The Battlefield Where the Girls Say I Love You

That's just the thing: we will never tell you we love you. In fact, we're here only to hold hands across state lines and yell at the world. We're here to try to touch you across this chasm of flown things. Not even that. At most, I will teach you how to make a gin smoothie when there's nothing left in the house. Hannah can teach you several languages and what to do when your car breaks up with you. Thanks for coming out.

Monday, March 31, 2008

aaron sings the blues

i've been meaning to blog, but the kids are leaving so soon i can't do anything but stave off the hysterics by watching 'dancing with the stars' online. i don't care! i'm out of shows.

anyway, i was going to do this whole funny blog, but i don't have the heart for it. the kids are leaving. and they're perfect. the way they eat plastic toys is perfect. the possessed sleepwalking is ADORABLE. i even smiled fondly tonight as aaron ran into me with his plate of lasagna. how fucking cute and aaronish of him, i thought as i scraped the cheese off my belly with a spatula.

it's clear i'm in no shape for blogging. the only thing i'm good for is blaring 'handle with care' while weeping and eating chocolate. so make sure the volume's up:

Monday, March 24, 2008

four quick things:

1. hannah has, this morning, discovered that the children have been eating their toys. they have kept it, i think, to a particular box of beads...but all the same--toy eating. so, just as we're moving from that point in the conversation to another, kanasta--in the background--says, "what are we supposed to do exactly?"

to which hannah says, "put all small toys--toys that you would consider eating--into a box. no, we are not selling them. we are giving them to other children who will not eat them."

then, throughout the rest of our phone conversation, she pauses several times to answer whether or not a toy has to go in the box. "well, kanasta, i don't know. is there any part of you that wants to eat the stuffed animal?"

2. bo and i passed a blue honda accord (one of those great ones from the mid-nineties) whose bumper sticker displayed the following: life's a bitch. don't vote for one.

hillary's face had a big X over it. hannah pointed out that the better choice would be to have the same slogan but with mccain's face.

3. MEN: you are not allowed to tell us how "adorable" you think our "bellies" are. period. even if you mean it as a compliment. you are certainly not allowed to say so while also trying to pet said belly.

4. what the hell is up with people displaying a cursive monogram on the back windshield of their car? in south carolina, these are usually paired with that annoying state flag tree and moon symbol. i find them both offensive to my taste (and have noticed that both frequent toyota forerunners and highlanders).

Friday, March 21, 2008


my dad calls aaron that. it's meant to be ironic. the kid moves so slowly, you'd swear sometimes he was going backwards. he can take hours to finish a meal. every night, i have to sit there and remind him to chew, to take the next bite. so it's no wonder that in the mornings, we have the school bus out front with the angry driver laying on the horn and me inside roaring, 'MOOOOOOVE!' even then, aaron's all, 'lalalalaaaa.'

so yesterday, i go upstairs at 6 and flip on their light, only for aaron to stumble out of bed fully dressed wearing socks and shoes. 'a present for you hannah,' he said trundling by me to the door. 'i got dressed last night so i wouldn't be late.'

also, WHOOOOO!!! check it out! a mamie reading/interview!!! it's priceless. piano fade-ins, sincerity... you don't want to miss it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


so, my day peaked when "nobody does it better" came on the easy listening station and i got to do my best carly simon in the middle of stopped traffic on I-85. after i did my taxes and found out that i OWE the government money. this is a first. i did it on the computer and it has this price-is-right-ish thing in the upper corner that flashes numbers in the green when you get a refund and red...well, it started out green. very green. then i entered the restaurant W2 and everything went red.
oh, and just now i sat down at this coffee shop that serves alcohol and ordered a beer. why? because it's SPRING BREAK. idowhatiwant. anyway, i say to the waitress:
"i left my license in the car. but i swear i'm legal. i'm a teacher."
for some reason i always say that when i can't find my ID. "i'm a teacher." dunno. anyway, she cuts me off with, "don't worry about it. you're obviously way older than 21."

i'm sorry. "way older?" it's like the lady who told my mom that she looked "well preserved" last weekend. i thought she was going to pull out her gloc.

okay, none of this is important. what is important is wal-mart. listen, i don't want to shop there. no one wants to watch parents beat their children with hair brushes by the faded glory stand. it's just that wal-mart's always been there for me. like the worst pimp. the time stevie and i cooked thanksgiving dinner and i didn't know grocery stores closed on the most gluttonous day of the year? sam walton. the time morgan popped both lenses out of my eye glasses the sunday night i had to write a twenty page paper on jane campion's the piano? sam. where else are the new ipod nanos 145$? the summer after fifth grade when we were broke and my mom had, like, 60 bucks to buy me back-to-school clothes? mix and match brightly colored t-shirts and biker shorts.

it makes me sick with guilt in a way starbucks doesn't, what with their kick ass 401K plan for partners.

hannah sent me flowers this weekend, for reasons i will not disclose here. (if you haven't figured it out, we try not to tell you people anything that requires we be earnest.) anyway, her card reads:

if there's one thing white people love, it's BEING THERE for someone. while there are many coveted rituals associated with BEING THERE, the ideal situation presents when the friend is far away. here, white people excel. and nothing makes them feel more sophisticated and understanding than sending a thoughtful gift to illustrate their thoughtless compassion and flawless good taste.

pretty sweet. what's better is that carlyle, also being a good friend, brought over a bouquet of gerber daisies. so he goes to put them down beside hannah's--keep in mind hannah's are, of course, entitled "canary song tulips" and are something helen mirren would send maggie smith or cate blanchett after a terriffic dinner of veal and blueberry risotto. so he sets them down and then stares at both of them, looking defeated. like on oprah's big give when one of the saps only raises, like, 46,000 dollars for the guy who needs to pay off his student loans...or something equally dire.

also, avett brothers. tomorrow.
also, the flo' rida album dropped today. this isn't irony. this is sheer, unadulterated joy.
also, i took my mother to charleston. it was a surprise. although it shouldn't have been. people should forever be planning trips on which to take my mother. she works that hard. she's like martha stewart with a soul. she's somehow kate spade and janeane garofalo. and, we manage to get in these moods once a quarter when we hate everyone but each other. anyway, we drank and ate and watched 27 dresses in bed and bashed men...which REMINDS ME!!!!

my karma for implying men who like waitresses are sexist and insecure?!!! i fell in love with each and every bellman (bellboy?). hot, those people. and they're constantly in a state of getting your car and carrying your stuff and hailing you a blacked out excursion in lieu of a you ride around town with your mother looking like young joc and jermaine dupri.

Monday, March 17, 2008

are you there god? it's me, hannah.

well, the hot water heater is broken. and i'm choosing to deal with it by lying on the couch under a blanket and eating many oranges.

earlier today, i did trudge around trying various taps and showers in the hopes that it was all a huge mistake. but it's not. i don't even know where it is, but i'm guessing the basement. which i refuse to go in, because there is someone hiding in it with a machete ready to kill me.

there's nothing else for it: i'm going to have to ring up the landlord who lives far away and has no idea that i'm harboring animals and children, which means i'll have to erase all evidence of said animals and children. then two weeks from now, she'll show up with the fresh stitches of a new facelift to try to fix it herself with duct tape. i just can't bring myself to pick up the phone, because she's the kind of person that writes notes on our front door. on the actual door.

so, tonight? i guess i'll be heating pots of hot water and putting the kids in bathing suits before throwing them both into the jacuzzi tub. jesus christ.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

while i love all of you equally...

i love this:

more than anything else in the world just now.

i know this doesn't count as a post of my own, but i'm having one of those moments that i used to have in workshop (or, actually, after i watch anyone do anything that i like to do better than i could ever do it, which happens almost every day) and subsequently i swear to never (write a poem/ride a bike/plant a garden/make a martini) again.

this time, i'm rendered totally immobile and post-less by "stuff white people like."

You have 3 minutes staaaarting... NOW!!!

I’m having a month of tongue tied. I caught myself lisping today. Weird shit happens when you don’t sleep, and truth is sleeping’s been a problem for everyone in this house. Except Aaron, I guess, who could basically sleep upside down in the chimney.

Kan’s had 2 more night terrors. Here’s an event I won’t forget for the rest of my life: it’s midnight and I’m in that insomniac place where I’m resigned to watching Dateline on the computer until the sun comes up. My door’s closed. The kids’ door upstairs is closed. This is important, because you can’t wink in this house but everyone can hear it. And my door especially, well it just doesn’t fit in its frame. Despite my best efforts to saw parts of it off with my bread knife.

Anyway, I’m there in bed and I look up and even though there hasn’t been so much as a damn creak in the floorboards and I haven’t heard the kick it always takes to get my door open, Kan. Is. Standing. RIGHT THERE. INCHES AWAY FROM ME. And she’s doing her best zombie stare and her hands are doing their best lobster claw impressions. She starts crying without blinking, which is really fucking disturbing, and shouts, I NEEDA SLEEP WITHU. And I’m ashamed to say it, but I didn’t let her. I’m a miserable and terrible person who clearly was born without the ability to feel anything but fear, because I just carried her back upstairs (and wasn’t that sketchy as hell b/c I could feel her little hands twisting the skin on my back) and stayed with her until she fell asleep. Then, I had a drink.

Anyhow, because of the insomnia and a whole host of other reasons, I’ve been, like, in orbit or something this last month. Totally disconnected. I’ve been playing “scramble” on facebook, which is pretty much “boggle” only you’re online and playing live against a thousand people. I have a weakness for timed word games. And they’re so not good for me, because then I carry around this nervous energy that gets me so twitchy I pretty much hit the deck when someone coughs. And small tasks, like doing the dishes, I feel like I have to get them done in 3 minutes.

Finally. Finally? Like there’s been some coherent list happening here. I took this stuff called Simply Sleep (from the makers of Tylenol PM) last night. I know, the name alone. But it worked. Only too well, because I had trouble walking when I got out of bed AT TEN THIRTY and I almost shouted when I got into my classroom because the words on the page were too blurry to read.

Yeah, so that's all I got. Mamie?

Monday, March 10, 2008

waitressing and ballet fit class: the mystique?

to be fair, when hannah decides she really does love me and wants to continue being my best friend, it's because i've manipulated her. not called for a while. taken up hobbies. achieved greatness through embedding. see, a part of her feels she's meeting someone new. like the transfer guy in eleventh grade who, perhaps, played the drums and exhibited mad devil stick skills.

when i fall back in love with hannah, it's completely by accident. one man's black widow is another's...anne hathaway? anyway, she's not trying is all.

she calls this morning from the uncw parking lot. not the one she's supposed to park in, but the lay person/student lot.

"mame, there's a ticker in this lot. i hope she's canvased this side already."

canvased. as a verb. adorable.

then, then: mame, today in ballet fit class, when the lady asked us to do, like, our tenth squat, i just sort of stuck my butt out.


i've recently begun noticing that there is a certain type of guy that "has a thing for waitresses." i began thinking more about it after daisy's recent post (concerning date who paid more attention to waitress). these men--who range from trainwreck to successful--will also tell you they have a thing for waitresses. which is pervy when all i want to do is get you that last newcastle and send you the hell home.

thing is, i've been thinking too much about it, find it vaguely insulting. like, what does it mean? are we somehow more accessible because (to their knowledge) we don't have other, more lofty careers? does this imply we have lower standards? i mean, i'm not riding some wave of stereotype. listen, i said "verbiage" at a table last week and two people actually clamped their hands to their mouths in delight.

1. somehow we manage to be both servers and literate.

2. somehow, many of us can serve you and be submissive as all hell. this is not our actual personality. once taken home, we require you relinquish all sexual and cable-related rights. we make you rake leaves. we too require that, at some point, you spend your saturday at ulta/barnes & noble/world market.

3. we are not aspiring actresses. no, we have never done pageants.

4. we too eat in nice restaurants. (never thought to clear this one up until i saw a customer at devereaux's last week who was obviously mortified that i wasn't where--and i quote--i was supposed to be.)

5. we are not 20 years-old. we are not halfway through nursing school. (well, adrianna is. and her sterile technique is amazing. and she has two year-old twins and another job.)

6.we do know how to serve single malt scotch without your nine step instruction. why? because we drink it, assholes. and if you want it on the rocks you can get the hell out of my bar.

cheers. ha. and it's only monday.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

a brand new november blue

sweet lord.

okay, so maybe it's not exactly synesthesia. but i say: ck one, molly ringwald, jams, mr. wendel, roger rabbit, mix tapes, el camino, that certain neighborhood gas station where you met between football games and whatever else, coors light 22 oz....

it's like whatever cologne your first boyfriend (or girlfriend) wore: drakkar noir? coolwater?

anyway, i hear this and can almost place myself in castle hayne.

hannah's somewhere readjusting her visor and listening to gershwin, trying not to kill me.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

talk about two birds...

so, the greenville newspaper printed the letter i wrote in response to the letter some idiot wrote about obama's profane lifestyle. and do we really want judas running the country...yadda, yadda, yadda. only problem is, the geniuses in editing decided that every time i used the man's proper name, they'd replace it with "letter writer." for example, "the letter writer seems to think reproductive rights for women are atrocities." so, i come off sounding like an idiot. or like one of those people who has aphasia and can't think of the word "fork," so use some sort of middle english "food-utensil." seriously, i'm convinced my niece or kanasta or aaron is wearing a suit and sitting in the corner office downtown looking over proofs, going "natalie! where's natalie? someone get her in here to change his name to Letter Writer."

no matter, though, because (WAIT FOR IT) some crotchety old republican lady named MAMIE MORGAN is threatening to sue the paper for slanderous remarks. she can't believe she has the same name as some "crazy liberal" and doesn't want her name attached to it. oh my god!!! you don't know how happy that makes me. she's probably fanning herself somewhere right now.

oh, and two things: my student tells me that the hacks at MLA say we can use "well" and "good" interchangeably. this MUST be a mistake, right? "only food is good" or whatever my grandmother used to say...

also, i'm now posting songs for each entry to see if i can make eric ride his bike off a cliff. cheers.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Demonic possession, and other sugarplum dreams...

At 9pm the night before last, Kan let out a bloodcurdling yelp. I was running to her, calling out all the while, but all she would do was scream my name. Sim was upstairs and got to her sooner. She found Kan standing in the hallway, staring straight ahead-- crying, gasping, hiccupping. There was something weird about her hands.

When I got there, the kid was hysterical. Unable to articulate anything. The gasping and panting continued in the manner of fifty-five year old marathon runner. I thought dimly that she was having some sort of seizure. Frantically, I scanned her body for some sort of wound, thinking that this was what clearly happens when you don’t clean the child’s room properly. Anything could be on that floor.

Then she yelled at me, “OKAAAAAAY!!!!.” A very loud and deep yell. Sim and I sat back. I hesitated. See, her voice is usually a sort of high-pitched princessy chirp.

I said nervously, “Did you have a bad dream?” She was still staring unseeingly straight ahead, not at either one of us. And it occurred to me that she wasn’t blinking at all. A very bad sign, I thought to myself wishing I’d turned on the light.

“Was it a bad dream?” I repeated.
“I couldn’t do it to you,” she ground out.
“Hmm?” I made out Aaron wriggling anxiously in the background.
“There were three… They told me to.”
Oh shit, I thought, wishing the house were lit up like a Christmas tree and that there was 80s music playing to discredit the situation.

Then. She grabbed my shirt, twisting it and pulling me to her. She looked straight at me for the first time and in that same deep voice yelled, “I WANNA GO!!!!!”

I think I might have passed out had she not been practically holding me upright. “Go where, sweetheart?” I asked aiming for a merry, let’s go to the circus kind of voice.

“ANYWHERE!!!” my small sister bellowed. “We have to get OUT OF THIS HOUSE!!”

In a move that was more mature than I thought myself capable of, I did not in fact go tearing out of the house and into the street grasping a crucifix. Instead, I got her to sleep and Sim and I had the following exuberant dialogue: It’s fine! No, yeah, it’s FINE! It’s totally FINE! Sleep well!

Afterwards, I looked up night terrors instead of exorcisms. Turns out, she had all the right symptoms for it. Which I guess is slightly preferable to demonic possession. But this might be a reoccurring event? Awesome. And you’re not supposed to wake them out of the trance, which is counter to everything in me. I was close to commanding she stop being terrifying right this minute young lady.

Later, Sim told me about her hands. They were clawlike and twisted. Uh-huh. And the next day, when I asked her timidly about the bad dream, she smiled brightly up at me and said, “What dream?”

Aaron broke in: “Ehhhh, Hannah, what would happen if everything had alcohol in it? Like the banana, and the water, and everything? Would I feel good?”

I was unable to answer, having been transported by a blissful vision of a more magnificent world. Yes Aaron, you would feel good.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

new digs

my mother calls a few weeks ago, says:

"listen, i have a few new rules for you. i know you're grown, know also that we never gave you many rules as a child. which is precisely your problem. but i've been thinking. no more dating men in the food industry. and no more dating children. now, there's nothing wrong with the industry OR children per se."

*i should note here that by children my mother means man-boys. to her (who, keep in mind, married a 35 year-old when she was 20), this constitutes anyone under the age of thirty.

she says, "really, i don't see why you bother. actually, i don't think you should date at all. yes. i think that's even better. refocus your energy: career and a new place to live!!!"

to her credit, my mother is almost always right, no matter how crazy she sounds.

and, while i like the house where i live now, the only space that's mine is my bedroom. and i have two terrific roommates. only, they're still roommates.

so i've been waiting patiently, storing my moneys, for the perfect place. which should NOT have worked out. when i looked at it a month ago, it was just out of my price range...which made me only love it more (see: she who begins text messages while parallel parking and other self-destructive behaviors). then, a week ago, he lowered the price!!!! anyway, i love nothing more than creating a comfortable space. i love design, decor, art, food, entertaining...and haven't been able to do any of it in some time. so, psyched. so much so that i sat in the driveway of said condo today, staring at it, listening to "quedate luna." creepy. i know.

p.s. you must be worried about hannah's absence. it's become a bit much. i can only say, she's writing elsewhere. this is the woman who spent an afternoon at my house deciding whether to use the word "clothed" or "dressed." (it's completely obvious, i realize. who says clothed?) anyway, i'm concerned as well. typical behavior patterns: inattentive husband (me) becomes shocked and confused to discover unappreciated wife (her) has taken up salsa dancing (book) behind his back and is leaving husband for javier bardem.