Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mother of a ten year old. Yes, I am.

Here's my girl.  We went on a trail ride near Harper's Ferry and it was really pleasant.  I feel so fortunate to enjoy this age with her as she comes into her own.

But back to me.  Doesn't it always circle that way eventually?  I'm amazed at how transformative it's been to be a mother.  I'm not who I was then, and I can't imagine who I'd be without her.  I'm surely better.  
I remember when I was in labor with Emer.  I paced the hallways on the maternity ward and came to look out a window that looked out over the highway.  The same highway that everyone in the area has to drive on to get past Portsmouth NH.  I had this weird sense of vertigo where I felt like I could see/feel that other me, the before motherhood me, driving by on the road below me.  And I could never drive past there afterward without feeling that a part of me was still there, looking down.  As if part of me split off to live in that limbo, and is still there now.  Maybe I just tapped into the universal nature of it all.  My face out the window has been a thousand other faces, enjoying the same view as other women have undergone the same transformation.  I don't know if there's any thing else in life so that shapes you so completely as parenthood.
She is the first knife, carving me into who I need to be.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Some Mundane Thing (Struggle part 2)

We, I mean, I, was totally wrong about the need for mousetraps in the house.  It's a barbaric practice if you think about it.  We, I mean, I can't possibly sleep peacefully knowing our, I mean my, house is built on a foundation of pain and suffering.  Also -

No she would never sound like that.  That isn't it at all.

Well how would you suggest we go about doing this thing?

You just need to go on about some mundane thing until you hit a level of absurdity, then you take a left turn and you're there.

Fred, you're being a little general.  Could you give some specifics?

No, I can't.  I didn't actually pay attention.  Stuff like toothpaste mashed up on the edge of the sink, or the way toast is good when its warm, and not when it's not.

You're kidding me.


And people read this?

Well there's no proof that they aren't reading it.

So how would you suggest slipping in our subversive message? 

Subtlety.  Little by little.  I think we might want to discourage people from sweeping.  They probably have better things to do right?

How does this solve our problem?

Well, it doesn't solve the problem, but it gives us more crumbs to choose from while we work on the problem.  Also cats.  You can't say enough bad things about cats.

Where do I begin? 

I know huh?  It's a subject ripe with material.

Bill, Could you please move?

What here?  Go ahead.
No it's like a button with a letter on it and I have to hit them in the right order to make the words and your tail is in the way.

No, you don't have to do that Gerald is taking dictation.


Yeah he's like a typing acrobat you should see him.  It's an art really.  It's a shame he doesn't have much to say, or many opportunities to do this kind of work.

"What does it matter?  It's not like anyone reads this anyway."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Trap of Struggle (Part 1)

If there were no struggle to life it wouldn't be any fun.  If gravity didn’t fight against us our muscles would atrophy.    We are designed to struggle.  In a zen Buddhist meditative kind of way I think the struggle is good, because it reminds us that we're alive.  We should feel honored for the opportunity to be here and struggle.  That being said, the fight of life can be a bit of a drag.  It can wear on your patience.  As with all things, moderation, you know?
So I'm going to surrender a few of my struggles here to focus on the battles I have a chance of winning.
To the mouse:
Look, I'm sorry.  I know it was a sneaky trick.  I didn't mean to toy with your expectations.  For the record I'm not a mean person. Though, when the jaws of death snapped on whatever appendage it did, I'm sure it seemed like it.  I think I speak for myself, all mouse trap users, as well as the makers of the trap, when I say, you have exceeded all estimations of your will to live.  When I try and picture you dragging the whole trap back down there behind the wall, you look a little like Rambo.  I’m really amazed you could fit.  
Dude.  I'm impressed.  But now what?
Did you go to your family and show them mankind's handiwork in the hopes that they could free you, or to attend your own wake fully conscious and die in the comfort of home?  In the event that your brethren do free you from the trap I would like to discourage you from building one large enough for me.  It's just going to be difficult for you in a logistical sense, scale being what it is.  Also it might be hard deciding what to lay out as bait since my tastes are so mercurial and eccentric.  I've heard you all behind the walls.  I know you’re engaged in some heavy duty construction or destruction.  It’s almost Spring just let go of the struggle and move on.
To the kids:
I know you're siblings and there's a universal law that you will always argue, especially in front of me.  Lalalalalala! I can't hear you.  I'm going to give you lots of time to use your working it out skills while I jam my fingers in my ears.  Tell me when it's over.
To the laundry:
I know I’ll never win in the endless battle against your multitudes.  I'm going to re-envision the battle though.  I'm going to see the laundry as a tide that rises and falls.  I am the laundry ninja with the waxing and waning of the bleaching and staining.  Well that’s not exactly ninja-ish.  Hmm. I’ll sneak up on my own procrastination skills and Wa Tah!  The folding and sorting will be accomplished with a series of chopping motions and my cat like reflexes.  The point is I’m not going to let it bother me anymore.
To the stinkbugs:
You’re so deceptive.  The clumsy flying, the plodding aimless walk, like something prehistoric and stupid across my floor, up my coffee cup; you beg to be destroyed.  But that’s the trick isn’t it?  You’ll keep coming no matter how many we kill.  We will go crazy catching and killing, and the bills will go unpaid, the work left undone, society will fall to ruin and you will win.  I’m not going out like that. I’m going to surrender in the struggle against you individually so that I won’t succumb to your evil plot.
To the internet:
I’m not going to let it drive me crazy when I can’t access you.  I’m going to view it as an opportunity to focus on the present, to tune into my environment.  The times when I can log on will be a pleasant treat. 
Like now.  The kids are out of sight and most importantly out of earshot.  The laundry is far away and this room seems free of the stinkbug invasion. I have a comfortable spot and internet access..  It’s a pleasant treat and I’m just going to relax and enjoy it.
What is that?  My goodness, is that a pirate mouse?  It’s so small it’s hard to see, but it looks like it has a peg leg.  What is he doing?  Is he signaling to someone behind me?  What the   –SNAP.    

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Go Check Yourself

"Look, I don't like you and you don't like me. I don't want to do this thing anymore than you do. We both have our parts to play in this crazy topsy turvy world and you've just got to buck up and take it. I'm going to have my way with you, so you might as well work to make it pleasant. Understand?
You're a little slow, aren't you? I SAID YOU'RE A LITTLE SLOW! Never mind. It's not important."

"I know a bag has been removed from the bagging area. I have three 'helpful' children. For once they're actually trying to help. It's like a miracle, and there you are nagging. Here I am, feeding the multitudes and all you want to do is count the loaves of bread. The bag is back, okay? Jeez, relax."

"It's an apple. For crying out loud, I don't know it's social security number, its favorite color or its mother's maiden name. I'm not entering into a long term commitment here. It's not like I want to file the apple's taxes, I just like me some Fuji. You're going to stand between me and my apple? What the Fuji? The sign on the display said they're 1.59 a pound. You have the fancy scale, you figure it out. Why am I doing all the work here? Oh, that little number sticker on the side there? Um, yeah I guess I can type that in. Thanks ma'am. No, I didn't realize I was yelling."

"Look, there's a line queing up behind me now. Could you please hurry this up? No, I'm not the one that's going slow, you're the one with the deficient scanner. Yes. I said deficient. No I am not intimidated by your high tech gadgetry. I have oodles of experience as a counter jockey scanning purchases and making change. The trick was, I had a half hour of training and I could do a void without calling over the assistant manager every ten minutes. Oh and also I used to get paid to do this."

"I know a bag has been removed from the bagging area. I needed room for another bag because that one was full and I put it in my cart."

"Stop yelling at me. People are starting to stare. I just explained the bag thing and you're getting a little repetitive. You're kind of attention needy aren't you?"

"You know, cashiering was my back up plan. If money got tight, or I really needed to get out of the house; I always figured I could come back to a place like this and serve my time. You stole that from me didn't you? Now I'm stuck with my dream of running away and joining the carnival. If you don't scan this depilatory cream I may have to start my career as the bearded lady sooner than I planned."

"I know a bag has been removed from the bagging area. Fine. I put the overly full, about to tip over bag, back on the bagging area. Are you happy now?"

"I know it's a lot of produce. I wasn't expecting my special time here with you now was I? I like to eat healthy, are you going to try and ruin that for me too? Are you going to try and bully me into pre-packaged junk just because the bar codes are easier to find? Are you responsible for the nation's obesity problem?"

"No, I'm just saying you're a dark and twisted piece of machinery. I wouldn't put it past you. You know the little old lady three people back in the line is starting to look annoyed. Are you going to practice your dark arts on her too? That's somebody's mother for crying out loud."

"I know a bag has been removed from the bagging area. I've been trying to teach my groceries to levitate but they just haven't shown an aptitude yet."

"If the store is saving money not paying a cashier to ring up my groceries, and I'm doing all the work here, where is my pay off? Why don't I get a discount for cashiering and bagging my own order? Hey, and didn't that bag of sugar used to be bigger? Do you have a shrink ray too?"

"No, I'm totally serious. Stop laughing, you sound like a calculator with the hiccups. You need to get out in the real world more."

"Oh, yeah."

"I don't know with a dolly or a forklift? It's not my problem and it's beside the point."

"I know a bag has been removed from the bagging area. I am not trying to steal an entire bag of groceries. I promise, it's right there and I will pay for it if we ever finish this trial of endurance."

"You know the cashier is right there watching me. I guess I can accept the fact that you don't have any faith in my moral fortitude or character. You could at least show a little respect for cashier/theft prevention/helper lady and trust that she's doing her job. What happened to make you so cold and jaded?"

"It's so sick that she has to stand there watching you. Or does that give you more of a thrill? You do to grocery cashiers what ATMs did for bank tellers. What tornadoes do to trailer parks."

"Yeah? Well Fuji to you too!
Um, no. I didn't know I left a bag in the bagging area. Er, um, thanks."