Wednesday, April 28, 2004

The Great Clothing Debacle continues, but this time virtue is on my side. The Big Guy emerged from the laundry room stiff-legged and steamed that this is NOT his week for clothes, and SOMEBODY put his jeans in the dryer, and now they're so TIGHT he can't even button them.

MomBrain: Oh, sweetie, I'm sorry - I've screwed up again.
Big Guy: Now I don't have ANYTHING to wear!
MomBrain: Where are your other jeans?
Big Guy: AT GOOD WILL.
MomBrain: Wait - turn around.
(The Big Guy does a pirhouette.)
MomBrain: Uh, sweetie, those are my jeans.
Big Guy: No they're not - they're mine and someone dried them.
MomBrain: Look at the tag.
Big Guy: Oh.

I made sure he knew that now my jeans are so STRETCHED OUT that I can't wear them. But secretly I was very happy, because the day the Big Guy fits into my jeans is the day I jump off the 520 bridge.

posted by Marjorie
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Saturday, April 24, 2004

Oh my. MomBrain has just poisoned herself. Let's just say that it is a bad idea to routinely give Kitty her pills at the same time you take your vitamins. You see, poor little miss Kitty has a thyroid condition. So it is very, very important that she be pilled every morning. Missing a pill is not an option. Missing a pill means Kitty throws up all over the house, and MomBrain gets to test her gag reflex while using copious amounts of Woolite Rug Cleaner.

So, Kitty takes her pill when I take mine. Except somehow Kitty's pill ended up in my handful of vitamins, and POP! Into my mouth it went, then down the hatch with a swig of Diet Pepsi. Kack. KHACK. KHACK. Sorry - hairball.

This week marked the return of our French houseguest, who brought a bottle of red wine as a hospitality gift. Long-time readers of MomBrain will understand why I was immediately suspicious, given the International Incident of 2003. Was she taunting me? Joining me in solidarity? Hoping for a repeat performance? I thanked her warmly and put the bottle in our new wine rack, where it remained unopened throughout our visit. I stuck to Diet Pepsi for the entire week, except for one wee glass of merlot that was consumed within falling distance of my bedroom. I have restored my dignity, though perhaps she now thinks of me as extremely boring rather than falling down drunk.

posted by Marjorie
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Saturday, April 17, 2004

MomBrain, thy name is mud. I am so in the doghouse - a musty, dank doghouse that I have not seen in years. I do not visit the doghouse often - I am a Good Wife, and the Big Guy is a peaceable sort. But I might as well get comfy because I'll be here for a while. This is because I gave half of the Big Guy's wardrobe to Goodwill. By accident, of course. But the Big Guy is now a ragamuffin, and I am now in deep doo doo.

It is not exactly my fault that the Big Guy's Goodwill pile was on top of his laundry pile. But I did notice it filled an entire Hefty bag. And I did haul the bag to the curb and wave bye bye as it merrily drove away in the friendly white truck. Clearly, I am the perp.

I made an emergency trip to the mall, where Jason at Nordstrom's was only too happy to earn his tidy commission. And I spent so much money at J Crew they were practically serving me tea and crumpets. Many gift-wrapped bags and two melted VISA cards later, I presented my contrite self to my spouse. Sometimes it is not enough to say "I'm sorry." Sometimes you have to *do* something - anything - to make amends. Replace what you lost. Fix what you broke. Something.

The Big Guy was sweet. He said all the right things, and looked especially charming in his threadbare shirt with the frayed cuffs. But I will be sleeping in a bed of straw for the next little while.

posted by Marjorie
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Thursday, April 15, 2004

No childcare after preschool today, which means I had only the tiniest amount of time to finish the danged article. But I was frozen, staring at the computer, hypnotized by the blinking cursor on a white screen. The writerly juices just aren't flowing these days. Call it exhaustion, call it distraction, call it boredom, call it what you want - it ain't happenin'. I tried all my old juicy writer tricks. I put on the Sack, a warm fleecy sweatshirt that doubles as a writing uniform and is terrifying in its instant ability to add 25 pounds to my frame. Nothing. I inhaled 2 cups of tea followed by 2 cups of coffee. Nothing. I lit an aromatherapy candle scented with rosemary and mint for energy. Nothing. I read my original query for inspiration. Nothing.

So I just sat and stared, imagining the nasty email I will surely get from the editor, daydreaming about the scrapbook I would rather be working on, fantasizing about the art supply store I'm going to open just so I can sniff pens and fondle paper. Imagine my relief when the doorbell rang. Then imagine my gratitude when I opened the door and saw Anna Quindlen.

"I heard you needed a little help today," she said, and smiled. She shifted her bookbag to her left hand and held out her right. I shook it, my mouth opening and closing like a wet guppy out of its tank.

"How did you know?" I managed to eek. She smiled again.

"The Muse," she said. "She called me on my cell when you didn't answer. I have a little time today so I figured why not?"

"Please come in," I said, and waved her into the house. "Watch out for the Legos."

"No worries - I'm quite used to that." We laughed together, that inside-joke laugh that moms share, and shook our heads at the floor strewn with cars and trucks and jackets and crumbs.

I made tea for two and showed her to my office, where Kitty was sleeping in my chair. I dragged in a chair from another room and we settled in together, side-by-side at the computer. She opened her book bag and pulled out her black-framed reading glasses, the ones that make her eyes look so big. I'd seen her wear them for a reading on Book TV. They definitely added serious points to her IQ, and I felt my shoulders relax. I was in good hands.

"Now. Let's go," she said, leaning forward. And we were off, her dictating, me typing, both of us laughing and blushing and piling on the double entendres. 1500 words in 90 minutes; 250 words -- 2 pages -- every half hour; typing so fast my fingers were cold. Tendrils of white smoke curled from the keyboard. And it was good.

Soon our time was up. Anna had a column due, and I needed to pick up the Little Guy from preschool. But before she left we agreed to meet later for celebratory margaritas. No Sack. No reading glasses. Just two mama writers enjoying the afterglow.
posted by Marjorie
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Wednesday, April 14, 2004

I have a major writing deadline. It is tomorrow. Tomorrow. A 1500-word magazine article, complete with expert interviews, product profiles, and humorous, slightly racy anecdotes. Tomorrow. I do not have an expert to interview. I'm ripping off product ideas courtesy of Google. I'm still slogging through the first draft. And all my stories are dour and prudish rather than witty and titillating. This is the closest MomBrain ever comes to saying the F word. So I have chosen to update my blog instead.

A Question
Two interesting facts:

According to CNN, mad-cow disease has been linked to 100 human deaths worldwide.

But -- also according to CNN -- every year about 36,000 Americans die of the flu.

So why has everyone I know in Washington state stopped eating red meat, but almost no one gets a flu shot?

Mother Shock: Shameless Promotion
This is a public service announcement! Take MomBrain's advice and sign up now for "A Mother Shock A Day." 21 days, 21 essays, throughout the month of May. These essays are courtesy of my mama-writer friend Andi Buchanan, author of "Mother Shock: Loving Every (Other) Minute Of It." In my opinion, this book should be required reading for every new mom. Andi's a terrific writer, and the managing editor of Literary Mama. And I for one can't wait to see those new essays in my Inbox, every weekday during the month of May.

Do it! Do it now!

posted by Marjorie
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Monday, April 12, 2004

Shout out to old friend and new reader Papa Bear, one of the most cheerful and well-bearded men I know. And I do not say this lightly. Facial hair and I do not get along. Very few hairy men count MomBrain among their acquaintances. But Papa Bear is one of them. Hey ya!

Anemones: A Sad and Sordid Story of Unrequited Love

Longtime MomBrain readers know that my neighbors, being of a scientific bent, have huge noggins. I am here to report that they also have huge flowers that they are extremely eager to give away.

Now, those who know MomBrain personally know that I am an idiot savant. An idiot when it comes to anything with wires. And a savant when it comes to birthdays and the Latin names of plants. And so, on a gardening front, I am popular with my neighbors. I consult. I suggest. I ooh and aah. So I was happy to visit when my high-IQ neighbors asked for help choosing plants for a shady dry spot. One thing led to another and before I knew it I was the proud owner of the Japanese anemones they planned to replace.

That was Saturday. On Sunday I still hadn't dug them up because I was frantically preparing to host a brunch for 16 people. So they called and reminded me. But Sunday night the Little Guy started throwing up, so I was busy for two days lounging in my pajamas with 35 pounds of vomiting toddler on my lap. On Tuesday they called to say they'd dug them up and put them next to my garage, but we were still too sick to do anything about it. On Friday I confessed to my inquiring neighbors that there were no anemones nodding their delicate heads in my garden because the yard waste people had taken them before I could. On Saturday they pointed out a few more that I could dig up if I liked, but I was again with the busy. So Sunday morning when I emerged for my newspaper, a box of freshly dug anemone x hybrida greeted me on my front porch.

Clearly my neighbors are highly motivated people, not to mention thoughtful and generous. So I planted the anemones on the side of my house nearest their kitchen window, where they can say hello to their old friends from April to November.

While I was at it, I planted a few Hebe buxifolia 'Patty's Purple', in honor of my mother. Because nothing is better than a meaningful garden full of gifts and memories.

posted by Marjorie
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Monday, April 05, 2004

Someone needs to tell Mattel to invent Time Change Barbie. I know, I know, there are already 600 versions of Barbie. (Really - I got it from their Web site.) But Time Change Barbie is truly different -- purple bags under her eyes to match her bunny slippers, a bad-hair-day-ponytail, and wrinkled clothes complete this fun fashion look! Accessories include an extra large pot of coffee and a 24-hour addendum on her auto insurance.

posted by Marjorie
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Saturday, April 03, 2004

Oh my darlings, MomBrain is not able to update nearly as much as she would like to. Due to travel, illness, and spring break, the Little Guy has been in preschool only two mornings in the last month. And with magazine deadlines looming in mid-April, my blogging time is severely limited. Wah.

My idyllic moment of the last post was quickly followed by perhaps the least idyllic moment of parenthood, when the Little Guy threw up for the first time in his life. All over me. In a restaurant. Twice. Of course LG was scared and upset, until I told him that Rescue Heroes throw up, too. Then I told him that grown-ups throw up in the toilet, which was hysterically funny to him. I hope he's always that easy to cheer up.

Meanwhile, I have only recently noticed that the last three letters in Nanny's license plate are PKX. You gotta love a Nanny whose license plate says pickaxe.
posted by Marjorie
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