Monday, January 30, 2012

Stuck In The Middle With You

Five and a half years later and he still wears the Urban Fetch shirt all the time

On the plane home from a rather long, difficult week in New York (aside from a very special dinner at Jean Georges) dealing with a scary (and successful!) surgery for one of my necessary people, 500 Days of Summer popped on my Virgin Red. Who can resist Zooey? Mr. Schneed hates this movie. He just doesn’t understand why she doesn’t want to be with the nice, cute guy. I remember seeing it in the theater and my cute, nice guy husband was viscerally angry at Summer. Watching it the other night while feeling wistful, I had an epiphany—I never have to date again! You would think this would have struck me earlier given that I've been with my husband for over 5 years. I've always been a slow learner. Obviously, this is assuming that I don’t go through an even more horrifying divorce. Barring that, I never have to date again. Woohoo!

No more painful breakups. No more sobbing through dinners with friends because yet another relationship is on the bridge to nowhere. No more wondering if he'll call. No more wondering if I'll ever fall in love again. No more fearing that I'll never have a family. But also: No more searching for the perfect outfit to wear on a first date. No more witty text/im/email banter. No more wondering what it would be like to wake up with him. No more trying so hard to be my best self.

I've been so focused this past year on being a mother that I fear I've ignored my wifely duties. Perhaps ignored is a little harsh. Maybe more like forgot to water for, oh, say, about a year and change. But, thankfully ours is a cactus marriage and (mostly) thrived during the drought. In yesterday's Modern Love column in the NY Times, the author writes about how she poked the bear and endeavored to make her good marriage even better. I'm starting to feel the same itch to start poking. Why wait for things to start falling apart before letting my dear, sweet boyfriend-for-life know how much he means to me?

In the spirit of fixing what ain't really broken but could use a tune up, I want to try to recapture some of the giddiness and excitement of dating. Lately, I find myself saying things to my husband in a tone I might kindly call shrewish. Where did this person come from and how can I banish her? Before snapping or snarking, I want to take a moment to think about how I would react if I were only dating this man. Would I criticize how he bites the spoon every time he eats ice cream? Would I make fun of his desire to watch The Bachelor? (Probably). Would I compliment him more?

When we first moved in together, after traveling back and forth between New York and San Francisco for over a year, we used to wake up each morning laughing at our good fortune. We knew how exciting it was to be together every day and our pillow talk reflected that. Now our pillows are dreadfully quiet as we've both passed out from exhaustion and fear that tonight might be the night that the baby doesn't sleep. This week I'm breaking the silence. I've been feeling like quite the lucky girl again--time to let my date know.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

It's not just me

The other night my brother and I were treated to a fancy, schmancy dinner at Jean Georges by his extremely generous and pretty much spectacular girlfriend. The meal was all sorts of buttery and delicious. I should be not surprised that all of my clothing suddenly appears to be a wee bit tight. This morning I felt all Chris Farley as I wrestled with the buttons on my now uber fitted winter coat. The dinner, which was in celebration of my brother's birth, consisted of eating, drinking and desserting for hours. Let your eyes linger on this vision of beauty that was my chocolate dessert platter.

We consumed this, and two others like it of the caramel and orchard persuasion, along with numerous chocolates, candies, marshmallows...and my mouth just started watering.

After gorging ourselves with wine and fois gras (actually not my thing, but when at JG...), we rolled ourselves back to the apartment where we are staying for the week. The building's front door was open and we all struggled to find a working set of keys when the apartment lock flat out refused entry to all the ones we had. We went through each of the sets that we were given, laughing loudly at our dilemma. How rude! Did the locks change? Are we that drunk? Finally, as we were just starting to get the tiniest bit frustrated, I questioned whether we were even in the right building. Um, no. Turns out we were in the building right next door that conveniently looks exactly the same. It's amazing that no one came out of the apartment after we spent at least a good 5-10 minutes fiddling with the lock and cursing at 11:30 pm. Needless to say, we hauled ass up and out immediately and found our proper home. Apparently, this is a family thing.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Lesson # 568

Just a little tip from me to you…

Don’t put your boarding pass and your driver’s license in your back pocket!

Eek! Fortunately, I realized they were missing before I tried to get on the plane (though, unfortunately, not before I was halfway across the airport).

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Got kegels?

Childbirth, the gift that keeps on giving...

Why is it that my kid has been incapable of napping for more than an hour straight in his crib of late but, sitting in the mall parking lot this morning, in an increasingly hot car parked in the sun, with an anxious mommy who is very afraid she might pee in her pants for the second time this week (yeah, that happened), he managed to sleep for 90 minutes and counting? Oh, little boy, even in your sleep you continue to outsmart me.

You really haven't lived till you've considered peeing in your kid's bottle. Constantly refreshing Facebook to check new status updates only gets you so far when your bladder is screaming at you. The only thing more precious than the sweet relief of a sleeping baby is the sweet relief of a toilet. But, I stand by the edict that you never, ever wake a sleeping baby.

The way I saw it, I had four options:

A) Pee myself and just buy new pants when I (finally) go in to the mall.

B) Have my husband drive 20 minutes to sit with the kid while I did my business.

C) Pee outside the car, pretending not to see all the hundreds of people in the parking lot who are also doing their civic duty by taking advantage of winter sales. This, of course, was my husband's suggestion-he could basically open the door a crack and mission accomplished. Stupid penis envy.

D) Continuously text my husband while he's hard at work to distract myself from seeing yellow and thinking happy peeing thoughts.

Obviously, I chose A. Macy's was having a 30% off jeans sale.

I miss home!

Good thing I'm going on SUNDAY to see my family! Yay!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A taste of the madness

They were already there, promise.

David Bowie?

  • Strangers should compliment each other more. A woman in a restaurant yesterday told me she loved my coat, remarking that I "looked great in red." Made my morning.
  • Peter Dinklage is rad.
  • Today I overheard three men in their twenties (total Mission hipsters) wax poetically about their childhood dogs for a good ten minutes, complete with reenactments and wistful looks. It might have been the cutest thing EVER. Tony is one of the best gifts we could give our family.
  • I know it makes me a total weirdo, but I really enjoy writing thank you notes. It gives me a small, perfect sense of accomplishment.
  • Yesterday afternoon I let people in front of me while driving every time I had the chance. Feels pretty good not to always be rushing. One guy stuck his hand out his window and gave me a big old thumbs up. Nice.
  • To Keratin treatment or not?
  • Getting a book on a friend of a friend's recommendation and realizing that it's an erotica novel is hilarious. And yet I can't stop reading. Also, did you know that S&M is now called BDSM? An erotic and educational novel.
  • Pinterest, stop sucking up all my damn time.
  • My child has a terrifying fascination with curbs, stairs, and generally anything with a high probability of leading to pain. I'm definitely scared for his ski season to start.
  • New Girl, you are pretty funny.
  • Why does everyone complain about infancy when toddlerhood is SO. MUCH. HARDER?
  • Between the bubbles, the somersaults and the balance beam, I'm pretty sure my active, exuberant and altogether impassioned (we're working on our euphemisms here) son had the best 45 minutes of his life this morning at gym class.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Well, you already know the outcome

I just saw this Tumblr, Old Loves, posted on Cup of Joe and I am OBSESSED! I can't stop clicking through all the pictures. I love how there are the highbrow classic actors-

Old Hollywood

...juxtaposed with the less highbrow-

It's voyeuristic and fascinating without the creepy, invasive and mostly mean feeling that you get from the usual celeb gossip sites. The fashion changes alone are worth a few glances.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why indeed?

When I was walking out of our local Whole Foods parking lot yesterday I saw a homeless man approach a father and his two daughters, aged about 3/4 and 6/7. The father shook his head, albeit with measured compassion and an awkward smile, and walked away. I hadn't planned on giving the homeless person (the same one I see at least 3-5x per week and give money to maybe every third time) anything that day, but I felt compelled to after seeing the sad look the older daughter gave him. He smiled, blessed me and wished me well on the sunny afternoon. I caught up with the father and his daughters a bit further down the block and overheard the following exchange, more or less:

Older daughter: ...but why?
Father: I don't know why exactly but I think he probably was asking for money because he needs it.
Older daughter: So why didn't you give him anything?
Father: Well, it is hard to give to one person because there are a lot of people asking for money and we can't give to everyone.
Older daughter: What if we did give to everyone?
Father: Then we wouldn't have enough for us.
Younger daughter: I could give him this (holding up her chocolate milk).
Father: (laughter).

They then crossed the street and I didn't catch the rest of the day's important lesson. Being privy to this conversation initially made me so excited for Mr. Monk to start talking and asking serious questions. Then it dawned on me that I'll be the one who supposedly has the answers. I'll be expected to know what to say and how to make sense of all the sadness and evil and confusion in this world. How do I do that when I can't even begin to understand it myself? I felt more like the daughter in this conversation than the father. But why can't we just give to everyone and make do with less? How is it possible that I went into the store, bought 5 types of organic produce and chemical-free diapers and spent over $40 while this man is asking for any change I can spare? I don't know how to reconcile my guilt over getting what I want while many folks are barely getting what they need.

As I walked home, I thought of how important it is to me to instill in my child a true sense of gratitude, perspective and luck. I'm thinking as he gets older we should institute a buy one, give one program of our own for his toys. And little does he know all the years of volunteering his mama has planned for him.

I hope all of you are feeling some gratitude this weekend. If nothing else, the days getting longer is reason enough to celebrate, though I suppose it means winter is really coming even if it was 70 degrees in SF today.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

You know where to find me

OK folks, now that the great pukefest of '12 has subsided, it's time to get serious on ye olde blog. I have to make some major decisions. About my closet. My new walk-all-the-way-in-and-kind-of-turn-around-closet!! I mean...this should make the months of dragging my baby and our soiled undies to the laundromat a whole lot less painful. We didn't really set out to create a bigger closet, but we had some extra space due to the renovations and, voila, I am appeased. Personally, I think it's all a ploy on my husband's part to buy some more time in SF.

It's hard to imagine that once it's done I won't have to wear the same three outfits because I will actually be able see what's in my wardrobe. You don't even want to know what's going on in my current closet. While technically a barely there walk-in, there are so many clutterings and crappings all over the floor that it's more of a lean-in. If you looked at my closet I think you'd be scared for my sanity and my baby's well being. It's creepy and smelly in there. I'm not sure how it got this bad, but it's pretty much the opposite of the rest of my home. I'm a neat freak and have to constantly straighten up so that everything is just so. But, of course, I have my dark, ugly secret closet where I shove it all in and hope for the best. No wonder most of my shoes barely make it out alive after their first year inside.

Naturally, I put off the design until the absolute possible last minute and am now trying to become a quasi architect overnight so I can draw out what I want. The fact that the space is actually kind of small and we can't use all the walls makes it a little less complex, but still. I'm trying to remember how to make those three dimensional boxes that I used to think were so cool in the third grade. Here are some of my pinterest faves to inspire me. Too bad my whole bedroom would fit into these rooms.

Going viral

There is a plague upon my house. We just got through our first major illness as a family. Mr. Monk, Tony and I were all in it together. Mr. Schneed was in Vegas, partying with porn stars and craps tables. Or at a conference, whatever. The porn conference happened to be the same weekend too, how sad for him. I spent much of yesterday covered in puke, human and canine. I didn't know what mess to clean up first. I don't think the two youngins being sick at the same time was actually related, but what a fun coinkidink, eh?*

Watching my poor, defenseless and utterly confused son wretch his little guts out was painful. Multiple sheets, a stroller, about a million articles of clothing and an air purifier (oh, the irony) were caught in the virus' wake. Hooray again for not having a functioning washer/dryer. Unfortunately, there was nothing I could do for him but try to keep him hydrated. Just a little tip from my sister to me to you--try freezing pedialyte in little cubes. My guy was much more willing to take a mini pedialyte pop than drink it straight up. He hung on to my neck with his little monkey arms and didn't want to be put down for hours on end. Is it awful to say that I kind of enjoyed the snuggle time? My child is usually running in 30 different directions and can't be bothered to stop for a cuddle with his baking vessel. It was sort of lovely to lie on the couch with him in dead silence as he looked at me, looked at the dog, moaned. End scene.

Thankfully, the sickness for both pup and lasted far less than the doctor's predicted 3-4 days (wtf? I would have lost my mind). By yesterday evening he seemed mostly fine and this morning he is back to his full throttle self. Watch out, world.

Unfortunately, I am now puking my own big girl guts out just in time for the Mister's arrival. Welcome back!

*Given that I've just joined in on the hijinks hours after I first wrote the post, I'm starting to rethink this...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Wannabe nomad

Despite having just returned from 2 weeks away from our house and home, this article is giving me some serious wanderlust.

The 45 Places to Go in 2012

Justin Mott for The New York Times

Koh Rong Island, Cambodia. More Photos »

At least two of the places listed, Oakland and Tahoe, are basically in our backyard. Pretty sweet.

We're off to explore a bit this weekend...enjoy!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Flipping out

So yesterday, after being home for one day and cleaning the floor about 46 times, I decided to finally (finally!) buy a floor mat. You win, Mr. Monk, you win. I guess you are right, the food does belong on the floor and not in the mouth. His new favorite trick is to wipe every single bit of food off his tray when he decides he's had enough. Usually that's after two bites and I stupidly clean up the mess and put more on his tray. And, the fun begins anew. Can you guess who cries first? At least the mat is pretty cute and not truck-patterned. We are on truck overload up in here.

This morning I accomplished something I would have thought impossible. I almost didn't even try because I felt it so foolish a task. But, try I did and now the boy has eaten kale! Kale! That's like a guarantee that he's going to be in the Olympics. I chopped it rather finely and threw it in with some eggs and my child ate it all and asked for more (muh, muh). Pretty sneaky, eh? Just call me Jessica Seinfeld. Then again, this is the same kid who loves our "special" juice and hates anything with sugar. I'm not even sure he's mine.

The wonders continued at spin class where I didn't pass out (though it got a little iffy at one point) and I totally fished my wish for some Michael Jackson. After a slammin' soundtrack featuring Madonna, JT, Rihanna, Cindy Lauper, Jay Z, I started jonesing for some Thriller action. And...boom, Beat It was the last song. So, what should I use my powers for now?

Speaking of special powers, I cannot stop reading "The Hunger Games" trilogy. I plowed through the first two books and am now rounding 50% on the third. I feel like I'm 15 again when I couldn't put my Kurt Vonnegut books down. Maybe I am a secret sci-fi nerd after all. Have you read them?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Things I learned while vacationing with a toddler

1. Always bring more snacks than you think you'll need.

2. Don't tell a mom who is struggling to corral her wild child, "wow, he must be a handful, eh?"

3. Disposable swim diapers are your new best friend. Cleaning poop out of swimsuits, even ones with built-in diapers, is not a good look!

4. Sometimes it's ok to let your kid play with the toilet paper roll in airplane/airport bathrooms.

5. Chilling at the beach while your son takes a two-hour plus nap in his stroller is a lot less fun when you realize he's completely peed all over his stroller.

6. If your child pees through his swimsuit all over his stroller one afternoon, you shouldn't be that surprised when it happens again the very next day.

7. Watching your kid chase around cats, screaming "at, at" while trying to feed them maraschino cherries is as good as it gets.

8. Pina coladas make the world happy.

9. Don't start reading "The Hunger Games" unless you've got a spare 5-10 hours in which to be sucked into a vortex where you will unable to carry on a conversation, go to the bathroom, look up.

10. Sand, while awesome, is also seriously annoying to clean off little boys' bodies.

11. Random people are very sympathetic once your toddler throws up on you mid-flight. Your husband, on the other hand, will repeatedly tell you that you smell.

12. The food that your child adores at home for some reason becomes disgusting and inedible in another country.

13. Some people really love seeing babies walk up and down the aisle on planes. Some really don't.

14. Grandparents are magical people for both children and parents alike.

15. Watching your kid walk for the first time in front of his great-grandma, grandma and great grand uncles is better than fireworks.

16. Doing shots on new years is always a bad idea.

17. The confused look on your kid's face when he wakes up in a fourth location in two weeks is seriously adorable and maybe a little sad.

18. There is always going to be someone skinnier than you on the beach. But, the odds are pretty good that there is someone fatter too.

19. Hypochondria is contagious.

20. It's best not to argue with your 96 year-old grandma when she says your son is a "cockeyed genius" just because he can find everyone's belly button.