Cleanliness is Next to Valium

My daughter is totally OCD.

She's also 1, and don't think that doesn't make for tons of fun. She's a clean freak, but all Libras are, and so we work with that. She loves to paint all over herself and dump mud in her brothers' hair and color on the walls or the momma, but god forbid anything should sully her little hands. You'd think someone had just chopped them off, what with the screaming.

Her new favorite word is clean. The other day we spent a good chunk of the afternoon scrubbing the cabinet doors. This is her idea of fun. Her new favorite game is make mom clean up spilled drinks. It goes something like this:

We get about halfway through lunch when she grabs her cup and dumps it on the table. She then points at the puddle and says, "Cwean, Momma!" She loves this game with all 30 inches of her being. I do not.

When she eats, she has to have a paper towel under her plate. Not a place mat, mind you, a paper towel. And not a whole paper towel, either. It has to be one folded in threes or one of those "Choose your size" towels. She has to have this so she can center her plate in the middle of it and then line up her cup in the space to the left and her bread/cookie/dipping sauce on the right. Everything has to be just right and she will spend however much time she has to in order to get it right. I cannot, under any circumstances, try to help her with this. Once everything is evenly spaced and level, the cross-dumping begins. Cheerios go into cups which go onto spoons which go on toast which then gets lifted and dumped back into bowls. Rinse, lather, repeat.

At snack time, she usually stands at my feet and points up at the cupboard containing the desired yummanummy of the day. And screams at it. This is pretty par for an almost-two-year-old, but the best part of it....example:

She wants an ice cream sandwich. I open the freezer (bottom drawer freezer thingy), get her the treat and almost completely but not quite close the door to the freezer (if there's one thing I am incapable of, it's closing a door all the way. It's obnoxious). She will unwrap her ice cream sandwich, put the wrapper in the trash (neat freak) and before she takes bite one she will walk back to the freezer and push it closed. I didn't even notice it was still open.

She, like her father, cannot stand it if anything is ajar. Her shoes sit in a rack with 4 drawers. If I pull out a pair, she will watch to make sure I push the drawer back in. If I don't, she will. Every goddamn time.

When it's getting dressed time, well, most of the time I can pick out her clothes. Not always, but she's not exactly tall enough to reach her drawers and so I have the evolutionary edge. But shoes, shoes are a whole different story. The shoes are stored at toddler level. She is very, very picky about which shoes she wears. And if there happens to be a buckle or a lace on the shoes-o'-the'day, forget about it. She spent 10 minutes the other day (which is, like, a month in toddler years), trying to tie her shoes. The amazing thing is, she got them half way tied. I kid you not. She can get her shoes on the right feet every time, she can buckle her own boots, attach her own velcro straps, and she will not even entertain the idea of your doing it for her. We usually skip the shoe part until she's fastened in a car seat and quite helpless to stop us. Oh, and crocs. Little baby crocs have saved my sanity.

This has all happened before even her second birthday. I am totally afraid of this kid at 13.

The one day a year I'm allowed to say I love you

Somewhere in the ballpark of 5 years ago, I was sitting on a stoop with my friend Heidi and this car drove by. It was a little red car and inside it was a boy. In a blue suit. It drove past us and I did that neck-craning thing guys do at nude beaches, and then I looked at Heidi and asked if she saw it, too. She did. All I said was this, "Dude, that is seriously the hottest guy I have ever seen." She uh-huhed.

Turns out, that guy had the parking spot next to mine and the apartment upstairs from mine and just enough room in his life for me and a couple kids.

But, truth be told, I was totally wrong. That 24 year old boy in the car is not the hottest boy I've ever seen. The 29 year old man that loves my children and sits in hot tubs with me talking about philosophy and religion and social revolution and whose dog totally tries to make out with me, that is the hottest guy I've ever seen.

Today, Chris, you turn 29. That means that we have been stuck with each other for 5 years. I have watched you very carefully over the past years, and I have learned that we are about as two different people as you could find. I'm fairly social, you're, well, not. I can remember your name, even when I'm drunk. You have a college degree and a great job that you love. I graduated high school and threw on an apron. I have a gaggle of children, you have a dog. You like red walls, I like orange ones. You plant thyme where I'd plant mint. You lean a bit to the right, me a bit to the left. On the surface, one would be left to wonder what the hell we have in common that would make us even the remotest of acquaintances. But there is something, something deep down at the core of the people that we are, and that makes us perfect. We are moved by the same things, we share essentially the same belief structure. We both love to cook and walk your dog and play with my kids and watch off-beat movies and play music and do the crossword. We both believe in family and home and quiet. Our differences compliment each other in an extraordinary, rare sort of way you don't find every day.

We have this very rationed, mitigated relationship, you and I. There are definitely some very high boundaries that we have set up for each other. People who see us out at the same place wonder if maybe we are distant cousins or friends of friends of friends. I can't begin to explain it or understand it myself, but I love our calm little quiet friendship and I just don't need to shout it from rooftops. I have made a series of questionable choices in my 32 years, but you; creating a relationship with you, with all its ups and downs, finding a way to bring you into my family and finding a place in yours, you have been one of the smartest things I've ever done. My children will be much better people having you as a godfather and a role model. And don't think they don't look up to you and worship the ground you walk on; they most certainly do.

I have watched you grow and transform from a boy with his arms outstretched, searching for his place in the world, into a confident, sure, talented, frighteningly beautiful man who makes the world a better place just by being in it. And I have to say that I am more honored than I could ever tell you to have been seated backstage through a few of your sets.

No matter where you go, or what you do, I promise you that I will always be quietly sitting right there, in your corner, with a bottle of Beam and the daily crossword. And I think that just maybe you might also be in mine. And I don't think I could ever need anything more than that. I love you, kid.

Yours in Christ,


one line means NO

It doesn't matter at all that I already knew the answer was no; it makes no difference whatsoever that I have a full military installment complete with camouflage suits and nonoxynol-9 laced grenades and barbed-wire fences and little interest at all in the Geneva Convention stationed at my cervix. It's guerrilla warfare they're waging, keeping my borders safe. No sir-ee; you watch me sit for over a week with chemotherapy nausea, and you will watch me totally convince myself that I am pregnant.

I have a routine for this sort of thing:
  • Suspect that I am pregnant

  • Sit for a few weeks in complete denial (while throwing up and watching my boobs apply for their own time zones)

  • Get a test at closest market in the middle of the night

  • Take test in closest bathroom (I took 1of3's in the bathroom of a Ruby Tuesday's; home was just too far {a whole MILE away} to wait)

  • Confirm suspicions

  • Smoke a pack of cigarettes right then and there

  • Quit smoking, but pretend to keep smoking to remove any suspicions from home

  • Freak the fuck out for several days/weeks/months

  • Tell Josh right about the time I'm starting to show

This time I thought I'd do it a little differently. I told Josh I was worried, to which he said, "Hmmm", and I made him go buy me a test. That's more fun than sending them off for tampons, I tell ya. And, of course, I'm not.

And I'm out $15 bucks.

And, of course, I am totally convinced that I have a tapeworm or something. Seriously, I never get nauseous.

And surprisingly enough, even though I know it would be the single dumbest thing I may ever have done in my life, I am slightly disappointed. Why, I will never know. I just am.

Do you want to play a game?

Tonight I made shrimp wrapped in bacon for dinner. Actually, I made basmati rice for dinner, because I'm honestly too nauseous still to even think about eating anything else, but then I got to thinking that basmati rice doesn't actually constitute a whole meal and that I'd better have something with it and, oooooh, I forgot to tell you about my boyfriend....

We had to call it quits when I moved back to Denver last summer, and let me tell you buster, I ached for him. He spun me around something crazy. He used to just sit there on the kitchen counter and look at me with that look, that "you know you want to....go ahead. Use me" look.

Meee. Oooow.

Well, we have rekindled our old flame and things are as spicy as ever. Perhaps a bit more. Absence, you know, it makes the heart fonder.

Wanna see him? I don't actually have a picture but I hear he's been done some print work lately. Hold on, I'll google him....

Here's a link. Yummy, eh?

Anyway, back to dinner. Basmati rice, not a dinner, something with it, annnnnd then I looked over at MC (we'll call him MC) and he seemed to want in on the action, so I tossed him a lemon, 3/4 of a stick of cream cheese, some garlic, a little Worcester sauce and some Cajun seasoning. And he whipped up a dip that would stop you in your tracks. And so, naturally, of course, it goes without saying, we absolutely had to have shrimp wrapped in bacon with it.

This, of course, means that I had shrimp and my kids had leftovers. They wouldn't even think about touching it.

I tell you this so that I can tell you this: You know how I'm always yammering on about what a good cook I am and how my sweet, angelic children will eat anything I give them? Well, you have no way of knowing if I'm totally full of shit or not, do yah? For all you know, I could be putting Lean Cuisine's on china. And so I decided that maybe I should back this up with something; I thought it might be fun, one day a week, to post the recipe (or at least the gist) of something I've made for dinner during the week and then maybe we could play a little "Did they eat it" game. We could call it "Rate the Hate".

Whatdya think?

Just stuff

I am still sick. I woke up a few days ago and didn't feel exactly like this anymore, and so I thought I was on the mend. And, in fact, I do think I am one my way to Wellsville. I finally swept my floors, although I almost bought a Roomba; yes, they were so bad I contemplated robotic intervention. I got the laundry done. I even made the 3 hour round trip drive to the bank (see, I am way too cheap a bastard to pay some dumb ass bank $50 to wire money into my account when I live all of 30 minutes from the American border. I'll do it myself, thank you very much). I was doing ok. Yes, my nose is still packed full of stuff the same color as this blog page, but what can I say? I like things to match. Yes, my tum has been upset all week, but I figured that had something to do with the packed nose and the post-nasal drip and a fairly strong gag reflex. But last night, oooooh last night, it all came crashing down. About 10:15 or so my stomach told me to take a flying leap and turned over several times. Now, I never, ever throw up. I have a stomach of steel plated steel. I can clean up puke, I can watch people bite the heads off praying mantises (which are an endangered species, people, and it's totally illegal to do it, but if you did, I could watch it just fine*). I only puke when I'm drunk and when I'm pregnant. Funny, one usually leads directly to the other and the both make me hack. Coincidence?

Anyway, I was not drunk and since I picked up one of these beauties**,

I know I most certainly am not playing host to any short people. But for some strange reason, right about 10:15 last night, I had to throw up. My kids have never actually seen me throw up before, and 2of3 sorta freaked out. Yes, honey, even moms throw up sometimes. And when they do, well, let's just say that Mr. Creosote ain't got nothing on me.

There's no point here. I thought I was better; I clearly am not. And now I'm totally afraid to eat. I'd rather listen to 7 hours of Kathy Griffin than throw up once.

On another note, I am thinking it might be time to change my email address. Unlike my incredible traveling blog here, I have had to same email address since the dawn of man. Which is fine, except that my email is the first 4 letter of my name and my boys names. Which is also fine, except it might be time to accept that I now have a third child and maybe start including her in some things, like my tattoos, or my jewelry, or my email address. And hell, the boys have their own email accounts now. Maybe I should just have one in my very own name? Maybe???

Maybe I'm not quite ready for that just yet. So I'll leave it up to you, dear readers. Do I get my own, shiny new email address or do I bank on the fact that I've got 3 good years before this kid can read and 7 or so before she gives a dingo's kidneys about email?

*Turns out, they're not. Bite away, dudes.

**Good lord, someone needs to post the chastity belt scene from Robin Hood, Men in Tights onto Youtube. They're ruining my blog vision!