Friday, July 18, 2008

Two additional cents on Britney

This just in: Britney Spears has decided to stop fighting her ex-husband, Kevin Federline, for custody of their two young sons. The former couple has agreed that he will be the full-time, custodial parent and she will have visitation rights.

I give her a lot of credit. I believe this was a very smart, and perhaps very loving, thing she did for her kids. It wasn't that long ago that she was in dire straights, in and out of the mental ward. She seems to be better, or at least more private about her pain and problems, which leads me to believe she's healing. It's possible that she's self-aware enough, and unselfish enough, to realize that she's too fragile to deal with two young boys full-time. Leaving them to their father (that's their FATHER, not a fire station!) may be best.

Perhaps it's because I'm not a mother myself, but I do not necessarily believe that mothers are always the better parents. I have friends who are infinitely patient and involved dads, and I have watched moms who are simply unable to put their kids' needs ahead of their own.

I'm not stupid, but I'm willing to play the part

Ah, the twisted relationship I have with my plumber! He's in his mid-60s and retired. He takes only the occasional job as it suits him, and coming to my condo suits him.

Because he thinks I'm younger, sweeter and dumber than I am.

The first time he came here -- five years ago -- it was because he was curious. I called him, desperate for a plumber who would even answer the phone on Christmas Day. He was happy to come by on Christmas evening, after he finished his dinner, because he had handled the maintenance for this building when it was still apartments and he wanted to see what it looked like after it was converted to condos. When I told my friends and family that I had a Christmas evening emergency visit from a plumber scheduled, there was much concern and many warnings about what I'd be charged. By the time he showed up, I was pretty worried. (But hey, one needs a toilet.) Hours of apprehension took its toll on my Christmas spirit. When he only charged me $200 for parts and labor, I was grateful. Impressed by his integrity -- he could have charged me way more -- and his kindness, I thanked him profusely.

I made quite the first impression on him. One of the naive, damsel in distress variety. He's been here five times since and every time it's the same. Since I really need him, he'll come by, even though he doesn't really do this kind of thing anymore. He talks to me about his daughter, his "lady friend," and everyone else in his life. When he spins these tales, he always mentions the characters ethnicities (German, "Negro," Italian, Mexican), which makes me uncomfortable, because, really, what difference does it make? But because he doesn't use epithets, I let it go. I do more than that -- I pretend to be amused. He explains everything he's doing there under the sink, but he talks to me like I'm on the verge of tears over my decrepit pipes. Oh, and on the way out he this evening he carefully and pedantically advised me to not speak so quickly when leaving him messages on his answering machine. "You go a mile a minute, you know." Everything about our conversations is condescending and annoying.

But tonight he only charged me $140. He does a good job and he guarantees his work. And he always shows up within hours of when I call, even if it's not an emergency. So in exchange for prompt service, good work and almost criminally low rates, I will pretend to be Goldie Hawn's flightier sister. I predict he and I will continue this mutually beneficial relationship until I completely redo my bathroom and kitchen (target date: 2010).

Hello, Boys!

I am so happy right now, curled up on the sofa, watching my heroes in blue play the Houston Astros. I was proud that so many Cubs were on the All-Star team, but I'm glad the break is over. I missed these regular-season games. Just look at Ryan Theriot! His hitting streak continues to 11 games! All is right with my world again.

I am so lucky to have a team whose heroics I can lose myself in.

An open letter to Sir Paul McCartney

Do you get Grey's Anatomy on your side of the pond, Sir? If you do, perhaps you remember that episode a few seasons back when Meredith beseeched Derek to, "Pick me, choose me, love me!" That is what I say to you this morning.

Odd, I know, considering that we've never met. Perhaps frightening, considering that John was murdered by a crazed fan. But I have given this considerable thought (all the way from the Randolph/Wabash el station to the security desk in my office building!) and I believe it's a good move for both of us.

Here's the thing: I'm tired this morning. And all I did was take a friend out to dinner last night to celebrate her birthday. Yes, we ate heavy food and killed a bottle of wine but I was still home before 10:00 PM. Yet this morning I am tired. Tomorrow I'm going out with another friend to see the Batman movie. Since we're going to a matinee and having dinner afterward, I'll probably be home before the end of the SNL monologue. To tell you the truth, Dr. Paul, I wish we weren't going tomorrow. It feels like a lot of booze and a lot of socializing and not enough alone time.

Now I read Heather Mills' complaints about you, and they lead me to believe you and I would be very compatible. She basically called you a boring old pothead who doesn't want to go anywhere or do anything. Fine by me! I don't smoke pot, but if you want to, be my guest. As evidenced by the above paragraph, I no longer crave the nightlife, nor do I love to boogie. And I can think of no one I'd rather sit on the sofa with as we do nothing together, hour after hour. Just please promise me I can have the remote and we'll be fine. (Have you seen the stars of Psyche send up "Ebony and Ivory?" It's wickedly fabulous! I'll Tivo it for you.)

She says you are stingy. Fine. Whatever. I live in a 2BR condo with leaky pipes and don't even own a car, so I'm sure the lifestyle she considered parsimonious wouldn't bother me at all.

She says you are no longer interested in your appearance. Okeedokee. When I look at you, all I see is February 1964 and the cover of Meet the Beatles, so I don't care about your current appearance, either.

She says you two often disagree on how to raise your daughter, Beatrice. My baby factory is closed, so we won't have that problem. Just don't try to discipline my cats in any way and we'll be fine.

Let's face it, Macca: In the past, we both have chosen poorly when it comes to romance. You certainly could and have done worse and so have I, so why shouldn't we give it a go?