Tuesday, July 29, 2008

if I had a tempura-pedic mattress

It would be set to 10. Or whatever number means "maximum enjoyment".

My second pregnancy has been defined by exhaustion and the constant craving of tempura. I want to eat nothing but tempura vegetables and shrimp, possibly a piece of cooked sushi, and an ice cream product of some sort.

As you might guess, tempura is hard to come by when pregnant with a toddler. A nice, quiet Japanese restaurant, 45 minutes of solitude, and $30 to burn on fried crap don't really mix with an inquisitive 2-year-old, a healthy diet, and a budget. So I've had tempura 3 times. Up until today.

Today, I brought my extremely gifted friend Christine two onions, a zucchini, and a pint of mushrooms, which she dunked in her homemade tempura batter and fried in her amazing electric frying machine. And then we ate every bit of it.

And it was like a dream come true, to feel my gastric juices rushing joyously into the arms of the golden brown tempura atoms, dancing the dance of life and joy and flavor. It was honestly that good.

So all I'm saying is that if there were such a thing as a tempura-pedic mattress instead of the Tempurpedic mattress, mine would be set on 10, and I would be sleeping so hard that I was both snoring and drooling while dreaming up wonderful new milkshakes. Oh, and I would be giving Christine awards of some sort.

And I am a very happy girl.give me tempura udon soup immediately, vegetables, delicio

Sunday, July 27, 2008

pregnancy dreams 4.0

Last night, after the weddingtastic combination of Middle Eastern food combined with far too much cake, I dreamed that Dairy Queen called to congratulate me on winning the Create A Blizzard Contest. I had apparently sent in my suggestion for the world's best Blizzard, which was the unique and unheard-of combination of.... get this....

M&Ms and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

Because, yeah, in my dream, no one... no one... had ever thought to combine these two outrageously popular candies together with soft serve vanilla ice cream.

So the Roswell Dairy Queen threw a big party, served everyone my magnificent creation for free, and gave me $1000.

And, in conclusion, what did I send Craig and Evan out to get at 9:30 tonight? A "Delilah Special" Blizzard. We all had one. A good, melty time was had by all, and I got that rare feeling that tells you you're truly living a dream.

I kissed a toad

That's right-- I kissed a toad.

And I liked it.

I always like kissing toads. It's seriously one of my favorite things to do.

Toads are one of those little omens that mark special moments in my life. I can trace major plot curves through warty kisses. I kissed a toad the night before I fell in love for the first time, I kissed a toad in the rain the first time I broke up with someone, I kissed a toad the first night we moved back to Roswell. And last night, after my friend's very odd but joyous wedding and before baby Shmoo comes to be, I kissed a toad yet again.

I never think they're going to turn into princes, and I never have. And I wouldn't want them to, because who needs a spoiled little nutter with a pageboy getting in the way of my machinations. I know they're just random little amphibians, hopping around, doing random amphibian things. And yet, for me, they are a source of hope and joy and renewal. I love the way their fat, dry little bodies nestle in my hand, their little throats pulsing. I love the way they blink when they find themselves being smooched by enormous, fleshy giants. And I love that they always remind me that good things are going to happen. I think this toad both blessed Ryan and Urfa's unholy union and gave me the karmic thumb's up for Shmoo's arrival. That's one busy toad!

So, in conclusion, I encourage you to kiss toads. Or find whatever signs the world sends you and love them. I remember, a few months before Cleo was due to arrive, I was sitting in a chair in the backyard, reading one of my favorite books (w00t!, Outlander, w00t!), when I felt something on my foot and looked down to find an Eastern kingsnake crawling over my foot. I found this to be a tremendously positive omen and watched him the rest of the afternoon. And look how cool Cleo is! Seriously, that snake knew was it was heralding.

And so did this toad. Thank you, toad, for visiting. Also, thank you for not carrying herpes or leprosy or anything gross, like an armadillo.

Although I would have kissed an armadillo, too.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

pregnancy dreams 3.0: house of holofernes

Oh, this was a cool one!

I dreamed that Graig (as yesterday's mail calls him) and I lived in a little brownstone in dream Athens, which is a cross between the actual downtown of Athens, GA (where we went to school); Anderson, SC (where we used to live); and a much bigger, more metropolitan city. We shared a flat with a couple I re-met recently that I knew from high school. Together, the four of us designed this awesome game called House of Holofernes.

House of Holofernes, or HoH, is like the strange and tortured child of The Sims, Alice in Wonderland, Punch and Judy, and the Holodeck from Star Trek: Voyager. You buy a projection system for one room of your house, and it projects 100% realistic masquers onto the players so that instead of seeing John walking around in his boxers and one sock, you see a 7-foot tall version of his character. The characters are pre-created and are given the appropriate voices and conversation choices, much like a role-playing game. So you just walk around and make your decisions on how to reach your goals.

The characters are all cantankerous and odd members of the Holofernes family, a twisted and bizarre bunch of early 1900's folk. They each have an objective that none of the others know about, several of which involve killing other family members to get their stuff. That's all the game is-- scheming against your creepy family, throwing dishes, and screeching in a bad cockney accent.

Anyways, in the dream, we spent some time building the game and some time testing it, and my character was Annastasia Holofernes, the spoiled, imperious, and hideously ugly elder daughter who covets Grandma Bourguignon's heirloom ruby ring and wants to run away with cousin Nebechudnezzar. Such fun!

So it's not all scraggle-toothed dachshunds, but it's still pretty weird.

Today, one of my very best friends for over 15 years gets married. It's his second of three weddings, and the only one for which he *isn't* wearing a man dress, and I think it's going to be spectacular, mainly because there are going to be, like, 20 cakes. Plus, my mom and aunt are watching Cleo for us while we party. As much as a pregnant person can party, really.

So here's to you, Ryan and Urfa! We love you guys!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

pregnancy dreams 2.0

Last night's dream:

I wake up in the underground parking deck of our local Publix, surrounded by my high school reunion of hippies camping out in their cars. I have been sleeping in a conversion van alone, when I find I have given birth to the baby while I was asleep. I assume that, like when I watched Schindler's List, my body and brain got overloaded with too much pain during the birth and went to sleep, and then the baby popped out while I was snoozing.

The baby is a dachshund.

A wet, gooey, lumpy-headed, ugly, snaggly-toothed dachshund.

And when I try to nurse it, it yanks my bosoms out about 2 feet with its snaggly teeth.

Craig is asleep in a 1985 Toyota Corolla next to my van. He is as surprised as I am. We're not quite sure what to do.

So we go see my parents, who present us with a baby gift of brand new puppy clones of their annoying chihuahuas. I start crying because I think i'm going to have to nurse three puppies at once, which would suck.

Then my friend Heidi shows up with the most beautiful new baby ever, born the same night, named Hyacinth. Heidi is not pregnant now, nor was she in the dream; she just spontaneously birthed a perfect, red-headed baby. My dream self is extremely jealous, because all I have is the world's ugliest dachshund and a 32DDDDD chest. Then the ugly dachshund baby turns into a perfectly wonderful little baby boy, and we all laugh together like we're in a bad play.

Helllooooo, hormones!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

men are funny

When I opened the fridge today, I was reminded of something hilarious that happened last Friday that I was too woe-is-me to blog about.

When Craig got home and started digging through the fridge, I pulled out a bottle of orange glop and said, "By the way, whatever you do, DON'T DRINK THIS."

His eyes got huge and glazed with desire, and his tongue snuck out over his lips, and he said, "GIVE ME THAT! WHAT IS IT! I WANT IT!"

He grabbed the bottle, read the ingredients, and said, "This would be great for my workout! Why can't I have it?"

To which I answered, "Because it's the glucose drink for my 1-hour glucose tolerance test on August 15. You drink it, and your body goes sugarbonkers, and then they draw your blood to see if you have gestational diabetes. Every woman in her right mind hates and fears it!"

And then there was a pause, and he greedily, frantically said, "Can I just TRY it? What's it taste like?"

And as I rolled my eyes and hid the nasty orange goo behind some healthy food, I was reminded of how different the male and female minds are. I should have put a label on it that said, "YOU MUST DRINK THIS HEALTHY DRINK THAT IS JUST FOR WOMEN AND CONTAINS 100% WHOLE WHEAT AND TOFU", and then he wouldn't have seen it, much less wanted to drink it. But show it to him and tell him that he can't have it? It's going to drive him crazy.

$5 says he breaks down and drinks it before a workout. Seriously, $5.

Monday, July 21, 2008

on refueling my wahoo

It has recently come to my attention that my blog posts have gotten quite negative, as well as my attitude in general, and I think there's a lot of truth there. Being pregnant fills one with the hopes and dreams of new life, but it also robs one of a certain sense of self and security while taking all of the body's best resources to build something new.

Translation: I'm too physically and emotionally exhausted to be as excited and happy as I should be about Cleo or the new baby. Or life in general.

I've been clockwatching, living under a seige mentality, barely dog-paddling, waiting for Cleo to go to sleep so that I can snag a few precious moments of rest or alone time. And that's no way to live. When you think of your child as an impediment or annoyance instead of, basically, your reason for existing, working, and feeling joy, you're pretty much cutting off your nose to spite your face. I can't imagine the smiles, funny phrases, and hugs i've missed because i've been too busy waiting for something else to happen.

I'm also beginning to wonder if the reason humanity as a whole is driving me crazy and making me shout at the top of my lungs about how horrible everyone else is behaving is just to pull the attention off myself and how horrible *i'm* being. To tell the truth, i'm a bit embarrassed.

So i'm taking it back. Rediscovering my wahoo. Focusing on finding and feeling the positive things while ignoring the negative. To my friends, I apologize for being negative, selfish, or depressing. The hardest part about being depressed is not knowing you're depressed and thinking everyone else must be as miserable as you are. And i'm not even that miserable, really.

Tom Robbins tell us, "All depression has its roots in self-pity, and all self-pity is rooted in people taking themselves too seriously." I used to strive to never take myself, or anything, too seriously, and now i'm treating a traffic violation as a grave offense. When I read my post about the grimaces in TJ Maxx, i'm thinking I was probably writing about myself, which is even more depressing. So let's avoid that loop.

It's a nice day. I've got a cool kid and a sweet life. Let's do something fun.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

siss siss siss!

The Barabel in me is still sissing over a tiny litle tableau in the Publix parking lot.

There's this big, beefy, rough-looking guy, standing there, holding 3 bags of groceries and a watermelon.

And he's staring at his motorcycle.

I mean, how do you FORGET you drove a motorcycle to the grocery store? And buy $50 worth of junk and a 20 pound watermelon? The guy didn't even have saddlebags on his hog.

I'm still wondering if he returned everything, rigged something, or called his wife to come pick up the groceries in her light blue minivan. I guess if I see an exploded watermelon on the street tomorrow, i'll have a clue.

stop teen pregnancy!

Taking a cue from one of my online forums, I would like to share the best plan ever for eliminating teen pregnancy: simply make a very long list of all the things a woman is unable to do after she has birthed her child. It would go like this:

What you want to do:
Go to sleep at midnight, sleep in as long as you want to, then have a leisurely breakfast while watching TV.

What you do with a kid:
Put them down at 8, comfort them at 8:14, 8:39, and 9:02. Fetch 2 dollies, a monkey, and a small car from the back seat of your SUV in your underwear with your face half-washed. You're so frazzled that you can't fall asleep until midnight, despite a glass of warm milk, 3 episodes of Scrubs, and a Unisom. Your child wakes up at 4:41 screaming, "Daddy go uppa ladder getta duck! OH NOES!!", and you slog into her room to calm her. You get back to sleep by 5:30. Your child wakes up at 6:12 and informs you she'd like some avocado. You go downstairs in the dark, strap her into her high chair, and groggily shove a spoonful of avocado at her, while she screams, bats the spoon into a green smear on the wall, and hollers, "WANT YOGURT!" As she coats herself and the floor with yogurt, you go to pour a bowl of cereal and find that she has eaten all the Cheerios, the bananas are inexplicably black, and the only milk left is whole milk. Whatever you decide to eat becomes the object of your child's deepest desire, and you hand it over, wondering if you'll be able to convince her that Chik-fil-A is "yucky icky food that grownups have to eat when they're bad" once lunch rolls around.

What you want to do:
Go to the mall to shop with a girlfriend, stop by a cute bistro for lunch and a latte while reading a fashion magazine, get a manicure, pedicure, and haircut. Then come home to veg with a movie and some ice cream.
What you do with a kid:
Go to the gym, because it's the only place where no one notices if you haven't showered in two days, plus they actually watch your kid for you. Kinda. Spend 15 minutes doing weights while people silently judge you for either being fat and flabby or working too hard while pregnant. Spend 1.5 hours on the treadmill walking 2 miles per hour while reading a book because it's actually pretty restful and quiet, compared to chasing your child. From the treadmill area, you see a 6 year old pick up your toddler by one leg and swing them around while a bored childcare worker files her nails.

Get somewhat cleaned up, rescue your child, and take her to the mall to play in the soft play area and eat lunch. The soft play area is full of neglected children without parents who beg for attention and food and attempt to stomp on the hands of unattended babies. Your child is not interested in the safe area and runs out the open door, again, towards the escalator, wearing Crocs. You chase her all over the mall and only set off 3 alarms as she tries to smuggle Build-a-Bears out before anyone notices. The food court is under construction and the carousel is closed, so when she sees the silent animals, she starts screaming for it with every fiber of her being. You manage to calm her down and purchase a fruit cup and milk, and as she eats grapes off the table, you get disapproving stares from the next table over, when the mom stops smoking and talking on her cell phone long enough to yell at her kid to shut up, already, as he turns red and chokes in his stroller. As your child starts crying because she's out of strawberries, you forget to eat your own lunch again and rush from the angry stares of people who think the mall food court should be a quiet and peaceful place to eat.

Oh, and the manicure, pedicure, and hair cut? What's the point? You can't go, because children aren't allowed in those establishments. And if they were, you still wouldn't go, because there are too many toxic fumes from acrylic nails and hair dyes and perms. And even if you did find a way to get there and get your pampering done, you'd be worrying about how your child was torturing the babysitter and how you're going to pay for a $55 haircut when you're already over budget for the month. And, as the final stroke of death, you remember that no one actually looks at mothers with small children. You can't be a MILF until your kids go to school, so you might as well be just another struggling frump with a tiny, parasitic dictator attached like a second head.

I could go on. But seriously, if drippy green pictures of STDs won't convince a 15 year old to abstain, just explain that they will not be able to enjoy a leisurely day of indulgence for the next 15 years.

That should totally do it.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

the funniest thing i've ever seen (this week)

My toddler just rescued my dainty underthingies from the clean laundry, decided they are her new swimmin' suit, and put them on. Kinda like when Borat or John Mayer wear that green bananakini. She's totally running around wearing a pair of string bikinis as a one-piece. I can't show you. But oh, if I could, you would all laugh until you peed yourselves. Even the non-pregnant folks.

Remember this picture? It's a lot like that. But without the body hair or skank.

Funniest thing i've seen in weeks, and I can't show anybody. How's that for irony? If I could show all those grouchy ladies at TJ Maxx, there would probably be some sort of gravitic anomaly as their frown lines reversed and they became happy muppets instead of angry Grimace monsters.

it.... hurts....

I totally don't get it.

I was at TJ Maxx Homegoods today, which is a store composed 50% of clothes/shoes and 50% home decorating items. The things chicks dig most. If you're in there at 2:30 on a Thursday, it's because you have extra cash to burn, and you either don't work or have the day off work. So your situation is better than 90% of the world.

And yet the store is full of frowning women. With those incised marionette lines. Carts loaded with extraneous merchandise, eyes empty. Mirrors and candles and kitchen doodads and new shams for the guest bedroom and swim cover-ups. Things that should bring happiness, or at least a cozy little "Pretty thing!" sparkle. And they're all totally miserable.

I wanted to lay the smackdown on everyone I passed. I just wanted to stop and tickle them, or poke them in the belly, or do the chicken dance. Or hand them a puppy. Just to see if they *could* smile.

Is this another rant? Maybe. I'm just saying that there's a lot to smile about, and if what you're doing doesn't make you smile, do something else. If shopping is so horrible, get a pedicure. Go eat some bread at La Madeleine. Call a friend. Get a kitten. Take my cat! Please. Something.

I know we all go through rough patches, but I hope that when i'm 50, i'll have smile lines instead of frown lines. That's all i'm sayin'.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

MoOoOm! There's nothing to do!

Summer with a toddler reminds me a lot of being 12-- it's hot, you're lazy, and you want to be entertained without having to do any of the work. Oh, and thanks to pregnancy, I have the same raging hormones, too. I try desperately to plan something each day to last from morning through the magical 2:30 nap time, but so many mornings I wake up with nothing on the calendar and a yearning for free, easy, contained-within-gates-or-doors adventure.

So today, i'm considering:

1. Going to the gym and having lunch with my mom. The only problems are that it takes way too much energy to work out, and then i'm stinky afterwards, and then we're done eating lunch at 12:30 with two more hours to kill. On the upside, when I go to the gym in the morning, none of the gym employees on the level under the treadmills will be eating that stanky beef stew that makes me nervous of body odor. I seriously spend an hour in the evening going, "Is that me, or beef stew? ME or STEW??" and surreptitiously smelling my pits.

2. Going to lunch at the mall with my grandmother. The only problems are that it's a lot of trouble to corral Cleo at the mall, and I don't have any money to spend, which makes the mall a torture chamber. Lord only knows Gymboree will be featuring adorable baby boy clothes with hedgehogs, and i'll start crying into my maternity shirt. Plus, I think the food court has been under construction for about three years, so no carousel. And I can never tell if my grandmother is having a nice time or just sitting, clutching her purse in fear of the 21st century.

3. Go to an outdoor park. Again, lots of trouble chasing my child. And it's getting hot out. And there could be.... camps. Or daycares. And camps and daycares at the park are only slightly less annoying to deal with than packs of rabid, frothing dogs being ridden by caffeine-charged telemarketers with potato guns.

Unfortunately, my usual "exhaust her with a minimum of trouble" places are unavailable today. We can't go to The Coffee Park because I have to save my last 4 hours of the week for a KoalaMommas meeting tomorrow, and we can't go to Monkey Joe's, because they don't allow preggos on the moonwalks, so if she gets stuck, i'd have to ask a stranger for help. And not only do I *hate* talking to strangers, but they are notoriously rude at Monkey Joe's, for some unknown reason.

So here I am, in my pajamas, exhausted after 9 hours of sleep, trying to alternately pull my child out of the air conditioning vent and out from behind the couch, while using my remaining 3 brain cells to figure out a mutually beneficial way to exhaust her while resting myself.

I basically need a miniature version of the set from American Gladiators manned by 10 hirsute nannies, and that would be attached to a bakery/coffee shop/hibachi restaurant riddled with sleep number beds.

That would juuuust about do it.

Monday, July 14, 2008

rant: America the.... lazy.

I know that I can be pretty judgmental. And negative. Especially when pregnant.

But honestly-- what is wrong with people? How lazy and rude have we become?

Today at the grocery store, a woman rushed her enormously loaded shopping cart in front of me at an empty lane, jogging to beat me there. She was a big girl with an angry face, and she had a bill of over $300 ranging from very unhealthy food to clothes to bedding. Girlfriend had been shopping! And i've got a kid with me, so I tend to be non confrontational, so I just let her feel superior for beating me and played toe-tickling games with Cleo. It took a good while for her to check out, and she debated several price tags, and they had to call over managers, and then she had to fuss with a check, and then finally it was our turn. Eh, whatever.

But when we get out to the car, we see that she has parked in the closest handicapped space to Target, without a handicapped sticker, license, hang tag, or dash tag. Just blatantly not handicapped. And then she left her cart in the handicapped space next to her and took off.

So let me get this straight:
1. You're not obviously handicapped, nor do you have any legal sticker, decal, or tag.
2. You obviously have enough energy and wherewithal to shop for over an hour and push an enormously loaded cart of objects obtained from nearly every corner of the store.
3. You've got enough sass to nearly run over a pregnant woman carrying a toddler to make sure you check out your huge pile of loot first.

I often wonder if our society has totally lost a sense of honor or nicety, if we've just become a collection of faceless, entitled jerks constantly out for numero uno. If I had a dollar for every SUV that has nearly mowed me down in the pedestrian crosswalk, my AC would be cranked up to 65, and i'd have a personal chef. Drivers are especially egregious. I know i've complained about it before, and I know my husband will read this and roll his eyes about my negativity and stupid hopes for humanity, but it just cuts me to the quick to see people treat each other with so little regard.

Here's the crux of it for me: when my mentor, boss, and longtime friend was DYING OF CANCER and could barely get out of bed after chemo to drag herself to the store to buy the two foods she could keep down, she rarely parked in the handicapped spaces, even though she had a tag, because she felt like she might be depriving someone who needed it more.

Today's raging, unhappy selfish Hutt can't even be bothered to walk ten feet away from her illegal parking space to return a cart, and she gets to go on living, taking up air, spreading ugliness in the world through her expressions and deeds.

It ain't fair, people. That's all i'm saying. It ain't fair.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

my day, in a nutshell

1. Daddy gets up with Cleo for a marathon of apple yogurt, 1-mile hikes, and nude swimming, while I blissfully sleep until 11am and have bizarre dreams of going on a sewer cruise with one of my online forums, but I was in costume, so they didn't recognize me.

2. I wake up happy, hungry, and dead set on Jason's Deli, for some bizarre reason. So we drive there in a rainstorm and have a wonderful lunch. BLTs and strawberry shortcake are good foods for pregnancy, right?

3. Cleo, left alone for 5 minutes, undresses, takes off her diaper, poops in the little pink potty, takes the poop out of the potty, puts the poop in the old diaper, hollers for me, hands me the diaper, and then sits on the big, fluffy mattress topper that is drying in the middle of the floor. The mattress topper goes back into the washing machine, mommy washes everyone's hands with soap, and we have a discussion about what we do and do not do with poop.

4. Daddy and Cleo fall asleep, and I paint the downstairs bathroom, which has been my albatross since March. The "tan" I chose was actually vomity-pea-soup-green, and I had to quit redoing the cabinet halfway through, so it's been pretty rough in there. I am proud to say the bathroom is now officially a very harmless tan called Camel. Lesson? Camel - good. Mesa - bad.

5. Drawing on over 10 years of professional faux finishing and painting, I happily do a "crackle" faux finish on the bathroom cabinet to hide the fact that I didn't finish stripping it.

6. The "crackle" sloughs off the cabinet in big, gooey, gummy slubs. It looks like Hershey's syrup crossed with Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. I use an entire roll of paper towels to wipe the nasty, rubbery, wet brown mess off my poor cabinet. Normally, this would really upset me, but i'm so well-rested and well-fed that I don't really care. Amazing!

7. Daddy and Cleo wake up, and Daddy decides that he wants hibachi. What a coincidence! I spend approximately 22 hours a day wanting hibachi. My mom agrees to watch Cleo for an hour, and Daddy and I have an amazing time stuffing our bellies with delicious hibachi at our favorite restaurant. Baby Shmoo approves.

So that's what I call a REALLY good day.

Friday, July 11, 2008

me vs. the geezers

I know, I know... i'm supposed to respect my elders. And I generally do.

But these days, anyone can be an elder. It doesn't take wit and stamina and wisdom to live past 60. It just takes some good doctors, vitamins, an remembering not to wear Crocs near the escalator. So I think that a lot of current day elders aren't quite as deserving of respect as they used to be, the grandparents of any readers excepted.

I went to Lowe's to buy paint, and after I was nearly run off the road by an octogenarian in a Lexus SUV, I found myself talking to an older gentleman in front of the Olympic non-VOC paint section. It went something like this:

Geezer: Can I help you?
Me: Yes, I'm trying to choose a paint color. I want a warm tan that doesn't contain any green.
Geezer: The greens are over here.
Me: Yes, I'm trying to AVOID green. The last color I purchased was called "Mesa", and it looked tan here, but it turned the color of pea soup in my bathroom.
Geezer: What was it called?
Me: Mesa.
Geezer: WHAT?
Me: MESA!!
Geezer: Give me a moment.
(lumbers over to computer, muddles around for 5 minutes, lumbers back over)
Geezer: Ah, here it is. Mesa Cream.
Me: Yes, this is light yellow. The color I had was TAN, but in my bathroom, which has no natural light, it turned GREEN. It looked like pea soup. It looked like vomit. I DON'T WANT THAT. I WANT TAN.
Geezer: We also have a darker "Mesa".
Me: No, I don't want Mesa. I want TAN. Just plain tan.
Geezer: All these are tan.
Me: I know, i'm holding some paint swatches right here. I just want to know which ones have no green in them.
Geezer: You want green in them?
Geezer: Well, they all have green. All the colors have all sorts of colors in them. Heh heh heh.
Me: Yes, I know how you mix the paint, but I just want TAN. What's your most popular tan?
Geezer: Tan is very popular.

And it went on and on like that. I finally took a big handful of swatches down to the lighting area and held them under warm bulbs to see how they changed. I chose my color and brought it to the counter. 10 minutes later, I stopped by the counter to find the same old man doing nothing. When I asked if my paint was ready, he said, "Oh, I didn't know you were ready for me to make it." And, again, I said, "NNNNNGH!"

Finally, 3o minutes later, I left with my two paint colors, which, lord willing, will work and not be in any way, shape or form greenish or resembling of a mesa.

I don't know which is worse: dealing with young, rude people with no manners or dealing with older, kind people who are deaf and unhelpful. With a child strapped to my back and Shmoo-induced potty breaks every 30 minutes, I just don't have the time to stand around shouting about the popularity of tan.

I respect my elders, sure, but they sometimes really irritate the crap out of me.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

drumroll, please...

For those of you betting on blue, you'll be pleased to know that we're over 75% sure Baby Shmoo is a BOY. Yay!

The ultrasound tech showed us several hilarious images, from the baby flashing a peace sign, to chunky little feet pressed up against my belly, to a hand clinging playfully and repeatedly to the genitalia we were so very anxious to see. Apparently, I am housing a miniature Al Bundy lounging on his placental couch.

The anatomy scan showed that everything is totally normal, and my due date remains the same-- December 2. Shmoo weighs about 1 pound now and is around 6 inches from crown to rump. He appears to have inherited Craig's iron bones, because they were very sharp on the scans and when poking me at odd moments. I am utterly floored that we can see this baby move clearly from the outside of my abdomen at only 19 weeks. I didn't even feel Cleo move until 18 weeks, and then it was just flutters and nudges. Seems Shmoo is a rather vigorous chap!

I'm almost halfway through the pregnancy, and i'm ready to start painting the guest bedroom blue. Craig and I will effectively replace ourselves on the planet, thereby insuring the future success of our robot army under the care of familial stewards.

It's a good day.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

the true meaning of "sorry"

This story is both sweet and disgusting, and i'm sure the parents out there will relate. I need to write it down to remember it forever, because i'm still snickering.

We are trying to teach Cleo certain phrases and their uses, and she is having some issues with "I'm sorry". We have asked her to say "I'm sorry" when she has hit someone, thrown food, said something mean... any time one would expect an empathetic human to feel regret for their actions. And she seems to get it. And then Craig will spray her with the hose while she's playing in her baby pool, and she'll say, "I sorry, Daddy!", and we have no idea what's going on in her little noggin.

So the other day, I left her naked in her room after a shower and went downstairs to fetch a diaper. We're working on potty training, more as something fun than a necessity, and she "gets" it. Unfortunately, her little potty was in our room instead of hers. Oopsy.

So I return to find my naked child picking up fresh, big ol' turds with a dried out baby wipe. She looked up at me, turd in hand, and said,

"I sorry, Mommy. Cleo pick up poop now".

Trying really hard not to laugh as she tries to pick up 4 huge chunks with one little hand, fanny in the air, I said, "Oh, honey, *I* am sorry. I left your potty in the other room. I know you would have used it if it had been here."

Her response? "Is okay!"

So, yeah, I picked it all up, flushed it, wiped her off, washed my hands with soap, and went about my day. But every now and then, I think about how she's starting to understand what it means to be sorry, because she apparently felt so bad about pooping all over her rug that she tried to pick it up herself.

Lord only knows what she was going to do with it, but I suspect her Little People farm's silo would have been involved.

Monday, July 7, 2008

pimpin' Cleo's ride!

I love the classic Ergo I bought for $30, but I hate their current business practices. The Ergo company is chasing a patent that is waaaay too broad and threatening legal action against anyone making a baby carrier that involves waist and chest buckles, even work-at-home-moms running tiny businesses out of their homes. You can read about it here. Blech.

So I ripped off the hideous old pocket, which had bizarre Heidi ribbon that reminded me of Confederate flags. And I ripped off the big ol' Ergo tag on the hood. And I recovered it with rockin' silver skulls on black fabric.

Here's what it used to look like, although this is not my actual Ergo:

Here it is all pimpity with the sleeping hood down...

And here it is with the sleeping hood up...

How I love my sewing machine! Being able to sew things makes me feel powerful, just like when I took a metalwork class and forged spoons from copper ingots. I guess an electric needle isn't quite up there with steamily hammering cherry-hot metal like Vulcan himself, but I'm still pretty freakin' proud of myself. And, unlike my lopsided copper spoons, the Ergo (and most of my other sewing projects) are actually functional. Except that first pair of baby pants I made that had two butts because I didn't use both parts of the pattern. Those were pretty poochy.

So take that, bullies! I will have my minuscule and entirely dysfunctional revenge for this antiquated product that I purchased third hand for practically nothing two years ago.

That'll show you!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

behold: my robot army begins!

Today, continuing a 3-weekend run of totally being the cheese to my macaroni, Craig bought me a Roomba. So I now have my own robot vacuum cleaner, which I have named Rosie, in my hopes that she is the harbinger of an entire Jetson-esque lifestyle of push-button bathrooms, dog walkers, and meals in pill form.

Oh, and, just to make sure, it's a ROOMBA. Not a Woomba. It's gonna clean my business, but *definitely* not my lady business. That would totally mess up Thursday's ultrasound.

Anyway, I just wanted to give a shout-out to my sweet husband who shares my plans of world domination by janitorial robot and also supports the fact that I shouldn't be carrying 50-pound vacuums up the stairs in my delicate condition.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

it takes a village. of idiots.

For months, we've been looking forward to a 4-day weekend with my mom's family in the North Carolina mountains. I was picturing the whole "it takes a village" vibe as children capered around the lawn and adults laughed and talked, commiserating joyously on the humors of parenthood. Unfortunately, I had forgotten that my family was involved. And that the mountains are Nature's Deathtrap.

We had a great drive up and met my Uncle M as he was pulling out to go to the river, which we learned later is basically a whirlpool of frozen doom. He sent us to stay with one of my favorite cousins and his fun wife and 3 adorable daughters. We were so excited to think of Cleo chasing the girls around and actually getting to know her cousins. We settled in upstairs, Craig went to sleep, and Cleo and I enjoyed some Little People as I tried to keep her from falling through a banister made of twigs onto a floor strewn with jacks, chokeables, and Froot Loops. Then the cousins came home from the river and greeted us with a round of, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE??? THIS IS OUR HOUSE!!!", which was delightful.

Turns out no one at the river had told them we were coming, we were already there, or we were staying with them. And they weren't pleased. We hastily re-packed the car to various threats, such as, "You can stay here, but you won't like it when our dog bites the baby," and "Fine, stay upstairs, but that's where the girls watch movies and giggle until midnight," and the great kicker, "We're just going to pack up and drive home and you can stay here by yourselves". They never even acknowledged Cleo or Craig, and I came to wish they hadn't spoken to me, either.

We just felt so overwhelmed with familial love.

So we took our stuff 3 houses down to where my mom would stay with her sister's family and her brother's family. Already 10 people in that house, but it would be better to sleep in an attic crawlspace than with Cousin Shrew and her rabid dog. We were given the basement, all to ourselves, with 4 full beds and 2 TVs, and we felt like we had struck gold.

Until we found out we were bedded down in "Grand Central Station". Since this house had the most open floorplan and the biggest table, it was where every meal was cooked and eaten. As soon as the smell of sausage wafted from the windows at 7am, 10 kids came tumbling in like a herd of incontinent elephants, took over the TV, stopped up the bathrooms, and shrieked outside for hours like pigs being slaughtered. Even in our basement sanctuary, you could hear every footstep, especially the clicky little sandals that my aunts like to wear and the clumping yeti boots of the boys. There would be no peace.

Oh, and the happy children frolicking? Not to be. Several of the cousins are scratching, biting, pushing monsters, and most of the older kids just wanted to space out in front of the TV playing wrestling games on PlayStation. No one knew Cleo's name, and the ones who asked called her Chloe for the rest of the weekend. Fido bit two kids and got sent home to his kennel. And there was no sugar for the coffee I needed to keep me from going completely feral.

And the "village" I had envisioned was also total bunk. These folks had done their toddler time and were totally oblivious. I actually saw Cleo pick up a wine glass brimming with wine, and some second aunt-in-law giggled and said, "Let's see what she'll do with that!" My mom and I nearly gave each other concussions lunging to stop anything from alcohol poisoning to 19 stitches as 10 cousins looked on, amused at our rush. She almost ran out the screen door and into the street 20 times. And she wouldn't go to sleep at 8... or 9.... or 10... until we drove her to sleep at 10:30. And then she woke up at 5am.

So, within 24 hours of arriving, we were packing up the car to head out. People who hadn't spoken to us the entire time begged us to stay while their spouses argued in the other room about the fact that Cousin Shrew wouldn't leave her house because she was mad at us. Luckily, we didn't have to pack up much food, because other peoples' kids had eaten it all. Uncle M tried to convince us to stay with an enticing day of fishing our frozen child out of a dangerous river, followed by watching skydivers, eating hot dogs, and playing with fireworks.

We are now having a fabulous vacation at home while everyone thinks we are away. The phone isn't ringing, we have nothing on the calendar, neither dog nor child is threatening to bite Cleo, and there are absolutely no clicky heels keeping us from a fretful sleep.

I have come to learn that while it used to "take a village" to raise a child, my village is full of idiots, or at the very least, folks with too much drinking to do to keep my child from running into the street. The mountains will be wonderful in 3 or 4 years, but until then, I think we'll stay home and listen to the fireworks as a gentle counterpoint to Firefly reruns and the idyllic sound of a mountain stream emanating from Cleo's white noise machine at 8pm.