Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Things I Might Or Might Not Be Doing While I Wait

Hand to God, I am often the stupidest person I know. Also, one of the most easily amused.

In re-writing the lyrics to this song, I learned several things. One is that it looks like I am probably too old to fully enjoy a Snoop Dog concert anymore, which is too bad.

Another is that nothing really rhymes with "bonbons."

Here's the original:

"Sit Around" by Molly (with assistance from Dan)

See the couch, crawl on in,
Ain't no way I'll be thin.
Eat cookies by the tin
I know it's a sin
I'll tear the whole sack up and then I'll eat the backup.
Eat the jellyroll and your colon won't act up.
Sit down, grow round, don't put that pie down.
Got a spinning feeling staring at the ceiling,
Pancakes for breakfast, eggs you can dunk,
Extra butter on rye,
I think my pants have shrunk.
Feel 'em growing, thighs that are chunking,
I eat more times than cops in a Dunkin' Donuts shop.
Sugar Pops I got, I'm eatin' my fill
Plus an onion bagel with lox.

I came to sit down, I came to sit down,
So eat up, eat up and get round.
Get round!
Get round!
Eat up, eat up, choke it down!
Eat! Eat! Eat! Eat! Eat! (Etc.)

I got an ass like Fats Domino,
Shrimp, grits and gravy goin' down like a ho.
Word to your moms, I'm eatin' bonbons,
I got more juice than a bucket of prawns.
And like a cheeseburger that's never been turned
The pizza delivery man he never gets burned.
'Cause I got ice cream and you ain't got none,
And if you're trying to take it I got a shotgun.
But if you do, here's some gruel, 'cause it's all I got left
Don't step to me 'cause I'm all out of breath.
I gots the skillets, come and eat your fill
'Cause you might eat to live but I eat to kill.

I came to sit down, I came to sit down,
So eat up, eat up and get round.
Get round!
Get round!
Eat up, eat up and choke it down!
Eat! Eat! Eat! Eat! Eat! (Etc.)

Pie a la mode, ice cream on the top,
I like the buffet 'cause buffet never stops.
Or better yet, barbecues,
It's been so long since I've seen my shoes
I'm eating the Twinkies up in twos
But I'm not going out with a coronary
Gastric bypass is for the ordinary
I'll be up up and around
My weight's gonna be going down
Cleaned out the fridge and then you wake up in the CICU
I'm comin' to get fed, I'm comin' to get fed
Eating brownies with frosting and breakfast in bed.

I came to sit down, I came to sit down,
So eat up, eat up and get round.
Get round!
Get round!
Eat up, eat up, choke it down!
Eat! Eat! Eat! Eat! Eat! (Etc.)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

June 13th

I don't want to have a baby on June 13th.

My friend Mark died on Friday, June 13th, 1997. It was a very bad day, the capper on a very bad year. When your best friend dies at the pinnacle of what's pretty much the worst year of your life, it does something to you. It's the kind of ironic that makes people pitch a little bit of a nutty, but in my case, it had the opposite effect: it turned me around.

That's the kind of ironic that Mark would have noticed and liked about it; the fact that he died at 32, four months after becoming a father, two days before Father's Day, maybe not so much. But the irony is something he would have found meaning in, much as everyone who knew him tried to find some meaning in the fact that one day he was there and the next day he was gone. He would have made his point out of this fact, and me being who I was then, I would have probably rolled my eyes at him and said "Really?" in the most sarcastic voice I could possibly muster. And he would have rolled his eyes back at me and not said anything and known that I would get it, that everything would be illuminated when I was ready to see it.

Mark saw something in me every once in a while. When I once admitted in front of a whole bunch of people that I respected a lot that I had been wrong and stupid and stubborn about something and it had turned me into a not-very-nice person, it made him cry. Mark was one of the few people on earth who really saw me becoming who I was, from the time he first met me until the time that he died, and what he saw was forward motion, not just the running in place that it felt to me like I was doing. It made me want to be a better person.

Mark made everyone around him want to be a better person. The thing about Mark being such a good person wasn't that you felt inadequate by comparison, because he wasn't looking to be better than you. He just made you try harder. He still makes me try harder.

It wasn't that he was perfect, some kind of a saint. He was just a guy who loved his wife and his kid and wanted to be productive and do good things and help people. He was just a guy, and on a Friday afternoon in June, he died, and everyone who knew him had a hole carved in them that day.

I drove past his office the morning he died. I'd meant to stop and talk to him, to tell him why it was that for the past year I had been so sad that I could barely stand it, but his car wasn't there. He was already dying and I didn't know until it was too late to say goodbye to him and it's by far the biggest regret of my entire life. I've spent the last 12 years trying to find a way to say goodbye in just the right way. I haven't found it yet.

The fact is, this date is sort of a high holy day for me. It's a day for me to be still, look backwards, look at the past year through the eyes of someone whose opinion meant more to me than I really could have realized at the time that I lost him forever. And as pregnant as I am and as uncomfortable as that is, as much as I'm looking forward to meeting my daughter, I don't want to have her today.

June 13th is not the birthday I want her to have. I want today to hold still in time. This day will always belong to Mark in my mind, and as eager as I am to meet The New Girl, I am afraid that if she's born today I will always spend her birthday as I have for the past twelve years: missing my friend, remembering the feeling of being hit with a baseball bat when the phone rang and it was Joy and she was crying, feeling again the carved-out feeling of knowing that I'd never get the chance to be the better person that Mark saw in me, knowing that there wasn't any comfort for me in any part of any of what was happening. I don't want the significance of this day to fade at all for me, to change.

Mark would probably say that today is a perfect day for her to be born. He would probably say that he would love for the tenor and tone of this day to change forever. Mark wouldn't like how this day has held still in time for me for the past twelve years and he'd think it was entirely appropriate for me to say goodbye to him by saying hello to my daughter. But...no.

This is a holiday for me, a day that I spend trying not to be too sad to function. I don't want her to have to share her birthday with anyone, and I know that I'm still not ready to say goodbye to Mark, after 12 years. Maybe I never will be. I've written a letter to Mark every year on June 13th, and maybe I always will. Her day should be her own.

But still, I'm thinking about Mark, and how much he'd like to see her be born today, and wondering if she will be. I'm thinking about The New Girl and how much Mark loved little kids and how much he loved his own son Jamie and how much he would have loved my kids and all of our friends' kids. I'm thinking about life as a grownup, as a mom, how I'm different than I ever thought I would be, and why I am this way. And like I say every year, I'm this way, in part, because my best friend died when I was 21 years old and I still needed him to be there and one Friday afternoon in June he was gone, and I am still just so pissed about that.

I miss Mark every day, but on June 13th, I miss him more. And this year, I miss him more than ever because I am standing on the precipice of great change again, and there is no going back. I keep thinking it'll get easier, but the fact is, I don't really want it to get easier yet. It's one of those things that shouldn't be easy, because if it were easy it just wouldn't mean as much.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Why I'm Like This

My mother doesn't know about this blog, and if you know my mother, I would greatly appreciate you not telling her. Heather Armstrong from Dooce says that the one person whom you are sure will never read your blog will someday read your blog, and until that day arrives I am counting on my mother's lack of internet savvy to keep her far from this small corner of my world. But I had to post this email message that I received from her overnight. I think it'll shed some light on how I got this way.

Remember? I was writing you an e-mail yesterday when I caught sight, out of
the corner of my eye, of a chipmunk marching boldly down the hall, like lord of
the manor.

I shrieked.

But, of course, since no one else was here to hear me, I then had to deal
with it. I brought in and set the chipmunk trap, to no avail. Later in the day,
I had occasion to visit the furnace room WHERE I discovered a dead mouse in a
trap and a dead chipmunk next to a sprung trap.


I considered calling Tom at the Red Cross Michigan Training Institute in
Grand Rapids, where he is spending the week, and demanding that he return
instantly to deal with the crisis. I then sucked it up, donned plastic
gloves and scooped the dead bodies into a plastic bag and heaved them into the
garbage can. I then investigated the mess of shreds of insulation and seeds and
nut shells in the area where the bodies were found and investigated the sleezy,
semi-falling down status of the insulation and concluded that something was
rotten in the foundations of our house. Yup.

I went outside and looked beyond my beloved flowers and plants and
discovered that the boards along the ground and the boards soaring to the top of
the chimney were - lower down - thoroughly rotten, disintegrating, mushy,
full of holes and open spaces and, interestingly, littered with shreds of
insulation. Higher up, full of LARGE holes pecked by woodpeckers but big enough
to allow entry of an alarming variety of wild creatures. Even flying pigs,

I was dumbfounded. My fortress. My impregnable castle. My refuge from
the raging outside world, was rotting away, crumbling, leaving me vulnerable to
invasion from insideous outside forces and ranks of evil, coniving chipmunks. I
had a vision of the legions of chipmunks Tom has transported to the Kal-Haven
Trail gathering, perhaps at the Trailside Cafe in Gobles, and plotting this
assault on our home, the nirvana from which they had been so cruelly

The story is not over. Our beloved handyman, Elliot, came today, looked at
the damage, and started tearing away the rotted wood. New and sturdy boards are on the way tomorrow. Holes will be closed. The potential cost I will worry about tomorrow. Tom remains safe in Grand Rapids, far from the tumult. But I had a quick glimpse today of a chipmunk scurrying across the sunroom. And about an hour later, a fireplace tool in the living mysteriously tipped over.

I have this uneasy sense that I am not alone. At any moment, tiny scurrying
feet and striped bodies may come dashing out from who knows where to do who
knows what. Who has time to read a newspaper, when faced with an insurrection of this sort?


It is late and I am overwrought.

While keeping the fears of a chipmunk invasion in the back of my head, I
had Lonnie, Don, Kathy and Monica for dinner tonight and it was very, very
pleasant. I am looking forward so much to you all being here and wish you
could have been here tonight - not just to fend off the hoards of invading

What's new with you?


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Crash Into Me

She's coming.

There's something about the end of pregnancy. It is June 4th, and I am 35 weeks and 2 days pregnant today, and yesterday, my OB designated June 22nd as the big day: induction. Being a type I diabetic, I knew they wouldn't allow me to go to July 7th, which was my original due date. Too much can go wrong too quickly; already my blood pressure is beginning to climb (128/77 yesterday, a small increase over previous measurements, and probably having more to do with an intensely annoying nurse than anything else) and my blood sugars are becoming increasingly difficult to control. It's par for the course when dealing with diabetes, and pregnancy. There's only so much one body can take.

And believe me, mine is just about at its limit. Between insomnia, general discomfort, a precarious emotional state caused by hormones, and my totally non-pregnancy-related lack of patience with pretty much anything, I am at what could only be described as the end of my fricking rope.

This is, with luck, the last time I will be pregnant, and I would be savoring that fact if it weren't for the fact that it is almost impossible for me to savor anything right now, except the thought that my mother will be here in less than two weeks, and a week after that, I won't be pregnant anymore.

I just have so fucking much to do between then and now. I need to go through the clothes that we culled from Max's hand-me-downs one more time, figure out what we need now and what we'll need later, pack a bag, consolidate backup plans with our friends who are being kind enough to back us up with Max. I need to pick out a present from the new baby to Max, whose 4th birthday is June 21st, the day before induction. I have to do more laundry, put together lists and things for my mother, who'll be responsible for Max while I'm in the hospital, and in the middle of all of this, give Max as much love and attention as I possibly can so that he doesn't end up feeling too displaced by the little stranger who's coming to turn his world upside down.

Max seems to be doing fine. He is excited about the new baby, although I am quite sure she's not a great deal less abstract a concept to him than string theory at this point. He wants to share his toys with her, let her sleep in his bed, feed her French fries--I'm sure all of this will change as soon as she is old enough to do any of these things. The little boy who laid down on the floor of the ultrasound suite and sobbed when the tech announced that it was going to be a little sister and not a little brother is gone, and I'm not surprised. Max is a great deal like Dan. One of the things I've always loved about my husband is the fact that whatever space you put him in, he expands to fill. He is shockingly flexible when it comes to change, and that's one of the many things that makes him remarkably easy to live with. I'm not sure how to do more to prepare Max for a new baby than we've already done. One of the things we've had to do is all but abandon active potty-training--he just isn't interested enough in it to be responsible for any of it himself, and I don't see us fighting the yes-you-WILL-sit-on-the-potty-every-twenty-minutes fight with a brand-new baby in an upside-down household. It's fine. We'll just pick it up again later, when things calm down a little.

But as I was saying, there's something about the end of pregnancy. I used to have a variety of nightmares as a child, all different, but with one theme: something or someone is coming for me and I cannot do anything to prevent them from doing so. I have that same nightmare sense of foreboding now. Part of it is that I just don't feel like I'm prepared. There's just so much to do, and it's complicated by the fact that while we are doing all of the baby-preparation things, we are also cleaning and packing and getting ready to move halfway across the country, a situation which I haven't addressed here because, OH MY GAWD, I don't want to do it on so many levels, and on other levels, am really looking forward to, and can you say CONFLICTED EMOTIONAL STATE? I CANNOT TAKE IT. I am really looking forward to meeting this little girl, finally being able to tell people her name, see Dan like this again.

But the end of pregnancy--it has a flavor all its own. Nothing else feels like this, this sense of things flying at you, knowing that a collision is inevitable. The first weeks (months? Years?) of parenthood are really, really hard, there's no way around it, and it feels so weird to feel so conflicted.

Is it awful that I feel this conflicted, or that I'm admitting it? I can't wait to meet The New Girl, but at the same time, our life is what it's become, and it's all going to change when she crashes into us.

It's been pretty much all-baby-all-the-time here, I know, and it's because I haven't been doing much else besides being pregnant and doing all the things that have to be done in order for that to be true. I promise that I will eventually be interesting again.