Sunday, May 16, 2010

Annie Get Your Gun

Preamble: I am breaking two codes of blogging conduct. First, I am using real names here, because what better title for a cop named Annie, than Annie get your Gun? Second, I am going to be using some profanity to describe Annie. It’s the only way. You’ll see. I offer no apology.

I met Annie the Cop five years ago. It was love at first sight. During our initial meeting, she fed me copious amounts of red wine and told me about her “beat”. She’s a motorcycle cop in the bay area and has come across some of the meanest snakes around. But when they are confronted by Annie, they turn into crying little whistleblowers – mushy puddles of oatmeal ready to rat out their bosses. She scoffs, “Haven’t these turds ever seen The Band of Brothers?”

Annie and her husband, we will call him the Half Salvadorian have a cabin near ours in the foothills of Gold Country. Pants and the Half Salvadorian work together, although Pants isn’t a cop, he does the easy part – he speaks for them at the Capitol. We spend weekends with Annie and the Half Salvadorian up in the mountains letting the stresses of the week be diluted by the wine we drink. This is where I lean in towards Annie, both arms propping up my chin, hanging on every word. I even try to impress her with my tough girl ways. “I hit a guy in the head with a plastic bag carrying my gym shoes in seventh grade because he wouldn’t let me in the band room.” Annie acts impressed but I know she’s not. She has flattened men who have done worse with just one look. And we both know I don’t have nearly the cajones to do what she does. Although I talk a good game.

Annie the Cop is a badass. She’s got guns for arms and under the smile, she has a side winder stink-eye glance that could make any gang banger run for his mama. She also rides mountain bikes, and even though it’s my favorite sport, I am reluctant to join her knowing that I will not only be eating her dust, but trying to follow the bread crumbs back to the car.

One recent night, Annie shared that she had done several stints as an undercover. I pelted her with questions, teenage-girl-style.

“Tell me about your sting operation.”
“Did you have to pull your gun?”
“How did you not crack a smile?”
“Were you scared?”
“Did you have backup?”
“Did you catch the guys?”
“Were you wired?”
“Were you scared?”

Annie the Cop answered me pointedly: “I was a bit scared. I was busting up a drug-prostitution-bad-boy ring. If I cracked, I was likely dead. Yes, I had backup. Yes, I was wired. Yes, we caught the guys. And yes, I was a little scared. But the worst part about it was the high heels I had to wear. I don’t know how you do it.” She stared down at my feet, as my bread loaves stuffed in party hats throbbed for some relief. I slipped off my four inchers when Annie wasn't looking. Suddenly, those CFM shoes just didn't seem as cool in Annie's presence.

I began thinking about how scared I would be if I were undercover like Annie the Cop. I would probably need to wear a pair of Depends, along with a bullet proof vest, just to drown out the sound of my Tommie Lee drum beating heart. Oh, and truck loads of deodorant for my underarms, my knees, the inside of my thighs. (yeah, pathetic, I know). Ear plugs for the ringing, baby powder for the palm sweats, a hair brush for the massive follicle failure, a psychiatrist for the drugs to help me cope, a dog because I hear those are good for post pardom. In fact, it would be less money and heartache to keep those perps in working rotation instead of having someone like me do what Annie does.

Annie the Cop is rather tolerant of my obsessive curiosity into her profession. But it’s not just “being a cop” that fascinates me. It’s the fact that Annie is a cop. Imagine a woman who doesn’t take shit from anyone. Add a beautiful bod (sorry, but true) face, an infectious laugh, an inspiring marriage with the Half Salvadorian ball and chain, and a personality that almost forces you to try to impress her. And there you have what I call a fascination. Is that inappropriate? If so, I don’t care, because it’s true.

I consider Annie the Cop my friend. I have a goal to get to know her better – I hope she doesn’t think that’s too weird knowing that my mission is purely selfish. I like hearing about how she’s roughed up some a-hole who shoved his fist into his wife’s abdomen. I also like the fact that she packs heat. This somehow adds to her mystic.

I have never asked her if she has been packin’ during our weekend de-stressers when we are shootin’ the shit.. no pun intended. But maybe the next step in our relationship will be for me to ask her if I can see her gun and maybe touch it. I assume that my request is against some police protocol, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

And can you imagine if she obliges, what that will do to my street cred? I can actually go around to my pansy ass non-cop friends and tell them, “hey bitches, I got to touch Annie’s gun.”

Monday, May 10, 2010

An Equitable Trade

Several months ago I received a letter from the State Controller’s Office who informed me that I have some type of unclaimed property in his possession and that I should do what I can to claim it. I thought this letter had something to do with my request to interview Mr. Controller for a magazine for which I am a guest writer. So I thought it was odd that the letter was sent to my home instead of my work. Quick flashes of needing to find another interview subject smattered my psyche’s to do list and I was instantly in a foul mood. Alas, as I opened the letter, I quickly determined that I was wrong…

Oh, looky here. What could this type of property be? A pony that my grandfather left for me before he died? An ocean side bungalow that was left for me by an admiring aunt I didn’t know existed? Not knowing how to really read official documents from the Government had my head spinning with possibilities. I folded the letter up and took it to work… where I forgot about it… for two months.

I decided to clean out my car about a month ago after my son had thrown goldfish at my head while I was driving. As I took the industrial vacuum at the car wash to floorboards where pennies, dirt, goldfish and paper were abundant, I noticed that the vacuum had snagged on a letter that had gotten lodged in between my seat and the console. It took a bit of force to pull that piece of paper out of the sucking force of the hose, but I did it. And I unfolded the letter. What’s this? It was stained with red wine (how did that happen in the car?) and was frayed at the edges. I wasn’t sure what this document was as I had forgotten the excitement it originally conjured up inside of me. Oh, right. I have a pony waiting for me. I have to remember to call this number on the letter. I wrote down a reminder on the letter and stuffed it back in between my seat and console.

Another month went by. This time, I had pulled over to the side of the road during a long road trip, attempting to appease my son as he lost a ping pong ball he was throwing at my head as I drove. The ball had managed to roll under my seat, and being the responsive (and guilty) mom that I am, I retrieved it so he could resume hitting me in the head as we drove down highway 4. Alas, that same stained Controller letter was under my seat. Same wine stain, same frayed edges, but this time it had dirt, juice and footprint stains to accompany everything else I put this letter through.

Ah yes, my pony. I read the reminder that I had written on the top right of the letter: CALL THIS GUY. And decided that I should probably put it in my purse because I take my purse everywhere, well everywhere if I am wearing a matching outfit. It not, the purse stays in the car. (Maybe that’s why my car has been broken in to four times in the past year. I need to match my outfits with my purse more regularly). Anyway, the purse, and letter, eventually made it to my office. That was a week ago. And since today was the day I had to find that business card of the guy I talked to a month ago about some work stuff, I cleaned out my purse, looking for that guy’s contact info. And as luck would have it, I found the Controller letter again.

Ah yes, my pony. I picked up the phone and dialed the barely legible number. It took me three tries. (Is that an 8 or a 6? Could be a 3.)

I was greeted by an automated message: If you are calling about unclaimed property, please include the letter that the Controller sent you in an email to blah blah blah at blah blah dot com. I had to call back to get the email right at least twice.

I put the letter in my inbox with a note: SCAN THIS DOC. Granted, my inbox is pretty sky high these days. Which reminds me, I have to review a couple of things for work before I get to scanning the Controller’s document, which I will eventually..

But I have been thinking about a different approach. Maybe I will write Mr. Controller a letter instead of going through all the trouble of getting my pony. Maybe I will conduct a little quid pro quo to save me time and him some effort and money in coming up with gifts for friends and family. Maybe my letter will read something like this:

Dear State Controller:
I received your letter on November 3, 2009 regarding some of my unclaimed property. Tell you what, you let me interview you for my magazine and I’ll let you keep the pony. Think about it: the pony would be a rockstar gift to a young son or daughter at Christmas. I imagine that you aren’t spending a lot of time at home with the fam due to your very demanding schedule. This is an ideal way to raise your approval rating with the brood. P.S. I will even include pictures of the pony in the interview piece.
I’m willing to talk.
-The Brown Knows.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Attack of the Clippers

I have some deficiencies when it comes to mothering. I fully admit this having “mothered” two step kids, albeit on a part time basis, and now my own bio child for almost two and a half years, also on a part time basis. Thank God for Nena, caregiver-God Mother extraordinaire. If it weren’t for her guidance, oversight and hand holding, my kid, Yack would be facing some serious therapy in his later years. That’s not to say he still may face life long challenges, considering the fact that I have full responsibility for him in the morning, evening, and weekends. There’s a lot of damage I can do within that limited time frame, and unfortunately, I have exhibited some bad parenting choices well beyond my allotted amount.

Take last Wednesday for example. It was just Yack and Mom for a night that included a dinner consisting of chickenless chicken nuggets, and alligator juice (this is a “pet” term for what I call the pea green vegetable juice – the only legitimate way to get those vitamins in his system). After dinner, we played hide and seek, indoor basketball and air guitar to his favorite song, La Bamba (that didn’t come from me). Pants was away at work on this particular evening and wasn’t going to get home until after Yack went to bed. I was left alone unsupervised with my boy. Some may look at this as eminent danger. I call it bonding.

Up to last Wednesday, Pants and I have made a concerted effort to cut back on frivolous expenses due to the economy being what it is. I now house keep, dog walk, pet groom and garden – chores I would rather pay someone else to do. Alas, this new found frugality has become a small obsession of mine with a few exceptions – organic food, cool art, and my kids’ “immediate needs”. For my step daughter this includes walking around money at Chico State, and for my step son, this includes tuxedo rentals for prom. And up to this point, this also included professional haircuts for Yack.

I had planned on taking Yack in to get a professional trim on that Friday, which would put me back around 25 bucks. This includes tip. This also includes a resentment I have for these strip mall shops that cater to kids with candy, and cartoons during the cut while these kids sit in seats that are made to look like cars or horses or if you’re really lucky a bucking bull. Granted, Yack’s crying is at a minimum as the Wiggles dance before him, but 25 bucks? I would rather pocket the money and take clippers to my kid’s head. In fact, that’s exactly what I did.

It was about 7:30 p.m. and bath time. Yack was getting undressed with my assistance, and his bangs were flopping in his face. I thought about two things as I brushed the mop out of his eyes. One, I can’t wait until Friday to take him in and two, there’s no way I am going to part with 25 bucks to minimize his whimpers. Pants would certainly applaud me for my cost cutting measures. Besides, I had seen Pants cut Yack’s hair on one other occasion with those easy to use clippers. How hard could this be, really?

I ran downstairs – Yack was in a diaper playing in his room totally oblivious to my little one time experiment. I grabbed the clipper box and whizzed back upstairs, singing, “Oh Yack, mommy is going to cut your hair. Do you want a jelly bean?” Candy is the perfect bribe to get kids to do just about everything – something I vowed never to do as a mother. I realized in short order that I am no good at reasoning with a two year old. He wins without the jelly beans. Every time.

He danced into the bathroom ready to be clipped and sat still on the toilet seat. I could go on to describe how he wouldn’t sit still, prohibiting me from keeping a straight edge, but that would be a lie.

Yack sat motionless as I fumbled around the clipper box. There were many different parts which confused me greatly. I didn’t want to waste my time trying to figure out what part went on the thingy that plugged into the wall. So, I picked up the “unguarded” clippers and went for the bangs. I have since learned what a clipper guard is, thanks to my irate husband after seeing the aftermath of my accident.

And yes, it was clearly an accident, which as one can tell by looking at him, that I stopped when I realized what I had done. I giggled in laughter after I butchered my poor son’s head. Nervous laughter. Laughter that royally ticked off Pants. “How could you do this to Yack? How could you think this is funny?” Well, dear husband, I don’t think it’s funny. I think I am an idiot who needs a quick lesson in clipper operation. No, wait. Forget that. I will never get near my son’s head with clippers in my hand, so no need to learn. I will freely pay the 25 smacks next time.

Some have asked why I don’t just take Yack in and shave off his entire head of hair. There are a couple of reasons why I have resisted, none of which have to do with money. First off, the “shave” is too close, as if one were shaving her (or his) legs. Because I did not have a guard on the clippers, the strip on the top of his head is like a baby’s bottom. He would be completely bald if I were to have his entire head shaved to match. And lastly, and most significantly, the comb over that he is sporting right now just might be the new fashion trend that puts Yack on the map in terms of cool. Mark my words.