Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Tales of a 5th grade something

I've spent 36 good years on this planet and had my share of bad days. But for the first time I have had the real definition of a bad day laid out for me by a pre-adolescent fifth grade girl. She happens to be my own flesh and blood, and her distorted view of reality at this age might possibly represent a legitimate benefit of having kept a journal through those ridiculous years in my life. I can look back and verify in my own handwriting that even I, the epitome of all things rational and balanced (shut up, it could happen), had days where the uncurling of a hair strand seemed like reason enough to end my life.

But just in case my journals aren't enough, I have my daughter to remind me. In the event that you are also in need of a reminder and don't happen to have a ten-year-old girl handy, allow me to enlighten you. If you have had the "worst day of [your] entire life" you may have faced a little snow on the walk to the car, had to run an errand with your mother after school, then come home only to be told that you had to have your homework done before you could play with friends (a rule that has existed in our family since like, Adam and Eve), and after crying about a world gone mad you finally came down to the table to work on your homework and hit your elbow on the table.

Good heavens, is there no mercy??!!!

Thirty minutes later she was done with her homework, came to give me a hug and annnounced that I was "the best mom ever", then went bouncing over to her friend's house.

Isn't there supposed to be a medication for this?

Monday, February 26, 2007

Walking on a thin, pink line

Pregnancy tests had to be invented by a man. If I’m wrong, sue me. But no woman I have ever met could take something as emotional as a pregnancy test and sum it up so simply with parallel shapes: two lines = pregnant; one line = not pregnant. I have taken my share of these tests over the last five years but have not come in contact with two lines since the results of Drew were manifest. That single line has wreaked havoc on my psyche for some time now, and I’m not interested in any more abuse.

At first, the single line represented something temporary to me. Something that maybe wasn’t happening now, but would surely come about after several solid months. When that didn’t happen I was introduced to regular doses of disappointment and frustration, so I decided to experiment with some basic fertility drugs. Two months went by with no success so my doctor ordered an ultrasound at month #3 to see if the drugs were working. I met him in his office for the results. I felt like a schoolgirl waiting for the principal to deliver a consequence for bad behavior. He put on his glasses, picked up the papers to dissect their contents, furrowed his brow and squinted, and after a definitive “Hmm” my 5’ 2” Jewish OBGYN pitched my results back down on the desk, removed his glasses and declared, “Looks like you have a nice juicy follicle. I say you go home and have intercourse!”

Not even kidding.

The drugs never worked and yes, I could have gone on to subject myself to more medications, more procedures, and inevitable surgeries to find out where my body was broken. But I looked at the two great kids I already had and declined. I currently find myself in a situation where so much time has passed that a pregnancy result bearing only one pink line is met with relief instead of disappointment. Relief because I don’t have to gain fifty pounds. Relief because I will not have to exchange my current lot of six hours a day alone for increments of five minutes. Relief because I will continue to enjoy a solid night’s sleep. Relief because I won’t have to endure that two years of post-partum depression (not an exaggeration for me).

But the relief comes at a price.

I also don’t get to smell the head of my own freshly bathed baby. I don’t get to experience that kind of celebratory hug from Cory again. I don’t get to enjoy the reaction from family or share another cousin with a sibling. I don’t get to watch my friend Ganelle relish in the validation it would give her to hear me agonize over the day to day struggles of fresh parenthood. I don’t get to see the reaction from my friend Michelle, who said she would cry if I ever delivered such news.

All of the above went through my head over the weekend as I experienced yet another single pink line. The cycle of abuse continues, and I continue to search for the pregnancy test that tells it like it really is.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Phew!

Good news! While talking to my dad on the phone the other day he confirmed that he is NOT the father of Anna Nicole Smith's baby. What a relief.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Me Tarzan. You Jane.

There's something about photographing two "kids" that are crazy in love that makes you want to go home and make out with your husband. I spent the afternoon with such a couple in downtown Denver taking engagement photos. They were so ridiculously into each other that my instructions would have been sufficient at a Tarzan-like level; "You - there. Me - over here." When I did that, something like this would happen:


The other bonus was being able to throw simple rules learned since childhood out the window. So we played in the street...


...and explored dark alleyways...


...and knocked on the doors of strangers.

Aaahh...young love.

I never said I wasn't crazy

I remember Samantha’s first day of Kindergarten. I swore I would not be the kind of parent who sat there and sobbed about giving my child up for a whopping two and a half hours to public education. So I took her up to the Kindergarten area where she gathered with all the other five and six-year-olds and she stood quietly against the wall, taking it all in. I would be cool. I would not be one of those needy parents rushing off to the “Tissues and Tears” meeting immediately following the initial drop-off because come on, that’s just silly.

As I watched her standing there waiting for the teachers to come out I suddenly felt light-headed. I thought to myself, So I’m just supposed to walk up and leave her here? Just like that? I’m going to put her in a room with twenty kids where surely half of them are bullies, and numerous staff I've never met where for all I know the janitor is a pedophile, and I just leave her here? Does nobody else see these older, sinister fifth graders walking around trying to be cool and having to walk RIGHT PAST the Kindergarten area where my little innocent girl is going to be standing every day? And who are these crazy parents who just drive up to the curb and drop their kids off to fend for themselves? Can you do that? Who does that? I will never do that.

“Good Morning children!” greeted the enthusiastic teachers who detailed the protocol of the day. I shouted out a final “I love you!” and watched her go into class as if I was sending her like a lamb to the slaughter, then walked to my car.

And I cried.

It is six years later and for the record, I drop my kids off at the curb EVERY DAY, and now my oldest is one of those heretofore described as “sinister” fifth-graders. The other day she came home with a paper detailing the latest fundraiser and it is the first one I have decided to participate in. Because it’s chocolate bars, and who can argue with the value of that? So we have been dutifully selling chocolate bars for the last month.

“Only the 5th graders are doing this one,” Samantha explained.
“Whatever”, I thought. “It’s chocolate, who am I to argue?”

Well, here’s the KICKER people! Do you know why it’s just the fifth graders who are selling the chocolate? Because it’s raising money for something only the FIFTH graders get to do! And do you know what that is boys and girls???? Well naturally, it is for the fifth grade TRIP! And do you know what the fifth grade trip is BOYS AND GIRLS???? Well they’re going to the mountains! FOR THREE DAYS!! WITH NO PARENTS!! FOR THREE DAYS!! THEY WANT TO TAKE MY CHILD FOR AN ENTIRE WEEKEND AND I HAVE BEEN HELPING TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN BY SELLING CHOCOLATE!!

ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME????

What is the world coming to? Preschool has a graduation and now 5th graders have a trip.

I think I’m gonna cry.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A rare dose of cheese...

Valentine’s Day is not a big celebration around here. And by “here” I mean in my household. Early on in our relationship I learned Cory’s feelings about this day heralded by cherubs and overpriced flowers. He hated the idea of somebody else deciding when and how he should express his love for me. Also early in our relationship I expressed that a complete disregard for the one day of guaranteed physical evidence of his undying love might be a bad idea. Therefore, we struck a deal and for the last several years I have received a token of Cory’s affection around Valentine’s Day. Not after, because I might be irritated by then. But usually somewhere within a week before the day of red, white and pink I am met with a pleasant surprise from my good husband. It works.

While compromises like these are necessary in every household, the truth is: it’s not about the flowers.

The real beauty lies in the fact that this is the guy who when we had been married about a year and my abdomen had to be sliced open and sealed back up with thirteen staples came running into the bathroom to support said staples in my stomach when he heard me throwing up. This is the guy I overheard telling my daughter to pick a different cereal for breakfast because her first choice was almost gone and happened to be “mommy’s favorite”. This is the guy who when I asked if he would rather clean out the fridge or clean the poo off of Drew’s shoe said, “Both”. This is the guy who when I mentioned how much I wanted to spend on a camera and classes said, “Go for it”. And this is the guy who said, a few months ago when we were listening to a Tina Turner song on the radio, “Well, in another 30 years they won’t be able to say that Tina Turner was the sexiest woman at 65 anymore.” (I’m 35 – you do the math.)

You see, real love is in the details. How lucky am I?

Thursday, February 8, 2007

The naked truth

What kind of a gym-goer are you? Specifically, what is your nude tolerance for others at your workout facility? Because I’d like to be honest here: I am not interested in seeing other naked women. More importantly, I am not interested in being seen naked by other women. While the root of these feelings probably goes way back to those scoliosis tests and Hitler-fashion group showers after gym class in the 7th grade, I don’t understand how anyone in a locker room can do anything but hurry up and get dressed after a shower. Listen, I can be mature enough to handle somebody changing by an actual locker. I’m okay with that because the locker is right there and I know you are working toward being fully clothed.

But is it really necessary for someone like me who just needs to go pee and wash her hands to have to share that space with a buck naked middle-aged Asian woman taking her time under a hair dryer? I mean, good for you (whoever "you" are) for being so comfortable with your body. But bad for me who has to pretend not to see it while I’m protecting my basic hygiene rights.

Surely there are bigger problems in the world, but my mother might be relieved to know that I am conservative in at least one other area of my life besides politics. Too bad she will be too mortified by how I’ve expressed such to appreciate it.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Drugged, Comfy and Warm

So, it’s possible that I’m ADD and just haven’t been officially diagnosed. All I really wanted to do was make a deposit at my bank, which happens to be in my local grocery store. Then I needed milk, and if I was gonna get milk I may as well get the vanilla yogurt I like to use to make smoothies. And…wait a second, are those donuts fresh…? Anyway, after purchasing my goods (which disturbingly totaled $6.66) and checking out I started walking to my car and looked at the beauty supply store next door and reminded myself that I should get more mousse for my hair, as mine had recently been reduced to the likes of a rabid dog foaming at the mouth. So I went into Ulta to retrieve my mousse and then remembered the intoxicating lotion sample given to me by my hairdresser and fantasized about a really BIG bottle of it next to my bed at all times. I’m pretty sure it has a marijuana leaf on the outside of it, but the notes on the bottle inform that it is a “THC-drug free” product. However, with the way my eyes roll blissfully into the back of my head every time I lather this stuff on, I have to wonder. I decide against the lotion, but am distracted at every turn by items beckoning me to enhance my femininity with their shampoos and serums, fragrances, shower gels, and body butters guaranteeing to make you feel a part of the Caribbean for a few moments. Finally I tore myself away, made only the necessary purchases and left…and then looked to my right and noticed the shoe store and remembered that I still had Christmas money to spend.

So I went to the shoe store.

The last time I had gone into this store I had been inspired by a very trendy and cute pair of Skechers that I saw my sister-in-law wearing at our summer family reunion. When I tried to go locate some for myself, they were not to be found. So at the time I bought something else - some sort of black monstrosity that weren’t really sneakers, and weren’t really sandals, and weren’t really flats, and definitely weren’t cute…but they were comfy! (Note: The first time I wore these shoes I accidentally fell into thick, muddy pond water in Gunnison during our fishing trip, demoting them even further into the category of damaged goods. Alas, still comfy!)

Now I was in this store again, and decided to look for some knee-length, sleek black boots that I could wear with some of my skirts. The good news: all the boots I wanted were over 50% off. The bad news: None of them were available in a size 11. Something I’ve grown accustomed to. But you know what was on sale in a size 11? Slippers! Black slippers with foamy happiness lining the inside and endorsed by Dr. Scholl’s were on the clearance rack for $15. And if I wasn’t going to be able to walk out of this store with some sexy black boots to strut at the mall (as if) at least I would have warm toes in the morning.

So let’s recap: ADD, possibly high, not cute but comfortable, not sexy but warm. Happy Tuesday.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Wow - could this be more random?

You know what I miss are those shows with the psychics that connect with people “on the other side” to send messages to the skeptics in the audience. It’s not just the psychics that used to crack me up, but the messages that the people “on the other side” would send to their loved ones that were sitting there. The psychic and the audience member would engage in this long process of figuring out who’s trying to say something, who they’re saying it to, and the final climaxing moment of truth has something to do with the fact that this person on the other side has been longing for you to know that they have always hated the couch you picked out. It would go a little like this…

Psychic: “Is there someone over here with an Albert, or an Allen – somebody with an ‘Al’…”
Audience Member: (Raises her hand) “My husband’s brother’s boss had a bird named Alfonso that would cry ‘Ally Ally Oxen free’ in the middle of the night’.”
P: “Was it yellow?”
AM: (Starting to tear up, no longer skeptical) “Yes.” (Whispering to her friend, “How’d he KNOW that?”)
P: “Has the bird passed?”
AM: “Yes, killed in a tragic debacle with a siamese.”
P: “I see. (Pause) I’m sensing some little tray in the corner of his cage…there’s small little round things in it…maybe it’s a food tray or a bird bath with bubbles…did he have something like that?”
AM: “Yes.”
P: “I also see a letter ‘A’ on it, is that right?”
AM: “Yes – his boss had a party for the bird’s first birthday and we gave him an engraved food tray as a gift.”
P: “Okay. (Pause – thinking hard) The bird is coming through and he wants you to know…he wants you to know that he hated that tray. He was allergic to stainless steel and was glad the siamese took him quickly.”

The whole exchange would likely be followed up with a meeting in a private room behind the scenes where tears would be shed and testimonials given about how they would never doubt a psychic again. Ah yes, those were good times.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

12 Repetitions on Med-High

I’ve been reflecting on Bob Greene’s advice to include strength training into a workout routine. This is not an innovative suggestion to the fitness world, but I’m just wondering: shouldn't blow-drying your hair and man handling a hand mixer while blending a batch of cookie dough count as an upper body workout? ‘Cause seriously, my blow dryer is really heavy. And while hand mixers are helpful, there’s only so much they can do with a stiff Oatmeal Raisin Dough. I’m just saying.