Sunday, July 31, 2005

Well hey, what can I say? Not EVERY post is funny.

I woke up happy this morning.

I had one of those dreams in which my mom was still alive, and we weren't doing anything special--just shopping, just hanging out together--but she was alive and healthy and still just very much a part of my every day life. I love those dreams. That's all I ask for when I go to bed at night: That I can spend some small portion of the night believing she's still here and we're still together, just hanging out.

That happens almost every night, actually. I don't always remember my dreams when I first wake up; sometimes I have to sit for a moment and think in order to remember what they were about. So every morning I do that; I take a moment to take inventory of my dreams, checking to see if she was there. Usually the answer is yes, so I get to spend a few minutes thinking about that dream, and I get this happy feeling, just remembering what it felt like to still have her around. On the mornings when I find there were no dreams about her, I think, "Hey! Where were you?"

So every night before I fall asleep, I think, "I'll see you tonight, Ruby." And I almost always do. It's not the same as having her here, but it's as close as I can get, so I'll take it. It makes me very happy.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Mommy Always Wins

This is the kind of touching photo series that makes young girls want to be mothers. I look at this and I wonder why we aren't models for a Downy commercial or a Gerber baby product. It brings a tear to the eye to see the two of us bonding, so connected, the very picture of mother-son love.

I look at these pictures and think, "The nerve of this kid! Why is HE crying? I'm the one who should cry. Which one of us can be seen carting around a fist full of someone else's dirty diaper several times a day? Which one of us blew up like a prize pumpkin at the state fair because the other was blithely incubating inside us? Which one of us rudely tore our way out of the other's body through a tiny doorway filled with nerve endings, our great big fat head leading the way? Which one of us spends a big chunk of our day napping and eating while the other spends a big chunk of our day working out and starving ourselves because the other turned our body into a science experiment?"

When I bring these points up to Jake, it cheers him right up. He begins to laugh like a hyena, point at me and call me a sucker. So maybe he's won this round, but I'm still plotting his payback. I'm going to send him off to his first day of school every year of grade school with a mullet, powder blue bell bottoms, and a My Little Pony lunch box. Then we'll see who's laughing.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Lessons I've Learned, Part 3

Don't lose track of your wooden leg

Okay, some of you are going to call bullshit on this one. But I swear to God it's true.

Many moons ago when I lived in Hicktown, USA, we had to travel to nearby college towns if we wanted to go to any decent bars. Not that there weren't bars in my hometown--in fact, just the opposite. In small yeehaw towns, alcoholism is often the main industry. For instance:
--We had a liquor store with a drive-through window, for the alcoholic on the go.
--You could buy a fifth of of whiskey at the bar to take home with you, in case a trip to the liquor store was out of your way.
--At closing time at the bar, you could get a rum and coke in a big to-go know, for the drive home.
So certainly, we had bars--but these were the kind of bars where the patrons were in their 50s and up, with names like Bubba and Marvella, the kind of patrons who brought in their own koozie cups with them to house the cans of Milwaukee's Best and Pabst Blue Ribbon they were about to consume. For entertainment, you could choose from the catalogue of decade-old country music on the juke box.

But naturally, we were looking for bars with some live music, a younger crowd, and a little excitement. One bar we sometimes went to was The Paradise Club, an hour away in Warrensburg, MO. On this particular night, the drink specials were thus: 50 cent draws, $1 wells. My friend Travis was with us that night; he took $50 bucks into the bar with him, and spent it all before we left.

Travis had a wooden leg, although to look at him, you wouldn't know it. He had a good prosthetic, and only walked with a slight limp. The walking got harder as he got drunker, though, and he would fall down now and then. He also liked to dance, and if he was very drunk and you were dancing with him, you had to somehow incorporate repeatedly picking him up off the floor into your regular dance moves. He was incredibly good-natured about all this, and as long as you were too, you could dance all night. He was always quick with a wooden leg joke, and if he were wearing shorts, he'd stub out his cigarette on his ankle, amid the gasps of anyone who happened to notice it. He often wore a shoe only on his real foot, leaving the fake one bare; once, at a bonfire, he pretended to be drunker than he was, and kept "accidentally" stumbling into the fire, to see who would gasp in horror as they saw him standing there with his foot in the flames.

The Paradise Club is located up a steep flight of stairs, and some other crappy bar is below it. A group of us went to the Paradise and spent several hours there, during which Travis, as mentioned, emptied his pockets getting drunk. (Yeah, I know--he drank like he had a hollow leg. You've been dying to say it.) When it was time to leave, Travis led the way. He ambled over to the stairs...and then just kept walking, eyes front, taking no note of the sudden change in elevation that the first step presented. I remember the scene unfolding as if in slow-motion: He was looking dead ahead, not downward like a person about to negotiate stairs would. Clearly, he did not remember the stairs were there. He proceeded to tumble down them, loudly, as the crowd leapt out of his flight path. On his way down, you guessed it (or did you?)--he lost his wooden leg. He landed in a heap, right next to the bouncer. Meanwhile, he rest of us who were with Travis were still poised at the top of the stairs, surveying the carnage below. A cluster of shocked people stared at Travis and his now- empty pants leg--his wooden leg had skittered across the floor and come to rest a couple feet away. The onlookers stood frozen, silent. Remember, these people were likely already drunk--it's got to be unsettling to see a guy topple down a flight of steps, period, much less lose an appendage on the way. I've always wondered if some of them thought the fall had been so bad that it had ripped a perfectly healthy leg off this man's formerly intact body. From the horrified looks on their faces, this might well have been what was going through their minds. Travis, on the other hand, looked unphased. This was not the first time he had fallen down, nor the first time he'd had to take inventory of his legs before he could get back up. He immediately set about the task of pulling himself into a sitting position, leaning his back against the wall, and scanning the immediate area for the wayward leg. Spotting it, he asked the girl nearest it, in a tone of voice which suggested he thought this was a reasonable question, "Hey, can you hand me that leg?" The girl just stared at him, speechless. Travis looked around at the gawkers, and back at the girl, and asked, "What's the matter? Haven't you people seen a wooden leg before?" Finally someone recovered and passed him the leg, which he deftly snapped back on, and we were on our way out.

The lesson? When you're leaving the Paradise Club in Warrensburg, Missouri, hang on to your wooden leg.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Ryan Franklin, Mind Reader

Some of you have noticed the new layout of the site. Yes, I know, it's fabulous, and makes me look very creative and talented.

Turns out I'm neither--I couldn't have designed anything like this if my life depended on it. I have Ryan Franklin to thank for it--someone who is creative and talented, and also makes an excellent margarita. Okay, I've never tasted one of his margaritas, and don't even know if he drinks, but I'm just assuming that anyone who lives in Phoenix, Arizona has to occasionally down a margarita or ten to keep from drying out like an empty snake skin.

Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks again to Ryan--to whom I gave almost no guidance, by the way. He has some creepy mind-reading talent that allowed him to figure out what I wanted without me having to sober up long enough to actually articulate it to him. It's nice that he uses his supernatural mind-reading skills for good rather than evil, because I'm pretty sure that if I could read minds, I'd be up to some illegal and immoral stuff.

Anyway, check out the other sites Ryan has designed here.
Or just go read his words of wisdom here.
Just be careful not to think any bad thoughts about him, because like I said, he can read minds, and he will know.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Lessons I've Learned, Part 2

Never Sit On A Bleeding Man's Shoulders

I'm from a hick town in Missouri, where you have to be creative when it comes to finding something to do on a weekend. Unfortunately, none of us were very creative. Mostly we sat on gravel roads and drank beer. Occasionally we snuck into the swimming pool in the middle of the night for a dip, and once we stole some fire extinguishers and sprayed them, from the back of a pickup truck, on the cars parked on main street in a neighboring town. Once we put a stolen picnic table in the back of my El Camino and had someone drive us around while we sat at the picnic table and played quarters. That's some redneck entertainment for you. But mostly there was just a lot of driving up and down the street looking for someone interesting to stop and talk to. Very boring stuff. So going to concerts in Kansas City was big excitement, and we went every chance we got.

Going to concerts was a big ordeal, because we had to come up with the cash, buy tickets for everyone who wanted to go, drive a couple hours to get there, then presumably get loaded, watch the show, and weave back home without getting arrested. I've seen a lot of bands, but couldn't honestly tell you if most of them were any good or not, because the goal seemed to be more along the lines of getting supremely wasted rather than seeing and appreciating the band. I've diligently kept all my concert ticket stubs, not so much because I'm sentimental, but because otherwise I'd have no idea what bands I've seen.

On one particular occasion, we went to a Monsters of Rock concert. There were 4 or 5 of us in the car, and I was the only girl. The guys were drinking beer, naturally, but had brought along a bottle of Everclear for the sole purpose of taking a shot, then holding their breath until they passed out--they would do this from a standing position, to see if they fell backwards, Nestea Plunge-style, when they passed out. What's that? You say you've never thought of doing anything so stupid? Then you must not be from a redneck town in Missouri. This is the kind of creative thinking that small-town life inspires. Yes, it turns out, you will pass out if you take a shot of pure grain alcohol and then hold your breath long enough. And yes, naturally you will smack your skull on the ground while you're out. You're only out for a second or two, but at least your retarded mission will have been accomplished.

Because this activity calls for the goofball participant to be standing, this was not something that could be accomplished in the car on the way to the show (the way all normal drinking and driving should be done). So every so often, we'd stop somewhere, one or more of the guys would take a shot and smack their skulls on the ground, and we'd continue on. Very normal, very healthy behavior.

We arrived at the concert in the middle of the day. Several bands were to play, so this event, held in an outdoor arena, would last all day and evening. The floor area in front of the stage did not have seating, but was instead a big open area for the crowd to gather and stand, while people who wanted to sit could do so further back. We stood in front of the stage, pretty close, in the tightly-knotted crowd. They guys I was with were all tall, and I'm 5 foot 6. I couldn't see as well as them, and for some period of time I sat on the shoulders of my boyfriend, who was 6-foot-4-inches tall and weighed 190 lbs, perfect for a girl to perch atop and see the show. It was not an easy seat to relax in, however, since he was, shall we say, moved by the music, and continued to jump around to the beat pretty much the same as he would have had he not had a person sitting on his shoulders. Eventually I had enough of the bucking bronco action and got down.

I'm probably kind of self-absorbed, and don't tend to look around much, so it took me awhile to notice that people were staring at me. It was the horrified, gape-mouthed looks that caught my attention. On my way to the bathroom, one girl put her hand on my arm and asked me if I was okay. I gave her a puzzled look, and then suddenly began to take in the stares of lots of other people around us. They were all focused on my crotch area--which to my horror, I realized was covered in blood. Seriously, it looked like I had just given birth. In such a situation, it's natural to take personal inventory: Had I inadvertently stabbed myself? Had I been stabbed by someone else, and been too drunk to feel it? Is that even possible? Had I, indeed, given birth? Had I, earlier in the day, spontaneously given a big bear-hug to someone that, now that I thought back on it, was actually soaked in blood from head to toe? And the unthinkable: Had my monthly rendezvous with "Uncle Freddy" (yes, that's what we called it back then) arrived unexpectedly?
I don't think so--
and thank God, no.
I surmised pretty quickly that my boyfriend must have cut himself upon plummeting backwards to the ground at the last Everclear stop, which had been a gravel road. Sure enough, when I inspected the still-jumping-and-thrashing boyfriend, I found that the back of his neck and head were bloody, and that he had a nice gash on the back of his drunken skull. By then, the bleeding had stopped, though, so he just took his bloody shirt off and threw it away, and looked more or less normal. I, however, did not have a fresh set of clothes to wear, so it was my misfortune to have several hours ahead of me, baking in the hot sun with my dried-blood ensemble. Drunk.

The lesson: Well, it started out to be "Don't sit on the shoulders of a bleeding man," but maybe it should be "Don't socialize with crackpots who look for ways to injure themselves." Or at the very least, "Bring a change of clothes with you when you're socializing with crackpots."

Friday, July 22, 2005

Geek In Training

Uh-oh. I leave my husband alone with the baby for five minutes, and he turns him into Mini Geek. What's next, a Playskool laptop? A Fischer Price Palm Pilot? Soon Jake will be writing his letters to Santa on his own blog.

I wonder what song he's listening to on the iPod. Pop Goes The Weasel, probably.

Little geek.

To the person who found this site by searching for "Transsexual Kleptomaniacs Wearing Scuba Gear"

Where do you people come up with this stuff??! And how did you find my site?

Oh, I'm just kidding this time.

Ha. You guys are a bunch of suckers.

But really, it wouldn't surprise me. I bet there's someone out there Googling that phrase as we speak. And now they really are going to end up on my site because of it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

To the person who found this site by searching for "Hospital humiliation bib diaper"

Alright pal, I don't know what kind of sick fantasies you're into, but I'll have no part of it. There are plenty of websites out there for pervs and sickos; there's no need for you to bring your creepiness here. Although I do congratulate you on spelling "humiliation" right--I tend to think very twisted people are also bad spellers. Why is that?

And if you're not a sicko, and have instead found yourself hospitalized recently for some minor thing like hernia surgery or appendix removal, and vaguely remember half-waking at some point from an anesthesia haze to discover that a wacko doctor had dressed you in a bib and diaper and was filming some kind of seedy hospital porno film with you as the unwitting star, then I apologize for thinking you were a creep. Please call the police immediately. Although I warn you, these kinds of accusations are very hard to prove; I know when it happened to me it was my word against the doctor, who was very well-respected in that small town. Even when the investigating officers found the hidden stash of adult diapers and video tapes in the back of the doctor's office closet, they still chose to believe they were there for some higher purpose than filming patients in humiliating scenarios and selling the tapes on the black market. Please, if any of you out there have purchased one of these tapes, I could really use you as a witness should my case ever be reopened.

Monday, July 18, 2005

My kid fits in things.

I know he fits in the dryer.

I know he fits in a camera bag.

I know he fits in a wooden trunk.

I know he fits in a drawer.

I know these things because I have experimented, as you can see by my photographic proof. Now, taking these pictures was not easy. I had to sneak around my husband, who seemed to believe I was killing our son by putting him in these harmless locations. The dryer shot was particularly distressing to him. I defy any would-be photographer to get a good photo of anything with someone standing behind them whining, "Stop! What are you doing? Are you insane! You'll hurt him!" Does Jake look hurt in that picture? He's even wearing his "I Love Mommy" outfit, not his "I'm afraid of Mommy because she puts me in strange places and photographs me" outfit. When I finally managed to get that picture taken, the next logical step seemed to be photographing him inside the washer, but Brian snatched him and whisked him away before I could even finish suggesting the idea.

Sadly, I'm afraid it's the end of an era. Jake is getting bigger, and there just aren't many cool places left in our house to cram him into. I suggested the fireplace, but Brian's head began to spin. So these four photos are all I'll have to remember that lovely time when my son was small enough to fit into things, and defenseless enough to allow it.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Lessons I've Learned, Part 1

Lesson: It's a bad idea to sleep in a ditch.

I know what you're thinking. "What on earth prompted you to sleep in a ditch?" Let's not delve into the petty details. Suffice it to say that for one thing, there was booze involved, lots of it, and that secondly, there's not much napping room in a Volkswagen van with 7 people passed out inside. Besides that, my friend Mary had previously found herself on the floor of said van for a period of time, and the mysterious yellow, cakey stains had never completely come out of her shirt.

It was not my idea to go to sleep, by the way. But the driver (if what he had been doing could be called "driving") simply pulled over and announced he was too tired to continue, and I was thinking the exact same thing everyone else in the van was thinking--"No way in hell am I going to get a DUI driving this stupid van." The situation called for some quick thinking, and my brainstorming session concluded with me sacked out in the tall grass of the roadside ditch. As you might assume, it turned out to be a very bad idea--but not for the reasons you might think. You might be thinking you'd never even consider sleeping in a ditch because you might get rained on, or because a car might careen off the highway and plow into you, or even because a prison escapee might happen along and rape and rob you, then dismember your body and mail the various parts off to ex-girlfriends and/or local politicians. All valid concerns for the safety-conscious. But no, none of those are the reasons I am now an aggressive proponent of non-ditch napping. It's all about the chiggers.

Every once in awhile I run across someone who doesn't know what a chigger is. ("Humpf," I think to myself. "Smug little hoity-toity prick is clearly too good to sleep in a ditch, I see.") If you're unfamiliar, it's a little insect that a person might think has bitten them--people often say they "got bitten by chiggers" after spending the day at a picnic or some other grassy festivity. Turns out that's the fantasy explanation for what's happened to them. Here's what I found on one website about chiggers:

What a Chigger Is
Chiggers are tiny (most can only be seen with a magnifying glass) and red, and they are a type of mite. Mites aren't insects - they are arachnids and part of the same family as spiders, scorpions, and ticks. Chiggers are found all over the place, including in grassy fields, along lakes and streams, and in forests. There are adult chiggers and baby chiggers (called larvae), but only the baby chiggers bother people and animals.

Chiggers have tiny claws that allow them to attach tightly onto people and animals. Once attached, they are able to pierce the skin and inject their saliva, which contains digestive juices that liquefy skin cells. The chigger then slurps up the liquefied skin cells. To the chigger, this is a tasty meal! Having a chigger do this is very irritating to your skin. After a few days, the chigger will be done feeding and fall off a person's skin, leaving behind a red welt where it had once been.

GAK! This sounds like something out of a bad B movie! More horrifying than the thought of one teensy little chigger doing this to you is what happened in my case--hundreds of these monsters feasted on me. I was covered, head to foot, with red welts. The ensuing itchiness went on for a week or two. Incredibly demoralizing and irritating--and as it turns out, being covered in little red welts is not hot, even when you're young and can afford a blemish or two. Also not hot: Constant, frantic scratching, accomplished while wearing a look of blind desperation.

So let's review: Driving across the highways of Missouri in a Volkswagen van with 7 drunks and no less than 6 cases of Milwaukee's Best Light, 3 bottles of booze and a beer bong (for the booze, not the beer, stupid), is perfectly fine. Reaching a point in such an evening when you have a yen for a little nap is also perfectly fine. In fact, clearly, in such a situation it might be fair to assume that just about anything goes--but beware the parasite-filled ditch that looks so deceptively inviting. Sleep on the top, or at least near the top, of the pile of idiots passed out hither and yon throughout the van. But not, not, NOT in the ditch.

Thank you.

(Oh, and thanks to Undercover Celebrity for reminding me to mention that this didn't just happen yesterday. It was years ago, before I outgrew my "riding around in cars stuffed with drunk people" phase.)

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The sitcom in my bedroom

My husband babbles like a loon in his sleep. This is one of the first things that endeared me to him, and is something I still find incredibly adorable. Sometimes, however, it makes me want to karate chop him in the abdomen. It's always cute when he's asleep on the couch and I'm watching TV on the other couch, or doing dishes in the kitchen. It's never cute when it jolts me out of a lovely, peaceful sleep. And then when I wake him up and ask him to shut his yap, and I just barely get settled into a second, peaceful sleep, and he starts yammering away again, it's even less cute.

Here are couple of examples of the cuteness:

One night when Jake was about a month old, it was midnight and Brian was asleep in the bedroom, while I was on the couch feeding the baby. I heard him calling out, across the house, "Hello! HEL-LO!!?” kind of indignantly. I knew he was just babbling in his sleep, because Brian is not the kind of guy to just lay there and beckon someone to him; he'd get up and come find me if he wanted something. So I ignored it for a bit, assuming he'd stop on his own, but it kept going, and finally I wondered if he really did want something. So I called out and asked him what he needed. Then, of course, he kind of woke up and realized he was talking in his sleep and mumbled, "Oh, uh...nothing. Sorry." This one makes me laugh because it's just funny to imagine him lying there in bed, shouting "Hel-LO!" like he's been waiting for a table in a restaurant for hours and just keeps getting ignored.

One Saturday afternoon he fell asleep on the couch. I was standing nearby folding some baby clothes, and he suddenly woke up panicked, asking, "Where'd my baby go?"” and pointing to the empty spot on the couch next to him, as if Jake had been laying next to him when he went to sleep (which he hadn't--in fact, Brian is afraid to let the baby nap with him, fearing he'll crush him in his sleep). I told him not to worry, that the baby was safe in his crib, but he kept looking all around, and asked a couple more times, "Where'd my baby go?” with that panicked look, until I was finally able to reassure him that the baby was indeed okay. Very cute.

The best was one night shortly after Jake was born. I was in the kitchen making a bottle for Jake, and I heard Brian in the bedroom, asleep in bed, calling for Karen, one of his coworkers. I made a joke as I tried to pass by on my way to the living room, making some crack about him calling other women's names in his sleep. He heard me and sat up and said, "No, Karla, come here, it's important.” I went in there and sat on the edge of the bed, because it did seem important to him; he appeared to be awake now and concerned about something very serious. I sat down, ready to deal with some weighty issue. He said, "Now, what are the three things we're supposed to do with the baby? We need to feed him, and...” and he trailed off, trying to recall the other two. So then I realized he was indeed still asleep, and I know better than to try to have a rational discussion with him when he's talking in his sleep. I've tried in the past to play along and see where the conversation leads, just for kicks, but he never falls for it; he usually just wakes up when I talk back to him. So I told him to go back to sleep, that I was taking care of the baby and he didn't need to worry. I started to get up--but he wouldn’t let me leave. He said, "No, I'm serious. Just let me think. It's...I'm asleep, I can't say it right. There are three things we're supposed to do with the baby. Feed him and....I can't remember the other two." He was clearly frustrated. I told him to just go back to sleep, and I tried to get up to go back to the living room to tend to the baby, but again he wouldn't let me. He grabbed my arm. "No wait! I can't explain it! It's in my head, but...” and this went on and on, with me impatient to get out to the living room with the bottle in my hand and feed Jake so I could go to bed. I was tired, and he wouldn't let me leave. Finally I started laughing and couldn't stop, it was just so silly. I was being held captive by this babbling sleep-talker, while I was trying to leave and take care of our kid. Eventually he started laughing along with me, but wouldn't give up on the idea that there were two more things we had to remember to do with the baby besides feed him. I tried to humor him and come up with two more things just to pacify him, so I said, "Yeah, I remember now--we have to bathe him and hug him, those are the other two things,” but he acted like that was ridiculous, and I was making a mockery of this very serious matter. Finally, still laughing, I just had to get up and leave, telling him I wanted to go to bed. As I was standing in the doorway, closing the door behind me, he was still struggling. "It's something to do with the phone...." I just closed the door and left him to sort it out.

And here's an example of the not-so-cute:

Once a couple years back, I was dead asleep in the middle of the night when, out of the blue, Brian jumped up and started pawing at my face and yelling. Naturally, I just about leapt out of my skin. I had been dead asleep and this jackass just assaulted me. Turns out that in his dream, there was a spider on the bed, and it had crawled on my face. I wanted to kill him. He had scared the living crap out of me, and my heart was pounding so hard I was wide awake. Naturally, Rip Van Winkle was back asleep again in 2.2 seconds, while I lay there, fuming.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

An apology to the owner of the racoon with long toenails

I'd like to apologize to the person who stumbled upon my website by doing a Google search for "clipping racoon toenails." I wish I had some info here that would help you, but instead, you merely found my flippant remark about trimming my baby's fingernails. You turned to Google, and then turned to me, for help, and yet there you are, still taking it one day at a time with your long-toenailed racoon, who is probably even now clawing your patio furniture or one of your neighbor's children. I wish I could be there for you in the way that you had hoped I would. But I promise you this: If some good, solid information about racoon manicures ever does fall in my lap, I will post it here on this blog, without a moment's hesitation. In the meantime, stay strong. Wear several layers of clothing. Don't make any sudden moves. Stay away from the trash cans late at night. And stay tuned to this blog for further information.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Baby Manicure: A Prelude to a Bloodbath

The amazingly fast rate that babies' nails grow is in direct proportion to how difficult it is to clip them. Yet you have to clip them, or the little bugger will claw his face off in the night, and you'll wake to find what looks like a crime scene in his crib. And the next time you bundle him up and take him to Babies R Us for a diaper run, people will take one look at his pitiful, mangled face and report you to Child Protective Services, and perhaps beat you with their purses as well.

Yet it's next to impossible to manage this task. Imagine trying to clip the nails of a raccoon found in the wild. The baby's arms pinwheel like he's trying to take flight, while you duck and weave with your microscopic baby fingernail clippers, hoping to accidentally connect with a fingernail. And baby nail clippers are incredibly dull, probably because the manufacturers of them understand that you will inevitably clip more finger than nail, and they want to minimize the potential for crippling handicaps. However, the result is that if you do beat the odds and grab a fingernail between those tiny, tiny nailclipper "blades," you will now basically have to use the "blades" to merely clamp onto that nail while you tear it off. In other words, you're really not clipping at all, but wrenching the nail off. Try doing that 10 times in a row, once for each finger. You will burn more calories at this task than in a step aerobic class. Once you manage to clip all ten nails, you will feel a sense of exhausted accomplishment akin to what an Olympic swimmer must feel after a successful match. And yet, 2 days later, your jaw will drop open when you discover that all 10 of those nails have magically returned to the exact length they were before you had your face-off with them--perhaps even a tad longer. You will only notice because your baby has a fresh, bloody groove in his cheek that wasn't there yesterday.

The first time I clipped Jake's toenails, I sliced off a bit of skin. That's a testament to how delicate a baby's skin is, because I managed to cut him with what I've already pointed out is the dullest instrument possible. I gasped, felt horrible, and braced myself for the indignant cry that was surely to come. Interestingly, Jake didn't notice he'd been cut, and didn't even flinch. More interestingly, though, is how comically long it took for the bleeding to stop. The kid bled so long I thought I was in a Saturday Night Live skit. He continued to snooze throughout the gore-fest, while I kept applying pressure and filling up Kleenexes. No one told me that babies' blood apparently doesn't clot. I'll have to keep this in mind next time I'm juggling knives near his playmat.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Dear Jackass:

Dear Homeless Guy Who Loiters Around My Workplace: Stop giving homeless people a bad name. I know it's hot outside, and I wouldn't mind letting you hang out in our air conditioning all day if you would just have the decency to stop doing unspeakable things to our men's bathroom. I already have to deal with the toilet-seat-peeing women (who often have perfectly nice homes) marking territory in our ladies' room, but at least they, unlike you, manage to keep their bowel movements under fairly strict control. Most of the time.

Dear Driver Who Careens Heedlessly In And Out Of Lanes On The Freeway: Now is not the time to eat your breakfast, or apply your makeup, or clip your toenails, or whatever it is that you do that so distracts you from the task of steering your car between the two white lines of your chosen lane. No, you are not restricted to any one lane; you may drive in this lane or that lane or even that lane over there, but you may not weave in and out of them like a cat on a rollerskate. Perhaps you should either quit drinking early in the morning, or learn to operate a motor vehicle; possibly both.

Dear Teenybopper Who Works The Desk at My Health Club: It's not necessary to look at me like I'm insane when I ask how much it costs to use the kid's club to take care of my child while I work out. I had no idea the service was free, and it's not an unreasonable thing to assume it might cost something. In fact, your company's website specifically says "Rates for the Kid's Club vary from store to store," which certainly implies that a monetary exchange of some kind might be required. And do not, DO NOT, slowly repeat my question with that "I cannot believe anyone would ask something so retarded" tone in your voice; otherwise my head might begin to spin like a propeller and I might have to hop over that desk and eat your face.

Dear Size 6 Jeans: Please fit me.

Dear Weird Guy At My Gym: Please stop trying to chitchat with me. I have enough friends already. In addition, the last thing I want to do while I'm sweating my ass off and huffing away on the elliptical machine is hear about your madcap experiences at the mechanic's shop this morning. If you're so in need of companionship, go get a blog. See how I'm ranting and raving here without holding anyone captive while they're trying to get through their workout?

Dear Family Member Who Shall Remain Nameless: Please stop calling me. You're nuts, and there's no reason I should have to pay for that. Call the Weird Guy at my gym; he's looking for someone to talk to.

Dear Customer at My Workplace: Do not hold up your hand and holler across the room for me to come assist you. This is not the ballpark and I am not a hot dog vendor, and I will not come scampering over there no matter how much arm-waving you do. And trust me, in a battle of wills, I will win: I can ignore you far longer than you can keep up the arm waving and hollering, even if it takes til you fall to the floor from dehydration and muscle fatigue. If you want something, you must do the decent thing and get within 10 feet of me before attempting to attract my attention. Also, do not give a short whistle to get my attention...why? Because I'm not a Labrador Retriever, you idiot.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Dear Reckless Urinator:

This post is not for everyone, it's only for those of you very unique, special ladies who pee on public toilet seats. If you're not one of those individuals, please come back another day for some non-pee-related fun.

Hello, Reckless Urinator. I have been wanting to talk to you for years. I must confess, I am fascinated by you. Don't take that to mean I like you--I don't. Actually, I hate you ferociously. I fantasize about the countless awful things I'd like to do to you, most of them involving humiliation with urine. But I am honestly fascinated by you. What makes you tick? What is it that makes you walk into a public restroom, pee all over the place like a cow, and then walk away? If you haven't seen a cow pee, I'll explain. They just stand there and spray wildly, with an impressive splatter-range, then simply wander off, unmindful of the terrain they've just soaked. That's you. But why?

One would think it's because you're mentally challenged in some way, and just don't know any better--but it happens so often that the number of peed-upon toilets statistically outweighs the number of mentally challenged folks in the world, so that can't be it. One might think that perhaps you do it because you were raised by wolves or homeless lunatics, and haven't been taught any better. But again, this theory is weakened by statistics--there are more yellow toilet seats than wolf-raised women in the world. Perhaps you simply can't control yourself? But I know you can, because I can't imagine you do this to the toilet in your own home. I have been in many bathrooms in many peoples' homes, and have yet to see a urine-soaked seat. Yet for some fascinating, unfathomable reason, you choose not to control yourself in the bathroom of Target or Olive Garden or Texaco. I have to know why.

Is it because you're like a kid at an amusement park, just running wild and shouting "Wheeee!" and getting a kick out of causing mayhem? In other words, are you a festive urinator?

Or is it because you're so bitter about being the only one who cleans the toilet at home, that you get off on violating a toilet that you know someone else will have to clean? In other words, are you a vengeful urinator?

Or are you marking territory, compelled by some primitive need to "claim" this toilet as your own? In other words, are you a possessive urinator?

There has to be some psychological mechanism at work here. My guess is that you secretly hate women. You know that the next person to come along will be a woman, who will have to either clean your disgusting pee in order to use the bathroom, or will accidentally sit in it--secretly, these two scenarios must thrill you. Either that, or you are just an incredibly ignorant, disgusting, filthy cow of a woman who deserves the worst life has to offer you...and I'd prefer not to think that's the case. But I have to know. The most troubling aspect of this, to me, is that I must know some of these women, must have talked with them or shopped with them or had dinner with them, never realizing that I was dealing with a pee-happy psycho. I'd like to think that's not the case, that the kind of people who pee on public fixtures are not the kind of people I'd socialize with in any way--but the appalling truth is that you Reckless Urinators are like serial killers--lurking among us, shopping at our grocery stores and strolling through our parks, and we think you're one of us.

So please, I encourage you, Reckless Urinator, please tell me why you do it. Maybe you can explain it so eloquently that I will come around to your point of view, and become a Reckless Urinator myself. But the explanation better be good, my bovine friend. The last thing I would want to do is identify myself with someone like you in any way. In fact, if I ever (and this is my dream) walk into a one-person bathroom and see pee all over the seat just moments after seeing a woman exiting that same bathroom, I vow to chase her down, tackle her to the ground, and pee on her. And then I will stand over her crumpled, yellowed form and scream down at her, "I don't even mind if you pee on the damn seat--just turn around and WIPE IT UP WHEN YOU'RE DONE!" Oh yes. Everyone has a dream, and this is mine. I will be lurking outside public restrooms at a restaurant or department store near you, just waiting.

Friday, July 01, 2005 this very quietly.

I am tiptoeing around my house like a common thief. Jake has been uncharacteristically grouchy today, and although he wasn't due for a nap, somehow I've gotten lucky and he's fallen asleep. I think perhaps God intervened on Jake's behalf, seeing that I was very close to killing him, and put him to sleep for a bit so I could have some time to rethink that idea, and mull over the possibility of a lengthy jail term and lifelong regret. I usually use Jake's naptimes to catch up on housework, etc., but I'm afraid to make one single sound and ruin this unexpected peace. I've turned off my phone, put my dog in a far-off room of the house, shut off the TV, and am wearing my .mp3 player so I can listen to something without risking Jake hearing it. Normally I leave the TV on and try to keep up a certain amount of house noise while Jake naps, so that he grows up to be one of those fortunate people who can sleep amidst noise (like his father) rather than laying wide awake if things aren't dead quiet (like his mother). But today you should see me, it's actually pretty comical. I'm literally tiptoeing in bare feet across the carpet of my house. Even typing this feels very risky to me--I'm very softly touching the keys and typing very slowly. You would think I was in the middle of a jewel heist. All I've got to do is make it til 7 PM (a couple more hours) til Brian comes home, and then I will toss the baby at him, laughing maniacally, as I flee the scene like a escaping prison inmate, tires screeching. I go to the gym every night when Brian gets home, and while yes, ostensibly the purpose is to lose the remaining 13 lbs. of pregnancy weight that keeps me from fitting into even one single cute thing in my closet, an added bonus is that it's a chance to get out of the house and get a break from mommyhood. As I've mentioned in the past, Jake tends to get grouchy at night, and my favorite sound in the world is often the sound of the garage door opening as Daddy arrives.

But today is unusual--Jake is usually all happiness and sunshine until right about 7 PM when the tide starts to get turn, so I usually have all day to enjoy him at his most cheerful; for some reason today he's been pissy since about 1 PM. I managed to calm him down earlier by strapping him into his carrier (one of those backpack looking things that has you "wearing" the baby on your chest as you walk around hands-free) and vacuuming the house. (By the way, wearing an extra 16 lbs on your chest is very awkward when you're stooping to move furniture around as you vacuum. I think now I can say for certain that Dolly Parton doesn't do her own vacuuming.) Then he went down for a nap (yay me!) and I did some more cleaning. Later he woke up still grouchy, and I did that desperate dance where I first put him in his bouncy (good for about 8 minutes), then his other bouncy (good for 4 minutes), then his playmat (good for about 7 minutes, then his swing (mild protests for a few minutes, and then another nap--yay me!). I think the problem with Sir Grouchy is that he's starting to teethe. He's drooling more than usual, and trying, with a look of desperation, to stuff anything and everything into his mouth. I feel bad for him, especially since I assume it will get worse before it gets better, since he's only 4 months old and has barely begun to teethe, if that is what he's doing. It's hard to see him him looking fidgety and unhappy and know there's not much I can do for him except try to distract him from his discomfort.

I am loving this nap thing, though. I've got to come up with a way to keep him napping for 4 and 5 hour stretches, only waking up long enough for a quick hug before passing out like a frat boy again. I think I'll start putting Jack Daniels into his bottles.