Kate and James Wulfgar

Thursday May 3. 2001


The sofa bed in the living room at our house in Lebanon has to be the most wonderful thing in the world. It is so comfortable. There's a little rise and dip in the mattress that fits the small of my back perfectly. There's also air conditioning, which makes it easier for me to fall asleep. I've discovered recently that I can't sleep very well when it's hot. My bedroom in my apartment is usually boiling, so lately I've taken to sleeping on the couch, the window open, the sounds of the cars on Washington Lane and the muffled sounds of the tv to lull me to sleep. But this isn't a problem at my parents' house - they keep it freezing cold, so even snuggled under several blankets I was still shivering.

I'd forgotten what having cable and a tv larger than 13 inches was like. Late into the night, I surfed the 80 channels, marveling at the selection and variety. I finally came upon one of the HBOs, and it had on a movie called But I'm a Cheerleader. I spent a good half hour trying to determine if it was a legit movie or that late night soft-core porn that HBO is infamous for. I looked it up in the IMDB the next morning, and sure enough, it was.

The premise was pretty surreal, made all the more so by the late hour and the fact that I was half asleep. A girls' parents suspect she's gay because she has a Melissa Etheridge poster on her wall and doesn't like to kiss her slimy jock boyfriend. So they send her off to a camp called "New Directions" to make her "ungay". There the girls must dress in pink and boys in blue, and must practice doing gender specific tasks - scrubbing the floors for the girls, chopping wood for the boys. The ironic part of the film is that all this supression of her lesbian tendencies leads her to fall in love with a girl in the camp. The social commentary in the movie was delivered with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, but still, it was funny and rather bizarre.

Oh, and it featured RuPaul. As a man. That alone is enough to make me want to see it again.

By the time I was awake and moving this morning, my parents were gone for the day. I found a list of tasks on the kitchen table in my mother's handwriting, just like when I was in high school. I started right in on it. I had brought home tons of laundry, and it was a pleasure to do it in the skylighted laundry room after so many days of the drab laundromat in Philadelphia.

The day was hot and buggy. Bessie needed to washed, both inside and out. I unloaded all the crap that was shoved in her trunk and backseat - wood, bags of clay, a mitre box, hammer, saw and various other implements. I swept and cleaned and shined and finally confirmed that the oil paint on the back seat would probably never come out. I found at least two dollars in change and an old license plate under the passenger side front seat.

I also tried to play doctor to my family's much abused computer. It's a Compaq, much like mine, but just FUBAR. My sister insists on downloading all sorts of crap from the internet, which of course she never scans for viruses and they cause all sorts of arcane errors that I have no idea how to fix. They bought some sort of diagnostic software to correct the problems, but it's done nothing but cause more problems. The only solution I can think of at this point is back up all their stuff, erase the hard drive and start from scratch. My mom said their next computer is definitely going to be a Mac. I'm not sure I blame her.

So tonight I finally got to meet little James Wulfgar, the 4 month old son of Kate and Greg, two of my parents' friends. Kate and Greg are great fun, because they're both actors. Greg's into fencing and stage combat (which is how he and my Dad met) and both he and Kate work as directors at the PA Renaissance Faire. James' middle name I think was Greg's doing (I believe Wulfgar is a character from Beowulf). Their cat is also named Wulfgar, but they forunately call the baby by his first name, otherwise there would have been much confusion.

Anyway, the baby was adorable, Kate was adorable and I was completely struck by my lack of knowledge in taking care of these small helpless creatures. I pressed little James to my chest, inhaling his sweet baby smell. I couldn't help but kiss his little velvety head. I love babies, as long as I can give them back.

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"I could have sworn that Van Gogh's The Starry Night was expressionism, not post-impressionism. Dammit."