Monday, August 24, 2009

For Jed

Las Vegas is so far away I bet you didn't hear the sound Sam made that's making him smile so big in this photo.
But I could be wrong. It was loud.


Recycle, Reuse, Reduce, Reveal

I tried to catch the green truck today to see if I could recycle my completely broken, duck-taped bin and get a new one. I often see extras on the back of the truck and thought I'd really like to know if they recycle the bins themselves because wouldn't that be so stupid if they didn't? Talk about irony. Anyway.

So I ran out and he had already dumped my bin and tossed it onto the driveway (hmm, cracked and tattered blue bin....hmmm), so I waited for him to round the cul-de-sac and head back my way. Arm out in a half-wave half-taxi-hailing motion I stood on the street. He started to slow and then immediately floored it and whizzed by me wafting his truck stink into my hair. And did not wave back, might I add. This is unusual, because I'm that girl who waves at the garbage man and the mail man and they ALWAYS wave back. WTF? Is the recycling man too cool to wave at me?

How rude, right? Or maybe he was just embarrassed. Because as I walked back to the garage carrying the busted recycling receptacle and cursing the unsociable dolt of a recycling truck driver, I noticed my shirt buttons were er... malfunctioning.

All of them.

Both sides of my top were flapping gaily in the wind. Lucky for me I had remembered to pull my bra down over my boobs after feeding Sam shortly before running out to horrify the man in the truck. Can you imagine? I mean. He must be gay, of course. Who doesn't stop to at least find out why the crazy broad with her top open is waving at you?

Oh well. Maybe I'll leave a note for him next week.

Dear Recycling Man,

You are welcome. Unless you're gay. In that case, so sorry. I don't like you that way, I was just feeding my baby when I heard your truck and have you seen my bin lately?

Pink Bra Lady

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

He hid Playboys under the guest bed, but he didn't know I knew. I hope..

I was looking at my old journal page and found this little tidbit that inspired me to write this
...I don't imagine there's much I wouldn't do to be sitting in that swing next to him with the summer all around and the frogs on the trailer and the sound of his laugh cartwheeling off into the blackness of the back yard. Just one more time.

My dad had a faded green confederate flag tattooed on his left bicep. It was a strong, freckled arm with very little hair on it and I used to dangle from it while he pretended I weighed as much as an elephant. He wore a pair of polyester maroon shorts with the army crest printed in white on the bottom when he mowed his lawn. The lawnmower was a red one we rode on. Him on the seat and me on his lap. He let me wear his big army sound-blocking cans and stuffed his own ears with cotton. He was almost deaf in his right ear anyway, but you can't just stick cotton in one ear, I guess.

He used Old Spice deodorant and Brut aftershave, and still managed to smell like vodka most of the time. But he was loving. And kind. And quiet. And according to him, I hung the moon. At night we caught tree frogs that slapped against the side of the trailer under the porch light. I squealed. He laughed. Bent over. Hands on knees. Shoulders bouncing in the moonlight. Shaking his head and wiping tears away with the back of one large, freckled hand. That is how I remember loving him. Big and chuckling.

He kept his monsters hidden in a brown paper sack and our weekends were only laced with their vapors. I turned my head when he sipped. He did his best to hide it as I buried my worry under an eight-year-old smile. Dodged probing questions from my mother about his condition. I was eight. I was seven. I was six. What do I know about a man's "condition"? Truth is I knew everything. Everything except for why.

I've written about my disappointment in my father for his absence. Yes, I have anger. But the anger is just the red and black silk hiding a pristine white rabbit underneath. The memories I have of my father, though few, are magic. A day doesn't go by that don't think of him and quickly pine for another ride on the bench seat of his blue pickup with a Motown tune on the tape deck and a yoo-hoo shared between us.

Sam is two months old now. He's fast grown out of his little baby shirts and tiny diapers and is bursting from his three month old clothes like a over-cooked sausage pops from it's casing. I can see versions of his daddy underneath each pudgy cheek and in between the folds of his milky skin. He's going to be big. And freckled. And kind. Like my husband. And hopefully a little like my own father.

Happy weekend, friends.

Guest Post

Since my daughter started moaning about being bored as soon as I sat down to start a new entry, I decided maybe a guest post was appropriate. She started out hunting and pecking the keys on her own after I told her to just pretend like she is writing a letter to someone she knows. After a few minutes, this got tedious and she asked for my help. The words spelled correctly are hers as well, I just typed them for her to speed things along. Enjoy. Especially you, Meghan.

hello jed. today i tooc pichurz of my barbes. here they r.

#1. this is Hanna barbe. she is drinking a beer and dancing.
#2. another hanna is flipping breanna.
#3. this is Lolly napping on pickles. she has sticky legs.
#4. skippy is trying to do a cartwheel.

Thank you for reading my post about Barbies.

After this was complete and the photos uploaded, I looked over her work and strongly approved of her very first blog post. Of course, Hannah wasn't drinking a beer, but a diet soda in a Pabst Blue Ribbon koozie. She was, however listening to a tacky Kidzbop sampler from McDonald's. So don't go thinking she's cool or anything now.

Also, Skippy is showing a little too much skin if you ask me. Ladybug assured me she was just really focused on that cartwheel coming up and didn't noticed the wardrobe malfunction. (I hope we don't get sued.)

She took a ton of photos and some short videos that I am thinking about marketing to the bulemic population, since they are really only good for getting you dizzy and making you green in the face. The barbies that didn't make it into the post will be making an appearance soon. Trust me, I couldn't let the ones that didn't measure up to LB's standards just get left on the cutting room floor.

Anyway, Have a super day, people. I am.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Flashback Friday

I just made up a new theme for today because I have too much going on to commit to writing a good entry. I mean, I could totally just blab blab blab about Sam's monkey toe or Ladybug's new hip-hop moves, but I want to try to get back to writing about other stuffs. Instead of just cute stories about my family that only seem to entertain me. And my family. And I'm writing more in my notebook, so maybe some good short fiction will find it's way here soon...

So. A blast from my past. I peeked over at my old journal site for some inspiration and decided just to steal my own goods. I especially like this one entry because I think about this little episode a lot. I've even been back to that out-of-the-way coffee place since then with the secret dreams of spying on a special little moment like it again. No such luck.


While wasting a gap in between appointments today at an overpriced coffee chain serving nothing but crack-coffee...

I saw an elderly couple walk in through the front doors. It occurred to me that I'll eventually (with a little luck) be one-half of a similar old pair: walking as though they haven't any place to be, mostly because they simply can't walk any faster. They surveyed the cafe and chose a little table in the corner.

Far away from the counter.

The gentleman pulled out a chair for the white-haired woman. Her fuchsia painted lips curled into a neat smile as he turned and went to the counter. It was a mile away if it was fifteen feet, but he shuffled along at a steady pace and looked up at the menu hanging above the register. A line of folks in suits and the business sort of duds accumulated behind him as he pondered.

For a moment he seemed confident as he began to speak his order and then he paused.

He was a statue with blinking eyes.

For what seemed like an hour, he just stood with his mouth open.

"Excuse me a moment," he smiled at the bespectacled teenager facing him before turning. A genuine (shock) smile bounced back at him.

Without hurry, the old-man walked back to the table at the far corner of the shop.

R.E.M gushed from ceiling speakers, "your feet are going to be on the ground"...

Nobody in line moved. Typically over-caffienated and in a perpetual rush, they stood silently. Patiently.

Not one person sighed.
Or looked at their watch.
Or looked at each other.

Everyone watched him.

He asked his lady, "What's the stuff you like?"

"Hazelnut," she smiled and patted the papery skin on her cheek. Her fingernails were pink and perfect.

It all came back to him.

"Ah-ha,"he raised his finger in the air triumphantly, "The sweet stuff."

He turned back to start the winding path around cafe chairs and table-top chess game. He glanced at a display of coffee mugs marked down half price for the new season and finally made it back to the counter to finish his order.

The whole cafe watched. Some people smiled a little.

He paid with a bill and counted his change. And the people waited until he had coffees in hand before springing back to life.

As he scuffed by me, I was sitting in a plush chair with papers strewn about in my lap.

He winked.

Not at me, but at that corner seat and the lady waiting in it. Her hands delicately folded on top of the table. Her hair was drawn up and sprayed into a stiff bee-hive.

He put the coffees down and pulled out his own seat and saw me watching.

"Gotta have it just so for my gal," his words skipped through a toothy smile.

The moment was, in the simplest way possible, spectacular.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sometimes I Surprise Myself

So the other night Jed took a video of Sam. The whole fam-damily was smushed in Ladybug's tiny bathroom to watch the little butterball get soaped up and scrubbed down like the thanksgiving turkey my Aunt Ruth actually washed with soap when I was ten. Really. She totally washed the turkey in the sink before she cooked it. It was weird and I'm so glad I remember it.
Any ol' way. In the video you see Ladybug on her side of the tub (all private bits discretely left out of the shot) and then Mr. Sammypants on his little bathtub sling-ama-jig looking all cute and shiny. And then there's my ass. Giant and hovering over the bathroom floor as I bend over into the tub to manage the whole scene. That's another rant for another day and the camera adds ten pounds, so go list your diet tips somewhere else. I'm doing fine on the chicken and ice-cream plan, thanks anyway.

But once I got past the horror that was stuffed inside maternity shorts and the mess of towels, headbands, and naked barbies that was sprawled out all around the bathroom - I noticed something. I was doing it. I was washing a baby and keeping a six-in-September type entertained and safe in the bath tub and I was having a pretty good time doing it. JG was behind the camera laughing and Ladybug and I were in front of it laughing. And to my surprise, I didn't look anything like I imagined myself looking like after a whole day of balancing children, pets, and housework. I was smiling. I looked like hell, but in a happy to be exhausted kind of way.

And while I was watching the playback I thought to myself, I look just like those ladies at the Mall play-place who seem to have it all together. The ones I've secretly been jealously despising because of their seemingly effortless ability to nurse an infant and chase a toddler around the play-yard at the same time. I wasn't doing that, of course, I was bathing a turkey and a gangly little girl, but I made it look....easy.

It was a surprise. As if I figured all this time I was an awkward parent juggling a baby and a kiddo and making a fool of myself while spectators looked on shaking their heads and praying for my children.

For once I looked normal doing something.
And for once, that made me incredibly happy.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Viva Las Vegas

In less than three weeks my husband will be on his way to Las Vegas for six days to attend a conference of his peers and I will be here with the two kids and two dogs and a cat. And fish. The fish don't really worry me so much because last year during this conference I forgot to feed them pretty much until the day he came home and they were all fine. The little orange one was getting fat, anyway, so I guess I did him a favor.

The kids and furry pets are who I'm really concerned about. I mean, I've never tried going a week without feeding the dogs or my kids, but I can't imagine the outcome would be as easy to explain away as was the skinny fish.

You're thinking that feeding kids and dogs and a cat is easy. And you're right. It really isn't the food I'm worried about. I mean, Ladybug is creeping up on six and is still satisfied noshing on chicken nuggets and grapes. And of course Sam is easy to please because I'm carrying around a seemingly bottomless supply of Royal Jelly type milk and he's not in any danger soon of getting orange-fish-skinny on me.

It's not the nourishment. It's me. I'm not ready to fly solo just yet and six days is looking a lot like eternity. And it really doesn't help that I mentioned my fears to JG and he said, "Yeah, I am worried, too,". See. Even my biggest supporter knows that I'm going to be stretched to my ultimate limits during these six days and that he may be eating roasted Miniature Pincher at his welcome home dinner. It's stressing me out so much just typing it all out. SO much that I have already finished my chicken breast lunch and am eating straight out of the cookie-dough ice cream carton. (For the record, I thought about eating yogurt first, but then said eff it.)

And as if the length of his absence isn't enough, it happens to fall on (sit down folks) THE FIRST WEEK OF KINDERGARTEN. Like. Breathe. This is an important day. And I'm pretty sure the teachers frown on dropping your kid off with a coffee mug full of Shiraz in your hand these days. So keep your fingers crossed for me people. I'm new here!

Parenting two is different. I applaud anyone who has mastered or gives the appearance of mastering the art of it all. Especially people like my sister in law who does it alone quite a few days out of the week while my Firefighter brother-in-law is saving people's lives and shit. And she works full time and has two dogs. I mean, thanks for showing me up, Jens....

Maybe I'm paranoid. Maybe I'm overreacting. Or maybe, just maybe, I'm a tad bit jealous that my husband will be sleeping without interruption for five nights straight in an MGM Grand hotel suite while I try to juggle our semblance of a routine at night by myself. On breast milk stained sheets, no doubt.

Now I've tried to remain calm while explaining the trip to friends and neighbors in person, but trust me when I say all of you will be getting that call for the help you offered. So. Keep your phones handy, people. I'm cashing in my favors.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ladybuggin'it up.

Soaking every last bit of fun out of the summer and spitting out some sass ta boot...

She's kindergarten bound in three weeks, folks. I'm not sure weather to cry or open a bottle of champagne. I'm mostly happy because I get to shop for school supplies and any sort of excuse to shop is my kind of excuse. Even if it happens to be for something lame like glue sticks.

What ever happened to paste, by the way? That stuff was delicious.

Feeling Posty

Sam is napping in the swing and I have a billion things I could be doing to make the house more like a human residence and less like an animal shelter, but I haven't logged into blogger in quite some time and it's as good an excuse as any...

Time's flying by. Sam has more than doubled his birth weight, which only make sense since I I'm spending my days shirt pulled up or off, fingers crossed, and Sam's tiny little gulping noises filling my ears. Weeks ago JG and I marveled at the fact that my boob was dwarfing his little noggin and today my baby has a good Double D sized cranium. He's really growing before our eyes and it kind of reminds me of that Roald Dahl story "Royal Jelly" about the tiny baby who is fed the super bee nectar and starts turing into a bee. He's growing like my boobs make royal jelly. I'll keep you posted on the bee part...

I dared to venture out to Target for a few things on Friday and practically needed a shoe-horn to get the little turkey into his car seat. I had to remove the puffy baby things that came velcroed in it already.

And now I'm torn between being happy that he's over the newborn, noodly phase where he cries and I cry and try to figure out what he wants and being sad that he seems to be changing overnight. I want it all to slow down. Just a bit. So I can soak it all in and make sure all these images and moments of our new family member get properly labeled and organized in my brain. I don't want to forget any of it. Not the nose barf or the poop-up-the-back. Not the first smile or the bottom lip that comes out when I take him off my breast to burp him. (He's sooo hungry all the time!)

He's precious. And it's awesome being his mom.

I'm so lucky he's stuck with me forever.