Davina Rhine, 30, lives in East Dallas with her family: Jason Leon, 27, a carpenter for Comunilux Productions and punk-rock musician, their son Corben, 5, and a feisty Mexican Chihuahua/German Pincher dog named Yoda. Davina works full-time as a Property & Causality Insurance Agent with Geico Insurance when she is not hiding dinosaur “bones” in the backyard for her budding paleontologist to dig up.
9am Wake up to the sound of the “kids” (Dad and son) happily playing in the next bedroom. I am sick and have been for several days now, but it’s getting worse instead of better. I will have to take it easy today.
9:15am Eat a bowl of mixed cereal, half granola and half fruit loops, while brewing a pot of vanilla biscotti medium-roast coffee. Jon, my brother-in-law and regular fixture around the house, needs to know how to get to the flight museum (he’s working there today) and, oddly, I know, so I give him the info.
9:25am Straighten up the house and pick up the toys, so I can have a clean area to work in. I get irritated at the sight of the unfinished laundry pile that Jason started and left in the kitchen.
9:30am Corben comes into the kitchen, smelling the air, huge smile on his face, and asks, “What smells so yummy?” He thinks it’s a cake. It’s navy beans boiling for dinner. He quickly flees. I add coarse sea salt, lemon and heavy butter to give it that improved grease-and- bacon flavor just like my mom used to do.
9:53-11:57am Nervously call Janis Martin, who I am interviewing for a book I’m writing called Rock ‘N’ Roll Renegade Mamas: Our Modern Day Amazons. I am relieved when the answering machine picks up. But then her husband gets the line and next thing I know I am on the phone with the “Original Queen of Rock ‘N’ Roll” aka “The Female Elvis.” I stammer out that I love her and play my upright to her music all the time. She quickly puts me at ease, and I regain my professional composure. The interview goes well, and I learn so much about the woman and icon I adore. As I hang up the phone, I notice a familiar smell of food burning in the kitchen. The beans.
11:57-12:21pm Call my friend Jenny to tell her about my interview with Janis, and we talk about her upcoming bridal shower and her birthday barbeque we hosted the previous Friday.
12:21-1pm Jason makes his case as to why I owe him a car stereo, since I got my purse lifted at Target last week, and his stereo face was in it. I tell him I don’t know if we can afford it right now, and we are not putting it on a credit card. I go check in on Corben and give him a big kiss. Jason fed him, played with him and kept him busy while I was doing my interview.
1-1:30pm I do the budget and pay all the bills. I am always trying to turn beans into gold or pennies into dollars. I have to make my check cover our dog Yoda’s vet visit, both Corben’s and my dentist appointments; plus pay regular bills and squeeze out a car stereo. Jason assures me he will give me the dentist money back out of his check. We debate how I am going to afford to go to see Morrissey and Jello Biafra now that all my money is gone. We need to do a better job of budgeting, planning and combining our money with commitment to a specific financial plan; otherwise we are going to have to draw clear lines of division.
1:30-1:45pm Got dressed for the day, although I hate getting out my pj’s on a Sunday. I make a quick lunch to go — a peppered tofuturkey sandwich and a feta and olive Greek salad. We leave for Albertson’s.
1:45-2pm Corben and I wait in the car while Jason runs in to get cash from the bank and to get Corben a turkey leg. I have already finished my lunch. Corben suddenly declares that he “wants to live for eternity.” I advise him it may get boring after a while, especially after you have exhausted all the possible experiences one can have on earth.
2pm We leave for Fry’s Electronics.
2:10-2:50pm Corben is still eating his lunch, and the weather is beautiful; the breeze cool and refreshing, so we decide to hang out in the car with the windows down and enjoy each other’s company while dad heads in to the store. We talk about upcoming plans, including our Thursday visit to the dentist, after which we’ll go see a movie. We debate between having lunch that day at the Golden Corral or an Italian Buffet.
2:50-3pm Corben tries to convince me to eat meat while munching on his turkey leg. He cloyingly asks, “Do you want some?” I reply, “No, I don’t eat meat.” (As I have done everyday since he was 4 and started asking … I have been a vegetarian for almost ten years.) He states dramatically that because I ate meat as a kid, I do eat meat. I clarify for him that I tried to become a vegetarian at age 12, but my mom gave me an ultimatum: Eat meat or starve. I explain that as an adult now, I provide my own food, and therefore make my own choices. Finally, Jason is back.
3-3:30pm We get back home, and Jason and I check out his new stereo. After he installs it, Dad and son are back off to a tickle play and video game marathon.
3:30-4pm While downloading Chuck Berry, I feed Yoda, fill his water bowl and water all the plants. I remind Jason that he said he would deep-clean the back porch today.
4:01pm An unexpected guest shows up! It’s Jaleel, our beloved friend and real estate agent.
4:02-5pm Do the dishes while we talk about everything from politics, war, capitalism, Oprah, Phoolan Devi, Amazons and so forth.
5-6pm Snack on rocky road ice cream and cookies at the table while we continue talking about the war. Corben tells us he wants to be a solider, and Jaleel and I advise him of the pros and cons. We discuss other ways he could help people, like joining peace corps or becoming a teacher, astronaut or even a real estate agent like Jaleel. He thinks it over and concludes that although he doesn’t want to hurt anyone, he still wants to be a solider. I told him that’s fine, but he has to finish college first. He said, “OK, Mom.”
6-7pm Back to tickling and playing ninja.
7-7:30pm Start dinner — the beans are salvageable. I add spicy tomatoes and top them off with mascarpone and cheese grits. I make Corben his beloved noodles, and he tries to sneak into the other room with them. Like a warden, I bust him and make him stay at the table. We repeat the cat and mouse game five times. Jason cleans the back porch.
7:30-8pm Check out Jaleel’s new car and say goodbye.
8:00-8:30pm Corben and I both take our showers, brush and floss. I kiss him goodnight, and he cuddles with dad.
8:40-8:52pm Jason and I discuss our pet peeves and commit to working on them. Mine is him not changing the toilet paper roll, and his is me not squeezing the toothpaste from the bottom.
8:52-10pm Check MySpace and take more meds and vitamins. I am dreading the beginning of the work and school week. I hope my sleep is deep and I wake up feeling healthy.
10pm Lights out.