Saturday, August 27, 2005

Reality Bites

I always wonder if I see life the way it really is. Not just how other people see it, although that is certainly a part of it, but life as it really is. Like I wonder why my five year-old shaved his tongue with Topher's razor (yeah, it makes me cringe just to type it) and not only what was going through his head at the time, but for the moment afterwards as he was sucking on a cloth, looking up at me with his puppy-dog eyes as I struggled to see how it all fit in the grande scheme of things and what sort of reaction I should put out into the universe, what--yell at him? comfort him? I did both--you know, just to cover all the bases--and I wondered what would amount to all these little incidents in his life and mine. What would he remember about the incident? Would he remember it at all? Would he ever look at a razor in the same way? I won't.

I've been complaining so much this Summer about Provo City not fixing our basement after they were at fault for flooding it with 2 inches of rain water until yesterday when my neighbor discovered that she had 10 inches of sewage in her basement because of a block in the city's pipes. Turns out it was a dog. Some idiot had put a dog in the pipes (at first alive or dead? the world will never know) and I thought about the idiot who thought that was a good idea, or was it an accident? a dare? Turns out several homes had poo in their basements yesterday and the damages will be in the tens of thousands. Does that guy (and, yes, I'm being sexist, I'm just so sure it's a male aged 14-22) even know what happened? I wish I had a good poo-joke to insert here, for Eric's birthday, but I don't.

I left my baby (and other children) with my mom and dad while I saw Topher's musical (another blog for another day) and when I came back and asked how the baby did, my mom said "Oh, he was fine! An angel. . . what a beautiful. . ." and then my dad cut her off with an indignant "Thank goodness you're back! OH, he was AWFUL! Man he can scream! What's wrong with him?!" Now I know my dad didn't have anything to do with "watching children," because just as enthusiastically he yelled, "Now come and see your kitchen sink! It's never BEEN this clean!" He was really pleased with himself, and while I sat and nursed the baby he proceeded with his itemized list of household chores including pouring bleach down all my drains and removing that nasty glob of Gorilla glue (a present from him, I might add, and it is, undeniably, the best glue in the world, but, like all things, comes with a price) we couldn't get off our bathroom counter. Well, he was really proud of himself--he got it off. Of course I wasn't offended by my father, (but I did tell him my mini-van was a mess, "by the way"), he has his own way and I've grown to love it, but I thought the dramatic difference between the two reports interesting.

I'm not claiming to have a firm grasp of reality, but I do think a lot when vacuuming. And since you know what my father is like, you'll know I do it a lot. I think that the people who have the most interesting things to say about the way things really are unlikely sages. Like everyone assumes that my little brother who has fame and money would be out of touch with reality, which isn't true. Because he has this experience of celebrity, coming from totally different beginnings in the Midwest, he has a really unique perspective and, as a result, has really interesting insights about life as it is. (As a rule, I must note, I don't want to know what Brittany or Paris or Angelina [and her mohawk baby] have to say about life, politics, or exercise.) My friend Erbecca has gone through more craziness than anyone I know, enough to make someone like me roll into a ball under my bed with a box of Godiva and never come out, but she always says, "it is what it is" and "ignore the crazy" with a sense of humor. My friend from Dawlish, England who once sold donuts and, is this right?, braided hair on the beaches of Greece, and lived in the rough part of London with her little ones, has grand insight into the human condition. And she lives in a quiet, little sleepy-town full of waterfowl.

I love any movie about awesome young adults discovering awesome things about life and reality, as beautifully documented in the 90's cult classic, Reality Bites. Because they always come up with awesome new insights about following your dreams and being true to yourself. But what do they have to say about poo sludge in your basement and babies who scream like dinosaurs?

38 comments:

Bek said...

Lisa,

That is a great blog. Thank you for your kind words. Sorry O shaved his tounge.....I'll send you a box of Godiva.
Errrrbecca

~j. said...

They would say that nobody, NOBODY, can eat fifty eggs.

I like this post as well. I have been shaken into a reality lately that my oldest daughter is now an age that I remember being, and what will she remember? Will her perceptions differ from mine as much as mine do from my mom's? Another daughter also shaved her tongue, but doesn't remember. I hope.

Great blog, Lisa. Thanks for the thoughts. And don't bogart that can, man.

Eddy Remington said...

What is reality anyhow? Our perceptions? They may not be "real" or accurate, but what does that matter? It only matters in that reality (or our perception of it) impacts us in some way--motivates us to act, or not. Makes us happy, or not. I think that is an empowering way to think of it--reality.

Tina the sistah said...

So, reality is your four year old puking in a copy store and the teenage clerks making you clean it up! Yeah, can I just eat some toffee ice cream with Magic Shell (it really is!) and watch tv?

Ashley said...

Were you serious about "Reality Bites"?

Lorien said...

YAARRRRGH! Shaved his tongue? That's one of the most horrid things I've heard lately, that and stuffing a dog down a manhole, of course. And to think, as Jenny suggested, that your's isn't the only child who has taken razor to tongue? Why would they even think doing that? "Hmmm...Here is a razor. I wonder what it would taste like...or what about smoothing off these little bumps on my tongue?..." Kids are weird. That's MY reality. And thank you for explaining why we moms react in multiple ways to one incident--to cover all the bases. I love that!

I did think of you and Chris while I watched the news the other night and wondered if you were one of the unfortunate floating in human excrement. Glad it wasn't you, but how sad for everyone else. Yuck.

wendysue said...

Hey Lisa, I think our kids force us to see life as it is. (I usually don't realize this until it's been a day of screaming and yelling and messes and craziness, etc. Then I see them sleeping and once again stand in their room and whisper that I'm sorry. Then I realize that reality is that my kids really are good kids and hey, they're KIDS!!)

Can't you see any of our kids ("The Bees Boy", for instance) saying "Look Mom, I know you didn't think I would do this but hey, here's your reality. .. I DID IT, so deal with it!" ??
I really do have it pretty good, but somedays I'd gladly pass my reality off to someone else so I can live in La-La land for a little while.

And hey what about your movie "Reality Lobster Bites??" Remember that????

Stephanie Aurora Clark Nielson said...

as i remember, reality bites had a awesome soundtrack

Josh said...

I feel like my dad was lurking in the corners of this blog. Him being involved in all of the flooding basement issues. There is more news on the dog disaster coming on Monday's news. I don't know what I am at liberty to disclose...Stay tuned!!

On a more serious tone, is there anything more terrifying than trying to figure out the things that you do that will make your children CRAZY in the future, as all parents do to their children?

Kelley H. said...

It was only ONE dog. How was I to know?

Lorien said...

josh- my 4-year old daughter was watching the news when she saw your dad. We are in your dad's ward, you know, so of course she recognized him. (She used to call him Grandpa Bishop) She said, "Hey look! There's a REAL guy on TV!" Apparently all those other folks on TV aren't real...

Thanks for the tip. We'll tune in Monday for more of our local news!

Oh, and on that serious note, my prayer (I call it "A Modern Mother's Prayer") goes something like this: Dear God, please don't let me screw up my kids too bad. And if you could, please fix where I do screw up.

Suzie Petunia said...

Lorien, I say that exact same prayer DAILY! I didn't realize others used it too...

When I thought about the razor blade on the tongue I shivered... literally. And it made me think of my dad whose older brother had told him pimples are caused by the "juice" of other pimples. So, when the first inevitable one appeared in his pre-teen years he thought he would by-pass the entire adolescent acne by -you guessed it- taking a razor to the first offending pimple. You know, so it wouldn't "spread". Ouch! Oh, and it didn't work.

As for reality... that is what I love about reading random blogs. They give me the flavor for someone else's "reality". Makes life interesting.

lisa v. clark said...

I have a little something for everyone today!

Josh: oh judy have I heard some gossip around town, and not so favorable about Provo city. Now my little ole rainwater claim is for SURE at the bottom of the pile. . . your dad must be having a great weekend. Yeah, everyday ends with me thinking, "I hope (insert weird moment/outburst/odd situation) doesn't stay with (insert child's name) forever or mess them up in (insert bizarre fear) way. . ."

Kelley: one dog. seriously.

eddy: you're right on. It's not like we have control of anything else. I mean, if I can't remember to tell my child not to shave his tongue, then what can I really control?

Lorien: Kids are weird, thanks for the echo. It's like when Phoebe gave herself a mullett on Saturday, on one side of her head. I was pulling out locks of golden blonde curls, gasping at what she had done and thought, I wonder if she'll remember this incident when she's an adult and what her recollections of it will be. . .

Wendy: I'm so glad you remembered the critically acclaimed film, "Lobster Reality Bites" filmed right here in Provo, UT starring Topher and myself, Jay Calder, and Kristen Jolley. It was really ahead of its time and Ashley, I'm always serious about Reality Bites.

Jenny: "Melrose Place is a really good movie."

Stephanie: "You say. . . stay. . . " that is the perfect soundtrack to the early 90's and for the first time I met Topher.

Suzie: gross

Tinah: keep eating

Bek: Godiva is always welcome, but after this weekend, you're the one who deserves it!!!

compulsive writer said...

Reality does bite. My tongue hurts while I read about a sweet child innocently shaving his tongue. I got sick watching the images of a few Provo residents dealing with raw sewage spewing into in their homes (I'm pretty sure you're right on about the 14-22 male demographic).

What's interesting about reality and perspective is that it can change in a heartbeat. Watching one of my best friend's daughters (who was also my friend--she died at the tender age of 22) destroy her body with sex, drugs and rock-n-roll broke my heart. This week I'm watching live coverage of an entire city of over 400,000 people prepare to have their whole town "floating in human excrement" (great quote Lorien). While I'm praying for them, especially the old, the infirm and the poor--who don't have the luxury of leaving--I'm thinking "there's no place like home."

Does that diminish the pain of crying babies, lost taste buds and the lingering stench of our city government at its worst? No way--the reality that bites the worst is whatever reality you're in. But it sure leaves me expecting--and trying to prepare myself for--the worst. I've learned it can happen, even in your own backyard.

Valentine said...

Dear Big Sis,
Thank you for reminding me why I stay away from young men aged 14-22 and have a sick love affair with Lysol.
Love,
Pandy

Ashley said...

Jeesh, compulsive writer,
what a downer!

Kate said...

I agree with those other comments in that I think your reality is colored by your perspective, and even in most cases, your ideals. To most people my reality and perspective pale in comparison to having to deal with raw sewage in my basement or the kinds of things my sister is going through. But does that make my problems any less real to me? Or do does it 'bite' any less?

The bigger person, the one I'm trying to be, says yes, my problems are insignificant in comparison. But the 'real' person in me knows that I still have these problems looming above my head. So is my reality any less than someone else's?

Hmm...sorry to go all deep, you just got me wonderin'.

And I can't imagine a razor on a tongue...ouch!

Lorien said...

Why thank you, compulsive, every now and then I come up with a good one. Wish it was more often.

These reality checks usually leave me thinking I'll take my lousy problems over somebody else's any time.

Bek said...

As a person who is currently neck deep in EMOTIONAL sewage and who has had her fair share of random disasters, I have to say to Kate that no, your problems or stumbling blocks in life aren't less then others, not at all. I live my life and you live yours and each of us can feel burdened even though our issues may be different.

I think that our issues aren't made better or worse by comparing them to what other people are doing. The older I get the more I believe that just because someone else has bigger problems doesn't mean that you aren't validated in thinking yours are big. In fact, I feel like that is a very self destructive mentality (I know because I lived it for awhile). It only serves to force you to minimize to yourself the scope of your problems. I have said it before and I will say it until I die "it is what it is". Or, if it makes you sad or feel bad then it makes you sad, you don't have to measure it against anything else.

:-) Sorry Lisa, I am on a roll today.

P.S. At the risk of sounding like blog spam, Kate has a really funny blog about her co-workers. It was fun, as a stay at home mom who occasionally thinks she misses the working world, to read and remember what it is really like on the carreer side of things. :-)

Kelley H. said...

Just ONE. And I am 30. So there.

I guess that this just goes to show that old saying is true. You know the one...say it with me...,"Mormons can sure sing well, but they can't build a sewer system good enough to flush just ONE dog."

Hey don't blame me if you're offended by that statement...it's an old expression.

Emily said...

As a stranger living in Arizona, this post raises a lot of questions for me...not the least of which are 1)What was the development in the story about Provo and the Sewer Dog? and 2)Who is your famous brother?

Any details would be so appreciated!

wendysue said...

Lisa, I just read through your post again and I have to say, I love your Dad. And you have the unique ability to personify him!! I can just see him now in my head, "OH, he was AWFUL!" and "It's NEVER been this CLEAN!" :)

~j. said...

Lisa, I've only met your dad once, and I can see him saying it, too. Your parents are a trip. And I...I would like to buy them all a Coke.

wendysue said...

Oh Judy, I just did a search to find out what happened and found the provo newspaper website, I had to laugh that it's www.HARKTHEHERALD.com anyway, here's the article
http://www.harktheherald.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=63269

Poor, poor Teddy.

Kelley H. said...

OH WHY'D YOU HAVE TO GO AND POST THE NEWSPAPER ARTICLE!!?? Now I feel really bad about being so flippant. Poor pup. If Teddy comes and haunts my smart-alec-self, I’ll deserve it.

I guess it just goes to show that the old expression is true. You know the one…say it with me…
"It's all fun and games until someone really loses a dog down the drain." OR maybe the expression I was thinking of was, ”You can lead a smart-assed Episcopalian to a blog, but you can’t make him have any tact without having him a read a sad newspaper article first.”


Hey, if I’ve offend anyone with those statements, don’t blame me. They are old expressions. Might be in Proverbs.

lisa v. clark said...

Kelley, you and your old expressions are always welcome. Sometime we Mormons start bragging about our WIDE streets created by Brigham Young before cars, and the nice, easy to follow numbered (no crazy names for us!) streets in a nice little grid, and we forget that we can learn a thing or two about our, say, sewer systems. . . it's good to keep us humble.

My dad loves Coke and welcomes it in any form: diet, splenda, zero, cherry, or the best: "fully-loaded" (ie regular)

My brother is James Valentine, lead guitarist in Maroon5, or did you mean Dr. Chris Valentine of Draper, UT the Family Practioner who has a cool laser? Permanent hair removal anyone?

Kate said...

Wait, wait, wait. You mean to tell me that your brother is Chris Valentine?! No way! And I live in Draper UT!!

Okay, I'm kidding...

But permanent hair removal sounds fantastic, to never shave your legs again would be wonderful!

Emily said...

Thank you for satiating my curiosity. Do you get cool perks for having a rock star brother?

Ashley said...

OH Emily,
from someone who thought SHE had perks at Disneyland (a friend who performs there was supposed to meet us and get us in for free and never showed-cue the nausea as i fork over 400 bucks i never planned on spending)ask Lisa about the Clarks recent sojourn to Anaheim.

Anonymous said...

So Lisa, tell me about the Clarks' recent sojourn to Anaheim....

lisa v. clark said...

James is very nice to us, and so is their Auntie Pandy (sorry, but "Aunt Tinah" is the very best to my kids, if we're rating because she actually babysits which is what really counts in my world). They showed us a great time in Hollywood and Disneyland. James is a generous re-gifter (those incredible celebrity gift bags!) and "that Uncle" who always has a treat for the kids. But best of all, James and Pandy always have insider celebrity information that pleases me to no end. It's seriously my favorite thing.

Ashley said...

so...
did you like "Singles"?

lisa v. clark said...

Kraft? yes, most definately

Ashley said...

Liiisaaaaaaa....

Ashley said...

oh, and, have you been to my new blog?

christopher clark said...

This was Lisa's polite way of saying WE NEVER HAD TO STAND IN A SINGLE LINE AT DISNEYLAND!!! The Clark family just went ride to ride in the middle of June. AND WE GOT TO MEET ASIMO, THE ROBOT. So yeah, talk about perks!

Emily said...

My husband was really impressed that someone whose blog I read has a brother in Maroon5. His first comment: "Do you think they need me to write some songs for them?"

So, check on that for us and let me know.

Bek said...

Lisa,

Remind James that in our house he is Lisa's brother.......:-)

:-) Tell Amanda that I have a few tricks that every college educated receptionist should know...ie..websites/games that fight the mind numbing boredom and make you look busy at the same time...her blog doesn't take comments.

Reb