Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Will work for Scotch

There's nothing quite like the calculatedly off-handed yet sincere suggestion that I call a handyman to fix a few things around the house to make Husband leap into action and do things himself. After the girls went to bed last night, and with a glass of Scotch in hand, Husband trooped upstairs with assorted tools and unguents to patch cracks, caulk stuff, and try to get a broken light bulb out of our shower fixture. I am so grateful.

But my gratitude is tempered at this point by what I fear is the answer to the following question: just how long will a screwdriver, 3 tubes of caulk, a caulk gun, a putty knife, a pair of needle-nosed pliers, some painter's tape, and a shop vac all be left to languish in our bedroom without me nagging him about it?

Yeah, I think you know.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Hooray! My first real family drama!

You know you're busy when things like, "Blog," and "Put up Xmas decorations" appear on your list. Or at least I do. Those things are things I consider fun, not something I usually have to remind myself to do. But here goes again, right?

I've fallen very behind on my blog reading lately, but I should get around to it during Bean's afternoon naptime. (Right after I cross off "Wash out muddy cooler" and "Soak antique quilts" from my list.) This means I have no idea how the rest of you spent your Thanksgivings, whether your dinners were delicious or hectic or fraught with family drama. I, for one, experienced all three of these things over the weekend.

Thanksgiving itself was lovely. Everyone showed up and got along. My old friend Suburban Gorgon came with her family PLUS delicious homemade egg noodles and a chocolate chip pie that caused most everyone to shun the usual pecan and pumpkin pies. My mom brought some veggies and some cranberry sauce so tasty that Bean hoovered down three servings before I stopped her out of fear of fruit acid-induced diaper rash. My stepfather was in rare, benevolent form and didn't make a single charged political statement to stir shit up for the fun of it. The kids were all good and when they got rowdy we sent them outside to play tag, which they did ecstatically, if muddily. Really, a very wonderful Thanksgiving.

But my euphoria over a successful, relatively relaxing holiday was not to last.

Husband's brother booked a 6:00 am flight Saturday morning after a big fight with Husband on Friday. I won't go into details because it was just too silly to even believe, but given Husband's brother's slow, mysterious simmering all day Friday something was bound to happen. Anyways.

Guess I'll have to get used to future holiday dramas. This is not something I've ever had to worry much about in the past, mind you, so I'm a little unclear of family drama protocol. I suppose that I should just take my cues from Husband, since it's his brother, and just brush it off.

It IS sort of a pain in the ass when grown-ups just won't grow up, though.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Rode hard...

This house has seen some hard use in the last 48 hours and I have this feeling it's about to come down around our ears. There are smudged cabinets and sticky knobs. Smears of unidentifiable stuff going up the banisters in the stairway. Stained linens, bruised fruit, damp bathrooms, slimy flowers in vases, pine needles ground into rugs, cat barf we keep discovering in hidden corners, a broken screen door, a muddy porch flooor, a cooler out in the yard covered in mud and filled with used turkey brine. And the worst of all, a leaky pipe upstairs that drips through the ceiling onto the floor outside the pantry, a product of some novel way that Husband's nephew takes his showers that otherwise doesn't occur when, for example, we give the girls their bath there.

Ugh. Thanksgiving was lovely, but I have to admit I'm looking forward to giving our poor, over-used house a rest.

Friday, November 17, 2006

A little punchy here...

My to-do list was ridiculously huge today, even for me. I've just begun to realize how close Thanksgiving is and how much I want to do before Husband's brother and nephew get here from Colorado and my mom and rest of the clan show up. The number one thing on my list is to clean the whole house, followed by a trip to the ABC store for booze, getting new plants for the front porch to replace the faded mums, sorting through the morass of papers on our desk, and much, much more. It's a colossal list.

We're hosting this year and I'm so psyched.

I'd like to go officially on record as saying that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. There. Christmas is a definite number two if you ask me. To me, Thanksgiving has all the good parts of Christmas without all the stress and overspending. Most of you who've been reading here awhile already know how much I love to cook and bake and eat and drink. I do! Absolutely love it all! Thanksgiving prominently features ALL FOUR OF THESE FABULOUS THINGS. I also enjoy dinner parties with children running around wildly in the yard while the adults gaze on them fondly over post-dinner glasses of something. Furthermore, I love having an excuse to bust out the china and ancient crystal wine glasses, the white linen napkins, and a freshly ironed tablecloth. See? Thanksgiving is just the best, hands down, for a little Laura Ingalls wannabe like myself.

It's a lot of work to prepare, of course, though the amount of fuss you want to put yourself through is totally optional and therefore shouldn't be stressful if you're careful to maintain perspective. Today's naptime, for example, found me on the back porch trying with little success to empty the contents of a huge, neon-green, supposedly indoor-outdoor, but nevertheless undeniably moldy beanbag in order to save some of the styrofoam beads inside and reduce my paroxysms of liberal guilt over THAT much styrofoam in the landfill from ME. (I can use these styrofoam beads for something...) I was doing this in order to make the porch look nicer without this enormous, moldy, styrofoam-leaking eyesore--for Thanksgiving. I even went so far as to floss the porch floorboards free of the stuck styrofoam beads with a pick-up-stick, vacuuming it all up with Husband's handy shop vac. For Thanksgiving. And all the while I was near hysteria--I mean the good kind of cackling, laughing hysteria--over my own stupidity and ingenuity at creating tasks to take up the time here at home. I was thinking to myself, "C'mon, I know being a stay-at-home mom is supposed to be work and all--or at least you're supposed to SAY SO in order to be p.c. these days--but truly, I am making this shit up most of the time!"

Anyways, Husband's out of town for the night, gone to Georgia where he's picking up some furniture in storage at his uncle's house. It's for Thanksgiving, you know, to make our still-empty guest room sleepable for Husband's brother. And I'm off to have a second cocktail since it's the weekend. I'm going to try out a recipe for a bishop (American style, not English). If I like it, we might be having them for Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Brownie bitching

Ugh. Slogging through formatting yet another list of volunteer "opportunities" to hand out to parents at tomorrow's Brownie meeting. Did I complain last year about what a crap job it was to be the cookie mom of Sister's Brownie troop and be stuck with trying to make other supposed grown-ups meet deadlines? Did I say how much other parents sucked for making me nag them about giving me troop money on time and then getting mad and pissy with me for nagging them? Did I ever complain about how much it sucked to be PAID to hassle people back when I used to manage a bakery with a dozen bakers on staff? I take it all back. Being cookie mom was just for 2 months. Being a bakery manager actually paid pretty well. Being a Brownie troop leader is for most of the year and you do it for free.

What's REALLY a crap job is having to hassle parents every month to please do something to contribute to their daughter's Brownie troop. Please just say you'll bring a box of granola bars or a bag of apples for the girls to snack on. Please sign up to help with the single meeting you're required to help with. C'mon. We tell you about this at the beginning of the year. Your daughters love love love it when you come. Please send money on time so that we can buy event tickets on time so that we can actually attend the events that your girls voted to attend. Please help drive all these girls to the events. I know they're usually on Saturdays. Did you know that it's Saturday for me, too? Do you realize I'm not your free babysitter? Did you know you're making it so that I really don't want to do this anymore?

Say it with me now--what the hell was I thinking? Again?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

New habits

I decided after having the miscarriage that I really need to get healthier. The midwives told me that there didn't appear to have been a specific cause for losing the pregnancy, but still. I'm 35 now, get no regular exercise other than walking a 10-pound dog around our block, and feel no shame about gorging on all the Halloween candy that the girls hauled in a couple of weeks ago. I drink gin with abandon, add heavy cream and butter to most things I'm cooking with great recklessness, and have dessert every night. Sometimes I even have a little sweet something after lunch. I could be a little healthier, dontcha think?

So as of about 2 weeks ago, I've changed a few things. I've stopped having an enormous bowl of ice cream with homemade caramel sauce dripping all over it every night after the kids go to bed. I've stopped having my customary two gin drinkies every night. Now I just have a glass of red wine over the course of a couple of hours and then a cup of herbal tea after the girls go to sleep. (Okay, it's still alcohol and you teetotallers won't approve. But red wine is good for you, and it's just a bad idea to completely deprive a mama.) I do not snack on candy during the day, but have fruit or yogurt or cheese and crackers instead. I am trying to pay attention to when I feel full at dinner rather than snarfing everything on my plate just so I don't waste it. I do not finish Bean's leftovers at lunch or breakfast. And I've begun exercising again.

Not much, mind you. But I got up at 6:00 am this morning to go to the gym before Husband and Bean got up, and I did this last week a couple of times as well. I've been dragging the poor doggie on longer walks of 30-45 minutes in which I walk briskly up hills, working up an actual sweat. I sometimes even do abdominal crunches during naptime (though, ahem...not right now).

Husband says he can already tell it's having an affect, and I do feel different already. I feel great, actually. I've got the beginnings of the muscle tone I used to have a couple of years ago when I went to the gym as part of my regular week. And I find that it's self-perpetuating. Since I went to the gym this morning I denied myself that little sweet snack I craved after lunch because I didn't want all that damn early morning exercise to go to waste.

Now if I can just keep it up during the holidays...

Monday, November 13, 2006

Under construction

Can a cave be green? I've kept my same black template ever since I started this blog last year because caves are black, right? And I'm not as talented as some people about just making design stuff up, at least when there has to be a computer involved. But since I've switched to Blogger beta and it's supposed to be all fabulous in various, still-mysterious ways I feel like I should do something different. Can a cave be green? Maybe I should shuffle colors like they say you can do now. Or choose a different one altogether for my on-line cave. If I could just figure out the instructions, because really I see the instructions but I can't make sense of the instructions. Anyway, new template...

Oh, and crap, where did my blogroll go?!

Return to normalcy

Husband and I took Bean to a friend's going-away party yesterday afternoon. This is a friend that Husband made here in Chapel Hill when we first moved here about 6 years ago and Husband joined a running group. I think they immediately hit it off, which pleased me at the time because, while Husband lived here when he went to college, he'd been gone for some time and didn't have friends here anymore. I'm very sorry to see this particular friend leave, though it's for a great job in a great town and his wife and 2 kids are very excited.

It was a fun party and I do feel up to parties again now. But I was a bit shaky when Husband's friend's wife asked how I was doing because she knew I'd "lost the baby." I had mentally prepared myself for the possibility of people asking me about it, but the second she asked me I teared up a bit and came very close to saying, "I don't want to talk about it," as a precursor to really losing it in the middle of the party. I didn't realize I was still that shaky. In my normal, daily life I am NOT that shaky at all. I'm too busy feeding the kids, grocery shopping, cleaning the house, walking the dog, working on projects, planning Thanksgiving dinner, bringing in the houseplants from the porch, planning our holiday party, and all the myriad other little items that fill my life to actively feel sad about it anymore. I feel o.k. now, really. Maybe just when I'm confronted with someone else's sympathy it's hard.

So if I happen to lay eyes on you in person, don't be sympathetic, damn it! A little light-hearted, "How are you?" will do fine.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The worst news

Well, the worst has happened. The spotting escalated into a full-blown miscarriage that kept me awake half of last night. I am no longer pregnant and am terribly, terribly sad about it. I'm also feeling like a complete idiot for announcing it so soon, given that I've had a miscarriage before and remember all too well how months afterward I would STILL have people asking me cheerfully how the pregnancy was coming along. I'm kicking myself now.

I remember writing here, too, that if something happened I'd want to talk about it here. You know what, though? I don't. I really, really don't. What I want to do right now is hole up for awhile and not talk to ANYONE about it. I need to think about it on my own for awhile and really believe my midwives when they say that even having 2 miscarriages is no indication that I'm predisposed, especially since they happened so far apart and I've had 2 perfectly healthy children in the interim.

My 2 beautiful girls ARE a huge help to me right now. Bean especially is so unfettered in her sweetness and mama-love that when I'm with her the sadness is just gone. So I'm going to immerse myself in my life right now and just do the things I enjoy and be sweet to my babies. I'll be back in a couple of weeks, I think.