If they came and kidnapped me right now and blindfolded me, gagged me
stuck me in the trunk
I would stay calm
because I know the roads.
I would know where they took me.
Quick left, quick right, quick left
to the freeway
or the other way.
The slow S shape
winding back and forth.
They won’t go 35 and 45.
They are in a hurry.
They will push it and speed.
And when the orange sign warns that going over 30 round this turn will lead to death and it will be your own fucking fault
they won’t listen.
They will go as fast as they want.
But the car won’t flip or crash because the guy driving the car is a professional.
I’ll use my nose to figure out where we are.
The smells go like this
Less city, people
Rich, rich soil
Soil and garden
Cars, industrial stink
And Joe says
You Don’t Ruin Everything
Don’t say that anymore, Leah, it’s not true.
And I hear him from far away.
I’m not really in the trunk
but I am bound and gagged.
The buildings and the streets
they are neon pink and orange
It’s not true, I know.
But I still see it.
I’m not in the trunk.
I know I’m sitting next to Joe in the front because from my vantage point in the back seat
I see him holding my hand.
There are tears running down my cheeks
for no reason at all.
But my mouth is trying to smile and feels like nothing is wrong.
They aren’t connected to each other.
My mouth says
milk and I smile
and my eyes cry
for some unknown reason until I need a hankie or tissue.
In the isles I can’t stop staring.
The boxes, the floor, so sharp, so blurry
all so beautiful in neon.
The colors are almost overwhelming plus I know they aren’t there but, they are and I can’t stop staring.
Everything should cost a dollar.
Things are so expensive.
Joe gently guides me along
and when I say to no one except the cereal boxes that I like Honey Nut Cheerios
Yes You Do. You Like Them.
And grabs my hand to look at canned beans.
There is a family with four kids.
Both parents are wrangling two.
Line the kids up and they make a stairway just like my kids did.
But my kids are old.
I don’t get to nurture them like that.
And I can’t even have a dog.
Would my pet dog be neon red, too?
And glow and look like fire?
The dad looks at me in surprise
and then pity.
I’m walking next to me
and I see what he sees.
I have the look of a crazy person.
My hair is unwashed, clumped and stuck in all kids of directions.
I’m wearing Joe’s Hawaiian shirt that has the same leaf colors as the bird’s poop and it hangs over my bra-less front.
My jeans are sagging, top button undone.
and my eyes are puffed, tearing and have red rings like clown makeup.
Next to myself I see this.
Back walking in myself I don’t know it or care.
And the floor is orange now.
The air smells so good on my face on the way home.
I love air.
I tell Joe I Will Be Better Tomorrow. Joe says I Know.
And Joe is helping me make nachos with cheese and black beans.
I eat them.
I vomited all morning.
My tummy feels humming but it doesn’t kick the nachos out.
And Joe gives me warm kisses on my cheeks and eyes and lips.
I feel them.
And I feel them.
Alpha Mom Video Interviews:
- Arianna Huffington Video, Site
- Amalah Video, Site
- Yvonne Video, Site
- Catherine Connors Video, Site
- Eden Kennedy Video, Site
- Melissa Summers Video, Site
- Leah Video, Site
- Angela Video, Site
- JenB Video, Site
- Karen Walrond Video, Site
- Grace Davis Video, Site
- Alice Bradley Video, Site
- Tracey Gaughran-Perez Video, Site
Blogher sent me to Colombia to cover the ‘Win a Trip with Juan’ contest. I took photos, reported and shot and edited video.
Colombia – Day One in Bogota
After lunch we went to the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia headquarters where we had the opportunity to watch some of their processes and how they quality control the coffee that gets exported. The Federation’s mission is to ensure the well-being of Colombian coffee growing families…FULL STORY
Colombia, Day Two in Pereira, Coffee Farm
The Federation encourages the cafeteros to grow other food in their fields along with the coffee to sustain themselves like corn, tomatoes etc. On this particular farm they grow a variety of arabica coffee bean that is resistant to rust (roya in Spanish) which destroys the leaves and beans. FULL STORY
Colombia, Day Two in Pereira, Juan Valdez, National Coffee Park
There’s this man – perhaps you’ve heard of him – Juan Valdez? I don’t know anyone that hasn’t heard of him, but in Colombia, Juan Valdez is THE most famous person. And we got to meet him. He was very nice. Carlos Sanchez, who has been Juan Valdez since 1969, recently retired and a search for the new face of Juan Valdez commenced. The winner was Carlos Castañeda, a 39-year-old rural coffee grower from Andes in the Antioquia region of Colombia. FULL STORY
Colombia, Day Three in Manizales and Chinchina, Caldas
In the morning we went to visit the Coffee Growers Committee of Caldas or Comite de Cafeteros de Caldas in Manizales. The Coffee Growers Committee of Caldas is the representation for Caldas of the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia. This is also where they manage the tree renewal program in Caldas. They also manage the extension service or technical support services (yellow t-shirts people). One of the most important projects of the Caldas committee is education, especially in elementary and secondary schools. They have beautiful land there with animals, orchids and butterflies. I was a little scared of the ostriches…FULL STORY
Colombia, Day Four in Bogota
On our last full day in Colombia, we flew back to Bogota. We had a lazy early afternoon and then got together later for a visit to the Salt Cathedral or Catedral de Sal in Zipaquirá. There are 14 small chapels inside which represent the Stations of The Cross complete with kneeling prayer platforms. All of it is carved out of salt. FULL STORY
Blogher sent me to the RNC 2008 to shoot and edit video of Mary Katharine Ham speaking with people of interest.
A Democrat in a Sea of Republicans at the RNC, Minneapolis
Blogher sent me to the RNC to shoot video. I’m having a great time, minus the blisters. FULL POST
“I’ll be back at Thanksgiving and I know it’s Dad’s holiday but I’ll come see you, too!” She spritzes herself with girl smells, maybe something fruity?, and checks her lip gloss in the visor mirror, then snaps it shut, shoves it back in place and turns her 100 watt smile at me. “Don’t worry!” she says, and grabs her iPod.
Traffic is light and the weather has been perfect for a quick road trip to Grandma’s. The premise is that my mom has a Bosch and a Kitchen Aid sitting in the basement and I get to borrow them for an indefinite amount of time. The reality is that I’m soaking up every last second of alone time I can before she leaves in August and becomes someone new again.
It’s one of those moments when the feeling in my chest becomes almost too big to hold and I’m bursting with emotion, a mix of happiness at who she is becoming and pride at her learning to love and accept her body as it is and worry that the world will take her emerging confidence and slap her down and love at everything she is and everything she was and everything she will be.
We talk about relationships and what the guys might be like at college. She tells me how she’s grown to love and appreciate her step-dad and that she can’t believe she was once so cold to him. She talks about her brothers and how she didn’t know she could love them so much and how she’s going to miss them. About how she’s been trying to spend time with everyone at home before she goes because when she comes back, everything will be different and it might never feel like home again. I know she’s right and that coming back home as a person with time experienced elsewhere with new friends and new places and new learning experiences that no one at home knows about changes you and you never feel like you quite fit in again until you make your own home. And it makes me sad and a few tears slip down my cheeks but I don’t stop smiling or singing along with her to Beyonce’s If I Were a Boy because really I’m so happy for her. And I cry.
“Mom!” she says. “Did I tell you what happened with T.? No? Oh my gosh, you have to hear this.” And she begins a tale of this boy and that girl and the beach and Los Angeles and New York and while she talks she uses her hands to text three friends back and forth and never pauses in the story, a few smiles on her lips when someone texts her something cute or flirty. And when she’s done with that story she seamlessly launches into a new one and although I don’t always understand everything that is happening or her reactions to some parts of what happened, I listen and listen and shake my head in agreement because it’s so fun to watch her animated gestures and listen to her dramatic voice. She’s on a stage and I’m her audience. But then she asks for my advice and suddenly, I find I do have something to say. And she accepts it, just like that. Mostly, I think, because it’s exactly what she already knew.
I watched her sing a few weeks ago at her graduation ceremony in front of the entire town.
Thousands of people. And she did it with confidence and sounded great. People whispered behind me that she sounded wonderful and I smiled a tiny smile, knowing she was my daughter. I imagine she could do that on a stage professionally someday. I wouldn’t be surprised. But I would probably be on pins and needles until she finished each performance, just like I was that day.
Suddenly, the mood changes in her and she searches her iPod for something upbeat and loud. She finds Avril’s Runaway and sings at the top of her lungs and her infectious energy fills the cabin and creates a glowing halo around the car that surely, everyone must be seeing. She’s practically hovering over her seat. She grabs the camera and begins to shoot random shots.
Then she decides to turn the camera in a circle and see what comes out, all the while singing and laughing.
Then she declares that shots taken of a rounding corner of the road are the prettiest.
Her mood elevates even more into a slap-happy stage where she makes silly jokes and funny faces at me until I’m laughing. And crying. But mostly laughing.
At Grandma’s she doesn’t go off to a corner and read a book or spend time sighing in obvious boredom as a teen is sometimes wont to do. Instead she sits by Grandma, who is showing me some new stitches, and asks if she could learn how to embroider, too. My mom whips out a dishcloth and sets her up with some thread and a needle, molding her amateur fingers into the most advantageous position. And my daughter sits at the table for a long time, learning how to keep the needle on top and how to make a pretty leaf and flower petal, only taking out her phone for texts a few times, smiling that small private smile. And I know she’ll remember this moment as one of the last before she grew into a full-fledged adult. She mentions to my mom that she wants to learn how to sew and had there been time, I’m sure she would have come home with a skirt made with her own hands and much coaching from Grandma.
I talk to my brother and his wife and for a moment, look up and find she’s gone. I look in the backyard and there she is, swinging on the small swings where many years ago she used to pose for me and ask me to take her picture, her blond streaked hair in ringlets being blown in the wind and her small mouth and tiny teeth and one leg posed this way and one arm posed that way. “Take one this way.” she’d say with a little lisp. She’s going higher and higher and looks up to the sky and her eyes tell the story of someone trying to capture a moment long ago and put it in a bottle for later, when she needs a pick-me-up. And I remember her at sixteen and fourteen and wonder what twenty will look like.
Back in the car on the way home and she’s somewhat serious. She’s contemplating how a good relationship works and where and what she wants to be in the future. She asks me if I know what she’s talking about and yes, I do. She wants me to share back with her some things that are hard for me. So, I do. And I tell her things I wouldn’t normally mention but it feels right right now, at this moment. And she comforts me and gives me advice and I’m amazed by her depth and wisdom at such a young age. And I realize most of it is the same advice I gave her yesterday and I’m glad she’s said it because now I know she knows it. And that’s a comfort.
Then out comes the sunshine on her face and she’s ready for some Kelly Clarkson. We sing together at the top of our lungs, complete with hand gestures and mannerisms in a choreography we created five or six years ago, often looking at each other and trying not to laugh when I sing a bad note. And I know that this is the moment I’ll tuck away in my heart in a tiny pocket that is reserved for when I miss her. This memory will get me through some days when I long to hold her and whiff her hair and smell that girl smell, fruity, and watch her telling me about this guy or that girl and what happened next. And I’ll take it out and remember her on that day and cry a little. And be happy.
My leg is touching the door and I can feel the vibrations of the music through my knee cap. I’m not thinking. I’m just feeling the bass line and mouthing the words. My mouth opens and closes with the words but no sound comes out. I don’t think I know this song. If I was the passenger in the car to the left, I would think I was singing. But if I was the passenger in the car to the left, I wouldn’t be me. I would be him. I think about this for awhile, forgetting to mouth along to the song, my jaw slightly slack.
What if I was him? That guy to the left? I wouldn’t be me. Or I would be both. I would have his feelings. Or they would be the same as the ones I have now, just his. Or they would be different. And I would look over and see me and wonder about the lady driving in the big black van and hope she had at least one other person in the car to make that beast worth while. And I would know that she wasn’t really singing because I didn’t really sing, either. Orange would be slightly different, but how, I couldn’t say. I would like the air slightly warmer in the cab of the car while driving, but my wife would want it cooler and I’d wear gloves to keep my hands warm, even in the summer. I’d hate the birds that shit on the car under the palm tree. I’d love orange suckers and I’d do ceramics on the weekend as a hobby to calm my nerves. Or are they my nerves. Or mine. I don’t know.
My shoe is near the speaker and I can feel the vibrations of the music climbing up my leg. I turn the bass up and look up to notice the sign that says the name of street I know, but isn’t on my route home. I’m confused for a moment and then I realize I passed my exit about twenty minutes back.
I wonder where I’m going.
I’m driving as if I don’t care that I’m not headed in the right direction. I just passed an exit where I could have turned around. And another one. And another. I’m not changing lanes to get to the right. I’m just going forward at a steady 73 miles per hour. Maybe I don’t care. But I don’t know where I’m going.
I’m out of water. My mouth is dry. I have a headache. I get off the freeway and get back on, heading west.
My hands are on the steering wheel and the vibrations are coursing through my fingers and into my wrists. The music is too loud and I turn it down. Then off. The car on my right is driving right in my blind spot. When I speed up, he speeds up. When I slow down, He slows down. I punch the gas and hit over 80, moving away from the irritation. The road is bumpy on this stretch and the van bobs up and down violently for a few seconds. The Santa Annas are blowing hard against the windshield and I can hear the whistle it makes as it leaks through the seams around the doors. It’s high pitched and screaming. All it would take is my not handling the wind very well. Just a tiny mistake going around the right bend of the hills. The tire would hit a pothole and explode. The van would flip over and over, jumping over the guardrail and into the middle of oncoming traffic. I could even take off my seat belt first. I look at myself in the rear view mirror. And then I look away. My foot comes off the gas pedal a little and I slow down to 68 and hit cruise control.
The wind whistling through the doors grows deeper and less insistent. It sounds more like a hum and less like a shriek. I take a few slow breaths and turn the music back on, but softly. I click forward through the songs until I find something mellow.
I’m close to home now. And I think I’m glad. The thoughts and feelings I’ve been avoiding come rushing at me. I’m a horrible person. I’m so unworthy of love. The world would be a better place without me. My kids deserve a better mom. Joe would have a better life without me. I imagine saying that out loud to Joe and I can hear his voice in my head. I would say, ‘I’m too broken. It’s never going to get better. How many times can I say I’m sorry before I get on your nerves? Once a day? Twice? I should just leave.’ and he would say, ‘Only say sorry if you commit a sin of commission or omission against me. You haven’t. You don’t need to be sorry. Your existence is not a sin. I love you. I hope you don’t leave. I want to spend the rest of my life with you.’ And then I’m crying but I don’t know if it’s happening now or yesterday when he said it for real.
The car is stopped and parked in front of the house. I’m home. Home. The thrumming I feel isn’t music. It’s my thoughts and I’m trying to get them under control before I walk in the house. I’m numbing out my mind, creating a buffer around my body and settling in the center where it’s calm and one tiny bit of what I hope is reality comforts me as I gather my things and head up the walkway.
Your existence is not a sin. I love you.
Just left Neptune’s Net where we had an indulgent, delicious lunch that we save for special occasions. Ocean and sky were blue and beautiful. Happy to be quiet and with Joe.
Last week I went to a Quaker event hosted by Yvonne. I was totally prepared to be awesome and give back and all that stuff. I mean, I AM THAT PERSON. The one that wants to buy local, organic food, conserve water (I turn the water off while I brush! And I only condition once, bleached, colored, damaged hair be damned!), ride a bike instead of a foul beast of a van (I don’t really do this one. I don’t own a bike but I do own Bessy, my black Astro Van that consumes more fuel than a launching rocket ship and kills us all by destroying the ozone layer. Why is it so expensive to not kill us? I want a hybrid.) and use my eco-friendly reusable cloth grocery bags when I go shopping and wants to help the baby puppies and the wild, jungle animals, and the charities that help with micro-loans and the Toys for Tots and help at the Soup Kitchen and make quilts for the homeless (I did this only one time but I’m still counting it.) So. You can see why when Yvonne wanted me to help out at the LA Food Bank, I was all over it. I like to recycle, people!
The thing I didn’t plan on happening was this stupid cyst thing that made me into a frail, whiny, limp-noodle of a person. A few days previous my left ovary said, Hey! I’m bored! I’m going to see what happens when I poke one of these cysts! And then a slow stream of cyst fluid (What is in there, anyway? Maybe I don’t want to know.) began its exit and made it’s way into every pain receptor in a 5-mile area. And sometimes it whispered ‘fuck you’ in a tiny, ghost of a voice behind my back, just loud enough that I could hear it and not get comfortable for hours and then suddenly it would be all, HEYYOUMOTHERFUCKER! I OWN YOU, BITCH! and I would drop to my knees and die.
So, back to the day of the Quaker event, my ovarian cyst was just very uncomfortable as apposed to an 11. So, I figured, dude, this is no big thang. I’ll drive there, be awesome with all my giving back and shit, and then go home. Easy-peasy.
Who’s bored? Do a little stretch at your desk, wake yourself up and come back. I’ll wait.
OK. So. Everything was fine. I found the place with no errors. There was a parking spot up front. I found Yvonne right away. Smooth Sailing, my friends. But, then I had to walk up two flights of stairs to use the bathroom and that was all it took. My ovary used a voice synthesizer to sound like Satan and laughed and laughed at me.
I went downstairs and tried to act like nothing was wrong. I looked in the direction of talking people and tried to smile and look interested. And then the tour of the facility started and we walked up those same two flights of stairs. Again. Another time. Did I mention it was one more time? But, I was already there! Why leave now? I wasn’t going to give up. I was going to be STRONG.
The nice lady walked us through different warehouses and talked about food distribution and companies who give the food and who picks it up and lots of other interesting (really) stuff and I listened enough to write this sentence. A nice guy showed us some backpacks and told us to wipe them out to clean them and then we would fill them with food for some kids. Helping kids, y’all! I started wiping. And I was in pain. And I felt like a failure. And I was in pain. And then Yvonne came to the table and started cleaning backpacks by me and I thought, ok, I’ll just tell her I MIGHT have to leave. Not that I am because maybe I won’t. But I should mention that I MIGHT have to. Yvonne told me going home was the obvious thing to do. And I realized that DUH, it was what I should do and then it happened. I started crying.
My eyes welled up. My face turned red. And Yvonne was all, Leah! Why are you crying? And I was all, Bluh Bluhbluuuuh. And she said, Seriously, you should go now. And I said BLLUUUHbluh in a loud whisper. And I looked for a way to get out of the room without it becoming a big deal and headed that direction. But I couldn’t find the door and I walked though isles and whispered bluuhbluh and then there was a guy and I gestured and pointed, trying to act out a door. He sent me the right way and I got downstairs and just about had my crying under control. Then I realized this was not the place we had come in and I had no idea where I was. There was a long hallway of doors and offices and it seriously got longer and longer while I looked at it. I started walking and randomly opening up doors trying to find an exit until a nice lady in a red suit came out. She looked at me, blinked and then turned into my Aunt Murtle. With her arm around me, she shooed me softly out the door and said (I SHIT YOU NOT) ‘We all have bad days, dear. Buy your self a fresh, new pack of Twizzlers.’ And then with her left arm, she pointed towards a building where I should go.
WELL. Anyone need more stretching time? Maybe head banging on the wall time?
I walked in that building, in burning pain, head held high, crying a little, mascara smeared on only one side, and bumped into an older gentleman wearing overalls. He started to tell me I was in the wrong place and then looked at my face. He ‘oh deared’ me and offered me a handkerchief, changed his mind, handed me a tissue. I tried to ask him where the GOOD parking lot was where my VAN was but he heard bluuhuhuBLUHHHuuh? And he asked a man who was working on a forklift doing actual WORK to stop, climb down and walk me through two more warehouses and to the parking lot. Not only was I not volunteering but I took a person who was ACTUALLY WORKING off his forklift. The kids should hate me, y’all.
He tried to make polite conversation until he realized I was mute. He started pointing out a few things as we walked through the rooms but then stopped when he realized I was too fragile of a flower to bother with all that businessy food real-life stuff. He took my arm and walked me around a pool of water and then warned me when we came to a speed bump. When we exited to the right parking lot, he asked me if I saw my vehicle in a voice that meant he wasn’t sure if I should be operating large machinery. He glanced at both my wrists and neck for some kind of medical tag and emergency number, but found none. I assured him I was fine. FINE. And he watched me climb in my van, only tripping twice, turn the ignition on a second time and make that horrible grinding, whining noise that indicates a newbie driver, fumble with my sunglasses and blow my nose. He waved to me as I pulled out into the street. I pulled over about a block up the road and really let it all out where I hoped he couldn’t see me. And then I drove home.
San Diego, CA
Health and wellness mentor, speaker, published author, freelance writer, and multi-faceted professional with over fifteen years of experience in project management, community management, business development, and one-on-one work with clients.
Quick List: mentoring, writing, photography, and web design customizing WordPress themes and plugins, and Photoshop CS5. Knowledge of Drupal, Joomla, Google Adwords, SEO best practices, Illustrator, InDesign and Prezi.
Passionate about social communities and tools including WordPress, Blogger, podcasting/Audacity, Videocasting/Skype, Linkedin, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, Pinterest, Instagram, Yelp.
Writer, Editor, Mentor
Heal Something Good
-WordPress, Photoshop CS5, Illustrator CS5, HTML/CSS, InDesign, Lulu Print on Demand, YouTube
April 2013-Aug 2013
Brand Manager, Graphic Design, Content Strategy, Writer
-Drupal, Photoshop CS5, Filezilla, BBedit, knowledge of Illustrator, HTML and CSS, Google AdWords, SEO, Training
July 2012-April 2013
Website and Graphic Designer, Content Manager, Strategy
Wire Briar, LLC
-WordPress, SEO, Animoto, Prezi, Photoshop CS5, Filezilla, BBedit, knowledge of Illustrator, HTML and CSS
Community Founder, Social Media Manager, Event Coordinator, Website Designer, Content Builder
RealMental.org, DandyGoods.com, Now defunct: FlawedbutAuthentic.com, BloggerNetwork.org, Craft.Leahpeah.com, LA Angst, LA Bloggers Live
-WordPress, eShop, Photoshop, HTML, CSS, Ning, BuddyPress, CMS, Skype, iMovie, Vimeo
Freelance Journalist, Interviewer, Columnist, Editor, Video Journalist
-Complete Writing Credits can be found here.
Television: Consultant, Showtime’s United States of Tara, Seasons 1-3, 2009-2011
How-to Chapter, Mend it Better, Print Date: January, 2012
Essay, True Mom Confessions: Real Moms Get Real, Print Date: April 7, 2009
Essay, Things I Learned About My Dad in Therapy, Print Date: May 1, 2008
Online: Leahpeah.com, UTSanDiego.com (Union Tribune), DandyGoods.com, RealMental.org, TastyKitchen.com, AlphaMom.com, Huffington Post, BlogHer.com, WorkItMom.com, TryHandmade.com
Other Print: Creative Humans Magazine, JPG Magazine, Craft Magazine, LAB Magazine, Fray
Co-Founder, Project Director, Client Relations, Web Designer, Graphic Designer, Front-end Programmer
Now defunct: Crawberts.com Web Development, Simi Valley, CA
-CMS, Basecamp, Photoshop, some HTML, CSS, and PHP
Project Director, Assistant to the President, Web Design, Print Design
International Diversified Products, Sherman Oaks, California
-Wordpress, CMS, Photoshop, Powerpoint, Microsoft Suite, Flash, Filezilla, BBedit
Project Director, Office Manager, Assistant to the President, Web Design
Gordon Training International, Solana Beach, California
-Wordpress, CMS, Photoshop, Powerpoint, Microsoft Suite, BlueHornet, Goldmine
Writer, Interviewer, Photographer
Writer’s Monthly, North Magazine, San Diego, California
Web Designer, Office Manager
Now defunct: DLLDATA Web Consulting, Vista, California
RESUME WEB LINKS
Heal Something Good book site
Pioneer Woman’s Tasty Kitchen
Cool Mom Picks
I started this week by inhaling the essence of the Queen of Sheba up my left nostril and was all, Oh, I only walk on 3inch padded long nap ecru Persian rugs and If you don’t peel my grapes, I’m going to banish you to a life of only reality television and morning radio shows and I’m thinking we’ll paint the walls golden bronze, straw, ochre, saffron or amber and it’s really important you tell me which one you like the best because they are ALL SO DIFFERENT.
In other words, I was awesome to be around.
This could be because I was overcompensating my lameness of the weekend previous. The one where I drove to the OC with my son, Devon. And it took three hours and I had a soda. A very large Dr. Pepper that went straight to my bladder and starting dancing the Hustle at the speed of light. But we were almost there! And there was nowhere to pee! And there was traffic! Never have I wished so hard for anything as I did for an adult diaper at that moment. And then we turned on some roads and passed some signs and stuff and OMG I had to go pee!!
So we finally got to the street in Laguna where Heather and Jon were staying and I saw their condo on the left and went PHEW! DEVON PARK THIS HEAP WHILE I RUN IN AND GO PEE! So Dev makes with this really heavy sigh (BUT HE HAS NOT HAD 4 KIDS so he doesn’t know what that does to your body. KEGELS!!) and a few eye rolls and says Really? NOW? but I didn’t even notice because ZOMG THE PEEING I needed to do. I swung open the door and jumped about a foot down to the ground. (FORESHADOWING) But I didn’t trip and fall and I was very proud of that. And then Devon climbed up a few feet (AGAIN FORESHADOWING) closed the door and I started walking away and then I heard this awful noise like tires spinning. Because the TIRES WERE SPINNING. Because the streets in Laguna go up and down the hills at about a 50% grade. Just kidding! It’s only about 25%. (REALLY) And I had pulled into this driveway that had more major angles than Blagojevich. And only one of the back tires and one of the front tires were touching the ground and the back one was just touching enough to make this really awful burny smell.
So, I looked at the van, perched and wobbling as it was, and I almost forgot I had to pee. Almost. And I looked at the van some more. And I realized that I had left the van in the MOST awkward and unsafe position possible and in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the van toppled over on its side. (REALLY) And in fact (AGAIN), I believe Devon said something like MOM THIS VAN IS GOING TO TIP ON THE SIDE! And I just kept staring because I remembered I had to go pee but I knew if I left, my son would end up lying on his left side, head in the gravel or he would try to move the van backwards again and the van would IN FACT move forward and slam into the truck about 6 inches in front of him. And the van, that beast that weighs about a million pounds, would just go faster and faster and careen out of control, crashing into cars and houses and people on both sides of the street including a baby in a stroller in there somewhere and then slam into the busy 101 where the van would kill a family of six, (a RELIGIOUS family of six, that included a 13 year old piano prodigy that was on his way to a concert where he was raising millions of money for a cure for cancer and THEY WOULD HAVE DONE IT, TOO!) and then roll over and over until Devon was almost dead and with his last breath he would ask Why didn’t you just go at the Shell station in Irvine, Moooooooommmm…….
But I still had to pee. And then, suddenly Jon was there. Yay! It’s Jon! It was better than the 2nd coming. And he asks how it’s going and I almost want to pinch him because HELLO! How does it look like we’re doing? But, actually, I’m SO GLAD TO SEE HIM that I almost forget I have to pee. But not really. Because although it’s awesome to have someone like Jon on your team when trying to get your van that is teetering like it’s on top of a spike out of immediate danger, your body, when you REALLY have to go pee, won’t let you forget it. I actually considered just letting it go. You know, whizzing in the street. Letting the yellow river flow. Watering the plants with my electrolyte leftovers. But then I didn’t, because it would totally ruin my boots.
SO THEN. I realized that Jon had actually come from the other side of the street. (How fun would that have been to run into the wrong place, frantically trying to use the bathroom? Eh??) From further up the hill. And I could see Heather, glowing (pregnancy looks so good on her!), in the window looking out and giving me the strangest look. AND THEN. I realized I was going to have to walk up the hill about 50 feet, not peeing. And then Devon is really concentrating and I’m telling him to turn the wheels all the way one way and Jon is telling him to turn the wheels all the way the other way and Devon is getting frustrated and we’re all a little freaked out and the smell in the air is like we’re lounging around a tar pit on fire and finally Jon goes – Hey Leah! How about you go up to the house and go pee already. – and I can see in his eyes that he would really like it if I wasn’t telling Dev all the wrong stuff to do (JUST MAKING HIS JOB HARDER) (REALLY NOT HELPING) and I heard in his voice that uber-patient tone that you use on the nearly deaf and very young children. The same voice he used when I got lost on the way to their home in SLC and he had to guide me in. Every time. And so I turned around and carefully/quickly walked up the hill and found the right door. And Heather was all Hey! How are you? What’s goi……. And I ran past her and into the bathroom and THE HEAVENS OPENED AND THE ANGELS REJOICED!
As I sat on the throne, my arms wrapped around my knees, my head resting on my legs, relishing every last drip, I tried to remember what I had been so concerned about just a few minutes ago. Hmmm. Was it something about the economy? Or…..maybe I forgot to pay the electricity bill? And then suddenly, I remembered my son was about to die, the van was about to crumple and Heather was in the hall wondering what the hell was going on, her hair blown back from the speed at which I’d passed her.
By the time I’d finished with the bathroom things, (ahem) and run into the hallway, Dev and Jon were back inside. Everything was going to be fine. No one died. The van didn’t crash into anything. (The solution? Leave the van parked haphazardly half in the street and inches away from the truck in front of the van and wait for the owner to come home and move it 10 feet forward. And it worked.) And then we all held hands and swayed left and right while singing Kumbaya.
Leta, who is secretly a fairy, pronounced that my favorite princess was The Princess and the Pea and used her magic to read incredibly long and complex words that no child her age should be reading. Unless they are a genius. Which she is.
The Burrito King came and we got the most delicious food we’d ever tasted. Even our taste buds sang. And we laughed heartily and merrily with our heads thrown back and our hair flowing down our backs and thought how lucky we were to be lottery winners and how much fun we were going to have when we all owned our new Vespas and buzzed around town in our matching purple Polo shirts and Birkenstocks.
And later, when Dev and I got ready to leave, I used the bathroom. Twice.
We’re getting ready to move. Again. It seems like it was only last year….oh wait. It was only last year. The home we’re going to is much larger than this one and it will be nice to have a little breathing room. Now we just have the unfun part of actually doing the moving. Blech.
I got a recumbent bike. We only had to drive about a mile to pick it up from a local Craigslister. It was awkward and heavy to get in the van and then out of the van and then through the crowded garage and then into the living room where it sits smack dab in the middle of the floor where we already have precious little room. And this is where it will sit until we move. But what we sacrificed in walking room we gained in non functioning recumbent bike. Because the resistance doesn’t work. This we did not know until it was already in the middle of the living room. When I sat down on it at the Craiglisters home, I spun the wheels and tested the seat etc. I did not test the resistance. So it is my own fault that it sits here, looming in our space and not working. I get on it from time to time and spin the wheel while willing it to work. Sadly, it does not. Still. And not even now. Or now.
The woman we bought it from is very nice and has offered to give us our money back if we can’t figure out why it isn’t working. She seems genuinely befuddled and not the kind of person who would do this on purpose. In fact, she’s called their customer service number to find out if there is a simple fix for me. So there’s that. Now we’ll just have to lug it back out of the living room, down the stairs, back into the van, back out of the van and into her home again to get our money back. Good times.
And why would I get a huge recumbent bike just days before we move and have to lug it to another house anyway? This is a good question and not one I can easily answer. Joe describes it as though I have some kind of fever and it’s better to just get out of my shining, warm face all screwed up with expectation than to try and cut me off at the pass. I guess once I get my mind set on something and I feel like I need it, I mean really NEED it, then there isn’t anything anyone can say. And it was cheap. And exactly what I was looking for. And close. Now, if it just worked.