Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lucky

When you move to DC, your car insurance goes up.

And for good reason. I've had a lot of bad stuff happen to my car. Being sideswiped while parked is the least of it.

My hood got all dented in what we had to assume was the process of someone standing on it. In order to smash my windshield. Just for fun.

The best, though, was when my entire wheel got stolen. They left it jacked up, with just the little nup sticking out. They took the whole fucking wheel.

The policeman told me I was lucky. Lucky they didn't steal my entire car.

Huh.

So I thought about this last weekend.

After I left the car running on the street in front of our house.

Honest to god. I didn't even notice. I got a great parking spot, parked, and walked inside with the bags I was carrying.

It's not exactly as terrible as it sounds, in that a friend of ours was double parked just ahead of me, unloading furniture that didn't fit in my little Civic. So our front door was open, and Nick and others were in and out.

But still.

I'd have done it regardless, I am certain. Because my house keys and car keys are on separate rings.

Suddenly I realized I'd forgotten something in the car. And started looking for my keys.

Just after my search began, Nick started calling for me. "Lisa!"

I don't answer. I'm digging through my purse.

"Hey, Lis! Could you come here? Lis?"

And I was thinking, ohferfuckssake just give me a second. Seriously? What's so urgent?

"Lisa."

"Hold on."

"Honey."

"Goddammit! Hang on! I'm trying to find my fucking keys!"

"Odds are they're in your car. Which you left running."

Ah. Lucky.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Dear Dad, week six

Dear Dad,

It's been just over six weeks since you walked out of the house and quietly but firmly closed the door on your life with us forever.

It's been a month since your memorial service.

In some ways it feels like much, much longer, because so much has happened and we've worked so hard in the intervening time. But in others, it's just as fresh as if you left yesterday.

I try very hard not to get into the "what-ifs" and "if onlys" and "I should'ves" - because I understand how futile they are. But I don't always succeed, and in my imagination, that morning goes differently. Or you are found in time. And you're still here with us.

Recent pictures are hard, because I look at Christmas and think, you weren't doing your best, but you were OK. Or OK enough to stay, anyway. And I wonder where the line was.

But I love this photo above. I love the life and the energy and the fun in it.

We scanned it for your slide show. I remember you playing the piano in Dacca. You played all the time when we were younger. I can't even remember the last time I heard you play, actually.

The other night I dreamt that you were still alive, and it was so very real. But then I noticed that I had a completely flat stomach, and that's what tipped me off that it was a dream. Another night, Nick and I were staying over with mom, and I woke up smelling your cologne, as if you'd just passed through the room.

The dreams I get. The smell, that I really don't understand.

You left things extremely well organized - which you always knew - and that's been incredibly helpful. Even so, there's an astounding amount of administrative stuff to deal with.

Nick has been spectacular at dealing with all of the terrible details - and was from minute one. We all knew how amazing he was, and I know it made you feel better knowing we were in good hands. You can't begin to imagine how great he's been.

For so many of these things, it's so helpful that he's a lawyer, but even more so, that he's so incredibly detail-oriented.

I have to say, I think you were right - he might actually be more anal than you. Practically unimaginable, but possibly true.

I am huge now, and so is the boy - much bigger than when you saw us last. When he moves, my whole stomach shifts. It's pretty crazy; you'd get a kick out of it.

We all miss you terribly, and wish you were still with us.

Love,

Lisa

Friday, June 26, 2009

Week 33 tummy

The boy now feels like he takes up my everywhere.

There isn't a bit of my insides that he isn't pressing up or down or sideways on.

I envision him with his feet firmly planted in my lungs (or maybe his head - I still don't know which way he's situated) and the rest of his body firmly settled into my other organs.

He gets a back itch, and rubs it up against my liver for a good scratch. And when he feels like a little toe tickle, he skibbles his feet along my ribs.

This is my vision of some of the antics in there.

I walk around holding my stomach a lot for moral support. I thank goodness I worked my abs a ton last year. I feel sorry for them getting all stretched and poked.

I feel sorry for me getting all stretched and poked.

The weird thing is, while I'm physically feeling all sorry for myself, I realize more and more that I already just love the shit out of him. I absolutely can't wait to have him, to pick him up and kiss and squeeze and love on him.

And the thing I don't get about this is that I know there's an actual human in there, but it's really impossible to imagine what he's going to be like. And even so, I love him.

So last week I started getting lightheaded a lot, and I had a couple episodes of my heart racing while I was sitting at my desk, doing nothing more strenuous than trying to edit a tedious document.

My OB sent me to a cardiologist, who did these tests that show that my heart is structurally fine. He said this is really common in pregnancy. But just to be sure there isn't something else going on, he had me spend 24 hours wearing these electrodes.

I felt all bionic. And sweaty. And itchy. And I couldn't bathe, as I'd been told no unequivocally - no bathing! These machines are expensive!

If you live in DC, you know last Monday and Tuesday were hot and sweaty. I was gross.

So they stuck all these things on me with what I have to say is very impressive adhesive and then gave me the little monitor to hang on the waist of my pants. I nearly dropped it in the toilet a couple times. I had to start tucking it in my bra while in the bathroom.

They also give you a little diary with all these slots to record every activity and every symptom. Like, if you walk up the stairs and get lightheaded - activity and resultant symptom.

Activities to include: eating, exercise, sex, bowel movements, ingesting caffeine or alcohol. . .

I will tell you, writing all this town and noting the specific time makes you hyperaware of how much snacking you do, the timing of your bowel movements, and how lacking in heart-racing romance your life might be.

What I also discovered, though, is that my lightheadedness happens mostly when I'm sitting or standing. While I'm walking, I'm usually good. And then I stop and get all dizzy.

This is still the case. I've been paying attention.

Dunno.

Anyway, I dropped off their little machine and will hear back next week on what they say. Which I know will be: it's normal. This happens to pregnant woman. It's hormones and the kid.

Everything happens to pregnant women. It's hormones and the kid. Always.

I am telling you, your leg could fall off, and they'd say, "Sure, bring it in for testing. But that happens all the time to pregnant women."

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The kind of existential crisis one never imagines having

Forgive me for going on about this again today. But this is the kind of stupidity that just makes your head explode.

It turns out Nick's big "we exist!" argument yesterday took place at the Post Office.

The only really funny part is the idea of a man who never, ever has existential crises having an enormous one in a public office.

A number of people got involved. All save one of whom were unhelpful.

Because our house does not exist.

I really would've liked to have seen Nick in action with this one.

"Don't tell me my house doesn't exist! Tell me you don't know what to do! Tell me it's DC government! Tell me it's a new situation for you! But DO NOT tell me my house doesn't exist!"

I thought it was on the phone. With how angry he is recounting it, I know this was loud and public and ugly.

Finally a woman at the PO called our council member's office. They and Nick have exchanged messages. Nick's now out of town, and I've taken over the fight to prove our very existence.

Our mortgage lenders and such cannot have their documents returned with "No Such Address" or whatever the fuck they stamp on it.

I just left a message.

"Hi, this is Lemon Gloria. You and my husband, Nick Gloria, exchanged messages yesterday about our newly purchased property, House Number Street Name - the one the Post Office refuses to deliver mail to because they claim it does not exist. . ."

We are so not naming the kid Ryan.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

And calling Fenty's 311 line is about as pleasant and constructive as removing your appendix with a rusty trowel

The problem is, you don't exist.

Honest to god, that's what some asshat at the Post Office told Nick this morning.

See, here's the thing. We bought this house that is eventually going to be spectacular. But it's a tremendous project. And everything about it, at the moment, is difficult.

Because you know we needed one more hard thing in our lives.

It has tons of space. But needs a lot of fixing. And construction.

Which will happen in increments, as we amass enough cash.

But I digress. The mail is the issue at hand.

See, it used to be part of a guest house. And so it hasn't been an address that gets mail.

We were told when we called prior to moving that as soon as we start having mail directed there, it would kick in at the Post Office, and it would start being a valid mailing address.

Alas, no.

And so, when Nick called this morning, here's what the dillweed Postmonkey said.

"Your house doesn't exist."

"What?"

"The problem is, the address doesn't exist."

"It most certainly does. I'm standing in it right now."

"The United States Post Office doesn't recognize it as an address. And if you don't exist with us, you don't exist."

To which Nick replied. "Let's just stop with this ridiculous line of conversation, because you know as well as I do that my house exists."

This made the man mad.

Nick then had to call DC government.

You call 311 and get this positive recording about Mayor Fenty and services. Their website says the following: “24 hours a day, 365 days a year, District government is accessible to every resident by dialing just three digits.”

Accessible? Sure. Helpful? Not necessarily.

Yesterday I called about trash and they directed me to a 202 number for a trash office,

The woman I then called said that the 311 people just didn't know what kind of trash schedule I was on. I had to call them back and tell them we have removal twice a week, and that I need a green recycling bin and a blue trash cart.

I asked if she was sure they wouldn't just send me back to her, and she said no, but they were the ones who have to set it up.

She said to tell them specifically. Green. Blue. And to insist. They have to do this.

Which I did. But honestly. We'll see next trash day.

If you've ever dealt with DC services, you know that those phone calls are like inviting rats to bite off pieces of your soul.

Anyway.

Nick called DC government and explained the no-mail-no-existing-address problem. And the surly woman - who I imagine he interrupted mid-manicure or coffee and danish break - asked what specifically his issues are and with which exact department.

As in, he needs to break down the steps for her in order to have her respond to them.

He didn't know which department or how to break down the issues.

"Then I can't help you."

"Look, YOU'RE the government. I need YOU to tell me which departments and what to ask for. I just need to get my mail."

I've been really annoyed about this, but now I'm wondering. If we don't exist, can we get out of property tax?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A rose by any other name

Names are such an interesting thing.

They define you. You define them.

If you've ever disliked a person intensely, I'm going to bet their name is tainted for good for you. Or if someone has broken your heart, their name might make you flinch. With the converse for positive associations.

I've always wished I had a more interesting one than Lisa. My mom had all these intriguing options picked out, and my dad wanted Lisa, and that's what they went with.

I've considered changing it before, but somehow, it's hard to imagine putting on a whole nother name. A good thing about Lisa, though, is that it's really easy for people to pronounce in a wide variety of languages.

So, whenever someone is pregnant in Nick's office, they immediately start a list of names.

As many of the names aren't necessarily attractive or even remotely normal, I understand that much, if not all of it is for self-amusement. Of which I am of course a huge fan.

But with the random "name him Ryan!" suggestion, I have been thinking about it. And what I'm wondering is this.

Considering what you know about us and our personalities and how all these pieces of us might be blended in a little human...what would you suggest would be a good name for our kid?

Monday, June 22, 2009

In which hauling around the big pregnant tummy is very much like walking a dog

It's like an invitation to talk to you.

When I would walk Gloria, all kinds of people would stop to chat. I always liked it. It was fun. Plus she was so awesome, I was always delighted when people remarked on her extraordinary character.

And something similar happens now with the belly. Just, you know, without the petting.

I've had a number of people - in checkout lines, fellow pedestrians, at the bank, really, you name it - announce the sex. "It's a girl!" Or, "You're having a boy. I can tell."

Seriously.

I'm walking down the street, listening to my iPod, and out of the blue, I realize a pronouncement is being offered to me.

The funny thing is when people ask when I'm due. If they have a birthday anywhere in August, they invariably tell me I should have it on that date.

"August 7 is a great day!"

"Hold out until the 23rd!"

It's been so consistent, and from complete strangers. It's really interesting.

A mail carrier I passed on the street the other day said, "Boy?"

I beamed. "Boy!"

"Congratulations!"

I thanked him and kept walking. I was halfway across Connecticut, when a mail truck went by. "Ma'am! Ma'am!"

I turned to see him waving frantically.

"Name him Ryan!"

Friday, June 19, 2009

Week 32 tummy

I really couldn't include my face in this picture, because I just look so tired and bitter.

I don't know if you've ever been 32 weeks pregnant, but if so, you know it's not the most fun you've ever had.

And then if you've been 32 weeks pregnant and spent the evening packing boxes, you know it pretty much sucks a tremendous amount of ass. And so you might have on a very tired sour pickle face.

But it might also make you smile to see that the boxers you are wearing produce, in their scrunched down state, a similar effect to your erection skirt.

And then you are hit with the fact that really, in not so long, the large jicama (???) you're currently carrying is going to become a little human living outside your body! And then you can start to work on getting back to a place where you might wear outfits you think are cute, and mince around feeling cute in them.

The end, it is in sight!

And today, should all go well, we close on the new place. And move for the second time in a month.

And don't move again for 30 years.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I'm going to bet the answer is no, but that's just a guess

So, I'd like to know if this has ever happened to you.

Say you're sleeping on the couch. You are lying on your side, as you do when you're pregnant, so as not to further reduce what feels like a paltry amount of blood flowing to your brain and other important places.

You're couch height - roughly two or so feet up in space. Facing the room.

This matters. In case you're wondering.

You need to get up, but at this point you're still asleep, although very lightly, as you heard the alarm go off earlier, and you heard the shower running. You know your roommate-for-life is up and about.

Suddenly, you're startled awake.

By an enormous, squeaky clean, naked man. He is doing a frenetic arms pumping legs flailing everything shaking nakey dance. His hair is standing up. Droplets of water are flinging themselves off his body.

He is singing a very fast version of "What Have You Done for Me Lately?"

Happened to you? Ever?

If the answer is yes, please, I beseech you, please let me know.

And if failed make you laugh till you couldn't breathe, I'd like to know that as well.

Ooooooh ooooh ooooh yeah.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Baby hiccups!

The boy had hiccups at 3 am.

Apart from the fact that Mama really wanted to be asleep, it was pretty cool.

He's gotten big enough that every time he moves, he seems to be shoving into one of my organs. And the top of my stomach is all sore from his prodding and thumping.

Sometimes I'm walking along and I feel a twinge in my bladder, and I envision a tiny little hand reaching out and squeezing it, just out of curiosity.

But this was totally different.

At first I thought he was just tap tap tapping at me. But it was fast and totally rhythmic, and I finally realized this is what baby hiccups feel like!

Me, I get hiccups all the time, although oddly enough, not in the last several months. I used to get them at least once a week, and if I got them once in a day, I'd get them again.

When I was in college and in my early 20s, it turned out to be a great way to meet guys.

I'd be out at a party or bar, and invariably, at some point in the evening, start hiccuping. So people would try to scare me. Or count while I held my breath. Or whatever.

There are a million suggested remedies. I can't remember most of them, but they include putting a spoon of sugar in your mouth, standing very straight with your back flat against the wall, counting backwards...You'd think I'd be able to remember the weirder ones, but I can't.

The only one I think really works is bending over and drinking from the opposite side of the glass. It's hard to describe and awkward to do in public, but very easy and effective.

The worst is getting hiccups when you're on the verge of sleep. And I don't understand why this happens, because isn't your diaphragm all relaxed?

But anyway, you don't want to wake up enough to get up and drink water, so you try to just breathe through them. And then after enough of them, you're fully awake and hauling yourself up for the upside-down water.

So there we were, the boy and I, awake at 3 am with the hiccups. And all I could think was, oh, little dude, I know!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rationality and appliances

So maybe you have an argument with your spouse.

An insanely heated, would come to fisticuffs - if you were that sort of people - fight, while walking down the street.

Even though one of you is twice as big as the other, you are people with equal amounts of intensity, and a comparable ability to hold your ground. If emotional intensity and stubbornness could be measured or sized, your enormity would match almost precisely.

And when you get that upset, you lose sight of whether you are right or not. Or reason in general.

So the very bad terrible fight? Worthy of blocks of violent, swirling, caustic magenta vitriol?

About the upcoming temporary location of your upcoming washing machine and dryer.

Kid you not.

I won't bore you with details, but will simply say that the options are either the basement - where the current hook-up is. Or the second floor, where we ultimately want them. But where water- and gas-line work will need to be done to install them. Holes will need to be cut in walls. Things like that.

I was certain Nick wanted them in the basement purely to inconvenience me. Not because, for the time being, it's practical, because we'll actually be able to, um, use them.

No!

He wanted me to have to regularly haul my big belly plus laundry into dark, creepy scariness (it is, I assure you). To lumber down increasingly difficult stairs.

When the reasonable choice would be to have both delivered straight upstairs. And then just wait (and possibly wait and wait) until a plumber would be able to fully install them both.

Selfish! Asshole!

I must say that I have never taken such an extreme and volatile position on appliances in my life.

This continued until about a block from home, at which point I stopped and began crying. HYSterically.

Wailing. Sobbing. All the way down the block. Past pedestrians. Into the lobby. Up the stairs. Down the hall. In the door. Straight to the bathroom - the only spot with any privacy at all.

And after a period of the kind of violent, ragged, utterly despondent sobbing that necessitates a towel rather than just a tissue, I finally calmed down enough to realize and articulate this:

It's not about the fucking washing machine. I want my dad back.

And now, after a night of sleep and a morning of distance, I've also realized the following:

It really doesn't make a difference to me where we put the washer and dryer when we move in.

Nick's the one doing all the laundry lately.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The truth is

I get asked how I'm doing all the time.

There's this whole spectrum of people in your life who you see daily, and who may be lovely and kind, but are not the people you seek out to hug you when you cry. Which you invariably do. And they ask how you're doing.

"How are you?"

You know they care. So what can you say?

I typically say, "Fine, thanks." Or, "Pretty good, considering."

Or something of that nature.

Because really, what are you going to say? I'm devastated? I hate this? It sucks? It hurts? It's the worst thing I've ever dealt with?

That's too much to put on someone who is not a closeclose person. That would only be awkward for both of you.

Although sometimes the question makes me cry, which is an answer in itself, I suppose.

The truth is, I miss my dad terribly. I feel like there's a big hole in my life. I wasn't ready. How can you ever be ready? And I didn't get to say goodbye.

I cry every day, at least once, but usually more. Today I started out crying, and it hasn't stopped.

My dad walked out the door a month ago.

And I wonder, what did he do on his last day? I hate that he was alone. He had our family picture in his wallet. Was he thinking about us?

Was he scared?

I hope he wasn't scared. I hope it didn't hurt.

I hope it was just relief.

Friends who have lost parents say it just takes a long, long time to feel better. In the meantime, it just hurts. And you just have to work through it. And wait.

And so in this meantime, I say fine. Fine and fine and fine.

What else to say?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Week 31 tummy. Plus stripey shirt and hair flipping!

This is such an odd and unflattering photo. So of course I had to post it.I'm not sure what is going on here. What am I doing? I'm not a hair flipper; I don't even have flippy hair.

My tummy is now big enough that I get congratulated on the street. If Nick is with me, he gets congratulated. People I pass look at my stomach and then up in my face and beam at me. Women with small children in strollers give me knowing, slightly pitying looks as I waddle by, sweating and panting in the heat.

I've been told that in the scheme my tum is not that big, but to me, the belly carrier, it feels ginormous.

And you know how sometimes you see a bug that has gotten flipped over on its shell? And it is flailing its little legs frantically, but it just can't right itself?

This is me. Every time I struggle to turn over in bed.

I tried drawing a picture of me flailing - several times, in fact - but it invariably looked pornishly like stick-figure masturbation.

Anyway, happy Friday!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The molecule before spilling

I'm full. No more. I just can't deal with anything else.

You know how you can fill a container to this perfect point of full but not running over, where you can see the curved meniscus? I don't quite understand the science, except that all these molecules have this strong attraction and hold together, but at a certain point you have to stop, or you have added too many molecules, or something.

And then it spills over.

I'm at the almost almost spilling over point. I feel like all my molecules are on the edge of bursting apart. Like I should be physically holding myself together.

I just cannot handle anything else.

Nothing administrative. Nothing emotional. Nothing nitpicky. Nothing hard. Nothing stupid.

I don't have anything to give. I don't have any extra energy for figuring anything out. I get myself dressed, I get myself to work, I do the bare minimum, and I go home. I manage that, and not a whole lot else.

And there is all these myriad pieces of house shit, almost all of which have fallen on Nick. But there are parts that only I can do.

And everything seems like it has 47 more steps and is more convoluted and complicated than it needs to be.

And I seriously feel like if I have to deal with One More Thing That Is Harder Than It Should Be I am going to Lose. My. Shit.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

But simple ones. Not the kind with trees and cars and people or anything that elaborate.

As you know, I have had some very positive dealings with the Fairfax County police.

But it turns out I am not so good on understanding the alarm thing.

So in a couple weeks, we are moving into this new place. For which we will be getting a security system. Which means we have to get a phone. According to Nick.

I saw no reason to get a phone. We use our cell phones for everything. Why waste the money?

He said we needed it for the security system. This made no sense to me.

"Because," Nick said, "if the alarm goes off, the phone then calls the security service. And they alert the police."

"The phone calls them? By itself? Are you sure?"

"How do you think it works?"

"So, someone breaks in. This sets off the alarm. Which then triggers the alarm for our house at the police station."

In my mind, this was the precise process. Rings at your house, rings at the police.

Why not?

"So, wait, Lis. How do they know which house?"

"They have a little alarm for everyone."

"The police have some big grid with all the house numbers?"

"No, it's more like they have a wall with streets and model houses. And the house with the alarm going off starts ringing and flashing."

"The police have a wall of tiny little models of everyone's houses?"

"Well, the only ones that light up and ring are the ones with alarm systems."

This turned into a larger conversation, involving much mockery of me. As you may imagine. I won't bore you with the details.

Suffice it to say, I get it.

Yes, it makes a lot more sense for your alarm, your particular alarm, to call your particular security company. And for them to alert the police.

But then of course I was all, well, what if someone cuts the phone wires?

Nick pointed out we are not The Louvre, nor are we likely to be involved in any kind of spy thriller.

Fine. Yes. Fine. We need a phone.

I still like the idea of the little tiny city with houses that light up and flash, though.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The boat story

This was one of the stories I told at my dad's memorial service.

Several months before Nick and I met, he bought a sailboat across the bay. A 25-year old sailboat. With a a 25-year old engine, old sail, old radio, old navigation system.

Old old old. Needed lots of work.

Over the winter, he had a lot of work done on the boat, and he did a lot of work himself. But he was tired of constantly driving over to the Eastern Shore, and he was itching to get his boat in the water. And so finally, in the spring, all the body work had been done, and the boatyard needed the space, and he'd gotten a slip on this side of the bay. So he needed to bring it across.

Now, it didn't have a sail, because the old one was too damaged, and the new one wasn't ready. So he asked my dad if he'd motor the boat - with the old old, one-cylinder engine - across the bay with him.

The deadline was coming up on moving the boat, and the weekend they had to do it was a really cold, crummy one. It was grey and rainy and horrible. But they had to move it.

So my mom and I drove them to the Eastern Shore, dropped them off at the boat, and then we went outlet shopping. For hours. We took our time getting back to this side.

And still, when we got to the marina, there was no sign of them. We tried calling. Nothing. We waited. And waited. And waited.

And finally, they arrived.

Nick's hair was standing up. He looked completely frazzled. My dad was beaming. You can see Nick's forced smile in the photo, and the huge difference in their demeanors.

You see, it started out OK.

And then they got halfway across the bay. To the point where the water is deep enough for the really big boats. I think it's called the shipping channel.

So in the rain and fog, they got to the point where they were in the path of the big boats. And then the engine started smoking. Like, really smoking, in a kind of alarming way.

Now, my husband hates it when I say he was "freaking out" - so I'll just say he "became concerned." At this point, Nick became concerned.

And my dad? My dad said, "Oh, don't worry about it. I'm sure it'll be fine."

The problem was, with no sail, the engine, the old putt-putt engine, was all they had to get across.

And at this point, they realized that the radio had stopped working. As had the navigation system.

And Nick became more concerned. And my dad said, "Oh, we'll be fine."

So Nick handed him the map, and said, "OK, Mike, this is the marina we're headed for. And there's a radio tower next to it. Do you think that's that radio tower?"

My dad looked at the map, looked up, shrugged, and said, "Yeah, sure. It could be."

"Mike! You're the one who was the navigator in the Air Force!"

My dad took another look at the map, turned to Nick, and said, "You know, aerial maps look a whole lot different from nautical maps."

Nick became more, um, concerned.

They arrived, as I said, with Nick looking all frazzled, and my dad in great spirits.

"How was it?"

Nick's reply was that it was a challenge. He needed a drink. My dad said it was terrific.

I will say that when he wasn't the cause of it, my dad was amazing in a crisis.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Recognizing, of course, that Tarzan Boy may not figure into everyone's memories from the 80s

I've loved Total Eclipse of the Heart since I was 14. We didn't have MTV in India, so I didn't see the video till years later, but we played the song over and over and over.

My friend Steve sent this along, and it's seriously one of the best things I've ever seen.


And because I am on an 80s kick (OK, so I'm always on an 80s kick), I just bought the following song. Don't judge. It's nostalgia.

They played Tarzan Boy a ton at the disco we used to go to. Which is where we are, post-prom, in this photo. It was always really dark and smokey in there, so I didn't realize until I saw this photo that the walls were painted camouflage.
So cool, no?

But perhaps not quite as cool as the breakdancing we used to do.
Ha.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Week 30 tummy

These jeans I am wearing?

Nick helped me pull them up this morning.

It turns out that the fast-growing head of cabbage in my uterus, while increasingly dancey and fun, makes all kinds of new things more difficult. Like putting on socks, and tying shoes, and just anything that involves bending over in general.

Even underwear has become a challenge. Because you have to hold onto something, and put one leg through, and then recalibrate yourself in space (I think of Alice, and in my head I say, "recalculating" in her voice), and then deal with the other leg and the up-pulling.

And so I sat down on the bed to put my feet through the legs of the jeans, but at some point had to stand up to actually pull them up.

Nick walked in and I was sort of huffing and puffing, all out of breath and struggling, with the waistband stuck halfway up my thighs. He started to laugh, and I peered up, bent over, both hands tightly clenching the thick elastic sides, and started to laugh as well.

Which put me in severe danger of falling over sideways.

And so he reached down, put both hands on the front elastic, and pulled.

I was going to look at this as a new low, but then a friend of mine pointed out that being so tall, Nick has better leverage.

Really, it's just physics. No?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Comcast douchemonkeys redux

There are such bigger things in the world - in my world - than this.

But I have to say, this indignance is kind of an enjoyable respite from the crushing, breathtaking grief.

So I got this angry angry venting call from Nick.

I suggested he get in touch with the person at Comcast who was actually helpful, but I think he thinks this is beyond help. We'll see if he calls her, but I doubt it.

Here's the deal.

So you know how all indignant and "fuck fuck fucktards douchemonkeys we hate them!" we were about the craptacular service we got from Comcast all those months ago?

After that, I got a very nice email from someone high up the chain, who was polite and professional, and I believe is the reason we actually got an response or service or attempt to fix our issue. This is the woman I want him to contact.

We kept Comcast until a week ago (we thought). Because at Nick's they were our only option.

So Nick requested a stop in service on the day we moved out. But in the last couple days, he's gotten calls forwarded from his home phone.

The phone we no longer have. Because, like everything else, it is in storage.

So.

Upon enquiry, Comcast said, "Yeah, well, you never returned the TiVo card. So we keep charging you your monthly service until you return it."

In my imagination, they are high-fiving each other at the call center. One more customer fucked over!

There is probably a tally at the office. At the end of every month, there is a prize for most cusomers fucked while pretending to give good service.

There is a posted list in the kitchen of things not to remind customers to do while canceling service. Drag it out! Keep them paying!

But back to reality.

The TiVo card is in storage until the 20th.

At this point, it's not like it's a lot more money. It's just one more fucking piece of Comcassholery.

According to them, sure, they could reduce our service to just the TV cable and eliminate the phone and wireless.

But it won't reduce our bill. Even though we are using none of it, and when he called to request a stop in service, they never said, "We stop it when you return your card."

Her suggestion? "Why don't you just transfer your existing service to your new residence?"

"Because I would rather eat rocks and nails."

I wasn't there, but I believe he went on to explain how Comcast, in his experience, is the biggest bunch of incompetent assholes he's ever encountered, and he hates them with a fiery passion.

Or something along those lines.

My husband, as you know, is incredibly polite until provoked. And then, he is creative and generous with the profanity and epithets. You all know about the peeing on the carpet and such.

She ended the call with, "Well, have a nice day."

And Nick replied, "And you have a Comcastic day."

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Days

I have days where I wake up OK.

Days like yesterday, where the boy is kicking, and I focus on that, and the fact that yellow sunshine is poking its nose through the blinds, and that the air outside is warm.

And I have days like today.

Where I wake up with my throat already thick and swollen and aching with the fast-growing lump that you'd think would be big enough to prevent the sobs from choking out, but somehow, it is not.

Where I put one foot in front of the other and make it all the way to the office. But the deep breaths and the mind-numbing work that I am ostensibly focusing on don't actually keep the tears from flowing down my cheeks.

The funny part is that now, instead of disappearing into my lap, they bead up on top of my stomach. I happened to glance down to find a little tear colony staring up at me

There's this vast chasm between what I understand intellectually and what I feel.

Because I know in my mind that it wasn't that he wanted to go, that he stuck it out as long as he could. That he really wanted to be here. That he didn't want to leave us.

My brain, somewhere my brain knows this. But not the rest of me.

My skin feels so thin. Like my clothing could scrape beneath the surface and light touches could bruise down to my organs. My heart just feels so exposed, so raw. Fragile and raw.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Oh, Angel. Or, you really can't take us anywhere.

I’m pretty sure that the woman at the funeral home had never been faced with anyone quite like Betty, Nick, and me.

She was lovely, she really was. She made the experience as easy as possible. She outlined things we needed, and things we needed to get and do, and offered to take care of every detail, or provide instructions on how to do them.

She was sedate and funereal, but in a good way. Not cheesy, not sales-y. Very thorough, kind, and just all around professional.

And I don't know if you've been in a funeral home. There are sales opportunities galore. There are a lot of swanky coffins. And there are elaborate doo-dads to attach to them. Like little golf bags, or trout on a line, or cars, or the emblem of your alma mater. . .You get the picture.

But our needs were simple. And Angel met them very nicely.

It is a little hard, however, not to raise an eyebrow when you meet someone named Angel at a funeral home. You see from the card that her name is Angela, but she goes by Angel.

At very least, it makes you tilt your head and think, "Oh."

So Angel sat us down to talk about what we wanted. Our needs were straightforward. My dad wanted to be cremated, and that was what we were doing.

Once we got to the point of discussing cremation she said, “Now, do you know what you will be doing with the cremains? Because we can. . .”

Nick cut her off. “I’m sorry. Did you just say ‘cremains’?”

“Yes.”

“Cremains?”

“Yes. When someone is buried, we call them remains. When someone is cremated, they’re called cremains.”

“Did you make that up?”

She was clearly surprised. “Oh, no, no. You see, ashes, well, ashes just sounds too harsh to most people.”

“But cremains? Seriously? It sounds like it should have a trademark after it.”

I’m not going to say we were jovial, because this was really fucking hard, but none of us could overlook this gem.

“My coffee’s a little dark. Could you please pass the cremains?”

“Wow, these cremains are really fresh!”

And so on.

She wanted to laugh, Angel did, you could tell, but she also didn’t know quite what to do.

We asked her if she’d just say ashes. It was easier for us.

And then we moved on to the next order of business. While we were doing so, Betty took a mint out of the jar on the table. She quietly unwrapped it, stuck it in her mouth, and (she thought) very subtly made a face, grabbed a tissue, and spit it out.

With anyone else, this would’ve passed unnoticed. Or at any rate, uncommented on.

Not us.

“Bad mint, huh?”

“Maybe it would go down better with some cremains?”

Monday, June 01, 2009

A little bit of Friday

I haven't yet processed a lot of what's been going on, but I have to say, Friday was very cathartic. I'm still completely exhausted, and emotionally, I'm kind of a limp little dishrag.

But I want to get some of these details down before they fade.

I'm so glad about the service.

The top picture was on the front of the program, and the second picture was on the back. I think they capture my dad's professional and whimsical sides.

Friday was lovely, it really was. So many people who loved him, who love us, came to share in our grief and our celebration of his life.

Our friend Jonathan hired a bagpiper to play out front at the beginning and end of the service. I don't know what all he played, but the song I heard on the way in was, "Michael, Row Your Boat Ashore." On exit, he played "Amazing Grace."

I don't like bagpipes except at funerals, where they are so mournful, so perfect.

The service itself was beautiful - very personal. It was in a church, but not churchy. One friend, who is Jewish, got up to speak, and said that she had a lot of stories to tell, but she'd decided to skip some, lest the cross fall down off the wall on top of her.

These are our people.

Our family friend Pat gave the most amazing eulogy. People keep telling me how perfect it was, and it was.

Several family friends and I were on the program to speak, and Tori sang Vissi d'Arte, which was spectacular. And then we invited others to share their memories. And people told wonderful stories - both happy and sad.

There were a number that I liked, but this one is just so my dad.

An old colleague who couldn't be at the service emailed a friend to read this memory:

He'd worked on the same project as my dad, but in Washington, while we were posted in Delhi. And with the time difference, he regularly called my dad for work during our dinner hour. Which annoyed my dad no end - a fact that he voiced regularly to this colleague.

So at some point, this man came to Delhi for meetings. And one night, at 2 am, he got a phone call from my dad. Being sound asleep, he awoke in a panic, surprised to hear my dad's voice on the phone.

"Hi! Are you asleep?"

"Yes, yes I am."

"That's good. I just wanted to make sure you were sleeping OK. See you in the morning!"

So very much my dad.