The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Flashback Friday!

How about some "mini-flashbacks" for this Flashback Friday? I had a few things that aren't really worthy of an entire Flashback Friday by themselves, but are deserving of a little air time nonetheless. And just so there will be a "theme" of sorts, they all relate to my ex-husband in some way or another.

* When my ex and I became engaged, he called my dad to "semi-formally" (we'd been living together for about 6 months at this point) ask for my hand in marriage. He said to my dad, "Sir, I'm really only doing this so that I can get closer to you." I thought it was funny. My dad didn't quite see the humor.

* Once, after my ex had been laid off, I approached him about getting him a job at the construction company where I was working. "Doing what?", he asked. "Cause I'm not digging ditches or carrying lumber or anything like that." (meaning anything 'menial' like that, of course). And so, I asked at work and found a job (on a prevailing wage site) where he could make $14/hr. (10 years ago) to be a general laborer. General laborers do whatever needs to be done. Which could very well include digging ditches and carrying lumber. When I told him what he would be making he completely changed his tune. The job lasted about six months or so. I don't think he ever saw a paycheck from the company, as I snagged them at the office before his ever got out to the jobsite. As the superintendent was handing out checks each week, he'd have one for each of the guys, and when he'd get to my ex, he'd just kind of shrug his shoulders and say "Sorry, man, your old lady got yours again." And, like construction guys do, they would give my ex shit about it.

* During the time when my ex was working the construction gig, many nights he came home really sore. Muscle aches from doing so much manual labor, primarily. I had a tube of Ben Gay in the medicine cabinet and, on one evening when he was complaining particularly vociferously, I grabbed it out and rubbed it into his shoulders for him. I wiped my hands off really well (NOTE: BUT DID NOT WASH THEM THOROUGHLY) and, well, one thing led to another and before I knew it, we were treating blistering chemical burns on his genitalia that took weeks to heal. Please don't do this at home. Always stop after handling anything this strong to thoroughly wash your hands before doing anything else. Even if you're really excited. Somebody could get hurt.

* When my ex (Mike) and I were first dating, he happened to be at my parents' house one weekend afternoon. My dad, my ex and I were shooting pool in the basement, when my ex decided to tell a joke. It had a curse word in it. "Damn", I think it was. And my dad, who raised us in a house where men didn't use foul language around women (which is hysterical given my repertoire...but anyway), said to him, "Mark, we don't use that kind of language around here." Which cracked me up, because we'd been dating for months at that point and my dad still didn't know my ex's name. Or, perhaps, he did and just wanted to treat him as insignificant. I still don't know for sure. But, it was pretty funny.

* One of the things that strikes most people about my ex is this next snippet. My oldest daughter is sixteen. She'll turn 17 in May. So, let's say she's had 16 Christmases, so far. And, as she's the oldest, my ex and I have had 16 opportunities to enjoy Christmas morning with our children. Except that, after staying up all night wrapping things, and stuffing stockings, and putting things together, we (like every other parent in America, I'd wager) were pretty beat Christmas morning. Factor in that he liked his dope a little too much and guess what, he'd take the opportunity to sleep in on Christmas mornings. Wasn't important to him to get up and watch his kids rip through the gifts and goodies. He'd wander through, about 10AM and ask them what they'd gotten from Santa. But, he never wanted to get up and see that first fifteen minutes. It's a fifteen minute period that I plan for months ahead of time. And I still can't believe he'd voluntarily give it up every year. But he did.

* In an effort to provide equal time, on the heels of that bad thing about my ex, here's one of my favorite good things about my ex. When my littlest bit was born, she was entirely too early and spent the first two months of her existence clinging to life in the NICU. On the first day that I was able to be wheeled from my hospital, across the pedway into the children's hospital across the street, to see her, he took me. I sat there, in my wheelchair, looking at her through the plexiglass side of the incubator. Way too many tubes and wires and gizmos hooked up to her fragile little body. I had never seen anything like it and I was scared to death. Her little hat was pulled down over her eyes and she had a ventilator taped to her mouth and her little head was about half as big as my fist. I sat and watched her. Not knowing what to do. Feeling utterly, utterly helpless. And feeling the tears welling up in my eyes as I did it. And my ex, very calmly, very sweetly, took my hand and said, "You have to touch her. It will help her if she feels your touch. And talk to her, too." And he placed my hand inside one of the portals in the incubator and stroked it across her tiny hand. I continued to cry as I sat there, not being able to do more than touch my daughter's delicate skin inside the incubator and talk gently to her. But, I always appreciated that he helped me remember to be a mother that day. That very, very difficult day. Because I wasn't doing it. I was too busy falling apart when my baby needed me.

* I greatly miss riding my ex's motorcycle. As soon as the weather would start warming up, he'd pull it out and get it going and we'd spend every weekend touring around on that old Yamaha. I love the feeling. The Yamaha wasn't the first motorcycle he had while we were together. The first one lasted for quite a few years before it finally gave up the ghost. I believe it was a Honda, but couldn't tell you the year. He bought it the second summer I ever knew him from a neighbor (and friend) down the street. I remember one specific ride, out near my parents house on the east side of town, years before we married. A lovely day and we'd been riding for a couple hours. We stopped at a little lake and as I got off the bike, the inside of my right calf (and I'd worn shorts and flip flops for this expedition) touched the exhaust pipe on that side of the motorcycle. And in the second it took me to move it (it was hot, I was going fast), my leg had burned, blistered and peeled, leaving a piece of my skin on the pipe that was slightly larger than a half dollar. Man, did THAT hurt!! As soon as my freak out was over, we got back on the bike and headed for my parents' house. The air rushing over the open wound, as we did so, was excrutiating. My dad, luckily, had some silver nitrate cream he'd used after a recent skin-grafting procedure and I started applying it regularly. The burn healed up nicely, but I thought I'd always have a scar there. The silver nitrate cream is all that, though. It took a few years, but the scar finally disappeared entirely. Needless to say, I NEVER wore shorts or flip flops when riding motorcycle again. And now that my older girls are riding with their dad, I have worn that story out to the point where they won't do it either!!

Okay, that's all the flash you get today. Yeah, I realize I spent twenty years with him, I should have LOTS more stories. And, I do. And maybe, someday, I'll share some more. But, for now,'s all, folks! Have a great weekend!!



Blogger Opus P. Penguin said...

Oh, the Ben Gay thing is evil.....

My favorite ex-flash: Tress (look, Highlander, I can write his name without gargoyles sprouting from the walls!) used to steal on of my favorite shirts, this really soft cotton thermal top, bright red. He was a magician/fire eater/juggler/lots of other things that never made money/etc and was really into red clothes. Red and black. Everything red and black. Anyway, he was wearing this red shirt when he insisted on teaching me how to eat fire. He took one of those disposable aluminum trays and poured some lighter fluid into it, doused a cotton-wrapped torch into it, set the torch aflame and handed it to me. The trick, he said, flames dancing in his blue eyes, was not to inhale.

Good advice.

I bent backward, holding the torch, bringing it closer and closer to my lips, while stood beside me, a hand on my shoulder, encouraging me, and I...totally bailed. I couldn't do it. But a burning ember had fallen from the torch onto the shirt he was wearing. My shirt. He batted it out quickly enough so it only made a small hole.

When he left me, he left the shirt behind. Years later, when the shirt was in the rag pile, I cut it up for dusting (it was as soft as a diaper and made a great dustrag) but saved the square with the burnt hole.

I still have it.

4/14/2006 5:15 PM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

I just want to say that the Ben Gay thing was completely accidental. I was much younger then. And much shorter on wisdom. I honestly thought I'd cleaned my hands well enough or I'd have never done that. Even now.

At least I don't think I would.

No, no...I definitely wouldn't. And I did feel really badly about it afterwards.

As for fire-eating, I can't imagine ever wanting to try that. (Bawk! Bawk!) You must have been in (as Nate says) deep smit.

4/14/2006 5:29 PM  
Blogger Opus P. Penguin said...

Yes, but time and antibiotics cured that.

4/15/2006 11:02 AM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

The testimonials for antibiotics just keep coming in!

4/17/2006 9:10 AM  

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