Friday, May 25, 2007


If you have read the previous memoir post, then you know that my dad likes to create nicknames for everyone. Here are just a few:

Micaela: Metrangueline
Tracy and Ian: The Monkey Eaters, or The Hippies (Because only hippies go to Thailand.)
Heather: The Heater
Stephanie: Little Sister, or Little Poop
Mom: Kid

And now Randy has joined the ranks of those blessed with a nickname. And his is Tambour.

Now, Daddy's nicknames don't always make a ton of sense, but they always have meaning in some round-a-bout way. The logic is as follows:

Fact #1) Randy plays in a band.

Fact #2) (Dad ignores this fact and proceeds to fact #3) Randy plays the guitar.

Fact #3) Dad hears the word "band" and he immediately thinks of a random instrument that a band member would play, most likely an instrument that HE would most likely want to play, which in this case is the drums.

Fact #4) Tambour is how you say drum in Spanish/Latin/any Latinate language.

So, it makes perfect sense. Really.

Randy now has passed the first stage of blending into my family. He has master our family's version of the secret handshake.

Welcome to the "family," Tambour.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Bunny Killer

I was driving to work this morning, and I was being totally a good girl: no coffee or food in my hand, no cell phone attached to my ear, no fiddling with the radio. And what happens? A bunny leaps out in front of my car at ramming speed with an obvious death wish.

And I hit it.

It jumped in the air, flopped around a few times and the car behind me hit it: right in the grille.

I immediately started crying.

So, with tears streaming down my face, I go to work, and I am bothered with the fact that I killed an innocent animal. And I didn't eat it. (I usually don't mind if people kill animals as long as there is a purpose [read: food] and the animal doesn't suffer.) Well, this animal didn't suffer much, because the car behind me took care of that.

Randy's response was "You smell like dead bunnies." (Just watch it. It's worth it.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Memoir in Progress: "Boyfriends, or the lack Thereof"

It’s raining outside. I’m doing the dishes because Mom is tired. I’m a junior in high school, and I don’t want to be washing dishes, especially since we have a dishwasher. I want to be out fly-fishing with my boyfriend, Aaron. We like to go fishing right after a rain. I don’t really like fishing with him because he ignores me, but I go anyway.
Our kitchen window faces the road out front, so I can keep an eye out for Aaron. I am the first one to see him drive around the corner, but not the last.
Dad dumps his watered down Black Velvet in the sink, and the ice cubes clink down the drain. He glances up through the window when he hears tires crunching on gravel in the driveway.
“Here comes The Gypsy.”
“Daaaaaad! Will you not embarrass me? Please?”
“What? I not. He look like a homeless person.” He shrugs his shoulders and chuckles quietly to himself while Mom admonishes him: “Stephan.”
“What? That piece o’ crap he drives makes him look like gypsy.” He turns to face me. “Why don’t you take your car? You’ll be safer.”
“Dad. We can’t fit all the gear in my car. Besides I don’t want it to get dirty.”
“Dirty. Well, The Gypsy don’t have to worry about his truck getting dirty.”
A knock. A ring of the doorbell. I run to get it before Steph can. Steph has a crush on Aaron’s younger brother, Blake, and if she catches Aaron, then she will never leave him alone. I push past Aaron when he tries to come inside.
“Come on!” I say as he stands on the front porch. “The rain is letting up, and it’ll be perfect!”
He gets in the truck and starts the engine. “Aren’t you ever going to let me meet your parents? It’s been three months.”
“So? You don’t have to meet them. They’re normal. Nothing to meet. Let’s go.”
When Aaron drops me off at sunset, Dad is the first to interrogate me.
“How’s The Gypsy?”
“Dad, will you please stop calling him that?”
“What? He look like a gypsy!”
I sigh and storm off to my room.
The problem is that Dad has a nickname for everyone. Especially boyfriends. The Gypsy. The Cheesehead. Meathead. James the Chauffeur. Tattoo Tony. Mad Jack. Big Ben, as in the clock: “What time does Big Ben say it is?” which is Dad’s way of asking, “How’s Ben?” And these are just boyfriend names. My boyfriend’s names. Steph has another complete set.
Nicknames are the least of our worries, though. Steph and I have to fight daily for our right to date. Dating is something my father does not agree with because he once was a boy our age. He knows what goes on. But Steph and I supposedly don’t know anything about dating. Looking back, maybe we didn’t.
* * *
I’m a freshman in high school. I’m watching Roseanne and doing my homework. It is 8:00 exactly when the phone rings, and my sister and I both run to answer it, both fearful of waking Dad up. If he’s tired when he goes to work in the morning, he threatens to put in a pay phone. It’s just a threat, but Steph and I don’t want to come home from school one day and see a pay phone in front of the house.
So Steph answers the phone. “Hello?”
She pauses. Looks at me. Furrows her eyebrows, and says, “Yeah, just a sec.” She dangles the phone by the cord and taunts: “It’s for you. It’s a booooiiiiieeeeeee.”
I’m too surprised to be embarrassed. I think she’s teasing me. There’s no boy on the other end. Boys don’t call me. Boys don’t talk to me. They don’t know I exist.
“Hello?” I try to keep the disbelief out of my voice. I have cotton-mouth; my tongue sticks to roof of my mouth.
“Hi. Micaela? This is Neil.”
It is a boy. Dad’s going to kill me. Boys aren’t supposed to be calling me at home. Especially not at night! My eyes dart back and forth. What am I supposed to do? All I ever wanted is for a boy to call me, and now that one has, all I can think about is how to keep it from Dad.
The boy on the other end of the line notices my pause and says slowly, “Neil. Neil Webb.” I’m not even worried about who the guy is. I’m just worried about getting caught in a lie.
Neil was my first boyfriend. And Dad loved him. So did Mom. But not because of Neil’s personality, but because Dad worked with both of Neil’s parents, and, therefore, he was “a good kid.” No nickname for Neil. Unfortunately, he was my first boyfriend, so I didn’t know how lucky I was, and neither did he.
It’s springtime. Tennis season, and Neil is on the team, so of course, I try out. There are about 15 people at the try-outs and they need 20 people for the team, so I make it. Neil calls a few weeks later to see if I want to go practice. When I ask Dad, he says “NO.”
“But Dad, why? It’s daylight. And I need to practice if I am going to win my next match.”
“No. You don’t need to win. You need to get good grades.”
I try Mom. “Mom, please. I have to practice, and I hate the girls on the team, so I have to practice with a boy.”
“Ask your father.”
“But you just heard him say ‘No’.”
“Then I guess you’ll have to call Neil to tell him you can’t go.”
I am mortified. I’m a freshman in high school; my boyfriend is a junior, and I can’t even go play tennis with him. How much more 1930’s can I get? Tennis! It’s not a date!
But it is. And Dad knows it. I can’t admit it’s a date, or I’ll have to admit that I can’t go. But this is practice. It’s different.
This is the beginning of the end for Neil and I, but I keep playing tennis. I never win a match, and later I blame Dad for both the loss of my boyfriend and of my game.
* * *
I’m a senior. And now my sister’s a freshman. She’s the most popular girl in high school; more popular than I ever could imagine, and way more popular than a freshman has any right to be. I imagine saving her from being trash-canned and such, but she doesn’t need much protection. Everyone likes her. Especially the boys, and especially the boys in my class.
My bedroom is downstairs where it is nice and cool, and also a breeding ground for spiders and other insects. My window is exactly on ground level. I like to describe my room as half-way in, half-way out. If anyone were to sneak out of the house (or in), they would do it through my window. But not Steph’s gentleman callers.
Pink. Click. Plink.
I sit bolt upright in bed. I look at the clock. 12:05. I breathe through my mouth so I can hear what is going on outside. I hear voices.
“Shhh. You’ll wake her dad up.”
“Goddamn, I know. Shut up. You’re freaking me out.”
I hear the window above me slide open. “What the hell are you guys doing out there? You’ll wake up my dad.”
“Come on! Let’s go.”
“Where?” Steph actually sounds like she is considering going with these guys!
“Taco Bell.” I recognize the voice as Chad Gurney’s. I don’t know who his friend is. And the nearest Taco Bell is 35 miles away.
“Oh, shit.” I hear Dad upstairs moving around. Then another window slides open and I say a silent Thank You to God for making me unpopular and unworthy of going to Taco Bell.
Mom tries her hand at scaring the boys: “What are you boys doing?”
I hear a strange noise which turns out to be Dad, punching out the screen. Then, a scream, a “Dad! Don’t!” and an obscenity or two.
I hear running and the rattle of the chain link fence being jumped. Footsteps thump down the stairs and the front door slams open. The screen door slowly swishes shut, and a car engine starts. Tires screech down the dirt road to the side of the house.
“Micaela! Get your ass up here!”
Oh great. I didn’t do anything. I throw off the covers and head upstairs. “What?” I feign sleepiness, even though I am freaked out when I see the shotgun in Dad’s hand. But what freaks me out even more is that Dad was in his underwear. And Mom was in her ratty yellow bathrobe. I glance at Steph.
“Who was that?” Dad asks.
“Jesus, Dad. I don’t know. They were Steph’s friends, not mine.”
“Who were they, Stephanie?”
Steph’s freaked out, too. We knew Dad was touchy, but a gun? “I don’t know.”
“What did they want?”
“I don’t know.”
Steph finally looks at me. For all her popularity, we are on the same team here -- saving our lives and the lives of our friends.
“Go to your rooms.”
I go, thankfully, and as I try to go back to sleep, I hear Dad rummaging around in the closet. I never even knew he had a gun. Now at least I knew he had it in the closet.
The next day, we are famous. Everyone at school knows of the Malaxechebarria girls and their crazy dad. I am mortified; not because Dad had a gun and tried to kill Steph’s friends, but because he ran outside in his underwear.
Neil is considered a living God for having survived dating me. Boys who have crushes on Steph ask Neil for advice on getting on Dad’s good side.
No one asks us out for a long time.
* * *
But eventually, I got asked out on a date. A real date. One where the guy has a car and a job and he is going to pick me up. The first of its kind. I’m 24.
It’s a nice date. His car is nice, and we have a nice dinner. We talk at the restaurant too long and end up going to a late movie. I don’t come home until 3:00 am.
“So what are your parents going to say when they find out what time I’m bringing you home?”
“Nothing,” I shrug. “Look, this is the first time I’ve ever come home late without a good excuse. They’ll be pissed, but not at you. They’ll blame me.”
I look out the window toward my house. I see someone outside and the porch light is on. What the hell . . . ?
Then it hits me. Dad’s up. “Oh, shit. I’m in for it.”
John slows down. “What do you want me to do?” There is fear in his voice.
He has heard. Heard the stories. He’s friends with my parent’s best friends, and they told him what Dad’s like. He knows that Dad has a gun.
“Just pull in like a normal date. If they think you’re a nice guy, they won’t be pissed.” At you, I think.
John pulls in and I can tell he wants to kiss me, but he doesn’t want to in front of whomever might be watching out the kitchen window. I lean over and kiss him on the cheek. “Call me.”
“Ok,” he hesitantly says. “See ya later.”
“Yeah, thanks for the movie and dinner.”
“Bye.” He peels out of the driveway and heads home, while I head inside.
“Jesus Christ! The paper is here and you aren’t even home yet. I ask your mother, ‘Where is Micaela?’ and she don know! Where you been?”
“On a date, Dad.”
“What kind o’ boy brings you home at three in the morning?”
“Normal boys, Dad. God, I’m old enough to stay out past 10:00. Just because you go to sleep then, doesn’t mean everyone else does, too.”
“Ah, Christ. Go to bed.”
“I was planning on it.”
Mom puts her arm over my shoulders and walks with me downstairs to my room. “Did you have fun?”
“Yeah, we had a great time. He’s nice and funny. And he has a job.”
“Well, maybe you guys will go out again sometime. Good night. And don’t worry about your father.”
John never called me again. I’d like to think it was because he was afraid of Dad.
* * *

“You don need boyfrien’. Only boyfrien’ you need is your degree.”
I think, How can I raise a family without a husband? But instead I say, “Dad. A degree? Do I really have to listen to this story again?”
“Yes. When I was going to school when I was a little kid, my sister’s friend, Alicia, wanted a boyfrien'. She say she going to marry a tall, blonde, blue-eyed man. Then she go to medical school and not find boyfrien’. Karina, her mother, told her the only boyfrien’ she need is the one on top of her shoulders.”
“Her shoulders?”
“You know…. Her head? She smart, so that is her boyfrien’. Her doctor diploma. That is all you need, too. Now, Alicia is doctor!” Dad finishes the end of the story with a flourish and a wave of his hands. As if being a doctor will solve all of my problems.
“Dad, doctors have problems, too. They can get in accidents just like anyone else, and they have to deal with malpractice suits and stuff.”
“Yes, but they have money. And the only way you can get money is an education.”
“Dad. I know.”
I am not the only one who gets this lecture. Steph got it too. Which is why she married a doctor instead of becoming one. I don’t think that was on Dad’s agenda, but it doesn’t matter because at least now there is one doctor in the family.

A Vacation to Reno

What?, you say. Micaela, you live in Reno! Yes, yes I do. however, Randy and I decided it would be fun to have a few alcoholic libations and tour downtown Reno as if we were tourists on vacation.
I am surprised at how well this picture turned out, considering how many beverages I had consumed buy this point...

Anyway, we started out at the Nugget downtown, and looked in at the home of the Awful Awful. Too expensive and too much food! I wanted more of a snack. So the next casino is the Fitzgerald's, and Randy decided we should "Ride the Rainbow."

Riding the Rainbow consists of following a random trail of tube lighting embedded in the carpet inside the Fitzgerald's. Of course, we got distracted by a few things along the way, namely a lounge singer. I went to the bathroom, and when I came back, Randy was convinced he could do a better job than the man singing, and he showed everyone what a wonderful musician he was by singing with the lounge singer. Or more precisely, singing OVER the lounge singer. With his own made up words. People were staring. I didn't mind.

As we made our way up and over the train trench (aka the Rainbow), I slammed my arm into the railing near the escalator. I still have the bruise to prove damages to the Fitzgerald's in case I decide to sue.

We then headed over to Harrah's (I think). This is where it gets fuzzy, and once Randy reads this blog, he'll be sure to correct me on every detail. But I was intoxicated! Intoxication messes with the memory.

Eventually we ended up at the Cal-Neva where we had 2 tacos and 1 draft beer for $1.50 and 1 hot dog and 1 draft beer for $2.00! Can't beat that, I say! We had some money left over, so we decided to go play Simpsons' bowling in the arcade, where the machine was broken. And of course, by this time, I had to take some more pictures.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Memoir In Progress: An Explanation

OK, as many of you know, I have started work on my own memoir. (As a grad student, I took a memoir class, loved it, eventually made it my focus on my comps, and promptly dropped out of school and said a big ol' FUCK YOU to UNR.)

Anyhoo, I still want to finish my work on the memoir. I thought this might be a good forum for some of it, and since a lot of you have never read it, I thought this might be a good place for it.

Bear with me my nostalgia. I can't help it. I've been quite nostalgic lately. Steph has been too, which she chalks up to being pregnant. I cannot say the same for me, so what is my excuse? I have none.

I hope you enjoy the pieces from my memoir, and if you hate it, then I will sick my Daddy on you.

Subjecting You To My BAD Poetry

OK, so I was going through my poetry and I found this awful, horrible, poorly written poem. I have to share it.

All you ISU girls: This one is for you! (Oh, God, it is awful, but it brought back a ton of memories.)

Ode to the Parties We Have Visited Upon

Oh! The joy of Swany’s apartment,
Where we learned what the word “beer” meant.
Miller. Coors. Bud. The Beast.
We didn’t care, as long as it had yeast.

Oh! The joy of 5th Floor Garrison,
Where lived the car antennae of Harrison.
We had no care for the RA's;
Too bad the weekend didn’t last for days.

Oh! The wonders of the cabin.
For years we’ve wondered where it has been.
And the snow banks covered with pee,
Outside was the bathroom for me.

Oh! The joy of Center St. and Dudley’s,
Where we learned the importance of ID’s.
Beer flowed away with our money
While we tried to look for a honey.

Oh! Ode to the parties we have visited.
The bathrooms galore we peed in.
We will never forget the memories
Because they are too beautiful, like my homies.

(Oh, man, that is a painful, awful ending, but apparently it is all I had at the time. But doesn't it remind you of all the great times we had?? Harrison Ford's antennae! Who remembers that?)

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Kids are Random, and it is the Parent's Fault

So, I am driving down the street, heading over to Tracy & Ian's house, and I see something in the middle of the street. I peer through my windshield, trying to get a better look at what is moving frantically in the street. Someone in trouble? In need of help? No, it is three young boys, maybe 9 years old, pretending to jerk themselves off. In the middle of the street.

I wondered to myself: Should I just barrel on down the street as I normally would? Survival of the fittest? Obviously, the world won't miss these idiots making obscene gestures at me. And if the world does miss them, well, then world, we have a few things to discuss.

Seriously, people. When has it been OK to let your kids be obnoxious? I know, I know, we all did it when we were younger. I don't have kids. Blah, blah, blah. But I am seriously sick and tired of young people acting like they are complete and total idiots and NO ONE doing anything about it.

Now, in defense of these young idiots' parents, the parents were not present. Thank God. Because I would have pulled over and said something.

Not like the other day when Randy and I went miniature golfing. There were three (maybe four) adults and about 25 young children. We assumed they were all the adults' children, because they all looked the same -- really, we couldn't tell them apart. And apparently, neither could the parents because the kids were constantly being called "Boy," "You," "Girl," and "Buddy." (As in, "Hey! You! Get over heyah and help Buddy out with his golfin'.")

As we golfed -- OK, Randy golfed, I swung my club around in desperate attempts to hit the ball in the direction of the hole -- the kids were constantly being yelled at by the adults to do as they were told. And of course, Randy and I laughed because the parents were just as bad as the children. Literally, as the parents were yelling at the kids to be quiet, they were YELLING. It was hilarious. And yet, quite disheartening.

So, kids, go ahead. Play in the street. And pray to God Himself that I have had a good day, because I swear, if I am pissed off enough, I WILL run you down. And feel damn good about it, too. Go apologize to your parents for being total idiots.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Memes Are FUN!

1. Name a movie that you have seen more than 10 times.

Star Wars. I don't think I have ever seen a movie more than Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Ever.

2. Name a movie that you've seen multiple times in the theater.

Be Cool. Don't ask me why, but I did. Oh, and Pan's Labyrinth, which was a fabulous movie!

3. Name an actor that would make you more inclined to see a movie.

Well, Bono, but he is not an actor, so I will go with Matt Damon.

4. Name an actor that would make you less likely to see a movie.

Alan Cumming. He creeps me OUT!

5. Name a movie that you can and do quote from.
Star Wars. Indiana Jones: "Nice try, Laoche!" Nacho Libre: "I love it! It's fantastic!"

6. Name a movie musical that you know all of the lyrics to all of the songs.

I used to know all the words to Man of La Mancha because I was in the musical my senior year, but I'm pretty sure I have forgotten all the words now.

7. Name a movie that you have been known to sing along with.

Isn't this the same question as the one before?

8. Name a movie that you would recommend everyone see.
The Godfather.

9. Name a movie that you own.

I own a bunch of movies. I'll mention a few that I won't mention in this blog: Memento, Office Space, and Alien. That pretty much sums up my eclectic taste in movies.

10. Name an actor that launched his/her entertainment career in another medium but who has surprised you with his/her acting chops.

I can't think of anyone besides Marky Mark, so I am going to copy Tracy on this one, and choose him.

11. Have you ever seen a movie in a drive-in? If so, what?

No. Never. Always wanted to.

12. Ever made out in a movie?

Oh yes! It was some movie with Jack Nicholson that had the word "Wolf" in the title. Who knows? Who cares? But then I only started spending money on movies that I actually wanted to see, so now I don't. I'm too cheap.

13. Name a movie that you keep meaning to see but just haven't yet gotten around to.

The Color Purple.

14. Ever walked out of a movie?

Why oh WHY did I not walk out on Van Helsing? I walked out of A Prelude to a Kiss.

15. Name a movie that made you cry in the theater.

Seabiscuit. I love that damned horse.

16. Popcorn?

I only like the smell of popcorn. I hate the kernel stuck in my teeth.

17. How often do you go to the movies (as opposed to renting them or watching them at home)?

Heather and I used to go every Friday. But now, usually about twice a month.

18. What’s the last movie you saw in the theater?

The Grindhouse.

19. What’s your favorite/preferred genre of movie?

Action, Action, ACTION! Zombies, killings, death, destruction!

20. What’s the first movie you remember seeing in the theater?

ET. I cried like the little girl I was.

21. What movie do you wish you had never seen?

Did I already mention Van Helsing?

22. What is the weirdest movie you enjoyed?

Mean Girls. I thought I would hate it, but I actually liked it. And I like all sorts of movies, most of which people think are weird, so ...

23. What is the scariest movie you’ve seen?

The Ring. Nuff said.

24. What is the funniest movie you’ve seen?

Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Seriously, the rabbit gets me every time.