16 07 2008

So I’m working at the customer service desk yesterday and this man approaches me carrying two irons.  He says his wife bought one the other day and he wants to exchange it for another one.  I look at him and think “You are Harry Con*nick Jr.  HOLY F-ING GOD, YOU ARE HARRY CON*NICK JR.”  And I think no – it can’t be – must be one of those strange celebrity look-alikes.  So he doesn’t have his receipt and I have to scan the item and verify his last name to view the purchase, and sure enough he says “Con*nick.”


So I complete the transaction, exchange his iron, and can barely look at him because he’s THAT BEAUTIFUL IN PERSON.  I think of a million cheesy things to say to him like “I’m a huge fan….I have a bunch of your albums….etc.” but I decide to be all professional and let him exchange his iron in peace.

Turns out it’s well known that he has a summer home in Chatham, two towns over.

This COMPLETELY made my day, and made my job feel WAY more glamorous than it actually is.  It also made me feel rather school-girl-crushing-on-beautiful-men again, which I admit was kinda fun.


13 07 2008

At the beginning of the summer I committed to visiting my family in Maine in August.  Then we went in June for a packed weekend of graduations and family parties, and I saw some family members I didn’t expect to see, which was great.  We were also completely exhausted from toting Mr. E around and sharing a hotel room/bed with him.  It felt so nice to come home and get back to our routine.

I couldn’t imagine going up there again two months later, but I told myself that after two months I would feel refreshed and willing to make the trip again.  Uh, nope.  As the date neared I was dreading it, thinking about August traffic on the highway, Mr. E not taking great naps in his car seat, and toting him around from one party to the next (a couple family get-togethers are planned for that weekend).  I couldn’t even picture where he would get a horizontal nap the entire weekend, which made me sad and a bit stressed out.

I swore I would be a parent who wouldn’t care about such details – that we’d be the on-the-go parents whose kids would just nap where they could and we’d all just adjust.  Er, not so much.  Turns out details like good naps are kinda important, and long car rides are even more exhausting when you have to make diaper-change and feeding stops, not to mention either sitting beside your kid to entertain him or listen to him cry.  But when you have to travel to grandparents you do it – just maybe not as often as you would like.

So I canceled the trip.  What. a. Relief.  I know my parents are disappointed, but our sanity is more important.  And I think Mr. E is at an in-between difficult traveling stage – too old to just sleep through it all, and too young to have long stretches of awake-time when he can entertain himself well.  I do see a portable DVD player in our future….

The best part of all is that instead of us traveling, my bestest bud who lives in England is coming to visit!  I’m so excited for her to meet Mr. E and for us to spend a few days hanging out.  We decided that the fall will be a better time to see my family.

My in-laws are teasing me about being a real Cape-Codder now that the thought of going over the bridge in the summertime seems dreadful to me.  I think I’m integrating well here…

Daughter from a Distance

10 07 2008

I’m not sure what would be different – would I really be seeing you much more often, spending “quality” time together, perhaps taking you to your chemo treatments?  Perhaps.  But I suspect it’s more the symbolism of nearness that gets us – like distance in miles equals the distance between hearts, and who am I to say it doesn’t?  Ours is probably about balanced – 4.5 hours to drive on a good day, without traffic.  One phone call per week (for you, preferably on the same day).  Pleasantries exchanged.  Our comings and goings updated.  Sometimes a couple laughs.  Plently of silences.

What do we wish for when our parents become ill?  That we’d been closer, that we were chummy like those mothers and daughters we know who get pedicures together?  That our chumminess will more easily carry us through the dark and scary?  Or perhaps we reconsider every argument, every rash judgement we’ve made on them, so that we can make right with ourselves that at one time or another we’ve hated the people who love us the most?

I’ve never felt so distant as a daughter as I did when you told me that you had blacked out from chemo – and I found out about a week later.  The way you said it “maybe your sister mentioned my incident to you…” NO, she neglected to mention it.  In fact, you did as well.  And so did my father.  It’s as if living in another state somehow dropped me off the call-list, so that now I only qualify to ring an answering service and listen to the drone of the wait music.  In other words, I’m the last to know.

But this is what I do, right?  Get angry at YOU, and everyone else who’s convenient, instead of the real culprit: INCRURABLE ILLNESS.  CANCER.  The big F-ing C.

I shouldn’t blame you at all – I know you try to protect me from its ugliness.  But its ugliness creeps into all of our beds at night – haunts us until morning when we force ourselves to face another day in its wake – we are held hostage.  I don’t know how you do it – take in poison over and over again into your body so it can hopefully kill the bad cells and leave the good – all the while you feel like your dying and that might mean you’ll get to live – what a dirty trick you are forced to play.  The thought of it makes my skin crawl – but I know I’d be forced to play the same game if I had to.

The bottom line is this: I love you so much it scares me, and this F-ed up illness just gets in the way, and some days it’s all I can do to hold onto the thought of us – our family – before any of this began.  Perhaps it’s just living in the past.  But right now I need it for the future.

Kicking my bad mood’s ass

1 07 2008

Moodiness runs in my family.

(as I predictably start with the required blaming-my-mother-for-everything strategy)

But seriously. It’s what I couldn’t stand about my mom while I was growing up – one thing would set her off into a tailspin of brooding and sulkiness, a dark cloud of pissed off hanging over her wherever she went, until eventually after a day or two it wore off. There was no penetrating the thick shield of grumpiness that shrouded her, so I knew when I just had to wait it out until the sting of whatever had hit her wore off.

Whether by nurture or nature, I was pretty much the same as a kid. I can’t tell you how many times relatives would just look at me and say, “Gee, A., smile, would you??” I was probably deeply immersed in sulking about how my mom wouldn’t buy me the new Malibu Barbie Dream Spa. When I got poked and prodded in this way, I felt I was being forced to be happy, and it pissed me off even more. No doubt these people were all plotting to make my life unbearably miserable, and as I figured it, they won.

My sister, born 11 years after me, wasn’t much different. In fact, I think she left the womb in a bad mood. She cried nonstop, and once she was a toddler she screamed bloody murder when she didn’t get her way. Hers was more a pissed-off-bitchy bad mood, whereas my mom and I carry the deep, dark depressed bad mood torch. We’re a pleasant family, really.

So I suppose it’s fitting that around age 29 or 30 we start to see more clearly how we really are just like our mothers, and it scares the shit out of us. We spent our 20’s believing it never happened, and never will, and the sting of denial still hurts. Perhaps our 40’s will be about realizing that we are our just like the good parts of our mothers – one can only hope.

Whoever made up the phrase “woke up on the wrong side of the bed” knew just what he was talking about. Some days feel just like that for me. And I just. can’t. get. out. of. it. It’s an on-going issue, but only surfaces in spurts (please don’t suggest therapy, I’m just not interested). But lately something about the complicatedness of my life – call it maturity – is making me realize I just can’t afford to be in a bad mood. Not like this. Not when I’m blessed to have E., Mr. E. and everyone else in my family and friends – and not when I have to be strong for my mom while cancer is busy kicking her ass. It’s just being bratty, and I’m waaaay too old for that.

I felt this way this morning – I mean the wrong-side-of-the-bed kinda feeling, and I brooded for a bit. Then I realized a day of brooding just makes me feel worse. So I decided I needed to kick my bad mood’s ASS. I can’t explain how I do this, I just know that the phrase explains exactly what it feels like -an inner struggle with me as the winner. And I feel better. Much better.

There. Now I’ll hand you all $70 for my virtual therapy session.

Insert foot directly into mouth…

19 06 2008

Scene: E. and I are talking in bed, almost ready to go to sleep. In reflection of an exhausting evening with Mr. E. which resulted in E. and I taking turns eating dinner, I say:

“I wish we could have a nanny.”

E: “What?”

A: “No, I mean, just someone who would take care of Mr. E most of the day…and evening…and night.”

E: “Um, you mean ME, who takes care of Mr. E ALL DAY AND NIGHT??”

A: “Uh…yeah. Oops. Nevermind.”

E: “Well, if you get a nanny, then I get a wet-nurse.”

A: “Deal.”


19 06 2008

Thanks for all the wonderful book suggestions.  To address some of them, I did read “Water for Elephants” and liked it.  I haven’t read any Jodi Picoult but trashy isn’t really my thing, at least not right now (but I can certainly see its place in one’s reading repertoire).  I’m more of a make-me-think-about-big-life-questions-provoked-by-every-day-happenings kinda gal.  I also like funny and quirky (David Sedaris), so the Nick Horny suggestion was right on – I LOVED the High Fidelity movie, and that is one where I think I could actually stand to read the book after loving the movie.

So off I went to the library and came out with two books: Hornby’s “A Long Way Down” (“High Fidelity” was lost) and “Pontoon” by Garrison Keillor.  I’ve been wanting to read one of Keillor’s novels since I discovered I liked A Prairie Home Companion, thus solidifying my inner-80-year-old-man status.  His writing, as well as his talk, is like taking one ball of yarn and unraveling a million of its threads in all different directions, for a long, long time.  It takes some concentration, but it’s well worth it.  It’s exactly what my brain needs to remind me why I love to read, and so I’m starting with that one.

I’ve just finished my first 3 days at my new job – cashier at a very chill locally-owned department store.  I’m happy to say I really like it.  The job is fun (as E. put it: “It’s like playing cashier!”), and the people who work there are very nice.  The customers are in great moods (it’s Cape Cod in the summer) and I just LOVED handing out discounts yesterday for all the Senior Citizens.  I think I can stay a while here until the right teaching gig comes along – which is great because I’ll be eligible for full benefits in the fall.  I’m so happy I made the switch!

Reader’s Block

14 06 2008

I have reader’s block.  There, I can finally admit it.

For many months now I’ve been struggling with finding a good book to read.  I’ve started books on my “to read” list by favorite authors that sound great, only to lose interest after a few chapters.  The unfinished and unappreciated book mocks me as I walk by – I only glance at it and think “soon I’ll get back to you” and I know it’s a lie.

I don’t know if it’s summer and all that comes with it – feeling more energized, being outside, etc.  Or perhaps an excuse is actual reality and I really AM too busy.  I don’t see many crevices stuck in between the many happenings of my day where I would be reading.  But perhaps I’m just not looking hard enough.

I feel incomplete without a book to read.  In times like this, I look back longingly at the H*P days – where I would spend hours (pre-baby) in one of the books with the next one in the series just waiting for me to pick it up.  I always did immediately after finishing one – never skipping a beat.  Where are those books?

I need something, dear fellow readers, that can snap me quickly back into my reading routine.  A good David Sedaris comes to mind (I’ve read “Me Talk Pretty…” and “Naked,” fyi).  Fiction is preferable, unless the non-fiction is extremely light and funny.  I think I also need something fairly current.  If you are inclined to help, please check out my GoodReads to see what I’ve read before.  Any help appreciated!

From the Homeland

9 06 2008

*Written this past Saturday morning – didn’t have time to publish this on the road….

We are in Maine for my sister’s graduation – as I type we are in the hotel getting ready for the graduation party and Mr. E is napping. I just got off the phone with the deli owner and told her that I’M DONE!

So we were shopping in Freeport yesterday when I got a call from the department store where I had just interviewed on Thursday. It was to offer me the job! E. and I had already talked about what I would do if this happened, and whether or not I would want to wait and do my 2nd interview with the special needs school. I decided I didn’t – it just didn’t feel like the right place for me – and would have completely taken me out of subbing next fall – and would have been a really, really difficult job. I liked the people a lot at the store, and I really think I would feel proud to work for a 5th-generation family-owned store. So I took it. I struggled a bit about not giving the deli any notice, but I REALLY didn’t want to work there this coming week (I don’t start at the store until a week from Monday). Tuesday is E.’s birthday, and Thursday is out wedding anniversary. So I just told her I wouldn’t be back -and she seemed to take it ok. Yae!! Now my honey and I can have some time to ourselves and be able to celebrate her birthday the way we like – without work ruining it!

I’m happy about my new job – and happy to know that I can make some time next fall to start subbing.

*Added today*

I just stopped by the deli to pick up my last paycheck, and now am convinced THERE IS A GOD because I quit just before this heat wave.  I was drenched in sweat JUST STANDING THERE in the back for 15 minutes – everyone was running around with beads of sweat on their foreheads.  It seems the summer rush has finally arrived there – and I’m gone!  I do feel a tiny bit guilty for leaving her right now, but I spoke with her today and she seems happy for me, and understands that I need a full-time gig with benefits for us and the boy especially.

I am now a Master of Education – whatever that means.  My graduation yesterday was hot, sticky, and surreal.  I just can’t believe the classes I took and the work I did qualifies me for a Master’s, but it seems as though it does.  First Lady Diane Patrick spoke, and between her and another speaker there was much  talk about hope, both in the personal and the political sense.  I know I need some of both myself right now.

My sister, graduating third in her class, gave a speech at her graduation, and it was so great and made me so unbelievably proud.  It was good to have a weekend of celebration, hope, and time to sit and be inspired. Particularly at this time when my mom has had her 7th surgery this year, the most recent the result of incompetent medical professionals (she had to have emergency surgery because of an infection on Saturday that her doctor kept ignoring and downplaying, and almost didn’t make it to my graduation).  The depth of incompetence runs so deep and wide among her medical team that I know she has lost hope in anything changing.  I constantly struggle with living far away and not understanding every detail of the treatment process, and often feel like I should know the ins and outs so well that I could give her some advice.  But breast cancer is so deadly that it holds us hostage in our fear and doubt and we have nothing to rely on accept the doctors and their tenuous knowledge of it.  What are we to do?  We can barely deal with the diagnosis and treatment and the pain let alone figuring out what changes to make and how.  All this frustration and its. only. been. five. months.

Happiness:  I no longer work at the deli.  I have this week off.  My honey turns 30 tomorrow and we get to spend the day together.  I have the best wife in the WORLD.  I have the best son in the UNIVERSE.  I love my family so much.

I keep going, I keep going, I keep going.

More Prospects

3 06 2008

So I got a call today to go in for a 2nd interview for the Special Ed Aid position.  I’m excited, particularly because I’ll get to see the classrooms and get more of a feel for the place, the students and the teachers.  Since my first interview, E and I have had conversations about the fact that if I took this job, it would give me some more teaching experience to put on my resume, but would keep me from subbing in the local schools, which is a major way to get a teaching job.  Today I put in an application at a locally-owned department store to work in customer service.  I’ve never worked in retail, but I really like the store and it actually offers benefits like health insurance and vacation.  It also gives its workers a set schedule so I would be available at least one or two days to substitute teach next fall.  I’m trying to weigh the pros and cons of each, and it’s a tough task for me.  Perhaps I’ll know more after my 2nd interview on Thursday.  I am increasingly unhappy as a sandwich maker, and really hope to be out of there before I’m standing over a grill in July heat flipping burgers.  Yuk.

Mostly I’m really struggling with having a few options in front of me and worrying that I’ll make a wrong choice.  Or a great teaching job will come along and actually work out for me, and I would want to leave a job I just started (which, let’s be honest, I TOTALLY would).  In true A. form, I’m just really struggling with A) Transitions, and B) Uncertainty.  Thankfully my wife handles both with ease and excitement, and I love her for it.  Without her, I don’t know where I’d be with all this!

On a happy note of completion, I graduate this Sunday!!  I keep forgetting, since I finished classes in December and my practicum in April.  But I am!  I really am!!  And even though I think my school accepts everyone who applies and at times high school seemed easier, I’m still proud of my degree, damn it.

Wow – I blog while the boy sleeps – naps. friggen. rule.


27 05 2008

This past long weekend was one of those perfect stretches of days filled with great weather, fun activities, much-needed down-time, and good friends sharing good food. E. and I reconnected with old friends, spent time with brand new ones, gazed into the backyard fire, and even got in some beach time – Mr. E in tow. I was completely ecstatic when, when I said wistfully, “On a day like this, before Mr. E we would have planted ourselves on the beach all day…..” To which E. said “well, let’s bring him!” And that we did. And we sat in our beach chairs at high tide on a sunny day eating sandwiches while Mr. E sat in his stroller and played, then slept. I was in heaven. We live just 5 minutes from the beach – and we can still go!!! It wasn’t all day, but a couple hours was all I needed!

Tomorrow is my interview, so today marks the last day of the bubble of what you think a job will be before you interview and you meet the people and see the place and the bubble bursts. In my bubble I like the people and they like me, and when I start the job it is challenging but in a good way, and it is the right choice at the right time. We’ll see what reality brings.

For one more day I am off work and still high from the long, wonderful weekend. I suppose to even things out with my fellow sandwich-makers my boss put me on the schedule to work BOTH days next weekend. I’ll barely be out of church before I have to rush over there. I’ve come to hold Sundays sacred – both because they’ve stayed my day off and because we go to church and spend time with family. I didn’t realize the extent to which being scheduled to work the dreaded job this coming Sunday would upset me. I’m wishing more and more for this new job to work out…