Awwww, shit it’s a blank page and a lot of spam. A LOT. But. Ahem. It’s time.
As goes the old adage, no one wants to hear a person ramble on about blogging, or why they haven’t been blogging, but everyone does it anyway, so. You know.
I’ve been busy. I’ve got two kids (TWO!) and basically the life I’ve always wanted, even when I want to stab someone (MYSELF) in the face and adjusting to that has been easy in a lot of ways, but hard in many others. The slice of personal time that vanished when Alex appeared was a LOSS, man. As much as I wanted and needed her, figuring out how to deal with two kids, making sure they both get what they need from me is . . . well, it’s hard. It’s HARD. Not in an overwhelming in-the-weeds way, but in a way that makes it easy for me to swim in the bottom of a pool of guilt, I guess. I never second-guessed myself much as a parent with Sam, but now I find I’m doing it on a daily basis. Allie needs me! But Sam feels rejected. Sam wants to snuggle! But SHIT! That leaves Allie hollering on the floor for a minute.
It sounds silly and trite and stupid, but I don’t want to screw this up, you know? But at the same time, I’ve been thinking so much about how overwhelmed I DO feel at the end of the day — not with the tasks at hand, or the kids specifically, but with the fact that I didn’t take five minutes to just sit and think about anything that wasn’t immediate, and by “immediate” I also mean Mitt Romney’s stupid assface, but let’s be real, that’s hardly relaxing.
This? This is relaxing. I never considered how much I needed this little space to think through things or just talk about things that are not immediate or DO something for myself, even if it’s a half hour in front of a glowing screen pondering the fall television line-up (Verdict: Homeland continues to be awesome and BOY HOWDY I am excited for Nashville and also, Tami Taylor’s hair). (I know she’s not really Tami Taylor, but … okay, I don’t really know that, actually. Lie to me.)
I could ALSO go on a REALLY NICE TEAR about how blogging has turned into something I sort of hate, and how everyone is trying to sell you something — and jesus, I mean EVERYONE — and how I promise you, I will never try to sell you anything at all, and that includes my brand, which you all know I care deeply about. Nor will I ever turn into a lifestyle blog, unless you want to talk about my fly lifestyle that involves washing DANKY, DARK AND HIDEOUS brown couch slipcovers for the frillionth time because someone pooped, peed, puked, or otherwise sullied their worn surfaces.
So that’s that. I’d like to write Alex’s birth story one of these days, because COME ON, I gave birth to her wearing a maxi-dress, but if I wait until I’m ready for that, I’ll never come back.
I will commit to this, in writing, if only for myself: three times a week here. You and me, kid. You and me.
Have a great Thursday. We’re decorating pumpkins, and it’s already a fight because Sam has declared war on all glitter glue.
So, because I am lazy and also do whatever Jennie does, I jumped on the bandwagon and did the, uhhh, vlog thing. But ONLY to demonstrate what I actually look/sound like for people who will be meeting me for the first time. And also, to make me easier to recognize in Target.
I also think that’s a KICKASS screen shot, don’t you? It is also VERY LONG and I am VERY SORRY. I am TALKY.
Here are the notes:
Say the following words:
Aunt, route, wash, oil, theatre, iron, salmon, caramel, fire, water, sure, data, ruin, crayon, toilet, New Orleans, pecan, both, again, probably, spitting image, Alabama, lawyer, coupon, mayonnaise, syrup, pajamas, caught
And answer these questions:
What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
What is the bug that curls into a ball when you touch it?
What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
What do you call gym shoes?
What do you say to address a group of people?
What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
What do you call your grandparents?
What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
What is the thing you use to change the TV channel?
So I’m flipping through magazines while Sam takes a bath* and I see this little gem about George Clooney and his most recent break-up, and how one of his friends allegedly said, off the record, that they had little in common (QUELLE SURPRISE!) and how he’s very intelligent and politically astute, but tends to go for women who do not challenge him, and are not his equal.
Wait … you don’t SAY, O Friend of George? You’re saying that a smart, accomplished, handsome, 50-year-old man has little in common with an Italian model 20 years his junior? YOU DON’T SAY. I can’t explain why this stuck in my craw so much, or why I’m continuing to mull it over, rolling it around in my mouth like like a root beer barrel (and I hate root beer!), but there it is. I mean, it’s the world’s biggest no-shitter, the concept that attractive, powerful men — particularly celebrity types — have a tendency to go for young marshmallows, but it drives me absolutely BAZONKERS. Yes, Michael Buble, I’m SURE you, at 35, with reasonable intelligence, have a TON in common with a 24-year-old Argentinian model. I’m SO SURE in fifty years, when her looks have faded and she’s looking ganked out and a little raw from too much Botox, that you will have TONS to say to each other. TONS.
It drives me absolutely nuts, mostly because it just reminds me that some men (and let’s face it, women), when given vast opportunity, fail to make the smart decision by choosing what’s best for them, and instead, pick what’s easy and attractive. It’s like this creepy primal thing playing out in grand scale. MEN CHOOSE HOT WOMEN. Basically, they eat the damned light fruit (OH YES, I DID, TRUE BLOOD) all the time, when they should be leaping into the abyss, FOR THE LOVE.
*I don’t know why I feel like it’s important for me to distinguish that I read magazines sitting on the toilet, lid closed, while Sam is in tub with her plastic buddies, vs., you know, sitting on the toilet with a basket full of magazines doing unmentionable bidness. IT JUST IS. And yes, I am a terrible mother who flips through magazines while her kid bathes instead of making the experience interactive and wild and fun! Sometimes, kid plays by herself. I’m there, of course, watching, and so is Sunny. It’s Sunny’s JOB to manage bathtime, in her mind, and she takes it very, very seriously. “It’s TUBBY TIME! HEY LADIES!” I yell before we get Sam’s towel and head to the bathroom. And damn if Sunny doesn’t haul her ass up from wherever she is to make sure she’s present and accounted for during every second of Sam’s bath.
Second of all, Friday Night Lights comes to an end tonight (Friday, July 15), and I know I sound like a total loser, but it’s really quite emotional for me, even though I’ve seen the whole season already. I’ve grown attached to the characters in genuine way that I haven’t been on television in years, maybe ever. It’s one thing to be be entertained by something like True Blood, but another to find yourself really emotionally connected to an entire family, albeit wholly fictional. I don’t usually do this sort of thing, but as some of you know, I write for Smart Pop Books on occasion (I love them so, and I’m not just saying this, their editor-in-chief is among the best I’ve ever worked for), and they’ve done an anthology on the show that I’m a part of. I just … I love this whole book. My favorite essay, for the record, is Jacob Clifton’s (yes, TWoP Jacob) essay, “Come Home: Identities in West Texas.”
It’s not coming out in print until August, but it is available as an e-book from Amazon and the like, and even if you hate my writing, you should check it out, because there’s so much good, smart stuff in it aside from what I wrote, honestly. I think it might be my favorite book of theirs, although The Girl Who Was On Fire is AMAZING.
(For this one, in case you were wondering, I wrote about the Taylors’ marriage.)
Either way, if you aren’t watching Friday Night Lights, it’s not too late to catch the whole show in its entirety. I DARE you to watch it and not shed a tear and/or have at LEAST one naughty dream about Tim Riggins. I DARE YOU.
And finally, because Adam posted this picture on Google+ and I’d damn near forgotten about it, here, have a picture of us with OJ Simpson from our honeymoon. Yes, really. YES, REALLY. Also, he was wasted, I was trying to swim away later, and I accidentally kicked his girlfriend in the stomach. And then he made some CRAZY OFF THE WALL INAPPROPRIATE comments about marriage and how his last one (NICOLE) didn’t end so well. Which, OMFG. Also, I’m pretty sure Adam would want me to note that he is not actually that short, but is in the water, squatting down, for reasons that are unclear. But I promise, he’s six feet tall. OJ, however, is a flipping giant. HIS HANDS. HIS GIANT HANDS.
Today was one of those days when I don’t think I’m cut out for this parenting thing, and the idea of having a second child is so daunting and terrifying, it seems like the worst idea in the world. Then, of course, I feel horribly guilty because of what happened, and then I berate myself for thinking that way, because of course, I want another child, of course.
But today, oh, today. And yesterday, really. We have an exhausted toddler who refuses to nap, either because she’s going through some kind of MIND EXPLOSION or she’s stubborn or … I don’t know what. I’d say she’s giving up naps except that she’s miserable and exhausted for the rest of the day, passes out somewhere inappropriate later, and then pulls the same screaming stunt at bedtime. By the second day of this, I was greeting Adam at the door in tears — something I’ve never done, not even when Sam was a screaming newborn who refused to close her eyes.
This is usually the time when people like to share how THEIR two-year-old gave up naps, and how it’s totally a possibility! And ho! Good luck to you! And usually I can take those kinds of comments, but this week, I’m just not really in a mental place to be able to hack it without going postal. Advance apologies.
I’ve been out of sorts for a little while now, as a close family member is having surgery, and though everything is okay, it’s one of those THINGS that they found by sheer luck, and if they hadn’t found it, things would have been Very Very Bad. As it stands, everything is — and will be — fine, but you know, it’s just … oh, man, I don’t know. My anxiety always comes out in hypochondria, usually by proxy, and it took me a while to nail down exactly why I was feeling so awful these last few days. I hate worrying about people I love, and worse, that just makes me worry about everyone else even more, as though it’s protective.
Poor Adam, in other words. (Sam is immune, saved only by her youth.) By Friday, I’ll have him in the doctor’s for bloodwork, and he’ll be on a special diet by the weekend. Oh, and dentist appointments. Must get the dentist appointments taken care of, because periodontal disease causes heart attacks! Sometimes …
I joke about it, but it’s not that far from the truth. I hate this about myself, and I never really know how to make it better. I do know that staying up late wondering if I have enough life insurance really isn’t the best solution. I am hopeful that once the surgery is successful and over, I will relax a little. Because, man.
Speaking of worst-case scenarios, I have several friends who are newly pregnant right now, and I find myself seized with anxiety for them, too. It manifests itself in a funny way, in that I am constantly worried that they don’t know that really, it could happen to them, so they must be ever-vigilant. This makes no sense, and merely serves to underscore my hypochondria-by-proxy and my general anxiety about everything and everyone. Because, I think, even though I knew it could happen to me, I really didn’t believe that it would.
(Side note: this was reinforced by the fact that I saw the heartbeat and people were crowing, “Dramatically reduced risk!” when in fact, according to my doctor who wrote the book on miscarriage — no really, he did! — that apparently isn’t true until you see the heartbeat after ten weeks. Helpful! Or not, really.)
Not that knowing it would or could would have changed anything about how I felt, but I want to somehow change the outcome for other people, or at least their approach to it. This, like everything of its ilk, is impossible and not helpful at all.
Speaking of pregnancy, I am afraid to try again. I know I said I wasn’t, and on the one hand, I’m not — I could do another miscarriage and get back up again. I could. It’s just that the miscarriage set off a wave of unfortunate events — death! surgery! marriages ending! — to people I love, and I am irrationally afraid of being the tipping point for another tsunami. I know it was just a coincidence and most of it happened before the year of the rabbit anyway (apparently it’s our year!), but I just … well, it’s something I have to get over, clearly.
I know this is all very maudlin, but it helps me a lot to write it out — sometimes, after writing it all down and walking away and/or talking to some of you about it, I feel better immediately. I’m hoping that’s the case here.
Once in a while, it hits me anew that I’m a parent, and I’m not sure how to explain it any better than, well, that’s what it is. I wake up every day and do this, of course, but sometimes I’ll look at Sam — this tiny, relatively new face who is now as recognizable as my own reflection — and think, holy cow, I’m this kid’s mother. Whoa.
It happens in small increments, I think, this whole parenthood thing. You get a baby who is a completely unfamiliar person, and though you love them to a terrifying degree for some totally inexplicable reason (because, after all, they are a stranger), it’s more like taking care of an extremely demanding and annoying pet for a (long) while there. A newborn is kind of the way I would envision a life-size amoeba to be — all formless and tender-skinned, squashy, blob-like and too easily broken. It seems ridiculous to me, on an evolutionary level, that most animals give birth to creatures who are capable of moving independently, whereas we basically give birth to a fetus. A needy, frustrating, somewhat joyless fetus.
I mean, I was joyful and thrilled, of course (that is when I wasn’t contemplating how I could check myself into an institution because of The Screaming), but it’s nothing compared to the person I live with now, and I think that, above all, is what might make any subsequent children more frustrating. I know how good it can get, and I know there’s a person inside of those tiny things waiting to blossom, but in the meantime, I’ll be stuck with something more appropriate for tucking away in my pouch, if only I were a damn marsupial.
I’m not sure one gets many opportunities to wish they were a kangaroo, but believe me, dealing with a newborn is one of those times.
But now! Ho! Man, life is on one of those sweet streaks, where even the worst days aren’t that bad, and not even the return of eastern standard time (WHY WHY WHY) can dampen the unflagging joy that flies through the house on a daily basis. There are kisses (“Mmmmmwah!”) and hugs and leading me around the house by the hand. We color, we write in notebooks, she sits and reads her books to herself for long periods of time, she washes her hands in her play kitchen and proudly announces, “CLEAN!” while waving her sticky hands in the air. The dog is god, second only to DJ Lance, and a bad mood can be lifted by reminding Sam that doggy is over there, and wouldn’t doggy like to be petted? As she snuggles with Sunny, she laughs that desperate, near-tears laugh of someone who thought the world was ending, but realized they’d been given a reprieve, maybe by a last-minute astroid destruction manned by Bruce Willis.
And the evenings, oh, the evenings. She comes alive in the evenings, once the witching hour has passed, and her world lights up in technicolor when Daddy walks through the door. She runs through the house screaming at the top of her lungs, “DADDY! DADDY! DADDY!” and leaps on top of him, hugging him so tightly that it’s as if she thought he’d left that morning, never to return. She often gives him the same treatment after he exits the shower in the morning, although she’d seen him not ten minutes prior. And then, for a glorious hour before she heads to bed, they play. He tickles, she laughs. They catch up on their days, and his responses to her gibberish make me wish their conversations were real and that she understood what he was saying, because man, I married a funny dude. They dance — or rather, sometimes we all dance, throwing any concerns of our own self-consciousness to the wind as we rock out, for the millionth time, to “Loco Legs,” as sung by the interminably cheerful Fresh Beat Band. This family’s got loco legs, let me tell you.
I know we lived without her. I know we had more than a decade together, including five or six wonderful years of marriage — years of building a solid foundation that made this life, this incredibly sweet, sweet life, exactly what it is today. I know that I wouldn’t change a second of our lives together to this point, and that it was worth it, it was all so worth it, but hell if I can remember it with any detail, because this; this is precisely where we are, and it is exactly where we should be.
Oh let’s kick it old-school with some bullet points that have nothing to do with one another, so holla!
– Because we were out trick or treating for far longer than we anticipated, and hell if either of us was going to miss taking Sam, we missed the hosting part of trick or treating and received approximately five kids over the course of the remaining hour. This is fine, although my sister warned me in a dire tone that this is generally bad form and we will eventually pay for it with, I don’t know, teenagers with eggs or angry parents or something that involves toilet paper. I don’t know. What is not fine is the amount of Twix, Snickers and miscellaneous Reese’s products I have in my possession, and is why, for the last two three days, my lunch has consisted of two mini Twix, a Snickers and a small bowl of canned beets (for fiber and vitamins and … I don’t know).
Speaking of Twix, there is only one way to eat it, which is to gnaw of the caramel, then eat the cookie separately, and I will not be told otherwise. What I will NOT tolerate, however, is the Reese’s Fast Break, which is seriously lacking in crunchy texture (WHY SO MUCH NOUGAT?), and I am terribly disappointed, for I got them mixed up with the Take 5, featuring delightfully crunchy, salty pretzels and you know what, Reese’s? I call bullshit on your variety bag, for there were no Take 5 bars. Bull. Shit.
I will also say that Adam worked from home today, and around 3 p.m., very gently asked how much candy, exactly, I was consuming, because it sure seemed like he heard the crinkle of a wrapper approximately every five minutes. Which: busted. It’s not really lunch if it lasts all day and involves nothing more than chocolate and beets.
– In the vein of Stuff No One Told Me About Birthing A Child, I’ll tell you that since having Samantha, I’ve had zero menstrual cramps. NOT A ONE. Okay, fine maybe half a one, but it wasn’t even worth getting off my duff to get some Tylenol, much less anything with punch. This is a tremendous contrast to the backbreaking, debilitating cramps I experienced before getting pregnant, and that includes after my thyroid levels were regulated (hypothyroidism can cause HORRID menstrual cramps) and I tell you this only because I’m constantly regaling you with tales of horror about THE VAGINA THAT ATE MANHATTAN, but really, there are upsides, for some of us, from this whole birthing kids thing. Besides the actual kid, I mean.
– The new TV fall lineup is truly wretched. Nothing new has piqued my interest. NOTHING. I’ve got three episodes of The Event on my DVR, and I’ve had ZERO motivation to watch any of them, and it just … well, it makes me sad.
– Did I tell you guys I live ten minutes from Shaq? And that in an effort to show Jennie and Mike his house, we ended up FULLY IN HIS DRIVEWAY, which is not something you expect when arriving to spy at a celebrity’s house?
– Did I tell you guys Jennie and I (and a bunch of kickass writers) are now doing Food Lush? Well, if I didn’t, I failed. It’s great, and is designed to be recipes and food-related stuff for normal people who don’t feel like making bastilla from scratch and sure as SHIT don’t have the budget or time to agonize over every little thing. I will say with a mixture of pride and bitterness that this post from Sarah is the reason why I spent the majority of naptime wrestling with an eleven-pound PORK LOIN purchased for $18 a BJ’s, but let me tell you, I got four big tenderloin cuts, four thick pork chops and a giant pile of bits to use for the Crock Pot, and it all works out to less than $1 per serving, including lunches and leftovers and holy cow, you guys, I RIPPED THE SHIT OUT OF THAT PORK LIKE I THOUGHT I WAS ON TOP CHEF OR SOMETHING.
That’s all I got. Pork, chocolate and menstruation.
First of all, do you love how Joanna appeared in the comments? Poor Joanna. I can now add “Bully readers into becoming friends!” into my list of dubious accomplishments. Although if I were SUPER crafty, I’d have put it on my life list, then figured out how to brand that shit.
(Secretly, I am very excited. I LIKED Joanna, right away. And here is her website. See? Likable.)
In other news, we started a new gym class with Megan and Lila, and while I really liked it, I … well, there’s no other way to say this. The instructor we had was a bit of a beefcake. No, I’m sorry, a LARGE BEEFCAKE. Hot and built and kind of … well, not remotely my type, but objectively speaking, a superhot gym-rat kind of guy. A SINGLE superhot gym-rat kind of guy. A single, IN HIS LATE TWENTIES, superhot gym-rat kind of guy, who called all the little girls in the class “princesses.”
Friends, are you thinking what I’m thinking? He’s there to meet MILFs. There’s no other explanation. Honestly, I felt like I was in some weird Desperate Housewives-meets-Edward Scissorhands-meets-Jackie Collins-type scenario where all these lonely housewives go clamoring for the hot young gym guy. A guy who teaches at THE LITTLE GYM, where the oldest client is guaranteed to be no older than, say, FIVE.
Truth be told, he was an excellent teacher — so good with the kids, honestly, and not even a little inappropriate with any of the moms — but I was somewhat relieved when I learned he was that was his last class, as he’s leaving THE LITTLE GYM OH MY GOD, to go back to school to pursue, wait for it, a degree, THEN A WIFE AND FAMILY. (A dozen MILFs just fainted right now.) (Seriously, the guy seemed to have GAME, and again, he is AT THE LITTLE GYM, LAND OF THE MILFS) The whole thing was just so … distracting, but not for the reasons you would think. I wasn’t gazing at his bulging biceps or anything (Seriously, he isn’t my type at all.) (But yes, my type of course is a hot guy, and yes, I married one, but not THAT type of hot, you know what I mean?), but I just kept wondering if anyone in the class was going to slip him their phone number.
So I … I don’t know what it says about me and our totally sexist society, as well as my own bizarre attitudes of sex, gender and child-rearing, but the entire time I was just like, SERIOUSLY, DUDE? What are you DOING here? You, with your ripped arms and Everett accent and, I’m guessing, Goodwill Hunting-style Fila jumpsuits during your off-duty hours. Toddlers are awesome, but are you … after this are you HEADING TO THE MILF’S PLACE FOR A HOUSECALL, OH MY GOD?
I’m an asshole. But that’s all I could think about the whole time.
Speaking of sex and gender, and this is a holy non-sequitur if I ever did launch one, but after finding a box of old photos, I was once again reminded of my college course on human sexuality — you know, the one EVERYONE took pass/fail for no other reason to get credit for sitting around listening to people talk about sex in a large lecture hall. It was mostly rather tame and surprisingly snooze-worthy, but I vividly remember the section on “alternative sexualities,” whatever that means, and they brought in some guest speakers to talk about the life of a bisexual.
Holy. Hell. Holy FAIL, Batman. All of the bisexuals were men, all of whom were married, all of whom regularly cheated on their wives without their knowledge or consent, with other men. All of whom were cheaters. THAT’S the paradigm of bisexuality they held up for us. How unfortunate. How … how subversive, really, now that I think about it. Sneaky fuckers, to make bisexuals look like total douchebags who can’t be bothered with little things like morals, which is absolutely, unequivocally not the case.
(Jerry Falwell is screaming from the grave.)
Look, it makes no difference who you have sex with or if you like sex with BOTH sexes, depending on the person, but Jesus, Syracuse University, that was the best you could do to demonstrate bisexuality? A bunch of cheating, philandering men? That’s … well, that’s awful, is what it is, and I was so pissed about it that I, in a rare display of pure in-person rage, walked right up to one of them after class and called him an asshole to his face, saying exactly that. Telling him that wanting to have sex with men AND women is fine, but it is not fine if you stand up there and ask us to accept you for who you are, when what you are is a CHEATING SACK OF SHIT.
He was displeased, but oddly gracious.
I’m still mad about that, but I’m mad at the professor for using them as an example to help people understand people who are different from them. That’s not a good example, or a kind one, or a fair one to put on impressionable minds, some of whom may walk away thinking all bisexuals are philandering assholes. Many years later, I MAY BE MOVED TO WRITE A LETTER.
Anyway, also in the box of college photos were pictures of the boyfriend whom I later learned got married to a woman in the TACKIEST DRESS KNOWN TO MAN. (Seriously, I wish I could show you the picture. You would die.) Also, the boyfriend who is now some crazy liturgical pastor at a southern superchurch (JOEL OSTEEEEEEN!). Aaaand, of course, the boyfriend who owns a Jewish girls’ summer camp in Maine. The one who hates me. The one who REALLLY hates me (it did not end well, and apparently he still harbors a grudge), but who now lives in my mothereffing TOWN, who I may, when he returns from summer camp, give a HEART ATTACK over the vine tomatoes at the grocery store.
HOO BOY, nothing like the old college photos to remind you that you made the right choice in life, that’s for sure. Oh, Adam. Thank God for you and your non-tacky, non-camp-owning, non-Fila-jumpsuiting, non-religious-preaching ways.
I didn’t get a pedicure once this summer, and let me tell you, that was a TRAVESTY OF FOOTCARE. These puppies are perhaps the most terrifying they’ve ever been, and I’ve done precisely nothing about it, and now — NOW! — I’m thinking maybe it’s time to pay attention and do something about it, because I can’t take it anymore. Day late, dollars — millions of dollars, to be specific — short.
My urge to get a pedicure is strangely symbolic of the idea that I’m not all that excited about summer ending. Before I had Sam, I was a winter person. You know, back when winter involved lots of sloth-like behavior, warm stews and doing nothing more taxing than snuggling by the fire and lifting the remote control. Winter meant reading! Adorable snuggly clothes! Sleeping late while the flakes fall softly outside our window pane!
HA HA HA, I have a child now, and while I’m all, YAY, FALL! Yay! Pumpkins and park visits and warm apple cider and apple picking and all that APPLE-Y FALL STUFF. But fall! Fall is very brief.
AND THEN THERE IS DOOM. DOOM FOLLOWS THE LAST APPLE. Winter colds and snotty noses and Jesus knows WHAT flu strain they’ll terrify us with this year that I’ll spend copious amounts of time pursuing a vaccine for, but will be unable to obtain. Or — OR! — I know, I’ll actually GET the vaccine after breaking down in tears to the receptionist about how I have a BAYBEE and DON’T LET MY BAYBEE DIE, and then my kid will get the flu anyway, and it will be five days of misery, and then we will all move on, Amen.
Incidentally, Flubaby came up in conversation the other day, and Adam has ZERO RECOLLECTION of Sam’s flu from last year. The Thanksgiving Flu From Hell. NONE. He claims, probably accurately, that he merely blocked it out, because last year was also The Year That No One Slept, but how do you block out this face?
Besides, what the hell are we going to DOOOOOO? I mean, there are playdates, but our gym has closed (THE GYM HAS CLOSED) and my girlfriends and I are going to be stuck dragging our kids to Wednesday Lap Sit at the library while Lois, the Mean and Angry Librarian, butchers kids’ classics and acts like the fact that kids showed up at all is an affront to her delicate sensibilities.
DON’T LEAVE ME, SUMMER.
Speaking of no one sleeping, we’re in the midst of a STAGGERING sleep regression, and by staggering, I mean not very staggering at all to my former non-sleeping self, who would tell me to cry me an effing river and get over my damn self already. But to my well-rested self? This blows. She’s falling asleep late, getting up early (AN HOUR AND A HALF EARLY), taking the briefest nap known to mankind, and no amount of letting her holler will get her back down (FORTY FIVE MINUTES OF HOOTING AND HOLLERING), and yet, she’s clearly exhausted. By the end of the day, she has SUITCASES under her eyes. SUITCASES. Little lady could pack up an entire HOUSE and take it with her in those undereye bags.
AND YET. IT PERSISTS. And to date, there are no discernible skills to speak of resulting from this regression, despite the myriad promises by the ever-vague They. Well, unless you count an increase in the frequency of nonsensical conversations featuring arm waving and and hand gestures used by yours truly, and THAT is freaky, let me tell you.
But still. No results of this agony. No quoting of Derrida or loquacious lectures on astrophysics. Just a lot of “ASSSAGLAABEEBADOBEEBADADOO?” and an adorable little shoulder shrug, followed by wild hand-waving. Sometimes she nods violently, as if to underscore a very important point.
This … ends, right? I mean, she will sleep again? Sleep … late-ish? And NAP? WILL SHE EVER NAP AGAIN OH HOLY MERDE?
Good thing she’s cute, is all I’m saying. Also, packed with attitude … and pigtails.
So, many years ago, I had to fire someone. In retrospect, this is ridiculous, because I swear to you, I was MAYBE 25, had zero experience doing such things, and was counseled to do so in a way that was as close to asking for a lawsuit as one can get without filing the paperwork and suing yourself. Granted, this person should not have retained her job — she was terrible, unreliable, sometimes willfully defiant and yet (YET!) consistently asked for a promotion. It was a lethal combination, as you can imagine, and after first counseling her to look for another job through the power of gentle suggestion (she didn’t get it, or refused — not sure which), I had to fire her.
It was hideous. Hideous! She bawled! She was shocked! I was frozen, basically reading off of a piece of paper like an idiot so that we WOULDN’T get sued, when all I wanted to do was hug her. And again, why the eff HR wasn’t doing this was beyond me, but there I was, a totally incompetent 25-year-old manager who had no business managing, firing someone under the guise of a one-person layoff.
It was one of the worst things I’d ever had to do.
A few hours after she’d left, her mom called me to yell at me. Her mother called me! HER MOTHER. And she called me a dumb low-life and all kinds of things that were probably true at the time (seriously, I was only a manager because I brought in a piece of business that was a lot of money, end of story). Now, her mom and I had tangled previously, when Marla (yes, let’s call her that), called in sick, but didn’t leave information where some VERY IMPORTANT MISSION-CRITICAL documents that had been due the previous day were kept, so I had to call her at home and … well, she wasn’t home, she was in NYC visiting her boyfriend and THAT was awkward and awful, and yes, her mother yelled at me for invading her privacy, when … well, it was Marla who blew off the deadline AND was busy porking on a futon in the Upper West Side, so who’s really at fault here?
Fast forward to Saturday, and I’m in line at Gourmet India at the mall food court, because that’s what you DO when you have a kid who hates sitting still at a restaurant and you have no food in the house and you just want to EAT without it being a HUGE PRODUCTION, and dear Jesus, people, SHE WAS RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.
GAH GAH GAH. I kept silent and just sort of quietly panicked at the memory, and my only consolation is that she looked fabulous and didn’t bear any visible scars from the horrid, no-good awful faux layoff I inflicted upon her in my youth.
And whatever, don’t mock me for my food court Indian selection, because while I know it’s kind of gross, seeing as not only are you in a FOOD COURT, but everything meat-like is draped in some kind of heavy sauce that could be masking the remains of Max and Ruby’s doubtlessly deceased parents up in there, let me tell you something: I lived without decent Indian for FIVE YEARS. The last Indian place near us in Vermont featured a very old Indian matriarch, all wizened-like, who sat behind the hostess desk and SHAVED THE SKIN OFF HER FEET WITH A RAZOR THE ENTIRE MEAL.
I can handle Gourmet India, is what I’m saying. And besides, I would very likely eat the asshole of any animal anywhere (I grew up in Pennsylvania Dutch country! I ate scrapple!), provided it was done with the right sauce and plenty of cilantro. I’ve always wanted to be Indian, if only so I could learn to cook their food. Not to denigrate my own cultural heritage — I’m Hungarian and Italian, which, while no gastronomic slouches, have cuisines I like to sum up as follows:
Hungarians: Throw some paprika and sour cream on it. Extra points if there’s cabbage. You think I’m kidding, but if you’ve ever had eastern European haluski, you know that I’m not.
Italians: Do we have tomatoes and basil? Excellent. Here’s dinner.
And of course, there’s the Pennsylvania Dutch: Can we pickle it? What if we throw some hard-boiled eggs in there? Excellent! What if we fry up a pig’s stomach to go along with it? EVEN EFFING BETTER.
(Side note: pickled beets and eggs is one of my favorite things, ever, and my dad made some DELICIOUS ones last week)
(Side side note: Shoo fly pie is just SILLINESS in a pie crust and yet people go BONKERS for it. Basically it’s molasses and crumbs. BARF.)
But Indians! Such spices! Beans! Cilantro! Coriander seed! (Same thing, different form) THINGS THAT HAVE FLAVOR. AND LACK ENTRAILS, MAYBE.
Well, this went to a place I wasn’t planning. Sorry about that. A few housekeeping tidbits, yes?
– I’m reviving the Book Lushes after a summer hiatus. Stay tuned!
– Speaking of books, I’ve started reading Alexa’s, (yes, this Alexa) and cannot stop. I can’t stop. I’m not one to blow smoke in this area, so when I tell you that this is exceptional — that SHE is exceptional, both as a person and as a writer — you must believe me. And you must go out and get it for yourself, and then report back to me how big of a genius you think she is, because you will. She is. It’s SO GOOD, you guys. It’s like, LAUGH OUT LOUD good, and funny and poignant and heartbreaking … IT IS SO GOOD. IT IS SO GOOD. SO GOOD. SHE IS SO GOOD.
She is also a friend, and I am really proud to say that, and proud of her. But that does not mean she hasn’t earned my respect as a hugely talented writer with the first chapter alone. Holyshit.
– While an odd segue, I wrote a few things other places on the internet, both kind of pulled from my ass and thrown on the table like a lump of something unpleasant, yet strangely … compelling? Or maybe just unpleasant and confusing. One at Polite Fictions, the other is a recap of this past week’s True Blood for my bosses at Smart Pop. (And a reminder that you can buy my essay for less than a buck AND the entire book is still available!) To those recappers who do this on a regular basis, I salute you. It was great fun, but it was also so much freakin’ work, and hours and hours of rewinding and pausing and note-taking and DING DONG, I HAD A CRAMP, that I have no idea how you do it on a regular basis.