28 February 2007

After I saw the spaceship, I came back down the mountain

  • Bullet Points are for Cheaters who Can't Pull Together a Cohesive Post
  • Saturday night, Bird did not sleep much. After much up and down and rocking and patting, we snuggled up together on the couch, which was mildly successful. She was beyond snuggly-- reaching a point of clinginess so clingy she would have happily crawled into my mouth, if she could fit, just to get a little bit closer. A sure sign she's getting sick. Within the tossing and turning and gut-kicking and head-butting there were sweet moments, like when she laid her head next to mine on the pillow and gave me a little smooch, and said "eye beegk!" ( "Hi, Pig!") and giggled like the comedian she is.
  • Sure enough, Sunday afternoon, a friend was standing in our kitchen, trying to convince us to pack up the wagon and head out for Las Maracas (recently renamed due to health-department, uh, issues) and eat us some beans and refried things. Once reasonably convinced, A. asked Bird if she'd like to go eat some beans? Yeah? How 'bout it? and she promptly puked all over his shoulder/ back/ arm. Raincheck.
  • Did I mention my in-laws were in town this past weekend? Friday night to Sunday morning. They let me cook for them-- more than once, even-- which may seem minor, but was a huge honor for me. And I think they actually liked most of it. It was a good visit, all-around. My father-in-law left no fewer than three rosaries in my house and car.
  • Saturday, I started to get sick. I sincerely thought at first that I might be allergic to my scented in-laws, as the same kind of uncontrollable sneezing and headache happened at their house at Christmas. But nope, as of Monday afternoon I was fevery and chilly and achy and spent the next twenty-four hours parenting half-assedly and forcing my child to nap so that I could catch a few winks. And did I mention Bird was sent home sick with the diarrhea cha-cha-cha?
  • Or that she had a gnarly eye infection the week before that made her look like an infectious stray cat?
  • Anyone want to hazard a guess at how much work I've missed lately?
  • Last week when my Bird was oozing from the eyeballs and the daycare called to tell me to come get her or else and don't bring her back for a good long while, I called my mom and wondered aloud how in the holy fuck I'm supposed to keep a job. And who do you think was at my doorstep at 9:30 the next morning? Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed after her five hour drive from Indiana? That's right, my mama. Granny-ed up and ready to babysit. Because she's like that. And I will do everything I can to be like that for Bird, always.
  • (Turns out it was an eye/ear infection combo.)
  • And living closer to Bird's Granny sure doesn't sound so bad sometimes.
  • I am so happy to be caught up on LOST, watching it with the general public, once a week. (tonight!) Watching nearly every night on DVD for the past few months--while delightfully commercial-free-- was becoming quite an obligation, and now that we're caught up I just don't know what to do with myself after Bird goes to bed. Talk to my husband, maybe. About LOST.
  • I got my bridesmaid's dress in the mail for my brother's wedding, which happens in about 3 weeks. I was measured for it months ago, and let's just say that things can change in a couple of months. Let's just hope they can change back in three weeks.
  • I listen to NPR at work, and in my town that means classical format from 9am-3pm. Which beats the hell out of the temp's "Wailing In the Glen" Celtic Screeching CDs. And I'm starting to recognize a lot of the pieces they play. Why? Because they are on the Baby Einstein DVDs. I'm all "oooh, it's the giraffe song!"
  • Some people that you are supposed to love make it very, very hard to love them. It is a tall order to love the compulsively miserable.
  • I went to Chattanooga (okay, the expanded Chattanoogish area... these people all seem to live in Bumfuck Nowhere) last week to visit patients. I got lost, but that goes without saying. I saw a spaceship house. (the first picture.) I found the spaceship house to be in far shoddier shape than this photo. And what makes it okay to be lost in the serious middle of Bumfuck Nowhere with no cell phone service? A loud Built to Spill CD and downloaded episodes of This American Life, that's what. And spaceship houses.
  • At the McDonald's (hey, my choices were severely limited and I was severely hungry) in one of the Bumfuck Nowheres, I ordered my standard fast-food fare: cheese-only sandwich, fries, and apple pie, and the total was 6.66. So I ordered another apple pie. And I ate that second apple pie right then and there, because I do not want to tempt the DEBBIL.
  • I wonder why my bridesmaid's dress is tight?

Blogging Tip:

Hey, are you on Blogger? Because if you are, don't ever, ever touch the "bullet points" button on the toolbar, unless you want to totally lose control of your post. I figured it out, finally. Okay, maybe it's me, but it doesn't work like it does in Word, just be aware.

22 February 2007


I was going to post a bunch of photos here, but I decided to be one of the cool kids and get a Flickr account. If you go now, you can see Bird's rash.

Ask and Mama Snee Shall Receive

I am in control of the Universe today.

Or maybe the Universe is giving me a little present (far more likely).

The weather is gorgeous. Sixty and sunny. This morning Bird got up early, and we lollygagged around, then decided to walk to daycare and back. As if we didn't have anyplace to be.

On the way there, I said to A, "Wouldn't it be nice if I could leisurely walk Bird to daycare like this, go home and work on some freelance projects, and walk back to pick her up early? Tweedlydee, that'd be swell."

When we got home, I threw myself/ my stuff in the car and got on the road, late. I called my instructor's cell phone to tell him I was running late because I am a lollygagger. He said, "Didn't you get my message? I'm sick. Class is canceled. "

Here I am, Bird at daycare, time on my hands, and some grumpy freelance projects I'd like to have out of my life. And after a couple of hours of peaceful working at home, coffee-drinking, Stereolab-listening, I'm much, much closer to moving them out the door, which feels light and fabulous. I may even organize our Home Office/ Crap Without a Place room. You never know. I'm unpredictable.

I said, "wouldn't it be nice" and then lo and behold. I mean, really. I'm finding that the more open I am to stumbling across them vs digging and fighting to find them, the more readily the solutions fall from the sky.

That feels better, right? Shake it off and get that last post off the front page?

16 February 2007

A Few Words on Anxiety

Let me preface this post by disclosing that I've been drinking wine. Beginning with after-work drinks with my boss and coworker, which turned out to be quite an enjoyable outing, despite the lengthy discussions of small dogs, housekeepers, and landscapers-- none of which I forsee becoming familiar with any time in the near or distant future. But they have taught me how to forge friendships with people so unlike me, and for that I am grateful. And I had a genuinely nice time.

That said, are you ready for a story?

My junior year of college, I lived in a modified and run-down house managed by a dysfunctional alcoholic who lived in his office next door after his wife booted him from the family home. Our little house housed all of Us, a pack of six young dysfunctional folks and our cast of friends and acquaintances. Three boys, three girls, two kitchens, two bathrooms, all connected. We had adventures, and I wish I could remember more of them.

We hung out at the Vid, a downtown bar about two miles from home. The Vid was so smoky it impaired our vision, and it entertained us with cheap, strong drinks and a band of friendly redneck locals and general hipsters from the University. It was where the bands hung out. It was hipster before we understood what hipster was. It was a good place to play pool, or pretend to be interested in playing pool, in my case. It was a dive. It's where I learned to love Vodka. It was the first thing my husband and I had in common.

The Vid closed at 3am, and my house often opened to the public shortly afterward. This particular night, though, we only had my future husband and his roommate as visitors (they were regulars), and we sat peacefully smoking joints and continuing our beverage marathon in my roommate D's bedroom. He was the only one with a television. Most of the house was sleeping, including my roommate Virginia.

Before I met her, Virginia had dated a true asshole. A guy who continued to circle lower and lower around the loser drain after she broke it off. It had been a couple of years, and she hadn't heard much from him.

So there we sat, probably making up clever nicknames for people we hardly knew, winding down.

The phone rang several times at about 4am. It was the guy Virginia had dumped, demanding to speak to her. And my roommate D. told the guy over and over that she was in bed and that he'd have to call back in the morning.

And someone came in the back door. Which was unlocked, because we were friendly and dumb like that.

That someone was Virginia's old boyfriend and his idiot friend in plaid pants. And they had a gun.

They were fucked up on some kind of something. Our house held many illegal and unsavory substances a lot of the time, but none were as tweaky or ravaging as whatever this guy had gotten into. They both looked like shit. Like dangerous, threatening shit.

They walked into my house, threatening all of us and demanding to speak to Virginia.

These are the sentinal events that happened next: I slipped into the other kitchen and called the police. And my future husband and his roommate, my heroes, kicked the guy's ass in the big kitchen while his plaid-pants friend stood in the hallway, pointing his gun right at them. A. says they never saw the gun. It seemed like it took for-fucking-ever. And I remember all of them in a big ball of arms and legs and yelling, colliding with the refrigerator, knocking over all of the cereal boxes and bottles of wine that lived on top.

Okay, let's pause.

First, I am not the type of girl that hangs out with dangerous-type people. I am, at my core, a goody two-shoes, safety freak, can't-we-all-just-get-along type. We weren't mixed up with the "wrong crowd." I'm sure we became the "wrong crowd" for some people in different ways, but we never, ever thought we knew people that were so capable of violence. We never saw bar fights. We never. And my husband? He's not a fighter. He's just not. He once broke up a fight by getting totally naked and standing between the arguing parties, saying, "If you want to fight, you'll have to touch a naked guy to make that happen".* I am not making that up. But he and his roommate kicked this guy's ass proper that night in my kitchen, and I am not making that up, either.

The police came, and by that time the gun-toting tweakers were running from our house, after I proclaimed at the top of my lungs that I'd just called the cops. They were taken into custody, and it made the local paper the next morning. I filled out the police report on my front porch in green crayon, because one roommate was an Art Education major and that's what was available. We all filed restraining orders.

Fast forward to tonight, and every night that I sit on my couch alone while A. is out being the gregarious and social being that he is. I mute the television at every noise. I peek through the curtains every time the dogs stir. I can't really rest.

And I ask myself-- what am I so afraid of? And when I really and truly answer that question, I'm thinking about what would happen if someone came bursting through my front door. I'm always ready. I keep my cell phone next to me, because it's the phone (and my husband / hero) that saved all of our asses that night when I called Bloomington's finest.

If I had two minutes with the asshole that decided, on a whim, to walk into my peaceful home and threaten the sweet, imperfect souls that lived there, I'd say this:

You motherfucker. You may think you terrified me once, but you do it over and over again in the back of my brain where I can't see it or hear it, but it's there. Ten years later. You. Motherfucker.

*Another popular post-Vid destination: The Fountian Square Apartments swimming pool. None of us lived there, but the fence was low. So we climbed over and skinny-dipped in the summers. Beer cans float in the pool, did you know that? One small guy challenged one bigger guy about something dumb, like a Simpsons episode, and it started to get ugly. So A. got naked and got in the middle. Crisis averted. The end.

Mama's Secret

The Cheesecake Factory is a silly name for a restaurant. I was going to say it's a dumb name, but I'm trying not to be so crotchety and judgmental. (I didn't say anything about not being crafty and underhanded about my criticisms, however).

:::: Aaaahhhh. :::
So, I am out of my fog of wanting to lay on the couch and eat Pringles and ignore the commitments crashing down around me. I have rearranged my job schedule so that I will, beginning next week, tack on thirty minutes here or there on my longer days as a trade for Thursday afternoons off.

Any idea how this changes my world? How it makes every breath I take seem so much easier? How it feels like the sun just came out?

It feels like when you make that one rotation of the Rubik's Cube that really begins the solving of the puzzle, that makes it clear how to solve it. Or maybe like the moment you realize you can peel the colored stickers off and reapply them to make it look like you are a Supergenius Rubiks Cuber. Whichever. Now I can go to the mall and return those Christmas presents. Get a haircut. Pick Bird up early. Now I can meet my freelance deadlines. Now I can have a little space.

:::: I am the goalie.:::
I have come leaping out of my ugly little fog in a very task-oriented, goal-setting frame of mind, having picked my whiny ass up off the pity-party sidewalk, brushed off, and splashed some cold water on my face. There's no sign of this shit going anywhere, so it's time to figure out how to make it work.

I discovered this website. About setting goals, achieving goals. Keeping track of your goals. Other people's goals. Checking in from time to time to make sure I'm spending my energy toward something I've chosen to work for (or against, whatever the case may be.)

Yes, it's probably dorky and to be honest, I don't fully understand the site because I haven't taken the time to really look it over. Participating in 43 Things is one of my goals. Baby Steps, y'all.

But two things I know I want to put on the list?
1. Become an early riser
2. Be job-free (this does not mean unemployed-- this means working from home) by Summer 2007.

Why all the Oprah moments, Mama Snee? A classmate was going on and on about this book/DVD/empire called The Secret. I'm sure you know all about it, I'm just out of the Oprah loop, and totally on purpose, I might add. And I'm sure as shit not going to shell out a bunch of cash for a book/DVD that, upon inspection at the bookstore this afternoon, is filled with a lot of quotes by famous people and printed on "antique" looking paper. I'm all for inspiration, but I like mine to be free of charge and without mysterious wax seals on the cover.

In any case, I believe the premise to be something about putting your wants/ desires/ needs energy out into the Universe, and how the Universe will match your energy and sling it back to you however you've manifested it. In other words, positive thinking. Write it down to make it real. Eyes on the prize. Cut out that patio furniture you've always wanted and stick it on your fridge until, holy shit, here's that patio furniture you've always wanted for sale on Craigslist.

Maybe it's because the Universe gave it to you, and maybe it's because you looked at it every day and were more motivated to seek it/ more alert to opportunities to obtain it. Maybe I just said the same thing twice.

So I'm writing things down, like the above mentioned items. Maybe I'll participate in 43 things, and maybe it's already done its inspirational job for me, as I sit here and look at my little notebook and this growing list of things I actually want to do. Usually my lists are comprised of things I want/need/have to do in order to keep my income/ house/ car/ health/ family out of ruin. So a list of things I want? A list about who I want to be? That's a start right there.

So if you were worried that I had retreated to the corner of my garage with an Us Magazine, a fifth of vodka and a pack of smokes, you were almost right. But it's going to be okay.

12 February 2007

Three Laps Behind

Geez, has it been ten days?

It has been a busy, furious ten days. More rashes, more doctors, more missed work, school, et cetera, and finally a mended bird. An appointment to see my first naturopath. Getting ambitious with menu planning on Saturday and ending up with an abandoned, half-cooked dinner on the stove and a small screeching child crawling up my leg on Monday. Not doing a stitch of laundry, whole family smelling a little stale. Getting a shitty email from the project manager of a shitty freelance job. Falling behind, behind, behind in every category.

In my little black notebook I have about a hundred things scrawled out that I wanted to talk about here, and I still intend to. I was in prime form to rattle off a very meaningful post about work vs. babies under the umbrella of responsibility and guilt (I know, I talk about that all the freaking time), and not being in that moment at this moment, it would only hold a few drops of that meaning tonight. So you're going to have to wait on that.

And here's what I'm about to do: drag another chair into our little computer-slash-piles-of-unwanted-and-homeless-shit room and watch another episode of LOST online with A. Because I'm avoiding this that and the other and because I'm perfectly okay with that.

02 February 2007


So, where have I been?

Nursing a feverish Bird.

Daycare called on Monday to report that her fever was 103. Tuesday she was off to the doctor with A, and Wednesday she hovered around 100 all day and slept and snuggled, and Thursday started to look like she was on the mend, until I discovered a pinpoint-y rash all over her little tummy and neck.

Turns out it's probably a reaction to the MMR vaccine, or a virus she picked up when we went in to get it last Friday. At least it wasn't the chickenpox. And at least she's feeling better. High fevers scare the shit out of me, because I start thinking about Little House on the Prairie, and how somebody always had some kind of dramatically high fever and had to get in an ice bath and they always died or almost died.

Or lost their hearing. Or was it her sight? It was her sight. Mary was blind.* Because of a fever, I think. I used to have a patient who went deaf as a child as a result of a high fever. She was wild and crazy, and I once spend a solid six hours with her in the emergency room waiting area after she'd downed a bottle of calamine lotion because her face was itchy.

(The hospital I speak of is a part of Prestigious Private University, and offered 18 different language translation options in the ER, but NO American Sign Language. Which wouldn't have mattered anyway because this person's signs were for the most part all her own made-up gestures, and when we finally made it to the desk to sign forms, she drew huge hearts all over the pages and refused to write anything except "I Love Lucy." But still. No ASL. Screw you, Deaf people! And especially you, deaf and crazy people! But bring on the Turkish interpreters!)

Anyway, so Mary Ingalls was blind, not deaf. And the high fevers on the Prairie are one of the many reasons I do not care for "pioneer"-type stories. There you have it.

In any case, I've hardly been in my office at all this week. How do people do it? How do moms without ridiculously flexible work situations (like mine, fortunately) do this? I feel guilty for neglecting my job when I stay home with Bird (though she is my most important job, make no mistake), and then guilty when I come to work and leave my still-clingy Bird at daycare. With all this guilt, I might as well just suck it up and convert to Catholicism. At least my father-in-law would be happy.

This schedule suits me, though-- one and a half days in the office, about four hours of freelance work during naptimes and after bedtime. I could get used to this. I mean, I wish I could get used to this. For this short week, I felt like my time was allotted in line with my priorities.

I remember last year at this time, working at my strangely rigid non-job (where I did literally absolutely nothing and my suspicion is that I was not the only one by a long shot, but everyone took it all very seriously), when Bird first started daycare and got sick and then sicker, mended and then sicker, after being thrown into the cesspool Baby Warehouse. We lost so much sleep, and I missed so much work. I remember being called into one of the partners' offices to be told that "You have used all of your personal days, and any time you take to care for Bird from this point forward will be unpaid." And I remember feeling so fucking DOOMED by the whole thing, because I sure as shit wasn't going to let such a meaningless job make me less of a mother than it already had, but at the same time, I felt like I had crossed some kind of line, was pushing my luck with my bosses. Doomed and Damned. I cried over that.

Today our city essentially shut down, due to about an inch (you heard me) of snow. But I am a Hoosier! I'm used to this shit, you wussy middle Tennesseans! SUCK IT UP! BWAH!!

Stinky Drink
Oh, and it's finally happened... someone brought flavored coffee into the office. It stinks like charred Kahlua, and I won't be drinking any. In fact, I wish I didn't have to breathe it. Like my grandpa once said, "Tastes like coffee with perfume in it."

He washes darks with lights, but he's still the Greatest
This morning, A. went out to scrape off the cars while Bird and I ate cheerios and watched Teletubbies (which is so bizarre, but I know you know that) in our jammies. Snow day, remember? I looked out the front window to find him gloveless, having a snowball fight with our neighbor kid who was out of school with no kids around to play with. He may be an Alfani man, but that husband of mine has a heart of gold. And really, really cold hands.

*Edited to Add: Mary did not go blind due to fever.