Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I am a new, huge fan of these two websites:

Sweet Vengeance for the Retail/Food Service/Whatever Worker

I Want a Dead-Eyed Baby Cake
--ETA-- Just to illustrate how awesome this website is, there is a post from June entitled "Naked Mohawk-Baby Carrot Jockeys". --

I was rejected. I was surprised at how unpersonally I took it. They did tell me in the email that most articles get rejected because they don't adhere to the rules. I checked the rules. The only thing that they might have been able to get me on was grammar; I'm not sure there's one certain way to make lists. Also, they don't really say what kind of grammar they like. AP? Chicago? Turabian? MLA? Who knows?

But I liked what I wrote anyway. It's not special, but I like it. So I'm posting it here now. There are, of course, just a few embellishments. I like my hyperbole.

Most women immediately work up a list of things to do when they find out they're pregnant. It probably goes something like this:

1) Find a good doctor.
2) Eat well.
3) Until hormones kick in, and you're lucky if you can choke down a pancake once a day.
4) Decorate the nursery.
5) Pat belly often. Look content. Or really uncomfortable, depending on the pregnancy.

My checklist was similar. Until, oh, number four:

4) Buy a house, as your 450 square foot apartment is simply too small for a screaming baby.
5) You want a decent-sized house (room to grow! don't want to move in three years!), so you go with something of a fixer-upper.
6) Fix up house.

For us, six has become a problem. We bought a house in which every single room needed extensive cleaning and a new paint job. When we decided to buy it, I was four months pregnant and had fanciful notions of trotting around the house all day, painting and scrubbing away while my husband went to work and earned money. That did happen for a little while.

And then... third trimester. The cute little bump has become a lead-filled beach ball. I am tiny everywhere else, but my belly--well, strangers keep stopping me on the street and asking when the twins are due. We're not having twins.

I wake up in the morning, fix breakfast and lunch for my husband while he gets ready. Every day, I start with the best of intentions. I have a list. First things are the everyday items, like laundry, dishes, eating, starting dinner for the evening. After that come house improvements: unpacking, putting rooms together, painting, installing blinds.

So I throw a load in the washer, I finish up the breakfast dishes, I eat a bowl of cereal and sip my coffee. And then the couch beckons. She is quite the seductress. We eye each other over the dining room table. I sip coffee. She coos at me. More coffee. A sweet whisper: Just a short nap is all. Just twenty minutes. You neeeed it. You poor tired thing. I gulp down even more coffee, but it's all gone, and I've reached my daily limit. My eyelids lower. Everything goes soft and fuzzy. My feet start walking, but my brain is long gone.

Three hours later, I jolt awake, the child pressing down on my bladder. It's noon, and I've done nothing. But I'm still exhausted. I go back to sleep for another hour. It is delicious, and I want to sleep for another six, but starvation wakes me. I run (waddle) to the kitchen and scarf down last night's leftovers and a bottle of Tums.

That's when I remember dinner. I check the recipe I intend to use. It looks wonderful. And easy! Great. Except, there, at the bottom: "Heat on low 9-10 hours in slow cooker." I wonder how my husband would feel about eating dinner at 11:00 at night.

No matter. I'll just cook some chicken and vegetables. Potatoes. Except that all our chicken is frozen solid.

Well, that's what sandwiches are for.

My husband is getting really sick of sandwiches.

It is now two o'clock in the afternoon, and my hard-working husband will be home in two and a half hours. Maybe I should just buy some bon-bons and park my rear on the couch the rest of the day. I briefly consider this, but the last remaining shreds of my dignity flap in my face, and I get moving.

In a frenzy, I fold up the morning's laundry and start another load. Loading the washer is a special treat. I have managed to perfect a sort of short-term sustainable squat; it's enough bending at the knees that the beach ball doesn't cut off all the blood circulation from my torso, and it's enough bending at the waist that my knees don't scream and expire.

I put away most of the laundry, but I leave some of it out, mostly his undershirts and socks. Part of the reason is that he has this bizarrely complicated system of arranging that drawer, and I just don't mess with it. Most of the reason is that clean, folded laundry sitting on the bed is evidence that I did, in fact, do more than nap and eat all day.

I'm sick of stepping in plaster dust and pieces of cardboard, so I sweep the floors. We have a lot more floors than we used to. It takes a while.

It is now three o'clock. Instead of starting on some painting (I can't do much, since there's a very narrow swath of wall within my reach) or unpacking, I decide it's time to clean some windows. The previous occupants didn't believe in clean windows; these are almost opaque with grime. Maybe they wanted to save money on window treatments.

I spend the next hour cleaning a single window inside and out. Every five minutes, I shriek at some new slithering horror (usually a spider) that pops out to investigate the destruction of its home. Then I cackle with glee as I vacuum it up. The neighbors peek out their blinds at the dirty, pajama-clad pregnant lady prancing about in the open window. I keep wondering why no one has brought cake over to welcome us to the neighborhood.

Halfway through cleaning the second window, I hear the front door rattle. My husband walks in to find an insane, smelly woman ready to bludgeon the intruder with a vacuum cleaner extension. He is used to this. He kisses me, asks how my day was. I neglect to mention the naps, though the state of the couch is evidence enough. He puts his lunch things away and sits down to visit with me for a while.

I'm dirty and tired, but he tells me I'm pretty. And he believes it. I stink, but he still puts an arm around me. He brings me a glass of water and asks if there's anything else I'd like. No, thank you, I say. I get a quick shower, but what I really want is another nap.

When I come back downstairs, he's sound asleep on the couch. I wake him up for some delicious turkey sandwiches, we paint and unpack for a while, then collapse into bed.

We've been here over a month and still don't have a nursery. I wonder why.

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