Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Extreme Gene

Having the Extreme Gene isn't all bad. After all, it was my Extreme Gene that led me to buy a house on the park. The above scene is in my front yard, and I don't have to peform any landscape maintenance.

Last fall I was taking out my trash, and a passer-by commented that on how lucky I was to live here. Well, anyone could have bought my house- its price was average for this city, not expensive. It's just that whirlingbetty possesses the Extreme Gene which caused her to drive by the 20 houses on the park every day until finally one of them went up for sale.

The Extreme Gene isn't all good, either. The interior of the house is either pristine or chaotic at any given time- nothing in the middle. When it's in its pristine state, you can be sure that whirlingbetty has just pulled an all-nighter getting it that way.

The Extreme Gene even marks my expenditures. The Child lives like royalty and owns several state-of-the-art electronic items plus their attendent games. I rarely spend money on myself, and never at full price- second hand, if possible!

Our late Chihuahua was given the run of the house, and it showed. I am still finding "treasures" (like moldy pizza crusts) which he buried 3 years ago. Our current Chihuahua is kept under strict supervision in the house and park. When he is set free in the house, he bounces off the walls like a kid at Christmas.

Dressed in new outfits from Land's End, The Child is driven around in a 17-year-old Honda Civic. The car may be old, but it too has also been treated like royalty. Last spring I sprung for a high-dollar rust removal job.
Now really, does this look like a 17-year-old car? The Extreme Gene explains its presence in my driveway as well as its excellent condition. Last summer when I took The Child to an antique car show, he asked me why I hadn't entered the whirlingbettymobile in the show, as he watched the proud Model-T owners buffing their vehicles.

The Extreme Gene can be exhausting to live with. I'm going to have to take a nap now.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Betty's Big Brother

Yesterday I was presented with an unusual opportunity which I wasn't sure I wanted to accept. My BB (Big Brother) called to say he was in a nearby city, visiting from the west coast.

Mind you, I come from an odd family, a truly dysfunctional one which unraveled completely upon the death of my mother many years ago. My brother and sister were teens while I was a toddler, and they both moved out before I was 7. I hardly knew them, since, even before they left home, they were always "out galavanting" as my parents would say.

To this day, I hardly know my brother and sister. I hadn't seen either of them in years, until last night, that is. After The Child finished school we hit the road to meet up with BB. It was dusk by the time we arrived, and observing the dark silouette of BB, I recalled the time when, at around age 3, I fell backwards down the wooden stairs in my parents' house for fear that BB, who was 6'3" even when I was 3, would chase me down the stairs. I still have the scar on my head.

BB had never met The Child, so the focus was mercifully off of me. The mysterious BB is still scary and unknown. I remembered my mother saying he could never hurt a fly. He does seem almost shy, afraid of offending, yet people have always liked him. Opposite of whirlingbetty, he has always been popular. I had told The Child in the car that he'd probably like his newfound uncle, because everyone else did.

BB seemed oddly youthful. He's very good-looking, and seriously, he appears younger than when I saw him last. His yoga instructor girlfriend could have something to do with that, or it could be because of the pact he made with my sister: when she was diagnosed with tongue cancer, he said he'd swear off drinking alcohol until she recovered and he could share a drink with her. This was probably the first time I've ever seen him sober.

The visit was necessarily short: The Child had school the next morning, and I'm going back to work this week. BB doesn't talk much when he's sober, but in the restaurant he did express concern that the corn chowder I ordered wasn't enough to sustain me. (I wonder how he thinks I get by when he's not around.)

I observed BB whenever I could steal a furtive glance. His big blue eyes and wavy hair look much like The Child's. He looks peaceful, content and settled. His latest girlfriend suits him well. He looked as if he had his act together for the first time ever. I wish my mother and grandmother who had so adored him could have seen him last night.

When we first arrived to meet BB I had been nervously babbling about needing a flashlight in my car. I was just trying to create distraction, and I quickly forgot all about it. But after we left the restaurant, BB walked into the nextdoor Rite Aid and bought me 4 flashlights and a package of batteries.

With tears clouding my eyes on the long drive home, The Child asleep in the back seat, I wondered what BB had thought of me.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

scenes from an October day

I'm always looking for parallels. There must be a way in which this time of year reflects the phase my life is in. But October as I witness it today does not resemble the concept of October in my mind. That's OK- I don't seem to have a grasp on what phase my life is in anyway.

Until I bought a house on the rose garden, I never thought of October as being a month during which to view roses. October used to conjure up notions of falling leaves, bonfires, skeletons dancing in the cemeteries and witches gathered around their cauldrons. Of course, I did grow up in part of the country where temperatures dipped earlier in autumn.

These roses don't look to me as if they're on their last legs.

Nope, this isn't what I think of as October. I admit, though, that I am enjoying the nippier nighttime temperaures. Some here have actually used their furnaces already. Not I. I'll hold off until I can see my breath.