Thursday, July 23, 2009

Net Worth of Summer Vacation

This is a PRE VACATION entry that did not post. So I am posting it now, on August 20th.

In Culture:
-I began reading Audrey Nefeneger's The Time Traveler's Wife last Tuesday at three in the morning, and finished reading it around noon last Friday. I have already said this to her, but I'd like to thank Steph for lending this to me. It monopolized my whole week (I missed out on a lot of sleep and socializing to read this book) and destroyed me emotionally. And now I find out that there is going to be a movie!! Win.
-I also read three terrible Anita Blake vampire hunter novels. Bad writing. Drained many brain cells. Loss.
-I became addicted to True Blood. Also drained many brain cells, but the writing is much better. Delightful waste of time. Win.
Speaking of movies, Harry Potter. Need I say more? WIN.
Cultural score: net 2

On the job front:
-I have applied to the seven English teacher jobs that are available within a 20 mile radius and do not involve flack jackets and the city. I have heard back from one of them for an interview. Win.
-This interview will take place in the middle of my vacation. I must drive five hours back from the other side of PA for a twenty minute interview. Loss.
Job score: net 0

Home and Garden:
-The mortgage company is going to give us a mortgage! This should be a Win, right? No.
The owner of the house that we have lived in for five years has decided that he is not going to honor the part of the contract where he said that he would sell us the house. We are talking to a lawyer. Motherfucking Fuckballs. Loss. are tomatoing? Win.
-Ooh, I have a good one. Wendy and I have had an amazing month of us-time. We go to the park, we play in the baby pool, we hang out in the yard. It has been awesome. Have you ever wondered how long you have to pretend to be something before you actually become that thing? You hope that at some point, all the pins will fall in and everything will click. You hope that the fleeting moments of beauty that you know this thing can be will actually gel into a whole solid truth that you can really get your arms around. Okay, the you in this scenario is really me, and despite all of the stress of the house situation and the job situation and every other situation going on around here, this past month has been a revelation built of dandelions and butterfly-print bathing suits.
Home score: net 3 (+1 for tomatoes and +2 for truth and beauty.)

Summer Vacation net score: Stocks are up 5.

I'm off to Pennsic now. (like five minutes ago, actually) I am planning to take a few minutes to blog via cell phone. Ta for now, all!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Growing Up in the Park on a Friday

Wendy helps Carl hold the worm and the pole, and touches the fish before he releases it back into the reservoir. She explains to me, “Daddy is catching the big BIG fish when they bite the worms, and they live in the water under the duckalings.” She understands his interests, and respects his prowess as a talented sportsman. He knew it would be this way, and tries not to explode with pride as he holds her small hand under his.

We take a walk to the "slide and the troll bridge" and let him have some solitude. She climbs on the rocks lining the path, placing her rainbow sandals carefully as she stretches her long legs from foothold to foothold. I am grateful for the giant, firmly planted feet particular to the women of my family.

Pacing laps around the playground equipment, I glance in the direction of the moms chatting at the picnic table. They are wearing curiously matched blue sport-polo shirts and black shorts. (I know they arrived separately. Is there a league? A league of park moms? Is Friday blue polo day?) Their perky-playful ponytailed heads turn casually toward the children, but remain unconcerned with the velocity at which the small bodies travel over the high structures. I look down at my hands. They are nervously hovering behind Wendy as she clomps up the stairs. They stay, twitching half-mast around my chest, ready to catch her should she for no reason fling herself through the gap in the railing.

Oh god. Am I the paranoid overbearing mom? The brims of matching blue baseball hats bob at me. Yes, they say; you will spoon-feed her every drop of life until she doesn’t know how to feed herself. She will be afraid to drive alone or dance in front of people or go to gay bars or try Indian food. She is going to move back in with you after college and settle for a middle-management retail job because you never let her go down the slide by herself.

No. This is Wendy we are talking about. I’m two and I dress my own self Wendy. I can squirt my own toothpaste Wendy. Wendy who will shake the chocolate milk myself OH FOR GOD’S SAKE. I am not smothering her. I couldn’t possibly. She is very independent, but she’s not even three yet, you crazy matching meddlers. She does need me to hold her hand, whether she wants me to or not.

Still. I back away, my feet shuffling through the wood chips a few steps at a time. Wendy heads toward the ladder, and I hurry forward, but do not make it before she has scaled the rungs and is running across the wobbly-bridge. Oh. She can do that.

I perch myself on the sideline bench. I watch her strong hands climbing, I listen to her telling the other kids stories, and I slowly ease back. I let my toes relax from clenched-ballet pose to flat and chill. I can do this. I’ll just wait here, until she needs me again.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Dear Chestnut Hill Investment Banker,

You're right. It is not, in fact, 2005 anymore. Brilliant.

Let me ask you something. Why is it okay for you to hire Carl to do a job at a rate of which you were fully aware, and then chew him out about the invoice after he has done the job? Because it's not 2005 anymore? Really? Is your national economic crisis somehow worse than our national economic crisis? Does it hurt you to have to postpone your purchase of a second IPhone 3GS for a week or two more than it hurts us to make our mortgage payment?

Why didn't you just build your own stupid shelves or fix your own stupid pipes? Right. Because you are a spoiled freak. You are used to paying others to do your hard work, but very recently and suddenly, the world told you that you are not entitled to twelve times the income your skills are actually worth, and dicking around with someone else's blood-and-sweat livelihood is the only way you can recoup some of your crumpled manhood and face your ball-busting-spoiled-freak wife in bed tonight. You cannot imagine a world where you simply can't afford goods and services, because your clean-cut corporate-lackey head is small and important thoughts like this simply do not fit inside.

I suppose I should feel bad about berating the Cranially Challenged. Your pinched forehead squeezes in on your brain too much for you to produce complete thoughts about how people have whole entire lives unconnected to you. They have kids to feed and hobbies to pursue. They have a great list of things they would rather be doing besides driving an hour to and from your house through shitty traffic to do work for you. I know you don't really understand, so here's what I'll do to help you out. I'll put it in small words that will go in there easier: Shut up. Fork over the F***KING money. Get over it.

Wait-what year is it again? I need you and your tiny flea head to tell me.

Also, you suck.


(*I do not hate the rich. I am simply annoyed by jerks.*)

Friday, July 03, 2009

Couch Wars

Again, the couch:house ratio is out of balance. Last weekend, we scored a giant Ikea job that will not fit in Steph and Ryan’s apartment, and put it in our living room. As is our practice, we have retained the old couch-i.e., shoved it in the Christmas tree corner of our living room-while we bond with the new couch. The new relationship with the younger, prettier model might work out. In that event, we will have the old couch as a fall-back. While we deal with our commitment issues, we have two couches in our living room. The new(er) one in the picture is the discontinued Ekescog model, as we discovered online. It turns out that I could have just looked at one of the slipcover tags, instead of fruitlessly combing through Ikea’s annoying website for an hour. Dur. (Also, do you like the My-Size Barbie legs poking out, Wicked-Witch style? Me too.)

Couch time is usually family time. Carl and I attempt to watch grown-up TV, and Wendy wedges herself between us and demands Dora or Max & Ruby every thirty seconds. We think that making screeching noises, planting her head in my armpit and lodging her big toe between Carl’s ribs provides her with a sense of security. It reminds her of the baby-hood she spent in our bed.

The periodical double-couch situation provides the novel option for both adults to lie like broccoli at the same time while watching The Daily Show. In theory, one of us will get a whole couch to ourselves. A beautiful whole five minutes, baby-toe free!

For the proprietor of The Toes, this set-up precipitates an ultimate conundrum: which parent can I monopolize most effectively? Can I do both at the same time? How can I effectively streamline my attention-gleaning strategies to maximize cuddle-time while disallowing cross-cuddling, thereby assuring my genetic dominance over this genetic pool?

Wendy: Daddy, read it again.
Daddy: I want to go over and cuddle Mommy.
Wendy: Actually, I want to cuddle Mommy.
Mommy: You can cuddle Mommy too.
Wendy: But I want Daddy to stay on that other sofa.
Mommy: Mommy wants both of you to cuddle me.
Wendy: Only Wendy.
Daddy: That's not fair.
Mommy: What if I cuddle Daddy over there?
Wendy: That's my Daddy, not your Daddy.
Mommy: True. Also Irrelevant.
Wendy: Daddy is my best friend.
Daddy: Wow. That’s nice.
Mommy: Don’t let her play with your emotions. That’s how she gets you.
Daddy: But-can’t we all just cuddle on the big couch?
Wendy: *flings body across Mommy* NOOOOOOOOO! I DON’T LIKE DADDY!! ONLY MOMMY!!
Mommy: It wouldn’t hurt so bad if you steeled yourself against her wiles.

Living with a two year-old is kind of like having a jealous sibling. If you and your sibling were both under five and negotiated territory deals with third world country war lords.