Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How to be a bad wife

I have come to the unfortunate realization that, between D and I, I am the more difficult person to live with. This really shakes up the normal stereotype of a couple, where the wife is the one always putting up with her husband's quirks, patiently (and sometimes not so patiently) and lovingly doting on him as he muddles his way through life while she stands by, the rock who is always right.

Now I, of course, am always right, but that's one of the few things I share with the tv-and-50's wives before me. One of the other things we share is the fact that I'm the schedule and routine keeper in the relationship. If there is an event that D and/or I are attending (be it a birthday party or doctor's appointment), there is a strict process that must be followed.

The Process
Step one: Tell D as far in advace as possible, preferably 3 weeks to one month. Also write event on the calendar that D insisted we buy but refuses to check or even look at.
Step two: Two weeks out from said event, remind D.
Step three: One week out from event, remind again.
Step four: Remind D daily for the last 4 days before event.
Step five: When D still manages to forget, I am able to safely say, "Don't get mad at me, I told you about this." If any of these steps is skipped, I somehow am the one to blame for D forgetting.

Aside from these things, which I use to my greatest advantage and constantly rub in so my own flaws are minimized and ideally ignored, I'm a real pain in the butt wife.

Among D's chief complaints:

* I dig through laundry baskets of clean clothes instead of putting them away. After a few search and rescue missions, the laundry basket is a total mess and the clothes will inevitably be thought of as dirty and will be washed again. This drives D bonkers, and I suspect that he is one load of laundry away from insisting that I fold his clothes and place them in a different laundry basket.

* I am the messy one. I've written countless posts on this, so it should be pretty common knowledge by now. But it still is like a knife to my heart, because the wives are supposed to be the ones who complain about how messy their husbands are and how they constantly have to tidy up after them. When other women complain about this, I just nod my head silently in agreement as if I know what they're talking about. It's my not-so-secret shame: I'm a slob kebob.

* I slam things. Doors, toilet seats, scantily dressed hussies in name it, I slam it. D equally hates both my physical and verbal slammings. But, I will tell you that by consistently slamming the toilet seat for a week, I taught him to put it down after he used the bathroom. I told him that if he refused to put it down, I'd put it down for him and he wouldn't like it. The verbal slammings, I wish he'd just get used to and play along with. It's not fun saying, "Can you believe she is dressed so sluttily?" when D is like, "Who cares and will you please shut up?" Really sucks the fun out of life. Fun sucker.

* I don't really cook. This one was D's own doing, though, so not so much my fault. If I understood how batting averages were calculated, I'd give you a batting average of all the new meals I've tried, but I don't. So I'll just tell you that I'm like 3 for 50 in the kitchen. Now he gets his way and we eat out a majority of the time. Or we just fend for ourselves. I really hope our kids are foodies so I can try new foods and not face a losing battle before I even begin. But with who they have for a dad, I'd say I'm on the wrong end of this sword.

* I watch the most ridiculous shows on TV, which I've also posted about. But I'm pretty sure that D likes some of the shows I watch. Because, for someone who relentlessly makes fun of most of them, he sure does seem to know a lot about the people or characters in them. Like The Bachelorette. If you were to ask him who he liked for the final rose, he'd be like "Um what?" But really, he'd be thinking, "Well, Chris L. is probably the best choice as far as husband material, but Ali and Roberto really seem to have a connection that just isn't there with Chris L."

So there you have it. Never let it be said that I don't have any perspective. I'm a pain in the butt and I know it. But D is also a pain in the butt, so therefore we are a perfect match. The world makes sense again.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A long, detailed account of a fight that's not even interesting

Just as soon as I finish telling you how I won't be posting much, I post. That's how I keep you all coming back - just have to keep you guessing! But really, this post is because I need to get something off my chest. And it's not even the rant I've been dying to write about the girls I sat behind in church yesterday who wore shorts so short that they would more qualify as bathing suit bottoms than actual apparel to be worn in public (let alone church).

Instead, it's a boring old marriage post. Fighting in marriage seems very much like a game of Stratego. Except I've never played Stratego because it all seems so painfully boring, so I don't really know, but the name implies that there is strategy involved, which is really my point. Marriage fights involve strategy.

If I were a better woman, I'd be much more forgiving and let the minor irritations that my darling husband provides me with just roll off my shoulders. But I'm not, so I don't. Here are the details of the latest battle.

D is currently on vacation, which is great. But that means we actually see each other, which means we have to interact on a face-to-face basis, as opposed to when he is working, where we are more akin to ships passing in the night. And I find that seeing each other tends to leads to fights. As does not seeing each other. I guess there's no way around fighting.

ANYWAY, this past weekend was blissfully uneventful. I had my cousin's baby shower on Sunday, which was very fun, but that was about it for my to-do list. So Saturday morning rolls around, and L started his wake-up call later than usual, at around 7:30 or 7:45. And without one single word or nudge, D rolled out of bed and went to get him, letting me sleep in until a luxurious 9:15, and thus putting him in the running for Husband of the Year 2010.

The downside was that his generosity made it my turn to get up on Sunday morning. Except enter my parents stage right, to come save the day. They not only got him out of bed when he cried, they took him to church with them, allowing us to sleep in until 10!!! (Here's where I wish Blogger had really cool effects that let me put fireworks coming out of the number 10, because that's how utterly fantastic it was.)

D didn't hesitate to remind me that it was still my turn to get up with L on Monday morning, and I said fine since I was getting up for work anyway. D had to be up to do a zillion errands and mow lawns, so he asked me to wake him up before I left for work. I said fine, and would he mind dropping L off at his mom's for the day so I could take a little extra time getting ready. He said no problem. (I'm sorry to bore you with all the complexities and details, they are key to the inevitable blow-up.)

So last night comes, and we are all out of whack schedule-wise since we'd spent our weekend living hard and staying up until 11. So we went to bed at 10 but weren't sleepy and ended up fighting over what to watch for 2 hours. At midnight, we heard L fussing a bit. This is not unusual for him, so I wasn't worried. But D started to get all head-casey and worried and begged me to go check on him. After saying "no" over and over, I finally gave in to the worry and started to think something might really be wrong, so I went in to check on him.

The unmistakeable smell of a dirty diaper met me as I opened the door. Here's where I'm a bit ashamed. A good mother would have simply changed him and gone back to bed. Except changing L is a real beast these days, and I just plain didn't feel like it. So I went back to bed and told D, "He's fine but he's poopy. Go change him." (I know, I know. I'm the worst. Start dragging out the cross and nails for the crucifixion.)

Unsurprisingly, D balked at this. And got mad. And we started bickering over who would go change the baby. I pulled the trump card (that's not really the trump card because it never seems to accomplish a damn thing) and said, "I freaking BIRTHED that child, I think that earns me a few free passes on night-time poop changes." And then I rolled over and stopped talking.

And then the negotiations began. I gave in about the time when D said "I'll get up with him in the morning if you go change him." DONE.

So I go in and change his diaper, which actually took like 10 minutes. First of all, we have lowered his mattress, which makes it virtually impossible for me to remove him easily, especially when he's asleep. Second, he was still asleep when I put him on the changing table, and he kept rolling to his tummy (side note: that kid is STRONG). When I finally was able to hold him down with one hand and remove his diaper with the other, he was just approaching wakefulness. Then once I started wiping him, he woke up all the way and started kicking both his feet on the changing table really, really hard. I finally finished and put him back in his crib, where he proceeded to roll over and sit up, looking at me like "Excuse me? I want to play?" Went back to bed, fell asleep.

This morning, Sir L decides to call for his breakfast and butt change at 6 a.m. I roll over and nudge D and tell him to go get the baby. And HE HAS THE NERVE to roll over and tell me that our deal was no good because I never officially accepted the terms. I just went and changed the diaper. Oh helllllz no. I was peeved, to say the least. So after a lovely morning battle involving, "you get him", "no YOU get him", "NO I AM SERIOUS YOU GET HIM", D finally stomps out of bed and stomps all around getting the baby up. I don't remember what happened after that because I fell back asleep. ;)

But, he was not happy. Whatever. My mom and dad ended up taking the baby and giving him breakfast, and D stomped back to bed and went back to sleep. I got up and got ready for the day, and when I was leaving, I woke D up because he had asked me to the evening before. And I said, "D, I'm leaving. Get up."

"Why should I get up?"

"........Because I'm leaving and you have to get up and take the baby to your mom's."

"Can't you just take him?"

Steam starts pouring out of my ears because this always, always, always happens. We make an agreement, and then at the last minute he tries to change things up. NO, as a matter of fact, I CAN'T take the baby to your mom's because I didn't figure that time into my morning schedule since we've PREVIOUSLY ARRANGED that you would take him to your mom's and now I have to leave for WORK!

He gets up, pissed of course, since he clearly has a reason to be pissed, and starts stomping around the kitchen getting L's diaper bag ready. I don't even remember what smart-mouth thing he said to me at that point, but I just looked at him and left without saying goodbye.

And now here's the hard part. I'm sitting at work today, not even mad anymore, but my pride is getting in the way of calling D and being totally ok with everything. I did call once, with a plan to pretend like nothing even happened and see how he responded, but he didn't pick up. I know he's probably out doing lawns, but in my current frame of mind, him not picking up the phone is a hostile action. And now I'm all like, "Well, I tried, the ball is in his court now."

I think they should require some sort of maturity test before they let you get married. I probably would have failed.

This Day....This Week....This Life

It's definitely getting to be the busiest time of the year for me, job-wise.  Things are insane at work, and when things get insane at work, they always seem to get insane at home as well.  In keeping with that, this weekend is the big Family Reunion.  So that should provide for some fun posts.  Or at least one.  

But anyway, the point of this is that I don't have much time to write right now.  Today and tomorrow, the higher-ups are deciding specifically which positions to eliminate, which will likely impact my job.  Meaning, I might not have one in the span of a month and I'll have to figure out a new name for this blog.  

Either way, hang in there with me and I promise not to totally abandon you!    

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

They really should be called Whoremones because they are so awful

You know how when you're about to get your period and you turn into a raging lunatic and everyone around you is afraid to breathe the wrong way for fear that you will kill them in their sleep with a dull spoon and a severe verbal lashing?  (Please tell me this isn't just me.)  That's an example of hormones. 

Hormones are no joke.  I am seriously thinking about starting a petition to make hormones admissable to court as a legal defense, right alongside mental insanity.  Because in case you didn't know, hormones make you (but I really mean me) a total whackadoo. 

Multiply period hormones by pregnancy and you get me.  We haven't reached the raging lunatic stage yet - that's reserved for the third trimester.  I actually felt the need to apologize to my co-workers when I returned from maternity leave because sitting back at my desk brought back (in a huge flood of awareness) all the rude and biting things I said before I'd left.  I had no patience for anything or anyone, and I was generally unpleasant to be around. 

But currently, I'm in my first trimester - the Land of Fatigue and Worry, right next to the Pond of Nausea and Eating Remorse.  This stop is also brought to you by Hormones.  Thanks to my hormones, I'm left worrying that the aspartame from the diet pop I accidentally drank (thinking it was regular caffeine-free) has permanently and irreversably damaged my tiny baby's budding brain.  Thanks to my hormones, I fall asleep in my car during my lunch break and wake up to realize that I'm running 15 minutes late getting back to the office.  Thanks to my hormones, I experience these random and intense boughts of general discontent with everything in my life.  

And the sad thing is, so many people think hormones are just an excuse.  Let me tell you something - they are REAL.  REAL.  ALIVE AND REAL. 

Example: After L was born, I experienced some hard-core baby blues.  I know it wasn't post-partum depression because I've read a lot of things written by women who actually have PPD and can honestly and gratefully say that what I had was not that.  But my hormones were crashing all around me and I was seriously bummed out.  On top of that, since I was only pumping exclusively (which only added to my depression because pumping sucks royally) and not actually nursing L, my period decided to return about 5 weeks after L was born. 

I clearly remember the day before it came because it is the only day I can ever remember feeling like this.  Every single tiny thing D did annoyed the living crap out of me.  I don't think I have the words to describe the irritation I felt towards him.  Everything he said or did made me look at him and wonder why the heck I married him.  I think it's safe to say that he was genuinely afraid of me.  The next day, when I laughingly told him my period had come, he was like, "I knew it was coming.  You were pure evil yesterday."  

Them there are hormones, people.  The fact that my husband can always tell when my period is coming is proof that hormones are real.  In real life, I wouldn't cry when I hear Lady Marmalade on the radio (true story).  In Hormone Land, that's reasonable and expected.  

So the next time you want to discount hormones as some sort of "excuse", think twice.  Because really, do you want to be messing with someone tripping on that kind of "excuse" in the first place?            

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A grown-up dilemma

As if there are any other types of dilemmas these days.  Don't know why I'd expect an easier dilemma since I'm now a grown-up, but a girl can dream.  

I'm very blessed that my job pays very well - way above average for the position I currently hold.  I also have unbelievably good benefits that I don't pay a dime for.  I promise I'm not trying to brag.  The pay and benefits are actually like the nails in my coffin.  I don't like my job.  It rarely challenges me, and it's not even on the same planet as the field in which I hold my degree.  But I stay because a) the economy sucks, and b) I can't in good conscience voluntarily leave this job that anchors my family to security and well-being.      

However, my job has been at risk for a while now.  Not because I'm less than awesome, but because I work in a union and have a contract and all that, and my organization has been hit pretty hard by the economy.  I am low on the totem pole seniority-wise, but my contract language regarding lay-offs and bumping could manage to keep me safe in spite of it.  It's confusing and makes my head hurt, so I won't go into all the details.

Tonight, I happened upon a job with a non-profit that looks like it was tailor-made for me.  It is exactly the job I was hoping to land while I was working towards my degree.  Better yet, all it says is that the ideal candidate should have a degree and 6-12 months of experience.  

It is not as close geographically as my current job, which is a drawback, and it does require "occasional" nights and weekends (according to the ad), which is not always optimal for family life.  Also, there's a very solid chance that I'd be taking a substantial pay cut.  Plus, I'm pregnant.  And I was doing some research on the organization's website and one of their biggest annual events falls like 3 weeks after my due date.

Should I even apply for this job?  I feel like I should, because you never know until you try.  Plus, I don't have to take the job if it looks like it wouldn't work.  I don't know, it's always scary to try to imagine the unknown.  The cons always seem to be endless, since the pros are more difficult to imagine when you only know limited details about the position.  

And there's a part of me that wants to get laid off and just stay at home with L for a while, maybe until after the new baby is born, and then get back in the job hunting saddle.  

What do you think?  What would you do?           

Monday, July 19, 2010

Oh, the guilt

Guilt as a parent is inescapable. I've actually gotten pretty good at brushing things off and realizing that different people do things different ways, but sometimes that guilt just finds a way to fight through and stab relentlessly at your brain.

Today is my Mommy's Day Off. I have been planning this for months. I had L scheduled to go to daycare, and I had made plans to get a manicure, go to lunch, and just basically enjoy to feeling of having a day to myself where I answer to no one else but me. I didn't even schedule it out much because I wanted to savor the freedom of being able to say to myself, "Now what?" and then being able to do whatever my self answered.

As this day approached, I got more and more excited. I started talking about it incessantly to D. Honestly, I think I was more excited about today than I get about Christmas. Just the possibilities and the freedom. I'm getting tingly just thinking about it.

So this morning started off pretty good. I forgot to turn on the baby monitor in our room and, as a result, my parents got L up and took him with them on their walk. I got to sleep in until 7:45. (And I'm not being sarcastic when I say "sleep in".) Heavenly.

Then I got up and got him ready and loaded him up into the car. I already knew what I was going to do after I dropped him off at daycare - I was going to go to the local bakery and get a salt bagel for breakfast.

As I drove to daycare, I enjoyed the feeling of listening to my favorite radio morning shows without the usual dread and sadness that accompany the shows when I'm listening to them on the way to work.

I pulled up to my daycare lady's house (Brenda, if you recall), and noticed that the house seemed rather dark. I went to open the door and it was locked. So I peered in and saw only a light on in the very back of the house. I knocked and waiting. Nothing.

Knocked again. Nothing.

Of course, I'd left my cell phone at home, so I could not call back to my dad and have him check the schedule to make sure I'd actually scheduled Brenda for the day. In my mind, my Mommy Day was going up in flames.

I didn't know what to do. Finally, I just decided to ring the bell. After a couple minutes, I saw Brenda come downstairs, somewhat disheveled.

She opened the door and said, "I'm not scheduled for today!" My heart sunk. I was 99.7% certain that she was scheduled for today, but that .3% of self doubt seemed to be a lot bigger at that moment. So I just said, "Are you sure?" and she let me in so she could check her schedule.
She looked at the calendar that she had made, which included all the other kids she watched, and it showed no kids for today, L included. But I still as pretty sure that I'd scheduled her, so I said, "Do you have the schedule I made?"

As she went to look for it, she said, "Well I can take him today, I don't have anything else going on. I just realized when I woke up this morning that I had nothing going on, so I decided to go back to bed." Enter Stabbing Guilt.

She found the schedule and sure enough, I'd scheduled her for today. A huge part of me wanted to say, "You know, that's ok. I'll just take him home. I'm not working today, it's no big deal." But then I realized that she might be annoyed that I'd scheduled her in the first place on a day I wasn't working, and I didn't want her to think I made a habit of bringing L to her when I had the day off. She might be further annoyed that I rang the doorbell and woke her up when I could have easily turned around and went home and let her sleep.

So I said, "Are you sure? I'm so sorry." And then I kept apologizing. And she said it was ok, it was her fault, etc. By then, the guilt was absolutely raging and I was completely torn.

Add that to the fact that I had planned on telling her I was pregnant, but I thought the better of it. It didn't seem like a good time to tell her that I was bringing more day-off-ruining spawn into the world.

So I came home, looking for a little reassuring from my parents, but instead I got the looks like, "You should have just brought the baby home with you but we don't want to say anything because we don't want to start something." Didn't do much to appease me.

So I went upstairs and woke D up and told him my story in brief, hoping for him to say, "You've been talking about this day for months, you had her scheduled, it was her mistake, not yours, now go enjoy your day." Instead he gave me a similar look and didn't say anything. By that point I was near tears and said, "You think I should have just brought L home?" and he said, "Well, yeah, you could have just seen if your dad would watch him while you went to get your manicure."

As if that's what this whole day is about! Let me tell you, I was not excited about this day because of the stupid manicure. I mean, yes, I am excited to go get my manicure. But that's not the point! The point is that I had a day all to myself, a day that is only mine - not my bosses', not D's, not L's, not my parents', not the house's; mine. Call me selfish, but when a day like that is in my grasp, and someone snatches it away and offers a manicure as a consolation prize, it doesn't seem like much.

I'm not even going to re-read this post before I publish it because I know I'm going to realize that I sound like a spoiled, whiny brat and I don't think I can take that self-awareness in my fragile state of mind (so please excuse any typos). I'm just going to wipe this morning out of my memory and go about my day. And I'm going to make myself enjoy it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The news that may or may not be new

If you're not my friend on facebook, then this news will be new for you. If you are my friend on facebook, this won't be news, but you might still be in shock so it might seem new because of all the shock you're in.

That's right, kids. I'm pregnant. Again.

"But Katie!" you might be shouting. "Didn't you just have a baby 8 months ago??"

Why, yes. Yes, I did. And now, I'll have two babies. Under the age of 2. Please excuse me a minute while I vomit from the panic. And from the nausea of being pregnant, which has been an unexpected and unwelcome symptom of this pregnancy.

Go ahead, you know you want to ask. "Did you plan this?"

I know that's what you're thinking. Because I know this is what I'd be thinking if I was in your shoes and you were in mine. (Hey, that reminds me. Anyone want to trade shoes?) And the answer is, no we did not plan this.

Don't get me wrong. I am not one of those idiotic girls from 16 and Pregnant who are all, "Why meeeee?!?! How did this happpennnnn!??!" I know how this happened. We knew it was a possibility and that the risk was there. We didn't actually think it would happen, but that's another story.

At first, I might have flipped just a little. I found out the weekend before we moved into my parents' house. Worst timing ever. Except maybe also the best, because I was so stressed and preoccupied with the planning and packing and yelling and crying that I didn't think much about it. It was something I would just deal with at another time.

Oh, fun side story for you. You might be wondering (if you're a fellow mom who loves to hear all the gory details, or if you just like gory details) what led me to take a test in the first place. Did I suspect I was pregnant? Yeah, not so much.

See, here's the thing. I am addicted to taking pregnancy tests. When D and I were trying to get pregnant with L (well, not with him specifically, because we didn't know him yet, but we're glad it turned out to be him), I got a little bit.... psychotic about trying to get pregnant in general. I more particularly got psychotic about peeing on sticks. Ovulation tests, pregnancy tests - they were all good in my book.

After a few months of trying without success, D started yelling at me about literally peeing on a small fortune every month. So I found this website that sold the most basic ovulation and pregnancy tests in bulk for cheap. And in bulk I bought them. And bought them. And bought them.

So by the time it got to the point in my cycle where I could take a pregnancy test and possibly expect a positive result, actually taking the test was like an exciting reward. I would sit in eager anticipation, holding the test up to the light, looking for that second pink line to appear.

When it finally did appear, and I realized I was pregnant with L, I still had like 8 tests left over. So I did what any normal person would do. I went out and bought the expensive pregnancy tests to confirm, then I proceeded to take the other "cheapies" every day after. Because seeing that second line come up was so unbelievably rewarding and exciting.

Once L was born and things got back to normal, I realized how much I missed the thrill of pregnancy tests. So I returned to my trusty website and ordered some more tests in bulk. And at the end of every cycle, I'd take a few. Only this, time I was kind-of hoping for the opposite result. But, as they say, you play with fire, sooner or later you're goin to get burned.

It was only a matter of time before one of those pee sticks turned up two pink lines again, thus turning our lives upside down.

Only, you know what? Our lives really don't feel upside down. I had my first ultrasound today, and D was able to come with me. And when I saw that little bean with its little flickering heartbeat, my own heart immediately swelled with love and joy, and tears came to my eyes.

And it hit me - I'm pregnant. With a baby. A baby who will cuddle me and sleep on my chest instead of wiggle around until I put him or her down like L does now when I try to get a good snuggle. A baby who might look like me, but will more likely look like D's clone, just like L. A baby who will probably share the same blue eyes that D and I gave to L. A baby with its own personality and quirks.

And this time, I feel more prepared. L totally kicked my ass, I'm not going to lie. But this time, I know to expect raging hormones that will make me feel a little depressed. I know to expect my boobs to leak uncontrollably, and I'll know to wear 2 or 3 shirts to avoid embarrassing wetboob in public.

But I'll also know to truly cherish having a baby who is so small that it can literally curl up on my chest or stomach and sleep. I'll appreciate that the baby sleeps all the time, even if its waking up every 2 or 3 hours. And now that L is fully mobile, I'll really, really, really appreciate having a baby who stays in the same place I left it and doesn't immediately find the most dangerous thing possible and put it in its mouth when I leave the room for 2.5 seconds.

So no, this certainly wasn't planned, but it is one of the best unplanned things to ever happen to me. And it's one of those many times that makes me really glad that Someone else is making the plans instead of me.

And sorry everyone, but I don't think we're going to find out boy or girl this time either. But FYI, D and I decided to just refer to the baby as "he" for simplicity and clarity, and to avoid calling the baby "it", which just seems so very wrong. (Oh, and also, I'm due Feb. 26 for anyone that might not know.)

Now please excuse me while I go throw up from the panic.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

As we near the family reunion

In a couple weeks, we will be taking L to his first-ever family reunion at my parents' "farm" house (there are no farm animals on this property, yet we call it "the farm" anyway).  Well, he went to one last summer but he was in utero and decidedly less needy back then.  Back in the day, when I used to write Facebook notes instead of blog posts, I wrote about the trials of taking the dog to his first family reunion.  Oh what a fool I was. 

At first, sure it was hard having Conner on wide open property going bananas.  But then he became obsessed with chasing my cousin's sweet, well-behaved golden retreiver and at least we didn't have to worry about him escaping anymore.  We only had to worry about my cousin's golden retriever finally having enough of the idiot that is my dog and giving him what he deserved.  Which he would never do, since he was sweet and well-behaved.  But Conner was the only one who didn't know that the golden could have kicked his tail in the blink of an eye.

I have a feeling that having L up there will bring many new challenges, most harder to deal with than the ones presented by Conner.  I mean, if we got up there and Conner got lost in the woods and was never seen again, I would be really, really sad.  It would break my heart.  But if we got up there and L got lost in the woods?  Not even a comparison.  I'm pretty sure I'm not going to lose L in the woods, I'm just trying to show you all the difference between a fur baby and a human baby.  

At the last family reunion, we were all out playing our traditional softball game, when suddenly a snake made an appearance and started slithering towards us.  I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate snakes, so I beat a hasty retreat to the house (where snakes probably live in the basement but they stay away from me so I can pretend they don't exist).  What if L is playing in the grass nearby and he comes across a snake?  I mean, obviously I'm going to be watching him all the time, but snakes are fast.  They can come out of nowhere.  And judging on how much L loves the dog, I think he'd really like a snake.  And multiply the dislike that Conner has for L by 1,000 and you'd probably have roughly the amount of dislike a snake would have for L.  L tries to pick the snake up and put it in his mouth, L gets bit and I win Worst Mother of the Year for 2010, possibly 2011 as well.  (I know I'm being irrational, but that's my right and privilege of a mother.)  

Thinking about all the "what-ifs" is causing my brain to shut down.  What if it's too hot and he gets heat stroke?  What if he's too cold at night?  What if he eats a million bugs?  What if he gets all dirty?  (I know that's a lame one, but I really dislike getting dirty myself and I really dislike being around anything or anyone dirty.  I know, I know.  Perhaps motherhood was not the best choice.)  

But I'm trying to temper my insanity by reminding myself of all the fun things we're going to do.  Like taking L to the beach.  I'm really excited for that.  He's going to love it.  Fingers crossed that the water isn't frigid so we can actually take him in a little and splash around.  At the very least, he'll get to play in the sand and try to eat it, so there's a happy thought.  

And also, I'll have a whole ton of family there, which means a whole ton of people who want to hold him and play with him and generally get him off my mind for a little while so I can enjoy visiting with cousins I don't often see.  Yeah, this will be good.  I can do this.  And D will be with me, so that's a huge win for me.  And I already know that he's going to try to trick me into a "man-to-man" defense where he takes the dog and I take L, but nu-uh buster, that's not happening.  D, if you're reading this, THAT'S NOT HAPPENING.  So don't even try it.

We'll see what happens.  Situations that turn out awesome generally don't make for fun to read blog posts, so I can understand that you're sitting there hoping that things go off-the-wire crappy so you'll have something fun to read when I get back.  Vultures! 

Just kidding, I love you guys.  And for your sake, I hope that something goes horribly wrong so you'll glean some moderate entertainment from it.   

Monday, July 12, 2010

A little glimpse into my marriage

I've always wanted to be half of one of those couples who sit and read the paper together every Sunday. I don't know what it is about reading the paper that appeals to me so much, but I always envisioned lazy mornings of taking turns with the different sections of the paper, then discussing the current events together after we were finished.

Sadly, D's idea of reading the paper is skimming his favorite comics, then looking in the Marketplace section to find either a) a boat that we can't afford, b) a motorcycle that we can't afford (and I wouldn't let him have even if we could), or c) a classic car that we can't afford. Then, he'll proceed to try to convince me that we need to buy it. These three things make up the trifecta of his fantasy purchases, and some day, if we can afford it, I might just get him all three to see what he'll nag me about when his dream possessions are realities.

While D is doing this, I'll try to read up on whatever things are going on in the world. Sometimes I can pretend that we're one of those brainy couples I so admire. But usually, even pretending is tough, since, for some reason, the sight of me trying to read in peace makes D want to tell me every thought that crosses his mind.

And then there's the crossword puzzles. I always cringe a little when D sees the crossword puzzle in the paper because I know that, while he says "he" is going to do the puzzle, he really means that he will ask me lots of questions so I can dictate the puzzle answers to him while he writes them down.

Back in the earlier stages of our relationship, mostly when we were dating and very briefly when we were first married, I wanted to demonstrate to him what a good, patient and loving girlfriend/fiancee/wife I was. So I'd sit with him and lovingly tell him how to spell the words he was looking for, or help him brainstorm possible solutions to the clue.

But now, whenever he says, "I'm going to do the crossword puzzle", I always say, "You mean I am going to do the crossword puzzle!"

Sometimes, if I'm in a particularly grouchy mood, I'll say to him, "Listen, I'm trying to read here, so don't even think of asking me any questions about that puzzle." And then I'll sit there, reading my paper and pretending like I don't see him sitting across the table and staring at me as he tries to figure out whether it would be worse to not get the answer to the puzzle or to ask me the answer and face my wrath.

As I'm reflecting on this quirk of our relationship, I find myself getting all warm and fuzzy and thinking, "Aw, aren't we just too cute?" And at first, I was wondering if I was only thinking it was cute because D is at work and I'm by myself, writing in peace and quiet. But then I realized that, no, if D were here, I'd read this post to him and we'd be cracking up because we both know it's true. And sometimes there's just nothing funnier than when someone can peg one of your quirks so dead-on and calls you out on it.

And that's something that makes D and I work as a couple. We are able to hold a mirror up for each other and laugh about the idiosyncrasies that make us who we are. Although I'm sure everyone realizes that I need a much bigger mirror for D since he has way, way more quirks than I do.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Looks like we made it

If you're new here, thanks for reading! You can find out why we're renting our house out by starting with this post and working your way back up. So glad to have you here!

It's as official as you can get without actually being official: we've rented our house. Finally, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We've made it through showing after showing after showing, offer after offer after offer.

Last night, our realtor came by to present the offers to us. There were four that made the cut, though some of them just barely. And let me tell you, I'm shocked at how much information we had about each of the people/families who put in an offer. And now we know about every last red cent that they have or owe to someone, where they work, what their pets' names are, what flavor ice cream they prefer and if they're Team Jake or Team Vienna.

Since our realtor had been keeping in contact with us about the offers we were receiving, D and I had already discussed who we liked and who we didn't.

Like: The family with two kids and one on the way who wrote a cute cover letter (including a family photo) and informed us that they understood how hard it must be to have someone else living in our home and that they would treat it better than their own. Also liked that they claim to be neat-freaks.

Dislike: The couple who has filed for bankruptcy twice in recent history and, upon filing the second time, immediately went out and purchased a $50,000 car and have since missed 9 payments on it. Even though they net more money monthly than D and I do. Also dislike the pain-in-the-butt couple with good credit and a good monthly income who have already informed our realtor that they want an inspection by the city, as well as an outside, independent inspection on our dime. Yeah, no thanks. If you're going to be this much of a pain before we've even met or spoken to you, there's no way I want to see what kind of ruckus you'll be causing when you're living in our house.

So, we chose the adorable family with the adorable family photo. Chances are, if they really are neat-freaks, our house will be cleaner with them in it than when we lived there, so that's a plus. Also, I'm excited that they have a new baby coming in August. And, I truly feel like we're helping a couple who is just down on their luck a bit and are trying to make a good life for them and their kids.

We're meeting them tomorrow at the closing and I'm super stoked. I'm already having visions of me and the wife bonding and becoming best friends, though I'm fairly certain that won't happen. Because if I were her, I'd be a little suspicious of my landlord always coming over with cookies and stuff, trying to talk to me all the time. Suspicious or annoyed.

No matter what happens, though, I truly am feeling at peace with this. Everything seems to be falling into place without much struggle or uproar, which further reinforces the knowledge that D and I are doing the right thing.

So we'll see how things go. If I do happen to become BFF with the wife, all the better. If not, I'm sure being a landlord will at least make for some interesting blog posts.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

3-2-1, Here I Come!

On Monday, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go down to Ohio and visit one of my best friends from college, Barb (which is not her real name, but I do actually call her Barb for reasons I will not go into here).  It was a three hour trip, and I brought L with me to meet Barb's almost-6-month-old daughter.  

Since L's favorite past-time of late has been screaming his lolly little head off any time we even so much as look at the car, I was a mite concerned about taking such a long drive with him on my own.  Plus, it has been sinfully hot for the past week, so I was downright scared.  I did my best to prepare myself.  I brought the coveted paci that we usually only give to him for sleeping and in church.  I purchased a loud toy that I would come to despise (more on that later).  I also brought the bucket of every single toy he owns to keep in the front seat so I could hand them back to him, one by one, when he inevitably tossed whatever toy he was holding aside.  Finally, I brought his puffs, which he would eat non-stop if I let him.

So we get in the car on Monday, and he was crying, of course.  I knew it was because the sun was in his eyes, so I just tried to drive fast so we could start heading to the turnpike and into the sun and get it out from behind us.  I stuck the paci in his mouth and gave him a toy, and then there was silence.  And then he fell asleep.  So far, so good.  

So there I was, all prepared to brave screaming and crying that I swear could be used as a torture device for war criminals, and I got nothing.  No crying.  No screaming.  No whining (the whining is the worst).  I was free to drive and think and listen to the radio. 

I love listening to the radio on road trips.  I know most people like to plug in their newfangled iPods, but there's something about hitting the scan button on your radio and not knowing what you will hear next.  It helps you get a feel for the local "flavor" as you pass through different towns.  And it's funny what happens when you're stuck with only the radio and no alternatives.  Songs that you would not normally even think to listen to get switched on because there's nothing else on all the other stations that your car is currently receiving.  Ordinarily, Red, Red Wine would not cut it, but on a road trip where the only other option is classical or country from the 1950's, Red, Red Wine is the best thing your ears have ever heard.  (Side note: When I was younger, I never knew what they were saying in that song, and I always thought it was "Rain, rain, whyyyyyyyyyyy?".)

I finally found a station I could stick with when they played Wannabe by the Spice Girls, followed by Use Somebody by Kings of Leon, followed by New York State of Mind  by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys.  The ultimate score: the song I lip-synched to in high school drama class with a group of my classmates (please note that I was Posh Spice, the only one who is still relevant today), the song that I love to sing with great passion and conviction when I'm alone, and the song that gets me bouncing and dancing in my seat like a crazy person.  

Anyway, nothing really eventful happened on the trip down.  L was a total and utter champ, even after he woke up.  I only had to pull off on the shoulder twice, and even then it was just to put his paci back in and give him a toy.  The 3 hour trip only ended up being 3 hours and 40 minutes, which I think is pretty awesome with an 8 month old.

The actual visiting part was like food for my soul.  Barb is one of those friends (that I hope everyone has at least one of) who just totally gets me and lets me be me.  I can and do say whatever I want, whatever comes to mind, without concern about how she will take it or if she will judge me.  She also has one of those families who just envelops you and makes you feel like you're one of them, like your best friend growing up who essentially just adopted you because you were around so much.  

We talked about our kids and our birth stories, which I'm learning is one of those things that you love to talk about no matter how many times the other person has heard yours or vice versa.  It's like soldiers comparing war stories.  There's just something about talking with another woman who has also recently endured the horrors and indecencies of labor.  I don't know what it is.  It's a bonding thing, I guess.  And maybe it's the validation you get from telling someone you got a 2nd degree tear and had to have a bazillion stitches, and they scrunch up their face in a look of agony and are like "OHHHHHH man!"  Like, yeah they totally get it and they totally realize how much I rock for going through that. 

We talked about in-laws and other family.  We talked about everything and nothing.  We ate yummy food that she prepared and snacked on fudgesicles.  We watched The Bachelorette and enjoyed dissecting it with someone who actually cared, instead of the usual posing questions like, "What do you think of Kirk?" or "Oh my gosh, can you believe Kasey is so crazy?" to our husbands and getting a blank, "Huh?  I wasn't paying attention" in return.  And I also got to hang out with my biggest fan Jessie, who actually is Barb's BFF from Ohio.  So not only is Barb my soul sister, she also introduced me to my biggest fan, whom I have come to love and adore as my very own BFF.

Even though an overnight trip with a baby sounds like it would be exhausting, it was the total opposite (namely, refreshing and rejuvenating).  I'm so thankful that I have a friend whose life is following a similar path to my own.  So often, friends grow up and grow apart when they no longer see each other every day.  But I'm pretty sure my kids will grow up calling her Aunt Barb.

And the whole time we were there, L was a perfect angel.  He fell in love with Barb's daughter, and even got a little frisky at one point, when he grabbed her butt.  Luckily, we were there to stop it; otherwise who knows what shenanigans those kids would have gotten into.  It's a pretty rockin feeling when you bring your kid to meet new people and he's awesome and wins them over entirely.  Much less embarrassing than when he cries and fake whines and throws tantrums.  

And Tuesday, on the ride back, he continued his string of excellence and was an angel again in the car.  But oh, the toy.  I almost forgot the toy.  I was in Target just browsing  (always a bad idea, as I have found out again and again, but I'll never learn) on Sunday since D and I were losers and had no plans for the 4th, and I came across this toy.  It was $15 and looked like a little mini car dashboard.  It had a moving steering wheel and a shifter that went up and down and 5 buttons across the top and lights and a horn....the works.  I gave it to L while he was in the cart and walked around the store a bit to see what he thought of it.  He liked it so much that he wouldn't even pay attention to anything else in the store.  The fact that he could not be distracted was monumental, so I bought it (oh, the stupidity).  

We let him play with it at home for a while and after about 5 minutes, I was beginning to realize I may have made a mistake.  But I reasoned with myself that if it would stop him from crying the whole way, it was worth it.  I just wouldn't give it to him until and unless he was reaching a fever-pitch of screaming.  

So on the way down, the fever-pitch never came.  And we were like 45 minutes away from Barb's house, and I was like, yeah he's been so good, he deserves it, I'll give it to him.  So I turned it on and passed it back to him.  Oh.  My.  WORD.  Apparently the only button he liked to press was the horn because it was the only one that lit up, so for the last 45 minutes of the trip, all I heard, in endless streams was, "BEEP!  BEEP!  3-2-1, HERE I COME!!"  And a lot of times he would press the button before it was finished saying the whole thing, so it would go, "BEEP!  BEEP!  3-2....  BEEP!  BEEP!  3-2-1, HERE I...." and I would be stuck finishing the damn phrase in my head every single time because I can't stand when something just drops off like that.  

And then there was silence.  And then screaming.  Because L had accidentally dropped it off to the side of his seat.  And he couldn't pick it back up.  And no other toy would satisfy him, because apparently he really had a craving for loud and obnoxious toys that are designed to make parents wish their cars came equipped with "Eject" buttons for the driver's seat.

And now, that's his very favorite toy.  If he sees it, he throws his arms out to the side and bounces up and down and reaches for it with his mouth wide open, because no toy is a good toy until he can put some part of it in his mouth.  Thank God he doesn't have object permanence yet.  So we can pretend that it doesn't exist.  And we plan to.  Until we road trip again at the end of July for my family reunion up north.  But then I'll have D with me to share in my agony.  And knowing that somehow cheers me up.                         

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The pros and cons of moving back with your parents

Well, we're nearing the end of the first week living with my parents. It's been pretty ok, actually. But maybe it's because we're in the phase like when you first are dating someone and you don't want to start anything so you tread softly until you figure out how they work. I've been keeping a mental tally of the pros and cons so far. Please to enjoy.


- Two more people living in the house means two more people to help with L. Bonus points for these two more people being doting grandparents who think their grandson is the second coming of Jesus Himself. (Ok, not quite to that extreme. Maybe more like John the Baptist or St. Luke or someone.)

- Two words: Cleaning. Lady. She's already come once since we've been here, and I underestimated the general awesomeness. And believe me, I was definitely estimating a lot of awesomeness. I can't begin to explain to you how cool it is to walk into the house and realize that it smells all clean and is all straightened up. Even cooler is knowing that you didn't have to lift a single finger to get the house to that state.

- A huge back yard means that Conner can run around as much as his little doggy heart desires and that he can get all his crazy energy out so that we don't have to deal with it.

- A much bigger bathroom for our use. It has two sinks in it, which means D and I can get ready for bed at the same time without bickering. And belive me, this happened every single night in the old house. If you want to see how fast something can get old, I suggest you share a closet-sized bathroom with your husband who repeatedly dumps out your cup of cold water that you specifically filled to use for rinsing your mouth so you could run the hot water to wash your face. Then, for good measure, make sure your husband teases and nags you about how long you brush your teeth for, even though you haven't had a cavity since your age was in the single digits.


- I can't walk around in my underwear anymore. I mean, I knew the clock on this one was ticking since it's a bit creepy to walk around in your underwear in front of your kid when they're older (especially when your kid is a son). But I thought I had more time. And not like I do this all the time, but it's annoying when it's stifling hot in your room and you have to go to the bathroom but you have to put on pants in case you run into your dad in the hall.

- Thermostat battles. I have to admit, I saw this one coming down the line. My parents and I were always fundamentally different with our views on what a good temperature is for the house. In the winter, they keep their house cold. In the summer, the air is off unless it's hovering around 90. The cold house in the winter is something I can deal with. I especially love cold houses at night because I love, love, love snuggling under my covers and not waking up soaked in sweat. But the hot house in the summer is a difficult adjustment, especially since even when the air is on, it doesn't really get upstairs to the bedrooms. The ceiling fans are moderately helpful, but only so much. This also goes back to the not being able to walk around in my underwear issue.

- A drastic decrease in the amount of space to put things. This speaks for itself, as do the boxes that are piled up in the garage and our bedroom.


- A different cable company. Cons: Having to learn different channel numbers, not being able to pause on any other tv than the one in my parents' living room. Pros: When you fast forward recorded tv, no matter where you stop it once you get to your show, it automatically takes you back to where the last commercial ends and the show begins. This pro is enough to outweigh all the cons. So I guess if I was being honest, I'd have to put different cable company in the pro column. But I won't. Because I still can't remember what channel Bravo is.