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Archive for February, 2007

February, I quit thee.

I have long said that the primary attraction of February is in its’ brevity. I find it easier to get through a month that is only 28 days in length (29 in leap years, I know), particularly when that month is one thing that stands between me and springlike weather. A 28-day month in the middle of the summer just wouldn’t have the cachet that February does. And it would likely piss me off.

But I can DO February. I can do it even though we have to contend with Valentines Day and Presidents Day and Ash Wednesday, those quasi-holidays that muck around with our schedules. And even though March weather around here is iffy at best, I know that I’ve got a better shot at warm weather during that month if I can just suffer February for four weeks.

So to February I say, on this last day of its’ existence this year: don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

— Mox

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I take it back.

Fly-shopping is a lot like fly-fishing, except without the fly and without the fishing.

Let me explain:

You whip into a store, see something you like, and because you don’t have a lot of time to fiddle around with making a definitive decision, you buy it without trying it on, knowing that if you get it home and it doesn’t fit or is the wrong color, you can take it back. So you take it home and try it on and it’s wrong so you take it back.

I do this. It’s a wonder the bank can keep up with me.

In my family, we call one another Myril whenever one of us does this. Myril was a friend of my grandmother’s who had perfected the art of fly-shopping, and it seemed that at any point in time she had a sizable quantity of merchandise in flux between her home and the mall. When I was in college I shook my head about it, because in college I had all the time in the world to linger at the mall and try on stuff. But as always, the thing that I disdain becomes the thing that I do, and I’ve found myself over the years doing a fair amount of fly-shopping, mostly because my life seems to have sped up. I don’t have a lot of time to spend on myself.

Last night on my way home from a late meeting, I had a few minutes to kill so I stopped in at the Super Walmart (which I despise but that’s another post entirely) to pick up a couple of necessities. Before I was finished I had not only bought those necessities but also a couple of CDs and a new bed-in-a-bag set for Spawn’s room… with the thought in the back of my mind that if the colors weren’t right I would take it back. Here I am trying to make good on my pledge to pay off my one remaining credit card balance and then assuring that it will take longer than I anticipated. It’s a perfect example of why I should not be given any free time to mill about in a shopping venue. I am my own worst enemy.

Have I mentioned that one year for Lent, I gave up shopping? It was harder to do than giving up chocolate.

The irony here is that the bed set is still in the back of my car because I got home so late I haven’t had the time to even bring it into the house. We are in the midst of making redecorating plans for Spawn’s room, because at Six my child no longer has need of the baby decor that I have been too lazy to change. I still have the color chips taped to the wall, and I’m trying to make a decision.

Will I take it back? Remains to be seen.

— Mox

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I just fired off my first official “happy 40th birthday” e-card to one of my friends.

It’s happening. I can’t stop it.

I have a feeling that my own impending 40th birthday this year is going to come accompanied by a big dose of freak-out. I say this because I’m having a bit of a freak-out just thinking that my friends are all turning 40, before me, and soon enough it will be my trip down the slide. It will be just like when I hit 30, that assessment of the past ten years and the realization that I have done exactly jack shit during that time.

It’s six months away and already I’m investing the angst. What fun.

Intellectually I know that 40 isn’t all that old, per se, and that I could reasonably have another 40 years of life left in me. So I’m trying to take care of myself, because in another 40 years who knows how things will be. I certainly don’t want to be an old-thinker and in order to keep my brain thinking young, vibrant thoughts, I’m trying to take care of the body it’s in. A wise 74-year-old man told me once to take care of my body while it’s young and it will take care of me when I’m old and I’m inclined to take heed because this man bicycles 10 miles a day.

Still, I’m finding myself using points of reference like “that was 30 years ago” and the dreaded “when I was your age” and oh my god my inner child rolls her eyes because I sound just like my mother. Apparently there is no cure for this.

And I think of myself as young because I have a child in kindergarten, though if I think about it further most of my friends have kids in high school and believe me we are far too young to have teenagers. What gives? Of course it’s all a matter of timing, a lot of my friends got married right after high school and/or during their first two years of college and had their first kids right about the time I was tapping the last keg of my college years. I was in no hurry to get married, and in no hurry to have a child, and so far I’m pretty pleased with the timeline of my life in that regard. I don’t think I would change a thing. Still, I am what you might call an “old mom.” I don’t think about it too much until I get around the other mothers of Spawn’s classmates and it’s pretty obvious that I am the oldest one in the room. And Spawn is my only; some of these other mothers have two or three older children, meaning they started on the baby train a lot earlier than I did. Where some might look to me for wisdom just by virtue of my age, I just can’t hold a candle to these young moms who’ve been there, done that before.

I’m trapped in a weird place.

What have I done with myself in the past ten years? I guess that could be defined by what I haven’t done, too. Since my 30th birthday I’ve managed to collect a mortgage and a kid, and keep the same husband and more or less the same job. All noble and above-board endeavors, to be sure. I’ve also not written the Great American Novel or even a mediocre essay for publication.

My life feels like a holding pattern, and I get the sense that my generation’s time in the spotlight is nearly over. The seeds for my midlife crisis are effectively sewn.

Mox

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Photo Friday: drop off

Well, folks, it finally happened.

Spawn has joined the ranks of the drop-off kids.

I’d been talking it up for a few weeks, waiting for the kid to make the decision instead of me pushing it, because who am I to push a kid who isn’t ready to let go of mommy’s hand? Well, the mommy, that’s who I am.

But I knew the time was coming, since so many of Spawn’s classmates were drop-off kids, bounding out of their mothers’ minivans without so much as a look back, and frankly, I’m just like any other parent who wants her kid to be on par, developmentally, with the other kids. I also was getting pretty tired of the park-walk in-walk back-drive away dance that I was subjected to every morning. When Spawn started requesting a kiss on the cheek and no further public demonstration of affection, I knew that my baby was taking a few more independent steps away from me. And because I want my kid to be independent, I was glad to see it.

The first couple of days of drop-off were uneventful, even a relief; to be able to pull into the circle drive and have my kid hop out of the car with a quick peck on the cheek signaled to me that by not pushing the issue I had avoided making a bigger deal out of it than it had to be. And I got to work on time — no speeding required (and thus no tickets). Glory hallelujah!

The third day of drop-off, I took a different route to go to the gym. Instead of turning left out onto the street, I turned right, which took me past the front entrance of the school. I looked as I went by and saw Spawn standing in the lobby of the school, looking around as if unsure of which way to go.

The sight of my baby standing there with a backpack, looking left to right, deciding… well, my friends, it clutched up my heart. For a fleeting moment the urge hit me to go into the school and point the way, to make sure that Spawn got to the right place.

But my baby doesn’t need to be walked into school anymore. It’s one more thing that ol’ mom has outlived her usefulness for.

All of Spawn’s milestones have been met with rejoicing around here. The first words, the first steps, self-feeding, potty training, self-dressing, shoe tying, no training wheels… I’ve celebrated everything that Spawn has learned to do alone. Because I know it’s necessary to do these things for yourself. Some of these things have been great milestones to move past — if I never change another poopy diaper in my life that is fine with me. Others have been a bit bittersweet — to have my child rub lotion on my winter-dry-and-itchy back was a sweet reward for all of those times I spent rubbing lotion all over a tiny baby body. Sometimes Spawn gives back when I least expect it.

It’s hard to realize that every day that goes by my kid is learning the things that every kid should learn in order to become an independent person. I try so hard to not hold the kid back. And what’s hard about that is when I’m not ready and Spawn is, and I have to have that internal fight with myself to let the kid go and do and be.

A mother’s heart is a strange place sometimes.

— Mox

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Turkey, cold.

Here I am, folks. I haven’t forsaken you.

Yesterday was one of those days where my feet hit the floor at 6am and did not cease to make contact with the pavement until ten that night. I got a lot done, and I also made myself completely exhausted in the process. When will I learn to take a day off when I have a day off?

Giving up the chocolate and the booze and the cokes all at one time yesterday gave me a whopping headache, too. Sort of a reverse hangover. I am trying so hard to be good, y’all, but I do enjoy my vices, probably a little too much.

It’s going to be a loooooong 40 days.

Mox

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One last day.

I’m fixing to show my age here.

On the old sitcom Laverne & Shirley, the girls entered into a contest where they did a “supermarket sweep” type of race, where they had a limited time to race through a grocery store and load up their carts, winning whatever it was they could get across the finish line. Both raced through and loaded up their carts, and also stuffed things down their shirts in an attempt to get the most food across the finish line. But the load they were carrying was too heavy, and as they crawled toward the finish line all they managed to get across was a box of Mallomars. Which is all they were allowed to take home.

If you are scratching your head and wondering, “….Laverne & Shirley…?” then you probably need to watch some late-night cable.

I bring up this long-ago sitcom episode today because that’s sort of what it feels like to have arrived at Fat Tuesday. Both of us have decided to give up some of life’s little edible/drinkable pleasures for Lent — not so much because of the spiritual aspect but because we both recognize the need to get a grip on our waistlines — and to that end have been living it up. But here’s the thing about living it up on a deadline: once you are standing on the precipice of that deadline, you’re pretty much done with the living it up.

I’m serious, y’all. I’m kinda sick of all of it.

There is only so much boozing it up you can do before it gets to feeling like old hat, only so much chocolate you can consume before it ceases to be a treat, only so many cokes you can drink before you start to crave something without carbonation. You need to make a switch.

Which I guess is a good thing, seeing as how for the next 40 days I’m going to be grazing at the salad bar and realigning my chakras or some such nonsense. That first rum and coke after Easter is going to go down mighty good, I’m sure.

Now if you’ll excuse me I need to waddle off towards lunchtime.

Mox

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Bee in my bonnet.

I am the sort of person that, when I get an idea stuck in my head, I cannot let it go until I have processed it and acted upon it. I have inherited this trait from my father, who will start a project and work slavishly at that project until it is done, like he is on a deadline. Call it a one-track mind, I guess. Unfortunately, it is also something I have passed down to Spawn, whose current idea is that we should get a dog.

While I would certainly entertain the idea of a dog in our family — after all, I had dogs as a kid — the fact of the matter remains that we do not have the lifestyle for a dog. We are simply not home enough to form that wolf-pack bond that dogs seem to crave. And because Spawn wants a little wimpy dog, a poodle, I am afraid that our two cats would gang up on it and beat it up like the little nerd that it most assuredly would be.

I am not a poodle fan. I am 100% there with the notion that a poodle has hair instead of fur and therefore not the shedding machine that furry creatures tend to be, plus a bit easier on people with allergies. But a poodle to me isn’t a dog. Sure, it’s cute and soft and it barks but so do chinchillas and last I checked, they are not dogs. (For the record, Spawn would also like a chinchilla. I would rather have a coat.)

I have put some thought into this, long ago before we adopted the second cat, because at the time my husband was not budging on the subject of a cat and Spawn was not budging on wanting a pet. So I gave some thought to a dog, did some research, and narrowed it down to a select few smallish breeds that would be good family dogs. I presented my husband with the idea, and he quickly squelched it because “dogs shit in the yard.” So back to square one and eventually he caved in and we got the cat and what do you know, he LOVES that cat. Loves. that. cat.

But we are not dog people. Not really. We’re cat people because cats do their business in a litter box and don’t require a lot of human interaction to keep them from destroying the house. Cats are also not as blind to your faults as dogs are and they do hold a grudge, but that’s the price you pay for having a self-cleaning pet. Which is SO worth it to me.

Still, I can see the day coming when we add a dog to the mix, because I think a kid needs a dog. Something to care for that responds with undying devotion, and because both cats and other human beings don’t give you that sort of return on investment, a dog is a good choice for a kid to learn about responsibility and reward. I am taking up the cause.

— Mox

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