Monday, July 26, 2010

Sisterhood of the Stolen Pants

To the Friend of my Youngest Sister,

You, the one who left the black pants at my mom's house two plus years ago.  Or maybe you.  My sister wasn't entirely sure which friend it was.  And maybe you were the one who moved to California.  Which would work out quite well.  For me, at least.  See, I stole "borrowed" those pants.  But now it's been two years, and let's be honest: you're never going to get them back.  But sincerely, from the bottom of my heart: thank you!  Your forgetfulness in leaving them at my mother's house in the care of my youngest sister is the best thing to have happened to me in pants-related news in the longest while.

I was three weeks postpartum and had to attend a baby shower.  I had a pair of black pants but frankly, they were unflattering and would have left me underdressed for the occasion.  And then I spotted yours, tossed carelessly over the edge of an open dresser drawer.  Classier than mine, and looking like they might just fit me better in my state of postpartum spread, I snatched them up, tried them on, and never looked back.  Oh, I mentioned to my sister that I would be "borrowing" them indefinitely.  When she couldn't even remember which friend was the original owner of the perfect pants, I took it as a sign they were meant to be mine.

I wore them postpartum and the stomach panel smoothed my abdomen better than Pilates ever did.  I wore them lower on the hips as I lost the baby weight, and they necessitated shoes with a heel to keep the fabric from pooling around the ankles.  A heeled shoe it was, then, as I was unwilling to sacrifice the perfect pants.  At certain points my weight crept back up, and so did the waistband of the perfect pants, smoothing and soothing the waist no matter it's location, or the shrinking or growing of its girth.  Those pants hug my waist like my husband's arm in the dark night; they snuggle me up like the long legs of a toddler wrapped around my trunk in sheer joy.  Granted, the zipper stopped working some months ago, but it's okay because I've been able to shimmy those pants right over my hips with the zipper intact, and smooth them into place on my waist, wherever that may be at any given time.

Today I'm four and a half months pregnant, and in large part because of you and your magical trousers, dear friend of my youngest sister, I have yet to don a pair of maternity pants.  I woke this morning, my first work day after a week of vacation, laundry undone, outfit unplanned, and plucked those pants from a folded pile on the table beside my bed.  I shimmied into them for what might just be the last time, yanking them high above my natural waist to allow the baby-carrying belly to expand outward into its natural curve.  It's true they were digging into the ribcage just a bit when I sat, and my backside was nestled a slight more snugly than I might have preferred, but we made it through the day, those pants and I.  And two weeks from this point in my last pregnancy?  I had strangers calling out to me on the street to ask if I was having twins.  So the slight discomfort was nothing at all compared to the satisfaction I felt wearing nonmaternity pants halfway through my second pregnancy.

While I can't claim with any degree of honesty whatsoever to be sorry for stealing your pants, I can thank you for leaving them in the hands of my youngest sister, where they were ripe for the picking and ended up adorning my lucky legs.  And I can wish you all the best in California.  If that's you.  Or, if not, all the best wherever you are.  Someday, if you find yourself postpartum, out of town, and sartorially unprepared, I hope a pair of perfect pants appears suddenly before your eyes.  And then I hope you steal them.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Home Sweet Home

One of the nicest things about going away for a week is that it affords you the opportunity to fall in love with your home again when you return.  When it comes to our house, absence definitely makes the heart grow fonder, while familiarity (especially the over-familiarity one experiences with repetitive household chores!) can sometimes breed contempt.  My husband and I have a shared love affair with our house, and I think our time away rekindled the romance.

While driving back and forth between Texas and Lousiana, the hubs and I spent a good part of those two days chatting about plans for our house.  Now that we know Little One is a girl, we'll be rearranging rooms before she gets here.  Our original plan was for us to move into the largest bedroom, which is in the converted attic.  But then my father-in-law mentioned the low ceilings (it's built into the eves of the house and has diagonal walls and lower ceilings than the first floor) and wondered how my tall husband would fare.  We went through the whole thought process of instead making the attic a nursery for both kids, keeping our downstairs bedroom and turning our son's room into a guest/playroom.

I'm an avid amateur interior decorator.  Well, mostly in my mind.  I have to imagine everything from the color paint we'll put on the walls to where each piece of furniture will go, what we can spruce up and reuse from elsewhere in the house, and what new items we might need to buy.  Sometimes I google prices and draw up an imaginary budget, but being as we were stuck in the car traveling through the small towns of eastern Texas and entirely lacking in internet access, I didn't go quite that far this time.  I did design an adorable boy-girl nursery though, built into the slanted eves of our warm attic bedroom.

Alas, it will never see the light of day since we ultimately decided we would move up there again by the end of the conversation.  After I put my boy to bed tonight, I went upstairs and sat on the futon we keep in the attic for guests.  I imagined paint for the walls, and tile for the small bathroom floor, and furniture adopted from the living room, repainted and repurposed for a brand new master bedroom.  I'm excited to see how it eventually turns out.

After sketching out blueprints in my brain I came downstairs and wandered through the house, room to room in the dark, opening windows and doors to let in the cool night air.  In each room I saw brand new possibilities, the beauty of the work we've done so far and the promise of all the years to come, living in this house, growing our family.  Not just an imaginary family somewhere in the future, but this family, this one we've got, this one we're making right now.

I'm so happy to be home.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Southern Barbecue is the Best Barbecue

We leave for vacation tomorrow.  I'm neck deep in laundry and lists for packing only two bags small enough for carry on, and only one to send through, consisting primarily of a carseat, and then secured in the seat any toiletries forbidden from being carried onto the aircraft itself.  I have to work tomorrow, and then we have scarcely enough time to drive to Buffalo and catch our flight.  We'll spend six and a half hours in the air, including a layover, and arrive in Texas late tomorrow night.  Over the course of the week we spend in the South, we'll do a twelve hour round trip drive to Louisiana, and then another eight hour flight home, with two layovers on that trip.  We'll land in Buffalo again, which is almost three hours from home.  I'm not sure, honestly, whether I'm excited or dreading the trip!  But all the traveling means we'll get to see both sides of my husband's family in the short week we'll be there, and then arrive back in NY just in time to spend our son's second birthday with mine.  My family makes delicious desserts.  And they read my blog.  (Hint, hint!)

I had the best of intentions to pre-write posts, and then schedule them for every other day or so while I was gone.  Let's hope this trip doesn't turn into the hell to which those intentions have paved the way!  I honestly realized only last week that it was already July and my plans were highly unlikely to pan out, unless I hopped to it.  Which I didn't.  And internet access is a highly prized commodity down there (think taking turns waiting for dial-up), so I'm going to be out of commission for the next week or so.

My husband and I, in our nearly ten years of marriage, have never taken a vacation together, save our honeymoon, that didn't involve as its main objective the visiting of relatives from one of our families.  Sometimes this makes me want to sigh heavily and book a cruise.  Other times I remind myself that when your family lives many states away, this is the trade off you make to see them.  Regardless, I do my very best to turn the family visits into real vacations.  My mother-in-law has a new pool in her large Louisiana yard, so all I have to do this time is walk outside and hop in, and -voila- instant vacation!  Or so I'm hoping.  And my husband's paternal grandparents will get to meet our son for the first time.  So no cruise for us this summer, or any summer soon, if I'm honest with myself.

But I'm hoping for a week of barbecue, air conditioning, lounging poolside, and free babysitting from some of the only people in the world who will be just as happy to give it as I will be to get it!  Except for the part about how my son hates people he's just met, and won't allow anyone to watch him without copious weeping, including my own mother who visits him almost monthly.  Ah well, let's put that out of our minds for now, shall we?  The closer we get to the trip, the more my excitement morphs into dread.  But this happens every time I travel, and once we're off, I almost always find something to enjoy.

I need a mantra.  Something like:

Southern barbecue is the best barbecue.

Yep, that'll do it.  Between spending way too much in planes, airports, and automobiles, I'll be eating more pulled pork than anyone with any sense would ever recommend!  And hopefully cobbling together something resembling a vacation out of all the racing around we've got ahead of us.  Now time to fold and pack more clothes.

Southern barbecue is the best barbecue.  Southern barbecue is the best barbecue.

Say it with me now!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Prayers Like River Stones

We went to see the highest single drop waterfall east of the Rockies today (okay, okay, all my internet sources are saying "one of" the highest.  The first time I saw it I was nineteen, swam to the base of the falls and balanced on a rock while the force of the wind coming off of the water blew me backward and the mist washed over me.  It was a magical moment, and on that day I was told it was the highest, so I stand by that still!).  Here it is:

Yes, I know it's crooked.  I kind of liked it that way.  You didn't?  Oh, okay, fine.  Here you go, you linear thinker you:

Better?  Good.  So there was a little bit of ritualistic behavior happening here, and it looked a lot like this:

And the ritual reminded me of my ongoing spiritual conundrum, and then I had an idea.  For every rock, I would say a prayer.  A prayer of thanks.  And there were many, many rocks:

And thus, there were many, many prayers.  And he never ran out of rocks, and I never ran out of thanks.  And then there was one big rock, and first it got a baptism of sorts:

And then it was tossed into the stream like a giant wishing stone, and I gave my biggest thanks of all for a giant wish and dream and prayer come true:

At my sonogram on Friday, the technician told me it looks like we're having a daughter.  And my beautiful boy will have the sisty he always says he wants.  We are so blessed, and so grateful!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The City Mouse and the Country Mouse

Growing up in the city, I was not privy to common country knowledge. It wasn't until I met my husband, and we were out driving in the fields of Kansas, that I learned about cows. One particular thing about cows, that is. I still don't know much else. I was marveling out the passenger window at all the fields of cows, when he pulled the pick-up over to the side of the road and helped me out. We stood by the side of a very flimsy fence, looking at the huge collection of cattle on the other side. And then my husband ..... mooed. He mooed at them. And again. And again. And lo and behold, they began to lumber over to us, mooing back, responding to the overture in their native tongue! I was both flabbergasted and delighted! My husband could speak cow! Who knew? My naive delight in the natural world has amused him ever since. He gets a huge kick out of taking me to see the animals at the state fair. When it comes to these things, I'm pretty easy to surprise.


Way back in early May, when we visited a local after-school program and helped them plant gardens, my sister ended up in temporary custody of two potted tomato plants.  She was supposed to return them to a classmate, but we had a hot spell that dried out the leaves, and she didn't want to return them looking so ragged.  So she bought new plants for her classmate, and left the originals with us, telling us: they'll be fine once they get some more water.  I was all for putting them into the ground as the start of our garden, but the hubs has a master plan for said garden in his mind, and it doesn't begin haphazardly with hand-me-down tomatoes.  So in the pots they stayed, and true to my sister's word, once they got some water, they began to grow.  Eventually, they began to grow too big for their pots, so my husband picked up some new pots and potting soil earlier this week.  We agreed the tomato plants could be the first item in our potted plant garden, which will precede the master garden in the ground that is still being plotted out in the design center of my husband's brain.  I offered to do the re-potting.  Re-potting house plants is about as rural as I get.


Saturday is my day to sleep in.  Sunday is my husband's.  He has always been a light sleeper, easily disturbed, and difficult to get back to sleep.  I once slept through a drug raid on a Greyhound bus on the side of a highway on which I was a passenger.  That's not entirely true.  I woke up as we got pulled over, and thought it strange that the driver was pulling the huge bus over to the side of an interstate highway.  Then I drifted back off, and had to be told later by the other passengers about the police officers with large dogs searching the bus.  Needless to say, I'm a good sleeper.  Or was.  It seems we've switched places recently, with my husband able to drift off in the middle of a sentence, whereas once I'm up (at 5am, after hearing the toddler cry, roll over, and fall asleep again), I'm up.  So this morning, despite the fact that it was Saturday, once I realized I was awake for good, I offered to get up with our son and let my husband sleep.  I scarcely had the offer out of my mouth and his chest began to fall into a pattern of rhythmic breathing.  I got up with the toddler, and after an hour or so of cleaning (me) and messing (him) the living room, I suggested a trip outdoors.  It rained last night, and washed away the terrible heat that has been suffocating us for the past week.  We went outside into the cool morning air.  I stretched my arms above my head, and suddenly spotted the new pots and potting soil sitting next to the tomato plants in their too small containers.  And our adventure began.


I was most of the way through the re-potting process for plant number one, elbow deep in potting soil, when my son exclaimed: I WANNA YOGUWT DWINK!  Realizing that he hadn't had any breakfast, I decided I'd better stop what I was doing and get him a yogurt drink, if only to buy myself the goodwill to get through both tomato plants.  But first, I needed to rinse my hands and arms.  And prior to that, I would need to locate the hose.  I began to follow the tangle of hose from it's starting point at the spigot along it's twisty trail when I almost stepped on ..... a baby mouse, too young to even crawl yet, trying out it's legs on the still-damp soil.   

Eeeek!  Eeeek!  I screeched, before coming to my senses and realizing this baby mousie posed no real threat to me.  I invited my son over to see, and we observed the baby mousie together for a few minutes, naming it's tiny body parts and watching it try to walk, before I returned to my hose untangling task.  I followed the hose to it's home in the kiddie pool, pulled it up the little hill where I stood, and rinsed my hands and arms.  A yogurt drink was procured from the house, tomato plant number one was moved into it's new home, and I began to fill the second empty pot, preparing a similar home for tomato plant number two.  My son was standing next to me, identifying all the colors of the pots, plants, the stool where I sat, and the random toys strewn across the deck.  I felt so peaceful and pastoral, re-potting plants, washing with the hose, even finding tiny animals in our yard and studying them with my toddler son.

Until our cat came up onto the deck with that very same baby mousie clenched between her teeth.  And then dropped it near our feet and began to bat it with her paws.  Again, demonstrating quick thinking and full control over my verbal abilities, I began to shreik:  Aah!  Aauugghh!  NO!  Don't eat the baby mousie!  Aah!  Not on the deck!  Not right here on the deck, Maya!  My son began to cry:  No eat a baby mousie!  Of course, the cat failed to comply with our pleas, and continued to abuse the poor baby mouse.  And so we ran away, into the house, away from nature and animals and all that icky stuff, tomato plant number two tragically abandoned in the midst of the moving process, where it remains even now, while I am safely ensconced behind my computer screen.

No more baby mousies for me.  I think I'll stick to cows seen only through passenger windows.  Eeek.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Prayers and Details

"It would be incorrect in every sense to say that so near the end of his life he had lost his faith, when in fact God seemed more abundant to him in the Regina Cleri home than any place he had been before.  God was in the folds of his bathrobe, the ache of his knees.  God saturated the hallways in the form of a pale electrical light.  But now that his heart had become so shiftless and unreliable, now that he should be sensing the afterlife like a sweet scent drifting in from the garden, he had started to wonder if there was in fact no afterlife at all.  Look at all these true believers who wanted only to live, look at himself, clinging onto this life like a squirrel scrambling up the icy pitch of a roof.  In suggesting that there may be nothing ahead of them, he in no way meant to diminish the future; instead, Father Sullivan hoped to elevate the present to a state of the divine.  It seemed from this moment of repose that God may well have been life itself.  God may have been the baseball games, the beautiful cigarette he smoked alone after checking to see that all the bats had been put back behind the closet door.  God could have been the masses in which he told people how best to prepare for the glorious life everlasting, the one they couldn't see as opposed to the one they were living at that exact moment in the pews of the church hall, washed over in the stained glass light.  How wrongheaded it seemed now to think that the thrill of heartbeat and breath were just a stepping stone to something greater.  What could be greater than the armchair, the window, the snow?  Life itself had been holy.  We had been brought forth from nothing to see the face of God and in his life Father Sullivan had seen it miraculously for eighty-eight years.  Why couldn't it stand to reason that this had been the whole of existence and now he would retreat back to the nothingness he had come from in order to let someone else have their turn at the view?  This was not the workings of disbelief.  It was instead a final, joyful realization of all he had been given.  It would be possible to overlook just about anything if you were trained to constantly strain forward to see the power and the glory that was waiting up ahead.  What a shame it would have been to miss God while waiting for Him."
-from Run, by Ann Patchett

Thank you, Ann Patchett, for saying so many things that I believe, so much better than I could ever have said them myself.  The bold print is my emphasis, to help me remember what God looks like to me, when it gets fuzzy, as it does sometimes.  It's not that I believe or disbelieve any certain story of God; it's that the question seems irrelevant in light of the daily details, where God always is.  I love stories, and I love questions, and I love pondering, but when it comes to God: they seem beside the point somehow.  I only want to slow down, to notice, to celebrate.  

Tonight, God came in the voice of a dying Catholic priest in a novel discovered in a borrowed Kelty backpack.  Of course, I'm pretty sure it was originally a gift from my mother.  Aren't all things, ultimately, originally gifts from our mothers?  Now how to share this gift with my children?  If we don't go to church, or belong to any kind of faith community, how do I teach them reverence for life?  How do I help them discover God in the details?  This, much more than what precisely I believe, is the question of my faith.  See, I simply don't care very much what, precisely, I believe.  All I need to believe is that God is Love.  That's more than enough.  But how to teach it?  And how to celebrate it regularly without the structure of a church or fellowship?

My son is almost two.  My daughter next one is on her the way.  I want to at least begin, but when I think about how, I flounder.  And so perhaps I will pray.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hot As Hades

I heard it was over 100 degrees today, with the heat index.  I didn't bother to seek evidence proving or disproving this hearsay.  I don't need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. 

No, I don't need no steenkin' thermometer.  I have my inner thighs.  And they told me, loud and clear, that it was a bazillion degrees today, with a bazillion percent humidity.  Either that or they're opening a small business, manufacturing and selling sweat by the gallon.  I'm not sure how the market for gallons of sweat is looking in light of the current economic crisis, but it seems churlish not to let them try, especially after such an enterprising start early this morning, and lasting all day long.

I'm hotter'n a cat on a hot tin roof.

An egg frying on an inner city pavement.

A lipstick on the dashboard of a car parked in the desert sun.

Speaking of which, did I ever tell you about the night I spent in the desert, dancing like a revelation, lipstick-free beside the parked car that carried me there?  No?  Well, now's as good a time as any.  Pull up a seat, and mind your ass don't stick to the leather.  It ain't easy gettin' comfortable in this mess, but we'll do our best.

It was southern California, the Anza-Borrego Desert State Wilderness area, east of San Diego.  We were headed for Tijuana, in no particular hurry to get there, or anywhere.  We drove all day in sweltering sun through tiny towns with nothing but mexican mercados, and finally turned left off the road and drove straight into an endless sand flat.  There was nothing but sand as far as the eye could see, and then the purple hint of mountains framing the distant horizon.  We set up the tent as night was falling.  There was no one, and nothing, but us, and a car, and a tent.

Even after the sun set, it was so hot I had to strip down to bare skin.  I heard coyotes howling in the desert night.  I slipped from the tent and looked up to a sky that could swallow you whole.  I danced around that tent in the buff, like a woman possessed, under a deep purple sky and yellow moon.  I howled with coyotes, and felt each grain of sand under my feet, still hot like the desert secretly embracing the sun after nightfall.  The night was empty, and the desert endless, but I felt no fear.  This place, as foreign to a northeastern Irish girl as anyplace could be, embraced me like a mother, washed me like baptismal waters, sang to me like a gospel choir, or maybe an angel hovering in the open air between the hot sand and heaven itself.

Eventually, I slept, and the heat woke us at 6 the next morning, like loaves of bread trying to escape the fate of our own baking.  We stopped at the first mercado we saw.  I drank cold lemonade right from the bottle without stopping, tilting it back until every last drop drained down my throat.  I felt the eyes of the mexican merchant men on my legs, clad in torn off denim, and my hair, wild down my back like a pony's mane.

I had the desert in me; of course I was desirable.  I was more powerful than the purple black of a moonlit night.  Coyotes didn't dare approach me, nude and dancing in the night near a nylon tent home I carried on my back, slow and aimless as a turtle on my way to Tijuana.  I could see forever in every direction, to those purple mountain majesties of lore.  I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand, got into the car, one foot on the dash, and the other draped out the open car window.  We drove off into the southern California sun.

Word has it that tomorrow is supposed to be over 100 degrees as well.  California's not on the agenda, and we don't have coyotes in the area so far as I know, but ever since that night, the desert's in my blood, and there's nothing to stop us from stripping down into the green grass clover of our own city yard, dancing 'round groundhog holes like creatures possessed by god, the devil, or the lunatic love child rumored to be born to the two of them after one crazy night in Tijuana.

If I disappear from these here internets, know that I'm off making my fortune selling sweat to mercados in southern California.  With the oil market being what it is, somebody out there's gotta be crazy, or crafty, enough to try a new method for frying tortillas.  And if this heat keeps up, I'll tell you something: my thighs?  Oh baby, they can supply.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Three Day Weekend

Look what we found growing in our yard!  Just last weekend my mom took us berry picking in her backyard, where she has enough blackberry bushes to fill a bowl daily, or feed a hungry toddler all day long.  My son, when he saw them, said:  Gwan!  Bewwies!  Pick 'em!

But we didn't have enough in our yard to pick and eat with this birthday treat:

So we went with these instead:

And life was summery sweet:

Between the berries growing in the yard and this happening new hot spot, we're hoping the kiddo can take over some of the cooking from now on:

And that the birthday/holiday elves will arrive tonight to rescue the rest of the house from looking something like this:

Because we're just plum tired, after our relaxing weekend at home!  Early to bed tonight, sticky air sitting heavy on our limbs, breeze from every fan we own brushing over skin, sun kissed and wind dried, after lounging in a pool barely big enough for three.  Or should I say barely big enough for four-to-be:

What a lovely summer so far...

Sunday, July 4, 2010


We started our holiday a little early around here last night, when we celebrated the freedom to completely skip bedtime, and allow the toddler to mill about the living room, making lots of messes, while I watched a movie and my husband killed monsters (online monsters, that is).  The boy and I both went to bed around 11pm, husband shortly thereafter, and we all slept until almost 9 this morning.  I tell ya, it sure felt like freedom to me!

When I woke up, well rested and ready to go, I found myself driven to do the strangest thing for a holiday weekend:  I was crazy to clean, organize, and rearrange the house.  And so I took advantage of the freedom of a day with no plans, and did just that.

Our hallway is reorganized as a mini-office space, with all the supplies needed for mailing, bill paying, paper recycling, shredding and filing.  Let's hope this offers us the freedom to complete those tasks with a minimum of fuss and muss.

The living room has two new learning stations for the toddler: kitchen, and construction area.  And the dining room has an art area on one side of the room, and another corner filled with puzzles and manipulatives for fine motor development.  One thing I've enjoyed doing since my son was born is regularly rearranging his toys to promote meaningful play.  It's a task I've always loved as a teacher.  A huge part of learning for children birth to five is arranging the environment, and I can't resist bringing that touch of the classroom into my home.  I wish for my boy, on this fourth of July, the freedom to learn through play for his whole lifetime, something his father and I, as teachers of art and infants/toddlers respectively, have been fortunate enough to find.

Okay, so the kitchen.  Yes.  Well.  Our kitchen has been, shall we say, a problem area, since we moved into this house.  It's too small, cramped, crowded, and always, but always, too messy.  It's the hub's territory, so I rarely interfere with his cram-it-in and dig-it-out style of mess management, but I've been trying to take baby steps to help organize it.  We recently painted the walls and hung a pot rack, which made a big difference, but it was really just the beginning.  Today we dragged some chairs in there, opened all the cupboards, and hashed out exactly what needed to stay, and what can go.  We didn't get very far in terms of actually completing anything, but I think I'm beginning to wrap my mind around some possibilities for managing the mess.  My end goal here is the freedom to wipe clean my counters without spending more than a minute removing clutter beforehand!

And then we "swam" (aka sat) in the kiddie pool, and wandered the yard taking photographs of beautiful things blooming and growing, and grilled hot dogs, and ate pasta salad, and came inside to sit in newly arranged rooms watching our toddler explore like it's the first time he's ever been here.  When the sun goes down, we'll walk a few blocks to the top of a reservoir at a park close to our house, and hopefully watch the fireworks.  We've never tried to see them from this park before, and have no idea if we'll be successful.  But there will be no driving, and no finding a place to park, and plenty of room for the toddler to run.  So we'll take our chances, and in doing so, celebrate two of my very favorite freedoms: the freedom to wander into the unknown armed with nothing but hope, and the freedom to make mistakes.

Happy Fourth of July, fellow revelers!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Top Ten...

...Reasons Why My Husband is on the Top of my Awesome List Today:

10.  He laughed and agreed when I told him he was required to be in a good mood for a full week because his school year ended last Friday, and if he failed, I would be permitted to whack him in the head with a rolled up magazine.

9.  Although he failed to make it through days 3 and 4 with good mood intact, he pulled out his best don't-call-it-a-comeback skills and rebounded for days 5 through 7.  I generously withheld the magazine whack, although I may or may not have reminded him of our agreement in a semi-threatening tone.

8.  He promised me that being a summertime SAHD for a turning-two year old would be smoother than being a SAHD for a turning-one year old was.  One week in, and it's clear he wasn't lyin'.  I'm breathing easier already.  Last summer was a lil' tough, y'all.

7.  He accepted a used car, that's really for our entire family, as not only a suitable birthday gift, but with much excitement and gratitude, for his upcoming birthday.

6.  He agreed to negotiate a deal for the car under the terms that the new payment would not, and could not, exceed the payment already in the budget for his old car.  He stayed at the dealership until that happened.

5.  He called me at work today to tell me that the morning had started off just fine, with toddler toe tickling in the bed where I left both of them sleeping to go into my office this morning.

4.  He agreed that cheeseburgers sounded better than pizza tonight, even though it was my turn to cook, and then went to the store, bought them, and grilled them for all of us.

3.  He agreed with my sudden and insistent idea that we needed to buy a new kiddie pool rather than try to fix the hot mess we got from freecycle.  And that the new kiddie pool needed to be purchased tonight.

2.  He cleaned the area we had cleared and spread with sand as a flat space for said pool when we discovered it had been adopted as litter box for neighborhood animals while the hot mess kiddie pool was awaiting repairs.

1.  And very best of all...he took us to three stores seeking the very, exact, perfect kiddie pool that I absolutely knew I needed right now, and definitely not, under any circumstances whatsoever, tomorrow.  And then bought twine (twine!) and affixed it to the top of the new family car/birthday gift in a big box parking lot, while being mildly ridiculed by multiple passersby, threatening -and, in fact, causing- injury to the paint job on the roof of the brand new (slightly used) birthday gift.  AND he allowed us to purchase it at Wal-Mart even though we are, and have been, boycotting Wal-Mart for a great many years now, because Mama needed kiddie pool, and Mama needed kiddie pool NOW, and Mama would be oh, so happy as soon as kiddie pool was purchased, but completely inconsolable up until that point.  It might be said that Mama was a bit of a pregnant, hormonal nut-case on the topic of highly coveted kiddie pool, but Husband handled it well, sacrificed vehicular roof paint, endured ridicule from the fine patrons of our local Wal-Mart, and performed a small miracle with twine and -because we had no scissors- a nail file, which was skillfully employed to cut the twine whenever necessary.  Kiddie pool is currently enjoying its new home in the specially created flat, sandy bed in the backyard, which has the additional benefit of being animal excrement-free.  And Husband is my very, very favorite, which works out quite well, as tomorrow is his birthday.  I shan't make him clean any animal excrement at all, save his own, as an additional gift above and beyond the family car sitting in our driveway.  In fact, I'm feeling so loving and generous, I think I'll invite him for a dip in a perfect little plastic kiddie pool.  I know just the place!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Today must be my lucky day!  Or maybe Monday was my lucky day, but I was just a little late in finding out about it.   No, I prefer to think of today being the day.  Monday was the beginning of a hurried and harried week.  My year-end report had to be written for work.  My husband became a SAHD for the second summer in a row.  There was car shopping to complete, and extra hours to work, and a toddler to transition, and not a lot of time for relaxing and enjoying.

But today?  Today the report was completed, and turned in, and I got out at 1pm.  Today, the toddler and the husband lived in perfect harmony for the first time this week, and there were no tears.  Today I got to drive the new car and take a meandering walk along a canal with my baby boy after my yoga class.  And today I got to catch up on my blog reading, and discovered my name attached to this, over at Txting Mr Darcy:

So today is my lucky day.  But, as with most luck in this lifetime (see lottery, inheritance, etc.) there are rules!  Rules, I tell you!  And though I usually believe rules are made to be broken, I'm going to go ahead and see if I can follow them this time.  Just for the heck of it.

Rule 1:  Thank the person who gave you the award.

Well, that's not a hard one!  It's just good manners, after all.  Thank you Brooke!  If you haven't read Txting Mr Darcy yet, well then, click on over there right now and give it a gander.  You won't regret it.  And that might just be the easiest rule I've ever followed.  Excluding the one about how once you open a family sized bag of Doritos, you really must eat them all, until the bag is well and truly empty.  Although that might be less of a rule and more of a philosophy to live by.  In any case, Brooke, the award made my day, and if you lived close by I would share my family size bag of Doritos with you.  Unless you like Cool Ranch.  Then you'd have to share with my husband.

Rule 2:  List 7 things about yourself your readers do not know.

1.  I started a blog in November of 2005.  I  had never even read a blog at that point.  I wrote 1 entry.  Then I lost the blog in cyberspace, and hadn't the foggiest idea how to even find it again.  When I signed up with Blogger in November of 2009, somehow I ended up finding my old 1 entry blog from '05.  I decided it was better just to begin again than to build upon that shoddy foundation.

2.  I had a girl dream.  With my last pregnancy, I had a boy dream very early on, and knew after that night that I would be having a boy.  Well, simultaneously knew and seriously doubted it all the time.  Same thing now.  I'm pretty sure I'm pregnant with a girl.  Except, seriously, how am I supposed to believe a dream?  But I do, and it's a girl.  Maybe.  (It is.)  (Or not.)

3.  I am a terrible nicknamer.  I call my son things like skootle-dee-bootsie-bootle-dee-boo.  He sometimes refers to himself as Booty-boo now (See, that wasn't a random example.  It's one of his actual names).  I should really stop, but I can't.  Multiple members of my family call me Ned Flanders.  Although I don't know who they think they're kidding.  Where do they think I got it?

4.  I actually cook dinner twice a week now, for the first time in my life.  Taco Tuesdays, and Pizza Fridays.  Yes, we eat the same thing every Tuesday, and every Friday.  This is mostly because they are the only two things I know how to cook (although I had to learn to make tacos, and it took me a good month of Tuesdays to get it downpat), but they have the sly side effect of ensuring my variety-loving husband will not want me to take over more than two nights a week, lest he die of boredom following my menu.

5.  In addition to being obsessed with class issues, I'm also somewhat obsessed with race.  I think this is because I grew up in a neighborhood and city that was diverse, but also had a lot of racial tension.  Then I spent my college and grad school years in all-white small towns.  It left me with the unfortunate impression that racism is rampant, especially in places that aren't diverse.  I'm not quite as obsessed now that I live in a city again, but when I lived in small towns I sometimes felt weird about how often I obsessed about race.

6.  I am an all or nothing person.  So I've had periods in my life where everything I owned was organized, labeled, filed, or put away in its precise place.  Other times I keep all my clothing in large, unfolded piles on my loveseat.  I've been in a disorganized phase since we moved into this house, because we just don't have places for everything yet, and sometimes it drives me crazy.  Other times I can tune it out completely.

7.  I've never had cable television in my life.  We don't watch any TV at all, just DVDs that come through Netflix.  But the funny thing is, I order almost exclusively TV shows through Netflix.  I've been saying we'll order cable soon since 2002.  Somehow, we haven't gotten around to it.

Rule 3:  Award 5 bloggers who you've recently discovered.

Okay, here goes!

1.  Angels in the Architecture:  Besides the awesome blog name, Leel posts examples of her artwork and crafts that are very inspiring.  I've done very little crafting of my own in the last few years, but every time she posts pictures of what she's up to, I spend the afternoon daydreaming about what I'd like to make when I find the time to start creating again.  I'm also very intrigued by the story of her birth, adoption, and her family, of which she has shared a little bit.  I can't wait to hear more whenever she's ready to tell it!

2.  The Dayton Time:  Pamela (I won't use a nickname, because I know she hates nicknames.  And it would end up as Pamelootie-toot-tootie, or something equally reprehensible, anyway, in my hands.) blogs about life with her husband The Mister, and their four children.  She makes it all sound like so much fun, and even the annoyances are amusing in the way she tells them.  She sort of makes me want to cook and raise chickens, even though I shudder when I think about chickens.  And cooking, really.  But I don't shudder at all when I see that she has a new post up.  And I'm usually laughing by the time I get to the end.

3.  By the Seat of our Pants:  Jasie writes about her life and family in Port Townsend where she homeschools her son, Silas, and just bought a brand new house with her fiance, Seth.  She too, is crafty, and has awesome fashion posts about her thrift store finds.  I'm not especially fashionable, but I used to sew and create new things from thrift store finds, so I love to live vicariously through her while I take a hiatus from that side of myself.  She's also very thought provoking and has a lot of posts that leave me thinking for hours or even days later.

4.  When I Grow Up:  Michelle is married to an old friend of mine from high school.  We've never met in real life, but her husband showed her my blog after I posted it on Facebook, she commented, which led me to her blog, and the rest is history!  She's a life coach in the Big Apple, and blogs about her own process in balancing work and life, finding her bliss, and making dreams work in the everyday.  You can tell by reading that she's great at her job, and I love her Tough Question Tuesdays, and all the beautiful images she uses to illustrate her posts.

5. Corn-Bean:  Linlah takes amazing photographs, and always makes me chuckle with her dry wit.  Her posts are short, sweet, and to the point, and her pictures are worth more than a thousand words.  And there's a funny story in my family where my mom, seeing the name Linlah in my comments, thought it was my youngest sister's online alias, because her name is somewhat similar.  Alas, no one in my family can wield a camera and end up with photos as awesome as the ones I like to click through over at corn-bean, though.

So, there you go!  New reads galore, and I followed all the rules!  Look at me: making dinner, following rules.  Next thing you know I'll have my whole attic organized.  Or at least finish a family sized bag of Doritos.  I take my successes where I can find 'em.  And I hope tomorrow is a lucky day for us all!