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Archive for the ‘I’m a dork’ Category

Mental notes

Nathan and I finally told Autumn I was going to be gone for a few days later this week. It wasn’t that we were keeping my trip to Chicago from her, but we, or at least I, hadn’t yet thought about the need to tell her. The last time I ventured out on a road trip by myself was back in 2003 and I was not a mother then. I simply got in the car, waved goodbye to Nathan and the dog and took off for a week-long stay at a writing workshop in Iowa. I missed them terribly of course (Nathan more so than the dog), but I didn’t feel any of the anxiety I’m feeling now.

It all started with the morbid, yet not uncommon, question of “what if I don’t come back?” There’s no reason to believe I won’t come back. Chicago is only a 300-mile round trip of mostly open freeway, so what’s the deal?

The deal is I am prone to neuroses just like everyone else, and when my mind starts heading in that direction, the mental inertia takes over and I just keep on going.

What about my blog? Should I give Nathan the password to my blog in case I don’t come back and he needs to let people know why I’m not posting? Will I jinx myself and ensure I won’t come back if I do give Nathan the password to my blog? What about my journals? Should I let him know it’s okay to read the journals as long as he keeps in mind the context in which they were written and that I was a completely different kind of crazy back in the ‘90s? Does he even know where to find the passwords to our bank accounts and credit cards? Does he know that every day I feel lucky to have found him? Should I write a letter to Autumn letting her know she has shown me a kind of love I never thought possible and that I really do think she’s a good little girl even though I tend to yell when I get frustrated or tired which happens to be a lot lately? Nathan doesn’t know which parts of The Lorax Autumn likes to recite by memory, so maybe I should go over that with him and he really really needs to learn how to secure a proper ponytail regardless of whether or not I come back Sunday night. And should I be feeling like a shitheel because my thoughts started with the blog and ended with my family and not the other way around? Oh hell…

And I’m sure right about now Amy, my travel buddy and roomie for the weekend, is questioning whether or not she’ll be able to survive the weekend with me.

Autumn seems to be okay with the prospect of me leaving, mostly because she thinks she’s the one who’s going on a trip and that I will be the one left behind. I imagine at some point I’ll have to set her straight, but once I drop her off at school on Thursday I won’t see her again until sometime Sunday night or possibly even Monday morning. In spite of the near constant tantrums, the attitude and the whining, the thought of being away from her for four days seems almost painful.

Almost.

Because last night was one of those nights that left me thinking Thursday can’t get here fast enough. Of course once I’m in Chicago I have the feeling the best part of the trip will be the part when I pull back into my own driveway again. That’s usually how it goes.

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We’ve been experiencing some cooler weather so yesterday I sent Autumn to school wearing long pants. It wasn’t terribly cold, but it was windy and I wanted to make sure she was comfortable.

I remember looking at the weekly forecast yesterday and seeing the mild and sunny weekend ahead of us, but I only vaguely remembered what was in store for today. This morning I consulted the weather app on my iPod Touch, which told me we were in for lots of sun with the temperature reaching 80 degrees. Bonus.

I went into Autumn’s room and pulled up the shade. Hmm. Dark skies with lots of clouds. But this being Michigan and all and we being so near the lakeshore as we are, I decided the clouds were only a temporary matter and pulled out a pair of denim shorts, a t-shirt and the Disney princess hoodie that would keep my daughter warm until the sun made its appearance.

It wasn’t until I dropped Autumn off at school and spotted every other child wearing long pants that I thought to question that forecast. I opened up Autumn’s backpack and searched its contents for the pair of pants I had stuffed in there weeks ago, but all I came up with was another pair of denim shorts and a tank top.

As soon as I got to my desk I consulted the weather app again. The forecast had not changed. It was going to be a sunny day with no precipitation and a high of 80 degrees.

In Seattle.

Folks, I am a nerd. I’m the kind of nerd who programs several cities into her iPod Touch weather app just for the hell of it. Fairbanks, Tokyo, Atlanta, Galway, London, Sydney, Seattle and Cairo. They’re all there along with my own city and it was the Seattle forecast I consulted this morning. I am a nerd and today my child is paying the price.

I guess I’ll be going home during lunch to pick up some pants.

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Flying blind

So what’s worse than the swine flu? Foot in mouth disease.

I came down with a case last night at the little league park. We were there to watch our best friends’ oldest child play t-ball. His grandpa was there as were both sets of his aunts and uncles. One of the couples was newly pregnant, and as I approached I smiled and said, “Congratulations!”

The look on her face was strange and I thought maybe I had the wrong aunt and uncle. A few moments later my friend’s father pulled us aside and said said they had recently lost the baby. Blargh!

I spent the rest of the evening trying not to feel like an idiot as I sat in the bleachers and watched the game with Autumn. It was yellow shirts against orange and they played a very diplomatic game in which neither side won.

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Six of one

This evening I was out front with Autumn and our neighbor behind us walked by with her dog and five of her six children.  Her youngest, now six months old, sat in a double stroller with a sibling while the others circled us on their bikes.  We stopped and chatted for a second, commenting on the weather that has finally warmed up for us.

“I just had to get them out of the house,” she said.  I nodded and told her how Autumn has been begging to get outside for weeks. At that moment Autumn pulled up in one of the several garage sale vehicles my mother has purchased for her and smiled up at the woman.

“We have to get you over to our yard,” she said as she looked down at my daughter.  I smiled, but my maternal alarm rang at the prospect of sending Autumn over to Neverland to play with The Lost  Boys.  The neighbors are nice people, but I’ve seen too much of how their kids play with each other to think Autumn would be safe over there.

As if she had read my mind, the mother said, “But maybe not.  You probably wouldn’t want to send her over to our craziness. ”

I waved away her statement and said,  “I’m sure it probably gets to a point where you’re happy they all come home alive at the end of the day.”

The mother fixed her glance on a spot past our neighbor’s house.   It looked as if she was unsure how to reply to what I had just said.  “Well…I just go with the flow.”

It wasn’t until she and the children (and the dog) disappeared around the corner that I started to realize the insensitivity of my remark.  I will never have as many children as she does. My house will never be full of a half-dozen individual voices commanding my attention.  I’ll never push a double stroller down the street or keep my daughter’s clothes in the hope they may one day fit a sibling.

I’m done birthing children and am happy with my small family,  but just as I can’t fathom being a mother of six, I’m sure she can hardly imagine being mother of just one.  I can see inside her house from mine and can tell it’s full of love.  It is crazy and chaotic, but to her I’m sure the relatively quiet life with an only child would be as deafening as what I hear out my back windows every summer.

I stood outside with Autumn for a little while longer, hoping the mother would come back our way.  I wanted to apologize for my remark.  Sometimes the filter between my brain and my mouth is a bit delayed and I prove myself to be more twit than wit, but she didn’t reappear before Autumn and I went inside for dinner.

I’ll have to apologize the next time I see her, whenever that will be.

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The last time I saw my friend Terri was at my wedding eleven years ago. I met her at band camp just before my freshman year of high school. We became instant friends and were close until she graduated the year before me. She married a guy about a year later and moved to a town about a half hour away. Over the years I’d occasionally run into her mother at the grocery store or the beauty salon and would receive a quick synopsis of Terri’s life. Bev would hand me her daughter’s phone number every time and would practically order me to call. I never did because I suck at keeping in touch with people.

Terri was the first person I looked up when I joined Facebook, and for the past few month’s we’ve exchanged e-mails and the occasional gifts of virtual hugs and flowers. She’s now living in the area again and we finally decided to meet for dinner last night. I picked Panera Bread because it’s one of those places Nathan and I don’t visit much anymore because it lacks an adequate toddler menu.

It was great fun catching up with Terri. I have to admit to being a little worried we wouldn’t have anything to talk about, but those worries vanished as soon as we hugged. She told me I haven’t changed a bit, which was very kind and a huge lie.

We ordered our meals, settled in a booth and brought each other up to speed on the past eleven years. She now has three children, ages 16, 15, and 14. We talked about the kids, our lives and reminisced a lot about high school. I’m normally not that sentimental about my high school years, but bringing up names of people I haven’t spoken to since graduation seemed familiar and somewhat comforting. She told me a guy I used to date is now the band director at a nearby high school and I told her a certain squatty little tuba player has grown up into a lean and attractive father of two boys named Nathan and Noah (ha!)

We called it a night after nearly two hours of talking and made promises to each other that we wouldn’t let another eleven years pass before we met again. I do believe I also committed to attending her 20th high school reunion with her next year.

I had a great time, but since any trip of mine down memory lane wouldn’t be complete without a little embarrassment, I proceeded to look up the former boyfriend now band director when I got home. I sent him an e-mail, a short and restrained piece that lacked the idiocy of the socially awkward e-mail I sent to another former classmate a few months back. I’m quite sure he’s not going to know what to make of me, but I’m kind of looking forward to hearing from him.

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The wrong trousers

A couple of weeks ago I noticed I needed new jeans.  The one pair I own were becoming very worn to the point that I could almost see through them in some places.  If you’re a large woman, which for your sake I hope you’re not, you’ll know exactly which places I’m talking about.

I hate shopping.  Let me rephrase that; I hate clothes shopping.  Put me in a camera store, an electronics store or even a grocery store and I’m happy as a clam.  Ask me to buy clothes for myself and you may as well be asking me to stick my hand in a blender because both task are excruciatingly painful.

I haven’t had much time to step into a store anyway, so I decided to order a pair of jeans online.  I haven’t exercised since my surgery and my eating habits have been atrocious since then as well, so I figured I’d go and order the largest size jeans they have.  It takes a lot of guts to admit this.  I ordered the largest size jeans from an online store.  For that reason alone I should be getting my fat ass to a Weight Watchers meeting stat.

So the jeans arrived but remained wrapped in their packaging for a couple of days.  I’m a coward when it comes to facing bad news and I was quite sure the jeans were not going to fit.  When I finally opened up the package and tried them on, I found them to be a little loose.  Better too loose than too tight, I say and decided to wear them to work.  What I thought was just a little loose became ridiculously loose as the day progressed.  I was constantly hiking up my pants and was afraid to bend over lest I accidentally moon someone.

I’ve washed and worn the jeans a few times since and I’m sad to say there has been no shrinkage.  Of course I didn’t keep track of the packing slip so now I’m stuck with a pair of ill-fitting jeans that I hope to God will never fit right anyway.  I’m going to have to buy yet another pair before the old ones split or the new ones puddle around my ankles.  Neither of those scenarios would be pretty.

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Sunday afternoon I had no desire to create a grocery list, so I shirked my domestic duties and sat down to create a Facebook account. Up to now, I resisted joining a social network because I have this blog and I really don’t need another thing drawing me to the computer when I have other things to do, such as create a grocery list.

The nice thing about social networks is you can actually find people you haven’t seen in years, and within minutes of creating my account I had hooked up with an old friend from high school who I had not seen or talked to since my wedding day. I’ve since “friended” a host of others from my past as well as my neighbor across the street because, you know, that path from my front door to hers takes all of a minute.

The bad thing about social networks is that they are yet another avenue through which one can make an ass of herself. For example, I was perusing the list of Facebook profiles from people who had graduated from my high school and happened upon a man I remembered fondly from my days in marching band. He was one of our drum majors and a really sweet guy with a great sining voice.

His profile was private, but his picture was posted as a thumbnail on the list. In the picture he’s seen sitting on a rock wearing white pants and a bright pink shirt. The whole ensemble screamed early 90s to me so I figured he had posted an older picture of himself. I sent him this message:

You’ve either posted your senior picture on your profile or have gained access to Dick Clark’s anti-aging serum. I’m guessing it’s the former because I’m pretty sure those flashy colors were outlawed after 1999.

It’s nice to see you here. I hope you’re doing well. You probably have no idea who this is so I’ll give you a hint: my last name used to be ——.

I sent it off without a second thought. After I had time to process what I had written, I was horrified that I had chosen to make fun of his picture after not having spoken to him in nearly 18 years. What if that really is a recent picture? It was very small and perhaps I was mistaken in thinking he looked exactly as he had in high school. Who the hell can tell from a teeny tiny picture? Certainly not the woman who still knows nothing about how to talk to boys.

Note to Facebook: bigger profile pictures and a “save draft” function for your message system might prevent several folks from disclosing their dorkishness to the general public. I’m just saying. Some of us are lost causes and can use all the help we can get.

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