October 27, 2012

Old Enough

I'm reading a book that says parents can't drink alcohol and still expect their teenagers not to drink alcohol AND smoke pot (because pot is reportedly less dangerous than alcohol).

I was all, "Oh, crap," and started composing a memo to Paul ("To: Paul. Re: Alcohol. Memo: GET READY TO TOTAL THAT TEE, BABY"). Then tonight as I was folding laundry and thinking about how I couldn't expect my teenager not to drink if _I_ continued to drink the gin-and-seltzer I was sipping, I had this thought: "Wait. Yes I CAN expect that."

Because otherwise, I would also need to give up driving: I can't reasonably expect my un-driver's-licensed teenager not to drive if I'M going to drive. And I would need to stop having sex, because otherwise how can I possibly suggest to my child that he or she not have sex, if they know from the number of children in this house that _I_ must have done it at some point? I can't stay up until 10:00 or 10:30 anymore; I'll need to go to bed at the kids' bedtime. And I will need to stop using matches, because otherwise I'm practically INVITING them with my own match-usage! And I can't SWEAR, certainly, and still expect THEM not to! And so on.

It's silly to think that it's hypocritical to do grown-up things while expecting our children NOT to do grown-up things. The message isn't "THESE THINGS ARE EVIL!! NEVER DO THEM!!!," it's only, "Wait until you're old enough."

October 26, 2012

Pierced Ears

Elizabeth's ears are pierced, and have been since she was five. It's gone really well, much better than when I had MY ears pierced at five and they got infected, and KEPT getting infected, until we let the holes close up.

She's had two minor infections in the last couple of years, both of which cleared up with a few days of cleaning them with the stuff they gave us a bottle of when we got her ears pierced, and putting antibiotic ointment on them. Other than that, they've been zero care: after the first six to eight weeks or however long it was that the ear-piercing place told us to take daily care of them, we haven't routinely cleaned them or done anything at all with them.

I asked her yesterday what percentage of her female classmates had their ears pierced, and she said about half. I was interested because customs vary widely: in some communities it's common to get the ears pierced in infancy, and in others it's common to wait until the teens. My GUESS was that my particular community the curve would show very few (but SOME) infancy piercings, and very few (but SOME) "not until you're 16/18/21" piercings, but then the biggest chunk of piercings divided into three basic age groups: the "about age 5-6" group, the "about age 9-10" group, and the "about age 12-13" group.

I really wish there was a good way to COLLECT information I'm curious about. I can stare at everyone's ears and come up with a very loose estimate---but that doesn't give me BACK STORY. I've gotten used to the blog-type community, where if I'm curious about something I can just ASK. ...Maybe it's not too late to get my questions added to the ballot.


Here's basically what I'm wondering: What was your own pierced-ears experience, and how was the age decision reached? And then, what about your daughter-related experience/plans? (You don't need to have daughters to answer this part---it can be what do you think you WOULD do if you DID.)

My own experience is that I got my ears pierced twice in early childhood, at about ages 5 and 7, once with star-shaped studs and once with birthstone studs. I remember really really wanting them pierced, so my guess is I did it at the very first age I was allowed to. The first time, the ears got repeatedly infected and we finally let them heal over, and the second time was a re-do in a slightly different location (the piercing person said the first pair hadn't been done in the right place). Then I got them pierced twice more in high school, so I have four holes in each ear. (I use two: top pair and bottom pair.)

For a daughter, I could think of upsides and downsides to any age for piercing. I wanted her to be old enough for it to be An Exciting Event, and I had age 5-8 in mind.

October 25, 2012

Behavior Regression

Elizabeth is having a behavior regression of some sort. One reason it's hard to put a finger on what kind of regression it is is that I think I stopped using the word "regression" after babyhood, so it no longer feels like a natural word to use. But I'm finding it's a really good word for post-babyhood, too, as it implies "temporary" and "a step back, but still on the path" and so on. Encouraging! It felt better to say a baby was having a sleep regression instead of saying that the baby had stopped sleeping nicely, MAYBE NEVER TO START AGAIN; and it feels better to say 7-year-old Elizabeth is having a behavior regression, instead of saying that she may be morphing into someone who leaves her coat and backpack on the floor even after I've told her three times to pick them up.

Exhibit A

Based on her temperament I don't THINK it's defiance, although it's likely to be line-finding: seeing how much she really has to do. Paul told me that when he was a child, his mom would tell him to do a task---say, mowing the lawn. He would start mowing, but then halfway through he'd "come in for a drink of water" and then drift away and start reading a book. He found that if she came upon the task half-done, and then found him reading, she would sigh heavily and then finish the task herself. As you can imagine, this pattern has caused us some issues in our marriage. Thanks for the enduring legacy, mother-in-law.

But I see how easy it is to do, without intending to. When I tell Elizabeth that after she takes her shower she needs to bring her discarded pajamas back to her room with her, and then after she's left for school I find those pajamas still on the bathroom floor, it's easy to sigh heavily and do it myself: I don't want to look at the clothes on the floor all day, and I don't want to bring out the Big Parenting Guns for a single episode of forgetting.

But it's not a single episode anymore, which snuck up on me a bit. With my own temperament, and with this number of children, and with the way I'm typically half-composing a blog post in my head at any particular time, a child has to do something quite a few times before it gets to the front of my attention---which CAN be good (it means my controlling/micro-managing impulses are distracted and I'm not likely to jump on the kids for one single error or for an issue that will resolve itself) but also CAN be bad, because things can get pretty far off-track before I realize I need to engage the parenting engines. Then it takes longer to pull things back to where they should be than it would have if I'd noticed and corrected right away.

As in this case, where even though for several days I have been pointing out the problem to Elizabeth and cracking down on the follow-through, I haven't yet seen a change in HER behavior---just in MINE, which is the first stage of change. I don't remind her three times; instead, the very first time I need to remind her I include a gentle scold with that reminder: "Elizabeth. You are supposed to be putting away your backpack without me reminding you." I DO leave her pajamas on the bathroom floor all day so she can put them in the laundry herself when she gets home from school---and to compensate me for looking at the messy heap all day, I also have her do another little task for me. Instead of waiting to scold until after we've had to scramble and panic, I include a partial scold with an instruction: "Time to get ready for school. And remember, you've been dawdling recently and then we've both had to scramble, and a scolding at the bus stop is not a nice way for either of us to start our day; let's not have that happen today."

(the view this morning, after Elizabeth left for school)

October 24, 2012

Mental

I have been feeling a little thinner lately, and wondered if I was slimming down a bit without realizing. I started working it a little, even, feeling extra cute and doing a little more sashaying. I finally checked the scale yesterday morning, and I'm up five pounds. Now I feel plumper. I've had the opposite experience, too: feeling really dumpy, SURE I've gained at LEAST five pounds---and then I weigh, and I'm actually down five pounds, and then I feel like I can DEFINITELY tell I'm thinner.

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We rearranged our kitchen a bit, and now we have a little more counter space but also my coffee maker is more difficult to get to. This morning I was wondering why I have felt SO tired and draggy and motivationless recently---and then I realized I haven't had coffee for three or four days, not since we rearranged things. That slight change in coffee pot location made me (1) stop drinking coffee and (2) not realize it.

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I have made a mental note: if I am ever in charge of a group of volunteers, I am not going to spin the volunteer tasks as "FUN!!!" and "EXCITING!!" It gives me flashbacks to teachers in school instructing us to "Have FUN" with an assignment. "Just PLAY with it! Have FUN with it!" No. This is not fun. Let's add the word fun with our vocabulary list, since not all of us here seem to understand the definition. And yet I find myself tempted to say the same thing when helping one of the kids with an assignment: "Just PLAY with it a little! Make it more FUN! Don't make it into such a GRUELING TASK!" Nice. That'll work.

A more recent example is a volunteer "opportunity" I am participating in. I signed up for this on purpose; I am glad to help out for free with the work that needs to be done. But it is WORK. It is NOT FUN. It is CERTAINLY not "The Great [Type of Work] Adventure of 2012!!!" as the PTA officer is currently referring to it, in what I always assume is a voice that could be described as "chirpy." It's all email, so I don't know for sure. Maybe she's using more of a Daria voice. Maybe I could READ it in a Daria voice to improve it.

Acting as if the work is fun diminishes the contribution people are making. I am doing WORK, and I want CREDIT for doing work. I don't want anyone pretending that this is a PARTY and that we are ENJOYING ourselves. I find elements of it satisfying or else I wouldn't do it, but I would never, ever, ever do this for fun. I do this to be HELPFUL and to DO MY SHARE. I am not PLAYING, I am BEING A GOOD CITIZEN.

Acting as if it's fun seems to be intended to make it fun, or to lighten the attitude. Instead, it becrappens the attitude: if someone tells me what a grand fun adventure this is, I find myself noticing how non-fun it in fact is, and wanting to point that out to them. If someone instead thanks me fervently for all this hard work I'm doing, I would find myself saying no, no, I didn't mind at all! It was fun! See? Attitude improvement! ...And kind of an argumentative personality, apparently, but WHATEVER. No more chirping about how work is fun, is the point here.

October 22, 2012

Ugly Nailpolish

I would like to nominate a candidate in the "Ugliest Nailpolish" category:


I'm not sure even this ugly photo lets you appreciate just how ugly it was. Maybe another photo is needed, a super close-up:


That's still not QUITE expressing it. I'm not even sorry I didn't do a good job staying in the lines, because I think the bits on the skin give a better feeling for what the color looked like. Nauseating yellow-greenish brown, with chunks. It felt like it ought to come as part of a Halloween costume. A zombie, maybe. Something decaying and dirty.

It's Revlon Nail Art Moon Candy in Cosmic, and I'm so happy I got it on clearance instead of paying full-price:


It's two attached bottles. First you're supposed to put on two coats of what looks in the bottle like a nice dark green but is in fact a streaky algae/mud combination. As I was doing that, I was thinking, "Wow, I wonder how the topcoat is going to transform THIS?"

Then you put on the top coat, which looks like it's going to be a glorious gold with cool shimmery iridescent bits, but in fact ends up adding a "pee" element to the color, as well as being more litter than glitter.

I took the pictures quickly, so I could remove the polish right away---and I NEVER take polish off immediately, even if I think it's meh, because it's discouraging to waste all that work. But I wanted this OFF MY NAILS. (I didn't even wait to take the picture of the bottle, figuring I could do that later; you can see the edge of my thumbnail, which is now a much nicer medium green.)

It was fun to show the kids, though. I was like, "Look at my nails!" and each in turn said "EEEEEEWWWWWWWW GROSS!!"

October 20, 2012

Driving in the Dark; Cadbury Screme Eggs

I had to drive a little bit yesterday evening, and some of the "grateful to be alive" feeling persists even unto this morning.

I drive in the dark only a few times a year. Part of it is that I don't like to. Part of it is that I don't need to: we're pretty much always in for the night after the dinner/bedtime routine starts (at, like, 4:30).

I feel like I can't SEE when I drive at night. Part of this is that I'm a nervous driver, so any changes (different roads, different passenger, different weather, etc.) increases that nervousness. Part of it is that IT IS IN FACT DARK, and I don't know if you've noticed this but WE CAN'T SEE IN THE DARK. And then, while it's dark and I'm driving, lights shine intermittently into my eyes. That DOES NOT HELP.

I feel a little emperor's-new-clothes about it: like, how come everyone is acting like it's okay to do this already-dangerous activity IN THE DARK? Shall we also now have surgery in the dark? chop wood in the dark? scythe hay in the dark? get haircuts in the dark? rapidly cut vegetables in the dark? How about in the dark AND with bright lights shining intermittently in our eyes?

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I bought four Cadbury screme eggs, and I have not eaten a single one: the stuff inside the eggs is green for Halloween, and that makes me queasy to even think about. (If the regular white filling makes YOU queasy to think about, I beg you not to explain why.) And yet I WANT to eat Cadbury eggs! What a treat to get to have them even though it's not Easter! I WANT to eat them! Maybe I should eat them in the dark. (And here, shine this light in my eyes.)

October 19, 2012

Pleasant Teenager Moment

We were out shopping and Rob saw a shirt he wanted at Target: it had a picture of a bird wearing a pocket protector and glasses, with "NIRD" under it. He wanted it quite badly, and I liked it too, and I said I'd keep an eye out for it to go on sale as those graphic tees routinely do. He countered by saying he really really really wanted it today, and I countered with huh. He countered with a dismissive remark about the skimpy amount of money saved by a sale, and I countered with the suggestion that when he was handling a household's finances he could decide for himself whether sales were worth it or not. This was fun banter, not tense teenager-wrangling---but he really did want the shirt, and I was losing interest in the conversation and starting to walk out of the department.

As an aside, Rob's clothes now need to be purchased from the men's department. The MEN'S DEPARTMENT. I don't think I'd ever really pictured myself shopping in that department for my children's clothes. I guess I thought the kid sizes went...all the way up? or something? But no. MEN'S DEPARTMENT. (Why doesn't spellchecker like "men's"? Does spellchecker assume I can't possibly be shopping for my child in the men's department and want me to change it to "boys' department"?)

Anyway, Rob then asked what I expected the shirt to go on sale for, and I said probably eight dollars. He asked if we could buy it today if he paid the two dollars that separated the full price from the sale price, and I said yes, and he bounded back to get the shirt and then spiked it happily into the cart. I reiterated that if he would just WAIT he could have it SOON without having to pay ANYthing, and he said cheerfully that he didn't care, it was an awesome shirt and it was worth it to get it today.

It was a very happy transaction, including the part where we got home and he remembered on his own to get the two dollars and give them to me. The whole thing reminded me of the good parts of my own teenagerhood; I remember being pleased with the logic of "I can have the shoes I want if I pay the difference between the ones my parents would have bought and the ones I'd prefer." Some of my friends' parents would have gotten this wrong, saying that the child would have to pay the full price of the preferred shoes, rather than just the difference---which made it even more satisfying to be in a household where it was Right.

October 18, 2012

Cat Happiness

The cat situation at our house is going SO WELL.

I haven't written much about the cats for awhile, because it seemed like it was Always Bad News. First the three cats we'd had since before we were married dropped off one by one, and none of them died quietly in their sleep, either: it was Issues and Decisions, one after another. One with congestive heart failure plus kidney failure, with a Decision About When to Make The Appointment. One with weight loss and peeing all over the house and finally a tumor, again with a Decision. And the third hit by a car, and a shattered unsaveable leg, and an unexpectedly sudden Decision involving the kind of equations a person does with a 16-year-old indoor/outdoor cat and a multiple-thousands-of-dollars procedure that would result in the cat being restricted to indoors.

All three of those happened over about a year, which made sense because all three cats were about the same age, but it was stressful.

Overlapping and interweaving with that, we adopted three new cats, NONE OF WHOM WE NOW HAVE. One didn't get along with other cats, and eventually we brought her back to the shelter. The other two were hit by cars and killed. I felt like we spent a lot of time at the shelter, and that the shelter was going to start thinking we were not good adoption risks---and that we really WEREN'T. I was getting really discouraged: I just wanted to HAVE CATS. Why was this SO HARD?

So when we adopted two new cats (aiming for adult, mild-personality cats who were already indoor-only and had lived well in the past with other cats and children), I mentioned them here but then stopped mentioning them, because probably we were looking at another failure: the orange one was relentlessly chasing and scaring the grey-and-white one; the grey-and-white one was so skittery and scared, I worried he couldn't be happy in our noisy house: we kept not being able to find him because he was hiding. I talked to the vet; we started using a spritz bottle on the orange one and various feral-cat-socializing techniques on the grey-and-white one---but I felt like we were dooooooomed just like before: the cats would never get along, and any replacement cats we got wouldn't work out any better, and we weren't going to have a plain "household with cats" EVER AGAIN.

But they get along now! They're not snuggling up, but we notice they tend to do a lot of things together: they'll go to their food dishes at the same time, or they'll both be on the cat palace at the same time, or I'll get out of the shower and they'll both be standing on the sink. They tussle a little, but not excessively, and sometimes it's the grey-and-white one who starts it. The grey-and-white one is still a bit skittish, and still sometimes runs from us, but much much much less---and he purrs when petted/held, and he doesn't hide. We were able to go from multiple litter boxes down to one large shared one. They're staying indoors and not trying to get outdoors! They sleep on the bed sometimes but not oppressively! They don't mind if the kids pick them up! And the orange one has jumped up on my lap SEVERAL TIMES in the last week or so! They're being GREAT CATS. They're being HAPPY cats.




October 17, 2012

Dental Expense Crankiness

I am feeling cranky, because I took Henry to the dentist and it cost $155. No cavities, no x-rays, just a totally routine check. The dentist poked his teeth, the hygienist brushed and flossed them and did a 1-minute paint-on fluoride treatment, and it was $155.

The fluoride treatment alone was $38. That's the same price I'd pay for 950 daily chewable fluoride tablets (generic, without insurance), so HOW CAN THAT BE? The fluoride came in a little plastic ketchup packet and was painted on with a little paintbrush.

And this wasn't some sort of super-extra-special dentist---not a pediatric-specialist dentist, or a dentist with lots of child-distracting stuff or TVs or whatever. Just a regular family dentist.

HOW CAN ANYONE BE EXPECTED TO ROUTINELY AND UNBLINKINGLY PAY THIS TWICE A YEAR PER MEMBER OF THE FAMILY? PLUS EXTRA FOR X-RAYS AND FILLINGS AND SO FORTH???

Ahem.

Also, may I suggest that while charging $46 for seriously under a minute of tooth-examining, the dentist not mention his children are taking horseback-riding lessons? I realize even the children of regular-earning people sometimes take horseback-riding lessons, and that the dentist might very well send his children to such lessons even if he were, say, a teacher or a Target clerk instead of a dentist---but it is an unfortunately expensive hobby to bring to my mind at a moment when I am wondering WHY ON EARTH DENTISTRY COSTS SO MUCH.

October 14, 2012

Gift Card Plan Time; United Front; Rock Tumbler; The Lives of Others


I started my Gift Card Plan today! One down, twelve more to go! I got the same pretty butterfly as last  year, because they don't have the Generic Holiday ones out yet. I'll switch to snowmen or something at that point.

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You know what's kind of challenging? Maintaining the parental philosophy of "The two of us are a united front" when a teenager is confiding agreement with me, against his dad, on something I disagree with his dad about. STRENGTH OF CHARACTER NEEDED, PLZ PROVIDE KTHANX.

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The rock tumbler is going to have to come to a Negotiation Stage soon, if the fad doesn't pass off on its own. Here is exactly what it sounds like at 2:00 a.m.: "*someone sawing through a screen* *someone creaking up the stairs*"

THIS CANNOT CONTINUE.

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I watched The Lives of Others (Netflix link) last night, and may I not-recommend it to you? Except that it's a really GOOD movie if it's your style. This would be your style, if this movie was for you: Depressing and scary movies that show how bad things can get with a government and with the actions of the citizens under that kind of government---and it makes you believe it could easily happen in your own country, and that you wouldn't be able to do anything to prevent it from happening. To YOU PERSONALLY in REAL LIFE. But it's really well-cast and well-acted and probably gives a really good view of what that kind of life is like, because you really understand why all the characters behave the way they do. But OH GOD, SUICIDE SOUNDS LIKE SUCH A GOOD OPTION RIGHT NOW.

If that's your movie style, I recommend it to you heartily! It was very...thought-provoking! (The thoughts were of despair and suicide.)

October 11, 2012

Fire Safety Week

I DO appreciate that the schools do Fire Safety Week. I DO appreciate that they make homework out of it, forcing me to talk to the children about where to meet up, how to break a window, where to wait for the firefighter if they can't get out of their rooms and we can't get to them, how to keep low to inhale less smoke, and so forth.

But I DO wish they'd give us a heads up, so I could make sure beforehand that there was sufficient liquor in the house.

October 9, 2012

In a Sense, I WAS Giving Away Riches. To a Store.

Does it seem amusing to follow a post lamenting the near-universal failure to follow a certain Bible verse about giving away riches with a post about purchasing unnecessary items? Very well then, it seems amusing.

And in any case, it has been pointed out to me repeatedly that that verse is no problem: as long as we don't LOVE our riches, we can feel free to keep them, unlike the guy in the Bible story who was sent away by Jesus for keeping them. It's too bad the guy in the story didn't think of trying that argument with Jesus. But it's not too late for US to try it!

I don't want to give my riches away, either. Except to the store, in exchange for possessions.



New bowl (right size for ice cream or soup), $1.99 at Home Goods. Paul was complaining that all our bowls were girly and had birds and flowers on them. This one looks like it was carved out of the thigh bone of a freshly-slaughtered mammoth and then smoothed in the violent waters of a wild river, so I hope it works for him.




Sixteen acorn-shaped placecard holders from Marshalls. I've started having Thanksgiving at my house, and one of the best parts of hosting is the sudden need that opens up for certain Festive Dinner Table Accessories.

I first saw these in white, and I thought, "Oh, what a pity they're WHITE. I'd want them if they were brown!" Then, several aisles later, I found a pack of brown ones. But I wanted four packs, so should I buy one pack, just on the HOPE that I would find more at other similar stores? Then I looked across the aisle, and there was a second pack. Well, then that's enough for my parents and for everyone in my house except me, and I don't need one because I'll know I'm sitting where there isn't an acorn. Then I thought I'd go back to where I saw the white ones and look again, because I hadn't been looking thoroughly at that point. So we went back and looked again---and found two more packs of brown.





My mom spotted this clearance bird-patterned box at Marshalls. She really wanted it, but didn't have a use for it. I thought it might be perfect for housing part of my postcard collection, so I bought it.




I keep a supply of these Melissa & Doug colored pencils and crayons in my gift closet, to be paired with either the Melissa & Doug coloring books or with any gift that seems like it still needs a little something.



This coffee I found at Home Goods might not even be any good, but I was sold by the packaging.

October 5, 2012

Rich

I had to go yesterday to a stranger's house, because of some PTA volunteering I'm doing. Which is its own annoying story, and is probably the last in a long line of annoying stories that mean I DON'T wonder anymore why the poor PTA can't find the volunteers it needs, and ANYWAY, I had to go yesterday to a stranger's house. And the guy there looked and acted just like a politician. He was wearing an expensive-looking shirt tucked into belted trousers, just for hanging around the house. His hair was combed back over his head. He had a small, yappy dog and a big carefully-decorated house in a set-aside-from-the-majority neighborhood.

He had a large sign on his wall that laid out his household's religious beliefs very firmly, and at some length. It wasn't the kind of decorative item where the font and frame are pretty; it was the kind of sign a church office would use to lay out their charter: that Jesus was the son of God, that everything Jesus said was the word of God, that the Bible was also the word of God, and so on. Right by the door, just so we're all clear from the start where this household stands.

You can take the girl out of the church but you can't take the church out of the girl, so standing there looking at him and his clothes and his huge house and his huge sign, what came unbidden to my mind from the permanently-embedded archives was the verse from the book of Matthew in the Bible: "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God."

I kept thinking about that all evening. That's a verse that doesn't get cross-stitched much, I'm guessing. It says, right from Jesus's mouth, that if you are rich you're not welcome. Not in heaven, not in Christianity. You may not join. Zero camels have fit through the eye of a needle, and the number of rich people who get into heaven is fewer than that.

One issue with this verse is that while there's certainly a whole category of people we'd all (except for them, probably) agree were rich, richness is relative below that, and the verse doesn't give any specifics. I was feeling a certain level of raised eyebrows at this PTA guy, but if we go back to the world spectrum concept for a minute, I myself am dripping in riches. I have a computer IN MY OWN HOUSE; in fact, I have FOUR. I have TWO cars in good condition. I have a house with MULTIPLE ROOMS. It has heating AND air conditioning, just built right in. I have TWO bathrooms, with running water in BOTH. I have many appliances. I have enough money to go to Wendy's whenever I want to. I can support two animals who don't contribute eggs or milk or meat or labor. Even when we live paycheck-to-paycheck, even when we rented an apartment, even when we had to put Wendy's in a careful budget, even when we had one bathroom, we have still been on the far wealthy edge of the world spectrum.

I've noticed a common concept that if someone is well-off, what they have is a blessing from God. If God gave it to us, he must have meant us to have it. If he didn't give to others, he must not have meant them to have it. What can a person do? *hands raised helplessly* This is where we need the parable of the good steward: what we have is given to us to do good with, on behalf of Someone Else. It's not ours. In fact, it's a test: what will you do with what you've been given? You are being graded on this.

I don't have any particular point to this:  I'm not trying to get into the kingdom of God, which makes it difficult to tie things up with a sermon-type ending here. And it would be hard to turn it into a sermon anyway, if the person giving the sermon were still driving two cars and living in a multi-roomed house and making only financially-comfortable donations to charity, as I am: it's not a sermon that can be delivered by a camel.

October 4, 2012

Loophole Revisited, Under Nearly Identical Circumstances

I keep thinking, "WHY am I so cheesed and sad and weighed-down-with-the-cares-of-the-world-ish over NOTHING??"---and then I remember, it's not nothing: Paul is sick. It reflects the depth of my love and commitment that I do not put the word sick in quotes.

He has a cold. It is the same cold the rest of us have had. So he has dropped completely out of household chores, and in fact has gone past the "not helping" line and into the "putting his dishes on the counter instead of into the dishwasher right below it" zone. I suppose I should be grateful for the heroic effort it took him to unselfishly choke down sustenance and then to drag his dishes allllll the way to the counter, when after all he has a SORE THROAT and FEELS KIND OF TIRED.

Furthermore, one of the kids got an ear infection, and the VERY MINUTE that child said his ear hurt, you will never guess: PAUL'S ear started hurting! And when I took the child to the doctor the next day and the ear infection was officially diagnosed, Paul realized he had now been feeling sick for THREE WHOLE DAYS and HE needed a doctor appointment TOO. The level of woundedness he displayed when I suggested that grown-ups wait to go to the doctor until they have something the doctor can treat, rather than going when they feel kind of icky and want extra sympathy and drama and fuss made over them.... Well, let's not discuss it. This topic always going to be a touchy spot in our marriage.

I genuinely worry that as he ages he will get some sort of long-term or chronic illness, because then I would be bound by the terms of our contract to deal with it. Which reminds me once again of the loophole.

October 2, 2012

Wrong Foot; Thirtysomething

I got off on the wrong foot in two ways this morning:

1. I was sure, SURE, it was the weekend. I woke at 4:45 and thought about it happily. I woke up again when Paul got up, and I thought, "Ahhhhh, now he will take care of any kid that wakes up, and I will get sleep." Then Paul came back from his shower and turned on the light, and I was first outraged ("WHY IS HE DOING THIS TO ME ON A WEEKEND??") and then appalled ("IT IS IN FACT TUESDAY AARRRRRGGGGGGGGG NOOOOOOOOOoooooooo").

2. I was dreaming that I was packing up to leave someone else's house after a stay. It was that part of packing where it's like, "WHY did we think it made sense to bring so much STUFF?" and "Oh no, MORE shoes??" and "Shoot, I forgot this pile of dirty laundry. I need a plastic bag or something to put it in," and "This is never going to all fit back in the suitcase" and "I just know we're going to forget something." It went on like that for an hour or so of dream time.

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I think I am going to have to rewatch Thirtysomething (Netflix link), now that I am in my thirties. The last time I watched it, I was in my EARLY TWENTIES. I was not married, I had no children, and I was watching it in reruns on daytime television, or on videotapes (VIDEOTAPES) after work. So. Things have changed a bit since then.

I think I might have a different feeling about how EXOTIC it is, now. Maybe it'll be like magazines, where a magazine called Seventeen is actually aimed at 12-year-olds; and where Cosmo, which acts like it's a magazine for grown glamorous professional single women living in the glamorous city, is actually aimed at high school and college girls. Maybe Thirtysomething is for earlytwentysomethings who want to feel like they're getting a peek into their own future---but maybe it would be depressing and unrealistic and eye-roll-y for thirtysomethings who have already seen that future.