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!