Dudes,it’s official!  They are totally pimping my yard!

(In case you don’t remember – a show called Turf War which is like Yard Crashers sort of but not really and which is on the DIY  network asked us to be judges when they filmed another show in our neighborhood and then while we were signing something they saw our backyard/hobo encampment and said they might be giving us a call and what do you know they totally totally called.)


May 7th and 8th, and yes, I am THRILLED that I am going to be on NATIONAL TV while 35 weeks pregnant. It’s like, every woman’s dream.   Maybe I should look for some reaaaaaaaallly offensive maternity shirt to wear as like, a distraction technique. Any ideas?

Anyway, when I am not wondering how the words “water feature” became a part of my every day vocabulary I am warding off panic attacks re:  the heirloom tomatoes currently occupying my non pimpstastic backyard.  Everyone else in the world is all “HOLY SHITSTERS, FREE YARD MAKEOVER” and I am losing sleep over tomatoes.  Cuz that’s just how I roll, baby.

Also, I’m totally excited and grateful and kind of blown away because stuff like this never ever happens to me! And as Emily says, some people don’t even have backyards!  Crazy Pants!

Also, it turns out that 1. we’re supposed to have lots of helpers and 2. we don’t actually know anyone so if anyone is lurking around the Sacramento area on those two days and wants to come help (OMG PLEASE COME HELP ME) you’ll totally get to be on tv and eat as many free craft services donuts as you can shove in your face (seriously, I heard the food is really good) and I will love you forever and let you use my backyard for anything you want including bathing in the “water feature” and I will give you beer.


About A Boat

So we had this boat.

A giant, inflatable boat that we never ever used, and that we have been storing in our garage for at least three garages, right next to the other giant inflatable boat that we never used.

Well, that’s not exactly strictly true, I suppose.  We used Giant Inflatable Boat one time, when we lived in Redding and before we had children because I think we can all agree that once you have children your days of floating blissfully down rivers have come to an end for quite some time.

Anyway, I can honestly say that there wasn’t too much awesome going on in that town.  In fact, I can think of only two things.  One is that after we moved away, there was an article in the paper about these teenage girls who got in trouble for using the giant dishwashing tub at KFC as a hot tub?  And I got to tell people I had eaten at that very KFC.  The other good thing about living in Armpit, California was that we lived right next to a river and if you had a giant inflatable boat and an extra car you could do this complicated thing where you dropped one car off at the bottom of the river and then took the other car back to the top of the river and you know what I am sure that whole process was a very simple one but I’ve never really totally gotten it, but the point was that you needed a giant inflatable boat and two cars and four people and also when you get in your giant inflatable boat at the top of the river it is important to remember the keys to the car especially if you only own half a paddle.

So we finally had four people and two cars and we did the confusing parking and we collected our life jackets and our half a paddle and our giant inflatable boat and we all climbed in at the top of the river and shazam! We were off! And then this is when someone with more sense than I who clearly knows my husband QUITE WELL said “You do have the car keys, right?” and of course as I am sure you have already guessed, Mr. E so did not have the car keys, and so we all made that “holy crap!” face that you make at times like that and then frantically hand paddled our giant inflatable boat back to the shore as quickly as possible where three of us clung to sticks and vines so that Mr. E could run back and retrieve the car keys.

Of course when he returned I started lecturing him about his forgetfullness and about the fact that he was gone forever while we clung tenuously to blackberry vines and pondered the meaning of human existence, but it didn’t take me very long to notice that he was white and shaking and sort of oddly sweaty and gasping something about Indiana Jones, and it turned out that, at least according to Mr. E,  his trip through the underbrush of the river bank to retrieve the keys had led to an encounter with the largest spiders in the entire world, and he wasn’t coping very well, because while Mr. E is valiant and unperturbed in the face of mice, rats, slugs and snakes, he is, shall we say, NOT A FAN of the spider.

Although finding a slug in my laundry room is the kind of thing that makes me start searching the real estate listings, because A SLUG WAS IN MY HOUSE CLEARLY I CAN’T SLEEP HERE EVER AGAIN, Ive never really gotten too het up over spiders, but Mr. E comes by it honestly – his whole family is stark naked terrified of the things.  I actually find it quite endearing – here’s something I can protect YOU from! And once we went on a family camping trip and his sister sprayed the entire perimeter of the tent site with a can of something called “Spider Not” which I think you’d have to agree is pretty awesome, and there’s also a rumor that she used to sleep with a flash light under her pillow so that she could check the corners of the ceiling at night after she turned the lights out because everyone knows that’s when the spiders will get you, after the lights go out.  And while I am not sure if that’s actually true, about the flashlight, I was witness to the loudest scream in the history of recorded time during one summer vacation when we all journeyed to the  middle of nowhere to visit Mr. E’s family and he and I were sitting on the deck together back when we were young fresh daisies who had no idea that someday we’d go forty rounds over a stupid inflatable boat and his oldest sister apparently saw the largest spider in the entire world over her shoulder as she stepped out the door onto the deck and she let out a scream that I am certain could be heard three universes over, and although the size of the spider was never verified, it is certainly safe to say that, well.  They aren’t a spider loving family.  Let’s just put it that way.

So that was the first and only time we used the boat.  Otherwise it sat unused next to the other giant inflatable boat, which remains in the box it arrived in.  Giant Inflatable Boat #3 (still in the box) is actually a replacement for ANOTHER giant inflatable boat, which we also used just one time, because unfortunately Giant Inflatable Boat #2 looked JUST like a giant vagina when it was inflated and no matter how lovely the day or how pristine the lake, observing your friends paddling around in a giant vagina just isn’t something you want to do every day.  Add that to the fact that before I ruined his life and forced him to never do anything but put up curtains and go to Home Depot, Mr. E used to bring the Worlds Worst Dog with us everywhere and the time we took our friends to paddle around in Vagina Boat, the Worlds Worst Dog ATE HUMAN POOP because some disgusting person had POOPED next to the lake and the Worlds Worst Dog ATE IT because that’s just how World’s Worst Dogs roll.  And then I had to ride home with the Worlds Worst Dog in the car, and I never felt the same way about that boat after that (not to mention the dog), and it didn’t help that Vagina Boat also reeked like a petrochemical bomb had gone off, because disturbingly we had gotten THIS stupid giant inflatable boat from Mr. E’s dad and it had been stored in a shed next to Mr. E’s family’s lake cabin.  This is the same shed that I was planning to sleep in when Mr. E’s brother got married and we threw him a bachelor party and a few hours before we went to sleep Mr. E mentioned that the shed “smelled a little bit like gas” and this was before I knew that when Mr. E says that something “smells a little bit like gas” that you in fact should not plan to sleep within a forty mile radius of said location.  What you should do is get the Hilton on the phone.

And that is how I ended spending the night in the back seat of a Jetta, and really it’s lucky that we were in the middle of nowhere, because that seriously must be how every single one of those weird gimmick tent cars gets sold – if we had been anywhere near an Aztek dealer I would probably still be trying to unload a car that also turns into a tent because trust me, even if you are 5 foot one and half, you do not want to spend the night in the back of a Jetta.   You really really don’t.

Anyway.  Mr. E got his PhD in something unpronouncable, I still don’t really understand it but as far as I can tell he walked up to the admissions office at Michigan and asked “What’s the LEAST financially lucrative thing you’ve got going on here?” and picked that, but the point is that sometime in the pursuit of years of student loan debt,  he learned how to do this thing where you go out on a boat and drop down this other big thing and that big thing takes a big chunk of mud out of the lake and it’s apparently very important to science and there’s like, nine other people in the world who know this VERY USEFUL mud chunk removal skill and they all send each other emails about trilobites or god knows what and that’s how Mr. E ended up loaning the other eight mud chunk nerds in the world the Vagina Boat and somehow they popped the damn thing, and of course they offered to replace it and instead of saying “Gee, can you replace it with something I might actually need like shoes and purses” Mr. E said “great” to some Amazon link and that’s how we ended with Giant Inflatable Boat #3 which has never been removed from the box it arrived in.

Wow, this is a long story.

Anyway, I think you can agree that we didn’t need two giant inflatable boats that we never use.  One giant inflatable boat that we will never use is more than enough, so when we cleaned out our garage I dragged giant inflatable boat number one out on the lawn and began the long and involved process that is required when one is trying to force ones husband to unload a piece of useless boating equipment which has come to represent his lost youth and spirit of adventure, and while even I can admit that trading a mortgage and two kids for some backwoods Daniel Boone fantasy could be somewhat dispiriting, I would please point out that we still have ANOTHER giant inflatable boat and anytime he wants to pack up some beef jerky and some Brut cologne and head out to the wilderness he is MORE THAN WELCOME.  As long as he arranges suitable child care first, of course.

I suggested that Mr. E inflate the giant inflatable boat so he could post it on Craigslist in all its glory, and he took that idea under advisement, although of course he didn’t actually inflate the boat.  I believe I suggested this radical boat getting rid of strategy three times, and then I made a giant list of all the things that he was supposed to be doing, and I think “inflate the boat” was probably one of the least sucky things on this list (TRICKY!), which may have proved motivating.  Regardless, I am still depressed about the fact that I did in fact become one of those assholes making a “honey do” list because I consider that expression to be one of the most revolting in all of spoken language,  but whatever.  He totally inflated the boat.

And yes.  I have a list notebook and Mr. E’s “List Of Crap You Should Be Doing Instead Of Emailing Your Brothers Articles From The Onion” was just one of many in this list notebook, and I’d also like to add that while I have taken a ton of shit over this list notebook of mine, I love a good list like almost nothing else in the world, and I’m never gonna stop with this loving of mine.  And let’s not pretend like Mr. E doesn’t have his own list going on, he totally does, but I have to write mine down because I have lot of lists and they are really long and include things like “clean off baseboards” and “windex cabinet pulls” and Mr. E’s personal list is only four things long and so he can keep it in his head, because it’s just:

1. lie around

2. eat Lucky Charms

3. take off pants

4. Check to see if Miss Congeniality is on

And I’m not going to say that his list is non challenging, because I mean, sometimes, like every once in a while?  Miss Congeniality isn’t on.  But still, it’s a pretty short to do list.  Doesn’t need to be written in a notebook, probably.

Anyway. I made him a list of jobs in my list notebook and he totally inflated the boat because he really didn’t want to be rewiring the bathroom fixture and then he washed the boat, and then Eli threw mud on it and stole the hose and tried to jump on the giant inflatable boat and fill it with rocks and worms, but eventually it was sort of clean and Mr. E took a picture.   And then we had a big fight which involved me yelling a lot of something along the lines of “SERIOUSLY YOU HAVE A PHD YOU CAN FIGURE OUT HOW TO USE CRAIGSLIST” but eventually it was posted and no one bought it.

So Giant Inflatable Boat sat out in our backyard while it rained and rained and rained and I made stupid jokes no one wants to hear about Noah, and then I harassed Mr. E to deflate Giant Inflatable Boat and he ignored me and I harassed him some more and he ignored me some more and then one day I looked out my bedroom window to see my THREE YEAR OLD BALANCED ON THE EDGE OF A GIANT INFLATABLE BOAT FILLED WITH WATER and I wasn’t very happy about that.  We had some “email exchanges” and lo, a great miracle occurred, and he deflated the boat.

Then I started suggesting we just give the damn thing away, like donate it to some other scientifically minded nerds or vinyl fetishists or whatever, and Mr. E countered that he’d rather keep it than give it away.  Because nothing says “extra room to store lots of giant never used inflatable boats” like a 960 square foot bungalow with no basement filled with four people and a cat and the World’s Worst Dog.

Then a great miracle occurred and Mr. E posted once again posted Giant Inflatable Boat on Craigslist on Friday morning which was PERFECT because we had all weekend to unload it and maybe for the love of all that is holy I wouldn’t have to be the one to deal with whatever Craigslist weirdos wanted to come to my house and oogle the stupid boat, because there is nothing nothing nothing nothing that I hate more than dealing with random strangers coming to my house.  Maybe slugs, maybe I hate those more, but it is a close close tie between random Craigslist weirdos and slugs.

And then Mr. E broke the CARDINAL RULE of Craigslist because everyone knows that the first rule of Craigslist is that you never ever ever ever ever hold anything for anyone! And he told some dude that he would hold the boat until Sunday and I had to use every power in the known world to hold my tongue when he took the ad down especially when he told me that the guy was going to give him an extra ten dollars to hold it! Because is it just me?  Or do you have NO WAY of collecting this mythical extra ten dollars when this person never shows up?

You will be shocked to know that “Extra Ten Dollars” dude never showed up.  I know I was shocked.  Luckily the fact that I knew that this would happen meant that I got to really work up a strong “I told you so but I am not going to say I told you so I am just going to broadly imply it with my tone of voice and by putting this arm on my hip and glaring at you” voice so that when I told Mr. E to re post the mother grabbing giant inflatable boat for the one millionth time and for the love of pants not to hold the damn thing for anyone including Jesus Christ himself, I managed to project all of this with one scornful inflection as I flounced off to windex the cabinet pulls.

So Mr. E posted the boat again and Monday afternoon I got this weird phone call from my favorite type of person! A weirdo Craigslist stranger!  Who was coming to my house in half an hour! And got my number from my husband!  And who needed directions! Even though as my husband well knows! I couldn’t give directions to my house! For One Trillion Dollars!  And I couldn’t help but notice! That my child wasn’t wearing pants! And I hadn’t showered! And I was wearing my paint covered “Not Everything’s Flat In Nebraska” t shirt! And dirty cut off sweats!

I believe it was at this point that I IM’ed Maggie and all I said was “GRRRRRRR”.

Whatever.  I hauled ass to the backyard and I changed my shirt and brushed my teeth and put some pants on my child and put the Worlds Worst Dog in her cage and I even found the rrrrreally humiliating “looks just like that Austin Powers swedish sex penis thing” air pump and I SOLD THAT BOAT OH YES I DID. SOLD SOLD SOLD.

Now.  Does anyone want to buy a giant inflatable boat? It’s never even been taken out of the box.

Well That’s Just Fine 2010, Because So Far I Don’t Like You Very Much Either

Those would be my heirloom Brandywine tomatoes in the middle of that %$%$^^ puddle.  It started raining the day after I planted and I swear to god it HAS NOT STOPPED SINCE.

I’m not gonna lie, I have The Rage.  Which is so totally helpful, because there’s nothing quite as ineffective as being really really pissed off at the weather.

Bad Poetry Thursday

I could take a million

pictures of those eyelashes

and still not have enough.

You Too

We spent our Easter trapped inside  – the dismal Oakland weather rained all over our plans for an egg hunt, but at the same time, no one really minded – it’s impossible to be in a bad mood in the presence of great friends and spiral cut ham.

Eli has known Elena since the day she was born but he’s always viewed her with a certain disdain – she’s my best friends daughter so of course we have to say things like “this picture is for their rehearsal dinner slide show” – but although Eli is not so sure about that nonsense, Elena thinks he is the best damn thing ever.  It’s quite adorable, really, and it might be starting to dawn on Eli that here is someone willing to give him the amount of attention he finds sufficient (hint: all the attention in all the world).  On Easter Sunday they spent all day playing together.  At one point they were tucked together inside a giant cardboard box – all the little cut out doors and windows pulled shut – whispering giggles back and forth.   (Every grown up on the scene immediately died from the cuteness on the spot, of course.)

As the day wound down towards night, Elena’s mama took her into the bathroom to take a bath and I tried to get Eli on board – he loves baths and he wanted to take one until he found out someone else was going to be involved.  The last joint bathing session – one I’d forced him into – had been a total disaster, screaming and hysteria the whole time.  And this time I won’t pretend that I had any great parenting revelations, I think I was honestly just too tired to do battle with Sir HissyPants, but I simply walked into the bathroom, took a perch on the toilet seat, and talked up all of Elena’s bath toys for a few minutes.  (She does have quite a nice collection.)

Eli wandered slowly into the bathroom and announced he would just stand in the corner.  OK, I said.

A few minutes went by, Elena got stripped down and plopped in the tub, and started to play with her toys and dump water and splash around.

Eli announced he would just play with some of the toys, but outside of the bathtub.  Ok, I said.

He spent some time pouring water around – seeing how much he could get away with or just not sure how to keep water in the tub, and I told him he had to keep the water in the tub and we showed him some magnetic boats and he poured some water on Elena’s hair and everyone laughed.

Eli announced he would take off his legwarmers and just stand in the tub, but he wouldn’t sit down.  Ok, I said.

So we took off his leg warmers and stood him in the tub, and two seconds later he sat down, fully clothed, still wearing a navy blue cable knit cardigan and his seersucker easter shorts and his diaper.

The diaper thing grossed me out and his dad wasn’t feeling as patient as I was so we negotiated our way through the removal of the sweater and the diaper and then there he was, finally, just sitting and splashing in the tub with Elena.

And part of me thinks this was no big deal, that I was just tired, that maybe it’s not that I’m finally starting to figure this kid out and just let him be, to just let him come to his own way of doing things, and part of me just absolutely has to cling to moments like this, one of the VERY FEW moments where I think  ” That day, I was a good mom for this kid” because those moments are so very few and far between for me of late.

I have such limitations as a parent – I really do.  I do not like noise and I do not like dirt and I do not like playing preschool games.  I am terrible at making up stories and songs – I am not a carpet sitter.   I love this child with every breath in my being  but I don’t want to park any damn cars, now or ever.  And he is just as stubborn and intense and willful as I am and sometimes it feels like every day is nothing but one long battle – as though all we do all day is go back and forth between “no” and “time out”, as though every day is just him closing every door in the house behind me and me being driven crazy by the endless closed doors at the same time  I am envisioning all the wonderful maternal sweet loving parents out there who just chortle a little loving chortle a few times a day because little Johnny sure does love to close doors!  And there I am, so NOT chortling, instead gritting out , between clenched teeth, “what is the rule about doors Eli?!” because it’s that or just screaming “QUIT SHUTTING GODDAMNED DOORS IF I WANTED IT SHUT I WOULD SHUT IT YOU ARE DRIVING ME INSANE!”

I’m not sure that this is universal, but I think my parenting experience is made more raw because I remember my childhood and all the slights I incurred so very vividly.  I still feel as though my mother never held me enough.  There was not enough cuddling.  No one listened to me.  I wanted a Trapper Keeper and an Esprit bag and Pentel pens and instead I had a dirty red backpack and off brand crayons and my dad’s old binders from work.  I was forced to eat disgusting lunches I couldn’t stand.  We never ever made chocolate chip cookies together.  I was the most shy kid in the world and it drove my mother crazy and she spent my childhood trying to drive this out of me and make me talk on the phone and look strangers in the eye and and and.   Much of the time that did not feel very much like love.

But I see all this in my son – how shy he is, how nervous new things make him.  How badly he handles change.  His stubbornness and his crankiness and his frustration and how he wants to do everything himself and how much he wants to be held and how hard he loves the people who love him and how he is my carbon copy and I am afraid.

Because I am not sure this makes sense, even, but the more I see how similar we are?  The more I start to wonder how on earth I can be a good mom to this tiny little someone who is turning out to be just like me.

June Seems Like A Long Way Away

All day long I have to remind myself – this is not forever, this is not forever, this is not forever. Some day in the not too distant future, I will, once again, be able to bend over and pick something up off the floor without saying three Hail Marys in a row and hoping for the best.

Some other things I am really looking forward to:

Martinis.  Not having to plan every bite of food I put in my mouth as though I am negotiating some kind of international peace treaty.  Hot chocolate and whipped cream and frappucinos.  Never drinking soy milk or almond milk or rice milk ever ever ever again.  Bowls of cereal.  WITH REAL MILK FROM A COW.  Wearing my wedding rings.  Not having heart burn so painful it makes me cry.  Peeing maybe just one time a night.  Taking in a whole breath of air all at one time.  Bending in half.  Ice cream.  No more pants hitching!  The feeling returning to my fingers.   A good night’s sleep without the aid of eight pillows.  No more round ligament pains of doom during a stupid tiny half block walk.  The end of the permanent shoulder/back/neck/headache.  Sleeping on my stomach.  Pooping.  No more ultrasounds/glucose tests/blood draws/peeing in a cup/stepping on a doctor’s scale/kick counts.  No more fretting about what could go wrong in there while I’m not paying attention.  Taking my happy pills.  Orange juice for breakfast – no more frakking eggs!  Shopping for fun clothes instead of expandable clothes.  Fitting into my bathtub.  5 o’clock.  Getting my lap back.

Oh, and meeting my girl.

Seven Quick Takes Which Make Me Nervous To Talk About

1. Mr. E started the car test driving process yesterday – we’re looking for something like a CRV, but because we’re all about helping! out! America! or whatever we thought we’d consider some American cars too.  But seriously?  A BRAND NEW CRV is 22K.  A Chevy Equinox is THIRTY FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS, and  Ford Escape isn’t much cheaper.  Um, sorry, but no.  Just no.

2.  I failed my one hour glucose test, so I had to take the 3 hour glucose test yesterday.  They let me take my Zofran and some antacid, so it wasn’t too bad overall, but it wasn’t like, the most fun three hours of my life, I won’t lie. Especially since I couldn’t eat anything for 12 hours before hand.   I made the foolish error of expecting TONS of sympathy from Mr. E when I got home, but I should have realized – drinking a giant vat of brightly colored sugar water and then sitting around for three hours?  That’s his idea of PARADISE ON EARTH.

In other hilarious news, I have another ultrasound (lucky number seven!) tomorrow to make sure the baby isn’t measuring too small.  Assuming I fail that stupid three hour glucose test I just took, I also get to have nutritional counseling to make sure the baby isn’t too big.  As Mr. E puts it, very shortly we’re going to have to tell SOMEONE to cram it, because call me crazy, but the last time I checked, the baby can’t be too small and too big.

3.  While I was waiting in the lab, some old dude brought in a giant vat of his own urine.  Chaos ensued.  It was awesome.

4.  I spent over an hour yesterday rearranging the green totes I bought at Target on the shelves in the babys room.  I finally had to just walk away from that situation, because wowsers.  Also, the woman at the consignment store I just went to (pregnant with her second set of twins! Her fifth kid!) told me “You don’t even look pregnant!” I wanted to crawl across the counter and make out with her, really, I did. In a totally platonic way, of course.

5.  Mr. E got refurloughed, so that sucked.  However, we are putting California ON NOTICE and this time next year we shall reevaluate.  We have waited too long and worked too hard for this ridiculousness to continue – we’re not running a charity for the state over here.  Also, I have the strange urge to move to Austin.

6.  Tomatoes go in the ground this weekend! Mega awesome.

7.  Eli played quietly by himself for 45 whole minutes this afternoon.  I KNEW he was doing something he shouldn’t be doing but I just didn’t care.  And that’s why he now has an entire tube of A & D ointment smeared in his hair and his new name is Greasy Pants.

Bonus Quick Take:  Anyone have any eastertastic jello “salad” recipes for me? IMHO, it’s not Easter without jello salad, but I can’t eat dairy.  I am imagining some kind of delightful concoction involving layers, fruit cocktail, mini marshmallows, and cool whip, but I am looking for guidance.  Anyone?