“War Horse”

Will and I saw War Horse with my mom at Fox Theater this weekend.  People have asked me “How was it?”  It was brilliant and it was awful.  If someone put a gun to my head and said, “I will shoot you unless you watch War Horse again,” I would have to ponder on the choice for a bit.  Now, keep in mind that I have seen Les Miserables at least 5 times at the Fox.  I have no plan on seeing the movie as everything I have read about it says that it really took the whole dirty, gritty, realism thing seriously which to me is basically saying, “Oh, we thought it was too light and fluffy because of the singing so we took something heart-wrenchingly depressing and made it as realistically horrible as we possibly could.”  One of my close friends said that she basically wanted to curl up into a fetal ball and sob during the movie in the theater.

Which pretty well explains my reaction to War Horse.  When Will and I saw previews for the movie we said, “Nope.  Fuck that.”  Because it looked like a boy who loves his horse, loses his horse in WWI, so he then enlists, because lord knows with the introduction of the machine gun that was a light casualty war, and tries to get his horse back.

There is no way, with that premise, I am going to enjoy this movie.  You can kill hundreds of people and I am a bit sad, but you kill a horse or a dog in a movie?  Yeah, I am crying and also pissed at the writer and director personally for writing something like that.  As a child there were countless “coming of age” stories where a boy (because all of the stories were about boys) has a beloved dog and somehow loses this dog in a trillion awful ways.  I often hated the author personally for those books, not to mention some teacher hatred.  I had a 7th grade teacher who I think made us read every single short story or book where horrible animal death was a theme.  As an adult, I think now that either she had issues or she really hated little kids.  The Red Pony?  Can’t you just kill me or lobotomize me instead?

But my mom has season tickets and she seemed really excited about going and after telling her that I was NOT going to see West Side Story with her at the Muny this year, I figured I would endure War Horse.  I mean, for a stage production, how bad could it be?

The answer to that is SUPER MEGA AWFUL.

Part of the reason it was so awful was because of how well done this horribly depressing play was staged.  The horses onstage weren’t real, but they had puppeteers that made them look real.  They even had the horses breathing hard when they were straining and breathing normally at rest.  You believed that these were horses.  Although, Will pointed out that it might have been better to have the puppeteers in black because he and I both would occasionally think, “Oh!  He must have found his horse, he is right next to it,” but it would be the puppeteer for the horse’s face.  That does take you a bit out of the moment.

They also had a big white slash above the stage where they would show various facts about the war, bombs going off, barbed wire, and things like that.

Basically, I cried through the entire thing.  I hate to cry AT ALL.  Crying in public is THE WORST and I am not overly fond of crying in front of any member of my family as I was given the description of “oversensitive” as a child, so I try to not live up to it, which is difficult, because I am oversensitive.  However, they were mean as fuck to this horse.  They whipped him, they made him plow when he was not a plow horse, they sent him to WWI, they made him drag cannons, they even, towards the end, have this horse get caught up and trapped in barbed wire.

For those of you familiar with graphic novel The Crow Will at this point said to me, “Don’t look.  Don’t look.”

Will, God bless the man, tried valiantly to keep me from crying.  He whispered jokes to me, he covered my eyes rather aggressively at certain points, and overall tried to get my poor oversensitive heart through this fucking play.  I do not envy the man his job in being my husband.  I am not a low maintenance woman.

I am also not very nice.  I said to him at one point, “This is your fault.”

“What?!  How is this my fault?”

“Before I met you I never knew how awful WWI was.  I knew about the Lost Generation and that they were all pretty well scarred by it, but I didn’t know the sheer number of people who died because they didn’t understand about machine guns.”

This is true.  Will told me how they kept thinking if they did a big “push” through the enemy lines they would be victorious simply because that had worked in the past.  This was after I had some issues understanding Black Adder’s final season – why did they just assume they would die?  Oh, because they did.  With machine guns a big push just means they mow everyone down, which they did.

Anyway, we survived the show, we left for home, and I have felt emotionally wrung out for days since then.  From now on I follow my instincts and I back out of things that I know are going to be incredibly horrific.

Oh!  To make things even more horrible and funny, my mom had rented the movie.  15 minutes into the play she whispered to me, “This is where I turned it off at home.”

WHAT?!  You turned it off at home?  Then why, for the love of all that is holy, are we even here??!!!  Gah!!

There was also this one guy who acted as the chorus, sort of.  He would sing a capella periodically throughout the play.  I thought he was a nice reprieve (I’m a sucker for an Irish brogue) but Will hated his guts by the end of the movie.  He did not find Random Guy Singing Songs Not Even Related to the Plot to be interesting at all and wished him dead with quite an intense hatred.  I think the play was rough on Will, too.

So, to conclude: War Horse had brilliant stage artistry that made the horrible and painful and awful actions/plot/point of the play very realistic and very powerful.  Enjoy!


Dreams and Dream Man

I keep having odd dreams that I have to move into a smaller apartment or trailer.  In these dreams I am not with Will, but either alone or with someone else.  I always wake up totally relieved to be in a house with books and cats and Will.

Last night I had a very long anxiety dream.  I dreamt I was dating one of my sister’s ex-boyfriends – I should have realized at this point it was a dream because to my knowledge none of my sisters and I have ever dated the same person.  I ended up moving in with this boyfriend even though I thought he was kind of unambitious and a bit slow.  He was sweet and good-natured, but dumb.  Cute, but stupid.

I had never seen his place before, and when I got there I realized I was moving in with him, his parents, and his sister.  When he showed me the bedroom, he knocked on the door first because he shared a bedroom with all of them!  It was like the three bears’ house – big bed, medium bed, and small bed.  I was horrified, because I am a spoiled American with first world problems and because my bedroom is my Fortress of Solitude.

The dream continued and these people horded pets, and I knew that my cats would never accept living there.  The rest of this anxiety dream consisted of me trying to find a place I could afford to live and convincing this boyfriend I didn’t particularly like that we needed to find our own place.

The alarm in the morning was a big relief.  Knowing that I was married to Will and had a place to live was pretty awesome.  Waking up to reality was very pleasant.

I hit snooze on our alarm and said to Will, “I am glad I am here and with you and not with someone else.”

Will, still pretty much asleep, put his arm around me and said, “Me, too.  Because if you weren’t here, I would have to get out of bed* and go find you.”





*This is a terribly romantic statement coming from Will, because the man really loves to sleep and is not overly fond of getting out of bed.  Therefore, him getting out of bed to find me when he is sleepy and comfy, very sweet and romantic.

Box Jumps Are Scary

I think our trainer has discovered that I am crazy.  We were setting up for today’s WoD and I had two 8″ box jump stacked on top of each other (they were designed to be stackable) and they seemed too tall and scary.  What I have been doing is a 12″ box jump with a 45 pound plate on top of it.  I decided to go back to that, when our trainer informed me that they were the same height.  Both are 16″.

Me: Really?

Scott the Trainer: Yes, really.

Me, from the top of the boxes: But if feels like it is much higher.

Scott the Trainer:  It isn’t.

I am sure I looked dubiously at him and he looked at me with that look men have where they think you are being crazy but they are trying to be patient and feed you facts so you will realize you are being crazy, too.  Will gives me this look a lot so I am familiar with it.

He offered to let me go back to doing 12″ box jumps, but I hate to move backward.  Box jumps have always freaked me out, so I figure this is a mental hurdle and I would push through.

Therefore, I did the WoD with the 16″ box jump.  The first round was the most difficult.  I pretty much had to psych myself into jumping each of the 9 times that first round.  Our trainer knew it, too.  He reminded me that when I started I was only doing a 4″ box jump.  How cool is that?  I’ve gone from jumping on a 45 pound plate on the floor to actually jumping up on boxes.  For some reason, this little piece of progress information really helped me with the rest of my jumps.

This was the first WoD I’ve done where I jumped all of the box jumps without doing any step ups.  I also did all of the burpees with a full push-up instead of a scaled one.  Normally, I get about halfway through them and have to start scaling them because my arms don’t want to work any more.  Granted, there were only 3 reps per round, but there were 7 rounds.

Anyway, I am really happy with all of the progress.  Hooray for overcoming my mental box jump blocks!

Shelves and Shelves and Spiders!

Will has been making more shelves.  Our house has two tiny closets, so space for things has always been an issue.  Along with having too many things.  Will likes free things, and he likes to hang on to things, so it gets crowded.

Lately he has been building more bookshelves and organizing things.  I cannot organize as I really just don’t quite know how best to categorize things.  When I organize it doesn’t make sense, but when Will organizes it does.  He actually thinks more about it than I do.  My style of organization is usually, “Does it all fit in this box?” and then I just remember (or not) what box has the tape or markers or what have you.

Anyway, I was gone this weekend, and Will expanded his organizational prowess to the kitchen.  I came home very happy to see all of the great progress he made in my absence.

IMG_1765 IMG_1774

This addition is a huge improvement to the complete disorganized chaos that was there before.  Although, with two shelves overflowing with tea, we need to drink more tea.

In the course of building shelves and organizing things like orange cats, Will came across some other items.  One of the games he and I have been playing with this large, plastic owl we have is placing the owl in various spots where it is staring at the other person.  Will is better at this game than I am, but I have managed to position the owl to stare at him balefully a couple of remarkable times.

Not the plastic spider - the HUGE plastic spider - on top of the bear that is on top of the owl.  Yeah, he has more of those.
Note the plastic spider – the HUGE plastic spider – on top of the bear that is on top of the owl. Yeah, he has more of those.

Will has escalated the game.

Will has found a hidden cache in his office of huge, realistic, black plastic spiders.

He has placed these spiders around the house.  I found one when I went to shower and he came down to investigate why I screamed then yelled at him “You are NOT funny!!  Not funny, Will!”  For some reason when I yell at him that he is not funny, he finds it hilarious.

Now, we’ve played this game with the spiders before.  I never suspect it, I always scream, and then in an act of repeated stupidity, I throw the spider at him.  This is stupid because now he has the spider and can hide it somewhere else.  And he does.  This time I did not throw the spider at him (growth! yay!), but he came to laugh at me and let me know he found some plastic spiders when cleaning, then he took the spider.  I was in the shower and while I could have chased after him demanding the spider, I was soapy and didn’t want to get the floors all wet.  I could see his mental gears turning as he plotted where to next place the spider.

I will scream, and he will laugh.

But, hey, more shelves!

All the Chocolate is Up High

I occasionally ask Will to hide things from me.  Mainly, chocolate – if I know we have it and where it is, due to terribly poor impulse control, I will eat more than just a little piece of it.  If I give it to Will to hide, I forget it is there, then when I feel like I want some chocolate, I will remember to ask him for a piece.  This means I will eat a piece a week maybe instead of a piece every day.

Recently, as Will built bookshelves with both books and cats in mind, I discovered a piece of chocolate he had hidden.  In order to entice the cats to sit on a ledge above the couch, Will put a couple of treats on the ledge.

As you can see, the shelf above Will fits a cat, a cat treat, and is quite high up off the ground.
This is a close-up of Cecil enjoying his new shelf and the secret treats Will hides up there.
This is a close-up of Cecil enjoying his new shelf and the secret treats Will hides up there.  Also, an automatic rubber band gun.

The treats entice the cats to jump up on the ledge.  Well, one day when the cats were playing up there, I discovered a piece of chocolate – little squares of dark chocolate individually wrapped – and I couldn’t reach it.  I simply grabbed the nearest thing I could find – my pullover, and flung it on the chocolate so that it would hurtle towards my head.  I usually catch things I fling towards my head, and I also try to make sure they are either small or soft.

Now, I am used to being short.  I once had a friend over, and Will had put the paper towels in this cabinet where I couldn’t reach them. My method of getting paper towels was to find the largest and longest knife we had, stand on my tip toes, stab a roll of paper towels, and sort of fling them out of the cabinet towards my head.  Paper towels are soft.  I did this in front of my well over 6′ tall friend without even thinking, “Hey, I could ask this tall person to get me those paper towels.”  My friend, smirked, and told me he could have gotten the towels for me, but I seemed to be pretty comfortable in my method.

A while ago, I bought a bottle of Moscato and asked Will to hide it away.  I would forget about it until sometime when I wanted it as opposed to just seeing it and going, “What the heck, wine!  Cheers!”  Today I asked Will where he put it.

Top shelf of the closet.

I’m sensing a theme.  Places over 5’3″ might be Hiding Places.

“So, basically, your method of hiding things from me is just to place them up high?” I said.

“Nooo….” Will said, clearly rethinking all of his hiding techniques.  “I hide things other places, too, sometimes.”

Sure, honey.  I believe you.

But hey, it is effective.  No wonder I can never find anything he hides.

The Truck that Wouldn’t Start and Other Hero News

I have a lot of writing projects due tomorrow with a few of my jobs.  I have worked pretty hard on one of the big ones today and made a lot of headway, but still have more work to do, probably tonight and most of tomorrow on the rest of that project and other articles.  In the midst of all of this, I needed to run to the pharmacy today and I wanted to grab a bite to eat somewhere because I really didn’t feel like cooking today.  In addition to writing all of this stuff, another job requested that everyone put in extra hours, so I am pretty stressed and have no time.

Will needed to take his truck, which was full of scrap metal, to the recycling place as he has an odd job tomorrow where he needs to haul stuff off in his truck.  Neither of us wanted to run these errands, so we figured we would throw in together and I would accompany him and he would accompany me.  We would get to spend some time together while accomplishing things.  Huzzah.  My mother calls this co-dependence.  My kinder friends call it inter-dependence.

First, though, Will had to play his computer game.  In the land of Will, posting comments online or playing video games are a priority.  In the land Jay, they are not only not a priority but last on the list of things that should be focused on when we need to leave.  Will says that I am impatient and that I want to do everything now.  I say that I want to be on time and he makes us chronically late.  In most circumstances when a couple disagrees the truth is somewhere in between, but in this case I am totally right.  I took a poll.  Being late because your game characters might get eaten by zombies is not a viable reason.

Anyway, Will had to “finish” his computer game, then he had to go out and see if the truck would start or if it needed a jump-start.  It almost always needs a jump-start.  I was irritated by the delay – I even have on my shoes!  I am ready to go! – but I figured rather than waste time being pissy about it, I would just get as much writing done as I could before we were ready to leave.  I actually got quite a bit done and I am more than halfway finished, which makes me very happy.  All earlier irritation at the dilly dallying of Will faded in my joy of being more than halfway completed.  I figured that we could run these errands, and get home in a reasonable amount of time, and I could work some more.

Will was ready to go right at the moment I completed my article and I was elated that our timing was so dead on.

“Well, that was good timing!  We should be careful, with timing that good, I bet the truck is going to blow up,” I said, jokingly, to Will.  I don’t know why but when things are going well, I am just certain that means the other shoe will drop hard and fast and soon.  Will agreed, or at least made agreement type noises at me, and told me how cold it is outside so I grabbed my dad’s old Carhart’s with the hood, because my other coat is in the car.  I thought that it was probably overkill, but better safe than sorry.  (this is what is known as foreshadowing! Not just for novels and short stories but also in real life!)

We dropped off the scrap metal and headed back into town to go to the pharmacy.  We looked at the crazily crowded parking lot and decided to just go through the drive-thru rather than go inside and deal with Other People.  Will’s truck was making a weird fwap fwap fwap noise so when we got to the drive-thru window he turned off his truck.  As he reached for the key I said, “Are you sure it will start again?”

“The battery should be charged enough by now it won’t be a problem,” he said.  He turns off the truck.  If our life had a sound track it would have gone, da da dummmm.

In the two minutes it took to get the prescription, the truck decided it was done driving for the day.  Will tried to start it and the truck went uhr urh urh, then urhurh then urh, then nothing.  Since we were sitting in the drive-thru of the pharmacy, Will didn’t waste any time and physically pushed the truck out of the way.  We parked it and decided to walk to a nearby diner called Cindy B’s.  It is cheap and fast, but you can sit down and eat and they have heat.

Oh, did I mention that through all of this it is snowing?  Because it is fucking snowing.  And windy.  That type of wind that feels like cold razors.

Sometimes, Will is wrong.  Often he is wrong when it comes to this truck starting.  Once upon another time we were out at his parent’s house and he had his truck turned off but was listening to the radio.  I said, “Don’t you think that will run down the battery?”

He did not, in fact, think that would happen.

Later on he came inside and said, “Hey, guess what happened?”  He ran down the battery listening to the radio.

I think that Will would have fewer problems if he would listen to my advice.  Now, I would also have fewer problems if I would listen to his advice, so it isn’t really something that upsets me.  We get to laugh at each other’s folly and we both get to enjoy being right.

Sometimes, like the time out at his parent’s where there is a television and a warm bed and other vehicles and wi-fi and electrical sockets and amenities, I have been known to sing, dance around him while pointing at him saying/singing “Hah!!  I was right, and I told you so!!  I was right, I was right, I was right!!  Ahahahaha!”

Today, in the cold snow, I did not do that.  You have to pick your moments to crow about being right.  Sometimes it is funny and fun, other times it just makes a rough time more miserable.  If you are not certain which of these situations you are in, don’t crow about being right.  It isn’t something you want to roll the dice on.  If the other person isn’t going to laugh good-naturedly and agree, only crow about “I told you so/I was right” when you want to burn the hell out of that bridge or at least start a big fight.

Luckily, because of the earlier foreshadowing, I had on my dad’s old Carhart’s coat.  This coat is awesome.  It has “Bull” written on the back – apparently Carhart’s were popular at his work so this was a necessary mode of distinction – and it is a lot bigger than I am so I don’t need gloves because my hands are encased by the sleeves.  The coat came with gloves in the pockets.  Dad’s gloves so they are really nice and warm.  I gave Will the gloves out of the pockets, and because I didn’t have hands, he zipped me up and even pulled up the hood, snapped and velcroed it shut because it was cold razor windy out and I asked him to do so.  To make me feel even MORE like a little kid, after I laughingly told him I had no peripheral vision in this coat with the hood up, he grabbed my hand and holds it the entire way to Cindy B’s, lest I spontaneously bolt into traffic and get hit by a car that I did not see in my non-existent peripheral vision. I think Will found my flippancy over lack of peripheral vision alarming, because he had a good grip on my hand, through the coat sleeve, and didn’t really let go until we reached our destination.  Normally he holds my hand for a while, then gets bored or ADD’s out.  Not this time.

However, that coat was warm and it had everything we needed, hood for me, gloves for Will, it was awesome.  The Magic Dad Coat That Had What We Needed.

I did feel like that little kid on A Christmas Story though.  I asked Will if he would take my picture as I was sure I looked ridiculous, and that is when we discovered he didn’t have his phone.  Was it home?  Was it in the truck?  Ah, the mysteries of life.

We made it to Cindy B’s and I posted on Facebook, with a phone that was rapidly losing all of its battery life, a plea for anyone who might be in Murphysboro for a ride home.  Now, we could walk home, but it was and is really freezing outside, I was wearing shoes that were not really meant for walking comfortably so I walked slow, which meant Will kept having to slow down his thousand foot stride for me.  Eventually, although we get a few offers on Facebook (on from a woman who was nice enough to offer to drive from a few towns away – I told her that it was really nice of her to offer, but WAY out of her way, but man what a nice offer!) Will decided to leave me at Cindy B’s because he can “make better time” without me.  I didn’t protest this act of heroism.  Did I mention that it was cold outside with razor wind?

Will got our car and we are now safe and warm at home.  Will is once again my hero, albeit a hero that should really listen to me when I say things about truck batteries.