Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Stuck in the Vortex

Oh, right. I have a blog.

I won't bore you with the reasons for my little leave of absence here, but suffice to say that it includes one gargantuan wedding, three head colds, 13 hours of travel time and one annoying stomach virus that left me lying on the floor of my parents' bathroom, begging for death.

But I have much to discuss, not the least of which is the fact that as of right now, the B-master is NOT going on temporary assignment to Washington D.C. Unfortunately I can't go into detail right now because my family (including the Munchkin's enthusiastic grandparents) is sucking the life out of me demands the bulk of my attention right now, and I am trapped in their vortex of insanity.

They won't let me out. They don't understand that sometimes I like to shut myself away in a room and stare at my computer screen for an hour or so. In fact, I'm sure they think "blog" is newfangled curse word.

Will provide a real post very soon. Thanks for hangin' in there with me.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Feel Pretty?

I spent the other night lounging in a salon chair and reestablishing the fact that, technically, I am supposed to have two eyebrows.

With my sister-in-law's wedding just around the corner, Operation: Reclaim Inner Pageant Queen is now in full swing. And by "full swing" I mean that I waxed my unibrow. Oh, and I shaved my legs. It's all about the hair removal.

I also decided that I should probably invest in some new makeup, given that the stuff currently laying waste in the corner of my medicine cabinet housed in my Cosmetic Bag seems to have gone south on me. Perhaps because some of it has aged five years. No, not kidding. Pawing through it, I found the lip gloss I used for my wedding. You can cringe now, I'll wait.

I'm not a makeup girl, and in this respect, I am not my mother's daughter. My mom has faithfully caked on the crap every morning of her life. She tried to teach me her ways, many times. But it just never stuck. Why would I get up early to "put my face on" when I could be, like, sleeping?

And this is how I found myself watching makeup tutorials on YouTube after I Googled, "am cosmetically challenged and need to figure out how to apply eye makeup without looking like I've been in a bar fight." Or something to that effect.

So I've stared up the nostrils of about 63 Asian girls, all sitting three inches away from their cameras as they offer tips on smokey eyes, natural eyes, "sexy dramatic purple eyes," and how to create a "winged" look with liquid eyeliner.

Um, no thanks.

I think I'll just fumble my way through the beautification process, like I always do. I have the supplies. I have an eyelash curler with which I will sincerely try not to maim myself. I have some pinkish stuff that I think goes on my lips, but maybe I'm supposed to use it to scrawl my name across my forehead. I just don't know. But it'll work.

I mean, it worked five years ago, right?

:-)

Posting might be light for the next few days as we journey northward. Please to forgive my, uh, laziness.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Playground Debauchery

I admit that I do not obsess over germs.

I might keep hand sanitizer stocked in my diaper bag, but I don't douse my child in it every time she inhales Air From the Outside. I let her play in the dirt. I let her pet doggies. I let her hug other kids, as long as their mommies don't look like the type to beat me with their umbrella strollers for getting too close.

But even I have my limits.

With the exception of the Great Dog Poop Debacle of '08, I consider myself proficient in the art of Trash Interception. I can spot dirty pieces of trash a mile away and can usually either remove them from the Munchkin's path, or at least offer up a round of "No touch, dirty. No touch, dirty. Dirty-dirty-dirty-dirty," before she picks up the trash and eats it.

So I raised an eyebrow the other day when I saw her dig something small and square out of the sand. She turned it over in her hands, cocked her head and blinked at it.

"Munchkin," I called from the other side of the playground. "Put that down. No touch. Dirty (how sad that I have an English degree and now use the fewest amount of words possible in order to make my point)."

She didn't budge. I tried again.

"Come give that to Mommy," I said. I held out my hand and motioned for her to come here right now.

She toddled toward me, arms outstretched, and dropped the yellow square into my waiting palm. I looked down.

Ah. An open condom wrapper.

A Trojan Magnum, no less. Apparently the horny teens around here mean business.

"Thank you, sweeteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwww GROSSGROSSGROSS!!" I yelled, flinging it as hard as I could. Which, given its total weight, landed it two feet away. Sort of like throwing a dryer sheet. Wholly unsatisfying, if I do say so myself.

"Dirty?" said the Munchkin, as if to say, "Did that really make you feel better?"

No worries, I thought. I'll just grab the hand sanitizer in my diaper -

...bag. Which, since we were just around the corner from the house, lay fully stocked on my kitchen table. Dang.

What to do? Should I scoop her up and rush her back to the house at the risk of provoking a tantrum? Did I really want to deal with that so late in the day?

Nope, I did not. Call me lazy if you will. I call it survival.

I doused her hands with the remainder of my bottled water, and then sat there twitching until she was ready to go home.

Hey, neighborhood horndogs - why in the name of Jeebus are you doin' the nasty in the sand at the playground? Doesn't that stuff get all up in your - eh, on second thought, never mind.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

On Letting Go

Today, she does not want to use the stairs. Today, as we circle our local playground, she wants to climb the rungs of the ladder.

She teeters on the bottom rung as I place one hand on her back and my other hand on her tummy to keep her steady while she climbs. She steps up and, with a toddler-sized grunt, hauls her weight up to the next rung, determination etched on her face, eyes fixed on the slide that waits at the top.

I flinch and gasp every time her balance breaks. I grip her tighter, imagining what will happen if she slips. She'll slam her chin on the rungs. She might get a concussion. How fast can I run her back to the house?

We are doing an awkward dance. As she climbs, I have to keep moving my arms to keep from getting caught in the rungs, and the constant flailing seems to distract her. She wants to lean forward into the ladder, but the hand on her tummy keeps pushing her back. Soon, I realize that my efforts to "prevent" her fall are in fact throwing off her balance. She will do better if I just let go.

And yet, I can't.

I sigh and wonder how many times this metaphor will play itself out as my baby gets older. How many times will I think I'm helping, think that I am doing something good for her, only to discover that I am really holding her back or getting in her way? How will I explain that I only want the best for her? How can I ever tell her, really tell her, that my whole world moves for her?

In this moment, I understand to some small degree the most wrenching part of being a mother. It's not the sleepless nights, the tantrums or the inconvenient explosive diapers. It is surviving all of that, loving your child through all of that, always finding a way to give more of yourself, and then having to let go of the closeness, the intimacy that has defined your relationship for so long.

Eventually, she will not need me in the same way. This is not a bad thing. Such changes are healthy and necessary.

But they are not easy to accept.

Because to me, she will always be a newborn baby, my first baby in a pink knit hat, snuggled against my chest in a dark hospital room.

She has almost reached the top. Her arms and legs pump up and down with hypnotizing rhythm. I let go of her tummy, and reluctantly take my other hand off her back. Then, I reconsider and grab her by the back of the shirt. Just in case.

Free from my grasp, she rockets to the top and stands on the platform, practically pumping her fists in the air like Rocky. She smiles at me, a wide smile brimming with joy.

"You did it, Munchkin!" I say, smiling back.

"Slide!" she says.

I circle my way around, watching her as she eases herself down to a sitting position. She giggles as she pushes off.

At the bottom, I wait for her with open arms.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Now I Feel I Have To, Like, Write Better

Hey. Notice anything different? I've had some work done.

On my blog header, that is. This hot chick vamped it up for me, and if anyone else is looking to give their site a little makeover, head over to her blog and shoot her an email. She is a freelance writer and graphic designer, and she does great stuff.

I know this because we worked together back when I wore size-4 dress pants from Express (sigh...hang on, I'm having a moment....okay I'm good), and I saw her repeatedly crank out great stuff despite the fact that we worked for a woman who once began a conversation with, "My doctor says I'm a great candidate for Prozac."

No, I'm not joking.

So go clicky-click on the link and check out her blog. Go there, now.

That is all.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ya Got to Have Friends. Otherwise You'll Lose Ya Mind.

Sometimes you just need fresh flowers and a honking slice of cheesecake to keep you from falling headfirst into the precipice of insanity.

I've had a less-than-stellar week that culminated in the receipt of my second traffic ticket in two months (long story short: I am a moron), which sparked a meltdown of such epic proportions that the officer felt moved to say, "Make sure you calm down before you drive off now, ya hear?"

Yes, sir.

I had been on my way to a lunch playdate with a friend. I sobbed as I dialed her number, and the numbers swam together through a haze of tears.

"I'm not coming," I wailed into the phone.

"What's wrong?" she said, alarmed.

"I'm getting p-p-pulled over!"

"I'll meet you at your house."

"I'm n-not th-there. I'm still on the side of the - "

"Don't worry, I'm heading your way right now."

When she walked through my door, she should have yanked me up by the shoulders, slapped me across the face and yelled, "PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER, WOMAN!" I mean, that's usually how I handle my personal pep talks.

But she didn't. Instead, she walked through my door with a bouquet of flowers and a waiting shoulder, onto which I proceeded to bawl. Oh, and she went out and brought back lunch, despite the fact that I was supposed to pick it up before the whole cop-incident.

And just to give you some background, this friend is also the kind of person who, upon seeing that a stranger has left her stroller at the park (because the stranger is, well, a moron), will finish nursing her own infant in the backseat and then pile that stroller on top of her own in her two-door hatchback, and will then find a way to contact said stranger.

I know. You want her.

As we've shuttled across the country over the past decade or so, I've let too many of these friendships - ones I swore I would maintain - fall by the wayside. It's my loss.

I wish I could go back and shake myself by the shoulders, tell myself to pick up the phone and call her, send that email, skip the boyfriend tonight. I want to tell myself that I will regret it later.

Because we all want and need friends like this, friends who see us in our lowest, messiest moments and yet reach for us anyway when we are fumbling in the dark. Such friendships make us feel human again, and they help us feel less lonely. Not to get all Martha-Stewart on you, but that's a good thing. A necessary thing.

It will be even more necessary for me in months to come, as the B-Master heads off for a surprise 6-month assignment based in Washington D.C. but, from what we can gather, with frequent travel to Guantanamo Bay (he got picked up for an IA, for anyone who speaks Navy). I have volumes worth of pissing and moaning to do about this little development, but let's save that for another day. Like, tomorrow.

For now, here's to friends - the ones here in the "real" world and the kick-ass cyber ones I now feel privileged to (pretend to) know. Keep yours close. You'll need them.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Well Has Run Sahara-Dry

I feel like it's time for me to take a break from my dumb anecdotes and the constant bitching about all things mommyhood. I feel like I need to write something poignant, something that maybe leaves you wiping an unexpected tear from your eye.

But I just don't have it in me today.

I will say this: thank you all for the comments you leave on this little blog. Some bloggers may have comments that number in the hundreds, but me? That day I had 14 comments? I broke out my beer helmet. You have all made me laugh at a time when things seem somewhat un-funny around here. It keeps me going, and it keeps me writing (which may or may not be such a good thing, depending on who you ask).

I'll elaborate later. For now, I'm afraid I have to leave you with this, overheard on the front steps as the B-Master and I serenaded our daughter on this fine summer eve:

Us (in unison): Suuuuun-y day...

Me: ...sweepin' the clouds a-way....

Him: ...chasin' the clouds a-way...

Me: Um, excuse me, but it's "'sweepin'."

Him: Whatever.

Us (in unison): ....oooon my way to where the air is -

Me: ...Sweeeeeet!

Him: ....Freeeeee!

Me: What? It's not "free," you dork. That makes no sense.

Him: Sure it does. "Free," because y'know, you don't have to pay for the air.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Inspired By a Recent Tweet

(Read to the tune of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar")

By the light of the moon, a very hungry mommy lay on her pillow and said, "How can I f*ck up my diet this weekend?"

On Friday, she ate approximately 109 cocktail meatballs, half a bag of potato chips and two chicken kabobs. She also ate her weight in pasta salad.

On Saturday morning she ate a Hardees bacon egg & cheese biscuit for breakfast and snacked on chocolate cookies until lunch time. She then ate unspeakable amounts of potato salad, baked beans, pulled pork and cornbread.

On Saturday evening, she had homemade ice cream for the first time, ate two enormous scoops and found them so delicious that she could have bathed in them. She accompanied said ice cream with a whopping slice of a 4-layer Dark Chocolate Cheesecake-Stuffed Cake, made from scratch. The mommy decided she could die happy now that she had eaten this cake.

On Sunday, the mommy ate breakfast at a buffet joint, where she did not allow her general disdain for buffet food stop her from eating an omelet, two slices of bacon, a hunk of ambrosia salad, two scoops of hash browns, a cinnamon bun and a sugar cookie.

By Sunday night, she wanted to eat lettuce and water for the rest of her life.

She took a long nap, called a "food coma," and when she woke up...

...she was a beautiful butterfly could no longer button her pants!

Shame on the mommy. Shame, shame.

Friday, July 11, 2008

I Don't Miss My Days in Retail

I trudged up to the checkout line at my local Party Store pushing a cart full of merchandise purchased purely on impulse. I had intended to buy three plastic tablecloths to cover the tables we rented for the reunion. Ha, silly intentions.

My final purchases included three tablecloths, three sets of tablecloth anchors, three centerpieces, a plastic crudite tray, two plastic bowls for chips and whatnot, one package of plastic forks and one package of balloons. I have no power over these Retail Suckubus stores, the ones that suck you in with a cruel plethora of merchandise and keep you wandering the aisles until you have convinced yourself that you need and must buy one of everything you see.

You should see me in Babies 'R' Us.

Anyway, I walked up to the register and started to unload my cart o' crap. The cashier, an acne-ridden kid who looked too young for facial hair and yet somehow had a creepy centipede-like tuft creeping across his upper lip, frowned as he punched some numbers on his keyboard.

"It's not taking my password," he informed me. He was kind of whining, as if he expected me to smack the register upside the head and say, "Hey! You take his password right now or I will turn this car around so fast..."

After a solid three minutes of frowning and punching, he picked up his phone. "Jim to the front," he said. "Jim. To the Front."

Jim, who had a manager-esque look (meaning he had a lanyard, with a badge...probably his library card, actually), arrived at the register after another three minutes or so. Now they took turns tapping the keys, heaving sighs, all the while carrying on a conversation that lowered my IQ by at least thirty points, just from listening:

"It won't take my password."

"Is your password expired?"

"No."

"Well, it should have taken it then."

"Well, it didn't."

"Try it now." (Tappy tap tap)

"Nope."

"You're sure it's not expired?"

"Yeah."

"Hmm...it should have taken it, then."

I resisted the urge to slam my forehead on the counter. Instead, I had to go and, like, speak.

"Listen," I said, looking at Jim. "Is there any way that you can log in with your password and ring up my stuff?"

I don't recall what happened next, because at that point two flaming daggers shot out of Jim's eyes and stabbed me in the neck.

Perhaps I'm exaggerating, but his look showed that he did not appreciate suggestions from the public. Clearly, I had jumped to step 15 of the Register Troubleshooting Process, and he was only on step 6. Oh, the audacity.

I should mention that while all of this was goin' down, a backup cashier came to ring on a different register, only to discover that he had forgotten to put money in it. Good lord, I thought. What is the hiring criteria for this place? Apparently the only qualification you need is, um, a pulse. And they're flexible on that.

Saddest of all, by the time I finally checked out and got the hell out of there, the adrenaline high of my impulse-buys had totally worn off and I was forced to admit that I had a car full of stuff I did not need. I mean, really. Who needs tablecloth clamps? What's wrong with duct tape?

Ah well. The good news: the family reunion was a big success, both because everyone had a good time and I survived with my sanity intact. Sure, no one commented on the pretty tablecloths or the crudite tray. They don't know the depths of stupidity I had to endure to get them here.

But I know. Oh, yes, I know.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Lend Me Your Ears...of Corn

Question: Is it okay for a child to eat a raw ear of corn?

Allow me to clarify.

Is it okay for my precious child, whom I adore and cherish and I will keep telling myself this until I believe it again, to eat a raw ear of corn when I am trying to assemble my dinner-for-twenty and, after ten minutes of tantrum and of me darting around the house going, "What? What do you want? Do you want this (crayons)? No? Do you want this (baby doll)?" No? Do you waaaaaannnt.....this (juice)? No....," I finally hand her the half-shucked ear of corn that I dropped on the counter when the screaming began and discover that is, in fact, what she wants?

Oh, and it is also okay if she repeatedly drops said ear of corn on the yet-to-be-vacuumed floor, which still contains remnants from both of yesterday's snacks? Rice cake and raisins, in case anyone is wondering.

Oy, it's not even nine o'clock yet. Long day ahead. Need chocolate.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


No really, please come sit on my chest. Not like I was trying to nap or anything. Ooof.

**Edited** Let's pretend we didn't notice that the brilliant poster neglected to see that today is, in fact, TUESDAY, rendering a "Wordless Wednesday" photo completely irrelevant. And to think, I graduated college with at 3.9 GPA. No, really.

Sigh. I miss my brain. It never writes, never calls, never sends flowers.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Kiss the Cook (Before She Self-Destructs)

We're hosting a family reunion later this week. Gird your loins! Hide your virgins!

Wait, no, wrong warning cry. Maybe "Get More Beer!" is most appropriate.

This weekend, a decent sampling of the B-Master's family will be trucking in from all over the east coast to partake in a barbecue here at the casa. I'm excited. And terrified.

Mind you, it's not the family that frightens me. We're high school sweethearts, the hubby and I, and I have been flitting around his family for more than ten years now. I can safely say that as a group, they are quite tame. Sure, there's the usual dodging and weaving of gossip, the overbearing aunt who induces eye-rolls wherever she treads, the slacker cousin-who-never-shows-up-for-anything. But I'd say that's par for the course as far as families go.

But when they come here, they are going to expect me to, like, feed them.

The very notion of it makes me want to hide in the shower for the next four days.

Despite my best efforts (and many, many cookbooks received as wedding gifts...clearly my family feared for me), I never made it into June Cleaver's Inner Circle of Domestic Goddessli-ness. Ask me about the time I accidentally dumped an entire cooked meatloaf down the garbage disposal. Or the time I blew up a glass pan under the broiler (a brief physics lesson: Glass pans? They get upset when they receive blasting heat directly from above). I'm just not good in the kitchen, and I have come to accept that as one of my many, uh, lovable flaws.

Having survived my fair share of culinary mishaps, I can finally follow a recipe, but I can't improvise. How much is "a little bit?" Show me the measurements, people. And what the sh*t do you mean when you say, "Cook it til it's done?" How long will that be??

And here I am, faced with the task of feeding twenty-some-odd people. Hey, who wants a tuna sandwich?

So, my current plan involves skewering kabobs like a madwoman along with a raid on the local deli for party platters of every shape, size and content. The "relish" tray that consists of olives and pickles? Sure, we'll take that one. The tray that just has burger toppings? We'll take that one, too.

Oh, and the plan also involves copious amounts of wine. For the cook, of course.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Why I Love the South

I'll say one thing about the people down here below the Mason-Dixon Line. Y'all sure are friendly.

In preparation for our belated Fourth of July picnic today, I lingered in the pasta aisle, trying to decide if I should take a chance on some pasta-salad-in-a-box. I picked up the box, read the directions, frowned at them, returned box to the shelf and repeated, repeated, repeated in a painful demonstration of my inability to make a decision about anything, ever.

Suddenly, a woman standing behind me spoke.

"Have you ever tried those things?" she said.

"No," I replied. "I'm trying to decide if I really want fake pasta salad intruding on my barbecue."

She shook her head mournfully at the shelves. "I personally don't like them. The pasta never cooks up right for some reason."

"Really?"

I spent the next seven minutes learning about how she had recently made some of this pasta salad for her son's high school graduation - about 40 people showed up which was a great turnout, and he's heading to UVA in the fall and it's an emotional time for her because he's her youngest (three kids total, two boys and one girl), but anyway she thought this boxed stuff would save her some time but no one really liked it and she vowed not to buy it again.

"Well," I finally said. "I think I'll skip it."

This conversation would have played out differently in a New England supermarket. And by that I mean that it would not have happened at all, because we New Englanders don't like to strike up random conversations with strangers. Come to think of it, we don't like people in general. We are not a friendly breed.

In my hometown, if I had turned to that woman and said, "Have you ever tried this pasta?" she would have shot me a death glare to indicate my gross violation of her personal space, as if I'd said, "Hey, can you massage this muscle knot out of my shoulder?" Then she would have shrugged and shaken her head "No," even if she had tried the pasta and loved every bite.

Or, it's possible that she would have pretended not to hear me at all. Definitely had that happen before.

But down here, people like to converse. When I pass strangers on the street, I get a cheerful, "How are you doin' this morning?" Unless I'm wearing my ass-less leather chaps. That tends to confuse people.

Luckily I dressed like a sane person today (ha, I've got 'em all fooled), so I got to chat with a kind soul who probably noticed my distress as a I performed my back-and-forth-pick-it-up-put-it-back jig with the pasta box, and decided to help swing my opinion once and for all.

As a native New Englander, I accept that I will always be a bit of an asshole. That's how we roll. But it's nice to encounter a little friendliness here and there. It does this stone-cold-bitch's heart good.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Google Me. Google Me Good.

Judging by the content of the recent keyword searches that led people to this website, I have concluded (as if I needed more evidence) that cyberspace is rife with weirdos. Which is exactly why I fit in so well.

Some of the keywords are self-explanatory, such as "wine mottoes," "piss diapers," and, thanks to this little gem that I hope my father never finds, several variations on the words "slut" and "slutty."

But what about something like, "watching my girlfriend pee?" I mean, hey, if that kind of thing turns you on, more power to ya. Or if it freaks you out so much that you have to Google it, maybe you relationship is not quite ready for that coveted level of intimacy. I'm just sayin'.

Here's one of my personal favorites: "how to look slutty." To the individual who found this website via those keywords I say, do you really need to Google that? Isn't that Hilton girl on, like, every magazine cover these days?

Yet the award for Weirdest Keyword Search has to go to my dear friend, wherever you are, who found me via, "lisa pees in a diaper."

Seriously, how did you know about that? I only did it that one time. And I was really drunk.

Actually, after a little personal sleuthing, I discovered that the phrase refers to one of my favorite useless-but-entertaining TV shows, America's Next Top Heinous Bitch Model. During the show's fifth season, one of the contestants (named Lisa) donned an adult diaper and peed in it during a photo shoot.

That just ain't right. Even by my standards.

Thank you, oddball Googlers, for your patronage and for giving me my daily dose of entertainment. My diaper runneth over.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Cannibalism Gets Such a Bad Rap

Pardon me while I use a cliche here. It's overused, but oh-so-appropriate.

I now understand why some animals eat their young.

Early-onset-Terrible-Twos is wreaking serious havoc on the Diapers and Wine home front, and I have decided that I am mentally ill-equipped to deal with this phase. May I please be excused? Can I just skip it and go straight to a more convenient phase, one in which she can maybe speak in sentences and provide reasons for the flinging-of-self-to-the-floor and the Screaming Screaminess with all the Screaming?

I don't know how long it will last. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I only know 9:00 AM has become the hour at which I stare longingly into my liquor cabinet, fantasizing about which bottle to consume in its entirety first, and calculating how much I need to drink in order to make my eardrums go numb.

Gawd, it's hard sometimes, this motherhood gig.

Lately, I've found myself inventing ways to hide from the Munchkin just so I can have five minutes alone. If she's spacing out in front of the TV, I sneak upstairs to sit on my bed with the door closed. If she's engrossed in a gourmet breakfast of Cheerios and bananas, I take my laptop into the living room to check my email. And to harf down a chocolate chip muffin because dammit, I'm not sharing.

The truth is, I adore her 99.2 percent of the time (I bet you'd like to hear about that some day, right? Instead of all the bitching? But where's the fun in that?), but sometimes I just wish she would, well, go away for a bit. Just long enough for me to shake off the nervous tic I've developed from watching her tantrums boil over. Th-th-that's all I ask.

And of course, I feel guilty for having such evil thoughts. I brought her into the world, and now I sort of want her to leave? Nice.

Now that I have a few readers out there (and lurkers! I see you, lurkers!), I'm wondering if anyone else ever finds themselves simultaneously loving their children to death and wanting desperately to eat them get away from them. Do you? Holla at me in the comments if so.

Which reminds me, what time is it? How long has that TV been on, anyway? Sh*t.