Indirect Conversation

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Emily and Terrance have the perfectly awful habit of attempting to have conversations through me.

I detest this, and have told them both a million times to just. converse. with. each. other.

The truth is that my daughter and husband are more similar than either would care to accept, and as such, they are both squeamish about certain topics.

Neither are squeamish with me,  mostly because there is very little in life that I am squeamish about and  because I rarely hesitate to have conversations about anything, even if the conversations feel weird at first.

On Friday, Em tells me that she would like me to tell her father to make sure that he takes care of his condoms because it horrifies her to see them. Terrance tried to flush his condoms- even though I have been telling him for 25 years to knock that shit off.  He does not listen to me. He flushes them.

They do not flush well. Emily comes into the bathroom in the morning to take a shower, looks down and sees floating, used condom.  Becomes horrified that her parents have sex....adds this to list of things to discuss with therapist.

Em complains to me. I tell her father. Terrance denies that he has left a condom in the toilet and/or gets horrified and promises to stop flushing the condoms ( until a week or two later when he reverts to his same old procedure).


On Saturday, I tell her again that if she wants to have the most direct impact on her father that she needs to convey how uncomfortable seeing the condom in the toilet makes her. My telling him hasn't changed his behavior, so perhaps she should address this herself.

Later that afternoon, she walks by him and lays on my bed. He is in the hallway. They can not see one another:

Em: "Dad?"

Terrance:" Yeah"

Em: "I'm tired of seeing the things in the toilet. So can you just not do it anymore?"

Terrance: Silence

Terrance: More Silence ( I watch his face go through the horror of having his condom usage indirectly addressed by his 17 year old daughter)

Terrance: Ok. But you have to take care of your situation. Because I don't want to have to see that in the laundry.  ( He is now referring to her leaving her menstrual pads in her underwear which he never finds until they've been through the wash. And yes. I've communicated his horror to her before.)

Emily( from bedroom) : Ok.

Terrance ( from Hall): Ok.

It's a beginning.

My 2 Hours with a Felon

Sunday, April 17, 2016

My birthday is coming.

Terrance finds it increasingly challenging to find gifts with which to shower me after 25 years as a couple. This year, however, he came up with a novel solution: Tickets to see Night Vale.

Now, I love the Welcome to Night Vale podcast.  As such, I got Emily to start listening with me a few years ago and we all know she loves a good fandom venue.

Terrance understands none of this. He stares at his wife and daughter as we yammer on about the levitating cat, or the Hooded Figures or the sentient Glow Cloud. Terrance doesn't enjoy fantasy or science fiction. He will endure these things because he wants to be near us but the collective love of all things weird by his wife and daughter just leaves him flummoxed.

When he figured out my love of Night Vale and figured out that the podcast was doing a live show in Minneapolis on a date adjacent to my birthday?!? Ding, Ding, Ding! We have a birthday winner!

The show was to start at 8 p.m. on Saturday the 16th. We live about 2.5 hours from the Twin Cities so we decided to sleep in, then get on the road at about 1 p.m. We would get to the city, walk around, have some early dinner then head to the theatre.

The drive is typically uneventful. We pass the first largish city on the journey - Rochester, MN, and head into the pure farmland that is that part of Minnesota.  60 miles of unmitigated farmland, resplendent with the aroma of manure as the farmers till the fields to ready them for planting.

About 30 miles from Rochester, Terrance says "What was that?"  Dawn, enjoying the first truly warm day of the spring and wearing her glamorous sunglasses says "What???."

Terrance aims for the exit ( which ends up being a roundabout) as our Mercedes SUV sputters and bucks to a halt.

(Backstory - the car just got out of the shop on Tuesday with a new water pump and all new sensors. That was a $1350 makeover. We do not expect this car to break down.)

I keep calm. Terrance can get hysterical when car stuff happens. This hysteria is tripled when Em and I are in the car.

We wait.

He tries to turn the car over. Rrrrrr, Rrrrrrrr, Rrrrrrr. Battery is clearly fine.  No bizarre sounds. Just no turning over.

Terrance calls our roadside assistance and they begin to arrange for a tow truck. However, the nearest city is behind us by 30 miles, and the next one (Twin Cities) is about 60 miles away. Terrance explains that whomever comes to get us will have to drive us to someplace because we are in the middle of nowhere on a Saturday afternoon.

Roadside Assistance lets us know that this really isn't their problem. ( Why yes, Progressive, you ARE getting dropped at the end of May for that little customer non-service tidbit) Roadside Assistance tells us we should find a rental car place to come and pick us up. On a Saturday afternoon. At 3 p.m. in the LITERAL middle of nowhere.

I begin googling car rental places that may even be open. Hint: none at all.

Roadside assistance calls back to tell us that the tow truck is 2 hours away. He is coming from the Twin Cities. Roadside assistance also tells us that they will pay for 12 miles of towing....and after that the tow will most likely cost $10 a mile.  So $500.

Armed with smartphones and the bottles of water I wisely bought at the onset of our journey, I look for rental car places in the Twin Cities and find the airport. AIRPORT!!!! I book a rental car at the airport while Terrance, the savvy negotiator that he is, schmoozes the tow driver via phone for a heavily discounted rate ($3 a mile) and a promise of a cash tip if he will drive the three of us to the airport after we drop the car off at a mechanic in the Twin Cities.

A Plan! It comes together!

The blessed tow driver appears and hooks our car to his flatbed. He cleans out a portion of the extended cab and Emily and I cram our bodies into the back. Please envision my legs at a severe 87 degree angle, with one foot twisted at an very odd angle as I drape myself over a mobile battery kit.  I also have not one but TWO wrenches digging into my left hip.

However, I care not. We are moving.

The sainted driver seems a typical tow truck driver. A dude's kind of dude. Late 40's.  He makes typical small talk with Terrance. Asks what does Terrance do for work, then some light politics chat.

This starts to get dodgey, as he wants to complain about "people on entitlements", but Terrance smooths this over. I hide behind my giant sunglasses. Tow driver asks if we watch the History 2 channel.

Now this wasn't a segue I expected. I listen with interest.

Tow driver talks about the shows on the channel, emphasizing the ones about the legal marijuana grow operations. He emphasizes this twice.  He begins to expound on the uses of hemp. I say "It makes a lovely fabric" because I think in terms of fabric and what I can make from it.

We are an hour into the ride when he shares that he ran a large grow operation in a Southern State for 16 years. When he got caught, he had 360 plants. He served 13 months in prison through a deal and is now on parole.

Emily and I start squeezing each others hands, which is usually a code for "Did you hear that?" We go silent and I am so grateful for my very large, very dark sunglasses.

Terrance, bless him, takes this in stride. Tow Driver expands on the particulars of who was the informant, and the circle he ran with and the things they got up to, including hustling pool.

Emily and I sit in the back, contorted into bizarre positions, eyes wide as saucers.

We get to where we are going and drop off the car. Tow Driver transfers us to his car ( inherited from his father who was married 4 times, and the last marriage to a younger woman who went through all of his money while he had Alzheimer's) and drives us to the airport.

We get the rental car and finally get to our hotel by 7:20 p.m.. We looked so sad and bedraggled that the lovely front desk gentleman upgrades us to a suite at no extra charge.  We ask for directions to the theatre because we have 30 minutes to get to the show. Daniel, the front desk gentleman, informs us that he has a shuttle! And will drive us as soon as we put our bags down!

We make it into the theatre with 10 minutes to spare.

The show was wonderful. We laughed ( Not Terrance, but Em and I), we bought overpriced Tshirts, and tried to explain three years of plot lines to an uninterested Terrance.

We sat down for our first meal of the day at 10:30 p.m.

As the first drink arrived, I began to giggle. Emily began to giggle. Terrance said "What?"

I put my head down on the table and began to really laugh.  As I looked up I said "Honest to God, if I hadn't just lived through that I wouldn't have believed it all. I mean, the grow operation and the prison sentence and just - all of it."

Terrance begins to laugh too. Then, with all seriousness he turns to Emily and says "And this is why you stay in school."

I begin to laugh so hard that I nearly fall out of my chair.

It seems I was in a classic mid-80's after school special.

Stay in school, kids.

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