Friday, February 26, 2010

Oh Rain -- How You Mock Me With Your Cheerful Dumb Songs About Rain

Basement: wet.

Puppy: Won't -- you know. Except in the dining room. Terrified of rain.

Kids: Watching very bad TV/playing obsessive Wii and I've forgotten to care.

My Hair: Really, hair? Really?

The Fridge: barren.

The Laundry: wet.

The Blog: um? wha?

Bad TV: I love you bad TV makers because you always make me feel better when a comet destroys my city. I should look into that sometime.

Shrink: Need one -- for the dog.

Paper Towels: Not friendly on the face when nose-blowing. Just a tip.

The News: Did Haiti just fix itself? Awesome. I'm happy for them.

Snow: Apparently, eastern Massachusetts made a deal with Mother Nature. (RAIN was your deal? Wow, woman, we need to talk. My shovel and my kids need SOMETHING TO DO.)

Seattle: I feel ya.

Polite Fictions: Oh please (do)n't bother with mine, just read Two Busy's. We're working the Alphabet of Regret, with new peeps even! It's totally a happy time. Like with unicorns and shit. And no rain. Just regret and stuff...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

When He Humps You, It's Not Love

The GFYO might take pictures of his puppy's poop, but he does not love the puppy, and nor does the puppy love the GFYO.

The puppy has sharp teeth. The GFYO hops and leaps to avoid them. With every lurch, the puppy wishes to bite him more. It's such an ugly dance of love and hate and I remember it well.


The Kid left for Budapest, which Carolyn says I should pronounce "budeapesht" and which I will from now on.

I will still call Massachusetts straight up: and not Massaholeachusetts. I have my limits.

I will miss him. I will sleep with the lights on.


I have a deadline to write a book.
I have ten or twenty starting sentences...
And not much else.
I keep writing about what I know.
I am no JK Rowling: I have no imagination.


Maybe I will write a book of first sentences?


The puppy humped the GFYO.
And the GFYO finally got to love that puppy,
so wrongly --

"He's cuddling me!" he said.

He's not, I said.

"You need to be his boss," I said, grabbing the one boy from the other, grabbing the skin of that animal like his mother would.

The GFYO needs some balls and I don't know how to give him them. But I know about humping and power. And I won't let the puppy get the upper leg on the GFYO.


This is the least I can do.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Quiet Right Now

Oh my god the quiet right now.

No kids or the sisters or the puppy
Some quiet.

Can I describe quiet?
It's like Yoko painting wind:
You get the idea. You don't get the wind.

I covet quiet.

My brain gets so noisy
so chatter-fillled, so busy-doing, so wikkid burnin' up
everydayallthetimenomatterwhat so

I covet quiet like a dog to his sock.

I need that piece of peace to gnaw on
to tug apart, to break into pieces
so I can swallow it whole.

So I can wake in the morning
with my jaw sore from trying:

my bits demolished and mulled into mush
every part of me sore and undone and
waiting how I do
waiting for that quiet,
waiting for this quiet
at last.

At last.

Be very quiet, now. Quiet is good.

Monday, February 8, 2010

In Which I Scientifically Prove that Babies are Not Like Puppies but Five Year Old Boys

I wipe the poop off my boy's butt, inspect his ears, his eyes, his nose for leaks and goo, welcome his wet, blubbery kisses, and fret about what he puts in his mouth: yellow snow! a rubber band! an eraser! Then I put him a tiny cage and leave for an hour or so.

See, puppies are not like babies. Babies do not like tiny cages. (Also: if you put a baby in one monster and then leave? Say hello to the nightly news. And jail.) Babies will test their teeth on your boob (if you have 'em), but puppies will test their teeth on every other part of you. Babies do not sniff the ground in circles when they are ready to pee. Babies just pee. Babies start slowly, even 9 months in: puppies haul ass at 8 weeks. Babies cannot drag a boot five times their weight across a kitchen floor! Babies are weaklings. Babies clean up quicker after a bath and look way cuter wrapped up wet in a towel.

Puppies are not like babies. Five year old boys, however? Let's examine:

Fig. A:
The GFYO comes home late this afternoon after playing with a TFYO (tiny five year old) down the street. He whips and whirls his way through the door like a mini-tornado of boots and mittens and a toy-clipped backpack. He grabs his crotch before saying perfunctory thank yous and good byes and scrams off to the bathroom, his socks slipping -- screeeetch! -- and he barely makes the turn, but in he goes, hitting the mark. (Good boy, I call!) He scrambles out (spots of pee on his pants) and heads for the fridge, for the pantry, sniffing around for something tasty and finding nothing, rushes out again for legos? for a robot? for something he forgot about and remembered JUST NOW. I call to him "hey GFYO! come give me a kiss!" and he does nothing.
Fig. B:
He doesn't know his name sometimes.
Fig. C:
Later, he jumps me in excited love -- I'm a lego that way sometimes, as in "oh mom, there you are! where were you? i like you!" -- and rubs my back and twists my ponytail in his fingers. My yapping boy whispers sweetly in my ear, "mom, you might need to wipe my butt."
I rest my case.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Prepare it properly

Clean it, bleach it, scrub it.

Sand it until your hands hurt.

A little primer

goes a long way.

Prime everything.

You might have to take it apart

to make it right.

Never put anything into your ground

until you have turned it over in your hands.

Cut back, weed, fertilize and

water it in.


Move it if you must, but

Be patient.

Light looks different at different times.

Colors change ---

you will need to watch them change.

See every way the sun shines on

until you know

for sure.

Wear goggles.

Clean your brushes.

Measure again.

Air it. Wet it. Scrape it. Tape it. Mulch it. Wait.

These are just guidelines.

Art and science,

like love and logic,

make funny friends.

Sometimes take a ruler and sometimes

just throw it out there.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Washing Baby Undershirts Before the Baby Shows

I have no idea why I did it, other than my mother told me to, but I washed brand new tiny baby undershirts the week before my first baby was born. I washed them alone, so sacred and breakable they seemed, and I used special soap that smelled like, well, like panic mostly but also like sweet relief. I have no idea how I did it, sitting there on the floor straining to bend over the solid giant lump under my ribs, but I very carefully folded those napkin-sized shirts one by one, until they were flat and perfect and stacked like waiting soldiers. Sweetly-smelling and waiting on something I couldn't wait to know.

Today, I pulled out a stash of swaddling blankets from a drawer where things like that get stuffed away and hidden. I shook each one out, picked a few I liked the best and then tucked them under my pillow so that they might smell like me. I found a long-unused basket that once held soft blocks, slobbered-on rings and fuzzy books that honked and jingled and I filled it with new toys that looked pretty much the same: bright colors, soft fleece, rubber.

Earlier, Bridget and I wandered the giant store for them like shepherds without a North Star. We had a list of supplies but no idea where to find them. Each aisle seemed longer, more confusing, and we lingered far too long in each one, pointing to and touching things we knew nothing about and wondering which was "right" or "best." Every one around us seemed so fully competent, and I whispered to my first born, her head now just inches below my own, "This is what it felt like when Daddy and I tried to find a car seat for you..."

We left with a small sackful, deciding to make bigger decisions later. We rode home in silence, a rarity for that kid, and when we got home, she sat on the floor and carefully cut price tags off braided ropes and squeaky squirrels. She turned each toy over in her hands making sure it was just right and also maybe looking for something, looking for anything that might tell her the future. When she was done, she turned to me and said in a voice that was part wistful, part surprised and loaded with an anxious awe that seemed so familiar, "Today is the last day we have before our dog."

I know, I said. I totally know.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Wii Means Family Fun, and Other Lies

One of the upsides of being sick with a contagious illness is that everyone in your house will leave you alone... well, at least for 45 to 90 minute intervals which is a veritable spa vacation, you feel me? Actually, please don't feel me. It might hurt...

Anyhoo, the Kid did a stand-up job as nursemaid and kid-deflector this Mid Winter Weekend of My Discontent. He had the Short Drunks out of the house for hours and they had so much fun, I'm pretty sure they wish I would stay feverish forever. But while the off-campus adventures were superlative in every way, the at-home Daddy Fun Times (aka: leave your mom alone, please) were a tad troubled. And I blame it all on the Wii.

Oh dear dear Wii: you promise such family fun, but you lie like Picket in her bed with strep throat. You are interactive, yes, that's true, but not in the way you advertise. Exhibit A:

The GFYO: I didn't even make my guy do that. WHY DID MY GUY DO THAT?
The Kid: I dunno. Just keep going -- ahhyahbooyyy...SCORE!
The GFYO: No, not fair. My things not working, it's not work--
The Kid: It IS working. Keep trying.
The GFYO: Daddy! Stop doing that!
The Kid: But that's how we play.
The GFYO: ^%&^%)#jsoihfsuydfw er, arghhjh!
The Kid: What? Stop yelling at me.
The GFYO: I hate this stupid thing. My guy won't work.
The Kid: I'm not gonna play with you if you keep yell -- YES! Score.
The GFYO: Wait? How--
The Kid: Look, look -- you have it now. Hit the A button, A, the A Button! A, A, A!
The GFYO: Yesss.... Take that, suckah. I rule.
The Kid: Atta boy!
The GFYO: Don't be mean!
The Kid: Huh?
The GFYO: I am not a bad boy!
The Kid: I said "at-a-boy" like "sweet job" and... and... The Kid scores again!
The GFYO: Aahgrjhgjhgsjfjk!!
The Kid: It was a mistake! I swear. Please stop yelling, please.
The GFYO, hurling controller: I quit.
The Kid: Oh, c'mon. Wanna play tennis instead?
The GFYO: Okay.
The Kid: Let's go, John McEnroe.