July 31, 2009

Meatloaf

I felt awful, y'all. Really terrible, nearly in tears, hiding in the kitchen to take big breaths and bite my cheeks really hard AWFUL. My father-in-law's first day here and I'm trying to make a good impression and prove I do not cook like Chandler and Joey and MY MEATLOAF IS FALLING APART. Seriously crumbling to the point of mystery meat.

Devastated does not cover it for me. Worse, everyone ate it like, "Mmm, yummy, this is the best pile of ground beef and seasoning I've ever had. Wish I had a spoon to scoop up more of the tastiness that has rolled off the table!".

Big surprise, Kurt's dad cooked for us every subsequent night.

I hate having to admit it, but what is the internet for if not to come clean to billions of total strangers? I have not been feeling my best, not for awhile now. Mostly, there's the overreacting (though I don't really believe it's too far-fetched to be mortified at a plate full of what appears to be lumpy kitty litter) to every little thing and worrying. Oh the worrying. It's part of every interaction I have- with my friends, my husband, my editor, my children's teachers, that guy in the grocery store who looked at me funny and then cut his eyes away like OH MY GOD DOES SHE EVEN REALIZE THERE IS A MASSIVE ZIT IN THE MIDDLE OF HER FACE THAT USED TO BE HER NOSE?!

When I dropped my kids off today and discovered it was Bike Day and I forgot to bring their bikes, I apologized to every single person I saw INCLUDING THE JANITOR on my rush out the door to get them and prove that I was not that mom who ignores her kids and undoubtedly spends her days smoking and drinking with her bra straps hanging out as she leaves the gas on and flirts with the mailman.

I SWEAR I DO NOT SMOKE.

It's mortifying to face the fact that I am not in my happy place. But I do not feel so good. There has been some crying, I won't lie. My skin is terrible, my clothes don't fit and I forgot to get Ovaltine at the store and now we are all out and my children HATE ME.

I have to go to the gym, get my 20 minutes of sunshine, set up my schedule for the next week at least. Or, in this vacuum of motivation, I should at the very least put my make-up on and fix my hair. And it wouldn't hurt my career to actually write something palatable and somewhere in the same month as my deadlines.

But really, all I can think about is how to survive making another meal for my family that does not reduce me to a puddle of WHAT A LOSER. Maybe chicken? Not that hard to do and hey, if I mess it up at least we won't have to go out and buy a rubber chicken for our next gag gift.

(Watch out, lucky reader, it may be YOU who gets those bouncy leftovers!)

(and let's all just join in again for another round of POOR KURT THAT MAN'S FORBEARANCE PUTS MOTHER TERESA TO SHAME)

July 27, 2009

Quoting

Sometimes other people's words make SO MUCH more sense than mine. I try to think of it as motivation to excel rather than motivation to give up the ghost in total defeat. And so...

"I have learned that there is no harm in charging oneself up with delusions between moments of valid inspiration." --Steve Martin

(courtesy of every supportive e-mail Janalee's ever sent me)

July 21, 2009

Cinnabon's got nuthin' on me

Kurt's out of town and all his ladies are feeling the lack. Yesterday Anna was playing with the little girl from across the street whose parents divorced about a year ago. Anna said something about "daddy not living here right now because he was far away", to which the neighbor girl responded, "Yeah, like me and my mom, we don't live with daddy either, we live separate".

I stopped myself from jumping in to clarify the details with a simple smack to the head and mumbled, "they're 4, forget about it". Still, it sat with me. It's not that I worry Anna will think there's something wrong with the occasional business trip-- she still thinks the entire nation is approximately the size of an airport, which must explain why everyone goes there for vacations.

It stuck because, in reality, we are pretty much the exact opposite of separated. Kurt and I have never spent more than a week apart at a time from the moment we met, and then only rarely. Honestly. I'm not even sure it's been a full week, at that, just a few days here and there. Maybe it's cheesy or we're still holding on to that newlywed flush, but the truth is that we don't LIKE being away from each other. It feels wrong, weird and vaguely unnatural, like forgetting to wear your underwear. Okay, maybe not like the underwear thing exactly, but you get the idea.

Sure, a few days in control of the remote, eating fish sticks with the kids and skipping one of my bi-weekly bouts with the razor is fun (yes, I shave maybe twice a week. If you don't like it, don't look down). It's safe to say I do the dishes a lot less compulsively and there are probably cracker crumbs in the bed from my late-night reading sprees a la Ritz.

But I read all night because I can't sleep when he's not here. Part of it is your typical hyper-alert-someone-will-break-in kind of thing. Mostly, though... I miss him. I feel lonely and sad and I miss him.

He steals the covers. He snores. Sometimes (let's not be shy) he toots in his sleep. I'm sure I'm no better (if you want to hear about my charms, though, you'll have to wait for Kurt to start a blog). Regardless, first thing every morning, before our eyes even fully open, he leans over and kisses me. My days that don't start with that kiss are not nearly as good.

(I realize this sticky sweetness may not go well with everyone's morning cup of coffee, so bear with me through the last gooey bit and then you're free to return to your regularly scheduled cynicism of the day.)

He'll be back tomorrow, only three days away from me, and I can't wait. Our 6th anniversary is this weekend and while it may not seem to be one of the Big Ones, it still feels pretty great to me. I love my husband. He's funny and supportive and smart and looks amazing in a nice suit-- and even better out of one (mmm-hmmm!). We're still two very distinct individuals, even occasionally at odds, but when we drive each other crazy, it's usually in the most frustrating and wonderful ways.

More than all that, though, is I can say with all certainty that my kids won't find themselves explaining to friends about their parents not living together any more, for one simple reason. We don't know how to live apart. For good times or bad, in sickness or in health, that's a lesson I'm quite happy never to learn-- so long as we both shall live.

Happy anniversary, baby. Promise I'll shake out the sheets before you get home.

July 10, 2009

Take me away

When it comes to figuring me out, you can pretty much always tell how I am based solely on what kind of books are beginning to pile up around the house. My reading habits lean toward inundation. (Kurt loves this-- his favorite thing in the world is sorting and straightening the piles of hardbacks vs. paperbacks throughout the house.)

I have books by my bed and books in the living room and books in the family room and books on my desk and books in my car and often a book (and notebook) in my purse. When they all mesh, like right now, it means my aim has narrowed down to a concentrated point. There have been times when every book in sight was some level of self-help-- stress management, establishing boundaries, inner peace, healthy living, practical discipline for kids, etc.

Right now, though, all my books are screaming escape. Calgon, take me away. Or rather, in this case, Valdemar take me away. This series is wholly fantastical, occasionally juvenile and almost always romantic. It is all based on one world with magic and mind-powers and heroes and peril and happy endings. I have read all the books over and over again from junior high on.

Now, I know fantasy novels are not everyone's cup of vodka-laced tea, but for me they're a total refuge. It's a world that has nothing to do, in any way, with my own. There are no parallels and most importantly, no deep thoughts. This series makes no apologies for itself. It is simply one ever-expanding fairy tale of epic proportions with the occasional PG-13 love scene thrown in for spice.

I'm halfway through the third or fourth trilogy and there are still several to go. I can read them all in a matter of days, a week tops, because the lines of text are so worn down by my eyes now that each sentence comes across as more of a brief thought than separate words.

My children are good kids for the most part and my husband, as much as I tease him on these pages (sorry about the half-naked boat picture, sweetie!), is my understanding and supportive defender and friend. I am a lucky and blessed person. I truly am grateful every day.

But all the same, I sometimes just wish I had a magic horse and could blow things up with the power of my mind alone. How cathartic would that be, right?

July 02, 2009

Italy


The main wall in our family room is covered with a montage of pictures from our honeymoon trip to Italy in May 2006. In the traditional sense it wasn't really our honeymoon, we'd been married 3 years at the time. But it was our first big vacation by ourselves since Anna was born. We've always said that a honeymoon is wasted on newlyweds-- at that point McDonald's is romantic when seen through the stars in your eyes. The romance of Italy stands out so much more after a few years of daily diapers and date nights at home with a rented DVD and microwave popcorn.

The highlight of the trip was Positano, a little luxury town built into a cliff side of the Amalfi Coast. I can't even describe it except to say imagine every Bond movie beach scene and then picture yourself in the middle of it, minus the guns and peril. Ta da!

One afternoon we rented a motor boat and went out by ourselves on the bay. We got down there expecting to sign release forms, be issued life jackets and driven around for an hour by a licensed boat driver (driver? captain? pilot? there is a word here that escapes me). What we actually found was a guy who gave Kurt a 30 second tutorial at the controls, handed me down into the boat and pushed us out of the dock on our own.

It was SO MUCH FUN. The water was a clear, perfect blue, we were totally alone except for a few other boats off in the distance and the sun felt like a silky blanket on our skin. At one point we idled across from a small island populated by nothing more than flocks of very vocal, and apparently orgasmic, birds. I lay back in the sun and pulled the straps of my swimsuit off to even out my tan line.

And then Kurt took off, as fast as he could go.

I nearly flew off the back but managed to stay on board by holding onto the ropes along the side with white-knuckled concentration. The boat was bouncing violently in the waves as he picked up speed, rocking me all over the place.

I shouldn't have worried about falling in the water, though, because within moments my very own pair of life preservers came flying out of my suit. There I was, flat on my back, spread eagle in my grasp of the side ropes, boobs out and bouncing wildly around. Kurt glanced back at me, eyes on fire, shaking with maniacal laughter.

He finally stopped his mad dash along the coastline and I let go of my death grip, tucked the girls back in and beat the hell out of his sunburned back.

This is one of his fondest memories of our whole trip, of which there is no picture on the wall.

Thank God.