30 June 2006
* I was informed yesterday when I dropped Birdy off that “M. no longer works here,” ‘M’ being one of the workers in the infant room, the one who consistently ruins my daughter’s precious first moments for me with a smack of her gum and a flippant comment. She’s not my favorite, but I felt she was at least very capable. Unlike her partner, the Evil Ms. J, who is a hundred and fifty years old, doesn’t hear well or move quickly, and has the worst, flesh-melting breath ever breathed onto another human. I left the daycare shaky about leaving Birdy with a stranger and someone I already know is inept. But it turns out that ‘Q is fine. Better than fine, actually, and better than ‘M’, because she is not married to/ divorcing the son of Evil Ms. J, is not sleeping on the job due to her personal issues, etc. She’s just a sweet lady with a broad smile and a mysterious tattoo who likes to snuggle my baby, when she can get her away from Evil Ms. J, that is. And Evil Ms. J is not really evil, but I used to think she was, and the name stuck. She has good intentions, but that does not make up for the breath or the potential for accidents due to her physical limitations. Sorry, but it just doesn’t.
**Fuck Bread & Company. I wandered around looking for a sandwich counter, then groped around for a menu (no help from the staff that just stared at me while I frantically looked for my sandwich choices), ordered a sandwich that was soggy and came with some kind of weird and salty-gross tappenade that was not explained anywhere on the menu, waited in a long line to pay, filled my own drink, stood around and waited for an available table, sat in the most uncomfortable torture chair that seriously made my toes go numb thanks to the slats digging into my ass, and then bussed my own table, all for eleven stinking dollars. I will not be back, as I feel I was robbed.
Because this is how it works:
I am frequently of the mindset that as soon as I become a licensed and for-real LMT, two things will happen, instantly:
1. I will have my own successful practice, which will be minimally but artistically furnished and in a hip area of town, and I will work two days a week, of my own choosing.
2. I will be healthy, with glowing skin and hair, tons of energy, making good food choices, with a slim waist and toned arms, gliding around in simple clothing and comfortable European-type shoes, being cool as a cucumber and bringing peace to all I encounter.
I have realized, however, that my leaving the business (or maybe it has more to do with my having Birdy) has made me much more at home in the time and space I’m currently existing in. I’m pretty sure I’m not able to describe it well, but where I was bound before by schedules and time and the structure of the 5-on, 2-off work week, I find myself wondering what day it is sometimes, not thinking “only a day and a half left” on Saturday, and not obsessing or dreading any of my commitments. I feel un-tethered, and better able live in the time I have, not two days ahead. I’m less regimented, in less of a rush. Maybe it’s all those acupressure treatments. That’s the really great thing about massage school: people have to practice. On you.
This is not to say that I don’t still have those panic moments at work where I get itchy and sweaty and feel like gnashing my teeth and kicking violently when I’m in the middle of a tedious mail-out project and I see no end in sight. But I am able to suppress it, and the stress comes from tedium and minutia, not doom and dead-ends, which is nice. And I lock up at night and leave it all in this little building, and it doesn’t touch me in my real-life world, which is becoming more and more my own as I continue to design it the way I want it to be. (You’ll be happy to know, though, that I am still doing quite a bit of fucking around at work. I have to have some consistency.)
I have it. Birdy has it. And I’m looking forward to A’s late office hours in the fall for only one reason (because the rest of it is going to suck): we’ll switch, and A. will be the drop-off guy, and I will be the pick-up guy. I hate leaving her, I hate the scared crying and the reaching. I hate the sinking, nauseous feeling in my stomach and the loud hum in my head when I look away from her little terrified face. I hate the hot dizziness and the feeling that I’m having a vital organ removed right there in the daycare center. I hate knowing that the daycare is so “clean” that Birdy might as well be soaking in a bucket of chlorinated bleach all day.
What I meant to talk about was that today, when I put Bird down on the floor next to this cute little round-headed guy in a bouncy seat, she immediately pulled up on his bouncer and started laughing and poking him in the belly (okay, the face, but it was still cute), and he was laughing along with her, and I felt a lightning bolt in my reproductive tea-set that told me I will definitely, definitely need to have more babies. I mean, I knew that before, but I’m starting to feel the little empty gray space that I felt a couple of years* before Birdy. Kind of like that weird empty hole you create when you move furniture around, that makes you say, “You know, something should go right here…”
*please note the use of the word "years."
27 June 2006
Birdy got ejected from church for the second Sunday in a row. Only this time, we were at my in-laws’ church, and we had to go to the “cry room,” (It's a Catholic thing, a little soundproofed cage so that you can let your children wail and still not miss even one second of the mass just because you have a child or twenty that are having total meltdowns and need just a little attention from you) which I did not especially mind considering that mass always makes me uncomfortable and itchy anyway. I’m not a Catholic, and I’m not planning on becoming one (no matter what anyone expects), so I’m fine to sit in the glassed-off baby cage. Oh, and if you have a child that is anywhere in age from six months to two years or maybe more, you should pack up those wrap dresses right now and put them in the attic. All of
In an effort to keep up with the times, we listened to the weekly top 40 countdown on our five-plus-hour drive back to the Mid-South. It’s hosted by Ryan Seacrest now, did you know that? I mean, I guess I didn’t think Dick Clark was doing the countdown from his deathbed (is Dick Clark still alive?), but I was a little shocked about the Seacrest. Some thoughts on the top forty:
- We were posed this question, on a commercial break: “What do Hootie and the Blowfish and Superman have in common?” To which A. replied, “They both suck. Except Superman.”
- Um, what is a Hollaback Girl? And who let Gwen Stefani pout and whine her way so far into the cultural consciousness? Wasn’t she some kind of ska-pop girl at one time? Her singing voice sounds like something I would make up to annoy my brother during afternoon carpool.
- And finally, a skater-pop song with the chorus, “You are my dirty little secret,” which of course, was sung “Dirty little Seacrest” while we made up scenarios about him singing the song to himself in the mirror while he checks out his new Botox and stubble extensions. I bet Ryan Seacrest is someone’s dirty little secret. Ooh la la.
If you want to go to massage school, take it from me:
A good class partner makes all the difference. We’re nearing the end of the term, and I have my handful of go-to people when it’s time to partner up. Girl who hasn’t been here half the term? No thanks. Girl who is still uncomfortable touching others? Moving along. Know-it-all hypochondriac and general irritant? I don’t even see you. Today, I partnered with the person at the top of my “A” list, and had a very, very good class. This person is waaaaay farther along in the program, so she does great work and I learn a ton from her. She’s also a total open book, and by the end of class she was working on my fingers and hands and we were whispering about her new boyfriend like sixth graders at a slumber party. And did you know that after I pass my board exam and get my LMT, it’s just another short step to being a for-real doula? I might like that.
Attention, Tooth Fairy:
Birdy has a tooth! And with very little drama, I might add. I felt it on Saturday at A’s family cookout in
Two things: If my kid cuts a tooth in your care, I want to fucking know about it. And you already ruined the “Hey! Bird can crawl!” moment for me, so at least let me pretend to discover just one of these beautiful new things about my own little biscuit. They really do grow up so fast, just like the little old ladies at the grocery store say they will, and mine is doing too much of it at the damn daycare.
The day the music died
The day the music died
If I push my extra belly-skin together towards my navel, it looks just like a little butt. Like Birdy’s butt. I have enough extra flab around my middle to make up a child’s ass, and then some.
I will leave you with a pic of birdy having her first one-girl pool party at Grandma's:
And a picture of my brother-in-law's pug exiting the kiddie pool in a frenzy with one of Birdy's ducks in his mouth:
23 June 2006
Shit. We need to get up and get our stuff packed so we can get out of town on time this afternoon.
I'm already packed, I just need to get my stuff together and put it in the bag.
Um, yeah, so we need to get packed.
22 June 2006
That said, I understand a certain need for *ahem* privacy, but what if you need to be in there a really long time? What if you need to be in there and then maybe take a little time to wait for the next wave? And what if you need to get in there right fucking now and some other woman is already in there laying eggs? Or waiting to lay eggs? Come on, 'Bucks! You've got the cash, so pony up already on a double-stall, or even a third, unisex, handicap-accessible "office", like the one they have at Harris Teeter. We need a backup plan.
You might have guessed by now that I had some gastrointestinal excitement this morning. It ended with me having to use the bathroom at Birdy's daycare. I don't mind " working from the satellite office," but the bathroom at daycare has two teeny potties, side by side, no divider, and a frigging curtain instead of a door. I understand it wasn't built for me to go drop a deuce in there, but let's just say the setting was not ideal.
Everything's comin' up Mama Snee
Let me talk for a second about how different my life is today than it was three weeks ago: This morning I got up, got myself and Birdy ready, dropped my car off to get the G-damn driver's side lock fixed (now playing: Mama Snee's wide ass on display as she crawls over the passenger side door to unlock the driver's door by the handle, in the rain) dropped A. off at work, dropped Birdy at daycare. Went to the Bux to sip a beverage, squirrel around with my planner and all of its associated notepads, called my friend who will have a baby any day and had a lovely little chat. Packed it up and drove, in no hurry, to massage school--a place I actually wanted to go. Nice, eh? Nothing earth-shattering, but the sense of dread is lifted and I feel like I'm strolling through my day, whistling, instead of crawling through it, dry-heaving. 'snice.
A Compact Love
Another reason I have such a sunny outlook today is that I'm driving the CIVIC. It's almost ten years old, and filthy inside and out, and it still smells like the 700 packs of cigarettes that were smoked in it, pre-quitting, but I LOVE it. It's the only car I've ever chosen by myself, for myself. And I chose wisely, I must say-- it's just the right size,it gets great gas mileage, it's a breeze to park, it's a stick shift (which I've always been surprisingly good at, like today, eating noodles in a bowl with a fork while driving a stick shift, yeah!), it just... works. And when I push the button to unlock the doors, they ALL unlock. And they never, ever lock unless I tell them to. And I can reach all of the stuff on the passenger seat (and half of the back seat) while I 'm driving, without having to bury my head below the dash and reach 10 feet to my right just to answer my phone or find a tissue. I love this car.
A word on Evolution:
I'm ready for my third arm, any time. Bring it on. Why haven't we started sprouting these yet? We are carrying A LOT MORE SHIT than our cro-magnon ancestors. Just today, I walked to my car carrying a totally normal load of items-- bag, book, coffee, water bottle, keys-- and dropped each of those things at least once on my way. And I look down at my arms and say, "Well how in the hell am I supposed to carry all of this crap with these flabby little things? I'm going to need at least one more." Add that to my list of demands, I guess. One more arm on my body and one more bathroom at S*bucks.
White Trash Pickup Day
The White Trash Cafe is a restaurant by the fairgrounds that I pass every day on my way to and from my job. Being here, in the mid-south, it's a little bit funny, okay. But what about all of the other kinds and colors of trash? Are they trying to keep the other trash out? Why you gotta be like that, White Trash Cafe? Or are they trying to keep the white trash in one central, lunch-time location and out of the way of the rest of the neighborhood? Because if that's the point-- rounding up the White Trash and sectioning them off in a cinder-block building-- then it seems to be working, but they have a long, long way to go, because as I mentioned, this is the Mid-South, yo.
21 June 2006
Printed address labels!
And not because there were a lot of labels to print, either, but because it all went to hell and I can't fucking figure any of it out. Tedious. The kind of thing that makes me sweat and my vision gets all wavy and I have to go stand in the break room for a minute.
And guess what's in the break room? Chocolate covered potato chips.
Go ahead, take a minute to think about that.
For Real, Though
The job is actually going well, the people are lovely, the hours are flexible and the paychecks are tiny, but they're cashable and I do need the cash. For the record, though, let's be clear that I take administrative jobs when I need work, not because I am good at them. Because I mostly suck at collating, copying, data entry, all of that. I have a friend who totally craves that kind of work, because it's sort of meditative and calming for her, I think, but it sure as shit does not hold my attention. I check completely out and then before you know it the Lawyer's office is calling because he opened his mail and got our check for the phone bill. And unfortunately, I'm not making up examples here. And it's only my second week. Just wait until the Executive Director ends up in Miami on the wrong day because I booked the wrong ticket! Then she'll have a reason to call up my old boss and compare notes, boy howdy.
So, tonight, Birdy made the sign for milk. At least, I'm pretty sure she did. And I almost cried. And I almost cried again when she was asleep on my chest in the rocker, and she popped up for just a second, with her eyes half-closed, gave me two big claps and a grin, and collapsed again, totally sound asleep. She is really something, that Bird.
20 June 2006
Blugh. I don’t feel like slogging through every detail of the weekend. But I will, because I am too tired to fight my brain about its weird, rigid linear timeline crap when I am already exhausted from the maybe-this-boca-chik-patty-is-really-chicken routine.
My parents came down while A. went to
And, the Gap was having a pretty kickass sale. And, I don’t really like to shop. So, I panicked, like I was on one of those grab-as-much-shit-as-you-can-and-put-it-in-your-cart television game shows. You know, just in case I never, ever encounter a black tank top again. Maybe you read my story about this on drivl.com—but if you’re going to visit the link, note that I changed “mom” to “out-of-town-friend” and “Gap” to “Banana Republic,” because we’re all friends here at Mama Snee, but Drivl is way more public and I didn’t want to sound like my mom took me to the mall and I dorked out over a sale at the Gap. Even if that is the truth.
My dad was great with Birdy. He was a little nervous about staying with her for 2 hours by himself while we ladies went shopping, but he did a fantastic job, with a big sweaty Birdy nap as the grand finale. He was also very nervous about my driving his car, which he has always been. I kept asking him, on our way to the
I have to be honest here, I usually put up a little fight when A. goes out of town or leaves for the night to play a show. And then he leaves, and it’s totally fine--Birdy and I have a great time, bumping around town and having little adventures. Like going to Wild Oats and smelling that healthy Wild Oats smell that is laced with something that makes you think you will be healthier just by walking in the door, and even healthier if you buy some stuff with a recycled-looking label. Adventures like getting halfway through weekly grocery shopping at the swanky Kroger and realizing that I completely forgot to give Bird her bottle before we left the house, and no wonder she’s cranky because she hasn’t eaten in like six hours, and I'm getting physically sick with guilt (sweaty, nauseous) in the grocery, and racing home to get some food in the poor kid.
Adventures and weekend guests aside, we were very happy to see A. when he dragged himself in the front door late Father's Day evening, stale and glassed-over from the road.
And speaking of groceries, I am pissed. We’re going out of town AGAIN this coming weekend, and I thought I’d order the fancy online healthy delivered groceries—just lunch stuff and a few other things—to have waiting for us when we get home on Sunday. We all know that getting home late on a Sunday not only cancels Sunday grocery shopping, it throws the whole week into a tailspin and before you know it you’re eating carry-out for a month straight because you can’t get the normal food-buying routine re-established. And with that in mind, the $7.95 delivery pricetag for the delivered stuff doesn’t seem so steep. However, comparing my last receipt from the Kroger trip where I starved my kid, lunch stuff for Andy for the week cost $12.67 at Kroger, and it was going to cost $23 and change for the same stuff (granted, organic cottage cheese vs Kroger cottage cheese is a clear price difference) at the easy-breezy place. Before delivery. And shit, too, because I wanted this to work.
We got a gift basket at work last week, with a whole box of Swedish Fish in it. I can’t be stopped. I eat at least seven of them a day. At LEAST. And speaking of candy, sitemeter says that I get more than a few hits on my blog from people searching for info on the Starburst that I thought was acid-burning my mouth. I can only assume they are sitting in front of their computer screens, drooling and fanning their chemical-tasting mouths and wondering if they’re going to die. I hope I can be of some help to them.
12 June 2006
Just because there are donut holes in the kitchen does not mean you should eat more than ten donut holes before dinner. Or ever.
Birdy’s first babysitter from the non-grandparent population! No kidding! And it went wonderfully. J. came over and was a total natural from the get-go, and A. and I had a lovely anniversary dinner and drinks and did not worry one bit. Couldn’t be more grateful about the whole thing.
And then after we came home we kept having drinks and having drinks. Unwise, yes, but a nice reminder of when we were a two-seater. And a nice reminder, in the morning, that over-drinking and warm yummy morning babies are a bad combination of headaches and nausea and guilt.
And We've Already Joined the Flock
Also, our priest, our TOTALLY KICK-ASS PRIEST, (a phrase I would have bet my life on never, ever saying) who is a kind and tough woman, who was recently the grand marshal of the Gay Pride parade, and who is the reason we’ve attended church more than twice in the past year, is leaving our parish. We attended her last (hot, long, teary) service (hotter, longer, tearier with a baby, by the way) and then went to the
New Job, Day One
I think I was busier on my first day at this new job than I was on my busiest day at my last job. And that’s not saying I was crazy busy today, that’s saying I’ve atrophied and I am out of practice at doing useful work. And I had a little panic moment, too: when will I read blogs? When will I write blogs? When will I instant message E. to tell her how much I like cheese or that I’m afraid that my feet stink but I’m taking my shoes of under my desk anyway? Why did I want any of that to change?
And then the clouds parted and I remembered why, and I went to Staples and Home Depot to pick out a desk and get a copy of a key.
09 June 2006
A. is playing a show tonight, I'm home with sleeping Birdy. I have beer and a couple of cigs, but what I really want is some company. So get ready! Because I'm talkin' to YOU.
My Last Week of Work in the Big House.
Not a dramatic week, as I’ve been officially on my way out the door for a couple of months now, unofficially out the door longer than that. I’m tempted to be unprofessional and make a gripe list about the way my official exit went down, but it was kind of what I expected, and that’s even more disappointing in some ways. At the same time, though, I’m kind of relieved that my leaving was kind of an afterthought for some people, because I don’t like to make a big deal and do the thing where you have cake or something and everybody gets really excited for a second but you end up staring at each other in the conference room over your cake, making uncomfortable conversation.
It’s probably unhealthy, but I like to feel needed at a job. It probably comes from all of my psychosocial rehab worker years—who knows—but if you don’t have hang-ups before you enter mental health work, you are sure to leave with some. And when your boss doesn’t realize it’s your last day, and people you don’t even work with are the ones that put together your “drinks after work” fiesta, you don’t feel so needed or important—at least not to the people who write your paycheck. I know we all have miscommunications and calendars get screwed up, but when you’re a four-person (now three) company, it’s good for the right hand to know what the left hand is doing, and to get it freaking together. Not even a card that everyone signed. It was definitely time to go.
Brief history: we all worked in an ad agency together, the company dissolved (in my 9th month of pregnancy) and other companies were formed, but we all stayed in our offices in the big house. I went from busy writer to bored but grateful-to-have-a-job secretary. At one point it felt like family, and by the end it felt like a step-child divorce.
To be clear, though, I’m not running from the building with my middle fingers extended or anything. The people I work for are, at the end of the day, good people. I had my little breakdown and got my feelings hurt a couple of months ago, and at this point I’ve made all kinds of peace with walking away. But it’s the people I don’t actually work with that were the hardest to leave. Harder because now that we don’t work together, we remain friends by choice. One in particular was a difficult goodbye, as we spend a full eight hours a day together in a weird hallway-office at the base of the stairs, even though we work for different companies. He's gone from being my former co-worker to my dear friend, daytime entertainment and inside-joke guy. I give him a lot of shit and he gives it right back, like a brother. My work days are about to get much, much quieter, and I am genuinely sad about that.
I also, this week, wore the most uncomfortable pants ever created, which I bought at the “Free Panties With Purchase” yard sale. The lesson: thrifty isn’t thrifty if you’re going to buy crap.
First Week of Massage School, Day 2.
Day two was way better than day one. I still don’t feel like I’m finding the pressure points exactly, or rather, I haven’t figured out a way to gauge my accuracy, but all in all it was a good class. I had a much better partner this time. And on my break, I listened to motorcycle lady talk about how kids go to Bonnaroo and get “tripped out” and die. Hmmm. Also, guess who’s in my class? The girl who was waiting to get her nips pierced when A. got his birdy tattoo. Small freaking world.
I’m getting better about touching people. I thought I wouldn’t even flinch, after so many years of trimming nasty toenails and dressing wounds in butt-cracks (yep, that happened) and teaching people how to bathe. I’ve found this to be different, though, in a boundaries-related way, and I think I’m getting better. Realizations mid-way through class :
- I realized I have chosen a life path that involves frequent nudity, lubrication, and touching people for money. So that if I were ever in one of those small-group icebreaker situations and had to describe my line of work so that someone else could guess what I do, I could easily be mistaken for a whore.
- While my partner trying to find pressure points on my feet, I realized I had to fart.
- I did.
- And I think she noticed.
07 June 2006
I did a little internet research, as I felt my tongue melting away after my latest Starburst candy rampage. I examined the package excavated from my little trash can, and lo and behold, I had purchased a "limited edition" flavor of "Starburst: Icy Burst" candies.
So the chemical, non-food aftertaste is intentional, not some kind of "mixed up the experimental fuel additive with the Starburst ingredients at the factory" mishap.
And, (thank you Google) there are a lot of people on the internet who are mildly pissed off about this... because the "Icy Burst" additive includes MSG, among other reasons, and also because the unexpected burning sensation it produces is not as pleasurable as the good folks at Starburst might have anticipated.
Does this ever happen to you?
06 June 2006
Didn’t start out so hot, as I raced around dropping Birdy off at daycare and stopping to buy a notebook, slid into the parking lot at exactly 9:00, spilled coffee on my required set of sheets as I was getting out of the beast, and walked into a dark classroom.
Yeah, class starts at 9:30.
And I wore my shoes into the classroom, which apparently is a no-no. Live and learn.
The class is Acupressure, applying varying degrees of pressure to very specific spots on the body to relieve all sorts of pain (also, in Acupressure, you don’t use the word “pain”, you say “sensitivity.” Live and learn again). Today was about headaches, and we jumped into table work within the first hour.
Let me make myself clear: we started touching actual other people almost first thing. Day One. As in I was squeezing a stranger’s toes by 10:30 this morning. And while I was standing next to the table with the just-out-of-high-school D&D kinda girl lying terrified on her back, I thought, “hold please. You decided you WANT to touch strangers early in the morning and any other time they will pay you to do so.” I think I am in for a lot of epiphanies.
And not that this is a bad thing—after the first go round and my shuffling hesitation, it got easier, more interesting, less weird.
When I went off to college, I arrived at a Midwestern state school where (almost) every student I encountered was my own age, same situation, and let’s face it—we all kind of look related in the Midwest anyway. This, and one Photoshop class for kicks at community college, sums up my higher-education experience.
This homogeny is not the case in massage school. One might think that attendees of massage school are a calm, enlightened, healing group of neo-hippies who compost. And while I’m all about not judging (or at least I like to say I am and kind of believe it), looking over at the two late-forties fanny-packers whispering about Harley Davidson Motorcycle shows at the fairgrounds while finding each other’s pressure points made the whole endeavor slide back into Tackyville for a minute. And I think this is a fight I’m going to fight hard in the beginning—because there seems to be a dark little bit of hocus-pocus and snake oil to the whole thing. I’m still guilty, momentarily, of discounting the path I’m actively choosing, and the cigarette-smelling pseudo-goth girl makes my brain say, “What are you doing? What the fuck are you doing?” *
It’s going to be a big learning experience, but the “academics” of it are much more organic and less about memorization and over-discussing. And I’ve been trained to be a stellar memorizer and over-discusser, thanks to the Indiana University English Department. So, in summation, my challenge for the semester is going to be more about taking myself and this craft seriously, by learning to block out the redneck element who just wants to go work in her sister-in-law’s beauty shop in her garage. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)
*Okay, reading over this, I am painting a very inaccurate picture of massage school. The instructor is great. The program is more intensive than the state licensure requires. There is a lot of thinking and intuitive therapy involved. The school is an open, airy, naturally lit space in an old train station. And I think the other, advanced students in the lounge looked way more like those composters I mentioned earlier.