Friday, December 30, 2011

Battery Operated Boyfriend

When I was almost 34 years old, I finally discovered sex. I'd spent a lot of years being told that I wasn't good enough in this department, and that it was all my fault. And sure, I had the whole "boo hoo, I was molested" thing going for me, too. So when my highly unsatisfied husband decided to call it quits, I didn't waste much time in trying to figure out if I was, indeed, a 5'2" bundle of permanently damaged goods.

A while ago, a friend of mine had convinced me that I didn't like sex and never had orgasms because I didn't own a Hitachi Magic Wand. So I got one. I spent a couple of afternoons awkwardly trying to force myself on me, but things like doorbells and toddlers waking from naps kind of killed the mood, every damn time. Frustrated, I tucked that thing under my bed, where I promptly forgot about it for a couple of years. During one final marital argument, my then-husband made a sarcastic comment about the vibrator gathering dust under the bed. My reactions went as follows - First: *gasp! He knows about the vibrator? Second: *gasp! I have a vibrator!

Probably two weeks after he left, I busted that bad boy out. The kids were gone, the phone was off, my music of choice was cued and ready to make me swoon. I took a very factual assessment of what I had to do - Plug it in; Arrange myself and it under the covers; Figure out the exact spot I'm supposed to magically know about but had never really found; Turn it on. High or Low? Low is juuuuuust fine. On my first try it took my Hitachi 2 minutes to do what my ever-complaining hubby hadn't accomplished in 12 years. I was enlightened.

Turns out, all that bad sex wasn't all my fault. This was a huge relief and felt really, really good to discover. Almost as good as the mind-blowing, epically-proportioned multiple orgasms that I started having on a regular basis. I finally figured out that women around the world had NOT in fact joined forces in a like-minded unit that they left me out of, hatching a plan to fake enjoying sex for the sake of the men they loved. They probably just really, actually liked it! I became that mussy-haired, bedroom-eyed lover of self-loving that I'd always assumed I'd never be.

By now I've got this thing dialed-in. So much so that I have to be careful when listening to my ipod in public, since at this point Maxwell's Bad Habits has a Pavlovian affect on my nether-regions. My Plug-In Lover and I have become like a perfectly functioning couple - aware of each other's (aka my) specific needs in the sack, thus perfecting and heightening the experience for all involved (again, just me here).

We are very happy together.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The True Meaning of Christmas

Presents.  Okay sure there is the whole family thing and the food, and for some of you there's even a religious bit, but let's be real.  I'm not talking about pepper spraying inbred Wal-Martyrs for a PS3.  I'm talking about something much more nuanced.  I'm talking about the magic at the end of "A Christams Story" when (SPOILER!) Ralphie gets the gun.

Day 1 - 10:00 a.m.
Liam didn't have his own version of the Red Rider Rifle dream in mind but had he been familiar with the Thomas & Friends "Misty Island Discovery" Trackmaster Motorized Railway before we got it for him, that would have been it.  He's completely obsessed.  The moment I released him from his room this morning (no he can't get out of his own room because of the raccoons...shut up) he made a bee-line for his train.  He's rarely left its side in four days.  Money can't buy love but apparently twenty bucks can buy a two-year-old's joy for at least a good week.  I'm curious to see if his interest outlasts the battery.  Probably not, but I'll call it a huge success anyway.

Day 4 - 6:45 a.m.
This being Finn's first Christmas he got nothing.  Well nothing from a store.  He did get held for four days straight by doting family members.  He's now as obsessed with being held as Liam is about his train, but unlike Liam we're trying to ween the little weiner.   

I scored too.  Erin got me a bunch of shirts that I never would have picked out for myself so naturally they look fantastic.  I also got some cool stocking stuffers, money from my parents (whew! Thanks mom and dad), some movies I forgot I loved, and in a surprise turn an awesome book from my brother-in-law.  It's called Creature Crochet and I'm going to use it to train myself to knit and stuff little zombies, ton-tons, cylons, Daleks, etc., all of which will be included in my upcoming book entitled Knitting for Knerds.  Those of you who know me know I'm being completely serious.  Look for it soon.

I even won with Erin.  I got her a sweater/trenchcoat thing from Anthropologie that she really liked but doesn't like anymore.  That might not sound like a success but I scored two big points.  One for really listening a few months ago and another when she goes to return it and sees that I spent half a month's mortgage on her.

Happy Holidays!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sketchy Claus

Over the weekend Liam and I were having coffee at Starbucks.  Say what you will about Starbucks but I'm addicted to their Clover® Brewing System and apparently if you order one of their outrageously expensive coffees, and it takes too long because they're cleaning the machine, they'll comp it.  Score.

Liam and I were killing time entertaining the Healdsburg locals.  He's two, cute, and super-crazy social.  He was doing the rounds with his usual routine of running up to strangers to say 'hi', then acting shy and running away.  The effect of which was instantaneous.  Most of the clientele that day walked in with a severe case of the holiday blues and left with a new appreciation for life.  Just like 'It's a Wonderful Life' but without all the back story and parallel dimension stuff.  He should get corporate sponsorship from the Starbucks people.  Or at least free chocolate milk.  One lady even had to say "What a darling little girl! Oh, and what a fun age!!  This will probably be the first year she really gets it!"  Okay yes he's darling, yes he needs a haircut, and no...he doesn't get it. 

By "get it" she was referring to Christmas and the presents and the whole SANTA thing.  I guess he may not be as advanced as other kids his age in his holiday appreciation because the Santa love hasn't kicked in yet.  Then again maybe he has a better understanding of Santa than the other kids his age.  While the other kids worship this strange old man who wants you to sit on his lap and tell him your most heartfelt desire, Liam's instincts are more appropriate.  Finn's too by the look of it.   

Maybe next year.  Still the gathering of family, the food, the general happiness, and all that good stuff isn't lost on him.  He gets that better than I do.  He's been a raging fireball of holiday cheer.  It really is incredible the effect these little people have on us, especially during the holidays.  They don't worry about money, or stress over 'what do I buy', or wallow in the usual holiday self pity.  They're just insanely happy and it's contagious.  I realized that while the Sumatra Tapanuli is pretty fantastic my real motivation in loitering around the coffee shop was just to show my little boys off and spread their joy.  They definitely don't mind sharing it.  Well, except with maybe Santa.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Aloha. Mahalo. Whatever That Means.

I have a dream.

Rather, I had a dream until last week, at which point my dream came true and now I have to think up something bigger and better!

I've forever had pretty much the same vacation vision: Me sitting on a beach in front of the ocean, reading, being served elaborately froofy cocktails by a young, dark, scantily-clad native man. By 'man' I mean 18 is an acceptable age, but absolutely no older than that. And by 'scantily-clad' I of course mean he's wearing a loin cloth.

So a little while ago I met this guy, we'll call him "Paul". We kind of hit it off. Like immediately, and a lot. One evening we were drinking beers while he told me a story about a recent getaway he'd taken, in which he described almost the exact scene of my fantasy trip, minus the native cocktail servant -- er, I mean server. I said, "wow, that sounds incredible. That's actually kind of my dream vacation," and I added the minor details that made mine different. Then off we went onto other topics.

Approximately four days later, I received a text asking how difficult it would be for me to get away for about a week. Right before Christmas. As a store owner. With two kids to arrange care for. "Ha!" I thought. "He's crazy." Crazy like a FOX!!

In two weeks' time we were riding in the shuttle from Park SFO to the airport. I leaned toward him and asked if he liked Christmas Carols, as they were merrily being pumped through the speakers above our heads. The woman sitting next to us abruptly stopped what she was doing, looked over at us for a full three seconds, and then busied herself again. Since I was blissed out on my 'I'm About to Fly to Hawaii' high, I decided not to say "yeah, I haven't known him long enough to know whether or not he likes Christmas Carols and yet we are obviously IN LOVE and going ON VACATION together, so what you nosy bitch!" Because I'm classy like that.

Once in Hawaii, as we were driving away from the Honolulu airport in our rental car, my new boyfriend turned to me and said "let's go make some memories!!"  I'm absolutely not kidding, he really said that. Out loud. I knew for sure at that moment (after I'd caught my breath from laughing so much) that it was going to be a magical week.

Having never been to Hawaii before, I honestly didn't know what to expect. I'd heard tales of the turquoise waters and white sandy beaches, but all of that seemed so not even possible to me that I decided not to get my hopes up. I'm now here to tell you that the water is, indeed, turquoise. The sand is white and sandy. It's fucking paradise, people. Paradise!

Despite the continuous rainstorms that rolled in the second our plane landed, we managed to get some Reading On The Beach While Drinking time in. I think the svelte and silent young man meant to be bringing me drinks adorned with umbrellas was probably taking shelter somewhere, shivering. I didn't really notice his absence, what with the incredibly handsome man lying next to me on our big-ass beach towel, handing me bottles of Primo from time to time. Better yet, I was allowed to touch him without worrying about having security called on me!

When the rain drove us away from the beach, I allowed myself to be taken on hikes. I am not much of a 'hiker', and in fact had been congratulating myself on finally finding a man that didn't think this would be a fun activity for us to share. That's the fun part of traveling with someone you barely know - all the new discoveries! Turns out my guy not only enjoys hikes, he likes hikes that go up steep mountains, and in the jungle! I'm pretty sure he found my bitching and complaining amusing and adorable. I have to admit, getting soaked in a warm rain while you stand looking at a tropical jungle waterfall is kind of cool. Because the key word there is WARM. Otherwise it would have sucked.

As a reward for all of the hiking, he took me on a tour of the finest dive bars Oahu has to offer, where we drank many Mai Tais. Well, for one night anyway. A Mai Tai hangover is not a pretty one. Also, when in a scary bar trying not to get into a fight with a local biker chick after apparently getting too handsy with her date (I just really wanted him to play my songs on the jukebox!), it's best not to be drinking something with fruit spilling out of it, because that would have made me look like a wimp. Beer is best for those situations, I found. Running doesn't hurt, either.

Since returning from The Island (I just said that!), I've found it difficult adjusting to things like "work" and "alarm clocks" and "work". But Paul's suggestion of immediately beginning to plan the next trip is helping all of that.

Now to figure out what to dream up next. Open to suggestions here!

Friday, December 16, 2011

That Took Balls

I feel like Janikowski has been training on my crotch.  Yeah, that's right, that was a SPORTS REFERENCE!  Overcompensating for lack of manliness is one of the side-effects of being freshly gelded.  Sure I had to ask the guys at work for that one but whatever! (for the record the exact wording of my question was "who's the best guy who kicks the football?"....pathetic)  Anyballs, I did it.  Just three hours ago.  I got snipped.

I felt a little apprehensive while I was sitting in the waiting room.  I also felt a little under-dressed.  There was this black guy in there wearing a tuxedo.  I think he was there for the same reason I was (too obscure or too racist?)  I'm fairly certain that the Valium I'd been given in order for me to "relax" wasn't doing the trick.  Then again prescribing a 230 pound man (yes, I'm calling myself 'man' now) a single 50mg Valium to relieve the tension prior to a vasectomy is like prescribing baby aspirin for the pain following a leg amputation.

I'd had a dream last night where the doctor performed the procedure in an elevator with a pair of my mother's orange handled sewing scissors (what the Freud?) and a lit cigarette.  It went better than that.  I won't get into the details of the procedure, but I did have some questions.  What was with the TUGGING?  How did you do that with a straight face? And, is it weird that the smell made me hungry?

So I'm infertile now.  I was given a little care package.  Some ice packs, two cups, and some instructions.  I have to bring in a sample in "one to two months or after about 15 ejaculations......"


I'm just gonna say my doctor needs to work on his conversions.....or maybe he needs to quit working late and go home to his neglected wife for FUCK'S SAKE!!

P.S. I'm self-medicating so I should probably wait to edit this post before I publish it but I think instead I'll just say 'sorry' here.  SOWWWWYYY!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Big Purge

No sooner had I thought quietly in my head (so as not to jinx it) "wow, we've been pretty lucky in our health this year" did Evie get the barfs. She arrived with her brother at my place at the usual hour, holding a limp banana and informing me in a small voice that she had a tummy ache. Her dad told me he'd given her half of an antacid. I've never taken an antacid, so I assumed that was some sort of gibberish 'medicine' that he thought would make her feel better.

It didn't.

Over the course of the evening, the kids and I did some work on the paper chain we've been making, Evie made glitter-glue puddles on construction paper, Jonah repeatedly got a running start and then did death-defying flips into the living room chair. When bedtime came, the stomach issue seemed to be all but forgotten. I read them a book, sang them a song, said some blessings, gave some hugs, some kisses, and off they went into dreamland. Or so I thought.

I was enjoying a glass of wine while folding laundry and talking with my beau about how there are only two people in the world who are allowed to call me Panda when I heard a whimpering Evie making her way down the hall. When she rounded the corner and saw me, she puffed out a "my tummy hurts!" as I picked her up. My attempt at comforting her was interrupted by a tiny little burp, resulting in a baby spit-up sized glop of banana on my shoulder. "Okay," I thought, "that's not too bad." I started walking down the hall, ignoring my company, and clucked and cooed at my sad little muffin child.

As we crossed the bathroom threshold, she looked me straight in the eyes and then heaved an enormous amount of vomit onto my shirt, in the space between my breasts and our touching bellies. I stopped short, looking down and assessing the damage, all the while saying things like "oh, poor's okay sweetie, it's not your fault, it's okay, mommy can take care of this," etc. Things you say out loud when in your head you're saying "Holy mother of GOD! How the hell did THAT MUCH puke just come out of this small child?! And what the FUCK did she eat for dinner? Gaaah!! It's disgusting! This is horrible! HORRIBLE!!!" The things you think right before the next heave of an equally alarming amount of partially digested (later to be discovered) hamburger and fries from Flavor bistro creates Lake Puke all over your favorite long sleeved tee shirt.

When she appeared to be finished emptying the contents of her entire body onto my torso, I gently set her down and got to work peeling off our respective shirts. I'm not exaggerating when I say that mine weighed about six pounds. Hers was maybe four. I rinsed her off with a warm washcloth and walked us out into the living room where all of our clothes lay, clean and freshly folded. Newly ensconced in coziness, I bundled her into my bed and she fell into a post-barf-induced state of exhausted slumber. Until the next time she had to throw up. And the next. And yes, the next.

Eventually she was just dry heaving, but I resisted the urge to ask her for a high five. I have to say, she always made her way to the bathroom after that first time, and no beds or carpets met the same fate as my pajamas. The next morning she woke up feeling delightful, and I thought quietly in my head (so as not to jinx it), "man, I'm so glad that was just a food thing and not a flu!"

Oh shit - did I just say that?

Monday, December 12, 2011

God bless us, everyone.

I registered for my last class today.  This is a big deal.  Huge.  The last five years I've been working on my Associates Degree in Enology (that's winemaking) and now it looks like I'll be done this Spring.  My goal?  To some day soon earn at least an extra five bucks an hour.  You gotta shoot for the stars baby!

This humble goal got me thinking about the last three years of my life.  Why the last three?  That's when the meconium really hit the fan.  A lot of people can say that the last three years have been their most challenging.  This is my version of that story.

It was 2008.  Erin was working as a dental hygienist and I was Assistant Winemaker at a winery where I'd intended to spend the rest of my illustrious career.  We decided to buy a house.  This was a big leap for us and consequently it put me in the hospital with necrotizing lymphadenitis (my body reacts oddly to stress).  I bounced back quickly enough and moved on to the next logical step, kids.  Erin got pregnant but we were cautious about telling anyone at first.  We kept it to ourselves for 12 weeks which gave us plenty of time to consider the fact that we'd just bought a house we could barely afford and we were going to have a baby.  Was this the best idea?  We figured we should be fine.....just as long as nothing bad happened.  Literally the day after I told the people at work that Erin was pregnant, I was laid-off.

Erin and I will tell you the same thing; we have NO IDEA how we got through this chapter of our lives, but we did.  It wasn't easy.  There were times where things got pretty dark, but we made it out alive.  I eventually got back to work again.  After seven months of unemployment and interviews resulting in kindly worded rejection emails, I got desperate and took a job as a 'Harvest Intern'.  In wine-industry parlance this is known as 'The Bottom'.  Another eight months after that I found a permanent position.  I'm still there, not really doing what I was doing, and making five dollars less an hour (hence the goal), but the benefits are good and we're making enough to manage. 

We kept our house which is amazing.  Erin did some stuff with our finances that I still don't understand.  Now we're paying our bills, our mortgage, and eating EVERY DAY.  I didn't even have to give up my favorite vice (thank god for home winemaking).  Granted our petty cash tends to jingle more than fold and our debt isn't going anywhere anytime soon but at least we're housepoor...not just poor poor.

Then there are the kids (see blog)

All in all this holiday season I have an assload to be thankful for.  I have two boy wonders and a wonder woman.  I have some okay friends and some kick-ass friends (if you're reading this you're the latter) some of whom may even be getting Xmas gifts this year! (thank god for home winemaking).  And soon I'll be back to where I was in 2008, raking in the four digit paychecks!  Now I know the 'Associates' is the cubic zirconia of college degrees so it's not like I'm suddenly going to be the first round draft pick at the next premium winery.  In fact my current employer's reaction to the news of my degree was a resounding 'Meh'.  But it's a big step in the right direction.  Besides the addition of that extra line on my resume forced me to shrink my font from 12 point to 11 in order to cram in all my mad winemaking skills.  That's going to impress the hell out of the right winery!  Right? 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pushing My Buttons

If you ever need a button pushed or a switch flipped, Liam is your man.  It's his job, and he's always on duty.  He can't get out of the car without locking his door, he must flip every light switch he passes, and remote controls are best left lost in the sofa cushions.  For the most part it's one of those slightly annoying but mostly cute toddler compulsions, but from time to time it's a real problem.

Back in the flush times Erin and I treated ourselves to a six-point surround sound system with a plasma TV and Blu-Ray DVD player.  Movie night is epic at our house as long as we get to watch the right movies (i.e. as long as Erin is away...the sub-woofer is sort of lost on Jane Austen).  The other night during LOTR just as Frodo was holding the ring of power over the raging fires of Mordor, and the neighbors were dialing the police, everything suddenly fell dark and silent.  I'd thought the power had gone out but as my eyes adjusted I could just make out a small figure outlined by the glow of the power strip switch.  The power strip into which every audio/video device in the room was plugged of course.  It was Liam hunched over his precious, his own, his switch...and he really wanted me to read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

Another time I was in the garage retrieving clothes.  I'm incapable of using a dresser or a closet so my daily fashion choices are dictated by whatever happens to be in the clothes dryer (or on top of the hamper. DON'T JUDGE ME!!)  On this particular day Liam had followed me from the kitchen to the landing at the top of the small set of stairs leading down to the garage.  This landing is of course where the button that opens the garage door is located.  The noise of it made me jump, but it wasn't until the door was about a quarter of the way up that I realized what exactly was happening.  I don't really believe that Liam understood the cause and effect involved in pushing that button, but that didn't diminish his delight in witnessing my mad spaztic scramble through the obstacle course that is our garage, up the steps, and into the kitchen, wearing nothing but white socks.  I'm hoping whatever the neighbors had glimpsed was a blur.

The most trying little trick of his though is the one that he's perfected.  My car key has that button that lets you remotely lock and unlock the door.  The designers of this key included a feature where you can press the 'lock' button twice and the car let's out a short 'honk'.  Press it four times and it honks twice.  Press it over and over again as fast and for as long as you can and it sounds as though your asshole neighbor has let his two-year-old in the front seat of his car to wail on the horn at 6am on a Sunday.  Liam learned this trick pretty fast and now will abscond with the keys, usually while I'm on the toilet, and will oh-so-quietly tuck himself into some remote part of the house before letting loose.  The good news is he's easy to find.  I just scream "LEEEEEE-YUUUMMM!!!" and follow the belly-laughs.  He's an evil genius.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Buttcracker

Today someone asked me how different my second son is from my first.  I had to really think about it.  Finn is two months now and Liam at two months looked a lot like him.  They're both equally awesome.  They both think I'm awesome....which is awesome.  Nope, the only real difference I can come up with is the farting.

Liam was a little colicky.  I remember nights of him screaming in agony while I bounced him belly-down on my knee while working his little legs around like he was riding a bike.  Anything to work out the farts.  I got pretty good at it too.  Some nights I'd coax out a ripper and I'd feel like such a hero.....the smell of victory filling my nose, like napalm in the morning.

Finn doesn't have any problem with the gas.  None.  Everything moves through him unhindered.  The problem is his farts aren't baby farts.  They're man farts.  Deep and sonorous.  Sometimes lasting impossibly long.  The good news is he sleeps well, the bad news is people are starting to think I'm incontinent.

There's NO WAY anyone believes my "it wasn't me" look.  I've tried "Oh! Nice one pal!", but I can feel their eyes rolling at me.  Now I just try and pretend nothing happened but it isn't easy.  Particularly in silent environments like bank lines or waiting rooms because, of course, the quieter it is the more relaxed he feels and consequently the more freely things flow.  But in the end it's a small price to pay for a happy baby.

Plus it's kind of awesome.  In fact it might tip the scales of awesomeness a bit in Finn's favor.  I guess when people ask me what's different about my boys I'll have to tell them "Finn here is slightly more awesome".  Sorry Liam.

To celebrate Finn's gift here's a holiday treat starring my family THE BAIRDSMITHS!!  Happy Holidays!!