Re-launched, but still slightly under construction. :-)

Thursday, December 29, 2005

My little sweetie!

One day after she turned 11 months, Emerson stood up without assistance for the first time. She’s done it before, but has almost immediately fallen over. This time, she stood up, wobbled, and crouched down. Then she stood up again! It was awesome!

I “yay”ed and clapped for her, and she grinned all huge and did it again - and then again, as I kept clapping and praising her. She did it every once in a while, and then she would look at me with her eyebrows raised as though to say, “See that? I think I have this thing down!” It was awesome.

My little sweetie!

One day after she turned 11 months, Emerson stood up without assistance for the first time. She’s done it before, but has almost immediately fallen over. This time, she stood up, wobbled, and crouched down. Then she stood up again! It was awesome! I “yay”ed and clapped for her, and she grinned all huge and did it again - and then again, as I kept clapping and praising her. She did it every once in a while, and then she would look at me with her eyebrows raised as though to say, “See that? I think I have this thing down!”

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas Steve

It’s our first Christmas Day with Emerson, and we’ve already had a month-long argument with Scott’s mom about how we’re going to spend it. She actually was MAD at me because I wouldn’t let her have Emerson Christmas Eve. I was like, “She’s our daughter. Can we have one normal family Christmas morning with her?”

She also was inviting us to go to Christmas Eve candlelight service at [her church]. Oops, I meant to say that she was DEMANDING we go. Scott’s conversion to Hinduism has made her all kinds of religious. Now she claims that she goes to church “EVERY Sunday,” which is bullshit. Anyway, our conversation went like this...

“Chris and Allison and Vivian and Jacob are going with us, so we would LOVE it if you and Scott and Emerson would come.”

“Oh, no, thank you, Patsy. I don’t think Scott’s in a particularly churchy mood right now.”

“Well, it’s going to be beautiful.”

“I’m sure it will. Ya’ll have a good time.”

“Well, can we just take Emerson?”

“We’d like to spend the holiday with her.”

“Why don’t ya’ll bring her with you?”

“No, thank you, Patsy. Ya’ll enjoy the service.”

“I just want you to see the inside of the church. It’s such a beautiful church!”

“I’ve seen it before. It’s lovely.”

“Oh, have you been inside it?”

“Yes, Patsy, I don’t burst into flames on the doorstep!”

Sunday, December 04, 2005

I'm not usually this shallow.

But I had on the TV for background noise while I was writing my column, and “The West Wing” was on. I love Janeane Garofalo, so looked up and what the hell is up with her eyebrows?

Before:

http://www.imdb.com/gallery/ss/0246464/Ss/0246464/16-C57-10.jpg
After:
http://us.tv1.yimg.com/tv.yahoo.com/images/he/photo/tv_pix/nbc/the_west_wing_cast_photos/janeane_garofalo/west3.jpg

See? Freakish.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Adolescented

I did a bad thing. I’ve been pining for music that doesn’t rely on a middle-class white boy screaming into the microphone while another middle-class white boy plays power chords with a stop-starty sound. I downloaded Limewire.

I can’t afford to go out and buy CDs whenever I want to. I love Madonna - what child of the 80s doesn’t have a special place in their heart for her? - but I’m not sure her new album is worth the money. So I downloaded “Hung Up.” Glad I didn’t buy it. But it sent me off into an orgy of downloading, which just ruined all my memories of the music I listened to in high school.

I found old Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Urban Dance Squad, and Kings X. Does anyone remember these bands? I thought they were much better than they actually are. My taste sucked.

I branched out into Joy Division, Bauhaus, and Siouxie and the Banshees. I don’t remember life being quite that bad. I loved them when I was younger, but now they bore me. It was just music to mope to.

The favorite standbys are still solid: Sonic Youth, Husker Du, Nine Inch Nails, The Indigo Girls,

I worked up a sweat searching for Melissa Ferrick, Soul Minor’s Daughter, Johnny Quest, and Jump, Little Children. Not many people are fans, even though Ms. Ferrick won a Ms. Magazine Award; Soul Minor’s Daughter was fronted by Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland Fame; and - well, okay, Johnny Quest never really went anywhere and Jump, Little Children have kind of fizzled out, too. The former I don’t really care about, and the latter is a shame. They had some real talent AND commercial appeal.

Then I looked for some of the more obscure bands I liked in my early twenties: Dead Can Dance, The Drovers, Ednaswap, Sugar, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Velocity Girl, the Connells, Dig, Me Phi Me, Morphine, Ani Difranco - all bands I played while DJ-ing college radio. Some of them are no longer obscure.

That lead me to the college radio staples of my youth: R.E.M., 10,000 Maniacs, B-52s, etc. I realized that I never bought R.E.M. music, that I just listened to tapes that friends made me. So I downloaded as much of their catalog as possible. When I was done, I listened to songs I haven’t heard for years: “Drive,” “Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight,” “Fireplace.” Then I listened to them again... and once again.

I realized something important: I have no freaking idea what they’re talking about. Let me give you an example:

“The cat in the hat came back, wreaked a lot of havoc on the way,
always had a smile and a reason to pretend.
But their world has flat backgrounds and little need to sleep but to dream.
The sidewinder sleeps on his back.”


Clearly that is for “Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight.” But what does it mean? Here, let me give you another example:

I’d studied your cartoons, radio, music, tv, movies, magazines
Richard said, “Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy”
A smile like the cartoon, tooth for a tooth
You said that irony was the shackles of youth
You wore a shirt of violent green, uh-huh
I never understood the frequency, uh-huh


Now, any fan of R.E.M. knows where these lyrics fit, which is right into “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” a song about the attack by a schizophrenic on a news anchor, during which the attacker ran towards the newscaster screaming, “Kenneth! What’s the frequency?” to his partner, who was monitoring to see

I’ll finish this later.... baby calling to the faraway towns. Now war is declared, and battle come down.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Ahh, Family

Emerson and I just woke up and we're both starving. I grab her a bottle out of the fridge and settle her in.

Kelli, my sister, says, "There's some awesome cinnamin bread in the kitchen."
I take a bite. It IS awesome. I run away with the whole loaf while Kelli laughs.
"I've seen this in the freezer section at the store," I say, while begrudgingly returning the loaf, "but I'd never buy this at home. I think it's called Monkey Bread."
"Yeah," Kelli says. "Made from real monkeys! Fresh monkey flavor in every bite."

Monday, November 14, 2005

Tagged

One of our cars hasn’t worked in a while, and we only just today were able to get it fixed. But we can’t drive it from the repair lot until we update the tag. The car is not at the house.

Me: “Did we pay the tag last year?”
Scott: “I called them for the VIN.”
Me: “No, but did we pay last year? I think we did.”
Scott: “I don’t think the car was working then.”
Me: “Yeah, but we might have paid it. I’m going to go down and check.”
Scott: “Do you have the tag?”
Me: “What? No, I’m going to go see what the last year was that we paid the taxes.”

There is a moment of silence while Scott looks at me, confused. “Ugh!” I think. “How hard is this to understand?” Then it hits me that the car is not here. I return to my chair, cackling.

Me: Wooooo! That was hella stupid.
Scott’s covering his eyes, laughing at me. Deservedly. I laugh harder.
Me: “That was awesome! It was so dumb!”
Scott: “I’m just enjoying this. You almost never do this.”

Ha. If he only knew.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Ring in the New Year

My husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary just a few weeks ago. It’s been a very busy year - at times almost too stressful to handle, at others too blissful. I’ve enjoyed getting to know him on a more mundanely intimate way, and here are some things I’ve learned:
1. He never puts a new roll of toilet paper on the holder, or puts the seat down;
2. He can sleep through Armageddon;
3. If it isn’t permanently affixed to his body, he can lose it. The keys are never in the same place twice, and we have an ongoing argument that goes something like: “You had the bank card last;” “No, YOU had the bank card last.”

Case in point: his wedding ring. We didn’t spend a boatload on the wedding or rings because we had a baby on the way. Even so, everything associated with our marriage is sacred to me. Yet, a mere two months after, just at a year ago, he lost his wedding ring somewhere in the yard, the car, or possibly, in the house. We don’t know. He was washing the car, and then it was gone.

Several attempts have been made to find it. We’ve rearranged furniture, combed through the grass, and I’ve even tried to rent a metal detector (couldn’t find one) and carefully examined the contents of the vaccuum bag. We’ve come up with a big, fat nothing. Figuring he felt bad about it, I didn’t want to rag him about it, except for an occassional “Oh, out picking up chicks already, are you?” kind of joke. But it really bothered me. A lot. He seemed so nonchalant about it that I thought it didn’t really matter to him.

Today, though, he said to me, “If you want to get me a Christmas present, get me a new wedding ring.” It HAS been bothering him, especially when his co-workers questioned him about the legitimacy of our marriage. “She’s not REALLY your wife, is she?” “Yes! We did the whole wedding thing... we even had TWO preachers!” Still, he was greeted with skepticism. I was happy, even teared up, because he was unhappy about it - as weird as that sounds.

So we hug, and he laughs at me for being teary, and I laugh because it’s been bothering me, and a weight is lifted. As he carries the baby down to the car for me I think, “Maybe I should look for a metal detector again.” A glint catches my eye and I look down. Oh, a random piece of metal that fell off of something - the car, with our luck. That’s probably all we we’d find. Better to save the money and buy a new ring. Then, in the corner of my eye, another glint from a circular object imbedded in the ground.

“OH!” I cry, and start to dig it out with my keys. Scott looks down.
“You’re kidding me!”
“HA!” I hand it to him, triumphantly, and raise my arms in celebration. Touchdown!
He slips the ring on his finger and hugs me.
“You’re awesome.”

Yeah, that’s why you married me

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Press 1 to press 1 again

Multitasking is a big part of my job. I have a desk full of equipment with cords that sometimes tangle together like a big pot of noodles: a telephone, fax machine, printer, laptop, and dictaphone. Today, I was trying to leave a message for a client...

“To leave a message, press 1,” said the voice on the mail.
I pressed 1 and waited. Nothing.
“To leave a message, press 1,” said the voice again.
I press 1 again, and waited. Nothing!
“To leave a message, press 1,” said the voice, with a just hint of smugness.
“I did,” I muttered under my breath, and pressed 1 for a third time.
“To leave a message-” Gah! I jabbed the 1 button with a ridiculous amount of force.
“To leave a mess-” “What the-” I pressed 1. Then 1,1,1,1,1 and, for good measure, 1.
“To leave a message...” I took the receiver from my ear and looked at it, seething, for some explanation, and reached forward to press 1...

...on my laptop

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Musical Fruit

I made dinner tonight: ham with prailene sauce, black-eyed peas, butternut squash. Tasty! But there’s a recurring problem with my cooking...

Scott: Okay, I never criticize your cooking, but every time you make beans...

I double over laughing.
Me: I know! They’re pretty bad!

Scott: (grinning) Okay, I word of advice: They’re already cooked.
I laugh harder. They’re pretty scary looking.

Me: What? You didn’t know I was making hummus tonight?
Scott: It’s not like hummus. It’s like porridge.

I clutch the couch for support while laughing.
Scott: We’re not bears.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Today's dilemma

So here's my dilemma for the day. First, please remember that I am about 10 years older than you are so my anti-aging concerns are a little more pressing. So, my dilemma... If I use:

  • a facial cleanser with 2% salicylic acid
  • and a blemish reducer (aka pimple maker-go-awayer) with 2% salicylic acid
  • and a facial scrub with apricot shells and 2% salicylic acid
  • and a moisturizer with alpha hydroxy and some other acidic kinds of things I don’t understand
  • and a peel-off mask with fruit acids
  • and a chemical peel kit that includes a 10% acid solution...

I have the following questions
  1. Will my face eventually just melt off, leaving behind only my specialty-lipstick-collagen-enhanced lips?
  2. Will it matter after my husband kills me for spending $40 on all this crap?
  3. Before he kills me, will he notice my smooth skin and plump lips?
  4. Will Emerson inherit my mental disorder?
For extra credit, explain the similarities between Gloria Steinem and Pamela Anderson.
For more extra credit, explain why I think Tommy Lee is so freakin’ hot.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

City of Neighborly Love

(loud booming noise from below us)

Scott: The neighbors are watching that movie again.

We have a standing agreement that our neighbors downstairs either have one movie where things blow up that they watch repeatedly, or they have every movie in the world where stuff blows up. But an idea crosses my mind.

Me: I think maybe they’re watching al-Qaeda training videos.
Scott looks up, thoughtful.
Scott: But they don’t look Arab.
Me: (shrewdly) You don’t have to be Arab to be Muslim.
Scott: Ahhh-HAaaaaa....

Monday, October 03, 2005

As I Am Dying

The whoosh of rushing wind fills my head as the cargo bay door opens.

“I don’t want to die.” I beg the man standing in front of me.

“You’re not going to die,” he says – and pushes me out of the plane.

I am 10,000 feet over a bright green field, strapped to a man I do not know, hurtling toward a brutal, painful death. I am skydiving on a bet, a stupid bet that is going to kill me.

I never apologized to my little brother. My sister and I used to dress him in our old party clothes and call him “Susie.” He is scarred for life. This is why I am going to die.

“You are not going to die,” shouts the man strapped to my back. “We have a parachute.”

The parachute is made of silk and it will not save us. Our bodies will shatter upon the earth. Will they be able to tell us apart, or will they think that one huge person exploded in the field - perhaps while wearing a lovely silk dress? This is not the way I want to die.

“You are not going to die.”

I started a rumor in fourth grade that Kristen Gandy was really a boy. I was mad at her and I had just learned about sex-change operations. It followed her all year. This is why I am going to die.

I can almost hear him roll his eyes.

“We’re not going to die.”

My neck snaps forward. I am wrenched upward so hard that I can hear my vertebrae fracture, and suddenly I waft through the air. The sky is lit with a heavenly glow. I am dead.

“You are not dead. I pulled the ripcord. Enjoy the ride.”

I am making absurd doggie-paddling motions with my arms and legs. I will myself to cut it out and assess the situation. We are still falling, but will not die instantly. Now we will suffer.

In ninth grade, I ditched Greta Haug, a smart and sweet girl, for “cooler” friends who wore gothic clothes and listened to The Cure and Joy Division. For loving these bands alone I am going to suffer – and die.

“No one is going to die,” he shouts, and stops because shouting is no longer necessary. “Try to relax.”

“Relax,” by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. I bought that album. I deserve to suffer and die.

A truck waits at the edge of the field. Tiny people shade their eyes, studying our descent. Are they prepared for our mangled bodies, for the gurgling and gasping as we suffer and die? I am concerned children might be watching.

“No! It doesn’t matter, because we’re not going to die.”

The summer after high school, I scored press passes to Lollapalooza. Eddie Veddar climbed the back wall of the amphitheatre and dove off into the waiting crowd. I found myself crushed against him and kissed him, with tongue. For this assault, I deserve to suffer and die.

“Okay, get ready.”

The ground spirals up at us. I am not ready. I never returned “The Bell Jar” to that nice neighbor woman in Athens who had Alzheimer’s. She doesn’t remember I borrowed it. For sometimes thinking that’s kind of funny, I deserve to suffer and die.

The tiny people are now people-sized people running to meet us. Oh, God, they will be covered in entrails. They will never recover from the trauma. I try to wave them away. They wave back. Fools!

“Bend your knees.”

I curl into the fetal position. I dropped all of my classes one semester and used my loan money to party. I cheated on most of my boyfriends. I lied about cheating on them. They all believed me.

“Remember to go with the momentum of the landing.”

I never go to church. I don’t recycle. Sometimes I don’t walk the dog for days.

“Here we go!”

We are mere feet from the ground. I kick wildly. He shouts at me to stop. I wish my family long happy lives and brace for impact. My toes brush the ground and we are standing, back on terra firma.

“See?” he says. “We’re perfectly safe.”

A gust of wind grabs the unsettled parachute and jerks us back several yards. We land hard on our backs, me on top of him, like two stacked turtles.

“That was kind of fun,” I gasp, and gasp again, because I can. I am still breathing.

He groans. “I think you killed me.”

(c) originally published in Sass Magazine, 2005

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Audubon Guidebook to Man-Watching

Forbes magazine didn’t even bother to rank Augusta in its annual study of the singles scenes in cities across the nation (Atlanta came in tenth). But 2000 U.S. Census data shows that from Thomson to Beech Island, single woman outnumbered single men by a ratio of 3:2. In addition to the already slim pickings, these numbers are quantitative, not qualitative. In other words, ladies, a good man is hard to find. Stop eyeing my husband. I married him for a reason.

Short of joining what one friend of mine called The Cynthia Nixon Revolution, what’s a girl to do to survive the dating war with a minimum of embedded shrapnel?

My advice: Know Your Enemy.

The Dittohead (aka The Angry Republican) – Happiest when he’s nodding along to Rush Limbaugh. Secretly believes that the Republican Party should be the only party and views disagreement as Anti-American. Favorite Movie: Anything where America kicks ass. Favorite Music: Toby Keith

The Band-Aid (aka Groupie) – Happiest when he’s “checking out this new band at the Earl.” Considers himself friends with area musicians who never remember his name. May write insipid song lyrics like “As I walk these dessert lands” (it’s “desert,” you moron). Favorite Movie: “Almost Famous” “Favorite Music: “I doubt you’ve heard of them.”

The Angry Democrat (aka Bushwacked) – Happiest when Bush says something stupid. Member of the ACLU, subscribes to Air America, owns more than one Al Franken book. Favorite Movie: “Fahrenheit 9/11” Favorite Music: U2

Mr. Intense (aka writer/poet/philosopher) –May encourage your creative efforts, a la John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Will be threatened if you’re better than he is. Favorite Movie: “Pollack” Favorite Music: “Imagine,” by John Lennon

The Zealot (aka The Causehead) – Passionately committed to saving whatever… for about a week. A vegetarian who cannot commit to the rigors of a vegan diet, he can’t commit to anything else, either. Favorite Movie: “Medicine Man” Favorite Music: Phish

The Coach (aka Mr. Glory Days) – Former athlete who never got over the time a major league scout came to watch him play. May ask you to act out his cheerleader fantasy. Favorite Movie: “Saturday Night Lights” Favorite Music: That song they play at football game where everybody yells “Charge!”

The Pastmaster (aka Mr. Back-in-the-Day) – Nothing in his life has ever been better than the stuff that happened in a four-year period of his life. Be it high school, college, or prison, nothing in the present can possibly compare with the past. Favorite Movie: “They don’t make good movies anymore.” Favorite Music: “They don’t make good music anymore”

The Trash Collector (aka The Hustler) – This guy has more porn in his closet than clothes. He prizes his collection of vintage Playboys. If he chooses to bring you out in public that means he thinks you’re hot. Cannot understand the concept of airbrushing. Favorite Movie: “Debbie Does Dallas.” Favorite Music: The theme from “Shaft.”

Dr. Pill (aka The Amateur Psychologist) – Uses his facile understanding of psychology to not so subtly put others down. Favorite Movie: “A Beautiful Mind” Favorite Music: Music is an expression of repressed sexuality. Is that a cigar you’re smoking?

The Gentleman Farmer (aka The Cowboy) – Envisions a quiet life of pastoral bliss. Loves apple pie. Drives a truck. Owns a big dog. Loves his mother. Favorite Movie: “Oklahoma!” Favorite Music: Tex Ritter

Tyrannosaurus X-Box (aka The Gamer) – Has a diaper bag for his game system. Won’t let you speak until he finishes this level. It’s your fault he didn’t get the golden key. Favorite Movie: “X-Men.” Favorite Music: “Soundtrack to Final Fantasy”

The Leech – He’s always broke, but he never buys anything. He may even have a job – but everything is your treat. He’s apologetic the first time. After that, he orders the lobster. Favorite Movie: “Office Space” Favorite Music: “Money” by the O’Jays

The Gearhead (aka Boy With Toys) – Guess what he’s compensating for. Favorite Movie: “2001: A Space Odyssey” Favorite Music: Anything currently playing on an Apple iPod commercial.

The Computer (aka Binary Disorder) – Is seriously considering having a USB port installed on the side of his head. Favorite Movie: “The Matrix” Favorite Music: Soundtrack to “Hackers”

The Brain (aka The Know-it-All) – Why do you even bother to question him? You can’t possibly know more than he does on any subject, not even feminine hygiene. Favorite Movie: “Real Genius” Favorite Music: Classical and obscure jazz

Quiz
Match These Men to Their Breakup Lines

1. “Oh, she’ll take the check.”
2. “I think the Nazi party had some good ideas.”
3. “I really think you need to find yourself before you can be with someone else.”
4. “You should really consider breast implants.”
5. “Man, back in the day…”
6. “I’m moving to Flint, Michigan, to campaign for Michael Moore.”
7. “You know how you wanted to spend more quality time together? Surprise! I signed you up for EverQuest!”
8. “Look, there are only 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary code, and those who don’t.”
9. “I bought the new U2 iPod! Now I have one for every day of the week!”
10. “So we’re taking the van out to Burning Man next week. I’ll see you.”

Answers

1. The Leech
2. The Angry Republican
3. The Amateur Psychologist
4. The Trach Collector
5. The Pastmaster
6. The Angry Democrat
7. Tyrannosaurus X-Box
8. The Computer
9. The Gearhead
10. The Zealot

(c) originally published in Sass Magazine, 2005

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Job Interview Junkie

I am a babbling idiot. Drool dangles from my lip. I sit slack-jawed in front of the man who would be my boss – if anything would come out of my mouth. He has asked me a question, the answer to which I practiced in the car on the way here, and yet I have no idea what to say. In fact, I have forgotten what he asked. If it were possible for human beings to will themselves into oblivion, I would. I am trying. But he’s still waiting for an answer and I still don’t have one.

“What can you bring to the position?”
I know this one! Oh… err…

I am dressed to the nines in my expensive-looking grey suit and black shell, faux pearl earrings, black leather shoes, matching belt, subtle makeup, and most hairs in place. Booger check – did I do a booger check? I did. I sit with my hands folded to hide the chewed-off stubs of what were fingernails when I had a job, and try to sound like I know something about the sporting event in which he will play for charity. It seems to work.
“Oh, do you golf?” he asked.
“Well… no, not really.”
“Oh.”
“I did shoot a 77 once, but it was on the front nine.”
“I see.”
Lie. I should learn to lie.

This is the recipe for disaster I’ve cooked up. Poorly choosing my last employer resulted in being laid-off when they restructured. Now I’m back in the wilds of the job market, stalking my prey, and finding hunting more difficult than I remembered. I no longer lull with my confidence and kill with my wit and style. I am a blundering fool.
“Tell me a little bit about yourself.”
Who? Me?

I have all the right tools: a college degree with a decent GPA, solid references, a strong portfolio, a first-rate resume, and a vast network of contacts – which is how I came to be at this interview today, one of only two candidates, the other an intern with no writing experience. And I am blowing it.
“So how did you hear about this position?”
Oh, I’ve known her for years… Can’t seem to remember her name, but dark hair, brown eyes… you know, the one I was talking to when you came out of your office.
“Valerie?”
“Um, I think so.”
“Uh-huh.”

In college I won awards for impromptu public speaking. I’ve led committees, taught classes, given seminars, presented papers at academic conferences. I have given radio interviews, acted as an extra in several movies, worked as a disc jockey, and trained in front of a camera. My mother used to call me “The Mouth of the South.” I am not known for my silence.
“Should I rephrase the question?”
Question? What question?

I’ve answered these questions in front of the mirror, with my husband, in my head. I’ve met this man before. We sat on a panel together. I worked with his nephew, who works for the same company. The other two employees in the office are lobbying for me. He doesn’t even care for the other candidate. I have everything going for me - but nothing is going right.
“Where do you see yourself in five years?”
Probably still sitting here.

I don’t know how many interviews I’ve gone on in the last two months, but we’re well into double digits by now. I’ve done telephone interviews, in-person interviews, and even email interviews. I’m like the Cal Ripkin, Jr., of interviews – without ever having stepped foot on home plate.
“Okay, well, we’ll let you know by Monday.”
Damn.

(c) originally published in Sass Magazine, 2005

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Confessions of a Cheapskate

“What’s that?” I asked, pointing to the wood floor of our living room.
“It’s a penny,” my husband answered, unconcerned.
I sighed, picked it up off the floor, and put it in a can with its long-lost relatives. I confess: I’m a cheapskate. If there’s a penny, I pinch it. If there’s a dollar, I demand it from my husband’s wallet.
“What do you need it for?”
“I don’t know… Maybe I’ll get a newspaper later?”
Hmph. He can read it online for free.

There wasn’t a lot of money for extras when I was growing up. We wore off-brand clothes when Gloria Vanderbilt and Pumas were two of only seven or eight brands allowed. Other kids weren’t fooled.

“Kangaroos?” said another fifth-grader, incredulously. “Who wears Kangaroos?”

I did – Purple tennis shoes to match my purple faux Member’s Only jacket.
Although some people refuse to wear anything without one of a certain class of logo on their clothes, we feed, clothe, and furnish our family without credit cards on an income of you-can’t-imagine-how-little-freelance-writing-pays.

Here’s how:

Calculate the real cost – Compare prices by number, weight, and volume. Cut coupons selectively because they are usually for brands that cost more to purchase with a coupon than store brands do without. Upon occasion, I stumble across a deal like name-brand two-liters of soda on sale for 79 cents with a coupon for $1 off a purchase of three two-liters – on double coupon day. Each bottle was 13 cents.

Refuse retail –
Membership wholesalers have everything: clothes, pet food, jewelry, software, electronics, and furniture. Don’t buy a membership. Find someone else who already has one and add on to his or hers for half the price.

Everything is negotiable –
When looking for a larger apartment, we got $50 off the monthly rent because we promised to sign a two-year lease. Make some concessions that benefit the business. Promise a certain number of referrals within your contract period. Look into a longer partnership than is customary. Make capital improvements. Never take the first interest rate, insurance premium, or installation fee quoted.

Know your needs and network –
Work the yard sale and flea market circuits, go to Goodwill early Saturday afternoons, keep up with “Iwanta” (free online at www.iwanta.net), and join www.freecycle.org. Gather up your unused stuff and offer it to other cheapskates. You never know what people desire. I found other freecyclers frenzied over a Star Trek book I had never read, a half-pack of diapers my daughter had outgrown, and a set of sheets that didn’t fit our bed.

Unmask marketing –
Most brands are very similar and what they’re actually selling you is style or security. Tylenol and store-brand acetaminophen are identical and one costs $3 less than the other. Because the Food and Drug Administration controls the composition of infant formula, I buy a store brand formula that is not only 1/3 cheaper than brand name but is also easier on my daughter’s sensitive digestive system. When in doubt, read the ingredients and their ratios to determine any real differences.

Prevent pernicious purse-snatchers -
convenience stores, vending machines, restaurants, and peak-time entertainment. Plan meals ahead so that you don’t have to stop at convenience stores, cook at home, bring snacks with you, and attend matinee shows.

Examples of My Thrifty Rewards:
  • Kitchen Hutch
    Retail: $200
    Cost: paint
    Source: Freecycle.org

  • Desk and Hutch
    Retail: $300
    Cost: $50
    Source: Goodwill

  • Couch and Wingback Chair
    Retail: $1,500
    Cost: $200
    Source: Iwanta.net

  • Digital Camera
    Retail: $250
    Cost: $50
    Source: Pawn Shop

  • Dresser
    Retail: $300
    Cost: $30 + paint
    Source: Goodwill

  • Computer Printer
    Retail: $75
    Cost: $20
    Source: Flyer on university bulletin board

  • Timberland Shoes
    Retail: $75
    Cost: $1
    Source: Yard Sale

  • Swing/High Chair
    Retail: $150
    Cost: $20 (with a side table thrown in)
    Source: Yard Sale

  • Baby Clothes (for her first two years)
    Retail: several hundred dollars
    Cost: About $40
    Source: Hand-me-downs, yard sales, freecycle.org, and Sam’s Club (outfit: freecycle.org)

  • (c) originally published in Sass Magazine, 2005

Friday, August 19, 2005

Job Hunter/Gatherer

You know, I’m a nice girl. I’m also a nice employee. I work hard. I try to keep my mouth shut. I am a team player. Most importantly, I am honest and ethical (can’t say that for my last employers, who I hear are being investigated by the GBI. Thank god I’m out of there).

But it’s like I’m standing on the sidelines, watching employees at the Christmas party, but no one is asking me to dance. It’s like dating through the personals. I respond to someone’s ad and I hope that my resume and letter are attractive. I go on a date/interview. Most of the time lately it’s been an awful big waste of time, like the telephone interview that ended up being a sales pitch for a pyramid scheme. But on occasion, my date/interviewer and I really seem to hit it off, as in the cases with Columbia County and MCG.

Then, weeks go by and the phone doesn’t ring. I know they had a good time, too, so why haven’t they called? Maybe they lost my number! Should I call? If I call, will that make me look desperate? I AM desperate. Or maybe it just lets them know I’m interested. I AM interested! Maybe they’re busy. Maybe they met someone else they liked better. Maybe they're married! Maybe they were in a horrible accident and have amnesia.

I’ve lost jobs to so many less qualified people this summer that I’m beginning to think I have some weird mental illness where I THINK I say something smart, witty, and appealing on the date/interview, but it really comes out like, “Og. Like your tits.” In which case, I wouldn’t call me either.

I know that if I were able to relocate right now, I’d have a job already. I just don’t seem to have the right contacts here. I get through second interviews and then get rejection letters. (sigh) Clearly, I’m doing something right. But just as clearly, I’m doing something wrong. I’m so paranoid I do like 12 booger checks before an interview.

At least I know it’s not that.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Church of Eternal Crap

Scott and I have been ordained as ministers through the Universal Life Church. We are discussing what to call our ministry.

Scott: “Universal Augusta.”
Me: “Sounds like a movie company.”
Scott: “Eternity International.”
Me: “Too corporate.”
Scott: “Souls R Us.”
Me: “That sounds like we’re in the business of selling souls... to the devil... for commission.”

We settled on Church of Eternal Love. Nebulous. Noncommittal. Nondenominational. Perfect.

Coming Soon: Elvis Weddings!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Funny Dog

Scrabble has decided that Emerson is a person - and as a person, she has an inherent duty to play with him. This means that he spends a lot of time trying to engage a six-month-old who generally plays with something by either a: eating it, or b: yanking on it. She does have some fine motor skills (she turns her mobile on and off by herself with very specific finger movements), but they’re still in development and generally are forgotten once she gets excited.

But yesterday was the best play session yet. Sctabble had been taunting her for a little while - circling her, licking her face, pawing at whatever was in her hands - until suddenly he jumped up, barked, and ran out of the room. If I hadn’t known better, I’d have sworn he barked “Eureka!” Emerson shrieked at his exit, and tried to turn around to locate him. He came galloping, thundering, back into the room with his red rubber Kong ball. He pranced around the room with it in his mouth before dropping it in front of her. She looked at it for a long minute, then patted it, and grasped it in her tiny hands. “Ruff! Scrabble barked, and gently took it from her. He pranced around again, tossing the ball and running after it, before dropping it in front of her again. She grinned, and tried to pick it up - ohhh, too slow! Scrabble snatched it again and gave a pplayful growl, butt hiked in the air and tail wagging furiously. Emerson cackled with laughter, and Scrabble dropped the ball again and looked away. Oh! Fooled you! He snatched the ball again with a mighty growl when Emerson tried to pick it up. This went on for a good ten minutes before I could no longer hold in my laughter.

Oh, it was SO CUTE!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Freakboy in da HOWSE!

Again with the crazy talk in the middle of the night. I stay up to get some cleaning done, and when I come to bed he pats me on the shoulder. I think he’s awake. I am, as usual, dead wrong.

“Honey, what time do you have to get up?”
“mmmmmffff....”
(pause)
“Okay, what time do you have to be at work?”
“mmmmm.... “
“What time do you have to be at work?”
“‘ess...”
“What? Ten?”
“Nest.”
(pause)
“Um, what time is that?”
“Nest.”
(giggle. snort.)
“What time?”
He takes his face out of the pillow to better enunciate and says very clearly: “NEST.”
(snort. chuckle.)
“Okay. Well, I don’t know what time that is.”
“NEST.”
“Where is that on the clock?”
“55 across.”
I’m trying not to wake him seriously, but I’m laughing so hard that my spit is out of control.
“What did you say?”
“55 across. Nest.”
He sits up. I can’t control my volume anymore.
“Nest!” I cackle. ”Nest!”
He looks at me guffawing, sprawled out across the bed, and grins sleepily at me.
“I’m glad you find me so amusing.”
“Honey, do you have any idea what you’re talking about.”
He pauses and considers this. Then picks up his hand and pokes me in the forehead with his forefinger.”
“Meps,” he says.
“What?”
He does it again.
“Meps.”
“What’s meps?”
“Like the aliens.”
“Aliens?”
“Yeah. You know.”

No. I don’t know. What I do know is that my husband is a freak.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Sleepwalking

Scott is a heavy sleeper. No, you don’t understand. I would mistake Scott’s sleeping for a coma if it weren’t for the fact that he occassionally wakes me up to have confusing conversations at 4 a.m. Like, take the other night...

Scott sits up in bed very suddenly, startling me out of sleep.
“Honey? What’s wrong?”
I pat his back with my eyes closing.
“You can apply for the peppers and onions at HM if I don’t ever wake up.
pause. My eyes open.
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“The peppers and onions.”
I roll my eyes. Jeez. Here we go. He is looking at me, expectantly.
“What good will that do me?”
“They’re 50 cents.”
“Uh-huh, and I have to apply for this?”
“Go for it.”
“What the fuck are you talking about at 4 a.m.?!” I smack him in the arm.
Please don’t do that.”
He said it so forcefully I thought that he must be awake.
“I’m sorry.”
“I’d rather you just took the peppers and onions instead of making a goddamn scene about it.”
(groan)

I decide he can talk to himself, roll over, and try to go back to sleep. He gets up to pee. Well, of course now I have to, too. Damn. I come back to bed. He’s asleep. I lay down and close my eyes...
“I want my C-H-E-S back and then I’ll let Patrick off the hook.”
(goddammit!)
“What’s C-H-E-S?”
(he scoffs)Cheese.”
“What?”
He sits up and glares at me: “WHAT do you want?”
“What?”
“”What do you WANT?”
“Hey, you woke me up!”
“Okay, I’m quickly going from angry to livid. WHAT DO YOU WANT?”
“YOU woke ME up! What do YOU want?!”
He sighs exasperatedly, puts his head down and closes his eyes.
“I want cheese on my goddamn salad.”

Wow, does the couch look comfy right now, or what?

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Enough with the blogthings

So I’m aware that all my postings are stupid quizzes. Not too interesting, I know. But it’s all I’ve had time for and don’t go pretending that you give a crap about my life! Sycophants!

Anyway, my days have been like this:
-wake up - daughter whining
-feed daughter - daughter whining
-play with daughter - daughter laughing
-put daughter down to go pee - daughter crying
-come back (did I wipe?) - daughter whining
-put daughter in swing to check email and get started on 60-page freelance job I took writing about property law as it related to squatter’s rights (what the fuck was I thinking?!) - daughter whining
-dangle succession of toys in front of her - daughter squirmy happy
-turn back to computer after picking one that makes her happy - daughter whiny
-give up after an hour of repeating the last two and try to make something to eat - daughter screamy
-bang head against wall - daughter laughing
-give up trying to get something to eat and pour a big glass of Diet Coke (aaaahhhh. breakfast of champions)
-play with daughter some more - daughter laughing
-continue until daughter begins rubbing her eyes, try to put her down for a nap.

and basically I repeat this until she goes to sleep, and I use those times do frantic document searches online. My first deadline is tonight, and I’m blogging instead, because I’m SO NOT GOING TO MEET IT ANYWAY!

If I don’t get a regular job soon, I’m going to cry.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Should have known

I bought Emerson a Baby Einstein book. She loved it so much in the store that she cried when I took it away from her to put it back on the shelf. I was going to get her a rattle, but she liked the book better.

Swinging in her swing/high chair contraption, I hear her shriek with laughter. She’s holding the book! I wonder what it is that so amuses her:
the bright colors?
the photographs of animals?
the different languages?
the crackly material?
the squeaker?
the teething strips on the edges?

I lean in quietly and peer over her shoulder as she guffaws again and kicks her legs.

It’s the tag.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Dorkilicious

There’s always a checklist to follow when I go anywhere with the baby. Tonight, we were getting out of the car at Famous Dave’s - BBQ, yum! - and I was going through it...

windows up?
check.
sunroof closed?
check.
purse?
check.
bank card in my wallet?
check.
diaper bag?
check.
baby?
check. Trust me, I double check every time I leave the car.
husband?
check.
keys?
... keys?
...
fuck, where are the keys?

I’m rummaging through my purse, pissed with myself because I ALWAYS lose the keys. Scott, waiting by the car with the baby in her carrier, says, “Honey, are you going to cut the car off?”
“As soon as I find the keys,” I mutter irritably, and continue rummaging.

...

oh, crap.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Theory of Music

I developed a theory of music after playing a game years ago with geek friends of mine who would quiz each other on music knowledge. We would have “name as many bands as you can that...” category quizzes. One of them was place names, and the theory I developed goes like this: “A band’s lack of suckiness is inversely proportional to the size of the place it is named for.” The smaller the place, the better the band is. The bigger the place, the worse it is. Large name = huge sucking sound. Big suck. Much suckage.

Supporting Data
Portishead - Really, really good. Named after a small English town near Bristol, UK.
Boston - “Don’t Look Back” is a good song. Not the best song ever, but good. Didn’t Clinton use this on his campaign tour?
Kansas - I love “Dust in the Wind,” but not a whole lot else... the list of good songs gets really short around the state-sized band names.
America - I doubt they’ve ever really been through the desert on a horse with no name. Not only do they suck, but they are liars. Saved from an opinion lower than this by LSD. Don’t ask.
Europe - “The Final Countdown”... ‘nuff said. Only saved from being the worst band on this list by the industry hair-band frenzy that got them signed so unfortunately in the first place along with Winger. Similar modern situation: Ashley Simpson. Two Simpsons are not better than one - one is bad enough.
Asia - “Heat of the Moment”... are you kidding? Sucky harmonies. Dated style. Cliched phrases in their song-writing.

If there is ever a band named “Earth” it would be almost the worst band ever. But not as band as a band named Jupiter... or Galaxy... God forbid some group would name themselves Universe. Anyone who heard them would go into convulsions. They’d be like the Vogon poets in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

So the way out of the curse is to name your band after somewhere small. Podunk. Bumblefuck. A.O.W. (Armpit of the World) I think the best band name would simply be “Here.” As in: “Here, tonight!” and “Hear Here!”

Aw, let’s face it: Most people are better off naming their band “Free Beer and Pizza.”

Monday, June 20, 2005

Sleep Deprivation

I tried to give the dog a bottle and the baby the dog water.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Wooden Acting

I have a splinter in my ass. I must have gotten it when sitting on the deck stairs watching the dog run around like mad. Scott offered to get it out for me, and I know he’s my husband, but I just can’t let him.

Is that weird?

Driver's Ed

Scott got off work last night at 11:30. I was tired, okay? I was TIRED! We’re driving home, and I stop at a red light on Milledge Avenue. We’re still chatting away and after a couple of minutes Scott gets impatient.

Scott: “So, are you just going to sit here?”
Me: “What? Well, we’re at a red light.”
I gesture to it. I freeze. My eyes follow the length of my arm to the red light... which is flashing. I smile at Scott and laugh.
Me: “I guess we can go now.”

Reminds me of a joke:
What goes “vroom - screech! vroom - screech! vroom - screech!?”

A blonde at a flashing red light.
Or, just me.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Monkey Brains

Scott and I are writing the summary of his book to submit to Harbor House Publishing. We’re writing it in the form of a news story (my idea), and I’m writing it because Scott doesn’t know how to do this. He’s frustrating THE HELL OUT OF ME because - well, here’s an example of how the conversation goes every time I ask him a question.

Me: Okay, how old is this guy?
Scott: He’s... wait, do [the newspapers] have to have his age?
Me: Yes. It’s part of the three identifiers required by AP Style.
Scott: Okay, he’s 67.
Me: And what does he do?
Scott: He’s a retired professor.
Me: Cool. And this guy? How old is he?
Scott: Do they have to have everyone’s age?
Me: Yes. It’s part of the three identifiers required by AP Style
.... ad nauseam until I’m flapping my arms and saying: “YES! IT’S PART OF THE THREE IDENTIFIERS REQUIRED BY AP STYLE! WHY DO YOU KEEP ARGUING WITH ME!”

Actually, AP style just requires that you identify people with three separate identifiers and that you be consistent about it. Age is just an easy choice. Anyway, so then he apologizes and we go on. I try not to ask anyone’s age. Instead, I ask a name.

Scott: Do they have to have her name?
Me: Uh, yeah.
Scott: The newspaper in this town would never print her name.
Me: Yes, they would... or they wouldn’t mention her.
Scott: No, they would have been instructed not to.
Me: Okay, it’s not a real town. It’s fiction! It’s doesn’t exist. You asked me to write this as a news story. I have to have names. Why do you keep arguing with me?
Scott: Okay! I’m sorry. Ask me a question.
Me: I DID! WHAT! IS! HER! NAME!

You’d think it would get better, but no. Finally, I get fed up. It’s like trying to play basketball with chimpanzees.

Me: Scott, SERIOUSLY, get out of character.
He laughs.
Scott: But you don’t understand! They would never print this in the Cularville newspaper.
Me: Okay, you need to get real. This is not a real place. This is marketing yourself to a publishing company. Get with the program.
Scott (with dramatic hand gestures): I’m sorry. You married an artiste!
Me: No, I married someone who calls themselves an “artiste”, which is worse than just marrying one.

By the way, he’s the one who came up with “basketball with chimpanzees.”

Me: Honey, what’s hard to do with chimpanzees?
Scott (without even a split second of hesitation): Basketball.
Me (amused): Why basketball?
Scott: Because they’re short.
Not because they’re fucking CHIMPANZEES, and everything is difficult with them?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Twenty Steps to Mommy Success

My friend Jennifer wrote recently: “It sounds like Mommydom is treating you just fine even though children can so easily turn into 'howling balls of fury.' I was talking to Catherine this morning about her Emerson. She’s teething and trying to crawl. Basically this means that she’s scooting around on the floor leaving a trail of spittle on everything in her wake that she can wrap her gums around. I don’t know how you guys do it.”

How do moms do it? I’ll tell you exactly how. But it will look funny because I don’t know how to format indentations:

1) You kind of have no choice. You might think of selling your screaming child to a passing band of gypsies, but
a) those passing bands are few and far between
b) that’s why nature invented Mommy Guilt
c) You really do love your screaming child
2) You cut corners where you can
a) screw the housecleaning (until today, when my sister will be here)
b) screw the environment (use paper plates and plastic utensils)
c) screw cooking (those new box mix dinners are really not bad, especially the ones in the Asian foods section)
d) Right now, she’s sitting in her car seat with her bottle balanced on a blanket in her lap because I’m tired of feeding her. Is it a recommended feeding method? No. Is she quiet, safe, and is she eating? Yes.
3) You pick your battles
a) the dog is licking the baby’s face. She likes it. I let it go. Plus it conveniently cleans the formula off her.
b) is it worth Scott stomping around the house all morning after you make him get up with the baby at 4 a.m., or can you manage it yourself and take a nap later to avoid the drama?
c) The crib sheets still aren’t dry, and it’s time for her to go to bed. Does she really need sheets? She doesn’t even know what sheets are. Check that off your list of concerns and put a big towel down.
4) You figure out what works for your child. This takes time, but unless you completely ignore your baby all day, it’s inevitable.
5) You sing. A lot.
6) Babies are funny. It’s like having a free comedy show every day.
a) Emerson can roll over onto her tummy, but she can’t get back yet. It frustrates her to no end. That’s funny.
b) She has little baby-talk conversations with her toys. I don’t know what they say to her, but she finds it fascinating... and then she tries to eat them.
c) she tries to sing, but she only knows one note and no words unless you count “ayayayaya” and “nnngah”
d) we have probably $500 worth of toys in her room, but nothing entertains her more than a good old Sharpie pen or a crumpled piece of newspaper.
e) She’s still learning how her hands and mouth work, and she spends a lot of time with a hand in her mouth, biting it and feeling her tongue. Sometimes she gets excited about some new hand/mouth realization, shoves her hand too far into her mouth, and gags herself. Then she takes her hand out and looks at it in surprise.
f) She dreams. She laughs, smiles, cries, and makes sucking noises in her sleep. I always wonder what it’s about. Probably a beautiful land where the sky rains formula, and there are lakes, rivers, and oceans of formula.
g) She tries to eat my nose.
h) She hasn't grown much hair yet on her big ol' round punkin' head, and she bears a striking resmblance to Mr. Magoo.
7) Baths. Baths soothe almost any hysterical, crying baby.
8) Each new thing makes the old, annoying things worth any amount of trouble.
a) at my parents’ house this week, she held her arms up to me for the first time.
b) she hates hats, and when I put one on her at my nephew’s rather sunny baseball game, she tore it off her head (in a rare display of complete manual control), threw it on the ground, and screamed, “Yaaaaaaa!” before smiling sweetly at me and laughing.
9) Naptime
10) Grandparents
11 - 20 are also grandparents.
And that’s how it’s done.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Cheese and Crackers

We’re sitting at the Vortex in L5P talking about random stuff, and somehow the story Douglas Adams (author of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) told at his lecture in Athens came up. I love this story.

So Douglas Adams (or, "Doug," as I like to call him, you know, us being BFF, and all) goes to take a trip from London by train. Switching trains at a station, he has about an hour layover.

To pass the time, he buys a package of biscuits, a cup of tea, and a newspaper, finds the sole empty table, has a seat, and takes out his newspaper. While he is waiting for his tea to cool, a man sits down across from him. They nod politely to each other. They go back to their respective newspapers.

After a while, the man reaches across the table, opens the package of biscuits, and eats one. Aghast, Doug is too “English” to say anything: “We’re not known for being assertive.” To reassert his ownership, however, he reaches to the middle of the table, takes a biscuit, and eats it. Not too long afterwards, the man reaches across and takes another of his biscuits and eats it. This goes on until the biscuits are gone. The man leaves when his train is called. Doug (BFF!) continues to fume in silence until his train is called a short time later. As he gets up and folds his paper, he sees his package of biscuits on the table.

It’s a great story, but also a nice metaphor on perception/perspective. I heard it when I was 22, and since then, whenever I find myself in a situation where I’m butting heads based primarily on perspective, I try to tell myself, “It’s just a package of biscuits.”

Friday, May 20, 2005

Holy Terror

Emerson has been possessed by a screaming banshee. It’s hard to calm her down and she’s been skipping her naps. I spent the morning walking her and rocking her. She had plenty to eat, she was dry and not too hot or cold. At that point, baby books say to put her down in her crib and let her cry, soothing her every 15 minutes. It’s supposed to be supportive but allow you to keep your sanity.

I can’t do it. I can’t stand her lying in bed hysterical and alone. I decided to bathe her.

JACKPOT!

The motion of the warm water pouring over her shoulders made her pause just long enough to break the cycle. She lay in the sling, feet trailing in the water, whining softly and looking up at me with a pleading expression. I made up a song about oceans, boats, dolphins, and mermaids as I massaged her with chamomile-scented baby soap.

Gradually, she relaxed and began looking at things around her. The dish scrubbing wand. The shiny chrome faucet. The silver creamer on the windowsill. She looked up and me, gummed a smile, and sighed as I poured warm water from a pitcher<> over her tummy. She yawned suddenly and her eyes blinked heavily up at me.

I continued pouring water over her. Tiny rivulets skittered down her back. She poked out her tummy and ripples of water looked like seashore waves crashing over sand as seen from high above. It pooled in her belly button and trickled down her ribs. I kissed her tummy, her cheeks, her head, her feet. She yawned and sighed again. I filled up the bathtub with warm water and watched as she relaxed and her eyes closed.

She breathed slowly and deeply. Not wanting to disturb her, or leave her alone in the water (of course), I tried to lift the tub of water with her in it. Not happening. I couldn’t leave her there, so I chanced it and lifted her into her new hooded towel from Natalya. She stirred. I carried her to the changing table and diapered her quickly. Her eyes opened. I froze. All unseeing, they closed again.

I covered her with her towel and let her sleep on the table, knowing the straps and high sides would keep her from falling. And I sat in the chair in perfect silence with my book for a blissful half hour while she napped.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Pacify This!

Emerson cannot go to sleep without her pacifier, but once she falls asleep, her mouth goes slack and the pacifier falls out. She immediately notices a distinct lack of rubbery goodness in her mouth and lets out a mighty scream.

We go in, put the pacifier (which is obviously made of crack and will henceforth be named the Crackifier) back in her yowling maw, and watch as she squirms over onto her side and mutters to herself: “ayayayayayaya...”

I think that’s baby-talk for: “These stupid parents of mine with their total incompetence. Where’d they get their training - K-Mart? Can’t keep a little thing like a pacifier under control. Do I ask for much? Hell, no. Just keep my ass dry, don’t let me get too hot or too cold, and throw me a bottle now and then. Is it so much to ask for a pacifier? I ask you: Is that so WRONG?!”

This has gone on for about an hour tonight. After the third time in a row getting up from in front of the computer to replace the crackifier, I heard her winding up again.
“Your turn!” I called merrily to my husband.
“I know,” he said, and continued to read.
She hollered suddenly from the crib.
“Look, honey, just - where is the SuperGlue?” I asked. “We’ll make sure it doesn’t fall out again.”

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Date Night! No Baby!

Me: We can go see a movie tomorrow?
Scott: Yeah.
Me: Do you want to see “The Ring 2?” It’s at the $1 theatre.
Scott: But, we have the tickets.
Me: But it won’t be at the theatre much longer.
Scott: No, we’ll go see a movie at the big theatre.
Me: Really? Like grownups?
Scott: That’s fine.
(pause)
Me: No, that’s not a movie. I mean, like WE are grownups.
Scott: ....oh.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Patron Verse of New Mothers

“...We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.” I Corinthians 15:51

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Ouch

Scott’s mother is cooing at Emerson, who is grinning up at her from her stroller.
Patsy: “Nona loves you! You are the most beautiful baby in the world!”
Me: “She is.”
Patsy: “Oh, did you know that? You’re the most beautiful baby in the world. They broke the mold when they made you.”
Me: “It sure felt like it.”

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Without revealing too much

The complete and utter disregard by some people for ethical and moral guidelines never ceases to amaze me. A former coworker has been impersonating me online. To what end? I don’t know that I have enough darkness in my soul to even hazard a guess. It would just never occur to me to - no, wait. I did once have someone IM me thinking I was someone else, and I IM’ed back: “Woo hoo! I love my pants! They’re on my head!”

But no one could possibly take that seriously, and I identified myself at the end.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Swiffer Than You

I’m trying to get the house clean before my parents visit. It’s not easy because our dog sheds like mad, and it piles up under the bookcases.

I sweep, but it’s not enough. I think I’m slick and I pull out the Swiffer that my mother bought us. I start in the bathroom and push it around the floor. It just pushes the dirt around (although very neatly).

“What the - ” I move into the hallway. I chase the dog with it (he’s scared of cleanng products, probably because he sees them so rarely). I try it in the bedroom.

“This thing is a piece of crap!” I call to my husband, who is feeding the baby. I lift it up to glare at it. “How is this rubber thing suppsed to...” I stop myself, and laugh. There’s no cloth on the bottom. What was I expecting the rubber pad to do, erase the dirt?

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Mom Musings. Sorry! I'll Be Brief!

It’s been an amazing 3-month journey from our tiny, unresponsive-unless-she’s-crying little shitmonster to this incredibly interactive experiment in behavioral psychology.

Now she’s trying to roll over. She’s discovered that she likes to sleep on her side, and has a unique way of rolling over to get there. Instead of twisting her body to position herself on her side, she kicks her legs out in front of her and lets the weight of them pull her over. It’s deliciously comical: she puts her legs together, thrusts them into the air and a little to the right, then mutters “ayayayayaya” to herself while waiting for gravity to do its thing. It’s like she’s chanting while concentrating on the process.

But once she’s steadily on her side, she snuggles herself into a comfy sleeping position and sucks violently on her pacifier to soothe herself to sleep. The whole process is so adorable I could just eat her up.

I probably won't, though.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Dumbass

We’re out on the back deck, and I’ve been walking around in my underwear since Scott got home.

Me: “So, you haven’t even asked me why I’m walking around without pants on.”
Scott: “Why are you walking around with no pants on?”
Me: “You know the chair that I always get my beltloop caught on?”
Scott (smirking): “Yeah...”
Me: “Well, I was sitting in it at the computer, and it did it again. You weren’t here and I couldn’t get the loop unstuck. I had to slide out of them to escape.”
(pause)
Scott: “That is incredible.”
Me: “Isn’t that great?”

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Relief


I’m changing Emerson, and she has her feet up to her chest. I take them and put them in my mouth. She giggles and lets out a mighty fart. I press the soles of her feet to her cheeks and say in a silly voice: “Oh, noooooo!” And she opens her mouth wide and lets out a short guffaw like I’ve never heard from her before.

It’s astonishing. It’s been kind of like living with a really pissy mime: the only noises she really makes are when she’s upset about something. So this is new. I almost tear up. I take her feet and do it again. “Oh, noooo!” She laughs!

It’s addictive, this laughter. It’s like every time I hear it, I instantly lose 5 pounds - of Mommy-Guilt. You know, that obnoxious part of yourself that second guesses every decision you make, even though you know you make it with the best of intentions and sound research.

She’s grasping my fingers now with her tiny little hands. I lift her up a little. She holds on. I lift her up more, gripping her hands firmly. She opens her eyes wide and makes an “O” with her mouth. I lift her up over my head - “wheeeeee!” - and set her back down on her feet. Up from her tiny little tummy came the cutest belly laugh, complete with snorting. I laugh so hard I startle her and I almost drop her. I stop laughing and grin at her. She grins back. I lift her again. She grins wider, and as I set her back on her feet, belly laughs again.

This is like crack! I lift her over and over until she bores of the game and looks around the room for something else to do. It kills me that she has such a short attention span, and I spend all day long trying to get her interested in it again. No luck, but that’s okay. I have every day for the rest of our lives.

Friday, April 29, 2005

By the Power of Greyskull

Scott: “My back hurts so bad.”
Me: “I’m sorry. Is it worse or better?”
Scott: “I don’t know.”
(pause)
Me: “Maybe it’s one of those things where it hurts a lot but then gets stronger like Superman. Maybe you’ll get X-ray vision.”
Scott: “You know, I already felt like I could see things with my back.”
Me: “Really? And soon you’ll be able to shoot laser beams from your ass.”

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Politics As Usual

President Bush was on TV last night. I don’t care about his politics. I just can’t stand to hear the man speak. A monkey could do a better job.

So I went to take a bath. I relaxed in the water. I washed, scrubbed, shaved, and moisturized. But I could still hear the president’s yapping.

I added more hot water to the mix. I deep conditioned my hair. Meh, he was still talking. I stayed in.

I talked to myself. I wondered where my new book had gotten off to. I hoped Scrabble didn’t eat it, like he does Scott’s socks. Soon I looked down at the now lukewarm bath water and noticed it was an unattractive grey color. The bottom of the tub had grown gritty with almond shells, or whatever exfoliant I had used. I shivered a little.

But I could still hear the president talking. If he weren’t talking, I would get out of the tub. Suddenly, I realized I was involved in a one-woman protest.

It must be against dirty politics.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Not Judging Their Beliefs, I Promise. I Just Always Sound Snarky.

o2grok1: What does Pentecostal mean? five something? Five what?
Ptrend: I know what Pentecost was...but not the etymology...sorry
o2grok1: what was it?
Ptrend: Here we'll hear from Merriam Webster

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English pentecosten, from Late Latin pentecoste, from Greek pentEkostE, literally, fiftieth day, from pentEkostos fiftieth, from pentEkonta fifty, from penta- + -konta (akin to Latin viginti twenty) -- more at VIGESIMAL
1 : SHABUOTH
2 : a Christian feast on the seventh Sunday after Easter commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles -- called also Whitsunday

o2grok1: Okay, but that doesn't explain why they call themselves that.
Ptrend: Because they are a group that believes all their meetings require or call down a charismatic possession of the holy spirit just as was experienced by the apostles that first time
o2grok1: oh.
o2grok1: oooOOOOOhhhh..
o2grok1: Thus the speaking in tongues and epileptic fits
Ptrend: exactly
Ptrend: I actually have been to a Pentecostal funeral once and seen the alleged speaking in tongues. Very weird! not my cup of tea
Ptrend: I like writing to you in Times...I think I'll try that for a while.
o2grok1: except I don't recall the apostles doing that in the Bible. Does is say something like "And lo, John was visited by the holy spirit and he did pick up a serpent and drink its venom, and Jesus spake: 'Ye shall ingest venom and it shall not kill you, though nonbelievers will think you nuts,' and Paul said, 'Lord, why hast thou forsaken us,?' and Jesus replied, 'Wherever there is a gathering of two or more, there shall I be, and there shall be fainting and ye shall froth at the mouth.'"
Ptrend: ha...yep I think you missed that Book of Viper Kissers
o2grok1: Your typing is very large. What's up with that?
Ptrend: Sorry....
anyway...the way the rest of us Christians usually interpret Pentecost is pretty simple.... the city was a crossroads of the world, cosmopolitan Romish city state stuff and all that... so God suddenly gave the apostles the ability to speak in the various languages of the people there so that they could hear and understand the gospel and spread it among lots of nations etc...
Ptrend: how about this font
o2grok1: gorgeous
Ptrend: or this one
o2grok1: they look like the same font to me.
o2grok1: was that it? the thing about the various languages? that's the explanation?
o2grok1: how about I write in this one? That's a more daring font choice
Ptrend: got it
o2grok1: so is that it? cause the way you explained it, people could actually understand them. What changed? It's not like they're speaking Aramaic
Ptrend: that's my question too. Now they say they are speaking in "heavenly languages only our spirits know"
o2grok1: Hmm.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Good parenting

Overheard at an education tour for 2nd graders:

Little girl (jumping and shrieking): "Caitlyn took some candy!"
Mother: Heather, no one is interested in your tattling. Caitlyn will make her own choices, good or bad.

That's going in my "things to say" parenting file.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Apologies, in advance, for the ranting

Jesus built my hotrod

To the person with the nasty commentary today: I wish it had been directed at me. I would like to have bound you, gagged you, and told you this.

There is room on this planet for all faiths. There is no proof of the existence of any God, much less the single one in which you believe. I respect your beliefs. I admire anyone who is able to commit to something intangible. Myself, I need a spreadsheet of progress, a balance of cost vs. income, some hard proof of efficiency. Basically, I want a religious system of gold stars for good behavior. The night sky just isn't enough for me.

Kudos to those who have found a faith that fulfills. But let's be clear that it is what it is. It is faith. A system of belief not founded in fact. If a god is what the word implies, he or she defies facts. I can dig that, and that is why I remain open to religion, despite my skepticism.

However, when you spout off Bible verses to nonbelievers in an attempt to prove to them that they have chosen either the wrong course of action or (and I wouldn't be surprised if you picked an argument with your VCR user's manual) picking the right course of action for the wrong reason, you come from the point of belief that the Bible is a sacred work written by man, directed by God. Note that I said the point of belief, not the point of proof. Not everyone believes this is true. To many, it is much like saying: "My Aunt Edna says..." You give a certain amount of credence to the statement out of respect, but with the knowledge that everything Aunt Edna says doesn't always make sense.

There is nothing inherently wrong with religiosity, and I am not one of those people who buys into the subjectivity of morality. I think there is a certain value in evaluating others' conduct and finding it lacking - respectfully, of course. Like you, I believe in a universal code of conduct, and not just to avoid a "Lord of the Flies" kind of society. It is because I believe in (though I cannot prove) the existence of the concepts of "right" and "wrong."

But I know that my belief in the rightness or wrongness of an action is still rather nebulous for me to define. There are qualifiers. Murder - usually wrong - can be justified (just try to get near my daughter to hurt her). Charity - usually right - can encourage laziness in someone unable to find their own independence. But I take on faith that my personal code (which, admittedly, I have violated with poor judgment from time-to-time) is adequate, and in fact, right.

It is a leap of faith, and that faith is tested when people who act in a manner I find abhorrent seem to prosper and succeed. We use the phrase "leap of faith" so easily, in such a casual way. But Kierkegaard (ack! My kingdom for a spellchecker with that name in it) coined the phrase in talking about something much more profound. He was talking about the spiritual, intellectual, and emotional leap from the edge of the cliff of factual analysis into the pure, clean air of the faithful. He was talking about taking a real risk with your soul, with your emotional stability, and with your sanity.

Does that mean that I truly believe in my tiny simple little list of rights and wrongs when I am so upset by others' non-adherence to my system? And that is what you, Mr. and Mrs. Traffic Cop in the Highway of Life, must ask yourself. How much faith do you have that it makes you nuts when someone else chooses another set of beliefs?

I doubt that you have the propensity for that kind of questioning, although I suspect that at one point in your life you did. It is primarily the "born-again" who react with such vitriol, studies have shown. I don't know that the studies have answered why that is. Perhaps embarrassment at what you see as years ill-spent. Maybe fear that those years have doomed you... although why you would then choose Christianity is beyond me, given its system of forgiveness... unless you don't truly believe in it, and then don't get me started on hypocrisy. Anyway, this anger and venom you show - is it really directed at others, or are you talking to the parts of you that still crave sinful behavior? Regardless, here is my final inquiry: Do you, Fishers of Men, honestly think anyone is attracted to Christianity after watching you, red-faced and sneering, intentionally try to insult, intimidate, and frighten another person? Do you really believe you are bringing more lambs to the fold?

I call bullshit on you. You represent everything I find repulsive about church. Nothing has ever been less attractive to me than your invitation to join you at your church. I hope that if I ever find what you call "truth" that I am a happier person for it. Knowledge of the nature of god and insight into the order of the universe should bring joy, serenity, and peace.

Now I will untie you, and let you be on your less-than-merry way. I hope one day that you find faith that makes your life worth living, and subtracts the impulse you heed to make others' lives less enjoyable.

Monday, March 28, 2005

What we have here is a failure to communicate

I work at a tourist attraction, and we often have people in from out of town asking what to do, where to stay, where to eat, etc...

Me: So my favorite place downtown is The Bees Knees, and -
Man: The what?
Me: The Bees Knees. Anyway, it -
Man: The Bees Knees?
Me: Yes, sir. It's -
Man: Do you know what that means?
(stop. interruping. me.)
Me: I'm sorry, what?
Man: Do you know what that means?
Me: What what means?
Man: I'll take that as a no.
(why don't you take this up your...)
Me: Sorry?
Man: You're too young to know what the bees knees means.
Me: I thought it meant "the best." Like, that cheesecake was "the Bee's Knees!"
Man: Ohh, you DO know!
Me: Yeah, I've watched a few movies.
Man: The ones from my day, well, they don't make it like them anymore.
(You mean silent?)
Me: Right. So, anyway, the restaurant is a tapas bar -
Man: A what?!
Me: A tapas bar, and -
Man: No, it's not.
Me (confused): Yes, it is. Have you been there?
Man: NO! We just got into town!
Me: Okay...
Man: Is it really a tapas bar?
Me: Yes, sir.
Man: Well, how do you get to it?
(we walk outside so that I can show them which street to turn down. His wife comes out of the bathroom and follows us as I recommend the goat cheese bruschetta and the calamari)
Wife: What kind of restaurant is this?
Me: A tapas bar with a kind of world fusion cuisine served in the Spanish style.
Man (looking at me suspiciously: Are you serious?
(I'm getting really frustrated with this man.)
Me: Yes, sir.
(I hand the wife a coupon for 1/2 off a tapas with the purchase of any tapas)
Wife: WHAT kind of restaurant is it?
Me: A tapas bar.
Man: Are you messing with us?
Me: Why would you think that?
Man: This is a topless bar?!
(I stare for a moment and then start laughing)
Me: Tapas! Tah-pahs!
(The couple looks at the coupon in confusion, and then both burst into laughter)
Wife: We thought you were saying "topless!"

Um, no. We don't generally consider them to be one of the city's finest tourist attrations.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Post-partum

We found out Friday that Scott's best friend, Duane, and his girlfriend, Lori Beth, are 6 weeks pregnant. We went over to congratulate and bring them a copy of "What to Expect When You're Expecting," and we were sitting around chatting about pregnancy, etc. They mentioned post-partum depression, and Scott asked, "Stacey, did you have any of that?"
I stared at him: "Honey, I'm in the middle of it."

I'm cheered that he had to ask. It means I'm not the horrible, overbearing, bitchy, nasty, man-eating ogre I'd viewed myself as. (Can someone put that sentence in a grammatically correct form? I can't move the preposition.) But, to be honest, there have been a few times I've been tempted to throw myself into traffic. Mostly, the experience of being a new mother is overwhelming. I mean, they REPEATEDLY TELL YOU it's a 24-7 job, and you think, "Okay, already. I get it. But it can't be worse than being pregnant." Then you have the baby, and you realize that they lied to you. It's a 48-hour a day job, 8 days a week. Although I am filled with love, pride, and amazement at our little girl 10 times a day, I am also overwhelmed with how much she needs.

Would I change it, had I the chance to do it all over again?
No. Emerson is the one thing in my life that I know I haven't screwed up (yet).

But the hormone rollercoaster is a rough ride and I don't know how to get off. I try to grin and bear it, maintain a sense of humor about things (like the spit-up on my sweater that I didn't notice before my meeting with a bride this morning), and keep myself in check when I want to scream. I also try to remind myself that Scott has probably had a harder time because he's home with her all day long. And it seems to be fooling people, at least. But I don't know if it's working for me.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Stuffed Brains

We're talking about how the baby responds to the world around her now that she's almost 6 weeks old.

Scott: "She's absolutely fascinated with Scrabble."
Me: "Well, she can see him. He's so high contrast."
The dog is a black and white rat terrier with crazy-big banana leaf ears.

Scott: "Yeah. She loves it when he licks her."
Me: "Plus he's all soft and cuddly. He's like a walking stuffed animal."
Scott: "He is."
(pause)
Me: "Wait. That didn't even make sense. Of course he's like a fucking stuffed animal. He is an animal."

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Diaper Duty

Scott and I are both suffering from severe sleep deprivation. Emerson doesn’t want to sleep at night, but the daytime is just dandy. We’ve both been struggling to function - I poured Scott a glass of lemonade, put it in the fridge, and brought him the pitcher instead, for example - but Scott wins (so far).

“I was changing her diaper on the bed, right? So I take off the diaper, clean her up, put the diaper back on her.... and then I thought, ‘Shit!’ And had to do it all over again.”

I haven’t put a dirty diaper back on the child yet, but I did wash her bottle, make her bottle, and then pour it out and clean it again before I realized what I had done.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Why is this so hard?

Scott’s parents stopped by the house while Erick and Becky were over with their son, Sammy. We were very happy to have some adult conversation. I didn’t realize how much until his parents offered to take Emerson for the night and Scott agreed.

I gave him a look that said, “How could you let them take her?” I mean, when she’s only a month old it just seemed - I don’t know... callous? Besides, I’d just spent my entire Saturday afternoon at work, and wasn’t able to spend time with them. He saw my face, and immediately retracted. But his mother was so disappointed, and Scott suddenly looked so tired and frazzled, that I realized he must really need a break.

Patsy and Jim wanted to make sure I was “comfortable” with them taking the baby. Of course I am. I married one of her five great kids, so I obviously have some confidence in her abilities to care for children. But there’s this noise Emerson makes when she’s eating, and another she makes when she’s settling comfortably into your arms to sleep, that just kill me.

I look forward to the 4 a.m. feedings because small things like make the hour and the loss of sleep well worth it. And she’s getting so much more alert and responsive every day. Yesterday she laid in her crib and watched her mobile for 10 minutes. That’s a long time for her, and she wasn’t just staring up. She was able to single out an animal and follow it with her eyes, turn her head when it moved out of her field of vision...

These things Scott sees all the time. And while I know it’s very stressful to be at home with a child all day, and I would be working no matter what (well, unless we were fabulously wealthy, in which case I’d just spend my time traveling and taking classes), I envy him the time he spends at home.

I overheard him last night telling Erick and Becky that I was itching to get back to work. Not true. I wanted my full 6 weeks maternity leave. But they were trying to reduce my position to part-time while I was on leave, so I HAD to go back to protect our income. I mean, it’s all well and good if I get to stay home with Emerson, but not if we have nothing to feed her.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

That's great

Me: “Okay, I’m going to Sam’s Club.”
Scott: “Okay.
Me: “Are you sure you don’t want to go?”
Scott: “No. My back really hurts, and my head hurts.”
Me: “Poor baby. If it makes you feel any better, I got baby poo under my fingernail this morning when I was changing Emerson.”
Scott: “You know, I do feel a little better.”
Me: “Great! If I can ease your suffering...”

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Looking forward to such things

My friends Gage and Jamie had their baby in early December, so Kerrigan is a little further along than Emerson. Jamie emailed me this description of their little sweetie’s development:

She’s getting interested in her hands, but hasn’t totally figured out that they’re her’s yet. The other day she was laying on the bed with her right hand up in the air, looking at it. Well, her hand slowly started to fall towards her belly, and she’s watching it as it gets closer. But as it gets closer, she starts giving it this suspicious look as if to say, “Hey! What do you think you’re doing?!” Then she picks her hand back up and looks at it like, “Good! You stay where you belong!” But then her hand starts falling back down and she starts looking at it all suspicious again. She just kept repeating that for about 5 minutes. And she’ll hold a rattle, but she inevitably smacks herself in the head with it and then promptly drops it. Or she’ll look at it a bit, then kinda forget about it. Then she’ll pick her hand up and see it and look all surprised as if to say, “Whoa! Where did that come from?!”

Monday, February 28, 2005

Have a cuppa

Scott hates rap. He sees no redeeming value in it. Well, except Outkast. But I’m always trying to point out that there is a redeeming quality to rap, if you understand the socio-cultural and historical placement. He insists it isn’t music.

Anyway, I continue my efforts while flipping through iTunes. I try the “Knight Rider Remix” from Punjabi DJ. The bassline makes him laugh.

“Here, you might like this one.” I put on Rage Against the Machine’s cover of “Fuck the Police.”
“I’ve never considered Rage Against the Machine to be rap.”
I look at him, incredulous. “What?!“
“Well, first of all, I can understand what the guy’s saying. It’s not misogynistic. It’s not hate-filled.”
“Um, have you ever listened to them?”
“They’re a protest band.”
“A hate-filled one. I mean, honey, they’re called Rage Against the Machine, not Happy Tea Party Against the Machine.”

Saturday, February 26, 2005

If you see this man, give him a hug

Saturday, February 26, 2005 By , 1 comment

Scott decided to go to the store with both the dog and the baby. He must have had a head injury to do that. After he dropped Scrabble at Petsmart for a nail trim and flea bath, he went to Wal-Mart. Emerson helped him look for shoes by screaming the entire time.

"I finally went over to the baby section, tore open a package of pacifiers, and shoved on in her mouth. This pregnant lady was looking at me like I was desperate."

I wish I could follow him around with a video camera. It must be hysterical to watch.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Everyone Please Go Away

My husband was picking up dinners in 75-80 degree weather. Some old lady walked up to coo at Emerson and said, “Ohh. Did your daddy bring you outside without a hat?” Yes, but usually we just leave her head at home.

My mother-in-law came over to visit, and yelled at Scott every time he tried to touch his own daughter. “Wash your hands!” she shrieked. She called later to ask how things were, and he mentioned that they had picked me up at work. “Oh, no!” she cried. “You put Emerson in the car?!” No. We strapped her to the top.

Finally, we were at a birthday dinner and Allisonwas holding Emerson, who was being passed around and fed by about 10 different people - all the while Dot saying that she was eating too much. She usually drinks between two and four ounces - it depends on how she feels - and she was up to three. “If you want to feed her, see if she wants the rest of the bottle. She won’t drink it if she doesn’t want it.” Anyway, Allie didn’t burp her, and I wasn’t watching because I was talking. When she handed her back to Dot, Emerson spit up on her. “I knew you were feeding her too much!” Dot said, in a weirdly triumphant way. She went on while I apologized and offered to have her shirt dry-cleaned. She told me I was being ridiculous. But it was really annoying to have her go on about this like we were shoving the food down our daughter’s throat. I mean, the pediatrician said that she wasn’t eating enough.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Crossed Words

I’m back at work from maternity leave (2.5 weeks later; must be a record) and I miss Scott and Emerson so much it’s painful. When I get home after my second day, Scott gives me a play-by-play on what they did that day.

Scott: We slept in the bed together, we had a bottle, and we did the crosswords together.
Me: You did the crosswords together?
Scott: Yep.
Me: How many did Emerson get right?
Scott: Oh, she didn’t get any right.
Me: None?
Scott: Well, none of the clues were “eh!”

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The Exorcist

Our normally complacent infant has been screaming her head off all day. After 5 straight hours of nap-free fussiness, during which I cannot manage to take a shower or walk the dog due to the ravings of my little hellmonkey, Scott comes home and offers to take her off my hands.

“Please!” I sigh, relieved that she’ll be bursting someone else’s eardrums for a while. Instead, she immediately settles down in his arms and goes to making great big goo-goo eyes at him.

Just when I’m about to threaten him with divorce if he ever pulls a trick like that again, Emerson erupts like Vesuvius, spewing formula all over the front of Scott’s jacket.

Ha!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Baby Signs

We’re Emerson on simple baby sign language like “mama” (a hand brushing her cheek) and “dada” (tapping your hand to your temple). Normally in sign language the sign for an individual is the first letter of their first name, which you make the sign for and tap against your chin.

We’ve decided not to do that. Instead, we’re going to teach her more appropriate, individualized signs. Such as the following suggestions we’re kicking around:

Granny (my mother): devil horns
Aunt Kelli: rotating index finger at your temple (the sign for “crazy”)
Uncle JD: holding your nose like you smell something bad
Nona (Scott’s mother): picking your nose

Feel free to make suggestions!

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Mominator

Mom: “So Target next?”
Me: “No, I forgot the gift card. We’re going to use it for some Baby Einstein toys for Emerson.”
Mom: “Some what?”
Me: “Baby Einstein toys.”
Mom: “Oh! Well, as long as they’re not Baby Frankenstein toys...”

Friday, February 04, 2005

New Baby Smell

Me: She spits up a lot.
Scott: I changed into my Queen shirt because she knows not to spit up on it.
Me: Really? What’s that on your shoulder?
Scott (checking out the whitish stain on the black shirt):“Uh... Spit up. Dammit.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Ooh, Baby I Love Your Way

We had the baby, but I wouldn't have known unless someone told me. I don't remember it.

She was late. I went for my now-weekly Wednesday checkup, hoping to be rushed to the hospital in dramatic fashion by the doctor. "Get the I.V.! Outta the way! Moveitmoveitmoveit!"

"Well, two centimeters dilated. You want to come back next week?"
"No," I said. "Can I have her now?"

She looked up in surprise. I didn't care; man, I was tired. I'd been having contractions for two weeks, pretty much continuously. It kept me awake, tired me out at work, freaked out my husband - and it hurt. I guess she saw it in my face.

She returned a few minutes later: "Tomorrow night at six, ma'am. Check in and I'll see you Friday morning to induce."
I nodded, wearily, and met my husband outside.
"What did she say?" he asked.
"She said to have me at the hospital by 6 p.m. tomorrow," I said, as I struggled to stretch the seat belt. I glanced at him and saw that he had paled noticeably. I smiled, secretly. It was hitting him, too.

My parents met me at work at the next day, and I left at 4 p.m. with a merry, "See you tomorrow!" Ha ha. We all went and scarfed a big Mexican dinner and checked in. THEN came the I.V.'s, the poking, the prodding, the "No, you cannot have some water." Dang, woman! I'm thirsty!

When Nurse Ratchett and her cronies left, Scott sneaked in some Chick-fil-A and we reveled in our secret stash. Then I sent him home to get his last night of sleep for 18 years.

After some argument, I agreed to take a sleeping pill I didn't want. Big mistake. Sometime around 2 a.m., I went into labor in my own. I don't know what possessed them, but they gave me a shot of Demoral. I do not do well with opiates, and my husband was instructed to intervene. But he wasn't there. For some reason, they gave me another not too long after. Then they came in and tried to do an epidural.

Let's do the math: 1 sleeping pill, 2 shots of Demoral = 0 control over my own body. When the epidural-doctor-man sat me up for the needle, I fell over on the floor... on my face.

Somewhere around 9 a.m. I realized Scott was feeding me ice chips. Apparently, he had been for some time because my lips were frozen. I asked him to stop, but he didn't hear me. He was watching my girl-parts. Please, let my husband watch the previously enjoyable parts of his wife's body expand until he could yodel inside of them. Hoorah.

At some point, I was commanded to push. I tried.
"Am I pushing?" I asked. I couldn't feel anything.
"Oh, yeah!" the nurse exclaimed.
Cool. Thanks, yoga.

"Stop!"
"Really? Am I done?"
"No, we're waiting for the doctor."
"Can't you catch?"
But she was gone.

The ice chips, however, were ever-present.
"Honey, my head is frozen."
"Huh? Oh, sorry."

About a half hour later, the doctor shows up. Nice to see her, and all, but we've done just about everything there is to do.
"Okay, push!"
I do. I look up at Scott, and he has gone completely white. All I see are red hair and freckles. The rest of him blends in with the sterile walls.
"Okay, dad, cut the cord!"
Scott reaches out to take the scissors. His hands are shaking and I'm afraid he'll cut the wrong thing, but before I can protest, it's over. They clean her up, Scott gets all in the way with the photography, and I drift in and out. Suddenly I notice the room is silent.
"Um, how is she?" I ask.
There is still silence. I know they are doing an Apgar score. I wonder what it is. Finally, I hear a weak cry and see the nurse hand our little girl to Scott. He holds her and marvels. I smile and nod back off.

"Here, sweetheart," he whispers, and tries to hand me the baby. I do not want to hold the baby. I want to sleep.
"That's okay. I'll hold her later."
Through my opiate induced fog, I see something in his face I do not like - a mixture of fear, anger, and disappointment.
"Hold. Your. Daughter."
Okay.

Oh, yeah. This is good. Teeny baby, just 7 lbs? Give it to the drugged out lady. Under normal circumstances, this would be considered endangerment. I hold her, try to focus my eyes. I do not remember her face. The nurses sense it is time to take her away. I am grateful... but I already missed her.

I awaken in a room surrounded by relatives. God knows what I was doing in my sleep. Snoring? Talking? Drooling? Farting? I do not ask, but I am told that when they were wheeling me down to the new room I kept saying, "Wheeeeeee!"

I drifted in and out for a good 14 hours. They brought Emerson Renee McGowen Hudson in and she didn't go back until the relatives left. Then they brought her back and she slept on my chest all night.

I didn't go home for four blissful days. People brought drugs right to my bedside. I was not required to shower or change. I ordered every meal from a menu.

The downside is that random hospital employees kept coming in to check my stitches all the time. I think there might have been a janitor mixed in there somewhere, but you get so used to people looking at your hoo-ha that you just stop asking. Finally, they kicked us out. They didn't even ask us to be nice to her.

We took her down in her car seat.
I marveled at the clean car, the car seat, and the baby while Scott pulled out of the parking space.
"Honey, how does it stay in?" I asked, thoroughly confused.
"What?" He was intent on the traffic on the road outside the parking lot.
"The car seat - what holds it in?"
He glanced back: "Oh, shit!"
I giggled nervously, hysterically, while he affixed the seat belt to the car seat.

We were off to a great start.