24 September 2006

This One Goes to Eleven

I have one thing to say about work today:
You do not have to yell.
And you sure as shit do not have to yell with your mouth full.

So, the weekend.
We made yet another trek to the motherland for an all-day benefit that A. and his cousin put on every year. A benefit for which and in which he works his ass off, along with others that also work their asses off and still others that sit around their pop-up campers and shoot fireworks into the weeds.

Bird and I stayed with my parents on Friday night, to get her settled and so that I could get a decent night's sleep before the festivities. Mama Snee is old and delicate these days, and needs her rest.

Remember when I was saying all of those fabulous things about Indiana? Here's a snapshot of what I'm talking about: I woke up Saturday morning to Bird in her crib next to the guest bed, chattering away about some thing or another, and I picked her up and stuffed her into the bed next to me, where she promptly fell right back asleep, nose to nose with her mama. And we snuggled up and felt the breeze coming in the open windows, in between the clean sheets in the bluish pre-morning light. And we listened (I know, get this) to the rain. Not sirens or dogs barking or the alarm clock or my neighbor's insanely loud bass. It smelled good and it felt good. Indiana is made of magic, I tell you. Or maybe it's just that my mom actually washes the sheets regularly.

So Saturday afternoon I said goodbye to my sweetiebeans and drove an hour and a half north to meet up with A. at his cousin's farm for the third annual Gene Wilder Open, featuring great bands playing great music (okay, I'm getting lazy, no more links) in a barn in the middle of nowhere, where hipsters gather to rock out and sleep in beat up pop-up campers and tents and raise money for the daughter of a friend who passed away.

And apparently, I arrived at the farm via time machine, and showed up ready to party somewhere between 1994 and 1998. I hugged old friends despite my raging B.O. and chatted and accepted beer after beer, was photographed smoking cigarette after cigarette, and soon found myself stumbling across a field in search of a cozy place to close my eyes for a second, then sitting in the very wet grass next to my car and smooshing my cheek right on the drivers' side door because it felt so nice and cold. Fortunately, I managed to recover in time to make it back to the barn and use the word "fuck" about fifty times in conversation with my mother-in-law and then fell asleep in my car. Note to self: eat dinner before you drink dinner, capisce?

On another note, the bands were fantastic, the company was swell, everybody mostly kept their shit together, I didn't lose my keys, the cause was a good one, and it was nice to see A. freed from behind his drum kit, singing and tambourining with Hideki. It would have been nice to have a date for the party, (or maybe someone who would have said "have a water this time,") but I also like to watch him work the sound board and play music and be happy as a little clam. It also makes me feel like I'm contributing, watching him work so hard.

And then Bird-- oh, Bird! We met up with my parents at a restaurant near the interstate to do the Great Car Seat Trade-Off Stunt Show and Variety Hour, and I swear to you she was bigger and had more hair than she did when I left her the day before. She spent most of the lunch stomping around the restaurant, jabbering and pointing her spatula at people. Add that to my list of best-loved kid toys: cell phone, cardboard paper tube, tupperware, spatula.

And by the way, no more bitching about the Ford Explorer. You should have seen how much shit that thing can hold.

21 September 2006

A New Semester

When the weather is so gorgeous like this, my brain definitely goes to crap. Seventy degrees, sunny, fall-smelling. And now there is a temp to do the post office and bank runs, so I am scrambling to come up with a reason to venture into the sunshine. That, and I was not a huge fan of what I ate for lunch and would not mind driving around in search of treats to compensate for my ho-hum rice thing.* I probably won't though, because I have managed to spend only $2 of my weekly allowance that I received a week ago tomorrow. I know, I can't believe it either. Even more shocking is the fact that Mister I-can-rock-an-allowance-because-I-don't-spend-any-money is now Mister empry-frempty pockets. It isn't a contest, but it is. I mean, it is if that's what keeps me from buying $2 vats of diet coke at the Sonic down the street, then IT'S ON.

I have had the sudden and strong urge to move my little family back to the town where A. and I went to college. It just flew in the window and grabbed me by the chin one morning and looked into my smooshed-up face and said, "DUDE. THIS IS THE ANSWER." What is it that I can do/ accomplish/ feel there that I can't here? I don't know. In fact, just the other day I was wishing for long, neighborhood walks with Bird while I was taking a long neighborhood walk with Bird. Yeah, hi. Greener grass, anyone?

One thing that the Indiana town would provide that the South just can't is proximity to Bird's grandparents. The ability to drive just one hour to see family. Having dinner with them instead of spending 72 hours together in my house, mothers and mothers-in-law treating us to groceries and putting them away in places we'll never think to look.

The most important thing to me about the Indiana town, I'm now realizing, is that it's pretty small. And I like that smallness. And I really like the thought of that smallness as Bird gets older.

And then the daydreaming kicks in: I guess I also wish for long, neighborhood walks with Bird during the day and not after work, and walks where we don't discover homeless people fishing through our neighbors' garbage. I keep having this vision of how perfect it will be to shop at Bloomingfoods and walk to parks and stroll around the square. Picturing driving to a National Forest with my little family in just 20 minutes. Picturing a house I used to visit there that was always cleaned with herbal good-smelling stuff and had a great garden and a sweet dog and homemade hippie food on the stove. Picturing myself in that house in the evenings when it starts to get cool, having a glass of wine and a (shhh) cigarette after Bird goes to bed. Picturing myself having time to enjoy it. Picturing me and A. and Bird strolling around the little farmer's market on the square on a Saturday. Just picturing a simpler picture.

I know what you're saying. Picking up and moving isn't going to make those things appear, that it's all about blooming where you're planted and all kinds of loodydoo stuff like that. I know that what I want at the core of this is just time. And I know that when I lived there I had a lot of it. I didn't think I did, but I really, really, did.

It's this weather, isn't it? Fall = change. It grabbed me by the face, people. So now I want to go.

20 September 2006

Full Circle

We're not eating dinner anymore at my house. I mean, we're eating a third meal (-ish), but it's not dinner. A. gets home just in time to put Bird to bed (though he doesn't leave until 10 in the mornings, so they have a nice morning together), and I'm just not interested in whipping up something piping hot and casseroled during my own Bird time. I'm too busy trying to soak her up.

By the way, this afternoon, she dumped out her daycare bag on the kitchen floor, picked up the empty cheese container and handed it to me, then held out her little hands, palms up, like a starving Oliver Twist. Sadly, there was no more cheese to be had, and she collapsed in a noisy heap with her forehead on the floor and her bum in the air. Our darling has discovered whining.)

Which leaves us at nine o'clock in the evening, sitting on the couch, eating cheese and crackers and watching a documentary about Andy Warhol on PBS. It's just like college, but without the pot.

18 September 2006

What I Should Have Said a Week Ago

This is a long post. I've had some blogstipation, and I didn't make that word up, but I can't remember who did. Maybe Amalah? I don't know. I act like I know these people, and I don't. I also get annoyed when the bloggers I read go around vomiting up these gigantic posts, and yet I do it all the time. I'll be all "gah! I don't have three hours!" and then I'll have a major blog-clogging release about once a week. So bear with me, or don't read, or whatever. But know that you'll be rewarded with Bird photos at the end of the post, which is a reward of the highest order, in my opinion.

So you might want to bail on dinner at my house for awhile

I have now officially seen more than three creatures in my kitchen that start with "R" and end with "-oach." Fuck.

Snacks on a Plane
If I'd had a laptop to tap away at while I patiently flew across the country and back, there would have been some, eh, verbose blogging going on. Nothing like captive time to make you analyze every move and every thought you have and crap your pants with insight. I took some manic scribbled notes that really meant something at the time, but which I can't decipher now. I also apparently hit a serious self-improvement streak and made this note, along with other generalized keys to success: "Financial: Check bank balance every day!" Did I need the exclaimation point? And did you know I've been writing myself that same note since I was eighteen? That must have been after I closed the latest issue of Real Simple and thought I might set the world on fire. Or at least buy some bins and make some lists to organize it. And then I ended up watching Gray's Anatomy with no sound over someone else's shoulder on their laptop. So maybe I wouldn't have churned out a blog entry if I'd had a laptop, after all.

And about the actual trip:

Who wouldn't travel across the country to snuggle with this guy?


And what about this guy?

He's the most dedicated fireman in the Spokane area, I assure you. He put out A LOT of fires during my visit.


*There is an unmatched sweetness in the early morning with a three-year-old, snuggled up under the covers with you, watching the farm report.

*It hasn't been so long since Birdy was a tiny baby, but it took me a minute to figure out what to do with the little guy I traveled to meet. People tell you it's going to go by fast/ they grow up so fast/ she'll be walking before you know it, and shit. They are right. Have I already said that? Shut up, it's true. In exactly one month my tiny Bird will be one year old. And being so many miles away from her with such a concrete reminder of our speedy enemy (time) made me freak out a little bit about how much I've already missed.

*My friend stays home with her bambini, and while I know it isn't easy to do and it certainly isn't easy on the checkbook, I am so envious of her opportunities, her abilities, and her challenges. She is raising kind and wise children, and I need these visits to check in with her and just observe, because my best parenting moments are just my clumsy imitation of what she does every single day. If you are fortunate enough to stay home with your babies and know them the way that my friend knows her boys, you are a very, very fortunate parent.

*Severe job anxiety gave me short bouts of insanity, feeling so freaking overwhelmed by all of the mess I've gotten myself into. There are lots of scribblings about that, but I can't even explain what it felt like then because it feels so differently a week later. (again, if I'd had a laptop...) It's going to be fine. It's going to be hard, and it might suck, but it's going to be fine. We need the money, and I need to be responding to a need for a new wheelchair instead of trying to fish through last month's donations to make sure everything was recorded correctly in the right database. Because that sucks, and so does the paycheck.

*Also on this trip, I found myself nose to nose with the vice grip of cigarettes, the power of friendship, the cleansing properties of a good cry, the effect of 4 beers each on 2 moms who don't get out much, and the fact that everything looks so much better after a few hours of sleep.

Meanwhile, back in the South
A. and I decided to have "old fashioned night" on Saturday, after pining briefly for the days of swinging by a neighborhood bar after work and swinging back out again several hours later, tipsy and smoky, and falling into bed without a shred of a plan for the next morning. So we drank beers and smoked (I know, I know) a few cigarettes on the back porch (after Bird was soundly sleeping) and actually talked. Not about budgets or diapers or refrigerator inventory, either. With A's weird hours and my overload of commitments, it was nice to spend some QT with my husband-husband, instead of my roommate-husband.

The Bird Report
Bird is really getting the hang of this walking business. Here are some pics of her stomping around the house with a pad of paper, barking out orders:

And pics of me and A. with Bird:

This one makes me a little weak in the knees.

A Long Walk for a Twelve Dollar Cup of Coffee

Friday was the dawn of our New Financial Way, where we carry a calculator with us to the grocery store and keep a tally of what's in the cart, we seriously tone down the "this book/ storage bin/ lamp/ baby gadget was on sale!" type of spending. It was also the first day of the allowance.

Meaning that A. and I each get $X.XX each week that is ours and only ours to do with what we please. I may have mentioned this before, but the reason I believe in this system is that when I sign a debit card slip, the total could easily be $15.00 or $150.oo-- I won't understand the abstracts of spending, but I will guard cash like it is actual bars of gold.

So, Friday morning, I went to the coffee shop near my office and purchased a piping hot cup of luxury coffee with my spankin' new allowance. And didn't realize until the afternoon that I handed the girl a $20 and walked away with change for a $10.

I went back into the shop on Friday and was directed to leave my name and number. I called late Friday afternoon. I called Saturday morning and was directed to leave my name and number again. Repeat on Sunday. And still, no callback. Still down ten bucks.

This morning, I went into the coffee shop. I explained my situation. The girl pulled down three little slips of paper with my name and number from the bulletin board.

Then she rolled her eyes, apologized, and sprung the cash drawer. She handed me my $10, no questions.

Victory! (a tiny victory, but still.)

In my excitement (seriously, you'd think I won the lotto), I said something to A. about the lesson to be learned from all this, which turned out to be:

If you are really annoying, people will give you what you want so you will just go away.

A.'s take on the lesson:

If you are broke enough that you will spend 4 days tracking down $10 from a group of surly coffee shop workers, you are totally broke.

08 September 2006

Later, ALligators

I don't mind working. I'm just not excited about having a job.

Did my first home visit yesterday, two hours' drive away in a nursing home, visiting a thirtysomething man who is slowly becoming trapped inside his own body while his brain continues to function. Let's just say I'm in way over my head with the new job.

But none of that matters for the next 4 days, because I am getting on a plane in 3 hours and leaving the south behind to go visit my BFF in far off Washington and snuggle her new baby and miss my own baby and try not think about stuff.

So, to be continued, I guess.

06 September 2006

Greener Grass

I've been wishing lately for bouts of insomnia, so that I might have a better chance of completing all of the tasks and meet all of the deadlines that loom over my head. I wish I could spring out of bed at 3am and pay the damn bills already, upload photos so the grandparents will get off my damn back about it, read the mounting stack of information I need to know for my job, go on a maniacal cleaning spree. Because seriously, insomnia (and I should clarify: productive insomnia-- I'm not about to lie there and stare at the ceiling, nossir) is the only way any of this shit is going to get done.

But alas, my head hits the pillow at 10pm every night, and I sleep the sleep of the dead.