August 2012 archive

Bang

Tomorrow I turn 31. The past year, I’ve been violently thrust into adulthood. Gone are the days of no responsibilities, no commitments, no expectations. In some ways I feel tougher than ever, and in other ways I feel very confused about how I’m supposed to proceed.

My husband asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday and I told him I wanted to hide and leave. And somehow, from that, he figured out that I wanted to shoot guns.

Today he took me away from work a tad before lunch and drove me to a gun range. Carrying 2 borrowed guns and enough ammunition to scare off Bambi’s entire family, I donned “eyes and ears” and walked back to the range. Every shot popping off around me made my entire body jump. My husband explained to me how to load, unload, and shoot the gun all while I tried to drown out noises (and fear). He shot at the target and reloaded it for me. Then he handed me the gun.

My hands were shaking. I placed my fingers in the places he showed me and spread my feet apart. I took a deep breath. And I shot.

A huge rush of adrenaline washed over me. I felt incredibly powerful, incredibly respectful of the weapon in my hands. I treated it like a killer, but a killer I was in charge of. I continued to shoot.

As soon as I’d emptied the first gun, I became the biggest badass you’ve ever met. I was Angelina Jolie in big black leather boots. I was getting the bad guys and saving the day. I was large and in charge.

This is not a post about politics or gun control or your feelings about leprechauns  in the army. This is to tell you that I went outside my comfort zone and did something that I have always been afraid of. I still don’t know how much of a grown up I’m supposed to be at 31, but I know that every little day of experiences makes me never want to go back.

         Oh. And I’m a damn good shot.

 

Have a beautiful weekend.

 

No

Mom: Abe, do you want some milk?

Abe: No.

Mom: Do you want some water?

Abe: No.

Mom: Are you hungry?

Abe: No.

Mom: Ok, then I’m going to sit down and check my emails.

Abe: No.

Mom: Do you even know what “no” means?

Abe: No.

(Mom drinks wine.)

Abe’s Two Year Video

Two years ago today, I was sitting in a hospital room introducing myself to my son. My entire life was changing and I didn’t know it yet.

I chose to create a video for Abraham’s first birthday instead of writing him a letter last year. Words just weren’t going to cut it. And now it is a tradition.

Picking the song this year was the hardest part of this little project. But when I heard it, I knew. Peter Gabriel wrote this song after what he described as a spiritual awakening while visiting Solsbury Hill. He writes:

I was feeling part of the scenery.
I walked right out of the machinery. 
My heart going boom, boom, boom.
“Hey,” he said. “Grab your things 
I’ve come to take you home.”

This is how I felt when I had Abe. I was just a part of this spinning world, blending in, until this little person came in to show me all that I could be. In one way he thrust me out into space to, once again, learn and find my way. And in another way, he brought me home.

Keep your Receipt

Since I turned 30 (and now I’m about to turn 31) I have a little less patience for people who try to treat me like I’m 20. I used to feel like it was a rite of passage, like hazing into the real world. Now, I’m tired of it.

Last week I ran to Walmart in a fit of, “Oh dear God I have to get some form of decorations for Abe’s birthday party.” Walmart is my least favorite of all the marts but it was right there and I was in a panic. I ended up buying a little motorized bubble blower that I put on the front porch for folks to walk through as they entered the party. The damn thing broke in 16 seconds. So yesterday, I took it back.

As I walked in I realized I didn’t have a receipt. Eek. I figured I’d try anyway. I approached the customer service desk and watched as the lady in front of me had a casual conversation with the woman behind the desk as though I didn’t exist. It was clear I was standing there, clear I had something to return. Not even a glance in my direction. I stepped closer to the desk…”Excuse me, is this the line for returns?”

The woman behind the desk looked at me. “Yes.”
“Oh, ok. Great. I’ll just wait.”

The two went on talking. Yeah. I’d say it was a good 5 minutes of talking while I waited there. I finally wandered away to entertain myself near the gum section when I saw another employee approach the customer service desk. She was a short, middle-aged black woman who was giving me attitude before she even saw me. I re-approached. Keep in mind that I remained incredibly cheerful and kind throughout the following exchange. Tone is important here, people.
“Are you available to help me with a return?”
“Where? Here?” No, lady, over there in the restrooms. Can you process the return of this bubble machine in stall 3?
“Yes, here. This is customer service, right?” I asked.
“Yes. What are you returning?”
“This bubble machi…”
“Oh, that’s cuuuute. Where’d you get this?”
“I’m not sure, somewhere in party favors. But it doesn’t work.”
“Oh, it’s broken, huh? That’s a shame.”
“Yes, and I’d like to return it. I don’t have the receipt but I have the card I used.”
She paused and sighed. “Well, that ain’t gonna do me any good.”
“Ok. You can’t look it up from my card?”
“For the millionth time, we ain’t Target.”
“Oh. Wow. Ok. I didn’t know that was a Target-exclusive service.”
“Yep. And we ain’t it. I say it all day.”
“In fairness, that’s the first time you ever said it to me.”
“I mean I say it to other people all day,” she snarked.
“Yes, I know what you meant, but since I’m getting bitched at for all those other people I thought I’d mention I didn’t know before this moment that you ‘aren’t Target’, so it’s actually a first for me.”
She stood quietly and stared at me, half pissed off that I “talked back” and half surprised. “Well, it’s not a service that we offer. It would be terrible for us back here if we did,” she said.
“But it would be nice for your customers, and your customers are actually the reason you’re standing back there. Right?”
About this time the woman who was engrossed in conversation with a customer this entire time left her conversation to join ours. She threw her hand up on her hip and looked at me. I smiled. I’m guessing she has a hard time being alone.
“Actually, the reason we don’t offer that service is because it’s very expensive and our prices would go up. You know our slogan is (yes, she said this) ‘Save Money, Live Better’? It’s ‘save money’ because we don’t do things the way Target does.”
“Gosh,” I responded, “That’s an answer if I ever heard one. Thanks so much for chiming in.”

I left shortly thereafter with my $9.48 feeling incredibly proud that I didn’t let that woman make me feel like shit for asking a question I truly had no business knowing the answer to. I also felt proud that I wasn’t shaking from head to toe. (Ordinarily when I let people know that I don’t like the way they’re treating me, I get hot, shaky, red, and then sweaty. It’s a glorious combination.) And I learned that I will never go back to that mart, and I will always keep my receipts.

 

 

Alarm Clock

My child is my alarm clock. He is terrible at his job.

Scenario: It is Sunday morning and I drank beer and sake and cider on Saturday night with husband and friends. I just need an extra hour of sleep.
What I need: to sleep in.
When my child gets up: 6:30am.

Scenario: It is Monday morning, the first day of school. We have to leave the house at 8:30am. I need to get myself and Abe ready to go.
What I need: to get up on time.
When my child gets up: 7:50am.

WHO KEEPS SETTING THE ALARM CLOCK WRONG?

In Lieu Of

Abe’s second birthday party is tomorrow. Friends and family are coming to celebrate our surviving (all three of us) two years with this kid. I’m doing all the things I hate other mothers for doing: spending all my time, energy, and joy creating a perfectly wheel-themed house for his 2-hour party. No one will remember. No one will care (much). So I will take a TON of pictures to prove how hard I worked and what a good mother I am and I will look at them when he’s 18 when I’m wondering if I did enough.

I did enough.

In lieu of presents (or, in addition to) we’ve asked our friends and family to donate to Glue Projects in Abe’s name, a non-profit that hooks up volunteers with volunteer-jobs in different cities. Abe turns 2 on Wednesday and if you would like to donate even $1 to this charity that means so much to us, I would dig it the most.

Have a beautiful weekend.

Find out more about Glue Projects here.

Donate to Glue Projects via Paypal here.

 

 

Personal Questions

After my recent conclusion that I have completed the transition into becoming my mother, my mother came to visit.

Today I sat with my mother and two closest friends in Jax (and their children) eating lunch in the back yard after furiously getting pre-party planning done for Abe’s second birthday party (which will last all of 2 hours so why we’re planning 2 days ahead of time is beyond me). We discussed how ridiculous it is that we’re constantly being asked when we’re having more babies.
“I’m not sure why people start when you’re in a relationship with, ‘When are you getting married?’, and then, ‘When are you having kids?’, and now, ‘When are you having more kids?” my mom said.
“They’re really personal questions,” one friend said. “Especially if the person asking doesn’t even know my last name.”
“I think we should just ask them some really personal questions in response next time it happens,” my other friend sneered.

So here’s the list of responses to, “When are you having another baby?” we came up with:

  • So how long have you been married? Think your pretty close to divorce yet?
  • You haven’t been going to the gym much lately, have you?
  • Were you a virgin when you got married? I can’t remember…
  • How’s your cycle been? Pretty regular?
  • How do you feel about same-sex marriage? 
  • Have you had your first colonoscopy yet?
  • What sex like between you and your partner? Do you guys get freaky?

Do you have any to add?

 

Pull Up Your Pants

Today I drove through the less-comfortable-to-drive-through part of town. Abe was in the back seat rattling on about trucks and Charlie. I got to a stop light and a man walked past my car with his pants literally buckled around his thighs. Not even upper thighs. Mid to lower thighs. And then he had an entire other pair of shorts squeezed underneath those pants. He donned black high-top sneakers reminiscent of my second grade year and one of his pant legs rolled up to reveal giant, cushy socks as if to say, “I’m obviously walking back to my bicycle and I just can’t stand it when I get chain grease on my dockers.”

Oh, and no shirt.

First of all, we live in Florida, sir. You are wearing several layers of clothing on your lower half and no layers of clothing on your upper half. It seems to me like a happy medium would be to just wear one layer of clothing on your lower half and, oh, I don’t know, a t-shirt.

Second, how are you even walking? Your belt is four feet below your waist. How pissed is gravity right now? How confounded is the entire study of physics in general that you are somehow able to defy all of it’s major principals and walk around, seemingly without care, while your pants dangle perilously at your knees without ever hitting the ground?

Third, why don’t you care? Is it a tough guy thing, like, I don’t care if my pants fall off. I don’t even care about my pants at all. My pants never did nothin’ for me. Eff pants.

Fourth, it’s not 1994. Let’s pick a new trend. Isn’t there some other strange thing you can do to prove you don’t care about your clothes? Like only wearing your shirt sleeves without the head, or pinning a scarf onto the back of your collar so it just drags along behind you because who cares about neck warmth? Neck warmth never did nothin’ for me. Eff neck warmth.

The way this man wore his pants just smacks of disrespect for pants everywhere. For clothing everywhere. And it is in writing this last paragraph that I have fully accepted the fact that I am now my mother.

Worth It

I had to go to Costco today, driving through a monsoon might I add, and I had to bring Abe with me. It’s not the worst place to bring him, the free samples really are delightful. But it is usually more than just 2 or 3 items which means he’s a little screamy by the time we leave.

While shopping, though, I realized my shopping list is now completely based on Abe. There was not one item on the list purchased that didn’t have some good reason for serving Abe’s little life:

  • Squeeze pouches of applesauce for lunches.
  • Two family-sized jars of natural peanutbutter because he eats peanutbutter on everything.
  • Dishwashing detergent in the little packets because if it’s the scoop kind with the dry stuff he can’t help me load the dishwasher and start it.
  • Two boxes of dog treats because Abe asks if he can, “Bella Charlie treat” at least 5 times a day.
  • Laundry detergent with the spigot at the end of it because Abe can’t pour the detergent, only push on the spigot when it’s time to do a load.

Detergent spigot. You know what I'm talking about.

  • Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries in giant clamshells because GOD forbid we don’t have “bewwies”.
  • A giant bottle of olive oil because I insulted him the other day by buttering his noodles instead of oiling them.
  • Family-sized package of Boirsin cheese because he likes to dip his “cackers” in “chee” and when we don’t have “chee” then he’s forced to eat dry “cackers” and that is not cool. AT. ALL.

I started feeling sad that I didn’t purchase a single thing for the adults in the house. But then, on the way to the car, Abe said, “Mommy, I see raining!”

It made everything in the cart worth it.

 

Before Two Kids

Before Abe was born my husband and I took a child birthing class at our local hospital. In it was the too-young couple, the too-old couple, the professionals, the hippies, the court-ordered couple… (I’m not sure the last one is true.) One couple in particular, though, was our age and appeared just as green and excited to have a child as we were.

In fact, the wife looked like this woman.

We saw that couple a few more times before our kids were born. Once at dinner, once in the grocery store, once at a movie…

“Oh hey, there’s that couple we took the child birthing class with!”

So this morning in Target I’m getting in line with Abe in my cart and I see that woman again after about a year and a half. She has a son, about Abes age, sitting in her cart. She’s also about 17 months pregnant. At first glance I couldn’t believe how together she was. Adorable Banana Republic dress, great green shoes, red hair side-swept into a bun. (I, on the other hand, was wearing one of the two pairs of shorts that I’ve rotated all summer long and some shirt that was clean. And I think I had shoes on.)

After a few minutes, she turned to face me.

Ooooooh, I thought.

I’m not kidding you, she looked like she’d been forced to ride Magic Mountain against her will 100 times earlier that morning. She was tired, confused, a little dazed. I think she actually lipped, “Please help me,” from the other check out line. Her hands appeared to be shaking. She stood on the opposite end of the cart from her son in line. I don’t know for sure she realized she was in Target.

I don’t know how you pregnant moms or moms with more than one child do it. I’m terrified of having a second child and finding myself in a Hallmark store buying birthday cards for no one on Halloween dressed as a camel. I just started getting my life back (a little bit) what with the advent of sleep in Abe’s second year and a stellar preschool program a few days a week. I can fit into my old jeans and I remember which part of my face the mascara goes. Everyone keeps telling me Abe needs a brother or a sister and I can’t get past the complete and total fear of losing it all over again. Did anyone else feel this way?! Am I wrong for just wanting the one kid?!

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