Tuesday, April 3, 2012

If You Can't Drive With a Broken Back, At Least You Can Polish the Fenders, or "Thank You For Being a Friend."

After dinner, I was having a conversation with my mom about how annoying it is when adults at Luke's school/our church STILL call me "Mrs. Bechtel." I went back to Miklasz when I separated, and legally changed my name when I got divorced, and everyone at St. Paul sort of *knows* that. I haven't associated my name with Craig's in 5 years, though our lives continue and always will be interwoven.

It doesn't bother me when kids call me Mrs. Bechtel, because they don't know any better sometimes, though I'm of the mind to tell them, "Just call me 'Annie.'" I don't even really like being called "Andrea" and the vast majority of people who are remotely close to me call me "Annie." The Establishment would naturally prefer the more formal, respectful, polite call-an-adult-Mr.-or-Mrs.-Ms. Whatever, but it makes me feel a) old and b) unfriendly.

Is Miklasz that hard to pronounce, really? Everyone at the hospital pronounces it in proper Polish, which is fine, I suppose, since so many of the hospital workers are Polish. In Polish, it's "Meek-lahhsh." Others pronounce it "Mick-lahz," which is also wrong. I tell people it's pronounced like this: Once I had a "Mike," but now he's gone, so I'm "Mike-less." Bingo.

But I totally, utterly digress. Take Two.

What was my greatest indulgence as a wife, years ago? My husband would, swear to God, scratch my back for TWO HOURS a night, every weeknight, while we (meaning I wanted to) watched "The Golden Girls" reruns before bed. I'm totally like a kitten when it comes to being scratched, and Craig had the hand-stamina and patience to dutifully do it as I laid across his lap on the couch. Sometimes it would put me to sleep, and he'd drag me to bed, but usually that was our routine from 10-midnight (before Luke was born and after he was sleeping through the night). We knew the episodes by heart...while it was cheesy and sort of dorky, even he would admit that he got more than a few hearty chuckles out of the whole deal. Wow, do I miss those moments.

One of our reigning in-jokes as ex-spouses is trading lines from "The Golden Girls" that nobody else gets, unless it's one that Luke knows, who is also (secretly, it's so not cool!) a fan of the show. We do this on a pretty regular basis, and evidently, it was brought to my attention today by Craig that his girlfriend doesn't *get* our in-jokes and private humors that we exchange by virtue of how long and how well we know one another. He said our in-jokes go "whizzing over her head," which confounds me, because today, for example, we were trading GG lines via his work email and by text, which makes me wonder if she's privy to literally every form of communication between Craig and I, an entitlement I don't think she deserves, even if he wants to be THAT open and honest with her. Is she reading his texts? Checking over his emails? Yeowch, how constricting!

Craig and his girlfriend are buying a condo together and put in an offer on one, and will know what's what with it tomorrow. Craig felt compelled to tell me that the two of them found a place today, when originally it was my son, and not my ex-husband, who told me he was planning on changing my son's entire living arrangement and moving in with The Girlfriend. And as a forewarning, Luke already has a mom. A fabulous mom whom he adores. I know she'll pull "my house, my rules" but it's ultimately up to Craig to do the parenting in his shack up, not her. I am The Mom. The Other Parent. My kid? MY rules.

He was hemming and hawing again about going to the Tattoo Factory tomorrow night, and asking me if I have any *other* friends who could take me there, and I told him in all honesty that I didn't, and it needed to get done ASAP. He asked me why I got so many new piercings when I knew I was having surgery. The honest answer, which I told him, was that historically, in surgery, it's NEVER been an issue with my body piercings, and I didn't anticipate it being a big fucking deal during my hysterectomy. He still (reluctantly and in-protest) agreed to take me tomorrow night, and I think, with enough prodding, I can get him to not wait in the car for me, which is *his* plan.

I tried to explain the piercing adventure to him in "Golden Girls" terms: See, in the show, there's Dorothy, the spurned ex-wife-after 38-years of marriage-bitter-divorcee who slams the door routinely on her ever-present, annoying, needy ex-husband, Stan, who always comes over needing something, wanting a favor or otherwise attempting to woo Dorothy back (not that I'm trying to woo Craig, mind you). I told him in our relationship, I'm the Stan and he's the Dorothy. Dorothy is forever pushing Stan away, calling him a yutz, and saying things to him like "I could vomit just looking at you." But it's obvious in the show that the two of them still love one another to the point of considering re-marriage, though that didn't work out. But their care for one another in the show is always very obvious. They've got one another's backs, just like Craig and I do. (Dorothy ultimately, at the end of the series, married a man named Lucas, which is where I got my son's name from, ultra-dork that I am. No, he's not named after George Lucas and not associated with Luke Skywalker, though those are less dorky explanations for his name.)

I told Craig this:

"Think of it as Dorothy agreeing to go to the business dinner with the Japanese backers of Zbornco with Stan, reluctantly, but she did it because she loved the yutz anyway and had his back. That's what going to the Tattoo Factory is like."

Craig replied that he indeed DID have my back, though he's still going with me under protest. As far as his girlfriend not getting our in-jokes and private banter? I replied to Craig's email by saying this:

"Frankly, I'm not terribly concerned with your girlfriend not getting any in-jokes between us. I've known you for 20 years. She may have pole position, but I've been revving the engine and changing the oil for a helluva lot longer, no disrespect meant. I'm the mother of your child and just lost the organ in which I grew him, so have a little heart."

That shut him up.

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