Friday, March 23, 2007


Three years ago today, a dear friend of mine lost a much-wanted pregnancy. I just wanted to let her know I was thinking of her. I remember shedding tears with her on the phone; I remember the sad emptiness of realizing that our little babes would not be growing up together; I remember feeling guilty that Bubba was still growing inside of me; I remember feeling astonished at her generosity of spirit when she said she felt guilty, somehow, because she felt that her loss would be frightening and depressing to me in light of my own pregnancy.

I haven't forgotten and never will.

I love you, sister.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

What Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up?

I met with my therapist yesterday. (Warning: Praise of my therapist, to the point of being sickening, will probably occur in this post.) We had a "big" session. I could tell it was big by how uncomfortable I felt during most of it. I knew I was, however lightly, bumping up against some things that I manage not to touch very often; things I need to bump up against and push through in order to live a happier, more fulfilling life.

The session began with a discussion about my unhealthy habits, particularly how I eat and the fact that I don't exercise. I came to realize that the main reason I eat is for pleasure--the immediate, no-strings-attached, no-work-involved, pure pleasure of eating something that tastes good. One of the many things I love about my therapist is that she leads me through issues so that I come to realizations myself rather than just telling me her opinion; this is exactly what she did when she asked me what the "medicine" of food was "treating" in me. I realized it's the general dissatisfaction, malaise, depression, boredom, etc. that I feel about my life, especially my job. So that's how, after a half an hour of intense therapy, I came to actually understand phrases like "emotional eating" or "filling a void with food." I truly never "got it" until yesterday. I thought I did, but I didn't.

My therapist and I discussed how I wasn't living the life I was, in her terms, "put here to live." She told me how I was here in this world to do something, and that my heart would tell me if I would listen to it. I found it hard to accept that I could actually be worthy of a "calling" (and am still working that idea around in my head)--but she explained to me that everyone has it, it's just whether or not they can listen for it. She said, "Imagine the rainbow without the color blue. It would be a completely different thing. That's the world without you."

She encouraged me to completely and fully fantasize about my "dream" life. What I would be doing, where I'd be doing it, how it would feel...imagine myself as if I were actually living it. Then, the hard part--start taking steps toward it, even little baby ones. One of the things we talked about was my fantasy of living on the beach, writing personal essays for a living, walking along the shore contemplating the big mysteries in life. "There are people who live that life," she said. "What's the difference between them and me?" I asked rather pathetically. "They're doing it," she said.

She noted that she felt that along with my fear of failure and anxiety about change lurked a darker force that she labeled "an ugly little troll that lurks in the backround and says 'why bother?'" I immediately recognized the troll and told her I instinctively felt that I didn't even want to talk to the troll (yes, we laugh at this stuff in therapy too, but still honor it) and she agreed that we shouldn't give him any energy. Instead she said, "just kick it away." Then she taught me a cool Sufi thing where you pretend to spit over your left shoulder, and it symbolizes getting rid of bad energy and the like.

So my homework this week is to fantasize. I feel naturally drawn to two areas: my writing, of course, which is what's fed my soul for as long as I've known how to do it; and my experience with Hope and my desire to help others who have gone or are going through similar experiences. I want to keep an open mind that these aren't the only two areas of myself that I can explore in my fantasizing, though. In many ways, I feel that these two aspects of my life/personality/experience do define me, but in other ways, they restrict me. I know there is more to who I am and I want to explore that too. And yet, the fact that those two things immediately draw me in must mean something, right? I don't know. I'm still working it out.

I do know that this is what I need to do to break through my general unhappiness and disappointment in life. I need to find a path in life that excites me, that feeds my soul, that provides a fulfillment that tastes better than Oreos or pizza rolls. If I don't, then the best I can expect for the rest of my life is more of the same.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Considerate Smoker's Manifesto Part II

"Guess what I did tonight," LilCherie asked while we were on the phone tonight. "I bought a carton of cigarettes." In the past, LilCherie has had a personal objection to buying a carton of cigarettes because it is an admission of smokitude that she just didn't want to make.

However, our governor signed a cigarette tax hike today that raises the cost of a pack of cigarettes by $1. The total tax on a pack of cigarettes in my state is now $1.36. How rude.

Thus, the Great Cigarette Run of 2007 was set in motion. After our call I ran out and got a couple cartons myself.

This pisses me off for more reasons than just having to spend more on my bad habit. First, there's all kinds of rhetoric being spewed about how the tax will make Iowa a healthier state, people will quit smoking, it will be good for you, Big Brother says. But it isn't about Big Brother's concern at all. If that were the case, cigarettes would be illegal. What it's really about is making money. Cigarette taxes are just an endless source of revenue for the government, and one that nobody can argue about. Well, people who smoke can argue...but everybody hates us anyway so it's not real effective.

According to this article, Governor Culver said: "With the signing of this bill, we are sending a bold message throughout the state and around the nation that Iowa takes the health care of its people, especially its kids, seriously." The article said Culver pledged the money, which was projected to raise $138 million in fiscal 2008,to expand health care coverage for children.

The idea that health care coverage for children in our state depends on people continuing to smoke rather disgusts me. Shouldn't we be able to take care of our children (and the rest of us, for that matter) with all the other taxes we pay? Isn't it a little slimy to basically say, through a tax hike like this, that we need people to keep smoking in order to give children in our state adequate health care?

Another article said "Culver said the higher taxes will help thousands of Iowans kick the increasingly expensive habit while raising money to expand health care programs." So if the taxes go up, causing thousands of people quit buying cigarettes, aren't we just going to be breaking even here? What if the tax is so successful that everyone just quits tomorrow? What about those poor kids without health care?

Pro-tax individuals would say that the reduction in smoking-related illnesses and medical costs would make up for the shortfall. I don't buy it. A lot of people who smoke pay taxes and pay their own health insurance premiums. Yes, maybe health insurance premiums go up because of people who smoke. They also go up because Cletus can't lay off the cheeseburgers, Rhonda insists on roasting herself in a tanning bed, Harold won't control his diabetes and Tiffany won't wear her seat belt. If people are so concerned about smoking-related medical costs, why not funnel the $138 million into adequate and effective smoking cessation programs? Why not? Because that would be helping those dirty, stinky, scum-of-the-earth smokers!

People in our state who smoke shouldn't have to shoulder the burden of caring for our state's children. Shouldn't this be a responsibility of every citizen? Wouldn't it be more fair to add a smaller tax onto everyone's income tax, or maybe increase the sales tax for everything just a little bit?

Now I'm going to really get myself into hot water, but the very fact that I have to pay for all the uninsured children in this state pisses me off. Don't get me wrong. I would be the first in line to support nationalized health care--for everyone. But in our current system, there are people like my husband's older sister, who hasn't worked a steady job her entire life, despite any real disability other than extreme selfishness. She's popped out her two kids, who, due to neglect and the probable prenatal drug use they were exposed to, will need "services" for the rest of their lives until they finally end up in jail or in "the system" like she is. I don't think my money--from my cigarettes, my steady job, or the goods and services I am able to pay for because of my steady job--should have to support that. It's a difficult issue because of course I don't want to see a sick kid go without medical care; but it's also hard to pay for it when I know there are people out there like my husband's sister. I'd be more supportive if the money went to increase social services to help those who really want to get off state aid do it. I'd rather have my cigarette money go toward building homes--yes, orphanages--so that those children who are being neglected and being cycled through the wheels of the welfare system could at least have a stable life and a chance to grow up away from the constant personification of irresponsibility.

In the end, there's nothing I can do about it. I won't quit smoking, I know that about myself. The revenue from the tax hike probably won't even go to help take care of children. It will probably go to such critically important projects like this one.

I guess it doesn't even matter all that much. We're all going to die from global warming anyway. Unless someone comes up with a way to reverse it and the government actually starts giving enough of a shit to do something about it...and as long as people keep smoking long enough to fund it.

Just a Lil Note to LilCherie my proofreading today, I found out this interesting fact:

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is THE major risk factor for cerebral hemorrhage.

Just thought you'd like to know.

Love ya!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Thanks Prednisone!

So Bubba has caught something new right on the tail of his last cold. He came down with a runny nose Sunday morning but was spry and lively, so J. went ahead and took him on their previously-scheduled lunch date with J.'s sister, who needs a name because I'll probably be mentioning her here, but I'll come up with that later. Since the death of their parents in 2000, she and J. have been basically estranged because of all the shit she did while liquidating the estate. Stuff like stealing $8,000 from the estate to buy a car; forging J.'s names on checks; stealing furniture for her own house; not showing up at appointed times to clean out the house; etc. Anyway, she's fat, depressed and in therapy now like the rest of us and is reaching out to J. to mend fences, and J.'s on board with that, and I'm happy for them all but just don't see the point of getting involved in it myself. So I send J. off on these dinners and lunches with a smile but I am still protecting myself until I see more of how this shakes out.

ANYWAY, J. took Bubba with him for lunch on Sunday with his sister. His sister owns horses, so Bubba got his first up-close-and-personal horse experience, at which point we found that he has inherited J.'s mild horse allergy. So on top of the minor sniffles he was experiencing already, Bubba started sneezing a little and rubbing his nose like crazy. When they came home, Bubba was sleeping and when he woke up, we could tell he was sick. He had a terrible night Sunday. He had the most pathetic, scary, mucous-filled cough and would wake up gagging and crying about every hour or so. We had to do a nebulizer treatment at 3 a.m. I was so freaked out with panic that I ended up staying awake until 5 a.m. just monitoring the situation and Googling croup, pneumonia, tracheobronchitis and epiglottitis. I was determined that we would take him to the doctor yesterday, but then on Monday with my mom and dad, he seemed to be much improved. However, about half an hour after the doctor's offices closed and Mom and Dad left, he started crying about his ear hurting. Dammit! I knew I should have taken him to the doctor even though J. and Mom thought he "just had a cold." I am almost always right about Bubba being sick but because I'm also neurotic I sometimes don't trust it.

So yesterday I slogged through a day of work on three hours of sleep and also went to our great family oto yesterday to confirm my self-diagnosed sinus infection/bronchitis, which he did promptly. I love our oto. He gave me a brief, encouraging, "I know we can get you to quit smoking!" talk but then said, "That's all I'm going to say about it. I'm not going to make you feel bad, I just feel that I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't say something." One thing I really like about Dr. C. is that he actually sat there for a few minutes silently, reviewing my chart and actually thinking about what he wanted to do next. I admire that so much more than a doctor who just tosses off recommendations for tests and throws a prescription at you. Anyway, he did a nasal swab (my teeth are still hurting from this violation of my tender sinuses) and is culturing my "pus" to make sure I get on an antibiotic that will kill my 'crobes. Hey, that sounds just like "microbes." Cool. Until then I'm on the z-pack/prednisone combo. I'll be going in in two weeks so he can see what my sinuses look like when I'm doing well. There will probably be some allergy testing somewhere down the road, some feeble attempts at controlling anything I'm allergic too, and many fruitless attempts to get me to stop smoking before it all fails and I have to have surgery. But we're not that far yet--although I did predict at New Year's that "this year's surgery" would be my sinuses. We'll see! I just want some relief!

I love prednisone. It provides almost immediate relief of my sinus pain with the added bonus of being an upper that allows me to be up at 3:30 in the morning blogging like crazy. It also gives me the weirdest dreams, which I'm going to relate here whether you want to read them or not, because I like to have them documented and this is really my journal these days. But you don't have to read them if you don't have time; I understand.

Last night's dreams were very disjointed, but included a trip back in time to J.'s parents' farm. In the dream, his mother was already dead but his father was still alive. This is often the case in my dreams about J.'s family, possibly because in real life, his mother had been dying for two years with brain cancer while his father just dropped dead one night. In the dream, I was involved in looking after a little boy--I don't know whose it was--and we were just roaming around the barns and having fun investigating all the farm stuff lying around. When we went back into the house, J's dad mentioned something about how clean the house was, but I couldn't take any credit because I knew I hadn't had anything to do with it.

Another bit of dream that is sticking with me today is this: J. and I were at a doctor's office, standing at a metal counter/table thing. An anonymous doctor presented us with several eggs that looked like small chicken eggs, and apparently, these were my lost pregnancies. (In real life, the only pregnancy that I know I lost was Hope; but I also know that many women conceive and miscarry so quickly they don't even know it, which might explain our Great Pregnancy Scare of 1991). Anyway, we were given the eggs so we could crack them open if we wanted to and possibly find out more about the babies we'd lost. The whole thing was extremely distasteful and scary to me in the dream, but we went ahead with the first three eggs, which were each brown and just a bit larger than a robin's egg. They were just like regular eggs when we cracked them open. Relieved by this, we went on to to the last two eggs, which, in contrast to the others, were white. With much reluctance and hesitation, I cracked them open, and inside each one was a little, white blob that looked like a little poached egg. In the dream I was repulsed and put them down and pretty much ran away from the table, crying. I told J. "I didn't know this would be so hard." That was the end of that.

Then I woke up and started this entry, which I'm finishing now at 9:11 a.m. at work just so I can get it posted. I ended up working on another post that I will hopefully finish soon as well. It will be a busy day for me--I have a very minor, kind of silly part-time job I'm going to learn about in about an hour or so, then I have a therapy appointment later today, and in between I need to do some work (imagine that!) Hopefully Bubba will do okay at daycare--he seemed much improved again this morning and never complained about his ear again...but also was very clingy and crying when I dropped him off. So we'll see what happens. Like I told J.--do you ever have a feeling that your day is going to be a trial from beginning to end? I feel that way today. OH WELL!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

It's 4 a.m. and nobody else is up so I have no choice but to ramble endlessly on my blog

So we've figured out why men's butts stink. Now let's tackle another of life's mysteries: why does a simmering illness always become acute, or a new illness always present itself, after 5 p.m. on Friday and usually before noon on Saturday, when all doctor's offices are closed and you still have the majority of the weekend to survive?

Yesterday I came home early from work because I was just so exhausted. I laid down at about 5 p.m. and, other than a few feeble attempts, did not wake up until 2:30 a.m. today. As I was hacking up the chunky shit from my lungs that had accumulated over the past 9 hours, and blowing the chunky shit out of my nose, and feeling pretty much like I might pass out because I had been too fucking tired to even eat anything substantial for the past day and a half, I concluded that yes, my extreme fatigue, coupled with the chunky shit, probably meant I did have a sinus infection for sure and possibly a touch of bronchitis. Gee, it only took me a week to figure it out!

Obviously I had some kind of clue because yesterday, before I fell into a coma, I called our family otolaryngologist and made an appointment for myself because of the almost constant sinus issues I've been experiencing for the past six months (amazingly, I got an appointment on Monday!) And I called in my refills for antibiotics and prednisone, which I got that last time I had a sinus infection. So really, a doctor probably couldn't do much more, but damn! I'm sick of being sick on the weekend.

I had bizarre dreams during my fugue state. In the first part of the dream, LilCherie and J. were with me and we were carousing around Amsterdam and met this group of guys who were also from America and were touring the city and playing a few clubs with their band. They weren't famous or anything, in fact, far from it. Anyway, you'll know this was a dream because the totally hot bass player actually kind of had eyes for me and we were really attracted to one another. We flirted extensively with one another but it never went any further than that.

Suddenly, the bass player and I were at Nigel's Mom's parents' house in the U.K. She had this perfect life (imagine that!) and I was incredibly jealous. She was there getting married and I was there for the wedding. I was hanging out in the living room with Bass Player and my cell phone rang--it was my friend Pioneer Girl. I realized through the course of the conversation that she and Bass Player were actually an item and that they were going to be getting married. I was crushed! Bass Player continued flirting with me in a harmless way and I couldn't resist flirting back even though I knew it was a shitty thing to do, given his relationship with Pioneer Girl.

So...the wedding occurs and it's actually a double wedding, ostensibly between Bass Player and Pioneer Girl and my friend Nigel's Mom and her fiance, but of course in the dream they look completely different. I'm lonely and sad and just waiting to come back to the U.S. the next day, but still kind of sad about coming back because Nigel's Mom's parents' house is so perfect and happy and wonderful. During the wedding, there's a delay and they need someone to "entertain the crowd," so I end up doing this bizarre song and dance number about Christmas in front of the crowd. I notice a few little girls dressed in red, white and blue, obviously from America, and I say something to them in solidarity towards America or something. Finally the wedding occurs, we go back to Nigel's Mom's Parents' house, where I pack and count out my Euros to figure out if I have enough petty cash for the airport the next day.

Next thing I know, I'm in a car with J., heading for the airport, but he's not my husband. He's married to someone else. I say to him, "Do you really love her more than you love me?" He looks at me like he doesn't quite know what to say, like he's contemplating lying, and then lets his guard down and says, "No, I don't. Isn't it funny the choices we make when we're young?" I smile at him and we ride the rest of the way in a kind of friendly, wistful silence, wondering what could have been.

The general feeling I had when I woke up, and now two hours later, is basically one of sadness, lost opportunities, and jealousy, along with a dash of warmth because two men actually loved me or were attracted to me in the dream. The whole dream really took me back to the days of my youth when J. and I were really infatuated with one another. God, it seems like a million years ago. In some ways I feel starved for that kind of attention and adoration. It makes me sad to know that I will likely never feel that again in my lifetime, and because of my choice to marry the first man who ever showed an interest in me, I only got to feel it once.

The feelings J. and I have toward one another now are so much more complex. There's so much baggage attached to it all. All the shit we've been through--his parents dying, my surgeries, Hope--in some ways they deepen a relationship and in other ways they weaken it. You spend so much time just trying to save yourself that it's difficult to focus on the other person, and then the self-centeredness becomes a habit that's hard to break out of. And yet you feel incredibly bound to one another because of all the struggle you've shared. It defines your relationship in a way you never expected, and it kind of puts a cloud over it. When most of the seminal events of your marriage have been incredibly traumatic, the whole relationship seems locked in survival mode, rather than a higher place of love and respect. If that makes sense.

Yet there are some things that remain constant through it all. When I think of the time before I started dating J., when I first became attracted to him, the thing I remember first is sitting in the school library before school, his group of friends and my group of friends horsing around with each other. He made me laugh so hard and so much that I would leave after a half an hour with my face actually hurting. And through it all, I doubt there's been more than a few days here and there when he hasn't made me laugh, even during our darkest times. And I know deep down that I would rather have laughter than cheesy romance. I guess it's just human nature to want we don't have.

There have been three times in my life where I've felt that a dream of mine has actually come true, fully and completely. The first was when J. asked me out for our first date. The second was when I found out I was pregnant with Hope. The third was the day I gave birth to Bubba. When you really think about it, I'm pretty fucking fortunate to have had those three moments.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Help Me Choose My Glasses

Okay, for those of you who don't know me, this might be a little more tough because you can't picture the face to go with them...but just keep in mind that I know this shape looks good on me, I just want to know which ones you think are the coolest!

Enjoying the moment

Okay, brace yourselves....this will be a gushy, mushy post about my son. It's about time, huh?

Yesterday we had our first "parent-teacher conference" with Bubba's primary childcare provider, Christina. I put it in quotes because it seems so funny to have a parent-teacher conference for a two-year-old, but that's what they call it, and I guess that's what it is.

Anyway, Bubba got a glowing report. Really, it couldn't have been much better. Here are some of the comments Christina wrote on her report:

"Bubba seems to be doing great with separation from Mom and Dad in the mornings. Bubba does great with our schedule and is always excited to move on to the next activity."

"I think Bubba has a great sense of independence! He is able to play by himself and do things for himself, or at least try to. He has a great relationship with all of the teachers and children. Bubba is very kind to his friends."

"Bubba loves to try new things! He is always the first child in line when we get the sensory table out or get ready to do any new activity. He transitions well from one activity to the next."

We asked about Bubba's speech because it's one of those things we are just constantly worried about, and she said that compared to the other kids, he is well within the normal range. She said Bubba has a "ton" of words, it's just difficult sometimes for him to pronounce them, while on the other hand, some kids in his class can pronounce their words perfectly but don't have that many.

I also asked about tantrums, since that's an area we have difficulty with. She said he usually has one or two meltdowns a day, just like every other kid in the classroom. She also said he is a very happy kid and that they really enjoy having him in the room.

This caps off a week where I've really been enjoying Bubba a little bit more than usual. We began a couple new strategies this week that seem to be working well, for now anyway. When we do time outs, instead of having him sit in a chair, we have him stand with his face in the corner. When he was in the chair, he would just laugh at us like it was a game. However, he hates standing with his face in the corner with a passion, so we usually only have to do it for about 20 seconds before he's ready to listen and do what he's supposed to do. A side benefit of him really hating it is that we can threaten the time out and it actually alters his behavior. Score!

Another new strategy we've been using at bedtime is locking ourselves in the bedroom with Bubba. I think Aurelia suggested that--thank you! We lock the door, turn out the light and get settled, and then have minimal interaction with Bubba. Usually he jumps down and runs to the door, realizes it's locked, has a mini-meltdown and then comes back over asking to be put back in bed. Then he goes to sleep. Last night, he didn't even get down out of the bed, and didn't cry about bedtime. It was lovely! Our next step will be to get him a real-sized bed for his room and start the process in there. We just can't afford to shell out $500 for a new mattress set right now.

The last thing I only tried last night but it worked, so I'll be using it more to see if it has staying power. He decided to play with his cars rather than read stories, and when it got time to go to bed he didn't want to stop. I happened to have the alarm clock right there so I set it to go off in five minutes and told Bubba that when he hears the buzzer, it's time to put the cars away and go to bed. I reminded him a couple times during the five minutes, and when the buzzer went off, he looked up kind of startled, grabbed his blankie, and ran to the bedroom. It was like magic. I hope it keeps working.

Beyond the discipline stuff, he's just been fun this week. I noticed that he no longer says "Meese" anymore and now says "Please." He also learned "Okay" this week and uses it all the time, and it's just so cute. He likes to sit with me on the couch while he watches his movies, and he puts his blankie over me and says "Share!" The other day I was on the phone with my sister and he obviously didn't want me to be, so he came over and said "Ma all done talk." Last night, the weather was finally nice enough to go outside for awhile so we all went out and took a walk, saw the neighbor's dog, and played with the foam swords and the ball in the backyard. When we were getting ready to move from the front yard to the back yard, he started saying goodbye to everything. "Bye stick! Bye tree! Bye sky! Bye Randy's house! (our neighbors)." It was just so freakin adorable!

I've been going to bed with him a lot this week, mostly because J.'s been out doing things at bedtime and I've been really tired (still trying to figure out if I have a sinus infection, bronchitis, or what), and in spite of all the struggling to get him to settle down, it's kind of nice, because when he's just about ready to fall asleep, or when he's waking up, he'll stroke my face and say "Hi Ma," in this really soft, lovely little voice, or he'll come over and want to snuggle.

It seems like he is going through a "growing up phase" where suddenly, this week, he seems a lot older. It always makes me a little bit sad because I feel like I haven't really enjoyed the time up to now. I mean, I know I tried my best at the time, but in retrospect my memories always seem very blurry, very vague, and peppered with a lot of the struggle rather than the joy. I think I will continually be striving to "enjoy the moment." I think I have something to learn from Trish on that.

For right now, I am enjoying the moment. It might change tonight when we are fighting with him to get his jammies on or trying to force some food down his throat, but right now, I feel all warm inside and happy and proud of my boy. I love how friendly he is to other people (the other day, he got wanted me to roll the window down in the car so that he could say "Hi!" to some anonymous person riding a bike right next to us). I love how he really knows and loves members of our extended family, including our friends -- he is obsessed with a little photo we have of LilCherie and her family, and last night when I made the mistake of speculating out loud about how we should go to the cabin with them, he got all excited and started saying LilCherie's son's name over and over. He wanted to go right then! I love how every time I'm on the phone, he says "Tingle?" (well, not actually Tingle, but her name, which she probably doesn't want me to reveal. But it's very cute the way he says it), or when he looks at the photo we have on the door from when we went to Cleveland he says "Di-so-bows" (dinosaur bones) and then says "Unc-Tingle's husband's name?" I love how he calls me "Ma." I love how I end up doing ridiculous things for him, like running around while he chases me with a sword and then yelping when he gets me, or dancing like a dork to the Doodlebops song because he has commanded "Ma dance!"

There have been times when I've thought, oh my god, we still have 15 more years before he leaves the house! Then there are other times when I think, we only have 15 more years with him until he leaves the house! I hope we make those years fun ones. I hope we don't screw him up too bad. I hope he'll want to come back once he does leave. And I hope he'll still call me Ma.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Why Men's Asses Stink So Bad

Inspired by Tingle's comment on my last post, I decided to put a few theories out there. Here are my thoughts.

Why Men's Asses Stink So Bad
1. They're too lazy to wipe their butts adequately after a dump.
2. After they take a dump, if not interrupted, they sit there for an average of 25 minutes reading a magazine. I posit that during this time, poo particles crust onto their skin and are not removed due to the inadequate wipe, which leads us to....
3. Later, rehydrated by the man's sweat, the particles release themselves into the underwear, causing the all-too-familiar skidmark and emitting that familiar odor of butt.
4. They purposely cultivate a little shitgarden down there just to annoy us.
5. They're too lazy to actually bend over or use soap in the crack area during their 30-second showers.
6. More hair down there (see #2 --ha ha, get it?--of this post.)
7. It helps them recognize each other in the wild.
8. The jalapeno burger for lunch, the Triple X chili at the Superbowl Party, Tabasco sauce on everything, the strange desire to prove to other men that they can eat something that's really adds up.
9. Moist farts.
10. Their ability to go an entire weekend without showering or shaving--and still leave the house and carry on with their normal business--even when they are completely healthy.
11. It's a diversionary tactic to try to get us to stop asking them about their feelings.

I know you all must have some good ones to add to this list. Let's hear 'em!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Just Another Post of Bitching About How Shitty My Life Is

I've been trying, really trying, to be compassionate and understanding. It's what my therapy is all about these days, and for awhile it really seemed to be working--my relationship with J. really seemed to be on an upswing. I felt hopeful and optimistic. Then J. got depressed and it seems all the progress I thought we made went out the window.

I still want to be a compassionate person, so I'm still trying. But damn, it's hard. I've been sick, more or less, for the last two weeks and still, J. has done little to nothing to help out around here. A few examples: While J. worked Saturday morning, I watched Bubba and did all the laundry--at least five loads. It got backed up waiting for things to dry so when J. came home I asked if he could keep it going. This meant he would need to dry and bring up two loads of laundry. Nope, he didn't do it. I even had to rewash a load yesterday because it had gotten sour. I didn't complain or bitch. I just did it and stomped around so he'd know I wasn't pleased. He didn't even say he was sorry.

The only other thing I asked him to do this weekend was clean his shit stains out of the toilet on Saturday before the babysitter (that he'd hired so he could go to the casino with his friends while I did Girl's Night) came over. Said he would; I ended up doing it Sunday night.

Awhile back, I nagged at J. about a hundred times to not leave his meds right next to the edge of the counter where Bubba can get them. Finally, I had to tape a bright orange sign on the counter next to his meds saying "Please Place Meds Away From Counter Edge." Now he's good about that, but he leaves lighters all over the place. So now I've had to nag at him a million times not to do that, and he still does. Today I found one on the floor next to the couch. I suspect it fell out of his pocket, but jesus! We have a two-and-a-half-year-old for crying out loud! On a similar note, yesterday Bubba grabbed J.'s razor off the counter and tried to "shave" with it. No harm done because I caught it in time, but now this is something new I'll have to yell at J. about. He does shit like leave the computer charger plugged into the wall but not the computer, so if Bubba happened to find it, he could easily electrocute himself. This is ridiculous. I should not be the only one thinking about Bubba's safety.

J.'s cell phone does not work properly. This is kind of a sore spot anyway, because when he got a cell phone (about 2 years ago now, I think) he decided he must have the new Razr phone, even though it cost him like $200 or something when he'd just borrowed $300 from me because he couldn't make ends meet. He also got it from a different provider than I have, so we can't call each other for free (he did this because of their "awesome" deal on the Razr.) Then, not too long after he got it, it began malfunctioning. Many times, it doesn't ring, so he doesn't know if I'm calling or not. I also cannot leave a voice mail message because J. has never gotten around to setting up his mailbox. So I can call and call and call and he may or may not realize I'm calling. At least 50 to 75 percent of the time I cannot reach him. Yet he still doesn't go get it fixed or replaced. Plus, he doesn't answer his phone at work if there's a customer in his office. So if there ever was a real emergency, my chances of reaching him are at around 25 percent.

J. is the primary user of our car, since I often ride the bus when the weather is halfway decent. The thing is like a garbage can on wheels. Old bags of fast food, empty cigarette boxes, lighters all over the place, the miscellaneous sock here and there, half-filled sippy cups full of old milk. It stinks and it is disgusting. I've cleaned it out myself many times but it ends up like this in a matter of days, and no matter how much I complain it does no good. And, in fact, Sunday night he bitched at me for leaving a shopping bag of stuff in the back of the car, which had been there for exactly 7 hours.

Likewise, his room--which I've talked about here before--is such a disaster that I can't sleep in there anymore, and I've told him this, but it makes no difference.

My dad actually had a discussion with me last week about how he notices that J. doesn't do a damn thing around here and that he was getting disgusted about it and wanted to give J. a piece of his mind. I managed to thwart that from happening, since I know it won't do any good, but I don't blame him. My mom and dad come out every Monday to watch Bubba, and dad almost always does some shit that J. should be doing, like taking back the recycling or doing yardwork, and J. just lets it go again. Even my dad is getting frustrated with it. To top it all off, whenever my parents do something around the house, J. gets embarrassed and says "they really shouldn't do that stuff. Tell them not to do that stuff anymore." Well, I'm not going to tell them, because I need some fucking help around here! I don't have the time or the energy to clean the entire house, do all the laundry, do all the grocery shopping, do all the cooking, watch Bubba AND clean the garage, take back the recycling, clean out the car, mow the lawn and shovel the walk.

I don't know how to deal with this. I've set him up with a therapist. I think it was helping him, even though a lot of their conversations seemed to be about movies and music; but recently he decided things were going "so well" that he would wait to make the next appointment. It's been about three weeks now and he hasn't gone. I pretty much forced him to see a psychiatrist and cajoled him to take medication, which he now does willingly...but it's just not enough. You have to want to change and it takes a little bit of goddamn effort. I'm really disappointed because things were going so well there for awhile--and now I realize that it wasn't a real change, just another upswing on the bell curve that is our relationship. I find myself wondering if I could have done better. I find myself wondering if I would be better off now if only I had had the self-esteem when I was younger to be able imagine that someone else could find me attractive. Now I pretty much assume that if we get divorced, I'll just be single forever...and truthfully, that doesn't sound so terrible.

Well, I guess I've just written another post "bitching about how shitty my life is" as J. would say. To keep with my earlier promise, now I will try to think of something funny or lighthearted to post. Okay, this falls into the category of dark humor...which happens to be my favorite category. I hope you find it as amusing as I did.

My bus friend, Martha, was telling me that her elderly father died in January. He was an asshole, so she was pretty much okay with it and relieved. Anyway, she said it was apparently a bad week in his town, because the funeral home was hoppin'. When she went there to find out when her father could be cremated, the funeral home director said: "Well, since you're not having a visitation or anything...we might be able to squeeze him in."

Friday, March 02, 2007


J. just called with the devastating news that Nate won't be able to make it tonight. He is writing a paper and it's not going as well as he'd hoped and he has to get it in by the end of the day--like midnight--tonight. I'm still hoping he might get a burst of inspiration, get it done, and be able to come over...but it's not looking good.

I'll probably still make chili.


Like Chili (or Lasagna?) for Chocolate

Today I decided to take the day off. It's snowy, windy and cold; my
sinuses are really congested and I'm blowing chunky shit out of my nose; I have a touch of the diarrhea; and, frankly, I just needed a day at home by myself and this is the only way I'm going to get it! Obviously, I don't feel 100 percent, but I feel well enough to enjoy a little time to myself.

The good news for the day is that Nate is coming over tonight to play videogames with my husband! Yesterday, I asked J. if he had anything fun planned for the weekend. He said no, so I said "Why don't you see if Nate wants to come over tomorrow night?" He teased me about my Nate-lust and then said it did sound like a good idea. Nate got back to him this morning and said he'd like to come over. Oh, joy! I told J. on the phone that I was kind of feeling weird now because J. knows about my lust. J. responded, "C'mon! It's your dream double team, isn't it?" Or something like that. I'm glad he can have a sense of humor about it. I just find it better to upfront about stuff like this, because I'm a terrible liar and trying to conceal anything from J. feels very wrong to me and infringes on my enjoyment.

So....anyway...I'm planning to make a lasagna to feed my men tonight. I always have some anxiety about fixing food for someone I don't know very well. I don't know that I've ever met someone who hates lasagna...but still, I'm always worried that I'll make the one thing they can't stand and then they'll feel like they have to eat it. Many years ago, when I was fresh out of college and working at my first "real" job at a smalltown newspaper, I had to interview a woman who had won an award from, I believe, the Egg Council or something, for her breakfast casserole recipe. Yes, this was worthy of a feature story in this town of 1500 people, most of whom were related to one another.

Anyway, I get there for the interview and she sits me down at the table and brings out a steaming dish of her award-winning egg and sausage creation. Now I abhor eggs. I hate them. I hate the way they look, I hate the way they smell, I hate the way they taste, I hate the boogery texture of them in my mouth, I hate the fact that they are pooped out of a chicken. I once stopped eating pancakes for an entire year because I found a microscopic piece of cooked egg white peaking out from inside of one. It's almost a phobia.

What did I do? I briefly contemplated telling her I had an allergy, but she was just too sweet. So I snarfed it down as quickly as I could to get it over with and tried not to be too obvious about the fact that I wasn't chewing much and was drinking a lot. I'm still scarred. I never want anyone to feel that way in my house, so I really do my best to serve stuff that usually has universal appeal, rather than breaking out the Mexican Meatloaf or any kind of casserole (those often gross me out, too, unless I've made it and know what's in there).

I could also make chili; I have a really mean veggie chili recipe that has won universal raves when I've served it at potlucks and such, and what man doesn't like chili? I honestly can't think of one; can you? Let me know what you think--lasagna or chili? Which dish better says "Please come back and visit us again so I can feast my eyes on your hot bod, laugh at your sexy sense of humor and fantasize that my awesome cooking will just make you lose control and fuck me?"

I'm such a freak.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Laugh and the World Laughs With You

The other night, I read some of my wittier, in my opinion anyway, posts from this blog. He listened half-heartedly and when he looked like he was about to fall asleep I stopped and then we fought for awhile about how I wasn't being "understanding" enough about his depression. Anyway, he made the comment that "all your blog is is bitching about how shitty your life is."

I've kind of been thinking about that lately and while I don't totally buy it, I do believe I need to sprinkle in some more lighthearted or funny posts here and there. In an effort to make this blog more enjoyable and maybe even improve my own mood, I am committing to attempting to include a funny, lighthearted, cute or otherwise warm and fuzzy anecdote with every post. Unless, of course, the post itself is funny, lighthearted, cute or otherwise warm and fuzzy, in which case that would be redundant. Or whatever. You know what I mean.

As part of my job, I encounter a lot of names. Not as many as a telemarketer or a salesmen, but a goodly amount. A few years back, I decided to start keeping a list of real names that were really funny. My husband got on board awhile ago because he also encounters a lot of names in his line of work.

My criteria for the list is simple. Is it someone’s real name, and is it funny? If so, it’s on. Even just a little chuckle counts. I’d really like to post it here but I’m afraid someone might Google themselves and find me and boy, that would be great, huh? Plus, someday I might publish a bathroom reader of funny names and I don’t want to give them all away here, right?

But I will tell you the one my husband sent to me today. I feel okay putting this one up because it’s the first two initials, coupled with the last name. I can put it out there without feeling like I’m compromising someone’s identity.

B.J. Belcher.

J.’s comment on this name was “ick.”

Just so you don’t think I’m a total bitch, I did have a really difficult, embarrassing last name when I was growing up, so I have enough karma built up that I can make fun of people’s names with impunity.