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the latest waddle:

good morning, wordpress - 10:36 a.m. , 2009-07-03

elaborate murder attempt - 2:56 p.m. , 2009-07-01

building a tractor in the basement - 10:42 a.m. , 2009-06-19

ask no questions tell just a few lies - 3:17 p.m. , 2009-06-09

my long lasting flavor really lasts long - 1:10 p.m. , 2009-06-04

2005-02-23 ... 1:42 p.m.

To: Mimi Smartypants
From: Fascist Jackboots Stomping On The Faces Of Wage Slaves Forever
Re: Your Attempt To Make Your Work Environment Pleasant

An electric kettle was noticed in your office. As you know, such devices are fire hazards and are prohibited in the workplace (see Employee Handbook blah blah dot blah, section blah). Please remove it immediately or further action will be taken.

Goodbye multiple cups of Earl Grey a day, it's been fun. Hello inefficiency and time wastage, as I head down to the employee microwaves and stand there watching a mug of water go around and around, only to be rewarded with bad, flat-tasting tea. I could procure "hot water" from a "hot water dispenser" on the cafeteria's coffee machine and put my teabag in that, but the hot water wouldn't be hot. And it would taste like coffee. When I wanted tea.

Is this some kind of conspiracy to get me to switch hot, caffeinated beverages? To get me to buy coffee every day like the rest of America? I like coffee, in its place. Its place is a 24-hour diner, next to a big slice of chocolate cake, or when I want some hot caffeine on the go (in my head, coffee is the appropriate beverage for a moving vehicle). But I want tea, I need tea daily, particularly when I have to produce or edit or format text (meaning: all day every day).

I'm tired of fighting the anti-tea overlords. I know I should organize and not mourn, but even Che came in from the jungle eventually. These tea-hating bastards have me up against the wall.

I could always give up on hot beverages entirely, and join Nora in her love of monkey head juice.


Lately I have been bumming out slightly on all the Big Issues of parenting, not so much the work/home divide (my brain seems to have come to terms with that), but something much weirder. A shamefully large part of my brain seems to want Nora to exist in a fairytale happyland. Secretly, I want her to curl up on my lap like a kitten; I want her to smile up at me, roll over, and go to sleep instantly; I want her to want the things I want so that we are never in conflict.

It's perfectly ridiculous for me to get so sad and weepy whenever she frustrates me with her perfectly normal toddler behavior; if that's the worst I can come up with, I should be jumping for joy. But it never fails. Nora does something she's not supposed to do (like look right at me and pour bathwater over the side of the tub, onto the bathmat, three seconds after I reminded her not to), I react (often textbook-appropriately, like telling her "no" and that if she does it again bathtime will be over, and then following through if necessary), she reacts to my reaction (by grumping or maybe even crying for maybe a whole minute: oh my stars and garters, somebody help me, my child was somewhat unhappy for a minute!), we move on with our lives, and then later that evening I will spend entirely too much time wandering around in the abandoned produce market of my mind, amongst bins of moldy Guilt Melons and bags of wrinkly Despair Grapes and rotten heaps of Sad Potatoes, while the fluorescent lights flicker overhead.

Seventy percent of this self-indulgent maudlin mood can be blamed entirely on Menstruation Week and its attendant lack of birth control pills (Oh hormones! How I love them! Please, medical science, let me stay on them forever and ever!) The other thirty percent is all me, and how hard I am on myself about every little thing, including emotions. Maybe I didn't listen to my Free To Be You And Me album enough as a kid, but I honestly don't subscribe to the notion that all emotions are valid. I think some emotions are stupid, particularly the irrational ones that don't lead you anywhere. What benefit can there be to my endless-loop mindfucking about whether I am doing the best I possibly can with Nora? Which in turn leads to a lot of self-castigation about the very fact of the mindfucking itself, because how snotty-privilege first-world mommy can I get, to even have the luxury of thinking (and writing) about things like discipline and language milestones and how much I truly enjoy my child, instead of thinking (and probably not writing) about whether she's likely to die of whooping cough or be forcibly drafted into the rebel army?

I feel like I need to constantly remind myself not to stress about any of it, to shut up and get out of my own way, to find that quiet still center blah blah hippie Zen blah that will let me be 100% present with Nora all the time. Except you can't be 100% present with children all the time, can you? You have to get dinner ready, or you're thinking about work stuff, or you just want to read your book for five minutes without saying "night-night" to every single Fisher-Price Little People farm animal. Never mind that the very fact that I have to "constantly remind myself" to quiet the voice in my head and be present, centered, and all the other things it says on the back of the box of teabags, directly contradicts being present and centered and so forth.



I interviewed a candidate recently who asked me a bunch of stupid questions, such as "Is there a collegial atmosphere in the office?" and "How would you characterize the work-life balance at this company?" No, we're all a bunch of gossipy, backstabbing social climbers, and we plan to work you so hard you will be praying for death by lunchtime each day.

Even better, he wrote me a follow-up email that said:

Dear Mimi Smartypants: Thanks for taking the time to interview me yesterday. I feel I am an excellent "candidate" for this position. Please let me know the next step in the "process."

Here's what I really wanted to write back, but didn't:

Dear Candidate X: You're "welcome." I'll be making my "decision" in the next few "days." It was a "pleasure" to meet with "you" as well.


I have told you about Nora's constant talking, and her strange vocabulary (something about a two-year-old who wakes up talking about how "allbody has nostrils" just slays me), but I may not have mentioned the gesturing. When looking for something, Nora will often lay a finger on her cheek while murmuring, "Hmm. Where IS it?" She also has started saying, "Oh my goodness!", complete with fluttery hand to bosom, whenever anything moderately surprising happens. It is like living with a tiny senior citizen, and I am watching her carefully lest she develop a sudden fondness for Old Country Buffet and Murder She Wrote.

---mimi smartypants boldly goes.


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