Wednesday, August 31, 2011

# 14

Dear Baby,

Admittedly, you're not really a baby anymore.  Even your friend Grace has taken to calling you "Toddler Johnny" instead of "Baby Johnny", but I am not really a fan.  In my heart, you are the baby.  You are my baby, my only baby.  I'd like you to stay a baby as long as humanly possible, and then a little longer please.

Today is your second birthday.  You are two.  This time, two years ago, I was complaining that my doctor was never coming back and would someone please give me some drugs, thankyouverymuch.

Last weekend we had your second celebration of the second birthday, this one with just the grandparents, and I don't think I've quite ever seen you so happy.  Your first party, earlier this month, the blowout with all your friends, was ridiculously cool, but you were getting sick, as your 103 temperature proved the next day, and you weren't really yourself.  As in, you were awake for all of two hours and mostly occupied yourself by playing with the ice in the cooler instead of your friends.

But this second party, it really knocked your socks off.  Once, as you looked around the room over a plateful of green Brobee cake, it occured to you that it really was a marvel, all of these grandparents in one room.  You looked at Grandpa Earl, and then at Grandpa Al, and "TWO GRANDPA'S!" you exclaimed, blissed completely out.

Yes, you have learned to count.  At least to two.  And then five, and nine.  Sometimes you make it to three, but four, six, seven, and eight can eat a bag of rocks for all you care.  One, two, three, five, and nine.   Those guys are your boyz.

Also, you know your colors.  We like to amaze and impress strangers and grandparents by holding up a crayon and letting you exclaim that it is "BOO!" and "LELLOW" and "GREE!"  Also, we sometimes amaze them with your mad somersaulting skillz, and then I go ahead and tell them you're five, and all of it seems less impressive except your small stature for your age.  And then you and I just laugh and laugh.

Your world revolves around Dada, Mama, "Yabba" and the gang, and hot dogs.  If you were in the movie "The Jerk" you'd leave the house with your pants around your ankles, saying "all I need is this Yabba DVD, this hot dog, and maybe this Elmo Doll.  That's it.  That's all I need."  And truly, it is.  And now maybe the toy flashlight that Grammy gave you for your birthday.  You do enjoy the heck out of flipping a switch.

I could go on for days about how much we love you and how delighted we are with your every word, move and smile.  We dissolve into a puddle of goo with every hug, and get all goofy when we watch you toddle down the hall for bedtime as we follow behind you.  You love to go "night night" most of the time, and you hug both Elmo and The Green Monkey tight, roll over, and that is the last we hear from you.   Like your father, you really enjoy being in bed.

Every day you learn a new thing, show off a new skill, and, somehow, get a little cuter.  It seems impossible, but you just keep doing it.

Son, I can't thank you enough.  Happy birthday, you've made our lives something we never even allowed ourselves to dream of before.  We'll never be able to show you enough gratitude for the last two years, let alone the years to come.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Women. ADD. Me. Argh.

Some days, I just want to take forty Xanax and say "night night."

It's my own fault. I'm a classic overscheduler.


But, in the midst of my overscheduled ass's project du jour, I sometimes get a tad overwhelmed. You know, just a little, the way an ant might feel overwhelmed by my foot.

Sometimes, when I stop for a breather, like when I'm going pee for the second time that day at 8:30 pm, I like to contemplate the life of women. You know, for just a little self-flaggelation.

And this isn't to be exclusionary of the jobs of men, it's just, I'm not a man, so it's hard to contemplate that.

Here are the things I feel I *should* be doing on a regular basis. Not that I *am* doing these things, but I feel constantly that I *should* and I really really want to. Or at least, sometimes I want to be the girl that does all this stuff. And sometimes I want to give those girls the finger and go take 40 Xanax.

I should:

  • Work my regular job, and be an A PLUS employee, never late, never sick, never distracted or behind on my work.
  • Work my second job, wherein I write food columns, and be the best at that too.  You know, take better pictures, cook inventive things, be witty and on time and all around fabulous.
  • Be a good wife.  Be thoughtful of my husband and anticipate his needs, and remember to pick up deodorant for him before he runs out.
  • Cook dinner for my family. And nothing frozen or reheated.
  • Budget.  Make sure the family's finances are always in check.  Do not overspend.
  • Use coupons.  Search the ads, find the deals.
  • Buy local foods.  This means going to the farmer's market as well as the grocery store more than once a week. (Heck, more than once a month which is my current standard.)
  • Plan menus. Make sure every week's menus are well-rounded and complete, as well as full of ingredients purchased with coupons and/or locally.
  • Organize.   Buy baskets for things so they'll be organized and put labels on them made on my computer in a cute font with scalloped edges.  A place for everything, and make sure everyone else knows those places so the can put the scissors back where they go.
  • Clean.  Mop floors, wipe countertops, clean the spot where the baby eats every time.  Care for your home, make sure things smell good, empty the trash before it starts to overflow.
  • Windex the glass doors.  Don't forget this.
  • Plant flowers, water them and don't let them die.
  • Decorate.  And don't just go to JC Penney and buy the whole set and the display art.  Choose interesting things.  Shop with a critical eye for special art.  Make things by hand.  Coordinate but don't match.  Sew curtains.  Learn to sew.  Paint walls but don't overdo it.
  • Get regular haircuts.
  • Do your hair in the morning instead of wearing a ponytail.
  • Get facials, and wear just the right makeup, applied in good light, before you get to work.
  • Have a skincare regimen morning and night.  No wrinkles!
  • Shave legs every day.
  • Eat breakfast.  Something healthy.  Not a Diet Coke and a piece of bacon.
  • Pack your lunch - it's cheaper and more healthy than going out.  Add lunch stuff to above grocery shopping.
  • Have your nails and toes done every two weeks so you don't look homeless.
  • Get waxed.
  • Work out, at least three times a week.  Kick your own ass.  Look good doing it.
  • Make your bed.  
  • Wash sheets once a week.
  • Take care of extended family.  Remember to call often and tell them you love them.  Don't forget their birthdays. Make it all special.
  • Be there for your friends.  Don't get wrapped up in your own business and forget their business.  Remember to ask them how their recent vacation went and seem interested in the pictures.
  • Plan events.  Birthday parties, father's day, summer solstice, plan it all.
  • Don't miss events.  Your friends will think it's rude if you don't go to their parties.
  • Bring a good dish with you.  When you go to said parties.  Local, inventive, budget, beautiful.
  • OH WAIT.  AND PARENT.  DON'T FORGET YOUR KID.  Pick the right daycare, make him look  adorable every day.  Don't let him watch too much tv.  Get the right educational books and toys.  Play with him.  Feed him fruits and veggies, no pesticides, no plastic (it leeches).  Feel guilty when you go to the gym and miss an evening with him, but go to the gym anyway, because it's on the list of Important Things.
  • Have a garden.  It's sustainable.
  • Look sharp, never like a shlumpadinka.  Go shopping for some better clothes.  Don't wear the pants with the bleach stain on them anymore.
  • Get regular checkups for you and the kid.
  • Don't forget to refill the prescriptions.  On time.
  • Do cultural things.  Art, theater, demolition derbies.
  • Don't be cranky.  Pick up toys with a smile on your face.
  • Volunteer.  Give back to the community.
  • Be involved in your kid's school or daycare.  Work in the classroom, go to the fundraiser.
  • Take treats on Valentine's Day, and don't forget little cardboard Valetines for all the kids, even if they're only 1.
  • Always be looking for a better, more powerful job.  You  need to grow in your career.
  • Invest.  Learn about investing.  Think about investing, be scared of investing but do it anyway.  Have a financial advisor, whatever that is.
  • Be political.  Know what's going on both locally and federally.  It's your life, anyway.
  • Recycle.  Take care of the environment.  Don't waste.  Sort.
"It only takes a couple of minutes a day."  I love that line. I hear it all the time.  But how many "couple minute" jobs can I A) remember to do and B) Have time for in the four hours between getting off work and going to bed?  I work 50 hours a week.  I have a toddler.  If my doors don't sparkle, so be it.  


It's a wonder we don't all go insane.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Priorities, people.

It has come to our attention, rather suddenly, that our new house is settling. Drastically. Like, the old owner had it propped up with sticks and magic and for him, all the doors opened and closed properly. But then second he moved out, the house let out its breath, and now none of the doors work. And there are some spots. Just a few, tiny spots. Where I can see sagging.

I have visions of that movie, The Money Pit, the one where Tom Hanks gets stuck in a hole on the second story and we all learned the "Rick Rick Bo Bick, Bananafana Fo Fick" song. Because I am just sure - SURE - that the house is going to crumple in on itself like a rotten peach at any given moment.

Other than that, though, it's fabulous!

I finally dropped the dime and ordered living room furniture, so people won't think they've walked into the house that Craigslist built anymore. I finally just grew tired of having furniture worse than what I had when I was 19, and decided to buy something - ANYTHING - and make it work.

I think it's gonna be beautiful. And if it's not? NEVER TELL ME. I am something of a decision cripple, so once I decide on a purchase - especially if it's over $32.00 - I don't want to hear any words except ones about how it's so perfect and beautiful you want to make out with it. Anything else, and I will stick my fingers in my ears and run crying from the room.

Mr. Meat and Potatoes hung up his new giant TV in the basement, and you'd think we'd had another baby. You see, I was getting things ready to take Johnny on his first plane trip, which is no small feat. Also, I had some important meetings to attend. And, my first meeting with a personal trainer. I had all this going on Wednesday night, and the clock was ticking on my packing deadline. I was busy. And beat. And just like labor, which comes whether you have time for it or not, my husband was having a TV. He decided that particular Wednesday was THE DAY to install the TV, regardless of what else was happening in life. Regardless of the fact that he was about to have 3 days sans wife or baby in which to jack with said TV. But no, like birth, it had to happen NOW - no waiting.

And I was the dutiful father to the laboring mother. I went about my business calmly while he grunted and sweated and cursed, and finally a TV was born.

And I have to admit, it really is a thing of beauty. He loves it like another son. I love it like a massive distraction, which is as good almost.

I'm off to Dallas this weekend with Johnny, so Mr. Meat and Potatoes is going to sit in his basement, in the dark, drinking beers that come from his little fridge right next to his chair, watching bad movies that I refuse to sit through, for three days. It is his own personal heaven.

So, there we will sit, me on my beautiful new furniture, him in front of the TV of his dreams, while our house shrugs forward and dies around us. But we won't care. The pool will survive.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Peace, Love, and Happiness

It's my birthday.

We tend, on anniversaries, special occasions, and the like, to take stock. And stock has been taken.

I am the luckiest girl alive. And I love all of you so very much, it's ridiculous.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Heat Wave

I feel like we might well look back on this summer as the best summer of our lives. Which is saying a lot.

But it's sort of how I always dreamed life could be, only without the money I might have imagined. Not that I ever imagined I'd be rich, but you know, when you're 18 you figure that by the time you're 38 you won't be budgeting for the eight dollars you'd like to spend on lipgloss. We're still broke, maybe broker than ever, but we're making the best of it.

My husband figures if we're spending the money to keep the pool in chemicals, we better be using it almost every day in order to get our money's worth. But after awhile the three of us get bored with each other, so we've been inviting people over to swim, sometimes to have dinner, sometimes to have an all-out-we-think-we're-21 style bash. At least three or four nights a week, there's someone visiting, some action in the pool, possibly someone falling down after attempting a lively Sally O'Malley impersonation.

Also, this has been the hottest summer on record since like 1984, which is just how I like it. That's right, I said I like it. The temp is over 110? BRING IT. My husband may well beat me later tonight for saying so, since I work in an air conditioned and windowless basement room, and he schleps beer in the heat and drives an un-airconditioned truck around 12 hours a day. But yes, for the most part, I like it. A heat wave gives everything a sort of hazy appearance. It's like I'm looking through Jell-O at my summer. It's like we're shooting a party film in the 1970's. Every time I see someone attempt a flip off the diving board and land flat on his back, I get a twinge of immeasurable joy. Yep, I think to myself, this is what I'm talking about.

Most of the time, I'm exhausted. I'm working over 50 hours a week, trying in vain to work on our house, keep up with laundry, cooking, groceries, and bills, and I'm chasing a toddler. BUT THAT DOES NOT STOP ME. I invite 20 people over on a random Friday night, and I watch them chat and play through tired eyes, always happy to have them.

I may not have new furniture yet (ever?) and maybe the house isn't really ready for a spread in Apartment Therapy, but I'm trying to be okay with that. I'm trying to remember that I'm having the Best Summer Ever, and that beautiful new throw pillows won't make it any happier than it already is.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Toddler schizophrenia

Johnny has found his voice.

I don't know if it is turning two, cutting two year molars, growing an inch a week, a demonic possession, or a combination of all of the above, but the kid has learned to pitch a fit.

"Johnny, do you want a blueberry muffin?" (The kind you loved yesterday and ate six of?) "WAHHHHANONONONONONONNYNONNYWAAHHHHHHHHHH" (*hiding eyes, throwing body on ground*) "How about a hot dog? Cheese? Apple? ICE CREAM? CUPCAKE?" "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

"Johnny, would you like to watch Gabba?" "YA! YEP!"

"Johnny, would you like to get dressed?" "NONONO WAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

"Johnny, do you want to watch Jack?" "YES! YEP!"

"Johnny, want to color at your new table?" "NO!!! NO NO NO NO NO!" (*sits down and proceeds to give Buzz Lightyear coloring page a fabulous new colorful look only after throwin the body on the floor once for good measure.)

"Johnny, want to go swimming?" "YEP."

"Johnny, want to get off the step and into the actual pool?" "!NO!NO!NO!NO!" (*swims out to the deep end on his own and gives us the finger.*)

And then, it's night time. Need I say more? Thankfully, the pool makes him so tired he doesn't have any "No's" left in him by 7:30. And then there's morning.

This morning, at 6:15 after my shower I thought I'd sneak in and gank his baby lotion since I misplaced my body lotion again and I didn't figure anyone wanted to see my naked business running down to the pool to check if I left it on the table.

So I cracked the door open ever-so-slowly, and there was my golden haired son, standing in the crib, grinning from ear to ear. "HI!" And he reaches up and says "EAT?"

That'll get me through the day.