22 May 2007

Ball of Mental Yuck, and some other stuff

So yesterday I had a bit of a crisis.

It started with an innocent myspace message from an old college friend who also went to massage school while her kids were little, seven years ago. And now she's started selling real estate. Because she's burned out.

I won't lead you through the prickly thought process, but it ended in a giant WTF that included thoughts you might suspect. Thoughts like "what the fuck am I doing?"

But you've heard this all before, no? It's more common on days when I sit here in my office and have nothing pressing going on, and I sit and just stew. And I get restless. I start thinking about how my half-ghetto, half-hipster neighborhood is no place to raise a child. Or at least maybe not the place I want to raise a child. I start to miss quiet nights and unlocked doors and I decide that we need to pack it up and head back to Bloomington. I also decide I'd like to get wicked drunk and smoke a bunch of cigarettes.

And then I try to explain all of this to A. and it comes out sounding less than half as dramatic and urgent as it does in my head and my gut. Because he tends to live in reality, and not worry about the things that have not yet happened. Lucky bastard.

And dear God, this chatter is already boring me to tears. Feeling better/ more level today, but the restlessness is still ticking. Ticking, ticking.

Because the point is that really, what the fuck am I doing? Am I fixing a problem, or just changing jobs? And if that's the case, why not just stay here where I have unlimited freedom and the occasional dead person? And what is my fucking problem anyway? No matter what happens, I still need to work so that we can have little luxuries like a roof over our heads. And really--I can't believe I'm saying this-- at this point, Birdy freaking loves daycare and I'd wrestle with myself for pulling her out even if I could. And I know moving closer home is not an answer, but it's always my go-to option because life was simpler when we lived there. And the Grandparents. The Grandparents need the Bird. I need some kind of cottage industry. Something I can just pour myself into, something that comes naturally. I need to stop job-hopping and fucking around. I need to work toward something, not around something. And this is exactly the prickly shit I told you I would not drag you through. Maaah.

So let's talk about pooping, eh? I don't understand the "light a match" trick to get rid of bathroom smells. My family just never did that. Is it a southern thing? Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but I just lit a match in the bathroom at work and now it smells like I set some poop on fire.

The heating and cooling guy came for our spring tune-up yesterday, speaking of smelling like shit on fire. I will be having semi-permanent nightmares and flashbacks of the (literally) sheets of hair he removed from the big humming machine downstairs. He also thought that (since I mentioned that I used to work in mental health) (and BTW, yes, I know better than to say that, but I was in the aforementioned crisis and I can't be held accountable) that he ought to run down the laundry list of meds he's taking and ask me in a panicked voice if he was going to go "really crazy." Did I mistakenly claim to be psychic? Because, dude. Maybe you have already gone crazy. And maybe I have as well. I thanked him for peeling the layers of hair off of the whatchamacallit and sent him on his way with a big "you'll be FINE!" and a fake smile. Because at least I don't have to solve those kinds of problems anymore, and for that I am thankful.

Bird has been piping up with some crazy chatter lately, like this very serious warning, which she will shout right in your face, with great urgency:
"Mo-kees! Tey combeen! (translation: Monkeys! They're coming!)

Monkey Threat Level: Orange

16 May 2007

My Baggage

So, Velocibadgergirl did this thing where she dumped her bag and told us what was in it, and invited everyone else to do the same. So I did it. She also tagged me for a meme (me? tagged for a meme? Has never before happened! So I did that, too, which will come in a separate post.)


1. Moleskine notebook for jotting notes, many of which I'll never understand later
2. Giant plastic filing envelope-- you have no idea how this is saving my life
3. Plastic pencil case: holds pens, highlighters, old gum (wrapped, thank you) and Swiss Army knife
4. Bigger notebook for jotting: I make a list of the "must do" stuff here every day and keep it visible... if it isn't in writing, it so isn't happening
5. Board Meeting minutes from earlier in the week(these should live in the Giant Plastic Filing Envelope)
6. Thank You card from someone I care about, addressing a touchy subject*, need to respond (also should live in the GPFE... but seriously, you should see the stuff that's actually in it)
7. Business card from the BLIND TAX GUY
8. Shiny snail toy found in the park, to which Bird is now so very attached and who knows where it came from or where it's been, and no matter how hard I try to lose it, it just keeps coming back
9. Smallbag: lives in big bag. Holds necessities, functions like a little submarine that lives inside a bigger submarine and it shoots out to go exploring shipwrecks and shit. Smallbag explores shipwrecks. That's right.

1. Wallet. Had it since mid-college. Given to me by a former roommate as partial payment on a rather large phone bill-- I think he stole it from Urban Outfitters.
2. Planner. Daytimer Pocket Size, leather cover, 2-page-per-week calendar pack. I'll shout it from the rooftops, I love this thing.
3. Vet card**
4. Chapstick. Never leave home without it.
5. C.O. Bigelow minty lip gloss. Kind of sticky, but smells good, claims to freshen breath, though I'm not sure how unless you eat it, which you could if you were into that.
6. Lipstick, at least 3 years old, worn down to barely a stump.
7. Baby hairbrush for the babyhair
8. Starbux giftcard... thanks, mom (she really is so, so kind)
9. Old ass phone says "okay, how bout now? hello? you there?"
10. Pen and sharpie that used to be attached to keys... too dangerous, so I removed it and now it is a free-range sharpie.

*From brother-in-law's very long term and very recently former girlfriend, whom I just loved. It is all so sad.

** Rudy the Beardog is allergic to fleas.
Me: Does he even have fleas?
Vet: No, not really. That will be one hundred million dollars. Have a great weekend.

Fail Before You Start

So, Sunday night, A. felt sick. Like a "rock in my stomach," he said. Monday he was sicker. More crampy, more bathroom-y. Completely out of commission. And yesterday he went back to work.

Monday night, I came home from my Board meeting and threw up. I thought it was because I ate all those damned cheeses and triscuits. But it kept happening, and then I felt like... oh, I don't know, like I had a rock in my stomach? And did I mention the cramping?

And let me say now that I married a fine and compassionate human being, and that I am publicly sorry for not taking his illness more seriously.

So yesterday, I stayed home from work, occasionally writhing around in pain and spending a lot of time in the bathroom.

And today was to be my first day of intern clinic at school. I got up, got dressed, got Bird off to daycare, tried to eat some crackers, got my stuff all together, and realized there was no way in hell I could give a massage today. Even if I could stay in the same room for a full hour without racing to the bathroom, even with the aid of Immodium, I still haven't eaten anything since those damned Triscuits and cheese Monday afternoon and my arms feel like spaghetti.

So I sat on the couch and weighed the options, tried to gauge my physical state and figure out a way to make it work. Because if you don't go to intern clinic when you're supposed to, it really fucks things up and makes it hard on the people running the thing, who also happen to be the people assigning the grades, and who also happen to be very kind people that I'd like to not inconvenience in this way.

But in the end there was no way I could go. I felt impending doom and inevitable emergency. I envisioned embarrassing scenarios. I called in. And I feel rotten in general and rotten for calling in. Because no matter how sincere I am, I always feel like such a flake when these things happen. And on my first day, no less.

And now? About an hour since I called to cancel because I felt like I might shit my pants or vomit or both, I feel like I could do neither-- just a little groggy but digestively patched up, probably thanks to the Immodium. How nice, no? I mean, things could definitely turn south at any moment, and at this point I am sort of hoping they do, so I can feel at least a little bit okay about shirking my responsibilities. Because if I end up being fine for the rest of the day? I'll just feel like an ass.

14 May 2007

Love You, Cheese and Triscuits

Any time I am having a conversation and someone near me is having a simultaneous and separate conversation -- let's say it's on a cell phone, with, say, their spouse-- and that person near me says "love you," I suddenly have the feeling of being very, very stoned, and I look at the person I'm talking to and I can't figure out if they've just told me they love me or if I've just told them I love them, completely by mistake. But in any case, I am certain I have not heard the last several words of the conversation in which I am engaged, because the "love you" is still in the air and I'm not sure who said it but I feel like I need to say it back. This is especially true if the conversation in which I am engaged is wrapping up at the same time as the peripheral "love you" conversation-- I have had a few too many foggy moments where I'm 50% sure I've just professed my love for some unsuspecting acquaintance.

I just finished a hearty snack of Triscuits and cheese and grapes and mmmwaah! So delish. No matter how hard I try, I approach this snack with an unconscious game plan to finish all three elements at the same time, keeping a watchful eye on the Triscuit, cheese square, and grape count and rationing one or another to keep everything in check until the final moment where I eat the last Triscuit, the last Grape, and the last Cheese Square in one delicious and well-executed stack. And that's how it just happened-- a clean finish, and I ate more than I was hungry for just to make that happen. Because I am totally fucking nuts, apparently.

So, Bird. Last night, naked and waiting for the tub to fill up, (when will we learn on this one?) She looked me straight in the eye and shit on the living room rug, standing straight up and looking both surprised and victorious at the result.

Also, walked right up and hit the unsuspecting and endlessly gentle Ninny-dog on the butt. A. warned her of a time-out to come, and in response she picked up her little blue chair and carried it to the hallway herself, with no prompting, and sat there and looked at the floor in silence for a few seconds. She came out triumphant and giggling, and thirty seconds later, she smacked Ninny on the butt again, and replaced herself in time-out, joyously. What do you do with a kid like this?

A. helped me clean out a closet on Mother's day, which sounds completely lame but which was exactly what I wanted, now that I'm on my purging-the-shit-from-the-small-house kick. He frightened me with his emotional detachment and purging ferocity. He is at times a pack rat and at other times a ruthless sorter. I have a carload of junk to drop at the Goodwill this afternoon, and that feels marvelous.

In appreciation of his furious cleaning efforts, here's your A. quote from the weekend:

"Feel me. I'm silky and manageable."

10 May 2007

The Financial State of the House of Snee and Other Fine Things

So I somehow stumbled on a blog about money, and managing it, and blah blah getting your act together and et cetera. It really spoke to me, as financial tips usually do, and I tend to get all worked up about turning over a new leaf. And by the way, I'm talking about the plain-as-the-nose-on-your-face kind of financial tips, not, like, stock market advice or anything. That would be laughable. I'm talking about tips like "don't spend more than you make" and "don't buy something at the grocery until you check to see if you already have it." We have, by the way, an entire shelf in our kitchen dedicated to rice of all kinds.

I got the bug in my ear when I stumbled across mint, and then others and others and then pearbudget, and I got all worked up about making a spreadsheet, because YES! I can make a spreadsheet and make it do exactly what I want. Take that, Quicken. (Quicken that I have not updated for, um, I'm not telling you.) I browsed and surfed and researched and was really On To Something, smooshing together a lot of other ideas, something that was going to instantly make my life easier and help me save for those built-in shelves in the dining room quicker than you can blink an eye. It was going to be GLORIOUS! And I would be MAKING IT MYSELF! And figuring out how much money we spend on the dumb things that add up, and coming clean about all of it, coming out, confessing and addressing. On the road to being at peace about my checking account.

Oh, and as an aside, A. does not generally give a rat's ass about the checking account. Either we have money or we don't. It's that simple for him. In our case, very simple, as it is always the latter. I tell you this so you'll know what a solo journey it is, this sporadic, frantic quest for restfulness in our financial house.

I started a spreadsheet with great gusto. I plotted and planned and categorized and thought and even added a few formulas. And then the office erupted in a conversation about babies and I couldn't stay away, needed to race out to the front room and impart my motherly wisdom about this and that and the other. And now? I closed the spreadsheet and I've moved on. Taa Daa! Brief Action with No Follow Through -- my general mode of operation-- may not produce long-term results, but it sure will make you sick of something enough to ignore the problem.

A few words about television:
There is a crime show / murder entertainment ban at my house, where we do not watch Criminal this and CSUV whatever. For one, it throws my anxiety through the roof, and for two (related), I am of the belief that witnessing murder-- fake murder even-- on such regular basis is poisonous.

So the other night I set out to organize the mountains and mountains of stained/ outgrown and never-worn/ fancy-pants baby clothes hanging around in box after box all over the house. And not having cable, I had little to watch, and made an exception for Law and Order because I already had my shit spread out on the living room floor and because when I turned it on I really couldn't follow the story and didn't think I'd get too invested in it.

But it turns out that this particular episode was about something really, really horrible that happened to little children. So I say outloud, FUCK YOU, LAW AND ORDER. I just wanted to fold some damn baby clothes with a little distraction and now I'm thinking too much about your stupid, toxic show. You are double-banned.

On another note, LOST was awesome.

Five other things
1. The bug guy visited at work today and he found a live black widow spider on the outside of our building.

2. Have you been here? Don't you want to have peaceful, well-lit mornings like these?

3. We checked out a book from the Library about dinosaurs, and it's a super-simple little board book about "some dinosaurs are hungry. Some dinosaurs are sleepy. Some dinosaurs have long necks." and so on. And Bird listens patiently to the dinosaur observations, and when we get to "some dinosaurs have armored plates," she says in the sweetest little sleepy voice, "armored plates!"

4. I was really not kidding about the variety of snacks. I ate my lunch today at 11:00, and it is 3:40. Since lunch I have snacked extensively on the only things available: Life Savers and Swedish Fish Candy. I am both starving and nauseous due to the puddle of gooey, sugary shit rolling around in my stomach.

5. I had a conversation with my mother yesterday where I found her to be a little not herself, asking us to try a little harder to visit their house when we are already in Indiana visiting A's parents. She wasn't out of line to ask-- getting into the geography would be too long and involved-- and she wasn't being unreasonable, just a little out-of-character for her easy-going, "whatever works for you!" attitude. When my mom makes a request, you know she means it, because she rarely asks anything of us. And my heart chipped and broke a little more about distance and grandparents and Bird, and how there aren't enough days and weekends and phone calls and road trips, and there isn't enough Bird or enough time to go around. And about how we are so smitten by and immersed in our little budding life here in the South, but also so very, very attached to and rooted in the Midwest. Talk about being torn.

06 May 2007

Aheck, Aheck, I'm Not Coming In

So yesterday, I was sick.
Of living in absolute filth.
So I stayed home and worked a little on a freelance project and cleaned four rooms of my house from top to bottom. It is like I have a brand new home.

And, of course, after my easy breezy yesterday, I am scrambling to come up with a way for A. and I to make more money-- or just different money-- that would make that kind of day a little less rare. And of course, being typical me, I analyzed and hypothesized about what in the hell exactly I'm doing in school and what makes me think I'm going to be able to do this and why did I think this was this the answer? Because I'm nearing graduation and so my bank account and my calendar look remarkably unchanged-- one too empty, the other way too full. And I see no dramatic developments in the future.


My parents were in town this past weekend, and Bird was so overjoyed by their visit-- laughing and chattering and hollering and doing this hilarious move she learned from Miss O. where she does this big, dramatic laugh complete with knee-slapping. Oh, and biting her own arm twice and mine once, thanks to Abby the Biter. I know she's just processing what happened (which happened again on Friday) and testing some cause-effect relationships, but geez. Lay off my Bird, Abby. Keep your biting issues to yourself, thanks.


Number one thing I love about having my parents visit (besides the excellent company, watching Bird LOVE them, restaurant carry-out, FREE date-night, and twenty bucks secretly slipped into my purse):

My parents are excellent nappers. CHAMPION nappers. Growing up, I remember them taking regular, daily naps for as long as I lived at home. They start feeling a little bit draggy, they invest forty-five horizontal minutes, and they wake up refreshed and pick up where they left off. It is a beautiful thing. They are not afraid to pause.

I am genetically constructed to fit right in with this long line of top-notch dozers. Unfortunately, A. is not wired like us. It's hard for him to nap, poor thing. He has trouble falling asleep and when he does, he sleeps way too long and too hard and wakes up feeling like he's taken a lot of bong hits. Or Nyquil. I don't know really, I can't speak for him. I do not understand what it is to be an unskilled napper, as I do not understand what it is like to be unable to read and write. Or breathe.

So back to my parents: when they are visiting, they do not disrupt their nap schedule, and there is a decree across the land each afternoon that We Shall All Nap. I don't give myself that permission often enough, and it's so, so nice.


A. cleaned out the garage last weekend in honor of Large Item Pickup Day, where you drag your shit to the alley and magically it is gone by morning. And we had a lot of shit. He did a thorough job, going against his packrat nature to ditch a lot of useless junk, and as a reward to himself he stacked the dorm fridge on top of the desk, plugged it in, and filled it with tasty, tasty beers. The Man-garage has been restored, he says.

So while my parents were here and we were watching Birdy stomp all over the yard, A. thought it would be nice to have a tall cold one from the Manrage. So I said:
"Why don't you take my dad into the garage and show him your man-area?"


While we're talking about A. and all, I'll leave you with this A. quote from a friend's cookout Sunday afternoon, featuring severely delayed grilling due to the birthday boy/ host getting drunk in an inflatable pool :

"Sometimes a man just gets all oiled up and forgets he has guests."

03 May 2007

Demanding More Variety of Snacks

The first time I visited Chattanooga on business, Our Fearless Jackass President was visiting the Chattanugget and the interstates were shut down, and I got terribly, back-assedly lost. I stopped for directions at a BP station, and a hillbilly came running into the building shouting, "The prayseydunt's in tayun! The prayseydunt's in tayun!" and I expected him to dance a little jig and maybe shoot two shotguns in the air in celebration. Actually, in my mind, this is exactly what happened, and he looked like an old-timey prospecter, and he also said "yee-haw." He did not buy any gas. He was just spreading the good news and then was off to the next business establishment to (again, in my embellished version) dance his jig with his raggedy burlap Li'l Abner pants and his brown jug marked with "XXX."

So Friday, on my visit to Chattanooga, I stopped into the ice cream/ coffee shop/ convenience store run by a very lovely lady who gave me great directions. And a young man-- maybe twenty years old-- came in exclaiming that a car had just caught on fire and "blowed up so hard the tires done came off". And that it had just happened, just up the road a piece, and that he had pulled an old woman out of the car just in the nick of time. And this time, I am not embellishing, though my suspicion is that the young man may have been. But the woman behind the counter was blown away (no pun intended) by the story and praised the kid over and over until he was a little bit embarrassed, and said she had just been telling his daddy what a fine young man he'd become.

My point is that if you go to Chattanooga and want to know the dramatic goings-on in the area, just go to a gas station or convenience store and a hillbilly will come running in, out of breath, running from building to building to keep everyone informed of any new developments.


Here are some travel tips I compiled for you from the road:

Don't drink soda on a long trip. You will feel like shit. If you go to any SONIC restaurant, they will provide you with a gigantic cup of icy, icy water with lemon for free, and it will be so giant and so cold that it will still be cold when you come back out to your car after your SECOND patient visit, five or six hours later. I do not kid! Giant and Cold! It won't be free for long, once you do it a few times and they're on to you. Expect to be charged eventually, but minimally.

Also, don't eat things that make you feel like you might shit your pants. And do not eat these things if you are getting ready to walk into someone's home. You know what these things are. Don't be dumb.

If you bring your camera, nothing wacky will happen, except for the stuff you've already seen. But you will at least get your own pictures of it. (The spaceship house is for sale, y'all. Somebody buy it so I can come visit and then laugh behind your back because, after all, you bought a spaceship house.)

Mapquest beats Google. Mapquest beats Google. Mapquest beats Google. It's a hard and fast rule.

Wear your flip flops until the last possible minute, even if you are only making a twenty-minute trip. Put your heels on in the car, go to your appointment, and replace with flip flops at the earliest opportunity. Also, unbutton your pants in the car and do not--ever-- tuck anything into anywhere until you are parked in front of your destination and family members and caregivers are walking out of their home to greet you.

If you're going to a meeting-- and especially if you are meeting someone in their home-- you may want to consider wearing a bra. I did not observe this rule on Friday. Hello, I am here to help you, thanks for the tea, and by the way here are my nipples.


Note to self, front seat of my car, date unknown:

More Snacks.

More variety of snacks.

Amen, me. We could all use a little more snack variety, and you're right-- that was definitely worth writing twice on the same piece of paper, and thank goodness for the cliff's notes version.


Wanna talk about Bird? Good. Some friends of ours have a very new, pink baby named Sam. Bird has met Baby Sam a few times at cookouts and potlucks, and she's mildly fascinated-- crouches down to poke him in the tummy and stand up and point at him, announce that he is a baby, and move on. We always explain that Baby Sam is sleeping (because he always is, of course), and on and on about Baby Sam.

Well. When asked about Baby Sam, Birdy squinches up her eyes and draws her mouth into a tight little line, and lays back like a sleeping baby. Sometimes she cracks open one eye and walks around like some kind of bizarre zombie Baby Sam. And recently, she wants us to feed her water from her sippy cup like a bottle while she pretends to sleep like Baby Sam.

I love the Baby Sam routine for so many reasons. For its cuteness and creativity and overall indication that she's really, really paying attention, of course. But on the very very practical side of things, I love it selfishly. A. and I still rock Birdy all the way to sleep at night before putting her in her crib, and sometimes it's a long-ish process. If she's having a hard time getting down to business with the sleeping, I'll cue Baby Sam, and the pretending nearly instantly becomes the reality, and she is my little snuggling sleepy baby, for at least one more night.