Posts filed under 'All Riled Up'

I have returned. Stop the presses.

OH HELLO I HAVE A BLOG.

I hate when I do that. Not because I think YOU care, but because I then procrastinate writing again, as I feel like I have to say something VERY PROFOUND, either about what I’ve been thinking about or what I’ve been doing, when the reality is I’ve been busy . . . gestating. And gesticulating, I suppose, when I have the energy to move my arms. I mean, HONESTLY, y’all, when did pregnancy get so EXHAUSTING? Again! I never got the honeymoon period of ALL THAT ENERGY that is purported to happen in the second trimester, which is not surprising, and it’s fine, really. It’s FINE. Although here I am in my third, so, ah, yeah. I did enjoy a man telling me that I should be feeling better by now. ORILLY SIR? Tell me about the last time you were pregnant!

That’s one thing that gives me hope about newbornhood this time around. Pregnancy is annoying and miserable and fraught with food issues (I’m lactose intolerant, what IS that?), but it’s positively FLOWN by, and I know it’s temporary, and once it’s over, I . . . well, honestly, I never have to do it again. Frankly, even if I wanted more children, I think the nail was placed in that coffin shortly after I unknowingly ingested sour cream and was doing every gastrointestinal-related horrible thing at once, to the tune of having to throw away TWO garbage cans and Lysol the living daylights out of our bathroom at 2 a.m. NO THANK YOU, EVERYONE. I am good with two.

I’ve also finished Downton Abbey (TEAM MARY!), am reading Maisie Dobbs (Meh?) and working on the wackiest book I’ve ever encountered in my life (Tom Robbins on acid, but for children. I don’t even know), PLUS, I also take a nap every afternoon. Obviously I am the busiest person who ever lived, so stop pretending your life is hard. THIS IS THE HARDEST. You think it’s easy to nap every day AND get the laundry done? I NEED A BLOG FOR MY UNIQUE CHALLENGES OF GETTING IT ALL DONE. WHERE IS MY ESSAY IN SOME SORT OF “JUGGLING IT ALL” COLUMN IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL?

Oh, wait.

No, seriously, that’s pretty much how it goes. By the end of the day, I am so pooped from all of the exertion spent doing light parenting (totally a thing) and keeping us out of a general state of total squalor that I just . . . God, well, I feel like I’ve been working as a nurse on the front lines in Afghanistan, and it makes me feel so pathetic that I’m embarrassed to even admit it, but admit it, I must. I am also strangely impressed with my ability to still sleep on my stomach, despite it being gigantor, thanks to a jury-rigged contraption consisting of a feather pillow and my best friend, the body pillow. Sure makes the urge to evict this tiny parasite a WEE BIT LESS urgent than it was with Sam, when all I wanted to do was lie flat on my belly in blissful slumber. If I’ve got that NOW, what’s the motivation for anything else? I’m a parent of two! And yet I am also sleeping on my stomach! LET’S GO FORTY MORE WEEKS!

Fine, not really. Because the sooner we move past this, the sooner we’re all sleeping through the night again and then life will REALLY BEGIN ANEW. So, look for some new vim and vigor sometime in 2014, if Sam’s example is any indication, I suppose.

ANYWAY, that is what’s new. I mean, other than an excessive amount of hand-wringing and facepalming about politics and SCOTUS and health care and women and racism and The Hunger Games (OOH OOH I LOVED THE MOVIE) and OH MY GOD, YOU GUYS, THE WORLD HAS LOST THEIR DAMN MINDS. I seem to recall a similar panic when I was pregnant with Sam during the crash of 2008 and that ying yang on CNN was screeching, “Will your ATM cards work tomorrow? FRANKLY, I DO NOT KNOW.” He said that! On television! While pregnant ladies across America watched in horror! GOD, WHY DOES NO ONE THINK OF THE PREGNANT WOMEN?

I’ll see you next week, promise. I BROKE THE ICE NOW.

230 comments March 30th, 2012

The Edge of Glory

I was at the hairdresser’s tonight, talking about school and trades and why she decided to become a hairdresser, and she admitted that she tried college, but it just wasn’t for her. Which, you know, I am so fully behind, I don’t know where to begin. THEN, she confessed that she got into the same discussion with a different client, whose response to her status as a college dropout in favor of doing hair was a rude sniff and “HA! Your parents must be SO PROUD! What a waste.”

She said that. To the woman WITH HER HAIR IN HER HANDS. I feel like finding that woman and cutting her bangs very, very short, and perhaps throwing a little bleach in a very conspicuous place. But you know, it speaks to the whole culture of education that we’ve created, and while I value education (please, who doesn’t?), I think it sucks that we’ve become so obsessed with higher education in a very specific form, and that we’ve declared trade professions to be vastly inferior. I could go on about this for hours and hours, and indeed, in recent months, I HAVE, and it ties back, of course, to the COST of college education, and how the availability of loans has made everyone believe that college is PARAMOUNT, no matter what you decide to do with your life. Oh, but what you decide to do had better be a white collar job, because otherwise you’re stupid.

Blue collar workers, PS, are not always factory workers and other unskilled laborers. You know how much I paid my plumber to fix our bathroom in Florida? $125 an hour. I do not make $125 an hour.

Eff this noise, y’all, I’m going to PLUMBING SCHOOL. Unfortunately, I have zero marketable skills in this area, as I am not visual, nor inclined to do any kind of work with my hands that doesn’t involve typing. But if I WERE? I’d be all OVER that shit, and if you think I’m kidding, I’m not. Not even a little.

Also, if my kids decide they want to go into a trade, that’s fine with me. I don’t care about WHAT they go into, so long as they are ambitious and hardworking in their endeavors to do what they do. I want them to be educated and well read, but those things don’t necessarily translate to a happy and/or lucrative career. So. Want to be a hairdresser? Great. But you’d better work your ass off, and be a goddamned good one. Same thing if you want to be a stockbroker or a therapist or a doctor or a plumber or whatever. Work hard. Be happy. Provide for yourself and your family.

*claps hands* Moving on!

Preschool is going well, although I am criminally aware of just how hard I am jinxing things by saying that, but she really seems to dig it, and I … um, I am enjoying the hell out of my free time. I’m not working or napping or relaxing (I mean, I’m still working, but not during preschool time). Instead, I am doing ALL THE THINGS I never have time to do. Like wash the baseboards. Match socks. Clean and vacuum my car, along with scrubbing the seats and the crevices and … God, this is sounding absurd. Thursday, I am organizing the sippy cup shelf and cleaning out the fridge, and I MAY deep-clean one of the bathrooms, but I’m thinking the deep-clean might have to wait until next week. I CANNOT DECIDE. SO MANY RICHES BEFORE ME.

You guys, what the HELL? All these months of waiting for blessed child-free time and instead of spending some quality time beneath the sheets catching up on sleep and/or parked in front of the television ogling Eric Northman’s behind, I am SCRUBBING MY BASEBOARDS? Vacuuming my car? These are chores, and yet they are LUXURIOUS CHORES, and believe me, I never thought I’d consider bathroom floor steaming to be a luxury, but there it is. Also, there is Lady Gaga blaring, so it’s like a VACATION.

As for what Sam does while I am blissfully knee-deep in Mr. Clean, I haven’t the faintest, because her school reports go something like this:

“HI, MOMMY! Gracie and FISH. I climbin’! And da SLIIIDE! Snake go ‘HISSSSSS!’ Froggie go ‘RIBBIT!’ Yellow! Blue! GREEEEN! IT SPILLED!”

“Oh, really, Sam? What else did you do at school?”

“TEDDY BEARS AND CLAMS!”

Right. So it’s obvious my tuition is going to good use. When she applies to automotive school, I’m sure her skills with spilled teddy bear, uh, clams, will really cinch her admission.

Happy Wednesday!

*The Gags, natch

199 comments September 13th, 2011

Grace is Gone

First, let me say that I am not a fool, although I have been acting like one, and the fact that so many people took a few moments out of their day to think about me, leave me a comment or write me an email, is beyond meaningful to me, I can’t even tell you. What you might not know, though, is how much it means to my family. My parents read every last one of those comments, as did some of Adam’s family, and I just … well, thank you seems silly and fruitless, really, it does, but I wanted you to know that it’s not just me who reads them and appreciates them, even when I’m acting like I don’t. My mother and Adam’s Aunt Carol were particularly moved, just so you know.

Which brings me to … well, what I think strikes me the most about the past week, and was entirely unexpected, was — is, really — how quickly I turned into an ungracious asshole. I want to put it another way, but I can’t. I’m amazed and, quite honestly, totally saddened, by how fast I moved from being a person who could compose herself enough to be considerate to someone else, even with a thousand tiny darts sticking out of her chest, to someone who, frankly, did not give a shit about anyone but herself. Everyone said the wrong thing. Everyone. Sarah in Huntsville did NOT say the wrong thing, however, and captured my feelings perfectly when she said:

I felt like dickpunching everyone who said ANYTHING to me about it, because there was nothing they could say that either didn’t make me sneer at them in derision or cry. But I also wanted to facestab the people who just kind of ignored the whole thing.

I LAUGHED. Because my God, yes, that’s pretty much it. I also — and this is perhaps most disturbing — had this almost (and at times, more than almost) irrepressible urge to wave a verbal air horn in someone’s face after uttering something I deemed inappropriate. “WRONG!” the air horn would blat, loud and forceful, right in their foolishly loose lips. “WRONG! WRONG!” I could almost see their hair blowing back from the force of the blast, as I stomped away, stuffing the instrument back in my purse without looking back.

Oh, but if you didn’t say ANYTHING? Well, wait … this actually wasn’t so bad, I mean, unless it was one of my close friends, in which case, FLEE THE COUNTRY, IMMA COME GETCHOO WITH THE AIR HORN.

I mean, yes, there are a few people — a few that I am unwilling to forgive, like those who have publicly questioned my friendship and made demands on it until I acquiesced against my better judgment and then HA HA! never said a word to me about this. And the others, who gleefully talked about my FIRST pregnancy, over and over again, in a flurry of excited sisterly emails and then, when I lost THAT baby … nothing. Not a word since. Yes, people like that, I am finished with. But for the most part, I understand that no one knows what the fuck to say to someone in my situation, so they panic and say nothing and I don’t hold it against them.

(I am, by the way, married to a completely loving, kind, thoughtful person who tends to PANIC! and say nothing in these situations, so I understand this phenomenon more than most.)

Basically, it was just awful, I was just awful, and … well, I’m still kind of just awful, for I have these moments of outright horror at the things people say. Things that, actually, are not THAT horrifying, but in my addled state tend to be magnified to DEFCON 1: LOAD THE AIR HORNS. The problem with all of this is that it turns me into someone I don’t like, and I’m not particularly proud of, and if THAT isn’t an excellent spirit to pour into this magnificent cocktail of suckitude, I don’t know what is!

The one thing I will say is the absolute wrong thing to say is this: “I know how you feel.” No, you don’t. NO ONE DOES, because you are not me, and I am not you. Two people can go through the exact same experience on paper, and feel completely differently, and want to hear/need completely different things. I was stunned by commenter Auntie G’s revelation that she didn’t share her own happy ending with me, because when SHE went through the same thing, she wanted nothing to do with happy endings. Me, however? I drink them up like water in the desert.

So no. You don’t know how I feel, even when I describe it to you in exquisite detail.

***

I do, however, feel better. I am not fully healed, but it has just occurred to me that life will – and does – go on, and that life includes all the things I was looking forward to before (minus the baby). Fun things, like hitting the beach with my family and taking Sam to a summer full of water parks. And of course, the less-fun things like measuring the playroom for carpet tiles and finally getting rid of the ancient Ikea chairs. These things will, God willing, still happen, and I get to enjoy them just the same. It’s when I think about the future — the Other — that things get murky.

***

What remains, too, is this very strange, thin membrane separating me and a much sadder, emptier life than I thought I’d have. I don’t know how to put it any better than that. The membrane is not real; the alternate life isn’t even real, not even if it ends here and now with just Adam, Sam and me, which, I hasten to add, I don’t think it will. I felt this most acutely when I foolishly Googled myself into some message boards of the, uh, recurring miscarriage ilk, and got a glimpse into a world that I can’t seem to shake. A world where people — and please God help me, I am not judging, or at the very least, I am BUSTING MY ASS not to judge, for we all process grief differently — save their wee embryos (yes, I mean pre-12-week embryos) after D&C’s and dress them in hats and take pictures and hold funerals for them. It’s a culture — a cult, almost — that I can’t see myself ever being a part of, even if things had worked out differently, but God, it’s there, and it’s so close and it’s one of those things, like I said, I can’t shake.

I can’t say I would ever be the type to, um, dress my embryo in corduroy and denim (mine is, after routine chromosomal testing, being flushed with the hospital waste of the week, and maybe that seems heartless), but I guess what strikes me is that it’s so easy to see how it could happen; how CONSUMING it could be if you really dug your heels into a place like that. I feel like I am the thinnest air pocket away from being a person who buys clothes for her embryos, even though rationally, I know that’s not true.

Online communities — particularly ones that are highly specialized and focused — are extremely powerful. Please, one day let me regale you of the YEAR OF MY LIFE I spent embroiled in a — oh I can barely type it — CAT MESSAGE BOARD. WHERE PEOPLE TALKED ABOUT THEIR CATS. I DID THIS. I DID THIS. I, a perfectly well-adjusted, pretty twentysomething with lots of friends and a hot boyfriend (now husband), spent an UNGODLY AMOUNT OF TIME talking about the merits of wet food vs. canned and examining my cat’s stool for optimum health.

(If you’re wondering how it happened, it started because — surprise! — I was googling after discovering that my cat had recurrent urinary problems. And if you’re thinking that CAT MESSAGE BOARDS do not have flame wars, HA HA YOU ARE SO WRONG AND ARE YOU DYING, BECAUSE I AM DYING TYPING THIS OUT.)

(Also, I no longer own a cat, and in fact, hate cats. EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS IS HILARIOUS.)

These places are rabbit holes. RABBIT HOLES. And if I have any advice to anyone going through this, it is that maybe you should stick to blogs that talk about this kind of thing, and step away from the pinkie nail-sized knitted hats, for it struck me as a fast track to an insane asylum. Email Julie, who will probably say the perfect thing to you, even though she doesn’t know it. (To me, she simply said, “I AM APPALLED,” and honestly, I hold it with me, because it is so hilarious and so perfect, I don’t know why.)

Happy Tuesday, friends. Thanks for listening, and my apologies for my astonishingly douchey comments and written air horns over the last seven days.

*Dave Matthews Band, whatever. I’m not judging your tiny hats, so lay off my lame music.

140 comments May 23rd, 2011

Rolling in the Deep

This is going to be all OVER the place, y’all. Just like it used to be! Bullet-style:

– One of the things that plagues me on a fairly regular basis, is when one of your friends — someone you really like, who has proven to be of decent character and all that rot — is ALSO friends with someone who has proven to be morally bankrupt on more than one occasion, in my admittedly-strict viewpoint. Now, before I go on here, I want you to simmer down, Warren Beatty, because this song isn’t about you. I can think of at least two people who would think this is about them, but really, Warren, it isn’t.

But what do you do? I’ve voiced my opinion — even more gently than I normally would, I swear! — once or twice, and I’ve even PERSONALLY been screwed by the person in question and said something and YET THE RELATIONSHIP CONTINUES. Mind you, it’s not that I expect them to CHOOSE ME over them — this isn’t that kind of high school drama — it’s that I am MYSTIFIED how someone can still be friends with someone who has PROVEN to be such an absolute douche.

I DO NOT UNDERSTAND. It is honestly one of life’s greatest mysteries.

– If you’ll indulge me a moment of Glee, I was ALL HOT AND BOTHERED to see the return of Jesse St. James in what is certainly the most ridiculous crush imaginable. Yes, I am a 35-year-old married mother with a huge crush on an openly gay man playing a teenager, and while I have no issue with either of those things, of course, the problem is that no matter how you slice it, the fantasy doesn’t work. I would either have to turn into a man OR a teenager and neither really works for me. Yet, it persists.

However. They turned him into a one-dimensional vapid asshole, when yes, I realize that he royally screwed Rachel over last year, I ALSO thought there was some complexity to him and it’s … gone. I am ALSO angry at how they’ve turned Rachel into a sniveling GIRL who also suddenly turned stupid. Last season, Rachel was multi-dimensional, and what made her amazing was her incredible insight into HERSELF. And now she’s fawning over Jesse and saying things like, “He’s so smart! Can you believe he flunked out of college?” after he says something amazingly inane. And so we’re left with Kurt (and his personal orbit), the only character with any sort of heart, and honestly, it’s pissing me off, because it seems like Ryan Murphy is just re-writing his own history, and the only person he has any sort of generosity to is himself.

Also, uhhh, weren’t they juniors LAST YEAR? How long can they drag this out?

– I also have Strong Feelings on Friday Night Lights, and I’m telling you right now that I’m live-tweeting the episode for my bosses at Smart Pop Books, because an essay of mine is in the upcoming anthology on the show in its entirety. So, you know, fair warning. And while I LOVE this season, I have VERY LOUD OPINIONS on the finale, and as such, I can’t wait until all of you (all, um, four of you who watch it) have caught up so that we can discuss.

– One of the things I am shocked to discover that I am struggling with is getting Sam to enjoy reading. I KNOW. I KNOW. Are you as floored as I am? I am, above all things, A Reader. The periods of my life when I wasn’t relying on a book for my primary form of evening entertainment are few and far between. Even still, I’m usually either reading or writing, even while the TV is on in the background. I mean, I love TV, but if I had to choose, I’d choose a book any day of the week.

So how is it possible that she’s my child? We set aside time to read every day. I read CONSTANTLY. I’ve even taken to reading her books by myself, with rapt enthusiasm, just to make them seem interesting. Yes, we watch TV, but with few exceptions (involving DJ Lance), she’s really not that into it, and she almost NEVER sits still to watch a whole anything unless she’s positively exhausted OR it’s first thing in the morning, so I’m not panicked that she’s a TV head or anything. (I WISH she was one of those children who sat quietly and watched television for more than six minutes at a time. I could use that to my occasional advantage! NO DICE.)

She just … does other things. Swaddles Brobee. Draws. Listens to music and dances. Draws some more. Plays with her animals. Paints. Dances some more. Sings. Dances. Music. God, this kid is SO INTO MUSIC. And when there is no music? SHE MAKES ME SING SO SHE CAN DANCE.

And forget reading before bed — she’s ALL business. Once she became a prescient human being, she dropped the bedtime reading routine before it really got going. When she’s ready for bed, she wants to be IN THE BED. The second we start the bedtime routine, “BYE MAMA! NIGHT NIGHT!” and she’s finished. She wants to be in bed, lights out, my annoying mug out of her face. It doesn’t seem to matter how early we start — the moment she senses bedtime is nigh, she’s all about it, as soon as humanly possible, and thank you. (Yes, I know I’m lucky. Our bedtime ritual is three whole seconds long. “Kiss Daddy!” “BYE MAMA!” Aaaaaaand, fin.)

I’ve gotten her books on her favorite subjects — animals and bugs — and it sort of works, but man, if I had one trivial wish for my daughter, it would be that she loves to read, and right now, despite my best efforts, she’s not nearly as into it as I’d hoped.

Also, can we talk about the bug obsession for a moment here? BUGS. Ants are “cute!” Worms are “awesome!” She picks them all up and tries to take them home as pets! God forbid we see a bumblebee, because kid is BESIDE HERSELF with excitement. “It’s a BEE! A BEE!” and she lurches toward it, hands open. Explaining that although bumblebees look fuzzy and friendly, they REALLY need to be left alone, was a surprisingly rigorous parenting challenge.

But still. Books. Man. I mean, Adam and I both read. We have stacks and stacks of books and Kindles full of reading material. I have a to-read list that is more than 250 books long and I can’t get my kid to sit still long enough for “No, David!”?

Tell me: is all hope lost? Will she eschew reading forever? Will I be stuck raising an entomologist-slash-oboe player? Any tips are welcome.

– Speaking of TV, uhh, sort of, the only show I’m really looking forward to other than True Blood is “Falling Skies,” and I cannot WAIT.

– Speaking of BOOKS, we have plenty of interest in the book club, so stay tuned for more — as soon as I get it cleaned up and a new spam system in place, I’ll be hitting a re-launch. And to say I appreciate the offers of help is an understatement. I think this time it will probably be better than the last, because there was an INSANE AMOUNT OF INTEREST from people who … weren’t all that interested. I think this time has the potential to be smaller and more engaging. Honestly, even if only two of you said to do it, I would have. Fortunately, we have a bit more — but far fewer than the 600 we had the first time.

Thanks, everyone. I hope you have a fantastic Thursday. We’re getting our beach passes, finally, although it is the furthest thing from beach weather you can imagine. Hope springs eternal, even if spring doesn’t.

*GLEE’S VERSION WAS AWFUL. AWFUL. AWFUL. I liked Haley’s better on American Idol and that is SAYING SOMETHING. Oh, Adele. You are, indeed, incomparable. (I love her.)

74 comments May 11th, 2011

Gimme More

I just have to get this off of my chest while I’m thinking about it: No one can tell you how many children to have. There is no “right” answer. No, for some people one isn’t enough. Yes, for others, it is. For still more people? Seven isn’t enough.

It struck me after I miscarried how many people — even people I love and trust — had the attitude of, well, at least you have Sam! Which is true. In many ways, having a miscarriage or infertility after already conceiving a child on your own is … well, at least a little different, and I know from both sides. This time, I didn’t have to wonder what direction my life would go: would I EVER be a mom? Would I ever know what giving birth feels like? Well, yes, now I do, and I don’t have to wonder if I have to fill my life with other things to create meaning in an empty hole I wanted fill with something else.

But I still want another one, and no, I wouldn’t be okay if I couldn’t have one. Sam is enough — on a thousand levels, she is enough. She is the sun, moon and the stars; she is everything. Of course she is.

(And of course she’s better than your kid. Of all kids, really. SHE IS THE KID TO END ALL KIDS.)

(That was a joke.)

But having her doesn’t make wanting another one any less aching, you know? There’s a thousand reasons I want another baby, and giving Sam a sibling is a huge part of it, and that, actually, makes it even harder than I ever expected. So much of what I want for my child includes having someone to grow up with; someone to bear witness to her childhood in a way I didn’t really have, despite my vast number of blended-family siblings, both biological and not. (It’s complicated. Lovely, but complicated.)

In some ways, it’s harder than it was before I had Sam, in that I know precisely what I’m missing, and though I know a second child would be different than she is, I know, at least, exactly how much I will love that kid, how much I love being a mom and how much I’ll revel in their own little personality. So yes, you know, I want another baby, and no, having one baby already doesn’t necessarily make it easier on me, at least if it turns out to be hard, and I know that’s a complicated concept to write out, but that’s the best way I can put it.

It’s hard and heart-wrenching and difficult and someone who wants a THIRD baby and is struggling is suffering just as much as someone who doesn’t yet have any babies at all. This isn’t the pain olympics. Everyone suffers. Everyone wants the family they always dreamed of, and everyone deserves it, but not everyone gets it. It’s just the way it is, and it sucks, but everyone deserves to try, and everyone deserves to be upset when their dreams didn’t work out or are hard to come by.

On the flip side, my friends who DO have one child and ARE happy with it, it’s … well, it’s almost as bad to hear what they go through from other people. I don’t know why it’s considered rude to comment on another person’s parenting when it involves things like breastfeeding and discipline (and it IS rude), but it’s perfectly acceptable to tell someone who has or wants an only child that they will grow up deprived and self-centered. Oh hey, thanks for telling someone that they’re screwing up their kid because they’re SELFISH. It’s … kind of amazing, and I firmly believe it isn’t true.

We — the people building the families — get to decide what we want, what we will try for, what to be upset about. Everyone is different. There is no sliding pain scale. Nobody wins. Like I said, if you have five kids, and desperately want a sixth, but it’s not coming easily? You get to be upset, and you get to be just as upset at someone who’s never had kids. No, you don’t get to be talked into any, “Well, at LEAST you have ONE. I don’t have ANY! Therefore YOU cannot be UPSET!” bullshit.

Well, now that’s out there. Happy Friday to you.

*Britney Spears. Not the classiest title I’ve ever come up with, eh?

65 comments April 28th, 2011

Why I Am

Invariably, there comes a time when I am irritated with EVERYTHING and feeling rather maudlin and hopeless. I start thinking how awful everything is! Everything! But see, it all comes INDIVIDUALLY, so I don’t see that I am feeling this way about everything, I only see my irritations in isolation. So, for example, I will spend several hours bemoaning the fact that I miss Jennie and life is unfair and awful because I don’t have a nanny at my beck and call, or have Sam in daycare so that I can just whip off to see her every weekend. And then I get irrationally pissed off at her because she lives in Texas, and why so selfish, Jennie? What’s wrong with Boston?

And then she goes and spends the weekend with Elizabeth, who I have loved for years and never met (!) and I am a WELL OF DESPAIR. Then I also apply this to Lawyerish, and I think about how her husband hates the Red Sox, and thus would never move to Boston, and I want to burn piles of tiny bespectacled dolls in Yankee hats in effigy, and not in a good-natured way. And then I feel ridiculous, because I love Joe, and why am I burning Joe Dolls?

All this is before we’ve even GOTTEN to Kate, who used to live ten minutes from here, but now lives in Vermont, and it’s BULLSHIT. I AM FUMING.

In isolation, this seems understandable — I miss my FRIENDS, right? But then a day or so — or say, HOURS — later, I start brooding over something else, and I find myself slamming the dishes around the kitchen, because do I have to do EVERYTHING around here? Why is my husband being so LAZY? Why AM I DEALING WITH EVERYTHING?

Then! Then later! I find myself getting paranoid about yet another thing, like whether I said the wrong thing or is that song about ME, CARLY? WHY DOES EVERYONE HATE ME? And then! I talk to a friend who works full-time, and I find myself SEETHING WITH JEALOUSY over an upcoming business trip she has! TO CLEVELAND. And I am almost in tears because I WILL NEVER GO TO CLEVELAND BY MYSELF.

(Note: I have never wanted to go to Cleveland by myself. Oh, and my husband does a SHITLOAD around the house, to the point where he tells me I unload the dishwasher wrong and he’d RATHER I DIDN’T DO IT AT ALL.)

And then I look at the calendar and see that I’m on, say, DAY 27 up in this piece and everything is illuminated.

***

What does come out of this that is valid is that sometimes I DO get frustrated with my primary job — that of being a mom and, uhh, household-running-type person (I WILL NOT SAY HOMEMAKER). I am fortunate — thrilled, even — that I still freelance, but that rarely comprises the bulk of my day, and sometimes it is exhausting to have no real measurement for success, you know? I don’t even know what my performance review would include, in terms of parameters. Some ideas:

1) How many days has it been since you put your daughter in time-out?
2) Did she eat anything besides cheese today?
3) Does she regularly share her toys? (Yes, even Brobee.)
4) If a stranger took a broom to your floors, exactly how much dust would they kick up?
5) On average, how many days a week does your family have clean underwear? Do they have their choice of socks?
6) Rate your toilets’ cleanliness. Are they generally Spotless, Very Clean, Clean, Passably Clean or Not Clean At All?

You see how this could be a bit … discouraging, yes? The success or failure of my day is largely out of my control, because if she’s in a bad mood, there is no sharing and there are many time-outs. If she doesn’t nap, my floors languish in dirty piles and Adam has no clean underwear, OR he has to do the laundry himself, which is not something I enjoy, because then *I* can’t find my clothes and then I’m bethonged and unhappy and … well, it’s obvious where a level of FUTILE DISSATISFACTION could rear its ugly head in moments of hormonal duress, yes?

Bah, never mind. I’m happy with my life, but there are moments. MOMENTS. MOMENTS WHERE I WANT TO GO TO CLEVELAND.

*Dave Matthews Band

53 comments April 6th, 2011

Kiss with a Fist

So far, having a two-year-old is AWESOME! And if you say that really loudly, with your hands in the air, then you’ve just learned the hot word of the day from said two-year-old. Everything is awesome! Sam, do you like your green beans? AWESOME!

Don’t tell anyone, but I’m, uh, pretty sure she learned this on the Yo Gabba Gabba Super Music Friends Show. Listening and dancing to music IS awesome!

Speaking of Yo Gabba Gabba, we turned it on at playgroup today at the very end, right around the time when all the kids seem to just sort of start coming apart from all the excitement of playing for several hours, and they need a moment to regroup before heading home. Judge away! You will probably judge even more when I tell you that I cannot stop laughing that when the “Boat” episode was rudely interrupted by an emergency broadcast message, all four kids started YELLING like they were just taken out of a trance. Molly yelled, “GABBA! GABBA!” while Lila sadly tried to dance to the ear-splitting tone with her head to her chin, whimpering. Gracie held her head in her hands, shaking it back and forth in abject sadness, and Sam started actually crying.

You know that True Blood scene from season two when the town is at the woodland orgy, and Andy Bellefleur shoots his gun off, leaving all the black-eyed people to go wailing into the woods, lost and disoriented? It was exactly like that, and I’m not even exaggerating a little. I was simultaneously horrified and amused at the power of DJ Lance. I had the same mix of emotions that our first reaction — all of four of the moms — was NOT to be horrified, but to figure out how to get it back on as soon as possible to stop the madness.

My kid makes me strangely sad sometimes, not for any obvious reason, but because she does things that are so naive and endearing that I am, and I can’t put this any other way, embarrassed for her. I mean, I’m not REALLY, but that’s the closest emotion I can put to it. I am weirdly sad for her, because … ah, well, for example, when we pull up to her friends’ houses, and we get out of the car, she starts yelling, “HIII! HIII!” excitedly before anyone can hear her. “HI LILA! HIII! GRACIE! GRACIE!” And I just … oh, baby, no one can hear you, honey. We’re outside and they don’t even know we’re here.

I feel the same twinge when she sees a familiar character on TV and comes racing in to tell me about it, “MAMA! It’s ELMO!” as if I didn’t PUT HIM THERE or (oh my God) she approaches the television when she sees a cat and tries to HUG THE TELEVISION. And — AND! — when she sees said familiar character, sometimes she’ll walk right up to the television and yell, “HII! Hi GoGo! HIII!” (GoGo is Diego, of course.) All because Diego said hi at the beginning in what was meant to be a rhetorical fashion, you know?

Ah, kids. Confusing little monsters that find a way to yank on your heartstrings even when they do something senseless and kind of embarrassing.

Finally, and I don’t think I’m alone here, I have a long list of things I keep MEANING to do, but am starting to doubt if I ever will do. Things like decorating my house like people other than college students live here (seriously, that’s what four years of renting will do to a person), organizing my underwear drawer and finally, oh my lands, finally, getting rid of all the clothes I don’t wear. There is no reason to have two closets stuffed to the gills full of clothes that are never actually placed on a human being’s ass.

You know what else I want to do? Organize our bookshelves by color. Meal plan a month in advance. Start couponing. I DO NOT USE COUPONS. I have no idea where to even START.

Am I ever going to do these things? Am I doomed to have a dresser stuffed full of too-small T-shirts from Target that have holes in the armpits? Will I ever pay less than full price for Ziploc bags?

Seriously. I need to just do ONE of these things, and I think I’d feel better. Instead I’m so tired from all the usual activities of child-rearing, housekeeping, writing/working that by the time I have any extra time, I’m either reading or zoned out in front of Big Love, wondering why I even care anymore, when all I have ever wanted to do is punch Bill Henrickson directly in the junk. Oh, and you, too, Nicolette. And Barb! GET SOME BALLS. RUN FOR THE HILLS.

I hope y’all have a great Wednesday.

Florence + The Machine. Oh, I love her voice and yet, at the same time think she looks to be about forty, when my understanding is that she’s, ah, TWENTY FOUR.

23 comments March 8th, 2011

Mesmerize

Well, HELLOOOOO there. The, um, sickopalypse turned out to be an actual no-shit sickopalypse, with multiple pediatrician visits, a diagnosis of strep for Sam, strep tests for everyone else and a general plague that descended upon our home for roughly a week, and it was … it was very, very bad. Very bad. VERY BAD. There are not enough words to describe how, um, VERY BAD, things were.

In fact, I won’t even, because it would be boring and painful to go into, except that once again Dr. Google led us down a path of destruction and neurological nightmares, and culminated in a very grim visit to the pediatrician with a parental diagnosis of VERY BAD INDEED, only to have the pediatrician basically say, ummmm, no, that didn’t even cross my mind, OK? OK. Now go home and relax and give the kid fiber so she, um, well, whatever.

(I just have to hastily add that this time, the Googling wasn’t my doing. Small victories that aren’t really victories at all, but are in fact, rabbit holes of horror for everyone!)

However, we still had strep up in here, and after one adult getting swabbed (negative) it turned out it really didn’t matter at all because we still felt like we were at DEFCON 1 in terms of sickness, and anything diagnosable would have been both comforting and sort of useless, because we still felt like crap. That is, of course, unless it came with a FIX IT! button that would also transport us all to the Caribbean on Brobee’s back without having to pack enough snacks for the toddler.

We’re recovering nicely now, thanks. But I would like to once again humbly request that 2011 stop putting us through the wringer, and while I realize that a houseful of sick people hardly qualifies as a crisis, LEMME TELL YOU that it turns out when you had a January like we had, you’re a little trigger-happy with the panic button. What can I even say? We’re all PTSD up in here. I am, as of this writing, wobbling on the verge of tears for no good reason other OY, THAT SUCKED.

(I would also like to add that I am currently sitting on a tooth that had a root canal that appears to have been entirely ineffective, so I am also in a fair amount of pain and ALSO very probably watching our Caribbean vacation fund go slowly down the drain of DENTAL CRISIS and also maybe IMPLANT and while it’s possible that it won’t happen, I’m betting it will, because see also: PTSD and bad 2011 and please, someone just GIVE ME THE IV OF PINOT GRIGIO. PERKINS, WHERE ARE MY SMELLING SALTS?)

So now that we’ve covered THAT, can I just tell you that every single year — and I am not kidding you, EVERY YEAR — I make a biiiiig proclamation that I am NOT, no seriously, DEFINITELY NOT, going to watch American Idol this year, NO SERIOUSLY I AM NOT! Do not even ask me about it! And then … I get sucked in, because Adam doesn’t even PRETEND that he doesn’t want to watch it, with the excuse that there’s not much else on the teevee, so it’s on. Aaaand, naturally, there I am, slyly watching in the background and surreptitiously asking him WHAT, no seriously, WHAT, is up with that girl in the wheelchair, and why is everybody crying?

(He loves when I do this, as you can imagine. It’s also great when I decide three-quarters of the way through a season of a show I said I didn’t want to watch that hey HEY! it suddenly looks kind of interesting, and is now a good time for a primer of who everyone is, and WAIT, WHY IS THAT LADY PULLING A GUN? And why is Peg Bundy looking so suspiciously buff? And HOLY SHIT WHO IS THAT HOT GUY?)

(See: Sons of Anarchy)

So now here I am, all caught up on American Idol, sort of, and though I still don’t know who the (apparently moving) woman in the wheelchair is, or why she’s significant (other than AI loves people who make other people cry, because that show is quickly becoming a tearjerker of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition proportions), I am embarrassed to admit that I … I …

I LIKE JENNIFER LOPEZ ON IT. A LOT. I am finding her ENDEARING and LIKABLE and you don’t understand, this is the SINGLE most frustrating outcome of any show I have ever seen, because I DID NOT WANT TO LIKE HER. I have always disliked her! She’s flashy! Inappropriate! Self-absorbed! Had infertility treatments and LIED ABOUT IT, which is fine if she didn’t want to disclose it, but to go on the record as saying that she got pregnant simply because she just KNEW SHE COULD DO IT since she WANTED IT SO BADLY was such a horrid slap in the face to people who ALSO want it so badly and just can’t, and … oh, dear.

Plus, she’s married to Marc Anthony, who is possibly the most insufferable person on the planet and bears a strong resemblance to Skeletor. And — AND! — like her predecessor, Paula Abdul, THE WOMAN CANNOT SING. She has the vocal range of my two-year-old daughter. NO — NO! — SHE HAS THE VOCAL RANGE OF SUNNY!

(Related: Why does AI keep getting these half-assed pop star judges with the vocal talent of your average high school chorus? At least Kara DioGuardi knew how to sing and, um, play instruments and stuff, like, you know, an actual musician. I kind of miss Kara and her constant screeches of artistry! ARTISTRY!)

So tell me, how is this woman (JLo, that is, not Kara) qualified to judge a singing competition? I’m putting money on the fact that she doesn’t even know what a KEY is, much less whether someone is OFF OF IT and yet there I am, smiling at her, and the way she likes the desperate, slightly insane girls with no real idea of what they’re doing or getting themselves into. She seems to really care about these kids! She’s invested! She’s … oh God. I wanted to hug her when she championed the single mom of the special needs kid, even though I didn’t even feel like her connection was genuine! I … holy merde, it’s just awful. She’s funny! She’s sweet!

She’s really done one hell of a PR job, is what she’s done. Dammit.

And all this is before I even touched on the fact that I am a little bit in love with Steven Tyler, even though he’s a total lech, and, I believe, is older than my dad. And I am MIDDLE AGED.

(Does that make it less creepy? No?)

Happy Tuesday!

*Ja Rule and Ashanti. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU HEARD THIS ONE, SUCKAH? (Me: this afternoon, when Kiss 108 played it, and then I stupidly — OH SO STUPIDLY — downloaded it.

23 comments February 21st, 2011

Folsom Prison Blues

I can’t believe I’m talking about this again, because I KNOW how painful and stupid it is, but you guys. YOU GUYS. THE SNOW. IT WILL NEVER STOP. I know, I’ve seen the tweets about how there’s a winter whining warning! OH HA HA. Clearly these people don’t live in Boston, is all I’m saying, because as of right now, after ten more inches today, the piles of snow are bigger than my house. MY HOUSE. And it’s not stopping! It just! keeps! coming! My sister called this morning and said precisely what I’ve been saying on repeat, WHY? WHY? WHY?

And Jesus, sweet longtime reader Leigh was so totally right when she said it’s contributing to any sort of lingering sadness, because feeling like your house is going to be eaten, because of the walls! of! snow! and not being able to go anywhere and having playdates canceled over and over again is like, WHOA OH MY GOD WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE HERE. As I write this, I have dirty hair and am wearing these hideous blue toile pajama bottoms from Target, because it’s what I wore to bed last night, and it’s all feeling very futile, this getting up and getting dressed business. After all, where are we going to go? Nowhere! NOWHERE, THAT’S WHERE.

Ahem. I’m sorry. If you need me, I’ll be here in my hideous toile pajamas (WHO PUTS TOILE ON PAJAMA PANTS? WHO BUYS THEM?), spending hours coming up with new marinades for the fourteen pounds of London broil I have in the freezer. Oh, and fingerpainting. By myself. Or perhaps coloring with my box of 64 crayons that Adam got for ME ME ME for Christmas, because it appears that I enjoy coloring more than Sam does.

Here! Have some bullets:

— I’m on Day 17 of The Neverending Post-MC Period, and no, my doctor isn’t concerned for a bunch of detailed reasons you don’t need to hear right now (or, um, ever), but if you were wondering if THAT is as special as it sounds, I ASSURE YOU, IT IS. SEVENTEEN DAYS. GOD CREATED THE EARTH IN FEWER DAYS.

— I’ve always wanted to write a post on this, but it’s a little self-important and all kinds of complicated, but MAN, does it ever GRATE MY CHEESE that somehow the definition of feminism has become, for some, particularly in the pool my blogging peers swim in, WE MUST SUPPORT WOMEN, NO MATTER WHAT. I … what? Look, I’m not going to agree with a woman just BECAUSE she’s a woman, and I remain unclear how it turned out that it means that we can’t CRITICIZE something a woman does! I certainly have no issue criticizing something a man does if I disagree with it and/or dislike it. (I’m looking at you, Ryan Murphy and your sexist approach to character development.)

Oh, but wait — we CAN criticize women. We, as women, are free to criticize celebrities. Yes, we have free reign to make fun of celebrities’ boobs, hair, makeup and outfits. How very progressive of us. Oh, wait. And Sarah Palin. We are free to criticize Sarah Palin. But other than that, not so much. We are supposed to SUPPORT each other, didn’t you know? We’re supposed to support women’s right to speak up for what they believe in! Unless what I think or what I believe in contradicts what another, more docile woman believes in, in which case, I need to sit down and be quiet, because I’m just jealous, and what I said wasn’t nice and I’m just creating drama. Because women are supposed to be strong and outspoken, but we are also not supposed to say anything at all unless it’s something nice.

No one, for the record, would dare say that to a man. And yet, people say these things, out loud, without even considering for a second the irony in what they’re communicating.

(And I swear to God and everything that is holy, I am not thinking of a specific instance here, and my friend Kate can even attest that I have been thinking about this post since at LEAST the summertime. AT LEAST.)

(Edited to add that I, too, make fun of celebrities, so weirdly, I don’t object to the practice. I’m a People subscriber, for heaven’s sake! I BUY US WEEKLY. I AM WHAT IS WRONG WITH AMERICA.)

— Given the shitshow that was January, I haven’t even begun to look at my 2010 goals to see how I stacked up, or come up with anything for 2011, but I have exactly one, so far, and I think it’s a decent one: Read for fun. Just fun. Yes, I want to read at least 40 books (a wussy number, but whatever), but I’m also tired of reading things I SHOULD read, and right now, I just want to kick back and read stuff that entertains me, even if it’s embarrassing, which means Franzen’s “Freedom” will have to wait, because I’ll be busy with something lame and pink-jacketed over here.

Have a happy Wednesday!

*Johnny Cash. Because honestly, I feel IMPRISONED. BY SNOW.

37 comments February 1st, 2011

Downhill from Here

I was reading TJ’s post and then some of the comments, and I was getting retroactively frustrated for my pregnant self back before I had Sam and super-frustrated for my pregnant friends. WHY do people want to terrify you while you’re pregnant? Why is there so much smug satisfaction in warning you of how HORRIBLE it’s going to be when you have your baby, and how you’re NEVER GOING TO SLEEP AGAIN and your life is basically OVER and GOOD LUCK, BIZNATCH! You done ruined your life, sister!

Why? Like, it’s too late. It does no good to be prepared for parenthood, because it’s one of those things you have to experience for yourself, and no amount of warning or discussion will help. It won’t help. All it will do is make you feel crappy about yourself for looking forward to the experience, when there are legions of people telling you all the reasons you shouldn’t. And the truth is, it will suck sometimes, but it is also completely awesome, otherwise NO ONE WOULD DO IT AGAIN. OR EVER. I want another baby. If it was so terrible, would I want to do it AGAIN?

(Don’t get me wrong, I think after two, we’re done. I do. I want more in theory, but on the other hand, I imagine the exhilaration in knowing that once my second kid starts sleeping through the night, that’s IT for the most part. THAT WILL BE IT, save for a few isolated nights here and there. I think about it and I actually get excited. And we are not even remotely at the beginning of baby #2, but seriously, I GET EXCITED ABOUT THAT.)

In other news, it’s freezing here, and if you think weather-related blogging is boring, I’ve got nothing for you, because it is CONSUMING ME, and I have a child who will not wear mittens, whines when her hood is up or her hat is on unless she’s in the damn HOUSE where it is WARM and you know what, lady at Sudbury Farms who suggested my kid should be wearing mittens? I KNOW. Perhaps you can walk with me and hold them on for us while we walk to the store? Or no, is that not a good idea?

But seriously, I’m a wimp right now, and I’m not sure what’s gotten into me. I moved back here from VERMONT, for God’s sake, where it is VERY COLD, being so close to Canada and all. (Oh, Canadians, I am just kidding! I know you have a diverse climate profile, but it is kind of fun to get you riled up and tell me how no one realizes you don’t all live in igloos!) And yet I’m out there bundled up like I’m on my way to meet Santa’s elves, bitching how the wind is like ice and how do people live like this? What are we doing here? Maybe we should move somewhere warm, like Florida?

OH HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Ahem. Anyway, look, this is boring as shit, but I’m trying to get back into the habit of writing more often than, say, once a week, and it’s cold here, what do you want? I AM COLD. THIS IS THE BEST I CAN DO. Also, I failed to mention that in addition to our horrid, no-good flight from Virginia to Boston, we returned home to a dog who’d had a bloody colitis attack all over my sister’s house while we were gone. My sister, who I’d gotten into a pointless argument about, among other things, dog-sitting (!) before we left (long story, not a big deal, hormones were involved, the end) and then HO HO, HERE. Let my dog excrete bloody shit all over your first floor! That should really, um, clear the air.

(It did, ironically, but AUGH SUNNY WHAT THE FUCK?)

Do you know what we’re doing this weekend? LOOKING AT MINIVANS, THAT’S WHAT. A recent road trip with the dog, the baby and an assload of shit in the CR-V (our other car’s an Accord) made us want more space. A tour of a friend’s Odyssey has me daydreaming of THREE! ROWS! OF! SEATS!

AND A BUILT-IN DVD PLAYER.

Happy Thursday!

34 comments December 8th, 2010

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