Fantasy Sport

I walk into the house (construction site) almost every day. I’ve witnessed the progression from crumbling plaster to see-through walls and temporary beams. And now, it’s getting filled back in. To be our home.

Passing my key through the lock and opening the front door, my nose twitches at the smell of sawed wood, and it tickles with airborne sawdust. Actually, there’s very little dust. The construction team does a most excellent job cleaning the site. Nightly. Every night. We aren’t living there, so it’s mostly for them. Guess it’s easier to keep track of tools. But we’re all impressed.

Right now, though, I’m playing.

As I unbolt the door and pass into the “house,” I imagine I’m standing in the refurbished threshold. I stand on the subfloor that will be a black and white hexagon mosaic. I turn to the new, wide opening for the French doors. They will be glass and usher crosslight from the west bay of windows to the east bay. Beautiful.

I pretend to hang my coat in the newly framed hall closet. Then, with a great flourish, I burst through the doors (that will be delivered in a week). Looks like the electrician was here. It’s the telltale array of blue boxes nailed to the 2X4s. The one on my left must be for the sexy fan I selected for the den–the room that was formerly known as the toy room.

Hmmmmm. I frown a little. I can’t reach the switch until I close the door.

Walk in, close door, engage switch, re-open door? That needs to change. I make a mental note as I walk behind where the couch will be. I walk off a few steps, measuring with my feet, and wonder if both bookcases can fit. Next time I need to bring a tape measure.

Behind the couch is the (phantom) pocket door. This door is scheduled to be half glass, all the better to bring in light, my dear. I step through that passage into the office and play open and close with the linen closet across from the bathroom. I mentally flip that switch.

I run my hand across the air run of maple desk and imagine the chairs tucked neatly underneath. I don’t think the short cabinets are going to fit behind them. Need a Plan B.

The next phantom door leads to the back bedroom. It’s pretty much the same as it ever was. I turn to open the closet.

Hmmmmm. I purse my lips. No closet is framed. I know it was in the plans. That needs to change, too.

Squeezing through the sticks that demark the wall, I find myself standing in the pantry cabinets. Stepping out of them, I choose to enter the kitchen via the dining room. With a renewed flourish I sashay into the kitchen and place my bag on the imaginary island.

I turn from the island and affect the opening and closing of the refrigerator door. Looking up, I see the exhaust vent. Standing underneath it, I turn the red knobs in my head, pantomiming in the air. I reach to place an invisible plate on an invisible shelf. Ninety degrees later, I fake the faucet and look through the framed sheathing to what is likely to be my back garden. In my game, I’m adding a tomato plant or two.

Next to that big window wall is the place for the glass door. I look through the wood, at the back porch. Now, finishing a 180° turn, I simulate opening the microwave and the to-be-installed convection oven. I look through the last window.

Hmmmmm. My eyebrows are raised, and, almost, my hackles.

The window abuts the wall. But if it’s there, it will be blocked by the cabinets–including my spiffy new appliance garage. I look for the design plans, but I know that the window is off by maybe thirty inches. This gets added to my “to discuss” list.

I think about looking out that misplaced window as I’m preparing coffee. The countertop here will support the kettle, and, likely, our toaster.

The crew is happy that my game exposed errors. Everyone makes them. Finding and fixing early saves time and money.

Me? I practice opening the cabinet below the correctly spaced window and filling the bowl of The Beast with doggie kibble.

It will do. It will all do.

You Can Live Through Anything if Magic Made It

A stylized corner-scape of the construction entrance for the new DC Trump Hotel at 12th and Penn NW with a riff on a no-parking sign that reads "No Trump Anytime."

Enough with the outrage. This is not a scandal. In the big picture, it’s a minor error.

Let me start by saying that while I’m not indifferent to the pickle that Ms. Trump has gotten herself into, I don’t actually feel sorry for her. She’s doing okay for herself.

I mean, first, she can walk in those shoes. I would totally misstep and feel the heel slip out from underneath me to find my ankle bent at the wrong spot, immediately followed by bouncing my own not-so-tight buttocks to the ground.

Second, her dress was quite nice, with those frilly poofs at the end of her 3/4 length sleeves. It was an angelic white. I could imagine myself in the green room and either spilling a coffee, or, very likely, depositing a ring of makeup around the neckline. She looked pretty flawless.

She’s along for a crazy ride as a politician’s wife. Not just any politician, but a major-party presidential candidate. There’s a ton of spotlight trained on her, but she spent the early part of her career under lights, strutting along the catwalk. I think she’s got this. She might not like it, but she’s got it.

Okay, back to the outrage. The outrage about Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention. The outrage over the speech she delivered to “humanize” her brash spouse. The speech that was cribbed liberally from the speech Michelle Obama gave eight years ago to humanize her own presidential candidate husband.

Michelle Obama’s was a good speech to copy. It probably marked the beginning of America’s love affair with the future first lady. It made people see the Obamas as another couple with struggles “just like us.” It was designed, in part, to de-other them.

Ms. Trump delivered her version professionally, if a bit stiffly. I mean it was originally written to introduce a “South Side [of Chicago] Girl.” That doesn’t fit Trump so much.

But this is not a scandal. It is a staffer using cut and paste and then attempting to make the words Melania’s own by whitewashing the personal out. Yes, the two speeches eight years apart had almost 50% in common. But the concepts of hard work and loyalty and hope for children is pretty universal–whether you grew up in eastern Europe or south Chicago.

More importantly, this is the candidate’s wife we are talking about, not a future Attorney General (although it would be a little funny if Gov. Christie got passed over, again. But I’m not laughing since schadenfreude may be bad karma).

From an artistic point of view, it could be that Melania Trump is just digging deep into her OG self. Like Weezy says after incorporating Kanye’s lyrics in his song:

And that was called recycling
Or re-reciting
Something ’cause you just like it
So you say it just like it.
Some say its biting
But I say its enlightening
Besides Dr. Kanye West is one of the brightest.

So maybe she was paying homage to a great first lady. Maybe she was modeling herself after another supportive wife. Maybe she was feeling the same feels and didn’t have a more clever way to express them.

Maybe she was just sampling a familiar hit. So sue her.

Anyway, her nonpartisan words about what it’s like to be an American were not the scandalous words that I heard last night. No, they were not. Let’s not waste any more time on the frivolous speech of the wife. There’s bigger fish to fry.

never would i ever

Mary Poppins, who is practically perfect in every way, delivers a perfectly sarcastic slow clap.
Mary Poppins, who is practically perfect in every way, delivers a perfectly sarcastic slow clap.

Never would I ever let my kid accidently fall into a gorilla habitat at the zoo.

  • Because I am always vigilant.
  • Because I don’t get distracted by my other children or someone else’s other children.
  • Because I had just told him to step away from the fence because he might fall in.
  • Because I had just told him that, again.
  • Because I have never seen that impish face where he wants to push the envelope too far, and I didn’t realize just how far that little pea brain would go.
  • Because I’ve never egged him on, saying, “Go ahead and let’s see what happens,” as he was testing me.
  • Because I’ve never assumed that a well-established public place would have the barriers to stop a headlong plunge into a moat, or onto a track or whatever the unspeakable.
  • Because I’ve never looked around and experienced that moment of pure terror when you have no idea where your child is.

Oh wait. I have had my heart drop to my stomach and my blood turn to ice as it coarsed through my wicked veins. I have spent seconds, minutes or days in terror, wondering how I could have been so stupid, how I could have been so neglectful, how I could be so horrible. I have donned the sackcloth of recrimination. I have dropped to my knees asking God, Mary and the universe to help undo my error.

Maybe you don’t know that. Maybe you weren’t in a position to see my failure. Or in a position to judge me as an unacceptable, good-for-nothing parent. And maybe you haven’t, yet, put yourself in a most awfully human crisis.

I’m thankful that a child was kept safe. I’m saddened that an amazing animal was killed to keep that child safe. I’m sorry that the family is being castigated for the death of the innocent, captive gorilla.

I’m not judging, though. There but for the grace of god, go I.

What you talkin ’bout Willis?

From Different Strokes, when Arnold'd look up and say, "what you talkin bout Willis??"

When I was growing up, I thought my name was roxgwemishDoc.

That’s what my mother called me. She would go through all the names in the credits before she finally got to mine. She’d do it quickly. It sounded like an ancient elvish language. Sometimes it might be Docrocksmish. Then I might be first. It wasn’t logical. Sometimes, in exasperation, she would just point and spit out, “You!”

I have spoken to The Spouse and got his attention by dropping the name of the dog.

For the record: I know that The Spouse is NOT The Beast.

I have seen The Spouse shudder at my error, but he knows it’s a mistake. Everyone knows. Even The Beast himself. He doesn’t move his head, cock an ear or raise an eyelid when I call The Spouse by The Beast’s name.

Sometimes, when I am speaking quickly, which is often, I say the wrong word. When it’s worth a laugh and could be misconstrued as a double entendre, we call it a Freudian Slip.

It could be calling a quarterback by the name of a point guard. It could be misnaming a river. Maybe I say rock when I mean sugar. It could be using the brand name of a cookie for a wine. I know, weird.

In each and every case, I am making a mistake.

Any day I might speak 10 thousand or 15 thousand words. I get some wrong for reasons of speed, laziness and the actual phenomenon of brain efficiency in which I autoinsert a word or phrase that doesn’t belong but could.

Like I might say 7-11 instead of 9-11. Where I am talking at length about how we came together after the terror attack and my brain subbed out the slurpee store on the way.

I know the difference. You do, too. So let’s talk about something else.