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Archive for August, 2004

Raymond

The paparazzi attack Raymond Posted by Hello

My husband Nathan and I looked after our friends’ two-year old son last night while they attended a Friday evening wedding. I consider this a huge step forward. I haven’t looked after a child since I was in high school. Nathan and I have never looked after a child together.

When Marla first approached Nathan with the babysitting gig, he mistakenly thought she was asking him if we’d be willing to watch their German Shorthair, Riley, for the evening.

“I think Riley can take care of himself, Nathan. We’d like you to watch Ray.”

Oh.

I have to admit to being a little nervous about watching Ray. Nathan has three nephews and one niece, all of whom live an hour away. Up until recently, we never had sufficient room for them to stay the night and we just weren’t close enough for short-term babysitting assignments. After being together for nine years, we knew each other’s likes and dislikes but had no idea on how to make a child happy.

“What do you do with a two year old?” I asked Brenda, a co-worker. We were out at a local restaurant with the rest of the work crew celebrating Courtney’s last day in our office. Through some scheduling snafu Brenda showed up with her 16 month-old son, Jaime. “I don’t know,” she said, “I don’t have a two year old.” I looked at Jaime who was happily playing with Courtney’s keys, his attention focused on the university keychain the Big Cheese had handed out to us a few days earlier. I had given my keychain to Nathan and didn’t think I’d have much success wrangling it away from him. He thought it was pretty cool, too.

About 7:00pm Marla arrived with her husband Ryan and sister Melissa. Our dog Molly absolutely loves company and ran down to the door to greet the guests. I could hear Ray’s little feet on the concrete as he bounded towards the door. “Hi Molly!” he shouted.

Melissa made it a point to inform us that Ray already had a “stinky poopy” and shouldn’t have another one. Isn’t it funny how people become comfortable talking about these things when a child is involved? You never hear many adults talk about their bathroom habits, that is unless you’re talking to my grandmother. Grandma doesn’t use the words “stinky poopy” though.

After Marla, Ryan and Melissa left we took Ray for a walk around the block. He spotted a cat in someone’s driveway and let out a roar. “Rawr!” he growled. Nathan thought it was hilarious. “You so want a boy, don’t you?” I asked. “Yes, I do,” he replied.

When we got back home, Ray made a beeline for the X-Box. He can’t play anything yet but loves to hold the controller in his hands while someone else plays. “No, Ray,” Nathan said, “were going to watch a movie.” We put in Beauty and the Beast and Ray was content to sit on the couch and watch, all the while pushing the buttons on the X-Box controller still in his hands. He growled at the Beast and let out a big “wow” during the scene where the Beast reveals the library to Belle. I thought, “alright, the kid loves books!” His mom will be so proud, English major that she is.

I really didn’t want the movie to end, not because Ray was being so good, but because I knew I’d be obligated to check his diaper. I wasn’t sure what I was going to find in spite of Melissa’s reassurances, and was not going to send the boy home to his mother with wet drawers.

He was pretty good about the whole thing, though he did try to lock his knees together, a stunt he apparently pulls on his parents as well. “C’mon work with me,” I said as Nathan sat on the couch calmly observing. I finally was able to get the diaper on and get the pants back on shortly before his parents came back.

I told Marla she’d have to give me a report card on the diaper job. Melissa said, “This was a piece of cake. Just wait until next time.”

“Is that a threat?” I asked. “Next time are you going to feed him fruit all day?”

They just laughed and didn’t really answer the question.

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Tupperware

I’m going to have a Tupperware party.

Somehow the idea of me having a Tupperware party doesn’t fit. It’s like wearing hats or open toe shoes with stiletto heels. Some women can pull it off and some can’t.

I’m no stranger to the Tupperware party. My mother dragged me to plenty when I was a kid. I’d end up sitting in some stranger’s house waiting patiently for the goodie bag to get passed around, hoping no one had already claimed one of the few orange peelers. Sometimes I got stuck with a tea bag rest/squeezer or a long fork meant to pluck pickles or olives from the bottom of the jar.

Sales parties are rather ridiculous when you think about it, the main idea being to gather as many friends and acquaintances as possible in one room and convince them to spend as much of their own money as possible so that you, the hostess, can get a load of freebies.

And believe it or not people are happy to do it.

In the past year I’ve been to a multitude of parties. My friend Marla’s sister is a Beaui-Control consultant who sells spa products meant to make harried women feel feminine and relaxed. The spa party itself is a great experience in which the consultant offers samples of the products to try at no obligation, of course. The consultant then goes around the room and offers a series of massages with tools that upon first look seem very dangerous but actually feel quite wonderful. I’ve been to four spa parties this year, one of which I hosted. And I bought something at every one.

Another friend, Sarah, is a Stampin’ Up rep. I started stampin’ it up a couple of years ago when both of my sisters-in-law started in with the hobby. We spent Thanksgiving at Joy’s house making Christmas cards. I was so happy with my creations that I thought, wouldn’t it be neat to be able to create my own cards and tags for the holidays! I started clipping the 40% off coupons to Michaels and then realized that my heart really wasn’t into it. I sold my budding collection on eBay and resigned myself to a lifetime of being Hallmark’s bitch. And then I met Sarah.

Sarah is a bundle of creativity and charm. It’s amazing to see what she can do with white card stock and raffia ribbon. The ease with which she was able to get me addicted to rubber stamps and stamping accessories was equally amazing. Yes, I had to have the Bold Brights Stampin’ Spots and the paper to match. The blender pens are great for adding just the tiniest bit of color. Eyelets add a touch of whimsy, but do you have a hole punch and eyelet setter? In the past year I’ve been to two Stampin Up home parties and bought from two book parties. I’m abstaining now, but have promised Sarah I’d host a party in the near future.

Don’t get me started on Tastefully Simple.

I suppose having a successful Tupperware party is a badge of honor, a sign of domesticity that has somehow eluded me until now. I sat at the kitchen table with my consultant Rebecca last night and salivated over the Shelf Smart containers, thinking they’d be perfect for all the baking supplies I’ve been buying lately.

Oh dear.

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A Feast of Figs

I’m a big fan of the blog.

I’ve been blogging it privately for over twenty years. I started recording my thoughts in a five year diary I received for Christmas when I was eleven years old. The diary has since lost it’s cover and a good part of the month of January, but I still have it. Since then I’ve not been able to stop recording my thoughts because I’ve realized one thing; nobody cares as much about what I’m thinking than I do.

That being said, I’m sure this blog will be nothing more than a cheap form of therapy. Being a woman, I have a lot on my mind and, being a woman, I want to share what’s on my mind.

So what’s on my mind?

Well, I mentioned that I was eleven years old when I started journaling. At that time my mother, who turned 23 two days after I was born, was only one year older than I am now. If you bother to do the math you’ll figure that I am nearly 33-years old and, had I bothered to get a head start like my mother, could conceivably be the mother of a 10-year old. Or worse; I could be the mother of a 10-year old and a 7-year old as she was (I have one younger brother).

It’s not that I don’t want children. I know I want at least one child. It’s just that I want so much more.

My husband and I went to the library the other day. Among the various books I checked out were a cornbread cookbook (I’ve been in a baking frenzy ever since I bought the Kitchen Aid Mixer I’ve been coveting for years.), a book chronicling the history of British food (that’s how much of a foodie I am) and Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. Add two trashy romance novels into the mix and you have a literary haul any schizo could enjoy.

I’ve never read much of Plath’s poetry, not even the obligatory “Daddy” doled out in my American Lit class in college. Truth be told, I skipped class the day “Daddy” was discussed and had to thus skip any questions related to the poem that showed up on the final. I ended up with an “A” in that class. I’m not sure what that says about me or the university.

So I started to read the book, all the while thinking, “She’s not so great. I don’t know what the big deal is. Maybe Gwyneth Paltrow can help me understand…” And then I read the following passage…

I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story.

From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out.

I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and one by one they plopped to the ground at my feet.

Yup. That’s about it.

I read this as I sat on a bench in the arboretum of the university where I now work, the same university that gave me an “A” for not reading Plath’s poem years ago. Never before had I seen my own feelings so clearly stated on the page. To want it all yet afraid to choose a path. I sat back in the bench and let out a breath. So I wasn’t alone.

Isn’t it funny how we think we’re the only ones who feel a certain way? Surely there was no other woman so overwhelmed with choices that she didn’t know which way to turn. No other woman was afraid to settle down lest she settle period. No other woman was afraid of looking back at an unfulfilled life.

So this blog is an attempt to sort out my figs. My fig tree resembles Plath’s in many ways. I want the domestic life, but I also want a bit of adventure. I want the children but I also want the fulfilling career. I’m at a bit of a disadvantage now, having more prime child-bearing years behind me than before me, but hopefully I still have enough time to pluck those figs from the tree and feast.

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