Thursday, February 28, 2008

Man, He Probably Thinks I'm a Subtle Racist

We're having Verizon FiOS installed today, because I am young and hip and want all of my communications to be delivered at the speed of light. Actually, it's just cheaper to bundle my services through FiOS. But anyway, a stranger has open access to my home, so I've been alternately playing the radio and DVDs to conjure up a little background noise.

Well, Mr. Verizon came upstairs a few minutes ago to mess around with the TV. I'd been watching an episode of "Slings and Arrows" on my laptop while I plowed through my lunch. Mr. Verizon was futzing around in back of the entertainment center, and my laptop starting screaming things like "penetration" and "ejaculate." This is not high-brow porn -- it's a show about a theater and the character was using a metaphor to dissect another character's psyche. Yeah, so I decided this was not the most appropriate white noise for a fiber optic installation tech, and shut it down. But then the awkward silence resumed, which inspired me to hop up and turn on 94.7, the Globe.

I've blogged about this radio station before. It's the one that will only play critically respected music -- U2, Bruce Springsteen, Talking Heads, Jimi Hendrix, etc. I figured I'd be safe, right? I mean, this kind of music might not inspire impromptu dancing, but whatevs. I just wanted something pleasing to the ear. Yeah, except as soon as I turned it on, the mid-day DJ starts yapping about how they are celebrating Black History Month, and that they are exclusively playing black artists today.

Oh, GOD. Mr. Verizon probably thinks that I chose a radio station that plays music by black artists so that I could demonstrate how down I am. Aargh.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Call Me Dagny Taggart

Because nothing says Powerful Business Woman like an aggressive waxing job that leaves part of your face a molty blotched mess.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oscars 2008

This year saw a very special Academy Awards ceremony. Not because of the end of the writer's strike, or that I saw more nominated films than I've seen in the past four years, or that Vanessa Paradis didn't wear an a Bob Mackie-ish dress. Nah, this year was special because we let the Boy watch the first half hour of the program with us. Below is a transcript of his commentary:

Opening Sequence:
Boy: Hey! Spider-man! Hey! The Hulk!

Opening monologue:
Boy: That guy is funny. Where’s Spider-man? I want that Spider-man show.

Best Costume:
Jennifer Garner takes the stage.
Boy: I like her dress. But I don’t like her necklace.

80 Years of Oscar Montage:
Boy: I think that girl was dressed up as Snow White! [In reference to an old clip where Snow White is excited to meet Rob Lowe.]

Best Animated Feature:
Boy: I like that girl’s [Anne Hathaway’s] beautiful red dress.
MCV: Oh, Boy! We’re going to get to see some cartoons.
Boy: About Spider-man!

…a few minutes later…

Boy: I want to see that cartoon again about the girl with the black hair [Persepolis]. (Ed. Note: I knew he had sophisticated tastes.)

During Amy Adams’ performance of “Happy Working”:

Boy: Her hair is beautiful.

***this is where the Boy went to bed***

Saturday, February 23, 2008

This Could Be the Start of a Beautiful Friendship

The Boy and the Girl really seem to enjoy each other's company. I mean, I guess they could be faking it for our benefit. But I figure that kind of deceit is at least four years in the future, so their giggles must be the real deal. I couldn't be more relieved...

About a month before the Girl was born, I had a total meltdown over how the Boy would handle his world's imminent upheaval. In my mega-progesteroney state, I fretted that Super Ninja and I had decided on having this second babe, and that the Boy, who is a rather important part of our family, had NO vote in a matter that would drastically affect his life. And then I took a step back and rationalized that I hadn't asked for my younger brother, and I'm desperately glad that my parents went for a seventh kid. Besides, the Girl was a fait accompli.

Well, the Boy has been about as sweet as any child could be with a younger sibling. There have been many hugs, kisses, tickles, and offers of toys. You may think that I'm making this up, but it's all true. Feel free to sip some Mommy haterade, 'cause I know I'd be annoyed with someone like me if my kids were twisted up in a fistfighty knot every day. Who knows? Those days may yet come.

But today? The Girl would snatch a toy from the Boy's table of trains, and giggle as she ran away with it. And what did the Boy do? Giggle, chase her and try to snag Cranky back from her. Once he retrieved the toy, he handed her another toy that she could run away with, so that he could chase her, his Superman pajama cape flapping in the wind.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Stars at Night...

We are slowly recuperating from the weekend. I was in San Antonio for a business trip, and so the parents-in-law were in town helping Super Ninja cope with the kids. Not that he couldn't have handled it on his own, but the prospect of three days with two children, one of whom likes to eat books and the other of whom likes to channel Batman...well, let's say it's a little daunting.

So, yeah, it made me feel loads better that Super Ninja had diaper-changing, running-around-the-playground, preparing-meals backup while I was deep in the heart of Texas. But I'll be spending the next three or four days getting my house back to normal. Here's the short list:
  1. Cutlery. I have no idea why, but the cutlery drawer is a giant jumble. And the serving spoons have been put away in drawers where I don't typically keep them. No biggie, just a pain when I'm trying to cook.
  2. Putting away clothes. Every stitch of dirty clothing was laundered, ironed, folded or hung. But now, it's gotta go in closets and bureaus before milky handprints end up all over them. I know, I know, wah, wah, wah.
  3. Mugs. Many of them are in the glasses cabinet, and others are sitting on countertops. There is a cabinet dedicated to mugs, so I'm not sure why they ended up elsewhere. Like with the Tupperware.
  4. Repainting kitchen cabinets. (This sounds like a bigger deal than it is.) Some of our kitchen cabinets had little nicks in them. The original wood is dark, dark, dark, 1970's club basement brown. We've painted them an off-white color (I should say that my mother-in-law actually painted them since I was heavily pregnant when we moved into this house, and I wasn't allowed to pick up a brush or I would've birthed Blinky). Yeah, so anyway, my MIL touched up a few cabinets and a drawer face. Yeah, except she used leftover paint that doesn't really match the rest of the cabinets.
  5. Getting the kids back to normal. The Boy didn't sit at a table for a meal for the whole extended weekend. And he was allowed to nap on the couch while watching cartoons. The Girl was allowed to take mini-morning naps and mini-afternoon naps instead of one long lunchtime nap.

Very minor stuff that every parent goes through when the grandparents visit, I s'pose. Better roll up my sleeves...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I'm Feeling Very Enfranchised

I was feeling a little whimmy this morning, so I detoured from my morning commute to cast my vote in Maryland's primary. JUST KIDDING! About the whimminess, I mean. I really voted.

Well, I voted after I got through the line that snaked all the way around the lobby of the senior citizen's center that serves as my neighborhood's polling place. I was grateful for the spindle of paperbacks they had on hand. I read about twenty pages of Catherine Coulter's Impulse while I waited. Can't say it was thematically related to the democratic process, unlike the book I entertained myself with during the 2004 presidential election. And I tried not to be too put off by the fact that the back cover was a little greasy. I've heard of greasy paper bags, but a greasy paperback was a first for me.

Anyway, I got to use one of those cool electronic hoochajiggies. Loved it. I trust a digital X* more than I trust a bubbled circle. Maybe that's vestigial test-taking paranoia? Those optically scanned ballots are too reminiscent of standardized test answer sheets for my taste. And don't get me started on punch cards and chads. Yikes. I blame the chads for the past eight years.

So yeah, I was in and out, easy-peasy. The commute was not so easy-peasy, as there was a blustery brief snowstorm on part of the Baltimore beltway. Flurries + Maryland = Panic + Traffic Jams.

I ended up taking a different route into work, and drove past my old high school, which is serving as a polling place today. And I realized just how very, very Republican Baltimore County seems to be. Why? Whereas my polling place was festooned with Obama and Clinton placards, my old high school's lawn was spiked with McCain and Ron Paul signs. Weird. I don't know how I got to be such a flaming liberal coming from conservative soil like that.
*Yes, yes, I've read all the articles about infants who successfully hacked into the system in 5 seconds. Still, I hate the bubbles and the punchcards.

Monday, February 11, 2008

In Memoriam?

I don't think the word "intercourse" should be mentioned in a Church, and definitely not during a memorial service.

The priest conducting the memorial service Super Ninja and I attended on Saturday described life as a gift from God during his homily, and that's where he dropped the "i" word. After that, he referred to it as the "creative process." I know some writers and artists, and I'm pretty sure when they are discussing their creative processes, they are NOT referring to intercourse.

Yikes. What if I'm wrong about that?

The priest then clarified that it is natural to grieve when someone dies. Thanks for that. I thought I was wacky for feeling a little put out that my aunt and uncle had both passed away from various ailments within the past six months.

"You won't be able to pick up the phone and call them," he said while staring at my cousin, the only child of the folks who passed away. "The next time you're in Baltimore and want to see them, you won't be able to. When you want to hug them, you won't be able to."

Gee, thanks again, Priest. I don't think my cousin knew what death is all about, but now that you've spelled it out for him, I think he can really accept it.


Yeah, so anyway, then Priest #2 took the podium and shared one of his own personal experiences with death. When his mother passed away, some years after his father, one of the priest's brothers exclaimed, "My God, we're orphans now!" Then, the priest informed my cousin that he too is an orphan. Yeah, I'm pretty sure my cousin had considered that fact.

So, the whole service was, "You are alone! You're parents are dead, dead, dead! Orphan! Oh, but it's okay because you'll see them again someday. When YOU die."

Who's feeling uplifted?

All that aside, I really enjoyed seeing my Mom's side of the family at the service. We don't get together that often, so it was nice to talk to them them. I think I actually look more like my mother's side of the family than my Dad's, so it's weird when I see my eye shape looking back at me. Divorce is also a little more prevalent on my Mom's side, so I saw a few ex-family members (out-laws?) who came to pay their respects.

I don't know. I think I need to ruminate on this more. It was just kind of...odd.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Really, eBay?

After 32 years of garbing myself, I have finally learned what fits me. (Okay, I've really only been doing it for the past 20 years because before then, everything was a hand-me-down and/or purchased for me). Me? I'm a petite. Not in every area, mind you, but definitely in the dimensions that relate to length. I am a stubby wonder.

So, the easiest place for me to shop is online. I don't have to go through masses and masses of beautiful things to end up in the dark corner of a department store, depressed that all the stuff looks like it's appropriate for tweens or grandmas. I like eBay, because I'm a cheapskate. But I think its definition of "petite" is a little broad. Observe what came up first in the search return:

Yeah. SO not what I need for the office.


Yep. Blocked. Like a potato in an exhaust pipe. I'm the car, the exhaust pipe is this blog, and I have no idea what the potato is.

This is a terrible analogy.

Anyway, the point is, there's not much going on right now. Very run-of-the-mill stuff. The most exciting topic of late has been deciding how to spend our tax refund. DO YOU SEE WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT? TAX REFUNDS are the MOST EXCITING THING IN MY LIFE.

I think I need to do something daring. But someone else will need to come up with an idea for me, because when I brainstorm for daring ideas, I come up with wowzers like, "Take a continuing education class!," or "Go to a museum!" Clearly I need help.

Monday, February 04, 2008

For My Brother/Sister-in-Law's Book of Sorrows

I thought that doing our taxes for 2007 might be depressing, but not for this reason:

That was one of the questions in the community section of TurboTax. I mean, cripes. Shouldn't the government just give you a pass on taxes and do them for you if you have a baby that dies? Cripes twice.

Sorry about this post. I think it's kind of like The Ring. It was going to haunt me until I passed it on to someone else.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

What? What?

A mother shouldn't be jealous of her one-year-old. But when the audiologist and the ear/nose/throat doctor (ENT) were prodding her ears, I really, really wanted to trade places with her. See, I've noticed that Super Ninja hears the kids cry first at night, and I've been asking him to repeat himself often. If you know Super Ninja, you know that he's like Will Ferrell's Jacob Silj character. So the idea that I was telling that guy to repeat himself pushed me into a hearing exam.

First things first: each time I've proactively signed up for a medical appointment, I get weird looks from the medical staff. Each receptionist asks me, "What is the purpose of your visit today?" And I respond that I'm there just to get checked out. At the dermatologist, I thought it was time for someone whose gotten like a hundred sunburns in her lifetime to be examined. I didn't say anything about the melanoma imaginings I had, mind you. But she gave me the look nonetheless. You know, the one where you just know that the receptionist has passed judgment and has deemed you a hypochondriac. The ENT's receptionist did the same.

I guess most people respond by saying another doctor referred them. Or that they have football-sized, flaky red skin that's oozing pus. Or that their ears are falling off. I dunno.

When I was nineteen, I worked in a doctor's office and I filed the billion bits of paperwork that are links in the chain of a person's medical history. The bulk of these people came in because something was wrong. But none of them came there when they were healthy, which seemed silly to me. Sure, doctors know what's normal with most people. But how are they supposed to know what's normal for me unless they see me when everything's A-OK? It's all about data integrity, people.

So, yeah, back to the ENT. I've had a cold, off and on, for the past four months. One of the joys of having kids in the house who also go to daycare. I'm sure that my gummed up ears are a result of these common colds, but it's worth a check, right? When the heavily pregnant audiologist led me to me to the back room for a test, I was kind of giddy.

Then she sat me down and started the test. Groan. I like tests, too much. I want to do well on tests. When they are medical tests, I stop being rational. I just want to fall in the excellent range, even if it means that I'm not actually going to walk away with any treatment.

The main part of the test took place in a soundproof beige booth the size of, um, a phone booth (what? there aren't really any synonyms for booth). The audiologist plugged my ears with some tubes, bumping into my shoulder with her belly as she did so. She shut the door of the booth, and told me to tell her if I heard a beep. That was it.

I really wanted to hear those beeps that I was supposed to be hearing. I heard most of them, but there were definite pauses when I couldn't hear anything, and I knew, based on the rhythm of the previous beeps, that I should have been hearing them. I strained, and heard phantom beeps, but I didn't want to say I'd heard something if I really hadn't. If I'm going deaf at 32, I want to know it.

Turns out I have really good hearing, and the places where my fourth sense dips below normal is consistent with folks who are in the grip of a headcold. This, I think, just means that Super Ninja has excellent hearing, and I've been feeling deaf by comparison.

And really, it's not so bad that he hears the kids first, since that usually means that he's the one who tends to them.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Nine Year Itch

My wedding and engagement ring have been bothering me lately, so I yanked them off and found this horror show lurking underneath:

Before you tell me I should demand the appraisal papers from my husband to verify the quality of my symbols of fidelity, I've been married for nearly nine years and the rings have never bugged me before. I think my husband secretly thinks that wedding ring tattoos are sexy, and he's foisting something like that on me.

Wow, do I have stubby fingers, or what?