The Wink is a labor of love, occasional source of ire and constantly influenced by the toddlywinks in my life- my daughters. There's also the HunkyWink. You'll read all about them as The Wink unfolds. Please feel free to wink back!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I love a fuss

I have a confession to make, it's kind of embarrassing, but, in the interest of maintaining my direct approach here at Chez Wink:

I love a fuss.

I'm not talking about a toddler tantrum type of fuss, though sometimes the unintentional comedy factor of an all out kicking and screaming, no-no-no'ing meltdown kind of soothes me, making my own frustration with a wheezzing bank account or aggravating neighbor less obnoxious.

No, the kind of fuss I am talking about is over me.

Really? For me?
Oh you shouldn't have.
You didn't need to go to all that trouble, it's just me.

But what I really think, is more along the lines of a kid walking into the living room and spotting the overstuffed stockings on Christmas morning. My eyes pop, my heart lifts, spirit soaring and silently thinking, "Yes!"

Today is my 34th birthday, and though I may be wiser, I am no less delighted by a fuss. Mine began two weeks ago with a package from my mom: dresses for the girls and two quilts for me. Quilts! My love for them is matched only by my love for bowls! And continued last night with a beautiful assortments of unnecessary wonders from a little shop downtown, including a bowl. Thank you Sean! Debbie made a beautiful bracelet, sparkly and bright, beads of silver interspersed with the green and blue birthstones of my girls. Wearing it, loving it!

I spend most of the other 364 days of the year putting myself second to the people I love, reveling in care taking, tending to boo boos and kneading sore muscles. That's why I feel no shame in saying that today is for me.

Have you taken a day for you lately?


Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Perfect 10

That's right, I said it, a perfect 10. Tagged by pgoodness, I am taking the Blog Antagonist's meme to new self-confidence boosting lengths, a little Bo Derek in place of Stuart Smalley to put that extra sass back in a mama's step.

Without further ado, ten things I like about myself:

1.The two freckles on my right foot. They're directly beneath my second to last toe and serve as the natural stand in for the tatoo that I was too afraid to get 15 years ago, and now know I would have regretted.

2. My eyes. I lamented for years that they weren't quite green, definitely weren't blue or, sigh, a deep, dark brown. They are hazel, heavy on the green, a dark peacock line holding in the golden flecks.

3. My jawline, weird, I know. It's strong and wide, and even on days when a meme like this would do me in, leaving me a whimpering puddle of self-loathing, it's there in a reflection. Crisp and defined, it strongarms the wishes for a different this or that before they are given voice, it sets the stage for a face I see as attractive, dare I say beautiful.

4. My legs, freshly shaved, 'nuf said.

5. My post-Aveda Salon hair. I know, this one kind of doesn't fit, but I am trying to get myself off my duff and to the salon, where I've not been since February.

6. My ears. They're dainty and they work really, really well despite what a few of my teachers from Harris Elementary School may have said on report cards.

7. My entire body for bringing two exquisite babies into the world.

8. My athleticism. I love that when given the choice between riding and walking, I choose walking, running over walking, and sweating over sitting.

9. My I-can-fix-it-creativity, directly passed on from my mom. It has saved my ass as a mother, employee and human being more times than I can count.

10. The way I write my "g"s and "y"s, they look like my Dad's, that proof of connection is endlessly fascinating and reassuring.

And just for good measure:

11. The way I look and feel in killer jeans and heels. Va va va voom.

As for who I tag:

Trina, cause she knows how to see good in everyone else, let's test her mettle for herself.

DamselFly, because we had a delightful chat the other day and I'd love to hear more from her.

Debbie, my friend without a blog. She's working on herself and she's doing a kick ass job losing weight and being positive. I think this would be a great exercise for her.

Keith, who also has no blog. But my god man, you've moved to Boulder. Buy a camera, start a blog and throw me a bone.

Froglette, the artist, I'd like to know she thinks she is as beautiful as she comes across through her writing.

If you've already done it, at least consider doing it again. What's the worst that could come from thinking of (gasp) another ten things you like about yourself? Or just do a positive post, a little I experienced soomething today that makes me feel the world isn't an awful place after all kind of post.


Friday, July 27, 2007

I erred.

We go as a family to the farmer's market on Saturday mornings.
We eat organic foods, eschew transfats and HFCS.
We travel on foot and by stroller.
We go to the local coffee shop.
We carpool to work daily.
We own a small business.
We volunteer.
We recycle.

I won't go back.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Off the Wall-Mart

I just came back from Wal-Mart.
It is 11:41EST. I am a changed woman.

I normally shop at one of the many Hannafords in our area. I appreciate their plentiful organics section and the generally consistent peculiarities of their staff. I can scan the check outs and know which people will ignore, which will whiz me through, and which will dance on my last nerve and have me contemplating a life of solitude, willing to sacrifice coffee and peanut butter to just get the hell away. I don't have this security with Wal-Mart and frankly the ability of a place to have a parking lot filled to capacity every single time I have ever driven by just weirds me out. Two kids in diapers and going through wipes with dizzying speed, coupled with a boarder who does nefarious things with our toilet paper, clogging our pipes (Sorry Nutmeg) and leaving pitiful little cardboard rolls in place of the fluffy white rolls I set out nearly every day forced my hand.

I had naively thought that somehow shopping at such a late hour would lighten the congestion in the parking lot, perhaps even make the aisles passable with the absence of milling masses. Oh, but I was so, so wrong. I realize that as the more I write, the more of a snob I will sound, but tonight, dear readers, if what I write distances me from the wandering souls that I saw tonight, well than it is just fine. Because oh-my-freaking-god, they had to be trying awfully hard to be that odd. And the cleavage, for the love of sagging and copious cleavage. Walt, the gentle, coke bottle lens wearing greeter who asked me how I was, he should have flashed a sign of some sort, anything to let me know that I was entering an NC-17 zone.

Can you say deep crevasses of panty line and wedgie that simply must have torn flesh? In white shorts? With waves of ass cheek-overflow spilling out like whipping cream from one of those offensive sandwichy-desserty moonpie atrocities...

There was one woman from whom I simply could not tear my eyes, I was grateful for the $1.19 Princess tissues in the top of my cart, for had they not been there I might have slipped in my own drool. My mouth agape, my eyes glazed ever so slightly and my head cocked to hear better, I was riveted as this creature spoke to a fidgety Asian teenager.
Please note that what follows is written as I heard it, these folks did not have chaperones and were as far as I could interpret living independently:

"My huhband and I are gunna git murried and you are gunna be a maiden. Those sequins are what will be on the cake. We didn't have the marital ceremonies that I wanted so we are re-anewing our vows and YOU WILL NOT UNDERSTAND TO BELIEVE WHAT THIS WEDDING WILL BE."

At this point she cackled and adjusted the mightily straining straps of her tank top and bra. The three men, two women who I believe were related to her, and the fidgeter all watched as the swell of her ample chest was hiked up with the straps and then, as she dropped the straps, hurtled toward her belly, falling many, many inches before bouncing off of her belly, dramatically and magnificently out of synch.

"Then we are going to have the wedding I want, and my huhband'll get the night he wanted. You know I don't mean like your night. Your night is with a "k", "knight", did you know that?"

The teenager fidgeted some more and then scream-giggled that she did.

"I mean the night, what comes after the wedding. I'll be in sequins like the cake. You want to see my pretty sequins for the night? I don't have them here but I can show you since you are my maiden."

When I finally manage to steer my cart I was numb, I had to grab the list and read it several times to ground myself back in reality. I grabbed the last few things on my list and picked a line, three check outs were open, 2 were for 10 items or less, I had significantly more than 10 so I picked the only option I had, knowing with all of my being that the checker was the kind who would make me long for the hills of far off lands.

Standing reading the latest In Touch magazine I tried not to get a hangover from what I imagined as I watched the 50 cans of frozen limeade and raspberry lemonade, a 30 gallon tub, and two large wooden spoons that the girls ahead of me were purchasing with singles and fives from a tattered envelope. They were almost through when I heard Chesty von Wedding Happy yammering on.

"What we need to do is buy us some cigarettes. The ones they have at the place are stale and I don't like to kiss after stale cigarettes."

I tried to lose myself in the magazine, but it wasn't working, I looked around, it was all just too much. More cleavage had rolled up, and a young woman was standing in line, one row over. She was maybe 25, so were the girls behind her, but they were a different 25, the first already looked life weary, the two behind her were rosy cheeked and in athletic mesh shorts. I wanted to melt into the floor as the first girl tried to justify her life, each sentence more preposterous than the last as she explaining away a trip to Wal Mart with stories of $500 fish tank tables and plans to flip her house, though she didn't yet own it. She talked about having $7K to put down and then she'd rent it, then maybe flip it and buy something nice. She talked about a fiance passing away a month before, about her son who looked just like her. The two girls eyes had started to glaze over as they saw through her story. Then she desperately thrust something at the girls, her phone. "See, he looks just like me, can you see it?" I silently willed her to stop, to just smile and go on her way. Go home to your kids and your life I thought. I didn't want to ache for this woman, didn't want to mock anyone.

I don't know that I can go back, don't know that I can keep myself from absorbing the stories and eccentricities of the other people there. I wonder if they thought me strange as well, what with my densely stacked items, meticulously arranged and organized to facilitate logical bagging and easier unloading at home. Yes, I suppose they watched me, the girl in the tennis shoes and t-shirt, the lonely woman without a wedding ring on buying diapers and organic snacks. Poor pathetic, granola loving nutball.


Monday, July 23, 2007

On Top of the World

Ok, so not exactly, but I am on TopBlogMag today with a little something to put Monday into perspective. Pop over there and take a gander, check out the other articles as well. I'll be back to you soon, and Nutmeg, I promise, no more poop.


Saturday, July 21, 2007

New Life in Paradise

Totally trite, but here it is: You never know what you have until it's gone.

We were lucky, we had exquisite interludes of total lucidity. We knew that the friendship was special. Two people came into our lives and we adored them, still do, but one has left. He loved our girls with an authenticity and trueness of heart that was rare in today's world. The girls loved him back and his absence, from the anticipation to the reality, has created an ache. Witnessing our girls and their confusion a we explain that he won't be back tonight is heartbreaking. Luckily, our girls have Sean's memory and already they remember him. The guy and Kee! Kee! is spoken of often. These pictures are pawed with delight.

I am having trouble shaking this image and the sound of Briar's voice asking where he was going and if we could cheer him up again.

He wrote yesterday and this is what he said:

Landed in Denver and already ensconced in Boulderado beginning my new life in paradise. Right after a nap.

It brought back the laughter, the twang and the reassurance of a friend for all times. Today I'm smiling thinking about a friend finding paradise after a nap.


Friday, July 20, 2007

Still here

And, for comedic purposes, still ankle deep in the raw, liquid waste of other people.

Toddler mayhem, marital discord and home maladies always make for great blog fodder.

For life purposes, it pretty much stinks.

As rich as the material is, and trust me, this shit's so rich it could fertilize a field, the clean up significantly cuts in to blogging time, that and the obsessive hand washing and Clorox-wipes-beneath-barefeet-cleaning-shuffle thing I do.

I left the house this morning through the front door, our golden tressed boarder was making her delicate way upstairs. She is a wisp of a thing, barely a hair over 5' and I don't think she's ever seen a 3 digit number while standing on a scale*.

"Bye, have a great day."

"You, too," chirp chirp.

When I left the house the toilet was fine, a bowl full of clear water, no gurgling, no ominous rumblings. I know this as surely as I know my own name because every time we leave the house, no matter how long it is between declaring myself ready and leaving, I have to pee one last time. So this morning, with Sean loading the girls into the car, I ran upstairs and peed. And flushed. No problem, none.

When I got home this afternoon the level in the toilet was off, startlingly low, low like that other time of which we shall not speak or link. I decided not to use it, but to flush just to test. Being the plumbing disaster extraordinaire that I am I knew immediately that something was amiss. Being more toilet listener than toilet whisperer I also knew better than to screw around. I stepped out of the bathroom, closed the door and forgot the bathroom existed. lalalalalalala

Tonight before sitting down to dinner I mentioned to Sean that there was a strange something or other happening with the toilet.

"Something or other?"


"What do you mean?"

"What do you mean, what do I mean? It's doing the weird stuff toilets do before they violently wretch their putrified nastiness into our home." He sighed.

"We can deal with it later." I realize this is easy to say if you are a person lucky enough to not have to use the facilities every 15 minutes, I am not one of those. It's probably even easier when you don't have dueling sleep interruptions that have you bouncing between rooms and thinking you might as well pee since you're up anyway.

"I'll get the plunger."



"Let me do it." He headed upstairs. I stayed downstairs and got the girls cleaned up and ready to go swimming at the YMCA.

"Man!" Bellowed from above.




"Towels, now. Towels. Towels. Towels."


"Yes, towels. Shit."

I ran up the stairs and as I did I arrived at a point where the deep honey colored hardwood floors were at eye level. It was awesome in that natural disaster, holy shit kind of way as the setting sunlight coming through our bedroom window hit the wide expanse of floor and just how penetrating the spill was became blindingly clear.

"Just fucking great," I railed as my feet hit wet wood and slapped with each step. I grabbed a hanging towel, a towel from the floor and two more folded in a pristine white basket lined with sweet gingham. Our best towels, the towels that make me feel decadent as I step from the shower. One was a brilliantly white Ralph Lauren towel given to me two Christmases ago by my sister. I love the weight and-

"Hurry, towels, towels, NOW!"

We spread them out as fast as we could, the vile liquid soaking through immediately and snaking past the terry cloth, under the safety gate, beneath the cabinet. Fury, disgust and defeat choked me as I tried to sop up the mess, but found each towel heavier and more soiled than the last.

It took what felt a lifetime to clean it up, but we managed. Luckily the YMCA pool was a bit like taking a dip in some sort of acid and I think it effectively burned off any germs that might have escaped the scalding hot water I held my hands under as I scrubbed with antibacterial soap.

Now, the toilet is technicaly fixed with Sean saying he flushed it three times and saw nothing strange happen. All I know is the water is very low again, I do not want to be the one holding the handle when it overflows. If it overflows, but really, who am I kidding?

When it overflows again.

Stay tuned. In the meantime please feel free to share some of your own horror stories because for the love of poop, it's lonely doing this stuff.

*I am confounded by how a person so small can create waste so large it makes an entire plumbing system fall to its knees and cry for mercy.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

It's What You Get

 Thanks to photographer  Susan Blackburn .

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

It's What You Do

Anger, sorrow.
Abrupt endings.
Starting over.

I'll be there for you.

You say you'll do it, but often you don't get the chance.

Tonight we got to be there.

It was an honor. And something we'd do anytime, anyplace.

We love you, friend.


Monday, July 16, 2007

If I could just demonstrate...

Chances are this will sound incredibly difficult to believe, or at least to believe that I can sustain it for any extended period of time, but it's the truth, I tend to find the silver lining in things. Granted I do my fair share of complaining, but I really do manage to work my way to happy. So, in the interest of demonstrating to all my dear friends out there, I won't link, but you know who you are as you wage a vicious battle with eating and find your way to happy despite the (not) eating battle of your little one, and not getting as much sleep as you would if your little flapper would only dial the cute back and snooze.

This morning I received an email about a workshop for which I was slated to sit on a panel. I was already preparing for three hours in an unconditioned room, but the email changed things. My friend who asked me to be on the panel was not going to be able to make it, nor was another gentleman representing a publishing house. Fine, right? The space we were to be presenting in was also suddenly unavailable, we were switching to a location "under a pavilion near Town Hall." Ok. And there were less than 6 people signed up. Swell. Then came word from Sean,

"Man, have you heard about the workshop?"

"Yes, why?"

"Sandra is here. She said Mark isn't going."


"Yeah babe, just wanted to make sure you knew that."

A few quick calculations and I realized that it would just be me and the workshop arranger, who is a nice woman, but who I had yet to meet. Her name? Perky, no embellishing here. Ok, great. I had agreed to talk based on my blogging, the panel was about getting published. Though there would be less than six in attendance I felt tremendous guilt as I would be sitting up there in the dusty pavillion unable to say anything of import.

"Listen, at three thirty as you drive home, you'll be glad you went." Sean promised tenderly.

"Thanks babe."

I sighed as I turned the car toward the Northway. I thought about people not living up to their obligations, I thought about paying good money for something that doesn't live up to its promise, I thought about the price of gas and then lo, the local radio station asked me to stay tuned for an oldie. The buildings of Lake George grew smaller in my rear view mirror and the road curved, at times seeming to slice through forest and mountain. Then the car was filled with the head bobbity goodness of The Bangles and I remembered the movie the pixieish lead singer was in and I thought of being stuck in an office and how I wasn't, and then I thought of you all.

My gift to you is this bit of humiliating ridiculousness that looks like I am attempting to dislodge water from my ears, but is in fact the moment in which I found the joy in my ridiculous Manic Monday. Note the very pronounced scab. Go on now and be joyful!


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sizzle Mama

Remember this?

Despite a bounty of mama wisdom from the blogosphere, I threw caution to the wind and tried once again to take getting ready to a place just north of a baseball cap, some deodorant and mascara. I wish I were posting something more like this, but I am not. Singe, I mean, sigh*.

*Trust me when I say the wound is much angrier and fierce looking in person. What can I say, I'm a writer not a photographer.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Luxury Hazards

Ever found yourself cursing the hazards of modern day workplace conveniences? You know, like the blasted fill in the address feature of Outlook? Most of the time I use Constant Contact for the emails I send out for work, but the 1,500 people who are one that list are also in my Outlook address folder. I am not particularly gifted in the areas of math and science but suffice it to say that each time I go to send an email out, a drop down menu appears and I have about 30 options for most letters- for example:

B - Brenda, Bill, Bonnie
Baxter, Benton, Benson
Brandon, Brendan, Bartholomew
Beasly, Beardsley, Bomtchke
Benita, Boralta, Banda
Buckley, Business, Becky
Bruce, Brownell, Biz
Benedetti, Barbara, Berrault
Brenda, Barcomb, Baby
Brackley, Bracken, Brenkin
Bob, Burt, Brown
Bailey, Bonine, Bizby

Generally the emails I send are to a core group of folks. The other day I was sending one to a co-worker, one of probably 10 I had sent her that day, so I figured her name would be the first. It was in regard to someone who needed something from me. To say she snapped her fingers and tapped her clickety clack, peeling faux snake skin stiletto at me as a means of requesting something would be a misrepresentation. Because, you see, that would mean getting her lazy ass out of her chair. Soooo, you can probably imagine what I typed in the email, no?

Actually I was lucky, I wrote something not entirely untrue, something along the lines of:

I may be offline for a bit. I am going to do blankety blank for little miss Joan "have-someone-else-do-every-little-thing-for-me" Padinski.

I quickly scanned it for typos and hit send. Just before it disappeared with a whoosh sound, I saw a name flash across the top of the screen. The name was not that of my dear, able-to-keep-a-secret coworker. No, it was the name of a woman who is in the same field as my husband in this very small town that we live in. She happens to not like my husband, or maybe it's just coincidence that she crosses to the other side of the street or ducks down alleyways whenever she sees us and stares daggers at us at events.

I was horrified. I threw my arms wide as if somehow it would halt the transmission.

"Oh no. Oh no, oh no, oh no! No, no, no. NO!"

Avery quickly teeter totter trotted my way and cocked her head to the side,

"Oh no? No? Oh no?"

Briar called to me from the computer, "S'it ok mama? S'it ok?"

"No, oh god no, no, no."

"Oh no? oh! No!" Avery declared as she pressed her face to mine.

I quickly clicked over to the sent file. Maybe I read it wrong? Maybe it hasn't gone.

Sent: Subject: Grrrrrr
To: The Wrong Fucking Person You Idiot
Date: Too late

I immediately sent another email apologizing for sending an email not intended for her. I explained it was written in the heat of the moment and should never have been written at all. I closed with a plaintive request that she see fit to delete the email. Then, not content to leave it at that I called her. Oh my god I called her. I felt like I was suddenly inhabiting a Ben Stiller movie. Every fiber of my being was screaming to just hang the damn phone up.

Ah hi, this message is for Maureen. This is Amanda. I am calling in regard to something that I believe has happened to all of us, and if it hasn't, you've at least read of it happening to other people and you always hope it won't happen to you, but it did. To me, not you. I sent it. The email. This is about an email. An email I inadvertently sent to your address. (No shit). Ah, yes, you see, well, the thing of it is I really meant to send it elsewhere. And, while it is an email that is, um, well it isn't something I would want anyone else to see. I really am hoping that you could find it in yourself (Find it in yourself? Really, Amanda? Just please stop now!) to delete the email. No need to call back, if you could just delete the email I'd be ever so grateful. And if you ever need anything from me, don't hesitate to call (No, I think she's all set with that little piece of small town blackmail. Well done Amanda, well done)Ok, so, guess that's it. Have a nice night, and thank you again.

Ever since my hands tremble and my legs quake before I hit send.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

7 and 1

A while back, in the midst of a plumbing nightmare that I shan't link back to since I doubt you want to relive it anymore than I do, I received a comment on this blog. It was short and appropriate and something in its tone and the words its author chose, made me respond as if an old friend had called. What makes the whole thing that much sweeter is, ain't no old friend gonna be calling me. But I suppose that is for another post.
Today it's about a special person, Jenn, who, between her rabid fanaticism for a certain sports team and her tender posts about the richness of being a mom and losses she has suffered, has made me care for her in a short, short time.

So, with that heady intro, I'll dive straight into the 8 random things and or habits about me meme she tagged me for several days ago.

1. I abhor the sound of cotton being pulled apart. The mere thought has me involuntarily arching my back and cringing, toes curled to the point of cramping.

2. No matter how much money is in our account or how low our balance is on a credit card, I always brace for my cards to be rejected. Always. I have had more than one clerk look at me trying to determine if I might be having a little mini stroke.

3. Coffee is my crack. Period. I love it. Mix in a rainy morning, sleeping house and a full bottle of sugar free vanilla flavored CoffeeMate and I am, as they say, happier'n a pig in shit.

4. If I could I would bathe 4 times a day. I'd change the sheets daily, to boot. Fresh socks halfway through the day? Sure!

5. When baggers at the store put the onions in with the fruit even after I have politely asked them in advance not to, I struggle mightily to not smack them again and again while saying, "Fruit should not taste like an onion. And, no, I don't want the milk in a bag. Ever!"

6. While we're on it, I feel mildy violated when checkers and baggers fondle an item I am buying. You know, they turn it around and around, read the label, and then either ask about it, or turn to a co-worker, proffering the item and asking in a whisper-shout if they've ever seen or tasted it before. An answer I gave in another #6 in a different meme suggests a trend. Beware baggers and checkers.

7. I took a listening course in college. We were assigned a series of papers that involved interviewing people on campus. I couldn't bring myself to approach strangers so I wrote stories about fictional encounters, but presented them as genuine. The prof read them aloud in class as examples for the class. I am at once proud and ashamed of this.

8. I want to have another baby.

Now I am supposed to tag 8 other people. Unfortunately I have no idea who else has been tagged, so instead I'll share 8 blogs I love.

Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Trina because she sent me a thank you note when I should have been the one sending one, but I don't. Inside the note she took it a step further and told us people said that Sean and I were a great looking couple. And not just people, 22 year olds.

2. For wrinkly cargo shorts and vacationy dresses, DamselFly, my sartorial escape.

3. Trish, because she's just started her blog, and I think that's awesome.

4. And for exquisite writing and coveted wisdom, WordGirl. Thank you.

5. Sarah with an 'h', because she is always there and she phrases things in ways that nourish me.

6. Simply my idol.

7. Kelly, because we almost met once.

8. And because you gotta love a woman who let's her kid do it herself, Colleen.



S'like a cat-a-pillow

Forgive me the flood of video, but some things you just have to share.


Calling out to the trenches

Dear friend of mine over there in the trenches, thanks for your post which drove home just how precious not knowing can be. Here's the other side of the popsicle.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007


You missed it.

I deleted a post. Yup, it's gone. It went down a little like this:

I was sitting in our nubby red chair, the backs of my knees stuck together like pre-packaged slices of cheese, a halo of frizzy hair framed my face, and every inch between was unbearably gummy from the day's humidity. I was bored, the kind of bored you can only be when it's hot or you're broke. I looked out the window at the trees in our yard, the leaves rustled and the skin on my arms prickled in anticipation of the breeze, when it did not come I sighed. My ponytail caught on my shoulder and I shifted to minimize the touching of different body parts against each other, the chair and the stagnant air.

Sean sat at the computer in the other room, the only light came from the monitor, anything to combat the heat. He was surfing real estate and I envied him his diversion. I watched his arm move the mouse and then the screen changed, the room suddenly became brighter as the page moved from images of Adirondack camps to my blog. He sat taller and I watched him, anxious for his response, anticipating laughter. Like the breeze, it never came.

"Do you like it?" I asked with all the eagerness of a child after the first school play.

His shoulders slumped.

"What? Did you like it?"

"Aw, man. You've written this post like six times already," this said with a mixture of defeat and annoyance.

"No, I haven't." I was up in my chair, defiant.

He sat shaking his head.

"It's not the same, it's a joke," I spat.

He sat and then nodded, "Oh, I see. It is."

"Never mind. I'll take it down." And I did.

A tense back and forth followed, he argued that I hadn't been confident if I was so quick to take it down, I parried with the weight of his opinion contributing to my removing the post.

"It shouldn't matter," he said.

"It doesn't with other people, you are my husband. I trust you."

Pick, pick, pick.

"You just need to be sure of yourself."

"I am."

"But you knew, usually you ask my opinion does this meander too much, is it too long? You didn't this time."

"No. I didn't."

"See, I was right."

"No, you weren't."

"Yeah I was." Infuriating smile.

"I knew it was perfect so I didn't need your opinion."

"But you deleted it." He smirked.

"You bet your ass I did, it's too sticky for this and I didn't spend that much time on it."

Maddeningly, he continued smiling. Sexy, despite wanting to smack him.

"But it was good, and different. "

Back and forth, snipe, snark, sweat. Ugh. I pulled a Briarism out of my hat.

"I just want to be all done."


Then it went unspoken, but we both knew I'd blog this, effectively springing me from my rut. Because, yes, it was weak and my deleting it meant I didn't love it. And the truth is, when I write what I write and then hit publish, I only do it if I love it.

But if you managed to catch it in the 3.5 minutes it was up, I kind of love you too.

~wink wink~


Sunday, July 8, 2007

Out of the mouth of babes

Me: I love you, muffin.

Briar: I love you big muffin mama.

Only a toddler could make 'big muffin mama' into an acceptable endearment.


Saturday, July 7, 2007

Pant of Approval

She can be a total bitch to work for but we managed to get the nod. Late this afternoon our mongrel project manager deigned to tread on our work and, after some serious sniffing and pacing, she declared it, "Done."


My personal favorite is the magnificent river of filth that slipped down my legs and past my feet to swirl lazily around the drain before gurgling through the pipes and out to the street as I took a shower. Wait a minute, I haven't taken a shower yet. I had to post this entry first. Sick, I tell ya.


Thursday, July 5, 2007

Smell that?

Pure, unadulterated loathing.
Neighbor hate.
Smile-between-clenched-teeth-as-they-wave-hello-and-curse-your-mother's-name-under-their-breath, neighbor hate. Feels like home, four years and still their contempt grows, really it's hers, but I know in order to survive her acquiescent husband has to agree or incur her wrath.

We have a history of confounding and enraging our neighbors. No longer content to piss the neighbors off with our flagrant disregard for the city wide ban of overnight on-street parking we've taken it another step. Oh yes, we may have moved our cars to the driveway by golly, but that doesn't mean we are through terrorizing our neighbors with our mad shenanigans. I can hear the furious screech of Bic pen on angel notepad now, as the grumpy muppet next door scrawls another of our egregious shortcomings to her list of reasons to hate us, right beneath:

Don't walk their dog three times a day
Neglect their yard
Never around to kvetch.

Let me just take a moment and show you what has got her spitting mad. Our back porch, admittedly less than perfect, still a far cry from some I've seen.

She asked us once if the door was broken, I answered that it was not, but that I had a rock wedging it open for ease of passage. By the frozen look on her face, pain behind fake smile, it was clear she would have preferred that I open and close the door rather than have it propped open. About a week ago we pounded stakes into the ground to map out a deck.

She craned and peeked, but never said anything. We spent an entire day ripping up sod and carting it out bag by bag to the curb. She stayed cool, never saying anything, but making frequent trips to the fence to pet our dog and slyly scrutinize the yard from beneath her bangs.

Then we bought a palette of stone and hossed it piece by heavy piece from the truck to the side yard.

She gawked and pointed each time she left the house, which is approximately every 30 minutes for little seven minutes trips to who knows where. Finally it was more than she could take and she asked what we were building.

"A patio," we said.

"You kids! It'll look great." I was perplexed by the kids part, perhaps exasperation that we were working? It wasn't until we rolled in the shrubbery and it was clear that we intended to fashion some sort of plantlife screen that we really got 'em good'n pissed off.

My next morally reprehensible act had her trembling with rage behind the curtain - I let the girls eat popsicles and snacks from a sack while sitting on the bench shirtless and in diapers.

Doubting she really judged? This is the woman who once said,

"Amanda? Could ya please ask Sean not to call ya man? I mean man? Why can't he cawl you aman or n'da. Man just isn't right, you're a woman. I hate hearin' him say it."

Still doubt that she's peeping and opining? She also snitched on a family member of mine who was visiting,

"Didja know she's smoking? When ya leave she comes out and smokes." Shaking her head in that what a shame kind of way, she watched my face the whole time to see if I flinched. No dice, lady. I'm stronger than you. Which is why on a pouring Fourth of July I was out toiling with hammer in hand.

We spent the entire day cutting decking and pounding nails. The next afternoon we rolled out the landscaping fabric, arranged stone and filled gaps with sand. (I also spent a fair amount of time salivating over the hotness that is my handy and strapping husband-purrrrrr)

Then, feeling frisky and slightly combative, I dressed the girls in party frocks and let them play in the dirt, all the while continuing to munch from sacks.

After a solid week of busting our asses and being snubbed by our neighbors, we discovered we were a palette shy of the necessary stones to cover the ground (and no, I did not waste stones by throwing them at the angry muppet...ok, maybe one might have found its way over the fence.)

I took this picture to kid myself into thinking we had no more heavy lifting to do under the hateful averted gaze of our neighbors.

Alas, there is much more to do.

And just so you understand, I am 5 feet 10 inches tall and I have the feet to match. A horrifying-when-I-was-younger-but-I'm-ok-with-it-now size 10. Check out the size of the rocks compared to my feet.

So, forgive me for not writing, I've been busy, but I have to say, my chapped, torn up and bruised fingers are so very happy to be back. This is much better than childishly flipping my neighbors the bird.