Browsing Archives for General Lunacy

Homeless on our Honeymoon…

August 6th, 2008

It was a dark and stormy night…

No no that’s not right…

It was the best of times it was the worst of times…

No no no no not right!

Um…

Er….

The golden orb hung listlessly in the air and it… it… it…

UGH!!!

Okay Okay

Once upon a time…

ARRRRRGHGHGHGHG!!!

What I am trying to say is that the Country Doctor and I were not always the Country Doctor and I.

Many, many, many, many, many moons ago we were The Country Medical Student and I.

And we were very poor…

And full of babies…

This is a story about our humble beginnings.

When we lived hand to mouth, making babies faster than you could say fallopian tubes and rubbing our last two nickles together at the end of every month for warmth.

We were homeless on our honeymoon. Every day of our seven day trip through the Bad Lands and the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore and Yellow Stone and The Grand Tetons, we would place a call back to Kansas City to find out if our landlord was going to rent us one of the two houses we had looked at before we got married. Both of our leases were expired. I guess we knew we could stay with April and Clay, but neither one of us was too excited about that. April is very bossy and she makes a lot of rules up right off the top of her head… as you are walking by… when you are sitting down… and every time you open the fridge and well… I am not much a rule person.

We did have a freshly purchased tent and lots of camping supplies and we had been putting them to use on our honeymoon as we were camping all over North Dakota and Wyoming. So I guess the tent was our fall back plan. However, on the last day of our trip we finally reached the land lord and he gave us permission to move into a tiny bungalow in a sweet neighborhood two blocks from KU Med. It was a perfect first home and we were both very excited.

When we got back to Kansas, we rented a U-Haul truck and packed up our belongings. The Country Medical Student had just resigned as a Physics and Chemistry Teacher at Atchison High in Atchison Kansas where he was renting a studio apartment. I had been sharing a house with one of the the Country Doctor’s sisters… where most of my stuff had been stored in the basement… which had flooded… and destroyed pretty much all of my belongings, so neither of us had much stuff and we easily fit all of our crap into one truck.

We drove to Kansas City and moved into our new home.

I still love that first little house. It had a screen porch that ran the full length of the front of the house. It had two tiny bedrooms and one tiny bathroom. It had industrial gray carpet in every room except the kitchen and the bathroom. There was a small deck and a cozy back yard and a detached garage. It had a full unfinished basement and it cost us $575.00 a month to rent.

The Country Medical Student had a scholarship that covered his books, tuition and gave us a living stipend of $1,500 a month. I had a job at just over minimum wage as an administrative assistant at the Lawrence Arts Center and was bringing home $1,000 a month. Combining our earnings made me feel positively rich! We celebrated and got a little giddy and went out and bought a futon for future guests to sleep on.

This brought our furniture collection up to one hideous sofa and matching chair in gold and brown autumnal floral velour owned by the Country Medical Student. One table and two chairs owned by me. A desk, a bed, two dressers, a varied and interesting collection of plastic bins and storage tubs, and one fabulous lamp bought by the Country Medical Student at a garage sale. We still have the fabulous lamp.

My job at the Lawrence Arts Center was scheduled to end soon and I was desperately seeking a job in Kansas City. I had a past in health food cooperatives so when my job at the Arts Center came to an end, I took a job at Wild Oats on 43rd and Main K.C.M.O as a check out girl.

Then I started checking people out.

Looking over their bean paste and their pasta salads and their quivering hunks of tofu and I suddenly felt kind of sick.

Oh and the smells!

The vitamin smells and the bitter herb smells and the cheesey smells and the organic meat smells.

It made me even sicker.

What was wrong with me?

I like food!

I like smells!

Was I just stressed out from a new job???

The job was kind of weird. I was used to art center weirdness and I was used to the weirdness of my former health food store job, but this new store lacked the sense of humor and the lightness of heart. It lacked a certain skip in the step and a bit of mirth to accompany the all important agenda of being an artist or a health food nut. No one ever laughed at Wild Oats. They were dark and shrouded and everyone seemed to have a deep inner seething point to make. They chose to make these points by dressing in scary costumes that made all the babies that entered the store cry in fear. They dyed their hair black and painted their fingernails black and wore scary t-shirts with knives and blood and broken body parts scattered all over them. They had multiple face piercings and sinister tatoos and a general dismal leer that matched their outfits perfectly.

As a way to keep customers from being too scared of the employees, that particular Wild Oats store implemented a policy that stated that employees could not wear sleeveless shirts to work. This kept the wild and unruly underarm hair from busting out all over as well as covering up a lot of angry tattoos. It did nothing to cover up the facial piercings or the general bitterness all those people seemed to have.

Enter me.

No tatoos, no facial piercings, regular old hair colored hair, I shaved my legs and my underarms, I had all my teeth, I did not suspend bathing in a political quest to free the world from tyranny, I smiled, I had freckles, I was stupidly in freshly married bliss, I was not angry and bitter or full of smoky hate. I was friendly and I liked to help customers. And yes, their curdled goats milk granola was making me queasy, but other than that, I was the only person in the entire store that was not frightening to small children and elderly ladies and every other sort of “standard customer” that came through the doors.

And I got into trouble for violating the dress code.

Me…

ME…

ME!!!!


One day I wore a denim shirt that had some embroidered flowers on it and I had my hair neatly pulled back and a pair of cute khaki pants on. I wore makeup and perky little shoes and my favorite dangly fish earrings that I stole from April. I looked perfectly nice

except…

Except…

EXCEPT!!!

I was unaware of the sleeveless shirt policy. The denim shirt had no sleeves. Soon after I arrived to work, I was marched down to the manager’s office and told to choose a better shirt next time and to pay more attention to the guildelines set out in the employee manual. The manager seemed to take a great amount of satisfact

ion in haranguing the “standard looking ” employee when her sales floor was full of creatures from the black lagoon. Every word she spoke to me was full of wrenching irony as if she knew exactly how bizarre it was to call me in for my appearance when the rest of her staff were zombies with enough metal in their faces to cast a full sized steel statue of Satan himself.

I slogged back up the stairs bewildered and downcast. I took up my place at the cash register again and started checking out wiggly tofu again and felt immediately nauseous again and then I had this weird idea…

This strange thought…

This bizarre, crazy, completely NUTS inkling…

Am I Pregnant???

AM I PREGNANT?

AM I PREGNANT?!?!?!?!

And I was.

We had not even been married a month and I was pregnant.

The first year of our marriage we had almost every major life stress one can experience. We got married, we moved, we got new jobs, the Country Medical Student started medical school, we were pregnant and we eventually had a baby.

After I took the test to confirm my suspicions, I had this conversation with my brand new husband.

ME – If you could choose at what age you were going to start a family what age would you pick?

HIM – I don’t know… I guess right about now…

ME – NOW???

HIM – Yeah…

ME – Why Now?

HIM – Because I am twenty seven and when the kid is eighteen I will forty five which seems like a good age to be when your kid is eighteen.

ME – So it is all about math then?

HIM – Yes.

ME – I am terrible at math.

HIM – Yes…

ME – What if our baby is terrible at math?

HIM – That won’t happen.

ME -What if it does?

HIM – It won’t.

ME – How do you know?

HIM – I just know.

ME – Well guess what!

HIM – What?

ME – I’m pregnant.

HIM – You are?

ME – Yes.

HIM – Are you sure?

ME – Yes.

HIM – How do you know?

ME – I just know!

But the Country Medical Student didn’t really believe me.

He didn’t really believe me until the new born babe was placed in his hands.

Just a few short months later…

Long ago in the days of yore….

As pink and purple dusk woman shot magenta rays across the little water.

In the season of bone baking fire time…

Only the most skilled and brave men would be sent forth to load their sailing vessels with the sacred crop of algae.

So that the tribe could feed itself… and make clothes… and build the simple tent like structures…  woven from the sacred algae threads.

The hearty and brave men placed themselves in great peril to get the sacred algae, but they all loved to suffer so much that it was almost fun for them.

Deeper and deeper into the murky depths they ventured, carefully avoiding the snapping turtles and the water snakes…

Neighboring tribes had long ago abandoned the algae harvest.

They had begun to sprinkle the mystical powders and to use the magic enzymes to keep the algae from forming.

They had forgotten the ancient rhythms of olde.

And so the last lone tribesman worked on and on… as mother sun descended to her cave of night… and father moon rose to his lofty perch… the tribesman trusted to the wisdom of the song frogs to guide him.

Neck deep he continued… scooping algae…. loading algae…. 
He mused quietly that the more he scooped… the more there seemed to be. 
 

It was as if the algae muse was granting him a blessing of an unending algae tide.  
He drew the algae vapors into his nostrils and felt complete.

Night descended.  The tribe slept.  The algae drifted and multiplied and the tribesman drug his heavily laden boat up on the shore.  His shoes squished with the mud of his ancestors.   He dug his hand into his mountain of algae and raised it to the sky in triumph and felt vast relief knowing his tribe would eat, and be clothed and be sheltered for the algae harvest had been bountiful.  


Dripping water and mud he wandered back into his hut.

Tomorrow they would feast, and weave and build.
 

But tonight he must rest.   
He shut his eyes and slept the sleep of the deeply satisfied.
Contest one post down – ends tonight at 7PM CST

Prior to the opening of Othello, which was this year’s selection for Kansas City’s Shakespeare in the Park, there was a puppet show put on by Paul Mesner.  
Paul wrote a fifteen minute rhyming version of Othello, which was so much more compelling than the actual Othello, that I almost converted back to puppeterianism.  But then I had a really bad flashback, and I managed to stop myself.  
Paul’s show was highly entertaining, funny, and somehow mysteriously lacking in all the twenty minute monologues where the actor tells you what is going to happen and then the actors do what the other actor said was going to happen and then the actor tells you what is going to happen next and then the other actors do what the other actor said was going to happen and then the actor says I will now do this and then he does it and then he says this is what will happen next and then the other actors do whatever he said… on and on and on.  It makes you wonder if Shakespeare was just either really tired when he wrote Othello, or if was just TOTALLY CRACKED OUT!!!  Because it is a really BORING play! And none of it makes any sense!
However, in Paul’s puppet version, there is not time for a bunch of stupid boring monologes…
They just act.  
And they speak in short clever rhymes.
And they speak quite well, for a bit of painted plastic that does not even have a movable mouth!!!  
Plus, Paul did all the voices himself!!!
As a former professional puppeteer (full of hate for the art form), I know how hard that is!
Hark!
What Lo!
Behold!!!
If only the real Iago and the real Othello did not have movable mouths!
The real show might have been so much more enjoyable!
To prove my point, I will give you a brief synopsis…
This is Othello (the one in the purple apron) with Iago in the apricot cape.
Iago is an evil villain who talks a lot and then he talks some more.  And just when you think all the fluid has leaked from your brain and you can’t listen to a single more word out of his villianous mouth… he talks even more.
Othello is also a great talker.  The thing about Othello is that while he is talking and talking and talking and talking and talking… he is constantly saying that he is not much of a talker, making him possibly even more irritating than Iago.  
This is Iago giving Cassio some booze to trick him and make him die.  
Cassio is on watch and not supposed to have booze.  
Plus Cassio can’t handle his liquor so he should never drink.  
But of course he does.  
Because if he didn’t this whole stupid story would never even have happened.
In the meantime 
Back at the ranch…
There is a hanky
And the hanky is the star of the show.
The End!
Not really!
Because Othello NEVER ENDS!!!
It goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and ON!!!
And then four VERY STUPID people die because of a hanky.  
Here is Othello strangling his sweet, stupid wife because of a hanky.
And even though she is dead (because Othello kills her two times) she comes back to life just long enough to say that she loves her little smoochy woochy Othello and that just because he killed her stupid ass, does not make him a bad guy.
And then she dies again!
A few minutes later (read hours) Othello stabs himself because he is a dumb ass and also because he is a total stupid head.
And then we all left.
But I am pretty sure the show is still going on.
And that Othello has killed his wife AGAIN!!!!  
The bard totally rules…
But everyone writes a stinker once in a while.
This has been the Country Doctor’s Wife world renowned Shakespearian critic, reporting to you from her messy bedroom.