Posts filed under 'The Floridian Nightmare'
So I am having all of these unexpected FEELINGS about Allie being my last baby. It’s not that I necessarily want three children, I don’t think, it’s that Allie is my last BABY and after that, there are no more BABY babies. No more babies in the house. No more cribs and birth experiences and pregnancies (well, thank Jesus for that last one) and I just . . . hmph. It’s sad. But at the same time, I’m pretty sure it’s the right thing to do.
The thing is, I am not as zen about it as I thought I was. I keep wanting to say that I am — and I AM, in some ways — but then when I really think about closing the door and doing a permanent birth control solution (Jesus, Essure, oh my God, don’t get me started on THAT Twitter trainwreck), I balk. I don’t even want to get an IUD right now, for God’s sake. What is wrong with me? I was so DEPRESSED and MISERABLE during pregnancy and during Allie’s early newborn phase, I thought I would just DIE from the heartbreak that was Sam’s lack of attention, and a third baby would just . . . no. Trying for a third baby and going through all that again, plus pregnancy, is literally the last thing in the world I want to do.
I want to raise my girls. I want to focus, finally, on RAISING our family, rather than the weird limbo of growing it. I forget, as I did when I was having trouble getting pregnant with Allie, that not getting something new doesn’t mean that I lose what I already have. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it was a recurring thought as I went through those losses — as though each loss meant that I would somehow lose my hold on Sam, too.
I’ll be 37 in a few weeks. I’m done. But still, sometimes, I am sad about it. I love being a mom — truly, it’s what I was meant to do, and I live a remarkably happy, resentment-free existence with my kids — and sometimes I struggle with the idea that If *I* am not supposed to have a passel of kids, who IS?
Sigh. I keep remembering that there will ALWAYS be a last baby; this isn’t a state that could continue in perpetuity, nor is it one I really WANT to continue (and Adam might as well have “WE ARE DONE!” tattooed on his forehead). But it’s sad, I guess, to shut that door on a part of your life. Sadder than I thought it would be.
Allie continues to be the Best Baby Ever, however, and spends most of her days looking like this:
Sorry, I won the cute baby game. Try again later.
Sam is herself, and she is fantastically funny and bright and God, three is absurd, but so fun, and I know I say that every time, but JESUS, you guys, she is just . . . three. “I am NOT three. I am THREE CANDLES YEARS OLD,” she would yell if she heard me say that. “I am NOT FUNNY. I am Sam.”
So you know, I’m lucky, is what I’m saying, and I should be counting my blessings instead of mourning the loss of fake ones. Because the other thing is that I know that once that train is started — once the first positive pregnancy test comes in, followed by the first miscarriage — you can’t stop it. Giving up is not an option, and it becomes an obsession that almost feels like a desire to win a game, but with obscenely higher stakes.
**Side note: the first time I heard the word obscene was when one of my mom’s friends went as a flasher for Halloween and made a fake penis out of panythose. I remember my mom exclaiming with horror, “CAROL! That is OBSCENE!” and having no idea what she was referring to, or what the word obscene meant. Either way, I would not disagree with my mom on that front, though it was also obscenely hilarious in retrospect.
(See what I did there? Such a versatile word!)
Anyway! *clap clap* this is all very depressing, but it’s still on my mind, and I’m still working through it, particularly because time is FLYING. It’s flying. It’s Christmastime already, for God’s sake, and Sam is halfway through the school year. I mean, what the eff? Next year is pre-K and then kindergarten, and it’s all just whizzing by in a blur, and one of these days, I’m going to open my eyes in my Florida trailer park and call my daughters collect, you know?
Oh just kidding about that. I will be living in my Florida HOUSE. The one I still own, and have taken to referring to as my retirement plan.
Also, would you believe that all this stupid introspection was tipped off by Allie SLEEPING IN HER OWN BEDROOM? I mean, honestly. I’m acting like I’ve just shipped her off to Northwestern, FFS. No. She’s eleven feet down the hall, and I still go in there to nurse her at night. Yes, please. Someone get that kid a dorm room.
Anyway, random side thing before I go, and this seems very Swistle-like, I don’t know why: I was paying my Target RedCard bill by phone (GET A REDCARD!) and I was trying to pay off the whole balance, but it wouldn’t let me and I was SO PISSED, because it just kept bouncing me to different parts of the IVR, and then it finally bounced me to an agent, and I was all, “I JUST WANNA PAY OFF THE WHOLE BALANCE!” I mean, I was fired up. Take my goddamned MONEY, Target, this shouldn’t be HARD. And she helpfully explained that it would only let me pay $300 instead of $450 (bullshit numbers because I can’t remember) and I was practically SCREECHING at her that I wanted to pay off the $450, and TAKE MY MONEYS, NOW. But no. I could only pay $300.
I hung up, very dissatisfied that I only paid $300 until I remembered that my statement was $450 but I only OWED $300 because I RETURNED at least $150 worth of items (including a rug!) and this is all well and good and a long story, who cares, but the pont is, I had this BURNING DESIRE to call the woman back and EXPLAIN how I’d figured it out! I figured it out! I had a RETURN! Isn’t that great?
LIKE SHE CARED. But for some reason, I felt like she and I had worked through something TOGETHER and I found the resolution and SHE! She would want closure on this.
Really. As if.
December 6th, 2012
First of all, thank you so much for propping my sorry ass up the other day. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it, and I never, never want to take advantage of your kindness by being That Person, if you know what I mean, and I think you do. (Do you?) So thank you. Truly.
I felt better almost the minute I hit publish, and then I felt better and better with each passing comment or email, and I just FELT BETTER. And now I feel a LOT better. For starters, Sam must have known — don’t they always? — that I was about to sell her to the highest bidder, because my God, she napped the next day. It was a battle, and she wasn’t pleased about it, but that kid NAPPED. Come bedtime, she went to sleep. And the next day? She napped. And tonight? She went to bed without a holler. She’s asleep right now in her special snowman pajamas, clutching her kitty and smashed up against her bee blanket.
(Related: man, I do not miss the SIDS-panic days. She can have a blanket! And buddies! I mean, is it any wonder infants don’t sleep? You practically have to lay them down on a stainless steel deli counter and hope for the best.)
They know. I swear to you, kids know when they’ve pushed you to the absolute brink. THEY JUST KNOW. This is the kind of statement I would think was kooky and ridiculous as a non-parent, but the number of times I am pushed until I think I’m going to burst out of my skin, and then she just shifts into a delightfully easy kid convince me otherwise. It is both crazy and crazy-making, but that seems to be par for the course for this thing.
The hits kept on coming, though, as something kind of annoying and a wee bit tragic and unplanned happened with our house in Florida. (Oh yes, we still own a house in Florida, which is why we rent here in Mass, and I am just catching up the newbies up in this piece!). And the thing is … it’s kind of fine. No, it IS fine. It’s annoying, and it’s something I used to stay up late worrying about, and then it just happened and my general feeling is that it’s … fine. I wish I could put my finger on why this particular bad thing (involving my tenants and floors and maybe a house sale and it’s all so ANNOYING) has made me feel BETTER, but it has. Like, a MILLION times better. I think because it’s something I haven’t worried about lately, and also because it’s something I once fretted about to an extreme and yet the reality of it coming to fruition is … well, it’s really just fine. More than fine.
And then there’s my sister — who is the one having surgery, by the way — who I talk to almost every day, and calms me down by calling me out on my shit, and tells me when I’m going all Bloody Beef, and whom my daughter ADORES, to the point where she is the only person Sam might prefer to me. God, that kid loves her Tee, and screams for her every time she sees her photo, “TEE! TEE! TEE!” (Short for auntie, which we pronounce AHN-tie here in Massachusetts.) My biggest fear about her being in the hospital, aside from the obvious, is visiting her with Sam and seeing my daughter bereft that her beloved Tee can’t pick her up and hold her and tickle her. At least not for a little while.
My sister, who still to this day refuses to believe that she’s the reason I live here — the reason this place has always been my home, as I moved here after college because of her, and to be closer to her. Hell, when I was younger, I wanted to BE her. So yeah, I love her, too. And then I read this, by Laurie White, and I think, well, of course I have to be brave and have a second kid, because THAT. That right there is a gift I want to give my daughter, and myself, if I’m being honest. For the record, I am the younger sister — mine is twelve years older than me, so that resonated on a million levels, mostly on Katie’s (Laurie’s sister). I have been mothered when I should have been sistered, but I have never really thought it could be any other way. Now, I appreciate it so much.
(Aside from that, it’s amazing, and you should read it now.)
Fuck yes, I will be brave and do it again.
So yes, I feel better. Much better. Thank you.
March 23rd, 2011
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?
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.
December 8th, 2010
We’re on a new! improved! totally Draconian! budget to save for some life-goal type stuff, brought to you by the letter S for Screwed and F for Florida and let’s just throw in H for House!, and I think I’ve mentioned this before, but the truth is, I love budgeting, and I say that with as much enthusiasm as I can muster. In my head, it kind of sounds like Plex from Yo Gabba Gabba. “I’m thinking of a budget! It’s flexible and painful!”
I! Love! TO BUDGET!
And of COURSE I love to budget. Budgeting is fun! Budgeting makes it seem like you have all! this! extra! money! Assuming, of course, that you stick to it, tracking every blasted cent and this — this is where things usually go horribly awry, and it’s kind of like being on a diet, where suddenly you want to run right out and eat an entire chocolate cake, then spend the entirety of your bank account on hookers and blow. HOOKERS AND BLOW! And maybe a pizza or some new jeans. Or a pedicure. Man, I would love a pedicure, but under the new regime, I’d have to save and account for said pedicure and decide if I want the pedicure or something else with my allotted monthly fun money and OH BLERGH, the growing bank account is satisfying, but I’m not sure it’s as satisfying as sitting in a spa chair, you know what I’m saying?
Screw responsibility, man. Sometimes adulthood blows.
At any rate, this whole hot mess is how I found myself doing things like buying a $5 toy kitchen at a yard sale, followed by (and this is really terrifying, just TERRIFYING), coming to a screeching halt in front of a house on a busy street because they had a giant kid’s easel out front marked “FREE!”
You guys, I loaded this giant, awful plastic easel into the back of my car on a busy street and it’s awful! It’s awful and large and unwieldy, and I’m not even sure what I was thinking! I just LOADED THIS BIG-ASS THING IN THE CAR AND DROVE AWAY. And it’s awful! And now *I* am going to have to be the assface who leaves it outside MY house saying, FREE TO GOOD HOME. PLEASE TAKE THIS PLASTIC MONSTROSITY AWAY FROM ME.
And let us talk about the total savings theoretically achieved by my drive-by easeling: $14. Yes, friends, the easel I’ve been meaning to get Sam is $14. Is $14 going to make or break our budget? HA HA. NO. Especially when I’ve budgeted for Sam and Sam-related items and activities, and FOR GOD’S SAKE.
This is why I tend to be an insane stop-and-start person. I go whole effing HOG on something, and the next thing you know I’m irrationally weeping into my generic K-cups about how life is UNFAAAAAIR and I’m DUMPSTER DIVING and before you can say “THROW THE EASEL!” I’m going to be like Frank and Charlie, pushing carts through the streets of Boston and hollering about how, THIS RADIO IS STILL GOOD, DAMMIT. Put a plastic bag on it and jam out in the shower! That EASEL IS STILL GOOD! PAINT! PAINT PAINT!
And then, in a fit of frustration, I’ll decide that I will … I WILL SHOW MYSELF WHO’S BOSS. And then I will have a commissioned, artist-approved easel embossed with the work of Van Gogh himself, to the tune of thousands of dollars, all for an 18-month-old who just wants to COLOR, dammit, with the COLOR OF BANANAS. THE ONE SHE WAS THINKING OF! I! LOVE! TO COLOR!
(My mind often goes Plex on me. Why? Because sometimes I find myself watching Yo Gabba Gabba ALONE. WITHOUT A CHILD. This, by the way, brings me to a tangent when a few months ago, Adam came home with a Backyardigans DVD for Sam for an upcoming car trip. Me: “The Backyardigans? We never watch the Backyardigans!” Adam: “Shut up! Of course we do! Every night!” Me: “This is because we leave Nick Jr. on after Sam goes to bed. SAM does not watch the Backyardigans. WE DO.”)
In other news, the Book Lushes are back in action, and our book this month is going to be a young adult selection. I know! YOUNG ADULT! Finally! Please join us here, and vote in the poll,
which should be up by Thursday morning is now live, bishes! And then read with us! Join us! 500 people can’t be wrong! (Except that I hated our last book but that is not their fault! Apparently I have Red Tent issues!)
Also, I post at Highchair Critics on Thursdays. Just a heads-up.
Hey, I hope you have a great Thursday!
*I’m going with Jesca Hoop on this one.
September 22nd, 2010
You know, almost five years after we first moved there — three and a half since we left — and our life in Florida seems like a dream, and a bad one at that. I cannot believe we lived there for as long as we did. I mean, to reiterate: We lived in the worst part of Florida imaginable, at least for my taste. Confederate flags! Nooses hung up on docks, and neighbors who thought that was okay! Once, we had a man and his girlfriend show up on an ATV with guns around their shoulders! And they had swastika tattoos! HA HA HA OH MY GOD.
Good thing we still own a house there. Anyone want to buy a house? The area’s wonderful! Close to the beaches! Warm! A FAMILY DREAM HOME!
Oh ho ho HO! But you know, I wouldn’t change it, even in retrospect, even as I watch my bank account drain slowly from the weight of this large, house-shaped albatross. We changed as a family then, and I think it was that move that changed me entirely — I became a more relaxed, happier person in Florida, and I’ve been that person ever since. And hey, that revelation only cost me thousands of dollars! And I’m still paying for it! What price, happiness, really?
No, but seriously. We stepped off the hamster wheel in Florida, and we’ve stayed off, for the most part, or at least slowed considerably. I’ll always remember and be grateful for that, even if it came with a heavy dose of bizarre racism and endless days of watching old people be wheeled away on gurneys because they got in their fifth fender-bender of the season after failing to see over the steering wheel.
It’s nice to be home, and I’m not sure I would have appreciated it as much had we not taken such a long, um, journey. (CUE BACHELOR MUSIC!) I think everyone should live somewhere completely different than where they think they should live. It gives you an amazing perspective on how the other half lives. I understand the appeal of Sarah Palin, if only because I lived among many people who now count her among their personal heroes.
(Note: I’m not calling Palin’s supporters racists, although I’m sure there is some of that, just like there is everywhere. But my area of Florida was a definitively conservative county, unlike Massachusetts. And Vermont. And anywhere else I’d ever lived.)
Speaking of fender-benders, or rather, not really at all, we ended up at the pediatrician’s office today because for a few mornings, Sam was waking up with, uh, blue lips. Nice, right? Just want you want to see! Toddler of the Walking Dead! Zombie Toddler! Blue-lipped Half-dead Monster Toddler!
Okay, fine, it wasn’t that bad. It was more like a tinge of blue. A DROP of blue. A LITTLE PURPLE, if you will. But it was enough that I noticed, and once she warmed up, I noticed her lips were pinker than when she woke up and I thought, well! She’s cold! Kid refuses to sleep with a blanket because — duh — she doesn’t know how to USE ONE. Not that properly draping oneself is such a complex act of coordination, but I guess for a toddler who can’t figure out how to put a hood on without it resulting in frustrating tears, it is a bit more challenging than it seems.
I called the pediatrician to make her well-baby visit, and mentioned it in passing, thinking they’d write it off, but to my surprise, they were all, ZOMG BRING HER IN TOMORROW! And so we did, and after many oxygen saturation tests, it turns out she was … cold. Ergo, we’re in fleece feetie pajamas in September. SEPTEMBER. This means by winter she’ll be wearing fleece, burlap AND PolarTec. Look for the giant stuffed baby at your Christmas dinner! Served with yams!
All this excitement and I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of True Blood OR Mockingjay and WHOA NELLY, maybe take a drink for those two, because Alan Ball, you are on notice. You too, Alexander Skarsgard.
Happy Thursday, y’all.
*Roxette. Yes, THAT Roxette. Don’t knock it until you’ve heard it.
September 15th, 2010
Last week was awesome! Yes, awesome. Just awesome. We were in Boston from Sunday to Tuesday, I think? I don’t even know. What I DO know is that I shall never — and folks, I mean NEVER — sleep in the same room as my beloved child again. She did not sleep. Oh, you think I’m exaggerating! Oh ho ho HO! Ask Adam, who had a breakfast meeting on Monday morning and did not get a second of sleep the evening prior! No, really, not one second, as he suffers from insomnia and was awake still when she woke up for the day! She was mysteriously awake awake AWAKE! from 1-3 a.m., rising for the day no later than (NO LATER THAN) 4:45 a.m. It was a horror show. I cried more than she did, of that I am sure.
And yet. We’re moving there for real this time. Longtime readers may remember that five years ago (OMFG five), we left Boston for Florida, then Vermont and now … well, now, we go home, I guess. For good. For good! We’re done moving around, done tripping around the country to see where the next job takes us, and it’s just … well, it’s weird, to me, I don’t know why. On the one hand, I’m excited, because our families are there. Friends! Friends I’ve had for multiple decades! Hell, Megan is there! TwoBusy is there! Many of you are there!
Emotionally, though, I’m having a hard time with it. In part — well, majority — it’s that I love it here. Oh sure, I moved here knowing it was but a temporary stop, but I really did grow to love it here. Sam was born here. I won’t get to have her sibling at the same hospital. Hell, Sam’s sibling will be born in a different state. My friends! Oh, my friends. I love them so, and leaving them kills me.
And, as I’ve mentioned, when I left there, I was a very different person and to be honest, I’m afraid of turning back into her. I was stressed all the time — and I mean, all the time, from I’m not even sure what. I worked constantly, and had this irrational fear that if I quit and/or lost my job, or fell even one tiny rung on the ladder of my not-so-illustrious career, the world would come crashing down and my life would be ruined. Oh, you think I’m exaggerating, but oh, I am not. I suppose it was infinitely more complicated than that — no, I know it is — but that’s how it manifested itself. By the time we arrived in Florida, I was a twitchy mess in need of a spa treatment and some intensive therapy (which I got — well, the therapy, anyway).
(Side note: this, in part, but my no means all, is why I freelance and stay home with Sam. I am much better suited to a flexible work arrangement that allows me to focus on my family and we are lucky that we can do it. I know, I know, it sounds like a cop out, and believe me, I know how lucky I am — I do. But you must trust me: my anxiety was something to behold, and though I am greatly improved, I don’t think I’m cured enough to go back to it while my kid(s) are small. At least not in the Boston area, where the whole thing began. It was like, disability-level crippling and I … I’m embarrassed writing this, because it sounds so inane and full of shit, but dudes, I went to therapy and medication to deal with it, and again, SUPAH COMPLEX.)
And that’s a pile of shit that has me in some kind of strange PTSD purgatory that I have to work through while mourning the loss of a life that I built here, and look forward to a building a bright future back home.
In short, on top of the logistics of potentially finding a place to live, packing up our entire house and moving to a new place, did I mention this is all happening IN TWO WEEKS? Oh, didn’t I? Sorry about that.
It’s happening in two weeks.
Bottom line: I am having a hard time. A very hard time. Emotionally, stress-wise and every way imaginable.
I am having a hard time.
In other piles of shit (wow, this is joyful, isn’t it?), there is finding a place to live in a metro area where houses and apartments disappear before the listing has been active for more than an hour, and ergo, we may find ourselves in some kind of extended stay hotel arrangement for a month before we find a permanent place and doesn’t THAT sound like a spectacular situation for a learning-to-walk toddler? And ho ho HO! We return sometime this week to look for housing while simultaneously finding out if that situation will work out! I’m sorry MetroWest. I am well and truly sorry about the late-night screaming my child is about to release upon you like the tentacles of the kraken.
I missed you guys last week. I hope to see you more this week.
April 18th, 2010
The other night we had thunderstorms, and Sunny was up until … 2:30 a.m. What the FUCK, you guys? I love my dog — really, I do — but the percentage of dog-to-baby night wakings in the last six months has tilted in the direction of the DOG. THE DOG. THE DOG. We’ve had night puking! Kennel cough! Thunderstorms!
THUNDERSTORMS. She was up all night crying, refusing to go to bed, making a thousand trips in and out of the baby’s room, waking the baby and .. and so on, until 2:45, when she was finally too tired to fight anymore. It goes without saying that Sam woke up at 5:30, right? Right, of course it does. Right. If there was a way for me to score myself a trip to the emergency room by scooping out my own damn eyeballs, let me tell you, I would have gladly done it. Gladly.
I mean, Jesus, we lived in Florida, where it thundered on an hourly basis. What pansy-ass dog have we raised, who can’t handle a little lightning without coming uneffing GLUED, right? Especially when she was BORN in the lightning capital of the world, what the everloving EFF?
It’s a good thing she’s cute and sweet, and doesn’t ever complain when the baby plays with her ears, because no matter how many times we admonish, “GENTLE! GENTLE!”, sometimes those ears get pulled. And instead of biting or lashing out, Sunny’s solution is to roll over, belly-up, crying uncle and licking Sam’s face. She’s a keeper, that one, even if we’re all so goddamn exhausted from her infantile shenanigans.
But still, my God, I don’t think anyone guesses or anticipates that one of the most annoying things about parenthood isn’t the baby. It’s the DOGS. And yet, this is such a universal feeling — every single one of my be-petted friends, and I mean EVERY SINGLE ONE, has reported hating their dogs at some point, particularly in the early days. I think it’s that babies suck every last drop of inconveniently-timed nurturing out of us, that by the time the dog needs something (AT 2 A.M., JESUS), we’re fresh out of giving a shit.
(Not that Sunny wants for anything. Please. Bitch be snuggled up in my armpit as I type this.)
Look, I kind of got nothin’, as we’re heading back to Boston early next week. This trip involves the oh-my-fuck search for housing if we end up having to go there and … well, THAT should be fun, trekking all over the major metro area in my sister’s minivan with my kid strapped in the back seat. See also: Looking at houses with no idea if you’re actually going to live there or not, because you don’t know if you’re moving, or not, but you have to look because if you ARE going to move, you have to do it SUPER FAST and … blergh, is really all that is. BLERGH.
You know what else is blergh? Owning a house in Florida that is basically unsellable. That is MEGA BLERGH. I kick around what to do with this albatross on a
hourly daily weekly basis, and it almost always involves palm sweating and high blood pressure. The issue, for those new to the story, is this: We bought a house in Florida when we lived there, for a (very) reasonable, affordable below-market price. To live in, not to flip. We lived in it. Market exploded, then imploded. Work brought us back up north. Large percentage of neighbors paid three times what we did for similar houses in our development (Would YOU pay not far from a million dollars for a 2,000 sq foot, 3bd, 2ba TOWNHOME? No. No, you would not. So why did some of them buy THREE at that price?) Said asshole jerkface investors with truckloads of capital and no intention to live in the house unfortunate “neighbors” are now foreclosing, leaving homes in our neighborhood selling for $100K or less.
Yes, really. Oh, foreclosure! You’re such a good deal!
Ergo, we are stuck with this sucker (which is rented out at a small loss, currently, such is the sad state of the Floridian market) and it makes me rather, um, enraged. Because we could end up in a short sale or something similar, which ends up pummeling your credit while simultaneously involving a significant amount of ASS PAIN, but because it’s not our primary residence, we qualify for approximately none of the housing “fixes,” like mortgage modification, principal reduction, etc. But what’s the alternative? Owning this thing for another 20 years, when the market returns? Meanwhile, its mere existence on our balance sheet saps our will to live?
And there is no one to blame! No one saw this coming! OK, fine: I blame banks. And people who bought six houses with no intentions of living in any of them. But still! STILL!
So now we may be off going somewhere else and likely renting again until we figure out what to do with this thing, and OH I AM SO SICK OF IT. I am sick of being a homeowner, a tenant AND a landlord. It is by far the most exhausting combination, on this you must trust me. And while yes, it’s possible that we could afford to buy another house WHILE still owning our Florida house, let me tell you, THAT is the only combination that is more lethal than the one I’ve got now. Yes, let me own TWO houses while being a landlord and … oh my God, just institutionalize me now, why don’t you, please. Just get out the straitjacket and throw me overboard.
I’m sorry, that’s obviously not why you came here, is it? Clearly I’m a little stressed by all this (along with other thrilling blogger events of last week), as just this morning, I dreamed that there was some sort of blogger playdate, and I remember that the Artist Formerly Known As Schnozz was there (she doesn’t have children), along with Amalah and Anna and Jennie and … my dad had an affair with a friend of Amy’s, and somehow her friend ended up pulling a gun and there was a SHOOTING. A SHOOTING! At a playdate! But it was fine, because our kids were wearing kevlar and … oh, it’s so blatantly obvious that I need to relax, right? RELAX. Like Frankie says. It will all work out.
After all, I have my retirement home bought already and everything! Florida, here we come!
April 8th, 2010
I took the dog to get her anal glands squeezed and get a rabies shot today, and if THAT doesn’t set the tone for a day filled with unprecedented awesomeness, I’m not sure what does. No, wait, let me back up: the day started with me cleaning my daughter’s, um, STUFF, out of her armpits after a blowout, which is something that hasn’t happened in MONTHS and happened because … oh God, I don’t even KNOW why (her diaper is the right size, I assure you), but I am sure my future holds a day where I don’t have to wonder if today is going to be the day that I have to clean someone else’s poop out of their armpits, you know?
ARMPITS. This is not unlike the time she was a wee, wee infant and somehow did her business with such force it landed on her FACE.
This was followed up by a rather strongly worded lecture of gibberish as she stood naked at the end of the coffee table this evening, full on SCREAMING at us, complete with arm gestures. Aaaand moments later … more poop. While naked. On the floor. Just after a bath. How delightful!
Internet, I’m sorry for those back-to-back gross stories, but honestly, it’s like I never believed this shit (HA) actually happened until it did, and worse, I’m actually shocked at how unfazed I am by it all. Sure, no one likes to be living with their very own miniature version of Tubgirl, but … well. This is what you sign up for, I suppose.
My nonchalance probably ties back to the fact that frankly, I would rather change an entire preschool full of diapers than clean up one (1) yard of dog poop. Anything but dog poop, folks. ANYTHING.
So hey, um, here’s a pop culture observation a day late and millions of dollars short: There are a PLETHORA of magazine covers dedicated to how Vienna “deceived” Jake (the latest Bachelor, if you were wondering), and honestly, I never really had a problem with Vienna, but that’s not even what I’m about to talk about. What I’m wondering is, why has no one bothered to dissect the fact that this guy is GROSS. JUST GROSS. And … ugh, the guy is just a walking bottle of MASSENGILL and they’re worried about whether VIENNA deceived him? Oh COME ON. They should be worried about the fact that she is YOUNG and IMPRESSIONABLE and is now chained to a DOUCHE.
Hey, you know what sucked? Big Love. The whole season. Sucked. And the finale? SUUUUCKED. I think I’m done. I have no interest in this new world order of theirs. Sorry, Big Love. I quit you. Not even using Peter Gabriel’s cover of “Heroes” in the final scene could redeem you. NOT EVEN PETER GABRIEL CAN SAVE BIG LOVE.
So! Relocating, Or the Potential Thereof. There are so many parts to this story — many moving parts, including jobs that have been left, job offers received and turned down, my years-long strict adherence to Suze Orman that put us in the position to be able to be OK no matter what happens — but the simple emotional part is this: UGGGGHHH. We always knew that Vermont would likely be a temporary stop on our, um, journey (ON THE WINGS OF LOVE), and before that there was Florida, and before THAT was the place I consider home, given that our families are there, and I lived there for ages and ages, which is Boston.
Boston, by the way, is very likely where we’re going to end up, um, eventually. But as it turns out, I like it here — quite a bit, as it turns out, and I wouldn’t mind staying (it’s not off the table entirely). I’m surprised, however, by the emotional response I’m having by thinking of being back home, which is that when I left, I was one person, and when I return, I will be a completely, and I mean COMPLETELY, different one. When I left, I was in my twenties, relatively newly married and way into my career and living a completely stressed-out competitive existence. Now, I’m in my thirties, have a child (and want more), and am neither stressed, nor competitive. And I know you don’t have to be who you were just because of where you are, but, well, I challenge anyone not to make the same comparisons, when you think about it.
It makes me wonder if you really can go home again without some serious emotional turmoil, and the answer appears to be no. The truth is that I am having a hard time with both the uncertainty and with what seems to be the inevitable certainty. (Is this making any sense? It’s just that DETAILS ARE BORING.)
We’ll see. At the moment, it’s the most likely possibility, but in some ways, the country is our oyster. But you know what else? I’m over the nomadic existence. So there’s that, too.
Unexpected introspection! It’s what’s for your Tuesday.
PS, the book has been picked. Get ready for Joan Didion, y’all.
*Peter Gabriel. Yes, from Wall*E. It’s one of my favorite songs. What of it?
March 15th, 2010
Reading about World War II — every time I read about it — makes me realize how we, as Americans, have lost our stomach for what war really is. I say this as a person who lost a friend in the current mess that is Iraq — he left a wife and four-month-old baby behind, for chrissake — so it’s not as though it’s something that should be easy to tolerate, or that the loss of any life is something we should be able to stomach.
Not that anyone is waiting with bated breath or anything, but I’m still reading Suite Francaise (along with books in-between), and it’s no longer a slog-fest — in fact, I quite love it, and recommend that everyone read it, if only because it makes you (well, me, anyway) think about war differently. As background, it was written by a Jew (who converted to Catholicism, by way of futile self-preservation, for she later died in Auschwitz) in France during World War II, and is perhaps the first fictional account of the events taking place, for it was written as it was happening.
(Morrigan, are you out there? I LIKE IT. WIN.)
There’s no denying that the greatest tragedy of WWII was the Holocaust. I’ve been to Dachau and it was … well, it was what you’d expect, times a thousand. There really aren’t words, so I won’t even try. Suite Francaise, ironically, illustrates the plight of the non-Jews, which is eye-opening in a different way, because, uh, Jesus, everyone paid a price in that war — some more than others, but it seems like everyone paid something, which isn’t necessarily true of our current conflicts. Many people pay — please, just ask the military spouses, who should be thanked as much as their husbands and wives who serve — but not necessarily EVERYONE.
This is the longest way ever of telling the story of the single most shocking conversation I’ve ever had, that is kind of related, but not, um, really at all. Welcome to my mind. But really! Most! Shocking! Ever! A few years ago, I met with a bunch of WWII veterans for a series I was doing around, uh, Veterans Day (there’s an original concept). It was, by and large, so fucking cool, and they were very obviously the Greatest Generation, just as Tom Brokaw promised. I’d never seen such an attitude of self-sacrifice and understanding that this world is so much bigger than we are — they may not have been the most sophisticated people I’ve ever met, but in many ways, they were much more worldly. It was an immense privilege I will truly never forget, and I am so thankful to have been able to experience some of the last members of that generation.
One of the men I met with was … well, honestly, he was incredible. A relatively high-ranking black Army officer in the 1940s — when there was little tolerance for African Americans at all, much less in a position of power — that was the least of his accomplishments, if you can believe it. The guy was a highly successful newspaper publisher, a hit songwriter (!), eventual presidential appointee and … oh MAN, it just went on and on and on. He did so many things, and did them so well, that I half expected my fact checking to come out that he’d made it all up, except of course, he hadn’t. I have, to this day, never met anyone else who has done so much with their life.
He was brilliant and kind and had lived this insane life full of loss (his first wife died in a fire while he was trying to rescue her, oh my LANDS) and love and … whoa, man, he was the coolest guy I’d ever met. I developed such an affection for him that I was deeply sorry when the piece was finished, because I just wanted more time with him. In total, I’d spent many days — weeks, even — talking to him, and he and his wife invited Adam and me to dinner on multiple occasions, and we just never got it together to do so.
And, in retrospect, THANK GOD WE DIDN’T.
During our very last conversation, when everything had been filed and finished, and I was merely tying up loose ends, he was talking about his ties to the music industry, and offhandedly mentioned the prevalence of Jews in entertainment. Which, you know, I guess is somewhat true, but I’d never really given it much thought beyond the occasional Ari Gold-led joke on Entourage. It is at this point that he — a man whose life, for a little while at least, had been DEFINED by discrimination, and was, um, a WORLD WAR II VETERAN — announced, “You know, I hate them .. the Jews.”
(It is at this point that I would like to remind/inform those who don’t know that I am, a) an aspiring Jew, as Adam always teases me, for I am always UPSET that I wasn’t born Jewish and jealous that he was; b) married to a Jew; and c) have a very obviously Jewish last name, which apparently ESCAPED this man. For all of his purported hatred, I have to wonder if he could pick a Jewish name or person out of a line up)
I think I just stared, openmouthed.
“They are a hateful, awful, greedy people. I’ve never met a Jew — or a person who LIKES Jews, even — that I’ve liked. Ever.”
I mean, what the fuck, right? Oddly, he sure seemed to like me. And because I was WORKING and was supposed to be impartial, I just … I don’t know, you guys, I just SAT THERE, totally stunned and silent and stupid, and said nothing. On the one hand, I hate myself for staying silent. On the OTHER hand, my God, the guy was 88, and I highly doubt he was going to change his mind and plus, again, I was working and was a journalist and free speech and all that and … oh man. Besides, even if he did know, he’d decide that Adam and I were exceptions, not the rule.
Shocking, right? Or is it just me? I mean, what the EFF, right? WHO SAYS THAT, least of all someone who has VIVID, VAST PREJUDICIAL EXPERIENCE that he’d just spent the last several weeks DETAILING TO ME?
(Edited to add: This part was what surprised me so much. It wasn’t that people feel that way — I mean, I know they exist, and it wasn’t the first time that happened, sadly — it’s that someone who spent all this TIME saying how AWFUL prejudice was and how it had impacted his life so NEGATIVELY went forward and … well, DID THE SAME THING. I was FLOORED.)
Most! Shocking! Ever! I still can’t get over it. I can’t! I can’t! I was so disappointed — AM so disappointed, rather. I really, really liked him, and still think about him all the time. I often wonder if he’s still alive — he was, you know, 88, and while he was healthy as a horse, he smoked about two packs of Pall Malls a day. His wife was much younger — much younger than my parents, even, and maybe ten years older than my sister — and sometimes, I think about calling her to check, but I can’t bring myself to do it.
(Housekeeping note: The next Book Lushes book has been decided, and we’re now going on a regular monthly schedule from March 1 – April 1, so this book is MARCH’s book, if that makes sense. And it’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Win!)
(PS, I haven’t deleted the poll because I can’t figure out how to close it without deleting it. Am computer genius!)
(PPS, the book is on Amazon for pre-order! I mean, my anthology! Am total geek about seeing my name on Amazon, when all of these other regular authors are all, OH MY GOD GET OVER YOURSELF IT IS NOT A BIG DEAL. I bring this up ALSO because though I don’t mention it here for Google reasons, I don’t hide my last name, and since I mentioned it being obviously Jewish, I’d be curious if I were you, so now you know, if you didn’t already. If you don’t know which one I am, I’m Phillippa Ballantine. I KID.)
February 21st, 2010