Tuesday, February 24, 2009

This morning, while driving to work in a car that recently had a pint of stagnating water in the console between the front seats, and whose glove compartment flops open, resolutely refusing its owners' attempts to compensate for the broken lock with ingenious applications of velcro strips or folded-up pieces of paper (too high-tech to explain), and which has recently been emitting a strong gas smell, a smell that makes me as certain that I am near sudden death as the strange rattling-tin-can sound, I sighed and thought to myself "By golly, I wish I were a Type A person."

My desire to be a Type A person--to have all my fruitcaking shit in order--crops up from time to time. Often, it makes itself known after I have spent an evening opening a four-inch stack of mail whose various messages conspire in the delivery of one delightful piece of information: that one must not assume, just because one does all the housework incessantly and uncomplainingly, that one's spouse is taking care of your shared finances. The stack of unopened mail gathering dust on the bookshelf should have been a warning sign about potential impending financial doom, but I vacuumed the stack a few times and now and then pushed it into a nicer, neater, more organized pile, so I felt I'd done my share.

I had done my share--my share of being a Mail Nincompoop. My share of Not Dealing With Important Stuff. My share of burying us deeper into Bill Hell.

Ahem--Parents? If you are reading this, please stop now. I would hate to be responsible for any coronary trouble you might encounter as a result of this entry.

What did the stack of mail, finally opened, laid out all neat and clean in nice tidy piles tell me? That we are morons, and that we are $178,483.12 in debt.

Ha ha, just kidding! That was a joke. A totally riotous, hilarious knee-slapper. In fact, we are not in debt by $178,483.12 at all! Nope, not at all--we are only in debt by $178,483.11*. See, it was just a joke! Ha ha.

Anyway, joking aside, so as I was driving to work this morning, in a car whose general swampiness (one of its non-Type A owners left the sunroof and windows open overnight and it rained eight inches, outside AND inside) could allow it to pass for a protected wetland, or at least a breeding ground for previously unknown strains of fungi, trying not to sniff the air compulsively in order to figure out whether the gas smell was still there so that I could then conclude that the car was about to burst into flames, which would definitely make me late for work, and I was already late yesterday because "my better half" (quotes not meant to imply sarcasm) left both cars completely bone-dry, gas-wise, and he had my credit card in his wallet because he couldn't find his wallet the day of the baby shower and we were running late and we needed to bring cups, balloons, limes, and tequila (for the baby) so I let him use my credit card and then I forgot to get it back from him and so I got to the gas station yesterday morning and AAAHHHH! Where was my card?! Why was the car left bone-dry, gas-wise?! And I was late for work.

So, while driving the car this morning, trying not to think about my imminent funeral (would they play Bob Marley?), I decided to become Type A: A for Ambitious, for Amazing, for Annoyingly perfect. A for Always wearing clean underwear--my clean underwear, not Joedy's, not Lula's. A for Abandoning bad habits, like picking my nose while driving. A for Anticipating bills before they are sent to collections. A for Area rug. A for Abnegation. A for Ass.

So here I am, a Type A person now. Tonight I washed and hung a load of white clothes that were lying wet with sprouts growing out of them from the recent flood in the garage, I cooked all the borderline-rotten food in the fridge, I made Joedy's and my bed, I gave Lula a bath and fed her vegetable matter for dinner, I did not kick the dogs at any time, and I was nice, for god's sake, instead of emotionally!! irrational!!. Also, I hummed a lot, in an Isn't-Life-Swell way, in an I'm-Gettin'-Shit-Done way. In a Type A way.

Tomorrow I'm going to write thank-you cards for my 40th birthday celebration, because, what the heck, it's only five years away. Also, I'm going to wash the roof of the house. And braid my arm hairs. I'm Type A now, after all.

*Hello, parents? Don't worry--that was still part of the joke.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Besides grapefruit juice, I haven't had much in the way of cravings during this pregnancy, and I'm always wanting grapefruit juice anyway, so it doesn't really count. Wait, I take that back--I have had cravings! For all the hairs on my chin to turn to gold so I can cash in on the prickly little motherfruitcakers. And for a 1974 Chevy Nova painted eggplant with a sick stereo and furry black seatcovers. But that isn't a new craving either, so it doesn't count either.

Yello, Isabob, ain'tcha fergettin' somethin'?

Oh yes, that chalk dealio. Pica. That phenomenon where people want to eat odd things, like paper towels and poop. I do have a bit of that going on--not with poop, not with paper towels, but with scrumptious delightful white chalky crunchy powdery CHALK!


All day long, I fantasize about eating chalk: starting with a nice new box of it, holding the box, smelling its cardboard-y chalky smell. Thinking about the slender white chalksticks waiting inside. Imagining the first bite, the powdery chalk dust mixing with my saliva and sliding down my throat in a grainy rivulet. Opening the top of the box. Looking at the chalksticks, lined up all nice and neat in rows, their little heads flat and hard and just screaming for a chip to be bitten off. Turning the box upside down and letting one of the chalksticks slide gently into my hand. Rolling it between my fingers, its perfect smoothness and fragility begging me to break it with a satisfying SNAP! Holding the chalkstick up to my nose, inhaling its subtle distinctive smell. Putting one end in my mouth, where it begins to dissolve, tasting acrid and bland. Taking the narrow round end between my teeth and biting down, tentatively at first and then hard, deliberately, crunching the broken pieces, chewing and mashing them with my jaws and then swallowing them in an unapolagetic frenzy of powdery chalk-eating FUN!

I almost bought some chalk at the store before heading home from work, thinking I'd nibble some in the car and then, if it felt right, scarf the rest in the dark garage this evening. However, it crossed my mind that standard store-bought chalk is probably not raised organically or sustainably, and the thought of eating non-free-range chalksticks who had to spend their entire short miserable lives in cages just didn't sit well with me. I'm ethical, you know, and want even my chalk to radiate a happiness born of grass clippings and mud puddles, of breezy pastures and the sound of far-off farm dogs barking and cows lowing...

If I can't find any organic chalk, maybe I'll just settle for poop. We have plenty of it in the front gravel patch--it's all artisanal, and some is quite fresh.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

The last few days have been kind of intense, not only because I've been really tired (yawn--there she goes again) due to messing around with my blog much too late every night, but also because of some questions I asked myself recently--questions about what I want from this blog, what I want from life--that have been hard to answer without a significant amount of shame, uncertainty, and, for lack of a better term, soul-searching.

What I'm ashamed about is wanting Fame and Glory--wanting praise and attention, love and respect. I've wanted the light to shine on me, to single me out as more special, more smart, more beautiful, more good, more strong, more perfect--more perfect at everything than everyone else. I've wanted to climb above the writhing heap of humanity and wave my flag, stake out my plot in the Land of Importance, in the World of People Who Matter; I've wanted to be noticed and known and remembered.

I've wanted all this good stuff for me, it's true. I've wanted to be singled out as better, which (there needs to be a standard of comparison) means other people should be less interesting, less worthy of attention, less special. I've wanted others to have less so I can have more; I've wanted happiness at their expense.

It's Darwinism, maybe: creatures want to survive, to spread themselves far and wide, and being known is a way of doing that. One's genes can't be shared through books or memories, but one's ideas can, and with no less significant results: survival of the fittest in the minds of others.

Since it's natural, it must be right, right? It's ok, and even healthy, to want recognition while other people linger in the shadows? And maybe, after reaching the top, one would discover a previously unknown inner strength, a deep hidden power that could be used to conquer, once and for all, violence against women? Should one pursue the desire for personal success because it's natural?

What is the answer?

The answer is that I was standing in line at the doctor's office today, waiting to be told which floor to go to for my blood glucose test, and in front of me was a middle-aged, grey-haired woman with her 7? 8?-year-old daughter. The daughter was wearing a nightgown with pyjama pants underneath and a pink-and-red bathrobe whose sash hung untied at the sides; on her feet, which looked proportionally too large, like a puppy's, she wore fuzzy neon slippers. Her light brown hair waved gently around her head and down her back in long loose braids, and she stood quiet and still next to her mother with an aura of seriousness I attributed to the sobering effects of the stomach flu, or maybe strep throat. Together they approached the registration counter, and while the secretary searched her computer screen, the girl leaned her face on the edge of the counter and turned it so I could see her fine, pale profile; she gazed outside, where it was sunny and full of bright greens and blues. After a moment, she must have sensed me looking at her, because she suddenly turned around and looked at me.

In her drawn sunken face, whose huge bright eyes hung above alarmingly deep dark shadows, and whose full-lipped red mouth was like an incongruous cry of life in all that white piqued skin, I saw a look I first took to be hostile and then realized was simply defensive; she didn't smile, when I attempted a lame smile of my own, and she didn't do much besides assess, apparently, that I was not something to worry about. She turned back and leaned against her mother; her mother hugged her as the secretary finished searching the computer screen. I heard the words "she can go" and "radiology," and then the mother and daughter turned and walked quietly past me.

That's where I found the answer to my question about what I want--about what I should want--from life: in a little girl, wearing pyjamas during the daytime and looking way too pale, in the way that girl gazed outside and maybe thought about playing with her friends at recess, in the way she looked at me as if she were used to being on the lookout for danger, in the way she leaned into her mother's body and in the way her mother held her.

I found the answer to my question, and tonight when I came home I hugged Lula long and hard and told her over and over that I love her. I gave her all the love I could give her; nothing else, I knew, really mattered.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Writing about wanting good things for oneself can make one feel like a big ole' pile o' poop the next day.

Especially when one thinks about ALL those other people, who...

One doesn't even want to go into it.

Suffice to say that one endured much mental self-flagellation and is now happier, because--

What the HTMHELL!! One has successfully manipulated one's blog template code and therefore one has absolved oneself!

Margins, Woo-hoo!



Sunday, February 8, 2009

All weekend I've been fiddling around with the HTML of my test blog, which I created a few weeks ago to practice adding images and changing layout and whatnot, and now, at 8:17 on Sunday night, I'm thoroughly muddled.

Not long ago, I thought "HTML" stood for "hotmail"; now I know it stands for Hogs Traipse Mindlessly Low. Which makes no sense--which, in fact, makes perfect sense, because it's HTML lingo. Codespeak. Spacetalk. Stuff normal humans are not meant to meddle with. Stuff that, if meddled with by normal humans, will result in their no longer being normal. Will result in their brains being kind of extra-freaky. And, by the way, kind of >. To say nothing of TEXT WRAP! div; 0px auto. Definitely 0px auto.

I'm obsessed with my blog. Since last June, when I--I mean Ronia--started it, it's had the pull of a 150-pound magnet on parts of me that were either dormant or just didn't exist. I was never very computer-y before, in fact I was even proud to call myself a luddite, but now that's changed. All I want to do now is sit down at the computer and spend 18 hours straight learning how to enlarge margins.

Part of me thinks all this is adding up to a huge waste of time. Where is this blog going, exactly? What do I hope to achieve with it? How can I justify all the hours I've spent on it--all the time that hasn't yielded that much, from the look of it? And that's where the other part of me jumps in, the part of me that likes nothing more than to spend an entire weekend cooped up in the house, free to worry this blog till I've reduced it to shreds. The part of me that says I Can Do This. I WILL Do This.

Do what, my dear little obsessor?

Make something of this blog. Make something of myself.

Oh, golly! We have dreams! And what, exactly, do you mean by "make something of myself"?

I started to say "I don't really know," but that's a lie--I do know. I want to succeed. I want recognition. I want to be the best--the best blogger, the best writer, the best artist.

Well, your saying these things doesn't make me feel very warm and cozy towards you. Why do you have to be better than everyone else? Why so competitive?

I know, it's not something I'm proud of. But that's me--that's the way I am. I guess it's based in some insecurity, some need to prove to myself that I am special--whatever. Who cares. What it comes down to is I'm not going to change. I'm going to keep trying to "make something" of myself.

It sounds so pathetic.

I know.

I thought you were into helping other people? Making them feel like they're not alone in their problems?

I am, it's true. But I have to admit that right now, I just want to create a killer-motherflyswallowing* blog. I want it to be beautiful and interesting and different and fun, unique and moving and timeless and perfect.

Well, good luck. You've got a ways to go.

I know. Believe me--I know.

*euphemism for rather tired/annoying "fruitcaking"


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ok, I take back all those jolly, ain't-pregnancy-grand statements I made in my previous State of Stupidity.

The nightly muscle cramps, which tear me from precious sleep with a blaze of pain in my calf and which can only be waited out, each excruciating second bringing me closer to wide-motherfruitcaking-wakefulness, have started to piss me off. As if having to share a bed with two other humans (three, if Lula's joined us), two dogs, and a cat weren't enough, now I get to do that AND suffer from living-nightmare paroxysms of the leg. And mind you I suffer quietly, so as not to disturb my bedmates. Because I am nice, very nice. And for that I deserve lots of presents.

Pregnancy is also wreaking havoc on my feet. Today, being in an Alternate State of Stupidity, I wore boots with 3-inch heels to work, and while walking the 128 steps (yes, I counted) to the car this evening, the balls of my feet felt like they were being shattered with a sledgehammer. What with the pain and the swirling visions of foot-binding/torture clouding my thinking, it was all I could do to keep from sitting down in the middle of the sidewalk, ripping off my boots, and throwing them in a dumpster. When I got home, I went on a cream and lotion rampage, anointing my sore feet with every moist substance I could find in the bathroom; the hemorrhoid cream smelled a little funny, but Lula's grape-flavored hair detangler masked it enough that the dogs stopped sniffing and trying to hump my legs.

I'm not even going to talk about the tiredness, because it's just stupid: stupid tired, tired stupid.

Forty-four more days of this, and then--yippeee! Night sweats! Elephantine breasts! Infant-induced chaos!

What was I THINKING?


Sunday, February 1, 2009

If you know a pregnant woman and you want to stay on her good side, make sure you don't tell her you've noticed the pregnancy "showing in her face." Even if she's still pretty thin, by pregnancy standards, and she's 35 years old and theoretically not vain anymore, telling her she's getting fat in the face might make her think you're insensitive at best. If she has been getting really shitty sleep lately and on that particular day has felt like small lead weights are glued to her lower eyelids, pulling her features down into permanent tired-mom land, and she has been struggling to act normal, for god's sake, as opposed to a strung-out bundle of raw nerves and threatening tears, your comment might make her think worse things.

After a relaxing weekend, the pregnant woman is able to not care so much about a silly comment about her supposed facial weight gain, and a few hours ago, while cleaning the bathroom, she looked in the mirror and thought "Jeeziss! I AM big!" Her stomach stuck out like a perfect round ball, and as she gazed at it from this angle and that angle and imagined the tiny body inside, all warm and snug and happy, she smiled at the coolness of the whole thing.

Then, with an unladylike grunt, she leaned down to scrub the bathtub--the bathtub that, in a few months' time, will be holding a big sister, a very little brother, and maybe a small brown "boat" or two.