to leave me downright queasy today and we slept hard, waking up together in a lazy tangle that we were reluctant to sort out.

On that note, Happy Canada Day.