Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

I'll be writing a post about my awesome weekend for tomorrow or Wednesday, but I just had to write a quickie about Memorial Day.

Yesterday at the airport, as I was walking towards the security check-point, I saw a family saying goodbye to their son/brother, who was dressed in a service uniform. I'm not sure what branch he was in, but I'd guess he was a Marine. I tried not to watch as his mother clung to him, sobbing, while his dad and sister stood by waiting for their turn to say goodbye.

All at once, the enormity of the sacrifice they were all making rushed over me. Tears sprang to my eyes (as they are now, while I'm writing this) and I tried to imagine having to hug L goodbye in the airport, not knowing if he would ever be in my arms again. I tried to imagine sending my son off to a place where people wanted to kill him without even knowing anything about him. And I cried to myself as I waited in the security line, my heart aching for that family having to do that very thing.

That soldier, who was probably younger than me, was going over to fight a war for me, for my family. He was going to fight for my freedom, so that I could stay home and write whiny posts about only getting 6 hours of sleep (when he would probably pay money for the luxury of 6 hours of sleep) or the cost of formula.

It is not only on Memorial Day that I think about and appreciate the sacrifice that all the men and women in the service make so that I can live my life in freedom and peace. I am greatly indebted to you all, as well as the families you leave behind. Thank you for your selflessness. Thank you for your service. You are all in my prayers, and I ask that God speeds your safe return home.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


I am a Craigslist nut. I love to search for great deals or sometimes even browse the writing/editing jobs in case some amazing company is in the market for a person who wants to work from home and make $80,000+ per year on a part-time basis with an almost 3-year-old Journalism degree that has never been used.

I've been known to sell things on CL, too. I sold the lanterns I used in my wedding reception centerpieces for a song, and the stupid lady who bought them tried to talk me down when she came to pick them up. I was like, "Listen lady, I paid $150 for these lanterns. You are getting them for $50. No, I will not take $25 for them. Get off my property before I let my dog loose on you." She never had to know that Connie would lick her face off before giving her so much as a nibble.

This is not the point of my post, but I have to take a minute here and disucss how much I hate idiots who respond to my posts on CL. It may not be right or fair, but if you can't correctly put together a simple sentence, you go waaaay down on the priority list. If you send me an email saying, "i ken pik them upp on wensday?" I probably won't reply to you unless no one else emails me. And even then, I'll wait a week before responding. Not like your level of literacy impacts your ability to pay for whatever I'm selling, but if you can't spell basic words that are used in every day language, that bothers me.

What makes me even more angry is when people just write a three-word response like, "I'll give you $20." Um ok? First you rudely don't even write any sort of intro or greeting, then you try to offer me an insulting amount for whatever item I posted for sale.

An example of a nice email response is, "Hi, I saw your ad on CL for ______. Would you accept $x? I would be willing to meet you in X location on X day. Thanks, Katie" I always, always write something like this when I'm trying to make a CL purchase, and if you write a similar email to me when you're trying to purchase something I'm selling, you get first dibs, even if you're the 20th person to email me.

ANYWAY, can you tell I recently listed something for sale on CL? Yes, D and I stupidly purchased two convertible car seats online without ever seeing them in person. When they arrived, we discovered that they were monstrously large, so much so that D nicknamed them the Baby La-Z-Boys. Needless to say, they did not fit well in my tiny car. Since we lost the receipts immediately after they arrived on the porch (how does that even happen?), we couldn't return them. So, we decided to take a small hit and sell them on CL.

Well, I listed them for what I felt were pretty reasonable prices. One of them was barely used and the other one was brand new and sealed in the box. So I posted them and waited for the emails to pour in. But for the next couple days, I got crickets.

Finally, I got a reply. Not only did I get a reply, it was actually written in full sentences and was friendly. We emailed back and forth a couple times to negotiate and finally settled on a price. Great.

The only downside was that she lived about an hour away. And of course, she wanted to meet half-way. Since I just wanted to sell the seats and get the cash to buy a new one, I told her I could do it on my lunch yesterday. We would meet at the zoo, which is in an area that I am not even remotely familiar with (and a pretty decent hike from my office).

I'm just at the beginning of my mommy career, so I hadn't been to the zoo in ages. So what do I do? I look it up on Google Maps, of course. MapQuest had done me wrong one too many times, so Google Maps it was. (By the way, Mom? Yeah, I still really want that GPS for Christmas this year.)

Just a memo to you, if you're one of the 10 other people left in the world who, like me, don't have a GPS system: Even though Google Maps will let you just put "X Zoo" into the destination slot instead of an actual address, don't do it. Because Google Maps will incorrectly assume that you are asking for it to show you a scenic tour of the zoo from the back, which is entirely fenced in and does not include an entrance. You will drive through the neighborhood behind the zoo and look through the fence at all the happy people in the zoo, but you will not be able to get there yourself. Not like this happened.

So I finally get myself to the zoo entrance, and find a parking lot adjacent to the parking structure where we agreed to meet. After a couple minutes, I realized I didn't have this lady's cell phone number on me and that I never gave her mine. So I quickly had to call around to people that would be near a computer and wouldn't think I was crazy for asking them to check my email for me. Enter my BFF Barb. (Thanks again Barb.) She laughed at me in the good kind of way that means she thinks it's funny that I'm in the situation but doesn't think I'm a total idiot, and she gave me the number.

So I call the lady and get voicemail. Sweet. By this point, I've been waiting 10 minutes and it's starting to get to the point where I really need to get going to get back to work. Call her cell again. Voicemail again. Then I see a tannish Chevy SUV pull into the parking lot and park, and the driver is just kinda looking around.

The lady told me she'd be driving a black Ford Excursion, but I started wondering if Chevy might not be her. It's like that Office episode where Pam sets Michael up with her apartment landlord and he thinks a different lady in the coffee shop is his date. "I'd give her a 10 for looks and a 3 for her ability to describe herself." That's exactly what went through my head. Like, "Maybe she thinks she drives a black Ford Excursion but really she drives a tannish Chevy SUV?"

So this lady is sitting there, sitting there, and I'm like "whatever, I'm sweating like a pig on a spit, I'm going to ask her." And of course, she wasn't the lady I was meeting. But she did give me a really weird look.

So it's going on 20 minutes of waiting and I really need to get back to work. Of course, all along I'd had the fear of going down to meet this woman only to find that she is actually a he who wants to shoot me in the face and steal all my money or worse, so all the while I was waiting, I was calling D and leaving updates on his voicemail because he was out doing lawns. I think I left 3 voicemails in the span of half an hour, and when he was later asking me why the heck I left so many messages, I was like, "I wanted to give the police something to go on in case I got kidnapped."

So finally, after I left another voicemail for the lady on her cell phone (basically telling her in a friendly but where the heck are you kind of way that I was leaving in 5 minutes if she didn't show), I see this huuuuuuuuuuuuge black Excursion pull into the parking lot. It is large and in charge and it sounds like a bus. The lady driver is looking around and finally parks on the other side of the lot.

So I get out of my car to go ask if she's the one I'm looking for and miracle of miracles, it's her. I pull my car around to give her the seats and we laugh about how she was sitting somewhere else waiting for me the whole time. And then she kinda backhandedly scolded me for not giving her my cell phone number.

So she looks at the car seats and is like, great, I'll take them. And then she kinda backhandedly scoffs at me for buying a car seat without seeing it first. .......Right. Thanks. And then she's like "Oh we should have traded! I have an infant carrier that goes up to 100 lbs!" And I was thinking, "Um do they for real make infant carriers that go up to 100 lbs? Because pretty sure I don't want to carry around a human being who weighs 100 lbs in an infant carrier. L is only 17 lbs and it's near back-breaking to carry him in the stupid infant seat." Like, why would I trade for your infant carrier when you yourself don't want to use it for your 1 year old?

And then she gives me payment in all twenties and asks if I have a 5 to make change for her. I tell her I'm sorry, I never have cash, but I'd be happy to mail her $5. She hesitated and then was like, ::Sigh:: "Noooooooooooo, that's ok." And then I mentally decided that I'm going to mail her the stupid $5 because it's not like I chopped $70 off my original asking price or anything.

So finally I'm leaving and see that I am maybe supposed to pay for parking in this lot. The gate monitor asks me for my parking ticket and since I'm all flustered and stupid I say, "Oh, I didn't actually go into to the zoo, I was just here to exchange."

And her eyes go all serious and her face gets all "WHAT?" and she says, "What do you mean an exchange?"

And then I realize that it could be misconstrued to seem like I was dealing drugs in that parking lot and I said, "Oh no, no, no! I was just here to sell some car seats through Craigslist!"

And then her face cleared and she realized I wasn't doing drugs in her parking lot and she laughed and let me go without paying.

And somehow, I made it back to work on time. And the first thing I did was mail out that $5.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Parting is such sweet sorrow

I'm going out of town for a wedding this weekend.  Just me.  All by myself.  Without D.  Without L.  

I used to do this kind of thing all the time.  All my college BFFs are scattered about the country, so it was not unusual for me to pack up and ship out to wherever the wedding was happening.  D somehow always had to work over these weekends, so I'd always just go by myself and have a good old time with my besties from college.  And even though I missed D and wished he could be there with me, I still had fun.

Now that L is in the picture, it's a whole different story.  I'm still very much looking forward to seeing my friends, but I'm also very much not looking forward to leaving him behind.  The moment I decided I would be going to this wedding, I also decided that L would not be joining me.  When I booked my plane ticket and made these plans, I was in the throes of post traumatic shock from having a new baby, and the last thing I wanted to do was take a trip by myself with a baby I hardly knew.

It would have been different if I was driving.  Driving, I could handle.  When you drive somewhere, you don't have to worry about your baby's shrieking and screaming bothering anyone else.  You just have to worry about your own sanity. 

But babies on flights seems to be a topic everyone has an opinion on.  I've been in the shoes of the other passengers myself.  Whenever you get on a plane and see a harried mom stumble onto the plane with her baby and all his gear in tow, you inwardly grown.  And when the baby inevitably starts screaming because his poor little ears are full of pressure, you heave a huge sigh like the weight of all the world's inhumanity has just been placed squarely on your shoulders.  Because everyone knows that the mom could get her baby to stop crying if she really wanted to.

So yeah, at the time I bought my ticket, L was maybe 3 months old, and I had a "stop-crying" success rate of approximately 60%.  I wasn't really liking those odds, so it officially became a solo trip.  Who knew L would change so much in just 3 more months?  Who knew he would become a little sweetie who could sit unassisted and play happily with his toys for as long as I'd let him?  Who knew that by the time I got to this point, a few days before the wedding, he would be such a good baby that my biggest worry about traveling with him would be having to carry all his gear by myself?

Yeah, not me.  I didn't know these things.  Had I known, I would have probably just said, "Listen buddy, you're coming with me."  And he wouldn't have been able to say no because he's just a baby and can't talk yet.  

Instead, I'm leaving him behind.  And it makes me want to cry.  D has to work this weekend, as I mentioned, and since my parents will be out of town and my mother-in-law is also working, some very good friends of ours offered to take L for us.  I'm extremely grateful that they're doing this, and I have total and complete trust in them.  Did that stop me from writing up an abbreviated story of L's life for them?  Nope.  And I managed to keep it to 3 typed, single-spaced pages.  I wanted to write more, but I didn't want to be crazy or anything.

It's going to be a bittersweet weekend.  I'm clinging to the silver lining.  I'm really excited to see my friends.  I'm really excited for the plane trip and subsequent trip on the metro to my friends' apartment Friday, because this means that I'll have at least 3 hours of uninterrupted reading time (something unprecedented these days).  I'm really excited to see my friends get married and then dance my face off at the reception.  Trust me, I'm really excited.  

But I'm also really excited to get home on Sunday and scoop my little guy up and squeeze him in the big bear hug that always elicits giggles.  I'm really excited to smother him in kisses and blow raspberries on his neck and literally feel the stress melt away when I hear his adorable belly laugh.  

I'm really excited to go and I'm really excited to get back.  It's a confusing emotion.  I don't understand it.  And I better get used to it, because I think it's probably something I'm going to feel many times over my career as a mom.  Really excited but also dreading it and ready for it to be over.  

So, hopefully I survive.  D is worried about me taking the metro.  Maybe I should remind him that I'm taking the metro in Washington, D.C. and not Gotham City.  But I'm worried about L and he's worried about me and we are one big worrying family.  It's cute.                                        

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sick, sick, sick

Ask any wife if she'd rather be sick herself or deal with a sick husband, and I suspect you'll get a few moments of hesitation, followed by an admission that she'd rather suffer than have her husband be sick.  And it's not really because us wives are noble and honorable and completely selfless, although that may be part of it.  It's because men are awful when they are sick.  Awful.  

D is no exception.  And unfortunately for me, he has a chronic condition, most commonly referred to as hypochondria. 

D is the biggest hypochondriac on the face of the planet.  This isn't to say that he's awful all the time, but I am not lying when I say that at least once a day, he complains of some random ailment.  Now normally, I try not to write too much about D because he's a relatively private person, but he decided to acquiesce and fall on his sword for the good of my blog.  Ladies and gentlemen, for your reading pleasure, some of his most common complaints.

Throat Cancer:  I would have to say that throat cancer is D's longest-running "illness".  He swears that he has these little cysts in the back of his throat that come off (?) when he brushes his teeth.  Clearly, the most realistic diagnosis of these self-detaching cysts is throat cancer.  Now I've never seen one of these cysts, but D promises me that they're there.

Toe Cancer:  This is a newer one.  There's sort of little red something on D's big toe.  Instead of outrageously thinking that it could be a blister from his new work boots, D jumps right on the cancer boat and tells me he needs to have his toe cut off.  Because that's not alarmist or anything.

Strep Throat:  This just developed this past weekend.  My brother was in town for my dad's retirement party and he was not  feeling well.  He went to urgent care and was told, basically, that he had strep throat.  I told D the next day about it, and this is what followed:
Me:  My brother has strep.
D:  What?  How'd he get strep?
Me:  I don't know, but now we're all going to catch it.
D:  You can't catch strep, strep isn't contagious.
Me:  Actually....strep is highly contagious, especially in the first days when you get diagnosed and the day after.
D (10 minutes later, starts coughing and wheezing):  I think I have strep.  Your brother gave me strep.
So, one minute strep is not contagious, and the next minute it is and D has it.  You know what is always contagious?  The power of suggestion.

Sports-Induced Asthma:  Every time D exerts himself athletically, he is all like "Babe I think I have sports-induced asthma."  Because he's having trouble breathing.  And I'm all like, "Babe, I love you, but I think there's a difference between sports-induced asthma and being out of shape."

This is just a sampling.  One minute, D will be dying of toe cancer and strep throat, and the next minute he'll be telling me that he wants to go out and play hockey.  Call the press!  It's a miracle!  I can see the headlines now: "Metro-Detroit man miraculously cured of cancer when he straps on roller blades!" 

And you know what's funny?  Any time I hurt or injure myself, D tells me it's "probably just a bone bruise".  It's become a joke between us because he has said this to me so many times.  It all started when I badly sprained my knee and needed to be on crutches and D was like, "Eh, it's probably just a bone bruise."  If I had listened to him, I would have ignored my knee that was so swollen that I couldn't even pull the leg of my jeans over it (which was totally depressing because, while I've had trouble pulling jeans over another part of my body that seems to be permanently swollen, I'd never before had problems pulling jeans over my knees).  If he hadn't have known I would have punched him right in the face, he probably would have jokingly said during labor, "Oh suck it up, it's just a bone bruise."

But truly, the greatest part of all this is that I think D knows he's a hypochondriac, because when I told him that I was writing this post and that he should compile a list of his diseases, he laughed, refused and then started rattling them off one by one.  Can a hypochondriac know he's a hypochondriac?  It's always been said that if you wonder if you're crazy then you're probably not crazy.  But crazy is as crazy does, so I guess it's up to you to decide.        

(P.S.  As I was reading this post to D last night, every time I read one of his "ailments" he said, "Hey, that one's true!")     

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Will I never learn?

You know the old saying, "Experience is the best teacher"?  Well, I choose to live my life in blatant defiance of that adage.  That's right, Experience.  You can take your righteous wisdom and go jump off a cliff.  

I don't need you.  I prefer to live life on my own terms, exercising the same behavior over and over again and expecting different results one of these times.  (In fact, I am bound and determined to lose the last 20 lbs and achieve my goal weight by working the pizza-pop-candy-and-sitting-around-on-my-butt-watching-reality-tv diet as hard as I possibly can.  Forget that fact that you, Experience, Mr. Holier Than Thou, continue to tell me that it won't work.  I'm going to prove you wrong for once.)

Unfortunately, this morning has proven that Experience has won once again.  He has given me a cruel reminder that he is the master and I'm the perpetual student.  A little back story: I'm pale.  (Can it be counted as a back story if it's only one sentence?  No?  Ok, I'll expound.)  I'm reeeeally pale.  And not creamy, porcelain, ivory pale like Nicole Kidman.  The kind of pale that is sickly and almost transparent under fluorescent lighting. 

I used to have this office job when I was a freshman in college, and I had one morning a week where I worked at 8:30 a.m.  That sounds like sleeping in to me now, but when I was in college, that was like cruel and unusual punishment early.  And it was across campus, and I never woke up on time.  Ever.  So much not on time that I would usually be waking up at like 8:45 and making up some lame excuse as to why I was late (one time I told them that my roommates turned my alarm off as an April Fools prank).  Anyway, the point of this story is that I never had time to put on my makeup those mornings because I had to leap out of bed and sprint to the other side of campus to get to a job where they never had any work for me and just ended up hating me because I was always late.  And every single one of those mornings, without fail, the secretary I worked with would be like, "Are you feeling alright?  You just look so tired and sick."  Just because I had no makeup on.  (That was a really long story to illustrate how pale I am.  You must have known this was coming since I'm no good with the short back stories.)                   

So me au natural = looking tired and sick. 

I'm not so good with the tanning, either.  I get burned, and then for like one day after the burn has gone down, I'm slightly tannish looking, but then I'm back to pale.  The one time I was remotely successful in tanning was the month before my wedding when I went tanning like 3 times a week using the high-pressure beds.  To me, having the frame of reference of what my skin usually looks like, I was TAN.  Looking at the pictures, I don't really look tan at all, but I also don't look like I'm about to keel over and die, so mission accomplished. 

But then on the honeymoon, stupid me laid out for like an hour with no sunscreen and got sun poisoning.  On like the second day of our 7-day honeymoon.  It didn't totally ruin the vacation, but by the end of it, I didn't even want to go outside during the day because the sun made my skin feel like it was burning with the fire of Hell itself.  And when I got home, my face and shoulders blistered and I looked like a leper.  In the middle of February.  In Michigan.  No one understands sun poisoning in this situation, they just think you're contagious and avoid being within 10 feet of you.

So obviously, I have two options: be pale and deal with it or sunless tanning lotion. 

I'll take Orange Streaks That Smell for 1,000, Alex.    

Even the gradual tanning lotions have proven disastrous for me.  Yet, I repeatedly try every spring and summer.  This spring: no exception.  My dad's retirement party is tomorrow and it's a fancy party where everyone gets all dressed up like for a wedding.  I absolutely LOVE dressing up nowadays because it makes me feel pretty and gets me out of my standard uniform of "clothes that barely pass for work clothes but pass nontheless" and yoga pants/t-shirts/jeans that don't fit.  

The dress that I'm wearing is bright and colorful, and I've noticed that colors always make my legs look more pale.  So I got the brilliant idea that I'd do some sunless tanning on my legs to prepare for the party.  While the gradual tanning lotion is not perfect, it's far superior to the straight-up sunless tanning lotions that literally turn me technicolor orange, save for the bright white stripes that somehow inevitably get missed in the application process.  (Oh I just thought of a good frame of reference!  Ladies, if my skin were a wedding dress, it would be Diamond White.)

So last night I bought some tanning lotion and brought it home.  I washed my legs, exfoliated and did everything the bottle recommended I do for good application.  It actually smelled nice, which was a pleasant surprise, and even though it made my legs feel sticky, I was excited.   I even laid out my denim pencil skirt for work so I could show off my legs that would go from bright white to (hopefully) off-white overnight!  

Well, this morning, the nice lotiony smell had faded and my entire bedroom smelled like tanning.  That's when I got a little nervous.  But I didn't have time to think about it because Sir L was calling for his butt to be changed.  So I got him changed and set up with his bottle and went to get ready for work.  I didn't notice anything too bad while I was getting ready, but that's only because my house is a dungeon and is extremely dark, even with the lights on. 

When I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth, though, I saw the lotion sitting on the sink so I took a look at it.  That's when I noticed it said "For medium to dark skin tones."  Awe. Some. 

So of course I'm stupid and didn't decide to wear pants or anything like that.  I had gotten so excited to wear my skirt that I was already too far committed to take it back.  And when I got out into the natural light, I wished I had just cut and run.

My legs looked ok, but my knees, ankles and feet were a disaster.  My knees were (and still are) a ruddy brownish-orange, which coordinated perfectly with the ruddy brownish-orange color that my ankle bones had taken on.  My feet are streaky nightmares.  And I smell like tanning.

So now I'm sitting at work, in a skirt, with streaky, smelly legs.  I'm trying to hide them under my desk, but I know it won't work for long.  Someone is inevitably going to come up to my desk and ask me to show them something, help them with something, or do something for them.  And then I'm going to have to get up and reveal the tanning disasters that are my legs. 

So Experience, you win again.  But fear not, because I am not finished with sunless tanning lotion yet.  One day I will find the secret trick that will enable me to be a sunkissed summer girl instead of a pale girl who covers up in sarongs because she's afraid of blinding people.  And that, of course, will be right on the tail of my diet success. 

And then I'm going to shove it in your hoity-toity face and be like, "Who's the teacher NOW, son??" 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Things I am afraid of

I'm a huge worrier. I don't worry about a ton of things, but when I worry about something, I give it 110%. Why do anything half-way, right? See the list below, and please don't make fun of me too much.

1 - I am deathly afraid of someone breaking into my house when I am home alone at night. I used to be afraid of them breaking in and hurting me, but now I'm afraid of them breaking in and I'll be unable to get to L and they'll hurt or take him. So note to anyone wanting to break into my house: we have literally nothing of value that you could steal. Except my Kitchen Aid. And that....that is something I just might be willing to take a bullet for.

2 - I am afraid of snakes and spiders. They are creepy and crawly and just....ugh. They give me the shivers.

3 - I am afraid that one day I'm going to wake up and L will have turned from the sweet, adorable, smiley baby that he is into a little hellion. I really don't know what I'm doing, and I don't know if that's something that happens? People keep telling me to just wait until he's moving and then I'll be sorry. So I don't know if L has a massive personality change on the horizon? (Side note: Why is it that people are always telling me to "just wait"? Am I ever going to get to the point in my Mommy Life where people will cease to take joy in knowing the secret pain that awaits me? Will people ever stop wanting to rain on my New Mom Joy Parade or refrain from trying to burst my bubble of excitement at a new milestone?)

4 - I am afraid that D is going to die and leave me all alone. I think that's probably a common wife fear. D and I like to joke about what we could do with the life insurance money we'd get if one of us dies, and I always tease D that if he ever dies I'm going to date a black guy like I've always wanted to, but seriously. I have literally cried multiple times just thinking about D dying. (It was a recurring dream I had during my pregnancy, and some of those dreams were so vivid that they are still with me and can evoke tears even now, months and months later.) He won't even let me watch P.S. I Love You anymore because for like 2 weeks after, I'm always telling him, "Don't die" and then bursting into tears.

5 - I am afraid that I will royally eff up at raising my children and they'll turn into those kids who other people see out in public and wonder "Where the heck were his/her parents?" And they'll be the kind of kids who make expectant couples turn to each other and go, "Our kids will never be like that/do that/say that."

6 - I am afraid that hands will jump out from under my bed and grab my ankles if I let my feet dangle over the side of the bed or if I don't jump into bed from at least 2 feet out if D is not home. Oh yeah, didn't you know? The scary monsters go away when D is home. I guess they're afraid of his snoring.

7 - I am afraid of having more than one child because I worry that I'll never sleep again and never have a second alone for myself. One kid is one thing, but multiple kids - I have no idea how I'll do it. But this fear is not so huge because I had this fear when I was pg with L, and so far I'm coping pretty well. In fact, I kinda love being a mommy. So bring it, babies. You got nothin on me.

So, 7 major fears in life. Not a very small number, but not super huge anyway. Some I devote more energy to than others - and I'm positive that D could pick out my top 3 fears with no hesitation...just ask him. I am sure I'm afraid of other things, and I certainly worry about other things. But these are the recurring fears that keep me up at night.

And now you know me a little bit better. (How pumped are you! And I'm not even going to put a question mark after that statement because I know you are pumped without having to ask.)

Now I just cross my fingers and hope you don't stop reading my blog because you think I'm crazy!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Top 10 reasons why I know I'm in trouble when L gets older

One of the things I love the very best about being a mommy is watching L develop and grow into his own person every day. This is going to sound totally psycho but please don't judge. Blame it on me being a first-timer.

When L was first born and at home with us, I was unconsciously relating him to a dog. I love our dog C, and was border-line obsessed with him before L came. Dogs were all I knew. So I couldn't help but immediately shift into the "dog mommy" mindset when dealing with L. Like C, L was pretty reliant on us. The only things he could do on his own were dirty his diaper and sleep. C even had an edge on L because could eat without us doing anything more than accidentally leaving a tempting treat on the coffee table for too long. Even if we'd left his bottle on the table in front of him all day, L would not have been able get it himself. One point, C.

The thing that really made me realize that L was not a dog, and might even be his own person apart from myself, was the day we tried to feed him pears. I absolutely love pears and it never even crossed my mind that he wouldn't like them. I was totally bowled over when he made the "yucky" face and spit the pears out. He tentatively opened his mouth again to see if we would give him something different, and when it was again pears, he spit them out and then clamped his mouth shut so hard that I couldn't even part his lips with my fingers (that boy has an iron jaw).

Ever since then, I've been wondering what L will be like the more his personality develops. And the more it develops, the more I'm certain I'm in trouble when he gets old enough to date. Because he's going to be the guy that all the girls want to date. Here are the Top 10 Reasons why my kid is going to be a serious catch.

Reason 1 - He has a smile that would melt the heart of Fidel Castro. I'm convinced that he is the key to world peace. We could have a gathering of the nations and I'd hold L up and they'd project his face on massive screens and he'd smile and all the world's leaders would look at him and go, "Awwwwww." And then they'd smile and hug each other and Miss America's dreams would finally come true.

Reason 2 - He has a great sense of humor. How do I know this at such a young age? Because he laughs at all my jokes.

Reason 3 - He is well-read. He'll read any book as long as you hold it in front of him with a firm grip and let him smack at it.

Reason 4 - He is interested in current events. Every morning we watch the Today show and the local news while getting ready. He can help but be glued to the screen, so interested in the state of our world is he. Here he is watching the Today show one morning this week, whilst enjoying his morning cuppa formula.

Reason 5 - He is a great conversationalist, and has even created his own language. Who is the last person you know to make up their own language? We can go back and forth forever, and he's thrilled to pieces when I answer him. I tell ya, I have a diamond in the rough.

Reason 6 - He's an artiste. I've received masterpiece for both Easter and Mother's Day. See, he already knows the way to a woman's heart is through creativity. Just look at these spectacular displays of craftmanship:

Reason 7 - He's an adventerous eater. He'll try anything once or twice or a million times. Current favorite cuisine: anything within his reach, with a strong preference for the nastiest or most dangerous thing ever that you would not want him to put in his mouth.

Reason 8 - He's just so freakin adorable.

Reason 9 - He's unbelievably charming. He has mastered the technique of looking at someone, smiling a big, huge grin and then coyly burying his face in the chest of whomever is holding him.

Reason 10 - He's going to be a famous hockey player. I have no evidence on this allegation, I'm just perpetuating the propaganda that D is doling out at home.

So come on. I mean, wouldn't you want to date this guy? I've decided the only way I can stop worrying about this situation is to control it, so I am currently taking applications for women who would like to bethroth their daughter to my son. Because clearly, that's the only option.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

All hail, the DV-R

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that DV-R is the best invention ever. I used to have all kinds of space in my brain to remember which shows were on what night, but now all that extremely useful knowledge has been pushed aside so there is room for me to juggle who is watching L on what day. (And all I have to say about that is thank God for the calendar that has L's daycare info written in because my once stellar memory has given way to permanent pregnancy brain.)

Now all I have to do is set a series record and like magic, all my favorite shows are stored for me to watch at my convenience. (Meaning, on weekend evenings when I don't have to fight to stay awake later than 9:30.) And can I just tell you how happy I am that L is still young enough that I don't yet have to filter what I watch around him? Pretty sure I don't want him to start talking like the Real Housewives of New Jersey, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that his first words aren't "prostitution whore".

So especially on weekends when D is working, the DV-R is an awesome thing. While L is down for his nap, or while he's playing on the floor by himself (for all of 2 minutes where he's happy playing alone) I can watch some of the awesomeness saved under "My Recordings". I've mentally ranked each of the shows I record.

Gold Medal - The shows I look forward to watching and get really excited about. I know what night these shows air on and I purposely ignore the channel they air on during that evening because I don't want to catch a single snippet of the show until I can watch it in its entirety from my DV-R. The Office is the perfect example of a gold medal show. In fact, The Office is so important to me that I've managed to kick D upstairs to watch his hockey games in the past because I wanted to watch the new episode on the "good" tv. (I hope you realize what a feat this is. The tv upstairs is the "small" tv. Then again, most are small compared to the tv in our living room.) Other shows also fall into this category but I'm worried that you'll judge me if I say them.

Silver Medal - These are shows that I like and look forward to watching and will watch when I can view them relatively uninterrupted (read: not very often). If a distraction happens to arise, I will pause it so I don't miss anything, and I'll even go so far as to rewinding if I do miss something. An example of a silver medal show is Project Runway. I've watched season after season and I still love this show (even though they bordered on over-load when they had approximately 5 seconds of lag time between the most recent season and the season before it).

Bronze Medal - These are the shows that I still like enough to record but am otherwise indifferent towards. I can put these shows on for background noise, but episodes usually end up stacking up until I decide either a) I'm going to sit down and have a marathon one night or b) after 9 episodes have been recorded and I haven't watched any that I probably don't care about the show anymore and just delete them all.

Miscellaneous - Right now, two shows fall under the misc. category - Parenthood and Deadliest Catch. These are shows that D and I both adore. We have mutually agreed that we will not watch one of these shows without the other present or face the wrath. They are recorded and saved for a time when we are both home and undistracted. If it were just me, I'd give them gold medals, but since I can't watch them whenever I want, it detracts a bit from their appeal (but not enough to make them silver).

And then there are shows that I can't figure out how to rank. They are shows that I used to be obsessed with but no longer care about too much. But I can't bring myself to break up with them because we've had such a long relationship. I'd say The Biggest Loser is the best example of this type of show. I used to LOVE TBL. It was my favorite in college. My friend and I would order Chinese food and watch TBL and cry. I looked forward to TBL nights more than any other night of the week. Then I stopped watching, but got hooked again when I was over at my parents' house one night and they were watching.

I know this is a slight tangent, but you know what really bugs me about TBL? How half that show is totally unnecessary and could be cut without losing the integrity or point of the episode. Is there really a need for every episode to be 2 hours long? Especially when I'd say a good 1/4 of each episode is poorly-veiled product placement? And I've taken to just fast-forwarding through the voting session BS because I noticed that I was rolling my eyes so hard every time someone started crying that one time my right eye almost popped out of my head.

Am I the only one who only watches a show out of a sense of loyalty and for "old-times' sake", rather than because I enjoy it? I currently have 5 episodes of TBL stacked up in my DV-R. And I can't bring myself to watch them because I've realized that that would be 10 hours of my life spent on watching a show I barely care about anymore. Yet I can't bring myself to delete them, because we're old friends. And I'm not sure what other show would make snacking during it feel so rebellious.

Anyway, sometimes I miss the old days where the only reason I needed DV-R was so I could record the first part of shows and start watching them half an hour later, just so I could fast forward the commercials. Being a mom has really made me decide what's important in my life. I can't just watch any old shows anymore. I need to choose which shows mean the most to me. This must be what everyone is talking about when they say that you have to make sacrifices when you're a mom.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I'm about to open up a major can of karma whoopass on myself

I know you should never. ever. EVER say what you will or won't do as a parent. I've tiptoed around this a bit before, but I've always tried to not be judgemental of other parenting methods or theories, especially since I'm still fresh off the new parent boat. And you know how I am, so shy and modest and reserved with my opinions. And I'm sure it will be absolutely shocking to you that I'm about to spew one of my opinions all over this post.

This morning I was driving to work and listening to my favorite morning show on the radio. On Tuesdays they usually read some sort of listener dilemma and have other listeners call in with their opinions. I missed the dilemma this morning, but I was able to get the basic idea from the recaps and what the callers were saying. Essentially, this listener (a dad) was concerned because his 13 year old daughter was wanting to date their 15 year old neighbor.

Now let me tell you, I know I tend to be more conservative than your average bear, especially with my ideas on parenting. I basically always assume that most people in the mainstream will disagree with me on most of my views. My parents had a hard and fast rule when I was a teenager that there would be no dating until age 16. And they were serious. I was "going out" with my high school boyfriend for probably 6 months before I turned 16, and they would not let us be alone together until literally the day that I turned 16. He wasn't even allowed to drive me to youth group meetings. I hated it back then, but now that I'm older and a mom and I see how young 16 really seems in real life, I think they might have been on to something. (Although they were way more lax with my younger brother, but that's another post entirely.)

So suffice it to say that I'm coming into this "dilemma" with some experiences that render me pretty biased. Now I don't know if it's because I think that kids are getting into the dating world FAR to early these days, or if it's just me being conservative or whatever, but to me, age 13 seems ridiculously young to be dating. Kids are nowhere near emotionally mature at that age, and dating is an adult privilege.

I don't want to worry about my son or daughter sexting their girl/boyfriend (which I won't have to worry about anyway because they won't have cell phones at that age - I know, I know. I'm evil. I'm mean. How could any parent deny their child a cell phone? Call CPS.) or telling their fellow 13-year-old that they "love" them, all the while their hormones are raging and they're slamming doors in my face screaming that they hate me because I wouldn't buy them this or that or because I won't let them have a cell phone. Sending that walking ball of hormones into the dating world is begging for trouble. And you must be smoking something funny if you think I'd ever allow my 13 year old daughter to date a 15 year old boy. Two years difference at that stage of life is like 10 years in the adult world, especially when it's the boy that's older.

You can see that I have strong views on the dating topic. And I was actually a little bit surprised (color me naieve) when the people calling in to the radio station were saying things like, "Oh well, just get to know the boy because you can't stop your daughter from dating him anyway. The devil you know is better than the devil you don't." Or one of my all-time favorites, "Kids are going to do what they're going to do no matter what you say, so you may as well just allow it."

Ok, you're going to need to give me a second to breathe here, because I'm getting so worked up that my fingers can't keep up with the speed at which the thoughts and responses are coming to my brain. Woooooo-sahhhhhh. In.....and......out........

There, that's slightly better.

First of all, I have to address my views on the "they're going to do it anyway" argument before my head explodes. My response to this is: I double-dog-dare them to freakin do it anyway! Listen, when my child is 22 or 23 and living out of my house and not spending a dime of my money, then the, "they're going to do it anyway" argument is slightly more applicable. I don't have to lay down and let them do whatever they want without stating my opinion, but at that point I have no control over what they do because they are adults and are living on their own. But when my child is 13 and I pay for every single thing they eat, do, live in and wear, you better believe I have control over what they do.

If I tell my young teenage child that they can't do something and they go ahead and do it anyway, they lose a privilege. If they do it again, they lose another privilege. And so on and so forth until they are under virtual house arrest and their bedroom contains a bed and maybe a lamp.

One caller on the radio station said something like, "My dad told my sister she couldn't date a guy, but she snuck out the window and did it anyway. And she ended up marrying the guy!" And the radio host was like, "Wow, so a happy ending, despite the fact that she snuck out of the house." And the caller was like, "Well, sort-of. They got divorced after 5 months but still."

To me, that example strongly reinforces my stance on this topic. Maybe if the parents had taken more of an active role and said, "You are my child and I love you and it is because I love you and have your best interests at heart that I will not allow you to disobey me like this" then that lady would have been saved a world of heartache.

Don't get me wrong, I know that children make mistakes. And I know that parents aren't perfect and don't always make the right choices regarding their children. But if I look back at when I was a teenager and received advice, guidance or discipline from my parents, they were right with alarming consistency. The sole fact that their hormones were more like a calm river than a raging hurricane sea played strongly in their favor.

And now here I am with a post that is basically me up on a big, fat soapbox when I originally intended it to be a light-hearted commentary on the crazyass people that are allowed to be parents in today's world. And I'm pretty sure that I'm just begging God to make L a little hormone-crazed hellion when he's a teenager so that everyone can point and laugh at me when I'm sitting in the corner, rocking back and forth with a dead look in my eyes. When that happens, feel free to shove this post in my face and be like, "See! It's not so easy, is it!??" But at that point it probably won't matter, as I'll likely have already mentally vacated my body in a last-ditch effort in self-preservation.

So for now, I think I'll just calmly step off my soapbox and put it away until the next time some silly radio segment gets me all worked up. Betcha can't wait!

I've had some work done

What do you think of my new blog design?  Totally cool, right?  I'm way pumped to have my very own custom design, it makes me feel so official!  Hang in here with me, as we're still working out some kinks.  I'll be putting up my real post a little bit later today, so stay tuned!   

Edited to add:  What a nerd I am!  I forgot to thank Barbie at Enchanted Memories on Etsy for this awesome design.  Check her out at and tell her I said hi!

Friday, May 7, 2010

An Homage to my Mom

Hopefully you are all aware that it is Mother's Day on Sunday. Hopefully you have planned in advance what you are going to do/get for your mom, just like D, whom I suspect will be doing a little running around today while I'm at work. (One of my favorite bloggers has suggested that there should be a "sarcasm" font, and I wish there was, too. That last sentence would have been written in it.)

Obviously, this Mother's Day holds special meaning for me, since it's the first I'll be able to officially celebrate. Last Mother's Day, I was a mother, but in a different way. L was comfy-cozy in my tummy, and way lower maintenance than he is today.

But it is also really special to me because this is the first Mother's Day that has allowed me to look at my own mom and love and appreciate her in an entirely different sense. So I'd like to take advantage of this opportunity to write a little tribute to her. (And I'm not even sucking up or anything because my mom is so busy that she doesn't always get time to read my blog. But I can rest assured that whenever I spell out a swear or say something potentially offensive, that will be the time my mom thinks, "Hey, I should really check in on Katie's blog." Just like the ONE time she watched Saved By The Bell with me and my brother was when Zack got seduced by the slutty nurse, so then she decided the show was inappropriate and wouldn't let us watch it anymore, thereby depriving me of an entire genre of my generation's pop culture.)

This is the year that I can truly appreciate what my mom went through to bring me into this world. I was what my mom fondly refers to as a "buffalo baby" - meaning that I was rather large. When I was born I tipped the scales a smidge short of 10 lbs. My parents were in Germany at the time, as my dad was in the Air Force. My mom had me in a hospital located on an air base (read: not the height of medical technology). And she labored with me for 21 hours. Without an epidural. Before they finally did a c-section. Yeah, you should see the picture of her holding me afterwards. She looks like she's ready to smack the camera out of my dad's hands.

This is the year that I can truly appreciate what my mom went through trying to breastfeed me. Breastfeeding is hard, plain and simple. I was a humongo baby and my mom's supply couldn't keep up with me, so they switched to bottle feeding. She loves to tell me the story of how I was the fussiest baby in the world until finally an angel from heaven a nurse gave them a bottle with a special kind of nipple on it which was more to my liking (yeah, I was a diva baby) and my parents finally realized, "Ohhh! She's hungry!" And then I was awesome.

This is the year that I can truly appreciate what it felt like for my mom to be alone with me in Mississippi while my dad was stationed in Saudi Arabia. I have a hard enough time with D working nights; I can't begin to imagine what it would be like for me to be on my own with L for months at a time in a state that is far away from all my friends and family, while D was in some other country.

This is the year that I can truly appreciate how hard it was for my mom to have to leave me with a sitter all day while she went to work because she and my dad couldn't make ends meet with only one job. I'm not sure how I would feel if I picked L up after work and he was speaking Spanish to me because his daycare lady was Mexican. On the one hand, it would be cute. But on the other hand, I'm pretty sure it would yank the crap out of my heartstrings to feel like my child was being raised by some other woman, so much so that he was turning into a different nationality before my very eyes. Also, I think it would be rather frustrating to speak a different language than your toddler.

This is the year that I can truly appreciate how much my mom wanted to slap me when I'd ask what was for dinner and, no matter what she said, I'd answer, "Awwwwww man." D is quickly learning that an answer bearing any resemblence to this is rewarded with the Do It Again, I Dare You look, aka Look of Death.

This is the year that I can truly appreciate that, just because you think your yearly income sounds like a lot of money, does not actually make it a lot of money. I remember many a times telling my parents that they were rich (and secretly meaning, "Why don't you spend more money on buying me expensive clothes, this is bordering on neglect.") and my parents would be like "Trust me, this is NOT a lot of money." And now I know. They were right. Again.

But really, this is the year that I can truly appreciate my mom outside the lens of "my mom". She is a wife and a mother, and works hard to excel in both tasks. She works tirelessly at her job, and has taught me that it is possible to have both a satisfying job and a tightknit family, if I want to have both. She has taught me that there is no shame in working hard to support your family, even though sometimes all you want to do is cuddle up with your baby and stay home watching The Price is Right.

I know through her eyes, she has many faults. And for sure our relationship is not perfect. We still fight and have disagreements. And all too often, I revert back to my role as "petulant child" and give my mom my worst, saving my best for the less deserving people I encounter in my day.

But truly, as cliche as this is, she is my best friend. I mean that with all my heart. There is no one who understands me like her. She is one of the very first people I want to call with news, and she is one of the handful of people I actually enjoy speaking to on the phone. (I hate the phone. I have a weird mutated gene or something.) She truly believes with all her heart that I should have my writing published, which I think makes her my biggest fan. She is the best. I'm glad God picked her to be my mom. (And I'm sure I'm shocking no one when I say that I'm tearing up a bit over here.)

Mom, I love your guts.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Non-Vacation "Vacation"

I know it sounds weird but I was really looking forward to the work conference I just returned from.  It's awesome to get out of the office and hang out with my counterparts from around the state.  Every year it's done in a different part of the state, and this year it was (awesomely) held approximately 5 minutes from my work.  The even awesomer part is that every single attendee is entitled to stay overnight in the hotel in their own room (even if they could comfortably walk to their office from the hotel).
This year marked my third year attending, and I have looked forward to it every year.  Something about having a hotel room to myself makes me feel like I'm living in the lap of luxury.  Even if (as it was last year) it's a Super 8.  

It actually turned out to be super convenient that the conference was so close to home this year, because I was able to arrange to go and only have to leave L for one night.  (A huuuuuuuuuuuuge thank you to my parents for taking L since D was working!!)  Plus, I could go about my morning as usual and not have to get up 3 hours earlier to make a trip out to a different part of the state.  Not only did I not have to get up 3 hours early, I got to sleep in a bit because the conference started at 9:30 to allow for out of town travelers.  So I got to get up a little later, take a walk with L over to the school around the block to vote for school board (we heart doing our civic duty) and leisurely eat an apple for breakfast while catching the fun part of the Today show (all of which made me ache to be a stay at home mom).  

So basically, I was pumped for this conference.  The hotel it was held at was super, super nice, and right in the parking lot of a really awesome mall (to which I generously donated large portions of my paychecks when I was first hired).  And I didn't have to go into the office for two days.  Score.  

As luck would have it, Tuesday morning when L woke up, his cheeks looked like someone rubbed tomato all over them.  He's been having skin issues for a couple months, and I've been going crazy trying to figure out what's been causing it.  I've switched our laundry detergent, as well as the soap we use when we give him a bath, I no longer wear perfume or use scented lotion, we've been putting cortisone cream on the broken out areas, I've thrown salt over my left shoulder, jumped backwards 10 times into the setting sun and done a reverse rain dance.  Nothing.

So when his poor little face was stop-sign red on Tuesday morning, I'd had enough.  I've been trying to hold out until his 6 month check up next Friday, but I knew I didn't want to put it off any longer.  So I called my dad, who would be watching L on Wednesday, and asked him if he would pretty please take L to the doctor.  He agreed because he's awesome, so I had to call the doctor and sneak some time in between sessions to use the hotel computer to email my dad a brief history of L's skin issues and what we've done to give to the doctor.  

I don't know if you've ever had to give your child's history of anything to anyone, or if you've ever heard any mom do so, but it's virtually impossible to be brief.  I was sitting there typing things like, "On Wednesday, April 7 at 7:22 p.m. we switched from Johnson's Nighttime Baby Soap to Aveeno Baby.  At 7:46 and 3 seconds I noticed that L's skin was looking slightly less inflamed."  Once my email reached 6 paragraphs, I realized I needed to edit myself a little and just tried to stick with the basics.  

And of course at the end of the email, I wrote "I will have my cell phone on me at ALL TIMES so if you (dad) or the doctor have any questions or if there is an emergency of any kind, you will be able to reach me AT ALL TIMES."  Like the redness was life-threatening and was going to cause my child to spontaneously turn to ash or something.  What a spaz. 

So then I calmed down and was able to enjoy the rest of the day.  And when dinner was over at around 7:15, I was free.  And I mean FREE.  I went up to my room and it was beautiful and quiet.  There were two beds and I was overwhelmed with the freedom of which one to choose.  Naturally, I chose the one closest to the clock, and I didn't even have to argue with anyone over who got to sleep next to the clock.  Then I went over to the thermostat and turned it down to 67 because I like to sleep cold and I didn't have anyone bother me about how it was too cold and how air conditioning costs money.

And then I had an epiphany.  I could drive over to the mall and walk around and just.....browse.  As in, just wander in and out of stores at a slow and easy pace and go where I wanted and look at what I wanted for however long I wanted.  And the idea of shopping without a purpose was so beautiful that it almost brought tears to my eyes.  So I pulled on my comfy pants (because I was my own woman and I didn't care if I looked like a schmo and you don't own me so if you have a problem with it you can suck an egg), walked to my car and drove over to the mall to rediscover a practice that was once as natural as breathing but has since become as foreign as Spanish even though I took it for 5 years and still can only say "me llamo Katie".

Oh you guys, it was so wonderful.  I kept fighting the almost spastic urge to check my cell to see what time it was and just wandered around.  I browsed through the book store, discovered an Ann Taylor Loft store (which could very well have been there for a long time, but was new to me) and just had a great old time.  I was having so much fun that I was over-chatting with the sales people and they probably thought I was on some sort of sedative or something.  Except probably not a sedative so much, because I don't think I could disguise how giddy I was.

And then when the mall was closing, I went back over to the hotel and went back to my very own room, which had chilled nicely since my departure.  I got all ready for bed and turned on the tv.  I relished the knowledge that I was in bed before 10 and that I would not have to get out of that bed for any reason other than my 7:30 alarm.  Breakfast started at 7:30 and went until 8:15, and I had quickly decided that I would be downstairs for the 8:30 session at 8:20.  I didn't give a crap about breakfast because I can eat breakfast any time I want; I cannot, on the other hand, sleep until 7:30 any time I want.  In my world (at least this has not changed), sleep wins out over just about everything.  

Right before I nodded off, I thought to myself, "I sure do miss D and L, but boy, this is fan-freaking-tastic."  So when I was driving home after the last session of the day on Wednesday, I felt refreshed and ready to get back into real life.  A few hours of "me" time with no one to answer to had recharged my batteries.  

And then life re-initiated me at warp speed.  You know how you return from vacation and like 5 seconds later are like, "I could really use a vacation"?  Yeah, it was like that.  I had to go pick up L from my dad's while D had to mow our jungle of a backyard because he was developing a slight twitch from how long it was getting and would have probably gone a little wacky if he didn't get time tocut it.  Then I got home and had a fussy baby who would not nap even though it was nap time and he was tired.  Then I asked D if he had had a chance to get Brenda's present for Day Care Provider Appreciation Day, which is Friday, like I had asked, which of course, he did not.  Then I had to do laundry. 

Then I had to make dinner, which is a whole story in and of itself (I should really write about meals in our house.  I suspect it's the type of thing where, if you're removed from the situation, you would find it humorous.  I'm not removed from it, so draw your own conclusions).  Then it was time to feed L his dinner.  Then D had to start getting ready for work.  Then it was time for L's bath and night bottle.  Then D left for work.  Then I had to put L to bed and go back into his room three times because he can't figure out that if he wants to roll from his stomach to his back, all he has to do is tuck that arm under him instead of sticking it straight out and almost breaking his shoulder in the process of trying to roll over. 

Then as I was walking down the stairs after finally getting L off to bed, I was like "Man, I could really use a break."        

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How rude!

Want to know a secret? I write these posts in advance. Maybe not a secret, since I've already told you that I think. But that secret is applicable today because I'll be at a work conference today and tomorrow (Tuesday and Wednesday), rendering me unable to write. Soooo here I sit, Monday night and you know what? I'm going to write today's posts right now. But I'll post it tomorrow morning (today, actually, since I'm writing in advance....this could get confusing).  And I'm sorry to say that I won't be able to post on Wednesday.  But I'll return on Thursday, promise!

I have to apologize, because I seem to be latching onto certain subjects and beating the life out of them. And then beating them a little more, just for good measure. (I promise this post is not about bathing suits.) But seriously, this cannot go without being posted about.

Yesterday I blogged about being a total weenie when it comes to saying no to little children selling things outside the grocery store. Well, if you go out to any store ever (even if only 3 times a year, in which case I'd like to know how you do it), you have probably noticed the little deals at the cash registers where the cashier asks if you want to donate a nominal sum ($1 or $5 most) to some worthy cause.

For me, these are usually much easier to say no to because the people asking are rarely the actual people benefited by the cause. And usually a polite, "No, thank you, not today" more than suffices. But people, you are not going to believe what happened to me yesterday.

As I mentioned, I'm at a work conference today. At this conference, I will be seeing many of my counterparts that work in my area whom I normally don't get to see, save for at these conferences. I have not seen these ladies since before L was born, and I've only emailed them a few pictures since I'm horrible at taking pictures and just really a bad mom in that sense. So I know that when I get there, I'll be asked a million times, "Do you have any pictures?" And if I tell these women that I do not, I kid you not, they will act like I just told them I left my baby at home with Conner as the babysitter.

So I needed to get some recent pictures printed. I love Costco (in theory. Though I hate actually going there because it's a madhouse and a zoo and it stresses me out) and I love one-hour printing, so yesterday I ordered 5 or 6 pictures from Costco and scheduled to pick them up on my lunch. I went in and stood in a line 5 people deep (seriously, why are there always so many people at Costco? Don't these people have jobs?) to pick up my pictures.

I have to tell you that things are tight financially this month. A lot of stuff is going on, and pretty much every dollar coming in is going out just as fast or faster. This is not usually the case, but this month it is. So I have literally $4 in both my bank accounts because of bills and stuff. Costco doesn't take credit cards, I had no cash and didn't feel like accruing a $3 fee by taking $20 out of D's and my joint account at the ATM to pay for my pictures that were literally 69 cents (sorry to overuse "literally", there's literally no other good word to use in its place). So I had to use my debit card, which is slightly embarrassing for such a small purchase, but no biggie.

I got up to pick up and pay for my pictures, and as the cashier was ringing me up, she asked, "Would you be so kind as to donate $1 to The Children's Fund (or something)?"

And I said very politely, "No thank you, not today."

So she starts scanning my pictures and then lifts the keyboard and scans something underneath. Then she said, "That will be 49 cents."

I swipe my debit card and start keying in my pin number and she says, "Yeah, I gave you a coupon discount, even though you wouldn't make a donation."

........."Excuse me?"

"I said, 'I gave you the coupon even though you wouldn't make a donation to the children.'"

I looked at her incredulously. Not only did she say it once, she repeated herself. I looked her straight in the eye and said, "I'm sorry (in a not at all sorry voice), but I seriously have $3 in my account, I am not in a position to make a $1 donation at this time."

And then she got all embarrassed and said, "Ohhhh I'm just kidding! Really, it's no skin off my nose if you don't donate, I was just kidding."

And normally, I would stumble all over myself to try to ease her embarrassment because it would be embarrassing for me, but come on. If it really was "no skin off her nose" (which is a saying I hate with a passion because whenever someone says it to me, all I can picture is flakes of dead skin coming off their nose) then why the heck would she have said anything in the first place? It is NONE of her business what I contribute to and why. That was just straight-up rude.

And I think she realized it, because she kept on giggling and saying that she was just kidding. Yeah, right. Hilarious.

Oh, rude people. So rude and yet, if it weren't for you, what would I write about?

Monday, May 3, 2010

I'm so weak

I can sometimes be a bit of a bleeding heart - I'm a seriously emotional person.  If you were at my wedding you know this, because I cried through half of it (seriously).  Sometimes I cringe at how much I cried that day, but when it comes down to it, I was really, really happy and PMSing hard core.  The perfect storm (which I think might be my new favorite phrase, so look out because I'll probably be overusing it in the near future, along with my trusty parenthesis).         

D won't let me watch Animal Cops on Animal Planet anymore because it gets me all worked up.  I get so upset that I (shocker!) cry through most of the episode.  I have to turn the channel if that Sarah McLachlin ASPCA commercial comes on because it makes me want to whip out my cell phone and my credit card and donate our entire month's income.  And adopt every homeless animal in the country, even the cats.  Even though I'm seriously allergic to cats and don't really care for them as pets.  As it is, I've been thisclose to adopting at least 5 dogs in addition to Conner, the fact that D would murder me upon discovery be damned.

I also have this insane desire to donate a kidney to someone.  It doesn't have to be anyone in particular.  I just feel really bad that there are so many people who desperately need just one working kidney and I'm walking around with two kidneys in tip-top shape, hoarding them like a miser.  Now to be honest, I haven't thoroughly researched kidney donation.  But I do know that you really shouldn't get pregnant when you're minus one kidney, so it probably won't happen in the next 5-10 years.  But if you're in need of a kidney in 2015 or later, look me up.

With all this in mind, it should be no surprise that I am rendered totally useless against kids who stand outside grocery stores trying to hock their wares, raise money for their clubs or find the cure for cancer.  It's terrible.  I know I could just say, "Sorry, I don't have any cash" (almost always the truth), but then their little faces are all like "So go to the ATM Scrooge, we'll wait."  (Please note that this situation is entirely different from purchasing things from the awesome kiddos I have the pleasure of being related to or knowing personally.  In those instances, I am very happy to help, especially since I know they won't be hitting me up every weekend from the start of spring until the end of summer.)  

I have walked to the entire opposite end of the store to use the other entrance in an effort to avoid these kids and their tables.  I feel especially bad when they are so cute and young and peppy and full of enthusiasm.  Then it's like the "No, thanks" crushes their souls.  And I always feel really guilty because I get to wondering if I was their first try for the day.  What if their first try was a no?  How would that effect them for the rest of the day?  Maybe if I'd said yes, they would have a higher level of confidence and get out there and sell more cookies/flowers/ribbons/tootsie rolls/rainbows.  So I usually end up coming back after I've done my errand and give them a donation or buy something from them as an act of penance for ruining their careers in sales for the rest of their lives.

It's gotten to the point where I actually feel dread when I see tables or people set up outside stores.  Yesterday I had to run to the store to get some something or other for a meal I was making.  I usually go to Kroger, but there's a more boutiquey type grocery store that's closer, so I just stopped in there because I was in a hurry.  

Big mistake.  I quickly noticed that there were some adolescent-looking people standing outside the grocery store, to which there is only one entrance/exit.  They were dressed like American revolutionary soldiers.  I felt a mild uneasiness build up inside me and I tried to plot my strategy.  Sometimes I'm able to be like one of those fish who hang out with the whales so they won't get eaten by sharks.  I just kind of barnacle onto another shopper and allow them to distract the miniature sales person so I can get away unscathed.  I decided this was my best option.  

But then one of the kids really tugged on my heartstrings when he started playing the lute or whatever it was that the our forefathers played when they were marching to their deaths in battle.  You know how it goes - all patriotic and happy and impressive that a youth in today's day and age knows how to play that instrument and that song.   

Still, I managed to stay strong and successfully execute Operation Barnacle.  I got inside and bought whatever it was I went for (I think it was ricotta?) and hurried on my way out to the parking lot.  I had forgotten about American Revolutionary Jr.  As I walked out the door, I was thrown even further into my Pit of Guilt when the old lady in front of me flat-out ignored the kid.  I mean, come on.  How hard is it to say, "No, thanks"?  (Maybe I'm not the best person to be posing that question.  Glass houses and all that.)

So I sighed and dug into my pocket for some change.  I dropped it in his can before he could even get his spiel out and went on my way.  And then it dawned on me that I had no clue what they were even raising money for.  Maybe American Revolutionary Jr. and his friends all got together and had some convincing costumes and decided to stand outside the grocery store and see how much money they could get.  And then one kid was like, "Hey, I happen to know how to play the lute!" and then AR Jr. was like, "Perfect!  You should totally do that!"  Or maybe they were raising money for terrorism and the costumes were an ironic insult to our country.  

I'll never know for sure.  What I do know is that I'm a big weenie.  If you ever want money from me, just get your cute child, niece, cousin, whoever to stand outside a grocery store and hold a can.  Bonus points if you give them a puppy with a chronic condition.  And if you can get the puppy to play a lute, all the cash in my wallet is yours.