Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Happy happy joy joy

This week is shaping up to be pretty damn exciting--a vast improvement over last week, that's for sure. First off, I got a haircut the other night that I think I love. It's cut in a bob, but not the flapper kind of bob I used to sport when I was, like, 20 and could get away with dressing in flapper dresses and hats, too. This is more of a modern bob, and maybe the best thing about it is if I push it behind my ears I don't look like I have an angry cobra hood haloing my head. Imagine this hairdo in red and with the sides not sticking out like that. It's so cute! I like.

Today I get to take my girls and the doggie over to my mom's house. I will be feted with shrimp fajitas and maybe a glass of wine while the kids eat grilled cheese sandwiches and Mom coos over everyone for awhile. Did I ever mention that I have 2 twin 6-1/2 year old brothers? They adore Sister and she'll be happily out of my hair for the afternoon.

Then tomorrow night, Husband and I have gotten a babysitter to come LATE so that we can go out to a show together. Let me assure you, THIS NEVER HAPPENS, so I'm totally psyched. We're going to see this band at the Cat's Cradle. I may even have a cheap beer while I'm out--the luxury!

On Saturday, I'm going to a day spa, courtesy of 2 gift cards from my stepfather that I'm finally getting to take advantage of. Here's the package that I'm getting:

R E J U V E N A T E & R E N E W Experience the essence of the spa experience — relaxation, rejuvenation, and renewal. We’ve combined some of our most popular treatments into one visit so you can truly have it all. Relax with a stress-reducing Instant Ahh shoulder, neck, and back massage. Then you’re cocooned in a rejuvenating and detoxifying Herbal Body Wrap, where you’re further relaxed with a scalp massage. Finally, refresh your face with a Skin Balancing Facial customized for your skin type. Simply and completely renewing. 125 minutes.
Don't you love all those gerunds? I'm also getting a fancy paraffin pedicure after all that. I can't wait! (Squealed in an octave higher than my normal voice.)

And finally, Husband has agreed that he'll work on cleaning up all the crap that's currently cluttering up our bedroom and living room. Boxes of things from his parents' house are still just sitting around and are becoming invisible to him, I think, while they're just annoying me now that he's been back relaxing at home for coming up on 2 weeks. After all that, I'll be like a contented, quivering bowl full of happy jelly. I'm so thrilled.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Less junk in the trunk

Well, cleaning out the trunk took me a lot longer than a paltry naptime hour, I'll say that. Mentally prepared though I thought I was. There was a giant sucking sound in my living room for about 8 hours yesterday. It was the sound of the emotional vortex I found myself dragged into everytime I opened a journal to check its start date or see what pictures there might be tucked into it. It was the sound of me cracking the file of love letters, of me opening my horrible high school scrapbook, of me unexpectedly finding pictures of my favorite aunt, dead as of a year and a half ago, of me sorting through the pile of detritus left from my first marriage. Oy. But it's done now! And here's what I managed:

  1. I tossed out all my college notebooks except for one, only pausing to look through a few of my old papers. Holy crap, did I really once know that much about American labor history?! Or life for women in Renaissance Italy? Or Chinese classical poetry? Apparently so. But not any longer. So sad. (Interesting aside: the one college notebook I saved was from one of my Chinese literature courses, taught by the man who was not only my favorite professor but who would also be my father-in-law for 3 years. He's retired now, but he's still Sister's grandfather.)
  2. Tossed out all my old love letters and any bad poems written to me by a certain ex-boyfriend who considered me his muse. I can't believe I even still had that much of his stuff lying around. So THAT was a good riddance. Unfortunately, I dimly remember cleaning out my trunk once before and also purging it of Husband's love letters to me back in the day. You know, we used to date during college, long before I married my Ex. I sure wish I'd held onto THOSE love letters. I suppose I thought it was rude to hang onto them when I first married the Ex...
  3. Threw out not only my old art projects but also a few paintings from the same ex-bad-poet boyfriend above. I should mention that Husband knew and hated this particular ex-boyfriend back in the day. So those paintings would never have been hung up in this household, let me tell ya! Not that I would've wanted to since they, like the poems, also sucked. What was up with me and these lame artist types anyway?
  4. Saved letters I found from a certain good friend who spent a couple of years in France. You know who you are, my friend! I haven't read them yet, but maybe when you and Mommygoth come over next we can look at them and laugh.
  5. Saved all things related to my marriage with my Ex--a couple of unused wedding invitations, our guest list, all our wedding photos, well-wishers' cards that came in after the big day, a quilted wall hanging that some old hippie friend of the Ex's parents made with our names on it, a watercolor my Ex painted of his own face. These things I saved for Sister. However I feel about her dad, I think she'll appreciate having them someday. I think what I'll do is pack them into a box with her name on it and stash them in the attic to give to her when she's older. I'm hanging on to the crystal wine glasses and the bit of china we received for her, too. In the Sugar household, we'll soon be using Husband's parents' wedding china as our own soon anyway. I mean, when we use china at all. Which is really seldom.
That's it, then. I expected to feel drained afterwards, but actually a nice side effect of reading some of that old stuff was that I suddenly felt my 23-year old self again. Husband and I had quite a nice little romp afterwards. (heh heh)

Monday, March 27, 2006

Scary spring cleaning

This will be a quick post because I have a task during this naptime. A big task. I'm right at this moment taking a mental deep breath before I go through my trunk to clean it out. Do you all have a trunk? MY trunk is where I keep all my journals, and I've been writing them since I was 10 years old. (Though blogging has kind of taken up my journal-writing energy for the past few months.) I've got a family photo album from when I was a baby, old junior high photos thrown in boxes, my college notebooks from favorite subjects and professors. I've got a painting from an ex-boyfriend, art projects from my ill-fated year as an art major, and folks, I have love letters. What the hell am I going to do with all these old love letters? I don't know yet. I DO know they're not things I want to subject Husband to, should I predecease him. I also know that I have zero interest in reading them ever again, 'cause when I burn my bridges there's just cinders left. But can I bear to toss them out? Your guess is as good as mine. So, deep breath...

I'll let you know tomorrow.

Friday, March 24, 2006

I'm soaking in it

Sigh. It's been another one of those inexplicably sucky days where I'm just mad at the world. I'm mad at baby Bean for being so sick and fussy. I'm mad at Sister for being home from school for the beginning of spring break and, like, wanting stuff. Snacks and one more cartoon and trips to Build-a-Bear and not to have to walk the dog just down the block and on and on. I'm mad at my Husband for going to work and leaving me here at home again with the kids. Work sounds like absolute heaven right now. I'm mad at the cashier at the grocery store for trying to talk to my fussy baby instead of just Woman, if we could just get the hell out of the store, she'd stop being fussy for a minute. Soothing her is my job. PLEASE just do your damn job and shut the fuck up already.

See? Just awful. I'm trying to improve my shit mood by baking a French torte for dessert tonight. Generally, I find baking relaxing and therapeutic. Well, now that I'm no longer paid to do it, that is. And it is helping somewhat, mostly because I've been licking chocolate rum ganache and chocolate hazelnut spongecake batter off my fingers for the last hour. (Uh, no, I don't give a rat's ass about salmonella poisoning, thanks.) The cake is in the oven now and the house is beginning to smell less like burned chicken pot pie drippings and more like something delicious. Maybe it will help. And maybe I'll hit Husband up for some childcare tomorrow while I go off by myself and get my hair cut. I think I just need to get the hell out of here without anyone crying or barking or arguing or asking me for shit.

Now THAT'S what's really going to help.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Snapping out of it

Bean woke up...God, it had to have been at least 10 times last night, and I am NOT exaggerating. It was one of those nights where we just lost count after awhile. This morning, it turns out, she is coming down with something snotty, so that explains it.

Sister had lice, but the nurse at school cleared her this morning. It only took a big bottle of stinky shampoo and thorough combing of her thick locks with not one fine-toothed lice comb, but two. They BETTER have been all gone.

All the potentially lice-y--or lousy?--bedding has been washed with hot water and is hanging up in the sun this morning to dry. The possibly lousy stuffed animals and pillows have all been bagged up and sealed to slowly suffocate whatever might be in there over the next 10 days. There are a few choice stuffed animals in the freezer, 'cause apparently that kills them quicker. Combs and clips have been boiled. The list of all the extra house-cleaning chores I've had to do in the last 18 hours goes on and on.

I should be exhausted and in a hateful mood, but I'm not. Know why? I just busted out Husband's electric drill a few minutes ago and drilled about 100 holes in a big, black, plastic garbage cart, ushering in its new life as my compost bin. There's nothing quite like using power tools to bring back the sense that I am the mistress of my destiny, especially because this is a task that I had diplomatically delegated to Husband last week--you know, since it involved power tools and all. (Though I'm quite competent at using a number of them my own damn self, thanks. And do use them, if I feel I've been waiting too long for a request to be fulfilled. Man, does that ever get Husband hopping over the next couple of days to get stuff done! FYI.)

Anyways, if y'all ever have one of those out-of-control weeks, think power tools. I'm telling you. Go drill some shit and your life will be all yours again!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Addendum to previous post

I thought this day was crap before? I was just asked to pick Sister up from school early because she's got lice. Double dammit.

More evidence that I need a break

I'm having a hard time this morning. Here are some stupid, petty things that have already annoyed me:

  1. Husband left his dirty clothes just lying there on the rug next to the bed.
  2. There was a chunk of dog food stuck to the bottom of the sink.
  3. The leeks were grossly gritty when I chopped them to start soup for dinner.
  4. The kitchen floor is once again filthy, dammit.
  5. The weather sucks ass today.
  6. Husband didn't get to the dog groomer's on time, so the woman locked her door and didn't let him in. Apparently, her policy is strict. You show up on time during the hour time frame that she gives you, or you lose your appointment. Husband knew he was running late but STILL stopped at the bank on his way there and so missed the appointment. I certainly have no intention of calling this woman up again and risk being lectured about my Husband not showing up on time, so I just called one of those giant pet chain marts and I'm taking the damn dog in myself once Bean wakes up. Dammit.
  7. The desk, which is in our living room because the office is now the baby's room, is once again covered in papers and opened mail and business cards and newspapers, despite the fact that I.just.filed.everything.2.days.ago. Grrrrrr!
And it's not even lunchtime yet. Isn't this ridiculous? Am I at long last about to get my period, 11 months after having Bean? What the hell? I clearly need to do something to get over myself, but I don't know what yet. Any suggestions?

Monday, March 20, 2006


Husband is at long last done with having to travel to Atlanta every weekend to deal with his parents' estate. The house now officially belongs to a young, childless couple, empty of 35+ years of Husband's parents' accumulated stuff. Everything is either here at our house, sold at the estate sale, or in boxes in a storage unit, with a couple of furniture items in long-term storage with Husband's uncle in Tennessee. My dear spouse really needs a break now, and is going to take one. While he does need to go through the boxed things that are in storage at some point, right now he's going to take some much-needed time to just relax at home and hang out with me and baby Bean and Sister.

I really need a break, too, I have to admit. I've been reluctant to say to Husband just how stressed out I've been with him gone nearly every weekend for the last 2 months, leaving me here alone with the kids for 3 or 4 days each time. It's been very hard on us here, though I felt that to tell him so would only add to his heavy mental load. I reached my personal limit this weekend, but managed not to completely wig out on him when he returned last night because I knew that this was going to be the last time. I just managed it. Came this close (holding thumb and forefinger just millimeters apart)...

So there it is. We can get on with normal life again, I think, though I almost forget what that feels like. It's been a loooooong 2 months, y'all.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Gardener, interrupted

I'm taking a brief cheese-and-cracker-and-blogging break before I head back outside into this gorgeous spring day for more gardening chores. These are chores I love, and I have spent every naptime in the past few days getting outside again. All my perennials are waking up, poking pale, raw looking spears of furled leaves up from the dark mulch. I've been looking around outside, trying to see what made it through the winter and what didn't. The winter was so mild here in NC this year that it would seem that all my plants made it, even the semi-tropical lantanas that I love in spite of having to replant most every year. There's nothing quite like coddling plants that shouldn't make it through the winter to make me feel like I know what I'm doing in the garden, even if I had nothing to do with the weather!

What I've done so far in the past couple of days:

  1. Put a top dressing of composted manure on most of my flower beds.
  2. Planted coneflower, coreopsis, Shasta daisies, and red bee balm seeds. (Perhaps it was a couple of weeks early, but I couldn't stop myself. And anyway, seeds are cheap.)
  3. Re-planted 8 variegated Chinese privet shrubs that I had to relocate when we had a new wooden fence installed in our backyard.
  4. Relocated 2 large-leaf hydrangeas, saving them from a near-deathly dry spot next to a storage shed.
  5. Planted a big one of these beautiful, white Lady Banks roses to cover said storage shed and clamber up over my daughter's tree house. I can't wait to see it take over! Supposedly, it doesn't take long.
  6. Re-planted assorted daffodil bulbs and one lone fern. The daffodils won't bloom this year as a result, but I should have quite a nice patch come next spring.
Alright, cheese-and-cracker break is over with. I'm sure some of you non-gardeners out there are just bored stiff, but I wanted to account for my absence from the blogging world lately. Being out in the garden is just irresistible this time of year...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Baby talk

I remember so fondly some of Sister's babyish word pronunciations. "Frizabee" for Frisbee. "Poppasicle" for popsicle. "Dapes" for grapes. How she couldn't pronounce the "L" sound very well up until just last year, so she was always saying things like, "Mama, yets go to the yibrary!"

"Washing ma-cleaner" instead of washing machine is the very last thing she still says, the last vestige of her little girlhood. Is it so wrong that I don't correct her? I really hate to see it go, for her speech to at last be completely grown-up...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Saying yes

I decided yesterday that I needed to say "yes" more often to Sister. My girl has been having trouble in school again lately. She is daydreamy when she should be working, her teacher says, but is also getting into trouble when she lets other kids--boys, usually--tease her into misbehaving. My sneaking suspicion is that I'm not cutting her enough slack at home. I've reasoned that between me and my Ex, my parenting role is the disciplinarian because Sister's father is so very lax with her that it's not even funny. I've mentioned before that she's borderline chaotic whenever she's with him and his parents, so I've felt that I should be more firm with her, that I should take special care to spell out the rules with her. Until now.

I'm tired of being the tough parent. I'm tired of having her looked stressed because I'm making her do homework on schedule. (Her 1st grade teacher kept harping on how it was important to lay down good study habits NOW by making her do homework at a routine time in a routine place everyday. I'm thinking that maybe it's just enough that it gets done at all each week.) I'm tired of trying to drill manners into her head at the expense of tension at the dinner table. (That's a hang-up shared by both myself and my Husband.) I'll be the first to admit that I'm rather a control freak, but I'm just tired of being her really-too-rigid mama. My girl used to be the biggest sweetheart I'd ever known, but she's changed in the last year or so. Maybe it's because she's just older and doesn't show it as much, but maybe it's because I'm not being all that sweet myself anymore. Even I'm noticing these days the contrast in my tone when I'm talking to little baby Bean versus when I talk to Sister. She doesn't call me on it, but I'll bet it hurts her feelings sometimes that I don't talk like that to her now. Is that why at least a couple of times a week Sister tries to climb into my lap and talk baby talk to me? Um, yeah, probably.

Our house doesn't always have to run so efficiently, does it? With every piece of the daily puzzle in its place everyday? No. It really doesn't. So yesterday I made a conscious effort to relax with Sister. I decided that I'd say yes where I'd previously said no. She wants to play with her toy horses, take the dog outside, swing on the tire swing, have snack, try on clothes, and read me poems, all before doing homework? Yes, my love. She wants to wear some new clothes that I got for her, even though the weather is really a little too chilly for them? Of course, but come inside for a sweater if you start to get cold. She wants to pick my camellias and put them in her hair? Go ahead, dear. The thing is blooming gloriously this year and there are plenty. Can she stay a little longer in the bath, though dinner is nearly ready? Yes. Can she tidy her room after dinner instead of before? Yes. Can she go with me on an errand without the baby and Husband? Yes.

And thus, yesterday we had the nicest day together that we've had in months. This will be hard for me because I am used to running our household almost like it's a job, rather than relaxing in it and letting others do the same. But I'm hoping I can keep it a little slacker around here.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Someone sucks

Okay, I need to vent before I rip a woman I don't know very well a new one whenever she FINALLY deigns to show up at my door with her daughter's Girl Scout cookie money. Can I just say that YOU SUCK if you don't return phone calls to the cookie mom? YOU SUCK if you ignore cookie deadline related emails. YOU SUCK if you are 2 days past the deadline I emailed and called you about numerous times. YOU SUCK because you are making it so I won't be able to get to the bank on time today, seeing as how YOU are the person whose money I'm waiting on in order to write a big, fat $2,000 check to the Girl Scouts. And you are REALLY going to suck if our troop's check bounces as a result. You truly suck for making it so that I'll have to put my screaming, just-woken-up-from-her-nap baby into the car soon to drive through rush hour traffic to the Head Honcho Lady's house, which is all the way over in Bumfuck, NC. Because of YOU, oh sucky one, my girls will have their bath late--and yes, they do need them tonight--and then by the time we get around to a late dinner the baby will be screaming her head off at me again. Then my older daughter will get to bed late and will wake up all pissy tomorrow. All because of your flat-out rudeness and suck-ass irresponsible behaviour. Damn, do you ever really suck.

My 2-year tenure as cookie mom for Troop X is officially over after this. I'm sick of these bitches.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Material girl

There was a time in my life when I scorned stuff. I was anti-acquisition, anti-materialism, and would prevent myself from accumulating a lot of things by periodically imagining myself in a big, open meadow surrounded by all of my possesesions. The image was frequently so ridiculous-- I'd be surrounded by so much crap in this otherwise empty space that I'd make frequent purges to get rid of extraneous items.

Flash forward about 15 years and I'm a woman with a full house. I'm really a grown-up now. I know I've expressed my shock at this fact in other contexts before, but it still hits me sometimes. I'm REALLY a grown-up. I'm in my mid-30's. I have children. I'm married. I have a mortgage. And my closets and rooms are packed to the gills with stuff.

As you regular readers of my blog will already know, Husband's father passed away about a month and a half ago. Husband has been packing up his house in Atlanta every weekend since then, and has kept quite a lot of his parents things. Some of the furniture has gone into storage because my dear spouse is a sentimental guy and can't bear to part with even those things we can't actually use right now--a full-sized walnut dining table and, like, 8 chairs, a huge room divider shelf thingy, some other stuff. But a lot of it made it to our house in NC this past weekend, and suddenly our house looks like...well, like I said, a real grown-up house. The furniture is much nicer than anything we've had before. It's just lovely. I was afraid it would end up looking just like Husband's parents' house around here, but it doesn't. It's our same comfortable house with pretty stuff in it.

I still feel a little weird about all this, though, a little nervous about having nice things. 'Cause you know what? I'm secretly very pleased that our house is so full of good furniture. I'm discovering that I'm actually quite the luxury lover now that I'm no longer in my 20's. Sure, I still enjoy a satisfying purge of the closets and messy drawers now and then, but otherwise I'm enjoying being surrounded by beautiful things. Perhaps a little too much.

What in the hell happened to my previously idealist, anti-materialism self?! I used to be a carousing, commie, bohemian princess, but I now seem to be living in the body of a middle-class matron!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Mama enraged

A scary thing happened to us in our neighborhood yesterday. We were out taking the doggie for his afternoon walk, Sister holding the leash and me wheeling Bean along in her stroller. All was lovely--the weather was warm, Sister and I were chatting, Bean was contentedly cooing at the spring flowers. I looked up to see that there was a man walking his dog in the middle of the street, about 25 yards away and heading in our direction. Then I noticed that he wasn't walking his dog exactly because while the dog was wearing a collar and leash, the man wasn't holding the leash. And precisely as I noticed this, the man's dog noticed we had a doggie, too, and came hurtling towards us at top speed, baring his teeth and snarling ferociously. I had just enough time get between the dog and Sister, who was paralyzed with terror. The stranger dog stopped only for a second, during which time I grabbed the leash from Sister and yanked our dog out of harm's way. The other dog kept snarling wickedly, hackles raised on his back and trying to charge around my legs to presumably rip out the throat of our little 9-pound canine.

I suddenly became aware that I was shouting, or rather, screaming at this dog, bending down in his face and screaming at him to make him back down. I was also screaming at the dog's owner who was still STROLLING TOWARDS US CHUCKLING, in absolutely no hurry to come retrieve his dog away from my kids. I was screaming at this man, "This dog needs to be on a leash! Get this dog away from my kids!"

Know what the man does? He points at my dog with a smirk and says to me, "My dog IS on a leash, and you're choking your dog, you know. Look at him! He's almost hanging in the air!" This is true, but only because his goddamn dog is still snarling and circling and charging RIGHT THERE AROUND MY FEET. Bean is by now also screaming and upset, and I am shaking with rage and adrenalin. Sister is trembling, not knowing what to do or think about her red-faced, screaming mama, and worried that our dog is going to be shredded.

I also suddenly became aware of where I was, that I was in the middle of my calm, otherwise quiet suburban neighborhood. There were other children playing down the street. There were 2 guys standing next to their truck, agog at the scene. There were probably neighbors looking out the windows of their houses wondering who was being ripped to shreds outside. I had completely forgotten anything around me but this fucking dog charging towards my kids, and the asshole who refused to stop it. Who seemed, in fact, to find it the height of hilarity. He never DID pick up the damn dog's leash! They sauntered away together, the dog still trailing his leash behind him. I had literally lost consciousness of anything in the world except what I perceived as this threat to my kids.

I told my Husband about this later, told him that I was still seeing red about this guy who couldn't be bothered to get his vicious dog away from Sister and Bean. Husband said something comforting. I told him how upset the girls were, and to this he replied, "I'm sure it was scary to them to see you act that way." I agreed, and told him that I just went into fight-or-flight mode, that I thought the dog was going to hurt one of the girls, and I became animal-mama to protect them. "I know," he lectured, "but I really think we have control over that and you shouldn't have reacted that way and scared them."

I was surprised into complete silence. I know I've got a temper. I know I'm not the most patient woman in the world. I know I could try to cultivate a longer fuse so that I don't get all pissy when I'm short on sleep. But really, this was so far out of the realm of a controllable response. I can honestly say that there wasn't a thing I could've done to control my rage at this attacking dog and its owner. Is that a bad thing? Is my temper really THAT much worse than other people's? I like to think that in this case it was useful, even if the dog wasn't really after my kids, wouldn't really have hurt them on purpose. No, I don't think I will try to control that response in me if something like that happens again. Even if it scares the kids. Even if it scares my husband.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The latest installment in the unsolicited parenting advice series

I was in the quilt store yesterday, trying to choose fabrics for a rug-making class I'll be taking today. The teacher of the class was present, teaching another class, and we chatted a bit while Bean scrambled around at my feet. I kept trying to head her off as she repeatedly made a bee-line for the ironing board with a hot iron on top and various electrical cords snaking around its base. Nothing was working--not my usually fascinating fuzzy scarf, not my little zippered make-up bag, not a bolt of colorful fabric. Finally, I handed her my cell phone and my watch, which stopped her cold. It also stopped the teacher cold.

Teacher: Letting her teeth on your cell phone, huh?
Me: Hey, whatever works! She's in the phase right now where toys have become boring and she wants MY stuff. She'll probably call China or something, but right now I'm o.k. with that.
Teacher: You know that antenna on your cell phone isn't good for her.
Me: (looking at Bean) Oh, it's retracted. I don't think she even realizes there IS an antenna.
Teacher: No, but it's still receiving radio waves.
Me: (giving her a puzzled look but trying to look interested) Oh...? I...uh...didn't know that.
Teacher: (very firmly and staring me in the eyes) Yeah, and you know radio waves are radioactive.
Me: (trying not to look incredulous) Oh! Well, better get it away from her then.

And I backed slowly away from this woman. Who, in addition to teaching the class I'm attending today, was also the RN present at Sister's birth. A real live trained health professional who you'd think would know better! But maybe I'm the moron here and she's right? I'm trying to conjure up my middle school science classes, but I thought...I mean, isn't radioactivity from unstable isotopes? And, like, not from radio waves? If cell phones were really radioactive it seems like everyone and their mother wouldn't be carrying one around these days with no ill effect other than rudeness and poor driving. Any scientists out there want to correct this woman? Or me? It was so weird.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Frittering away afternoon naptime...

"Secret Cave of the Sugarmama. It's everywhere you wanna be."

Don't tell me you don't think so. Thanks to Danigirl for this advertising generator link. Isn't the internet so full of useful things? I'm having SO much fun squandering away Bean's naptime!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Care hierarchy, revisited

Husband and I had a curious conversation last night. I still don't quite know how I feel about it. We've finally gotten our nerve up to go see a financial planner, and this has brought up a lot of questions for us. Like, how do we want to live? And, how do we want to pay for the girls to go to school? When do we want to retire? Big questions like that. Last night, we also finally talked specifics about my being a stay-at-home mom. I finally admitted to Husband that I felt kind of guilty for not bringing in an income. After all, in this enlightened era, why should he be the one who has to work a full-time job? (I know, I know, parenting is a more than full-time job, but I'm talking cash here.) He suprised me by replying that actually he felt guilty about my being a SAHM because it makes his life much easier. He was sort of tiptoeing around what he meant exactly, but it boiled down to this: "I like that you make all the food and keep the house clean and run the errands, and I like that you're not a raging bitch to me and the kids because you're a perpetually sleep-deprived baker." He likes that I'm his little housewifey.

Okay. Interesting. It never occurred to me that Husband would be feeling guilty about all this, too.

Despite all our stupid, middle-class angst, though, we did decide a few things. I'm going to stay home for about the next 8 years or so, which will be the time it takes to have one more baby in about another year and stay at home with that one and Bean til they go to school. After that, I'd like to return to work doing something besides pastry cheffing, but it might be part-time and it's supposed to be something I love, regardless of how much I get paid. Cue my guilt, but this was Husband's mandate, y'all!

It's all very confusing for me. Husband was raised in a very traditional family in the sense that his parents stayed married for 35+ years, and his mother stayed home with the kids til she returned to work later in life, long after they were in school. His father took care of all the financial stuff and made sure the family was well-provided for. Husband is a product of all this, and it's so remarkable to me, the daughter of a mostly-single mom who married 3 times (divorced twice), lived perpetually in deep debt, and never owned her own home til about 10 years ago. And let's not forget that my Ex seemed to believe that his perpetual unemployment was o.k. because dammit, he wasn't a "wage slave" like every other half-asleep hack out there, he was an artist! Naturally, he had no problem with me being a wage-slave, but that's ancient history.

So yeah, I guess I'm not used to someone else besides me taking care of things, taking care of us. It's taking some adjustment...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Could it be...?

Is it spring? Is it? I don't know about where the rest of you are, but here in Chapel Hill, NC it's 65 degrees, sunny, and breezy right now. The neighborhood is flush with blooming forsythia, quince, crocuses, and daffodils, and it all seemed to happen overnight. We've had the house open for the last couple of days (and nights!), and everything is beautifully aired out, the dark dusty corners of our rooms bright again. It's supposed to get up to 80 degrees today, which even by North Carolina standards is damn unseasonably warm. I'm not complaining, though! No! Bring on spring!

But I may be getting a sense of the answer to the question I've been wondering about in my head lately--which is going to take precedence this gardening season, blogging or planting? So far this morning, I haven't been able to bring myself to come back inside even though all I've been doing is hauling wheelbarrowsful of fallen pine straw to the curb for the compost truck to come and vacuum up. When it comes time to actually be putting plants into the ground I may have to bid a temporary adieu to blogging--or at least not worry so much about posting everyday. Maybe just when it's pouring down rain or 95 degrees outside. Which it'll likely be all too soon, I suppose.

Anyways, I ramble because at least it smells like spring and that makes me happy. Hope y'all are getting some spring your way, too.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

What a B.A. will get you if you're not paying attention

Has my life really telescoped down so small that I consider my day successful if I managed to clean the bathrooms and refrain from yelling at my oldest daughter? It would appear so. I found myself feeling all self-congratulatory yesterday for just these reasons and these reasons alone. Sigh. Maybe I should have gotten my degree in home ec or something...