31 May 2006

Just What the Doctor Ordered

So, Mama Snee is officially employed again. Not this limbo employment I currently love and hate, but an actual, legit part-time job which will work around my class schedule, which starts in under a week. I’m going to work for a local charity doing all kinds of odds and ends and I am actually starting to get kind of excited about it. At least about the change of scenery.

And let me tell you, buddy, I desperately needed something to happen today, as I have been circling the drain for the last 48 hours, due to exhaustion and stress and not being able to tell the future. And I need for my classes to begin (6/6) so that I can have some focus in this mess I seem to be making. But this is a good start.

And y’all, my belly is BIG. STILL. I usually wear pants to work, but today I’m wearing a skirt with a stretchy waist, so there is no… hmmm…there are no walls around the prison. We are having a fatty-fat prison break here in my non- office. I caught my reflection in the drycleaner’s window and I still look about five months effing pregnant.

I saw the offending bulge when I was on my way to get a chai tea popsicle at the coffee shop. Delish. Maybe I’m pregnant with chai tea popsicles and macaroni and cheese and pizza. I need to make some changes.

You know, one part of doing massage for a living (along with the flexible schedule and opportunity to offer therapeutic services without getting punched in the face at the mental health center) that I am really jazzed about—and this is going to sound so trivial—is that I won’t have to dress up like somebody else anymore. No slacks. NO SLACKS! No more shirts with buttons unless I want to. No more buying something completely boring because “I can wear it to work.” And this isn’t about clothes, necessarily, although that’s a part of it. I said it yesterday and I’m feeling it even more today—the sight/ sound/ smell of office culture turns my stomach.

Also, I need for my house to be clean and good-smelling. Because right now there is laundry everywhere and grass still tracked in from A’s birthday and the whole place smells like an old, sleeping dog. This is due to the old, sleeping dogs.
I was talking to my brother this afternoon, and telling him about A’s super sweet tattoo, and he says, “What does yours look like again?” And I say “I don’t have one.” And he says “yes you do.” It’s the chicken fajita conversation all over again, and he finally admits he’s wrong about the tattoo but won’t give up on the fact that he swears I ordered a chicken fajita years ago when I ABSOLUTELY DID NOT ORDER A CHICKEN FAJITA, ever. So I say, “B, you are dreaming this stuff.” And he says, “I didn’t dream it, I reality-ed it.”

So, here’s to employment, and getting things a little bit untangled, and my brother having me completely mixed up with some other, meat-eating, tattooed older sister.

30 May 2006

Tuesday of Gripes

The BIG BIG News
is that my dearest friend had her second baby boy this morning, ten pounds, six ounces, way the hell out there in Spokane, Washington. Welcome to the world, baby Corbin.

Okay, a warning: Aside from learning that there was a BOY living in my friend for all these months, I’ve had a pretty bad day.

Rant One:
Coming back to work today was a stretch. I had four glorious days at home—granted, they were guest-filled and sleep-deprived—but they were MINE, and I dragged myself across the river kicking and screaming this morning and sat at my desk drooling and lifeless like I’d just had shock treatments. Now that Birdy is here, it’s like I have my safe little underwater world with soft lights and muffled sounds where I’m just a mama, and then I get hooked in the mouth and yanked up, splashing and gasping for air and say “HOLY SHIT, what the fuck is going on out here?” and there’s a job and bills and a bunch of other crap to deal with. And then I get photographed and put in a cooler and skinned and eaten for dinner. Or something like that. Maybe it’s more like I get thrown back into the lake and forget all about it ever happening, until the next morning when I’m jerked into the air, flopping around and freaking out and then just glassing over until I get released again.

The Black Bean Salad is Worth It
No groceries for lunches, since we checked out of our real lives for a few days over the weekend, so I met Andy at my favorite Caribbean place, unable to see straight due to my need for a black bean salad with rice—I think everything I ate over the weekend was yellow and starchy and I am at risk for scurvy at this point if I don’t start hitting the greens.

So we go. It’s tiny and packed. And we wait and we wait with a lot of other people. It’s a place where, when it’s crowded, the waiting people stand in the doorway and breathe down the necks of the people eating, because the tables are so close to the door and there’s simply nowhere else to go. Lots of “girls from the office” waiting today, with stinky perfume and big hair and long, slicked nails. And clip-on nametags from the medical practices. And poofy feet stuffed into impossible shoes. And nonstop talking about the wait. The thought/ sight/ smell of office culture really makes my skin crawl these days.

We ended up being seated at what was meant to be a four-top, made into 2 two-tops-- the tables separated by about six inches and another couple sitting right next to us. And the woman had just returned from a European trip where she’d visited concentration camps, and was describing what she learned there as if she was describing her trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania to see how they make chocolate. Oh, and we were right next to the to-go line. And by “right next to the to-go line” I mean that people’s asses were hanging over our table while they stood in line to order their jerk chicken. We didn’t talk. Angry, hungry stares from one side, “They tattooed them because photos were too expensive” on the other, and asses all along the edge of the table. Remarkably, the salad was still delicious—imagine eating your very own delicious salad at the DMV, because it was like that. And possibly next to a Nazi.

In Addition to Automatic Locks
Add to the list of impressive features about the Ford Explorer: cupholders the size of bathtubs. You know, we don’t ALL drink big gulp/ giant slurps/ gallon-o-soda, but that’s who the Explorer is courting with these things. As I drove down the hill on 24th to cross West End, (and at several other points during my driving time) my water bottle came flying out of the cup holder and onto the floor under my feet. Driving a Ford Explorer downhill toward a stop light also happens to be a lot like driving a stagecoach down a mountain, rambunctious and out of control and with a lot of shit sliding around.

I'll Return Your Call Within One Business Day
Add to list of weird tasks I do at work: calling references for the phone installation guy. I called 11 people today to ask them for a reference for the phone installation guy, to confirm that he’s legit. And most of them didn’t understand AT ALL, and thought I was calling to say “Are you happy with your phone service?” Which I hope I never, ever have to say to another human being. The reason I'm saying this is that I realized that when I get someone’s voice mail, I almost always picture them sitting at their desks, waiting for a quiet moment, recording and re-recording their outgoing message, playing it back, cringing, recording again. So then when I get the voice mail, I think, "hmmm. This is the one they went with. Interesting."

Add to the list of things I feel badly about: being shitty to my mom on the phone this afternoon. I simply cannot answer so many questions at one time, nor re-create the last 72 hours in vivid detail, but there are kinder ways to say that. And with my funk totally out of whack today, I probably should not have even called her back, as a favor to her.

Weekend Report

So, A’s Big Three-Oh.
Great friends/ old roommates visiting from Indiana, great friends from our hipster neighborhood over for semi-spontaneous burgers and cornhole and general yard-ing and sitting on the garage porch. No sleep. Big fun, Big drinks, no sleep. Did I say that part already? Bird does not care how much fun you were having or what time you put everyone in cabs and turned out the lights--she is ready for mad clapping at 5:30 in the morning, and you would be an ogre to deny her.

What Did A. Want For His Birthday?

A tattoo, of course. Of a bird. And it looks bad ass.
I thought it would be a good idea to take a seven-month-old to the tattoo place while daddy got some ink. And on second thought, not much to do for a baby in a tattoo place. What did we do, you ask? Well, I put Bird in the Bjorn and we tried to hang out with A, but she was making all kinds of sudden noises and I don’t think the artist (or A.) appreciated her enthusiasm. We walked around the waiting area. Paged through the poster rack of tattoo options, made “Raooooowwwwwwwl” noises when we came to the big-bears-and-tigers-with-pointy-teeth sample page, asked a million questions about the stuff in the body jewelry case (where would you put that? Really?) looked at professional tattoo magazines, and talked to a girl named Patty who was waiting to have her nips pierced, and was wisely going to have them both done at the same time. Gotta hand it to her—I probably wouldn’t have thought about that.

Before that we went to lunch (which is probably the reason I went to the tattoo place—the promise of tacos) at the taco place where you have to fill out a form about what you want while you’re in line. It’s really narrow and really rushed and people yell and I always come close to having some kind of aneurism over it, between the high-pressure food ordering and the gathering of utensils, drinks, salsa, napkins, straws, etc.

Free Gift With Purchase
I went to a yard sale on Friday morning, and there were actually some decent clothes there, and I spent $1.50 on a pair of pants and a shirt, because I am the THRIFTY QUEEN. Sadly, I had to skip one basket of what looked like pretty nice clothes in my size-ish, after holding up and examining a pair of jeans and looking inside for a tag and finding a pair of wadded up panties inside. No, I did not accidentally touch them, but eeew anyway, and I had to back away from that particular basket, which is a shame because I still had $4 and change to spend. Today’s lesson: Inspect your goodies for goodies before you put ‘em up for sale.

24 May 2006

See MamaSnee City

Blark. Plick. Glaaaaargh.
I’m sitting here at work, going “Geez, won’t somebody post a blog already?” and checking the 4 or 5 blogs I read in a rapid-cycle, psycho manner, and then I think “Um, why don’t you post your own damn blog?”

So, I went back to the eye doctor this morning at the ASS CRACK OF DAWN, which is kind of untrue, because my appointment was at 7:15, which is not that insane of an hour. However, any morning that I am required to wake up earlier than Birdy is a bad, bad morning.

So I go in and I say, “I was in here on Friday, and you told me my prescription hadn’t changed, but my distance vision is still blurry.” And by “blurry” I mean that I can’t easily read street signs. So we go through the same tests. The letters, again, with contacts in. I read the smallest line, again. And as I explain to the doctors (there are two of them in the room now) that I sometimes have trouble seeing the words on the screen of my ibook at work, they both just keep saying, “With your contacts in, you have 20/20 vision.”
And I say, “for serious? Because no kidding, I can’t read my computer screen.”
And they say, “With your contacts in, you have 20/20 vision.”
And I say, “And sometimes I can’t read a street sign until I’m right on top of it.”
And they say “With your contacts in, you have 20/20 vision.”
And I say “Um, you guys are assholes.”
And they say, “With your contacts in, you have 20/20 vision.”
I feel like I have called the automated help menu of the optometrist’s office, and I keep ending up back at the start menu. Fake spilled coffee: not so charming this morning.

I have three different trial pairs of contacts now, and I’m supposed to alternate them over the next week and report to the doc which ones are best. I’m telling you, he has no idea who he is dealing with. Um, Dr. D? Sometimes I’m not even sure which toothbrush is mine and which is my husband’s, and it may be gross, but sometimes I just choose one and hope for the best. The chances of me distinguishing between items in my bathroom, let alone thoughtfully comparing them, are slim to none. So for the afternoon, I am learning to love my glasses, because I think that’s how this story is going to end, anyway.

Mama Mia
My appointment was finished with 40 minutes to spare before I had to be at work. So I did what I’ve found myself doing lately when I have a few stray moments to myself: I bought myself a beverage (rocket-strength cappuccino), bummed myself a smoke, and sat at the coffee shop around the corner and read my book. It was a delicious, college-throwback, carefree moment. You may not think much of it, but it’s like vacation and a time machine to me.

I’m reading the Motherhood Manifesto by Joan Blades, a gift from my hubs for Mother’s day. And so far, so great. All about the challenge of being a mama and an earner, the shitty imbalance of it, and the way our economic system is stacked against us, and how “having a baby is the single worst financial decision an American woman can make… A college-educated woman can easily pay a ‘mommy tax’--lost lifetime earnings—of over $1 million.” And it’s full of other fun facts, like the fact that the US is the only industrialized country in the world that does not have PAID maternity leave other than Australia (which does give a full year of guaranteed leave to all women, compared with the twelve weeks of unpaid leave given to those women who work for companies with more than fifty employees in the US).

Yeah, I got eight weeks, unpaid.
And then I weaseled two and a half more weeks, thanks to the Christmas Holiday smokescreen that worked in my favor.

And then after those 10 weeks, I dropped my tiny, helpless Bird off at the daycare with my melons still as big and firm as actual melons, and came back to work leaking breastmilk all over the place, so I could do meaningful things, like get the mail. And I said I would not bitch about my job in this blog—about it. I’m bitching that I have to have it in the first place.

Beware Some More
The Neighborhood Listserv of Paranoia is at it again: a post about some guy, going door to door, selling various meats out of a cooler bungeed to the bed of his pickup truck with Texas plates. And then getting pissed when you don’t buy his meats and pressuring you to let him come in to rearrange your freezer so you’ll have room for all of his delicious vaguely cold meats. And then the question, from the neighbor who posted the message, “Do you think this guy is legit?” Um, yes. Yes, the wild-eyed Texan selling unidentified meats from a cooler in the back of his pickup who is desperate to come into your house after you refused his product is totally, 100% legit. You should invite him to your child’s birthday party.

Moving On
Oh, and Birdy is going to crawl. Probably today. She was so close yesterday, even though she seems more intent on grabbing my clothing, limbs, and breasts and doing some very clumsy climbing maneuvers, trying to pull up—except I don’t know that she KNOWS that, exactly, just that she knows she wants to move. So anyway, there she is on all fours, picking up one arm and then the other. She is so, so close, and I am so, so unprepared for this.

American Idol, Almost Done
And thank goodness for that, because I'm pretty over it, but I've committed to it, you know? Pretty sure Taylor's going to win. I hate to say it, but the twitches and freak-dancing have really gotten him pretty far. That, and Katherine totally blew it last night.
Ok, done.

22 May 2006

Let’s talk about our trip to Indiana.

Do I really want to? Because I’m kind of worn out by it, truth be known. Here’s a list of highlights:

Birdy. Always a highlight. Finally big enough to be funny and roll around on the floor with some toys by herself for a minute, not that the first grandchild ever spends a minute by herself. But I swear to you, she is like that frog in the box in that old cartoon—one minute she’s all “Hello, my baby” with the clapping, but if you ever say “clap for Grandpa, yaaaaay!” all you get is a drooly “ribbit.” She’s tricky and sly and made of warm biscuits.

She is also apparently frightened of the sound of a flushing toilet, which I learned while changing a diaper at a rest stop. I attribute this episode to the fact that she was not fully awake, still dazed from the moving car, when she was laid down and disrobed and heard the rest-stop strength woosh of the toilet. Screamingredfacedtearsreachinggrabbing-- I dressed her faster than I ever have (flinging a poo onto the floor in the process), and picked her up--she hugged my neck so tightly, gasping to calm herself down, like she’d been saved at the last minute from a charging bear or a burning building. And I have never felt so much like a mom. I’m sure I’ve said it before and I will no doubt say it again: This mama-love is a fierce, fierce thing that takes my breath away like I’ve been punched in the chest.

The Monon Trail. It’s an old railroad track that runs all over the city, made into a paved greenway. Bird and I had a beautiful and peaceful walk on it, saw every different kind of person, and I made the skeleton of a skeleton of a skeleton of a plan to talk to Andy about maybe possibly moving home to Indy someday. Depending on your weather tolerance, Indiana can have some crappy weather extremes: hot hots and cold colds. But unlike the south, where we fast forward through spring like it’s just a commercial, Indiana has an intoxicating spring that will make you make Indiana plans against your better judgment.

Sitting in the kitchen at my in-laws’, surrounded by aunts and uncles and cousins at dusk eating birthday cake and laughing. Again, springtime in Indiana is a haze of ideal-ness, wherein you easily picture your little family chasing fireflies around the yard and then cozying up wrapped in blankets on the porch swing, falling asleep while you clink glasses with your internal self and say “Things will be so perfect.”

Conversation with A’s grandmother that started to be about that crazy bat, Tom Cruise:
Me: Yeah, Scientology is pretty “out there”
Mamaw: I just heard on the news somewhere that some folks think people might’ve decended from apes!
Me: Yep!
Mamaw: Like we might have just stood straight up over time!
Me: Yep!
Mamaw: Well, I guess everybody’s gonna to believe what they’re gonna believe!
Me: Yep!

Unbearable, forced cuddling on Bird. This leaves the mama lion angry and feeling helpless.

The ease of A. and his brother and his dad all together around the fire pit. A. breaking his birthday golf club on the first swing and trying, giggling, to hide it from his dad. He turns thirty next week.

Green Bean Casserole. I am making rock n’ roll goat horns with my hands and shoving them in your face right now. That is how much this stuff freaking rocks.

Disappearing clothing. A’s mom is such a mom-mom that every time you are not physically in the guest room, she enters and harvests whatever clothes she thinks are dirty in order to launder them, eventually kidnapping all of your clothes at one time in her zealous laundry gathering, including your husband’s clothes and your child’s clothes, and you will at some point get out of the shower and realize you have no pants anywhere to be found and your family is practically naked.

$190 speeding ticket on the way home. Thanks, Kentucky State PD! (in A’s defense, the actual ticket was only $60, but the court costs are outrageous. He wasn’t bulleting along the highway recklessly, promise.)

Literally falling asleep at a stoplight this morning on the way to daycare, luckily next to a big dump truck that woke me when it grumbled forward at the green. These trips are exhausting, and we return to a house that we left in a mad rush, spoiled food, grouchy dogs, nothing in its place (if it ever had a place… we try our best). It’s looking like an early night for mama snee.

19 May 2006

All the Better to See You With

So, eye doctor today. Nothing new to report, prescription still the same in both eyes, still the same for the last 10+ years, BOO YA. My stockpile of disposable contact lenses that I have built by careful conservation (wearing each pair until it dissolves on my eyeball from filthiness) will last another year. Except that my distance vision is still getting crummier—how do we explain this?

I wonder if I am tainting the data somehow. I mean, we all know that after being asked ‘better, worse, or the same?” about nearly identical lenses for an hour, we give up, we don’t know anymore, we just want this to be over so we can go get some lunch. Sure, “better.” Ummm, “the same.” We just decide that eff it, let’s just wing it and see how this turns out.

We also know that asking “what’s the smallest line you can read” is a total mind-fuck, because you’ve read ALL of the lines ten times already. The first time, yeah, you say “ummm, T Z E C V”, but then the fiftieth time, can you really read them? Or do you just remember them? If you didn’t KNOW that was an E, would you say “B” instead? Is that blurry? Is that sharper? Did that letter just move? Are you hallucinating? Is that a unicorn? Are you losing your everloving mind?

Add to all of this that I was a very good student in school. I don’t claim to be genius-smart, but I have proven that I am some kind of lame-ish people pleaser, and God help me in that little room looking at the reflected projection of TZECV. I just want to get it RIGHT. As if I expect the technician to give me an A+ if I can read more lines. So I push it, I think. I have to breathe deeply just to keep myself from shoving my arm straight up into the air and yelling “ooh oooh ooooh I know! I know! The answer is BETTER!”

So, at the end of the day, my vision is for sure getting worse, but I’m still going to wear the same prescription I wore in high school, because I don’t want to disappoint the optician.

A side note about the eye doctor:
My doctor loves plastic fake-out spills. He has them all over the office— Oh my gosh! A spilled Styrofoam cup of coffee on the reception counter! Somebody clean that u—waaait a minute… you guys really got me with that one! Hoo!

He’s got spilled milk at the frames display, spilled soda in the contact lens area… you get it. But who the fuck has been eating Froot Loops by the better/ worse lens machine? That one’s too big for its britches, accelerating from harmless old man quirk to weird expired joke that makes me angry. You got greedy with that one, Dr. D.

Although, I do have to hand it to the doc— the second layer of the joke (the fact that he has fake spills in a building meant specifically for people with poor vision, which is the only group of people that would be fooled by this) is smart—at least he knows his audience— it’s unexpectedly and deliciously predatory.

16 May 2006

Thoughts on Mother's Day, 2 Days Late

There is at least one point in every clock-punching, email-reading, desk-sitting day that I feel actual, physical pain because I so badly want to be with my little round biscuit-baby.

One of those times is now.

12 May 2006

Ground Control to Neighbor Tom

I'm holding down the fort tonight. A. is playing a show, I'm home with sleeping Birdy, after rushing to meet a friend and her little one at the park to walk, rushing home, rushing to the bar/restaurant where A. is playing, and eating delicious food at lightning speed, since Birdy was getting sleepy and grabby. I had to give away most of a glass of wine on the way out the door, because it was TIME TO GO, according to Bird. And now I am home.

With Birdy exhausted and asleep upstairs, I sat on the back porch and drank a beer! And smoked two cigarettes! in my pj's with my big clumsy dogs. Just like old times. It's a nice night, it was a beautiful moment. (This moment inspired, in part, by Maria's blog about doing kind of the same thing.)

My next door neighbor had some friends over, and they were drinking and smoking on their back porch. We're separated by a privacy fence, which made for some undercover eavesdropping. Here's what I heard:

"I mean, I wasn't in jail THAT long. And they fuckin' fired me. I've been at that school for ten fuckin' years."

"I mean, fuck, you know, I got DIVORCED and this is fuckin' worse."

(other dude): "I mean, wow, I mean FUCK, man, if that ever happened to me I don't know what I do, I mean, FUCK, that's your whole life that's FUCKED, man." (very supportive.)

"I mean, if I HAD coke in the car, I wouldn't have gotten pulled over, man. This is such BULLFUCKINGSHIT."

More blah blah blah, drunken slurring, etc., and then a verbal loan of $6,000. I wonder how that will turn out.

I don't know if it was my neighbor, who is a teacher at a Junior High in an affluent area, who did the time. Could have been one of his teacher buddies-- they all sounded the same-- but I do know that I haven't seen that guy in quite a while before tonight.

Two short stories about this neighbor:
When he first moved in next door, I saw him in the ghetto grocery, trashed. He came up to me and said, "Hey, you're my neighbor. Where's the salsa?"

After he'd been there about a year, we had friends staying with us from out of town, and we were right in the middle of explaining how the neighborhood looks kind of shady but it's really okay. In the middle of that conversation, a cab pulled up in front of our house and a big guy got out, and started stumbling around in our front yard, and eventually fell over, face down in the grass. Of course, the four of us were staring out a lit window into the dark, and saw him get up, look at us, and stumble over to his own yard. It was that dude, and he had the wrong house.

Don't get me wrong, he's a very nice guy. I hope it wasn't him who was arrested for driving and possibly having coke on his person, especially since he's likely a very good teacher. And he helps me find the cat when he gets out.

Here's to neighbor Tom.

11 May 2006

UV Protection

I am tempted to write something here about the way work has been today, but I am going to show some restraint and not say anything that would be nasty or unprofessional. I will tell you that the story contains the words, “You can just go Domino’s.”

So, I went to visit Birdy on my lunch today, because I have Book Club tonight and I may not see her until she is already asleep with her butt up in the air in her crib. When I got to the daycare, they had just shampooed the carpet, and again, I had weird paranoid thoughts about Birdy’s nervous system slowly shutting down due to the fumes. Also, if you walked into the infant center and one of the caregivers was stringing small plastic beads onto fishing line in the middle of the infant room floor, would you be concerned? (If you are not a parent, I will overreact for you and let you know that if she dropped ONE unnoticed bead, a tiny person would definitely put it in their mouth and choke.)

We’ve established that Book Club is not really Book Club anymore, since we all know each other much better now and don’t feel accountable for reading. It will now be called Social Club in this blog.

I used to have a t-shirt in college, faded navy blue, with light blue writing on it that said “The Club” in cursive (not athletic cursive) with a simple line drawing of a martini glass. The back said “The Westside Social Club.” It was too big and probably too loved by me—there is probably someone, somewhere saying “Remember at IU, that girl that had that bad supershort haircut and wore that damn Westside Social Club shirt all the time? I blacked out at her house.”—but it was the most awesome damn shirt. I double-dare Urban Outfitters to make one as cool. It eventually died of Major Armpit Hole that Could Not Be Fixed, which is a common disease among the aged t-shirt population. It would probably fit me, now that my body is ten years older and ten pounds heavier. I swear, I don’t remember eating in college unless you count beer as a sandwich. And some do.

To get to Birdy’s daycare I pass three crossing guards, each with their own philosophy of guarding the crossing of others.

First, the overdramatic black woman that stops traffic too long for each crossing (you’re guarding as he CROSSES, not as he disappears down the block) and over-exaggerates her pointing and mouthing “YOU. GO.” It’s like that video clip we’ve all seen in some lighthearted commercial where the policeman is boogeying down while he directs traffic, throwing a point out here! There! You go! Thank you! Cha cha cha!, except not like that and with NO fun or lightheartedness. She purses her lips so tightly after she points and says “YOU” that it looks like she’s saying “YOUP”, so it ends up being like playing charades with an intense, coked-up mime. I never see her in time and I come into the intersection a little too hot, and I always get the shrill whistling and the pointing. Sorry, lady. Youp shouldn’t take it personally.

Next is the meek white lady who stands next to her truck, never gets into the intersection at all, and waves people through with her stopsign. The school she’s working with is under construction, and the high concentration of kids is at Overdramatic’s stop, so she’s got it pretty easy.

Finally, we cross over into the territory of the old dude. His stop is pretty far away from the school, and people don’t take him seriously. In fact, he’s pretty much ignored, and it totally chaps him. He’s gotten to the point that he has become a Rotten Old Man With Something Stuck Up His Ass about the whole thing, but it’s kind of sweet and sad, like an aging, toothless lion with a traffic cone stuck in his paw. Two small stories about Old Dude:

1. Today, he was just standing on the corner, watching the cars fly by, with his arms outstretched, whistle in one hand, stop sign paddle in the other, yelling “BASTARDS!” at the cars. He has given up.

2. A few days ago I nearly flat-out ran him over as he tried to cross the street, because he was in no way watching where he was going. I found it delicious.

On my way back from daycare, where I did not stay long because I couldn’t get down and play on the moist carpet with Birdy (and playing on standing-up-mama is no fun for anyone), I stopped by a the cute little shop to replace the sunglasses I lost yesterday at the library. The ones I lost must have been pretty dirty, pretty scratched, or both, because these new ones provide a remarkably crystal-clear view of shaded everything. And they’re those giant, Paris Hilton ski goggle-sized glasses (though not obnoxious, I don’t think), and it is like having a clean, tinted windshield for my face. I love them.

Click-Wheel Chest Plate

Last night I had a dream that I had an ipod implanted in my chest.

I was standing around at a cocktail party (this is how we're SURE it's a dream... the last two parties I attended were a one-year-old's birthday party and a baby shower) and I was talking to this woman and I mentioned that it would be a good idea to get an ipod implanted in your chest.

She was one of those people that you really want to like you; at least, I really wanted her to like me and hoped we could be friends because she seemed so cool.

She said she could do it for me right there. And she did. It didn't hurt one bit. She showed me how I could access the ipod in my chest through this little scar under my collar bone.

Then I realized you COULD see the ipod implanted in my chest, bulging out from under the skin and it actually was kind of painful.

I asked her how I could get it taken out. She shrugged her shoulders. She was done talking to me, and we would not be friends.

I decided that I needed to get the ipod removed at the hospital, despite the fact that my insurance probably wouldn't cover the procedure. I decided we'd just make payments on the surgery forever, because I really REALLY didn't want my parents to see that I'd had an ipod implanted in my chest.

10 May 2006

Cliff Notes and What I'm Really Thinking

Ugh. The last entry is way too long.

Here’s a summary:
I went to the library to make copies. It got complicated. I was sweaty. I made the copies. I got lost downtown. I said “Heh, Whatever, Dude” to someone I don’t know and who was not speaking to me.

That’s it—that’s really all that happened. And somehow that took a kabillion words to say before.

Here is a simple outline of my brain right now. Remember outlines? This should be fun!

1) I start school on June 6th. I still do not have a part-time job lined up for that time period and that makes me very nervous.

i) Well, okay, I do pretty much have a guaranteed job at the mental health center where I used to work, but I think that makes me more nervous.

ii) Because I got punched in the face a few years ago by a client at that center, totally unprovoked and unexpected, and I think I may not have done a very good job of it from that point forward. Unlike most people that have the life-changing opportunity to work with people with severe and persistent mental illness, I became more afraid instead of less afraid. Maybe I need to confront my fear and work there, maybe I don’t need to invite the anxiety, but either way I’m hoping something comes along before that option starts looking any better.

Okay. That’s what I meant to say.

Adventure at the Library

My boss asked me late yesterday afternoon to track down an article published in the May issue of Chain Store Digest. My plan was to find it at the Public Library and make a copy. I called. They had it. I went.

We have a pretty new library downtown and I always forget how beautiful it is. I feel good in the library, even though I still owe them $40 for a book on quitting smoking that was eaten by a puppy years ago. I forget it’s there, since I’m a habitual Amazon-search-from-my-desk girl, but there’s something so satisfying about making the trip, finding the book exactly where they said it would be, and taking it home. What trust! What completely undeserved trust.

I decided, since I was feeling such a sense of purpose, to take the stairs up to the third floor, because the staircase really is beautiful. At the landing of the second floor, I looked out the low window overlooking the courtyard and thought, “Someday, when I don’t have this 40-hour a week job, Birdy and I can come here for story time and I will take her picture in this beautiful spot where you can see the Japanese Maples.” I was dream-weavin’ and daydreamin’ around every marble step. “My life will be so ideal! I am in love with this library!”

I was a little winded at the top, but I felt good. I marched right up to the periodicals guy and got my magazine. And realized the copiers do not take debit cards. I asked the guy to hold the magazine for me and headed down the stairs. Where is the closest ATM? About 4 blocks, which I didn’t mind, because I was on a field trip, and I wanted to walk around downtown.

It was a nice walk. I like the city the energy of downtown, and more importantly, like the energy it gives me. I like walking places. I like feeling like I know where I’m going, on a mission (to the ATM), like I’ve got it under control in the big city.

I got my money. I headed back to the library and passed a cute little well-manicured park on my way back. Perfect for a little outdoor lunch, I thought, except for all those homeless people. Did I just say that? Me? The one who worked in Psychosocial Rehab for all those years? It really was such a nice park. Why didn’t I wish there were more resources for all of those homeless people taking up all of the benches? More on this another day.

It’s not hot today, maybe 65 degrees, but by the time I got back to the library, I was sweating. I think I underwent a dramatic hormonal change with pregnancy—I used to be so cold all the time, but post-Birdy, the mere suggestion of physical activity makes it hard to keep all of my clothes on in public. And taking the stairs a second time didn’t help, either. I arrived again on the third floor, out of breath and sweaty, grabbed my mag without greeting the librarian even a little, and set out to copy an article.

The bill changer doesn’t take twenties. Back down to the Circulation desk for change, back up to the third floor. SWEAT-ING. Copies made. Done. Back downstairs. He had better read that article one hundred times.

I made every effort I could to pay off my fines and get right with the Library on my way out, but I was out of checks, and again, no debit cards. I guess I will NOT be checking out a copy of Earl Mindell’s Unsafe at Any Meal, which is probably the Universe’s way of telling me I should not read that book because I will not change my habits, just feel gross about eating everything. It probably says something bad about Cracker Cuts, and if that is the case, I don’t want to know it.

I stood next to the Beast-Car in the parking garage, fishing for my keys, and all of a sudden paper and other crap was flying around everywhere, spilling out of my bag which is full of who-knows-what (but if you need Sudafed Severe Cold, I have a whole box right here). I’m not saying a few pieces of paper fell out of my bag. I’m saying Paper! And other crap! Was flying! Everywhere! Somehow in the chaos and attempted rescue of a hundred bits of paper that may or may not have been important, I managed to lose my sunglasses and a very good pen. But I dove under the car to save a crumpled-up napkin. Go figure.

I also got mildly lost downtown—not LOST-lost, but drove around trying to grasp which direction I was headed for awhile, looking at vaguely familiar buildings but failing to grasp the relationship of one to another. It was like watching a documentary on PBS about downtown and going “oh, hey, that looks like Sam’s Sushi! And the Ryman… I think I’ve been there. Honey, have we ever been there?” and then drifting back into your Sunday half-sleep on the couch.

I’ve also noticed, since Birdy, that I say things under my breath and to no one in particular without fully realizing I’m saying anything until it’s out there. If you followed this blog in its MySpace days, you’ll recall an incident with Canadians in Office Depot that illustrates this problem.

Driving back to the office with one hand still stuffed in the bag, groping around for sunglasses I’m sure are lost, an older but very shiny red Beamer convertible (top down) pulls up next to the Beast. There is a thirtysomething very skinny white guy at the wheel, blaring some kind of “cool jazz- R&B” noise, and I was hungry and pissed and out a pair of sunglasses. I looked through my open window and before I could think about it I said “Heh. Whatever, dude.”

“Heh, Whatever, Dude?” Again, ME? The person who is certain we are all going to get our asses kicked if we look at another driver crosseyed? Did I just look that guy in the face, at a red light, and say, “Heh, Whatever, Dude?”

Apparently, I did.

09 May 2006

Let's talk about our trip to Charlotte.

So, first of all, let me say that we had a wonderful time visiting my brother and his fiancée and their dog/cats in North Carolina. They were wonderful hosts, and I think we all enjoyed ourselves quite a bit. And let me also say that our accommodations were fantastic and I have no complaints. At all. They even let us steal their toothpaste.

But, I think from this point forward when we travel we are going to send a rider agreement ahead of us, like rock stars do when they feel they must have six tuna salad sandwiches and eight bottles of evian waiting for them backstage next to their herbal teas and cocaine or else they just simply will not perform. I’m not asking for cocaine and Tuna. I’m just saying that you get there and everything you need to do what you do is there, and you don’t have to remember it all yourself.

2006 Snee Family Rider:

1 Crib with sheets and one small lightweight blanket

4 Pillows on bed, two on each side

1 stick Dove deodorant (AKA Ronnie James Deo) because I will forget mine

2 clean bath towels

1 Jumbo pack #3 size Huggies

1 Package unscented wipes

1 Can Isomil formula + 4 bottles

1 6-pack Budweiser

1 Bottle Shiraz

1 Pack Camel Lights

1 Package Men's Briefs (exotic prints preferred) <-- A. suggests I add this

1 Jug windshield wiper fluid (because we will run dry)

If dinner is involved there should be one vegetarian option at each restaurant or vegetarian option served at dinner

If television remote has more than 6 buttons, please provide instructions

Like old times
We had beer and wine on Saturday night and I had more than has passed my lips since I found out I was pregnant, which felt good and bad. They’re planning a wedding and A. and I spent a lot of time bossing them around about it, but also retelling and reliving the story of our own wedding, which A. loves to tell and I love to hear. (I will tell you about it later, but the gist is that it was outdoors and it stormed like crazy and people got wet, but it ended up being perfect in every way) He gets so excited and I think his telling of it is just so sweet. Oh, and I smoked cigarettes on my brother’s back deck and realized it might be time to go to bed when I started in on my rambling breastfeeding horror stories. Some things are better discussed among moms, and I was the only one present—and now I’m thinking maybe my little brother did not want to hear about my formerly cracked and bleeding nipples.

But I didn’t feel like a mom for a couple of hours, with Birdy tuckered out and sleeping great upstairs, the four of us talking and smoking and drinking. It was nice. And then it was even nicer to remember I had a Birdy upstairs.

No Normal Rubber Ducky
We gave Birdy a bath and she pooped in the sink, which somehow went undiscovered for about 10 minutes post-bath, until C. said “Is there a slug in this sink?” and we realized it was more like a turd. The mystery remains unsolved, though, as the turd was clinging vertically to the side of the sink, not in the bottom of the sink where a baby might have shat it. But it was definitely a turd and Birdy was the only one who had stuck her bare ass in the sink that night, so it must have been her.

It's not meat, it's just chicken
My brother has somehow forgotten that for the past 19 years I have been a strict non-meat eater, telling me that he is SURE I’ve eaten chicken fajitas in his presence. And then telling me that he’s SURE I eat fish. Which is completely untrue. If I WAS going to eat meat, which I am not, a slimy dead salty thing that swims through the goo of other slimy dead salty things (and stinks) would be my last choice. 19 years. You sure you didn’t order a chicken fajita once? Yup, pretty sure.

Just Say No to Bugs
Birdy got her first bug bite while we were in Charlotte, right on her big poofy cheek, and it bruised! It happened on the patio of a restaurant in the so so cute neighborhood that B and C live in, and she just screeched for a minute and there was a welt, kind of, and a little pinprick of blood, but no further complaining, and then later this creepy little bruise appeared, like a little fingerprint right there on her face. According to our pediatrician this is not normal but also not something to worry about. Worrying directions aside, one never wants to hear one’s pediatrician say “necrosis.” Ever.

Three Stars, Five Stars: Reviews From the Road
Of course, on the drive out we stopped at Cracker Barrel, and of course I ordered as much starch as I could for under $10, and of course I left a little sad because of all of the old women eating alone. Every time I go to the CB I see too many old women eating alone, which is even sadder when they are eating alone and they see Birdy and give you the saddest little old lady smile. I want to stand up in the middle of the CB and say “All you women eating alone because your husbands have probably died from eating this brand of home cookin’, All you women buttering your biscuits and staring out the window at the parking lot, eat TOGETHER! You’re all doing the same thing, so why spread out all over the restaurant?! Eat corn muffins and then find an appliqué sweatshirt out front for half price TOGETHER!” But I didn’t, and they didn’t, and they ate quietly, and I ate while holding Birdy, which is not unlike trying to eat a macaroni and cheese with a monkey crawling all over you.

Oh, and thank you so much to the guy who left the Cracker Barrel outside of Knoxville just as we were being seated, the guy with the “Redneck University” tee shirt. You didn’t know it, but you allowed me to make the joke about how you graduated with honors from Redneck University, and that joke grew into other comments about what collegiate activities might go down there at good ole RU. It was an easy laugh, with mileage, and I thank you.

We also stopped at McDonalds near the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. We usually don’t stop at McD’s, but we were in a pressure situation and I knew they would have a changing table in the restroom. It was the nicest McDonalds, EVER. Chandeliers. High ceilings. Nice employees. Clean self-serve beverage area. Big bathrooms. And (this is the best part) a player piano in the corner that played The Eagles AND Toto while we were there. (But there were still tampon wrappers all over the restroom floor, so you knew it was still McDonald’s). I wanted to stay there for a long time.

In fact, I wanted to move to Asheville. And before that I wanted to move to Charlotte, because when we left the city we spent an hour driving in the opposite direction of our home, adding two hours to a trip that, all said and done, totaled 10 ½ hours. We tried to “cut over” to the right highway, which I will be no good at explaining so that you can visualize, but it was as if the highway was bending itself around and around and the numbers and directions on the signs kept changing and we could never, ever get out. At a certain point, you don’t care about your house or your dogs or your job or your friends, you just want to watch an episode of six feet under in your pajamas and not be in the car. And if it means moving out of state, so what.

04 May 2006

Do You Think You Can Find A Parking Space at Target?

Because no, no you cannot.

And it's going to cost you $50 to leave, at least. *

Overheard while in the dressing room at Target trying on shorts:

Wheelchair guy who hands out the number tags: I like my food spicy and my women spicier.

Lady hanging up clothes: That's good! (English is not great here)

Wheelchair guy who hands out the number tags: My van is broken down and [long story about what exactly is wrong with the van] and I think the mechanic is trying to fuck me over.

Lady hanging Up Clothes: Mmmhmmm that is good for you!

And how long do you think it will take to get back to work from Mission: Shorts at Target? It will take 25 minutes!

Why? Because someone on Woodmont is having their driveway repaved and the equipment is blocking the two lane road! (I'm looking at you, dumptruck guy).

*Please do not think I am dissing the Target. I got two pairs of shorts (one for me, one for he), baby socks, lipstick, and infant formula all under the same roof. I friggin love Target, for better or for worse, even while it undergoes it's metamorphisis into SuperTarget.

I'm on your list, Craig

I’m wondering now if I’ve made a mistake with this “I’m going to be a massage therapist” thing. Do you know how many massage therapists post on CraigsList for my city alone? And how many other people post misspelled ads about building your massage practice CDs and crap? Ugh. CraigsList makes everything seem flaky.

And seedy. Like the ad for an “attractive, discreet masseuse to work in my home” or the one that said “cute masseuse wanted for home visits, NOT EROTIC, send pic.” (um, so why do you need a pic?)

I’m trying not to get caught up in Professionism, but sometimes it’s hard to dig out once you’re there. I’m going to help people and get out of this sitting-on-ass situation and not work so many hours. I’m going to effing help some people. And it’s not going to be flaky.

I guess I should repeat that 10 times a day.

And by the way, “I saw you in the coffee shop, you were looking for a penny. Penny for your thoughts?” never, ever works, CraigsList user.

03 May 2006

Cheese Be With You

I have been packing the following fairly healthy lunch for work: grapes, cheese. I keep a box of Triscuits in my desk drawer, and I make a fine meal out of it. Sounds healthy, looks healthy.

The cheese I’m talking about is made by Kraft and is called “Cracker Cuts”, and I buy the sharp cheddar. And the slices are the exact size of a Triscuit.

I’ll say it again, in case you didn’t hear me. The cheese slices are the exact size of a Triscuit.

For people like me who strive always to have the same amount of dressing on each bite of salad, evenly distributed sour cream throughout your burrito, and exactly as much cheese as you have cracker, the Cracker Cut arrives on the scene not a moment too soon.

Cracker + Cheese + Grape! So pre-measured! So easy!

Too easy. Each time I arrange my little plate of crackers, cheese, and grapes, and sit down to eat, I think, “I am only taking 6 slices out of the bag. That is two servings. And then I will eat until I am full, and then I will stop.”

But by the second cracker + Cracker Cut + Grape stack, however, I sound more like this:
“MRARGHHhghh MRARRRRHHHDGGHHhhfjjhf I WILL HAVE BETTER MRARRGHHhhhhfm mrarhrhhgh PORTION CONTROL mmMARARRRGHHHMMmm NEXT TIME! MRRRHARFUHGHHahhgfhlkkGHH!” Triscuit bits flying, cheese all over my keyboard, grapes rolling around under my desk, and almost an entire package of Cracker Cuts gone. Might as well finish them off, right? I’m like the damn Cookie Monster with these things.

Ugh. I feel sick. Why is it that having the prefect cheese : cracker ratio gives me a sense a peace about the world? And furthermore, why do I have to get so greedy with the Peace?

02 May 2006


On my way to the gas station for M&Ms today, there was a station wagon parked in front of the dry cleaner's with an ancient dog hanging his head out the window-- gray beard, snaggle teeth, milky eyes. Aged.

And these two preppy-poppy girls come o-my-gawd-ing by, and the blonde one says, looking at the dog, "Awwwww! I LOVE puppies!"

And I want to grab her by the shoulders and say, "Sweetpea, that is no puppy. That is a Very. Old. Dog."


I haven't had cable television in my house for about 4 years, partly because I don't watch enough television to pay for it. Another part of it is kind of like being a vegetarian (19 years), where you haven't had something in so long that you just keep going with it, like Kramer and the car salesman driving on E in that episode of Seinfeld.

So last night I'm watching Texas Ranch House on PBS, which I begrudgingly enjoyed and kind of hated (It's blazing hot! And the women wear 7 layers of clothing! Why!? It pains me to watch). And it is announced between shows that there is a SECOND PBS CHANNEL that you can get on your digital cable. Oh my. This news has turned my television world on its ear. I'm going to need some time to process it.

01 May 2006

Thank You for Shopping at Mama Snee

A New Level of… Something

**This little piece has been deleted temporarily. Don't want to get Dooced.

Prime Time Fear

ABC is running a prime-time drama special about everyone getting birdflu from shaking hands, and apparently, from the preview, rooms full of people dropping dead. It is advertised as being “a step ahead of the headlines.” Ack.

For shame, ABC, for shame.

I Didn’t See It Coming.
I have mom-hair.
My friend and neighbor Heidi hooked me up about a month ago with a pretty cool shaggy moppy haircut, but I lack the primo styling products, expertise, and flair to make it happen. Besides, I usually leave the house looking halfway hip from the shoulders up, but after a few hours my hair stops being damp-ish and carefree and resumes it’s natural state: flipped-under bob.

My hair would be the envy of any pearl-wearing country club member worth her pantyhose, as it is somehow programmed to be stick-straight and curl under at the ends when it is cut chin-length. I have the perfect bob and the curse is that I want nothing to do with it. I want the hip hair that I had when left Heidi’s shop, but that hair was not meant for me.

A New Kind of Cake on Aisle 5
Although I do feel more at home in the fancy grocery store with my mom-hair. Yes, as much as I love my little eastside (Urban! Hip! Quaint!) community, our Kroger is totally ghetto. As in we still had the trough-style freezers up until last year that you may remember from grocery shopping with your mother when you could still sit in the cart. So I drive across the river, past my office, to the swanky Kroger with covered parking and a Starbucks inside the front door. Yes, I go to Starbucks.

Yesterday Bird and I made our weekly trip to the Swank Kroger. And by the time we passed over the river and through the ‘hood, Birdy had created a seriously rank poopcake in her little purple pants. I get all of my stuff together: bag, keys, list and phone and run around the car-beast to jump in the back seat and change the diaper, which was very ick, thank you very much, and then, holding a poopy diaper, baby, keys, bag, phone, and list, realized that I was childproof-locked IN my car. As in cannot open the car door to get out, because it is un-unlockable, because my car is so rule bound, like a goody-goody hall monitor. Like KITT if KITT was… well, you get it.

“What’s that, betsy? You want to unlock the door and exit from the back seat? I understand your situation, but the rules clearly state that children are not permitted to open the back doors when the car has already been locked.”

“But I am NOT A CHILD, Car.”

“I can see a child in the back seat with you, and the rules clearly state…”

I look at Birdy, grinning and sliding around, looking for something small and sharp--with metal barbs, maybe?-- to put in her mouth and choke on. I smell the wrapped-up poopcake. I curse. I am starving, and the combination of hunger pangs and shit-odor have me in their grip and I become crazed and start to panic. I decide that I will just call A. and ask him to leave band practice, across town, to come and let me out of my own turned-against-me-car.

Fotunately, before I dial, I realize that I can just push the little remote lock dealie on my car keys to unlock the whole damn thing, which is what I do, and we escape the Car That Loves Us Too Much. And I know that was the logical solution, (even though it felt like ordering a pizza from INSIDE the pizza place) and that it’s not a big deal, but the hunger/ poo-smell combination does a serious one-two punch on the ole sanity and one becomes desperate. I could have broken out windows, you know. I was LOCKED in a CAR with some SHIT.

We finally did enter the Kroger, post-drama, and I did get my fancy coffee for the week, and I did realize that the tank top I was wearing was probably best left in the “only at home” drawer, because after an afternoon of Birdy tugging at it, I was looking fairly trashy and boobaloobic, with a vaguely-stained, stretched out wife-beater tank top under an army jacket that hasn’t buttoned since before I got pregnant. But who cares—I’ve got the country-club Mom Hair, and that gains me entry into the Swanky Kroger, despite the might-have-been-drinking-beer-and-watching-Cops-outfit.

And let me tell you, that little Birdy of mine makes everyone’s day at the Kroger, giggling and squealing and grinning at everyone she sees.

Burrito of Motherly Despair

Another word about Birdy: she almost always falls asleep in the middle of her nighttime bottle. And then I snuggle her for a few minutes and take her upstairs to bed in her crib. She usually wakes up for a minute, but usually falls right back asleep with very little protesting. She’s usually asleep again before I get to the bottom of the stairs. I know—unheard of, right?

Well, last night, she didn’t fall asleep during the bottle, which is rare, but it happens. She was rubbing her eyes and clearly exhausted, but not sleeping. So I decided to put her down anyway, and she cried and wailed for what seemed like a very long time but was really only about 20 minutes, kind of tapering off into sad, sad, whimpering at the end, which is the part that breaks my heart and makes it impossible to enjoy the burrito with homemade guacamole that A. has so lovingly crafted.

I’m all for Birdy learning to be independent and put herself to sleep, and she’s proven that she can do it with almost no problems, but when she does have a rough time with it, I don’t like to think of her being so sad and upset and abandoned right before she drifts off. I don’t like to go to bed sad or angry, and I don’t like for Birdy to have to do it, either.

Oh, and I Might Be Completely Nuts
Because I filled out an application at the daycare we’re waitlisted for—the one we’ve been waiting on for 15 months now. Yeah, that’s nuts. But I don’t have a job yet and this one ends in one month, pretty much exactly. A job is a job and if it comes with reduced daycare tuition, well then it may be the job for me.

Also note that this format of blogging (what with the headers and all) was inspired by this woman. It makes windy gals like me easier to read.

Also, when I was walking today at lunch I called A, and ran down the events of the morning, including “I’m working on a blog.”

To which he replied, “Well then, you’d better get back to the office in a hurry.”

It’s always about poop with that husband of mine.

I guess I’m one to talk.