A photographic essay. Southern California. End of November. Big surf. Late afternoon.
We are officially at Tugboat Man Minus Two.
In other words, two more shopping days ’til I drive to the airport and pick up a man.
That’s funny, but it’s true.
I go from SASSY single girl to a coupled MARRIED woman at the whim of a flying machine.
Well, after a good amount of time ‘scaping and scraping and all that jazz.
Got a totes adorbs dress at the Banana Republic @Carlsbad Outlet today.
I’ll pair it with skinny jeans or black tights.
And those LOUBOUTINS I’m about to receive as soon as hub comes home and catches up on his lost sleep.
Sleep loss is a real health hazard of the professional mariner.
But enough about him.
Here’s why I deserve those scandalous, over-the-top, uber extravagant and gorgeous shoes.
Settle in, this is a good story, albeit a tad convoluted, but not if you follow my way of thinking about things. If you’re like me, you’ll soon nod your head in agreement.
Remember a few weeks ago I shared with you that hub got a new surfboard? Do you also recall how i was the ultra supportive wife who encouraged him to buy it (and that I figured it behooved me to be “all in” so that I could expect the same reaction when I suggested a trip to Chanel for that iconic pearl necklace?)
OK. That’s the first part.
What you don’t know is that after my 50+ year-old tugboat man acquired his new toy, there was a slight swell (that’s surfer talk), a bump in the surf — and he became OBSESSED with surfing. Surfing in the morning, surfing in the afternoon, surfing until the sun went down. Normally, I’m pretty cool with that — he loves to surf, he’s gone a lot — when he’s home, he deserves to follow his bliss, right?
Now it’s time for you to understand that I’m the type of person who thinks if I don’t hear from you, you’re dead.
A to Z, black and white, dead or alive. No gray area.
was am that way with my son, too. If he does’t call or text or email, I get so worried that I believe the WORST POSSIBLE THING HAS HAPPENED.
At any given time, I’m THAT close to calling the police, hospitals, FBI, State Department, and boarding a plane to wherever.
With my son, it’s not as if there isn’t some history…for example, one year he rode his bicycle alone from Carlsbad to Utah and had a pretty bad accident in Moab; more recently there was his life threatening illness and life-saving surgery — oh and let’s not forget that time he was riding his bicycle home from school at Johns Hopkins (where he received one of his two Masters) and a carjacking took place RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM and the car RAN HIM DOWN and mangled his bike. Luckily, he wasn’t hurt at all. LUCKILY.
AND that one occasion DIL and I were together while Angel Boy was hiking in some godforsaken remote location. I’ll never forget and neither will she…we were eating fish tacos at Rubios prior to her flight back home (she travels more than anyone I know) and we were waiting for a CALL from Angel Boy to let us know he was off the mountain. No call; she power called him until her fingers were sore, but it went straight to voicemail. Finally, she called one of the guys he was hiking with and we learned that the rest of the group had met up at the arranged time, but not our Angel Boy. In fact, the rest of the group was becoming worried and had contacted the rangers, and there was talk about forming a search party. Can you imagine how worried we were? We’re in the car, on the way to the airport, very upset as you can imagine, when he finally called. As thankful as we both were that he was OK and now I can’t really remember the reason for his delay, we were SO MAD AT HIM. And now it’s kinda ruined Rubios for us, because it brings us right back to that place of panic.
Now’s the time you should be nodding your head in agreement that there’s some justifiable basis for the way I am. RIGHT?
Back to my tugboat man. His job is a very dangerous one, no matter that he’s the captain and is inside the wheelhouse mostly driving the boat; it’s inherently rife with danger. At any moment, I could receive a call from the company with some bad news. AT ANY TIME. So much to worry about.
And surfing is dangerous too, right? My son’s childhood friend disappeared while surfing in Hawaii, and there are always horrible surfing accidents on the news that further support my crazy. In fact, a few years ago, through no fault of his own, hub was involved in a freak accident out in the water where he was stabbed in the lower calf by the tip of someone’s board – he drove himself home — I took one look at the injury, which was open all the way to the bone (MAJOR GROSS), and we made a trip to the ER where they sutured it.
End of story?
Nope, just the beginning. Suturing was a bad idea. The wound became horribly infected because of FILTHY OCEAN WATER; he had a fever of 105 degrees, contracted an antibiotic resistant staph infection, was in incredible pain, but LUCKILY recovered with no limbs lost — just a small divot in his calf and an ugly scar.
As you can see, I’m not ALL that crazy. Sorta cray, but not ALL the way cray.
OK, back to the present (literally). Hub’s been taking Spanish lessons when he’s home, I think mostly so that we can go to Costa Rica (to surf, duh).
Anyway, here’s where it gets hinky.
He loaded his new surfboard in the back of his truck, and said he’d MAYBE go surfing after the class was over.
Class was over at 6:00 p.m. No phone call. 6:15. No call. 6:30. No call. I started power calling his cell. No answer. 7:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
He NEVER doesn’t call.My almost-always-perfect hub UNDERSTANDS the importance of a two-second courtesy call or text.
On this particular day, one of the hottest in history, a call would have been especially nice if he had asked if I wanted to meet him at the beach to cool off and take pics or video of the big surf.
7:45 p.m. No call.
One by one the ingredients I had prepped for dinner were put away.
What ifs were peppering my brain.
What if he got hit with a board again? What if he cut himself on glass?
WHAT IF HE’S AN INCONSIDERATE JERK?
He rolled in a few minutes before 8:00 p.m., happy and hungry.
Me, not so much.
I proceeded to explain to him the thousands and thousands of ways he failed me as a loving husband by selfishly not caring enough to make that phone call. It’s worse ‘cos he KNOWS how crazy I get. He said he was sorry, that he thought I understood he was planning to surf…blah, blah, blah.
I tossed a couple lettuce leaves in his direction, telling him to enjoy his dinner, while I flounced off to not speak to him for the rest of his life.
The next morning I went to the gym while he went surfing AGAIN.
When I got home and pulled into the garage, there was a handwritten huge banner staring at me; “I’m very, very, very SORRY, how can I make it up to you?”
Louboutins, my friends.
And don’t EVER do that again. ‘Cos I’m crazy,
But it’s not EXACTLY what you think.
It’s not THAT kind of performance anxiety.
I tricked you and I know it’s not nice to do, but, well, I have no excuse.
I felt like it.
He’s always in a great mood when he can surf or ride his stand-up paddle boards.
When he was around eight years old, he lived in Kauai and was friendly with Elizabeth Taylor‘s nephew — always disappointed that he never caught of glimpse of her. He also went to elementary school with Laird Hamilton — that very famous surfer.
My tugboat man has saltwater in his blood.
On Saturday, he told me to get ready to go to the beach and bring my camera so I could shoot vid of him shredding and getting barreled and tubed and mastering the wild surf.
Even a few seashells, but nothing like Florida. Cute shorebirds.
A a proud and loyal wife, I planted myself on the sand with my Canon Rebel T3i zooming in on my tugboat man.
I didn’t want to miss a single wave.
Off he goes!
Nice boat – there’s my tugboat man, ready to shred!
I don’t have a tripod (note to self to get one) and my arms were soo tired.
I gave up, sat down, and read a book.
When my tugboat man finally came out of the water, he just couldn’t understand what happened.
He’s a really good surfer and had been catching TONS of waves — UNTIL I got there.
Not a single wave. Not ONE.
See, performance anxiety, right?
Just not the kind you were thinking of.
Update: To prove he wasn’t suffering from any long term surfing decline, he went back out without me for an “evening glass off session” (surfing terminology) and returned having caught at least a dozen waves.
I think I jinxed him. Oops.
P.S. In case you were wondering, I got hub’s permission before writing a post about this delicate subject matter. I would never want to embarrass him in a public forum. Privately? Well, that’s a different matter entirely! LOL
I had high hopes of a RAD surf vid starring ME — hanging ten, claiming a gnarly barrel — something more exciting than always being my tugboat man’s Surf Bunny sitting on the beach taking pix and video of HIM.
I’m not sure why I thought that my third-time-only on a surfboard would miraculously “Matrix”-me the ability to stand up on a moving board of fiberglass — I guess it’s ‘cos my tugboat man, my son, and my DIL all make it seem so easy, so effortless.
You paddle out, you turn the board around, jump up, and ride the wild surf.
Easy, right? Wrong. Not easy.
I was a naive sixteen-year-old the first time I thought I could channel Gidget. My high school boyfriend handed me his board and said, “Go for it!”
Bikini-clad (string bikini), I walked the surfboard out from the shore. I was up to my knees in foamy white water when the first wave hit my board, causing it to fly up and hit me in the mouth, splitting open my lip. I turned around, walked out of the water, threw the board down, and spent the rest of the day icing my fat lip. Total surf time: less than two minutes.
Fast forward thirty-plus years…my second try at surfing wasn’t much of a success, either. My tugboat man took me out in the water and stood right next to me holding down his 9’6″ Bear longboard so the tip wouldn’t fly up and cause a repeat injury.
As a fresh wave was forming, he turned me around, promised NOT to let go, but guess what? The force of the wave pushed me away from him too fast and he couldn’t hold on.
HE LET GO. Oops.
The last thing I remember was hearing, “Don’t let go and damage my board!”
The nose of the board pearled, which means the tip of the board went underwater, I went underwater, the board rolled over, I rolled over, the board was on top of me, I hit the ocean floor with the force of one thousand Gidgets and was dragged for a time over big rocks and small rocks.
Thump, thump, thump. NOT a graceful sight.
I finally resurfaced on the shore like a beached whale, still gripping that stupid Buick-sized longboard. With bits of seaweed clinging to my hair and my bathing suit bottom mostly OFF, with sand in my mouth, my ears, my nose — everywhere that COULD be filled with sand WAS filled with sand.
I stood up, shook the water out of my eyes and looked around for that damn tugboat man. He was still in the water behind me, running to me as fast as he could — in slow motion — his mouth agape, trying to not laugh, and then he said, “Do you have any idea how fast you were going?”
I squinted at him, spit out a mouthful of ocean, and marched my microdermabraded body back to our towels, studiously avoiding eye contact with dozens of spectators lining the shore.
As he recovered his precious and undamaged board and took it out for a successful surf sesh, I was occupied by watching the blooming of bruises from my hips to my ankles. I was a mass of purple and black and blue. Total surf time: less than two minutes.
You would think that I’d never want to recreate that humiliating scene again, and you’d be right. Well, sort of. For ten years, I refused to enter the ocean at ALL, but a couple days ago, I decided to face my fear AGAIN and give it a try.
I thought it would be different this time but I was clearly not thinking straight.
This vintage poster adorns our bedroom — maybe it’s been subliminally infiltrating my subconscious — embuing me with a foolish and misguided perception of my surfing ability. The truth? I possess NO water skills. I’m not a very good swimmer — I don’t like to put my head in the water.
What. Ever. Here I am at our Carlsbad beach. It’s a lovely, lovely day.
I should have quit while I was ahead, that’s all I can say.
Notice the pretty aqua board to my right? A 9’6″ Ernie Higgins.
Time to surf! I took off my earrings, changed into another bikini top, and pulled on hub’s extra spring suit. The water temp’s about 72-ish, but way too cold for me.
What a vision, huh?
It was a rerun of my previous venture to emulate the life of a wahine.
Hub stands next to me holding the board. Hub says, “Do you want to take this wave?” and pushes me forward. I fall off the board IMMEDIATELY and exfoliate all exposed body parts as I’m dragged back to shore.
Once again, I spit out a gallon or two of sandy seawater and hobble back to our towels. Total surf time: less than two minutes.
I give up, I took out my beach read and my camera to snap pics of hub heading out to show me how it should be done.
Yes, he wears a surf hat. Don’t laugh.
Not every attempt is a success, but it wasn’t exactly a failure either, because I overcame my fears and gave it a try. Will I do it again?
Maybe. ‘Cos you miss all the waves you don’t try, right?
…is not very imposing.
COVER YOUR EYES NOW. COVER YOUR EYES NOW!
(Sorry in advance if this is gross.)
Today I was scarred for life.
I cannot UNsee what I have seen.
The disturbing and appalling vision is still imprinted on my brain. I’m trying to blur it, to drown it, in Craftwork chardonnay, but it’s not WORKING. Get it? CraftWORK, WORKING.
Forgive me, I am traumatized. Wholly and completely.
Right in my face.
It was a flippin’ and a floppin’ every which-a-way. It really was.
It flipped up. It flipped down. Up and down. It flopped. To the left. To the right. And if my eyes did not deceive me, there was some diagonal flipflopping action as well.
Everthing was moving in different diretions. All at once. In the blink of an eye.
All by itself, it was doing the “Hokey Pokey” and turning itself around.
A VERY indecent exposure.
Let me disclaim here and now: I am the mother of a male. I am the daughter of a nurse. I’ve seen my fair share…
I say all that to explain that I am not UNfamiliar with male anatomy. And yes, I’m married too, so this is not virgin territory. I AM a bit naive about a lot of things, I’ll admit that. No problem. I’ve never seen porn, not EVER, and don’t really ever want to. I’m the lover of Hello Kitty, remember? Kitties, puppies, butterflies — that’s what’s floating around in my head at any given time.
THIS was a seminal event in my life.
My tugboat man and I were running around doing errands preparatory to leaving for our Yellowstone journey. We had to go to REI and Target and a few other places. Our day ended quite literally at the beach. We stopped to get a much-deserved shave ice at our favorite place, JR’s Shave Ice in Oceanside.
As we headed south towards Carlsbad, hub wanted to stop at the beach to look at the waves (not very good btw) for a potential evening glass-off sesh. We pulled in behind a black truck. (Important story point.)
It was starting to get a little chilly so I sat in the car while he walked over to the cliff to check out the surf at Terramar.
It all happened so fast.
In the blink of an eye.
A surfer, obviously done for the day, was the owner of that black truck in front of us. He put his surfboard in the truckbed and proceeded to peel off his wetsuit.
COVER YOUR EYES NOW. COVER YOUR EYES NOW!
If only someone had yelled that at me, I would be writing about something else, not attempting to purge this horrendous vision from my soul.
He appeared to be in his mid-to-late forties and weighed 350 pounds or so, if my calculations are correct. The towel he wrapped around his waist was NOT large enough to completely cover his girth and…and his male reproductive parts.
There was a gap in the meeting of the towel.
A triangular gap that exposed private things. Can you picture that?
I was NOT looking, not actively, but it was in my field of vision; the periphery.
Hub started to walk back from the precipice of the cliff. He’s coming to me — he’s my savior — he’ll take care of this I know, and prevent me from seeing what no one should see.
The wetsuit is peeled all the way down his Orson Welles-ian gigantic stomach and then…
And then — because he’s too obese to bend down and pull it all the way off –HE KICKS the wetsuit OFF HIS FEET onto the sidewalk
At that moment, that precise moment that I was telepathically beseeching my tugboat man to save me, the wetsuit was kicked, the obese man gave a little hop as he stumbled just a bit, unable to balance with all that extra weight (he really needs some yoga training)…
The towel opened wide, and that’s when I couldn’t help but be exposed to all that…
flipping and flopping of his (unimpressive) out-of-control rudder. (I’m reminded of that Seinfeld episode where they’re all at the seaside and George is the victim of the cold, cruel ocean and what effect it has on…things. You know the one I’m talking about, right?)
A penis in repose is not a good look for anyone.
Not even Ryan Gosling (OK maybe him).
There’s something of a nightmarish quality in seeing oftentimes proud, standing at attention, and imposing genitalia in all of its glory — reduced to its sad and listless self.
That’s my opinion. On a serious note, what if, instead of it being me, it was a child who saw that? I think surfers who change in public in full view of everyone need to be more circumspect.
We drove away, hub apologizing over and over on behalf of all men everywhere,
“You shouldn’t have had to see that. I know, I know. You poor dear. It must have been so terrible for you.”
Here’s my public service announcement to all surfers who change in public:
P.S. Here’s a cover-up that completely solves this problem. It’s a great investment.
What is marriage all about? Based upon my personal research, experimentation, and analysis, I have the answers to your questions.
This is for all you young’uns who’re on the cusp of searching for a mate or for the older and hopefully wiser female who perhaps wants to dip a toe back into the dating pond.
Do you want a life partner with whom to share your laughs, your tears, your bout with intestinal flu, your pillow and cat-laden bed, and to assist in the breeding of your offspring?
What’s the secret to my long lasting (twenty-two years together, nineteen married) relationship?
The secret is…COMPROMISE.
Not really. I’m only messing with your head.
What works around here is torture and retaliation.
That’s it. Simple. Torture and retaliation.
It works like magic.
Case in point: My tugboat man goes out to sea for quite a while-usually two months or so at at time. When he returns, all he can think about (other than THAT) is surfing. Yes, he’s a big old surfer baby. Right now there are big winter waves pounding our coast.
This is not my captain because he’s not a dick dragger. That is NOT my term. I didn’t think of it but I wish I had. It’s what the young folks call a boogie boarder. Very descriptive, right? Think about it…
A couple days ago he left at 5:30 a.m. to surf in La Jolla. In case you’re a surfer yourself, waves were mostly six feet with an occasional eight foot set. I was just about on my last nerve with this surf obsesh, so I blocked the driveway with sawhorses and trash cans so he couldn’t pull in the driveway. Hee hee.He had to get out of his truck, move the obstacles, and then pull in.
After that, I used my wiles to torture him into building four more shelves for my lovely collection of shells and rocks.
And that brings us to today. Sunday. I guess the honeymoon’s over.
I was out in the garage chatting up the hubs about tonight’s dinner menu: freshly baked French bread, Caesar salad with my signature dressing, and thought I’d make some Frico at the same time that I make the croutons. I asked him:
“Have you ever had Frico? Do you know what it is?”
“Yeah, I know what a Frico is, I’m married to one.”
How RUDE. HOW RUDE!
I was being the best wife ever; I brought him lunch on a tray while he was working on restoring his rowboat and building yet another shelf (I love shelves, OK?) and THIS is the attitude I have to deal with!? After I brought him a wheatgrass smoothie, fresh pear cut in half and filled with nonfat cottage cheese dusted with cinnamon–and to make it extra-special, a smiley face out of fresh blueberries–he retaliates with a comment like that? Oh, he’ll pay all right, oh yes he will. We’ll see who’s FREAKY when he takes me to South Coast Plaza tomorrow. We’ll test the limits of his stamina and endurance throughout the huge shopping center. We’ll whet our whistle at one end with Bloomingdales as we march determinedly toward my personal holy grail, (do you hear the trumpets sounding?) as we round the corner to….Chanel–Chanel, the holder of my bliss.
Torture and retaliation-the stuff of which great marriages are made.
Frico, not Freako
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Using largest holes on a 4-sided grater, coarsely shred enough cheese to measure 1 cup. Line a large baking sheet with nonstick liner. Stir together cheese, flour, and pepper. Arrange tablespoons of cheese 4 inches apart on liner, stirring cheese in bowl between tablespoons to keep flour evenly distributed. Flatten each mound slightly with a metal spatula to form a 3-inch round.Bake frico in middle of oven until golden, about 10 minutes. Cool 2 minutes on sheet on a rack, then carefully transfer each crisp (they are very delicate) with metal spatula to rack to cool completely.
While DIL and captain were surfing the smallish waves in SoCal, my son, known around here as “Angel Boy”, surfed the hurricane generated waves in Rhode Island. You can take the SoCal boy out of SoCal but the surfer remains! They’ll find waves wherever they are.