Archive for October, 2008

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Hi! Still swamped out the behind with stuff related to the move and finding a tenant. All great, relaxing stuff for a mother-to-be. Seriously, whatever happened to the days of the first “What to Expect…” book, when all pregnant ladies could be expected to do was lounge in calico in a rocking chair, knitting booties for her future progeny?

Progress. Sigh. Sometimes it ruins some really great stuff.

Anyway, in case you’ve ever wondered what I do as a freelancer, I’ll tell you, at least in part: I write copy for a few folks in the perfume industry. Thrilling! I know! But after being an avid collector for my whole life, it’s nice to be able to put my sniffing skills to some use that actually makes money instead of bleeding it out. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I don’t love dispensing fragrant advice whenever anyone asks, so when Work It! Mom invited me to post on the topic, I gleefully accepted.

So! If in these downward, eye-stabbingly uncertain times, you’re yearning for a pick-me-up scent that is perfectly you, feel free to visit my post over there. In case you were wondering, I also tell you how to get it cheap. You know, because who the hell is flush with extra cash right now?

Here it is.

In other news, I’m clutching my bowels in anticipation of this election. Frankly, I’m exhausted of the constant complaints from people who would, in fact, benefit quite readily from Obama’s tax plan acting as though he’s going to be ripping money from their pockets with a ginsu knife and handing out to poor, drunk people in the street. The idea that his plan is Marxist is laughable to me, and a frustrating, lame attempt at terrifying people into thinking we’re going to become World War II-era Germany, with long lines for potatoes and meat rations. I’m not ruling that scenario out, but I believe it’s much less likely under Obama than it is under McCain, and that it would have little to do with Obama’s economic policies, and more to do with the inherited clusterfuck of unparalleled proportions that we’re trying in vain to dig ourselves out of.

I’m also a little sick of hearing how I can’t possibly understand economics, or I wouldn’t be voting for him. Newsflash: there is more than one viable economic theory out there! And I might not subscribe to yours! AND THAT IS OKAY! The days of Reaganomics, my friends, are over, in my opinion. Over. Dead. Done. Rome is burning, and we could really use a competent fire extinguisher, rather than more kerosene in the form of the indefinite continuation of the Bush tax cuts.

Again, this is just my opinion. But it is an informed one, as I’m sure yours is, even if it’s different from mine, and I’m cool with that, really I am. This is why we’re all granted the right to vote. Go us. (And you know, go Obama! Or the candidate of your choice, but I’ll leave that cheerleading to you!)

In case I don’t talk to you before the election (I probably will, seeing as I cannot stop talking, despite having a lot to do), do your thing, whatever it is, and go out and vote!

Happy weekend!


19 comments October 31st, 2008

Who’s Johnny?

As I said to my friend Erica today, it’s time for me to procure a maternity coat, oh my lands. Because it’s … well, it’s snowing, my friends. (Picture, if you will, my arms outstretched, not rising past my shoulders. Oh! And I am wearing a tie.) Three times in the last week, in fact. Three times! Snow!

I know!


Now, look, I realize I live in Vermont, where things like this HAPPEN, you know, being so far north and all, but it’s not like I’m in the wilds outside of St. Albans or in the Northeast Kingdom, where you can ski through May. (Yes, MAY.) And Quebec is probably gearing up for ski season right now, but for the love of God, it’s not even Halloween yet. Must we? Seriously?

Apparently we must. Also, I find it amusing that so many people advise against a maternity coat, when seriously, no. No, you DO need a maternity coat, I’m sorry. Wow, that clearly sounded antagonistic, when really, I am not angry about what people say about maternity wear, but I keep finding myself wondering what in the Sam Hill people DO when it’s SNOWING OUT and they are pregnant and they don’t have a maternity coat. Drape an afghan around their shoulders and call it a day? Decide to prepare their baby for a lifetime in Alaska by going unbuttoned, exposing the belly to the elements? It might be that I have particularly fitted coats, but man, I can hardly button my peacoat anymore, and it’s OCTOBER. And did I mention it’s snowing?

(Hold me, please. It is SNOWING.)

In other news, feeling the baby kick has gone from weird to a little painful, and yesterday was vaguely reminiscent of having someone noodle in my girly bits with a speculum … from the inside. Pregnancy! Nature’s miracle, I tell you. I didn’t know such a thing was possible, but there you have it. Painful uterine scrapings at the hand of an impotent little one-pounder who doesn’t even have enough fat to fill out her wrinkles. Nervy little girl, that one.

I made fried chicken tonight — not in a FryDaddy, fear not — and was reminded of my horrid aversion to fried ANYTHING just a few short weeks ago. My, my, we have come so far. I mean, to normal pregnant women I probably seem like I’m still ensconced in the ninth level of hell, seeing as there is still a fair amount of nausea. And yes, still some barfing at almost 22 weeks, but I’ve been making dinner almost every night again, and my God, I actually eat some of it. Now that I’m a little more rational, too, I can ONLY IMAGINE what I must have looked like storming to my neighbors downstairs and screeching, “STOP FRYING. OH MY GOD WHAT IS THAT ONION RINGS ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR EVER-LOVING MIND?”

I believe there was also crying involved.

I am now more than a little retroactively embarrassed for myself that day. The day that I CRIED over the frying of the onion rings, followed by chicken. And jalapeno poppers. And my God, now that I think about it again, the real miracle here is that they aren’t dead by now. Then again, I do have to endure his nightly warblings of his giant weird bass clarinet and their hilarious habit of smoking weed when they think no one’s paying attention. Three nights this week, I’ve come in from walking the dog to a nice whiff of hash den. Perhaps they were high when I lost my shit and consider it a hallucination. There is always that.

The only truly strong aversions that still remain are basil and cilantro. Seriously, folks, basil is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever smelled or tasted, ever. How you people manage to suck down plates of caprese salad is beyond me. Personally, I’d be more open to a plate of three-day-old durian on the subway.

In other news, our house still hasn’t been rented, and I’m expanding my outlets tomorrow. I refused to call one woman back after she yammered on to me about how she wanted to have her handyman husband remove the lighting in our bathroom and put in — get your Googling fingers ready — rope lighting, in exchange for lower rent. Those of you who know what rope lighting is are already throwing up, and for those of you who don’t, perhaps you’d like to prepare for the Google Image onslaught with a nice Scotch, or perhaps a barf bucket. Because really, the only place I’ve ever personally seen rope lighting employed is the inside of a tricked-out limousine circa 1987 with El DeBarge blaring in the background.

And finally, in news of personal failures, today I actually engaged in combative discussion with someone I went to high school with on the topic of politics (SOMEONE I DID NOT EVEN LIKE) — more specifically, poverty. Yes, for those of you who were here uh, YESTERDAY, you may remember that I did not go to the most … progressive of high schools, and that, in fact, I engaged with an idiot. Did that stop me? OF COURSE NOT. I plugged along like the utter fool that I am, as I listened to her insist that most poor people are merely lazy and if they just buck up and WANT to do better, they can! Even if they were born into generations of rural, poverty-stricken families! Completely ignoring the issues of racial bias! Those lazy, poverty-stricken fools! Give them a pep talk! Have them watch The Pursuit of Happyness! THEY WILL BE RICH IN NO TIME. IT IS SO NOT THAT HARD. Dude, they can totally live out of their car, what’s the big deal?

I’m thinking that perhaps she should sign on as a motivational speaker at local homeless shelters for the holidays. She could totally change the world.

God, I am so, so stupid. And apparently I CANNOT LET THINGS GO, FOR I AM STILL ALL HET UP ABOUT IT.

And with that, I’ll leave you wondering if I do or do not own any El DeBarge albums that may or may not include collaborations with Tone Loc. (Awww, who’s singing “Funky Cold Medina”?)

Happy Thursday!

*El DeBarge, you! She smiled in her special way! Who IS Johnny, anyway? WE NEVER KNOW.

33 comments October 29th, 2008


Activity around here has been turned up to eleven as we realized we’re moving in like, two weeks. Which, uh, OMG. Add the packing and utility switch and general moving-related crap with random phone screenings and scheduling people to look at our house in Florida and my head is sort of spinning as I collapse nightly into a pile of exhausted mush. And I haven’t even thought about the fact that we’re having a baby and I’m guessing she’s not going to a) go naked; or b) sleep on the floor. Mercifully, I have a few months left to do all that stuff, but lord knows I don’t want to do it all at once.

*breathes into paper bag*

One of the things that I struggled with today is not being able to do a lot of the things I used to. I was shocked — SHOCKED! — at how quickly I tired out, or the fact that sciatica had my ass radiating in pain after five minutes of sitting on the floor to file some work papers. Since when did FILING become a heavy-duty physical activity? I’m not even that big yet, which makes me wonder if I’m going to find myself laid up next to a Snoogle in the final weeks of my pregnancy, too immobile to do anything but watch WifeSwap and suck down oranges.

I hate not being able to totally help with the move by lifting things. Let’s not overstate my capabilities, however, as it’s not like I was single-handedly carrying the bedframe down the stairs on my trapezoid shoulders in my pre-pregnancy state, but I was at least able to lift a box before becoming crippled with amber waves of pain in the lower back and ass-region. Nowadays, I’m waddling as I load books into boxes, pausing only to feel the baby kick, as I wonder if she’s totally pissed off at me for making her suffer through such jiggly activity.

And in perhaps the worst segue ever, I’ve recently been reunited with two women I went to high school with who, as it turns out, also blog. One of them, at least, runs in almost the same bloggish circles that I do, and it’s very strange that I didn’t we didn’t run into each other a lot earlier than we did. Oddly, too, it was a random Facebook thing (oh, Facebook, how you haunt me), wherein she became a fan of The Bloggess, and I was all, wha? You read The Bloggess? I love her! And so on.

Facebook is so fucking weird. I will say that I like them both so very much, and that we ran into each other only tangentially during our high school days, but now I wish I’d hung out with them back then, too.

Anyway! They reminded me recently that we went to high school with several children of Klansmen. Yes, that kind of Klansman — in fact, if I’m not mistaken, the son of the, uh, lead Klansman (?) for our area was a year or two younger than me, and oh yes, I remember his name now . Dude, I’d TOTALLY forgotten that on a few occasions I could, in fact, see burning crosses from right near my father’s house. I have mostly fond childhood memories, but wow, I must have deliberately blocked that one out entirely. I had COMPLETELY forgotten about all of it.

But it does explain why when John Murtha said what he did, my first reaction was not righteous indignation that he would say such cruel things about the people of my beloved native state, but was instead, reluctant understanding and resigned nodding, because I’d seen a little of what he referred to. Pennsylvania isn’t all bad, not by a long shot — in fact, I’ve said before how much I love it — but it isn’t exactly 46,055 square miles of grace and open-mindedness, either. But really, what state IS?

It all makes me grateful, however, for my upbringing. You know, no one had a perfect childhood, but my God, I can, among other things, be grateful that I wasn’t raised in one of ignorance, like several of my contemporaries were. And for the record, all three of us — the women I refer to above and myself — were, at least from my vantage point, raised in very similar environments (ultra-liberal and at least a little crunchy). I only say that, lest you think I mean THEY were raised in ooky, ignorant environs, which of course they weren’t. That’s not to say that anyone who wasn’t raised in a crunchy-ish liberal environment is a Klansman. Or anything remotely close to it. Not all of the above statements are related! I’m rambling! I … I’m backpedaling and weirdly covering my ass, but God, I don’t want any of these statements to be misunderstood.

And on that happy, awkward note, have a great Tuesday!

21 comments October 27th, 2008


Things quickly went to Defcon 1 around here on Tuesday when I came down from my “I’m having a daughter!” high, because suddenly I realized that no, really, I AM HAVING A CHILD and oh shit, there’s a lot to do between now and then, and that doesn’t include work and daily lives and the economic crisis and OH GOD. BRING ME MY SMELLING SALTS.

I have since calmed down, thank God, but it’s why I’ve been all inside my shell and not really posting or writing anyone back, because Jesus, no one wanted to hear the level of insanity I’d reached. No one. I was two seconds away from calling the Feds myself and screeching, “CLOSE DOWN THE MARKETS. STOP THE BLEEDING. SOME OF US DON’T WANT TO DIE.”


Anyway. Most of our unresolved issues have been resolved, with the exception being that I still haven’t rented my house, although to be fair, it’s only been a week. But we pregnant people, if you haven’t noticed, tend to be IMPATIENT, and OMG A WEEK WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT A WEEK IS A LIFETIME HOW HAVE YOU NOT SIGNED ON THE DOTTED LINE. Except of course, it isn’t, especially when you consider I posted it to Craigslist exactly twice during that time, and my tenant isn’t leaving until January, we think.

Again with the ahems.

I should mention that right after we found out we were having a girl, we went out to dinner to celebrate (pot roast night!) and as we were leaving, spied a young teenager in a miniskirt, fishnets and thigh high boots, and while I didn’t really notice it, Adam was nearly apoplectic, because that could be HIS daughter. And then he’d have to kill anyone who looked at her, and oh my God, our daughter is never leaving the house like that, is she? IS SHE?

No, no she is not, I assure you. I’ll HANDCUFF HER TO THE STAIRS FIRST. I’m also surprised at the reaction on my side of the family, where she will be the first granddaughter, which is the perpetual use of the phrase, “Oh, she’s going to be a princess.” Call me harsh, but I oh-so-sincerely hope not. I’d rather not raise a prissy little prima donna, and I say this because I have acquaintances who have, and they used the term “princess” ALL THE TIME when their girls were wee. If anything, I hope that growing up with boys in the family will teach her to be a little bit tougher and not subscribe so much to the pink gender stereotype, but obviously, I need to stop thinking about this, because PEOPLE, SHE WEIGHS THIRTEEN OUNCES. Let us not start planning her emotional journey as a woman! Also, let us remind ourselves that since I am not girly, she will likely rebel against me by requesting pink patent leather stilettos at the age of four.

Eh, pregnancy is boring and I can’t believe you’ve all endured this much from me and WE ARE ONLY AT THE HALFWAY POINT. And so! A reprieve! With random bullet points!

— The one downside I see to an Obama presidency is the fact that I will have to endure four years of Fred Armisen as Obama. Y’all, Fred Armisen is TERRIBLE. TERRIBLE. Jason Sudeikis as Biden I can get behind, only because I’ve had a crush on him (Sudeikis, not Biden) for years.

— I’m surprised at how much I’m enjoying The Office, despite it’s backsliding into formulaic romance territory, with Jim and Pam becoming the new Ross and Rachel and the ever-appealing Forbidden Love (Michael and Holly). And yet, it continues to kill me, week after week.

— I’ve said before that I think in some ways an economic pinch (MILD PINCH, NOT DEPRESSION MY GOD) will be good for the country, if only to clean up some of the totally obnoxious, pervasive excess running rampant (it seems I’m a closet proponent of the simple life AND a closet hippie, but more on that in a moment). And nowhere is this ridiculous excess still evident than in the fact that companies like Lancome are marketing a VIBRATING MASCARA. VIBRATING MASCARA. Oh my God, honestly? A vibrating mascara? Is this NECESSARY? JUST WIGGLE THE WAND LIKE A NORMAL PERSON. (Not that you asked, but my go-to mascara for more than a decade has been Cover Girl Professional, and I love it. Always have, always will.)

— Speaking of closet hippie, and I can’t believe I’m saying this either, I’m admitting that I am moving on from gDiapers and am now considering (hold me) CLOTH DIAPERING. Am I … am I insane? It all seems so COMPLICATED, what with the different types and inserts and overlays and MADNESS, and that’s before you even get to the toilet-rinsing aspect. But disposables seems so wasteful and gross to me (WHO AM I?). I mean, I reserve the right to change my mind, but I’m thinking about it. Which I think makes me insane. And I just sneaked that baby-related item in there with no warning, didn’t I? Sorry.

Happy Friday! Happy weekend! Ahoy!

*The Sundays

62 comments October 23rd, 2008

Cheeseburger (or is it a hot dog?) in Paradise

So, we know. For like 99% certainty and stuff, seen from multiple angles — my doctor said she wouldn’t even have TOLD us, if she wasn’t sure beyond almost all reasonable doubt, and after seeing for myself, I tend to agree. First and foremost, however, the baby is developing totally fine, and has all of its fingers, toes, heart chambers and brain-y type stuff, and it turns out when I feel kicks, I’m sometimes feeling PUNCHES. Who knew?

I just had to get that important stuff out of the way before I started squeeing madly, because I am suddenly so freaking excited about this baby I CAN HARDLY SEE STRAIGHT OMFG AM SO EXCITED.

It’s a girl. I’m having a daughter. A DAUGHTER. That’s my DAUGHTER punching me in the bladder!

My daughter. Oh my God.

OH. MY. GOD. I’m having a daughter. I’m someone’s MOTHER. AND THAT SOMEONE IS A GIRL.

(Hi! I’m crying again! I started the second she told me and I HAVE NOT STOPPED. She’s healthy and perfect and a GIRL. Although it’s been so hard and annoying and stressy and painful, I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so completely lucky. And also, Adam is way outnumbered now, three to one, dog included.)

I am, also, completely touched and also crying at your kindness and curiosity. Seriously. CRYING. HOLD ME. And thank you.

Happy, happy Monday/Tuesday.

114 comments October 20th, 2008

Intelligentactile 101

Things are looking up a little after the Great Electrician Day, wherein the ceiling collapsed, our entire linen closet, plus our regular closet, was covered in insulation and strange men rifled through my underwear in an effort to clean up the disaster they’d created. Oy vey, man, OY VEY. I mean, it was freaking MAYHEM up in this piece yesterday, and even after four and a half hours of two men trying to re-wire a smoke detector, the light above the staircase is still dangling by a wire. Why? Because the CEILING COLLAPSED around it and boy howdy, they didn’t think THAT was going to happen, and thus began the replastering and panic of the fine workers of Joe’s Electric. There was also that stellar thirty minutes where the smoke detector became stuck in the ‘on’ position, screeching, “DANGER! DANGER! EVACUATE! EVACUATE!”

I tell you, I really did have to fight the instinct to evacuate. It was all very … compelling. Plus there was that totally creepy moment when I had to shower while they were here and Adam wasn’t and gah, I had all these weird visions of molestation by electrician until I realized I’m fairly obviously pregnant, so unless they had a FETISH of some sort, I was likely unappealing no matter what. And then I grossed myself out and died. The end.

In good news, we did sign our lease on our new digs and tomorrow, we formally extricate ourselves from the current ones via a meeting and document-signing with a nice lawyer who has drawn up some nice papers to ensure that the new owners will understand under no uncertain terms that no no, we won’t be living here, and no, no, they can’t make us, no matter what happens with their shit, yo. (Even though we already were freed and OH, this is all confusing, nevermind.) This is courtesy of the nice CURRENT owners of the house who are lovely and thoughtful, even if I had to hound them every day for such papers because I am suspicious and untrusting.

And not to make this a rehash the other day, but would you believe that I think I’m even BUSTIER than previously imagined? I … I think I’m a D, and I was a WEE B prior to this whole mess. This sounds very porny and attractive in theory, but as a side effect of pregnancy, it’s all very disturbing, as many of you have written to commiserate.

Also more on the weird than magical side? Fetal movement. I mean, it’s way cool to feel that little thing in there kicking around, really it is, and I wouldn’t want it to stop for one second (BECAUSE I WOULD DIE AND FREAK OUT). But once in awhile, it gets creepy. There’s a PERSON in there, all wiggling around up in my personal space and shit, and although I already love this kid more than anything in the world, imagine, if you will, feeling a creature poking you in the bladder and wondering what that strange twitching is just below your bellybutton before you remember, OH RIGHT. IT’S PROBABLY AN ARM. AN ARM THAT IS NOT MINE.

Before you know it, your mind goes to the fact that oh my God, there’s a freakin’ MINIATURE PERSON in there, and if I give it too much thought, I get nauseated, and I know that’s awful, but it happens. It’s like my stomach feels like it has to purge the intruder, which of course it doesn’t and oh my God, never would, but it happens. I’m not saying that pregnancy isn’t a miracle, but it does indeed have its parasitic moments.

Anyway, look, there is so much going on here that it’s effing madness, and by the end of the day, I’m so tired I can barely see straight (like, uh, right now), but I couldn’t leave a complain-y post up! I couldn’t! Because Monday, y’all, we find out what this kid is. Last chance to hazard a guess, man. Me? I’m thinking it’s a girl. I will be SHOCKED if it’s not a girl, frankly, but this line of thinking has pulled me into a conflicted vortex of being both thrilled and disappointed no matter what. But of course, as long as it has all of its itty bitty parts, I will not care. Especially because in both cases, it appears that the kid might already have a name. (THAT WE ARE NOT SHARING UNTIL IT IS BORN.) How magical is that?

Have a great weekend.

*Jesca Hoop. About the gestation of a girl, y’all.

39 comments October 16th, 2008

The Circus

I bought some bras at TJ Maxx today in a size that still has me reeling, because I’ve never been much of a bosomy type, and here I am, the proud owner of a bunch of inexpensive bras with four hooks in the back — the kind made for people who need extra support. I looked at the size, then looked at the bra and thought, no way is this going to fit me. No way.

And OMG, they all do. “Whose boobs these are, I think I know. Her house lies in the village, though.” Honestly, I cannot stop putting my boobs into Robert Frost’s poetry, because every second, I’m asking myself “WHOSE BOOBS ARE THESE? NOT MINE.” I also have an odd tendency to turn ordinary thoughts into that one stupid poem and get it stuck in my head, not unlike the constant propensity for me to get the theme from “Picture Pages” jammed firmly into my brain. I call this one “Stopping by Boobs on a Swollen Evening”.

I needed the bras, by the way, because I could no longer remotely squeeze the girls into the bras I had before — two whole sizes in both directions will do that to you — and it was looking rather obvious to the outside world, even while wearing clothing. There would be the bra, and then there would be the terrifying bulge of the Boob That Refused To Be Subdued. The BTRTBS-to-bra ratio, by the way, was at three-to-one. Not good.

My pregnancy, by the way, continues to be one of the most … exciting on record, because not only are we extricating ourselves from our current lease because our house was sold and new people want to live in it — surprisingly, they don’t want to live in it with us! — leaving us to find a new place and move into it (lease-signing scheduled for tomorrow for real!), but the new owner needed to fix a window and ripped a giant gaping hole in the one conveniently located near my side of the bed. Hello! I live inside of this here cave if you need me, and it’s accessible by merely pulling away the makeshift bath towel curtains! It’s a good thing it’s warm outside!

So! In addition to securing a new place to live and, you know, moving and nesting and generally freaking out, our tenant — the one I loved, who paid on time and asked if she could clean the windows — has decided to leave three months before her lease ends with vague notice and no real apology. This, of course, means, that we are now tasked with the exciting job of finding a new, responsible tenant who will not tear up our “investment” (OH HA HA) in Florida. From Vermont. While pregnant and moving ourselves and doing all the things normal pregnant people have to do without this added crap (and OH THAT LIST IS LONG).

Aaand, tomorrow I have to meet the electrician at 7 a.m. so that he can fix absolutely nothing of relevance to me or the house I’ll be living in, come 60 days’ time. And when I pushed back, they made me feel lazy, like OH POOR WOMAN CAN’T SLEEP IN. WE ELECTRICIANS RISE AT 3 A.M. AND GREET THE DAY WITH A SMILE. When, really, I think we can all agree that being awake and hovering angrily over the coffee pot in your pajamas is far different than being awake and answering the door like Perky Pam in a dotted apron with lipstick on and showing the nice men to your smoke detectors with a flourish.

It’s all making me feel very stabby, but after seriously freaking out in the form of a giant meltdown worthy of a Lifetime melodrama (starring Alyssa Milano!) this afternoon, I have opted to be positive and sunny, thanks to the calming influence of my husband, who is taking over the tenant portion of our show entirely so that I don’t have to worry my sad, pretty little pregnant head over it (although I will). And we both sort of realized that while yes, some things suck and have sucked and will continue to suck, it is all manageable and what is most important is that we are all healthy and happy and, for the smallest of us, still kicking mightily.

Anyway! I think what the world needs now is Schooner Tuna. We need a bald man to come on the screen and tell us that theyr’e reducing prices by 50 cents a can until this economic crisis is over. We need miniature American flags! And we need the reminder that we’re all in this together! I mean, the three — excuse me, FOUR, including Sunny — of us, anyway.

ALSO! There is Sookie Stackhouse! And Entourage! And free HBO and Showtime for two years because Comcast is suffering in these downtrodden times! And hey, it’s hot in here, but I have a built-in AC unit thanks to the window that sort of kind of isn’t!

Happy Wednesday!

*Erasure, featuring my pretend boyfriend Vince Clarke. And it’s really quite an appropriate choice for the time, title aside.

21 comments October 14th, 2008

Coal Miner’s Daughter

Wait, was I talking about mortgage? Quick! Here’s a picture of a dog in an ill-fitting camouflage dress that’s too tight across the chest! And she hates it! And me!

Sunny in camo
Mother, it doesn’t even FIT.

(This is not the way to win the Truman-Sunny Dress Your Pug In Corduroy & Denim (and pig costumes!) smackdown. I’m all too aware.)

I really do appreciate all of your comments and e-mails from yesterday. I thought it was a good discussion, and although there were moments that I fear I was misunderstood, I was glad for all of it, even the strange e-mails where it seemed that people thought I was somehow attacking them personally.

Today, I’d like to talk about stem cell research and elective abortion. Personally, I … oh my God, I can’t even keep that charade up for more than four seconds. Also, this is why I generally keep my public opinions limited to things like Welch’s grape juice and the fall TV lineup (for the record, and I don’t know why this is, I look forward to Dirty Sexy Money the most every week), because I hate conflict and every time I feel like I’ve hurt someone’s feelings I want to ABORT! ABORT! WOOP WOOP WOOP! and yet this feeling never translates to ACTION and I press forward anyway.

This weekend, we’re off to the wilds of Scranton to visit my family’s cabin in the nearby mountains. As I joked on Twitter, I grew up not far from there, and am considering making it a part of my upcoming surprise presidential campaign. Because it seems, Scranton is at the epicenter of working class America, but part of me wonders if anyone’s actually ever BEEN there? Do the facts that my grandfather, a coal miner, died of black lung disease, and that I grew up near now-defunct Bethlehem Steel, subject of the working-class anthem “Allentown,” mean that I am uniquely qualified to speak on working class issues? What does this qualify me for, if anything?

I guess what I’m asking is, can I please be president? What if I go into extreme detail about the hardships my grandfather faced, taking his lunches deep into the bowels of Centralia, which burns like the fires of hell to this day? No?

All kidding aside, between The Office and swing-state politicking, one would be led to believe that Scranton is a hellhole packed with pistol-packing factory workers and/or dimwitted paper salesmen. While I’m not going to pretend it’s a gleaming metropolis of Atlantis-like proportions, it’s really not that bad, and parts of it are quite pretty and I’d … I’d live there, okay? I actually like Pennsylvania and hold a deep affection for most of the state, Scranton included. Provided you can get past the constant billboards screaming, “LIVE IT! The Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour!” that is. Because really, I can think of a lot more exciting things to do with your time than visit an old MINE SHAFT. (Although they do have picnic facilities! Dine on barbecue chicken after you learn about hard coal times in the Shifting Shanty!)

We won’t be touring any coal mines, but instead will be stuffed silly by my father’s incessant cooking (I hear chili’s on the menu!) and will let Sunny frolic unleashed in open pastures. I hope you have a great weekend.

Happy weekend!

*Loretta Lynn, and no, I don’t own it, I … well, that’s a first. Sorry.

21 comments October 9th, 2008

Phantom Limb

I first felt the baby move late last night, right when I was falling asleep. Because I haven’t been able to hear an accurate description prior to this that didn’t involve vague mentions of “gas bubbles,” evoking delicate little carbonated beverages swimming around your midsection, I feel compelled to clear things up.

Uh, not so much with the delicate. You know what it’s really like? I’ll tell you. You know when you’ve got a gas bubble — and by “bubble” I mean a large wad of gas, not some tiny champagne-bubble shit — working its way down your intestines, culminating in what you imagine to be a giant, Mason jar-sized fart? (Stop it. You all do. I know you do.) It feels precisely like that, except the mondo fart never comes, and it never really moves down your intestines. It just sort of pokes you, and I spent the first 200 times thinking I was going to fart, and it was only last night that I realized that duh, the fart never came, and DOUBLE DUH, that feels a bit too rhythmic to be a fart, because it’s all hanging around the same spot and OH MY GOD, there’s a baby in there and it’s ALIIIIIIVE. And apparently I am less gassy than previously anticipated!

Creepy, right? I know it’s all delicate to say gas bubble, but why didn’t anyone say GIANT FART-BREWING FEELING WITH A FART THAT NEVER COMES? That would have been so much more descriptive and helpful. Now you know.

Onward! I believe we have found a place to live, and would you believe it’s in our dinky little town? I can’t either! Apparently not even the lure of Starbucks and civilization can compete with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops, not to mention pastoral river views. You know, I always thought I was an old house person — I AM an old house person, by most accounts — and I don’t know if it’s pregnancy or the cost of oil these days, but I find myself embarrassingly distracted by New! New! New! Also: AC! AC! AC! I think it’s that I’m all too aware how much harder it is to keep an old house clean and heated without an absurd amount of effort and expense, and my God, I don’t feel like dealing with pregnancy and/or a newborn PLUS all that shit. I want to be able to vacuum and be done with it, not have to closely examine every single baseboard with Pledge on a daily basis, and I haven’t even talked about the INSECTS. And do you know how annoying it is that no matter how much I clean our toilets, they never LOOK clean, because they’re SO DAMN OLD? ARE SHINY TOILETS TOO MUCH TO ASK?

Wow, that’s riveting stuff, yes? Anyway, keep your fingers crossed for us as we give notice on our place and navigate the new lease. I don’t know why I always expect these things to be fraught with danger, but I do. I’m never COMPLETELY satisfied until I’m firmly ensconced in a new home and several months have passed and no one has either sued me or ceased to pay any rent on the house we rented to them, thus enabling us to afford the house we live in. And pregnancy only exacerbates these anxieties, and at this rate, I’ll be in full-tilt panic until next August, rocking back and forth and muttering about lawsuits and mortgage rates.

Speaking of mortgage rates, the whole discussion is really grating my cheese, and I don’t mean to sound like Suze Orman, but in some cases — not all, by any stretch — people got themselves into this mess by showing an astonishing lack of common sense. And while I’m all for punishing the predatory lenders, and I’m just as peeved as the next gal that we’re in this pickle, I am equally irritated that there seems to be a lack of personal responsibility attached to it. I mean, do you have any idea how much more house Adam and I qualified for than the one we bought, and how lenders tried to convince us that no no, buying more (like four or five times more!) is better? But we didn’t. Not by a long shot, and in fact, we got a fixed rate mortgage at a great rate, with payments we could easily afford on one income if need be, because my God, you never know, do you? CLEARLY YOU DO NOT. But it may surprise you that even people like us are screwed too!

I know, I’m sounding preachy! And self-righteous! But man, it pisses me off, because I can’t help but wonder if people used a wee bit of personal logic, instead of letting themselves get talked into something that didn’t really make any fucking SENSE (Why yes, a $500K starter home sounds great, even though I only make $35K annually! What a STELLAR IDEA! Let’s finance the crap out of that sucker!), we wouldn’t be quite so screwed. Still screwed, mind you, but maybe not SO much?

But every time I see this shit parodied or talked about, it’s assumed that the only people suffering from this crisis are those who bit off way more than they could chew, or were buying investment properties by the armload to flip and ergo, they deserve what they got. Not true! Regular people who didn’t even have an ARM and bought their house for a fair, uninflated price are screwed, too! And not everyone who got an ARM is an idiot! Plenty of people saw it work for others because it was such a ridiculous, absurd market!

Now, I’ll grant you, we’re not as fucked as we could be — we have a renter, and even if we didn’t, could swing the two payments if we had to, not that we’d ENJOY it — but we can’t sell the place for what we paid for it, despite buying at the bottom of the market. (My next-door neighbors and much of the neighborhood paid two and a half times what we did, if that’s any indication of how low we bought at, and a sign of just how awful things are. I’m thinking theirs will sell in 2060?) And that totally pisses me off. It’s not like I’m trying to even make a profit on the damn thing, I just want to UNLOAD IT ALREADY. FOR A TOTALLY REASONABLE PRICE. And yet, by the rule book of life’s responsible actions, I did everything “right.”

Eh. I don’t know what I’m saying. I guess I’m saying that while I do put some blame on corporate (and government) greed, I also put some on some — not all, mind you, and certainly not my friends who might be reading this, I promise — people who didn’t have the sense to think the whole thing through. I’m not so down with looking at everyone as a victim here. I suppose to some that makes me a harsh asshole. Good thing I’m not running for office.

Well! Let us move on to something light! Like the fact that I do not understand how in God’s name ANYONE drinks grape juice — or any juice, save for orange or apple — undiluted. It’s like drinking SYRUP. And further, most grapes are light, sweet and delicious — like little bursts of clean sunshine after a rain — but Concord grapes, not so much. They’re like drinking heavy drapes in a mahogany room. Bleah. And yet the vast majority of grape juice is made with Concord grapes, and I totally blame — and subsequently loathe — Welch’s. I mean if wine can be made from a variety of grapes, why not JUICE, I ask you?

Happy Thursday!

*The Shins

51 comments October 8th, 2008

Hand in Glove

Oh y’all. It’s FALL. And do you know what that means? It’s time to embarrass your husband, friends and neighbors by putting the dog in a sweatshirt again!

Autumn sweatshirt
Why hast thou forsaken me?

Also, what would Sassy Kay say about this ensemble?

Well! Today was an exciting day, and I don’t even want to tell you what happened, except that there’s really no need to start filtering now, is there? So I’m sitting down at my computer today, when there was a … well, I’m sorry, it was a gush, IT WAS, and then there was some MOISTURE down there, and I flipped out, because HELLO, AMNIOTIC FLUID! AM LEAKING AND KILLING MAH BABY.

An entire day of panic about this and all kinds of conversations with the nurse led to the stunning conclusion that I am not leaking amniotic fluid, but am instead (oh God, sort of maybe) MILDLY INCONTINENT THANKS TO LEFTOVER COLD-RELATED COUGHING AND SNEEZING AND A BABY ON MY BLADDER. HOW LOVELY FOR EVERYONE.

Dude, seriously? Pregnancy is a trip, and I sort of mean that in the “very bad acid trip” sense of the word. What the hell, bladder? I DO MY KEGELS. Apparently although I cannot feel this young sweet thing yet, it’s already resting full-tilt on my bladder, having not moved out of the area quickly enough. I mean, come on. I’m not even 33 yet. COME ON.

I’ll tell you one thing, though, which is that I love — nay, ADORE and want to marry — my entire OB/GYN office. I can’t tell you what a remarkable difference it’s made in my miserable pregnancy to have the nicest, most down-to-earth group of doctors, nurses and MAs (all women!) to help me out. I’d read that it is not uncommon to develop inappropriate feelings and/or crushes on your practitioner, and I’m here to tell you that I fit the cliche entirely. I find myself plotting how I can be FRIENDS with my doctors and have coffee and pet their hair, I love them that much.

Also, hey, did I mention I’m giving birth like an hour and a half from here? Oh HA HA, yes I am, thanks to Dr. Gropes-A-Lot, who, I have learned, has a TOWN-WIDE reputation for being a total creeplor with a penchant for simultaneously belittling women and fondling them inappropriately. I mean, I’ve talked to like, TEN PEOPLE, and when I mentioned his name, they all quite literally shuddered, and that includes my EIGHTY YEAR OLD NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOR. Which: OMG, how awful. And yet, I’ve been told that he’s wormed his way into the births of every single person I talked to who gave birth here. Every person! Who gave birth! At the local hospital! Which is why, my friends, I am giving birth far, far away from him, even if that far, far away means birthing the baby in the back of my Honda on route 7. The alternative is much more terrifying.

I hope you have a great Tuesday! My day will be filled with such exciting tasks as calling back potential clients, looking at apartments and getting a flu shot! Oh, and periodically panicking about nothing but totally embarrassing things. You know, no big deal.

*The Smiths. I pictured a, uh, hand in a rubber glove, like at the OB’s office? And also because it’s from the same album as This Charming Man, and the post I referenced. It’s all very flimsy, I know.

25 comments October 6th, 2008

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