Archive for January, 2011

Life During Wartime

Once again, your comments brought me to effing TEARS (and my mom, too, pretty much), and I’m working my way through my email, which is usually not an issue, except that HOO BOY I am TERRIBLE with email and wait, where was I?

Oh, right. So this last week, just to be clear, I wasn’t holed up in some corner, weeping my life away (although I have moments of being pretty bummed out), but I had a deadline and now THAT is done, I feel like … well, a new woman, in a weird way, only because I suddenly have all of this free time. Which: HA! I never had that much to BEGIN with, but when you’re me and you basically get your whole job done in your free time, well, when it returns after a deadline, suddenly life seems RIFE WITH POSSIBILITIES and maybe things like crafting and knitting! SCRAPBOOKING! I SHALL MAKE ALL OF OUR CLOTHES FROM SCRATCH AND START A CAKE BUSINESS!

Except, well, no, the only thing I am remotely decent at is what I do for a living, so I am not on my way to being on Top Chef: Just Desserts OR Project Runway, but am doomed to be a writer and communications professional-type person, and sadly, that is not at all glamorous or exciting and worse, there is no fondant or buttercream or even pretty scraps of paper. What a pile of shit.

So we really are doing okay, with the exception of the occasional disproportionate reaction to something relatively minor. See: our trash. Since the snow has been piling up, we CANNOT get the damn bags to the front of the house without dragging them through four feet of snow, and I know! I know I am prone to hyperbole, but when I say four feet of snow, I REALLY MEAN IT. Our entire yard is covered in four feet of snow, and that’s not even the drifts or the piles where the plow pushed it all, and it’s just getting CRAZY up in here, and there was a time when our driveway could hold five or six cars, and now, so help me, we are running out of room for TWO.

Anyway, so it takes us at least an hour to take out the trash, no kidding, and so Thursday, Adam dragged eleven bags out there, and then, oh my God, on Friday, THE GARBAGE MEN DID NOT TAKE THEM. Which, fine; the bags were white, but IT IS NOT MY FAULT WE USE HEFTY KITCHEN BAGS. BESIDES, THERE WAS ONE BLACK ONE.

And this kind of, um, sent me over the edge, most likely because my neighbor CALLED ME to tell me this happened, and it just felt so MEDDLING and before I knew it, I was calling Adam in near hysterics, because WE WERE GOING TO BE BURIED BY SNOW AND TRASH, SOMEONE SAVE US. And he was literally consoling me about it, because, apparently, trash gets me SUPER UPSET.

Anticlimactic resolution: the trash men came back Saturday morning after I called public works. Oh.

There was also the evening I thought Adam’s (ancient, strangely beloved) Honda was leaking fuel and I worked myself into a tearful lather all, “I SMELL GAS!” and made AAA tow it, but as it turns out, they would NOT tow it unless the fire department came to make sure it was safe to do so, which they did. Unfortunately, they also did it at 9 p.m. while driving a GIANT FIRE TRUCK with LIGHTS and FIREMEN IN UNIFORM AND HELMETS who were all, um, why are we here? To which Adam helpfully shrugged his shoulders and sighed, “My wife smelled fuel. I don’t smell it. Do you?”

Well, no, they didn’t, but it turns out the car DID have an exhaust leak discovered by the repair people and WHAT’S UP NOW?

Beyond that, I’ve had my period for fourteen days (YES, SERIOUSLY), so that might be contributing to the whole, um, sensitivity issue, not to mention the fact that there are, um, POSTPARTUM HORMONE DIPS. Did you know this? I did not know this. I mean, this should be LOGICAL, but it wasn’t until I found myself sweating buckets at night (and demanding that Adam crank up the air conditioning, I DO NOT LIE) and having the same headache for ten days straight that I’m all, I FEEL LIKE I JUST HAD A BABY and then I’m all, OH RIGHT, dumbass, your body kind of thinks you did.

So that’s special.

I have also welcomed wine back into my life with open arms. Trader Joe’s is happy for the sudden spike in revenue, I am certain.

And it’s funny, while I write this all down, it sounds like the day to day is very sad and sweaty and fraught with trash-and fire-type drama, when I promise, it isn’t. Well, until Friday, it was fraught with deadlines and not much else, but even then, as now, it was just pretty normal. We ARE returning to normal, and I completely credit Sam with that. Well, that and the fact that our default buttons are sort of set to “HAPPY.” But really, you have to be normal with a kid around. They’re like wee reflections of our own feelings. Bad mood? Kid will be a nightmare. Crying? Shit, she’s crying too. So we faked it for a little while, and then it started becoming real. She’s a riot, that tiny person who wears my gloves and pretends to be me while scolding the dog and putting her pants on her head. (Um, not that I wear my pants on my head. Well, not OUT, anyway.)

But still, I am shamed to admit, I’d like another one of those.

Happy Monday! Tomorrow I am stocking up on carbon monoxide detectors! JUST BECAUSE.

(What?)

*Talking Heads

19 comments January 30th, 2011

The Ice Is Getting Thinner

So, um, that happened. And by that, for those of you who may have missed it, I mean the death of Adam’s beloved grandfather, my miscarriage at ten weeks, a D&C and a funeral, all within a 48-hour period. Oh wait, I’m sorry, the death and the miscarriage actually happened the same day. My bad.

Adam’s grandpa’s death was somewhat of a surprise — well, as much as one can be surprised by the death of a grandparent in his eighties who has been in assisted living for several years. And yet, to a degree, it was a surprise. It happened quickly — a broken bone led to a certain medication that led to pneumonia, which was a somewhat familiar pattern he’d pulled out of before, but I suppose this time it wasn’t meant to be. Or rather, it was meant to be, just not as we’d hoped, although it ended as we always knew it would, someday.

Coming with this is the usual mix of regret and sorrow — regret that more effort wasn’t made to spend time at the home while we could; sorrow that things won’t ever be exactly as they were, and for Adam, the loss of the final grandparent. (This is an unfamiliar feeling to me, as the majority of mine were dead and/or certifiably senile before I was old enough to understand.)

These things are always complicated.

The day before he died, we’d gone to see him to say goodbye, which was wrenching, as he wasn’t who we remembered, thanks to a drug-induced coma. I will not — in fact, I refuse — choose to remember him that way, although I hope he heard us. I am fairly certain that he did, in fact, and if he didn’t, that he hears us now.

We came home, watched the Patriots lose, hosted his brother for a quick visit and dinner, (he’d flown in to say his own goodbyes), I hit the bathroom and …

Well, there was spotting. I called the office, scheduled an ultrasound for the next morning and tried to forget about it.

The phone rang at 7:30 a.m. with the call that Grandpa had passed. By 11 a.m., I was in the stirrups as a poor ultrasound technician tried in vain to find a heartbeat on a baby that was supposed to be in its 10th week. By noon, I was sobbing in a strange doctor’s office as he said things were moving quickly (and not in a good way), and that he was afraid I’d end up in the ER if I didn’t schedule a D&C for the next morning.

We’re okay — really, we are. It’s hard not to almost chuckle at the ridiculousness of these events happening within hours of each other, because, well, seriously.

These are things I can live with. I can live without Adam’s grandfather, as much as I don’t want to. I knew someday we’d have to. We can try for another baby–we will try for another baby, as we now know, without a doubt, that we want one. We had one, and now we don’t. It happens.

I can live with that.

I have lived with that, for almost a week now. Despite everything, I have not fallen apart. I have made dinner, slept late, taken naps, laughed at my kid, taken the dog for walks, thought about making plans with friends and have, slowly, returned to the land of the living.

I can do that. I will do that. I love to do that. I can live with these losses, for they are part of life. To some degree, they are expected.

What is killing me, and what is impossible to talk about, but what I have to talk about, because it is eating at me from the inside, is the idea that things will get worse. I can live with what’s happened, I am almost proud of surviving with what’s happened without being broken, but what I cannot shake is the idea that there is some nefarious game show host cackling at an audience of twisted sadists, watching us on the Jumbotron, waiting for just the right moment to shout, “Shall we tell them what’s behind CURTAIN NUMBER THREE?” while the audience erupts in sickening jeers.

Because I’ll tell you: That would break me. And it’s precisely that that keeps me up at night. I lay there, watching Sam on the monitor late into the evening, long after I know she’s safe in bed. I listen to Adam’s soft breathing as he sleeps, terrified of losing the two people who are exactly the reasons I was so grateful through all of this.

For that, I am afraid. For that, and only that, I am not entirely okay.

Beyond that, there were so many things about this situation that were positive.

The doctor who performed my surgery took the time to seek out my husband to tell him how sorry he was for the loss of his grandfather, despite having met me for all of ten minutes the day prior. He was gentle, compassionate and tremendously kind.

And oh, you guys. My husband. It would be almost trite to list out the things he did for me last week, but I will say that I have always known I made a wise choice in selecting my life partner, but that when shit’s really down, he steps up in a way that makes the fantasy man in romantic comedies look like some kind of chump.

I am so, so lucky.

I can’t tell you how I felt every time I got one of your messages, cards, emails, flowers and ridiculous amount of food. Well, okay, actually, I can: I felt loved and touched and tremendously uplifted. Strangers took the time to talk to me about their experiences, and for the love of God, I got emails from some of your MOTHERS and AUNTS — people who know me only because, in their words, I was nice to their daughter on the Internet once. I’m not kidding. Friends took my kid, no questions asked, when I had to rush off to surgery a few hours before I was originally scheduled. My sister drove three hours in a blizzard to get to us. People came by with ready-made dinners and desserts and the Food Lush and Style Lush crew sent enough sweets for a small army of mourners, which was a good thing, as we had said small army staying in our guest rooms.

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. It was one of the most special things to ever happen to me, and I am not exaggerating, even in the slightest.

I will remember it always.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

*Death Cab for Cutie

103 comments January 23rd, 2011

Separate the People

So! That’s out, and I feel sort of panicky and superstitious about it, like I have just jinxed myself. And … well, that’s sort of stupid, because it’s not like by SAYING anything I can MAKE IT HAPPEN. If that were true, I would have won the damn Mega Millions, and I’d be writing this from my hut in Fiji while my team of nannies frolics with Sam on the beach.

Meanwhile, I’m almost ten weeks — due August 15, specifically — and what’s crazy is that it does not add up with my own calculations AT ALL, but I’m guessing that’s why the whole thing was a bit of a surprise anyway. What is also crazy is that I am not really all that nauseated. I have moments, certainly, where the idea of certain foods is so repulsive that I’ll do anything to avoid looking at them, much less eating them, but — oh, I can barely type this aloud — I have not thrown up. Not once. Longtime readers will remember that while pregnant with Sam, I threw up no fewer than ten times A DAY.

I’m craving things instead of merely avoiding them. I’m eating things like CHICKEN. I handle raw meat! I cook! I eat, uh, things other than chicken nuggets. It’s like someone else’s pregnancy, seriously.

But make no mistake, I’m pregnant. I feel like someone has taken a sander to my boobs, and I am so tired. So, so tired. And yet, so unable to sleep. And peeing every fifteen seconds. And if someone shares the WRONG RECIPE in Google Reader, I not only feel like barfing in that moment, but I consider whether the friendship was ever worth anything in the first place, because how could they do this to me? Do they hate me? Is that recipe for some sort of grok-inspired food PERSONAL? (Am I using grok correctly here? What IS that, and why is my entire Google contact list asking themselves “What would grok eat?” Is grok some kind of MEAN DIET ALIEN?)

It’s a weird thing, feeling like your body is going to do one thing, and have it do something completely different. It makes me second-guess my entire first pregnancy. Was the sickness all in my head? Was I focusing on it too much? Was it … my fault? I was working from home, with zero social interaction, where as now I’m running around like a maniac, meeting with friends, taking a toddler here and there, sitting down for maaaaybe five minutes in an entire day. Was I just not … busy enough?

I know all these things are irrational and wrong — certainly if my friend or my sister were as sick as I was, and then the next time, just … wasn’t, I wouldn’t assume such ridiculous things. I’m not sure why we’re so hard on ourselves for something that really has nothing to do with much other than, well, that’s just the way it is. Maybe my body’s used to it. Maybe it’s a boy. Maybe it’s just dumb-ass luck.

(By the way, not one person has suggested I’m having a girl. NOT ONE. Well, except for me, because I can only picture myself with a girl, obviously, because that’s what I have. And we all know that if I have another girl, it will be exactly like Sam, yes? Because all two kids are precisely alike! That’s how it works!)

(And wait, okay, there is one. I see you, Nic!)

And finally, the hopefully big sister to-be. Please tell me that you, too, are dead from the cute, not to mention the talent of the photographer. (Boston people should really call her, because she’s amazing. And also my friend.)

(Click to embiggen.)

Happy Wednesday!

*Mates of State

51 comments January 11th, 2011

Elephant

Right now, I am enjoying a little too much artichoke dip (daily! for two weeks!), cream cheese and pepper jelly with crackers, big salads with lots of vinegar and julienned carrots (they MUST be julienned! And a salad without carrots is NO SALAD AT ALL), and more than a gallon of orange juice every two days.

Weirdly, an Italian sub from Subway doesn’t sound so bad. Subway, land of the strongest smells known to mankind.

I’ve been hiding from you, hardly updating at all, thinking now is not the time, this is a bad idea, I shouldn’t tell people about this! THIS IS WRONG! My mind thinks of our upcoming ultrasound and it’s a non-stop replay of, you’re thirty-FIVE, things can go wrong, you don’t know, you don’t know, you don’t know.

And this time, I kind of didn’t really know, because for someone who didn’t have an easy time of this before, the speed with which this occurred was A SURPRISE. HELLO.

Plus, as we all know, there are no guarantees anyway. The only thing I do know is that I love being a mom more than anything I’ve ever done, ever. And that just before Christmas, we saw a little FLICKER FLICKER FLICKER of a new, tiny little person who currently lives inside me, and is giving me LOTS OF HEARTBURN, but that could also be the orange juice, because SERIOUSLY PEOPLE, I drink a lot of orange juice.

So, HELLO OBVIOUS, I am pregnant. Due in August.

I’m doing this again. I AM DOING THIS AGAIN.

I’m so excited. And, you know, fucking petrified.

*Damien Rice

150 comments January 9th, 2011

Holiday

If I’d thought about it for more than five minutes or so, I’d have realized that instead of being wholly magical, holidays kind of suck and blow for little kids. Oh, they have their moments of wonder and delight that keep us from selling them on Craigslist, but other than that, it’s like someone took their routine and all the things they’ve come to rely on to keep the fragile threads of tiny drunken sanity together and snapped them like a bunch of broken guitar strings.

There is strange shit! In their house! Like this … Mom, is that a TREE? With crap on it that looks pretty but I can’t even TOUCH? And what do you mean, my nap is being delayed? What are these gifts? Why are these people in my house? What do you mean, I have a BUNCH OF STUFF wrapped in paper that I have to rip open and then — wait, what? You want me to open another one? But I want to play with THAT one!

By New Year’s, we were all done. D-O-N-E, and thank God the holidays only come once a year, because while I loved it — seriously, there really was so much to love — by the Tuesday after Christmas, Sam was screaming before she went to bed every night in an overstimulated, overtired mess of toddler misery. She’s a sensitive one, that kid, and oh, did I mention the Tuesday after Christmas?

HA HA THE TUESDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS. Otherwise known as the Day of Pure Hell, the day we I attempted to take my delightful, sensitive, easily overstimulated and/or overwhelmed not-yet-two-year-old daughter to Disney on Ice.

Yes, I will let that sink in for a moment so you can marvel at my stupidity. YES. YES, I DID THAT. It seemed like a bright idea at the time. Who cares if the kid isn’t into Disney AT ALL, and won’t recognize a single character? WHAT WAS I THINKING, PEOPLE. Oh, the guilt. The GUILT. The thing is, a good friend of ours gets tickets for this stuff all the time, gratis, thanks to her husband’s job, so a bunch of us went together. Together, as in I did not drive myself.

(HAHAHAHA. OH MY GOD.)

Sam hated it. She took one step into North Station/Boston Garden and went from being excited about seeing her friends to FLIP YOUR SHIT, and without giving you a blow-by-blow of the entire scene, it involved me holding her the entire time, walking around in circles for about an hour and a half straight. But NOT BEFORE we got locked into a stairwell, thanks to the changing of escalators and doors for people exiting vs entering and I DO NOT KNOW EITHER, all I know is that there was a horrid moment of WOOP WOOP PANIC as I sat there, stuck, for MANY MINUTES until a security guard finally heard me knocking. Worse, my poor friends had no idea I was stuck in such misery, as I LEFT MY PHONE AT MY SEAT, and had no way of telling anyone that, a) things were not going well, OH NOT AT ALL; or b) I AM STUCK IN A STAIRCASE. CALL SOMEONE.

It was hard. It was hard for a lot of reasons, mostly because I felt like a GIANT IDIOT for even attempting such a thing in the first place, because hello, I should have known better, and I am a terrible, horribly clueless mother. But secondly, because honestly, her little friends, most of whom are EXACTLY her age were having this absurdly magical experience. Meanwhile, my kid was behaving as though I was chopping off her toes and feeding them to Princess Ariel while Ursula cheered from the sidelines.

(The flip side of this: there are a JILLION new experiences that Sam loves that so many of her friends can’t tolerate. Animals! BIG ANIMALS! Someone get Sam on a horse, because she SCREAMS with excitement when they come near her. Water play! New, loud parks! Water parks! Sprinklers! AND YET I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN.)

Sigh. Lesson learned. Surprise! A not-quite two-year-old is not ready for live shows in large arenas. THIS IS SHOCKING, I KNOW.

Wednesday, we spent a quiet day at home, just the two of us. We watched Elmo, colored, and played with her new toys all day long. She was so happy, you guys. So happy! My poor, sweet, overtired little girl just needed a day with her mama. AND I BROUGHT HER TO DISNEY ON ICE.

And with that, I bid you adieu for tonight. I hope you all had fabulous holidays and happy, happy new year to you! Looking forward to talking with you all more in 2011.

*Vampire Weekend. Man, did Honda ruin that song for anyone else? OH WE GET IT. WE WILL ALL GET HONDAS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON. NOW STOP. THE HOLIDAYS ARE OVER.

98 comments January 3rd, 2011


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