Not The Target Market

Revisiting my Past

I wrote this back in April, and then got interrupted, or perhaps overwhelmed with my “to do” list, and never posted it. In cleaning up my desk, I came across the draft and thought I would put it up as a start to “un-neglecting” the blog. Whether it will stay un-neglected is anyone’s guess.

Originally, I thought this story began with me rolling over in bed, opening my eyes, and saying to the man next to me – the man, by the way, I had promised to love, honor and cherish though all manner of things – “I want to rip your face off.”

That would be a good beginning to any story, but on consideration, I think this one started a bit further back, when, on the previous evening, I had had an overwhelming craving for potato chips, gin and chocolate. At the time I put it down to it being Easter week when, after the rigors of Lent, all these treats were still apt to flow a bit. With a very merry “Alleluia! He is Risen!” I dove in to an unopened family size bag of chips, a double gin and the leftover chocolate Easter eggs.

In retrospect, that probably was a mistake.

I am a grandmother, with years of experience at being female. Even so, my hormones have always taken me by surprise. They did so back when they were a regular monthly occurrence. They continue to do so on the occasions when they decide a rave isn’t quite beyond them – yet. Like this one.

At least as a grandmother, I have some relief from all this biology. Young mothers have it rough all the time. There is no relief from your children or your hormones. When one doesn’t have you, the other one does. And often they work in concert.

You get it from the outside – unceasing little voices with their demands, complaints and chatter – unceasing enough to make your head burst and your eardrums blister; and you get from the inside when those wretched and ill-behaved female hormones decide to riot, which they do on a pretty constant basis, for any number of supposedly well-documented physiological reasons, or, even more maddeningly, for no reason whatsoever.

This all came flooding back that morning as I stalked out of bed and into the shower to get ready to receive the much-loved, rising two-year-old “Moose.” This Moose is the youngest of the grandchildren and my constant companion several days a week.

Over breakfast I did tell the one I had promised to love and cherish that while I would do my best not to make my problems his problems, I couldn’t guarantee complete success and that he might want to think carefully before doing or saying anything. He decided, just to be on the safe side, he would leave the premises entirely, and go scout for wild turkeys. Turkey season opens in a few weeks and in his opinion, when it comes to stalking your prey, you can never be too well prepared. This firmly held belief also happened to coincide with another of his firmly held beliefs, namely that one can never be too far removed from a house in which hormones are ascendant.

All day I re-visited my past. The hopelessness that engulfs a body caught between raging female essence and a young child. The overwhelming desire to lie down on any flat surface available – even if it’s the middle of the street. The panicky feeling of wanting to jump out of your skin. The inability to get a thing done, as there was always someone dogging my steps, undoing everything before it was even 15 seconds old. The hopeless feeling that each minute would last forever and that nothing would change – ever, unless, of course, that change was something that would wreck your day even more.

There is no crib in the house so when it comes to nap time, the Moose and I both go down for a rest in the same big bed. For me, the mid day rest is a much-cherished perk of this Moose-minding gig. The Moose is more ambivalent. Often he would just as soon continue marauding. I wasn’t up for any more marauding, but thought that, as it was a bright, sunny day, after lunch I might manage a walk.

Two hours later, when we got up, it was, in a very useful description I’ve learned from the Hunter, snowing like skunk shit. In April! And so, no walk. Which merely underlined my point that it was the kind of day when change was not going to work in my favor.

As days went, that day was a long one. I put The Gruffalo dvd on an endless loop. I think it may have played for about 29 hours between lunch and 4 p.m. when the young Moose went home.

When all was quiet, the Hunter tentatively poked his head into the kitchen and suggested a glass of wine and an early dinner. He cleaned up the kitchen afterwards. The hormones got tired of the rave and went back to a respectable, quiet life. It was, what I would call, a happy ending. Particularly as the cupboard still contained gin, chocolate and chips, and there was lots more of the Easter season to celebrate.

School Shootings and Loneliness

Listening to the school kids who walked out of class to protest gun violence, or the kids who marched on the Boston Statehouse to demand more gun control, I was struck by several thoughts. One was that it’s wonderful to be passionate and idealistic and want to change the world at a global level. Another was that doing something loudly on a grand scale always feels good. You sense you are doing something important. (more…)

O Summer! Where Art Thou?

The ground is white. The trees are white. The sky is white. None of this is surprising as we’ve had three nor’easters in 10 days. Looking out, you would be perfectly reasonable in concluding it was the middle of January rather than the middle of March. (more…)

Pictures of Perfection Make Me Sick and Wicked*

The pressure to have a perfect house, perfect garden and perfect children used to arrive only once a month with the latest home/lifestyle magazine. The beauty of these old-style guilt trips was that they were eminently ignorable and small-scale. Only a few “perfect” families, houses or gardens were on display each month. And when you tossed the magazine, you were done with them. (more…)

More Creepy Data and Useless Marketing

Since the last time I wrote on poor marketing another really bad use of data has landed in my mailbox.

The state representative for this area of Massachusetts sent me a “Happy Birthday” postcard. Why? I have never met this man. Despite his picture on the card, I wouldn’t know him if I tripped over him. He certainly has never met me. Furthermore, I have never voted for him. As I am sure he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about me, a birthday card (with his picture on it) seems a little weird.  (more…)

If Skunks Come, Can Spring Be Far Behind?*

About a month ago, the small cluster of snowdrops by the chimney started poking up green tips. In New England, the end of January is not even within spitting distance of spring; but still, the little bits of green deluded me into thinking warmer weather was surely just around the corner. (more…)

P.G. Wodehouse: Entertainer and Educator

I have wondered for a long time why P.G. Wodehouse is left off high school or college syllabi. Now that students demand to be entertained rather than educated, Wodehouse would seem to be a natural fit as he certainly entertains. The beauty is that a clever teacher could also sneak in some education.

In 1939, Hillaire Belloc, no slouch himself when it came to writing and thinking, wrote: “Writing is a craft … Now the end of writing is the production in the reader’s mind of a certain image and a certain emotion. And the means towards that end are the use of words in any particular language; and the complete use of that medium is the choosing of the right words and the putting of them into the right order. It is this which Mr. Wodehouse does better in the English language, than anyone else alive…” (emphasis in the original) (more…)

First Words

The Moose’s articulation is starting to coalesce.

He is a chatty little guy and if you listen you can hear “Mama,” “no,” “dog,” “cheese” (his favorite food), “juice” (we enjoy a decaf Arnold Palmer at lunch), “all done,” “yum” and “up” among the general non-stop flow of syllables. He calls The Hunter “Ga Ga.” He understands everything we say. He has been rooting through my bookshelves and is fascinated by English Made Simple.  He carries it from room to room. He is ready. (more…)

Boys and Puddles: A Natural Affinity

Before ordinary football commercials are left in the dust by the super-expensive, super-hyped Super Bowl ones, I want to comment on one commercial I absolutely despise. Watching a lot of football (as we do in this house), week after week I have seen some really irritating ads. For most of the season the Verizon ones were top-of-the-pile irritating. Until this Volkswagon one came around. (more…)

The Medieval Origins of Groundhog Day

Depending on what century your mind lives in, today, February 2, is either Groundhog Day or Candlemas.

Two inches of wet snow fell last night and the temperature is supposed to plummet as the day goes on. Ergo that two inches of snow would turn to concrete if it not removed pretty darn speedy pronto quick. Rats.

As The Hunter and I cleared the driveway, the sky was gray – going from a deeper gray in the southeast to a lighter gray, almost luminous, in the northwest. The clouds were more like fog than clouds, and there were no shadows, or color for that matter – anywhere on the ground.  We were working away in an Ansel Adams photograph.  (more…)