Sunday, May 30, 2010

An anniversary of sorts

Twelve years ago this weekend, I was feeling peculiar. Food tasted funny, I was a little queasy, and I had inexplicably blossomed by a full bra size almost overnight. I also hadn't had my period since March, but had thought nothing of it until then, since I skipped at least one month out of every three anyway.

"Wouldn't it be funny if I were pregnant? Ha ha!" I said to my dad when he came over to our apartment that Saturday.

"Ha ha," he agreed.

"Hmm," said P.

"See you later," I said, and left to spend the day at a festival.

The following day, P, who had clearly been thinking about all this, said, "You know, maybe you ought to take a pregnancy test."

"I'm sure it's just a false alarm," I said.

"Take one anyway," he said.

So I went out and bought a pregnancy test, thinking that it was probably a waste of money. P and I had vague plans to have a baby in a few years, after I finished grad school (to which I'd just received my acceptance letter the previous week), but we certainly hadn't been trying to have one right then. This was bound to be a false alarm, I told myself, as I took my little white stick into the bathroom and got busy.

While I stood there watching the chemicals do their work, I heard the phone ring.

"Hello?" said P's muffled voice in the living room, just as the plus sign on the test finished turning bright pink.

Holy crap! I thought.

"Okay, hang on," said P, now right outside the bathroom.

"It's [friend's name]," he called through the door.

"Tell her it's not a good time!" I said. "Then come in here!"

"Oh my God," said P, coming in with the phone still in his hand and looking at the stick. "We're going to have a baby."

And that is how I found out I was pregnant with G. It wasn't planned, and at the time I thought I wasn't ready, but it turned out better than I could have imagined. Not only did we get G, in all her gorgeous, clever, delightful quirkiness, but had we waited, we might not have had any children: when the time we'd intended to "start trying" finally rolled around, P's health had deteriorated to the point that we probably would not have tried at all. Things really do have a way of working out, eventually. And sometimes even sooner than that.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Food for thought

G: You put a video of my band concert on Facebook?!
Me: I shot it from halfway up the bleachers. No one can possibly tell which kid is you.
Me: Look at it this way. I post your photos and videos and drawings because I'm a proud mom and I want everyone to know how beautiful and talented I think you are. Would you prefer it if I were ashamed of you and tried to pretend I didn't have a kid?
G: ... Oh.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Great moments in advertising

Yes, this 15.8-oz. box does contain more cereal than a 14.5-oz. box.  It also contains more wheat than corn cereal, more frosting than non-frosted cereal, fewer simians than a barrel full of monkeys ... I could go on stating the obvious all day, but I think you get the point.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Remembrance of summers past

G: Today is May 13, right?
Me: Yes. Nearly  the end of the school year. It's so close you can almost taste it. It tastes like chicken.
G (laughs): Ew. We don't eat chicken. (pondering) I don't know what the end of the school year would taste like.
Me: Actually, I think it would taste like popsicles and hose water.
G: HOSE water? Ugh! Why?
Me: Well, when I was your age, kids played outside all summer long. You'd get up in the morning, have your cereal, and then run outside barefoot and stay there until lunch. When you got thirsty, instead of going back inside to get a drink, you'd drink out of the hose, and the water always had a unique sort of taste.
G: Like what?
Me: Metal and dirt.
G: Gross.
Me: I'm sure there are places where kids still play outside in the summer, but this isn't one of them.
G: No, most kids go to day camp or on vacation.
Me: It's kind of sad.
G: I like it.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The circle of life

I think a mouse has died in the wall of the staircase that leads up from our garage into the house. At first it smelled musty and moldy, like wet towels, and now it just smells, well, dead. Everything I've read online indicates that my options are a.) knock holes in the wall in an attempt to find and remove the unfortunate deceased, which may or may not be successful, or b.) wait it out until decomposition does its work and the smell goes away. Since I don't own this house and I have no idea how much it would cost to get a ripped-up wall repaired, I've been forced to go for option b, gross as it is.

The bulk of the smell is located near a large heating vent, so one of my friends has kindly volunteered to come over tomorrow, take the vent cover off and see if he can locate the offender that way. I know how to operate a screwdriver and could technically do that myself, but I'd really rather not (yuck), so just this once I'm going to take him up on the offer, and hope to God it works. The smell is minimal today because I've opened up windows and aired everything out, but when G and I got back from San Diego yesterday, it was a bit thick as we came in from the garage. (Not the sort of welcome-home you want to receive, let me tell you.) At least the top two floors, where we spend most of our time, are mostly stench-free; it's all concentrated in that stairwell, so we only have to smell it when we go in or out.

We had gone to San Diego because last month, as I was thinking about how depressing the last several Mother's Days had been, I decided that this year I was going to take preemptive action and plan something for myself. San Diego is only about a 90-minute drive from here, so I found a cute, reasonably priced hotel near the downtown Gaslamp District, and I made a reservation for Mother's Day weekend. Here are a few photos from the trip.

We stayed at The Bristol Hotel San Diego, and I couldn't believe how nice it was for the price I paid. It wasn't a bad location either, within walking distance of hundreds of shops and restaurants.

At the Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop. G had the cone, I had the Rocky Road sundae. It was delicious, but I only managed to finish about a third of it. I'm not that much of a pig.

People playing giant chess at Horton Plaza. There were giant checkers too.

Outside the San Diego Museum of Art.  Yes, it was yet another cloudy day for an outing.

 Part of the sculpture garden and courtyard near the art museum. That's the bell tower and carillion on the left.

Museum of Man

Mayan stele inside the Museum of Man.

 Hall of Modern Humans. Each of those circles had a human invention or milestone and the year it happened. My birth year was the computer microchip; G's was the euro.

All in all, it was a pleasant weekend and a huge improvement over the last few years. One of the nasty little surprises of widowhood is that while you can organize all the major holidays on your own, no one is going to pick up the slack on the days that are supposed to be about you. It's taken me a few years to get there, but I'm finally in a place where I can arrange my own special event and not feel bad about doing it myself. I'm already planning a similar approach for my fortieth birthday next year -- not sure where we're going yet, but I'm going to make it as good as I can. Surely I must deserve it by now.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

The geometry of romance

G explains to me, using aliases, who likes whom in her grade at school:

G: Okay, so Susie likes Tom, but Tom likes Susie's friend Mary. Mary likes Joe and Joe likes Trixie. Trixie likes Carl, and Carl likes some other girl whose name I can't remember.
Me: I'm confused.
G: It's not even a love triangle, it's like some strange polygon.
Me: *rofl*
G (with a disapproving head shake): Dating in the fifth grade. I don't know what they're thinking.

Some time later:

G: Everyone says I act like a grownup and not a kid.
Me: Why do they say that?
G: Because I like things they think are boring. I like classical music and I read a lot and I enjoy writing for the school newspaper.
Me: Those are perfectly good interests. Everyone is entitled to like what they like.
G: I know! Screw them!
Me: Um, that's not a polite thing to say. But it's true that it's none of their business.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


G is a secret romantic. Or maybe not so secret.