Thursday, September 30, 2010

I'll tell you what I want, what I really really want

I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna really really really wanna zigazig ha.

Um. Sorry. I got carried away.

So. This past year has been all about our house. And Jordan. And let's not kid ourselves. This is going to be the case for pretty much every year in the foreseeable future.

The house has needed so much more than we anticipated. And Jordan, well, he grows out of clothes every 15 minutes. But honestly, it's fun buying stuff for him.

It's not a negative. It just is.

What it means, though, is that Nick and I have been extremely careful about our own expenses. This has significantly curtailed my clothes shopping. Every clothing purchase I've made this year has either been really cheap (Liberty for Target) or extremely practical. And there haven't been many.

What I've discovered, though, is that it's fine. I see things, and I want them, or WANTWANTWANT them, and I don't buy them...and my life goes on just fine without them.

Which doesn't mean that I don't go window shopping on a regular basis.

Those high platform over-the-knee boots above? WANT. They're Calvin Klein and they're at Zappos. This is one of those I know for a fact that I don't currently and probably never will need kind of things. Might not even wear. Where would I ever wear them? But want, yes I do.These purple boots, which are Boden and sized for kids but I have small feet so could totally fit them plus they're cheaper because they're for girls? Want, yes I do. Need? Not so much.
Delicious velvet coat in berry, also from Boden? Want. Don't need one bit. I have plenty of coats.

The only thing I need, and these are actually very practical and come from Lands End, are black pants. I'm reluctant to buy skinny pants - one, because I was here for the trend the last time around, and two because I just don't know if I can pull them off - but I want to...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

As long as we both shall live. With perhaps an exception or two. Depending.

"I take it you've gotten well past feeling like a boy with this haircut."

Nick said this as we were making dinner.

"You know," I said, taking a sip of wine, "a friend of mine had this professor in college who had a husband who got a sex change."

Nick got that you're-so-going-to-turn-this-into-a-rabies-conversation-aren't-you kind of look.

He said, "I've had a long day."

"Yeah. So her husband had always felt like he was a woman trapped in a man's body."


"So he had the sex change and became a woman."

He reached for the salt. "Uh huh."

"And they stayed together!"

This gets his attention. True love!

I add, "Isn't that so interesting? It's such a statement about loving the person and their core."

I look at him significantly. I expect him to say something about how he loves me that much. And no matter what, we'd always be together.

He responds, "In other words, his wife became a lesbian."

"It's about love. It's not about gender or sex."

"And then they were both lesbians."

"Whatever. Sure. So would you?"

"Would I what? Sleep with you and another woman?"

"Stay with me? If I became a man?"

"Not a chance. Let's get back to the lesbians."

"Don't you love me?"

"So his wife, the lesbian..."

"Drop it."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

One boob correction and two details or maybe three

Correction: Boobs. I had a long chat with Maude yesterday and it turns out I was wrong about the boobs.

I mean, yes, the women did roll them up like tin cans. But Maude said they rolled them under, rather than up. This seems like it would be a lot more difficult to execute.

She agreed, but said that it was aesthetically more pleasing. Which I guess would be true. I revised the picture to reflect this - you can judge.

I just felt you ought to know. I'd hate to mislead any of you.

Detail: Truth of Mood. Also, please bear in mind how truth of mood I am.

I always mean what I say, emphatically and entirely, the moment I say it. So last week, when Nick emailed me the picture of Cheladas, and asked if he should buy some, I said, "No way in hell. Don't even think you're going to kiss me with beer tomato clam breath."

And then like 12 hours later I was all, "So, we should totally try this! Would you bring some home?"

I don't mean to be difficult. It's more like I've already forgotten my prior position. Yes, a number of men in my past found this challenging.

Fortunately, Nick is strong like bull.

Detail: Fall hikes. It's not that I hate hiking, or even hate fall that much. I mean, it makes me nervous, because it's pre-winter. These are the fall dreads.

My issue is with the people who don't understand depression, who think that telling you things like "Cheer up!" "Go dancing!" "Snap out of it!" is helpful. They are the same ones who say, "Oh, just take a nice hike! That'll make you feel good!"

I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from hiking in the fall. Take your nice fall hike and send me a picture. Seriously. I promise I don't sit around all "Fuck the fucking fall hiker fucks!"

This reminds me! Fall! Fucking Shoulder Season! What I would really like to know is, how is a person to get dressed anymore? Do you know how hard it is to dress for fall when it insists on being hot and humid?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Take my hand. Take my whole life, too.

Two years ago today, on a greyish, freshish, maybe-it-will-maybe-it-won't-rain (but if it does it's good luck)-ish day, I did the following.

Got up and ironed the shawls one last time and put them in bags.

Picked up Jen and headed to the salon.

Got my hair all sleeked down curled up and sprayed sprayed sprayed - with an extra can for intermittent spraying throughout the day!

Headed to the fancy schmancy were-assholes-to-work-with-but-in-the-end-it-was-worth-it-because-boy-is-it-stunning location.

Drank champagne and chatted with my dearest friends.

Put on my mama's white dress and headed downstairs.
Walked down the aisle with my dad.

Had the most personal, wonderful ceremony.

Promised to love Nick for the rest of my life.

And I do. And I will.

I said it was the best day of my life. And it was.

What I didn't know then was that it was just going to keep getting better.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Chelada report and gifts from the rurals of Virginia

Consensus on Chelada: Better than expected.Yesterday Nick spent house and hours outside painting. And when he came in, thoroughly drenched in sweat, looking like he'd been in a wet T-shirt contest, he said, "I think it's Chelada time."It was a spectacular day, so we headed out back, Cheladas in hand. And then took turns taking pictures of each other.

I know that this is more of a breakfast beer, and we had it in the afternoon, so maybe that colored our experience. Also, we weren't hung over or camping. All that said, I wouldn't go out of my way to have them again.

They weren't thick, which was my big fear - that thick tomato-y texture. And they didn't taste like clams. They were a slightly scary Kool-aid red.

They were just kind of spicy, and mildly beery.

Of significantly more interest to me was my new shirt. Nick brought it back for me from somewhereinruralvirginia. I don't want to make you jealous or anything, but I have two more: one with wolves, and one with unicorns.And this is my new hat. Same store.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Clamato-clamahto, Kristofferson, Cash, and Frankie

So this week quite a number of things were called to my attention.

For starters, I have a good number of Canadian commenters! I love this! I always like Canadians. Always. I know for a fact there are Porsche driving assholes up there (harassing my Hillary!) as well, but I've never met one.

Also: the Clamato Caesar! Which initially sounded terrible to me. But now I feel like I must try it. And now Nick is going to try to bring back some Clamato Bud for us. The store he went to only had it cold, and he thought that skunked Clamato Bud would probably be a bad introduction.

Also also: Nosefrida! It arrived last night! I haven't used it yet. Mostly because J is doing better and I'm trying to give him a break from the trauma. And, I don't know, the physical snot sucking, even though I know that I'm not actually going to come into contact with the snot...Not that I haven't had snot all over me at this point.

Enough snot talk.

I further learned that Kris Kristofferson wrote Sunday Morning Coming Down. Not Johnny Cash. Huh.

Here's the thing. I was raised so musically unaware. As I've said many times, my dad listened to opera and show tunes. I've been told by a number of gay men that he had the gayest taste in music. In fact, my father was told that by some of his gay friends.

And Betty never turns on music. I'm like her in that regard. I listen to music in the car or when I'm working out. Otherwise, it's more noise than I want. My head is busy enough.

So whenever I hear a song, I assume that's the artist that sings it. Basically, whoever sings it first - not first in the world - first in MY world - is who sings it.

I mean, it used to be that way. Until I realized that lots of people cover lots of songs. This is probably the most egregious example.

In the 80s, I loved Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Loved. I listened to their album Welcome to the Pleasuredome 73 katrillion times. Now, everyone knew Relax and Two Tribes, and maybe The Power of love.

But did you know that this album also included the songs Born to Run and San Jose?

Right. So for years, I just assumed that those were Frankie songs. No matter that Bruce Springsteen was insanely famous. And had an album called, uh, Born to Run.

The moment of realization arrived yeeeaaars later, when Maude and I were driving cross country and hit California and she put on Dionne Warwick singing "Do you know the way to San Jose? I've been away so long..."

I was all, "Oh, she's singing Frankie's song!"

Happy weekend, all!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad, so I had one more for dessert.

Nick is currently in Roanoke, Virginia for work. He sent me this picture last night.

He took it in the convenience store down the road from his hotel.

Now, there are things I like that not everyone else does. For example,one of my favorite sandwiches is one Jane made up years ago. Plain bagel with cream cheese on one side and peanut butter on the other and dill pickles in the middle.

And there are combos you see regularly that I dislike. I hate fruit in savory food. I don't want raisins in my rice, or grapes or pears or apples in my salad. The only exception is this amazing sesame chicken with prunes dish that my mom makes.

So, I may be biased, since I've never understood the appeal of clamato. Like, who wants to drink something that tastes like clams in the first place? And then clams with tomatoes?

And who decided clamato plus beer would be delicious? Do people really drink 24 ounces worth of clamato beer? Maybe if you were having beer for breakfast you'd be all, well, it's also got a serving of fruit (because they are a fruit, you know, those 'matos). And trace amounts of clam protein.

Maybe? Would you?

Because look. Clearly, there's a market for it.

Which brings me to this: how come Nick never has cases anywhere that I want to go?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesday with a side of whine

I know you all like me better when I'm funny, but I don't have a drop of funny in me today.

The funny might be in there somewhere, but it's probably trapped in mucus, dying a slow and ugly death. Kind of like those bugs in amber. Hahaha gasp gasp.

Because here's why: My kid has been sick and not sleeping for a week. Now I'm sick.

Also, I hate my hair. And my shoes. In fact, I think I hate everything today.

Jordan slept all the way till 4ish am before waking up all coughing and congesty and unhappy. This is a dramatic improvement from the awake every several hours all night long that's been going on since Friday night.

However. It's still 4ish in the goddamn morning.

So at about 4:30 I did him the severe injustice of squirting saline in his nostrils and then sucking out the snot with that little blue bulb thing they give you in the hospital. Not to be confused with the squarch bottle. They're very different things.

Can you say Violated! and Enraged! 25 times fast and really really LOUD?

That was him at 4:30 am.

But then he was able to breathe and slept till 7:15 and that made things much better, except that I'm all snotty and congesty and tired and bitter.

Somehow he doesn't understand that it's going to make him feel better, even though I explain it to him. I'm all, "Look, you can breathe now!"


In other words, we're not having healthy dialogue.

Not that I'm happy to be sick, but the good thing about being all congested as an adult is that you're allowed to take decongestants and shit that make you feel better. Or at least allow you to sleep.

Except when someone is yelling for you from the other room. Not naming names, but it starts with J and ends with ordan.

Nick's sister, who is a nurse, said that when her year-old son got sick, her pediatrician prescribed these drops that were an antihistamine and cough suppressant and I don't know what-all so he could sleep at night. She said there were very few things you could safely give babies, and to ask for these.

You bet I did.

Our pediatrician didn't feel comfortable prescribing anything for such a young child. Just saline and humidifier and hanging out in a warm steamy bathroom.

And if this goes on for more than another week, to bring him back in.

I kind of wanted to stab her at 4 am. Fuck you and your warm steamy bathroom and no nose drops for my kid.

And I know this isn't the worst thing on the planet. But I'm fucking tired. And whiny.

I made Nick pinky swear that if this goes on another week, that he'll go in to the doctor's office and give them a stern talking-to and tell them We. Cannot. Live. Like. This. and give us some motherfucking nose drops. Bitchez.

That last sentence is the reason Nick needs to do it. Because he'll be poised and reasonable. Whereas I'd be all shrill and hysterical and maybe even insulting and belligerent.

Which doesn't tend to get you anywhere good. Not speaking from experience or anything.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Like most of us, I tend to multi-task. Especially now, with a baby, when it seems like there are always two things I need to do at once.I'm no longer opposed to brushing my teeth in the shower. And while I still don't like sharing a toothbrush, it's not as horrifying anymore. I mean, I let a kid who has his hands all over the floor stick his fingers in my mouth.

If that's not a way to get trenchmouth, I don't know what is.

Anyway. So I dry my hair, and I have the urge to pee...and then I think, well, that's a great way to electrocute yourself, vagina first.

Or is it? I mean, the electricity wouldn't be touching the water, right?
Or would it conduct, because the pee connects to you, and you're holding the hair dryer?
Also, taking a shower during a lightening storm. Certain death or myth?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lucky 13

Yesterday, my little dumpling, you turned 13 months old.

I always used to think it was so weird and irritating that parents would talk about their children's ages in months. Like a year, year and a half, two years wasn't precise enough. It had to be 12 months. 18 months. 24 months.

I was seriously all, "What the fuck is this 24 months business? Say two."

In my head. I didn't really berate parents out loud. Mostly because I tried to stay away from them. More in an effort to not be around children. Screamy, sticky, snotgobbling children.

And here we are, my screamy, sticky little snotgobbler.

Unfortunately, all those adjectives are oh so true lately.

You have a cold or allergies and your nose has been running nonstop for four days. Dad pulled the biggest booger imaginable out of your nose this morning. It was almost as big as your head. No lie.

We're headed to the pediatrician this afternoon.

Mostly because you are so congested and you can't sleep and you have this thick cough when you lie down, which I don't want to get stuck and turn into something worse. Also, we've spent three nights not sleeping and I just feel like none of us can take it anymore. We're all at the breaking point.

I know that our whole lives were like this when you were itty bitty, but it's hard to remember those days. I think it's kind of a protective amnesia sort of thing. Otherwise nobody would procreate more than once.

On a positive note, I've realized why parents say the months - because there's a huge difference between 12 and 13. Between 13 and 18. Huge.

You now not only say "Mama" and "Dada" but also, "hi!" and "hot!" You love saying "hot!" And then you do your best imitation of blowing on food in the way I do.

You've gotten to be kind of a difficult eater, and some days I have to resist the urge to pry your mouth open and just shove the food in. Sometimes I have to walk across the room to keep myself from doing so.

Although you fairly consistently love pasta and steamed broccoli with garlic and olive oil. By fairly consistently I mean: except on the days you don't.

And the other day you said, "pasta." It was more like, "pahta" - but it was pasta nonetheless!

You understand and love the words "walk" and "bath" and "yogurt" and "wall." You pick up books and galumph over, crawling as best you can with a book in one hand, to have us read to you.

We've been taking you to the park and you hate the swings with a passion, but you dive head first down the slide, squealing in delight. You then try to eat the wood chips at the bottom, which is beyond gross for so many reasons in a public park in DC.

You keep us very tired, but you make our lives so rich.

I love you like crazy.


Friday, September 17, 2010

What to do if you find yourself in rural Africa with two-foot boobs and no bra. In three easy steps.

Yesterday one of my commenters said she thinks mammograms are easier if you have more real estate, and I think that's probably true. In many cases.

Because the woman had to squoosh me up against the machine, and push and contort me a bit to get it all in there. Although maybe they do this to everyone?

For me, my post baby boobs are pretty much the same. Just...well, sadder. That's the best way I can describe it. They went from being these happy little cupcakes to being a little weary.

The world was too much with them.

Breastfeeding apparently makes your breast tissue less dense and decreases your chance of breast cancer. This reduced density makes them more easily flattenable in the mamm-machine. Big plus.

So the woman contorted and coaxed and squooshed, and then, when she was satisfied, I looked down. Since the top of the vise (I doubt that's the actual term) is plexiglass, you can see your boob all flattened in front of you, like a sugar cookie pressed onto a sheet.

Very bizarre.

I kind of wanted to take a picture. But what would you do with it?

But back to the real estate. Here's what I've been thinking about.

So you know those National Geographic pictures of women with their super thin boobs hanging two feet down with a little nipple at the end staring down at the ground?

Maude said that when she lived in the Congo, women would take their long, stretched boobs, and roll them up. They'd start with the nipple and roll them up until they were at the top, and then they'd tuck them into their garments like tin cans. She told me this yeeeeaaaars ago.

I'm quite sure I'll remember it to my dying day.

After yesterday, I began wondering. How would you mammographize such long boobs? It's one thing to mash big ones down, but could those machines cover a two-foot long area? Or would they fold them over, since they're very thin?

And that's about all I'm going to say on boobs for the week. Happy weekend, all!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mammogram. Which seems like a word that should be incorporated into a palindrome. No?

This morning, when Nick asked how my day looked, I said, "I have a mammogram at 1:30."

Nick asked me if it was bothering me. When I said, "No, why?" he replied, "Because you've mentioned it about a hundred times so far."


It's not bothering me. Is it?

I guess it is.

I'm not scared. That's not what it is. In fact, I'm kind of curious. A friend of mine described it as "pinchy" but not too bad.

Really, even if your boobs are squished a bit, how bad can it be? It can't hurt more than breastfeeding does in the beginning. And my post-nursing boobs are more amenable to being squozen than they were before. So that part will be fine.

And there's no history of breast cancer in my family.

I think that the bothery part must be this: it means you're a certain age. I'm a certain age.

Kind of like when you go in to the doctor to find out if you're pregnant and then they're all, "Congratulations!" and then mark your file AMA - Advanced Maternal Age.

OLD. (And yet, still fertile! In an advancedly maternal sort of way.)

It's not something you think about. Until you do.

So that's it. My boobs and I are off for our very first mammogram.

Tra la!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The fall dreads

Maybe you get the fall dreads?

They're the slight melancholy that arrives with the shifting of the light from sharp summer yellow to gentle, filtered gold.

They're the sudden sink the first morning you wake in confusion, thinking it must be 4 am rather than six, and you realize that the velvet dark is encroaching on both ends of your day.

They're that little spark of panic in your stomach the first morning you realize that there's a slight chill in the air.

Chill might be too strong for it. But the heavy heat of summer no longer surrounds you like a hug when you walk out the door.

The fall dreads sneak out in many ways: the too-often verge of tears; the constant simmering discontent that flares into anger too easily; the lack of patience; the longing for days past; the reaching for sugar, sugar, sugar.

People who don't get it - the godancers - just don't ever get it. No matter how much you explain.

"Why," they ask, "would fall make you nervous?"

They like to say things like: "But fall is refreshing!" and "It's not cold yet." and "You should go out for a nice hike!"

I smile (I try - it might manifest as more of a sneer) and think, oh, fuck you and your nice hikes.

Nick would be one of those people, used to be one of those people, but he's lived too closely to it. He can't feel it, so he can't empathize, but he can see it. He recognizes the shift.

The ones who get it, who know in their bones that while it starts slow, and you still have your tight grip, it's loosening. You need to readjust. You need to get a firmer hold. Get some help if you need it.

Because if you let yourself slip, the drop is a fast one. And the depths of winter are brutal.

It starts now, with the fall dreads.

Monday, September 13, 2010

One thing and another

The Hunger Games Saga

Our next door neighbor lent me both Catching Fire and Mockingjay.

His partner was reading Hunger Games on the back patio, and when I noticed of course I was all, "OH! are you totally loving it?"

Because of course if it's my new favorite thing I want to talk about it with EVERYONE. Or ANYONE. Because nobody I know in person had read them. Nobody!

And we couldn't talk about them because his partner was only halfway through the first one. Argh!

So they lent me Catching Fire and Mockingjay and I ate them up. They were delicious. Totally recommend them as suck-you-in kind of stories.

You won't finish them edified, but hell, I don't leave work edified most days.

And if you've read them, what did you think of Mockingjay?


The Neighborhood Poo Situation

Someone pooped in the garage two doors down. I know this because they came over with a hose and asked if they could use our tap.

They meaning two of our neighbors. Not they meaning the pooper.

They said this was the first time they'd dealt with this. I'm wondering if there's suddenly a pooping bandit in the neighborhood.


The Sewage Update

Roto Rooter came back last Friday.

The guy was there for quite a while - first he couldn't get his equipment to work, and then one thing, and then another. Finally after about an hour he got to work, and there was a lot of rotorooting to do.

We didn't get charged again, because clearly the last guy hadn't finished the job.

What he said, though, was that we have a broken pipe in front of our house. An eight-foot-underground pipe. He determined that it's either under the wall of our front garden or under the sidewalk. The camera couldn't go any further than the wall, and the guy couldn't tell us precisely.

It's either DC's issue or ours. We won't know until we dig.

What he did say, however, was that it'll cost approximately $6,200 to fix.

Then he said, "Damn. I forgot to load the DVD. Today just isn't my day."

To which Nick replied, "Forgive me if I'm not sympathetic. You're saying this to the man you just told has a $6,200 problem."

Jordan's mommy

Nick and Jordan have a kind of elaborate and constantly evolving morning routine.

After J drinks his milk, Nick hoists him up onto his shoulders and they head out for their start of the day explorations.

They say hello to the homeless guys a couple blocks away. They go to the park and play on the slide. They stop and pet the dogs they know. They walk into Starbucks because J likes how it smells. Plus there are always a lot of interesting people to see.

They used to sit in the grass and bang on the fence of the apartment building down the road, but J is past that now.

That fence is so last week.

Nick knows the names of people's dogs, but not necessarily the owners' names. It's the same for others - everyone knows Jordan's name. He strolls around on the shoulders of his enormous father. When I'm along, I'm the entourage.

We'll be walking down the street and Nick will say, "Blue!"

And this little pug will be all waggy. Blue's owner will say, "Hi, Jordan!" And Jordan will be all squealy.

So this weekend I was heading to CVS. When all of a sudden I saw a man waving wildly at me - one of the neighborhood homeless guys.

"Jordan's mommy! Hey! Jordan's mommy!"

That's me.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The limits of Nick's helpfulness

So yesterday I went to the gynecologist.

Although now I think of him as my OB, since, well, you know with the Jordan business and all. But calling him my OB makes people think I'm pregnant. Which I'm not.


I was hanging out on the table in that little gown thing, reading my BlackBerry, when Dr. N rapped on the door and walked in.

The first thing he said was, "Nice to see you! I love the haircut!"

I hadn't been there in months, and while I saw him 732 million times during and shortly after my pregnancy, I was surprised that he'd recognized me, much less remembered my hair.

I guess I always feel like doctors typically look at their notes and then fake the remembering.

But I quite like him and we have a good rapport, and he did pull a baby out of my uterus and shake my husband's hand. So the remembering could be genuine.

So he asked a couple questions and then left to get the nurse so she could be there for my exam.

They returned, and had me lie back and scoot forward. And so there I am, legs spread, vagina all out there for God and everyone, when he says, "So you have this cute new haircut! And what else has been going on with you?"

I don't know about you, but I have always found it hard to make small talk in a face to vagina kind of situation.

And also. With the hair, I suddenly felt noticed, if that makes sense. In a nice way. But it still made me self conscious.

Not my vagina - that was all clinical. More like, it occurred to me that maybe he thinks I'm attractive. Not in a creepy way - no tone, no look. He's totally professional.

Seriously. It's not like he was all, "Hey, why don't you put some clothing over that vagina of yours and let's go out for a drink."

It was just the noticing of the haircut. Which a ton of other people have done - it's quite a drastic haircut.

I know I'm not explaining the why very well.

And then he made me laugh saying, "OK, just a few seconds, and you'll be the proud owner of a new Pap smear."

And then I put my clothes on and we talked in his office and that was that. Totally normal.

I was telling Nick about it last night. He's typically a voice of reason. When I have situations I'm wondering about, he always gives good advice.

"Do you think it's odd? About the complimenting the hair?"

"Not at all. But you know what I wish you'd said?"

And then I thought, should I have said something? Doctors are authority figures. Maybe compliments, even innocuous ones, are inappropriate?


"I wish you'd said, 'Oh, thank you. I was going to get a Brazilian, but then just went with a trim...Oh! You mean my head hair!'"

Helpful. Very helpful.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

The revenge of the turds

I promise, if it weren’t for the sewer backup, I wouldn’t be talking about poo again this week.

I can't even bear to draw the scenario. And after this, I seriously might be done talking about it for life.

OK. Unlikely.


The horrifying possibility that the DC sewer is somehow shoving sewage back towards our house, instead of it flowing the proper direction – which is OUT and AWAY and FAR FROM US AND OUR BASEMENT is currently dominating our lives.

We're operating on high alert. Code Brown.

Because when your tenant-in-the-basement emails to say, “Hey, we can’t flush the toilet. It doesn’t go down.” And then the drains out front and back overflow and you become terrified that the basement will flood, it kind of becomes the Biggest. Deal. Ever.

So Nick and the Roto Rooter man - the $550 Roto Rooter man - were up until 12:30 am on Wednesday night snaking the pipe. And we’d thought it was fixed until the drains backed up again last night, making us all hysterical. But then the water went down again.

Plus our tenants couldn't deal with another middle of the night Roto Rooting.

So currently we're all on water lockdown with no laundry no dishwasher 30 second showers minimal flushing.

Mr. Roto Rooter is going to come out tomorrow morning and stick a video camera through the drain and figure out where the problem is. Kind of like a colonoscopy.

Nick had tried snaking the drain himself early Wednesday evening, before we realized how serious it was and that we needed professional help and a much longer snake than Nick’s.

No snickering. That’s what it’s called. It’s an industry term.

On a side bar: In my Match profile I’d mentioned that the ability to use power tools impresses me no end. And let me tell you, Nick can do everything. Electricity. Plumbing. Dry wall. It was all those summers working construction with ex-convicts in NJ. I find it incredibly hot.

End side bar. Because here’s where it deviates from any possible hotness and devolves into completely disgusting.

You’re warned.

So after unsuccessfully snaking the drain and then using the Shop-Vac (and if you don’t have one, these things are amazing. They pick up water and gravel and all kinds of stuff.) to suck up all the grit and debris, Nick stripped off his gloves and clothes out back, walked in and dumped the clothing in the washing machine, and asked me to turn it on the hottest setting possible.

I said I was going to get more clothes to stick in, and he said, “Don’t add anything. Just boil them.”

He then went upstairs and scoured himself.


What he didn’t tell us until late last night, when we'd had a couple of glasses of wine, was this. And I almost hate to write it. But it’s too horrifying not to share.

When he was emptying the Shop-Vac, one of the things that he dumped out was a poo. A whole poo.

After Betty and I got done doing an icky icky squeamy dance, I had to ask.

“Do you think it came from inside? Or up the pipes from outside?”

Nick said, “Jesus. I hope it was one of ours.”

And I know this sounds weird, but wouldn’t you rather have it be someone you knew?

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Four wheels. Four doors. How are you supposed to tell them all apart?

There are people who very much identify with their cars. I am not among them.

I have a very basic silver Civic, the same one I’ve had for 10 years. And I swear to you, I will still occasionally try to open the wrong car. And then I notice that it doesn’t have a baby seat in the back.

Some of it, I think, is that I am just so in my head so much of the time. But candidly, cars just don’t interest me. There are so many other things to pay attention to in the world.

When I was dating, this car obliviousness worked against the men who try to impress you with their cars. I mean, if they had a car they were obviously proud of, I’d be all complimentary. And features like butt warmers impress me no end.

But if we were walking back to their car and there was a similar one of the same color parked nearby, I’d be just as likely to head for that one as theirs. It would immediately become clear I had no idea.

What? There are a lot of black and silver cars in this world.

You’d think I’d pay more attention.

The summer after ninth grade, we were back in the US, and in Virginia for a couple weeks. We were staying with one of our old neighbors.

Betty and I had gone out to run errands, and she’d needed to stop at the drug store – the same drug store where we bought our tremendous quantities of toilet paper – and I was hanging out in the rented car waiting for her. I was just kicking back looking out the window when I recognized an old friend of mine from junior high.

I got out and ran over to her. We chatted. And then I headed back to the car.

So I was sitting there, seat back reclined, feet up on the dashboard, enjoying the breeze from the open windows, when a very cute teenage guy got in the driver’s seat.

This shocked me into bolt uprightness. “What are you doing?”

I was all kinds of indignant. Even though he was really cute. Honestly! Who did he think he was?

He replied, “What are you doing?”

“Waiting for my mom!”

“But this is my car.”

“It is not!”

“It really is.” He held out his keys. He reached down between the seats. “These are my mother’s gloves.”

At which point I looked around the car. There was nothing actually familiar. It was just…blue. Same as our rental car.


I blushed. I stammered. I wanted to explain. “ in India...”

“Do you need a ride somewhere?” He asked this very kindly.

“I’m...Our car. Is blue! Too...sorry.”

I’d like to say I got out, walked right over to our car, and got in. But the truth is, I had no idea which one it was.

I fled as coolly as possible in the direction of the drugstore to find my mama.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

City living can charm your pants off

You know, it occurred to me that I've never told you about the poo in the alley.

Human poo, I mean.

It seems like the kind of thing I would tell you immediately, doesn't it?

So we have this narrow alley between the back of our house and the next one. It's where the garbage cans line up, and provides access to the back of each house.

The guy who is what I suppose you might call the caretaker of the apartments next door is this creepy little character who drags every imaginable piece of broken furniture and stuff possible back to his place. And it often winds up in the alley.

Nick's theory is that people know his propensity to collect trash, and so when they have something to get rid of, something that the garbage people won't take, they put it in our alley.

Which is how the seatless chair ended up back there.

Perhaps you know where this is going.

Now, I don't know if any of you would ever see a seatless chair sitting out in the open and think, "Toilet!"

However. It clearly occurred to someone, because Nick took the garbage out one morning and there it was.

We now have tenants in the basement. They moved in just before the poo incident.

I'm not in any way suggesting these events are related. Just introducing these people to the story.

So the very next day the boyfriend in the basement emailed Nick and asked about the protocol for garbage and recycling.

(And does "boyfriend in the basement" make you hum Girlfriend in a Coma? Or is it just me?)

Nick replied with an explanation of the green and blue bins and the garbage days and then added something along the lines of, "You may have seen me hosing out the alley this morning. Let me explain..."

He went on to tell him about the poo, except he used the word defecate. And how this happens every so often. And how, if he'd like to know more, he should come up for a drink that evening.

Nick copied me on this email.

And I was all, "Come up for a drink so I can tell you more about the defecation situation? What kind of social offer is that? He's going to forward the email to his girlfriend, who is going to say, 'Don't go upstairs.'"

And then I also thought, "Fuck. They've lived here like 10 days. And now they're going to think that we attract defecators! And that we like to talk about it!"

And then I realize that really, on that last point, they would be right.

Friday, September 03, 2010

A number of things having to do with numbers. Sort of.

So I tried to make a spreadsheet to turn into a pie chart displaying the results of my Hair poll.

By tried I mean I opened up Excel and then realized I didn't have the vaguest idea where to begin. And also, by then I was thinking "hair pole" - ew! And also, "mmmm, pie."

Recognizing that this looks more like a stubble pole...Also ew.

Although I'm not a huge pie person. Maude's mom makes an amazing pecan pie that I love. And my Gramma Lillian's rhubarb meringue pie was one of my favorite things on this green earth. But other than that, I'm kind of indifferent to pie.

One of the things I love, however, is when I get a lot of reader input. I realize that's sort of a stupid thing to say, because what blogger doesn't? The interactivity is a big part of what's amazing about blogging.

And maybe it's a duh, of course women care about their hair? Except that before I read comment after comment, I didn't have any actual evidence. Not that this is very scientific. Science, schmience.

Each of you left a little story - a window into your lives and minds. When this happens, and I read down through the comments, it feels like when you walk down a street at night around Christmas, and people have their trees and lights in the windows, and you get a glimpse of their lives and preferences.

And saying that, I realize I might sound creepy. I'm not. I swear.

(Though I must admit that Maude and I did maybe spend an inordinate amount of time peering out our bathroom window in San Diego trying to get a look at the just-purchased-by-the-totally-used-for-his-money-boyfriend boobs of our neighbor whose bathroom window was directly across from ours.)

This is really going nowhere good, is it?

I think mostly what I'm saying is, you all are so interesting. As always, you make me think, you make me laugh, you make me feel not alone in my thoughs.

Just pulling out a few:

Stevie is in front of the media regularly. If she doesn't feel good about her hair, it's hard to project the self-confidence she needs to.

VVK - one of two men who responded - would prefer to keep his head shaved. But he's a really big guy, and he's Indian, and he's well aware that how he keeps his head and facial hair affects the degree to which he's subjected to racism and bigotry.

Tia would hire her hairdresser to do her hair daily if she won the lottery.

Wendy was in the minority, in that she loves her hair and doesn't talk about it. And just pulls it back when it's getting in the way.

And moosiegoes currently has a haircut she hates, and spends maybe 25% of her day thinking about it. She fears this is a lot, but I know she's not alone in this.

Once again, thanks for being so thoughtful. And for making Kristin and me feel like we are not alone in the world of hair frets. I'm pretty sure that she's going to show G the post and be all, "See? Internet = proof!"

And he'll shake his fist at the heavens and be all, "Damn you, Al Gore!"

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Birthdays, foie gras, and beets. Beat that.

Today is Betty’s birthday. Happy birthday, Mama!

We went to Cashion’s last night to celebrate, just as we did a year ago. Except last night we went at 6 pm, since Jordan has an early bedtime. Whereas last year he was only a couple weeks old and was still pretty dazed.

Hell, we all were.

I feel kind of evil admitting it, but I do sometimes miss the days when he was a confused little lump and we could just haul him out in his car seat and he'd fall asleep while we had dinner.

Now when we go out pretty much everything is about keeping him occupied and happy so that other people don't hate The People With the Annoying Screaming Kid.

I myself have historically done a lot of hating of those people. I've given a lot of stinkeye. Not anymore, though.

I forgot my camera, and I’m so sad about that. It’s one of those “what a difference a year makes” kinds of things, you know?

Jordan was in his Hugh Hefner jammies, because Betty thought it’d be best if we didn’t have to get him in his nightwear after the restaurant. The rest of us wore normal clothes.

Although now that I say that, I'd kind of like to go out for dinner with a group wearing pajamas. If anyone asked we could just say we were worried we'd be too tired to change after dinner.

I'm probably the only one who finds this idea highly amusing.

J typically goes to bed around 6:30, so even though he'd napped late, he was tired when we arrived. He was cranky and complainy and just generally NOT HAPPY to be there. Until Betty’s foie gras appetizer arrived.

We'd brought a bottle (Yes, we're trying to wean. No, he's not giving up the bottle easily.). We'd tried feeding him bread, nice, crusty bread, while we were waiting. Nothing doing.

And then, then this fancy hunk of goose liver arrived. Betty offered him a forkful, which I was sure would be spat out immediately.

Suddenly he was all, "Yum! More! NOW! MORE!"

He ate the whole damn thing. I think she got two bites.

And then, then he turned his attention to the beets in Nick’s salad. The ones Nick had been shoving to the side because, like some people, he thinks beets are evil.

Lucky for him, I've never suggested inserting them in his anus.

Anyway. The kid ate most of the beets.

And then he melted down and Nick took him outside while I asked if they could pack his main course to go. I mean, Nick had offered to take him home. I didn't just stealthily stick his meal in a box, all, OKthanksbyehoney!

I headed outside with the food and J's bottle, and they were nowhere in sight. I looked up and down the block, and then a guy said, "They went that way."

"A big guy with a baby?"


"Wearing monkey pajamas? The baby, I mean."

"Yes. That way."

I handed off the food, they headed home, and Betty and I stayed and enjoyed the rest of our leisurely dinner.

I think so far she's having a nice birthday.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Wednesday poll: How much time do you spend on your hair?

This is my friend Kristin. She lives with her husband and two kids in a charming apartment in Paris.

We’ve been friends since 11th grade in Delhi. I met her the first day of school. She is tall and thin and back then she had this long, glorious, blondeyblonde hair. Every single guy who met her followed her around with a dazed look on his face.

So when we met I had an asymmetrical bob that I had just had cut in London on my way back to India, and the first thing she said to me was, “I like your hair.”

It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

So it was recently called to my attention – through a forwarded email – that I spend too much time talking about my hair.

This is how it started.

Kris got this haircut that she hated. Which totally affected how she felt. She walked around feeling all ugly and old and just generally loathing her hair. Every day.

If this has ever happened to you, you tell yourself, “It’s just hair.” But every time you look in the mirror, you maybe cringe and shrivel up a little inside.

Or maybe this is just me? You know, the one who spends too much time fretting about her hair. Oh, and also Kris. The other one who does the same.

I'm going to doubt it, though.

Now, I must confess, it is true that I talk about it a lot. I get all agonizey, and I think about it and talk about it and talk talk talk about it and then I change it and then I talk about it some more.

But the truth is, I talk about everything a lot. I have my topic of the week, which could be my hair, and then I am all, oh, look, a butterfly! And then I am all, "A butterfly? Can butterflies have rabies?"

And then Nick is all, "I'll be damned if we're going back to rabies. Look! A crack in the ceiling!"

But the hair.

Yes, I talk about it a lot. But in actual fact, even when I had a bob, I would spend maybe 15 minutes on it per day, including washing and drying. Now that it’s this short, it’s probably more like seven minutes. Or maybe 10.

Very little maintenance time. Leaving me more time to talk.

OK, so. Kris, like me and every woman I have ever been friends with, lives out loud. Everything has to be processed. Out loud.

In other words, it is likely there has been a lot of hair talk in their household.

And then she got this super cute haircut, featured above.

Her husband, G, was out of town. She emailed him a photo.

He responded that he liked it. And then added - and this is the reason she forwarded his email - “In my humble opinion, this obsession about hair takes a bit too much of your/our time, Lisa (sorry, I mean Kristin).”

Now, I like G. And I know he is very much not an out-loud processy kind of person. And his topics of conversation are not frivolous. He's a doctor. He likes to talk about things like epidemiology.

Seriously. When he could be talking about highlights. And layers.

So I am sure that internally he is all, "Gah I'm going to stab myself in the ears if we have to talk about your hair one more time! And I haven't seen Lisa in years! Why do we have to talk about her hair as well? Christ!"

I responded with two questions. One, what would he rather she/we obsess about? And two, do we actually know any women who don't obsess about their hair?

So I am wondering the following.

1. How much time do you spend on your hair per day?
2. Do you think and talk about your hair regularly? Could you give some kind of time estimate?
3. Does how your hair looks affect your self esteem? Or can you just pull it back and forget about it?
4. Anything else you'd like to add? About hair. Or whatever. Except rabies.