Family enjoying the "landscaped" yard. Worked our butts off to make it not look like those weedy places gay guys go to hook up.
Who'se effin idea was it to have it so that if you own a house, you have to make sure the space around it looks nice? Honestly, I spend a significant amount of time making sure the inside of my house isn't a hot mess. Now I have to GO OUTSIDE AND DO THE SAME THING???? When we moved into our current house, the previous owner had landscaped the shit out of this place. It looked amazing. But I gotta tell ya. I took one look around on move-in day and I thought-this has all got to go. I grew up with cement as my backyard. I have NO IDEA what any of that stuff is out there. Weed, plant, looks the same to me. Left it alone for year one, and it looked pretty good. But year two, and my yard looked like the side of the highway WITHOUT a sponsor. So, I ripped pretty much all of it out. Yup, I did. Bad form, true, but so much easier than reading about how to take care of it. And then, actually taking care of it. Thankfully, both my husband and my mother-in-law have some knowledge about what goes where and when. Also, I grew herbs. Once. So it's not a complete disaster. But I resent the fact that if we don't keep it neat and tidy, we'll become THOSE neighbors.
People who know me may also know that I have been struggling to lose these last 8-10 baby pounds for a while now. Let's not even begin to discuss that this baby is now four. Here is what I am coming to realize, and it ain't pretty. On the cusp of 40, I seem to have lost the magic ability to lose weight by simply refraining from Doritos and just, you know, thinking hard about it. So now, not only do I have to eat waaaaay less than pretty much anyone else in order to just maintain my current weight, I also have to eat nothing fun, ever. Especially Doritos. And this makes me sad as I love any fluorescent orange colored food. And let's not get started on my processed meat obsession. "Yay, I get to eat small amounts of boring food while the rest of my family has ice cream for dinner!" said no one ever.
Apparently, to make this even more fun, in order to actually lose weight I need to exercise, which puts me in direct opposition of my life philosophy of....nothing. I say, doing nothing is the way to go. I am happiest on the couch, TV on, paper next to me so I look smart, big fat glass-o-wine in hand, staring off into space while I think hard about which Kardashian looks more like a weird clown balloon. As my dear husband puts it so eloquently..."You are definitely an indoor person."
I guess this makes sense. In the not-so-distant past, when I used to exercise because I liked it (seriously, so dumb), I was in tip- top shape. And I still have the rock hard abs to prove it, if you can find them under my soft, squishable layer of tummy. And I suppose I could, MAYBE, get there again, except genetics is not on my side. My kneecaps are slanted, and so just "being" hurts, and exercise is unbearable. Until I can get them fixed in November, I can't even walk to Dunkies (What? I live in Boston. There are 3 within 1/4 mile!) for my mediumextrahotskimmilk2splendathanks. And so, I shall spend the next 6 months not eating. So if we get together for dinner, and I stare longingly at your food while I inhale my steamed fish and broccoli, now you know why.
There comes a time in your life when you are your shining best, surpassing your highest hopes for what you thought you could achieve. The birth of my first daughter was the exact opposite of that.
Even though I was having a planned c-section (lay off birth nazis! There was a VERY good reason!!), my husband and I still went to the birth class but immediately reverted to 4th grade and spent the entire time giggling at how stupid everyone looked. We pretty much had to leave the class. Fine, asked to leave. Whatever.
Dumb dumb dumb! 2 weeks before the c-section, while on a 3 way phone call making plans for the evening with the girls, it becomes apparent that I should have paid attention in class because here's me: "Yeah, I totally want to meet up. Where should we-hold up......ow....ow....ow....Ok! So, when are we meeting? No, no, I'm fine. I can totally go out tonight." Repeat. Many times. My husband came home from work early "just in case" and promptly disappeared into the other room to work. I spent the next 4 hours pretty much alone and in varying states of pain and what was clearly denial. As was my husband, who checked on me once. Once. In 4 hours. Finally, called my doctor at 7 pm who said this was definitely not labor because I sounded fine and to call him back if I couldn't talk during contractions. Made it 2 more hours, then called again. He said-again-not labor because you are talking to me just fine. I then politely asked him if this was his first time dealing with someone having contractions, since they COME AND GO YOU DUMB FUCK AND GUESS WHAT? RIGHT NOW IT'S GOING!!!!OF COURSE I CAN TALK! Off to the hospital we go, but wait! My husband says to me (as I am leaning against the wall in excruciating pain for which I am completely unprepared)..."Hold on, I just need to pack"......Yes, you heard that right. I think the look I sent down the hall may have caused permanent damage. I sort of growled slowly in a low, Exorcist style voice "You had nine months to pack." We left right then.
At the hospital, after a bumpy ride (not fun! screw you Big Dig!) we arrived to find the hospital doors locked. I'm guessing this is to keep homeless people from coming in to sleep on the hard cold marble floor in the lobby. Finally get up to L&D, and they hoist me onto this teeny tiny bed made for a Teen Mom, so I am trying my hardest not to roll off the bed while I am also trying not to scream in pain because I am a Bostonian and we don't show emotion. Then, it happens. The doctor's resident gives me my first ever internal exam. And what she did, well, she tried to grab my neck through my gut that's what she did. And then, the doctor did it too!! So I did what anyone in that situation would do-I kicked him. In my defense, if you've ever had contractions you now those fuckers hurt. And I am holding all that pain in, trying not to scare the poor woman on the bed next to me who came in "just to see if everything was ok" and did not need to hear someone wailing like a banshee and keep my balance on this mini-bed while I weigh as much as Orca. All the stress and pain just came out through my foot. So, sorry about that, I guess.
Did I mention that doctor showed up with wicked bed head? Kinda explains why he wanted me to stay home, doesn't it? Then he says, "ok, you're 6 cm dilated (I had no idea what that meant-see paragraph 1) I'm going to go back to bed and you can go down the hall and they'll get me when we're ready to have this baby." I'm like.. "we're?" But I digress. So sorry but no effin way am I about to push this thing out right now. I had a c-section planned, motherfucker, and since I laughed my way out of baby class, that's what we're gonna do. I think he was pissed cuz he wanted to go back to bed, but whatever. He delivered the baby, and then took out the cyst (reason for the c-section). He was pretty blase about the baby, but he was all jacked up about the cyst.
C-Section #2 wasn't nearly as fun, but there was one good moment- The doctor asked my husband if he wanted to see him take the baby out, and Alex strongly declined. Some time goes by, and the doctor goes, "Hey Alex, check this out for a sec." Alex, who has clearly forgotten the previous conversation, pops his head over the sheet just in time to see them finish cutting my stomach open and yank out the baby. He sat down-fast. The doctor was laughing so hard I thought he'd piss his pants.
Today a college friend posted a somewhat unflattering comment about our president on Facebook. Being a tried and true Democrat (can't find a better option, sadly), I took umbrage, of course. But still, I don't mind that she shared it. I think it's fine to share your politics, even if they are wrong. No, what I mean is, it's fine to have another point of view, even if it's wrong. Scratch that. What I am trying to say is....what the hell is wrong with you people???? Yes, that is what I am trying to say.
I can sort of see how rich folks would get behind the Republican Party, or rich white men folk, anyway. Why women, people of any color (I mean, ANY color, so watch out, tanorexics), gays, those of us walking upright..would want to be one is beyond me, but I guess we all have a bit of the masochist in us. Come on. Admit it, you read Shades of Grey this year and you liked it.
But what I can't seem to understand, is why people who the Republican Party HATES still gets with it? I'm talking about poor people, poor WORKING people, people on welfare, women (any kind), gay people, anyone who ever has sex (they're jealous!) but especially those poor people. They seem to vote against their best interest every time, almost like they can't help themselves. It reminds me of my kids-Me:" Here, this pink plate has more m&m's on it. Do you want it?" Them:" Nooooooo!!!!!!. I only like blue plates. I hate pink plates!". Me:" But the pink one has more on it.". Them: "I don't care. I hate pink. M&M's on a pink plate taste yucky." Total logic.
And these people do it all the time:
"I'm against healthcare for everyone, especially me! If I need surgery, I'll just pay for it myself like a good american. What? It's $50,000 to have my cancerous tumor removed? Oh yes, please pay for it, but don't pay for it for the little girl down the street. Her parents are on welfare. Tough break for her, but I'm not letting my tax dollars help her stay alive. But pay for mine, please, will you? Oh, and keep Government out of my Medicare,will you? So annoying how Government wants to run my Medicare!"
"Trickle down economics has helped me so far, just look at the tarpaper roof I have. Its new! In a few years, when I am a millionaire because my used hubcap business is gonna take off, I don't want anyone taking my money to help poor people who live in shacks with tar paper roofs!"
Amazing. And scary.
I read an article today in the New Yorker Book Review that yet again lamented the decline of civilization as a direct result of YOUR children (not mine-mine are going to be responsible for the decline of the Universe). Apparently, because my 4 and 7 year olds can't nab a jungle rabbit for dinner, or weave a new roof, they are woefully unprepared to exist as contributing adults in society. You see, the author refers to a study comparing upper-middle class children in LA to the children of the Matzigenka tribe in Amazonian Peru, who either learn how to make a roof or, well, live without a roof. I totally see the resemblance.
Those Peruvian kids have got it going on, and the Americans? In comparison, regarding their ability to I guess hunt down dinner, not so much. Instead of questioning why on earth any reasonable scientist would compare these two groups and then conclude that American kids are hell-bound, the author decides that this is indeed very likely TRUE and searches out numerous "books" to back it up. Most revolting is her reference to Pamela Druckerman's book "Bringing Up Bebe" (how cute). According to Druckerman, who apparently met every single French child and spoke at length with their parents, ALL French children are well behaved, and can manage to sit through a 3 course dinner without so much as moving a muscle. Make no mistake-they NEVER fidget and even eat the intestines. They then light up a Gitane and discuss world politics and Le Cinema. French kids are cool.
Yeah, yeah, American kids are lazy, don't do chores, expect to win and get good grades without trying, and they can't even tie their frickin' shoes (but really, why would you if all your shoes closed with velcro? Hello, easy???)! And it's our fault-the parents. All of us. I guess none of us make their kids do chores, we give them too much stuff, and we let them boss us around. Ok, fine, this might be true for many parents nowadays. But when both parents need to work in order to pay the rent and put food on the table, and when kids need to pretty much have the resume of a 40 year old hedge fund manager who travels to Guatemala in her spare time to build huts for poor indigenous kids (maybe they should get in touch with the Matzigenka?), to get into college, when is there time for chores? For life lessons? For sleep????
Lets cut ourselves some slack. Too many spoiled kids is truly a First World Problem. and not really one we need to obsess over. Kids sleeping in cars without enough food to eat-let's obsess about that. Our high infant mortality rate? Worth some thought.
Yes today's youth may be entitled and annoying, and living in your now exercise room, but let's remember a few things: today's youth are the most civic minded of any generation and volunteer their time at an unprecedented rate, they are less likely to judge someone by the color of their skin, their gender, or their romantic partner. More young people voted in the last presidential election than in the past 40 years. And, they don't have a lock on being directionless and entitled-I am guessing there were a lot of pissed of parents in the late 60's...
So don't worry-have you ever met a college kid who couldn't tie his shoes?
Last year, in an attempt to leave my Father-In-Law with a few days peace from our extended Florida visit, we took our 2 daughters to Disney World. Why, you ask? Why would you torture yourself like this, when you could just as easily stick a hot needle in your eye? Dunno. Nostalgia, stupidity....
I sort of thought they'd like it. But, I am 100% wrong about what they will like. One....hundred....percent. And, true to form, I was wrong again. I mean, they liked it ok, but they also REALLY like the Target toy aisle, and that's free. Our hotel was pretty grotty, and was by no means a cheapie. We were also next to the only bachelor party in Disney World (I hope-I mean, WHO does that? Lame!!!! "Yo, dude, check me out. I'm grindin' up on Ariel, yo. She's hot and she ain't got no legs. Don't tell my fiancee I was chuggin' Icees, ok?") So that sucked. Seeing as we were only there for 2 days, I had it planned to the millisecond. So, we get to the Magic Kingdom right when it opens, which means we got up before we went to bed, pretty much. And because the guidebooks said we had to get on Dumbo RIGHT AWAY BEFORE THE LINE GOT TOO LONG, we dragged those poor kids, who had no idea what Disney World even was (did I mention that? No? So again, stupidity..) across that park, bypassing all the nice staff lined up to welcome us (which actually make sense, as we are New Englanders and view kind welcomes as a sign of weakness) and not even explaining WHERE we were, only to suddenly find ourselves in line for 45 minutes. The kids were like "What the Fuck! Where are we? How did we get in a line? What is the line for? Elephants? Are you Fucking kidding me????"
So that about sums it up. There were a few great moments. My then 2 year old was a Disney Princess fanatic, so watching her during the parades ("Snow White! Over here! It's me, Laurel! Remember me?"-like they were old pals) and meeting the princesses was pretty fun. Those women are AMAZING. And watching the 5 year old get her brave on and ride the big rides, and love them, was fun too. My husband and I also got a kick out of watching how Disney operates. From how the staff interacts with people, to how they manage crowds during the parades, it's pretty interesting. But in the end, like everyone else's kids I know, they loved the hotel pool the most. Lesson learned. A $2,000 lesson. For 2 days. Two.
Recent data shared by the WashingtonPost.com revealed that the numbers of those identifying as pro-life now outnumber those identifying as pro-choice. The data was quickly debunked, and it looks like it isn't accurate, but it was a response by conservative blowhard Andrew Sullivan that really gets my goat (yeah, I said that and I'm not 70). He supports abortion in the first trimester only. So, once the fetus hits day 1 of the 4th month,...SAFE! In a similar vain, the Mittster recently claimed he is against abortion EXCEPT in the case of rape or incest. Huh? So you DO value unborn babies, but only those that come from crime-free sex. Those conceived from a rape, well, fuck you, you're on your own. You probably deserve what's coming to you. Like many "pro-lifers," Sullivan and Romney want to pick and choose their pro-lifeness. They are pro-life when it feels good for them, but when it gets iffy, they quickly look for an escape hatch. For Romney, it's babies conceived from a situation that he has deemed as meriting an abortion, as if that baby is less valuable than any other (way to go with your Christian values, Mitt). For Sullivan, it's when he believes the baby is somehow more viable than it was a day ago, an arbitrary and non-scientific benchmark anti-choice supporters use to gain momentum in restricting abortions. Why aren't the pro-lifers picketing these assholes, instead of harassing some poor 16 year old going to get an STD test?
Admittedly, now that I am a parent, I'm not really sure how I feel about abortion anymore. But history has shown us what illegal abortion brings-more dead people, not less, so I believe 100% in safe and legal abortions. All of the time, for anyone. Not "just when it feels ok". And for all those so-called pro-lifers out there, abortion can't be ok, you know, when you want it to be. Heads up-it isn't morally ok to kill a fetus conceived from incest, but not from an unfortunate night at the No-Tell Motel. If you believe abortion is wrong, than it's wrong for ALL babies, not just the ones you like. What kind of monster thinks otherwise? Oh..right. To me, this issue is not nuanced at all. Either you're all in, or you're all out. Either it's ok for everyone, or no one. If, as pro-lifers say, life begins at conception, than ANY abortion is murder, even at one day. I want to know-why aren't people calling these douchebags on their bullshit?
Just call me Dr. Happy!
I think all of my doctors are trying to turn me into an addict. Recently, I had a toothache and needed to see an endodontist (for those of you who don't know what that is, it's a dentist who goes to a special school with classes like "How to charge sooooo much more than a regular dentist" and "Money-no one really needs it, so they should give it all to you!"). There was a few days wait, so I asked my regular dentist for a few pills of something stronger than Advil to tide me over. The secretary said he'd call it in, and when I picked it up later that day....30 day supply of Vicodin!!! Jackpot!!! Mind you I only had 3 days till the appointment, but I might need to take 10 a day, so that seemed appropriate.
Just this past week I saw the doctor for a cough that won't go away. As a side note, if anyone ever asks you if it's ok for first year med students to be there, make sure it's clear they are JUST OBSERVING. After I patiently explained to Mormon Boy #1 that I didn't have allergies and that yes, I was aware of the existence of neti-pots (ew gross), Mormon Boy #2 (I say this because they were dressed identically in white shirts and black ties, ready to head out a' savin!) squinted hard while he rammed a light up my nose. Hey there little guys, I know you've had FOUR WHOLE MONTHS of med school, but let's just have the doctor who has had 4 whole DECADES come in here, ok?
Anyway, he told me it was viral so no antibiotics (of course, isn't it always?), but that he thought I could use something for the cough. I'm thinking some sort of syrup, maybe even Codeine. But this guy is NOT messing around. I get to the pharmacy to pick up the prescription to find cough syrup, but in the true spirit of medical moderation, it's VICODIN cough syrup!!! Jackpot again!!!!!
I think the street value of my linen closet is heading into the six figures.
So apparently it's not enough just to wear the assigned color to field day at my daughter's elementary school. You also have to color your hair to match. Otherwise, how would anyone know what team you're on (besides the head-to-toe team colors, that is)? Here's the thing. Last year, a suburban elementary school newbie, I neglected to add this decoration to my daughter's field day attire. And let me tell you, I heard about it. Somehow, all the other parents seemed to know that this was the way to go. But how? Is there a suburban mom handbook that I am not privy to, that I maybe have to earn by chugging an entire bottle of wine at book club? Is there a gene for suburban school protocol, and am I missing it?And so arose yet another mysterious but obvious to everyone else "thing" we parents are somehow expected to just "know." Here is a partial list of some other things everyone else seemed to understand, apparently by osmosis.
1. On field trips, you must send your child with a snack in a bag that can be thrown away, because if your kid has to actually bring a bag back on the bus, it will spontaneously combust, causing the bus to roll over and crash. Also, you will get a note from the teacher. About a bag. A....bag.
2. Failure to properly attire your child for Red Sox Day, Celtics Day, Pajama Day, School Spirit Day, Halloween, and probably Chocolate Milk Day will result in hours-HOURS-of complaints about how humiliated your child was because she was not able to get popcorn at lunch, the 'treat' for dressing up, and also will get you sympathetic glances at morning drop off, because clearly, you hate children. Also, it doesn't matter that we have popcorn at home. This was special!
3. If a snack has the words "made in a facility (love that fancy word for factory) that makes products with nuts, blah blah blah", even though NO ONE IN YOUR CHILD'S SCHOOL HAS A NUT ALLERGY, you will also get a note home. A nasty note. Because again, you hate children, apparently.
4. You MUST stand in the exact same place at pick-up every day, so that your child and her teacher can find you. If you so much as move by a millimeter, the forces of the universe render you invisible and your child ends up standing by the wall with all the other unloved children.
So to all you parents of soon to be kindergartners out there, I say hire a private investigator ahead of time, or go stalk the school yourself. Because no one will tell you the dirty little secret of the suburbs-these schools are out to get you, and when you fail, and you will, no one will hear you scream.
So I just ate seaweed. For a snack. And no, I wasn't just handed my one and only meal by a temperamental yet somehow empathetic stallion with whom I share a deserted island. (AWESOME Black Stallion reference. Now I want to go watch that movie. Was there any dialogue? I don't remember any dialogue. God, I hated that movie. Totally jacked up all my little kid Type A anxiety. How did that kid get on that boat? Why didn't anyone come and help him when the boat was about to sink? Where were the fucking adults???? They let a friggin' horse do their job! Why isn't anyone talking??? Freaked me out when I was a kid, and I was used to no adult supervision. I spent a good portion of my childhood lying down on the space under the rear windshield while my parents smoked Camels and drank beer in the front. If they stopped short, I just rolled down onto the back seat, no harm done). Anyway, back to seaweed. I actually CHOSE to eat this. Because I am hungry, and because I am doing weight watchers (and by doing weight watchers I mean I go to meetings and pay attention and take notes and then come home and eat Doritos because I don't have to go back for a WHOLE WEEK!). I spend a lot of time circling my kitchen like a shark, looking in my cabinets for food, closing them, and then opening them up again because the magic fairies will have used that 10 seconds to transform them to contain yummy snacks that are somehow all zero calories. But when that doesn't happen, I have to settle for what's there (goddamn slacker fairies), and today...seaweed. It's salty (you can taste the ocean!), crunchy-ish, and about 1 calorie for the entire package. Not too bad, if you can ignore the slightly fishy aftertaste.
Here's the thing. My 3 year old LOVES this stuff, but I have managed to not eat it until now, mostly because it gives me horrendous flashbacks. When I was a kid in the 70's, my parents were THOSE PEOPLE. You know....hippies. No really, they were. The real kind, but more on that later, after therapy. With that came a ridiculously strict diet that no 6 year old in the 70's could abide by, what with Frosted Flakes commercials blaring every Saturday morning. Yeah, I was THAT kid, the one with a pb&j that weighed 8 pounds from the bread alone, never mind the fresh ground peanut butter that would land with a thud when the extra fell off the end of the grinder tube. They'd also give me yogurt mixed with honey for a snack at lunch, and apple juice in my cereal because milk was the devils's liquor . Now that I look back, that's pretty much what I and my kids eat every day, so maybe they were ahead of their time, but back then? Assholes. I was shunned at lunch for sure. I wanted white bread, baloney, and a thermos with Hawaiian Punch in it. I wanted a Twinkie for fucks sake!!! Just one freakin Twinkie! But no, for a treat I got...seaweed candy. And it is EXACTLY as nasty as you are imagining it. Chewy, slimey...brown. Imagine that playdate..."You want a snack? We have seaweed candy! Wait, where are you going? Ow, don't punch me!"
Now of course the world has shifted on it's axis and Twinkies are out. What's in? Organic, all-natural sugar-free gluten-free soy lentil snacks home made by cave dwellers in the upper Amazon. And if a kid has white bread, well, clearly his mother doesn't love him.
Who is this person and why should I care?
You probably shouldn't. You spend too much time on the internet anyway. Stop reading and go outside! But, this is the section where you have to say something about who you are...My name is Jhana (pronounced like the "J" in Bonjour, so everyone who knows me and calls me Jaaaahna, now you know). I live in the 'burbs of Boston with my husband and 2 kids, so yeah, with my 3 kids. I have a lot of things spinning around in my mind so instead of talking to myself in the mirror while I brush my teeth, I thought I would do what every other person does who thinks what they gave to say is AWESOME and for whom Facebook just wasn't enough. That's right-I said "whom."