Saturday, August 29, 2009

In which I take entirely too long to get to the point, which is that I was wrong and my husband was right

I love crossword puzzles. You might even call it an unholy obsession. It is a deep enough passion that I regularly risked my mother's ire by finishing the crossword in the daily newspaper before she got home from work. And my handwriting was atrocious, so she couldn't finish any clues I couldn't solve, even she had wanted to. She played the "it's my paper, I paid for it" card, so I had no choice but to continue solving the puzzles, only using very light pencil. Sometimes it is a mighty fine thing that your architect father has an electric eraser.

About a year ago, my husband bought me a Nintendo DS, and the heavens opened, the NY Times Crossword Puzzles game. I began dreaming in crosswords, much the way you do when you play too much Tetris. My children went shoeless, snackless, clothesless, while I searched for a 15 letter phrase that meant the opposite of abandoned.

In addition to this crossword thing, there is one other thing you need to know about me. I lose things. All the time. Rory once missed school because I couldn't find my car keys. Once, those damn keys remained lost for over a year, only to turn up in a box of screwdrivers in the closet under the stairs.

So I lose things. I'm good at it. And it drives Tyler crazy. Because he sets up systems, places for me to put my shit so that I won't lose it, and I still lose it. Like that day that Rory missed school? The car keys were hanging from the purse hook and not the key hook. It took me 2 hours to find them.

About 5 months ago, Tyler borrowed my DS game system. And that was the last day I saw my beloved game.

I had it. He took it. And it was gone.

So logically, my mind went like this: You lost my game.

And I may have told others that he lost my game. Even after he tore the house apart looking for it, while I sat aside, secure in my belief that the last person who touched it was him.

I know, you can see where this is going, can't you?

On our recent vacation, Tyler insisted that I buy 2 new games - Scrabble (so that my sister and I could attempt to for once play a non-full-body-contact version of the game, although he did permit us to throw things at each other) and the USA Today Crossword Puzzles game. "It's no NY Times," he said, "But it's better than what you have now."

Because my husband is a good man.

Maybe I bitched and moaned and made parenthetical comments about how I wouldn't need this new game if someone hadn't lost my other, perfect game.

Maybe I don't deserve him.

Because when we got home, he had occasion to look for something in the death pit I call my purse. What was that bag that Hermione gave everyone in Book 7? That holds entirely more than it should be able? That's my purse.

And while checking all 32 pockets in that purse, Tyler found my game.

Of course he did.

So to my husband, I apologize. I apologize for every time I accused you of losing my game. Both to your face and behind your back. You were right - you gave it to me, and I lost it. And while you insisted it was somewhere on my Bermuda Triangle of a desk, you were still right.

Mark down the date and time, because I don't easily admit that. Like, ever.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Best Day Ever

Yesterday on the looong car ride home (time-bendingly made longer by a 3 year old screaming for 40 miles. And kicking. And hitting), Rory had the following best idea ever:

Ror: Mom! You know what is the best holiday ever? The SpongeBob and Cereal Day!
Me: Hmm?
Ror: Yeah, and it's tomorrow! You have to watch SpongeBob all day and eat nothing but cereal. It's going to be awesome.

And so it is.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Care and feeding of the Pogudy Beasts

Last year, my parents were gracious enough to come spend some time with my monkeys while Tyler and I enjoyed our first kid-free vacation/second honeymoon (um, 9 years late). I wrote up some instructions for the grands to help them survive the 3 days with Rory and Brigit. Here's a sampling, copied verbatim - I really do speak to my parents this way. I am the worst child.

Wake up:
Rory - 6:30 AM
Get him juice and turn on the TV for him - you can get extra sleep before he demands breakfast.
[Am I not the perfect mother?]
Brigit - when she starts screaming

Lunch and Dinner suggestions:
Rory will eat or not eat what you give him. It is 100% ok to feed them what you are having - he'll complain (maybe) but life's tough all over. When in doubt, give him a banana.

Nap for B - after lunch - put in crib. Walk away.

Bath - Make sure to give them a 5 minute warning when it's time to get out. Less screaming this way.
Teeth - Rory can brush his own, despite what he says.

Stories -
After B's 3rd story, she's going to say "again" or more." Be firm. Give her kisses, pick her screaming ass up out of the corner of her closet and put her in her bed. Turn on night-light-man. Walk out. Ignore screams. Trust me.

You'd think my parents didn't survive three daughters of their own. Three girls. Three potential Brigits. They are saints. Except when they laugh hysterically at Brigit's challenging behavior. I believe my mother's cackling claim is, "Karma is a bitch." Well, so am I, mom.

The Ongoing Saga of Zipper

Apparently, Zipper (aka Brigit's bum, because who doesn't name their body parts and then create entire separate lives for them??) has been experiencing an uptick in visitors lately. We have Zipper conversations daily (which, by the way, you're welcome for not sharing the exact same story every single freakin' day) but this morning, there were some new parties. It seems that times are tough for Goblin, what with the needing to use a little ladder to get that muddy snowball in position, so Goblin has taken on help. In the form of a dog and a wolf. I'm not sure exactly what the dog and wolf do, they may help with the chicken eggs that become Zipper's babies (I couldn't make this shit up). Details to be added as soon as I figure out what in the hell is going on.

So, since I don't have details, and I hate to deprive my mom and dad of their "OMG, I'm glad that this is our granddaughter and not our daughter" stories, here is last night's gem. Which, honestly, pains me to share. Because I do not like scatological humor. But these are the facts, ma'am.

Brigit: Oooone.
Brigit: Twoooo
Brigit: Threeee

Me: Brigit, you can count!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Teenage Poet Diaries - 1

Today my nerves are raw, my teeth are gnashing at the edge, and I feel certain that anything that comes out of these fingers, I will regret later. For they are not true, they are at best impostors to my feelings, colored by emotions.

And so, I unearthed a journal, an essay book given to me by my writing instructor, in the summer between junior and senior years of high school. I was 16 and a "poet." I was dark, and drama, and angst. I was a poem in the back pocket. Words in my head. Unrequited love, committed to lines. I was every bit as obnoxious and pretentious as that all sounds. (And apparently a little too in love with ee cummings and his lack of punctuation. God forbid I write anything clear.)


like a line
flows across the page of life
like a highway-
broken at times
just over the next hill
but always there.

I search, seek,
am left anxious
When desired most
peace recedes
not to be yearned for
but needed.

I crouch on the floor
marker in hand
tracing qualities.
Concerns vacation
unreturned calls
broken promises

Clear in mind and conscience.
serene ink runs onto the paper
and makes a person.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Politics of office doors

I've been lucky, I guess, to have always had a door in my workplace. I've never been stuck in a cube farm, always had the security of 4 walls and a door, behind which I can make private phone calls to doctors about, say, this inconvenient need to pee all g'damn day long.

But as with all things in the office place, there need to be some rules. When you have a door, the status of the door provides a built-in code, an indicator of my willingness to talk to you. (Because that's the kind of bitch I am.)

So here is my Rosetta Stone of Office Doors.

At my former place of employment (lovingly referred to as Soul-Sucking Mega-Corporation), there was a door and four walls, leading to the following door positions and meanings:

  • Door open - Come on in! Distract me from these error codes!
  • Door ajar - Knock first, please.
  • Door ajar and I have a headset on - I'm on the phone - speak softly.
  • Door closed - Knock but don't be surprised if I don't answer. I'm either out or sleeping under my desk.
  • Door closed and whirring noise escaping from the cracks - For the love of God, leave me alone. I am pumping, and trust me, this conversation is every bit as uncomfortable for me as it is for you.

At my new pretty place of employment (referred to as Pretty Pretty Place Where I Work for the Pretty Pretty People), there are four walls, a door, and a window, with a blind, leading to additional much more complicated door meaning algorithms.

  • Door closed + blinds up or open - Knock and wave. I'll either gesture you in or ignore you pointedly.
  • Door closed + blinds closed - I'm busy plotting ways in which to remove you from this pretty place of business. Don't panic, panicking will not help.
Ok, so that last one probably isn't true. Maybe.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Nothing but Canadians and trouble

Scene: Family room, looking at The Little Duckling.

Ty: Yum, I'd eat a duck.
Ror: Really?
Ty: And a goose too.
Ror: Why?
Ty: People eat ducks and geese.
Ror: Even Canadians?

Scene: Driving Brigit to preschool

Brigit: Mommy, I'm kicking your bag!
Me: Why?
Brigit: To get in trouble.
Me: Um, why?
Brigit: Because I'm a girl.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The finger ... of shame

I got scoped out at the grocery store this afternoon. Well, I think? I did. I'm usually obtuse about this sort of thing. Really, really obtuse.

But this afternoon, I saw it. I mean, I SAW it.

I was walking down the soda/beer aisle with Brigit, because she enjoys a good brew from time to time. I'm trying to introduce her to the good local brews, but she has a strange fascination with the Belgian ales. Personally, I think they taste skunky, but what are you going to do? She has a mind of her own. Almost-three year olds these days, I tell you.

So I'm loading up the cart with soda (diet, oh thank you, bastard diabetes) when Brig starts playing a shy game of peek-a-boo with a man down the aisle. He had just gotten his six pack and was going back to his cart. He started talking to Brigit. She instantly fell in love and started telling him all about her stuffed dog, Buddy. I was observing, mostly because Brig makes me laugh when she plays shy. Because it is so counter to her normal kick-ass attitude.

And then it happened.

He looked at my hand. LOOKED looked. Checked me out.

Now, given that I am wearing an old bleach-stained Minor Threat concert t-shirt (real old school, not Old Navy old school) and a pair of jeans, about which the most flattering review was "do not look like mom jeans," and my hair was tied in a knot (literally, a knot), I'm pretty sure I know why he was looking.

I do not wear a wedding band.

For those of you playing along at home (hi, Mom!), I have been married for 11 years. My children, while entirely capable of being monstrous, were not born of out wedlock.

I do not wear a wedding ring because, well, I can't fit my old, blessed ring over my finger. Within 6 weeks of being pregnant with Brig, my joints had swollen beyond that pretty white gold's capacity. And either my lower finger joint really retains pregnancy weight or my fingers are just permanently fat, whichever it is, I still cannot wear it.

Over the years, I've gotten some looks. Some when I was heavily pregnant with Brig and accompanied by Ror. Some when I had both kids in tow. It happens at grocery stores and at schools.

And it's ridiculous. Whether or not I am married has no bearing on my ability to parent my children. Whether or not my children are "illegitmate" does not change the people that they are, who they will grow into. Whether or not I am a single mother is a not matter to be judged by a guy in the grocery store.

What he could have judged was whether my daughter was clean. (Yes) Dressed. (Yes, in a dress, even) Harmed. (No - except that she'd not 5 minutes earlier twirled into the cart and got a divot in her forehead) Being berated or beaten (No)

I admit to judging parents. Based on their treatment of their children. How they interact with them. How they handle (or mishandle) them.

But as for the rest of it, have we not grown past this? The 50's era assumption game?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Rory's reading

Rory is reading a dinosaur book. To himself. Which is awesome. But which also leads to conversations like this:

Rory: Mom, what's this word?

Me: Which?

Rory: The f-word.

Me: Um, furry?

Tyler: There's a post in that.

The Weight of Memory

When I was a child, my mother threw a brush in the family camp shower and broke it.

When I was a child, I got lost in the mall. My mother spanked me when she found me. And then cried and hugged me.

When I was a teenager, deep in the throes of a bitch fight with my older sister, my mother called us both bitches.

When I was a child, my mother put my hair in a pony tail every day. She twisted the tail before securing it with a band. I believed this made it more secure.

When I was a child, we made pies for every holiday. I would sit in the kitchen and watch as my mother rolled out the crust, pressing it into the pie plate, trimming the edges. She always gave me the extra dough.

When I was a child, we had a nightly ritual of cuddling, one-on-one with my mother. She never turned down a cuddle request. And it was the first thing she did when we were cranky.

When I was a teenager, trapped in my own angst, my mother decided that what I needed was not medicine or hospitalization, but hugs. And chocolate. She renamed Hershey’s Kisses to Hershey’s Hugs, so I could have hugs while she was away.

What are the memories that my children will hold when they have grown and gone on?

Will Rory remember that I yelled at him when he wouldn’t try his first karate class? Will Brigit remember the times our wills clashed and we were both crying? Will they remember every time that I have been too stressed to parent them beyond food and shelter?

Or will they remember the hugs, the stories, the silly faces. Swinging on the tire swing at the castle park? Dancing to Mambo Italiano in the kitchen?

What we remember, and what we forgot, are our stories – each has its own weight.