Profiles In Divorce, Episode III: Going To A Town That Has Already Been Burnt Down
The somewhat disappointing part three, in which little marital drama occurs. The calm before the storm, I guess. In this chapter, we move for the third time in two years, and I embrace the stay-at-home dad role.
- •Moving from Los Angeles to Sierra Madre, a "small town" near Pasadena, proves to be difficult, and not just because it had recently burnt down.Since Sam was born, we had been living in the (spacious) back house of an Indian couple who were always one burnt anything away from a murder-suicide. Once Victoria got a full-time gig on Grey's, she decided that she hated LA and sought a more small town feel. Despite the fact that I was available at home, she took the lead on house hunting. I wasn't thrilled with our options, as we would be moving further away from all the cool things I never got to do anyway and we (she) would be paying more.
- •When we are turned down for several houses, I am secretly relieved. But then, weeks later, an even more expensive house - and a rental at that - becomes available. I try to give her all the cons of the house up front, but she says simply, "Get me that house."And I did. I charmed the skirt off the rental agent, who used the same perfume as the married woman I was once in love with, and we had that house wrapped up in one afternoon. It is among my proudest non-parental moments.
- •We move to the house in Sierra Madre as she takes a permanent job on Grey's Anatomy.Much of her time to this point was spent as a dayplayer, aside from a couple full-time gigs on House and MAD. It was cool, teaching her who guest stars were, why she should know them. She was horrible with movies, which was good & bad in her job, because she was never impressed. 1 episode of Grey's had Tom Irwin, Graham Chase from My So-Called Life, so I made sure to slap him hard in the face for cheating on Patty in THE FIRST EPISODE. I hug Jessica Capshaw hello once and I'm still not sure why.
- •More Celeb AnecdotesPatrick Dempsey and I had an in-joke and he made me blush. Dude is charismatic. Otherwise the only actor I got tongue-tied around, even though I did not care about meeting him at all, was T.R. Knight. He came up and shook my hand and all I could muster was "(buffalo noises)." Katie Heigl I saw up close one time, and because I knew her the longest (outside of P.Demps), it was like seeing a cartoon character come to life. Sandra Oh was the best, remembering Sam's name and running to him from 50yds
- •Shortly after childbirth and continuing even with a change of scenery, the sex becomes annual, and my wife suddenly morphs into an unattainable masturbatory fantasy girl.Apart from a brief time just after pregnancy, when she was wearing cabbage over her breasts to stop the flow of milk (she is epileptic and her meds don't go with babies) and inexplicably horny as hell, we all but stop having sex. I find myself consumed by thoughts of her in various forms of undress, my own wife now the sole member of a previously Altmanesque troupe of sex show performers of my waking and sleeping mind. Telling her this only causes her to bundle up in large robes at all times.
- •One of Victoria's underlings is a mop-topped hippie type who looked like Seth Meyers with big pouffy hair and a scruffy beard. He looked remarkably clean, but also dirty at the same time, if that makes sense.He is handsome in his homeless man way, and because he spends 80 hours a week with my wife, I worry about the proximity infatuation opportunities. When Sam and I visit the set, I wear three layers of shirts, so as to appear mighty and muscular. Victoria asks why I can't lower my arms. I tell her Sam and I are pretending to be airplanes. I am humiliated once again in front of T.R. Knight, an actor I did not even want to meet.
- •Life as Mr. Mom with SamShe is gone from before Sam wakes up until after he is in bed. In between, he and I play in and around the gigantic tree in our backyard. I kick a football into it, then run around as it bounces from limb to limb, trying to catch it before it hits the ground. Sam loves to watch this, and I count it as exercise. When he naps, I watch movies. I rent the first Twilight from Netflix, just to see what the fuss is about, and can only make it 20 minutes in before turning it off. White balance???
- •Finally out of the house alone, to see the Back To The Future trilogy at The Aero in Santa Monica, I remember during the first movie that I've left my computer on. The last time I did that was weeks into the marriage, while I was at work and she was not. She scoured that thing and found countless writings I had done about the married woman.She was not pleased. Remembering this, and though my porn was stashed safely in folders within subfolders wrapped in one called "Bluegrass Def Leppard," I knew that she had looked through my every file the last time, and couldn't risk the discovery, despite the fact that most of the porn was her, or women who looked just like her doing far pornier things. I drove the whole way home from Santa Monica just to turn my computer off, and when I got home, she was blissfully ignorant, making dinner.
- •One of Victoria's favorite on-set books is Magazines, so I renew her subscription to a travel magazine so she can dream about all the things we'd never have the time or money to do.I notice as I brought the magazine to the set for lunch one day that the first issue of her renewed subscription contained an article about the 10 best small towns in the country, one of her favorite topics.
- •In between setups of a hospital shooting sequence, Victoria falls in love with all of the towns in the magazine, particularly #7, Apex, North Carolina.I'm chasing an ice cream truck down the block with a 2 year old Sam when she tells me she wants to move. This comes as a total shock to me, even considering the impulsive genesis of our relationship.
- •"Move?" I ask her. "Where would we go? What would we do?"She is tired of the 80 hour weeks and the six-figure salary, all of which goes right to bills anyway (like this expensive house, again only a rental). As she explains, "I don't get to see my family. I want to see my son grow up."
- •In February of 2010, we tour the East Coast, visiting several towns from the article she only read because of my thoughtful subscription renewal.We agree that we hated each and every small town we visited.
- •Except Apex, North Carolina.It's a quaint small town, just what Victoria wanted, but they've also got a Super Target, a sweet movie theater, and several record stores in the surrounding cities and towns. These are literally the only things I researched.
- •Before we return to California from this recon trip, Victoria decides for us that we are moving here. In May, three months away.
- •Two questions everyone in our families asked after hearing the news."Huh?" and "What about jobs?" Both of these questions were equally valid, but only one of them was easily answered. It was perfectly reasonable to want to live a simple life somewhere with less hustle and bustle, a better place to raise a family. But at what expense, especially when you had no savings or job prospects 2500 miles away. Part of me doesn't want to leave California, but it's a California I was either too preoccupied or too scared to explore.
- •So, in May of 2010, we said goodbye to this tree house, and goodbye to California.
- •With no prospects for jobs or even a place to live, Victoria and Sam fly to North Carolina to begin the search. Meanwhile, I again take a car across the country, this time fulfilling a promise I made as a joke in 1995.In the two-part video I made to commemorate the journey to our fourth home in less than four years (and to force people to listen to music I liked), I make good on my dream of shooting two free throws at baskets across the country. Let this serve as the intermission until the more interesting final chapter to the story. http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLF20DDBA464AE644F