Friday, October 26, 2012

Frankenstorm, emergency porn, butt paste, and bathtub gin. Not together. Or maybe.

So there is this hurricane - Sandy - heading our way (and how come there's never a Hurricane Lisa, I'd like to know?), plus a winter storm and together they are supposed to do a million dollars worth of damage, knock out power and water, and disrupt the election.

People are rushing out and buying food, water, liquor. Jordan's school sent out an in-case-of-emergency message. Everyone is talking about this. I read a comment on someone's Facebook wall saying they didn't have to rush out because their Mormon upbringing meant they were stocked for a year. Which is practical.

The only thing I think we likely have a year-worth of is Japanese rice crackers and butt paste. Although I realize the latter is not food and would not be of use if the storm or the terrorists take out the water and power.

Although, honestly, if the terrorists attack DC, we're so close to the White House that I figure we're goners anyway. Unless butt paste is somehow helpful. We could coat ourselves in it and...sneak off to Canada? I don't know.

But back to Frankenstorm.

I cannot help but think that the media is enjoying hyping this because they are dead tired of talking about the election. As is everyone I know.


Truthfully, I've not seen a single news outlet suggest the purchasing of emergency porn. I'm just kidding about that one.

So the storm is kind of a nice diversion from this appallingly partisan, divisive election.

And yet, much as I am so fucking sick of it, I still talk about it. I can't seem to stop talking about it. And every time I see a female friend on Facebook say something pro-Romney on Facebook I have to bite my fingers.

Because I want to reach through the screen, shake them and say, "Seriously? Do you want to hand your reproductive rights over to these narrow-minded men who minimize rape, who don't want you to get paid the same as your male colleagues? Seriously? And PS, you're not in the demographic they give a shit about, so if you personally think a Romney-Ryan regime is going to improve your life, maybe just buy a bunch of extra liquor for that four-year shitstorm."

But I don't, because where would that get me?



Happy weekend, all!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The time Nick didn't go on a date with Ann Coulter

I think we can all agree that my beloved Nick looks like a conservative Republican, at least most of the time.

He wears the Brooks Brothers suits and the seersucker suit and the bucs and the khakis and button downs and navy blazers during the week. On weekends he wears khakis or shorts and polo shirts and those cloth belts with things like anchors embroidered on them.

I've admitted this before - the fact is, uptight, conservative-looking men are my type. I just got lucky with Nick in that he's less uptight than many, and he only looks conservative. Under those starched, crispy shirts and carefully tied ties beats the heart of a man who believes in public education and health care for all.

I love this combination. I do.

Thus I was fascinated to learn that a year or so before we met,  a friend of his offered to set him up with Ann Coulter. THE Ann Coulter. Seriously.

Nick, my darling dearest, responded with something along the lines of, "I'd rather slam my dick in a car door repeatedly and then rip my fingers off with a pliers."

He doesn't remember exactly how he put it, but it was certainly not more gentle than the kind of things he says to customer service people who have angered him.

The friend insisted that Ann Coulter's actually a very nice person. She just says these dreadful things in public because that's her schtick. She makes her money by being so publicly outrageous. It's not really who she is.

In other words, she's not actually a vile, loathsome, carrion-eating bag of maggots. (My words, not either of theirs.)

Nick, however, wasn't buying it. He doesn't believe that you can say such hateful things and put such negativity out into the world and  and yet be a good person. No way did he want to meet her.

I do agree with him. Except that I was wishing he'd gone out with her, just once. So that he could give me an informed opinion on whether or not she's actually a man.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Oh, yeah, and there were panda bears as well

 On Monday, Jordan’s school was closed, and he stayed home with Nanna.

Actually, they were barely at home. They had a day of adventure planned. A big ZOO day!

I myself am not a fan of zoos – they make me sad, plus this one time, in Bangladesh, a monkey reach through the bars and got hold of my hair and wouldn't let go and my dad was holding my legs and the monkey my hair and it kind of scarred me for life.

However. The National Zoo is a great place to take kids, and the distance between the animals and the humans is such that your kid is not going to get grabbed by a monkey. There are tons of animals! The famous pandas! Big, wide walkways for strollers. Places to run and play. And free! (Which I find astounding, as zoos are so expensive to maintain.)

We spent the weekend building up the zoo outing – talking about our favorite animals, and what Jordan thought he’d see there. Jordan said his favorite animal was the tiger. And then verified with Nick that tigers are nice to little boys, and don’t scare them, do they, Daddy?

 Nick assured him that tigers are nice to little boys.

When I got home from work Monday night, Jordan was reclined against Betty, exhaustedly picking at his macaroni.

Had they had a good day? Oh, yeth!

Betty said they had spent hours and hours at the zoo. It was so big! Then, then they went to this frozen yogurt place where you go around to all these machines and put the yogurt in yourself and then sprinkle pixie dust on top!

Since he was out with his grandmother - this particular grandmother - they had dessert and then looked around for lunch. They then found the best noodles!

After these adventures, they headed home for what turned out to be a teeny tiny almost non-nap nap due to the arrival of a giant monsterpoop. Could’ve been a good nap, but after the cleanup, the nap was shot all to hell.

They then headed over for a visit at the day care to see his absolute favorite teacher, who just got back from maternity leave. He had been devastated when she left, and was thrilled to see her. She gave him two little cars for presents. It was a total love-fest.

This was what Jordan said: "We went to day care! Claudia gave me two cars! They're very fast."

"Did you go to the zoo?"

"Oh, yeth! We went to the zoo! We had ice cream! We had noodles!"

 Equal billing for all. And this was as much information as I got out of him. He was tired.

Nick got home in time to tuck him in. When this is the case, they lay in the dark and talk about Jordan's day.

Later that night Nick said, "I don't think the zoo made much of an impression."

"Why not?"

"Because when I asked him what he saw there he said ' There was a crane and a digger and a backhoe!'"

Friday, October 19, 2012

India: month six

My dear, sweet India, Today you are six months old! Half a year!

I know that technically you've been a person since the minute you were born, but you're now such a real person!

You can express your likes and dislikes and it is so much fun to see your personality. When you're delighted you flap your arms and kick your legs and squirm and squeal. It's so much fun to see. I have this feeling that you may be more like me than your father - super happy when you're happy, and super not when you're not.

But we'll see.

Most of the time you're happy and extremely smiley and you beam at everyone. And you clearly expect them to smile back. And they do.

This past month has been a huge one. The biggest, most dramatic development was that you started sleeping through the night.

It was brutal getting to that point, and there was a lot of screaming. A lotlotlot. It was rather terrible, and there was a lot of not sleep all around and maybe a good deal of bitterness as well.

But now you sleep from about 6:30 pm until 4:30 am, and that has changed all of our lives. You wake up, eat, crash out again for a couple more hours, and wake up in a good mood.

You look at your brother with absolute adoration. And today he told me that he loves you so much! Melted my heart.

When he comes into a room you're in, the first thing he does is say, "Can I see my baby?"  And then he promptly walks over to you and takes away whatever it is you're playing with.

In other words, I think he's mostly past his jealousy, but not entirely.

You can't yet sit up on your own, but you roll and flip like a fiend. You have the cutest little chortle. You are super chatty.

I love it.

You are pure joy, you really are.

Except when you scream - shrilly, loudly, and evilly - which you do when you are not getting what you want. Then I catch a tiny little glimpse of, oh, I don't know, something that furthers my suspicion that you and I, my darling, might have more in common than is readily apparent.

I love you love you love you,


So, ya know.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

And now for something completely different

I was recently in a good bathroom with one of those high-power air-blower hand dryers, and it occurred to me that I haven't thought about my imaginary penis in a whole long time. And then I almost mentioned it to my new friend, but for once didn't blurt out every ridiculous thought I have as soon as I have it.

Now I cannot remember where I was, which is too bad because I try to make a mental note of every good bathroom in DC. It's not as imperative as it was during pregnancy, but is still super useful information.

And actually, she's not such a new friend at this point, because we've now known each other for nigh on six months. She's rapidly become one of my nearest and dearest. A bosom buddy, in fact. Ahem.

Also, I'm not sure why I censored the penis business, because it's not like she would blink.

The other day we were shopping in Trader Joe's and I got a can of pumpkin and she asked what it was for, and I asked her if she'd ever had a dog, and then she was all, "This isn't going to be one of those 'and then they ate my dog' stories, is it?"

Which, honest to God, happened to a friend of hers in Peace Corps in Mauritania. Got eaten by neighbors.The dog, not the friend.

And I replied, that no, it was actually about anal glands. Since we were in the frozen aisle, which is always quite busy, I said it out the side of my mouth, like one of these old-time movie private investigators.

I don't know why I felt like it was a more subtle way to say it, particularly as she was down the aisle from me so I wasn't exactly whispering.

It wasn't Nick and raisins, but it wasn't far off.

Because pumpkin always makes me think of Gloria, who had to have her anal glands expressed on a regular basis. You could tell because she'd sit down and scoot across the floor. So anyway, the vet had us feed her a little scoop of pumpkin every day to keep things moving.

I think that was after my dad decided that he was going to not follow the "don't try this at home" advice. Which, if you're successful, you only try once before deciding it is well worth the vet money.

Which actually has nothing to do with anything, now that I've said, well, all of it. Except that it's full-on pumpkin season.

Because the whole point of this little tale is that Jordan and I spend a lot of time talking about the things India will be able to do when she's bigger.

She can't talk now, but when she's bigger, she'll be able to talk to him.

She doesn't know how to sit up yet, but when she's bigger, she'll be able to run and play with him.

And so on.

So the other day, I was changing her diaper on the floor, and Jordan said, "Look, Mama! India doesn't have a penis!"

And I said, "No, she doesn't."

He looked her in the face and said very sincerely, "You'll have a penis when you get bigger, India."

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Having it some, doing none of it well

If you're a parent, and you made the choice to stay home with your kid(s), are you glad you did?

I don't have a big important job. I don't have millions of dollars, human life, or grand affairs of state hinging on my actions. I'm not an Anne-Marie Slaughter type; I'm not trying to have it all (whatever that means).

 I'm just trying to have it some.

I'm trying to love my family with my whole being, and spend at least a little quality time with my husband, and get grocery shopping done and keep the clutter piles from overwhelming us. Oh, and get to the office on time. And not take lunch because twice a day I pump as much milk as I can for India to have at day care. Which is not enough, but it's something.

I am currently in the office three days a week. My days at home with my baby are lovely. My office days are rush rush rush - trying to get the bottles together, to get India ready for day care, to get myself into clean and office-y clothes (still a challenge, when many things are still too tight), to focus on work at work, to leave on time to rush to get either one or both kids - depending on Betty's schedule.

My evenings all week, whether home or at the office, are frantic from when I get the kid(s) until about 8:00 pm, when Jordan is tucked in. I get India bathed, nursed, and to bed, Jordan fed, Jordan clean, Jordan to bed.

They're really hard when Betty is gone, because Nick works quite late, and so it's just me with two kids that want ALL my attention. But when Betty is here, which is most of the time, she feeds Jordan while I get India settled. So it's not hard, just kind of full-on until he's off to sleep.

There are parents who have it a lot harder than me, I know. There are single parents, parents with more than two kids, parents with long commutes and no family nearby. There are parents who manage a family and a job and extra activities and bake cakes and have a clean house and do it all very gracefully.

I'm not weak, and I'm not lazy, but I feel like even just doing it some is often more than I can manage.

And I feel like I'm doing a terrible job at all of it.

Friday, October 12, 2012

If you look at the word "six" long enough, it starts to look wrong

You know how that sometimes happens with a word?

I don't mean like weird and wierd, which I'm never sure of. (Yes, there's spell check, thankfully.) But either way looks weird to me. Or wierd to me.

The point of this post, however is, that I have been blogging here at Lemon Gloria for SIX YEARS. Six! Six! Six! (See how wierd weird odd that looks?)

This is longer than I've held all but one of my jobs, longer than I've lived anywhere except now DC. I've now known some of you longer than I've known my husband.

Thank you for six years of laughing and crying with me. Thank you for cheering me on when my dating life was dreadful, and for rejoicing with me at my wedding and my pregnancies and my babies. Thank you for supporting me through the hardest of times with my dad.

Sometimes I don't feel like I have anything interesting to say, and I wonder if this is what I should be doing. And sometimes it feels like so much fun to share stories, and I'm so happy I can.

I suppose you're always where you are, you know? And I'm glad I'm here and you're here with me.

Big hugs and happy weekend, all.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Um, apparently

Me: What if you found out I were sexting with someone? No physical contact, just sexting?

Nick: You are an oddball.

Me: OK, but what would you do?

Nick: I would express my profound disappointment.

Me: What if he lived somewhere we were never going to meet?  Like, Russia?

Nick: Do you and I really have so little to talk about?

Thursday, October 04, 2012

And let me give you a foot rub when we stop at the next light

So, several years ago, my parents gave us their old Alice. She immediately guided us around rural  Maine in 11-mile increments.

And this is tangential, but Maine, beautiful Maine! Here are some pretty pictures of our time there.

Anyway, Alice. She changed our lives. Mine more than Nick's, but he loved her immediately as well.

I've always been severely directionally challenged, and with Alice leading the way I was no longer all stressed out every time I had to drive somewhere new all by myself. I could just get in the car and go! And get to my destination!

She was patient, she was kind. She did not envy, nor boast; she was not proud...I won't go so far as to say that she madeth us to lay down in green pastures, because, let's face it, she wasn't God. But she was awesome.

Rather than telling us we were idiots, she'd firmly say, "Recalculating!" when we didn't follow her directions. And then one day, her face froze. You know how when you were little and you'd grimace and your parents would warn you that your face might freeze like that?

Well, that's precisely what happened to our Alice. I got her unfrozen, but it was brief.

And while we loved her honestly and truly, we promptly set her aside and bought a new Alice. She was a little fancier, but basically the same. 

So we had a number of years of one Alice and then another. And then a couple weeks ago, I was in a friend's car. She had the same Garmin as us, but hers was Ken. Ken the Australian.

I'm not actually one for Australian accents, but Ken has a nice voice. He's soothing. And polite. 

You basically hear, "In five miles, turn left. You look beautiful in those sweatpants. Can I get you a drink?"

He took us to Virginia and back. By the time she dropped me at home, I wanted my own Ken.

I may be patient and kind as well, but let's not pretend I'm above envy. I had Ken envy.

Thus with a couple menu options, I performed international gender bending, and Alice became Ken (who, in the Garmin menu, is named Lee). A scant few days later, Ken guided us smoothly to Charlottesville and back.

I was worried that Nick might get jealous, because you know, Ken is so smooth. And foreign. He basically whispers sweet nothings in my ear in the guise of directions.

Nick, however, immediately viewed Ken as a pal, a friend for the road, and a delightful excuse to throw Australianisms around. Ken would give an instruction, Nick would execute it, and then be all, "Good on you, mate!" Or, "Throw a shrimp on the barbie!"

And then when we reached our destination, Nick trumpeted,"Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi!"

Which, actually, we wish Ken would say at the end of a trip. Right after he pours me a glass of Shiraz.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

On what would've been his 76th birthday

The other day, I almost picked up the phone to call my dad.

And then I remembered.

It's weird, because it's now been almost three and a half years, and it's the first time that has happened. I dreamt about him the other night as well, which I haven't done since right after he died. I've never smelled his cologne since, and I really do believe it was him saying goodbye and taking flight.

Betty and I almost never talk about him. I don't know if this is good or bad. It just is. But every once in a while Jordan will be doing something and she'll say, "Dad would have loved this kid so much."

And he would have. And he'd love little India as well.

I know now he was a better dad to me than to my brother, who is almost four years younger. Something shifted in my dad when my brother was very little. He started getting sick all the time in Bangladesh. I don't remember how he was in Egypt, but really wasn't doing well by the time we were in the US, leading up to his first suicide attempt.

Basically, what I realize is that I got more of the fun and my brother got more of the crazy. You can have the same parents and yet have very different parenting experiences.

It's not fair -  it's just birth order and timing. Hell, none of it's fair. It's just life.

My dad was sure he'd die at 72. I don't exactly know why; perhaps because that was the age of both of his parents, who died in different years, of different types of cancer.

But in the end, he was 72. He almost made it to 73. He almost made it to meeting Jordan. He almost a lot of things, I suppose.

The aftermath of suicide is so very complicated. I was devastated. I no longer had my dad, one of the most important people in my life. I was angry. He'd left us, really left us this time. We'd been abandoned. Lied to. Betrayed.

For the longest time I felt guilty every time I said anything negative about him. Or expressed anger towards him.Even though I was sometimes chokingly angry.

But you know, the aftermath of growing up with an unstable parent is complicated as well. When you look at our family with a little distance, there is some really fucked up stuff. I mean, besides the multiple suicide attempts.

Me, I can trace the roots of nearly all my insecurities back to my dad and his behavior. I can blame him, if I choose - but that's the lazy way out. We can all blame our parents for all our problems, really.

And even if we do so, they're still our problems, until we work them out.

My cousin Lyrae was in town recently, and we were talking about my dad and about grief. She said she's realized it's not linear. You might expect that it gets better and better and better, until it is all gone. But no. It is random and unpredictable, swinging wildly up and down, punching you out of the blue during a period of fineness.

I still get so sad, and sometimes resentful, but I think I've forgiven him for abandoning us. And I've almost entirely forgiven myself for the anger. If he were still around, he'd still be complicated. He's still be crazy. So in some ways, life is calmer now.

But I'd take the ups and downs of the old crazy, any day.

I'm rambling. I don't really know what I'm saying. It's just, you know, October third. It's my dad's birthday.