Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Best Medicine

Tommy suffered through two shots and a photo session yesterday. He was unpleasant today, to put it mildly.

So, we played on Mom & Dad's [unmade] bed, tortured the cats, and engaged in other such foolery in the hopes of avoiding a total meltdown. Yes, foolery...

and Tylenol.


Then tonight, just as we were about to put his pajamas on, I said "I love you little baby."


And he laughed. Not the odd kind of hardy chuckle he's been offering from time to time [particularly to
my parents' dog]. This was a real little laugh, like he meant it. He continued laughing until he drifted to sleep.

I do love him. More than anything.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

NaBloPoMo FAIL

Backdating this post, as I was so preoccupied with the [crying, fussy, un-photogenic for the first time in his seven month little life] baby and our photo session that blogging slipped my mind. Bad Blogger, indeed.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thanksgiving Spirit

This post over at Jason. For the love of God. has been lingering in my head since yesterday [and in the inboxes of some people I thought would enjoy the sentiment as well]. Stephanie's an amazing woman, mother, and writer. Her blog is one of the things I'm thankful for on days like today, where it feels like it's all I can do to get through the day.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Easy As...

There's a pie contest this Saturday.

I fully intend to lose.

Edited to Add:

Me: I'm entering a pie contest.


Oldest Sister, T: You're kidding. Who's recipe, Mrs. Smith's?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Picture Perfect?

Braving the elements, the baby and I went to a nearby outlet center to forage for holiday portrait attire.

Alas, while we're still missing some essentials (most notably, clothes for the mommy that do not liken her to a blue whale), we were fairly successful:

1. To match a crazy stripe hooded one-piece gifted to the baby [after I openly oogled it], a crazy stripe scarf [for Mike] and gloves [for me]. I'm hoping the crazy stripe theme will be subtle enough to be charming.


2. Fleece-lined OshKosh corduroy overalls for $3.99. I was too cheap to buy a red corduroy button down at the Gymboree outlet for $12.99, but if I can find nothing else, Tom and I may be taking yet another trip to the outlets on Friday.


3. A delicious hot dog and french fry lunch. Definitely essential.


Hopefully Tom will cooperate with the photographer and we'll have some lovely portraits of him to treasure forever. Or until he pukes on them.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Gotcha Paradox

Mike and I are very different people. Like everyone else, we have our strengths and our weaknesses. He maintains a BigLaw paycheck, for which I am very grateful, what with my particular weakness being a supreme inability to do so.

I think part of the reason that my sense of self imploded at the old firm was that I couldn't handle feeling as if I was set up for failure time and time again; where meeting ninety-nine completely unrealistic requests with some measure of success means less than nothing when you've met the hundredth with mere sufficiency; where extinguishing a metaphorical fire is overlooked if you're thirty seconds late for a monumentally insignificant conference call. Where the word 'failure' manifested itself in my internal dialogue.

This morning Mike called, exasperated. One partner, long ago cementing her status as a thorn in his side, trapped him in this Gotcha Paradox and he was... angry.


Angry.


I never got there at Old Firm. Instead, I internalized every slight, real or not, intended or not. I validated every negative implication or imagination by dwelling on them, letting them dwell in me. In doing so, I gave those power. Toward the end, I couldn't look at some of my colleagues, those senior associates and partners who derived some pleasure in putting me in that situation, without wincing at my own incompetence. And so I gave them power.


What I am coming to understand is that whether this was really happening or whether it was all in my mind doesn't really matter, because it's how I
felt, and there's no escaping that once it's taken hold.

But my husband can face this monster day in and day out, the one that bested me in a matter of months, really. And then come home and make me brownies.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Holiday House

Yesterday we managed to sneak away from the baby for a couple of hours to the Holiday House, an Upper East Side home transformed into a showcase of holiday visions (ranging from Thanksgiving and Christmas to Engagements and Anniversaries). Designers include Charles Pavarini III, Charlotte Moss, Harry Heissmann, and Barbara Ostrom, among several notable others.

I could spend days at the Holiday House, absorbing all of the inspirations and details.


We spent a few minutes chatting with Kathy Abbott, who designed the Sitting Room in a Kwanzaa theme. Hearing about how she implemented her vision, completely transforming the entire room [literally, from floor to ceiling] into a clean, comfortable space with the African celebration in mind was fascinating, especially because she had no familiarity with Kwanzaa before it was the holiday assigned to her space.


The best part about the Holiday House? All proceeds from the event [showcased through December 7] benefit the Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.


Visit
HolidayHouseNY.com for more information.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Reckoning

Visiting friends in the city this afternoon led me dangerously close to the old law firm.

As we passed, I closed my eyes.


I don't think I'm ready yet. To even see it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

8. Avoid Eating Said Pad Thai

Rosie's latest party invitation assigned me to bring Pad Thai, a delicacy I've never ingested.

Consequently, My Pad Thai Recipe:

1. Go to local Asian market. Locate Asian employee. Beg for assistance.

2. Select excessively overpriced Pad Thai sauce and rice sticks [assume rice sticks = rice noodles].


3. Call husband. What do bean sprouts look like?


4. Go to everyday market. Locate bean sprouts, unsalted dry roasted [
not cocktail] peanuts. [Also purchase fun-sized Crunch bars [for me] and Butterfingers [for husband].]

5. Overcook rice sticks.


6. Improvise. Saute vegetable oil, garlic, chopped onion, lemon juice, said excessively overpriced Pad Thai sauce, shrimp, beaten eggs. Mix in overcooked rice sticks, bean sprouts, chopped peanuts.


7. Attempt to beautify. Garnish with sliced lemons and a few raw bean sprouts.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Spaghetti Tuesdays, Part I

Working for the family business was important to me. It was something I needed to do. After all, each of my siblings had spent time in that house on the corner of Prince Street, brimming with hand-written records and myriad cartographical treasures. I had to complete the circle. And the time had come.

I'd quit my BigLaw job [which is exactly what it was - a job - because it certainly wasn't any kind of career I'd imagined]. I wasn't yet pregnant. My father's staff had trimmed to himself and one assistant. The one assistant was my brother. I figured I wouldn't have much trouble fitting in. [I was right.]

So, over dinner at a seafood place where, week after week, Mike and I met with my parents for Sunday Dinner Specials [nevermind that the only menu item I could stomach was Chicken Parmesan], I announced that I'd be joining his little outfit, just as soon as I could pack up my desk and burn my monthly train ticket [tickets, really, because getting to work involved two trains and a subway].

My father could rip up the business cards he liked to hand out about town because they had my name [chosen, of course, by his lovely, departed mother] under the fancy logo of a firm whose name he'd never correctly pronounced. I was now in the family business.


I don't think he was disappointed. Probably because he still had a box of my sister's business cards on his desk, and her name was in larger print anyway. He shrugged and got up to fetch a plate full of shrimp cocktail from the salad bar.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sale Sighting: GAP, Banana Republic, Old Navy

At the Give & Get event, 30% off all your purchases at GAP, Banana Republic, and Old Navy this weekend!

There are a bunch of links floating around via Google, but if you still need one, let me know.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

18 Minutes

8:45 PM: Asleep enough for his crib? Nope.

8:55 PM: Definitely asleep. Brace yourself, woman.

8:57 PM: Stand up. Phew... still asleep.


8:58 PM: Silently contemplate searching for long lost pacifier, missing since 5. Immediately abandon pursuit.


8:585:30: Proceed through kitchen and dining room. Confront gate.


8:58:45: Ease knee into gate, walk through, close [but DO. NOT. LATCH.] gate. Proceed to nursery.


8:59 PM: Kiss on forehead, place in crib, cover with blanket. Project confidence; slightest hesitation will be detected and seized upon.


9:00 PM: Curse bootleg trousers that "swoosh" at the ankles.


9:01 PM: Creep through master bedroom in search of cotton sweatpants. Avoid traps: shoes, toys, laundry basket. Put on sweatpants. Ahh.


9:02 PM: Re-enter nursery. Delight at the sight of baby sleeping soundly, as an angel. Heart breaks. Grab diaper pail of horrors.


9:03 PM: Hasty retreat from nursery. Quick stop at kitchen garbage can. Land on couch; watch Biggest Loser; eat brownie; drink soda. Lament stomachache.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

When I was a kid, Veteran's Day was about tagging along with my parents to a few memorial services around our county.

When I was a kid, my brother and I used to make pretend that we owned a radio station. He would be the DJ, and I was the weather girl [my line in every 'show' was: You want the weather? Look out the window!].

It's different now.


Now, my brother is a Marine [veteran, bracketed because I get the distinct impression that once you're a Marine, you're always a Marine, active service or not]. He saw combat in Afghanistan, his boat being deployed there from Australia moments after the September 11 attacks.


He's different now.


Now, my brother is racked with memories he can't talk about. Now, he struggles with alcohol [even though he would beg to differ]. Now, he wants his life back the way it was before the war, before the combat.


Life's different now.


Since he's been home, he's been married. And divorced.


He's been to the funeral of his best friend [killed in combat days after he was finally sent home]. And held my newborn son.


He's lived in California. And New York.


He's worked for the family business. And not worked for the family business.


He's been jovial. And depressed.


But mostly? He's been different.

Veteran's Day now, for me, isn't about ceremonies and Taps and a day off from school anymore. It's about remembering that as frustrating, talented, infuriating, charming, awful and wonderful as my brother is, he's even more than that.

He's a Veteran.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Doggone It

I've got a happy baby. Perpetually cheerful, he's always willing to lend a smile to friends and strangers alike.

But it's hard to get this kid to laugh. And you never know what will strike his fancy [which is especially frustrating when you've been standing on your head in a clown suit for half an hour, and he decides that his father simply
walking into the room is utterly hilarious].

We've got two cats, and Tom smiles at and 'talks' to them all day, and is even learning to gently pet them [instead of making a mad grab for their fur, causing them to hide under any available furniture].


But my parents' dog? Apparently, is the funniest. thing. ever.


It would be cute if anything I, his long-suffering mother, did could provoke even a chuckle.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

These Friends of Mine

There are those things about our husbands that we overlook, for the sake of love.

Oh, my, there are
those things.

1.) My husband, he who wears a snowmobile jacket over his suit to work in the winter, was in the marching band. And he's proud of it. And for the beginning of our relationship, I pretended I was totally cool with it. But, eventually, when the new wears off, and it's OK to tell each other what you really think? I told him I think marching bands are lame. [But because he was only in the drumline, I got over it.] [But not when he prances around the house doing the 'marching band walk' to get under my skin. That's when I cut my toenails in the living room. Because that gets under his skin.]


2.) When he was like 10, my husband was a semi-finalist in the Nintendo World Championship. Apparently, a freak aversion to Rad Racer tripped him up and he was ousted, with only a cap to show for his efforts. Still, he'll tell anyone all about it whenever he can tangentially relate it to a conversation. I bet he's even told people at work. And they let him show up there anyway. In fact, he's told this story in my presence so many times that I am loathe to hear it again. Of course, my friends [if you can call such people friends] bring it up whenever they can just to see me squirm.


So, at the baby's baptism, what did he get?


Two t-shirts, the first of which reads "I'm with the Marching Band," and the second, "Future Nintento Semi-Finalist."


Fantastic.


[Pictures forthcoming on, you know, one of those days where I have hours laying around to get things done.]

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Before and After

A lot of relationships are defined by "befores" and "afters."

And so it is with me and D, one of those people in this world that just gets me, in all my OMG-I-ate-too-many-brownies-I'm-going-to-throw-up glory. And I get her, and I understand how she can watch a Dr. Phil about morbidly obese people and sadly observe "These people have no self-control" while shoving Entenmann's cookies in her mouth.

But was that before?

Before her fiance got cancer? Before I got pregnant?

Those two events coalesced into an axis of estrangement that neither of us could really break through. My heart was breaking for her, and I just couldn't talk to her about the baby.

I know it was the wrong thing to do. Evil, even. But how could I be joyful about anything while she was in the midst of such pain?

So, I did what came easily. I avoided talking about myself, and eventually we both got so deeply involved in our stories that we drifted apart.


But now it's after.


Yesterday, we finally spilled our guts to each other and suddenly we're right back in law school IM'ing each other into laughing fits that get us dirty looks from our peers.


It's a good thing.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Sneaker Story

So, I mentioned earlier that I'd tell you guys the shoe story. Well, it's 11:28 PM and I've got to get this post up pretty quickly because 1.) I'm trying to keep up with NaBloPoMo and 2.) seriously? It's 11:28 and someone's got to get the baby to bed and I don't think it's going to be the man singing along to Celebrity Don't Forget the Lyrics - En Vogue Edition and dancing around the living room, baby in hand.

So, the backstory: SIL has, by far, the worst case of Keeping-Up-With-The-Joneses of anyone I will ever meet. Example: She moved 2 hours from where she and her husband lived to "beat" us to our chosen suburb - she'd never even been to this place before the day she bought a house here. I kid you not, my friends. This is what we're dealing with.

The shoes:

SIL1 had obsessively purchased Stride-Rite shoes for her son every X number of days since he could walk. Whatever, right? I figured she had an affinity for the brand (and style - because that little boy wore exactly the same color and style shoe for the first four years of his life) and left it at that.

Then he got to kindergarten, and SIL convinced herself that her son was about to be tortured on the playground. The reason? His shoes.

So SIL? Spent $105 on a new pair of shoes for her son. Who's in kindergarten. With completely unremarkable feet. $105!

I know, I know: mind my own beeswax. And I do. I've never mentioned the shoe story to anyone, except, oh, the whole internets.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Compassion

Please check out the Pioneer Woman's blog this week - Marlboro Man and the girls are in the Dominican Republic with the aid group Compassion. What an experience.

And, as a bonus while you're over there, get sucked into Black Heels for a while.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mommy Vice

I've got a Mommy Vice.

I don't much care about what brand of clothing the little one sports (I gravitate to the clearance rack of our local Carter's outlet), what kind of shoe he'll wear (look for a post on SIL's shoe meltdown sometime soon), the brand of his crib (he's quite happy and comfortable in this little number), toys (unless they try to maim him, also a post for another day), my diaper bag, or the like.

But, Heavens to Moses [is that the right phrase?], I love my stroller. From its hi-tech rubber-coated chrome-finish wheels to its cushioned, telescoping handle and all its parts in between, I can't use it enough.


I don't know exactly when I morphed from regular person into stroller-psycho, but the crazy's taken over. Even now, post-stroller purchase and utterly content with our one and only baby-mobile, I still check out stroller message boards to hear about the latest and greatest innovations in child carts. And, I confess, I cannot help but glance at nearly every single stroller I pass, though, at this point, I've checked out so many strollers that one has to be either (a.) incredibly rare or (b.) really, truly awful to warrant a second look.


Also? I get a little thrill when other moms check out Tom's ride. Not because I'm vain about it [OK, not
only because I'm a little vain], but because every now and then, in the briefest moment at a Barnes and Noble/Target/TJ Maxx/whathaveyou, it happens. Just by the look in her eye, I'll know it. I've found a fellow stroller-phile. Then the baby will punt a toy across the room and we'll both move on with our day.

So, what's your Mommy Vice?


And for the record, I push the
UppaBaby Vista, whose line is so awesome that it's not long until it takes over the world. Or, you know, the [reserving my commentary] Bugaboo.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Time To Vote

Have you voted? I pulled a lever today!

I can't say I'm completely, 100%, ZOMG IN LUUUUUV with one ticket or the other, and there are some issues very personal to my life and my situation that have been weighing heavily on my mind. In the end, I had to choose the person about whose leadership I would feel most confident.

No matter the outcome, I'm glad I fulfilled my civic duty, and I hope that the integrity of each person's right to a [single] vote is upheld tonight.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Who Could It Be, Now?



























Albert Einstein?




The Quaker Oats man?






No, gentle readers...


It's a boy who loves his Papa.



I think the feeling is mutual.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Hallo-Weenies/Petty Larceny

I'll get you some pictures of the Apple Monster thoroughly enjoying his Halloween adventures with his grandfather as soon as I find a cord to hook up my mother's EasyShare to my computer, as I didn't realize I'd forgotten my DSLR on the kitchen island until it was too late.

But for now, the events that transpired on my front yard Friday night:

4 PM: Pay the 8th grader next door two Twix bars to break into a bedroom window because the house keys were sitting next to the camera in the kitchen.

5 PM: Regret feeding the baby prunes; clean up resultant poop-splosion.

5:30 PM: Put Jack the Pumpkin Head just outside on the entryway, leaving glass door locked, main front door open, so I can hear trick-or-treating happening while I nurse the baby in the next room. NOTE: Jack is teeming with full-sized candy bars.

6 PM: Hear first trick-or-treaters, one of whom exclaims "Look at all the candy these people have!" Place sleeping infant in his crib, grab monitor, head to front door.

6:01 PM: Mothers of young children notice me at the door, hurriedly rush off of my entryway, off of the yard, skip neighbor's houses, and run down the street.

6:02 PM: To my horror, discover that Jack? Is now empty.

6:03 PM: Whilst standing in the yard looking distraught, Dental Hygienist neighbor asks what's going on. Aghast, she takes off in her SUV to confront the offenders.

6:04 PM: DenHyg reports that they do not speak English, or are pretending to not speak English.

6:45 PM: Spotting the offenders making their way back up the street (the beauty of living on a cul-de-sac is revealed: they must return to the scene of the crime!), nonchalantly inquire as to whether they might know who took every candy out of Jack? "Oh, no, we took one per person," they offer. So they do speak English! "That's strange," I reply, "because you're the only trick-or-treaters so far tonight, and there's about 8 kids in your group, and I left out enough candy for more than 50 children." Return to the house.

6:46 PM: Watch through the drapes as mothers put some candy back into Jack. Start to feel a little better about the situation.

6:48 PM: Discover that about 10 "fun-size" candies were put back, in place of the 50+ full-size candies that were stolen.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

In Comparison

On her birthday in 2004, my sister, four years my senior, forty times the lawyer I'll ever be, sent me the following, no doubt in response to a message of malaise from yours truly:

"Going to law school sucks. Going to law school does not suck as bad as working for a law firm. Working for a law firm does not suck as bad as being a soldier in Iraq. Being a soldier in Iraq does not suck as bad as being a POW in a warcamp. Being a POW does not suck as bad as....well, I don't know. Anyway, you get the point. Sometimes I like to switch it up a little by throwing in something like "working in Wal-Mart" or "being Grandma when Mom won't leave her alone." It keeps it interesting."

I big puffy pink heart her. You would too if you knew her. You might already; what do I know?

Anyway, I thought perhaps some law student might find this one day and take some comfort in it.

Friday, October 31, 2008

In Which Tommy Became An Apple Monster

A few weeks back, we took Tom apple picking for the first time at an orchard we've been frequenting since we met many many moons ago:

The Orchard:




Oogling The Apple:




A Taste Test:




The Money Shots:






Good times.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hypocritcal Oath

Date: Today
Time: 16:29
Place: Ubiquitous Big Box Store
Event: Me, buying organic baby food for Tom, and EZ Mac for my husband.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Unless They Make "Cars 2"

So, I waged our first battle with baby toy branding.

Mike wanted to get a sofa for the little guy, so I hit up that Babies R Us sale yesterday on the hunt for a flip-open sofa at ten dollars off of the regular price. Of course, they didn't have any at Babies R Us, but there were a few at the Toys R Us next door.

There were three sofas available: Elmo, Diego, and Cars.

Because it is my hope that Tom won't be exposed to child-targeted television, I'd rather not have too many things in the house screaming at him that TV IS SO MUCH FUN MAKE YOUR MOTHER TURN IT ON ZOMG!!!1!!!1! [Full disclosure: He does occasionally watch Jeopardy with us, and the television is generally on after about 9 PM so one of us can relax/zone out while the other plays with the baby and puts him to bed.]

Thus, my rationale was simple: choose the sofa whose branding will be outdated by the time Tom realizes that it is 'branded' at all.

Welcome home, Cars sofa.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sale Sighting: Babies R Us

Babies R Us is having quite a sale this weekend... might be time to use some of the gift cards from Tom's Baptism!

Click here to view the flier... 40% off Skip Hop stuff!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

My eBay

Oh my goodness, I made a new friend named eBay.

I've used ebay in the past to buy a few things for the wedding, and a couple of (still ridiculously overpriced) purses back in the day (when having a nice purse was more important than, um, most things...) (now I sport a 5"x5" Vera Bradley knock-off from TJ Maxx stuffed with old receipts and change).

But baby clothes on eBay? One word (phrase?): NWT. That's "new with tags" and that's where the vast majority of the boy's fall/winter clothes are coming from.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

...In a Small Town

There are a lot of things I miss about living in the NYC, especially some of the food.

But there is something to be said for the Postmaster himself packaging up and mailing the playpen you sold on ebay.

Even if did cost $44.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

He Might As Well Call Me A Liar

Ideally, my little guy would take a little nap around noon, another around three, and a nice slumber around five or six until Dad gets home.

In the real world, he'll sleep for twenty minutes sometime in the afternoon after being boobed into it, then pass out around 6 or 7 or 8, just in time to be asleep when Mike walks in, making a fool out of the mother who called her husband begging for just fifteen minutes of peace, for the love of all that is holy.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I'm Back, and I Know You Were Worried

You guys, I've gotten off the blogging bandwagon, but now I'm back.

I'm not going to agonize over proper wording for my posts anymore, because, frankly, I haven't got that kind of time, and I know my friends in the internet won't take offense, right?

So, here we go with the things I've been mulling for the past 24 hours:

1. My husband stole my Real Simple magazine. Purchased oh, three weeks ago, on a whim in the hopes that I would be able to read it someday, it sat on the island in the kitchen for as long as I can remember, reminding me of just how much time I don't have. Yesterday, I decided I was going to relax for a little while. That doesn't happen inside this house, so I had to Get. Out. I packed up the baby and grabbed for that Real Simple on my way out the door. Of course it wasn't there. Immediately, I knew the culprit, and not just because I haven't cleaned in weeks and therefore haven't had visitors, leaving one adult and one 5 month old as the only suspects. No, I knew it was my husband because he maintains a three-foot tall stack of magazines in the bathroom. I retrieved the Real Simple and headed on my way to drive the baby around until he fell asleep then sit in a Wendy's reading my reclaimed Real Simple.

2. Baby socks get lost in the wash much more easily than adult socks, which are themselves prone to laundry disappearance.

3. While searching the dryer (isn't that where everyone stores their clean clothes?) for Tom's (anonymity be damned!) alphabet socks, I noticed the invitation for Rosie's next party (OMG if I had known this woman throws so many parties I never would have gotten mixed up with my neighbors in the first place). I have to bring German Chocolate Cake, another dessert (double the 's' because you always want more), plus a pack of beer. I think it's the beer that irks me... I mean, she knows I can't drink (what with the boy on the boob, plus alcohol in general doesn't agree with me), and Mike (ha! now they're both named! and my name is Meagan! it's all out there now!) generally doesn't drink because I generally don't drink and being drunk alone is no fun, right? So why tell us to bring beer? And why do we have to bring so much food?

4. I use too many parentheses (but that's how it is in my head, so that's how it is on paper... er, computer screen).

5. I bet that Real Simple's back on the bathroom stack already.

Thanks for stopping by again and see you tomorrow.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Mole

OMG, you guys.

First, apologies for the lack of posting and commenting the past week!

Husband took a few days off from work last week [well, he didn't go into the office at least], so we had a fun week and a great weekend. He went back to work today.

---------------------------------

But things never really get back to 'normal,' do they?

My day with the baby was pretty uneventful.


My evening, notsomuch.


OMG again just thinking about it.


My trusty sidekick, Cowardly Cat, alerted me to the situation by [appropriately] cowering in the corner of the kitchen.

As I glanced toward the ridiculously expensive garbage cans I purchased back in my less frugal days that come to think of it I should sell on Craigslist, I saw movement. That was all I had to see.

Grabbing the baby, I moved as fast as my tubby little legs could carry us into my bedroom and locked the door. Luckily, I also grabbed the phone to call Husband.

I notified him, in hushed tones [because it might hear me? Geez.], that something was alive in our kitchen. He quickly discerned from my tone that it must be an unwelcome something alive rather than, say, the baby or the cats, and he came up with a fantasgreat plan.

Or, you know, he told me to grab the Dustbuster and head for the kitchen.

I got as far as the living room before I decided that, indeed, although I would do anything for love, I wouldn't do that.

So I scooped up the tot and headed to Male Nurse Neighbor's house. He's been incredibly helpful in the past, and who could refuse to my cuddly-wuddly baby boy?

Alas, he didn't answer the door. If you're reading this, Male Nurse Neighbor, I saw your car in the driveway.

So down the street I went to the house of many inhabitants. Since there are always about, oh, infinity cars in the driveway, and I met the elders of the house at Rosie's party [thank God for Rosie's party!], I figured someone would help.

Pregnant teen answered the door, and I asked if her father could come investigate the "something alive in my kitchen." He wasn't home, but her brother J would be happy to.


I can't bear to tell you in full-sized text what J found, so, once again, I'll whisper.


A mole. In my house. Where I live.

Craziness ensued. J thought he got it out. About 15 minutes after he left, it reappeared. Back down the street I went. J wasn't home anymore [or was hiding from the crazy lady with the shrieks heard 'round the block], so little brother D offered to help. But only after I scrounged up a mousetrap. So over to Rosie's I went. And together we wound up at Amway Fran's borrowing a mousetrap at 9:30 PM. D was, like his brother, largely ineffectual, but I do appreciate their efforts.

Back into my locked bedroom I went, apologizing to my child for bringing him into a vermin-infested world. Husband, at this point, was hurdling through time and space to get back to this suburban nightmare. He suggested I try to take my mind off things by turning on the TV.

What was on? The Mole. And? Verminators.

In the words of
Mr. Wuhl, I shit you not.

So here I sit, posting to you from a lovely hotel, where me and my child will remain until Husband and the team of exterminators he somehow rounded up in the middle of the night prepare to remedy the situation.




Friday, July 4, 2008

Bad Blogger, Part II

We'll be involved in family craziness until Tuesday, most of which will involve no access to the internets [oh, I'll miss you, my friend]. Surely many posts will spring from the madness.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

In Memoriam


Two of my beloved aunts have passed away recently, and I... miss them, for lack of a better phrase.


Most recently, we gathered around the grave of a truly remarkable woman [who struck out from the small town where she was raised and where each of her four brothers [including my father] remained to raise their families], who dedicated her life to children as an accomplished pediatric cardiac care nurse. We, her extended family, knew she had no children of her own.


We soon realized how very wrong we were.


A young man, probably my age really, offered a graveside eulogy that day. Long ago, his mother came to live with my aunt and uncle as a housekeeper, bringing along this little boy into a house where no children had ever lived. And into that house the little boy brought so much love that the four grew into a family. With more eloquence and wisdom than I could ever muster, he said:



I was born of one mother, but two gave me life.


How beautiful, and profoundly true.


Bad Blogger

Apologies for the lack of a post for yesterday. I'll be back on track sometime today.

Monday, June 30, 2008

In Re Amway


Before I start my post, might I mention that right now, as I type these very words, the boy is sleeping ON HIS OWN IN HIS PLAYPEN? There is a God. Anyway...


Fran from down the street come over today.


I thought it was nice, albeit kind of weird [Fran is, like, 70 years old, and the only time I'd met her was at Rosie's party and OH BY THE WAY Rosie is taking an... interesting... vacation but I won't judge her because I actually do really like her... OK maybe I'll judge a little bit, but don't we all?].


Fran talked about the layout of our homes [they are all very similar, but each has its own design quirks, kind of like the
Gosselin sextuplets], and about the updates she's been doing because she's trying to sell hers in order to move permanently to her vacation house. She talked about the baby, because she has a grandson two months older than him [but my kid is already as big as hers so IN YOUR FACE OTHER BABY]. Mostly she just made small talk for probably an hour and a half. Oh, Nino from up the street made a brief appearance too... another post for another day... but he left abruptly after I denied stealing his hedge clippers.

So I noticed that she was carrying a business card around with her. As I thought she was getting ready to leave, I asked her whose business card it was... and then I realized that she wasn't fidgeting because she was getting ready to leave. That would have been too easy; my life is not such that people stop by innocently just to chat. But, oh, how I wish it were.


Turns out, Fran has an Amway business [but it's not called Amway - it's "Quixtar North America"]. She wants me to start one too! We could be Quixtar friends and go to meetings and seminars and make money for our families together! We'd make money for buying things that we already buy! Doesn't it sound great?! And there are so many more benefits that I have to throw in a few more exclamation points!!!


Seriously, me with an Amway business? Are you kidding? Insert your own joke here, because there are too many to choose from.


Ugh. It's a rock and hard place situation, because I just met this woman, but I'm going to be living next to her for a while [even if she does sell her house, she'll still be on the street all the time visiting the rest of the neighbors]. I don't want to make any enemies [or any more enemies than Nino, see above]. I know she'll be calling to get me to come look at a "business plan" [emphasis on the quotation marks, please].


It's too awkward... I can feel myself recoiling from the social progress I've made in the past couple of months. Because it's a snowball, guys. If things get weird with Fran, I'll assume that she's told everyone that I'm not a nice person, and therefore I will avoid everyone on the street and we will turn into That Weird Anti-Social Couple, which is worse than before we ever became involved with the neighbors, because then we were just That Weird Couple We Know Nothing About.


Maybe we should move.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mock Trial


So, the little one's baptism date is set.


We have to invite people.


I had my eye on this invitation from Inviting Smiles, but our party is going to be decidedly less formal than that suggests. And $2.39 a pop? Um, nah, thanks.

So off the little one and I went to our local huge craft store conglomerate franchise to purchase supplies. Bless his heart, he let me wander around for over an hour contemplating paper styles and ribbon options! [I realize I have about 2 minutes before he says "I hate shopping, and I'm not very fond of
you either, Mom."]

So I picked a few shades of cardstock and ribbon, but this is my first try... what do we think? It may not be up to Martha's standards, but I think we can make it work. [The text is clear when you click the picture, and click it again to zoom, but you
likely don't really care enough to click twice, and I don't blame you.]


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Daddy's Boy*

**











*Apologies for the blur.
**Apologies to Husband, for this is not his best angle. But no one's looking at him with that little SCHMOOPY WOOPY NOM NOM in sight.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Restart Later


I hate it when my computer demands an update. Even after I comply and choose 'Express Install,' it's not done with me. No, sir. For the next infinity days, it will implore me to 'Restart Now.' But I don't give in that easily. Instead, I click 'Restart Later' every five minutes until one day the computer loses power/spontaneously shuts down/asks the Husband to 'Restart Now' [ever the diplomat, he bridges the gap between me and machine].


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I choose 'Restart Later' in a lot of other ways, too.

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The in-laws surfaced yesterday. For a lot of reasons, the Husband and I have limited contact with his immediate family. We see his Grandmother and extended family pretty regularly [who can resist when we're greeted with off-the-boat Italian deliciosity?], but since we married, our relationship with his parents and sisters has been... strained, to say the least.

How cliche.


But maybe it takes a life-altering moment like that to put things into perspective. Simply put, it became clear to the Husband that his participation in his family was completely one-sided.
Husband mulled this over on the beaches of Costa Rica during our honeymoon [how romantic!], and decided that, instead of phoning them, we'd wait for them to call us upon our return [he did let them know that we'd arrived safely home]. They didn't call and, predictably, the situation deteriorated and that was that.

The situation isn't a happy one, but we [especially
he, Husband] are markedly happier now that we're not jumping through hoops all the time. Our legs are recovering nicely as well [really bad, awful joke].

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Of course, as they say, a baby changes everything.

When addressing our baby announcements [I hear you snickering! Yes, it took me nearly two months to get them ready to be mailed, OK? Mother of the year, right here.], Husband decided to send one to his parents, largely to placate his beloved Grandmother [whose
relationship with them is as, or more, strained as ours, and for many of the same reasons... but do as she says and all that, right?].

This prompted a response, in e-mail form. I won't repost it here, but I will admit that it was not combative. On its face, at least. They want to know what to buy for the baby. [Not that I think any gift is necessary, but that is most definitely not a response they would accept. Trust me.]

Sigh.


It's fine, I guess. We'll suggest a savings bond for college and there will be some exchange; I don't know if we'll see them or they'll mail it.


But the can's open and there are worms everywhere.

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Where is that button when I need it?

I'm It

Moo tagged me for a book meme that goes sumpin' like this:

Pick up the nearest book.

Turn to page 123.

Find the 5th sentence.

Copy down the next three sentences.

Pass it along.


I recently picked up Bill Clinton's
Giving: How Each Of Us Can Change The World. I haven't read it yet, but it looks kind of like a Chicken Soup for the Philanthropist's Soul; that sort of thing is nice once in a while, right? It was on top of my bookshelf, so it's my meme subject.
The young people I met were as intelligent, informed, articulate, and future-oriented as any college group I have ever encountered. They were looking past the years of killing, even past the economic ruin left in its wake. Anyone who met them would want to support Liberia's rebirth.
Liberia, a nation founded by freed slaves, has recently emerged from an intense civil war and is trying to rebuild under its female President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. The resiliency of these young people Clinton describes is inspiring, particularly in this time of political uncertainty here in the U.S. (certainly, civil war isn't on the horizon, but I think many of us need to believe that the winds of change are blowing). Instead of dwelling on the shortcomings of our current leadership, may we be as forward thinking as those young Liberians.

I try to keep an open mind about politics; Lord knows I don't have all the answers, or even some of them. But I do think that there are certain fundamental principles upon which we should center our political discourse. We'll get into them sometime, I hope, because I'd like to know what you all think.

*Edited because OOPS I forgot to tag someone. So I'll tag Lag Liv, because maybe she needs another distraction to take her mind off of the Bar exam.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008

I Miss TJ Maxx

Ever since I stopped working, I've been plagued by the question "What do you DO all day?"

It happened again today, when Rosie stopped by to invite me to her next party. [Incidentally, OMG APPARENTLY WE DIDN'T MAKE THAT BAD OF A FIRST IMPRESSION!]

I was able to blow past Rosie's inquisition with a simple "Today we just hung out at the house," but it's not always that easy.

People don't mean to belittle me with the question. Probably. Right? Or maybe the do. But when they say those words, I hear "You lazy lout, do you just sit around all day hoping your ass gets bigger? Because, if so, it's working."

The thing is, I'm insecure about what I do all day. I don't feel like I do very much but by the end of the day you'd better believe I'm exhausted. Between sponge bathing, changing and re-outfitting the baby after his tenth 'blowout' of the day, nursing him repeatedly [and then some], trying to entertain him so his little brain doesn't go to mush [OK, also because I feel like he's totally bored staring at my ugly mug all day], and wrangling the cats, I don't get any housework done, let alone any homemaking. Martha would be so disappointed.

Truth be told, many days we don't even get out of the house, except for a stroll around the neighborhood in the evening. When the baby decides he'd like to eat every two hours, and eating takes him 45 minutes, I've got about an hour and fifteen minutes to get somewhere and do something before he's demanding a meal. And I'm not the type to whip out a boob and let him go at it in public. So I limit my outings to places a) within 15 – 20 minutes of home in case of a complete infant meltdown, and b) with parking lots large enough for me to park in a relatively secluded area so I can feed the beast in the backseat. This is tough for me, because even though I'm pretty much a loner, I like to be out and about [perusing the clearance sections of every available establishment].

Anyway, back to those question-askers. Next time one confronts me, what should I say? That I contemplate world peace? Solve previously un-solvable mathematic equations? Write SCOTUS-quality legal briefs? [Alright, sometimes their analytical integrity is questionable, but these briefs? Airtight.]

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hello, Neighbor


I'm trying to meet people now that I have a kid. I think that's what moms are supposed to do.


It's not easy.


So yesterday Rosie down the street threw a party. And I was invited! Can you believe it?! OK, it's only because I pay her son $12 a week to mow my yard, so it was probably kind of a sympathy invite. But I take what I can get.


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I had to bring some food. An appetizer and a dessert. An appetizer and a dessert! Double the potential for utter disaster as I give a few dozen people food poisoning. Fantastic.

I couldn't just bring something from the grocery. Oh I could. However? That wouldn't make an impression. If I'm going to a party and bringing food, it has to be a least slightly better than mediocre. That's all I'm going for. So I brought a salad and brownies. A summery salad with apples, grapes, walnuts and grilled chicken says "I'm not trying too hard, and I'm a healthy, and oh, this is something I just threw together. You think it's delicious? You flatter me." Right? I don't eat salad, but that's kind of the impression I get from people that do. And brownies. Because the mix is delicious.


So down the street we went [well, nothing is that easy, but this story is already getting a little long, right?].


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Then there were the questions. The questions I'm uncomfortable answering, because maybe I don't know the answers.

How old is the baby?


Easy one! Eight weeks. Yes, he's big. But he's not off-the-charts big. Stop saying he's so big! You'll make him feel fat! And I have enough weight issues for this whole little family, ok??

What do you do?


Another easy one. I stay home with the baby.


But before that?


Oh, before that. You know, a little of this, a little of that. There was college, then law school, then...


You're a lawyer?!


Yep.


Oh, I have a question for you...


The answer really depends. On what? On a lot of things... You know, the husband's a lawyer too, a better one than I am and "HONEY?! Please come over here!"

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You know what? He's probably not a "better lawyer" than I am, at least in the academic sense. I went to a prestigious law school. Really. And I did well. Really. I was good at law school and I am good at lawyering.

But, you guys, I hate it. I even hate telling people that I'm a lawyer. But I am, and there's a certain credibility afforded to me when people know that I am. So I do tell, but I always regret it.


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All in all, meeting the neighbors went well. Unless they're all still talking about us.... about the baby's diaper exploding, covering my husband in pee... about the monkey dish the brownies were on that I spent half an hour choosing in Target [options limited by my inability to purchase any item not on clearance]... about me awkwardly nursing the baby on Rosie's bed as her friend walked in on me... about me rambling on about how terrible it is to smoke around children as the woman behind me lit one up... oh, about any number of mishaps.

But you know what? They're not so normal either. And the husband and I are still talking about THEM.

Take that, neighbors.