August 6, 2004

Ahhh those tranquil moments.  Is it any wonder that we can't thrive without them?  I'm feeling much better after being basically in bed for two days, sick as a dog.  Yesterday, I was at least able to graduate to couch rather than bed.  I got a good night of sleep, woke up around 5am, took more analgesics, put hot water into a small drinking water bottle and went back to bed until 8am.  I do so love sleeping.  I feel 8am is just the absolute perfect time to get up.  It's early enough that you haven't lost the entire morning and the slight chill is still in the air, but it's late enough that you don't have to pry your eyes apart and force yourself out of bed, stumbling into walls until the impact eventually wakes you up.

The mountain mornings have been absolutely delicious.  It's chilly enough that I need to wear my robe and the air is even more fresh and crisp than usual.  I think it replenishes in the night.  As the moon has been waning this month, the night has been velvety black and the stars are like thousands of little diamonds.  I wish I could take a picture for you of the night sky.  Everywhere I've lived for years has had at least a porch light or street light to offset the darkness, but up here, the night wraps all around you to the point that you can only see where you're going if the moon is out.  Last night, I needed to look for something in the shed, only a few feet from the house, and I took a candle with me and it didn't even begin to cut through the darkness.  It was just one more little twinkle in the night.

When I woke up at 8, I could feel that a good bit of my strength had seeped back. I haven't been sick like that in a long while.  I'm not looking forward to cleaning my house and would love to spend the day curled up in bed with my TV remote and a mug of soup.  There might be a way I can compromise both worlds and find a happy medium.  The house is in sad need of attention and my energy is still low, so my plan is to give it a solid hour or so and then spend the rest of the day recovering.  Tonight is Hamburger Night in Grizzly Flats, so I won't have to cook.  I do need to make a batch of oatmeal cookies for the bake sale Nathan's school has there each week to raise funds for expenses.  It's my first time to be asked to contribute and even though he's not even in the school until a week from Monday, he'll definitely be benefiting from the money raised, so I'm happy to help. I just wish it was a different day.

My dog is chewing on what I believe is an old roast bone that looks and smells like a shrunken head.  Insert grumbling here.

I love it when a plan comes together.  I had a dilemma because I've started watching the show "Port Charles" on SoapNet, having missed it the first time it aired (the episodes showing now are 2 years old).  I was very excited to hear that one of my very favorite shows, "Chicago Hope" was to begin airing on "Discovery Health" this month.  Sure enough, the two were on opposite one another and I'm not into recording things (they tend to never get watched).  Voila!~   I learned that the current day's "Chicago Hope" airs at 4pm the previous day, which is exactly where I had a big hole in my viewing schedule.  Perfect timing, perfect situation.  Hurray.  I love the little miracles in my life. 

The weekend should be quiet.  Eric is gone to visit his family next weekend, so tomorrow, being the last Saturday before school starts, he's taking Delena to a water park.  He promised her about 2 years ago that they'd go and it just keeps not working out.  This time, he's committed.  I'll be home with the little boys, so I can finish any cleaning I don't get done today.  Sunday is wide open and unplanned.  I can rest then as well. 

I have decided that I absolutely love the Boost Mobile Phone commercial with the old people in it.  ("Now we're at this bangin' party, yo, gettin' 10 kinds of nasty.")  It makes me smile, especially the old guy with the low rider bicycle and the old woman in the old man sandwich.  If you haven't seen it, you can watch it here:

That's the stuff that makes me smile.    Then there's stuff that makes me go "hmmm."  Like the Dr Phil families.  Long time readers know that I love Dr Phil and over all, his common sense wisdom is a welcome tonic for my frustration in an "It's not your fault" world.  Dr Phil changed my life with his book, Life Strategies, not once, but twice.  I do not, however, hesitate to say that there is more than one place where Dr. Phil's ideas and mine part ways.  I do not agree with all of his assessments by a long shot, but overall, I think he likely has a better handle on things than most.  But let's face it, if you're chosen as the Dr Phil family, you have to know it's your ass.  For one thing, you're more interestingly screwed up than the 470,000 other exhibitionists who wrote to him to be selected.  For another, like it or not, the man is about ratings and he's going to exploit the wildest part of your personal life in a particularly public forum.  I've been a little concerned about Marty.  I was the first time the episodes aired and so I watched the (inevitable) rebroadcast to see what I'd perhaps missed.  

Erin and Marty are "the Family Divided," not to be confused with "the Family in Crisis," which is Chris and Stacy and a whole other mess.  Marty and Erin were on the verge of divorce (Marty had affairs and was a liar; Erin was cold and disconnected and emotionally unavailable) when they learned that their 15-year-old daughter, Alex, was pregnant.  Their bratty younger daughter, Katherine, routinely mouths off to everyone, calling her sister a slut and advising the family of how to handle its varied business (all the while, being coddled by Dr Phil as the true victim in all of this).  Alex is acting out sexually because Marty let her down by not being a connected and "plugged in" father and Erin is judgmental and argumentative about everything. 

Although I can hardly condone adultery, having been on the painful receiving end of that rather large stick, I did feel sorry for Marty in yesterday's airing, which was the same reaction I had the first time the show was broadcast.  The effort has been, since Alex's baby was born and that hurdle was fielded, to deepen the trust between Marty and Erin and see if they can reconnect as a married couple.  The show should have been subtitled "The Bludgeoning of Marty For Ratings."  Phil had Marty up on stage, asking him how he was doing and if he was more plugged into the family and such.  Marty seemed quite proud of himself and seemed to feel he was making progress.  Phil led the questioning to whether or not Marty had been been honest with Erin and Marty was very insistent that he had been.  Phil then proceeds to tell him that he has hard, factual truth that Marty has been lying by omission and he wants Marty to come clean rather than Phil himself having to spill the BIG SECRET THAT WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING.  ("We'll be right back after this commercial break")  You could see Marty wracking his brain, scanning over everything that happened in his entire life, trying to figure out to what he was supposed to be admitting.  He took his time in answering, for which I gave him credit.  The guy could have started throwing all kinds of things out there before he got to the right one, like the old "got milk" commercials where the fella admits the engagement ring is an CZ, etc. 

Finally, Marty figures he's got the right one and admits that when he was pumping gas, a woman with whom he'd had an affair drove up, they did the "how have you been" thing and he told her that he was working things out with his family.  She made it clear she was still interested and he made it clear he was not and that was it.  I have a feeling Marty actually saw this encounter as a good thing. He'd been introduced to temptation and had resisted, instead choosing to acknowledge to her that he was working on keeping his family together and was no longer interested.  I fully believe Marty thought he was doing the right thing, but nope, the situation as built up into a major revelation over several commercial breaks and culminated with:


Erin was destroyed and both she and her daughters were fraught with "OH GOD, HOW COULD YOU HOW COULD YOU, YOU B*A*S*T*A*R*D."  I watched as Marty desperately tried to get his brain in order.  This was bad, why?  Phil was quick to point out how much better it would have been if Marty had scurried straight home with a "guess who *I* saw at the gas station today" story.  Erin was quite sure she would have been gracious about it, but I think Marty was unconvinced.  I believe he thought if he'd mentioned this encounter at all, he'd be wearing her like a hat made of pissed off cats.  He'd had what he considered a very personal "attaboy" moment that was reworked into a personal tragedy.

I think Phil was a bit short sighted selling Marty out like this.  I think Erin was full of shit when she said how proud and honored she would have been if Marty had come right home and told her the truth.  I think Marty is fucked and knows it.  I was all geared up for the Major Announcement that Marty had slept around again, but no, he had the audacity to run into the woman in the small down where they both live and committed the cardinal sin of not telling Erin.  Had they touched at all?  No, Marty said they had not (and since Phil evidently had a surveillance team at work and was going for the gold, I'm sure he would have photographs of any handshake).  They spoke and he chose to keep that encounter private.  I understand that the whole basis of Erin's problem with Marty is that he's evasive and keeps things from her, so sure, this would sting, but I do think the whole thing was pretty much blown out of proportion and I also believe that Marty should have some private thoughts and actions. 

While I think that Marty's previous indiscretions earn him pretty much everything he gets, I do believe he got the raw end of this deal.  Does he completely lose the right to have any privacy whatsoever because he made mistakes?  Overall, yes, but again, I think this went a bit far and that the reactions people had were extreme, to say the least.  It was as though Phil was whipping these girls into a frenzy.  By the end of the show, Marty was pissed at Phil (no shit!!) and Erin had refused to let Marty come home and the girls were crowded around their mother like Greed and Ignorance clinging to The Ghost of Christmas Present, hissing and spitting at him and demanding a divorce. 

If I were Marty, I would have said, "Fuck you people, I'm going back to the gas station."  So you see?  Marty's a better person than I am.

Chris and Stacy are on my last never as well.  Stacy refuses to work and they are drowning in debt and bankruptcy.  This one hits home because I know this is how my in-laws see me, but believe me, these people are way more screwed than we ever were financially and when the going got tough, I was out looking for a job while Stacey was on her nappy couch screaming at her husband about their "deal."  

Here, you see Stacy describing how small Chris' penis is, thereby justifying her serial affairs. 


This has got to be the whiniest couple I have ever had the displeasure of meeting.  Much like the "Anatomy of a Divorce" couple, John and Amy (left), Chris and Stacey are determined to bring out the worst in one another and make sure everyone in America knows that they have shitty taste in spouses and invested years of their lives torturing the asshole just to make sure they are as miserable as possible.  Stacey has slept with so many men that the fish now stop swimming when she comes into the room.  She's pissed that Chris doesn't want her to spend much needed money to go visit the child (conceived during an affair) she put up for adoption.  Her oldest son, Michael (right) was farmed out to a Happy Trails Penal Colony For Boys and is much happier around sane people.  The required, much persecuted young daughter, Brianne, left,  is there for Phil to save and coo "It's all for you that I do this," much like with Marty and Erin's daughter, Katherine.  Little Chandler, their only (born) child together, is recovering from his routine beatings from the now absent Michael and a few shows into their help, the couple announced that they were expecting another child because they hadn't really seen a need for birth control at this happy point in their marriage.  How stupid are these people?  At least lie and say that the rubber broke so you don't look like a total idiot.  Jeez.

I was feeling bad for Chris, long-suffering, all loving, persecuted yet dedicated husband of the philandering Stacy (trust me, this woman has major "if it moves, fuck it" issues) until the episode in which it was revealed that he deliberately and gleefully fed pie containing liquor in the mix to his young, dedicated-to-not-drinking stepdaughter just to get a giggle.  Now her tarnished digestive tract is now a prime factor likely to keep her out of heaven.  I am not here to debate the disproportionate freak out this act demanded of an already fried out teen, but more to say it was a really, really shitty thing for Chris to do, not to mention that Stacy knew he did it and still watched Brianne innocently eat the pie.  These people are just absolutely nuts. 

Seeing how he has treated these two families in particular, I'm not sure anyone will want to be the next Dr Phil Family in Fearsome Jeopardy.  Sure, you get expert financial guidance, top flight correctional facilities for your children and a chance to see the uber hot Jay McGraw (Phil's son) in person.  You might even get to hang with Robin and do a little shopping.  Is it worth it though, to be exploited like a dog and pony show, have Phil watching your every move on cameras in your home and your car, hearing you at your worst moments and having it aired to the world? 

Phil would probably be bored watching our home.  Our fights go like this:

"You're being a bit of an ass today."

"I am NOT."

"Yeah, you are, dude.  Are you out of pipe tobacco?"

"NO!  ... yes."

"Want me to go get some?"

"NO!!! ... yes.... no, I'll go."

"Pfft.  OK, get crackin or I might have to start killin' ya."

"Do you think you can manage to clean the house while I'm gone?  It looks like a shithole."

"Pfft, maybe, if you bring me back a candy bar and come back in a better mood."



"The house looks nice."  "Yeah, thanks for the candy bar."  "We cool?"  "Yeah, we're cool, wanna watch Star Trek?"

Sure, every now and then we have one that raises the roof a bit more, but that's the average and even those are pretty rare these days.  Hey, another little miracle to be thankful for.  Now I wish I had a candy bar.  It's been a LOOOONNNGG time.

After being sick for two days, I'm finding that today, I'm very sensitive to the voices and neediness of the kids.  They were so great and well behaved and independent the whole time I was sick and now, it seems like every view minutes, someone is needing something.  I think I still need to be hiding under the covers.  :)

I was able to arrange to get some medication (antibiotics) that I need for my tooth, so I know that situation will be better soon.  My energy is higher today than it has been since Monday and my bee stings are down to an itch and a swollen red mound or 3.  Now I am off to go work my magic on the house and get it whipped into shape in a couple of hours in preparation for a few days off.  That sounds like a good investment.  Work hard for two days and take 2-3 days off.  I can deal with that!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and that life treats you well.  I'm grateful that my life is returning to normal and that for the things that are not, the cavalry is on the way.

Gotta bring on those Moments of Tranquility to keep us all sane.  There's a fine line between Moments of Tranquility and being raked out by Dr Phil for crimes real, imagined and by all means, televised.  Once you've stepped over that line, it's your ass.  Hmm.  Maybe I shouldn't clean house today after all...

Much Love,