Sunday, September 27, 2009

Done sulking.

A guy I work with knew I was working on a pretty good sulk today, so he told me this joke. It only works if you say it out loud.

Him: Knock, knock.

Me: Who's there?

Him: Smell mop.

Me: Smell mop, who?

And I don't remember what he said after that, because I was laughing so hard I was literally in tears. Because I'm an 8 year-old boy, that's why.

Poo and fart jokes never stop being funny. Or if they do, I don't ever want to be that mature. Lucky for me, I'm not yet, and when he told me that joke today, it really did snap me out of my funk. As soon as I was done laughing (seriously, 5 minutes later) I called The Boy and the conversation is as follows:

Me: Have a joke for you, wanna hear it?

Him: Sure. Shoot. *Obviously does not want to hear it. Is afraid to have conversation with The Girl, as she is hormonal and emotional and the joke is probably a trap that will leave him crippled in some way.*

Me: *Doesn't care. Soldiers on in an attempt to bridge that awkward post-argument gap.* Knock, knock.

Him: Who's there?

Me: *Insane giggling for long enough that it gets awkward, which makes for more hysterical laughing*

Him: *uncertain silence*

Me: *gasp, gasp* Smell mop. *more cackling*

Him: What? Smell mop? Smell mop, who?

Me: *COMPLETELY LOSING MIND. He just said poo, ohmagah, DYING*

Him: Glad to see you're feeling better.

...It's the little things. And I should mention, for posterity: As much griping as I do about The Boy's mom, she is a wonderful woman. She's come through some serious shit in her life, and deserves a lot of respect. We just... we're going to butt heads. I'm up for that, and I'm sure she is, too. So here's to a future full of biting my tongue and sucking it up. Hopefully, it's also a future full of poo jokes. That would be fun, too.

Miniscule. Tiny. Obsolete. Subatomic.

My sister is throwing me a baby shower. She's making the invitations individually, by hand, and doing everything from half way across the country. She contacted The Boy's mother to get addresses for close family, letting her know that there was a limited amount of space at whatever venue she's found for the day, and that since the invitations are hand made, there is a limit on how many can be done by the time she wants to send them out... The Boy's mother came back with a huge list of people. She was told again to pare it down, and answered with, "Well, maybe I'll just invite A FEW of my friends." ... Her friends? People I've never met? To my shower? Is this what people do..? Especially when told "List needs to remain small and intimate." Uh... Okay. But... Um. No.

So. The Boy called his mother to tell her to keep it simple. Close family, that's it. She said she doesn't want any one's feelings to get hurt, she wants to invite her friends, and he told her that no one wants anyone to be left out, but there's a limit. She then told him that she didn't see why she couldn't invite two of his ex girlfriends mothers.

Wait. What?

This is where I kind of tuned out. I mean, not intentionally. It felt like someone stuffed cotton in my ears. She wants to invite the Ghosts of Relationship Past to the baby shower that's being thrown for his current girlfriend..? In celebration of the baby they're having together? What. The. FUCK. I seriously felt like I was going into shock. He must've keyed in on the expression on my face, because he said, "Well, I told her no." I said, "Really? She really wants to invite your exes' mothers?" And he said, "Well, but, I told her no."

...somehow, that isn't getting through the haze right now. Somehow, all I can think is, "Really? His ex girlfriends mothers?" SOMEHOW, the fact that she was told NO isn't the FUCKING POINT.

I know that I'm not part of this equation to her. I know I'm just the weird, artsy girl that thinks she's too good for disposable diapers and formula, that's going to turn her first grandchild into a bookish softy; the girl that her perfect son accidentally knocked up, the poor boy. I know that. But really..? The fact that him saying no wasn't enough, that he had to explain to her why it wasn't a good idea for his ex girlfriends MOTHERS (who she doesn't even talk to. They aren't besties or anything, she doesn't even have regular contact with these people,) to come to MY SHOWER, and that she sort of fucking fought with him (!) about it? That... I just... I... REALLY?

Maybe I'm just hormonal. I don't know. Maybe I really have been an orphan for long enough that I've forgotten how families work, how they step over lines and boundaries and whatever. But I'm pretty sure this wouldn't sting half so bad if I had a mother, too... But I don't, and it does, and I hate it. I don't want the mothers of random strangers invited to my baby shower. I especially don't want the mothers of my boyfriend's ex girlfriends, who are also strangers, invited to my baby shower.

And you know the kicker? Apparently, that makes me silly. It's just silly of me. I'm being silly, she says. Silly to only want friends and family there. Silly to not let this be about her and what she wants. I'm not the only one having a baby. (WHAT?! I mean, I know it takes a village but WHAT!?)

Well fuck that. I want to go to bed. I want to go to sleep. There's a difference between someone knowing they don't matter, knowing they're just hardly being tolerated, and having it throw in in their face that you don't give a shit about them or their feelings.

I'm not sure I've ever felt so very small.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

To the victor.

I went to an auction today. I'd never been to one before, and I was lured to the scene by the loud chatter and the furniture strewn haphazardly around the property. Not to mention the dozens of people wandering around, looking predatory. Seemed like my kind of place. It was actually really interesting, although it probably would have been more fun if I'd had someone there with me that I knew, or had gotten more than 4 hours of sleep, or wasn't 7 and a half months pregnant, or wasn't loitering in the heat.

Actually, it wasn't hot. It was a nice morning. But I threw a hoodie on over my white tshirt in favor of finding an appropriate undergarment (because I'm classy like that) and the hoodie happened to be black. And we all know what happens when you wear black in direct sunlight. I know this particularly well, as most of my clothing for the majority of the last few years has been black.

You melt, is what I'm saying. You roast in the sun like a pig on a spit, and I was one very hot pregnant piggy.

There was only one thing I wanted at the auction. It was a beautiful big chest/dresser/antique pile of beautifulness, and I wanted it for the baby's room. And it was going to be perfect in a way that nothing else ever has been. It was going to complete my life. It was going to be in our family for generations. I kept my eye on it, and loved it, and pictured it in the nursery. I named it Fernando and whispered sweet nothings into its keyholes.

I was going to pay 200 bucks for it, and I would have gotten it, too, if some fucking burnout hippie pile of shit hadn't popped up next to me and decided to blow this week's drug money on MY FUCKING DRESSER.

Uh. Or... yaknow, whatever.

Seriously, though, it was like magic. That hippie jacked the price of the dresser up to $400 before I could blink, bidding back and forth with this tiny, angry looking woman. The auctioneer went back and forth, back and forth, chattering about four hundred, who's gonna give four hundred? And I almost bit! I almost paid 400 for it! But then I pictured myself trying to explain to The Boy why I felt like it was necessary to buy the baby a(nother) $400 piece of furniture, and I died a little bit inside when I realized that the look he would give me (The "You're a retard and it's obvious I need to keep you sedated and chained to a pipe in the basement from now on," look) would probably actually serve to lower my IQ, just by the pure force of it. And he's never given me a look like that. And I'd like to keep it that way. So I didn't out-bid the fucking burnout hippie pile of shit.


And now my life is doomed to suck, because that dresser was beautiful and perfect. It had doors on top that opened to an amazing cabinet I was going to use to store the baby's cloth diapers. The cloth diapers that also apparently make ME a hippie, YOU BUDDY-FUCKING, BACKSTABBING TRAITOR, HIPPIE GUY. We're on the same TEAM here.


I'm not a materialistic person. I don't really care about stuff. You should have seen The Boy and I when we were buying furniture. There was so much, "I don't care, what do you think?" being tossed back and forth between the two of us, I thought the lovely sales lady's skull cap was going to blow off and tear a hole in the ceiling. We aren't STUFF kind of people. We don't need a lot of STUFF. We don't want a lot of STUFF. Hell, the stuff we DID wind up buying is varying shades of brown and beige because you know why? Because we don't give enough of a crap to bother with anything else. Because it's stuff, and this way it'll all look nice together, so fuck it.

But I wanted that goddamned dresser. And we NEED a dresser for the baby's room. I wanted it and I needed it and FUCK THAT OLD HIPPIE RIGHT IN HIS WRINKLY FACE.

Blame it on nesting, I guess, or hormones, or the fact that I'd been waiting in the sun, roasting like a chunk of beast for like TOO LONG, or whatever, but I literally almost got into a knife fight with that old (probably pacifist) stoner over a piece of furniture. I wanted to pull a razor out my titties and cut a bitch.

But I didn't. And now I don't have the dresser. Or any dresser. And any dresser I do manage to find isn't going to be as good as that one. A stranger even said it was perfect, when I told her what I wanted it for. Word, Sympathetic Stranger Lady. YOU'RE TELLIN ME.

Moral of the story: When you get the opportunity to shank a drug addled senior citizen to get what you want, take that opportunity and work it like it's your bitch. Do a boot dance straight up that old hippie's ass and take what's rightfully (or not, actually, not at all) yours.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My childhood was dark. Literally.

My first memory is of heat and yellow-orange shadows flitting through stained glass, cool mesh pressed against my too-warm cheeks because it felt nice. There is the soft, faded smell of pipe smoke and wood polish. I can hear people, though I never see them, and am content.

I asked my mother about this years ago, and she said that when I was a baby, I would sit in the old play-pen in my grandmother’s sitting room with the lights turned off, pressing my face to the side. (The lights were off because the house was ANCIENT and did not have air conditioning. Also, there was very little insulation in the walls, and the ceilings were incredibly high. None of this lent itself towards keeping heat out or in. The pipe smoke was a reminent from my grandfather, who had died 15 years before.) She mentioned in an off-hand way, through a blue-silver shimmer of cigarette smoke, that we must certainly have a picture of it somewhere, as I did this face pressing thing all the time. This never turned out to be true because there exist no pictures of me as a baby. Probably she meant to take one upon catching me with my wee baby face mooshed against the side of the play pen, but didn’t have a camera on hand. (I don’t think we had a camera.)

In any case, she said I was one or two years old when this memory must have planted itself in my brain. She said the play-pen was one of those dangerous old metal and mesh contraptions with the baby-killing collapsible sides. I also remember pinching my fingers in the hinges, and pulling it down on myself more than once. Somewhere in all of this, I remember the heavy, erratic thud-thumping of my older (younger) sister storming around the house. The sound is of her full-leg casts pounding against the hard wood floors, and is often punctuated by her sweet baby laughter.


My mind skips ahead from there. Again it is dark, and this time the darkness is complete except for candle and day light. Instead of stifling heat, it's always slightly cold now. This is due to our electricity being turned off more often than not, despite the fact that our mother works 3 jobs, 20 hours a day to provide for us. It’s two years after the hot, shaded comfort of my grandmother’s house.

My sisters are there, and any time I go to this period in my life I am overwhelmed with a bone-crushing love for my older (younger) sister. I can see her as she was then, almost-black hair down her back, thick bangs straight across her sweet, pale, round face. Too blue eyes staring wide and innocent out at the world. She was maybe four years old, and already terribly kind and thoughtful. (This is how she still looks to me inside, how she looks to my soul, if that makes any sense.) She was my first friend, my best friend, and I was her shadow. She was everything to me. We played happily, constantly.

I remember our oldest sister, too, but in stark contrast to The Older… The Oldest scowled, was frequently too harsh with her words and hands, and was tasked too often with watching her nuisance siblings, 15 years her junior.

I see our mother in this chunk of time only briefly, fleetingly, and am stricken by how beautiful and perfect she was. (The knowledge that I realized even then that she was the most beautiful thing I’d ever see comforts me, as it comforted her when I relayed the childhood observation to her twenty years after it had occurred to me, whispered against her hand as she lay in the hospital, dying, though we didn’t yet know it.)

We lived in a small trailer, the four of us, and my toddler bed was in the closet of the room my sisters and I shared. I had a long yellow blanket with white fringe trim that I dragged with me everywhere, which bore a redish-pink stain from the time I used The Oldest’s favorite fingernail polish to paint part of our bedroom wall. I thought it would make her happy. It most decidedly did not.


At the very end of this cold, dark period, I see my mother in a wooden dining chair (or a large, black chair. The memory wavers on this one detail alone,) she is crumpled and crying. Her hands shake as they cover her face. The Oldest is sitting in the corner, curled into another chair, glaring out at the world but seeming for once less aggressive and more wounded. More human. As our mother cries, I curl myself around one of her legs and tell her it’s going to be alright, and that I love her. She cries harder, wracked with these animalistic sobs, and the man we call my father appears in the doorway to take The Older and I away. This is my memory of my mother’s first psychotic break in my lifetime.

(To be continued..)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pray for us sinners, now and in the nursery full of cloth diapers.

So, The Boy went outside today and ran into our neighbors to the South. We know them- we work with The Mr. occasionally on a professional basis, and are passing hi-how-are-ya nodders with The Mrs. I'll mention quickly that no one has ever met The Boy and failed to love him and find him engaging and charming. Uh. Ever. He's like a cobra, the way he hypnotizes people into worshiping him, which is funny because The Mr. is a pastor. Or... Preacher. Or something. He's a guy at a church. I don't know which church, so I don't know the correct title, but you get me. And The Mrs. is heavily (heavily, heavily, heavily) involved with the church, as well.

This is all well and good. We don't care. We rather like them and all of their super holy judginess, although I have frequently guessed that The Mrs. is more than a little uncomfortable with us right next door, sinning it up. She's never said anything. She's very sweet. But I often picture her over there in her house coat (and bonnet? I don't know why,) praying for our immortal souls.

So today, The Boy is standing there talking over the hedge, like they do on Leave It To Beaver or whatever, and notices that The Mrs. has a pretty package in her hand. "Going to a birthday party?" he inquires.

"No." She says.

Here, we insert a long, awkward pause. (This is all second hand from The Boy, and he is not given to exaggeration. When he says there was a good couple of minutes full of pointed, eerie silence, he means it.) The Mrs. stares at The Boy, and The Mr. shuffles his feet uncomfortably. Well, okay. No explanation, nothing further at all. The Boy rather got the impression that she was intentionally not elaborating on her negation for some reason.

Finally, The Mrs. says, "How's your girlfriend? And the baby?"

The Boy, being sweet, misses the tone and says, "Oh, she's great. The baby's going good, just had an appointment. He's kicking and healthy and-"

"Oh, good. We're off to Bible Study now." Interjects The Mrs. with obviously arched eyebrows and bulging eyes, turning on her heel and walking away.

When The Boy related this story to me, I almost choked to death on my Sprite because really? REALLY? Why didn't she just come out and say that she wouldn't be giving notice of her whereabouts to any ungodly terrorists such as ourselves, and ask us how our premarital sex was going? I don't know, maybe we left the window open one night and she could hear us thumping away in there, but I've never met someone so off-put by the living situation of her neighbors. Sure, we're young and unmarried and pregnant. But she's holy and old and judgemental, and you don't see us getting all up in HER grill about it.

So, whatever. Apparently we're adding the neighbors to the list of people we need to explain ourselves to. On the top of that list is every member of The Boy's family, each balancing one toe over the fucking line and trying my patience on a bi-weekly basis.

Maybe I've been an orphan for too long, so I've just grown accustom to making my own choices and not having to detail the why's and what for's of every move I make. I don't know. Maybe I'm just a crabby bitch. But man, do I get tired of having to tip toe through the tulips with these people, afraid to offend them with my "earth mother" sensibilities.

One of the big choices I feel like I have to justify is the Cloth Diaper (DUN DUN DUUUUUUN) Issue. You'd think everyone would be all gung-ho about it, because there's nothing wrong in the world with cloth diapers. They've never hurt anyone, they don't break into your house and hold you at knife point, demanding the combination to your safe. So you'd THINK that we'd all be excited about the totally harmless, happy little endeavor. But no. Apparently, here in the upper Midwest, we're more than a little terrified of things that are New and Different (or old? Because not so many years ago everyone used cloth? Hello?) and the Dirty Hippies that try to infiltrate our families.

I'm the dirty hippy here, if you're not tracking. I didn't want to lose anyone. Because I've never killed anything with my bare hands, I guess.

Honest to god, when I mentioned the cloth diaper plan to The Boy's mother, I could almost hear her brain petrifying. Why on Earth would someone want to do something differently than she had? Because different is wrong. AND HIPPIES ARE FROM HELL. Go brand a cow, you pansy ass tree hugger, YARR! (So I guess in my mind pirates are the back woods farmer type?)

Feh. Whatever, I don't understand the problem. To me, there is no problem. I'm really, really excited about doing cloth, and I feel great about the decision to do it. I want to do it very badly. I haven't yet ordered the diapers, but I think I've settled on the Fuzzibunz one-size. I only mention this because, okay, I'm a freeloading jerkface, and there's a wonderful blog ( that is right now, right this moment, threatening to give away a whole MESS of FB one-size diapers to people who link to the FB cite. And man, I could use that. We aren't destitute, but cloths are a little expensive to get up and going, and with this economy... well, you know the rest.

So yeah. The innitial investment is kind of a chunk of change, (But MUCH MUCH MUCH LESS THAN THE COST OF DISPOSABLES OVER TIME) and it'd be nice to have that cost differed. So I figured I'd link to the FB cite ( and throw my hat into the ring.

Because you know what would REALLY get The Boy's mom's short and curlies in a knot? If her tree-hugging someday-to-be daughter-in-law got her hippy diapers for FREE! And in all seriousness, I think they have a great product going over at FB, so I want to help get the word out. It isn't that I think people who use disposables are doing something wrong, not at all. I just like the idea of doing cloths for ME, PERSONALLY, with MY (still unborn, but not for too much longer) kid. It feels good. It's a choice I feel really solid about, and it irks my tater that TBM feels the need to drag me down about it.

Much like my neighbors and their fear of premarital sex and childbirth out of wedlock.

I mean, really. What gives, people?

(Seriously, with The Boy's Mom -- I've gotten to the point that I don't even talk about the parenting choices we intend to make. Don't even get me started on circumsision and how last Wednesday her skull cap blew off and knocked a hole the size of a Mercedes in our drywall. Holy crap.)

Monday, September 7, 2009

And so I wait.

I feel like I've been puttering around in a fog, arms swinging, feet bare, aimless. Waiting for direction in this strange place that is foreign and also so familiar.

I feel like I shouldn't mark a heading, should just drift for a while. I feel like I can't take a conscious step in any one direction. So I wander.

You know, my ex, the one that said I was personally responsible for the downfall of all things good and decent after I told him to get his shit and get out, he told me once that I was a floater, not a swimmer. And as much as I would like to discount everything he ever said as baseless and asinine after that little 'you destroy everything you touch, you ruthless harpy' comment, I think he might have been onto something.

I'm not a goer, not a doer. I don't make plans, I let the plans make themselves apparent and then I go with them, toward them. This isn't a part of my personality that I'm comfortable with. It sings to me of weakness, of a lack of character. Strong people make choices. They have goals. They fall short, they have regrets, they make mistakes. They don't putz around in the fog because they're too scared to step into the light.

I don't, as a rule, have regrets. I've always told myself it's because I think its wasteful to regret things you cannot change, and that regretting something devalues the experience itself and what can be gained from it. The past is the past, we can only try to do better. We can refuse to make the same mistakes. This is not to say that I'm not sorry -- I am, more than I can say, for more mistakes than I can name. I'm sorry for the people I've hurt and the things I've done that were hurtful or wrong. I'm sorry to have been the thing to cause pain in anyone's life. But being sorry isn't enough, and it's not the same as regretting the thing itself. So instead of regret, I promise to do better.

Maybe they are one in the same, maybe I'm confused. Maybe feeling sorrow for something you've done is the same as regretting it. Although I would like to think that I do not regret things because I take them for what they are, appreciate them, learn from them, and change my behavior accordingly. So while I'm sorry for the pain they've caused, I'm not sorry they happened because they brought about an opportunity for growth and change.

If that makes any sense. Hell, I don't know. I've been running on fumes here, which is adding to the murky atmosphere of the dream-like state I've found myself shuffling through.

I feel like I'm letting go, and I don't know if that's okay. I don't have anything to judge 'appropriate behavior' by, and so I wonder frequently if I'm seconds away from a massive mistake. This letting go, stepping back, it scares me.

See, my mother held onto things very tightly. She was a paranoid schizophrenic, with borderline multiple personality disorder. (Although what that means, I can't begin to guess. She almost had more than one personality? She was close? She sometimes did? Doctors make no sense. Fuck them.) With these issues you'd expect a person to be obviously impaired in some way, one of those poor souls you can point out at the grocery store as being a little off. Different. She wasn't, though. The woman was incredibly high functioning, intentionally so. She decided that no one would ever look at her with pity, with that knowing little nod of "Poor dear. Bless her heart." She held herself in check with an iron fist, fooling everyone, even her doctors. This, I think, is most of the reason that when she was home, she so frequently imploded. I think it must have been very hard to maintain such a level of control, very stressful, so when she got home (a relatively safe place, as much as any place could be for her) she would release all of it. She would let go. Or maybe it was just the fingers of that iron fist finally breaking, I don't know. In any case, the result of her rigid self control while in the outside world was often complete disorder in her own. Our own.

And so letting go scares me. As much as I drift, float, have no point on the compass that I aim for, whatever, I do try to maintain some level of control. How could I not? I know what happens when you let go. People get hurt. Mistakes are made.

Yet here I am. I have no desire to take the reigns at this point, none whatsoever. My life has somehow wound up where it is, by some miracle of whatever god you believe in and by absolutely no determined, conscious choice of my own. So maybe letting go isn't so bad. Maybe whatever spark of luck brought me to where I am will continue to sustain me. Maybe if I don't move, it won't wink out. I hope. I have to hope, because I feel as if I may have crippled myself at this point, and hope is all I have to rely on.

It's just that I have this feeling, this looming sense of OH SHIT, that as soon as I make a move toward something it's going to get jerked away. Just now, not always. I'm afraid that once I really realize that this baby is 2 months and some change away from being born, that something will happen. Once I decide to believe it, I'm afraid that he'll be taken away. This is why I do not make choices, if I'm being honest: I'm afraid to regret. I'm afraid of the pain. Once, when I was younger (And believe me, I'm still young enough) I was brave. I forged ahead, marching with ill-begotten confidence down whichever path I felt suited me best at the time.

Then it all fell down around me and left me on my knees, shocked and shaken and destroyed.

I can't do that again. I can't come back from that again.

And so I drift, and I hope, and I wait to see what will happen. I keep my eggs in my pockets, my basket empty in my hand. I refuse to invest in this future until it is here in front of me. It's too good to be true. I won't ruin it by breathing.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


It's just been brought to my attention (thank you, Maggie) that I haven't updated here in long enough that I feel like a giant asshole because hello, Cliffhanger, how are you? So! Quick update!

We had an ultrasound that showed the baby's perfect little black and white beating heart. It looked like a real heart, bisected in a magazine. It was amazing. Identifiable. Unbelievable.

He's bigger, too, noticeably so. The poor lamb has his legs tucked up to either side of his belly, his arms curled around his head. This seems to be due to the fact that there is NO room inside my belly.

The doctor said that as far as he can tell, everything is okay. He kept stressing "As far as I can see," and "I've been wrong before," which... not comforting.

We have another appointment in two days (one day? Eh. On the 8Th,) to see what's going on in there.

I promise I'll write more tomorrow. I've just been kind of... wandering around over here. Trying to figure it all out.