• Lijing Cobb

A pee's worth longer

Did you realize that life loves making jokes and having a good laugh?

I counted the jokes in my life alone yesterday. A pretty impressive list.

First off, for the past week the weather had been predicting 100% rain on Tuesday, our ski day. Not the day before, not the day after, just Tuesday. Last night the forecast showed rain starting at 8am and continuing throughout the day. Oh well, better plan alternatives. My husband, who would have otherwise piled up all our stuff at the door and military drill us all to be ready for departure at a certain hour, turned his alarm off and slept in. When I finished my blog and walked into my bedroom where he was hanging out with all our children, I told him that the weatherman had changed his mind and now the rain is not supposed to start until 1. From nothing to everything we sprang to action and got ready to go. The tickets are bought and we are not going to waste our money!

Second, because of her little toe injury from yesterday, my 10yo swore that she wasn’t going to ski. She collected books and brought a bag of them with her. She made sure I would give her my phone to play on it when she gets bored with her books. When my husband asked her before closing the trunk if she was 100% sure she wasn’t skiing, she said yes. So my husband left her ski boots at home, even though there was plenty of space in the trunk. But who could argue with a person when they are 100% sure? Well, half way into our drive and she starts back pedaling. “I NEVER said I was not going to ski!” She whines, and then when evidences of irrefutable past conversation are presented to her, cries. So we rented boots and skis for her.

Third, we started skiing at 10:30, and the rain came at 12:30. The mountain was empty, and before we stopped for lunch at 1, we did a couple of runs in the rain. Not realizing that the rain had slowed down the skis, I thought I’d finally figured out how to make gracefully S’s on the snow/slush! If not for the vehement protests in my empty stomach, I would have stayed on the mountain and stayed in the driver’s seat. Never thought I’d say that I enjoyed skiing in the rain the most.

Fourth, after lunch I stayed with my best friend and her youngest son while everyone else went back into the rain. I thought for sure they were going to be done soon. Everyone’s clothing was already soaked at lunch. But on and on they went. An hour later my 7yo came back and my best friend replaced her on the rain ski team. By the time they finally finished, the duration had surpassed all the other trips we had made there in perfect weather. Triumphantly my husband declared victory over not wasting money. That man hates wasting money.

Fifth, we had promised the kids to take them to a movie they wanted to see, and since the rain ski went on epically past expectations, we had to make good time in order to make the movie. Just before we arrived at home my husband decided that he wanted to go to volleyball instead of going to the movies with us. No matter, we press on and get ready to go out. With plenty of time to get to the movie theater, I nevertheless suggest to kids that maybe we want to consider staying at home and unwind instead. Have a good dinner, relax, and pick what we want to see right at home. After all, tomorrow is a school day. My girls were fine with that suggestion, but my boy wanted nothing to do with it until I gave him the power to choose what to see. So 3 minutes into our drive to the movie theater, we turned around to head back home.

Sixth, to start our dinner off healthily I decide to make a salad. I pull out a big salad bowl and put in arugula, blackberries, raspberries, cauliflower, hemp seeds, thin apple slices, clementine pieces, sliced beet, blueberry vinaigrette. When I slice up the beet I salivate because I love beet and all the nutrients it offers, but I have my doubts on its popularity amongst the rest of my family. Perhaps in the company of all the other ingredients they would overlook the beet and just eat it? Well, I end up eating almost all the beet slices. My family all turned their nose up at the most nutritious ingredient in that fricking salad. Ignoramuses!

Is the list long enough yet?

Seventh, after 2 satisfying episodes of a TV series my son picks out on his own, which I fully expected to not like (wait, should that be 7th?), we get ready for bed. My little one is hanging out on my bed to say goodnight to me, and is in no way insinuating her way to stay the night, but she is so cute and cuddly and I think, oh it would be so nice for her to stay with me, so I tell her to sleep in my bed. Of course she agrees. That little angel and I fall asleep at 8:30 hugging each other. For the rest of the night, let’s just say that I felt her bony feet on more parts of my body than I care to mention. Perhaps she was still skiing in her dreams? Perhaps she needed to make dramatic turns in her ski dream to save her life? Perhaps she was stretching out from all the bending she did during the day and in her dream? In any case, little angels don’t behave that way to their poor resting mother. Lesson learned: awake, they are one thing. Asleep, forget about it!

Eighth, and I’m going to stop here: I got 7 & 1/2 hours of shut eye (well, minus all the kicks) last night, so much more than what I usually get, but I woke up from a dream where my husband proposed marriage to another woman in a most ironic situation that I forget, and me berating him for his stupidity. Really? Freud says that dreams are the subconscious’ way of reorganizing the thoughts of the day. Since of course Freud knows so much more of my thoughts than myself, I don’t doubt the validity. The joke is that after I wrote my blog confessing to the world that my husband is my dream man, one of my friends tells me that one of the things she likes about me is my confidence in my husband’s love for me. Hello, dream cheater, where is your confidence?

So the day (and night) played plenty of jokes on us. I could also add on to that list and tell you that while we were hanging out at the ski lodge, The World’s Strongest Man competition was on TV. Men with big muscles throwing kettlebells over a tall gate and lifting heavier and heavier rocks over their head while women clad in bikinis clapped hands and smiled mysterious smiles. For what? Kids were gawking. Then 3 skimpily clad women jumped into a boxing ring and started wrestling each other. They moved hither and thither in rehearsed choreography and expressions. For what? The kids gawked some more. Are we asking our kids to one day aspire to be one of these muscle men or one of those bikini ladies?

Well, we did not throw up our hands once (ok, maybe once or five times when my daughter changed her mind on her day’s trajectory) and say, enough already. Enough changes, enough unexpected, enough drama. No more jokes! Instead we went with the flow, and did not try to ski up the hill. In all the 100% certainties we depend on to plan our lives, the promises that we make, and the expectations we have, the ground can be pulled away from underneath us all of a sudden. When that happens, we either sink with despair, or we swim, slide, or free fall with hope and faith in our hearts. In the two episodes we watched last night, there were plenty of surprises and “certainties” that one of the main characters was going to perish momentarily. But something always happens to save them at the last minute, the miracle, the saving grace. We have come to expect it from such TV shows, and so should we in real life. There is always a way to find a solution to a problem as long as we keep an open mind. The hero always lives on, so don’t worry about it, kids.

It’s hard to translate such optimism into our lives when it is unfolding in front of us, a misfortune, a loss, a disaster. Sometimes life plays a sick joke on us, and we feel cornered with threats coming at us from all angles, no chance to escape, no chance to survive. At these moments it is hard to remember that we are the heroes of our own movies and there is always a way out. Perhaps sometimes it is as simple as closing our eyes and deciding that what we see and hear is nothing but an illusion. Perhaps other times it is as simple as willing ourselves to wake up from a nightmare where the most loyal husband in the world is cheating on us in an absurd dream. Whatever it is, remember not to become the villain of our own movies and lay down in abject cowardice to plead for mercy, because we know what happens to villains.

Yesterday while I waited for the rest of the troop to finish skiing, I went into the restroom for a potty break. A young girl was standing in front of the tampon dispensary and asked me if I had a quarter. I patted myself up and down and said, sorry, I don’t have any money, but maybe the next person will! It’s ok, she said, and I entered a stall. As I peed I remembered that I had brought a sanitary napkin and a tampon in anticipation of my own period, and they are right in my ski jacket! So I finished my business and opened the stall door. The young girl was no longer there. I washed my hands quickly and went out to see if she was outside the restroom. She wasn’t. Although I wasn’t able to help her out, I hope that she was able to find help somewhere else. I hope that she can accept and appreciate the fact that I tried to find her when I realized that I could indeed help her, if only she just waited a pee’s worth longer.

Sometimes life is just like that, isn’t it? Ironic, isn’t it? Interesting, isn’t it? Worth it, isn’t it?

Eat the beet, damn it!

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