Saturday, August 22, 2009

Anything You Can Do I Can Do Pregnant

Well, maybe not ANYTHING. Eating my favorite spicy tuna roll, washed down with a giant icy can of Sapporo is going to have to wait a few more months.

But I'm talking about running. Ahhh yes, my old frenemy--running.

The first time I was pregnant I was a bit of a worrywort. I stopped running about 4 months in, mostly out of discomfort, but partly too out of concern. What was all that sloshing around doing to my little alien baby?

With the Deuce, I've already run in two races, and am signed up for at least two more this Fall. Just 5k's, but they keep me motivated to get my weekly runs logged in. I am DETERMINED to run right to the Turkey Trot, and possibly beyond. That will put the Deuce at about 7 months gestation, and I think we can do it.

What other people think is an entirely different bag. My belly is getting significantly bigger. I'm actually thrilled about this, as we're passed the, "Boy, MB should really lay off the chips and dip" stage to "Oh, I guess she's just pregnant again" stage. We're not quite at the, as Christopher so lovingly dubbed it, "Preggo-mundo" stage.

As I was huffing and puffing my way down Delaware this morning, I noticed I was getting some out and out stares from people driving by. Now, I know it's a real sexy look, sweaty tomato face and all, but I can't help but wonder if they're judging me.

Duh, of course they're judging me! They're human, we are all guilty of that (yes, even you). I have read a LOT about running while pregnant. I've spent time lurking on pregnant-runner forums and have consulted with my doctor. Everything I do is perfectly safe, and since I've been working out for more than half my life, I am pretty aware of what's happening with my body. When it hurts, we're done.

I see the looks on the old lady faces, the disapproving glances and open-mouthed stares. Oh well. I'm no Olympian, but I feel like if I keep running, and doing and going, it helps other women and my own kids see what our bodies can do. As much time as I have spent agonizing over my body and its shape, I'm pretty happy it can do lots of wonderful things.

Like hauling around my huge self, with one along for the ride.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Mrs. Of Sisyphus

Albert Camus should write a novel about me.

Not that I pissed off Zeus, or think that the only solution to an absurd life is suicide or anything, but this housework gig is really making me channel "Groundhog Day."

Keeping a house clean is an act of absurdity in and of itself. I have long since come to grips with the self-filling laundry basket and dishwasher. I remember long ago thinking the only way my laundry would ever be truly "done" is if I spent the majority of my life naked.

No one wants that, believe me.

But having recently moved into a house that is largely decorated in tones of white, off-white, ercu and cream, I am learning just how much cleaning is required of me. Specifically the floors, countertops and walls. Somedays I wonder if it's really worth it to even haul out the vacuum at all.

I fall pretty squarely between slob and neat-freak. I like a nice vacuumed rug, a clean, germ-free countertop, and floors free from piles of dirty clothing/toys/dog hair. I do not, however, get down and scrub the baseboards with a toothbrush or even regularly rid the ceilings of cobwebs. Sorry if you're grossed out, but it's not worth it to me.

But once I opened the door to a cleaner, hairless world, there was no turning back. We moved in and I vowed to scrub, dust, and disinfect every last square inch of this place. Har, har har.

Every time I thought the (white vinyl) kitchen floor was clean, I'd turn around and . . . "Where the hell did that paw print come from!?" Or I'd vacuum the (off-white) carpet within an inch of its life and . . . "Goddamnit there's another hair ball." Ugh, forget it. I see fingerprints on my cupboards in my sleep, and I have long since ceded the windows to hand and noseprints forever.

Ultimately, who cares, right? I know I shouldn't. As long as the house is clean for company, and I clean enough to keep us from turning into a House of Squalor, that's good enough. But sometimes that damn pawprint makes me feel like the crappiest housekeeper--which spirals into mother--in the world.

But then I think to myself, "Even if I clean it up, it will be back again." So sometimes, I just leave it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Finding the Funny

They say if you don't laugh you'll cry. Well, by "they" I mean "me," and I say it about a hundred times a day.

I love love love love LOVE being a stay-at-home-mom. I really do. But there are days, like at any job, where I want to jump off the roof because I have no idea what to do. So on those days, as well as every other day, I like to find something to make me laugh. I usually don't have to look too far.

Yesterday, little E decided to use the insert of my Bundt pan for a megaphone. He walked all around the first floor yelling into the Bundt pan, making both himself and me laugh for a good few minutes.

The other day I was in the basement and C was watching TV. Little E was--uh oh--quiet for a few minutes in the living room. C calls to me :"MB, did you put him there?"

Oh shit, where?

I run into the living room only to find E balanced INSIDE the drawer of the coffee table, sitting cross-legged and chillin. How he got in there, up there, and didn't break the table, I'll never know. Of course I didn't have my camera.

This morning, before I decided to move all the boxes of unframed and unhung pictures from the 3rd bedroom, little E proudly brought me a matted black-and-white photo, given to us by our former neighbor. He then proceeded to throw it on the floor and dance around on it like he was on a street corner in Harlem in the '80s. "Breakin III" if you will.

Out of all these ridiculous happenings I am growing my patience. Some things are funnier than others, some things really make me want to beat my head against the wall. But I know when he's older, and would rather die than act silly in front of me, I'll remember the funny.

And who knows? Maybe he'll be "that" kid--the one always cracking everybody up. I kinda hope so.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tiny Toddling Tower of Terror

Oh. My. God.

Naptime at last, and not a minute too soon. Sure, I'm punishing my future self by putting little E down for an early one. But present-me needs a breather.

It's 8 thousand degrees out, no AC on the first floor, and my little toddler won't/can't/doesn't sit still, ever. And while it's fun to watch his antics, chasing him up and down stairs, redirecting him off the bay windowsills and bookshelves, and gently reminding him that tails are not for pulling has worn thin for the morning.

Too bad we're already on nap #2, and it's only 12:15. Holy shit.

It's times like these I wonder if I'll ever regain my sanity. I knew all I was getting into when we had a baby. The infant thing--constant nursing, lack of sleep, crying (his and mine), worry and wonder and diapers galore--I had that down pat. No one ever told me about what happens next. How this helpless little creature you lovingly held and cooed at will turn into a screaming, climbing, running, screaming, digging, scooting, exploring, screaming little guy.

Did I mention that he screams?

I wonder daily if this is "normal" toddler behavior. I can't exactly call the pediatrician and discuss the 9 million ways my little guy has gotten into, onto and under the furniture and drawers. Everyone says, "oh yes, this is what they do."


And then, whenever I ask a question, I get the invariable, "Just wait! Just wait until you have two!!!" Um, yes, we're waiting, and it's filling me with dread.

Because we soon WILL have two, and every night I go to bed wondering, "what the hell is coming next?"

I can only hope my anticipation of the Deuce's arrival is making me more anxious than I really need to be. But I can't help but worry I won't be able to do it.

Anyway, it's naptime, and probably won't be for long. It's too hot to eat or think or even breathe, but I am going to chill and try to cut the worrying for now.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

But we're friends!

In this age of creating and re-creating personal connections through social networking sites like Facebook, it's hard to imagine how so many of our "friends" have slipped through the cracks in our lives.

When I first jumped on the Facebook bandwagon, I spent hours looking through old friends' walls, pictures and posts. How could I have lost touch with so many of these interesting, funny and successful people? And even more baffling, how the heck do I even KNOW so many people? All my high school and college friends and acquaintances are scattered throughout the country, even the world. There were times in my life when many of these long-lost friends were as indispensible to my well being as food and water. How could I have gone so long without any contact whatsoever?

As with any novelty, the allure of Facebook began to wane. Those inital days of getting friend request after friend request had me in a frenzy not unlike the first days at a new school, but eventually the requests dwindled. The same friends posted the same things with relative frequency, and the number of people I wanted to "friend" or be "friended" by grew stagnant. I began to grow--GASP--bored with my new little pet. And Facebook was starting to make me feel inadequate. Why didn't I go to an Ivy League school? Why do I have crazy pictures of my friends at girls' night out on my wall? Why don't I live in Guatemala? Why don't I have my own internet business and five kids and my Ph.D. and a book on the bestseller list? What must all my "friends" think of my life as a teacher, living in Buffalo, being a stay-at-home mom?

But then I started to see the frayed edges on the designer dress that is Facebook. "Friends" of mine posted opinions diametrically opposed to my political views. This was especially true around inauguration time. Another "friend" or two posted opinions about children and motherhood which dissed my choice of lifestyle. Yet another "friend" posted conservative vitriol about a recent tragedy involving a murdered doctor. How in the world are these people my "friends?!"

I guess it all boils down to this: everyone comes and goes into and out of our lives for reasons we may or may not know. The choices we make on the paths of our lives--good or bad--deliver us to where we sit today. Personally, I have made my peace with my life, and I realize I have a pretty damn good one.

No, I don't get the invite to the Harvard Alum summer barbeque, nor do I have Peace Corps experience or wild nights out or any of that jazz a lot of my "friends" do. But I do take comfort in knowing all these people are out there in the world, somewhere, and at some point--now, or someday down the road--we can remember why we're connected. We may not always agree, we might not go to the same parties or stand on the same side of the picket line or vote for the same candidates, but there's a thread of humanness that connects us more deeply than our beliefs and opinions. And I guess that's the point of it all.

Monday, May 25, 2009


When I get to the weekend while I don't have a job, does it still count as a weekend? The old philisophical debate rages on.

Little E doesn't know it's a weekend. He certainly doesn't have a job--besides being an awesome kid--so why would he choose to sleep in? Christopher is home, which helps out, but life still rockets on, Monday or Saturday the same.

This morning we had a luxurious walk down to Elmwood, ate breakfast at Pano's (a spinach-artichoke-pesto-cheese omelette for me, cheese omelette with bacon for C, toast for E), got coffee at Cafe Aroma, and window shopped along the way. Heaven.

I'm not going to say every weekend morning is this idyllic, but when it happens, it's wonderful. To me this is why we're all here: to find pleasure and joy in the little bits.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's On Like Donkey Kong

An epic battle is brewing against my will. I want absolutely no part of it, but I am embroiled in a bitter conflict that appears to have no end.

Our new neighbors drew first blood, and now, it's on.

When we bought our new house--which, by the by, we adore--we needed to install a gate across the driveway. Where we wanted to place it happened to be a few inches on our neighbor's property. Christopher contacted them and the woman, a young mom of four kids, told him it would be fine. Fast forward a few weeks, past the down payment of the gate and two days before the scheduled install, and our neighbor abruptly tells us no. What inspired this 180 degree turn we have no idea, but among the reasons they gave us, and the fence company, were:

a. our property value will be decreased.
b. our drain tile and foundation will be ruined.
c. our neighbor didn't let us do it on the other side, so there's no way in hell we're letting them.
d. (my personal favorite) my wife said yes, but I'm the man of the house, and I say no.

No kidding.

Now, we were upset, of course, but after careful reflection, we realized they have every right to tell us no. That's not really our issue--if they'd initally told us no, and not given us every excuse, hemmed and hawed, none of this would be a problem.

So, fine, we put the gate farther down the driveway. Yes, it will be a pain in the neck during the winter when Cosmo has to go outside, but whatever. We now know the type of person we're dealing with, and that's that. Let's move on, right?


Monday afternoon I looked out the window to see a painter's van in their driveway. The neighbors are having their house painted and, oh boy, the painters need to get into our driveway to scrape and paint the house. One painter rang the doorbell and told me to move my car, out of MY driveway, as it was in their way.

Did I mention the neightbors never even told us that there were painters coming, and would we mind letting them use our driveway?

Now, normally I'm a very agreeable person. If I can help someone out, I almost always go out of my way to do so. But darling neighbor, the MAN of the house, couldn't even condescend to come ask us permission. Christopher spoke with one of the painters and explained that all we needed was to be asked by the MAN of the house.

That was four days ago. His wife called--I like to think of it as doing his dirty work-- and Christopher calmly explained that he would like the MAN to ask him. Not so.

This puts us in the unique and awkward position of being childish. I would love nothing more than for Christopher to go over there and talk to this guy, man to man. However this guy appears to be a bit of a bully, and Christopher does not want to lose him temper. I can't say I blame him.

I hate this. I just want them to paint the damn house. But since we've moved in, the guy next door has never even looked in my direction, let alone even said hello. I've waved and smiled to the wife, and she doesn't return my neighborly good will. We live twenty feet from each other, we occupy the same breathing space.

I have no idea what we did to piss them off from the start, but goddamn it if they're big enough to even talk to us about it. So, this is how it will be for now.

The last thought I have to get off my chest is this: a true man confronts problems head on, rather than having everyone else do his dirty work and hiding inside his house.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Non-stop fun for everyone!

Yesterday afternoon I was really feeling like I had everything under control. Then I went out to buy milk.

I was having an easy kind of day despite the intense, screaming pain in my legs and hips. As many of you know, I ran the Cleveland Marathon on Sunday. Monday was a rough one, physically and mentally, but as the day progressed, things were improving. After baby boy's morning nap we made a productive trip to the pet store and Wegmans, then returned home for lunch and--miracle of all miracles--a THREE AND A HALF HOUR afternoon nap for little E.

Sounds pretty tame, yes?

Like I said, then we went out for milk.

We returned from Dash's just before six o'clock and Cosmo, our big, goofy Labradoodle, wasn't overjoyed to see us. Turns out Cosmo decided to help himself to a container of strawberries and a box of ant traps. Not only was our freshly-cleaned white carpet covered in pink splotches, there were four out of eight ant baits punctured and strewn about the floor.

Holy crap on so many levels.

Long story short, Cosmo's fine, the carpet is cleaned, and my marriage is intact. All three of those outcomes were in jeopardy for the few hours that followed my return from getting the freaking milk.

Did anyone else know that ant traps are filled with--get this--PEANUT BUTTER?! Like my dog can resist that. Needless to say, I won't be leaving anything out on the counter again, poisonous or not.

Ahh, the lessons we learn . . .

Monday, May 18, 2009

Begin the Begin

So here's the deal: I've been on maternity leave for over a year now, with no ending in sight. While I've loved nearly every minute of it, I feel like my brain is slowly turning into mushy Cheerio bits. I've got to start exercising this gray matter before it's completely gone, so here we are.

Over the past year I've developed so many new skills--not the least of which is signing a credit card receipt with one hard (try it--it's hard!). I've also had to readjust my schedule to do adult- only chores--like folding, washing and drying laundry, washing dishes, vacuuming, and, yes, procrastinating on the computer--to fit within the timeframe of my baby's naptime. Hence the name of this blog.

Come along on this crazy ride with me--some things you might find interesting, annoying, boring, exciting, weird, or deem me mildy psychotic and/or neurotic. But it's me, it's us, and it's just the beginning.