Saturday, December 08, 2012

What did YOU legalize this week?

Possession of small amounts of marijuana and marrying the person of your choosing, regardless or their sex or yours or the matching or mis-matching of your personal bits both finally became legal in Seattle this week. I may be down on hemp milk and REI and the baffling provinciality of many of this city's citizens, but for now—yay, Seattle! I'm very proud. 


photo courtesy kirstiscott, morgueFile

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Not the Babysitter

Two women just came to my door to offer me a pamphlet about Jesus or God or the End Times or something along those lines. (I confess I just saw the cheesy sunset artwork and the word "Jesus Christ" and assumed they weren't selling cookies or candy bars.)

"We're atheists."


"Oh. Okay," said the younger woman.


The older one wasn't willing to give up so easily. "You've probably asked yourself the questions in this pamphlet!"


"Uh, maybe." I mean, it is possible that atheists think about god more often than many believers.


"Like, 'Why is there so much wickedness in the world?'"


"Actually, no. I've never asked myself that."


"Really?"


"I can honestly say that I never think about wickedness."


"Never?"


"Never."


After I shut the door the three-year-old who had been standing by my side throughout the exchange astutely observed, "That was not the babysitter."


*


Am I in the minority here? Do you ever think about wickedness?


photo courtesy PhillWatson, morgueFile

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I Want an Oompa Loompa Now! Please.

Today is the two-year-old—now three-year-old's—birthday. Does this mean I have to be nice to her when she's whining like a leaf-blower, complaining like a defeated politician, and bossing like miniature royalty?

I wanted to do it myself. No, that cup is not my favorite. No, you take my diaper off. No, I will brush my teeth. Get me some nuts. I want some milk. No, Mama, you're not being polite.

I love her anyway. She's the best.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Berry Happy to Have You

Apparently (Thank you, Blogger Stats!) someone came across this blog when searching for strawberry-scented deodorant.

Strawberry Shortcake, is that you?

Apple Dumplin' and Blueberry Muffin, are you close by?




photo courtesy dantada, morgueFile

Friday, October 26, 2012

Jesus-Lovers, WTF?

On the way to score my morning hit of caffeine (alright, my second), I passed a gloriously dilapidated old church, all crumbing brick and broken stained glass and water-stained, graffitied plywood. A middle-aged man was out front raking yellow leaves into neat little piles. As I passed he smiled, revealing a  gap where his top front teeth ought to be, and said, “Jesus loves you! Have a blessed day!”

My first thought: Jesus doesn’t even know me.

Then: How would that guy possibly know what Jesus does and does not love? 

Then: Does Jesus—I mean post-ressurection Jesus—love the Jews?*

And: How real was Jesus, exactly?

And: What happened to that guy's teeth?

Then, finally, as the layers of cynicism and ADD flaked away, I thought: Suppose Jesus is real, did get all resurrected and stuff, does magically know me, and really does love me—that would feel pretty great.

Christians, you no longer seem quite as insane as you did earlier this morning.

*I’m not Jewish—but some of my best friends are. Love me, love my best friends. 

Photo courtesy alexander, morgueFile

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Why Buy a Mattress Any Way Else?


Back when we were carefree, childless newlyweds—which is to say, for four months in 2009—Dr. Husband and I consistently held a little marriage maintenance event known as “Family Meeting.” (Thank you, couples’ counselor, for this one concrete suggestion!) We went over the week’s schedule, discussed various domestic issues, offered up a compliment or two, and generally did our best to Communicate Clearly With Each Other without crying or using our angry voices or throwing wadded-up kleenexes at our husbands.

After an extended dry/busy/distracted/second-child-bearing spell, we resurrected the habit and were amused/horrified to discover that we’d held our last family meeting nearly two years ago. I was also amused/horrified to learn that the domestic issues currently bugging me are the same ones from 2010. Among them: our collective but un-acted upon desire for an unsagging mattress.

Apparently two years ago I declared that we absolutely HAD to buy a properly supportive mattress before I would even think—The hips! Oh, the aching hips!—about getting pregnant again.

Woops. Hi, second (and final) child.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

?!?!?!

Holy shit! It's been nearly a month again. What the hell?! What have I been doing with myself? I do have a piece coming out on What to Expect When You're Expecting on October 1st, but other than that I've been remiss on the writing front.

What can I say? I will try to do better. Again.

And now for the excuses! The two-year-old has been on nap boycott! The baby (5 months old!) stopped sleeping through the night! (She's now hip to the fact that Mama and Daddy are just across the hall and ALWAYS READY TO PARTY, no matter the hour. Also, every time we steel ourselves for some sleep training, she goes and gets a cold, poor/clever thing.)

My brain is goo, I'm exhausted all the way down to my fingers, and I remain skeptical that I have anything worthwhile to say.

If you like stories about shopping for new mattresses, stay tuned. If not, well, what the hell are you doing here in the first place?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Welcome to Seattle, Here’s Your Pick-Axe and Hemp Milk

Thank god!

I’m sitting in my car in the garage of a certain famous Seattle recreational equipment store, parked between a silver Subaru and a maroon one, trying to talk myself out of a panic attack.

“They won’t know you’re an imposter just by looking at you.”

“No one is going to make you try on those weird, monsterous rubber shoes with the separate toes.”

“It’s just a store for chrissake. Go in and buy the fucking clogs already.”

As I’ve mentioned, I'm not a sporty person. I do not play games that require catching, throwing, hitting, running, or kicking, nor do I engage in activities that require paddles, helmets, ice picks, carabineers, or freeze-dried food. I’ll go camping with you, but I’ll insist you carry both the tent and the bottle of wine as I complain that my backpack full of marshmallows is chafing. It’s a miracle my husband ever consented to marrying me.

I’ve lived in Seattle for over a decade and have never set foot in the monolith of cord and webbing and Nalgene. But I’ve become a reluctant convert to clogs in my old age, and they have the pair I want inside those doors with the handles made of fiberglass-encased pick-axes.

Am I crazy for panicking that people working or shopping at an outdoor gear store will look at me funny or laugh at my non-nylon purse or non-zip-off pants or make me feel inadequate by their mere comfortable-in-their-own-athletic-abilities existence? Maybe. But you know what’s more crazy? Feeling judged not just by the people who buy and sell crampons but by the crampons themselves. Dangling all self-importantly, menacingly daring you to try them on, to be woman enough to SCALE A WALL OF ICE, motherfucker.

No. I’d prefer to keep company with gear that allows me to feel superior to the average American. To stand in the aisles of K-Mart saying No thank you to the shelves of toxin-leaching plastic food containers or landfill-bound party favors packaged by tiny Chinese children.

I’ve always been more comfortable being the woman at Safeway with a cart full of organic produce from the hard-to-find “natural” food section than the woman at the local food co-op with a cart full of pre-packaged (but organic!) macaroni and cheese. Because I’m an asshole. It’s one of the many annoying things about me—I’m constantly judging and expecting everyone else to do the same. It’s like my psyche never recovered from junior high or something—which in a way I suppose it hasn’t.

A friend sent a text assuring me it wouldn’t be that bad.

Unfortunately she was wrong. It was that bad. It was worse. I got lost, I nearly cried, I couldn’t find a salesperson to help me, and I got sweat stains under my armpits because my lame-o shirt Does. Not. Wick.

True, nobody made me try on toe-separating shoes, but when that's the highlight of a shopping trip, is that really a win?

I ducked into my favorite coffee shop afterward and learned that they now carry hemp milk, and I wondered if maybe the Republicans are right? Have Seattleites gone too far?

Friday, August 24, 2012

No Dead Birds Here!

Yesterday found me with my head stuck in the oven, but not to fear—my oven is electric and the stank of years of baked-on funk is enough to keep anyone from lingering in there very long anyway.

The baked-on funk stank is, in fact, the reason I had my head in the oven. I was trying—heroically—to clean it without using toxic chemicals or the “self-cleaning” function, which I remember from browsing through the manual that came with the brand-new oven at my previous dwelling (I’d picked up the booklet to learn what the oh-so-intriguing “Sabbath” button on the control panel was for) is also a toxic endeavor—so much so that the instructions specifically warned to remove all pet birds from the building as the fumes would kill them, canary-in-the-coal-mine style. There was a picture of a bird lying dead at the bottom of its cage illustrating this point in the booklet—how could I forget the lesson? And if it’s not safe for pet birds, how can it possibly be safe for kids or cats?

The last time I’d tried to use the oven, it smoked me and the kids and the cat out of the room (thanks, dear husband, for the blackberry pie! It was as delicious as it was drippy in the making!), so “clean the oven” moved up the to-do list from “Should Do But Realistically Never Will” to “Do Today, No Matter How Unappealing and Disheartening.”

I found instructions from numerous women online who are better homemakers than I (I own a vacuum, but I seldom can motivate myself to use a vacuum) and got in there with a box of baking soda and a spray-bottle of water and some rags and an attitude of forced optimism. This task is gratifying! The oven will gleam! It’s honest, purposeful work! My husband and small children and cat will totally notice and appreciate this!

It took me literally all day—from 7am to 7pm—what with the baby crying every time I put her down—not an “I’m hungry” or “I’m tired” cry but an “I’ll be damned if you’re going to give that oven more attention than me” cry—and all the other tasks associated with living with a toddler and a newborn, few of which are conducive to simultaneously cleaning an oven. Why can’t they just invent an oven that cleans itself with the touch of a button while everyone’s doing more interesting things?

Twelve hours and numerous permanently blackened wash rags later, the oven looks…exactly the same as it did before! Okay, not exactly. The funk is less topographically significant—and the oven no longer smokes—but it’s not like the oven looks clean or new or anything. Oh well. No one's really going to go looking in there anyway.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Really Big Brown Bag


My identity got stolen last week. Someone called my credit card company impersonating me and told them “I” had a new address and phone number and was about to embark on some travel. They also changed my online username to something with a bunch of random numbers tacked on at the end, which, hello? I would never do. So clunky, that.

“I” then bought $600 worth of stuff from Bloomingdale’s—were they aware of my preference for brown leather boots, long flowy cardigans, and colorful, vaguely bohemian purses? When Bloomingdales called me to check up on the situation (apparently it’s unusual for first-time shoppers to drop $600 at Bloomies or something—or maybe it’s unusual for Nigerian princes to shop there?) it didn’t even occur to me to ask what my thief bought because, hello, that would be personal! What if they bought, like, a bunch of prosthetic post-mastectomy bras or something? Not that those should be embarrassing—just, you know, personal.

photo courtesy nacu, morgueFile

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Like a Toothpick

Not my cat—who could forget this cat?!
Clearly, a month in between blog posts is unacceptable. UNacceptable, people. I get this. I feel this. And I do not care. I do not care about a lot of things lately, including but not limited to local primary politics, the Kardashians, Egypt (sorry—I’m sure it’s bad there), soccer, panna cotta, or Paul Ryan’s career path.

I do not feel depressed, post-partum or otherwise, nor do I feel super exhausted or busy or overwhelmed or all the other things I’m supposed to feel as a mom of a toddler and a newborn. It’s more like I feel, um, narrowed. Not in silhouette (if only!), but in focus and energy and attention. I care about my kids and my husband and our kids’ babysitter and my students and…um…the cat? When I remember to remember she exists?

I am not a very interesting conversationalist these days, least of all to myself, and what is blogging if not a form of conversing? I am a great listener (and reader), however, so talk on.

photo courtesy alvimann, morgueFile

Monday, July 16, 2012

Leaving Las Vegas (Where We Never Went in the First Place)

A few weeks back, Dr. Husband noticed he had multiple days in a row without any shifts scheduled at the hospital. Since the baby is (so far) really easy (knocking hard on wood here), we decided to take a little trip. I was thinking maybe a cabin in the woods so the two-year-old could run around outside all day and Dr. Husband and I could enjoy the glories of an internet-free life. Dr. Husband had other plans.

“You’re going to hate this idea,” he began one night after the kids were in bed, “but I think we should go to Vegas.”

Um, no thanks.

“Think about it.”

Um, no thanks.

While he was thinking "quick flight," “fancy hotel room on the cheap,” and “random fun activities involving rides and games and exotic animals” I was thinking “babies crying in fancy hotel,” “babies burning in hot sun,” “babies suffering eczema outbreaks from constant sweating,” “babies overwhelmed by people, noise, and flashy lights,” and “babies eaten by sharks and tigers.”

No one in our family does well with heat or overstimulation or clowns. We are people meant to spend vacations in cabins in the woods, not places teaming with strippers and magicians.

Eventually common sense—or my bad attitude—won out, and Vegas was nixed. I think just to spite me, a cabin in the woods was also nixed.

And so, our staycation was born. Five days of ferry rides, breakfasts out, hikes in the woods, and trips to random small towns to eat strawberry shortcake in senior centers.

Five days of changing diapers in random dirty places, eating greasy food, nursing while perched on rocks and coming home at the end of every day to laundry, dishes, crumbly floors and counters and tables, long to-do lists, a leaky bathroom faucet, a clogged bathroom drain, two small plastic potties begging for disinfectant, and a needy cat. Five days without preschool. Five days without a babysitter. Five days without a single childless moment, save for sleeping—in a bed badly in need of fresh sheets.

Plus we still had the internet, the answering machine, and our cell phones beeping, blinking, reminding, taunting.

We watched an old episode of Modern Family in which the extended clan goes to Hawaii. Someone chastises Claire for being such a tightly wound stress case and she snaps, “I have three kids. This isn’t a vacation, it’s a business trip.”

On the last night, as I was overstuffing the washing machine—just as I had the previous four nights—Dr. Husband announced what a great time he’d had. “I think our staycation was a grand success.”

I glanced up from the laundry, past the dishes and the crumbs and the to-do list languishing on the counter and bit my tongue—hard. If a vacation with kids is a business trip, a staycation is a business trip without the trip. We probably should have gone to Vegas after all. At least then we would have had clean sheets and maybe one of those cool flattened souvenir pennies. Instead we stayed home and all I got was this stupid t-shirt—and three basketfuls of other dirty clothes—to show for it.

photo courtesy markmiller, morgueFile

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Flowers in My Lady Garden

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You know how some writers invite other people to contribute guest posts when they’re feeling stuck or busy or lazy or uninspired? After much contemplation (read: not very much at all) and a regular-strength (read: double) Gin-and-Tonic last night, I decided to invite my vagina to write a post.

Disappointingly, my vagina declined.

Something about not being able to type efficiently.

In any case, it’s long past time for a vagina update! Mine’s doing fine, thanks for asking! The only thing is…well…apparently my “flora” is out of whack after that whole pregnancy/childbirth shenanigan—too many dandelions where there should be roses, or perhaps vice-versa, or perhaps that’s not the kind of flora the nurse practitioner meant.

She took a sample and—god bless ob/gyn personnel—sniffed it and declared nothing to be obviously awry. Then she sent it to the lab to determine what kind of antibiotic I might possibly need.

Anything I could try instead of antibiotics? Perhaps a yogurt shooter?

Eh, no. Apparently that’s only legal in Canada.

A few days later the results are in: my floral arrangement can be tidied up with a round of mild penicillin, or I can use “a little boric acid.” In my vagina.

Type “boric acid” into Amazon, and the first result is “Roach & Ant Killer.”

“If you go to a compounding pharmacy, they’ll show you how to make the capsules,” the nurse assured me on the phone.

In reality, if you go to a compounding pharmacy the old dude working there will look embarrassed when you ask where they keep the boric acid and the empty capsule thingies. “You know, for my vagina?” you’ll say, just in case that wasn’t clear. He’ll nod and disappear into the back for a while and you’ll ask the woman working behind the counter, “Is it really okay to stick boric acid up my vagina even though on the label it says ‘for farm and household use’ and ‘do not get on skin or mucus membranes'?” She’ll blush and shrug and tell you she’s just a cashier.

You’ll fret that the nurse on the phone was actually some kind of sadist begging to get fired and you ask the old dude if it’s really okay to get this on your skin (much less up your garden) because it says on the label—

“Look, it’s not nuclear waste or anything,” he’ll say.

Which is great because if you’re going to stick something up your vagina you definitely want it to be just this side of nuclear waste.

Wish me luck. If nothing else, my lady garden will—for sure—be free of ants and roaches for the next little while.

Wait...what's that, vagina? You say you've never even seen an ant or roach, much less granted entrance to one? Well, if you want people to know your side of the story, you're going to have to tell it yourself now, aren't you?

photo courtesy clconroy, morgueFile

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Quick Update

Hi. I promise I haven't been crying all this time. Just sometimes. Like when I'm covered in bodily fluids of some kind—usually not my own. Just FYI.


Happy Father's Day, dads.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Kleenex Are the New Black

Perhaps related to the sleep deprivation, or perhaps REALLY related to the sleep deprivation, I've been a bit weepy lately. Sometimes it's apropos of nothing, sometimes it's apropos of everything in my life feeling like it's falling apart—by which I mean I dripped my soaking-wet-from-the-shower-I'm-not-done-with wetness all over the two-year-old and her pile of blankets and pillows and books in the bathroom (because, yeah, she needed to take a pretend nap right next to me while I showered—cute, right? I know—I'm a terrible person for finding it a smidge suffocating!) when I had to get out of said shower to replace the crying baby's binkie because the two-year-old chose that moment to behave like a two-year-old and refused to do the binkie replacement upon request, and I might have gotten snappy and then I might have felt bad—and annoyed—and bad. So, yeah, crying. Been doing some of that around here.


Today I cried because I couldn't figure out what to do with my 43 WHOLE MINUTES of free/work time after getting the kids and the babysitter settled and before having to nurse the baby. I know, I'll spend it holed up in my office going through kleenex like they're going out of style! Productive! Gratifying! Well worth the money! Whoops—gotta go!


photo courtesy cohdra, morgueFile

Friday, June 08, 2012

Sleep Deprivation

Holy shit, it's June. And not June 1 or 2 but June 8—how the hell did that happen? Where was I? What was I doing? Was it the middle of the night? Did I text you about it? What did I say? Was it coherent? Should I really even be driving this thing?


photo courtesy taliesin, morgueFile

Friday, May 25, 2012

Ditto the Epidural

Remember how (waaaay) back in April I was bursting at the seams to bust this baby out my lady parts? How I was so bummed that he (she!) hadn’t come out early despite my cervix’s valiant efforts at effacement and dilation? How that crazy-stretchy dress was itself going to burst at the seams itself if I got even one millimeter bigger?

Well…the truth of the matter is that I signed up to get induced two days after my due-date because I COULD NOT WAIT to meet this baby. Also, I COULD NOT BEAR the thought of being pregnant for eight more days (assuming baby #2 was going to follow the same schedule as baby #1) because eighty-two weeks of pregnancy is way too much for me in this lifetime, thank you very much. Also, I wanted to medicalize my birthing experience as much as possible! To stick it to all those “natural” people who shun medication and make the rest of us look bad! To show the world (or anyone in it who could be bothered to pay attention) that a little Pitocin doesn’t make a woman any less a woman! Ditto the epidural!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Americans for Healthy Priorities

Today is a triumphant day, not because I survived my first morning alone with both girls while Dr. Husband was at work nor because I not only survived but managed to take the three of us on a walk (in the rain! My born-and-raised-in-Seattle two-year-old was undaunted!) up a flight of eighty stairs to a local coffee shop for my second dose of morning caffeine nor because I not only survived and took us on a walk but also managed to make a batch of granola (the muffin granola finally ran out), shower, do a load of laundry, and only snap at the whining two-year-old once—no, today is triumphant because I am wearing jeans for the first time in about seven months.


Jeans!


Mind you, they are in NO WAY my pre-pregnancy jeans or even my early maternity jeans. These are jeans I bought yesterday in a brand-new-to-me size—and even though they are alarmingly wide and ridiculously high-waisted, they look pretty great. Paired with the right top (loose, ruched, and black) they make me look NOT like someone who just had a baby but like a healthy rugby player. At least in dim lighting.


And this is what really matters, right, people?


photo courtesy jusben, morgueFile

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Three-Armed Woman

Hi. Remember me? The woman who would not shut up about her cervix? I'm back with a pressing evolutionary question, which is this: why don’t moms grow an extra arm when they give birth to their second child? It would be so much easier to manage all the nursing and simultaneous picture book reading and imaginary soup eating and potty emptying* and snack making and owie kissing and washing machine loading and forehead smacking and 3pm beer drinking with one more upper body appendage.


But, no. Somehow we are expected to do it all (and, if the media reports are correct, to Do It All) with the regular number of arms. Which is why I haven’t written in over three weeks because, dude! Not enough arms!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

It's a...

Girl! (!!!!!!!!!)


She was born around 9pm on Monday night, weighing in at 7 pounds, 13 ounces—nearly a pound less than her sister.


Full story before long. Until then, the short version: contractions, epidural, nap, 15 minutes of pushing, then she slid out all by herself. No rips, no tears—sort as if it was a job a vagina was meant to do.


We're thrilled to have a family of girls. I'm already looking forward to movie nights.


If you're in the mood, send snacks. We especially like muffins.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hot Pink

I went for my “daily” (read: biweekly) walk this morning, which has become a slow, epic waddle rather than a brisk 30 minute walk, but which I’m proud of myself for doing. I harbor no illusions that these walks will induce labor—it’s clear my offspring are the kind of people who will wait to do things when they’re good and ready—but it feels good to move my body, to get fresh air, to take in the riot of tuplips and daffodils and cherry blossoms that make this whole  “spring baby” thing a delight. (Well, a theoretical delight—were I capable of feeling delight rather than just profound pressure on my bladder and lady parts.)

The real highlight of this morning’s walk, though, was not the explosion of flora (which you would think in and of itself would induce labor) but the fact that I managed to walk quickly enough to pass a fellow walker! Granted, he was, like, eighty years old and walking with a cane, but still! I passed him! Take that, old guy.

I then took Dr. Husband up on his offer to take the two-year-old out for an adventure (read: to the grocery store that has carts with giant plastic “drivable” cars attached to the front), while I got myself a cherry-blossom-pink pedicure and started reading Jillian Lauren's memoir about life in a harem. Generally speaking, I’m not a pedicure kind of woman (granted, I did love the one I got in Chicago in January—which lasted literally for months), but when facing the imminent prospect of staring at your feet in stirrups, it’s nice to have, you know, a hot-pink focal point. Plus, I couldn’t reach down there myself to strip off my old, peeling polish. Plus, what other treats even exist for a nine-months-pregnant lady? I mean, besides the treat of GOING INTO LABOR ALREADY, GODDAMMIT!

photo courtesy mensatic, morgueFile

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Thirty-Nine Weeks, Four Days

It turns out my kid's eardrum (which we did not realize was infected) perforated, and my hyper-competent cervix stopped dilating.

In other words: no baby yet. And no Parent of the Year Awards, either.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Alsoooo...

Dr. Husband has a huge, anxiety-inducing work thing tomorrow, the two-year-old is home from preschool all week for "spring break," my therapist is out of town, and could someone PLEASE just focus on ME this week?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Thirty-Nine Weeks and Two Days

Last night I dreamed about things spilling—water, juice, milk, glue. I dreamed twice of glue spilling—or, more precisely, a glue stick melting for unknown reasons onto our coffee table. Twice.

I thought maybe the dream was a sign of impending labor—cervical effacement analogies, anyone?—but no.

Instead I have a kid with an ear that mysteriously smells like an extra-yeasty English muffin and a pediatrician's appointment during her regularly scheduled naptime tomorrow. By which time I had hoped I would have magically given birth, as I have an appointment with my OB in the morning and was harboring plans to demand she wave her sparkly wand over my lady parts to get this show on the road.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Thirty-Nine Weeks

Don't trust this face!
So. My due-date is one week from today. I'm decidedly in the window in which I could go into labor AT ANY MINUTE, though I'm trying not to think about it this way. It turns out that thinking, "This might be the last time I visit the grocery store before I go into labor," and "This might be the last time I take a slow, huffing walk (waddle) before I go into labor," and "This might be the last time I get to shave my legs before I go into labor" and "This might be the last time I have to put on this stupid dress and have my picture taken" makes the time pass excruciatingly slowly.

Instead I'm pretending that I'm going to be pregnant forever. I'm depressed as hell, but the time is just whizzing by!