Many years ago, when Fartbuster and I had been married about a year, Daddy and Gay came to town. They took us to dinner downtown at East/West Bistro–a rare treat for us because the fanciest outing we could afford those days was a half price pitcher of margaritas on Tuesday night at Mexicali Grill.
I accompanied Big Gay when she went out to the sidewalk for a cigarette, thus abandoning Fartbuster to solitary conversation with my dad, which always ended up with Daddy exclaiming, “They don’t make graduate students wear jackets and ties to class anymore? In my day…”
Once we were outside, Big Gay leaned in close and said, “So how’s married life REALLY going?” I confided that we were enjoying ourselves for the most part, but there were…moments. Those times when I was the one commuting two hours to work a job I hated so that we would have money for rent…and he skipped class because he just didn’t feel like going. Or times when I did the cooking and the cleaning and the churning and the milking so he could study…and he didn’t. Or times when he didn’t feel like he should have to “jump through hoops” like the other students. Y’know. There were some things. But I wasn’t ready to be 100% honest with anyone.
“I know you love Daddy, but…. do you ever… have a day when you can’t even stand to listen to him for another second?”
“A DAY?” Gay blew out a long plume of smoke and hooted. “A day? Try WEEKS. Honey. I love your Daddy more than anything but sometimes he gets on my nerves so bad I want to tape his mouth shut.”
“What do you do?”
“Read a book. It passes. Eventually, you remember why you thought they were charming in the first place.”
She reminded me that it was possible to love someone even when you couldn’t manage to like them for a while.
G and I have been together for nine years, three kids, and all the ups and downs that come along with that. Let’s just say, there have been days when we have run out of nice things to say to each other. It’s been a snappish couple of weeks around here.
Then at Vivi’s birthday party, we had a chance to play. We went to Pump It Up, one of those SUPER FANTASTIC BIG FUN INFLATABLES places. We schlepped the cake and the balloons and the presents and the extra socks and the glow bracelets and the gluten free options and the organic grapes and the Capri-Suns with no high fructose corn syrup. We did all the adult stuff. After 15 minutes, Carlos had adjusted to the noise and chaos and all of us were done with our task lists. So we played.
I got in the foam ball shooting range and taunted Jeff, “You can’t hit ME!” while bending over and showing my butt as a perfect target. The kids loved it. Victoria and I took over the inflatable basketball court and did some ridiculous dunking. I went down the slide (which creates a lot of friction when you are a grown ass woman in capri pants). G tried to do the Wipe Out style obstacle course, which requires leaping from one giant purple ball to the next, gecko-style. He busted it. We hollered so loud that all the dads started doing it. Then all the moms had to give it a try (except for Susan, who has some sense). G came out of the maze unbowed.He stopped where the moms were laughing and assembling glow bracelets to preen and pose for us. When he started rubbing his belly and pretending to unbutton his shirt, I yelled, “BACK OFF, LADIES! He’s taken!”
And I meant it.
We got a chance to play, despite the kids. We’ll be back to sniping at each other soon enough, but it sure felt good to play.
I would post pictures of this hilarity, but my phone just wasn’t fast enough to catch the blur of our prowess. Just picture a grown man trying to leap across this: