Never quite content. (Alternate title: Shut up, me.)

September 8, 2008

At the end of spring I started a new ritual. Every morning I’d get up, make coffee, stumble about being grumpy until it was finished, and settle myself at my desk, where I would immediately check the weather. I watched the forecasts obsessively, watching the virtual mercury rise — slowly — until it would be consistently warm enough to get on with life.

First, I watched for the days to be above 70 degrees for a solid week so that Connor and I could make outside plans. Then, I watched for the nights to stay above 55 degrees so that I could plant the garden without stunting and/or killing my tomatoes. Finally, I waited over a month for the temperature to remain firmly in the 95-100 range so that I could declare it officially summertime. As the summer got underway, I got a little busy with — well, with summer things. The garden. The sprinklers. The incredibly neglected, incredibly ugly “lawn” that I was determined to mow the scare quotes off of before summer’s end. The park. You know, summer stuff.

I stopped checking the weather around, oh, the end of July. It was going to be 100 degrees before 10:00AM forever! My garden would be producing gigantic fruit forever! The lawn would be pretty, lush, and emerald green forever! Yay! Except that’s apparently not how it works, and I am obsessively checking the weather again. Did you know that things cool off in September? Did you know that there is rain, and cold nights, and overcast days? I somehow managed to forget these things.

I went out to water the garden today and everything was just a little sad. My tomatoes are still plugging away, but everything’s kind of… withered. Elderly. The “second harvest” I was so jubilant about turned into nothing more than ten puny tomatoes that are failing to ripen. My cucumber leaves are turning brown, and I don’t think the last few baby cukes are going to make it. The butternut squash is pretty much dead — it produced massive, gorgeous yellow flowers a couple of weeks ago and then everything fell over. The air was a little chilly as I watered, even though it was 2:00 in the afternoon. Nothing’s really getting much sun anymore; the shade creeps in earlier every day.

We haven’t gone to the park in over a week. It’s always either about to rain, or a little cold, or too muddy from yesterday’s rain. The sprinklers have become unnecessary, because the lawn — which was beautiful for, oh, three weeks — isn’t really growing anymore. Everything’s still green, but it’s an old green, a faded green. I’ve cut down two of the tomato plants already, and I have plans for the rest of the garden: cutting down the plants, storing the soil safely, sterilizing pots, turning the cucurbits bed into a winter compost box. I know I was just blathering at great length about how much I’m looking forward to autumn, but all I could think today was, Man, having a garden sure makes winter more depressing.

It’s been one of the best summers of my life. I’m so proud of my garden and my yard — proud of the little bit of ours I carved out of theirs. I’m going to be sad to see it (and summer) go.


Listy McListsalot.

July 10, 2008

Things I Am Dying To Do:

1) Get haircuts for Connor and me.
2) Buy Connor new shorts.
3) Go see The Dark Knight.
4) Sign Connor up for swimming lessons.
5) Get enough dirt for my awesome new raised bed.
6) Register our new(-to-us) car.
7) Get some new books and/or pay my library fine.
8) Take my friend Lyndie out for some light shopping and a nice lunch.
9) Invite my friend Kirsten over for a cookout.
10) Buy Connor a cool toy.

Things I Am Able To Do, Just:

1) Pay rent.
2) Pay bills.
3) Buy at least a little food.
4) Put oil in the old car to keep it going another month.

Oh, adulthood. What will you think of next?

Paving the road to hell.

July 7, 2008

Things I Intended To Include In This Post:

1) Current site design gig, how awesome it is, and possibility of actual payment.
2) Got hired as a guide at ChaCha.
3) Multiple tomatoes on tomato plants! Also, cucumber seedlings (not associated with tomatoes).
4) Disastrous state of apartment, plans for rectification.
5) Disastrous state of finances, seething ire aimed husband-ward.
6) Photos of tomatoes, newly mowed lawn, kid, etc.

The Only Thing I Can Really Think About:

1) Oh my Goooddddd, I am so tiiiirrrreeed. The neighbors have had parties from 11:00 PM to 5:00 AM FOUR NIGHTS IN A ROW, and the day before that they had a party that STARTED at 5:30 AM and ENDED at 9:00 AM, like WHAT THE HELL IS THAT, TRASHY NEIGHBORS? And why won’t the police do anything about this other than going, “Uh, guys, keep it down?” And why won’t the landlord do anything about this, especially since LAST time this happened he was righteously pissed? And why, WHYYYYYY, do these people need to blast music and thrust their shrieking brats outside and slam drunkenly into cars with alarms ALL NIGHT LONG? And why is it illegal to firebomb residential sectors? And why, for the love of monkeys, am I not the kind of person who can sleep through anything? And why can’t Connor sleep in until, say, eleven — just once? WHYYYYYY OH LORD I AM SO TIRED.

The OCD Falcon.

June 21, 2008

Have you ever had one of those days where the entire world is composed of nothing more than a trillion small-yet-overblown irritants? I am having one of those days, probably because I have not slept in roughly an eon. Small coughing kid, large snoring husband, great booming thunderstorm, etc. There is no sleep for me. Everything is rubbing me the wrong way, I am flipping out about OMG STUFF TO BE DONE ACK ACK, running in circles (metaphorically) and not really accomplishing anything.

Company will be here DAY! AFTER! TOMORROW! and I will pretty much have a rotating cast of characters filling my house for a week. I am thrilled about the company, but less thrilled about the massive amount of housecleaning still to be done, the stress over what food to buy and how to buy it, the question of planning activities, and the fact that I totally forgot about a particular bill and will have to pay it instead of taking the guests out for fun and sun. (Or getting my hair cut; I am not a SAINT or anything, this is not all altruism here.) In fact, I envision this particular round of company as a series of backs departing for activities unknown but generally pleasant, while I watch forlornly from my window and plump the air mattress obsessively. I am sure that’s not really how it will go, but the realization that I will be broke and sort of low-stocked while everyone is here is unnerving to me.

Also, the house really is a mess, in that “nothing’s actually dirty, but everything looks kind of sleazy” way. The carpet needs to be shampooed, but I cannot procure a shampooer until two days after everyone arrives. The edges of my kitchen floor, beneath the counters and stove and whatnot, need to be hand-scrubbed because they pick up the grode like nobody’s business. My bathroom remains small and dingy no matter what I do, and the tub is about a billion years old and has also been patched at some point with melted yellow fiberglass. I’m not what you would call house-proud, but sweet fucking crackers, I am a leeeetle worried that my guests will take one glance around and book it for parts hygienic.

To top it all off, I am exhausted from the aforementioned lack of sleep, and Connor keeps yelling “BOGEY!” Or perhaps “BOGIE,” which thought has cheered me enough to carry on with the cleaning. Happy Saturday.

It’s not you.

June 16, 2008

So, the CPA who was all gung-ho to hire me has not emailed me in almost a week. We have not finalized the contract, she has not let me know what she wants me to start on, there is a total communication breakdown. This makes two jobs in two weeks that have totally fallen through post-hiring, leading me to think that HA HA HA, maybe it’s me. As in, maybe I am doing something horrendously wrong, or perhaps my personality is off-putting, or… or I smell. I don’t know, but I am starting to get seriously worried, not that it’s edging into paranoia or anything because it’s TOTALLY NOT. Except at three in the morning when I am lying awake and freaking out about money. Then it’s paranoia! Yes indeed!

Hi. How are you?

Today is another day of resumé sending, just in case, and tomorrow will be another day of local job hunting. Just in case. We just did our grocery shopping for the month the next couple of weeks, and I am having my usual attendant “oh my goodness, everything has gotten SO EXPENSIVE” spazz attack. We have company coming in next week and OH MY GOD, HOW WILL I FEED THEM? I mean, it should be okay, except I don’t want to make my usual busy-mom-on-a-budget stuff. I, of course, am DEAD-SET on preparing fantastic meals with rich meldings of savory flavor and, um, angel wings or whatever. I should probably not panic about this because it’s not like we won’t be able to buy more stuff when the company gets here, but then I think OH MY GOD, HOW WILL I FEED THEM? Which is not — I repeat not — a legitimate worry in any way (I mean, we are not destitute), but damnit, I remember when the food I bought today would have only been maybe a hundred bucks and today it was TWO HUNDRED.

Hi. How are you?

I am also irrationally panicked about gas prices because HOLY HELL. Gas is over four dollars a gallon here, and our ancient Chevy Tracker is currently getting something like eleven miles to the gallon. Did I mention that I have company coming in next week? Because I do and OH MY GOD, HOW WILL I TAKE THEM OUT? Also, Michael has to get to work, Connor has to get to playdates and the park and the pool, and I have to… well, look for a job. Again. FOUR DOLLARS PER GALLON, people. I know it’s probably worse in other places, but I keep thinking about when gas was 88 CENTS per gallon, and I just want to cry a little. There was some ad on the radio today for a contest in which first prize was a $100 gas card, and I could not keep myself from snarking on it a little. “Oooh, enter to win A TANK OF GAS. No, wait, maybe A TANK AND A HALF OF GAS. What a MARVELOUS prize! So EXOTIC. So USEFUL. We should go enter, because A TANK OF GAS is worth its weight in gold!” And then, of course, I realized that a tank of gas probably is worth its weight in gold.

Hi. How are you?

Anyway, the lunchmeat I bought today offers me the chance to win $50,000! Now that’s a prize I can get behind! Desperate times, right? In case you’re wondering, I would buy a house. If it was a cheap house, I would also tune up the damn car. (ELEVEN MILES TO THE GALLON.) What would you do?

(As an addendum, you should go check out I have already solved the oil crisis, the housing crisis, the education crisis, and the food crisis! Happy spending.)


April 29, 2008

I know, I know, my updating schedule is all wonky, but you know what I have? I have REASONS, which are under no circumstances to be confused with EXCUSES. Here they are in list format, because I am rushing to finish this update before Connor wakes up:

1) I have not slept! In a long time! And now I am kind of manic and groggy at the same time! I spent ten minutes yesterday sounding out the word “there.” This situation is becoming pretty hopeless.

2) My scalp is terribly itchy for no apparent reason. I just… woke up this morning (VERY EARLY this morning, almost directly after falling asleep VERY LATE) with a terrifically itchy head. I do not have any flakes, redness, sores, bugs (!!!!), or outward signifiers of itchiness. I have not switched shampoos, shared a hairbrush, or rolled ecstatically over an ant hill. I AM GOING MAD.

3) My marriage is kind of a war zone right now, what with Michael’s refusal to get out of bed before noon, remember important things, or spend any time at all away from his computer games. I missed a job interview because he would not leave the bed, nay, would not even open his eyes. I am not going to go into painful details here, but let me just say that this household has been happier. Much happier. I especially liked it when he told me he didn’t want me to get a job because he doesn’t want me to form a social life! And I really enjoyed shooting him dead shortly thereafter! (NB: I am kidding. I only stabbed him a little. We don’t believe in guns in this house!)

4) We have been out of cigarettes for almost three days. This may or may not have been a factor in the stabbing incident mentioned above. The conversation goes like this: “Hey, can you pick up some cigarettes PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF TINY BABY MONKEYS PLEASE I WILL DO ANYTHING PLEEEAAASSE?” “No, I’m in the middle of my game.” Then there is weeping, and rending of the garments, and stabbing.

5) We are also out of caffeine. I will let you imagine that conversation all on your own!

Essentially, the situation over here is pretty dire and I don’t trust myself to update in a fair, impartial, or coherent manner. I am trying to figure out how to get myself around for job searching and/or working on my own, but I am at an impasse since I don’t have a car, do have a toddler, don’t have a babysitter, and do have A VERY STUBBORN HUSBAND. I will be back when I have located and abused several different chemicals in an effort to make this situation make sense.

(Kidding about the stabbing, guys! Mostly kidding!)

It does TOO apply to you.

April 25, 2008

Online Journal as Dumping Ground: I cannot stop thinking about this little incident that happened a few days ago, and when I say “little incident” I really mean it because it was just a tossed-off comment in a larger conversation about nothing much. However, I CANNOT GET IT OFF MY MIND. Therefore, I am going to share it with you, along with my various reactions and possibly some semi-coherent textual representations of sputtering. Woo! Are you ready? Here it goes.

So I was in my friend’s car on the way home from Wal-Mart after we had spent a significant portion of the day cleaning her kid’s room. We were talking about domestic crap, like how kids make messes and what you do to get your whites even whiter or whatever, and she said, “See, I understand the concept of cooking and cleaning, just not as it applies to me!” This was in reference to the fact that she mostly doesn’t do these things, think about these things, or worry about these things, because life is too short and her family is perfectly happy in a messy house (which is true), so whatever.

Okay. Okay, here’s the thing. The thing is… that at the time I didn’t think about it much but now my head is going to explode, because REALLY? There are really people who are like the low-rent small-town version of Paris Hilton, shopping and partying and wearing stylish sunglasses, and it is now acceptable to admit that in the home arena you are kind of useless? What? HUH?! Gah! The more I think about this the more I want to call her and say something like, “You don’t understand the ‘concept’ of cooking and cleaning ‘as it applies to you?’ WELL HOW NICE. It must be GREAT to be able to toss that one off like the stay-at-home mom version of ‘I don’t do windows!’ Have a nice goddamn day; if you want to come over I will be here, doing laundry and fixing lunch for my son!” I have been obsessing about this for three days now, and it just does not get any better.

Am I jealous? Hell, I don’t know. I just feel like that was a pretty stupid moment that I should have caught and responded to in some way, instead of just going, “Yep,” or doing whatever it was I actually did. The concept of cooking and cleaning? You understand the concept? Because I did not know there was a concept, I thought it was all action and results, like a mathematical formula: One (1) appropriate cleansing agent + one (1) germ-phobic stain-obsessed household manager (“Mom”) + many (4789345876) hours of scrubbing, sorting, and tidying = one (1) clean, happy, well-fed family. I did not know that there was this whole theory that you could just appreciate from a distance without worrying about or striving for its daily application. Sure, there are days when I say “eh, fuck it” and we all go out to play or whatever, but on the whole I feel like if you stay at home doing nothing, have kids, and are the primary caretaker for that home and those kids, then you should maybe — and wait for it a minute, because this is radical — TAKE CARE OF YOUR HOME AND KIDS.

The whole thing is just driving me nuts for vague reasons, really, because this friend’s kids are quite obviously well cared-for and very happy, she and her husband are very much in love and functional, and their house is often messy but it’s never gross or anything. So why should I care? I DON’T KNOW. I just keep having visions of all the dishes I’ve scrubbed, all the mopping-related backaches I’ve endured, and feeling kind of pissed off. Again, all I can think of to say is, OH IT MUST BE NICE. Perhaps I am just pissed off at my own anal-retentive stickler tendencies toward being some kind of Stepford mommy, I don’t know.

I have your concept right here, buddy. Jeez.