Saturday, January 30, 2010

In which we bundle up a reluctant baby and tromp around in the snow

If you've ever had a dog, you know how when they're in snow they're half "the hell?" and half "if I work at it, I can eat every single piece!"

That's what Jordan was like today. Not to compare him to a dog. But there you have it. Plus, he seemed to be more on "the hell?" end of things than any of our dogs.

And just so you're not disappointed, let me tell you nothing much happens in this video. It's really just baby in snow.

And we're not laughing at him, we're laughing with him.

Andand! It's still snowing! I'm definitely a threat to foist more baby-in-snow photos on you this weekend.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Does this make me sexist?

Yesterday I got to the outer doors of my building at about the same time as a guy.

We looked at each other, and he paused. So I reached for the handle, opened the door, and held it for him.

He said, "Thanks." and walked through to the next set of doors.

He opened one, walked through, and held it open from the other side long enough for me to catch it and go through.

Here's the thing. I totally judged him for not opening the door for me in the first place. And then I judged him again for walking through a door that was held, and not bothering to hold the next one.

I'd still find it annoying if a woman did that, but I'm sure I wouldn't judge a woman harshly.

I think this makes me sexist.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Follow the happy

I gave this advice to someone yesterday: Listen to your heart. Follow the happy.I don't tend to be all advicey, but I really believe you cannot go wrong following your heart.

My life got a whole lot better once I figured out how to start doing that. Truthfully, I didn't know that was what I was doing. But one day I realized that I was happy, and it was due to a series of new and good choices.
And I will tell you that it's pretty much impossible not to be happy hanging out with Big J. He lives entirely in the present, is so visibly delighted by all accomplishments, and totally invites you to rejoice in little victories with him.

So it's not exactly sitting up. But it's not falling over, either.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


My car is overdue for an oil change.

I've been thinking about it and not doing it, and feeling guilty, but still postponing. And then Nick asked, out of the blue, if I'd gotten my oil changed recently.

I burst into tears. "My dad always does that for me."

Did. I mean did.

I find myself talking about my dad in the present tense sometimes. "My dad likes...liked..."

He's been so much on my mind lately. I've been crying very easily at the thought of him.

The other night I dreamt that he invited an old boyfriend - someone I was with for a significant time period - over for dinner.

And I knew my dad was dead as I was dreaming it, but there we were, having dinner.

A couple weeks ago, Nick's uncle, who had colon cancer that ultimately spread to his bones, called to say he was going to end his life the following morning. He was in too much pain. He couldn't suffer any longer. He was saying his goodbyes.

He lived in Switzerland, where apparently they have assisted suicide.

And so, one by one, the family called him to say goodbye.

I think about that, and how I would've liked a goodbye.

I don't even know what our final conversation was about. Consumer Reports and carseats or something stupid like that, I think. But I can't remember. This bothers me.

You'd think he would've called for some kind of goodbye conversation.

Maybe it had been too much, too long. I know he didn't want to chance being saved again. We'd have tracked down the hotel or the cell phone. Maybe that was it.

Or maybe goodbye was just too hard.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Now that you're able to unclench your tiny little fists

So the other day, Nick and I were folding laundry.

Scads and scads of laundry.

It's a little bit like Goldilocks, our laundry. Because folding Nick's shirts is pretty much like folding sheets. And then mine are kind of medium size. And Jordan's are itty bitty.

Anyway, there we were, folding and folding.

Nick said it had occurred to him, just briefly, that we do so much for Jordan - I mean, look at all this laundry! And when is he going to start pulling some of his own weight?

And then he remembered that he's only 150-something days old.

But you know, I bought this baby rice cereal in anticipation of six months! And solid food!

Nick looked at the box and was all, "What kind of message are they sending? Once your kid is old enough to eat rice cereal, you can put them to work in the fields?"

I was more wondering where their mothers are. And where are their clothes?

And then I realized that they were probably doing their own laundry. Their clothes are probably drying while they tend the crops.

Monday, January 25, 2010

And then you realize that you're your own problem

So earlier today I wrote this long, venting post about how we aren't getting any sleep and how there's this proffered solution, and how my husband hasn't read it and how it makes me want to stab him.

Not irrevocably. Just a little.

But the real problem is not my husband or the fact that he hasn't read one particular fucking book. And in fact, I feel like a huge asshole for complaining.

The real problem is more like this: The real me has gone somewhere - probably on some exotic vacation - and left this sleep-deprived, low-humor, crabby, wrinkly, flabby woman in her place.

Neither of us get enough sleep. We're both trying to be good parents. And we're both maintaining full time jobs - and Nick's is fuller than full time, really.

And we have this house that's still so much work. Work that Nick does a lot of. And on top of everything else, he's a fantastic dad. He really is.

While me, I don't feel like such a fantastic mom. I feel like I do a good job of feeding Big J and playing with him and talking to him. Really, everything during the day. But I am so tired and resentful at night.

At night, I wish we could close the door on a soundproof room and just not hear him till morning. I want eight straight hours of sleep. Truth be told, I want ten.

How horrible is that? It makes me feel so guilty.

And I also feel like a sucky wife. I'm no fun. I'm always tired. I get mad and stabby so easily. And even so, Nick supports me.

I miss being enthusiastic and energetic and joking and laughing and putting on cute outfits and wearing tarty boots. I miss the me I used to be.

One evening last week the weather was lovely and a couple people ran past me on my walk home. And I thought, oh, if I didn't have a child, I'd be out for a delicious evening run. And then probably I'd be meeting friends for drinks. We'd chat and laugh and maybe even drink too much. And then I'd crawl in bed and sleep all night.

I feel like being a mom just consumes me. I love J so much and wouldn't trade being his mom for anything.

But I feel like I scrape by with the bare minimum in every other piece of my life.

And there I am, complaining about the men in my life, when really, I'm my own problem.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Meaty feeties

I don't know how you feel about feet.

I mean, I have some friends who are completely grossed out by feet. Not only other people's, but their own. They never go barefoot. You can torture them by acting like you're going to touch them with your toes.

I'm not like that. But I wouldn't say I'm a feet person.

And although I did consider foot prostitution as a fall-back career, I am not a foot fondler, or a toe sucker. No matter how much I love someone, no matter how freshly cleaned his feet.

So, yes, I'd be willing to stick my toe in someone's anus for large amounts of cash. (in an alternate single universe - not currently, honey). But whatever, it's my toe. Which is not to say I want someone else's toes anywhere near my private bits.

So we're clear on the feet thing.

But I love love love the big fat solid bricks that Jordan has for feet. I find them endlessly entertaining.

I hold them and squoosh them and nibble on them and do raspberries against the bottom of them.

Not having known any other babies really up close, though, I just assumed that all baby feet were like his - about as fat up and down as they are wide.

But the other day I decided to try some shoes on him. Those really soft, cute Robeez baby shoes.

The first pair, I couldn't get anywhere near getting on. The bigger pair, which were too long, I finally finally squoze his feet into. After lots and lots of effort. And giggling.

So that night, when Nick got home, I asked him the following: Are his feet thick top to bottom? Like, thicker than average?

Which I will admit is a random first question when you walk in the door.

I'm pretty sure he thought this was going to lead to an assault on his eating habits - because while I have never made a correlation between consumption of saturated fat and thickness of feet, it's not outside the realm of something I might come up with. And so he got into a defensive, "you are not fucking greeting me with the terrible diet bullshit as I walk in the door" stance.

And then you could see it click for him. He smiled. "Oooh, yeah. The Boy has my feet."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The boots

Thanks to all of you who extolled the virtues of La Canadienne, these are my superfantastic new La Canadienne boots. In action.

You can't see it, but I'm totally doing pouty lips with my catwalk.

This isn't the most flattering picture, but see how my athletic calves plus leggings fit inside them without a single squeeze?

Maybe you can't tell. But they do.

I love them so much that I would totally marry them. If I weren't married. And if they were a hot guy.

Particularly if they were a hot Canadian guy, of which I am absolutely certain there are many up there in Canada. Unless of course he wanted me to move to Canada. Which I could never do, purely because I lack the strength to survive winters any colder than DC.

But otherwise, I would totally marry them.

So the boots. There were so many I liked that it was hard to choose, but I just loved that these were flat with kind of chunky soles and roundy toes.

They are so warm and waterproof and the soles are supportive and soft and comfy. I got them a couple weeks ago and I've worn them practically every day. With jeans, with skirts, with a tunic and leggings.

I commute to work in them, and I will tell you, they don't slow me down one bit. Plus I feel more attractive in them than in my Dansko clogs or my sneaks. I figure the fact that they make me less dorky on my commute is worth a ton.

They're the spendiest boots I've ever bought, but if I wear them five million times, then amortized, they'll really only cost pennies per wear. No?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It's an industry term

Nick is extremely handy, which is a super lucky thing with our oldold house.

Because me, I am all focused on the pretty, like, ooh, let's paint this room yellow!

Which it turns out you can't do until old water damage behind the walls has been repaired. For example.

There are a shocking number of things Nick can fix himself. And then he recognizes other things that I'd never think of, and goes about remedying the situation.

Like the astounding coldness of parts of the house.

It turns out our house had absolutely no insulation in the roof. And so where we are connected to side houses, we stay warm. And where we are unconnected, we were brutally cold.

We had some freezy rooms, basically because the dread cold would just mince in through the cracks, or settle on the roof and ooze on down, settling all comfy into the walls and kicking back on the floor.

Very brrr.

So Nick hired an insulation company to remedy this.

They brought a big truck and all these blocks of what turns out to be cellulose! (I am not kidding you when I asked if it was asbestos, causing Nick to look at me like I was feeble.) They fed aforementioned cellulose into this machine and shot it through a pipe into holes they made in our walls and ceilings.

It was a tremendous process, filling our space with wallboard dust and tubes and cellulose and probably years worth of stuck in the ceiling dirt.

But now we are much warmer.

We have this little cupola, under which we've put two chairs. It's a nice, cozy place to sit. So last night, I looked up and realized there were a ton of patched holes in the ceiling.

"Why so many holes?"

Nick reached up and patted the slanted ceiling. "It turns out it was incredibly cold behind these walls."

Somehow I immediately pictured the sudden cold that would appear in the Sixth Sense, where you could see your breath. I imagined a very technical process for determining cold, very cold, incredibly cold...

"How did they know? Did they have to use a special device? Like some kind of temperature measurer?"

Nick's nostrils flared, just a little. "A thermometer, perhaps?"

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Five big months!

Dear Jordan,

Today you are five months old. Five!

When I was little, the biggest number I knew was five. And when my mama would ask me how much I loved her, I would say, "Five! I love you five!"

It was as vast as I could imagine. And that is exactly how I feel about you. I love you so much I feel like it permeates every molecule in my world.

And your dad is just as thrilled about you. He's so proud of every little thing you do, and although he's at work most of the time, he's always thinking about you and talking about you and showing your picture to people.

I'm not kidding when I say that I bet people on his bus are all, "Here comes the big guy with all the baby pictures! Don't make eye contact!"

You spend most days now with your Nana Betty, and the two of you have a lot of fun together. I come home and you're either on the floor playing with stuffed animals, or you're sitting on her lap chatting.

You have no idea how in love with you she is. When she sleeps at our house, I wake her up in the morning by putting you next to her in bed. She wakes up with such a big smile and so many kisses for you.

You're the happiest little human I've ever met. You smile and laugh most of the time. Sometimes you laugh out of nowhere, and I wonder what you are thinking about to crack yourself up. And sometimes when I'm trying to make you laugh, you give me this little heh heh heh that sounds exactly like Jon Stewart's impression of George W Bush.

I never thought I'd say that a baby was one of the funniest people I've ever met, but you are.

Lately your big tricks are making raspberries and rolling over. On the raspberry front, you're highly accomplished. I have to say, I've never seen anyone make them with such intensity or enthusiasm.

As for rolling over, you are getting better and better. You flip over every chance you get; you just throw your little legs up in the air and roll. The main problem seems to be that once you're on your stomach, you're kind of stuck. But I know you'll learn the rollback very soon.

Now that you can turn over, you love to sleep on your stomach. Sometimes you are in such an odd position that you look like one of those crime scene murder victims, but you are sleeping peacefully, so I have to assume you're comfortable.

You've slept through the entire night a handful of times. Each time you do, we think it's a new trend. And then it isn't. One of these days, though, I'm sure you're going to stay asleep the whole night, and then it'll feel so good to you that you'll keep doing it.

You are the biggest joy. There are some tragic things going on in the world, but inside our house, it's mostly sunshine, and it's all because of you.

I love you, big boy.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Our lord of the dance learns another trick

You know when you have a big crush, or first fall in love?

You talk about the person all the time.

Somehow everything - from sunshine to No. 2 pencils to health care reform - everything on the planet relates to them. Eventually your friends all want to stab themselves in the ears, they're so sick of hearing you go onandonandon. (And you fear your readers might be ready to spoon their eyes out.)

But you cannot make yourself shut up.

And you just can't wait to see them? You think about them and get all shortofbreath fluttery?

That's how it is.

I sneak out of work early every chance I get. I rush home to see my boy.

And the other day I got home in time to see this.

Just to let you know, all the action is up front. It ends in a quiet bit of tired resignation.

Happy weekend, all!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

And then one day we'll wonder why Jordan never invites his friends over

I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that I am someone who has said, "Who doesn't love Barry Manilow?" with a straight face.

Every once in a while, Nick will get a wild hair up his ass to listen to some particular song. And then he'll buy it and play it 54 times.

So last night he bought Come A Little Bit Closer - a song I recognize but had never actually listened to. We played it over and over at breakfast this morning. For those of you who have never heard of it, here you go:

And as I am a person who who loves songs like Copacabana and Hernando's Hideaway, I can certainly swoop around the house singing, "Come a little bit closer, you're my kind of man, so big and so strong. Come a little bit closer, I'm all alone, and the night is so long..."

It's fun. And plus, why didn't I know that line when I was single?


The issue at hand is that Nick contends that my songs are just not in the same category. Because mine are just, well, not as good.

And I am like, you are just wrong.

Seriously. Copacabana? It's got everything: romance, glamor, jealousy, murder, strength, tragedy, insanity! Who could ask for more?

Don't you think?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Oh, fool me once and shame on you and then of course you can't get fooled again*

Since Big J is usually asleep by the time Nick gets home, he spends as much time with him as he can in the morning.

So on a typical day, while I'm nursing, Nick takes a shower, puts on a crispy shirt and suit pants, and then has some play time with Jordan. He hangs out with him till the very last minute, and then puts on his jacket and tie on his way out the door.

Sometimes it's a very good thing he wears a jacket to work.

Also, if you watch the video, I'd like to point out that for me, the key word here is "again."

*And yes, I'm paraphrasing. The W quote was just too long and cumbersome.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I just feel like maybe it's a little phobia-promoting

I don't know if you've read any children's books recently?

For the most part, they tend to teach something - the alphabet, colors, animals, shapes. As they get a little more sophisticated, they might teach behavioral things, like manners, hand washing, etc.

So Jordan got a set of Beatrix Potter books for Christmas from Nick's parents. The only one I was actually familiar with was Peter Rabbit. But I hadn't read it since childhood, so I pulled it out.

To begin with, I don't exactly understand why Peter has a human name, when the rest of them are Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail. But that doesn't actually matter.

What struck me was this: not long after you begin the story, you learn that Peter's father was killed. And stuck in a pie. And eaten!

What kind of book is this for kids?

Hi, this is a story about a cute little bunny. Whose mom tells him to behave, because remember what happened to Dad? He did something he wasn't supposed to, and then he was murdered. And eaten.

And the lesson here is that you should behave, and do what your mom tells you to. Because otherwise, you will likely be murdered and eaten as well.

If you're lucky, and you do misbehave, you might escape, but without your clothes, and you'll just barely make it home alive.

The H-E-double toothpicks?

Friday, January 08, 2010

Fight the power

You know how sometimes you have a really aggravating conversation with someone at work?

If it's on the phone, you can roll your eyes or gnash your teeth or, after you hang up, slam the phone a little. Or something along those lines. Not constructive, but it makes you feel a little better.

But if it's in person, you're often just stuck feeling all stabby but being outwardly polite. It's the professional thing to do.

So here's what I was thinking.

Next time someone comes over to my desk and annoys the tar out of me, I'm going to do the following.

As they turn to walk away, I'll hit play on this clip, with the volume way up. And if the turn around, which I think is likely, I can be all, "Oh, my husband just sent me the cutest clip of my baby! Want to see it?"

Thursday, January 07, 2010

And yet again, it's dang dratted monster trucking cable

Nick says it looks like we're going to have to slam our dick in the door.

By this he means switch back to Comcast. The idea makes me want to spoon my eyes out.

I reminded him about the terrible customer service, and how they might pee on our rug. How they kept charging us because we'd packed some stupid little card rather than returning it, even though we'd disconnected everything, and how he'd rather eat rocks and nails than use them again.

He remembers this. But here's the thing: he wants to watch his shows. He wants them to record when they're set to record. And then he wants the service to work when he sits down to watch.

And when Comcast service works, and you don't need them to do anything for you, well, the service works.

But it turns out that if you want good service, DirecTV kind of sucks, at least for us. We can't use our TiVO, and their record show thingy doesn't work half the time. And the service is sketch. As far as I know, nobody has yet been rude to us or stood us up. But the service is for sugar honey iced tea.

(And do you like how well I'm doing on the not swearing?)

There's no FIOS where we are, alas. (And I wonder - Foggy Dew, did you ever switch over?)

If we watched the sports, I am told DirecTV would be great. They have lots of sports, apparently.

This appeals to me not one bit. And thank the dear Lord I am married to a man who, apart from the very occasional rugby game(??), is not remotely interested in watching sports. Or attending sporting events.

I feel like I must have done something right somewhere along the way.

But back to our dick. In the door...

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The relativity of everything. Or, I see preg people.

We moved every four years - with one two-year stint in Egypt - when I was growing up.

With all the moving moving moving, we were always packing packing packing. And so, to this day, I cannot pass a sturdy cardboard box without pausing to assess its sturdiness, and how much it might fit.

I seriously will stop on the sidewalk and look it up and down all, "Nice box!"

And Nick will say, "Keep walking."

Once I started working with textiles, I did the same thing with so many random things. I can admire a sturdy pair of rubber gloves. Strong string. Sharp scissors. I've picked up random pieces of flattened metal from the road, because they could make an interesting print design.

It's just where your focus is, you know?

And in a similar vein, before I got pregnant, I never, ever saw pregnant people, people with strollers, people with young children.

And they are EVERYWHERE. They take up whole sidewalks How did I miss them? I see them all over the place now.

And honestly, I think this is why I never censored my foul mouth around kids. Because I didn't see them. Yes, even at the zoo. Duh, I know.

But I just wasn't a kid person. I never had baby lust. I didn't notice their big cheeks, their sweet coos, their adorable outfits, their cutie cute whatevers.

I used to look at people's baby pictures to be polite. Really. And sometimes we single people were not always so polite.

Several years ago, one of our friends tried to tell us a cute story about his now-wife's son, and we were all, "We're single. Do you seriously think we want to hear about potty training? And would you like another beer?"

Now I practically accost strangers on the street to tell them how great my kid is. And I'm pretty sure Nick strikes up conversations with people on the bus just so he can whip out his BlackBerry and share Big J pics.


And now I'm all, nice stroller! Cute diaper bag! Gorgeous baby - do you have any more pictures?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

In my defense, I practically have to stand on a ladder to see it

You get married to someone you are so incredibly close to, and as days pass, you only get closer.

You share secrets, intimate moments, every little thing you possibly can.

You spend hours - in the beginning, anyway - holding their face, gazing into their eyes, ruffling their hair, offering sweetnesses, drinking them in, and generally trying to get to know the person as deeply and thoroughly as possible.

Your relationship gets harder but richer when you have a kid. You can't imagine being closer to another human being.

So you know. It's not that I don't love him.

It's more, well, I've been told I'm lucky I haven't been kidnapped on the street, considering how unobservant I can be.


I have been telling people that I have no idea where Jordan's widow's peak comes from.

Nobody in my family has one. And as far as I know, nobody in Nick's family has one. Every time someone asks, this is what I say.

I thought it was pretty cool. Must be some ancestor from somewhere. Who knows? A mystery.

Until the time someone asked when Nick was standing right there.

He said, "Nobody?"

He had a tone.

I thought about it, shook my head. "Not that I know of."

He gave me a look, and pulled back his bangs.


Monday, January 04, 2010

Setting the record straight

The problem with me is that I'm an unreliable narrator.

Also, I tend to say "the thing about me," or "the problem with me" - as if there's THE thing or THE problem. But saying "A problem with me" just doesn't work. Plus, being an unreliable narrator, whatever the problem is at the time is THE problem.

At least I recognize this. Which makes it less of a problem. Or the problem.


I recently wrote this post about how Nick is all ambley and smell the rosey and it drives me crazy because I am so not.

And then someone commented about that time I got caught sticking my nose in someone's bush. And I was thinking, well, yeah, but those were lilacs. I always have to smell the lilacs.

But I do stop and smell the roses. I just do it quickly. Walkwalkwalk, stop briefly, stick nose in rose, walkwalkwalk.

Not the same. In my mind.

But the thing about me is that whatever I am feeling at the moment is absolutely how things are. So when I'm cold, I can't even remember what it's like to be warm. And then once I'm warm, I forget about the dread cold.

(This leads Nick to say that I have a very temporal approach to the world. I didn't connect this type of thing with an inability to have a 10-year plan, but actually, it all ties together.)

So the other day, Nick addressed me as "Lisa" - which he rarely does. I pointed this out.

And he said, "What I never call you is 'Lis'."

"You don't?"

"No. And in your blog, you always have me calling you 'Lis.' And I don't."

He was clearly annoyed by the misrepresentation.

While I do hang on his every word, clearly I miss a few here and there. Because the fact is, he has plenty of nicknames for me, but never calls me Lis.

So if you're reading back through any old posts in which I relay conversation with Nick, please do as follows: Anywhere you see "Lis" please insert "Honey Chinese Cheese."

For this I have no explanation. And that's the gosh-darned truth.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Oh ding-dang criminatly

Hi! It's the new year! Yay!

One of my resolutions is, as always, to clean up my language.

It never works. And you know I'm going to fuck up and say fuck. And that is OK, I've decided. It's just that overall, I'd like to reduce the amount of profanity I use in my spoken language. Maybe my writing, but maybe not.

So my mother tells this story of when I was a little, little kid. We were all in Duluth, visiting my dad's parents.

My dad's mom, who wasn't the easiest MIL, was apparently being all holier-than-thou and explaining to my mother how using profanity was the sign of a poor vocabulary, or something along those lines.

And I, sitting under the table, pulled an "Oh, Jesus Christ!" out from my poor vocabulary.

I think Betty was secretly fairly pleased.

So anyway. This time, I've decided I'm going to try to start using ridiculous expressions that amuse me, with the intention of crowding out some of the curse words.

I'm not sure what they'll be - probably because I've been so profane for so long. But I think I'd like to start using "criminy" and "cripes" - mainly because I like how they both sound.

Betty will say "criminatly" - not sure where that came from, but it's like criminy times two, as far as I can tell.

I don't think I can pull off "jeepers." And I'm never going to say Jimminy Crickets. Or "oh, heckfire!"

But if you've got any creative additions, I'd like to hear them.