Monday, February 15, 2016

Seriously Wicked

Originally published in the Miami News-Record on February 14, 2016. 

Last week I saw a post on Facebook that the musical “Wicked” was going to be in Springfield. I have wanted to see if for years, but last year when it was in Tulsa I wasn’t able to justify the expense. I couldn’t this year either, but just for fun I shared the post and said something to the effect of “If someone could tell my mom about this that would be great.” Mom is adamantly anti-Facebook and I knew she’d never see it and never did I dream someone would actually TELL my mom what I said. But lo and behold, one of her high school friends sent her a text message with my post copied and pasted in it.

About two hours later I got a phone call from Mom asking if I had plans for the following Thursday. I looked at the calendar and said I was free. Then she asked if the kids could take care of themselves. I said that yes, they were quite capable of that these days. Then she said, “Okay, well, I am taking you to see Wicked. Clear the whole day.”

I literally busted into tears right there in my office chair. It was probably pretty ugly, but I didn’t care because I was so dang happy. When I hung up the phone I ran into the living room where I screamed to my husband and kids, “I’M GOING TO SEE WICKED NEXT WEEK!” Paul just looked at me blankly and said, “Okay. (pause) Uhm. What’s Wicked?” Then I went into this babbling mess of words that somehow tried to convey the story. He just shook his head then asked, “Do I have to go? Because that sounds pretty awful.” Then I told him no, he wasn’t invited. He was totally okay with that. The kids were offered the opportunity. All three turned it down. I all but begged them to relent and just allow themselves the indulgence that is musical theatre. They politely and repeatedly declined. I am pretty sure I have failed them as a mother.  

In the week before the show I downloaded the entire soundtrack and listened to it ad nauseum. I worked diligently on hitting the high note at the end of “Defying Gravity”. On Saturday while putting the final touches on Paul’s birthday dinner I was doing a dramatic lip sync in the kitchen. At the end, standing there with arms outstretched, head thrown back, mouth open, I was totally in the zone. I opened my eyes to see Abby and her boyfriend staring at me, Dakota with this horrified look on his face. Abby just shook her head, looked back down at her phone and said, “Get used to it. If you think she’s bad now, wait until she actually sees the show. She’ll be SO much worse.” Dakota replied, “Well, I’ve been around her when she’s watched ‘Chicago’ so I know what she’s capable of.”

My sister, her two oldest kids, Mom, and I packed into the Prius at 9am the day of the show. Before we got to Joplin my mascara was in danger because I had already been laughing so hard. We discussed Super Bowl commercials, growing up, and the price of gas. We ate lunch at Lambert’s where the rolls were flying and the okra was hot. We finally trekked our way to the theatre and found our seats. I was in awe. Heck, I still am. In fact, as I write this I am still on a bit of a giddy high. As I write this, it’s nearly 11pm and I am not ready to go to bed and end this amazing day.

I cried when Elphaba defied gravity. I cried during the entire finale. I was probably the happiest 43 year old woman in the entire building. Then I teared up again the parking garage as I thanked my momma for making me wickedly happy. My mom is kind of the best. 

Waiting (Room) Game

Originally published in the Miami News-Record on February 7, 2016.

Our youngest daughter Kady has been having some health problems for a few months now. We have been visiting Tulsa frequently to see a doctor there and he is running a lot of tests to get to the bottom of this mystery. It has been a long, frustrating process to say the least. The reason I mention it is to get to this point: all of this doctor’s office-ing we’ve been doing has given us so many opportunities to people-watch. And oh, have we experienced some real doozies along the way.

Kady is always armed with an iPad or book to keep her entertained when our waits stretch out too long. Most of the time she’s engrossed in either of those, but sometimes the conversations around us are too much for even her to miss. We have learned about virtually everyone’s political views. It’s amazing how when one person starts in, everyone else in the waiting room suddenly becomes a political analyst. We have encountered Democrats, Republicans, a few Libertarians, and a LOT of know-it-alls. We have heard all sorts of views on polls, primaries, candidates, platforms, and I have to say, folks around here are pretty adamant in their stances. To the point I wonder if some are bordering on treason. Eek. Those are the conversations where we just bury our heads in our books and hope we get called to an exam room soon.

I am well versed in the most popular conspiracy theories, including Area 51, and the assassination of JFK plus so many more. I know all about the benefits of apple cider vinegar, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and essential oils. There was one particular exchange between two WWII veterans that brought tears to my eyes because one of them reminded me of my Papa. We’ve seen our fair share of sleepers over the past few months, too. Some snore. Some just lean until they wake up, then doze back off, slowly, slowly leaning again and again. Some don’t care of you notice, some wake up and look around to see if their doze was detected. One particular fella decided to take a snooze while his infant son took his own little snooze in his carseat. That one made me a tad nervous. When another guy got a little too close to the snoozing father and son, I almost tackled him. No one was getting abducted on my waiting room watch.

A few weeks ago the conversation turned to favorite breakfast foods. Virtually everyone in the waiting room was fasting for their tests and that always makes for some great recipe exchanges and reminiscing about comfort foods. One woman said she was getting bacon and eggs when she got done, even if it was 3 in the afternoon. One guy wanted a big platter of biscuits and gravy. I just wondered if any of them were having cardiac testing done.

My favorite character so far was the elderly Russian woman in the nearly-floor-length mink coat who was trying desperately to make someone, anyone understand that she was “WERY WERY SEEK” and would only speak to male employees because “Wimmin zey do not know enny-zing”. Although I did get a giant kick out of the guy who the redneck-iest redneck I’ve seen (and that’s saying a lot considering who I’m married to), covered in piercings and tattoos, wearing shorts and socks with sandals when it was 29* outside and spent over an hour trading stocks over the phone. Loudly. And he made a lot of eye contact to be sure you were listening.

That was the day Kady, while sitting in the chair beside me, sent a text that said, “Dude is totes obnoxious. But I think he’s got the inside track on some IBM stock. Better call your broker. Or the FBI. He MIGHT not be legit.”

We sure hope the doctor gets us a diagnosis soon. 

We....the people

Originally published in The Miami News-Record, July 2020 Everything is different now. I’m not just talking about masks and social distancing...