Friday, July 31, 2009


Dalt is home and things are back to normal.

The kids start school soon and I still don't have a job. I was thinking about going back to school to become a teacher so Dalt and I could have summers and holidays off together. Three years of school seems like an insurmountable mountain, but at 43, I need to finally do something practical with my life. I guess.

My mom came for a visit, and all that entails, while Dalt was gone. I wrote a little about it in my column for the MCN site.

I recently read Erica Jong's "Seducing the Demon: Writing For My Life." Her politics almost stopped me from reading it in the first few pages, but her writing tips and encounters with men kept me going through to the end. It appealed to my inner feminist, which isn't a ranting, man-bashing, women-are-superior being. It's more like something big inside of me that relates to my sisters and our shared experiences that are not often spoken out loud.

Erica's book challenged me, and awakened me, to the possibility of being honest in my writing. I didn't even realize I had painted myself into a corner by trying to fit what I have to say into a tiny, neat little package that would be pleasing, polite and acceptable to all. No wonder I can't figure out what to write.

Now what to do with this revelation?

I have always felt a connection to women and a desire to tap into the consciousness of girls so they can realize their self worth, to stand up for themselves, to get mad as hell when it's appropriate.

My own experience has been that there are certain behaviors that are tolerated. It's just the way things are. Every woman I know has been subject to the same conditioning, or a variation of it. The relative that cops an innapropriate feel, the date that went way too far, the teacher or mentor who crossed a line that shoudn't have been crossed. "It's just the way things are," "Don't worry about it," "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." Surely we did something that either caused it to happen or excuses the perpetrator. Let's just not talk about it.

You know what? Let's do.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Dalt just left for A&M fire school. He'll be gone for a week. Which will go by really fast, I know, but right now it seems like a long time.

We've spent a lot of time together this summer - more than I expected, really. You'd think I'd finally start getting sick of him, wouldn't you? Instead, it feels like he's grown into me, like he's an actual part of my body.

We wake up together, have coffee, do chores, eat, grocery shop, play computer Monopoly, mow the grass, cook, taxi kids around, wrangle the dogs, dream about our future, watch our favorite t.v. shows and an occasional movie, and sleep together. Sometimes we even shower together. Sure, he's got fire department stuff to do that doesn't involve me, and I've been doing the job search/writing thing, but the rest of the time we're an "us." I like it.

Our summer project has been watering trees.

Just before school let out, Dalt was asked to use a fire truck to water some new trees that had been planted around the high school campus - not a big deal, he was told, just once a week after the ground starts to get real dry. Right.

Turns out we're having the driest summer in years. It also turns out "some" new trees are really about a hundred new trees peppered all around the school grounds and outlying field.

Dalt kind of forgot about them until the third week of summer, and by then they were really dry. He took Natthan with him the first couple of times, but Savannah and her friend Jacey wanted to go one morning, so I tagged along.

Our first mistake was getting a late start. We got to the fire station to pick up the booster truck a little before 10 a.m. and it was already starting to get hot. Booster 51 is a brush truck that holds about 250 gallons of water; a few of the trees were already dead and they were all parched, so we had to refill three times to get them all watered. By the time we finished, it was high noon and we were sunburned and dead tired. I had to take the girls home halfway through it because it was so friggin' hot.

Two things were obvious from this miserable experience: the trees were going to have to be watered twice a week, and we were going to have to start early to beat the heat. The early part was enough to inspire Natthan to opt out.

From there, it became our Monday and Thursday routine. Up at 6:30 a.m., throw on our clothes, grab Savannah because she loves to go with us, and get out the door by 6:45. Run to the fire station, get the Booster and be at the high school by 7 watering trees. Savannah and I ride on top of the truck and man the hose, Dalt drives. It's slow, painstaking work, but surprisingly satisfying. We're usually done by 9.

This past week, we got off track a little. We watered Friday morning a week ago because we got a little rain on Thursday. Then, because it had been overcast and sprinkled a few days, we waited a whole week before watering again - going on Friday evening instead of the morning. The trees looked pretty bad.

We took Tanker 52 (which holds 2500 gallons of water) because we got such a late start; it saved a lot of time and energy not having to refill. Savannah was at her dad's; I rode shotgun and manned the hose while Dalt drove. It was after 10 when we got back to the station to refill and we had used almost all the water, but I think from now on we'll use the tanker every time. Savannah might be sad because we'll have to ride in the cab, but it was just a lot more efficient.

Yesterday evening we drove by to see how our trees are doing. They looked a lot better. But with Dalt gone, it'll be another week before they get water again.

Anybody know how to rain dance?