Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day Madness

This past weekend was a big waste.  Plus it was a holiday weekend.  A big wasted holiday weekend.  For many, Memorial Day is celebrated by the year’s first trip to the beach.  The Man and I didn’t leave Houston.

OK, the weekend wasn’t a complete wash.  The Man and I did catch a couple of movies (and we rarely go to the cinema).  We went to see “Bridesmaids” on Saturday.   He cracked me up by saying that he and I would be the only guys in the theater who were not attending with a girlfriend/wife.  He wasn’t entirely right, though; another couple of guys entered the theater (without women), and he and I elbowed one another and giggled.  Yes, we are so mature.  The lady sitting next to me in the theater checked her voice mail in the middle of the movie.  I wanted to grab the phone from her and chunk it across the room.  I was a bit irritable. 

We also saw “Thor” on Sunday.  I’d seen the movie with my son during my last trip to Louisiana.  But it was a fun movie.  I like any of the Marvel Comics movies and can watch them over and over.  In the middle of the movie, a man in the front of the theater took a call and talked in his normal (loud) voice.  I wanted to walk up to him, grab his phone, and chunk it across the room.  I was a bit irritable. 

After leaving the cinema on Sunday, I agreed to go shopping with The Man.  Let’s make it clear:  he usually does all the shopping for the house.  As a rule, I reserve the word “hate” for things that absolutely sicken me.  I hate shopping.  I stumbled around the store with him, grumbling and being generally bratty.  Shopping makes me irritable. 
He keeps his shopping list in his cell phone.  At one point, he said “I need a little help here.  Can you hold my phone and name off what we need?”
I just came back with: “I can push the shopping cart instead.  I’ve been doing that since I was around eight…”
He just rolled his eyes.
I then moved quickly around the aisles, chatting crazily and waving my hands dramatically.  Suddenly he said, “Why don’t you go get some beer, and I’ll meet you in that aisle?”
I laughed and asked, “Getting enough of me?”
He simply smiled. 
By the time we arrived at the check-out, The Man looked rather tired.  Poor guy.

Monday, I did yard work and stayed out of his way … well, mostly.  Later that evening (a bit too late to sensibly go), I decided to head out to the gym.  But not before, I ranted fifteen minutes on a completely meaningless subject.  He finally said, “You are doing a little projecting here.  Why don’t you go work-out?”
I did.
At the gym, I sent him a text.  “It must be challenging to have a crazy partner…”
He sent back.  “Sometimes challenging, always rewarding”
“Exhaustingly entertaining.  Well, ‘entertaining’ is not the right word.  Unavoidable?”
He texted, “Are you working out?”
“On the treadmill.  It’s difficult texting while walking on a 15 degree incline.”
“I’ll bet.”

When I got home, he was at his desk.  “Wow,” I said. “You are still up, but it sure looks as if you shouldn’t be…”
He laughed.  “I’m headed to bed.  I’m tired.”
I showered off the gym sweat, and then jumped on top of the covers of the bed.  He turned over and smiled.  “Aren’t you going to sleep?”
“I’m all pumped up from the gym … plus I’m a bit manic.”
He laughed.  “Really…?”
[At least, I am not running around the Texas Medical Center:  no shirt, no shoes, no socks, no sense … just a pair of white jeans and 180 pounds of psychosis.  That story will follow one day...]
“I’m going to write for a while.”
He smiled again.  “See you in the morning.”
I waved at him, as I jumped off the bed and reflected his smile.
It’s not easy living with someone who has bipolar disorder.  It’s not easy living with bipolar disorder.  Life is not always a trip to the beach.  But life is also not a big waste.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Taking Manhattan

How do you do New York City in two days?  Here's how we did. 

It was The Brunette's birthday.  She wanted to visit the Big Apple and catch a couple of shows to celebrate.  So she, The Redhead, The Man and I booked our flights.  We (she) decided on which shows to see.  We reserved our hotel rooms on the East Side.  And off we went one Friday morning in mid-May.

The Man and I arrived before "The Girls."  In the taxi ride to the Roger Smith hotel, we passed a Sports Authority store.  Both of us agreed that this would be the perfect place to buy a birthday gift for our sporty Brunette.  We decided to check in at the hotel and hoof it back to the store.  After unloading our bags, we walked down 48th Street and then up 2nd Avenue.  When we got to the lower 60's, The Man pointed out that he thought we'd walked too far.  In my resolve to always be right, I said "How could we have missed it?  It was on the northeast corner of one of these intersections."  We stumbled around for another ten or fifteen minutes, and then I let him take the lead. The store was on 51st and 3rd...

That night we were to see "That Championship Season" with Keifer Sutherland, Chris Noth and Jason Patric.  The Brunette checked the street address and then Google-Mapped it at the front desk of the hotel.  Near Broadway and 54th.  We started walking over to the area.  When we reached the street address; no theater.  We realized that we were Hell-and-gone from the Theater District.  The Brunette checked the street address.  45th Street, not 54th street.  Whoops...  We had to taxi it through the madness of Times Square to reach the theater in time.

The play was great, but a little hard to sit through.  It was about the reunion of a group of back-biting friends who had played together on a high school basketball team.  Set in 1972, it authentically portrayed the era.  More than a few mentions of the "N" word.  The audience seemed to collectively cringe at each utterance. 

At any rate, Chris Noth and Jason Patric were very good-looking in person.

After the play, we set out for SoHo for the birthday dinner.  I honestly thought that it was the end for all of us.  In addition to the crazed and nauseatingly high-speed driving of our cabbie, the New York streets were unbelievingly horrible.  We bounced, jerked and pitched all the way to the restaurant.

At the restaurant, I got a wonderful surprise.  We were handed the menus.  I couldn't read mine.  I had to borrow The Brunette's reading glasses.  That sealed it.  I am officially old.

The next day we headed to the West Side to take a boat tour around the island.  Our tour guide was...uhm, flamboyant.  As we floated by the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Brooklyn, Roosevelt Island, Queens and The Bronx, the four of us tried to determine if the guy was gay or not (in the age-old game of trying to make a person fit your tribe).   Finally we passed a hospital on the upper West Side.  The tour guide mentioned that the hospital was known for its exemplary neonatal unit.  He spoke of how his newborn son was treated there.  "There," I said.  "That settles it."

"Jason," The Man said.  "You have a son.  That doesn't make you straight."

"This guy's straight.  And if he is or not, it's not important."  I said, all superior-like.  The Man just smiled at me.

We left the boat and headed to Chelsea for a bite to eat.  We found a small Italian restaurant.  The food was wonderful.  As we were reaching the end of the meal, one of the daughters of the family-owned cafe came over to check on us.  She was very friendly and open, and with our being from the South, we naturally engaged her in conversation.  Then we got to hear how her eldest daughter was a "bitch," but nothing compared to her younger daughter, who was a "true bitch."  The woman was incredibly cute: blonde, petite with bright blue animated eyes and broad hand gestures.  Her references to her daughters were matter-of-fact.  But we were certain that she cared for each girl.  She knew her daughters and appreciated them both.

That night, we walked to the Theater District again (this time with no mishaps - as we knew where we were headed).  We saw "The Motherf***er with the Hat," a dark comedy starring Chris Rock.  As you would imagine, the language was pure filth. The play was hilarious, real, and completely entertaining.

We headed back to the hotel.  The Girls crashed.  The Man and I headed to Chelsea again to hang out at the New York leather bar.  We do that whenever we travel.  We like to be around our fellow homos, and the leather bars are home to the more friendly guys in the gay world.  New York's bar, the Eagle, was kind of run-of-the-mill: brooding, bearded quiet-types, leather-clad queens dancing to the house music, shirtless older muscle-boys.  I believe that we stayed for all of 30 minutes.

We flew out early the next morning:  7:30 on Sunday.  And back to the reality of our Houston life.

Things we did not have the time to do:  take in a Subway ride, hang out in Central Park, visit Greenwich Village, enjoy something artsy: like the MOMA or the Met. That's ok.  We'll return to the city.  

The thing that will stick in my mind more than any other happening in this trip? Walking back to the hotel from the theater Saturday night, we came across a street-person sleeping on a subway grate.  The Brunette stopped and roused the guy.  "You need anything, buddy?"  He smiled at her and shook his head.  Right there, I wanted to grab her and squeeze til it hurt.  Her birthday weekend, a woman who is quiet and witty, who has a good job and a good income ... stopping on the street to check on her fellow man.  

I went to New York to have fun.  I left with faith in humanity and the inspiration to be a little more compassionate.  Happy birthday to me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

For the Love of Wet Dogs

Tonight was bath-night at our house.  No, not for me.  I take a shower each morning, thank you.  Tonight's spa treatment was reserved for our two dogs.

This event does not happen as often as it should, by my measure.  But I'll explain why.  Our dogs live indoors.  They visit the backyard a few times throughout the day, but since Luke has to be around The Man and me, and since Casper has to be in Luke's company, they do not stay outside very long.  If it were up to Casper, they would live outdoors.  It's not up to Casper, it's up to me.  I'm Alpha here.

Another reason the dogs do not get bathed very often ... the whole process wears me out.  Well, mainly Luke wears me out on bath night.

Here's how it usually goes:

  • I start preparing the bathroom; getting towels, dog shampoo, opening the shower curtain wide.  M'aiq comes in snooping around and purring, wondering what the big deal is.  The dogs catch wind that something is up and run to the bathroom, just up to the door, no further.  M'aiq makes a frantic run from all the ruckus.
  • Ophelia, from her vantage point on the bed, acts interested ... for a minute.  Then she goes back to napping
  • I call Luke first.  Since he is the biggest challenge, I like to get his bath over with first.  Of course, he comes, but only to the door.  Then Casper runs in, at which point Luke decides to join him.  I usher Casper out, and Luke rapidly follows before I can close the door behind him.  This goes on about ten times until I have to get Luke by the collar and lead him into the bathroom.  This happens every time.  I'll learn one day.
  • I fight Luke the entire time in the shower.  He is a mass of solid bulk and muscle.  No matter how many times I tell him "It's all right" and "Good Boy," my assurances are useless.  He is convinced that he will be killed in this process and resists accordingly
  • Finally he is done, and I dry him the best I can.  He's not very patient with this either.  I get him half-way toweled-off, at which point he breaks free and shakes water all over my bathroom.  A mountain of thick black and white hair is clogging the shower drain.
  • Casper's up next.  He comes with no dragging.  Luke has headed for the kitchen, the farthermost spot away from my bathroom.
  • Casper steps into the shower with just my telling him to.
  • He stands motionlessly while I bathe him.
  • He stands completely still while I dry him entirely
  • Casper free, both he and Luke run wildly all over the house.  Apparently the aftermath of the bathing is quite exhilarating, although they both acted as if they were going to the guillotine when entering the shower.    
They say when something has a bad scent that it smells like a wet dog.  Both of my dogs are wet now, and they smell wonderful.

Casper continuing to sit perfectly still while I shoot his photo

At this moment, Casper is lying by my desk licking himself dry(?)  Luke's hanging out with The Man in the living room, away from me and the imagined danger of an impending revisit to my bathroom.  Completely exhausted, I'll probably hit the hay early.
Luke refusing to sit, still too excited

Friday, May 6, 2011

I'm Crazy, Aren't You?

It has happened so infrequently in the past four and ½ years, but The Man and I will not spend this weekend together.  I am headed to Louisiana for a party for my son’s fiancée (she is graduating college).  The Man has work to do here in Houston.

Now you may have gathered if you have read any of my posts where he is featured, he and I really enjoy spending time together.  Time with him is “Sunday Easy.”  So I’ll miss him this weekend.  But a little time apart will be good for us.  It’ll give us back a bit of our individuality.

I noticed how much we identify ourselves by each other at dinner the other night.  Although he was sitting a bit down the table from me, I kept hearing him inject my name into the conversion:  “Jason does this…” “Jason and I…” “Jason likes…”  I chuckled a bit at the mentions.  (I was more tickled when The Man referred to what kind of truck I drive.  The woman across the table looked to one of our older friends and asked how he liked the truck. Boy, did I feel like a kid.)

I use him for juxtaposing.  He is sweet and kind.  I’m a bit more gruff and grumpy.  All I say is if one of us has to be the “nice one,” someone has to pick up the reins and be the “mean one.”  I take that role.  One of our friends constantly comments on how I act cruelly to The Man.  The Man and I secretly laugh.  He knows how wrapped up in him I am.

Once I left a sticky note above the washing machine where I knew he would see it.  It said “I’m crazy about you.”  My ten year-old nephew saw and misread it.  He asked me, “Who put up that note that says ‘I’m crazy, aren’t you’?”  That phrase is now part of our frequent exchanges, along with “How ‘bout those Astros.” (meaning “I love you;” I’m just too macho to say so.)

It’ll be odd not spending the weekend together.  So I’ll keep him with me on the drive to Louisiana.  We’ve been listening to a lot of Plastic Beach by Gorillaz.  I’ll play "Rhinestone Eyes" over & over and imagine him rapping his hand on his leg along with the beat.

Monday, May 2, 2011

I'm Feeling It, Cheryl

I've been goofing off.  Well, that's not necessarily true.  It's just better than offering up an excuse for not posting.

I could say

  • I can't find the spirit to write:  I've been a bit depressed (You'd shoot that down, if you had read this)
  • I'm too distracted and grumpy to write:  I've quit smoking (There will be an upcoming post on this Hell, for sure.)
  • I've no time:  I'm working out at the gym five nights a week (I wrote about this here)
  • I've no time (I know that I've already used this excuse):  I've starting walking my dogs again, instead of just letting them run around aimlessly in our back yard. (Luke and Casper could totally bust me on this if they could talk - I've only done this once in the past week).
  • I'm taking care of my Inner Child:  I got a new video game The Sims Medieval and have had my head crammed in my computer screen (playing, instead of focusing on the three Rs of blogging:  Researching, Reading, and wRiting).
So it's all about choice.  I guess I've not been prioritizing correctly.  And I've slacked a bit.

I try to post at least once a week.  And technically, I missed this week by one day.  But, ignore those points listed above.  As my Mom would have said.  "If you are looking for an excuse, any of those is a good one."

So now, I will just leave you with one of my favorite songs from the wry Cheryl Wheeler.  This tunes sums up the way I'm feeling today.  And the way a lot of us may feel.

Unworthy by Cheryl Wheeler

If you know of another song that expresses the same type of sentiment, please let me know.  I will use it the next time I'm goofing and not writing.

Jason AKA The Queer Next Door