Thursday, December 23, 2010

In the Spirit of Christmas, I am Declaring War

I am declaring war on spiders. And I am serious as a heart attack.

I once tried to make an agreement with a spider. I laid out the terms of him staying in my house, all of which I thought were reasonable. The fucker broke every single agreement. Lesson learned? Spiders cannot be trusted.

Second lesson learned? I am way too easy and forgiving. Well, I can tell you right here, right now, that is changing. There will be no mercy from Here. On. Out.

Last Saturday, D and I left the house on a small errand. As we're pulling out of the driveway, and the garage door is going down, I see, what? A spider dangling off of the garage door? I stop the door, pull up under it and see, what-the-fuck-is-that? Another motherfucking, goddamn black widow. Number what? Nine? In the last two years? I get out of the car, grab the can of Raid and spray her ass. She shrivels, then starts crawling up her little webby string. Spray. Crawl. Spray. Crawl. Spray. Crawl. Seriously? Die already, you fucking bitch!!!!! I got the shovel out and broke at least one of her legs. She still wasn't dead, but I was satisfied that eventually she would suffocate and, in the meantime, wouldn't get far with her two broken legs.

Nine days later, I'm home for lunch. After devouring the most delicious sandwich with the tastiest bread (thanks to Fiona), I'm on my way out the door when I see a spider. In my laundry room. On the fucking door. And, what? What is this? Oh, dear God, it's another fucking black widow. Must be a daughter of the one from the week before, because she was smaller. But just as resistant to Raid. Spray. Crawl. Spray. Crawl. Spray. Crawl. Finally she crawled into a little ball and I was on my merry way.

Today I was noticing the "cobwebs" in the corners of my bedroom. I investigated all corners of the house. I found a spider in the corner of my bedroom. Yes, my sanctuary. The room in which I sleep. The last place I want to be unconscious knowing that there are eight-legged creatures about. Spray. Crawl. Spray. Crawl. WTF??? Are you fucking kidding me???? It can't be. Spray. Spray. Spray. It finally curled up into a tiny little ball and I was able to move it to the sink. And, yes. There it was. Faint, but it was there. A small, reddish-brown spot on the abdomen. Mother-fucking black widows are taking over my house.

So, here it is. I am officially and resoundingly declaring war. Anything with eight legs is not allowed in my house and will die. No mercy. No questions asked.

Merry Fucking Christmas, arachnids.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Week's Recap, or Things That Seem Really Weird But Are Just My Life

The week started normal. I guess. I don’t really remember all the way back to Monday, but I’m going to call it normal.

Tuesday is when the weirdness started happening. My manager scheduled a “brief discussion” for our team. A “brief discussion” is usually a bad thing. I don’t look forward to them. I dreaded this one. Even more so when he started the “discussion” with a red face and clearing his throat like he was trying not to cry and then saying, “It is with great sorrow….” Okay, stop right here. This is my thought process. “What? Why is he going to cry? What? Wtf? Great sorrow? Oh shit, our whole department is being eliminated. They’re moving everything out to Dehli. Oh, shit!! I don’t have a job? Wtf am I supposed to do? How can they do this right before Christmas? What ASSHOLES!!” And then he finished his sentence. “…. that I announce my resignation.” And then this went through my head, “What? Oh, it’s just you? Well then, that’s okay. As long as I still have a job. Hmmm, is this voluntary or involuntary? What’s going on that I don’t know about? Who cares, as long as I have a job. Oh shit, he really is going to cry. I can’t look at him. But I can’t look away, because he’ll think I’m being really rude and that I don’t care and he’ll be all offended, but if I look, oh crap, I’m going to start crying. Fuck, this is the weirdest ‘brief discussion’ in the history of Ever.”

The next day in my one-on-one with my manager, I tried to get the real scoop, but he wouldn’t bite. He hinted though, so I think I will be able to weasel it out of him. And I organized a roast of him in our Toastmasters meeting and enjoyed watching him turn about 25 shades of red.

Wednesday was my favorite holiday activity of the season. My office “adopts” a family that we buy presents for and I delivered them with a couple of other “elves” that afternoon. The kids in the family were so sweet and polite and obviously very thankful. But not so mushy that they made me cry and I liked them even better for that. Although the mom said she would send me pictures of their Christmas day and that might make me cry, but at least I’ll be at my desk and not making a fool of myself in public.

Friday was the most boring night in a while. Nothing to do. Nothing. For dinner I had a piece of pie and a Manhattan. Or two. I watched something on tv, it’s not even memorable. And then I got really grossed out by a worm on my sliding glass door. I know, right? How bizarre is that? How do worms live in 20 degree weather? The really gross part was that it was in the corner of the door frame so I couldn’t just brush it off. And since it was really creeping me out and I didn’t want it finding its way in my house, (because fuck knows there are enough damn spiders in there) I did something totally gross. I got out the long lighter and burned it. I know PETA will be all up my ass for this, but I don’t care. Except I did feel really gross when it curled its little body around trying to get away from it. Only it didn’t really try because it still clung to the door frame. Seriously, if someone was trying to set me on fire, I wouldn’t just lie down and twist around, I would fucking run. So really, it just shows how dumb this worm was and that it deserved to die. I’m not sure it did die though, it eventually just fell down and I was so ooged out that I had actually tried to burn a living thing that I closed the door and went to bed.

Saturday was a delightful adventure. M and I went to see the gingerbread houses in Sunriver. She insisted on trying my $85 tea and I insisted on making cookies for the drive. The houses were really cute (some of them) and I took pictures of them until my retarded, defective camera decided to stop working. Afterwards, we went to the Owl’s Nest for a couple of drinks and some soup. It was perfect – garland with twinkly lights next to us, a warm fireplace, and a view of snow-covered trees. The only thing that would have made it more perfect, and that I kept imagining, would have been a horse and sleigh jingling merrily by.

After my picture-perfect afternoon, I attended a party that promised beer pong. Yeah, the dichotomy of the two activities wasn’t lost on my either. There were a couple of drunk girls who looked to be about 20 attempting to sing Journey. One of them called it “baby-making music”. Um, sure. Whatever. Probably the best conversation of the evening involved E and his disappointment that Mike Tyson might be gay, which follows.

Me: Yeah, I could buy him being gay.
E: But he was my hero!
Me: Really? How do you define heroism? Biting someone’s ear off?
E: Well, no. I meant back in the 80’s.
Me: Oh, when he was beating his wife and raping women?
E: ………….

He walked off to tell the same exact story to a guy. I guess girls just don’t understand real heros.

Yep, always end on a high note. Or at least the last word.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Crack - It Does a Mom Good

I want a new drug. Not like Huey Lewis, but like Crack for Moms. It can’t be addictive, it’s just something that moms get (for free) to help them get through the holidays without losing sleep, something that makes us moms look super happy and cheerful and helps us get everything done and done really well so that everyone thinks we are miracle workers and they will wonder at our amazing skills and charming dispositions. Even if I can’t have it for the whole season, can I just have it for this weekend?

Nutcracker weekend is D’s favorite and my most hated. Between rehearsals, sore toes, gift-buying , tree decorating, little sleep, super adrenaline rushes and winter weather, it’s a minor miracle that we both make it through in one piece. D had her first meltdown last night; she broke down in tears when I called to tell her that missing school today was not an option. That’s when she told me she broke her retainer and, since there aren’t enough hours in the day for school, orthodontist appointments, eating and rehearsal, I gave in and let her skip school. However, I canceled her sleepover for Saturday night which is “so unfair” and means that I “really don’t understand” her. Really? Because I never have to make compromises or give up things I want to do? Oh wait, this is supposed to be my free weekend but I gave it up so that I can cover hair-braiding duty, rehearsal/performance taxiing, assemble gifts for her fellow ballerinas and make sure she eats properly. I am SO mean. Is my evil witch wart showing?

I’m not really complaining, really just venting. And my lack of energy actually is a problem. I want to enjoy the holidays. I want D to enjoy her ballet. I want everyone around me to enjoy themselves and not have to stare at dark circles under my eyes or get their heads snapped off because, right now, most questions that have anything to do with my time feels like my blood is being drawn and is draining the life out of me.

I do take comfort in knowing I’m not the only one. It’s the challenge for all moms. And a few dads, but I think for the most part, dads are allowed to be grumpy. Dads are forgiven for doing things not-the-right way. Moms aren’t. Moms are expected to be superhuman. Honestly, I’m okay with that. I just need some help.

Mom Crack – something to get us through the holidays, birthdays, graduations and any other times in our lives that our families are depending on us to get an extraordinary job done with style, grace and a smile on our face. If it removes wrinkles and gray hair – BONUS!!

Someone get on that. Now. Please. Thank you in advance.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Redefining Beauty

There’s a blog I like to read because the author is super funny and smart and I think we’d be BFF’s if we ever met. Only not better BFF’s than me and the Wife. Which, if we ever meet, I’ll have to tell her up front so she can decide if she’s okay with being second-best BFF but she totally would, because she’d still get to be a BFF with me and I’m just awesome. Anyway, she’s super funny and irreverent but sometimes also really poignant and her post today really made me stop and think.

It’s all about beauty and she asked her readers to reply saying why they are beautiful. And that’s what stopped me. Because most days, as in 364 out of 365, I don’t think of myself as beautiful. On good days I’m cute, on spectacular days when my hair cooperates and my jeans hug my ass just the right way, I’ll go so far as to say I’m hot, except that hot is really more of an attitude. Beauty, to me, has always been a physical description.

When I was growing up, I thought I’d never be beautiful. I was unfortunate enough to inherit the nose that just about everyone on my dad’s side has been cursed with. I say cursed because I hated it. It was big, wide at the tip and with a giant bump on the bridge. I started to notice it when I was around 11. That was when I realized that it wasn’t cute and the more I looked in the mirror, the more I decided it was ugly. By the time I was 12 I was going to bed at night with my finger pressed firmly on the bump, hoping that it would straighten out overnight. I started hating pictures of myself because all I saw was that Nose. I didn’t want to be seen from the side and even fretted about other drivers seeing my profile in my car. All my life, I wanted a nose job.

When my daughter was born, I questioned my desire to “fix” myself. What kind of message would it send her about self-acceptance? Did I want to emphasize the importance of appearance and image and beauty over intelligence and inner strength? I chose a non-girly name for her because I wanted her to be strong. In her toddler years I avoided telling her how cute she looked and instead focused on the smart things she did or said. She broke her collarbone when she was nearly two, which shattered her confidence in her physical abilities, so much so that she refused to go down the slide at the park, she was so terrified. I put her in a preschool with a focus on gymnastics, giving her back her confidence and her joy in playing and tumbling.

However, nothing I did in those early years prevented her from turning into a girly-girl. She likes pink, loves her hair long, she’s been boy-crazy since the age of four, loves ballet and has asked to change her name to Sophie. She’s a girl and she loves being a girl. She loves to look and feel pretty.

So, four years ago, I decided that I wanted to feel pretty too, that if there was something I could do about it, that I would. I researched plastic surgery and surgeons in my area. I scoured message boards on nose jobs, compared dozens and dozens of before-and-after pictures. Six months later, I made an appointment with a surgeon.

I liked him right away. Every place that offers advice will tell you to interview several doctors before making a decision, but I didn’t think it was necessary. Dr. Petroff was completely honest in his assessment, telling me I would be pleased with my results, without making any promises about how incredibly beautiful I would be or how it would drastically change my life. He was matter-of-fact and I trusted him. I scheduled the surgery appointment a week later.

I knew, from all of my research, that I’d feel a range of emotions after surgery, including depression. But I felt great. I felt great the week after, even with the bandage and the black eyes and the thumbprint-shaped bruise on my cheek from someone holding me down because I kept waking up during the surgery. (Here’s a tip – if you drink like a fish, tell your anesthesiologist that you drink like a fish. Don’t minimize that shit, they ask for a reason.) I couldn’t wait to see the “new” me.

I felt great until the day the bandages came off. My nose was still swollen, still red, I wasn’t magically transformed. I still looked like me. I cried all the way home. It was a three-hour drive.

It took a couple of days to calm down and decide that I really hadn’t made the biggest mistake of my life and to know that looking like myself was okay. When I went back to work, nobody said anything. Nobody noticed. It’s still a little disconcerting when I tell people, even now, that I had my nose done. They say I look the same, that I didn’t need it.

But I did. I needed it for me. And people did notice. I went out for drinks with a friend a couple of months after my surgery and realized that people were looking at me. Guys were checking me out. I could smile back and flirt and it was fun. I realized that they weren’t reacting to my physical appearance, but to my attitude. I felt different - better, even sassy. I had a confidence that I never had before. And for that reason, I’d do it all again.

I still don’t love pictures of myself. I sometimes catch glimpses of the wideness of my nose, or I think I look too fat or that my hair looks goofy. I think that’s just called Being a Woman. The difference is that I don’t hide like I did. I want to be in photographs because I want the memories. And sometimes, I really do like the way I look, and that feels really, really good.

Today I decided to answer the challenge of explaining why I’m beautiful. And you know what? It didn’t take as long as I thought it would. It wasn’t that hard. And you know what else? It has nothing to do with how I look.

These are the reasons I’m beautiful:

I am beautiful because I love fiercely.
I am beautiful because I am constantly learning and evolving.
I am beautiful because I have a daughter that I am proud of.
I am beautiful because I can laugh and cry and know that I can't live without doing both.
I am beautiful because I learn to love myself a little more each day.
I am beautiful because I'm a woman.

Don't Eat the Yellow Snow

There is plenty of it at my house. My dogs hate snow and demonstrate their dislike through sheer laziness. They take about two steps outside before squatting to pee. They’re effectively peeing on the patio. Technically, they’re not even in the yard. Rembrandt will even stare me down while he pees, like it’s my fault that it’s cold, like I made it snow and he’s going to punish me for freezing his balls off. He forgets that he has no balls.

Luckily, they do venture out into the actual yard to do their number two business. Sometimes I’m even nice enough to shovel a pathway for them to the side of the house so they’re not sinking down to their bellies with each step they take.

Lately, they’ve been using a snowless patch in the corner of the yard. I watched Remy this morning because I was in a hurry to feed him before getting ready for work (also because when he’s ready to come in, he’s really ready and he’ll practically knock the door down trying to get back into the house.) As soon as he was done, I opened the door to let him in and he made a beeline for it. Except it was the most comical thing I’ve seen in a while. He’s running full force, with his ears pressed back against his head and his eyes bulging out in this wild, frantic expression. The snow was mostly ice on top, so his back feet slid out from under him with each step, sending him more and more sideways, which only made him more frantic. He looked retarded. And hilarious. I laughed until I thought I would throw up.

Fine, so I’ll put up with a little yellow snow for some quality entertainment.
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