Wednesday, July 30, 2003

"Rein yourselves in, ladies, before you find yourselves 'beyond the beyonds' and there is no longer quality to your life, only quantity. Do not abandon your sweet spirit, your gentle smile, your quiet control in your quest to have it all and be it all. Be still and know the pleasure of being the grand you that the universe saw fit to place here. That may be your only function in this world, and it may be of comfort to others. Why can't that be enough?" (From my favorite source of good-natured cursing).

Also, read this.

I gotta say, I feel a whole lot better about all these resentful feelings I've had lately towards my husband, my kid and myself after reading both of these posts. I need to find more quality, and less quantity. Starting now.

Monday, July 28, 2003

I wonder about that bit on the logon screen at blogger that starts you on the process of starting a new blog. Who possibly has the resources to run more than one blog at a time? And still have it be interesting more than three words in? Ah, there's the rub.

My mother is buying drugs in Mexico. Lacking sufficient health care since my father lost his job nearly two years ago, they decided this weekend to make the trip from their temporary residence in Houston to the Mexican border in order to search for cheap fabric and (legal, sort of) narcotics. My mother, who broke both her legs about three years ago and still suffers the after-effects, needs some sort of Vicadin or something when her back and legs really start to bother her. It's much cheaper to buy them outside the US so they took a little road trip. Apparently, they ended up following a small, shady-looking character down a narrow alley to buy some really cheap (and apparently high-quality) drugs. They were so cheap, my mom figured what the hey and bought some of the prescription diet drugs she really likes. I wonder if they bought Viagra for my Dad...

Now maybe for those of you whose parents lean toward the illegal, this isn't a big deal, but MY parents are card-carrying neo-conservatives. They think George Bush should rule the world. I like to point out that my dad voted for Clinton the first time around at Easter dinner. They trust in Jesus and express their disappointment at every turn that our daughter is not being raised as a Christian. AND, they buy illegal drugs in Mexico.

Work project just popped me with a big project....more later.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

So far everything is progressing nicely; I'm sprinting headfirst into my second trimester, feeling a whole lot less nauseous, but still tired in the evenings. My messy house makes me depressed, but the upside is I go to bed fairly early to avoid having to a) look at the dishes and chewed-up dog toys and b) mentally beat myself up for lack of housecleaning ambition. I find that blaming my husband for most of the mess works nicely as well.

Joe has developed a voracious hunger for smothering me with affection at all hours of the day and night. Through zen-like meditation, I've managed to succumb to the constant caressing, squeezing and barrages of nibbles and pressing-of-sharp whisker-stubble to my face. I quietly berate myself the whole time for feeling this way. I smile and smooch him back, confident in his love for me and my ever-expanding body, newly adorned with a couple fresh zits.

I took Abe (who celebrated his one-year birthday on Monday with a full day alone, out of his crate - he had to go back in yesterday due to an unfortunate pillow-tearing incident) and my daughter to the park yesterday, in a rare show of early-evening stamina.

Three older girls showed up at the playground, and my daughter was immediately enamoured. She followed them around with a look of pure earnesty on her face that made my heart hurt. She soon was lumped in the same category as one of the girls' little brother, and the two of them followed the older girls around together. Her answers to their questions made me cringe with love and a nearly-overwhelming urge to whisk her away from them. When asked what they wanted to do, she answered "play ring-around-the-rosies." What a totally 4-year-old answer. When the conversation turned to recent movies, she first volunteered that she had indeed seen the Hulk (she hadn't), and when pressed further, hid her face behind a post and admitted that her mom wouldn't let her see those kind of movies. But, she did have the Spiderman movie at home (a true statement - she didn't say that she hadn't seen it). I watched and listened from a distance, secretly dying for her leave, but it was obvious she was fascinated and would have followed those girls to the ends of the earth. I couldn't even lure her away with the promise of ice cream. Eventually threatening rain clouds forced us to leave.

My love for this beautiful, loving child is unfathomable. I HATE that she will be forced to feel bad about herself at some point in the near future (kindergarten is a painful 34 days away) because of silly, made-up childhood (specifically girlhood) rules & regulations. It makes me want to grip her tightly in my embrace and hold her at this innocent, completely blissful crossroads of her life in some fairytale-esque state of suspended animation forever.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Yesterday as I was driving back to my office from one of my company's manufacturing facilities, I decided to take the back roads. Michigan in the summer is beautiful, and I remind myself more than once a day to take in as much as possible, and hide it somewhere deep within myself, because I'll need those thoughts on some dreary and bone-chilling February day.

I'm pregnant, so I eat. And eat. And then I graze some. And then eat some more. So I stopped at a roadside restaraunt, Jimmy's Grill. The outside of the building reminds me of my grandparents porch on the farm in Oklahoma. White, wide, wood siding. The floor carpeted with green plastic turf-like material. Inside the nicest waitress seated me, and I ordered a chicken fried steak sandwich, with onion rings and lemonade.

Despite being one of the more emotionally-secure people I know, I felt the need to be doing something so as not to look like a loser who eats alone. I went over my notes from work, but as I got bored with that I began to look around the room. There was a table of men to my left, all with work clothes and baseball caps on. Which normally would indicate that they were construction workers, but just looking at these 6 or 7 guys you knew they were farmers. They were all fairly young, mid-thirties to early forties, clean shaven, and pretty quiet for a group of guys that size. They reminded me of my uncles and cousins in Oklahoma, and suddlenly I wanted more than anything to go with them. I wanted to drive the combine, talk into the CB radio, drink ice water directly out of thermos-like coolers. I wanted to touch the wide green leaves of corn, to make an impression in the dirt with my boot. I did not want to go back to my artificially-lit cubicle and breath filtered air. I wanted to go bed tired that night: content, hard-work-accomplished tired.

Of course I know farm work is some of the hardest work out there, but I expect someday you'll find me living on a farm, raising a few cows and a small vegatable garden, just enough to give me some satisfaction but not too much frustration. I'll have my laptop inside the house, in a quiet, shadowy office off the back room. My grandkids will come and visit, and will play in the hay bales and ride an old horse around the yard. I'll watch the sunset whenever I can, and email my editors my stories once a week. And hug my husband every day.

Monday, July 14, 2003

My god has it been a week? Bad blogger!

WARNING: Detailed recount of argument where I come out smelling like a rose...

Had a huge blow-up with the teeming ball of neediness last night. I've been sullen and resentful for almost a week now, my scowl growing deeper with every wet towel left on the floor, every drop of rotting mayonaise left on the counter. Last night, deep into a heated argument in front of a muted "Malcom in the Middle," he accused me of eating all the eggs Sunday morning without leaving him any. I lost my temper for the first time in a very, very long time.

I was sick, literally nausuous with hunger yesterday morning, and woke him up at 10 am and asked sweetly (read: weakly) if he would make me some eggs because I was not feeling well enough to make them myself. He agreed, then proceeded to go into the bathroom for 20 minutes with a magazine. I managed to wash some dishes while he was sitting on the pot. Finally he came out and made 5 scrambled eggs. After he scooped them out on a plate, he asked me to divide them between me and my daughter. I gave her two and ate the remaining three. Plus my toast and half of my daughter's toast. I ate three eggs because I was hungry from the GROWING LIFE inside my womb that is sapping nearly all my emotional and physical resources. He apparently expected to eat some of those eggs. I'm not sure how dividing five eggs between a pregnant woman and a child is all that ridiculous, but in selfish husband reality, it is.

His point in the argument that night was that he does stuff for me all the time that I don't appreciate, like making eggs, and then not saying anything when I eat them all. Just so you know I'm trying to be as fair as possible and give his side of the argument. My point is that he cannot think past himself enough to really understand what's going on.

I hate losing my temper; I always feel silly and vulnerable and out of control. I can count on one hand how many times I've literally lost it with someone, and only twice has it been with someone other than my husband (my little brother and a boyfriend at camp in junior high). But in some deep, secret place, losing my temper is the only time I feel the ragged, raw edge of myself. I imagine it's the crazy way those people who cut themselves with razor blades feel.

In any case, Joe and I are the type of people who can't stand to be mad at each other for very long. We ended the night in bed together, exhausted from emotional expenditure, agreeing that having another baby is a little scary. Things are pretty darn perfect right now, despite our bank account being overdrawn $125. Our daughter is perfect. Our dog is a big slobbery furbag of sweetness. Even our house is pretty cool. So why go and throw a big ol' wrench in the works? We figure that if our past is any indication, things will just keep getting better as each year passes.

Monday, July 07, 2003

Whew, what a weekend. My resolve to write at least every other day is wavering. I'll commit to a more stringent schedule from here on out. In my defense, my husband was with me every waking second of the weekend, and I'm not ready for him to delve into my mysterious ramblings just yet. Or ever.

Saturday brought a surprise invitation from Joe's dad and wife to go golfing. Now, I've never been one to deal well with organized sports and the feelings of unneccessary competition that go along with it, but I find as I'm getting older I'm much more mellow about this type of stuff. And since the alternative was to spend the Fourth of July with Creepy Board Game Cheater, we put the dog in his crate and locked the door behind us before the phone could ring and reel us into a less appetizing family event.

The golf outing was arranged by Joe's stepmother's brother, a baptist millionaire who made his money selling Amway products. They had the MTV Cribs house, complete with surname splashed in a gaudy display across the marble doorway, and six cars in the garage, one of them an $80,000 Mercedes. I felt like I was in Houston, where my oil-baron maternal grandfather has set-up shop in a feng-shui'd mansion with all the silliest acroutements you could imagine (read: mini-bar in the master bath). I gripped my 4-year-old's hand like a vice, and immediately regretted shaving only the bottom half of my legs. I also felt silly wearing the maternity t-shirt I threw on earlier, but at least that was clean. Until I spilled ice tea all over myself 10 minutes after arriving. I'm such a jerk.

But after we made it out onto the golf course, things got better. I'd never been golfing before, never ever. Which is puzzling because my father love to golf and brings his clubs everywhere, so you'd think he'd have taught me a thing or two along the way. Despite my utter lack of golf skills, I managed to do okay. I even hit "best ball" once or twice. My husband didn't nag me, I didn't feel the crushing embarassment I usually do when I'm forced to play sports. It was a beautiful day, I needed the exercise and the company. I'm pretty sure I'll remember it always.

I won't go into the rest of the day, because, quite frankly, you'd be so bored you'd shoot yourselves in the face. So I'll leave it at that.

This morning I dropped my daughter off at her pre-school, and as I bent down to kiss her good-bye, I had this unsurmountable urge to stay and hang out with her all day. I wanted to sit on the carpet in a circle next to her and sing songs, and say silly things like, "Barbie really wants to go swimming in the potty today," and eat Teddy Grahams and drink 2% milk out of dixie cups. And kiss her on her plump cheeks whenever I wanted to. Instead I turned around and walked out of the building, lecturing myself that if I really wanted more freedom with my life, all I had to do was make it happen. Find out the first steps in freelance writing and web design, then do it.

So I spent all day in my cube reading slate and watching the live doppler images on my local news' weather site. Maybe tomorrow I'll change my life.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Turns out we aren't the only people in America who don't have plans for the 4th. Joe's sister called earlier tonight wanting to know what we were doing tomorrow night. I have a feeling that she just doesn't want to be trapped with her mother and Gordon, Sheri's wierdo husband who cheats at board games. What kind of a person cheats on board games with their family? I don't blame Joe's sister; we've been looking for ways to escape that hell, too.

It rained on my most memorable 4th of July. I was in Korea, on a rooftop just off the base (bet all you sleazy web marketers out there didn't realize that I'm former Army Intelligence when you started scanning this site in a diabolical scheme to send me all that crap about poetry contests and online casinos-ha!). Man, there's nothing like living in another country, far away from your most beloved, to make you realize how much you love America.

There was a group of us gathered there, all good friends, filled with OB and greasy yaki-mandu. The base had opened its gates for the one day all year when local residents were invited inside as a sign of goodwill from the US Military. So of course we left for a house rented by one of my fellow soldiers.

The fireworks were launched from the airfield there, and though they had been delayed because of light rain, eventually someone made the command decision to set them off anyway. We were glad as we gazed out over the barbed wire just beyond the rental house; it would have been another major disappointment had we had to go without fireworks on the fucking Fourth of July (I'm trying the cursing thing; we'll see how it works out). As the explosions shot out across the black Korean sky, everyone single one of us there that night thought about a different kind of explosion. The deadly kind, the scary kind that we could quite possibly see in our "tour" of a country that was still technically at war. It was 1997, a long ways away from the terrifying situation going on right now, but still, we were all scared, but more dedicated soldiers than we had ever been stationed back in the United States.

If you feel moved, take a quick moment send quiet, blessful thoughts to those guys in Iraq. They are more lonely than you could ever imagine.
Ha, fooled you with that last post.

God, I'm such a genius. I'm feeling pretty capable these days, which is a long way from how I was feeling last week: useless and paranoid. It changes - keeps my life interesting.

Tomorrow the being (beings?) in my belly goes from being an ebryo to a fetus. Big steps for the little guy. I'm eating stuff I have no business consuming for nutritional content: for dinner last night I had an open-faced chili burger topped with onion rings. Dipped in gravy. It makes me gag just imagining myself licking the gravy-chili mix off the battered rings, but man, I tried my darndest, I mean really, really hard, to enjoy the hell out of it.

I think we're the only Americans left in the country who don't have plans for Fourth of July (the Indian woman I work with doesn't have plans either). I can picture myself floating in an inner tube on a lake somewhere, the sun nicely browning my Michigan-white legs, a glass of pink lemonade crammed with ice in my hand. Sunglasses resting comfortable on my nose. Cool water supporting my pregnant body. But most likely I'll end up alternately picking up after my family and laying on the couch watching Real World re-runs, wondering where the hell all of our money from the last paycheck has gone. (Oh yeah, open-faced chili burgers and Greek food.)

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

I am blogging all the time now. It's gone to my head. Today I had lunch at the MegaStuff RetailMart (basil chicken chili, despite the heat) and found myself blogging away in my head. "Politically, it makes sense for the Democrats to start raising the issue of how much worse off we are now than five years ago..." or "You know, this new adventure in the vast, mysterious and largely boring ocean of electronic communication has really brought out the writer in me. Perhaps I'll get crackin' on the Great American Novel I've been meaning to write since the 8th grade, now that I'm back in the groove of writing every day..."

Besides checking in on [all blogged up and nowhere to go] every ten minutes to check if anyone's made a comment on what she posted today [um, ME], I've also been regulary checking in at Dave Barry's blog. It's kinda dumb and silly, but as I'm sitting in my cell here at work, wondering where the HELL everyone is, it's a nice distraction.

Apparently, someone thinks I'm interesting. Believe it or not, logging on to a site you consider the best content on the web and seeing your writing is similar to the feeling of having the cutest boy in the neighborhood asking you to come out and play kick the can when you were in junior high. It makes you want jump up and hug 'em to your breast while planning your children's names, but instead, you gotta act all cool. Um, sure. That'd be okay, I guess

I guess if I can blame pregnancy on lack of emotional resources, my husband can blame the heat on the magnification of his emotional resources. BUT JUST THIS ONCE. He's like a polar bear in Argentina in the heat. Sweat coats his face and arms like shellac. Little pieces of dirt and lint stick to him. His pores expand to the size of potholes and he lays face down on the carpet and moans. And that's just when the temperature hits 75 degrees.

We had a healthy yelling match over the work incident in the basement while I folded hot clothes from the dryer, then made up and went out for gyros. Greek food always makes everything better. He even refilled his Prozac prescription on the way to the Pita House. I stayed in the car with my daughter and sang at the top of my lungs to her kids music tape, which was playing a stirring rendition of "Buffalo Gals Won't You Come Out Tonight."

Now, here I'm going to put myself in the proverbial pot for a moment and ask all you smarmy geniuses out there for some help. I'd like to think I can figure out all web applications if I just Google the right set of words. But for the life of me I can't figure out how this damn Blogger thing works, other than just typing in entries.

How can I post my email address, or a list of most admired links? Do I need to pay for this paltry privilage? How the HELL do I find out how many of you are actually reading this, looking for info to add to your SPAM lists? I've tried the FAQ on the Blogger homepage, but the link just shoots me out into a black hole of nothingness. I wait, because I really want to find out the answers to these questions, but just more nothingness. (Ha! I feel like an old blog hag - I'm complaining about Blogger!) Email me at jrw21@hotmail.com. Thanks in advance for your acerbic remarks.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

My husband is a great big teeming ball of crazy neediness. He just showed up at my office, unannounced, which wasn't really a big deal. Actually, normally it would be really great. Except apparently I didn't show enough enthusiasm when he snuck up behind me and appeared out of no where. "Oh, hey, I wasn't expecting you."

"Aren't you glad that I'm here?"

"Yes, of course I am." At this moment a conversation I had with my co-worker at lunch is running through my head; I'm complaining about how I just don't have the emotional resources these to stroke his ego like I used to. He cut down a big tree behind our garage last night, making a huge mess and becoming dirty, sweaty, and unavailable for any other housework and/or childcare in the process. Whatever, if that's what he thinks needs to be done, fine. Just clean up when you're finished. Except he needed me to tell him several times how great I thought it was that he was cutting down the tree. How hard he was working. Sensing my annoyance stokes the hot furnace of his neediness even more, and there's a blow-up.

Back to the cubicle conversation...

"Are you sure?" he says.

"Joseph..." I sigh, and he throws a violent look at me, barring his teeth, mouthing the words, "WHATHEFUCK?" so my co-workers can't hear.

I try damage control and smile. "So what's up?"

"Well, I brought you some money, I thought you'd want to go shopping tonight." I mentioned this morning that I'd rather get some nice maternity clothes instead of paint the bedroom, which I've wanted to do for a long time.

WARNING: ANOTHER FLASHBACK. I think of our house at home, with clothes strewn all over the upstairs, how I couldn't get up in the middle of the night to check on my daughter last night because I was afraid I would trip on something, most likely the 300 ft extension cord running the A/C, or the iron board propped precariously against the foot of the bed, topped off with piles of dirty laundry. I think of our carpet, a dingy grey coated with a light layer of blonde dog hair. I think of my dishwasher full of clean dishes, and my sink full of dirty dishes. I think of how I promised myself I would never live like this.

"Um, thank you, that's great, but the house really needs some work..." And he's off. A forced-casual "fine, see you at home," as he rounds the corner and disappears. Crud. I should have just stopped at "thank you, that's great." But it's so exhausting to speak in edit mode all the time.

I've been begging him to refill his Prozac, but it's not a priority. Cutting down his tree is a priority. And when I mention it, he acts like my urging is a direct reference to his craziness. A sort of don't-you-love-me-regardless wild card. But the difference in his behavior is really remarkable when he's on the drug. And at a time when I have a growing child in my womb, consuming all excess resources, both physical and mental, I need all the calm and support I can grab.

Hopefully, things will calm down by the time I get home.