Tuesday, November 30, 2010

After the fight

I don't know if everyone always behaves the same way when they fight? Like, you have your pattern that you always fall into?

I don't think there's any reason to go into the Big Fight we had in the car on the way home.

Suffice it to say that we spent the end of the drive not speaking to each other. While Jordan wailed in the background - as he'd been doing for the prior hour or so.

If you're looking for an agitating soundtrack for an argument, find a screaming child.

But with this fight I realized the following: We anger quickly and have similar styles, which means our fights tend to be short and extremely caustic. And we both need time to calm down afterward before we can apologize. Once that's done, it's over. No grudges.

But in the meantime, we get mean and it is terrible.

When we've made each other so angry we don't want to speak to each other - which is pretty much what always happens - we retreat to familiar patterns.

Nick stomps around for a while, goes out and buys beer if we don't have any, and then watches TV.

While I'm stewing, I think he watches all the shows I think are incredibly stupid just to annoy me. Although really I think he watches them because, well, he likes them.

This further irritates me in the moment.

I'll sit and read, mentally dividing up our belongings, selling the house, and oh, God, does this mean I'll have to get back on Match? And does Nick know how hard I will make all of it for him? Because he's mistaken if he thinks this will be smooth and easy.

You know me. I get pretty far pretty fast.

And then some time passes - sometimes a whole night, and once a night and the following day - and maybe we're still irritated but not furious, and finally we can see where each other is coming from and discuss it calmly. At the end of the day we do love each other, and in this particular case, I'm sorry I took my frustrations out on him and he's sorry he got so angry.

I still think his taste in TV is idiotic, though.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What I'm most thankful for

OK, so I know I kind of sound like I suck in today's post, and really it's just that I get stressy and ranty and dready and, well, you know.

I still behave nicely and I do hope for the best. I just have to get the worst out here and then I can move forward.

But I'm thankful for many things, not least of which is having Nick in my life, for more reasons than I can list.

One of them being things like the following:

I got this message from him saying, "You might want to look at the fuck in your post. Because the way it's written now is, '...and then you wake up hung over and fuck...'and, uh, maybe that's what you wanted to say, but, well, you might want to take a look at that."

So I fixed the fuck in my post.

Happy Thanksgiving and world peace. Hugs to all of you.

Happy Thanksgiving. Also, I'm an ingrate.

We're girding our loins to head up to New Jersey for Thanksgiving.

Yesterday Nick said, "Wouldn't it be nice if we just stayed here and had a relaxing holiday?"

I got all hopeful. "We could." I said it calmly, so as not to sound like I was jumping up and down in my chair at the possibility.

"No, we have to go. Jordan needs to see his grandparents. They need to see him. And he should get to know his cousins."

All of these things are true. Plus, you're supposed to spend the holiday with family. It's not that I'm not thankful to have family. Of course I am. It's just so...effortful. And exhausting.

You fight 95 traffic to get there...and then it's not relaxing once you're there. Nick gets tense and dickish beforehand. I get tense and bitchy.

Dickish and bitchy do not a happy couple make.

Nick and I both drink way too much while we're there. If we lived in the same town as his family, we'd be alcoholics for sure.

And I don't wish Nick were an orphan, at least not most of the time. But it would be nice if he were an only child. Or maybe only had a younger sister.

Thanksgiving has never been my favorite holiday anyway. I'd skip it altogether if I could.

Christmas, Christmas I love. I love the lights and colors and the preparation of treats and the tree and just everything.

But Thanksgiving always seems like it's all about food. It's all about the stress of preparing and cleaning up a gargantuan meal.

You go around the table and say what you're thankful for, but that's really the only focus on thanks.

Then you eat and eat and eat until you're stuffed. And then you eat some more. And the kids get all jacked up on sugar and things devolve into chaos and you wish you could go home but you can't because you're at someone else's house and so you just keep drinking until finally it's time to go to bed.

And then you wake up hung over and, oh fuck, you have a kid to take care of and why did you drink so much? Oh. Right. And you probably can't crack a beer before noon without people looking askance at you. Crap.

Wow. I didn't exactly know where I was going when I started this. And there you have it.

But there's always the hope that it could be really fun. And also, world peace.

In other words, Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Freedom's just another word for not having to take your kid with you to Costco

I left the boy with Betty yesterday and headed out to the particular circle of hell that is Costco prior to Thanksgiving.

Getting in the car, I had this tremendous rush of freedom.

The parking lot was horrendous. I circled and circled and finally waited for a woman with a child to load her car, saunter her cart back, and strap in her kid. Usually I avoid the kid people because they take forever.

I'm not doing the glass house stone throwing. I'm telling you. It's a process.

But I swear she gave me a dirty look for waiting. In fact, I think she walked her cart all the way back to the cart-putting place just because I was there with my blinker on. I bet she'd have ditched it on the side if I weren't.

Inside, people were staggering around, even more laden than usual, slowly pushing overloaded carts. One woman had six or seven turkeys in hers.

And I wasn't remotely bitter. Because I was alone. Unencumbered.

It sounds so unkind when I put it that way, doesn't it? But it's true. It felt so good.

So what if I was doing nothing more interesting than picking up 64 gallons of milk, 500 apples, and 40 pounds of cheese?

I was all by myself. No child to entertain. No little human constantly demanding my attention, wanting to get down, shrieking because I couldn't pick him up the moment he said, "Up! Up!"

It wasn't as drastic as when I first had Jordan, and hadn't yet been diagnosed with PPD, and going to the DMV felt like a spa vacation and once I left the house I never wanted to return.

Not at all.

But it was kind of like in the Disney cartoons where the birds are singing you a happy little tune, and delicious baking smells are wafting towards you, and the air sparkles with possibility.

Zennest damn Costco trip I've ever had in my life.

I mean, if Zen feels anything like baked bread samples and a new pair of fleece pants.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Hey 15, there's never a wish better than this

Oh, my sweet little Captain Awesome, today you are 15 months old.

In the past month, you've gotten a lot more aware of, well, everything. You love being told the names of things. And you realize that words have power.

You've got an extremely strong personality - shocking, I know. Most of the time you are sunshine, but you're quick to scream and wail when you don't get what you want.

Sometimes I have to distract myself to keep from stabbing myself in the ears. That whole, "Look! A truck!" is as much for you as for me.

You say "no" and "mine" a lot. More like NO and MINE. Miiiiiine.

I know this video is sideways (why did I do that? and why can't I rightside it?) and very brief, but it's so very YOU.
video
You're well aware of things I don't want you to do. You do them anyway.

The best example would be when we forget to close the bathroom door. You make a beeline for the toilet, chanting "No no no no no." You hurry, knowing your window of time is small before Mama gets there and closes the lid.

Sometimes you beat me to it, and you stick your hand in the water, still saying, "Nonono! No!"

So far, there's nothing more fun than swirling your hand around in the toilet.

Just wait till you get old enough for the liquor and the S-E-X, boy howdy.

I don't know where you picked up "mine" but you use it for everything. I'll be holding a large knife, and you'll reach, announcing authoritatively from your seat on the floor, "Mine!"

Um, no. Definitively not yours.

You also somehow learned "boot!" Maybe because mine are always sitting on the stairs. This makes me hopeful that I'll have a shopping companion one day.

Nana's been sick for three weeks, and you ask for her every day. Sometimes you go looking for her. We can't wait for her to come back.

You absolutely love the bath, and I used to love it, too. Until you learned to take out the plug. And now it's a constant struggle.

"No no no no! Nono!"

You chant this as you reach for the plug. For the 73 kabillionth time. At a certain point - that point being once you've brushed your teeth and I've gotten the big food and dirt lumps off - I just let you pull it.

I say, "Bye bye bath!"I figure sometime soon you will make the connection. For now, you're fascinated watching your little toys swirl towards the drain. And then you try to stick your toothbrush down it. Ugh.

And then you say, "Mo! Mo!"

"Nope. No more bath."

I don't always have as much patience as I would like with you, but I always, always love you more than anything.

Even when you're screaming your little blond head off because GOD KNOWS NOBODY WANTS TO PUT ON PANTS. OR SOCKS.

Or whatever the article of clothing might be at the moment.

I know wine is not really the answer. I do. But some days, I'm not gonna lie, it seems like it is.

Love,

Mama

Thursday, November 18, 2010

One of those kinds of posts, and also a poll that normal people are unlikely to want to participate in

So you know how sometimes you're working out, and everything is going great, except for one thing?

And that one thing is as follows: You really need to fart.

I'm sure you're all, "Oh hell no, I'm not even going to keep reading, and I don't even want to know what this poll is going to be like."

I can't blame you. But back to the gym.

You need to but of course you don't want to, because, well, because.

So you try to hold it but then you realize that you can't really lift weights and clench your sphincter. And if you release mid-lift, it's likely that it'll be loud and thus obvious that it is you. So you decide to just sneak off into a corner.

Which you do.

You saunter unobtrusively. Like you just really needed to stretch, and that empty corner was kind of perfect.

And while it's not a fart of death, it's not something you want to linger in, but you also don't want to make it look like you weren't actually stretching in the corner.

But before you can evacuate the area, and unfortunately, before the stench has dissipated, another patron of the gym walks over to grab a floor mat and strolls purposefully into the zone of evil.

There is no way this could be blamed on anyone else.

The best way to deal with this, considering that this is the gym in your office building and odds are good you will see this person again, is:

A. Say, "Oh, excuse me."
B. Stroll away as nonchalantly as possible, pretending not to notice, but then having to avoid eye contact for the rest of the time in the gym and maybe into eternity.
C. Head for the locker room and get the hell out as fast as possible.
D. I have no idea. This would never happen to me. Even if I ever farted, which I don't, it wouldn't be in public.
E. What is wrong with you? Seriously.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cowboys ain't easy to love and they're harder to hold.

I don't know how you feel about cowboys, but yesterday I was reading Hillary's Thanksgiving post and now I really want some cowboy boots and also I'm really worried about lice.

But that's my own fault. It has nothing to do with her. But just thinking about it makes me itch.

So listen, she's Canadian, and they've already had Thanksgiving and hers looked delicious. (Also, she's considering celebrating the American holiday to have another dinner. I think we should encourage her.)

Anyway, one of the things she made she called cowboy potatoes. She thought that sounded better than the actual name, which was Jamie Oliver's Painted Hills Potatoes.

Which, really. Who is going to say, "Could you please pass Jamie Oliver's Painted Hills Potatoes?"

Nobody.

But moving along.

I immediately thought, "Hell, cowboy anything just sounds better!" Which of course I said.

And then as soon as I typed that I went through a list in my head. . .Cowboy coffee - strong and dark! Cowboy steak - manly and dangerous! - you can totally picture a muscular guy who looks hot in his jeans roping and killing a wild cow right there on the range and then broiling it on an open fire that he's started with a flint and a stick.

Even though in reality they probably buy their steak at Safeway. And start fires with lighters.

But back to the cowboy compound words.

Cowboy beans - hearty. But does it have to be food? No, because listen, cowboy boots are awesome. So. Cowboy blanket - rough and practical. Cowboy stapler? No. Staplers are for office sissies. Cowboy...lice?

And I got stuck on cowboy lice. Definitely does not sound better. Sounds much, much worse.

I've never come face to face with a louse, but a regular suburban one would be bad enough. Can you imagine the vigor of cowboy lice?

Not to mention their swagger. They'd probably get all drunk on brown liquor and be all belligerent and totally resist any attempt at nit picking.

And do you think that's where the expression comes from? It just occurred to me.

I'm serious. Now I'm completely itchy twitchy.

Thanks, Hillary.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Year three

For the past two years, we've gone to the Tabard on the 13th to celebrate our first date.

It's a ritual I love. It's an anniversary I love somehow more than our wedding anniversary. It feels bigger or something to me, although I don't know why.

The first year, we met there, and Nick was sitting on the same couch where I'd first seen him. We saw a woman who thought Nick might be her date get stood up. Last year we went as a family, sat in the lobby because of the crowds, and chatted with a woman who was waiting for a very late, very cavalier first date.

And this year, this year we found ourselves at our kitchen table on Saturday night, swilling red wine and eating hastily-thrown-into-the-oven-after-a-long-day very mediocre cheese enchiladas from Trader Joe's.

The glamor, it abounds.

Last week I'd remembered that our anniversary was coming up. I'd meant to suggest we head to the Tabard in the afternoon.

And then I had a work trip, and we all got colds, and by Friday night even Nick, who is strong like bull, was snuffling and coughing. And I just plain forgot.

Somewhere mid-meal, I remembered, and raised my glass, and said, "Hey, happy anniversary. Three years ago tonight."

And Nick said, "I don't mean this the way it sounds, but doesn't it seem like a hell of a lot longer than three years?"

Yes. Yes, it does.

I never expected to feel so, well, comfortable. I know comfortable sounds bad, like we're sitting around in sweat pants in front of the TV eating potato chips and farting.

Which is not to say we never do any of those things, although so far not all together.

But what I mean is comfortable like the exhalation of a deep breath, or like the sunshine on your face when you step out the door in the morning. Comfortable like coming in from the rain and putting on warm, dry clothes.

Comfortable like home.

But not growing up home.

It would be an unfair exaggeration to say I grew up with the earth constantly shifting under my feet. Regularly, but not constantly. But it is true that with my dad, there was always a certain amount of, well, uncertainty in my world.

And now, now there is so much certainty.

I imagine one of these days it could get boring. But here and now, boy, do I love being certain.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The suburban scotch-filled bullet dodged by one Mr. Nick Gloria*

In the world-is-small way of the small world of DC, I've got a story for you.

A couple weeks ago I started looking for a part-time nanny share, so that I could add more time at the office, J could spend more time with other kids, and we'd have some kind of back-up childcare option for emergencies.

I answered an ad on a parents' website placed by a couple who have a daughter our age and live relatively near us.

The mom and I corresponded a bit, and arranged a time to meet. I forwarded the email to Nick, who, upon looking at her work email, said, "I've met this woman."

At which point I gave some thought to her name and the details he told me and realized that her uncle is a friend of mine. I'd met her before. I'd attended her dad's 60th birthday party.

We arrived at their house, and the woman, who I'll call Cara, took one look at Nick and said, "I've met you!" And I said, "I know your uncle!"

It was a little bizarre. We liked the whole family immediately.

Fast forward to this past Sunday, when they came over for brunch.

It turns out that Cara and I have a number of people in common, one of whom is a very dear friend of mine. But listen to this, because this is the best coincidental part.

They know Nick's old girlfriend, 6-12.

They recently had dinner with them. Cara's been friends with her husband for years and years. I had to ask, "Did they get engaged within 12 weeks?"

"If not that, then pretty close. It was fast."

Nick explained the 6-12 nickname. He said, in all fairness, that she was a nice person, and smart, but she had very specific ideas of the husband she wanted, and she found him uncooperative - because it just wasn't who he was or wanted to be.

For example: she wanted to change the way he dressed. Also, he needed to give up beer. Her husband would be a scotch drinker. She took him house hunting in Great Falls in the first few weeks, even though he wasn't interested in moving there.

Cara said, "They live in Great Falls! He had a perfectly nice house, and they sold it."

This made me wonder if her husband ever finds his scotch a wee bit bitter?

(*Uh, not his actual last name. He kept his own.)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Connecticut is beautiful but kind of inconveniently located

I took my first ever trip to Connecticut this week.

The details are prosaic. Most notable: For a three hour meeting we were on nine hours worth of trains and in probably an hour plus worth of cabs.

What I'm saying is this. Connecticut is inconvenient.

And I have a cold.

We missed the Acela on the way home because of a very slow talker, and then I had a bizarro cab driver who didn't help me with my bag, kept telling my I was lucky my wait at Union Station wasn't long, and seemed intent on missing every light.

Basically, I was a bitchfaced crab by the time I got home last night.

But the point I was going to make was this. Nick was going to blog for me yesterday and I was disappointed that he didn't. Because I never have any idea what he's going to say. Plus I love reading what he decides to share.

We ran into friends a couple weeks ago in front of Bistrot du Coin. Randomly, the last time I'd eaten there was with the husband of the couple.

(Clarification: the couple does not have a husband. It is a husband and wife couple, and I like them both, but know the husband better. And before either of us were married, he and I used to have dinner and catch up every once in a while.)

So.

We ran into them, and I was wearing the underwear dance party boots, which they recognized from my post.

They asked Nick if he reads my blog, and he said, "I'm her husband."

To which they replied, "That doesn't answer the question."

"Of course I read it. It helps me know what's really going on in our house and in our relationship."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Real lives of fictional characters

It's not that I don't know the difference between TV and reality; of course I do.

I just tend to get caught up in things I like.

So the other day I said to Nick, "I knew Betty would have regrets. I knew it!"

"Betty has regrets?"

"Of course she does. It's so obvious. She made this big change, and it didn't make her any happier."

"She seems happy. What big change? What's she regretting?"

"Don! Didn't you see how she was flirting with him? In the kitchen?"

"OK. We're talking about Fictional Betty."

Oh. Well, yes. Fictional Betty.

And then the other day I was trying to convince Nick to use the neti pot, because he was worried about getting a cold.

He declined.

We've been having this Six Feet Under marathon, and I suppose the neti pot was on my mind, because it had been in the episode we'd watched the night before.

So I said, "George has used the neti pot for years, and he never gets sick."

"George is a fictional character."

He's got me there.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Yeah, so, nevermind

Nick called to say that my post today certainly was rambling and hard to follow and what did the nose video have to do with anything?

Um.

Nothing. The answer is nothing. I just think it's cute.

I told you: this time thing has me all cracked out.

In time, but time takes time you know


I know it's not original to be all cracked out by the time change.

Also, the nose thing just kills me. He'll grab it and squeeze. Sometimes he sticks his fingers in your nostrils. Sometimes he just pinches really pinchily. Which is kind of painful but still funny.

But the crackedoutness of the time.

I don't know anyone who likes it. And people get snarky about others writing Daylight Savings Time instead of Daylight Saving Time. And some people are like, "We're not getting on it, we're getting off it, moron. THIS is normal time."

That may be true, but you're still a crankypants because of lack of sleep. From the fucking time change.

Personally, I'd like to live on Daylight Saving Time all year round. Time is arbitrary anyway, no? So we all decide that 1 am is 2 am, or the reverse, and then it is, for us.

But that's not what this is about. It's about the fact that I always feel like time is being stolen from me, no matter which way.

Saturday night I was so stressed about getting to bed early.

At nine I was all, "We have to go to bed NOW. We're going to be up extra early! We'll get an hour less sleep!"

"No, we won't."

"Yes, we will. For Jordan, 7:30 will be 6:30 and he'll get up."

"And so will we."

"Yes. A whole hour earlier. We're getting an hour less."

"No. We're gaining an hour."

"And we lose it in the morning."

Nick was adamant that we weren't getting an hour less, because our 7:30 would be 6:30 as well. We were gaining an hour.

I know, I know, fall back - 2 am becomes 1 am and it's like driving to Chicago. Except you'd spend all that time driving, just to be one time zone back. I guess you could fly, although that's more expensive. So maybe if you were beamed there.

Actually, I'd love to suddenly be in Chicago. And have a whole extra hour. That, I get.

Also, how do I get on these tangents?

But this clock back but your kid is going to steal that hour right from under your nose, that I don't get.

Even though Nick insisted that we got the same amount of sleep. He's explained it to me 54 times. He's over it about as much as the rabies.

I still contend we lost time, getting up an hour earlier. I can't explain it.

Monday, November 08, 2010

The sunset of Butterbean13

This was taken on the last night Jen and I spent in Cancun three years ago. It's pretty representative of how we spent our time.

Pool and cocktails. Cocktails by the pool. Cocktails in the pool. Swimming. Reading. Occasionally planting our wide open mouths under the soft-serve ice cream machine. Followed by more cocktails. It was great.

We also maybe watched some porn, but that was just out of curiosity. And alarming.

Three years ago today - and really, for four more days as well - I hadn't yet met Nick, and Jen and I had this Cancun-all-inclusive-fabulousness vacation lined up for Thanksgiving.

It's the only really fun Thanksgiving I've ever had, actually. But that's not what this is about. This is about the end of my long sojourn in the Internet dating world of Match.com.

A week prior to meeting Nick, I'd come home from either a date or drinks with friends - I can't remember which, and wound up chatting on the phone with a cute Canadian, with whom I'd been exchanging Match emails.

Which resulted in me inviting him to Cancun. He'd have to get his own room, of course. But Jen and I were planning on just hanging out. He could join us.

Because where else would we ever meet?

So he said he might be in trial that week, but if not, he'd book last minute and take a vacation. The trial happened; the vacation did not.

A week after this call I met Nick, and went out with him three times before Thanksgiving, and then immediately after and then he was my boyfriend and then it was basically forever and ever, sickness, health, so on, so forth.

Which brings us to now.

Canadian Lawyer and I are Facebook friends, and have been for a while. In the odd way of the world, we never met in person while I was on Match, and I got off rather quickly after meeting Nick. But now we're friends, in the removed, Internet sense.

He reads LG, and he knows a lot more about me than I know about him. But I like his mind, and I like his sensibilities.

So today he dropped an email saying, hey, Butterbean13, we spoke three years ago, and then I didn't go to Cancun, and wow look what three years can bring.

Soo, yah, Butterbean13 was my Match name. I don't have a better explanation than that I wanted a vegetable, and Broccoli sounded too weird, and 13 is my favorite number. My Match names merit their own post, in fact.

But this really drove home for me how life is about timing and coincidence. Sometimes I think life is entirely random, but then others I think things work out the way they're supposed to...which suggests some sort of fate.

In other words, I'm not sure what I think. But it gave me a jolt, because if he had committed to Cancun, I don't imagine I'd have gone out with Nick, or anyway, I wouldn't have gotten myself all swept up...and now where would I be?

I think Nick is perfect for me, but I believe more in The 26 than in The One. But at this point, it's impossible for me to imagine my life any different than it is.

But it could have turned out any number of ways.

Life is random? Fate plays a role? Depends on the day?

What's your outlook?

Friday, November 05, 2010

Beeeeeeeeaaaah

This is Bear. Beah! Beah! Beeeeaaaaah!

Also, just over his shoulder you can see our fabulous alarm system. The one that alerts the alarm company, rather than being linked to a model of our house down at the police station.

Right.

So, Beah!

To be very honest, all stuffed animals are currently Bear. But two of them actually are bears. And the donkey, the penguin, and the not-quite-sure-what-it-is-so-I-call-him-Blue don't seem to mind.

This one is Jordan's favorite Bear.

I made Bear at a free Build-a-Bear station in the convention hall of the conference I went to in August. Steve, my conference husband, also has a son and he was all YES LISA GET IN LINE WE WANT FREE BEARS.

He was all about stocking up on free shit. The bears turned out to be awesome.

The weird little fan thingy water mister pen? Not as awesome.

So we stood in a long, long line and when it was my turn I was handed a bear. A very limp bear. With thread hanging off his back.

I was weighing whether to ask if I'd gotten a defective bear or to suck it up, because, free! when I realized that they start out half-stuffed. Part of the process is having them stuff your bear.

So they ram the bear onto a pipe attached to what looks like a huge concession popcorn stand. The stuffing fluffs around in this machine and shoots straight into the back of your bear.

It's kind of a violent-looking process, actually.

So while it's being stuffed, they have you pick a heart out of a bucket, ask you who the bear is for, and tell you to think of your son and make a wish for him and kiss the heart. Which they ultimately stick in the bear and then pull the threads and close him up.

In retrospect, I wish I'd said, "Me. I have a thing for bears." and made it all awkward.

However, I said, "Jordan, my son." And then got all teared up.

But back to the heart. Before closing up your bear, they have you do a bunch of stupid shit like touch it to your forehead with it so he's smart, touch your elbow so he's flexible, touch your knee so he needs you...

And I should've known then and there that I was sliding into a bad place.

Because I did all of this very sincerely. The forehead, the elbow, the knee, whatever other ridiculous shit they asked me to do. I was all, "I'm going to make him the Best Bear Ever!"

Whereas Steve was all rolling his eyes and muttering, "Oh Jesus Christ could they just give us the fucking free bear already?"

It wasn't until we were dressing our bears in the promotional shirts and sunglasses and guitars - seriously - and I turned to Steve and said, "What did you name yours?" that he was all, "Who ARE you and what have you done with Lisa?"

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Conversations with the lamp

Nick and I have opposite approaches to light.

He likes low lighting. He has several lamps with black shades. Two of them are kind of transparent fabric, and one of them is opaque, with gold inside for a warm glow.

He'll sit in a room with just a table lamp - the dark-shaded gold glowy one - for light.

Whereas I will walk into a room and immediately turn on all the lights, in the way that some people walk into a room and turn on the TV or music, because the absence of sound bothers them.

I can't live with out light. Bright, bright light. The brighter the better. Mood lighting for me means ALL THE LIGHTS ON.

Romantic, it is not.

We have the aforementioned table lamp, which is a table with a lamp built in, in the living room. It sits next to Nick's big red chair, and it's great, because Jordan can shake the table but there's no danger of the lamp falling off.

So this lamp, which has two bulbs with separate chains, has become kind of persnickety lately. One bulb will flicker, then go out. Then go on a few minutes later. It does this randomly and repeatedly.

You can adjust it and it'll stay out. Or it might come on immediately. And then go off. And then come on.

Which I decided was my dad messing with us. Personally, I really like this idea. It's along the lines of how I wonder if Jordan catches glimpses of him sometimes.

I told Nick about this, who said the more likely explanation is that he wired the lamp himself, and maybe the wiring is loose or something. So he tinkered with it over the weekend.

Last night, J was asleep, and I was reading in the living room. Nick is out of town, so it was really quiet, but in a nice way.

And the bulb started flickering. Off...on...off. So I asked, "Dad? Is that you?"

And no, I didn't get a flicker in the affirmative, which would've freaked me out. But in any case, I just started talking to my dad, telling him how much I missed him. I didn't expect to start crying, but there I was, sitting in that big red chair, crying, talking to the lamp.

I was really glad it was night and the curtains were closed.

Yes, OK, maybe it's wiring. But maybe it's not.

Do I sound crazy?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

You could make bank with a baby hotel and I know this because Jon Stewart gave Betty the flu


So, listen. This is not something I could ever do, because children, ew.

I mean, I love mine with all my heart. But other people's children? Are sticky. And screamy. And have boogersnots. And just ew.

Which is not to say that mine isn't and doesn't. He is and does. He's just, you know, mine.

But look at that little grub. He rolls in the dirty laundry every chance he gets.

So here's the deal: Betty went to the rally on Saturday with Maude's mom. And then yesterday morning she called us, too sick to come over and hang out with our progeny. She's got the flu. She still sounds terrible.

Nick was all, "She got it from one of the millions of people at the rally. She took metro. I bet she held onto the pole with her bare hand and then touched her nose."

I imagined this short video of hand to pole to nose playing over and over.

So Betty is sick-abed, and Nick couldn't stay home for more than a few hours yesterday morning. So I gathered material at the office and headed home. For what turns out to be the rest of the week.

But not before calling one of those emergency nanny services, who I thought I'd just hire for a couple days. This nearly made me pass out.

Because. Listen.

OK, yes, having your kid well cared for in a pinch? Priceless. Of course. Of course.

But if you want prices? Here's the breakdown.

Signing up to be a client for a year, which means you can call them at any time and they'll find you a nanny: $100. Daily fee if you schedule in advance: $35. This is per day, even if you're going to have the same person two days in a row. Then the nanny charges $16-20 per hour. She quotes her rate when she calls you. If it's too high for you, you are free to ask the agency for someone else.

Ready? This makes $170 to the agency. (Although to be fair, the $100 does last for the year.) Plus nanny fees ranging from $288-$360, depending on her hourly rate.

Total? Somewhere between $458-$520. For two days of care.

I'm not saying caregivers shouldn't be compensated. I just wasn't ready for the numbers.

So I headed into my boss's office and asked if I could take the next two days off. Or work from home while J is napping. I can get things done during his three-hour afternoon nap and at night.

My boss, who has kids and knows how it all goes and really just wants you to get your work done, said sure. Which is wonderful.

But if you didn't work at a family-friendly place? Or for someone understanding? Or make boatloads of cash?

You'd be screwed.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The walk of the frog


I know you might be all, oh ferchrissakes not more of the frog costume.

But that's what's on tap today. More of the frog. In motion. Me, I love this. I love it.

His mood improved dramatically when we took off the feet and put him down. Plus, look at the good walking!

Monday, November 01, 2010

You and me both, buddy

When you have a costume and a kid, even one too young for trick-or-treating, it's impossible to resist sticking one inside the other and heading out into the neighborhood.

He was fine with the costume, which I'd bought last year, even though by this point it was too short. But the feet, oh, the trauma of the feet.

He was all, "WHY ARE YOU MAKING ME WEAR THESE TERRIBLE FROG FEET?"

And I was all, "SO THAT IN 15 YEARS I CAN SHOW YOUR GIRLFRIENDS THE PICTURES."

Not really. Or maybe just kind of.

It was a not-stellar weekend for Jordan and me. He's been kind of needy and challenging and we'd been together just the two of us for too long in a row, and I was so over it. Nick was great, and spent a lot of time with J while I ate way too much Halloween candy and kind of hid.

J is at a point where he can say a bunch of things, which is great, but not everything, which is frustrating.

Like, he can say "more" - although it's "mo!" This is very helpful, and also cracks me up, and I just want to be all, "Mo? Fo shizzle?"

Yes, haha. So years-ago Snoop Dogg of me. Boy, am I going to mortify my son when he's a teenager.

But back to now. What I think he wants to say most is, "I want EVERYTHING my way! And whatever you're having, I want. NOW! And don't put me down! EVER!"

Things like that.

Because he makes a lot of what he wants clear, and then he screams when you don't do what he wants.

And saying, "I have to put you down because I can't make your dinner while holding you" doesn't exactly stop the shrieking.

Because he is still DOWN when he wants to be UP.

And me, I'm back to tired. I had a few good weeks where I was sure acupuncture was magic, and I was getting my energy back...and I'm back to pretty constant, flat-out exhaustion. And I'm so crabby. And impatient. And irritated.

What I've realized is this: I don't want to go away. I don't want a weekend away from my child. I want a weekend at home without my child.

Nick was kind of horrified when I said that it's too bad there aren't kid boarding places, kind of like how you can board your dog when you go out of town. Not that I would ever stick my kid in a kennel. Of course not. Even if they had them.

(And anyway, I was envisioning more of a kiddie hotel, really.)