January 31, 2009

Midnight Medley

I spend my days alternating between thinking I'm a nearly kick-ass goddess to thinking I'm nearly a complete and utter failure on many levels. And in the times between those two extremes I have brief moments of thinking I might either be mental or perfectly normal. Is it possible to be both? To be all of these things? Is everyone like this?

Earlier in the week I had it all going on. I was accomplishing big things, making people say "wow", making myself say "wow", making my husband say, "good God, can't you be like a regular person for a change?" I always know I'm doing particularly awesome things when I send him into a downward spiral to contemplate his own inadequacies. We have developed a really nice mix of praise and humiliation in our relationship. Not everyone can have what we enjoy.

And then on Wednesday or Thursday, about the time my kids unrolled 250 feet of dental floss and ran through most rooms of the house weaving in and out between all the table legs, I felt the decline beginning. And here I sit at midnight wanting to update my blog and feeling like I have nothing more to tell you than describe how freaking annoying it is to wind up 250 feet of dental floss while the whole time I'm thinking, "Am I supposed to throw this away because maybe now it's unsanitary?" I'm really not up on my floss etiquette, so if you come over to visit, please bring your own just in case.

Probably I'm being too hard on myself. Surely there are other things I can talk about, like how my youngest son ran away from me again and I didn't catch him for about two blocks. I just made my entre into small town local politics and the whole time I was running down the street screaming I was thinking anyone who was witnessing the event would agree that this scene would probably not be a big a confidence booster for my constituents.

Certainly I must be too hard on myself. Because I made homemade beef jerky today, except I ate a little bit of it tonight and now I'm queasy and concerned that I may have just poisoned my whole family. My mother did that once before I was born, nearly killed her family with tainted tuna salad. They were on a road trip through the desert in the 60's with, apparently, no cooler. Did they even have coolers in the 60's? This is a family event that we joke about to this day and mostly we do it to make my mom mad, but on a deeper level I think we all are afraid she might do it again. She's frugal and eats leftovers that are way too old for most people because she hates waste. Personally, I hate puking and nearly dying way more than I hate waste.

I am too hard on myself, because it's really not all failure. Sometimes the pendulum swings quickly, quietly, suddenly the other direction. Through the darkened doorway I see hubby just now stagger into the kitchen in a fog of midnight sleepiness to sample more beef jerky, mumbling how good it is. And there he goes wandering out and here I go to follow and fold him gently into bed covers, wrap him in my arms, two spoons, one love, one good ending to another day of our lives together.

[photo: (nz)dave]

January 28, 2009

We're Alive!

Kathy (keeper of many blogs) was sweet enough to come back and check on me today. I'm not sure if she was worried because of the storm or if she was worried because of my reference to The Shining. (Really, Kathy, which was it?)

Things are okay at our house, but we are the lucky ones. There are about 300,000 people without power tonight and possibly for as much as a week. It's really, really cold here and I feel so bad for those who are without power.

Nearly a year ago (it will be one year on the 4th or 5th of Feb) that we were in the cold without power. Not as cold as this though. We had a gynormous Category 4 or 5 tornado rip through town not far from our house. We were without power for about 24 hours, maybe a little more. That night was long and cold and I had to sleep on the couch with the baby lying on top of me and he was very annoyed about it. Our oldest slept with Rob in our bed.

The evening started around 5PM with us huddling in the hallway with blankets over our heads. We have no storm shelter. Tristan was just over a year old and was freaking out because he didn't understand why there were no lights on and why mommy kept trying to cover his head up. My oldest, 4 at the time, kept asking if the tornado was going to get us. I kept telling him we were practicing for a "real storm". The words were no sooner out of my mouth than I heard the rumbling.

They say it sounds like a freight train. I would disagree. It sounded to me like a dump truck rumbling past the house on its way to do something really important. I realized right then it didn't really matter that I had the covers over our heads and that I absolutely had no control over how well my life was about to turn out. It was like standing on the train tracks watching the locomotive come at you. My husband is on the volunteer fire department and we were listening to the scanner and heard the men yelling reports over the radio. They would say where the tornado was spotted and knowing the terrain like I do I could see it in my minds eye bearing down on us, cutting diagonally across the landmarks I know and love.

It was on us within five minutes. Thankfully we were spared, but so many homes were not and the face of the town I have grown up in has changed. We've all changed because of it. That was the first of a long 2008 during which we had two devastating tornadoes and several floods. We were declared a disaster area 8 times, I think. It was a hard year on many, many levels.

And on the eve of the anniversary, here we are covered in ice. This is what they call "coming full circle" isn't it?? Something like that.

In celebration of our being trapped in the house, the boys of the household cleaned out what we used to call our pantry (which was only just a cabinet with a turntable) and the spice cabinet and moved a bunch of stuff into a new piece of furniture that we will now call the pantry. (The old pantry is now the baking pantry and the spice cabinet is still just the spice cabinet. So uptown now!) My sister-in-law and hubby built this gigantic shelf thing for our canned goods. We painted it a very cool red shade that turned out to be hideous when applied to the furniture. It's a fine color, but not something 7 feet tall. It looks like this hulking red cabinet that should be using for storing emergency medical supplies or perhaps biohazardous substances.

Our plan is to cover it with crackle stuff and paint an antique white over the read. Could be great... could be another disaster. I used to wish for two inches of height, but now I think I will change that wish to something like maybe decorating sense or skill in the domestic arts. That would be way better than being 5'6".

And as if cleaning and organizing the pantries was not fun enough, they also organized toys and it was sort of like Christmas, opening boxes of toys they have not looked at in months. (We rotate out the toys to keep it interesting.) They love doing stuff like this with their dad and are very cheery and excited about it. Anything remotely like all that makes me want to gnaw my arm off. I'm a born delegator or is that delegatrix? (That's not what my husband calls it anyway.)

Well, whatever you call it... it's good to be Queen.

(Thanks, Kathy, for checking on us.)

January 26, 2009

The Storm Approaches

When I dropped Tristan off at daycare this morning the sitter said, "You need to shop for your groceries this morning. You know the storm is coming right?"

Storm? I wouldn't know if the world was coming to an end if it's not broadcast on the Internet or someone doesn't tell me. Thank goodness all the people around me have more sense than I do and are looking out for me.

"The ice. We're in a big ice band and it's going to shut everything down by tonight. Don't wait until this afternoon to get your supplies."

I always get cracked up here because when it looks like there might be a little bit of snow or ice people race to the grocery store and push their carts around in Wal-Mart like they're on some big grocery shopping sweepstakes where they have to fill a basket to overflowing in 2.5 minutes. They shop for two weeks of supplies "just in case". It's good to be prepared, of course, but the amount of times we get snowed or iced in is slim compared to the number of times we go through the bizarre ritual of stocking up "just in case".

My mom called me from Wal-Mart this morning saying, "They're crashing their baskets around in here. Everyone has gone crazy. It's like an asylum up here." From my desk I saw the fax machine spewing out 15 sheets of paper across the copy room like I'd just hit some crazy fax jackpot. "I know what you mean," I said.

At my office we spend the day rearranging furniture. I paused several moments during the day to ask myself why we are spending the day rearranging furniture throughout all the offices when there is a huge storm coming and we should all be out crashing our carts at the grocery demolition derby. My husband wanders by mumbling, "I really need to get to the house to make sure we have an alternative source of heat. We could lose our electricity." Behind him is my 5-year-old with a dirty rag and a can of Pledge that he is liberally spraying around on every piece of furniture that's not being carried by someone. Did I mention school is out early because a storm is coming?

All of us meet in the kitchen and have lunch. This is one of my favorite office traditions. My mom (who works with us) is eating what I thought were taquitos, but when I get closer I realize it's a fried hot dog wrapped in a heated corn tortilla. (No, really.)

She interpreted my intense staring as a polite request to try her food. "Here, try it. It's really good."

"Uh, no, that's okay."

"Well, what are you going to eat then," she demanded.

"I'm not sure."

"You need protein. That's what you need." She shoved the tortilla-wrapped turkey dog toward me.

"No, really, I'm fine." I began foraging in the kitchen to find something to eat. The fridge was remarkably bare considering a storm was coming. Finally I found something, whipped it up and sat down to eat.

She eyeballed my plate and gave a satisfied grunt. Of course she would since on my plate was a turkey dog wrapped in a corn tortilla. Honestly, it turned out to be pretty good.

In the next three hours the following things happened:

  • my son made so many unauthorized copies at the copy machine that one of my colleagues demanded he cease and desist (I was on the phone)
  • my son somehow made the 3-hole punch explode into a fountain of little white circles on our dark carpet
  • my husband broke a desk
  • in all the moving of furniture my kid's backpack mysteriously disappeared (requiring 5 adults and one child to search every room in our building about three times)
  • someone called to ask me if I would sell 21 cemetery burial plots for them
  • an easement went missing, turning up on the property to the south where it's NOT supposed to be
  • and... a glass broke

At 4:30 I left the building to head home. It was already beginning to rain a cold drizzle. My windshield was covered with water droplets. I turned the wipers on and instantly the wet smear froze into a layer of ice. I sat there for several minutes waiting for it to melt. Maybe a storm really was coming.

At daycare, my youngest, true to form, ran away as soon as he was turned loose. I had a boyfriend in college whose mom had a cairn terrior that they had to leave tied up whenever they took him outside because if they didn't he'd run off as fast he could in a random direction and never look back. My son is just like that dog. Fifteen minutes later after I finally caught him and he hit me in the back of the head twice I had him in the car seat and was pulling away to head for home.

Home. Our haven of rest. The nexus of peace and security for the family.

Who am I kidding? You deserve better than lies and deception. I apologize.

As if sensing the tension from the coming storm, the children were like wild mad demons. Rob alternated between trying to make chili and setting up our alternative heat source. (He's a jack of all trades!) The kids mostly ran back and forth up and down the hallway, destroyed the bedcovers while jumping on the bed, one of them cried for ten minutes because he couldn't find "choo choo. Big!" Unfortunately, "choo choo big" seems missing forever because 30 minutes later I still couldn't find it and the lady I was talking to on the phone was so tired of the screaming she said, "I'll call you right back" but never did. Back before I had kids I really hated when people's kids screamed in the background while they were talking on the phone. I'm one of those people now.

Finally, the youngest decided he'd had enough and began packing a backpack as if to run away. In went Eeyore, a small beanie dog with a yarn leash and a plastic water buffalo that I think might actually be a gnu. All the things a boy needs when he is running away from home. "Gack ack", he said, indicating I should put it on his back for him. He spend the next 20 minutes walking around saying, "gack ack" as if we were all deaf or retarded and needed that repeated every 12 seconds.

At 6:52 I went out to the car to get something, checking the steps carefully for ice. The car was coated in a layer of frozen water already and I pulled on the cargo hatch which popped open with a loud CRACK and out flying came 15 pieces of a food dehydrator I'd borrowed from my mom. "AAAGH!" I screamed, startled, plastic trays scattered around me on the icy grass. I was out for about 20 seconds and already soaked. The door flew open and my husband yells, "What was that? Are you okay??" Yes, except for this storm, this storm that has us all in a tizzy. Yes, I'm okay.

And now, one child is in bed asleep. The other is lying in bed next to me with two of his fingers bandaged after what might have been a botched suicide attempt in the bathroom. He claims he was just playing with his dad's razor while he was sitting on the toilet, but you know... it has been a stressful evening. However, now in good spirits he is sprawled next to me watching George of the Jungle while I record the days exciting events and stare shamelessly at how hot Brendan Fraser looks in this really horrible movie. (What a waste.)

Outside a road grader rumbles past my window. The storm is here. My husband sticks his head into the room and says, "You know what we don't have, honey? Toilet paper."

Oh good, because otherwise things would just be too easy!

January 24, 2009


This morning there was a big fiasco involving about 312 crayons, one basket and one toddler who made the erroneous assumption that he is really hilarious. He's not. Well, he wasn't this morning at 5:30 a.m. when I was on my belly on the floor trying to sweep the crayons out from under the coffee table with him jumping on my back like a rodeo star and yelling, "WEEE HOOOOOO!"

We have a very large basket of crayons, most of them broken, that was sitting on the floor from last night's art session. While Tristan was running around this morning he kicked the basket over and crayons went flying everywhere. To his 2 year old brain, with it's erratically firing neurons, this must have looked similar to a great 4th of July fireworks show or maybe free margarita night and a ringing slot machine in Vegas. I surmise this because his eyes immediately lit up and he tried to reproduce the incident by then kicking the basket and piles of crayons all around like a riverdancer on crack. By the time I could get over there to stop him, all 312 crayons were spread in about a five foot blast radius around him, many of which ended up under the couch and the coffee table.

But back to me on my belly...

While I was down there trying to get all the crayons back in the basket, I breathed deep the smell of wax and dye and it immediately zapped me back many decades to a dim and dusty garage in Hawaii. Two little girls sat huddled together with a box of crayons and a crayon sharpener. We sat there for hours whittling crayons into a milk carton, presumably to make a candle out of it, but I don't remember ever actually finishing it. I don't even remember my little friend's name, I only remember that smell and sitting in that dim garage one afternoon feeling happy and productive.

What smells transport you to another time and place?

[photo: Darren Hester]

January 19, 2009


When you look in the dictionary under "unsolicited advice" there's a picture of my mother there.

Her favorite topics are medical advice, legal advice and parental advice. But she doesn't stop there. Pretty much she will embrace all topics. She's an equal opportunity unsolicited advice giver.

The thing is... she does know a lot and it's nice to get her opinion on some things. It's just important to understand when it's good to ask and when it's not. And to also understand when it's okay to volunteer information and when it's best to hide as much information from her as possible.

The other day Rob was having some problem with a sore place on his ear that wasn't healing up.

"Ask mom. See what she thinks."

Rob says, "No, I don't want to ask her because she's going to tell me it's a tumor."

"Don't be ridiculous. It's not a tumor."

At this point my mom walks in and Rob asks her to look at his ear.

She does and says, "That's exactly what Bill's ear looked like when he got diagnosed with cancer." I forgot that when she doesn't diagnose a tumor it's usually cancer. Her remedy was to go get Vicks Vapo-Rub and rub it liberally on his ear. It's a little known secret that Vicks Vapo-Rub cures cancer.

Her favorite thing to do is tell me how to raise the kids. She's raised three kids and was a tough-love kinda mom. Very loving, but very no-nonsense. Her chief complaint about my family life is that she says the kids run the house. This is what I hear all the time. "This is what I'm telling you... those kids rule the roost."

Tonight was interesting because she finally got to see the madness in action. Our youngest son is quite different from our oldest who is very easy-going and has been a relatively calm child. Our second seems quite high strung by comparison and I've remarked on more than one occasion that he acts sort of like he has an OCD. When he gets home from daycare he has a particular routine he follows and if we don't do that routine every day he completely falls apart. Tonight we get home and the routine is disrupted by two things: 1) the television he usually watches his show on is broken and 2) his blanket was in the dryer because he threw up on it the night before and it absolutely had to be washed.

Immediately when we got home he says, "Pooh Pooh Pooh" (his show) and I try to explain to him about the TV situation (a 2 year old, mind you) and tell him he'll have to watch his show on a different TV. He falls to the floor in the hallway and proceeds to freak out, crying and calling out for "Pooh". My mom immediately says, "Just walk away. He's just manipulating you."

In the meantime, I figure if I turn his show on the living room TV maybe he'll get the idea and be distracted. This works except the next request is always either his juice or his blanket. He moans, "bee bee, bee bee, bee bee" (his blanket) and I then have to explain THAT situation at which point he melts down again. And more intensely. My mom's advice was, "He just needs to get over it. If he were my kid I would have paddled his bottom and given him something to cry about. He's just running your house you know."

After showing him the blanket was in the dryer, I got the juice (again hoping to distract him) which he started drinking and he wandered around the house very forlorn and every 20 seconds walked over to the dryer and pointed at it pitifully saying, "bee bee, bee bee, bee beeeeeeee...."

It only took about two times and she said, "Oh, get him his blanket. It's probably dry enough." BWAHAHAHAHAHA. She broke!

That's about one of the most satisfying things I've experienced today. Being petty is one of those little joys in life that are meant to be savored.

Okay, now is your big chance... is the baby OCD or is he ROR (ruler of the roost)? What's YOUR diagnosis? Just please don't say a tumor or cancer. (I'm out of Vicks Vapo-Rub.)

January 17, 2009

Uterus Recall

I read about this over at the Consumerist. Apparently there is a plush uterus that has been recalled because the ovaries turned out to be a possible choking hazards.

The recall notice is hilarious. You really must go read it.

January 16, 2009

Andrew Wyeth

Andrew Wyeth, an artist I have always enjoyed, died today.

Above is one of his paintings called Christina's World, probably his most famous.

Goodnight, Mr. Wyeth, and Godspeed.

January 14, 2009

Memory Placement

Today I had to drive to a neighboring town about 40 miles away. I don't go there frequently, 2-3 times per year, almost always for business.

When I was young, before my parents divorced and we all went our separate ways I lived in that town with my family. I have many memories, good and bad, wrapped up in the town. Sometimes when I go I like to drive to a place where I have a memory and look at the place with grownup eyes.

On the trip over, I had some chick music playing on the CD player and as I passed by "memory landmarks" I started thinking about how we tie vivid memories to certain places.

For example, in a small town between here and there is a narrow, two-lane bridge with no shoulders. Once when I was probably around 12 my mom and I were driving over to visit my brother. She had baked him an apple pie and it was sitting on the seat between us. As we were about to cross the bridge a fairly unskilled driver was taking up more than his share of the road and my mother swerved to the side and slammed on her brakes. The pie shot forward and landed upside down on her foot. I remember her flying out of that car yelling, "I just made that homemade pie for my son. I don't care that we're in the ditch... LOOK AT MY PIE!"

Every time I cross that bridge I have the image of that pie upside down on my mom's foot.

A few miles down the road I passed a small gas station. I remember stopping there with my dad once. I was probably close to 10 years old. My parents had already divorced and it was one of those rare visitation days. I remember my dad had Conway Twitty on the radio and he stopped in at the store and had me wait in the truck. He brought me back a Chick o'Stick which I'd never had before. He loved them, my mother told me later.

I passed an old non-chain hotel at one of the two stoplights in town. In my mind I could see in the little office and wondered if the same lady worked there who was there when I was 17. I used to drive my grandmother to that hotel and she'd take a stack of Harlequin Romances inside and trade the lady for some romances she'd not read. Straight even trade. Then I'd take her to Sonic for a chicken-fried steak sandwich, her favorite. We'd sit in the car and make small talk. Life was good.

There is a huge bank in town. There used to be a Piggly Wiggly there. Once a friend and I walked from my house to the park. We had peanut butter sandwiches wrapped in aluminum foil and we ate them on the way. We rolled the foil up tight and held them in our fists and said if we were attacked on the way we'd pelt our attackers with aluminum foil because that would definitely hurt. I was probably eight or nine years old and only had half a brain then.

The park is tidy now, but back then the trees were more unruly, au naturale. Now they trim the branches off the trunks from the ground to about 2-3 feet up. Visibility is good. Today I walked past the hideout tree -- it used to be a huge tree that had branches that grew all the way to the ground. You could squeeze through the branches and inside there was a very large hollow hideout behind the branches. We loved being in there and you could look between the branches and spy on people who walked past. I loved that tree.

Across the street from the park to the north are tiny little postage-stamp-sized cottages. My grandmother used to live there for a short time before she left and went off to California, leaving me behind for good. Before she left we sat at the edge of her bed and she showed me how to address envelopes so I could write letters to her when she went away. She is the one who showed me about the magic of letters.

As the memories paraded by I thought about how simple they were. It's not like a marriage or a death or a violent incident or some amazing epiphany happened. Just sweet, sad, funny moments, but so vivid and long-lasting.

January 13, 2009

Melon Pits

I don't know about you, but I get really tired of buying the same old shampoo and anti-perspirant and toothpaste all the time.

I stand there in the store and browse the stink repellent, bored, going down the checklist: Spring Rain, Shower Fresh, Satin Breeze, Floral Fusion, Baby Powder, Summer Breeze, Sporty Fresh, Rose Petals, etc and ad nauseum.

One day I was standing there in pre-seizure posture, eyes rolling back in my head slightly, when I spied "Melon". Hmm, melon! Melon is fresh, summery, but most importantly DIFFERENT.

The next day I was energized and ready to take on the world, having the prospects of varied and more interesting underarms. I pulled the cap off and began to apply said deoderant and realized it really DID smell like watermelon.

My armpits smelled like watermelon.

My subsequent thought was how wrong that really is. I mean, does any woman want her underarms to smell like food? While fresh, that's not really sexy is it? In fact, that seems like it is sort of anti-sexy.

Imagine it... you're in the throes of a passionate embrace. Your lover runs his hands through your hair, nuzzles your neck, is really getting into the total body embrace and gasps, "Oh, yeah. Baby you smell just like... WATERMELON. Mmm." Unless, of course, you're into the whole doing-it-in-the-produce-department thing. Some people are. Not that I would know. Although, one time, in band camp...

But I digress.

I propose a whole new line of deoderants. Below is my short list of names, all copyrighted, so if you're a deoderant company and you want to use any of these you just call and let me know. We'll work a deal and then we'll both be rich. These are all guaranteed to drive men wild. They can double as a cologne and an anti-perspirant.

Proposed Line of Drive Men Wild Anti-Perspirants(TM):

  • Fresh Pizza and Beer (my one exception to the no-food pits rule)
  • Just Had Great Sex (high-performance line)
  • Just Cashed My Paycheck
  • Just Got a Promotion
  • On the Rebound
  • Your Best Friend Thinks I'm Hot (high-performance line)
  • Nascar Laps (comes with tire track temp.tattoos)
  • Dirty Secrets
  • Deer Musk
  • Girl with Gun (buy two, get free Bond film on Blue-Ray)
  • Half-Time Show (buy two, get mail-in coupon for free chips and salsa)
  • Tequila, Tequila, Tequila (comes with lime body splash)
  • Naughty and Nice
  • Phertile Pheromone (package with coupon for $1 off pregnancy test)

Those checks are gonna be rolling in any day now. I can feel it in my armpits.

[photo credit: rawallison]

January 12, 2009

Long and Rambling Madness

In response to an accidental meme that my pal Ginny started (sort of), I've posted a sample "Day in the Life of..." Wendy. It might explain a lot about why I am the way I am.

You can check it out over at: Three Girls Grown Up

January 11, 2009

Spilling Over the Sides

I have another little casual blog that is mostly just for family. All I do over there is post crummy phone pictures for our far-away friends and family, most of which would not interest anyone but us. (And actually, I'm not even sure it's of interest to them some of the time.) However, there is one little adventure you may want to see called The Great Cucumber Caper.

Also, this morning I was putting Shrek 2 into the DVD player for Tristan and he pointed to the cover at Princess Fiona and said, "Mommy!" Man, he needs to learn how to compliment women. That is NOT how.

January 9, 2009

Horrible, But True

This is one of those stories you'd swear I made up, but honestly I didn't.

My husband was getting his hair cut today and the lady that trims his hair was embroiled in some heated conversation with her daughter's daycare provider.

Apparently when the daughter went to pick up the 2-1/2 year old boy from the sitter today, the sitter mentioned he had pooped in his pants. Then she went on to say, "Well, I showed him. I took him outside and hosed him down!"

I am not kidding. It was about 40 degrees here today. Mix that temperature, a naked 2-1/2 year old toddler and water from a garden hose that was probably very little above freezing. Now tell me DHS isn't gonna have a field day over at the sitter's house on Monday morning.


Photo credit: Kiwanja

January 7, 2009

Does Anyone Else Want to Vomit?

I watched a news story tonight about Laura Bush unveiling two new sets of White House china.

My first thought was, "Well, that really sucks for Michelle Obama, that thirteen days before a new First Lady is in the White House the outgoing Lady picks the new china." It seemed rude and sort of in-your-face.

Then I heard the price tag. Half a million dollars. Let me type that again, only a little slower... half a million dollars.

One might argue that it's just fine and dandy to spend half a million dollars on china because it's from some historical society and it's not taxpayer dollars. However, I say it's heartless to spend half a million dollars on a luxury of that nature AT THIS TIME when people are losing their homes and when men are committing suicide because they get ripped off from investors and when innocent children are being blown to bits on a war that we watch every night on TV.

Let's step back and examine for a moment what half a million dollars can buy you:

  • In my area of the country (Arkansas), depending what county you are in half a million can buy 5-10 families a new home to live in
  • Approximately two million school lunches
  • One thousand Heifer Int'l cows that create exponential agricultural growth in underdeveloped countries
  • Five million pounds of food and groceries for starving Americans ($1 for each 10 pounds of food)
  • Microloans to 500 people to start businesses that would improve their communities
  • Kitchen sinks for 5000 Habitat for Humanity houses
  • College education for 13 students who could change the world for the better
  • Supply water to 2500 Africans with $350,000 left over for something else
  • Thanksgiving turkeys for 25,000 families in America
  • 50,000 bed nets to save children from malaria

The list could go on and on, but you get the idea.

Thirteen more days of frippery, Mrs. Bush. Enjoy!

January 3, 2009

Childfree vs. Childful

The other day I ran headlong into someone who is highly annoyed by "mommies". I am always amazed when I see divisiveness in certain groups of women, the "us vs. them" syndrome. One of these cases that I recently got into was Childfree-by-Choice Lady vs. Scrapbooking Soccer Mom Lady. It ain't always pretty.

Many years ago, before I had two kids, I lived a very carefree lifestyle in the city. I could do anything, go anywhere. I was completely unfettered, self-employed, nomadic and pretty proud of it. That was my life and I had no intention of altering it.

My boyfriend-at-the-time and I went over to the home of friends. They were professional people with two boys. I was never that comfortable with children and didn't like being bothered in public by other people's screaming children. After our visit with our friends, my BF was talking to his pal and I was talking to the wife. She asked me if I was planning to have children. I told her definitely not. She smiled a very annoying "knowing" smile and said, "Oh, you'll change your mind. It's so fulfilling. It's the most amazing thing in the world having kids."

Yeah, right, lady. What's amazing and fulfilling is making a spontaneous trip to a fancy hotel in San Francisco and getting room service while I'm looking out over the ocean after sleeping in until 9 a.m. Top that, would ya? I was annoyed that she would imply that somehow, simply because I was childless, that my life was less fulfilling, less satisfying, and that I was less than whole as a woman. Frankly, I was insulted and perturbed.

So, fast forward a gazillion years and now I've met Mr. Right. We discussed having children and were ambivalent about it because of our busy lifestyle. We were getting older and could easily see the pros and cons of both sides: to have kids, to not have kids. We waited and did nothing.

To make a very long (and unfortunately dramatic) story short, two kids have come into our lives who needed something we had. We've become a great little family and I've turned into one of those women who writes silly stories about her kids on her blog. I don't go to fancy hotels and get room service. I'm not unfettered. Sometimes I can't even go to the bathroom without planning it ahead of time. The other day I had one last bite of cookie balanced on my leg while I was fixing something and suddenly a little pair of nibbling lips sneaked up and ate it while my head was turned. So I don't even get to have the last bit of cookie in the house without a little cookie thief stealing it.

But not only is it okay, it's WAY better than okay. It's, let's see, what was that? Amazing and fulfilling!

Here's the thing... it doesn't matter if you're childfree or "childful". I agonized for a long time about the fork in my road, but here is the secret about forks -- once you take the path you've chosen it's like someone comes behind you with a big metaphysical eraser and swipes away the other fork in the road as if it never existed. Once we were committed and had gone down the path a while I tried to imagine our life had we not done it this way. I couldn't. It was so far removed from me that it was like imagining what someone else's intimate life might be like. It was idle speculation, an amusing little time waster.

I have been on both sides of the "childfree vs. childful" debate and I can tell you with absolute certainty that the debate is irrelevant. Once you pick a side, the other ceases to exist. One is not better, more satisfying, more worthy. It's like asking which is better... pizza or a burger, apple or orange, mayo or mustard?

So instead, let's do what we women really should be doing -- sticking together in order to accomplish the task at hand... total world domination and the subjugation of men.


Let's file this one under NSFW (Not Safe For Work)