Saturday, October 30, 2010

How to feel like a terrible mother

I'm currently hiding from my kid.

I brought a large glass of wine up to the bedroom and left Nick in the kitchen to struggle with the kid and the yogurt. And I just heard them head down the hall for a bath.

I should go help. And I just don't want to.

Because right now, everything is WHINE. And Nonononono! And WAAAAAAAH WHINE WAH HAH HAH. And WHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNEE

I would like to be one of those mothers who rises above, who is all, "Poor dear. He's frustrated because he can't express himself."

And instead I'm all, I wonder how long and how much effort it would take to put him in full-time day care? And if I work full time plus get a second job could we afford a nanny at night and on the weekends?

I hear the whiny screech for the 547th time in a day and I think, oh shutupshutupshutupshutup!

You know I love him so much. And he's still the cutest thing I've ever seen in my entire life.

But I kind of can't stand him right now.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Underwear dance party boots. Although I think I could wear them with leggings as well.

I took back those hurty little hellboxes.

By that I mean, I'm no longer the owner of fabulous leopard print heels.

Which makes me very sad, because one, I spent so much time justifying! And two, I need - NEED - some leopard in my life. And three, they made me tall! And four, I love hairy shoes.

I know they call it pony hair, although I don't understand why.

Years ago when I still had a good relationship with my sister-in-law, we were shopping and trying on pony hair shoes. I said I loved them but just couldn't bring myself to wear shoes that used to be parts of cute little ponies. She insisted they weren't actually pony bits, but rather cows.

So we had this big debate in the shoe section of Macy's, and she went and asked the shoe guy, who laughed out loud at her question.

They're not made of pony. They are in fact cow.

Anyway, I wore the hellboxes around the house for half an hour, much of it sitting with my feet up, admiring the glamour...and I realized that they were stiff and squinchy and just terribly uncomfortable. My feet were begging to be let out.

So I boxed them up, and marched them over to Nine West. They were all delighted and welcoming until I said I had a return, at which point they were polite-ish but kind of attitudey.

Which prompted me to be bitchfaced attitudey back. I get very pursed lips flared nostril glarey when people do that to me.

I was all, "Of course I have the receipt and go ahead and act like this is a huge effort and pointedly examine the soles because no, I haven't worn them, and the reason I'm returning them is because they're more uncomfortable than driving nails into the bottom of your feet and then riding Metro with a bunch of idiot tourists, fuckyouverymuch."

But the story ends well!

Because I realized that these lovely grey over-the-knee boots were totally on sale at Piperlime and also I found a 10% off code and so for under $20 I swapped the hurty hellboxes for some deliciously comfortable suede cutie boots.

With no guilt! Because most of the money was already spent on shoes anyway!

And now I'm trying to figure out what to wear them with. So far I've just been having an underwear dance party in them. Yes, that's what's going on above.

Don't judge. At least, not till you've walked a mile. With no pants.

In fact, maybe today will be a No More Pants kind of day.

So maybe just go ahead and judge.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cheddar cheese and anal glands. Not together.

I've been on a sharp cheddar cheese kick recently.

I'm one of those people who will pick something and have it over and over and over. Lately, I'm really craving Trader Joe's chocolate peanut butter pretzel thingies. And since now I get to TJ's almost never, I just have them on my mind. Daily.

But I do this with food all the time. I'll get on a Brussels sprouts kick, and have them every night for dinner for weeks. And then, it's on to the next thing.

I don't get bored. Until I do.

Also, every time I really like something at TJ's, they stop carrying it. I take it personally.

+++++

Maude was visiting this past weekend, and she wanted a cheese sandwich, and I asked what kind. I said we had a good cheddar, but we had a number of options.

And she replied, "Provolone. I've had a lot of cheddar in the last 10 years."

+++++

When Maude and I lived together, her mom gave us a pumpkin to carve. Which we never got around to doing.

So I cut it up and ate a piece. And bit by bit, over the week, I ate the whole damn pumpkin. Maude told people about it for years.

Also, I dislike pumpkin pie.

+++++

I don't know if you've ever had a dog who needed to have his or her anal glands squozen.

Gloria was one of those. When her anal glands got full, she'd scoot around on her butt. And then you'd take her off to the vet and they'd express them. That's what they called it. "Expressing the anal glands."

One time my dad decided to try it at home. How hard could it be? He was successful.

He never did it again.

Anyway, the vet told us to feed her a little bt of pumpkin every day to add fiber to her diet and help with the anal gland situation. It did.

+++++

I didn't have a plan when I sat down to write, and I'm actually kind of shocked that I started with cheese and ended up with anal glands.

I bet you're not, though, huh?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkins, poison, floorboards, and just basically more ways to get yourself arrested

I'm not a violent person, and I don't think I have anger issues, but sometimes I think some very terrible things.

Not just ha ha let's fling poo at people. No.

More like oh, what's a little murder here and there anyway.

Seriously.

It started when Nick suggested we have a pumpkin carving contest. And then he carved them both, since I'm not such a pumpkin carver.

Also, the inside of pumpkin gunk really grosses me out. Although Maude told me that the seeds are high in zinc and good things to feed men to improve their baby missiles. If that's up your alley.

No pun.

The second pumpkin is mine, and we both like it better. So basically, I win. Don't you think?

Anyway, more on-topic, we live in this urban neighborhood with a lot of post-bar foot traffic on weekend nights. So Nick didn't want to leave our pumpkins out front for drunken idiots to smash. Which I think is only smart.

But it got me thinking.

"What if you put poison all over your pumpkin and someone stole it and died? Could you get in trouble?"

"Yes."

"But why? If it was on your property?"

His explanation had something to do with using force out of proportion to the crime, if I recall correctly.

"But you could use rat poison. You could pretend you were just trying to kill neighborhood rats. And if someone stole it and died, well, that wasn't your intention."

"It's a pumpkin, Lisa."

He went on to say that people used to be jailed (or maybe it was put to death?) for hunting on a land owner's property. But then over time chattel property became less important and a higher value was put on human life and a lot of other details that I didn't really listen to but basically you can't shoot someone for breaking into your house.

And of course I am in favor of gun control, and I can't imagine actually shooting someone. Or more likely stabbing someone, as that's my constant refrain. But you'd have to be really close and strong and I just don't seem like a good stabber, you know?

Unless it were my husband and he was sleeping. But I haven't felt like doing since the PPD, I don't think.

So Nick gave the example of setting up a shotgun to shoot if the front door was opened. So if you weren't home and someone broke in, they'd be killed. Which apparently people have actually done.

And somehow, although I will never own a gun, I understand this.

"But you aren't actually shooting them yourself. And they're breaking in."

"You can't protect property with murder. It's not a good enough reason to kill someone."

"What you should do in that case is have rotting floorboards just inside the front door. And you keep them covered with carpets. And then the person who breaks in falls through to the basement and dies."

"What's up with you and the killing imaginary people?"

I don't know. I really don't.

Although, seriously, look at this: This guy in London moved out for a week for his house to be decorated, and squatters moved in and changed the locks.

Would that not make you violent?

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's all fun and cow farting until somebody winds up in jail

Perhaps you read the post on DCist last week about PETA and the farting cows?

PETA had announced they were going to blast cow fart noises outside of a DC steak house. A friend sent me the link, suggesting it was right up my alley.

Naturally, I replied that I thought it would be more effective if they had fart spray to go along with it. Don't you think?

To which she replied that maybe I could donate some of Jordan's used diapers, or some of the poo from our alley.

Which seems like the kind of thing that is never going to end well.

I'd call Nick and be all, "Hi. I'm in jail...Oh. Well, it all started because I donated some poo..."

I didn't. In case you're wondering.

Now, there are people that I wouldn't mind throwing poo at, but random meat-eaters are not among them. I'm not in favor of poor treatment of animals, but I'm also not a PETAer. They're a little extreme.

I realize this might sound odd coming from someone with a list of people I'd like to throw poo at. But it's a pretty short list.

More of a category list. I mean, there are some named people on there. But then there are rubrics - like "asshole drivers who cut you off" and things like that. Or maybe just "asshole drivers," really.

It would be so great to have a bag of poo and a catapult attached to the side of your car for those people. I know I'd find it really satisfying.

Although now that I'm thinking about it, that'd probably be another call from jail, huh?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ball! Boat! Hole! Hello 14 months!


You are now 14 months old, and boy, are you fun.

Exhausting, non-stop, but fun, so fun. Every day is a new surprise. Even though sometimes the surprise is a week-old half-filled milk bottle in a brass urn.

The urn in the video turns out to be your favorite place to put stuff. Dad saw a your dog's butt sticking out, decided to look in, and wow! Every ball and fish and block we couldn't find! Right there in one place!

I know everyone says babies grow so fast, and I was all, yah, of course, uh huh. But suddenly you're so barely a baby and so much a big boy! I still kiss you all over your face at every opportunity, because one day I won't be able to and I revel while I can.

Now you say so many words. Ball is still your favorite, as far as I can tell. A lot of days when you wake up, it's the first thing you say. "Ball!?"

Although it's more like baawww.

Oh, and also hi! Hi! Hiiii! And hot. Hot! Perennial favorites.

You've just added Nana to Mama and Dada. You now also regularly say: wall, uh-oh, boat, hole, and nose. Although they sound like: waaww, uh-oh!, boooh, hole said with a posh British accent minus the L, and noow.

I haven't heard them, but you also say "ear" and "dog." And when the downstairs dogs bark, you always stop whatever you're doing and bark along. Wooouw! Wooouw!

The fact that you say hole is kind of random and funny, and if we didn't live in an old house with holes in the floor, you probably wouldn't.

But we had these holes in the wood, and you liked to put your fingers in them. And then one day, Dad drilled them into perfect circles, cut up a dowel, and filled the holes. This rocked your little world.

They are, however, still holes to you. You will point to and poke at them and say, "Heowwwww." If anyone ever had a need for a tour of the historic holes of the house, you'd be up for the task.

You're very chatty, and you look at people, point to something, and say things like, "Juhjuhjuhjuhjuh!" and "Leeedleleedleleedlelee!"

You still prefer to crawl, and you crawl like lightening, but you're getting more confident in your steps. You also still stick every damn thing in your mouth, and I'll tell you, I'm going to be really excited when that passes.

Not surprisingly, you hate the cold wipes on your butt, and you really protest them. Hell, I would too. But the only plug for the wipe warmer is behind your crib, which could only lead to disaster. Sorry for the cold ass wipings, little friend.

OH! And you also say butt paste! "Bah pa!" You're pretty delighted with yourself on that one.

I love seeing your sweet little pink face first thing in the morning. You're such a happy fellow, and you wake up smiling and giggling, which makes us do the same.

I love you love you love you.

Mama

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nick likes to call it a jab well done

I've become kind of like a reformed smoker.

And by that I mean this: After months and months of not sleeping, or sleeping poorly, of waking up at 4 am, of having random night sweats...I started getting acupuncture. She also has me drinking an herbal concoction, which tastes like carpet backing, or anyway, what I imagine carpet backing to taste like.

Anyway.

So I spent all those months exhausted and dragging and just scraping through each and every day, waiting to sleep. And waking unrefreshed and starting over.

I contacted my OB and an acupuncturist, and started the acupuncture just before going in for blood tests. All of which came back normal.

And if I'd not already started feeling better from the acupuncture treatment, I'd have railed against the "normal" diagnosis, because nothing was normal. Something was clearly off.

Which leads to my reformed smokerness. Because now, now I want everyone to get acupuncture.

I am like this, I know. I love it! Here, have some! You'll love it too!

But really, when you don't sleep for a long time and then you suddenly start sleeping, all night, for nights in a row, it is seriously like Kansas to Oz. It's like unicorns and puppies and magic dipped in chocolate and slathered on rainbows.

Or maybe not exactly, because they might drown in the chocolate plus you'd have to smoosh them to get them to stick to the rainbow, which sounds rather violent and brutal. But you know what I'm saying.

My world improved immensely in a matter of weeks.

And then last night, J woke up sobbing at 4:30 am. Nick is gone, so I wasn't sleeping all that well anyway. So I got up to comfort him, and then went back to bed, but I was awake. Awakey awake.

You know that terrible little awakey dance you do in those early dark hours? When you want to be asleep, but you're awake, but hopeful that if you lie very still you'll soon be asleep?

I don't know about you, but I'm all:

I'm hot under the covers. But I can't kick them off because the air in the room is really chilly. But I could just stick one leg out. That'll cool me down. But what if I get too cold and then I have to wait to warm up before I go to sleep?

I'll just lie very still and hope to cool down.

I have to pee. But not terribly. But I'd be more likely to fall back asleep with an empty bladder. But if I get up to pee, I have to walk down the hall. I might step on a bug, so I'll have to turn on a light. And then if I turn on a light, it'll wake me up more.

I'll stay in bed.

I'm thirsty. But if I have another sip of water, it'll make me have to pee more. But I hate being thirsty. I can't fall asleep thirsty. But if I finish the water, then I won't fall asleep because I'll worry that I'll wake up thirsty again and then I'll definitely have to go downstairs to get more.

Also, my friend Jennifer in junior high, did she like Stacy more than me?

And is that a normal noise? Or a not-normal noise?

Shit like this. It goes on for about an hour.

And then you finally get up, turn on the light against bugs and noises, pee, get water, cool yourself down in the process, get back in bed, and sleep. You should've just gotten up a damn hour ago.

See why I'm all out proselytizing about the acupuncture and the magic and the non-smoking unicorns?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I am an American aquarium drinker


Hi. My name is Lisa, and I fell into a hole for a few days.

And then all these nice hands reached in and helped me climb out.

It wasn't one of those deep deep holes where the sides are worn down from years of sliding and you can't get a finger hold to scratch your way up towards daylight without some serious help. And everything is all crazy and swirly and awful. No, it wasn't one of those.

Thankfully.

It was, if I have to be honest, more of a grump-hole.
I turn out to be kind of a delicate flower, despite my good Viking ancestry and hearty prairie farmer genes. And sometimes I just fall into a hole. Or dig my own. And stomp around in it.

And so, after a wonderful weekend and a fancy-schmancy wedding and too much wine and not enough sleep, there was this hole, just waiting for me to stumble in.

So I sat around in this pit of meaningless pointlessness, and wallowed in how meaninglessly pointless my life is, and how it doesn't matter and I don't matter and who cares anyway and oh whatever.

I could go on like this (and I assure you, I did) but you get the gist.

It might have passed in a few days or so anyway, or it could've hung around for a week or two, like the meainglesspointlessness likes to do, but in the midst of my I'm-so-pointless and-nothing-I-do-is-remotely-important-and-who-cares...you all were like, um, WE care. YOU matter and we care.

It warmed the cockles of my grumpy little wallowing in pointlessness heart. (And what are heart cockles?)

So I stood up, climbed out, and reminded myself that I might not do anything that changes the world, but really, I'm not a huge fan of humanity anyway.

I mean, I like, love, and adore lots of people - you among them. And I don't wish people ill (or at any rate, not more than a handful). But when have I ever been out to save the world? OK, there was that stint in the Peace Corps, but I kind of sucked at it. Yes, there were unhelpful circumstances, like being in love with a gay boyfriend, and also probably being clinically depressed. But I did hate it.

Like I said, I'm not a world saver.

Also, I'm not a stick-to-the-point-er. What is my point?

Um. I'm pretty sure it was going to be this: I need to matter, and you make me feel like I do. I'm so pleased and flattered that you care about me and my little family and this space I've created.

I can't promise I won't fall in another hole, because I'm a physical and metaphorical faller. But you seem to really like me anyway.

So, once again, I need to thank you. Because you make me smile and you care about me and you're such a good part of my world.

Plus, while I'm on the falling topic, I'm also a dropper. Because to be very candid with you, just now, at lunchtime, I dropped my opened can of tuna, thus dousing myself in oil, getting it all over the floor, and cutting my hand in the process.

Bonus: I get to spend the afternoon smelling like tuna.

Hi.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Soooo, yah

So I was going to tell you how today Jordan is 14 months old. Hooray!

And how much I love Minneapolis, and how if I weren't such a weather wimp I could totally live there, because wow, it's beautiful and walkable and amazing and people are so friendly and also they have really good hamburgers and sticky buns.

And how I read Neil Gaiman's Graveyard Book, and how it is just such an wonderful, well written, charming tale.

And how as of last week I've been blogging for four years. Four! That's longer than I've held all but my current job.

But then I was like, what the fuck am I doing?

Does the world need one more I like to write and maybe I can be good enough to write a book that people want to read and I'm a mama and I'm so proud of my boy and I love my husband even though I put an imaginary heart attack on him and sometimes I fall down and draw pictures of it blog? Am I just barraging cyberspace with dull drivel? What is my point and does it even matter?

I mean really.

Is where I am.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

You start with your toothbrush and underwear and then you give away your child and in the process you make yourself very tired

OK, so I was going to tell you how excited I am go to go Minneapolis this weekend.

I mean, I am telling you that. Yes, I'm soooo excited.

Nick and I leave tomorrow (just the two of us!), and on Saturday we see cousins I haven't seen since the early 80s. Seriously. Since Reagan's first term. I cannot even express how happy I am to get to see them again, to introduce them to Nick, to meet their partners.

And we're going to this lovely wedding, for which I have been flitting around choosing shoes and jewelry and oooh, shiny sparkles! We're dressing up!

But then I started thinking about flying tomorrow, and how it's so nice that Nick and I will be together. I mean, of course because I love being with him.

But also because if the plane goes down, at least I'm with a loved one.

Which led me to the HOLY CRAPness of then Jordan would be an orphan.

And Betty could take good care of him, and they're crazy about each other, but having a one-year old full time would just be so exhausting for her.

This further led me to: I'll be damned if Nick's family would get him. I loathe his older sister, and anyway, she has three kids, horrendous taste in men, and very poor judgment. And his younger sister is fine, but not for my kid. Just no.

And I have no relationship with my brother, although I believe he's a really good dad. I'd rather have J stay in my family. But they don't even know him.

Thinking about it has my stomach all upset.

Why do I do this?

When I went on dates I would meet the person, and mentally fall in love with, marry, begin to loathe, and divorce him before the second drink arrived. And now, now I've gone from, "Must remember to take underwear" to "WHATEVER will happen to our orphaned son?"

Sometimes I find myself exhausting.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A semi-girlypants shoe post with a dash of there are children starving in Bangladesh

When I was in my 20s, and I quite jobs regularly, I wound up temping a lot.

Temping meant two things: One, I was paid hourly. And two, I was usually so bored.

And so I'd do things like calculate the hours I needed to work in order to buy that skirt I liked at Ann Taylor. Four more hours = one skirt. For example.

I haven't done that in years. For years, my budget has not been quite that tight. I've never been profligate, and so for a long time I've been able to pay my mortgage AND buy food AND things I want.

Our budget has been tight this last year, but really because we took on this big house project. So we've borrowed a shitload. We've spent a lot. But it's all practical, good debt. And we've both spent our lives spending so responsibly.

Now, what I've realized is that I have this huge amount of guilt buying frivolous stuff, and having things that others don't. I seriously have to justify up and down.

Honestly. It's weird, I think. Nick is so proud of our house. He's worked so hard, and he deserves a nice house. And me, I'm proud of it too. But I feel guilty. Because there are so many people without shelter, much less a nice house. Hell, without food or potable water, for that matter.

And yet I hated my time in the Peace Corps. Go figure.

So. I got those shoes above for the wedding. Black, pretty, and very practical. I needed nice black shoes. I could wear them to work.

But seriously. This was after a number of you said black shoes. Or said, oh, for Pete's sake, buy yourself some new shoes. You don't do this all the time.

And I don't. I really don't.

But then, it was like after a long diet when you've been thinking about chocolate for weeks and then you eat so much in one sittiong you're nauseous.

I just couldn't stand not to buy these. Justification: they're 30% off at Nine West, with free shipping. I need something trendy. I love leopard prints. And I AM going to wear them to work.

I cannot wait for them to arrive.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Why bloggers fall down

I don't know if bloggers fall down more than normal people, or just talk about it more, but if we do, maybe it's not as much a lack of coordination as a lack of judgment.

I decided this last week, after visiting my OB. I got these blood tests (which were all in the normal range. According to them, I'm normal. Ha!).

And then I had to pee.

And of course, being an OB-GYN office, there are all those pee cups sitting on the shelves behind the toilet. The shockingly unstable shelves. I know because I've bumped into them before.

And as they shook I thought, "Would it be terrible to knock those shelves over?"

I didn't. In case you're worrying. But those cups sloshed ominously.

So you know, now it's fall. And it's chilly and it's warm. And so you wear a cardigan, because you're cold. And then you take it off because you're hot.

And there I was in this bathroom, carrying a purse and a sweater, with nowhere to put either. I hung the bag around my neck and held the cardigan, as I figure there are pee molecules everywhere, because being a former pregnant woman, I know how hard it is to pee in a cup as the weeks go on.

I never peed on their bathroom floor. But it's a messy affair.

So there I was, encumbered by stuff, hovering, trying not to touch the seat.And then I thought, "Hey! I should just put my cardigan on!"

Which, when you're staning up or sitting down, is not a hard task. But when you are doing neither, but rather hovering bare-assed, and you try sticking your hand through a sleeve, and your balance is never the most stellar anyway...
So I careened around a little, trying not to fall on the seat, and not to crash into the shelves behind the toilet, thus covering myself a number of pregnant women's pee.

Seriously. Picture this: "Uh, hello Mrs. Pregnant. This is Dr. X's office. Could you come back in and give us another sample? Yes, I know it's inconvenient. Some idiot knocked over our urine specimine shelves."

And they'd have to do this to like 10 people. And they'd always remember me as the woman who left the office covered in 10 pregant women's urine. I'd have to find a new doctor. Plus, I wouldn't have been able to return to my own office.

PLUS I'd have been covered in other people's urine. Gah!

Anyway. It was sort of best case scnario, as I reeled a bit, one arm flailing, the other clutching my pants (like it matters if your pants fall down in private) and finally wound up kicking the trash can and slamming against the wall.
Nobody remarked on any kind of commotion on the way out.

In need of shoe help with the fierce urgency of now

I know this is such a rich-country problem, and you might choke on my frivolosity, but we are going to a black-tie wedding and I am wearing a black dress and I have no shoes.

OK, not no shoes. But since I get dressed up pretty much never, when I pulled out my dressy and dressy-ish shoes, here's what I found: two metallics and one red with rhinestones.

Who am I?

The red ones are doing something funny and puckery in the back, which can't be a surprise, as I bought them 10 years ago for like $12. But you'd have to look to notice at night. I think. BUT that means I have to wear a black shawl, when I'd rather wear a color, but don't have red.The bronze ones I love, but I think they're too clunky for the dress. No?
And the silver, which are totally comfortable, and which I wore to my wedding (and which I bought for Maude's wedding seven years ago) might look too summery. And also kind of dated.

Even though I'm not trendy, I don't want to look dated.

I am going to wear that strappy low-backed drapey black dress that I wore to my high school reunion. Betty says my S&M shoes are Not Appropriate. And I think this is true.

So. Can I wear any of these?

I fear not, which means I need to find, purchase, and pack shoes before 6 am on Friday.

(Also very likely to ask you for help on the dressy casual rehearsal dinner. Dressy casual. Dressy? Or casual? No! Both! But that's a whole nother topic.)

Aaaaaagh!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

One way to go about it

You know, it's so weird that this skin cancer scare happened this week, because I had just been thinking how Nick probably needs to have a tiny little heart attack in order to radically change his eating habits.

Not a big one. Just more of a shock.

I'm not saying I was wishing for it, or that I think it's a good idea. I'm just saying, it typically takes something big like that to effect major and sudden change.

I didn't tell him I was thinking this. Although now he knows. Sorry, Nick. I hope you know how I mean it.

But what it reminded me of was when I was leaving San Diego to move to DC, which also meant ending my very-serious-talking-about-getting-married relationship with my boyfriend, Axel. Because San Diego was his dream, and he was never leaving.

We're still friends, and he's still there, with an amazing house, gorgeous wife, beautiful kids. It's the right life for him. Just not for me.

I had a very good friend named Kristen - who also still lives there - a research psychologist I'd met at work. We used to run on the bay together. She started trying very hard to convince me not to leave.

And one day, a couple weeks before I left, she said, "I know! I what needs to happen?"

"What?"

"Axel needs to get into an accident. One that's just life-threatening enough that it triggers your maternal instinct. You'll be protective, and you'll realize that you don't want to lose him, that you can't live without him."

"Huh."

"If you want, I'll hit him with my car. I really think this would do it."

Now. It's not like she'd really have done it. But when someone with a doctorate in psychology tells you something about human nature, it really makes you think. You know?

Axel and I were very close, even though I was moving out and away, and so when I got home I shared this outlandish idea. I was sure Axel would find the suggestion as hilarious as I did.

Instead, he got all twitchy and said, "Keep Kristen far away from me. She's not running me over with her car."

I don't think he ever regarded her the same way again.

You never know with people.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

By the skin of our teeth (and what kind of weird expression is that, anyway?)

Yesterday evening Nick's dermatologist called to say that one of the moles he'd removed had abnormal cells.

And could he come back in sometime? Like, at the crack of dawn tomorrow?

This will throw you for a loop. Particularly since his older sister had had melanoma. His younger sister has had numerous moles cut out.

Nick came home a little shaken.

I wondered, which mole? The leg or the stomach? He didn't know. Just that they wanted him back first thing in the morning.

Internally, I was freaking the fuck out. What if it's cancerous, and it's gotten to the bone? What if they have to take off his leg? What if he dies?

So I was all, "Of course it's scary. But it'll be fine. Totally fine."

I kept saying that throughout the evening. Fine. It will be fine. Finefinefine.

He agreed. And said, "And if they have to take a leg, well, that's one way to lose those 50 pounds."

Haha. Ha. ha.

We drank wine. We watched Mad Men. We got in bed and held each other tight.

I said, "Boy, am I going to be pissed if your sisters were both fine and you die."

We laughed. Sort of.

He was scared. I was scared. He's my rock, my safety, my world. I could lose him. I can't lose him. I just got him.

I lay there thinking about how he never wears sunscreen, even now. Asshole. I closed my eyes and pictured my entire life falling apart.

Nick woke up extra early. When J woke up, Nick carried him around until he left. Those baby cuddles are amazing.

He called after his appointment. He used some words I don't know, but not melanoma. Basically, they're cells that could become cancerous. They think they got it all, but took a bigger chunk out, just to make sure.

Relief poured into my stomach, my heart, my lungs. I got all teary. "Thank God. I love you."

"I love you, too. Talk to you later."

"Wait! Leg or stomach?"

"Stomach."

"Well, plenty there to work with. Did you suggest he take a few more chunks while he was at it?"

"And there's the Lisa I know and love."

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Get to the point

I started getting acupuncture last Saturday.

Here's what's annoying about it: My husband.

Nick likes to say things like, "You know, Lisa likes her acupuncturist, but she talks too much. Lisa has to tell her to get to the point."

Or, "I was on pins and needles waiting to hear how it went."

Or, "Oh, sweetheart. I'm just needling you."

Really. I can't remember the rest. They're equally punny.

So last night, when Nick and Betty were talking about cooking a leg of lamb or a duck for Sunday dinner (both equally gross, in my opinion), I saw my chance.

"Not duck!"

"Why not?"

"I think duck is foul."

Monday, October 04, 2010

Dear Dad, your birthday, goodbye


Dear Dad,

Yesterday, on your birthday, we all went out on Nick's boat one last time.

We headed down by the lovely marsh where we'd gone a couple years ago, after taking Nick's boat out for Father's Day. Or was it Mother's Day? Now I can't remember. It was quite warm; it must've been June.

In any case, that day was gorgeous, and we all have good memories of it, and you'd wanted us to let you go in the water, so this seemed like a nice, peaceful spot.

Pat said a few words. We asked her to, and I knew she would make your goodbye beautiful. And then Lucy wanted to speak, which surprised me, but which was perfect, really.

I didn't have any out-loud words, and Mom didn't either.

And then we took turns scooping your ashes and letting you go.

I don't know why I was surprised how dark grey they were, or how heavy, but I was. I was also surprised at the size of the bag - I expected it to be bigger.

We don't reduce to very much, do we? I think it's better that way.

As I said, we took turns leaning out over the back of the boat. Many of your ashes caught the breeze, and you were beautiful, in silvery swirls, floating out towards the horizon, like flocks of tiny, distant birds in flight.

The ones that didn't, the ones I released too quickly, billowed in clouds in the dark brown water, and sank heavily. I felt careless, letting you sink, rather than making sure you flew. What if you get stuck?

But Nick said some of you will stay, and some of you will get taken by the current, and you'll head back to the four corners of the earth.

I was hoping for a warm, sunny day - the kind you like best - but fall had arrived and the light was thin, through dampening clouds, and it was windy, with a chill in the air. The threat of rain hovered, but held off.

While I'd have felt better letting you go in blazing yellow sun and heat, and you hated being cold, it's true that you were so energized on boats. You'd sail through the worst storms, arriving elated, while your companions were less than so. So the day fit.

Also, we're not sure of the legality of ashes in the Potomac, and we know you'd enjoy that aspect of the adventure as well.

I miss you, Dad. I didn't want to say goodbye last year, and I didn't want to say goodbye yesterday. It was hard. Terribly, exhaustingly hard.

But truly, I hope you are at peace. We all do.

As Pat said yesterday, quoting Hamlet, Good night sweet prince: And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!

Love,

Lisa

Friday, October 01, 2010

Slide! And slide.

video
Not only does Jordan love the slide, it is the only thing he likes at the park.

Besides dogs. And other children.

Swings? Noooooooo! Swings are torture! Noooooo swinging!

Those little bouncy animal things on springs? That other children like? Terrible! Haaaaaateful. Why would we even do that to him?

Sliiiiide! The slide is where we want to be. So we slide. And slide.

Me, I've been on a slightly less fun slide into exhaustion.

I don't know what it is, but I'm tired. All. The. Time.

I don't mean just the normal I'm-a-mom tired. This is like a whole nother layer of tired on top of that.

Sometimes I can't fall asleep. Or I wake up at 4 am and am awake for an hour or so. Those next day tireds make sense.

But some nights I lie down and sleep until morning. It doesn't really seem to matter, though.

Even with a full night of sleep, I wake up unrefreshed and exhausted. I slog through the day in a fog, eager for Jordan to nap so I can, or eager for the workday to end so I can come home, eat, and go to bed.

I don't know if you've read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell? If so, it's kind of like those characters who have to dance all night in the Faerie kingdom of Lost Hope and then sleepwalk blankly through the motions in their day lives. And if not, uh, that's still kind of what it's like.

It's tedious, it really is.