Thursday, November 17, 2016

The guy on the other side of the door

So that really happened.  Hillary was defeated by a bigoted, rapey can of Fanta.

We watched the election results with a big group of friends.  It began as a supremely festive evening. There were hugs, high fives, some shadow boxing in corners as we got pumped to watch history happen, and to show our children that love wins and civil rights, inclusion, and being qualified for a job matter.

There was a photo booth area
with goofy USA props.
Look at my friend's daughter in her pantsuit.
We were so excited.  

My dad designed and made this sign.
My family is awesome.

Blame it on our Seattle liberal bubble but wow, did we ever believe the wrong thing about our country.  We believed people had seen through him by then, seen him as a con man with an obvious personality disorder, as a shitty businessman who didn't pay his bills and somehow managed to bankrupt casinos. Casinos! Now there's something that's truly rigged, and in favor of the owners.  How do you even screw that up.

We believed people had seen him as a thin-skinned explosive poorly tempered man prone to Twitter fights at 2 a.m. when someone dared criticize him, as someone who openly disparaged women, multiple minority groups, people with disabilities, the families of fallen hero soldiers.... I could go on and on and on, that's the worst part, and so depressing.

We would never elect such an obviously selfish, hateful person with zero knowledge of government to the highest office in the land.  Right?

As results started coming in, it appeared we had done exactly that.  The enthusiasm drained out of the room and a stunned silence settled.  There were several laptops busted out at the dining room table as we tried to find additional information and make sense of what was happening. Every once in awhile, someone who'd done the math piped up to announce which states Hillary still needed to win. The numbers weren't promising.

Then there were heads in hands, a lot of tears, some toasts made to uncertain futures, and heavy heavy drinking.

As we packed up to head home in a state of numb denial and despair, I went to our friends' fridge, scooped a bunch of their beers into my purse and muttered to no one in particular, "I'm gonna need these later."  My friend walked into his kitchen and asked flatly, "MJ, why are you stealing all our beer" to which I replied, "It's a Trump America now, I do what I want, b*tch."  Polite society had devolved just that quickly.  Scary stuff.

Reading the news these days raises my blood pressure to dangerous new highs. To deal with this, I've decided we're in pressing need of a new area rug for our dining room. Instead of constantly refreshing news websites every thirty seconds and trying hard not to hit things, I'm spending those hours perusing area rugs online. We don't really need a new area rug but please, don't tell myself that, I need a break from the rage and the fear.

Ooh, that's a pretty one

Last night I was awakened at 3:30 a.m. by Natani barking downstairs.  Lucien soon appeared in my doorway to tell me he heard the recycling bins being moved outside.  This has happened several times before; it's always a posse of raccoons raiding our garbage and compost cans and being general nuisances.

Natani continued to bark downstairs. I sighed and threw back the covers, told Lucien to go back to bed. I had to get downstairs and quiet Natani before she woke Alex and Coco, too.

As I entered the kitchen, I noticed Natani had added a new sound -- an angry, seething, guttural growl in between her barks.  Something was really, really, really pissing her off.  I gave her a soothing pat, told her to calm down, and pulled aside the curtains that cover the back patio doors to see what had worked her into such a lather.

My heart stopped as I stood face to face with a man on the other side of the glass who was pushing on the door as hard as he could.  He stopped for a second, looked at me, then continued to push on the door.

Adrenaline is an incredible thing.  My fight-or-flight activated and my body said, "fight right now, RIGHT NOW." I lunged towards him, began punching the door frame as hard as I could (fascinating choice, body) and screaming at him to stop, to go away, that there was no way I was letting him break into my house.

As I punched the door, I assumed he would turn and flee but he didn't move.  He stood there, stared at me, then said sadly in a slurred voice from the other side of the door, "Calm down. Why are you so mad at me?" He then resumed pushing on the door, only this time I noticed he was having a hard time keeping his footing.

I calmed down a little, stopped punching the door and realized with some relief he was really not an imminent threat. This was not an armed robber nor serial killer.  This was an eff'd up guy with bleary sad unfocused eyes, obviously under the influence of something powerful and confused as hell as to where he was.

It was about that time I heard a crashing sound come from the staircase.  Alex had taken a sleeping pill much earlier that evening because he had to wake up at 4:30 a.m. to catch a flight.  He had slept deeply through Natani barking and Lucien and I conversing in our room but had been awakened by me screaming at someone to go away downstairs.

He ran from the bedroom in a groggy Ambien daze and soon crashed down the stairs, losing his footing entirely the last several few.  Poor Al was also under the influence of something powerful, and also quite confused, but he tried hard to be of assistance in my time of need.

I ran back upstairs to grab my phone as Alex tried to reason with the guy, who was refusing to leave our back porch, through the door. I called 911 and two officers arrived within minutes. They were gentle with the man, led him off our porch then sat with him on the front curb for almost two hours as he sobered up.  They gave him water and covered him with a jacket when it began to rain. Then, after making many phone calls and giving him a few sobriety tests, they put him in a taxi bound for, we hope, better things for him.

Alex left to catch his Uber to the airport while the man and police were still sitting out front. He walked up to the man and said, "You really scared us. That was not OK," and the man covered his face and said, "I'm so so sorry."

My hand is pretty screwed up from punching that door but at least it's not broken. With my swollen hand and bruised and abraded knuckles, it looks like I recently started a street fight or, more likely for me, a bar brawl.  I'm gonna wear my purple hand like a badge of badassery for a few days and see if anybody gives me a wider berth.  Nobody needs to know my fight was with a door.

I hope Donald Trump is like that guy on the other side of the door.  At first scary, unpredictable, worst case scenarios swarming your brain in a sweaty hysterical fit of terror, but once you realize what he's truly got going on, which turns out ain't a whole lot, he turns into something manageable.

I hope, anyway.  I've got to keep some sort of optimism going through these next handful of years. That and a steady supply of alcohol.  And an area rug.  The area rug is probably the most important thing.

I read recently that Donald Trump's presidency is likely to be a golden age of activism in America. From what I've witnessed in Seattle so far, that could be true.  People are organizing, talking to neighbors, forming groups. The previously apathetic have turned mobile and active, at least so far. Here's hoping we can keep it up for the long run, not settle back into complacency and a feeling of powerlessness, and can effectively hold off the guy on the other side of the door.

Why are we so mad at you?
Should be obvious.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Brushes with greatness

What a strange time to be American.

There are lots of tense, anxious people milling about my life.  My favorite timesuck, Facebook, no longer serves as the pleasant brain numbing diversion it used to be.  It is instead a swirling outraged cesspool of fighting people. I'll admit I dove into fights more often than I wanted to, unable to keep my fingers off the keys as the steam blew out my ears. I blame it on my Aries nature. Damn fire signs can't resist a good blood boiling fight even though we regret it nearly immediately afterwards.

For the record, I'm with her.  And not in a "lesser of two evils" kind of way.  I firmly, adamantly, 100% believe in Hillary Clinton and her suitability for and commitment to the role of President.  She is awesome with a near lifetime of experience and has dealt with a ton of shit, as most women have.

Bonus -- she is made of steel, as a President, male or female, should be and is not prone to Twitter fights at 2:00a.m if she gets her feelings hurt.

I can say those words, that I support Hillary Clinton, but some things speak volumes more than words ever could.  For instance, I am such a fervent supporter of Hillary Clinton, I donned an ugly pantsuit to go hear her speak at Seattle's Paramount Theatre.

Many friends and family members have politely mentioned my pantsuit, purchased off Ebay from a woman named Laverne in Missouri, may not be my size nor style.  The pickins were slim on Ebay, people, and I know pantsuits aren't my thing, but you definitely can't question that I'M SUPER WITH HER.

The ladies and I were popular at the Hillary event.  We assumed there would be many pantsuits yet we were the only ones.  Many approached and asked if they could take our picture, including the people running Patty Murray's senate re-election campaign, which was very exciting indeed because we love Senator Murray, too.

It could have been the pantsuits that made us stand out, sure, but it also could have been the fact we were the only ones pounding beers in the Paramount lobby before noon. We nasty women were PUMPED and wearing PANTSUITS.

Hillary walked onto that stage like a rock star to a theatre full of lifelong fans.  It must have been nice for her to stop in Seattle, to know that she was not going to have to sway us in any way, that we've been with her from the beginning in our happy liberal enclave.

This will all be over tomorrow, though we live with the dreadful thought nothing is truly "over" and that this is merely a sign of angry and scary things to come.  Like I said, weird time to be an American.

It was one of our finest moments, Seattle Mom.
In our pantsuits, storm bearing down upon the city, 
holding our "Yes we can" signs in front of two very lonely Trump supporters, 
and "I'M WITH HER" emblazoned upon the marquee. 

If you thought Hillary was the only greatness I've brushed up against lately, in the words of Donald Trump -- "WROOONG."

A couple of the ladies and I signed up for Kam Chancellor's bootcamp.  Kam Chancellor is one of our favorite Seattle Seahawks, a member of our Superbowl winning Legion of Boom. You've probably already assumed (correctly) we signed up more to meet Kam Chancellor than exercise.  Exercise is hard.

Kam is a great player and reputedly an all around nice person.  Kam wants to start his own gym in Seattle so he and his trainer have been holding bootcamps all over the city to drum up a following. I'm not sure what made us think we could keep up with a professional football player and his trainer in a workout kind of way but it made sense at the time.

I texted Supermodel Neighbor, who is the biggest Seahawks fan I know, the news, thinking he'd be excited for me.  "I'm going to work out with Kam Chancellor!" I wrote with many exclamation points.  He texted back, "Ha ha ha ha what were you thinking?  You're gonna die."

My friends are not always the most supportive but they are quite honest and don't seem to believe in me too much.

Long story short, I didn't die.  Even better than not dying -- Kam Chancellor hugged me when I introduced myself at the beginning of the session.  It made me swoon a little bit because he is a very tall and handsome man with an incredible smile.  While the ladies and I listened to his intro speech, Seattle Mom leaned over and whispered, "Oooh, no wedding ring!" as if we actually had a shot at dating the guy.

Yet suddenly in that moment, we all believed we did.

Kam came around and gave pointers while we worked out.  He hollered at me to grab my ankles during an abdominal exercise (no way, buddy) and told me to keep my butt up during my planking circuit.  He's such a flirt.

You had to pay extra money to get a picture with Kam afterwards and we are cheap so the best I could do was stage this Kam photobomb with two of the ladies as he walked through the gym --

It's enough.  We were there and he's our favorite strong safety

There was one more brush with greatness that week though it wasn't mine, it was Alex's.  Alex traveled up to Toronto for his work where he met Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.  I'm not allowed to talk about Alex's work on the blog but we made an exception for this one as long as I "keep it vague."  No problem, I'm vague all the time -- for just one example, my myriad of friends all named "Seattle Mom."

Alex couldn't wait to tell me Justin Trudeau is super charming, as if it was going to be a surprise.  We have several pictures of Alex with Trudeau and there's video of Trudeau saying, "Merci, Alex" after Alex's introduction, which made Alex swoon a little bit because Justin Trudeau is also a very tall and handsome man with an incredible smile.

Alex works too hard.  But his job does come with occasional perks.

I had to do what I had to do to be able to post this pic.
It's a spooky little thing now but it proves it happened.

I held my annual Halloween party a.k.a "the parents with babysitters gone wild party."  It was the biggest one I've thrown so far, and was also the most fun because I finally got the playlist right so people danced until their costumes fell apart.

There were many celebrities to be found at the party.  There was Hillary, of course, getting grabbed by the pussy, of course, by Donald Trump --

(actually two Trumps, though one Trump was losing his hair.  It was quite late by this time so people were becoming a little unkempt) 

John Travolta and Uma Thurman were there reprising their Vince and Mia roles from Pulp Fiction --

that's me and Al in our debut "couples" costume.  It's usually not our thing
but how do you turn down a Pulp Fiction idea.
PS.  That syringe in my heart hurt like a bitch.

And my personal favorite, Alice Cooper and Ozzy Osbourne.  
No surprise, these two Halloween superstar friends bring it every year.

This next one is not a VIP in the world but he was a VIP in our hearts, at least for a brief time. A storm hit Seattle not too long ago and right as it began, as the wind began whipping stuff around the neighborhood, the kids and I found an injured bird in our front yard.  We debated what to do and ended up shuffling the bird to a protected corner of the house shielded from the wind.  We gave him a little of Stella's parakeet seed and hoped for the best.  We also named him Bob.

Bob survived the night then hung around for a few days in the front yard in that corner.  We kept Natani on a leash so she wouldn't eat him, which upset her greatly because she wanted to eat him very badly.  A couple days later, he was gone.

We hoped he had recovered from his injury and flown off instead of being eaten by a raccoon but we weren't sure until he showed up on the front porch the next day and sat there for hours staring at our front door.  Bob was alive!  And Bob wanted more seed. Bob liked Stella's seed very much.  We gave him a little bit more seed and he flew off.  He was back again the next morning for breakfast.


This went on for a couple more days until Bob was suddenly wracked with gastrointestinal distress.  He had explosive diarrhea all over our front porch several times then flew off, never to return.  Parakeet seed may not agree with pigeon systems, or whatever kind of bird Bob was.  We're not sure if we killed him with our parakeet seed or just gave him a bad enough stomachache he thought, "F*ck those people" and bailed.

Hope you're well, Bob.  Our intentions were good, I swear.

OK, I'm off to be American, which at this point means quivering and counting the seconds until tomorrow is over.