September 25, 2009

The Burden of Ego and Poor Spatial Relations

My blog is haunting me. I made a promise to myself last January that I would post once a week. It was a promise based on a bruised ego. I had tried to get my blog linked to some blogger website and they sent back a rather snippy reply about my infrequent posts. I crafted a lengthy email about the virtues of quality over quantity and where they could put their fancy pants blogger website, but never actually hit send. I find sometimes hitting send on an email like that is the virtual equivalent to kicking myself when I am already down.

A lot of my extreme statements and pledges are borne of my ego. I had a bad chicken experience once and said out loud that I would never eat meat again. My husband laughed at me so I didn’t eat meat for six years. Recently, I gave up sweets for lent and have enjoyed the deprivation so much, I have not gone back to them. Well, there was one piece of doberge cake on my birthday, but I spent the next 3 days crying and choking back vomit so I haven’t indulged since.

With this “post once a week” pledge, I am realizing it is much easier to NOT do something for a long period of time than to actually DO something for a long period of time on a regular basis. Sadly, I have never been pissed or threatened enough to say, “Damn you, I WILL get me Master’s Degree just to prove you wrong.” But, sadly, I have been stupid enough to say to Jet Blue Airlines, “Fuck you and your little TVs! I will NEVER fly you again.” Man, I miss those little TVs.

I heard a guy say the other day, “MY ego is so big, it tells me I don’t have an ego.” I love that. I have convinced myself at different times that I am some sort of misunderstood genius, a modern day Mother Theresa or just plan better than you. I am a fool is what I am. But, I at least know that, so I suppose I am progressing.

Max’s 4th birthday party was last Saturday. At 4, when you invite 20 friends, you have a party for 60 people because the parents come, too. I have to do this every so often just to prove to myself that 1200 square feet is a fine sized house for a family of three, but not so much for a crowd of 60. The spacewalk outside provided some space for the kids, but then they all came inside for cake. We have a tiny table and 4 chairs so the kids had to stand while we sang Happy Birthday and then sat on the floor in the living room to eat the cake and ice cream.

One of the Dads was lamenting our decision to have kids eat ice cream and cake on our rug, but changed his tune to mild disgust when I said, “You have no idea what that rug has been through. We used to have a 16 year old dog that would shed and molt all over it.”

Max had a nice time at the party, but he really is not a big crowd kid. He really wanted everyone to go home so he could chill and watch is new DVDs. He carried the 2 DVDs around with him the whole party in anticipation of being alone with a sippy cup of juice, kicked back in his room singing along with The Backyardigans. He is truly his father’s son…and mine. I like parties, but I prefer to be alone.

Before they came to get the Spacewalk, the three of us had one last jump and a fight with the balls. I lost and at one point yelled to Mike, “No fair, you have good aim and you throw hard.” Even Kenny got in the spacewalk and played with us. He is a good dog. Sit. Stay…please?

That night, in bed, for the brief few minutes Max managed to keep his eyes open, we talked about his party. I asked him what his favorite part was and he replied, “The cake.”

Hmmm, a boy after my own heart.

And then he said, “On my next birthday, I will be 5”

Yes, my sweet boy, you will. But, let me enjoy 4 for a little while longer…it’s all moving so fast.

September 21, 2009

Work, Work, Work! Busy, Busy, Busy!

I am afraid I won't have much time this week to devote to my blog entry. My list of accomplishments and to-do's is too big and consuming for me to spend time indulging in thoughtful analysis of my life or the world around me. A few of the things I accomplished this week are:

1) Being a complete and total bitch to everyone around me for no reason at all, especially to those I love the most like my husband and son.

2) Talking shit about people I don't like and a good chunk of the people I do like to anyone who would sit still long enough to listen, all in a piss-poor attempt to make myself feel better.

3) Acting entitled and put-out when my job actually required some hard work.

4) Taking everything personally, since I am indeed the center of the universe.

My to-do list for this week is chock full of more exciting things for me to do, including:

1) Spending an inordinate amount of time consumed with self-loathing, fear and regret.

2) Pondering my mis-spent youth and all the wrong roads I took along the way.

3) Continuing to take everything that happens around me personally.

4) Being completely self-centered....even when I manage to make myself think about you, all I really think about is how you affect me.

5) Trying to get my super-sized ego to shut the fuck up.

And so, you can see why the blog has to take a backseat to these important activities. I am just busy, busy, busy!

I have to run, I have some more bad decisions and years' past conversations to re-play in my head.

September 15, 2009


I am sitting on a plane, if you can even call it that, at the Chicago airport, waiting to find out if we will be able to actually take off in this heap of junk they are dangerously calling our plane. Apparently, the previous pilot "picked up a rock" on the way in and it has damaged the engine. What an interesting choice of words, "picked up a rock." It makes it sound like he swung by Fresno on the way in for rock and meth.

I am bitter and trying to make light of my total annoyance by being cynically sarcastic, but I hate when I am like this. This is when I want to be completely Zen and ok with sitting on a fucking runway for god knows how long, but I am guess I am not that evolved, because right now, I hate everyone….except the 2 year old girl sitting across the aisle watching Wall-E. Her name is Celeste, which was my mother's name.

You know how some people have this whole WWJD – What Would Jesus Do thing going on? I have the same bizarre complex (sans a neoprene bracelet) with my sweet dead mother and what she would do in these awful situations. My mother, I dare say, likely had more patience than Jesus. She wouldn't have over turned the tables in front of the church (I am pretty sure that was a scene I saw in a movie about Jesus.) No, she would have hugged them and suggested something else, or maybe not even done that. She might just have browsed their wares and moved on with a smile.

Anyway, as I was sitting here contemplating whether going bonkers on this flight would increase or decrease my travel time, the young mother sitting across the aisle from me gently told Celeste to sit down. Fuck. Why does Mom's voice have to hover over me challenging me to be a better person? Can't I just bitterly slam things around, sigh and grumble about being stuck in Chicago on a Friday at 3pm? Do I really have to consider the people around me and their pain as well? Christ, must I be grateful for what I have?

And, why can't United Airlines just get us another fucking plane? No, instead they are going to have us sit for an hour while they figure out whether they can or cannot fix the plane, and then, and only then, will they begin the process of finding us another plane. Seems to me if you did these things in tandem, then there would be a lot less sitting around.

The pilot just announced that they think they can fix the plane with some sandpaper and files. And that it will take about 25 minutes. I feel so comforted. Again, I wonder what would happen if I stood up and started screaming? Would I get removed from the plane? And if I did get removed, would I be put on another plane that won't crash mid-air because it is held together with superglue and sandpaper?

Now the mother sitting next to me is getting on my nerves. She keeps asking Celeste if she wants to take a nap on her lap. Really? How's that working for you? Are you seriously expecting her to say, "why yes Mother, I would like for you to shut down my portable DVD player so that I may curl up in your lap and gently and quietly drift off."

I am beginning to hate myself even more as the minutes tick by. My ass is throbbing from sitting squished on planes since 11am this morning. I want to be home. There is no place like home. And it is where I want to be right now.


I made it home, with very little fanfare actually. The plane left kind of late, but in reality, arrived not as late as it left. How does that happen?

Anyway, that night, while lying in the tub, at home, alone, I started thinking about regrets and lapses of judgment. In spite of my desire to rant and rave on the plane, I did not actually do it. But, I have done and said truly awful things in my life. The power of words is immense, and those uttered in a fit of anger are like escaped wild dogs, wreaking havoc on unsuspecting bystanders.

Anger is a dubious luxury, or so says one of my favorite books on the topic. For years I really believed that goal was never to get angry. I suppose had I kept on with that insane belief, I would have ended up like Kramer on Seinfeld after his failed "Serenity Now" anger management plan. I would have either become detached from myself and everyone else or simply blown my head off in one final "fuck you" to the world.

But thankfully, growth and maturity are available to anyone who wants it, and I realized along the way that I cannot avoid anger, but I can keep my freaking mouth shut.

Sadly, as quickly as I learned that, I forgot it. So then I had to re-learn it. But I forgot it again. And so the cruel, almost daily cycle continues, presumably for my lifetime. I keep getting back up on the horse, even after it throws me and stomps on my head. Fucking horse.

September 8, 2009

Brush, Floss, Rinse…Repeat

I brought Max to the dentist this morning. His appointment was for 8am, which is good because it is the first appointment of the day which means you don't have to wait, right? Well, that is what I thought and was getting more and more pissed as the minutes ticked on…8:06…8:11…8:16. I told my husband that I would give them until 8:20 and then not only were we leaving, but I was going to give them a piece of my mind. Dammit.

At 8:20 I put down my Good Housekeeping and swaggered up to the counter. The girl behind the desk looked like a monster to me. Had you asked me to describe her, I would have told you she had beady yellow eyes and I would have intimated she had some personality disorder. "We're leaving. This is ridiculous! We are the first appointment of the day and we are waiting for 20 minutes! I have to go to work, my son has to go to school. Just cross us off the list. We're in a recession for Christ's sake! I can find a new dentist faster than I could brush my damn teeth."

I know I rambled on with some more obnoxious things that I had been rehearsing in my head for the past 20 minutes. No doubt I mentioned that dental care is the first thing people drop in a recession and I can only pray to God I did not mention that dentists have an unusually high suicide rate.

I got a calm blank stare back from the girl behind the counter. She placidly looked at her computer screen and told me my appointment was for 8:30 not 8:00. She also told me their first appointment of the day is always 8:30 not 8:00. Just as I was about to respond, the other nurse called Max into the dentist's office, so I just walked away from her and into the dentist office.

Max jumped up in the chair and the lady was very nice to him. He showed her the DVD he was carrying (yes, some kids carry stuffed animals and blankets, my TV junkie carries DVDs) and explained to her who Caillou is and why he is so awesome.

I just stood there feeling like a giant ass hole.

After about 5 minutes, once Max was settled in the chair, I walked back to the receptionist desk and up to the monster behind the desk. Upon further inspection, she indeed did not have beady yellow eyes and that personality disorder I thought I saw was actually a detached calmness.

"Um, I just wanted to apologize for my snarky attitude earlier. I am sorry I was so rude." I wanted to go on about how they must have told me the appointment was for 8:00 and it really was their fault, but at that moment, a power greater than me blessed me with the gift of brevity, or what I like to call, "the-shut-the-fuck-ups."

She smiled, and said it was ok. Again, I mumbled some more "I'm sorrys" and ambled back to the dentist chair.

There, the dentist had arrived and started raving about Max, "What a great kid. He's so good and his teeth are wonderful."

I was being tortured. I had just acted like a complete fool and these people were being so nice to me. They were killing me with kindness. Bastards!

Finally, I broke, and started smiling and laughing and cracking jokes with the dentist and the nurse. When we went to pay, I felt compelled to once again apologize to the other nurse at the desk. She laughed and said I was certainly not the worst they had seen. Still, I said it was not nice of me. And she smiled that kind of smile that says either "I forgive you" or "I will make your life a living hell the next time you come back." I don't know for sure which one it was, but it doesn't matter.

I learn lessons every day that I open my mind and heart. If I can get my ego and my pride to pipe down, I can actually open myself up to the reality that I am no better and no worse than anyone else on the planet. And that I make mistakes- I put the wrong time down on the calendar, I jump to conclusions, I bark at people when I shouldn't.

But the biggest lesson I have learned in my life is that I can, on the spot, change my behavior and my attitude. I can tell someone, a stranger, that I am sorry for acting like an ass hole.

And then, I can start the day over right on the spot.

I like this growing up business.

September 2, 2009

My New Laptop

I am typing this blog post from my new laptop and this fancy new-fangled MS Word function that I think will allow me to type the entry into Word and publish it straight to my blog, thus eliminating the sheer torturous drudgery of hitting ctrl-A and then ctrl-V. Whew, thank goodness for Bill Gates. Oh how our mothers and sisters before us suffered so…

I am sitting in a Doubletree hotel in Jersey City. I have been here for 2 days working and I am ready to go home. I miss my house and the smell of my bed and familiar curve of my pillows. Plus, I do not have an active elevator in my house and thus do not hear dinging all night long. And, of course, my sweet boy is at home.

Last night, I had dinner alone at an Italian restaurant here in Jersey City. It is a chain. Weirdly, everything in Jersey City seems to be a chain. Jersey City is right across the Hudson River from Manhattan, but it might as well be across the continent. I sat in a booth near a young family – Mother, Father and little boy. The little boy kept looking at me from his perch on the back of the booth seat and he would scrunch up his nose and eyes and smile. I fell instantly in love with his little button nose and the way he kept saying, "My croc fell off! My croc fell off again!" His Dad would say, "That's because you keep kicking it off," and the little boy would laugh and laugh.

His mother apologized to me saying she was so sorry he was bothering me. I assured her that he was not at all bothering me and that watching him was much more fun than reading the 65 page contract in front of me. (Dimly lit Italian restaurants are not ideal for editing, but I was hungry and desperate to get out of the hotel room.) It occurred to me that I usually do the same thing that mother did, I apologize for Max and I live in fear he might bother someone. I wonder why I do that? Isn't it pretty much none of my business whether someone is bothered by my son?

I mean, sure, if he starts throwing gobs of spaghetti at diners or hurls his shoes across the room, then we have a problem. But do I really need to apologize for an errant shriek or peals if hysterical laughter? Really, aren't there worst things in life? And, if I mumble "I'm sorry" too often, doesn't it tend to lose its worth when I really am sorry for something major?

All good questions to ponder.

I find my blog kind of hard to write the last few weeks and I am not sure why. I feel repetitive, as if I have lost some of my voice. Maybe I am just tired from work or going through a dry spell. Or maybe there is something bigger and deeper going on with me and I need to dig to find out what the block is. Perhaps I should do a thorough searching of my soul and discuss with a friend my darkest and deepest secrets.

Or, maybe the new laptop will cure everything.

Whatever the cause, I will not do as I yearn - I will not apologize for the sparse entry, I will not apologize for potentially boring you, I will not apologize for me or my son…unless we hit you with a flying croc.