Browsing "Childhood"
Apr 19, 2013 - Artsy Things, Childhood    24 Comments

Daddy Issues

I was looking at a recent picture of my dad. Silver-haired. Glasses.  Made me remember things.

My childhood feels like a bizarre event that happened on a different planet. First of all, I have a spotty memory, and second of all, I’ve been a lot of weird places since then.  And my whole world has changed many many times.

My mother is beautiful and stoic and sweet and quiet and quirky.  But when it comes right down to it…. I am my father’s daughter.  I’m not quite the extrovert that he is.  I’m not built for the stage like he is.  But I furrow my brow when I realize just how much of his …. essence… I inherited.

He was a “phase” kind of guy.  Golf.  Computers. Bungee jumping.

 

He found some tower in town and started bungee jumping off of it. Wow.  Sounds kind of weird now that I write it down…..

 

He was also a great speaker.  We’d walk over to Texas Tech University when I was a kid so he could jump up on the wall in the “Free Speech Area” and bust out with some preaching.

 

 

In high school my family and I were going to drive to Colorado for a family reunion   A group of my friends rode their bikes over to our house early in the morning to say goodbye to me.  They pounded on the door.  My dad greeted them with his 44 Magnum.

 

The weird part about that whole situation is that it didn’t even phase me.  Its not like he hadn’t pulled a gun on someone before.  But apparently they were terrified and remembered it years later. I guess maybe their daddys didn’t have a 44 Magnum?

Now days he’s off building an observatory somewhere or another.  Last time I talked to him he told me that he recently had a tooth he needed to get pulled. But that costs like HUNDREDS of dollars.  So instead he went out on the back-porch with a brick….

 

 

You can say a lot of things about my dad, but you can’t say he isn’t Interesting.  I am like a moth to a flame when it comes to Interesting….

My parents wedding day. 1973. My dad was 18

 

Me being ladylike

 

In other news, I added some new stuff to my etsy site.  Smaller prints, bigger prints and new prints! Click here to see.

 

 

Cubed Bread Makes Me Vomit a Little in My Mouth

So I have this brother…..

Actually, I have brothers coming out my ears, but theres always ONE, you know?

Several things this week have been direct reminders of what it was like to grow up with a boy of his type.

 

For the sake of privacy we’ll call him Joust.

Actually, that is innaccurate.

 

We’ll call him JOUSTY MC’JOUSTYPANTS.  He was so intense about that word for a short period of time that it has been forever branded into the fiber of my psyche.

Siegfried got a Playmobil set this week, which is a more modern version of one that JOUSTY MC’JOUSTYPANTS and I shared growing up.  So there was that reminder.

And then Boy has started getting up in my face and cramming his finger down his throat.

 

I think the first time he did it he actually had an itch in there somewhere, but after my ridiculously dramatic reaction, he now likes to do it just to make me mad.  Its like he’s coming in for a kiss and all of a sudden he’s poking his tonsils and gagging  an inch from my mouth.

 

Now, my brother never endulged in this type of behavior just to gross me out, but I guarantee that if he was choking on something, he was making direct eye-contact with yours truly.

We were usually at the table.  I remember the orage slice. I could see it all hitched up on his dangly thing.

 

Apparently both hands were necessarry to get it out.

 

And auk!  The sounds!  Why didn’t I look away??  Why didn’t I plug my ears???

And there was bacon….

 

You know, he blames me for his irrational fear of barfing (because of my barfing/passing out phase), but I think its because he always waited until he was in public to toss his cookies.  Like that junior high swim party where he chugged a whole hamburger and immediately jumped into a pool full of thrashing 14-year-old  who were playing sharks and minnows.  After swallowing like 5 gallons of water, it all came back up.  All the water, all the food.  And he was in the deep end flailing violently in order to stay high enough above the water to puke downwards.

 

And he watched and barfed helplessly as the puke was splashed around in the pool with nobody noticing.

 

…except the one girl who hadn’t gotten back in yet…..

 

But the big reminder of JOUSTY MC’JOUSTYPANTS came when I was at the beach house (not mine). I was cleaning the deck and came across a lone, soggy piece of bread.

 

It reminded me of him.

 

And I was bitter all over again.

 

I can’t even eat stuffing anymore, people!

 

And then tonight, as if it were meant to be, I walked out onto our porch and someone had returned a couple of action figures my boys had left out in the grass.

Seeing their names brought it all back, once again.  And thank you, patient stranger, for taking the time to TOTALLY MAKE MY WEEK! How awesome is that to find on your porch?!?!  I might have to go out and buy a frame for that…….

Apparently I Laugh at Other People’s Expense

I had too much caffeine this morning and proceeded to clean my entire house around 2 toddlers.  That is an act of magic.  Just getting clothes out of the dryer is an act of magic for me.

And not just “these days”.

EVER.  ALWAYS.

I am not an ideal housekeeper.  But I consumed the caffeine and I cleaned and I THOUGHT.  I did a little introspection.  I rooted through my brain looking for a common thread in all the little things that tickle me.

I’m all over the place.

But the other day Siegfried did a belly-flop in the grass and his Frenemy Simon pointed and laughed his little head off.  He was admonished, but man, he and I have some things in common.

I LAUGH AT OTHER PEOPLE’S EXPENSE.

Growing up my dad was always a little hard of hearing (from shooting guns and listening to music with the side of his head pressed against the speaker.)  Anytime he wouldn’t hear what one of us was trying to say, someone would shout out “snakes!”  It killed me every time.  (It was all because of a deaf great uncle who did this…..)

 

 

What kind of person am I to laugh at my own dear hard-of-hearing father??

 

And heaven forbid someone actually hit the floor.  How do you not laugh at that? How???

When I worked a day-job at the furniture store, there was an upper level.  There were stairs. And there was the sweetest little Texas girl you can imagine that worked that area.  On busy days we wouldn’t see her at all.  But one day, as we all stood around the front counter, she appeared at the top of the stairs……

She was a busty girl with a thick drawl….

 

…and in the blink of an eye she was careening across the floor on her bosoms.

How do you not laugh at that? How???  She even ended up under a dining table!!!  The horror of trying to stifle it!!!!

I didn’t, of course.

(She was fine, by the way. Didn’t even phase her.)

 

I can’t play the game MADGAB.  You know, the one where you hold up a card and the other player has to sound out the words they see until they figure out the “real” phrase.  We played it with our best friends in Chicago.  The guy’s name was Captain America.  He was real quiet and mega-buff.  You had to take the guy seriously.

But then I got stuck holding up a card for him to read.  He had to say this out loud.

 

But because I was the one holding the answer, things looked a little different through my warped lens.

How am I supposed to compose myself in the face of that?

 

In high school I came across a geodesic dome constructed out of heavy duty cardboard. I taped it to my ceiling over the light fixture (of course).

My best friend Maggie was over.  She was a  reserved, preppy kind of girl (I’m drawn to people who are less…..weird than me)….(or more weird. One or the other.  Nothing in between. Nobody “equal” in weirdness.)

She was sitting on a chair in the very center of my room eating runts.

….when suddenly, after two years of being taped to the ceiling, the geodesic dome decides its time to fall off.

She had NO IDEA what was going on.  She thought my brother had snuck into the room and hit her over the head with something. Like a jousting stick.

Thankfully she came around and we clenched in silent fits while multi-colored Runt-drool fell out of our faces.

I love misspoken words. I love bad typos.  I need to take sensitivity classes.  Or “stifle it” classes……

Shogun say Paint da Fence

At some point I’m going to tell you something/reveal some juicy fact/ inadvertently let weirdness slip and y’all are all going to realize that I’m kind-of a freak. And not in a cute way.

More like, in a creepy, lets-not-ever-meet-in-person kind of way.

But let me tell you something.  In the circles of my life, I AM THE NORMAL ONE.

Its time I tell you about *Shogun.
*not his real name.
If Lynn is my “Defender and gifter of awesome yellow cars” Mr. Miyagi, then Shogun was my “PAINT DA FENCE!!!” Mr. Miyagi. You can’t know me and my history without hearing about him.

He and my dad were in high school together in the 60’s and 70’s and my dad was still in high school when my parents married. After I was born, Shogun needed a place to stay and so he moved in. We were roomies for quite a while. He was 18, I was 2. It worked out well. I tell you this to say that he has been with us from the beginning. His knowledge and wisdom were imparted to me as a young child.

They’ve been hard to shake off.

He’s been through many transformations over the years.  There was 70’s Shogun.

There was early 80’s Fidel Castro Shogun…And 90’s Married-With-Children Shogun….

 

One of my earliest memories is of  going on errands with 70’s Shogun. He locked his keys in the car.

*90’s Married-with-children Shogun is standing in for 70’s Shogun…..

He used his Bruce Lee magic to remedy the situation.There were no cell phones in those days.  Nor Locksmiths apparently.  Smashing windows with one’s knuckles was the only option when one locked their keys in the car….

At some point we moved from Houston to Lubbock, Texas. Shogun followed with his new wife and they moved into the house behind ours. He taught Kung-Fu in his backyard. Did woodcarving. Raised and slaughtered rabbits….
He came to my 9th birthday.  We were in the backyard eating birthday cake.

I have this snapshot in my mind…… 

Followed by this one….…and this one…..

…aaaaand this one……

And here is why…

It wasn’t just the dangling rabbit-heads that sent them into fits.

 

The sudden, disembodied male voice yelling, “BOOGIDY-BOOGIDY-BOOGIDY!!” just about killed them.I watched them scream and scramble as I ate my cake.  I like to eat the cake.

When I was 13, I started painting houses with Shogun.  All summer I helped him paint. For 6 years, I helped him paint. He made me do things I was not comfortable with. Like the drinking.

I called it his Chinese Water Torture. In the morning before a day of work (in 120 degree heat), he would make me drink at least a half gallon.

And there were the stilts…..

I’m the girl who spilled an entire gallon of navy blue enamel on somebody’s driveway. How on earth would I have the coordination to paint a house while on 4ft stilts???

 

But I did, and we saved time and money that would have been wasted on a second ladder.

I can’t complain too much.  Shogun did photograph my wedding. And teach me how to drive.   And force me to eat seaweed.

See? I’m doing pretty good, right?  

Yes He Do!

So we’re moving.  Not far really. Around the corner.  I’m thrilled and dreading it.We’re no strangers to moving.  In our marriage we’ve moved…..12 times.  Most of the time by the seat of our pants. This was everything we owned when we arrived in Africa.  But there were plenty of moves before that.  Thankfully, most of them have been documented in one way or another.  In the late 90’s we lived in San Antonio, Texas in an awesome….trophy….lodge….room (above a 4-car-garage).  Or at least that’s what it was before we moved in.  You could see the faded spots where the trophy heads had once hung on the old knotty pine.  Mildly creepy…..

 

Moving to Chicago in the winter was fun fun.

I did some crying there.  But we had a killer apartment.  Actually, it was a piece of crap, but I fixed it.  And then the Mary Engelbrieght Home Companion Magazine came and photographed it. 

Later on we moved to a different apartment.  It was boxy and ugly and new, but old enough to be UG.  That’s the one HGTV filmed.And also forced me to make a complete donkey out of myself on camera.Later on we moved to Africa with our dogs and two bins.  First we lived in the horse paddocks.And then we moved to the strawberry farm.(Sorry, I drew some of these last night and I was delirious).

This cottage started out really really really really white.  So I painted it and covered a bunch of gnarly furniture in scraps from the store.

Before

After
After that we moved to the beach. I loved it the most…….(even though our cottage was attached to the home of a lovely 95-year-old woman who would come to the wall and holler my name at the top of her shaky voiced lungs).And now we’re living in an apartment that I really do love.  So does Siegfried. Lots of dancing areas.Unfortunately, we have to climb scary stairs to get to it (which is not easy with accident prone babies). Also, our downstairs neighbors HATE us.  We hear from their cleaning tools every day.But Siegfried weighs like 40 pounds and he falls down A LOT. On a side note; I’ve been wondering lately if I have Motown Tourettes Syndrome or if its all in my head.  I feel like this phrase is one of my most commonly uttered statements, and I definitely say it in Diana Ross’ voice (from Keep Me Hangin On?).  But the question is, do I say it out loud?  My other phrase is….

Not the “Ka-razy!” part but the backup-singers “Yes he do!” (From The Payback).  Maybe I have Motown Backup-Singers Tourettes??? And there ain’t nothing I can do about it??

If so, its all my dad’s fault.  When I was a teenager he would wake me on the weekends with our African Drum and a chant of….…which is the ridiculous phrase all the back-up Drifter’s sing in Save The Last Dance For Me (You can Dance! You can Dance!)

Aaaaaanyway, We will be moving in the middle of February. I’ll let you know how that goes.

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