Friday, March 29, 2013

Fortunately, Nick has nothing to worry about here

Have you ever awoken from a dream about an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend with a terrible sense of guilt? You've cheated on your partner, and now you have to deal with the consequences?

Sometimes the line between dreams and reality is blurred and gentle and happy. And other times you startle awake. Especially if it's somewhere around 3:00 am.

It's an irrational hour. Your world is all dark and quiet and every problem seems dire and also like it needs to be solved by you before your alarm clock goes off.

I found myself in precisely this position several mornings ago.

Suddenly awake, thinking, "I can't believe I did that. God. I'm so glad Nick doesn't know."

I dreamt that I let myself into my old boyfriend's apartment and unloaded his dishwasher.

This is not a euphemism.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

What would you do?

If you regularly saw someone behaving unfairly and unkindly, what would you do?

For a long time, I was terrified of confrontation. I would do just about anything to avoid it.

My dad was manipulative and my mom was and is passive, and these were my role models. I mean, they were many more things than that - plenty of positives. But our family was not direct, and there were lots of things we weren't allowed to talk about.

I mean, my dad could talk about anything he wanted. But for the rest of us, there were parameters. Voicing dissent or negative feelings? Not OK. My brother and I were taught early that we were fine. I'm fine, he's fine, she's fine. We're all fine. Fine, fine, always fine. Everything is fine.

One of my dad's phrases was, "End of discussion." He could say this at any time to shut down a conversation.

Makes you want to respond with a big, "Fuck you," doesn't it? Which of course none of us ever did.

And thus I may have this unrealistic need for fairness. I realize the world is not fair. But I do my best to make it so when I can.


It took me an inordinately long time and a lot of work to learn how to be direct.

Actually, let me back up. I didn't even know I wasn't. It took me a very long time to learn how to recognize my feelings. And then to learn how to voice them to myself. And then to get the confidence to realize that they were valid and that I could express them to others.

I mean, I've always blurted out inappropriate, awkward things. But that's different.

So at this point, I think of myself as a fairly self-aware individual. I have the ability to put together a reasonable argument, and to hold my own in a discussion. When I know I'm right, I don't back down just because someone pushes.

I don't go looking for fights, but I don't shy away from them.

All of this leads me to needing some advice.

India goes to this day care that we love. Jordan was there before her. We adore the woman who runs it, and the staff is terrific. Very kind and caring and attentive. I totally trust them.

There is, however, a kid there with a dad who is a giant asshole. And this is where I need some help.

He is so rude to the staff. They are all women, and all Latina. They all speak English, but to varying degrees. There is a power differential. He's essentially their client.

And he's just a dick. I've never seen him not be rude. He walks in and bosses them around. He snaps at these very nice, competent women.

One night he was there when I was picking up India. We were there minutes before it closed, and so most of the staff had left. The ones still there with the very last of the kids couldn't find the little paper you get at the end of the day that tells you what your kid ate and how long they slept and that they enjoyed swinging and sliding at the playground.

He stomped around and complained and glared and huffed and puffed.

I wanted to say, "Seriously? Here - take mine. They had cheerios and bananas for breakfast. Quinoa and carrots and peas for lunch. Crackers and pears for snack. They slept from 1-3. They enjoyed singing songs at circle time. It doesn't vary that fucking much from day to day."

It doesn't. They'll call you if your kid is sick. They tell you if he got a scratch on the playground. They tell you anything of note.

Anyway. They apologized and he stomped.

But he's always a jerk. And I don't say anything. But I want to the next time. But here's the problem.

If he were doing it to me, I could say, "Please don't speak to me like that. There's no reason to be so rude."

He's not talking to me, though. And I know they won't say anything. They'll just keep being polite and he'll keep being a douche. It's not fair, and it makes me so angry.

I don't, however, know what to say.

What would you do?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Corporeal punishment. (Or: Spanx me!)

I don't know about you, but I have a much lower tolerance for discomfort than I used to.

Also, those aren't real pockets. I mean, they are, but mostly they're part of the 60s design, which you can see if you you embiggen the photo. I guess you might be able to keep a piece of gum or a small gecko in them, but not much more than that or they would bulge.

But the discomfort business. I can't figure out if this is a result of age or the toll of post-pregnancy or being a mother and needing to find practical things like Danskos attractive.

That said, I loved my neon green Relax tank top to death in the 80s, and of course there was the wretched Disco 69 T-shirt, so my taste has probably always been questionable.

But really. Some of the heels I used to mince around in are unimaginable to me now. My toes are less cooperative about being squinched. And my hip bones are less forgiving of the waistband of certain jeans. The pokey-forwardy hips are a direct result of pregnancy, I think.

Like, my stomach got less flat, but my hips decided to poke forward more. One more kid and they'll be able to see Russia from our porch.

Anyway, now we don't likes my old jeans. Wicked, tricksy, false! Now we likes spandex in our jeans, my precioussss. We also like yoga pants, even though we don't do yoga. But we can't go to work in them.

So, let's talk about my Spanx issue.

I got this dress in Paris and then was too pregnant to wear it. And then I couldn't wear it to work because of the pumping, because who wants to sit in the lactation room practically naked? Not I. But now I can wear dresses and it's wool and Dear Lord please let winter end but in the meantime I'm going to wear my wool as much as I can.

Right. OK.

Let's just be honest here: This is a first-world problem, but sometimes, for some non-yoga pantsy outfits, I need a few things squozen.

I just got this desperately needed black pair, because my beige pair has bitey seams on the inner thigh and also, I wear a lot of black and let's just say the beige pair is not invisible with black tights.

Which brings me to Spanx. These are the first actual Spanx squeezer-inners I've actually purchased. And they work! Oh, they do!

My Spanx are currently killing me providing a smooth silhouette and discreetly helping me squeeze the shit out of my thighs  into rock one of my favorite dresses. I bought them for the thigh business, but as an added bonus, they also cut off my stomach circulation slim my tummy.

It's really only when I sit down, though. I feel great when standing or walking.

So far, I'm a fan.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Big mother

I know this sounds terrible but I'd kind of like to get my mom microchipped. While I'm at it, I might have them do it to my kids as well. Particularly for future peace of mind.

Because that India is going to be a hellion in her teens. I'm sure of it.

The truth is, I so badly wanted to do this to my dad for the next time he disappeared. But he'd have known and gotten rid of it. I mean, even if we were able to do it without his knowledge. Which is just very sci-fi and also maybe probably illegal?

I dunno. I mean, is it like wiretapping to microchip someone without their consent?

Anyway. Now that I'm really thinking about it, I wouldn't mind knowing where my husband is whenever I'm curious.

Not because I think he'd be having an affair. More like I could give him a call and be all, "So, you're at Fogo de Chao, huh?" Or, "I see you're halfway home. Could you stop and get some milk?"

No, I'm kidding. I wouldn't do that. Because actually, we now get our milk delivered from South Mountain Creamery and they are wonderful.

But anyway.

The alarm company called this afternoon because the alarm was going off and our living room glass break sensor had set it off and then the back door and nobody answered at home and would I like them to call the police?


Our tenant texted and said the alarm was going off, and so she investigated the front and nothing seems broken. And now the alarm is off.

So I have been calling Betty incessantly, to no avail, either on the home phone or her cell phone. My assumption is that she's picking Jordan up and set the alarm and then headed out the back door but stopped to get a glass of water or put on some lipstick or maybe make some toast or something on her way out.

Microchipping, I feel, is the answer.

Or maybe just strapping her phone to her. With a charger.

Or both. Yes. Both. Microchips for all! That's not at all creepy, huh?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Dear various people of the metropolitan DC area

Dear Woman in Target:

I promise I didn't walk over just to fart next to you and then leave.

I know it must have seemed that way, as I sidled up next to you, dropped a wee stench bomb, and then casually but quickly fled. Honestly, I would've stayed and browsed the products, but, well, see previous sentence.

I owe you a huge apology. 

Sincerely (and I mean that),

Stealth Target Fartknocker


Dear Driver Sort of Next to Me in Rock Creek:

It probably seemed like I was racing to get in front of you before the lanes merged like one of those doucherockets who always has to be in front in the merge. And that is really annoying, I know.

The thing is, I was just trying to not run into the cement wall thingy.

See, it looked like there were two lanes for longer than there actually were, and then suddenly and inexplicably (or, OK, perhaps explicably, but still) my lane, which still had, you know, lane lines, was about to stop being a lane and started being a wall. It was only because the nose of my car was ahead of yours.

I mean, let's be honest. Nobody who drives an old Civic has any illusions of outrunning a BMW.

All the best,

Driver Who Needs Lanes and Has an Aversion to Cement Walls


Dear Man in the Gym Who Scurried to Get to the Machine I Was Using:

So, I was torn between starting another set and going to get water before doing so, and water won out.

It's a small gym, so you knew what I was doing. You wouldn't have scurried otherwise. I know this because while giving you the intermittent stinkeye for a sustained period of time, I observed that you sauntered to your other machines.

But back to the pull-down machine. My towel was on the fucking seat. Because my ass was going to sit itself on the towel within 30 seconds. You moved my towel, and put yours down. For a moment I thought about saying something, but then thought, really? I can just do another machine and come back to this one. Which is what I did.

I did, however, stinkeye you as I picked up my towel. You didn't look my direction at all.

Unfortunately, I was unable to conjure one of the broccoli farts that had been brewing since lunch. I do so wish I could fart on command. I got pretty close, and you may have wondered what I was up to.

I'll succeed one of these times. I may not retain facts for more than 15 seconds, but my emotional memory is spectacular. And I eat a lot of fiber.

Good luck with your manners,

Woman From the Gym Who Harbors Stinky Grudges


Dear Man in the Elevator:

When I said I was following you, I wasn't really. I mean, I don't even know you.

The thing is, sometimes when the elevator stops, I just get out. It's because I'm not paying attention, so the doors open and I'm all, a floor! Must be mine!

So when I realized and then said, "I'm following you! Clearly I'll get out anywhere!" I was just joking.

There was no need to look horrified. Didn't you notice that I immediately pushed the button to call another elevator?

That said, watch your nose. You never know when I might have some butter handy.


Woman Who Should Take the Stairs

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Your traffic will be just fine.

I Talk Like a Mom Volume Two:

"Please take Brown Doggie out of the toilet. Nobody swims in the toilet."

"Yes, you have to wash your hands. Look how filthy your nails are. What? That's not chocolate. It's dirt." (And anyway!)

"Nobody broke your traffic. We'll put the cars back on the table. Your traffic will be just fine."

"It's OK, honey. Just poke your penis down with your finger. That way the pee pee goes in the toilet."

"Please don't put your yogurt in your pocket."

"You're right. Daddy is as tall as the Dumpster!"

"It is not yucky. It is not spicy. It's not yucky or spicy. It's scrambled eggs."

"Please stop drinking your bathtub water. Why? Because it has, uh, it has feet and butt germs."

Monday, March 18, 2013

Welcome to the dungeon; we've got fun and games. Now, what size of rubber glove do you wear?

So, I’ve been thinking about my whole alternate career dungeon idea and how it could be both an income stream and useful to us as a family.

Because, as you know, I have so much free time on my hands, and like to use it constructively.

Ohhhh, I make myself laugh. Anyway.

It seems to me that it's extremely important to screen clients very carefully. Because, of course, you don’t want anyone to feel duped or dissatisfied, and you want to attract the right type of clientele for your particular business.

To this end, I decided to develop a potential client questionnaire. It's a work in progress. At this point, it's something like this:

Your responses to the following will help us determine where your interests lie, and in which room of the dungeon we will spend the most time.

1. Please select your favorite household appliance (if more than one, circle all that apply):
  1. Iron
  2. Hand-held mixer
  3. Oven
  4. Washing machine
  5. Vacuum cleaner
  6. Dishwasher
  7. Sewing machine
2. Do you have allergies to any of the following?
  1. Latex
  2. Ammonia
  3. Nuts
  4. Mold
  5. Dust
3. I am afraid of (again, select all that apply):
  1. Open flame 
  2. Sharp knives
  3. Burns
  4. Running water
  5. Whirlpools
  6.  Mold
  7. Germs
  8. Other (list as many as necessary): ______________________
4. Please agree or disagree with the following statements:
  1. Y/N  My arms could use some toning exercises.
  2. Y/N  Clutter makes me twitchy.
  3. Y/N  I don't do windows.
  4. Y/N  When ironing, it's important to get the creases exactly right.
  5. Y/N  I find scrubbing a shower extremely satisfying.
  6. Y/N I prefer oven mitts to rubber gloves.
  7. Y/N I make an excellent roast chicken with root vegetables.
5. Choose a safe word:
  1. Lasagne
  2. Windex
  3. Grout
  4. Starch
  5. Brisket
  6. Swiffer

Aaaand that's all I've got so far.

A friend of mine said that really, safe words should be easy to say and be one syllable. So "pommes frites," for example, is not ideal.

If you have any suggestions, I’d certainly be open to them.

And hi, it's Monday!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lullaby and good night. Close your eyes and sleep tight. Little angels 'round your head, as you scream bloody murder in your bed.

For the most part, India is the biggest, sunniest dollop of happy joy you can imagine.

She loves the bath, she loves to play, she loves to eat new things, she loves dogs, she loves indoors and outdoors and really, almost everything so far.

She beams at us. She smiles at people on the street. She squeals in delight when she sees Jordan. As soon as you go in to pick her up in the morning she  bursts into smiliness and holds out her arms for you.


She is just so happy. Except when she's not. Which centers mostly around sleep.

Because sweet India, it must be said, is not so much on the sleeping. It pisses her off to miss anything. And when she shrieks, she is shriiiiiiiillll. Yikes.

For naps and for bedtime, you can get her all drowsy and sweetly snuggled up against you, seemingly too tired to lift her little head. Then you lay her down gently, and while some of the time she just chucks her hands behind her head and falls asleep, other times, she raises holy hell.

Because as soon as she realizes what's going on, her eyes pop open and she is all, "OHHH, NO! NOT HAVING IT!"

Sometimes I keep my hands on her, willing her to settle, and she quiets.


If I make the mistake of turning around and heading back to sooth her she's immediately all, "OH HI!" She beams! She holds out her chubby pink arms.

She's immediately delighted. "That rage? Was so 30 seconds ago. Actually, I was kidding! Hahaha!"

I leave her in her crib and pat her back, and she snuggles down. I wait until her breathing settles, until she seems comfortable and content.

And then I walk away.


Open and close the door as quickly and quietly as possible.


I want to be all, "Listen, kid, yes, I can hear you. Everyone in the greater DC area can hear you."

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Sinkholes are the new rabies

I don't know if I have more or fewer fears than other people, but one of my big ones is sinkholes.

It is up there with hippos and raccoons and rabies. The first of which I've been reminded I'm unlikely to encounter in DC.

Hipsters, yes. Hippos, no. Hipsters, they scare me not. Hippos can turn on a dime, and they're fast and mean. I doubt the same is true of hipsters.

Oh, also Cape Buffalo and swans (this one is new, as of Sunday). Did you know that swans will drown people deliberately? Symbol of purity and love and brutal drowning death.

In fact, now I wonder about the average number of fears of the average person. Five? Thirty-seven?

I might make a fear list.


Here's the thing. Yesterday this sinkhole opened up in our neighborhood. A sinkhole. In DC. In our neighborhood. I got messages and texts from friends, and immediately flipped out.

It just opened up, as they do. No warning. Reports were that it was 25 feet deep. A corgi, I was told, was nearly lost to it.

There was a lot of commotion and police activity and road closing and such surrounding the sinkhole. Which, you know, is appropriate.

Although it did turn out to be a sinkhole of the rather modest variety. Basically the size of a sidewalk square, and only 3-4 feet deep.

I know corgis have short legs, but really.

However. Sinkholes, they are no laughing matter. The ground opens up and that is that. Could be a little hole with a visible bottom. Could be a chasm to hell.

I mean, you know about that gigantor one in Guatemala that swallowed a city block? Or the guy who was just lying in his bed in Florida and this sinkhole opened and sucked him in and there he was, falling all the way to China.

I can't think of much worse than dying in a sinkhole in Florida, personally.

Maybe being hacked to death with machetes. Or being poisoned slowly. Or being drawn and quartered.

OK, so I can, now that I think about it. But it's up there.

Nick's father is ill, and his parents, who drive to Florida every winter, had to fly home to New Jersey last week. So Nick is flying to Miami and driving their car back this weekend.

Even before the sinkhole business, all that driving alone makes me nervous. I am a fretter. I just am.

And now, it turns out it's sinkhole season in Florida. SINKFUCKINGHOLE SEASON.

I mentioned this today and Nick was all, "What season?"

"Sink. Hole. Sinkhole."

"Yes. I forgot sinkholes are the new rabies."

That's right, my friend. That is right. Just as stealthy, and even more deadly.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Happy birthday, Nick!

Dear Nick,

Today is your birthday, as you well know. I came across this picture while looking through albums, and it brought back such good memories.

This was the best day of our honeymoon - a relaxing boat trip with interesting people, gorgeous clear water, and delicious sunshine. I felt like Turkey was kind of stressful, but in retrospect, this was the easiest, least complicated time of our lives together.

No house, no construction, no money worries, no kids, no eat-bath-sleep schedules. No tantrums. Well, almost no tantrums.

We just were. We got up when we wanted, ate and drank whatever we felt like, swam, took naps willy-nilly, read books, wandered around holding hands. We squandered our time and didn't even realize how much time we had to squander. It was lovely, being there with you.

But then we came back and there was the global crash and you had to work all the time and I got all pregnant and we moved twice and the stuff with my dad and the first baby and the C-section and the construction and the more construction and the second baby...

And yet, it is lovely being here with you.

I cannot imagine my life without you. None of it has been easy, but none of it has been as hard as it could have been. My world is so much better with you in it. You make me feel safe, you make me laugh, and you are the strongest person I know. We enrage each other sometimes beyond words, but life is never, ever boring.

I'll take laughter and rage over boredom any day. Boredom is easy to come by. Boredom is death.

Committing to you is the best decision I've ever, ever made. I'd say it was the best thing I'd ever done, but as you are well aware, we have two delicious, delightful kids, and they are stiff competition.

I love you more than sunshine.

Happy birthday!



Monday, March 11, 2013

The Great Leap Forward

This is how the time change makes me feel. (Sorry, India!)

This time change kills me every year.

Every. Single. Year. I spend the first week after the spring forward feeling like I've lost an hour each day. I stagger around all discombobulated, not quite sure which direction is up.

I know I am not alone in this. I see you reaching for another cup of coffee. I do.

The fall back gets me up a little earlier and gives me a boost, even though the dark end of day kind of sucks the life out of me. But losing an hour in the morning, ohh, it pains me.

The kids would be all cracked out today but for the fact that we took them to New Jersey for the weekend and they were so tired and off-schedule that this morning must've seemed normal to them. Unlike their parents, they weren't all bleary-eyed.

Shockingly, Jordan, who never wants to go to school, was even rather temperate this morning.

Every weekday he hopefully asks, "Is it a stay-home day?"

And instead of saying, "I fucking wish!" I say things like, "No, honey, it's a school day. You have to go to school and Daddy and I have to go to work..."

And then he argues with me. I kind of like the blind faith that if you insist hard enough, you can make it so.

Alas, this works not with time.

Today I said, "It's a school and work day. Daddy would like to stay home and I would like to stay home and India would like to stay home and you would like to stay home. But we all have to go. So please be nice to Daddy, because he would really like to stay home, too, and he can't."

I don't know if this sunk in, or if he was just feeling more reasonable, but we didn't get the squawking stalling bawling that we often get in the every damn morning.

On Saturday night I posted the following to Facebook: In NJ with Nick's family. India loves brie and pâté. Jordan hates all food that isn't waffles. The clocks turn back tomorrow. That's all I've got.

Aaaaand was informed that in fact, they go forward. Fall back! Spring forward! I knew that, I did, but maybe not so much after a couple glasses of wine and really, we're lucky Nick was in charge of the clocks.

I sort of feel like that Saturday post might sum up my week. We'll see...

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

No sleep till Brooklyn. Or, you know, Bogota or Iqaluit or Quito.

A few weeks ago, Nick took the liberty of setting a number of world clocks on my iPad.

This past weekend, he realized there was space for so many more cities! Cities I've been to, and cities I'd never heard of! Acton? Iqualuit?

I know these are not great photos. You can, however, embiggen them for details. And size counts for something, no?

Local time first. Alphabetical from there:

Monday, March 04, 2013

See? Sometimes I actually leave the house without oatmeal on my shoulder.

So, I got a new work/date dress and I kind of really love it and wanted to share.

Fortunately, I know this is not where you turn for hard-hitting news. Or soft-hitting news. Or, you know, anything of global consequence.

But back to my dress.

By work/date dress I don't mean that I've become an escort. More that I think it's serious enough for the office but that I can tart it up for evening. No?
This is my subdued for work look. Black tights and boots. Black cardigan when I'm cold.
But I feel like for a nice date night like perhaps next week for Nick's birthday, I could wear it with pops of bright color...maybe red? Fuchsia? I don't know. I have fuchsia shoes, but they're for warm weather.

I don't have any red shoes. I probably should, no? It seems like red shoes should be a staple. But, anyway, can you wear colored shoes with dark tights? Maybe just very red lipstick? Or a bright sweater? Or scarf?

Because honestly, I can't think of any footwear besides wool socks and boots right now. Seriously, it's supposed to snow tomorrow night!?

If Snowquester keeps us all home, I'll be all, "Jordan, India, Betty, sit still so I can practice the smoky eye!"

But back to the dress: I think it makes me look super curvy and like I have boobs, which I still sort of do, but less and less as we head towards Boob Liberation Day, which is right around the corner. But there's that nice optical illusion piece in the front that seems like a bit of magic.

Turns out I had a lot more to say than I thought.

Hi! Monday!

Friday, March 01, 2013

The bare minimum?

I have never worn a whole lot of makeup, mainly because I'm not very good at it.

And I always admire women who know how to do eyes, lips, cheeks, all of it, and look so put together. 

Me, I love eye liner and mascara. I desperately want a blue mascara, and seem unable to find one. I had the best one in the 80s and never again. Saddy! I like to wear eye shadow, but it never seems quite right on me.

And I don't feel like I need it. (If need is at all an accurate term here. I recognize the first-world prolemness of this.)

So, when I look candidly and assess frankly, I know that increasingly I need under-eye concealer so as not to look like I need 54 hours more sleep. I could probably use blush (if it's still called that - seems like an archaic term) and I could use some lipstick, as my lips are rather pale.

I mean, I don't think I look terrible without any makeup, but I feel like now, with age and exhaustion, I need more help than I used to.

All that said, on work days I mostly manage concealer, eyeliner, mascara. On weekends, mostly just moisturizer with sunscreen.

So, one of my friends/colleagues sells Avon. She is one of these people who can and do pull a whole outfit-makeup hair look together on a regular basis. She really knows how to use makeup, and is up on the latest products, tries different looks, has been using eye cream since back when I should have been, and always, always has her nails done.

Basically, she's a perfect person to buy makeup from. She loves makeup and she has a rather expensive Sephora habit, and I don't know how she started selling Avon, but she and a variety of our colleagues are happy she did.

It has a number of very nice products, and she's totally helpful and candid with her recommendations.

I'll go to her and be all, "I need something for my HAAAANDS which are so very DRY but I don't like the rose smell of that one cream and the other feels a little slick and ugh..." and she is all, "Here, try this one."

In fact, she's one of the first places I turned when my pregnant tummy was itchy itchy itchy and I headed over and was all,  "HELP! My stomach! Itchyitchy! Argh! Desperate!"

Or something of the sort. Likely not even complete sentences.

So the other day I headed over to her desk to inquire about soft eyeliner and if perchance Avon has a blue mascara (no).

Her (pretty! thick! red!) hair was nicely done, and I complimented her, and we were talking about hair cuts and length and how mine is aaaaalmost long enough to pull back. And how I can't wait to be able to do that, because it will just be so much easier.

She said, "I know. It would be great to just get up in the morning and not have to fuss with the washing and blow drying and styling."

And I was all, "Oh, I don't do any of that. I wash it at night and sleep on it. I'm not even sure that mine is clean today."

 We looked at each other and I said, "Yeah. So I guess what I'm saying is, I don't do anything...and I want to be able to do even less."