Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Rampant sexism. Or, the difference between 15 and 30.

We are house hunting.

And let me just interject up here that for the most part, I'm a bright individual. I think fast. I sometimes see things other people don't. I'm just not so much on the math.

OK?

So. Interest rates are low. And we need space. And so we are looking.

We both have good credit, and while what we want to do is a tremendous stretch, it's not totally batshit, considering that we both have good, stable jobs, money from Nick's place once it's sold, etc.

In other words, we are asking for a lot but not laughable insanity.

So Nick called his financial institution and while he was waiting to hear back, I called mine. We both said we were interested in 30-year fixed loans.

Mine said they could offer a 5-year loan with an ARM or a 15-year fixed. So I figured they should go ahead and quote us on the 15-year fixed.

I mean, 15 is better than nothing, right? It's half as much, but we could sort that out later. Right? Because did I mention numbers? They are never logical for me? Or rather, I am never logical with them.

The more mathematically-inclined among us can see where this is headed.

So I, I spent hours on the phone. Here's our income. Here's our savings. Here's what we are getting out of my husband's place. Etc etc.

And the guy would go through it all, and then ask, do we have any other assets. What about this? What about that. Could we possibly demonstrate any more cash?

At a certain point I got exasperated and said, "Look. My husband might have a secret account I don't know about, but if he does, I don't know about it. As far as I know, this is what we've got."

I was thinking, you can or you can't, but stop acting like I'm being totally crazy. Stop acting like I'm doing something wrong.

During our eternal string of conversations, Nick emailed to say he had just heard back positively on the preapproval. But I should go ahead and see, as I was already near the end of the process.

I kept emailing him - things like: "Holy crap!" and "You didn't have this much trouble. Is it because I'm a woman?" and "Am I presenting it wrong? And why does he sound so suspicious?"

And Nick kept saying, "I don't know."

At the end of a couple phone calls and being put on hold a number of times, and the guy sounding veryvery dubious, he finally said that it just might miiiiiight work. Down to the penny.

And I could call back in 48 hours to see.

Immediately after getting off the phone with him, I called Nick. I really was verging on offended.

This must be sexism. It's all because I'm a woman! Nobody sounded sceptical of Nick.

"I mean, really," I said. "How fucking big a deal is some stupid 15-year fixed mortgage? Maybe he'd rather speak to you, the man? You had no problem!"

"Sweetie. 15-year fixed."

"Yes. They couldn't do 30."

"Did you do the math?"

Hilarious. Do I ever?

"Lis. You do realize that 15 years is half the amount of time of 30?"

"Yes Nick." (It's not like I'm stupid.) "So we eventually have to refinance. But we have 15 years to do so."

"NO. We'd have 15 years of enormous mortgage payments. Because they make you pay the whole thing off in 15 years."

Ahhhhh. No wonder that guy sounded so sceptical.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Let me sleep on it. Baby, baby let me sleep on it.

I believe there are people in the world who take a live and let live attitude towards their spouses.

Like, if fruit and vegetables and exercise are incredibly important to one partner, I think there are people out there who don’t make a big effort to foist the food preferences and the cardio on the other person. It’s probably a more harmonious way to live.

I have to imagine.

In other words, I am certain there are easier wives in this world.

So.

Genuinely, Nick works many more hours each day than I do. And my job is more low key. And there's a gym in my building. So I can schedule a convenient mid-day workout and odds are I'll have time and it will not get canceled due to some last-minute crisis.

But on the weekends, our schedules are pretty similar. And on most weekends, we run together both days. For me, it’s in addition to the three or four times I worked out over the week – and my prego workouts remain as frequent, but much less intense.

For Nick, weekends are often the only exercise time he gets.

Saturday we get up, both really wanting to get out for a run, despite the ugly skies.

Sunday morning, we awake to misty grey weather.

I’m going running regardless. I turn to him. “Do you want to run?”

“Not really.”

“But would you run with me?”

He says yes, but reluctantly. I can tell he doesn’t want to. And I’m thinking, seriously? If almost five month pregnant woman can run? You, dude, you can run.

So an hour or so later, post coffee and breakfast, as I’m about to put on my running clothes I say, “You know, if you really don’t want to run with me, it’s OK.”

I do not mean this. Not one bit.

“Really?”

And I think: He's not actually not going to run, when he constantly says he loves to exercise but has no time, is he? Is he? I'll be damned if he is.

“Sure. Just stay home and masturbate with Easy Cheese if you’d rather.”

There’s a flicker of delight. I can see on his face that he is weighing his desire to not run right now against how difficult I might make his life if he doesn’t.

“So you wouldn’t be really angry?”

“I wouldn’t be angry, Nick. I’d think less of you, but I wouldn’t be angry.”

And there he is again, wheels turning. I can see them. Angry Lisa = pain in the ass. Disappointed Lisa = probably tolerable.

So I decide to be very clear. “I wouldn’t be angry. But with each step I’d be thinking, ‘That fucker. He sits on his ass at work all day every day, too busy to exercise. And then when he actually has time, he doesn’t want to go with me.’ That’s what I’d be saying to myself.”

“Huh.”

“So what’s it going to be, boy? Me or the Easy Cheese?”

Friday, March 27, 2009

Week 20 tummy

Today is 20-week sonogram day! I can't wait for this afternoon!

Apparently this is when we get all the detailed pictures of the little dude. I can't wait to see him. Depending on the website, he's either a small cantaloupe or as long as a banana.

And this is totally fun! We tried a new trick last night.

Tej told me that her daughter would get really active when she put headphones on her belly and played music. And so while we were watching The Office (which is rapidly losing my attention, I have to say) I pulled out my iPod, stuck the headphones in my waistband, cranked up the volume, sat still, and waited. . .

It works!

He particularly liked Cat Power singing Sea of Love from the Juno soundtrack. If I listen to a whole album of her in one sitting it pulls me down, but Cat Power in moderation is wonderful.

I also tried a little country, and he didn't jump at Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys. I decided to skip Delta Dawn. Maybe next time.

So then I thought maybe I should head for upbeat, so I put on my workout mix. And he got all thumpy-aroundy with Bananarama singing Venus. Which is one of my personal faves. Yay! He likes 80s dance music!

But this morning I started to really think about it. Do I really want to foster a proclivity for cheesy 80s pop? Or my taste in music in general?

I'm betting most who know me would say, "No, no, and more no. Nooooooo."

I do want the best for my kid. But it's so much fun. . .

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Touch my monkey

So far, anyway, I am the opposite of someone who gets annoyed when people touch my stomach.

Although the truth is, I haven't yet had a total stranger do so. That might bug. Because it always annoyed me when I had super short hair and people I didn't know very well would just reach over and touch the back, just to see.

But currently I'm all, "You want to touch it? It's odd! Here - feel it."

Because seriously, if you've never felt one - and I hadn't, so it is what I've been doing a lot of - it's like a hard, round ball.

It kind of fascinates me.

I've known people who have gotten breast implants, and they've gone around showing them to everyone - their mail carrier, their stylist - everyone. And I am verging on this behavior. Although I don't (yet) accost people out of the blue. But when they mention it. . .

"Lis! Look at your baby tummy!"

"I know! Want to touch it?"

Also, the accompanying drawing by my friend Dagny was designed in response to this post. But I feel like it works here. I like that I'm wielding a big javelin. It makes me look more command-y and dangerous, don't you think?

I mean, if you can overlook the shiny blue dress.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I'm thinking of what Sarah said...

Dad, you want to skip this post. Betty, you read everything anyway.

So you all know how I love to write about shoes and dresses and sparkles and dating and raindrops on kittens and the like.

Not that I'm always sunshiney - we all know that's not true - but I often splish splash around in the shallow end. It's fun there.

And the truth is that I do spend an inordinate amount of time on stuff like that. But I spend some piece of almost every day of my life on the following. And sometimes it's easier than others. But lately, it's hard.

I'm writing this knowing full well that a lot of people just don't know what to say in response to things like this. And that's OK. But just know that it won't be fun to read.

There's no punch line. It's more like a punch in the stomach.

My dad, my dad is always complicated. He struggles. He's a smart, smart man. He's loving and good and kind and well-intentioned, and he has always tried to be there for us and make sure that we have whatever we need.

Even now, when I'm a married adult, he helps and he offers. I'm still his kid.

And I love the shit out of him. And I am always his kid. And he's always my dad. That will never change.

But as I said, he's complicated. He struggles. Sometimes more than others. And lately, lately is a big struggle for him. Which puts me on constant alert.

Two years ago next month - and those of you who have known me for a while know this - my dad tried to commit suicide. It wrecked us for a good chunk of time.

We spent the following two months going to the hospital, and then eventually the psych ward, every day. We fought my dad sometimes. We fought each other sometimes. We fought the money-focused healthcare system - and won.

We all walked out alive and stronger. But so battered, so scathed.

Eventually, though, it got better. It never feels totally safe, but it often feels OK.

OK, but some piece of scared, of expecting the worst, is always there. It's the flinch of an ambulance siren going by. Or a too-early morning phone call. Or a tone in a voice.

It wasn't the first time, and I already knew I was good in a crisis - this specific kind of crisis, with slightly different details. I knew I was strong. I knew I could handle it. And I did - but barely. It shredded me.

It's something I know I have the fortitude for. But I cannot imagine how I would summon the strength if I had to right now.

And right now, my dad is in a bad place. I know he is trying. He's really, really trying. He says so, and I see it.

Things changed the last time. It stopped being a secret. I forced that. I was done with the huge, unhealthy, never talked about family secret.

I claimed my grief and my terror and my struggle as mine - because it is. My dad has his, my mom has hers, my brother has his, no matter how much he tries to tamp it down and avoid it. And I have mine.

And my dad, for which I am very, very proud of him, he started talking about it, for the first time ever. And now he is actually articulating where he is and what he's fighting and how he's working towards staying with us.

Which is so different from before.

Now, I can actually say in the here and now, "I need you. I need you with us. My kid needs you."
I know for sure he is trying. He wants to be there for us, for his grandson. But sometimes for him, it's so very hard. I know this.

The thing that scares me most is that I understand the piece - which I know varies in size depending on the day and the circumstance - that feels like maybe this life and this heaviness this particular struggle is more than you can handle.

I don't feel it myself, but I've peered in at the edge, and I understand it, and how powerful it can be.

I know that once you slide into that smooth, dark tunnel, where there is no light, no sense of hope, no hand-holds on which to catch yourself - just smooth, smooth emptiness, it feels impossible to get out on your own. All you can do is slide forward towards what seems like a reasonable, singular solution.

I know it.

It terrifies me.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Feeties

I laughed so hard when I saw Betty wearing these toe shoes.

And then she gave me my own pair. And I love them.

In the beginning, it's really hard - or at least it was for me - to get each toe into its own toe slot. I kept cramming two into one and leaving others empty. You think it'll be like gloves, and you'll just put a toe into a toe slot - until you realize you're a lot more dexterous with your fingers than your tootsies.

Which then made me realize that people with no arms who have to do stuff like drive or paint or write with their feet must really really have to work to develop that dexterity.

Which then of course made me think how screwed I would be if I lost my arms in an accident. Which briefly got me all kinds of worked up. Not fatal like the rabies, but still.

And thank goodness they realized thalidomide was not the way to go for pregnant women.

But back to the feet.

If you can get past how ridiculous they look, and the slightly odd sensation of having your toes spread out, these are fantastic.

My big toe and second toe have a big gap, which I kind of hate, and I've spent years cramming my feet into shoes that squeeze my toes together. Plus I love the pretty high shoes, which do nothing to give you toe space.

These are supposed to strenghten your foot and toe muscles and improve your body alignment and basically change your life.

I'm working up to wearing them outside the house.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Men and dating and age

Last night I wound up watching this horrendous Millionaire Matchmaker show.

I got sucked into it for one specific reason: one of the two guys featured as these fabulous millionaire catches was 39. And refused to date anyone older than 28 or 29 - I don't remember the exact age, but just under 30.

Because, of course, he's so "young and heart" and active and fit and blah blah blah. His last girlfriend was 21 - and it hadn't worked out because he just "wasn't ready." But women 30 or over just wouldn't be able to keep up.

The millionaire matchmaker woman, who I quite liked, surprisingly enough - this pissed her off. She was determined to set him up with hot women over 30 and teach him a lesson - he could fall for someone over 30! Which ultimately didn't work.

But what this made me think of was Match, which I got on - the first of many on and off three-month stints - when I was 35. What I learned was this. Because you have to put in your birth date, and the age you're searching for, there is a huge focus on age.

Or maybe there was always this huge focus on age in the real world, and somehow, I'd almost always just been in serious relationships with younger men and I'd always been oblivious.

And then reality hit me on the Internet, and hard.

Turns out 30 is a cutoff age for lots of men. Then 35 is the next jump, I think.

I'd get emails from guys older than me whose cutoff age was younger - sometimes much younger. And they'd express such surprise. You're so hot! And you're this age!

Um, thanks?

I didn't actually feel flattered when I was 37 and some guy my age, whose profile said he was looking for someone 21-29, contacted me.

Rather, I felt like - and sometimes said, "Listen, if you're looking for a 21 year old, you're definitely not looking for me."

A couple times, I actually asked guys if they really, genuinely, were open to dating an 18-year old, being in their mid-30s and all.

But for the most part, I just didn't write back. Really, if you think you want someone that young, you don't want me, no matter how I look. Because I'm so much more settled in who I am and so much less tolerant of ridiculousness than someone really, really young.

What it did, though, as I turned 36 and 37 - particularly 37, which was a craptacular year - was serve to make me feel bad about myself.

The Dementor started it, saying that since I was 36, he'd have to worry about me wanting to settle down and have kids. You know, because I was getting old. And then of course, from that minute on, I was just getting older. As you do.

And then so many men made comments - by email or on actual first dates - about how surprising it was that I was this old, this attractive, and still single.

This old. This old this old.

Honestly, it's what I eventually found so demoralizing about the Internet dating. Who needs a constant reminder of how shocking it is that you're single, never married, and this old?

Coming from men your age or older than you?

Obviously, it's not every single person. I met guys my age and younger who made no issue of it. I met Nick, and he thought I was fabulous. He never once mentioned my age.

But once it was there, it was there.

Honestly, age is the only thing you really can't change about yourself, no matter how hard you try. But making you all about your age is something I just don't understand.

While I think it's stupid, we all have our own thoughts on ideal. The only terrible thing, really, is to make someone else feel bad about where they are, just because of your own parameters.

You want what you think you want. Whether it's working for you or not.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Fanta

Yesterday, on our way over to my parents' house, Nick stopped at a gas station to get a Diet Coke.

He came out with a Fanta Orange for me as well.

Betty has been dying to feel the baby, so he suggested we get the little dude all jacked up on sugar, so she'd be sure to feel him. It totally worked.

Also, I love Fanta. Which I pronounce with an "ah" - in the same way as the word "want." Fahnta.

In my world, this also rhymes with "aunt."

Yes, I get teased for it a lot. But not as much as for my pronunciation of "sauna" - even though I'm so totally right.

Although not by my parents, as they pronounce these words the same way I do.

Fanta is a drink of my childhood, and as a kid it was Fanta Grape that I loved. I haven't had one in years. I don't even know if they still make that flavor?

I remember Betty would give me one when we'd have to drive somewhere far, because the old VW bug had no AC - not to mention the lack of seat belts or floor in the back seat.

I'd whine that I was hot, she'd say, "Think about ice. Think about snow!"

Ice? Yes. Comes in cubes from the freezer. Snow? Totally abstract concept.

Fanta Grape? Very cold and perfect for cross-town car rides.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Week 19 tummy

This week, the little dude is an heirloom tomato. He now supposedly weighs over half a pound.

AND! I've felt him thumping around in there a couple times! Like, out of the blue I felt this little push. And then it happened again!

So then I waited, and when nothing happened after that, I mooshed my stomach to try to get him to do something. Poke, poke. To no avail.

I suppose it's tantamount to bugging caged animals. Unfair. But he's got a lot of padding in his babyhouse, you know?

Speaking of confinements, I do feel kind of bad for the little guy. Because look at this 19 week image from babycenter.com.
Look how scrinched up he is! And it's only going to get worse.

And something they said this week that I think is kind of gross. "A waxy protective coating called the vernix caseosa is forming on her skin to prevent it from pickling in the amniotic fluid."

Prevent it from pickling!

I've been thinking about how the kid has to live in liquid for nearly ten months. Picturing a little person, floating around in what looked like viscous, yellow fluid when they sucked it out of me during the amnio. I have vivid images of ascaris and baby pigs and such suspended in jars in my science classroom in high school.

When I first started thinking about this a couple weeks ago, Nick said that actually, babies have this protective layer of skin on them that peels off after a couple days. I did not believe him.

What he was talking about was the vernix mentioned above.

But I misunderstood. And not having spent any concerted time around a newborn, in my mind, I totally pictured a moulting reptile. I used to be fascinated by how lizards and snakes could just shimmy out of their old casing and leave it behind.

But it was a bit much for me to believe that two or three days in, we'd reach into the crib to pick up the little dude, only to find he'd moulted.

And if you have any interest in seeing moulting in action, here you go.

Happy Friday! Happy first day of spring!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

TMI Thursday: The last of this type of tale

Mom and Dad, please skip this one.

You all may have the impression that I behaved very badly when I lived in San Diego. And the truth is, I often did. Also, it depends on your definition of "badly."

The only time I have ever gotten in trouble with my brother - my younger brother - was this one time. In San Diego.

We were both living there, although we had completely separate social lives. Our groups of friends had no overlap. I thought.

So this one evening, I went to a party with my then-boyfriend. It was at an apartment near the airport - right in the flight path. Which only matters because the planes flew very close overhead.

It was a dull party, and at some point, I wandered out to join my boyfriend and a group of seven or eight people on the porch. They were playing a game in which every time a plane flew by, they'd take a sip of their drink.

At some point the game morphed. It became every time a plane flew by, you'd take off a piece of clothing. And once you got naked, you'd put on a piece of clothing with each passing plane.

Not complicated. Nor sexual. And really only racy because of the nudity.

I mean, I get that nudity can be seen as racy. But still.

Eventually someone inside wandered out, and they were promptly shooed back in. Nobody who wasn't playing was allowed to come out on the porch. If you weren't willing to participate, you couldn't hang out and gawk.

It was, however, the talk of the party fairly quickly.

So at some point, in various stages, we all got naked. And then we all got dressed. It turned out the good thing about being first naked was that you were first dressed.

Something to remember, in case you play this at home.

And then eventually, all dressed, the group wound up wandering indoors and went on with the party. And then went home and went on with our lives. As if nothing had happened. Because really, nothing of consequence had.

But a week or two later, I was over at my brother's house. We were in his kitchen, in front of his fridge, on which he had a group picture - the two of us with Jane, my boyfriend, and a couple other people.

My brother said, "So, had anything interesting happen lately?"

"Nothing, really. You?"

"Funny you should ask."

And with his tone, I know this is going somewhere.

"So, Lis, I had a bunch of people over last week. And we're in the kitchen, standing right here, and this one guy I know points to this picture and says, 'Dude! How do you know this girl?'"

"Me?"

"You. And before I can tell him you're my sister, he says, 'I saw her naked at a party last weekend!'"

And he gives me a Very Stern Look.

Welllll, yah.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

On the one hand, she's a pacifist. On the other, she does know how to use a chain saw.

If you have ever spent any time at my parents' house, you know that you cannot ever be entirely sure which direction the conversation might take.

It's just how it is.

We spent some time with them this past weekend. Most of the rest of the weekend we were immersed in Dexter.

Nick and I had been watching recent episodes, but finally ordered the first season. We watched about seven hours of serial killing. In two seatings. Me, I'd have done it all at once.

I can't watch the parts where he's slicing people, and I leave the room in the really stressful moments. But other than that, I love how well done it is.

So my parents reported that at our suggestion, they'd watched the first episode, and then couldn't bear it. My father, in partciular, is horrified we're so riveted.

He said, "You know what it reminds me of?"

Most people, they might say it reminded them of something they'd read in the paper, or a movie they saw, or whatever.

Right?

"When I was in Vietnam, the North Vietnamese would skin people alive and then they'd turn up at our hospital for us to treat. That's what your show reminds me of."

"Oh."

Because really, what else can you say?

Betty, on the other hand, was all, "How do you know?"

"How do you know what?"

"How do you know if you're a serial killer?"

Besides murdering someone, Rosebud?

"Well, for one thing, you'd probably have to start by killing people. And they have to fit a pattern. Why?"

"Virginia power is going to cut down all trees within 35 feet of their stupid power lines!"

"Can you stop them?"

She stopped them before - years ago - with a neighborhood petition. First, my adorable, tiny little mother followed tree-marking individuals around harassing them. Then she got a petition going. They saved all the trees on the street.

You cannot mess with the Truffala Trees.

She is definitely the Lorax.

"No! And they marked that nice birch on the parkland! I asked those horrible men if they know how long it takes for birch to grow! They don't care!"

"Fucking Virginia power."

Betty is all, "Exactly!"

While my dad is more, "Lisa! Language?"

While I have full faith that telling those men what jerks they are to the trees is as violent as Betty gets, I'd just like to clarify - if you kill a bunch of people in one go, it's mass murder, right? While serial killing would be one by one?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I am not a team player

It's not that I'm an uncooperative human being.

I do fine on team projects, but I've always hated team sportsy things. Also, I am not zen. But that comes later.

Some of this has to do with being an introvert. And being self-conscious about not knowing what you're doing. And I never, ever knew what I was doing team sports-wise.

My lack of hand-eye (or foot-eye) coordination also figures largely into it. As a kid, I haaaated kickball. And when someone passed the soccer or basket ball to me, I always fucked up. It was embarrassing and painful.

In high school, I got very into running and lifting weights. I loved both - still do. They're good alone activities - you do them on your own schedule, and in your own head.

Works perfectly for me.

Along the same lines, I've typically shied away from classes. In college I'd go with friends to these aerobics classes, and I'd always be stepping the wrong direction, or going forward when I was supposed to be going back. It was always a relief when we'd get to the floor work part.

The last class I ever went to - years ago, at the behest of a friend who was very into step aerobics - was at a gym right on Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda.

I was trying my hardest to keep up with the step, step, kick, twist, blah blah blah. And then the instructor said, "Now grapevine towards Wisconsin!"

And I was all, "Step...Grapevine? Wisconsin!? Which fucking direction is the Midwest from here?"

That was the last damn class I ever went to.

What I am leading up to is this. I am about the only human I know in the DC metropolitan area who has never been to a yoga class. All my friends - women and men alike - extol its virtues.

And yesterday, so many of you recommended yoga poses. I tried a couple back stretches last night, and they totally helped. Thank you!

And today, the osteopath - who said that my sore back is likely a result of everything stretching and shifting to accommodate the baby, and coming out in the weak point of an old injury, rather than anything serious, - stretched me out, and said that prenatal yoga would be a good idea.

(Sidebar update: Today is sooo much better. Nick forced me to ice my back twice last night. It was chilly misery at the time, but helped tremendously. And the doctor today said that icing was exactly right. Tonight, heat. Also, the body pillow Tej gave me was kind of like magic.)

Anyway, back to yoga.

I've just always been intimidated by it. I picture classes full of lithe people in adorable (and adorably spendy) lululemon yoga outfits who totally know what they are doing AND are all zen.

And I'll be in my grubby workout togs doing the downward dog towards Wisconsin when everyone else is doing something I can't pronounce in the other direction.

Plus, they'll be all centered, and I'll be thinking, "Crap, my underwear is creeping up my butt and I wonder what we should have for dinner and that woman over there has as really cute haircut I wonder what salon she goes to and why the fuck fuck fuck can I not quiet my mind???"

In other words, I have some mental gearing-up to do.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Oh, owie

Sorry, guys. My back hurts and it scares me. I'm feeling very sorry for myself today.

My back has been hurting for weeks, but small, tight hurts in specific spots. And everything you read is all, "You're carrying an entire human on your front. Your back is going to hurt."

In an attempt to mitigate it, I've been exercising and stretching regularly. I have strong abs. Plus, I'm working with a trainer once a week - in the gym with the pretty red button - and I've been doing exercises to strengthen lower back.

So for the most part, it hasn't been terrible. And, quite honestly, I'm not sure what else to do.

If you know any great back stretches or exercises or have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Because what I want to do, which is wash down a whole bunch of Advil and maybe a smidge of Valium with a bottle of wine, is so far from anything I actually can do at the moment.

As if that would ever be a prudent solution to anything in the first place.

But back on topic. Last night, my back, it huuuuuurt. And so I stuck a pillow behind me. But then I wanted a pillow in front of me for my belly. And then I had to readjust them every time I turned. Which was a lot.

Tejal gave me her Snoogle, but I haven't quite figured out how to use it.

So I staggered out of bed tired, unrested, feeling kind of pitiful.

And then, bending forward to wash my face, my lower back spasmed - the kind of pain that makes you yelp, knocks the wind out of you, and brings tears to your eyes. The sharp, hurty hurt of something bad.

I don't know if you've ever hurt your back, but it's like no pain I've ever experienced. I pulled a muscle in my back a couple years ago.

Your back turns out to be connected to your everything.

I did it doing nothing unusual, and by that evening, could barely move, despite obscene amounts of Advil. By the middle of the night, I was nearly incapacitated

At some point I had to pee desperately. So I slid as gently and low-motionly as possible to the floor, and crawled into the bathroom. I was able to hoist myself up on the edge of the tub. I figured, I'd get myself up there, and then just shift to the toilet, which was right next to it.

Shift? Ha. I peed in the tub.

It was all I could do. I considered sleeping on the floor, but eventually hoisted myself into bed. The next morning, I called a doctor - sobbing. I was pretty sure I'd never get underwear and pants on in order to leave the house, but after about half an hour of effort, I did.

I spent the next couple days in bed, on Vicodin and some really strong muscle relaxer.

I wouldn't do it recreationally, but you can pretty much entertain yourself for hours doing absolutely nothing on meds like that. Seriously. Things like wrinkles in sheets can be fascinating when your reality is all Alice.

All this to say, this morning scared the shit out of me. It's the exact same place on my back, just not as bad. But what if it gets worse?

I have a doctor's appointment set up for tomorrow.

I'm not a pain person. It can't happen to me again right now. I can't deal with that kind of pain without insane medication. I just can't.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Week 18 tummy

This one is a complete and utter ramble. I don't know how to corral it into cohesiveness.

But I have pictures!

Week 18, according to one website, the little dude is the size of a boneless chicken breast. According to another, he's a bell pepper.

The boneless chicken breast both amuses and grosses me out more.

This was the week that colleagues I am not super close to started saying, "Hey! You look pregnant!"

And I would think, "Yes, and I'm nurturing a boneless chicken breast!"

I kind of love that my belly is all obviously sticking out now. And as soon as I eat or drink anything, it sticks out more. Some moments, I look veryvery preg.

Betty has been out of town since mid-February, and when I see her this weekend, she will be shocked. I reported that my boobs had hit a C. She was astounded.

In my family, we have the big strong thighs with which our Viking ancestors marauded and conquered - and then in later years traversed the North Dakota prairie. The boobs, we have not so much of.

She called the other day from the dressing room of a consignment shop. She was trying on maternity clothes for me, but she had no idea what size. Her friend, in the background, suggested I measure my thighs.

"Sweetie, you want to measure your thighs?"

Um, no. No fucking way. No.

What kind of question is that?

I was at the OB on Tuesday, and I asked the nurse to just not tell me what my weight was. She wasn't at all surprised. I bet a lot of people do this.

It's not that I'm fighting it - by no stretch of the imagination; I just don't want to know.

In that same visit, the doctor said I can keep up with the running until I simply can't. I am wondering when the "simply can't" moment will hit.

And here's a tarted up picture. It's far from my favorite picture of myself, but I feel like it shows the preg pretty well.

I had to choose between a picture with a better face that also featured the hottie hot boots, and this one, which shows the pregnanty bits more.

This seemed more useful.

And the boots! I must note, I had to lean waaaaaay back in a chair and put my legs up on the desk for five or so minutes so that I could zip them over my calves at the end of the day.

This is another thing about pregnancy that's kind of weird. My size from tummy down changes dramatically from the time I get up in the morning to the time I nearly plod into bed at night.

My friend Wendy likened pregnancy to a science experiment, and I have to absolutely agree.

And thus ends my stream-of-consciousness preg update for the week.

Happy weekend to all! Even though the cocksucking cold is back!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tarting it up. Or maybe bread puddinging it up is more accurate?

Today is Nick's birthday!

We're celebrating with dinner at Brassierie Beck - one of his favorite places.

They have delicious beer, french fries that are kind of like crack, and such yummy bread pudding. I also remember liking my mains when I've eaten there, although I cannot for the life of me tell you what I've had.

I realize fried potatoes, beer, and bread pudding do not a dinner make - unless maybe you live in 19th Century England? - but man, can that combination delight me.

I'm getting all tarted up, in a seriously cleavage-showing black Susana Monaco dress. It's not maternity, but empire waist, with lots of room for tummy. I bought it (on sale) on a low, low day, when I needed a little reminder of my former/future self. And thought it could be something to look forward to. And it turns out to be a great dress with plenty of room for expansion in all below-the-empire-waist directions.

And fishnets - why didn't I think of fishnets before? Super super stretchy comf! And my slightly tough tarty boots.

I have to say, now that the early crap has passed, I'm a lot bigger but feel a lot better. I still don't have many clothes I actually like, and tend to spend my days in black pants, black top, with some kind of jacket, shawl, or scarf.

But this is the first time I've been excited about how I might look in an outfit since, I don't know, December?

And you guys, things are blooming! Crocuses are here! So are daffodils! And the tiniest little peeking out of the tulip trees! And maybe redbud?

In other words, hope has arrived! Not to reduce everything to apparel, but cute dress weather and fun platformy shoe time is almost here!

Which reminds me - I got awesome shoes in NJ last weekend. Must take pictures and share. But that is for another day. . .

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How to make me feel extremely stupid in three to seven floors

There was that guy that I went on a few dates with several years ago. And then bumped into in my office building.

The other day we were in the elevator together. This has happened a number of times. And each time, I feel like there's this deliberate not looking.

So I decided to just say something. So in the future we could say hello as polite acquaintances.

This time, it was just the two of us. We stood in the lobby silently, got in the elevator at the same time, moved to opposite walls, and he became very intent on his BlackBerry.

So I said, "Hey! I think we know each other!"

And he looked me up and down. Slowly, deliberately, assessingly.

With his mouth he said - although sneered really was closer to the truth, "Really? And how would we know each other?"

But with his face and eyes he said, "I assure you there's no way I know anyone who would wear a pink hat and coat together. And are you actually tromping around in clogs?"

Because he is always dressed in the kind of carefully, seemingly casually put together European-y way that you know is labor intensive. My ass his hair doesn't take more time than mine in the morning.

Not that it wouldn't behoove me to spend more time on my hair. Also, on another topic, he probably doesn't use the word tromp.

But anyway.

His response caught me so off guard. I never know what to do with what seems like deliberate dickishness.

I considered saying, "Well. Once you bought me drinks. And once you took me out for dinner. And once you kissed me - very awkwardly, I might add. And we never went out again."

But I didn't. Because then it occurred to me that maybe he doesn't remember. That would make things even more awkward.

And maybe he thought I was hitting on him! And not only that, but clearly he thought I wasn't attractive enough to even chat with in the elevator!

This sequence of thoughts made me all flustered.

And so I said, "We, um, we used to bump into each other in the neighborhood."

Same casual, dubious voice. "And what neighborhood would that be?"

So I told him where I lived, and he confirmed it was right around the corner from him.

Which I knew. Meany butt wiener face.

By then I'd: 1. recovered enough to say, "I thought you looked familiar." and 2. to realize my floor was fast approaching.

This was a dumb thing to do, but at my floor I pushed back my hair with my sparkly ring hand and said, "But then I got married and moved to Virginia! Bye!"

Dread.Ful.

And the next time we're in the elevator together? I've never seen him in my entire life.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Clearly I’m a lot racier in my mind

It's not that I’m saying I want my husband to imagine me in lesbian relationships. Or threesomes. Or anything of the sort. So you know.

Now, Nick likes to get this roasted garlic in oil. And then eat it by the pound, practically.

Which would be all fine and good, except that it’s a smell that persists long past the brushing of the teeth. Plus, it’s a smell that comes out in many, many ways.

I don’t know if you’re a big garlic eater, or you live with one, but if you do, I imagine you know precisely what I’m talking about. And personally, I think all the oil makes it much worse.

The nights that he eats it, he always offers me some, so we will be in the same boat. And I’ll have a piece or two. Not 54.

End result of the 54 cloves? It is hard to choose which end you would rather have face away from you in bed. It’s vile.

So he went on a garlicstravaganza the other night. And we got in bed. And we were kissing and chatting.

And then he exhaled massively.

Large, warm wafts of pungent garlic breath leapt towards me. It was so strong that I could think of was large gobs of garlic oil washing over me.

And I was all, “Goddammit Nick!"

He knows I hate this. The big garlic nights are always foul.

“Sorry, love.”

“Men are so disgusting! I knew I should’ve been a lesbian!”

(Yes, massive hypocrisy abounds.)

He paused for a long moment. During which time, in my mind, he was of course envisioning me in some steamy lesbian entanglement.

Right?

And then said, “Which reminds me. When you go through the tolls on 95, make sure to hold my EZ-Pass up against the windshield.”

“I. . .This reminds you? How?”

“Well, I was thinking about you doing stuff with other women. . .”

“And. . ?”

“And what I imagine you doing with other women this weekend is sitting in traffic at the tolls. When you don’t need to.”

Monday, March 09, 2009

The moment of stark realization

When you hit a new and completely unforeseen low - as I did last week - there are always points leading up to it.

It shouldn't really take you by surprise. But it's not till the moment passes, and you examine it in retrospect, that you realize that of course you were heading in that direction.

You might think the new low would be the moment you grunted when you bent down to put on your pantyhose.

Or the immediately subsequent suspicion - the kind that raises the hair on the back of your neck - that you now grunt every time you bend over. In the privacy of your home, at work, the gym - wherever.

Do you do this, you wonder? You decide likelihood is high.

It could also be the point at which you recognize that all the way along, in pulling up aforementioned pantyhose, you continue to emit mini-grunts.

Further, it could reasonably be when you become conscious of the fact that, having briefly stopped pulling mid-thigh, the now gathered and twice-mentioned hose are strangulating your leg.

Even though you only bought the damn things - a size big, at that - three weeks ago.

You'd think that any of those would be reasonable points at which to be all, "Oh hell, new low."

And they would.

But the new low does not fully wash over you until mid-morning.

And it does so in the way that, when you are wading in the ocean, knee-deep, a large wave might suddenly overtake you, strong, fresh, and shocking. Although it shouldn't be all that surprising, being that you're in the ocean and all.

The moment of realization hits you while sitting at your desk, in your cube.

It is the instant you think to yourself, "Man, it's so hard to fart in such tight pantyhose."

Friday, March 06, 2009

Week 17 tummy

This is the week of no return.

My belly doesn't stick out a whole lot more in the front, but somehow, it's spread out more on the sides. As have my ass and thighs. My size leaped.

Now, where is no turning back from maternity pants. They're like wearing a comfy couch. It's kind of great.

Also, magically, this week all the initial maternity pants that I bought got too small.

I mean, not too small if you don't mind your legs all snausaged into your pants. But if you do - too small.

Which made me realize why they tell you to buy maternity clothes in your "normal" size. It's so that you can turn around three weeks later and buy another size up.

Fuckers.

On the extreme upside, the boob fairy has been hard at work.

I actually had to put a camisole under a dress yesterday because I had too much cleavage. Like, it would've been inappropriate at work.

Hahahahaha!

Cleavage! A word that really doesn't appear in the same sentence as Lisa, like, ever. Cleavage! Me!

For all you cleavage-havers out there, it's all Friday. For me, it's all, oooh, Christmas!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Nick's first lesson in speaking Betty

Long before she met Nick's mother, Betty asked Nick what his mom's name was. The conversation went pretty much like this.

"Nick, what's your mom's name?"

"Rosemary."

"Oh! Like the sled!"

She says this definitively, confidently.

He blinks, cocks his head. "Like the herb?"

"Yes. And the sled."

He has no idea what she's talking about. And she is waiting for him to get it.

I decide to help out.

"Citizen Kane."

Blank look.

"Rosebud."

"Ah."

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

What's your flava? (And yes, my taste in music is eclectic but categorically fairly apalling.)

So this is something to which I've given more thought than it surely merits.

Here's how it started: Nick walked into the room, and it was clear he'd just eaten peanuts. And there was this huge peanut smell swirling around him every time he moved.

Now, I love all things peanut. But for me, it quickly got a bit cloying.

And I started to wonder: what if each of us smelled like a particular food? And that was just our smell?

Like, you know how people have their own particular smells? And you might be extra attracted to someone because his or her skin just smells so good to you. And the converse is true as well.

Smell is a weird thing.

Several years ago I stopped dating someone because I just disliked his skin smell. I didn't understand what it was till we'd spent some time together, but it didn't take long to know I was never, ever going to sleep with him. Because I just couldn't imagine his skin smell next to me, all over me.

It was too sharp or metallic or something. It just bugged.

So then I was thinking how much more dramatic it would be if we all had a food smell that emanated from us constantly. It would be sort of like perfume, but really, just your smell. And then you'd really have to check for perfume compatibility, actually.

I think I would choose lemon, or grapefruit, or some other citrus. Then again, spices like cinnamon or cardamom are lovely.

And on a tangent, have you read Michael Ondaatje's poem The Cinnamon Peeler's Wife? I am not so much for poetry, but this poem is just gorgeous. Sensual and gorgeous. It's in one of my favorite books ever, his memoir - Running in the Family.

If you have a penchant for batshit crazy family stories, this is a good one. And he's such a gorgeous writer.

But back to food smells. Fresh-baked bread is delightful, but would you want to smell it all the time? Or vanilla? Or flower smells like lilac - would they eventually get too sweet?

Also, it would make finding your one of 26 that much harder, I would think. Because you couldn't change it, you'd have to really consider combinations.

Like, it might be hard to combine marshmallows and cilantro. And the person who smelled like cilantro really might only appeal to a very narrow slice of the population.

Or maybe not? Maybe it would help clarify who you're compatible with?

Anyway, hi! It's Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Things I like

I feel like since yesterday's post was all heavy and emotional, today's ought to be light and random.

Because of course today I'm all yin yang like that.

I am much more food-focused, and, unfortunately, much more sweet-snacky lately. I am clearly not going to be one of those women who ends her pregnancy under the expected weight.

The following is a list of mostly-unhealthy comestibles I like. I know that several of them are things that many other humans I know do not.

And Hillary, I'm not including raisins, although I have been on a kick as of late. I should, however, mention that while the people I know do not loathe them to the level of relegating them to the anus, there are a shocking number of raisin-haters out there.

Who knew?

So.

White Cheddar Cheez-Its. If I didn't have to think about weight or nutrition or really anything to do with health and well-being, I could probably subsist for quite a while on nothing but Cheez-Its and root beer.

Salty black licorice. I found Dutch double-salt licorice at the tea store in Old Town where Nick buys his revolting foot tea. He thinks this licorice is one of the grossest things ever. He might be right, but at least it doesn't project the smell of dead feet across the room.

Pickled herring. In vinegar, not cream sauce. I think this preference comes down from my mom's Viking ancestry. I have only one friend besides Betty who likes it.

Banana cream pie. Someone got me thinking about this recently and I am dying for some. This for me is childhood dessert, and I am totally craving it.

Tapioca pudding. Also childhood food. I bought some recently and it is just not as good as Betty's. She, however, hates it, so no longer makes it. And yes, I know it looks kind of like snot.

Cadbury cream eggs. I don't care how disgusting the egg-looking sugar gunk inside is. And I've never understood why they really want it to look like a raw egg. Even so, I love them. These and the mini eggs are two of my favorite things about Easter.

Peanut M&Ms. I love plain as well, but the benefit to these is twofold. One, you get a little protein. And two, the peanut cuts the sweet. So you can eat a whole lot more of them at one go.

Brussels sprouts. These are probably my favorite vegetable. And I think the only actually healthy thing on this list.

Popcorn. Left to my own devices, I'd have popcorn for dinner just about every night. It's a delicious accompaniment to tomato soup. Or salad. Or pickled herring. Or watermelon. Whatever else you might be having for dinner.

In other words, really, anything.

I will eat it any old way, but I love it best popped in oil on the stove and then salted, but not buttered. I've been making popcorn for decades, and yet I have a complete and utter inability to make less than twice as much as the pot should hold.

Size of pot seems to make no difference.

Some people I might be married to find it baffling and irritating; I think it's part of my charm.

Monday, March 02, 2009

The boy business. Or, heavy baggage.

I don't think about my brother much anymore.

Or at least, I don't think I do.

But I will tell you very candidly that when they told me all the initial amnio results were fine, I was elated. And when they told me it was a boy, I started to cry.

The crying turned into sobbing, turned into hysteria, turned into rage. It wasn't pretty.

I had a preference, sure. But I was entirely unprepared for my overwhelmingly negative reaction.

And because I recognized that I should be thankful that the human I'm creating is healthy, I felt so ashamed.

I came home the night of the news and headed straight for a shower. I discovered this in college: if you cry in the shower, it's not so obvious. You can cry a lot and nobody will know.

But Nick wandered in to ask about dinner. And found me soaking wet, sobbing, choking, completely and utterly disconsolate. And I didn't want to talk about it. I didn't even want to be crying.

What kind of a terrible, horrible, vile, ungrateful person is this upset over a healthy baby?

But you can't shower forever - another thing I learned in college.

So, once dried, fleece-outfitted, and ensconced in Nick's lap and arms, I proceeded to sob some more.

Here's the thing. Not only was I sad, I was angry. Not just angry. Furious. Enraged. Hateful.

"Why?" I finally wailed. "Why the fuck would I go through all this hassle just to raise some selfish, cruel asshole who is going to abandon me? I'm not going to. I'm just not."

And I meant it. I just wouldn't. This sense of betrayal and rage, it consumed me.

And this, this is where I thank god for a husband who just listened and for incredibly astute friends who know me - and my family - really well.

Because a friend of mine sat me down and said the following.

That boys don't categorically turn into selfish assholes that treat their mothers terribly.

That just because he's a boy, doesn't mean he's going to behave like my brother. Doesn't mean he's going to go out of his way to hurt me.

That how my brother behaves is his own selfish, cruel shit.

This little avocado-sized human, he's his own boy. With his own path. One that I'm going to help shape.

The words sunk in. That was exactly the issue.

Of course it's about something bigger. Something else. Something family. It just about always fucking is, isn't it?

I couldn't have gotten there on my own. And I am so thankful for getting there. Now I can actually start looking forward to The Boy.

And so my brother. While I mostly try not to think of him, because it makes me really hurt and angry, sometimes I just plain miss him.

In this picture he was 11. It was taken right before my 15th birthday party. He and I were friends by that point. We'd just started having a good relationship the year prior.

I loved that Teenage Torpor t-shirt; I got it in London on the trip to Delhi. And look how cute he is, rocking the 80s in the skinny leather tie.