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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

2005-05-11 ... 12:43 p.m.


1. A weird craving for coffee, and apparently for throwing away my hard-earned money, overcame me mid-morning and I found myself at the Starbucks near my office. It had been a while since my last Starbucks sojourn, and I had kind of forgotten how to order. I forgot to specify a size, I spaced on how to explain "extra shot" and stuttered out something about making the coffee "coffee-ier---you know, with more coffee in it," and the whole ordeal was just not my finest moment. The Starbucks guy was really nice about my spaz-out, and when I apologized for my order being "complicated" he gave me a most amused look and said, "Dude, that was not complicated." Oh yeah. Forgot where I was for a second.

2. At a new gynecologist's office, naked under the stupid robe, and the nurse is going through a list of getting-to-know-your-hoo-ha interview questions (couldn't we have done this while I had my clothes on? Doctors have no sense of foreplay anymore).

"Have you ever been pregnant?" she asks.
"Nope," I reply. Instantly, that response feels weird. I have a two-year-old at home! I must explain! I follow with, "My daughter was adopted from China." Again instantly, I realize that information is totally irrelevant in this context, and add, "but, um, that has nothing to do with my reproductive health, so never mind." The nurse very smoothly said, "Oh no no, that's good to know," asked lots of chatty and non-stupid questions about Nora, and it was fine.

If I were a different sort of online-typer-person,* I might spin that anecdote into a poignant tale about how adoptive families always have to explain themselves, and how it's not fair, and how the way our family came together affects unexpected aspects of our daily lives etc. I think you know by now that you don't get that sort of thing here.

*See what contortions I go through to avoid the #1 most-loathed word on my Most-Loathed Word List, "blogger"?

3. I go through phases of falling in and out of love with my job. Most days I realize how good I have it: I'm in my chosen field doing interesting stuff, I'm fairly compensated, I work with good people, and even when the day-to-day is crazy-making it is not soul-drainingly crazy-making, and is easily washed away by our good friend beer. But sometimes I just feel so blah about everything work-related, which oddly leads not to more time slacking/window-staring/Internet-surfing, but to completing all of my tasks robotically and joylessly. Productive but unfulfilled. Efficient but not creative. It is not a good feeling, and it leads to all kinds of stupid and unnecessary what am I doing with my life anxiety attacks, which usually end with some overwrought waking nightmare of my lifeless body being lowered into the grave, still clutching an acrylic desk-monolith inscribed with the words FOR WAY TOO MANY YEARS OF DEDICATED SERVICE.

Things are changing in the Smartypants household, and eventually I may no longer be quite as much the breadwinner as previously. LT's business is really taking off---he has more work than he can handle on his own, so he's renting an office, hiring a full-time code monkey (although I think the employee is a human and not an actual monkey), and generally shifting his responsibilities from "line-by-line geekheaded programmer" to "the guy who puts on a suit and convinces other companies to part with their money." This could be great for our pocketbooks but not so great for my sanity, as the other shift involved is from "more-or-less stay-at-home dad who runs a business in his spare hours" to "guy with an important out-of-the-house job, which means we have to find and pay for decent childcare."

If you combine the (temporary) feeling of ennui about my career with my (temporary) hamster-brain anxiety about finding a part-time nanny/daycare for Nora, I think you can see the (temporary) direction my daydreams have taken. I was trying to articulate my state of mind to Kat during a telephone chat and not doing very well, but since Kat and I can communicate volumes of complicated emotions through sighs and snorts and many drunken variations of the word "dude," I had some confidence she understood. One memorable exchange:

Me: I used to think that if LT got a job where he made tons more money than me and better benefits and all that crap, I would stick Nora in the all-day million-dollar daycare version of her Montessori school and continue happily in my current job. Now, I'm not so sure what I'd do. Maybe I'd quit.
Kat: Sweetie [by which she clearly meant "dumbass"], if you had that much money you could put her in the all-day million-dollar daycare version of her Montessori school AND quit your job.

And, although I'm unsure whether I am cut out to ever be a stay-at-home mom, Kat has a point. As long as we're dreaming, let's dream big.

(Prosaic back-to-reality news notes: I am not quitting my job, a day off did much to restore my equilibrium, and we interview a very promising nanny candidate next week, to bridge the gaps between preschool and my arrival home each day. LT signed the lease on his office [which is, in fact, a loft: holy '90s, Batman!] and is busy salivating over IKEA catalogs and pricing glass blocks.)


A super-fabulous food weblog.

I am angry at this guy for making me want to go camping. I am a city girl who knows nothing of these inbred hillbilly pastimes, but something about his adventure just looks like a fuck of a lot of dumbfuck fun. Also, is there time to switch families before next Christmas?


Harold, my beloved "transitional object" from childhood, the stuffed panda bear that I slept with for an embarrassingly long time, is so old that his fabric skin began to disintegrate like the Shroud of Turin around the time I went to college. It was no longer a matter of patching or sewing up holes; Harold was simply wearing out. At that point, my mother and I discussed how best to preserve him. We thought about unstuffing Harold and pressing his empty skin into a picture frame, but frankly I wasn't ready for something that drastic. Eventually, Harold was put into a large Mason jar like a laboratory specimen, with the hope that a lessened exposure to oxygen would decrease the rate of his crumbling demise.

Nora is fascinated with Harold, who resides in his glass-walled world on top of a living-room bookshelf. She likes to talk about how that's Mommy's bear, and how he's analogous to her Purple Dog, and how Mommy used to be a little baby. Sometimes I take Harold down and let her look closer, and occasionally I even open the jar, with the constant caveat that we have to be careful with Harold because "he's very old."

The other thing in the house that gets called "old" is our cat. We use this concept to explain why the cat sleeps nearly all the time, why she get crabby and bites when Nora just wants to play, and so forth.

I think you can see where this is going.

Nora: Our cat is old.
Me: Yes, our cat is very old.
Nora: Cat...go in jar?

LT and I think that this is a perfect excuse to not have to explain death to our child. When the cat does expire, we will just get her preserved in formaldehyde and put her on display. You get too old, you end up in a jar! Problem solved! Now we just have to convince all of our family members to be cremated, and we'll be all set.

---mimi to ashes, smartypants to dust.


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