Friday, September 29, 2006

No Sleep, No Solution

“What are you hoping for? A boy or girl?” People would ask me before we found out he was going to be a boy.

“Oh, I don’t care,” I would answer. “I just want a happy, healthy baby.” Which was true. But I should have added: who is a good sleeper.

It’s not that he won’t sleep through the night; in fact, once he falls asleep, he is the perfect sleeping baby. It’s not staying asleep that’s the problem, it’s getting there. He just hates going to sleep. Maybe he has some sort of birth defect that makes the act of falling asleep feel like he’s being stabbed all over with sharp knives? Who knows?

Occasionally we’ll have a night where, at a reasonable hour, the baby smiles, closes his eyes, and goes off to dreamland. Then we try to figure out why it worked that night, as opposed to almost every other night.

“I guess he was the right amount of tired. You know, if he’s not tired enough, he won’t sleep, and if he’s too tired, he won’t sleep. Ok honey, take me through your day and tell me every way in which the baby was stimulated so we may do this again tomorrow.”

“He ate dinner at 5:45 instead of 5:30. Maybe that’s it?!?!?!”

“I let him suck on the remote for five minutes instead of taking it away like I usually do! The remote is sleepytime magic!”

“It must be that dog biscuit he was chewing on.”
“You let him chew on a DOG BISCUIT?!?!?!”
“What?”

It’s gotten worse now that he’s teething. Oh God, what a nightmare. Every night we bust out the Orajel like it’s baby crack, and he sucks on a saturated q-tip with a blissful smile on his face-then promptly goes back to wailing and flailing.

So why not just let him stay up? You ask. Trust me, I would totally do that. I would let him crawl around and chew on toys to his heart’s content while I sat half asleep against the wall “watching” him, if he wanted to. But he doesn’t. Because at around 9:00, his little wee body decides it’s had enough for the day, and tries to go to sleep. But his mind won’t have it. So if I take him out of bed and try to get some more playtime in to tire him out, he just sits there SOBBING. Or, worse, he puts his head on the ground and his butt in the air and kind of pushes around whining. Because he’s TOO TIRED to stay awake...and too willful to go to sleep. So back to bed we go, where he still screams, but at least I can lean on pillows instead of slumped against a wall.

Yeah. This kid is going to be a LOT of fun when he’s like 15. Totally looking forward to that.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

At least I don't stink

This is the second time in about a month that I've pulled a clean shirt out of my closet, only to find out later, while at work, that it was actually dirty-like, with a big stain across the front. I'm not the kind of person who rehangs used clothes-I throw them in a big pile on the floor, so it's not like I'm rewearing already dirtied clothes. And I look at my clothes pretty thoroughly as when I wash them to catch any stains that might need special treatment. So what is going on here? Are gnomes coming into my closet and wearing my clothes in the night? Is my washer working in reverse? Do you think that's covered under the warranty? Does this mean I'm going to have to stop getting dressed in the wee dark hours of the morning?

Oh well, if this is the biggest problem I have, I'm having a good day.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Direct Selling-The Scam That Won't Die

“Hi! I just found out about this great business opportunity. When can we meet to discuss it?”

Ever heard that? And not from one of those Nigerian scam type spam emails, but from an actual friend? Or maybe, less of a friend, more of a college roommate’s cousins’ coworker’s sister’s husband who you may or may not have met six years ago at a wedding where you were really too drunk to remember anything at all? And you, being the naïve/ignorant/too polite to say no sweetheart that you are, agree to meet at Starbucks, and waste at least an hour of your life saying things like, “no, I’m really NOT all that interested in making any money right now,” and “would it involve me desperately flipping through old address books trying to find [suckers] possible future business partners?”

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen: the direct selling [scam] opportunity.

The first time we got a call like this, I was wary, but my husband wanted to give it a shot.

“I just got a call for a great business opportunity!”
“I don’t know about this…what company is it for?”
“They didn’t say. They’ll tell us all about it when we meet for coffee.”
“Uh-huh. See, now that, that’s suspicious right there. What kind of product would we be selling?”
“They didn’t SAY. They’re going to tell us at the MEETING.”
“Now WHO was this who called you again?”
“I don’t know…I mean…he said his wife knew me from…I guess the time I was working at such-and-such…”
“Is this like a get rich quick scheme?”
“No! It’s a great business opportunity!”
“Yeah, you said that already.”

So we went, and spent way too long listening to these nice people tell us how we could make a lot of money buying our groceries online, and convincing our friends and family to buy their groceries online, and convincing their friends and family to convince their friends and family to buy their groceries online. Did I mention it cost $100.00 to sign up? And nowhere in the process do YOU actually SELL anything. You sell the opportunity of selling. It’s very 5th grade chain letter-y. You remember those, don’t you?

Dear Friend,
PLEASE DON’T BREAK THE CHAIN!!! OR YOU WILL HAVE BAD LUCK FOR SEVEN YEARS!

When I felt like it, I sent a dollar to the first kid on the list and didn't "break the chain," however, I never received $6,000 like I was promised.

Not that these buying your groceries online things don’t pay off for SOME people-they just don’t pay off for YOU. Trust me, by the time this "opportunity" gets to you, whatever money there was to be made has been milked by some guy who heard about it six years ago. Every single person who’s tried to get us to sign onto something like this has really broken my heart. The couple who has six foster children and is just trying to pay the bills. The family whose business is going under, and the dad just wants to spend some time with the kids, and the wife’s lifelong dream is to become a yoga instructor. I just want to shake these people and say, “but don’t you understand? You just lost even more money signing up for this crap! Just because Donald Trump endorses the company doesn’t mean it’s a good idea! He also endorses The Apprentice!”

Admittedly, some of these [scams] opportunities are a little more appealing than others. Take Arbonne, for example. Their products are all natural, hypo-allo-not tested on animals-no more wrinkles or pimples. And you hear the spiel, and you see the paychecks (yes, the big ballers pass around their paychecks as proof that YOU CAN MAKE MONEY TOO!), and you use the product and it really is pretty good, and you start thinking, hmm, maybe I could sign up, you know, then I could have these great wonderful hypo-allo-blah blah blah, and probably I could get my mom to sign up too, and maybe her friends, then I’d have a white Mercedes and a second honeymoon! Then you find out you have to buy $800.00 worth of product to get started, and keep buying a certain amount every month to be “active.” I don't know about you, but not only do I not have $800.00, no one I know does either. And it’s about this point, when you’ve heard several spiels, and tried the makeup, and decided NOT to buy your groceries online, that you realize how this thing really works: you pay to get started. The guy who [suckered] brought you in gets a cut of the money, the guy above him gets a cut of the money, and so on. And the people you [sucker] bring in, you get a cut of their money, as do those on up the chain above you. Deliciously evil, don’t you think? And totally like a chain letter.

And no, I don’t want to hear about a great moneymaking opportunity, thanks for asking.

Why do people come to me with this stuff? I must look a great combination of gullible and poor.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Talking

BEFORE "MAMA"
Baby: Dada
Me: Say, mama.
Baby: Da da da. Dada. Da da blah beh meh.
Me: Was that ma? Yes! Say mama!
Baby: Da da da da bleh.
Me: Noooooo!

AFTER "MAMA"
Baby: WAHHHHHHH mamamama wah boo hoo cry cry cry!
Me: Dammit!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Flashback, Creek Style

I was flipping through the cable guide last night when I happened upon something that made me think I’d jumped into a wormhole to 1997: Dawson’s Creek.

That’s right, the Creek Crew is now on syndication on the (soon to be CW[?]) WB. Oh how my heart fluttered when I came upon this bit of information.

Ten years ago, I was thirteen years old. I was in 7th grade. And I was watching the pilot episode of Dawson’s Creek. And then taping it and watching it as many times as I could until the new episode next week. And saving the tapes for my future daughter who would surely need the adolescent TV drama to teach her how to interact with boys and possibly (gasp!) get them to kiss her. It’s literally crazy how much I loved that show. I watched a few minutes of the pilot rerun last night, and although I will admit that the writing was pretty witty and funny and I think influential to a whole generation of teeny bopper TV, I had to laugh at my 13 year old self for being so absolutely obsessed with it.*

And it just made me realize, good lord, how different ten years have made me.

And it made me wonder, what in the world am I going to be like in ten more?

When I was back in my Dawson’s dream state, imagining going to high school like those cool older kids on the show (!) and having all sorts of my own drama and true high school loves (!!), I probably couldn’t have guessed that really, in ten years, this is how I’d turn out. Hell, I could barely fantasize to the end of high school, but ten years? That’s like forever!

I remember on my college application, a question asked, “where do you see yourself in ten years?” I don’t remember what I said exactly, but something along the lines of, graduated, with a blossoming career, perhaps marriage and children in the near or far future. Honestly, though, I can’t see myself in ten years. All I see is a kind of shimmery blurb, with shadowy figures of people I love now who I pray remain in my life, with a kind of hope that I’m happy and content the way I am now. Because who knows what the future holds? I know at age 13, I couldn’t have predicted half of the terrible, wonderful, tragic and beautiful things that I would live through and experience in ten years time. And that’s a good thing. Because if I had it all figured out, there wouldn’t be room for all those wonderful surprises. And if I deviated from my set “path,” I would worry that I wasn’t doing the right thing, or beat myself up for not following through with my plans.

I’m so grateful for my life today, and for all the gifts I have. I truly am blessed. My little boy is getting his first tooth, and it’s SO COOL. To think, there was a time (maybe around ten years ago?) when I thought, kids? Who wants those things? I want a career and blah blah blah tripe blah.

(Come to think of it, I'll bet ten years ago Michelle Williams never would have thought she'd be married to Health Ledger and have his baby girl, nor would Katie Holmes think she'd be Mrs. Tom Cruise with a rug rat either. Huh, looks like I turned out like my Creek idols afterall.)

So thank you, Dawson’s Creek reruns, for reminding me how odd and funny I was ten years ago, and of all the surprises and blessings life has bestowed upon me since.

* My obsession didn’t last the whole run of the Dawson’s series, but I did tune in to see the series finale. Did you see that? Where Jen died? That was totally awesome, because I always hated Jen with her little duck face! I liked Joey, with her little crooked face.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A Letter To My Vehicle



Dear 1991 Saab 900,

Now that I may lose you, I realize that I’ve loved you this whole time.

As soon as he saw you, my husband dubbed you “the dolphin”-probably because of your silver bluish color and weird slippery shape. Yes, I know “slippery” is an unusual way to describe a shape, but that’s the only word I can think of you odd looking sea creature car.

I hated you so much when those plastic handles broke off the front seats. Now when I want to let someone in the back, I have to wad up a paper towel or use a candy wrapper to pull the sharp metal lever, because it hurts my bare hands. Oh, how I cursed you over that, Saab 900, when I was without sufficient hand protector trash and needed to get into the back seat.

I was super pissed when I had to pay $100 in repairs before you would pass inspection. “Fuck you, stupid Saab,” I said. “I can’t wait until I can get a new car.”

Every time I tell someone they can’t buckle up in the front seat because your seat belt doesn’t work, I am shamed.

Every time I start you up and that ghetto welded muffler coughs and chugs and people turn to look at me with “whaaaa?” looks on their faces, I am humiliated a little.

But for all that? I love you. When I found out it may be more cost effective to get rid of you, my heart broke a little and I thought, little dolphin, we had some good times too.

Like that time when…*five minutes pass while I try to conjure up a good memory*…ok, well I can’t think of any right now, but I’m sure there were some pretty decent times. But my point is, it wasn’t all bad, and I feel like I’m about to dump someone who, while I wasn’t all that into them, they weren’t all bad either.

Now that you’re sitting in the shop needing $700 worth of repairs, I’m torn over what to do with you. $700 is a lot of money for an old car. But it’s also a lot less than car payments for the next six years. And even though you’re broken, you have been pretty dependable up until this point.

Oh Saab. We shall see.

Love,

Your driver

[that isn't me or anyone I know in the picture, I got it off Google images. But that is my EXACT car. Shit, for all I know that's the dude who sold it to my mechanic, where I bought it.]

*UPDATE*
After much discussion and pondering, I went ahead and told the mechanic to make the repairs. I decided the weight of a car payment just wasn't something I was willing to sit under right now. Let's hope the dolphin doesn't break down again any time soon.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Where I Write

Did you read this Motherhood Uncensored post? It was really good, huh? Well, I figured, what kind of a writer of a blog about writer's block would I be if I didn't use one of these writing prompts to get inspired to write? So, here you go:

Debra slammed the champagne glass down so hard on the dresser that it broke. Fizzy droplets splattered onto her shirt.

“You’ve been having me followed?” She demanded, staring her husband in the eye.

Roger ran his hands through his shock of silver hair. “With good reason, obviously!” He exploded. “I’ve been made a cuckold!”

“Oh, quit being so dramatic,” Debra snapped. “Maybe if you weren’t such a self-centered bastard I wouldn’t have had to go elsewhere.”

Roger fell to his knees in front of his wife. “Debra, please.” His tone had taken on a begging quality that Debra found quite unattractive. “I’ll do anything to have you back. I love you. Please, just end it with him, and we’ll forget about this whole thing. We’ll vacation somewhere, anywhere, wherever you want. Please be my wife once again.”

Debra stormed out of the room, kicking aside the glossy black and white photos Roger had confronted her with on her way out. Throwing them all over the floor had been a nice touch, because it allowed her to make one more dramatic movement as she left. Yes, look at the photos, Roger. Look how much younger the man is. Look at his artistic hands and warm smile. He’s not rich, like you. He’s not cold, like you. Where was all this ‘I love you’ stuff coming from anyway? All Roger had been to her for the past eight months was a silent curmudgeon, grumping about the house since his retirement.

She had felt guilty about the affair, at first. But it had been the kind of guilt that made her heart race and her adrenaline rush, only contributing to those budding feelings of excitement she had over Trey. He was an irresistible twenty five year old bartender, attentive, sexually adventuresome, and everything she wished Roger would be but never was. She quickly learned to ignore the guilt, to sneak around, to lie, to enjoy every second with Trey and push Roger out of her mind, but somehow-some way-he figured it out. It wouldn’t have taken a private detective long to discover what she had been up to.

The first place Debra went was Trey’s apartment. “He’s found out,” she whispered as she looked into his blue eyes. Tears formed in hers unexpectedly. “What are we going to do?” What had begun as a curious fling had certainly become much more than that, Debra knew as she stood here with Trey. She couldn’t give him up. She wouldn’t. But what could they do? She had no money, and an affair surely violated the terms of the pre-nup. When Roger divorced her, she would be left with nothing. A twenty five year old bartender and a forty three year old divorcee, living in a studio apartment Trey could barely afford as it was, even without any furniture.

“Don’t worry,” Trey said soothingly, brushing a stray hair from Debra’s face. “I’ll tell you what we’re going to do. We’re going to get out of here.”

“And go where?” Debra suddenly had a horrific vision of sharing a house with Trey’s parents in the suburbs, her nubile young fling sitting in the kitchen in his underwear, eating Frosted Flakes out of his mother’s every day dishes.

Trey shrugged. “The desert.”

The desert. Their what-if-we-could fantasy of isolation and constant lovemaking, camping in the hauntingly beautiful New Mexico landscape.

Debra began to pace the room. “Well, that’s not, you know, a permanent solution…”

Trey interrupted her. “Of course it’s not. But nothing about this can be permanent.”

Debra stopped pacing at looked at Trey in surprise. “You don’t mean…”

Trey shrugged. “We both knew this was going to end someday, right? I mean, look at our lives. Look at your life. Look at who your husband is. We had a good time while it lasted, but we both knew it had to end sometime. We both knew that…right?”

Debra wouldn’t look into his eyes. “Of course,” she lied, realizing maybe nothing was ever certain after all. “I just thought…well, like you said, a last rendezvous…”

“Exactly,” Trey said as he put his arms around her. “What about the old man? I’m guessing he still wants to be with you.”

“Well, yes,” Debra agreed. “He wants us to fix the marriage.”

“Then fix it,” Trey said, walking towards the hall closet. “Come to the desert with me for a few days, make me crazy with all those things you know how to do to me,” with that he looked over his shoulder and winked, “then, come back to your husband.” He reached into the closet and pulled out a backpack. “I can be ready in about five minutes. You?”

*

Inside the tent Debra could see bugs dancing on its outer skin. Trey slept beside her. The morning light was dull and misty, and filtered through the hole in the tent where the zipper hung open a little. They had been there for two days, making love over and over again, drinking wine, keeping no track of time, no apologies for lack of manners or decorum. They were two people, naked, sweaty, passionate, and tomorrow, it would be over. They would pack up Trey’s old station wagon and drive back into town, and they would get on with their lives. Debra would go back to Roger, apologize, tell him she loved him but she couldn’t go on with the way things were between them anymore and maybe he’d change, and they’d go on that vacation. Trey would go back to the bar and the twenty year old girls he usually slept with. Life would continue.

Debra pushed aside the tent flap and stood in the quickly emerging sunshine. She was naked, and a breeze caressed her body. The desert stood before her, empty and full at the same time. She turned and began walking around the tent to find the bush they had designated as the bathroom, when suddenly she stopped. What was that in the distance? A huge, deflated red balloon sat in the sand a mile off. A hot air balloon? What…

With a panic, Debra rushed back into the tent and began shaking Trey. “Get up, get up now, Trey,” she hissed in his ear. “Get dressed!”

“Get dressed?” Trey said sleepily. “I don’t think so! Come here…”

“No, no, not now,” Debra pushed him off of her and began pulling on a pair of jeans. “We’ve got to get moving. It’s probably already too late…”

With that, she fell silent. The distant sound of a horse galloping filled her ears. Trey heard it too.

“What’s going on?” He asked, sober now, pulling on his own jeans.

“It’s Roger.”

“Roger’s coming here…on a horse?”

And at once, Debra felt the most regret about her affair than she had since the beginning. Roger hadn’t always been a bored, ill-tempered old man. Ten years ago when they married, he acted youthful, free spirited, and content. On their honeymoon he had insisted on taking a hot air balloon ride. At first, Debra was hesitant.

“I’m afraid of heights,” she had said. “What if something goes wrong?”

“Just trust me,” Roger had told her, “you’ll be fine.”

And the horse. That was another thing she had been resistant about, and Roger insistent. “You’ve never ridden a horse before?” He asked incredulously.

“They’re huge!” Debra had protested. “It could roll over and kill me!” Finally, he had convinced her, and they had a lovely time.

Now, here he was, again, with a horse and a hot air balloon. The regret sank to the bottom of her stomach. What had gone wrong? How had they gone from being so in love to being so distant towards each other? Ten years ago, Debra would never have believed she would have an affair. What had driven her to another man’s bed? Trey had seduced her, had made her feel special. Had made her feel things her husband couldn’t, or wouldn’t, anymore. But it wasn’t just Roger’s fault. They had both made mistakes, many mistakes. And now? What on earth was going to happen now? Roger was going to play the night in shining armor and ride up on his white steed and steal her heart back?

Trey pushed his way out of the tent as the hoof claps reached the camp and stopped.

“Shit,” Debra whispered to herself as she pulled the flap aside. “Ok, guys, let’s calm down here a moment…” She became silent when she approached the scene outside.

It was indeed Roger on a horse. Debra would have laughed at the sight if he wasn’t holding a gun out and pointing it right at Trey.

“Calm down, ok?” Trey said, backing away from Roger. “I’ll leave, ok? It’s over between us, man. You can have her.”

“Roger, this is ridiculous,” Debra protested, but she couldn’t hear her own voice, only the sound of a gunshot.

“Trey!” Debra screamed, and turned to her lover. He was, however, not shot. He was holding a gun, and it was pointed at Roger. “What the…where did you…”

Debra whipped around to see the horse, unmoving, on top of Roger. She quickly rushed to his side. “Are you ok?” He moaned from beneath the weight. And to Trey: “Where did that gun come from? How did you…what’s going on?”

But Trey was already leaving, ripping the tent up, shoving it into his station wagon, driving off.

Debra mentally dismissed him and focused on Roger. “Honey, are you ok? We have to get this off of you.”

Still moaning, Roger groaned, “push.” Debra got on her knees next to her fallen husband and pushed against the horse will all her strength. It didn’t move, only pushed her into the sand.

“Try again,” Roger demanded. “I’ll push, you push, I just have to get my leg out.”

Debra pushed again, and again, and her arms were going numb and this horse was just not moving, and she thought of her marriage, and her honeymoon ten years ago, and she knew if she could just get this horse off her husband, maybe everything would be ok.

Finally, the horse budged a little, and Roger withdrew his leg with a grunt, rolling backwards away from the carcass.

Debra began to sob and laugh at the same time. “You’re alright! Roger! Is your leg broken? Are you ok? Can you breathe? Can you walk?”

“I’m pretty sure it’s broken,” he told her, laying on his back in the sand. “You’re going to have to help me to that balloon.”

“Yes, of course,” Debra agreed. “I’ll help you. Roger, I love you. I don’t know how this all happened, I really don’t. I…”

“Don’t talk,” Roger commanded. “Just don’t. So much for my night in shining armor routine, huh?”

“Were you going to kill him?” Debra whispered. “Were you going to kill Trey?”

Roger shook his head, still panting heavily. “I don’t know. I was so angry. I love you so much, and he…it’s been hard for me lately, retiring. I don’t know what to do with myself. I don’t mean to take it out on you. But when I found out you were having an affair, I just…I don’t know. My heart couldn’t bear it.”

“Oh Roger, will you ever forgive me?” Debra begged.

“Let’s just get out of here,” Roger said, propping himself up on one elbow. “Help me out.”

Debra pulled her husband to his feet, being careful of his leg. “We’re going to make it, right?”

Roger nodded. “It’s not more than a mile away.”

Debra nodded. “Yes, and, we’re going to make it, right?”

Roger held onto her shoulder. “Let’s just take this one step at a time. I was willing to kill a man for you, though.”

With that, Debra brushed the sand from her blouse, took a last, wistful look at the now putrefying horse, and began to walk towards the hot-air balloon.

I used prompt #4. If you look closely, you can see I cheated a bit, because I wrote "and began to walk towards" instead of "and stepped into" the hot air balloon. But rules are made to be broken, right?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Bittersweet

My husband went out of town this weekend, and as soon as his ride pulled out of the driveway, I ran to the arms of another man.

We spent the whole weekend together. It was beautiful. We laughed, played, cuddled and kissed. I held him in my arms as we fell asleep each night, and his infectious smile greeted me each morning.

Our activities were mundane; Blockbuster, the mall, the grocery store. On Friday night we met some friends for dinner, and on Saturday and Sunday nights we ate home cooked meals together. But everything we did was fun. No, not just fun-delightful. I was given the gift of having this amazing human being all to myself all weekend, and it was the sweetest thing I’d ever experienced.

Then, Sunday evening, the husband came home. My special weekend was over. Now there was someone else to share in his playing, cuddling, and kisses. And we all spent the day together Monday, and it was delightful in its own way.

But now I’m back at work, and I’m longing. I’m longing for more days of just me and him, and I’m remembering the way his chubby little fingers laced themselves around my hair when I held him, and it was just us, alone in the world, having fun, living life.

And it’s times like these that I regret the fact that I can’t be a stay at home parent. And it’s days like this where I go about in a melancholy haze, a cry waiting in the back of my throat to be released into a tissue when no one is around, because all I want is to spend every second of every day with my true love, my little boy, with his sweet cooing and “da da da”s, his huge toothless grin, and his precious little spirit.