Saturday, December 31, 2011

Kitten emergency (not the good kind)

Uncle Fester helping D$ with a little plumbing problem we had earlier this week

Uncle Fester is at a kitty hospital right now. 

We're not sure what happened. We think he tried to jump onto the ledge by our stairs*, missed, and ended up throwing himself down a half story onto the wooden steps.** 

That isn't what we thought at first. Last night we came home to a cat that was favoring his hind leg and bleeding a little. It was 1 a.m. He wasn't crying, he came downstairs to greet us and he was moving pretty well so after frantically googling pet hospitals we decided it would be best to clean his leg up and go to the vet in the morning. I thought he'd scraped his leg on something or got his toe caught in the (motherfucking) curtains I'd been hemming all day. 

At noon we found out he'd ruptured the kitty version of his Achilles tendon. 

8 hours and another hospital later*** we were told our options.

If we're lucky the tendon can be sutured and Uncle Fester will spend 6-8 weeks looking adorable in a cast. 

If we're not lucky (and it's looking like we aren't lucky) Uncle Fester will spend the rest of his life looking adorable while missing a hind leg. 

And so, Internet, I beseech you:  may all the adorable powers of all the kitten videos in all of the world please combine to be with Uncle Fester tomorrow. And also with D$, who is completely and utterly wrecked. And, maybe, also with me, who is trying very very hard not to be wrecked. 

*Yes, in our new house. We've moved. I'm not feeling particularly thrilled about it at the moment, for obvious reasons. 
**Jesus, picturing this makes me want to die. But I can't stop picturing it
**Word to the wise: try not to let your animals injure themselves on a holiday week. Our veterinarian was wonderful about calling around but the only surgeon in town couldn't examine Fester until after 7 pm so we just had to leave him at the animal hospital that whole time. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dear This Week: you suck.

  • My step-mom's cancer is back again with a really scary prognosis

  • Our house closing was delayed again. And again. The move we had scheduled is not going to happen.

  • Brandon Roy is retiring??

Your mom, This Week. YOUR MOM. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Good Day

The summer after I turned seventeen I started volunteering once a week at a small, local nonprofit. It was a small house in a park and it served as a day space for homeless folks to get a cup of coffee, take a shower, do some laundry and meet with the Outreach workers who were working to get them into housing. I loved it so much that when school started I successfully petitioned my high school* to let me volunteer there on Mondays instead of going to school. I was there once a week for a year; at the time their only volunteer. My time there is what I remember most about my senior year of high school. The staff  became my mentors and friends, and the integrity and kindness they exhibited fundamentally shaped my worldview.

Then I left for college. As I grew, so did they. On visits home I saw the organization inhabit two different buildings, each larger than the next, and I heard about new and exciting programs.

When I moved back to Portland nine years later I started volunteering again. The building was bigger and nicer, some of of the staff I"d know where gone, and there many, many other volunteers. A lot had changed, but I was heart-warmed to see that the fundamentals of the organization remained the same. The character and conscience that shaped my outlook as a high schooler were still being lived every day, to a frankly awe-inspiring extent.

On my 29th birthday D$ and I attended the organization's second-ever "fancy" evening fundraising event. I dragged D$ over to the table where they'd posted their Values and Principles. He was so impressed he got teary-eyed and took a photo of them with his phone. Then, for the first time in my life, I gave a significant  financial donation to a organization that I fundamentally believe in.** It was a good day.

Today, I became the newest (and youngest) Board Member of that nonprofit.

I am so. fucking. excited.

* Literally petitioned. The administrators said no at first so I went to each of my teachers and asked if I could miss class once a week to volunteer. Every single one of them said yes and signed a letter showing their support.  The school caved, and I never went to school on Mondays again. 
**Of course I have donated to causes and nonprofits here and there for years but this was different. This was taking money out of savings to give to an organization because I 100% believe in what they stand for, what they do and most of all how they do it. It felt like giving myself a present, not them. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The nervous voms

We put another offer on a house.  Then they counter-offered and we had to decide what to do about it. I ended the night scrolling through pictures of adoptable dogs on the Internet to calm myself down. Except I did not calm down and I haven't calmed down since.

This house is at the top of our budget. Slightly over it, actually. Let's break down the reasons this makes me want to nervous vomit all over the place.

  1. This is a house that we cannot afford on just D's salary. If we buy this house and have children we will struggle to allow me to stay home for six months and then I will have to go back to work. End of story.

  2. D$ makes really good money. What the fuck is wrong with me that I want to buy a house that isn't affordable on a salary that is more than the combined salary of almost everyone I know? How is that even possible?  What is it that I think I need that can cost so much money? 

  3. The house has three bedrooms. It has a dining room, a garage, a full basement. It is cute. I feel like buying this house (when I could buy a smaller house in a not-as-nice neighborhood for an amount that would allow me to take more time off of work) I am selling my future children down the river so that I can have nicer "stuff." Wrapping my  hypothetical babies up in blankets and leaving them on a church doorstep so that I can have a guest bedroom.*

  4. What happens if we become miserable in our jobs and cannot follow our dreams because of our mortgage? What happens if we lose our jobs? 
Of course there are counter arguments: the neighborhood has the best elementary school in the state. Those three bedrooms mean that we can live in this house with our children for many many years without having to move again. It's a really good price for the neighborhood and the amount of space.  I don't know if I would want to stay home anyway. We have free, amazing childcare in my mom(s) so staying home is a bad financial decision regardless of the price of the home we buy (not to mention the impact on my career, independence, etc). 

All of these facts did nothing to soothe the ache in my gut when I think about 1-4 above. None of these facts eased the guilt I felt about not living in a dirt-floored cabin, sharing a bed with my children, and Living Simply So That Others May Simply Live. That rationale did not stop me from wondering what our (artist/teacher/librarian) friends will think when they see it. Will they whistle under their breath and decide we must have lots of money, then hate me when I am home with a baby and stingy about going out because of the cost? 

Really, I should have had this freak out a long time ago. When we set our housing budget D$ told me what the top of the budget meant. I knew it. But I didn't know it. Now - now that I was deciding if I wanted to  sign my name to documents that will commit me to that amount of money -  well I sorta started to lose my shit. I second guessed my priorities. I doubted what I thought I knew. I spoke to my dad on speakerphone while huddled in a ball on a stool but failed to be swayed by his advice. It felt like there was basically no way for me to know if we were doing the right thing. 

*      *      *      *      *

After hours of deliberation we took a deep breathe and counter-offered back. Neither one of us felt good, or sure, or remotely sane. 

Today, they countered (again, these assholes!) with something we'd considered offering. 

And I was excited. D$ was excited. 

Hopefully, that's all we need to know. 

We're gonna accept. 

*D$ rightly pointed out that the third thought is pretty much 100% about me. I don't think that D$'s choice to work is selling our kids down the river, do I? 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

House Hunting and Privilege

When we first started looking for houses one of the first pieces of advice we got was to write a letter to any potential sellers. Really ham it up - tell them that we look forward to raising our children in the house, send a photo of us and the cats, etc. Apparently a friend of ours - who sent a photo of himself and a pretend wife along with his letter - got a house in this manner, despite the fact that there was a higher offer.

I hate to admit it but at first I thought this might be a good idea. D and I are attractive, our cats are cute, who wouldn't want to sell their home to us? Anything to gain an edge and get what we want, right? Thankfully I have D$ - level-headed, fair, "just give me the numbers" D$ - whose swift and disgusted refusal helped me understand what I was really proposing.

D$ and I are a white, straight couple. We are in a monogamous relationship and want to have children. We fit exactly the mold that mainstream America considers acceptable, safe, and expected. The mold whose ubiquity in American culture and media makes life harder for anyone for whom it does not fit. That letter we could send? It would say (to what, in Portland, is highly likely to be a white seller):  "Sell your house to us because we look like you. Sell your house to us because we fit your expectations of "nice people." Sell your house to us because we are white. Sell your house to us because we are straight. Sell your house to us because we deserve it more (because our orientation and lifestyle do not make you nervous).

And this? This is a thing I will not do. My whole life I have benefited from who I am.  Yes, it was without my choosing, but that does not erase the fact that my white, straight privilege is undoubtedly key to the fact that I am even in the position of being able to buy a house at the age of 29. Knowing this, I will not chose to forcibly wield that privilege in order to knock any potential competitors off the playing field.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

On the hunt

Woodpiles along the street in Portland, Oregon, 1939
Dorotha Lange via the Library of Congress

So, remember how I said that D$ and I were going to try and stay still for a while? Yea, turned out to be a total lie.

We are house hunting. Have been since July. It's been a process.

First we had to have a huge fight about where to look for houses. We are committed to being in the city so this mostly meant that I had to deal with several days of white guilt about my choices of a) choosing an already wealthy neighborhood with really good schools but limited diversity or b) choosing a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood where I would loathe half of my neighbors (white hipsters in faux native American head-ware) and fear that the other half of my neighbors (primarily low-income minorities being pushed out of the neighborhood) hated me.

Once that was done we had to decide a budget, the amount of which hangs precipitously on whether I think that I'm going to want to stay home for more than six months after we have a baby. (Cause that's such an easy thing to know in advance). Then we had to make a spreadsheet of "must haves" and "would likes" and compare that to our budget and other life priorities.*

Finally, we got a Realtor. She is a truly a wonderful unicorn of a person. She gives us great advice, points out potential flaws, and makes jokes about key parties. Unfortunately, most of the houses we'd looked at have had some sort of fatal flaw: rancid stench of cat pee, weird leaks, hideous renovations, etc. We fell deeply in love with one house only to have our Realtor look at me sadly, put her hand on my shoulder, and tell me that the the "vintage" brick foundation would crumple to dust in the earthquake for which Oregon is 300 miles overdue.**

By late October we were starting to get depressed (and, grouchy).

Two weeks ago we found a perfectly great house that was priced really reasonably and was within two blocks of a  well-ranked elementary school. It also had three offers within a day of listing. We decided to throw our hats in the ring and made an offer late on a Sunday night. We spent the next 36 hours not-sleeping and willing our phones to ring. Tuesday morning we found out we hadn't gotten it - we were the runners up.

The search continues.

*The jury is still out on the whole "time home with hypothetical baby" versus "pricier house with two bathrooms so I can poop in peace" debate. I mean, think about it this way: if it turns out I can't have kids anyway I'm going to be mad as fuck about giving up that second bathroom.
**Two days after we looked at the house (and were mooning over it) there was a presentation from a geologist at my work. She basically said about the earthquake:  it is not a question of if, it is a question of when. Then she told me to make myself an emergency pack and showed me detailed slides of how fucked Portland will be when the earthquake hits. I went home and told D$ that I'd had a sign from God not to buy the house. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Business Trippin'

Y'all, I'm on a business trip.

As I type I am sitting in a king-size bed watching cable while browsing the internet. Earlier I used the "fitness center" and then ate dinner on the state's dime. It's fancy times over here.

Tomorrow: free raisin bran and dehydrated eggs!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

Conversations at our house, Shame Edition

I come home horrified and quickly strip off my work pants. 

Me (to D$): I need you to do something gross.

D$: Okay...what?

Me (hurriedly shoving the crotch of my work pants into D$'s face):  Smell these and tell me what you think they smell like.

D$, without flinching, puts his face into the crotch of the outstretched pants. 

D$: Oh, no...

MWK:  RIGHT? But...that is human pee, or cat pee??!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Grind that Pony

I'm gonna go ahead and quote Jezebel and tell you that you're gonna need to be canceling your plans for the rest of the day. You'll be watching Beyonce's new video on repeat and basking in its colored-leotard-high-ponytail-quad-drums dance fest.

Sigh. I'll have to apologize to my arriving friends for not getting the house clean. They'll understand.

EDIT: Apparently she says "Grind up On It" instead of "Grind That Pony." I seriously thought that "Grind that Pony" was a new hot dance craze involving swinging your ponytail around (which, to my credit she was doing while she sang it). In fact, I think it is a better lyric, and should be the new hot dance craze. I'm singing it my way from now on.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cue obnoxious squealing

My womens are visiting this weekend. 

I am so excited I could die. 

One of them is six months pregnant and the other is getting married in June. I've spent a fair amount of time in the last several months being sad about how I am missing all the good stuff. I don't know what G's favorite pregnancy snack is. I don't know if wedding planning is making L nuts.* I don't even know what they will be for Halloween!

Oh god it is gonna be so awesome to see them. I plan to spend several hours a day staring at G's preggars belly and asking her invasive questions about her pregnancy, followed by asking L embarrassing questions about her honeymoon lingerie plans. Then we will get pedicures. 

Friday needs to GET. HERE. 

*We are bad phone talkers. The time difference doesn't help. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Happy 19th Anniversary, Mr. President (and Ms. First Lady)

I really, really hope that President Barak and First Lady Michelle Obama are as in-love and awesome as they appear in these pictures

But...what is happening in No. 7? 

Sourcing note: The article doesn't include sources but I'm guessing they're all from White House Photographers (except the last one, of course). 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Um, help?

Guys, I have a very important question.

You know how you read a blog for a long time but never comment because I dunno, you are lazy or shy or a natural born lurker, but then one day you feel the drive to actually comment because you realize that is sorta how the internet community works? 

Um. How do you start commenting without coming off like a weirdo? My go-to is to just to write a comment like I would write to a friend, which feels all "super confident and funny and sassy!" when I type it...but then later I realize it probably comes off to the blogger as "overly familiar weirdo who may or may not have been quietly stalking me on the internet for months." This is particularly problematic when something that felt sassy! turns out to read sort of accidentally mean.

Needless to say, I have a complex about this. I'm hoping I'm not the only one. What do you dooooo?

Please. Please help me keep from being such a weirdo on the internet.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

My season

Deception Pass State Park, by D$

It's been wet and grey here in Portland this weekend, and I am blissful. 

Autumn has arrived, bringing me peace. 

It drizzled all day yesterday and is drizzling today. Leaves adorn the sidewalks and the air smells fresh. The city is cleaning itself and I am cleansed as well. Saturday morning, awaking to rain, I felt my body and soul sighing in relief. I felt calm and peaceful for the first time in weeks. My shoulders loosened. My mind relaxed. I allowed myself hours to read on the couch without feeling guilty. I felt like cooking, and did. 

Sometime Saturday afternoon I noticed that I'd run several errands, seen relatives and still felt relaxed. At no point during the day did I begin to feel frantic with tasks undone. Towards the evening when D$ was napping and I was finished reading and was making dinner, it hit me. Summer is not my season. As much as I love sunshine and daylight, summer stresses me the fuck out. Too many things I should be doing. People in and out of town, sunshine that I have to take advantage of, poorly organized barbecues to attend. Obligations, albeit fun obligations, to a person who wants to snuggle inside, who craves hours alone, who sunburns and sweats profusely and dreads organized sporting events. 

But fall. Fall is my season. I feel at home - most strongly myself - in the light drizzle and the grey light. Mine is a constitution uniquely formulated for rain, cold breezes, and warm sweaters. In the summer I enjoy the warmth and the frolics (and the vegetables) but I am not at home. 

Autumn makes sense to me. In the fall, I fit in. Less daylight is replaced by warm lamplight from homes and shop windows. Hot chocolate and popcorn are reasonable dinner entrees. My favorite hoodie/jacket combination is pulled out of the closet, along with scarves and boots and sweaters. There is Halloween to look forward too, and Thanksgiving, and even Christmas. Nesting and burrowing are not only allowed, they are practically called for and I am happy - relieved, even - to oblige. 

Sigh. Thank god you're back, Autumn. I've missed you. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Something to keep in mind

If you're not

If you're not

If you're not

If you're not

If you're not getting happier as you get older

Than you're fucking up

Thanks, Ani

(Ani DiFranco opened up for John Prine (!!) at the show I saw this weekend. I was never a huge fan but she was awesome. My mom was totally enamoured with her. My Catholic mother-in-law was less thrilled with the song about promiscuity. You win some, you lose some.)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A deep thought

D$ and I have been together for over six years and married for over two years.

Yet, I still have (and regularly wear*) underwear that I distinctly remember other men complimenting.

What does this make me? Slutty? Thrifty? A hoarder?

*As in: was wearing a pair today and thought of said man, and said encounter, every time I went pee. Which was many times. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Vacation interlude

You know how some people go on vacation and schedule guest posts from their awesome bloggy friends so that people don't lose interest in their blogs while they are gone?

Well. I go on vacation and while on vacation I guest post on other people's blogs while ignoring my own blog just as much as I normally do. It's a special skill I have. I like to call it "doing things backwards."

Which is to say: I'm over at Jehara today writing about a book you should read. Also, oral sex.

You should probably check it out.*

*Sorry I can't link to the specific post because I am scheduling this in advance and will be riding a whale when the post on Jehara actually goes live. Look for a post on August 29th. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Vay to the cation

I left the office at 1:30 today, concealing neither the shit-eating grin on my face nor the spastic dance of joy I did in front of a co-worker's cubicle.

Just now I walked, bra-less, into my kitchen and opened the refrigerator. Glancing at the contents I selected the ice-cold IPA on the second shelf, flicked it open, and took a long swig.

What the hell, I said out loud to myself. It's after four o'clock...and I'm on fucking VACATION. 

D$ and I leave tomorrow for a camp wedding (I'll be b-maiding it up) and then a week - a full fucking week - by ourselves. In a cabin. On an island in the ocean.

Thank you, universe, for being so kind to me. Thank you, Self, for scheduling this vacation those long months ago. You knew I'd need it, and you were right.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A bowling alley installed in your head

You remember this guy.

Sometimes you have a fun breakfast with your step-mom, you walk the awesome dog, and then throw your mom a surprise 60th birthday party. La di da, family is so nice and everyone is so gosh darn supportive.

Other times your 19 year-old niece tells your mother to fuck off via Facebook.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Get with the (marriage equality) program

Let's face it. Every single reader I have has found me through A Practical Wedding. So what I am about to talk about will come as no surprise but I'm gonna say it anyway.

Meg is, once again, doing something incredibly ballsy and doing it with a level of competence that baffles the mind. I'm talking about Yay New York! and I'm fucking impressed. She describes it better than me so go to the link if for more info but the jist is: free marriages for two lucky same sex couples and a big-ass party in NYC to raise money for an organization working towards“achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.” 

They are selling tickets and they are selling tote bags

I do not live in NYC and I have a fucking gajillion tote bags. However, (with inspiration from a friend) I bought a ticket and a bag. You should, too.

Over and out. 

*heh. Accidentally posted this first with the title Get with the (marriage quality) Program. I mean...that, too, I guess. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Guest postin'

Blind Irish Pirate temporarily lost her mind and asked me to write something for her blog while she is on vacation. I'm over there today talking about this little guy. Check it out.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

So...that was intense

So, sorry about the rage-fest in the last post.

To make up for it, here is a baby koala. Try to be mad at me now.

Image from Zooborns via CuteOverload

Is CuteOverload a totally lame website to visit these days? Whatever. I refuse to be shamed out of my love for baby animals.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Worst wedding/people ever

It's rant time, y'all.

Maybe you have heard of this wedding?* The wedding between a white man and a white woman, in South Africa, that had a "Colonial Africa" theme? The wedding that was raved about on some photography website for how authentic it was and how neat it was that the couple used actual "colonial artifacts." THE WEDDING THAT FEATURED A STAFF OF BLACK SERVANTS DRESSED UP LIKE SOME IDIOT'S OUT OF AFRICA WET DREAM??

Yea. It makes my head explode with rage and my mind fold in on itself in sorrow. THE. FUCK. 
I spent years studying the ravages of colonialism on the continent of Africa (I could say countries because I hate it when people treat the continent like a country, but the country barriers are colonial vestiges anyway). I lived in a post-colonial country.** Even if you f you can get past ignoring cultures to create your own country boundaries for financial and political gain, assimilating people so they make better servants (which, why would you get past that without seeing how it is offensive?) you still have: cutting off children's hands when they don't collect enough rubber on your plantation, raping, killing, enslaving people and sending them across the world in deathships only to suffer even more and longer upon their arrival to some terrible foreign country. The list goes fucking on, people. 

Listen. I usually don't get wrapped up in these flash-in-the-pan Internet hysterics. It is not my nature to freak out in the comments of other people's blogs about some terrible thing they did. I know that a lot of things come off wrong, especially on the Internet. Part of me (a very little part) wants to give these people the benefit of the doubt. Like maybe they are just extremely stupid and not the total pieces of shit I imagine them to be. But, NO. You cannot be a white person marrying a white man in South Africa and NOT GET why having a "Colonial Africa" themed wedding is all kinds of fucked up. That is not stupidity or innocent ignorance, it is willful denial of white privilege and it is exactly the kind of shit that causes pain and trouble all over the world. 

Ugh. I hate them. That is all. Sorry for being such an anger ball.

*I am not linking to the photography blog that posted the wedding because my hatred for them right now is such that I cannot give them more press right now. The source is in the link above if you want to go to the original post. Thankfully most the commenters feel the way I do (how often does that happen?)
**And strove every day to be aware of my situation and privileges that I had as a white American. I tried very, very hard to be aware of the circumstances that allowed me to be there and the responsibilities that meant I had. I knew that I was walking a very thin line between honest attempts to get to know another country/peoples/cultures and a shallow fetishism of the "Other." I can't say that I always succeeded but at least I thought about it (a lot) and at least I tried. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

How do you like THESE carrots?

Crappy phone photo, Farmers Market

Wishing you a cuddly-vegetable kind of week. 

If, you know, you're into that kind of thing.

Friday, July 1, 2011

What's with today, today?

I called down the Thunder, and now I've got it. This, folks, is what you get when you tell BIP to ask you questions and then call her out for not having done so quickly enough. 

Have you ever though about the world being made out of cheese?
I think about this all the time, actually. It always brings me around to another equally important question:
If you were a hot dog, and you were starving, would you eat yourself?

What's with the attitude?
What? I don't have a fucking attitude. Fuck you.*

If you could have one thing in the whole world would it be
a. a Ukulele 
b. a panther
c. Ryan Reynold's tighty whiteys
Alex, I'll take "A panther wearing Ryan Reynold's tighty whiteys and playing a Ukulele" for 500.  DUH.

If you ever worked in a chicken house... well HAVE YOU?
Actually, yes I have. We had chickens when I was growing up and I spent a fair amount of time in their house stealing their eggs and shoveling their shit and talking to them. We had a rooster once who was a real jerk. My parents went out of town and my brother had a huge party where people ended up sleeping drunk all over the property. I woke up to one of his friends chasing the Rooster around the property with a hatchet because it work him up crowing. True story. I'm sorry...what was the question again? 

Make up acronyms out of these, and then I'll tell you what they mean, that's fun right?:
Those are already acronyms. You're a crazy person. Did I ever tell you about that one time that Belvedere (the) Voracious Dog Batted A Lions' Paw (and) Crazily Vented Tiny Tommy With Rotational Force Momentum? It was super nutso, for real.  

*I'm just kidding! I lerve you! 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ask me ___questions, I will tell you ____lies

You guys were totally easy on me with these questions. Way to make me feel/sound suuuuper boring!

Whatcha Readin'?
Ahem. You don't really want to know the answer to this.

Two summers ago - the summer that D$ and I got married - my sister came up to Portland for the summer "to help with the wedding." Except she wasn't much help because we couldn't get her to stop reading these totally dorky books with ridiculous titles like A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings. I gave her raft of shit about it - incessantly yelling "A Storm of Swords!" at her in my best nerd voice.

...And now I am totally obsessed with the series and can't stop reading it. I just finished the second book (which is over 900 pages, btw) and am planning the rest of my day around getting a copy of the third one. Will Daenerys make it across The Narrow Sea to claim her throne? Will Catelyn see her children again? Do I like Tyrion, or hate him? What is going to happen with Arya? (I have my guesses about that one). These are important questions, people. 

Besides that, I have some books on Self-Esteem and Anxiety that my new therapist told me to read. Have I even opened them? No.

Did you wrap your cat in a sweater or did you find her like that? 
Have you ever tried to wrap a cat in a sweater? I think it would be pretty hard. Also that isn't a sweater. It's a blanket my grandmother knit me and the cats are obsessed with it. 

No, Uncle Fester definitely did that to himself and then lay there for several minutes in an effort to win the "cutest four-legged creature on the block" award. He totally won.

He often does the same thing with: paper bags, luggage, my underwear drawer.

What is something you'd change if you could, and why?
About me? Besides my mustache? Right now I'd really like to get rid of the anxiety that I feel pretty much constantly, about everything in my life. (If only I had someone to talk to about that, or some books to read or something...)

What is the temperature right now? How lovely is Oregon summer? 
So when I said "it is sunny all the time" I meant "it is sunny sometimes but otherwise still rainy and cold more than I want." Right now it is partly cloudy and maybe 60 degrees. Tomorrow it will rain and Saturday it will be 80 degrees and sunny. Do not be jealous, Jehara - the weather in Oregon exists solely to break your heart and confuse your wardrobe. A few weekends ago I got summer fever and hacked a pair of pants into cutoffs only to change into jeans and a coat three hours later. I will say that it is gorgeously green and I smell roses and lilacs everywhere I go. So that's nice. I guess.

That's all you got, people? Give me some hard ones! BIP where you at?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Do my work for me!

D$ and I mostly use our smart phones to send each other photos of the cats

You guys, my brain is empty. I think about y'all often and wonder how you are doing. As I'm falling asleep or driving to work I maybe compose a post in my brain (or a few sentences of a post) but it's gone before I get to a computer. In fact, I've been avoiding computers all together (forgive the lack of comments on your blogs recently). I think it might be that I'm really into reading books right now. Or the fact that it is sunny and D$ and I are having fun all the time or that my sister moved back into town.  

Alas, my blog traffic counting machine tells me that basically no one is reading this anymore and I'd better get cracking if I want to maintain any readers at all. 

Since I can't muster anything good to say, I'm going cheap. I'm opening myself up for questions. Sure, only 2.5 people read this blog and sure, they probably have never thought about me more than the time it takes to wonder why my cats like armpits so much. Yes, maybe it is totally arrogant and weird to invite the Internet to ask you questions. But hey: it's almost a holiday weekend and I'm throwing in the towel.

So, get crackin' on question-asking in the comments. Be creative. Just remember that I'm trying to be anonymous, so if you ask something about personal information I will either not answer it or lie profusely. 

Also, if you ask "Why can't you learn to use commas correctly?" I will cry. So don't ask that. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My feminist husband

While D$ and I were cleaning up from dinner tonight I somehow got onto the topic of Anthony Weiner* and what a first-class idiot he turned out to be. I was bemoaning his poor wife - who is clearly awesome and D$ said:

                  "Well. I like to think that smart, powerful women don't let themselves be held
                    back by the stupid shit their husbands do."

Word is bond, yo.

*Quick synopsis for you Brits: young, up-and-coming Democratic congressman from New York who is also considered to be a potential NY Mayoral candidate is caught sexting and sending lewd photos of himself to underage girls (and of-age women) via Twitter, text, e-mail. Happens to be married to a kick-ass woman who is in Africa with her boss HILLARY CLINTON when the scandal breaks...oh and also happens to be pregnant. 

Friday, June 10, 2011


I had my first therapy session a few hours ago.

It was...awkward? Anxiety-ridden, but also not. To be totally honest, it felt like going on a speed date with Carl Jung.

I wasn't nervous beforehand (except I found myself wondering "what does one wear to therapy?"). I wasn't nervous as I walked up, but the minute I entered the room I felt jittery. Hyper aware of myself - the sound of my voice, my posture, how I was responding to questions, etc. I found myself trying to please the therapist and then immediately trying to squelch that impulse. I felt myself working to be honest and not default to my normal routine of projecting a "charming and funny young woman with her shit together" while simultaneously trying not to over state an issue just justify being in therapy.

I thought it was going to be more of a "get to know you" but man if we didn't just jump right into some topics. Ask me a question and I will give you a response, even if that response seems like a weird thing to say to a stranger. She asked a lot of questions (mostly about my family and why I was there) and I sort of felt scatterbrained as I jumped from topic to topic. I walked away feeling a little windswept but mostly positive, like, "Hey, okay, that wasn't so hard."

But now it's an hour later and I feel really raw. My eyes feel like I've been crying, or am about to cry. I want to take a nap. I want D$ to come home and snuggle me for approximately seven hours. I want to cry and maybe laugh at the same time.

Jesus. What am I going to do when we actually start talking about things? 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Newsflash: Weekends are awesome*

Guys. I finally figured out how to have weekends.

After our hike D$ and I went out separately with friends. I met up with D$ and his new best-buddy later quite late in the night and let them buy me drinks while they got wasted and happy. The next day D and I lazed around the house and snuggled.

The weekend after that I: went on a long walk with my oldest (as in longest-knowing, not as in grey-haired) friend. Got dressed up in D$'s favorite green dress to go with D$ and the same new best-buddy to a Portland Timbers game. Drank microbrews and screamed cheers about my city. Found myself post-soccer game at a very strange party in a very posh apartment. Ate lots of free expensive cheese. Went out t0 breakfast and watched Bridesmaids with a dear friend. Shook, stomped my feet and laughed until tears rolled down my eyes.**

Then there was last weekend. D$ and I drove from forest to river to desert to visit our friend A in the very small town where he lives. A said you have to approach the town like a Study Abroad experience, and we did. The first night we went to a members-only "business men's club" with a stuffed bison head over the bar. We also went to a bar where - I shit you not - the short, blond, gap-toothed waitress was wearing a Merlotte's t-shirt. In the morning we drove to the Walmart to get bullets, targets and Coors Light (I am absolutely not kidding about this) and then drove out to federal land and I bruised my arm shooting a real-deal Remington shotgun. I hit one target and was damn proud of it. That afternoon we happened upon cheap tickets to the Sasquatch music festival and drank beer in the sun to the tunes of Iron and Wine and Death Cab for Cutie. I learned that MDMA = Ecstasy, and, no, strange young lady, my husband does not have any so please don't ask him again. I also learned that I'm not as curmudgeonly as I thought I was*** but I'm still not so hot about the combination of outhouses + hundreds of drunk people. The next day I hiked in caves and rode on the back of a motorcycle and then D$ drove us home to the kitties and a freezer full of Popsicles.

I did not spend these weekends cleaning**** or doing laundry or grocery shopping. I did not spend these weekends helping my parents or cleaning my car. I did fun things, with my husband and with my friends. And you know what? I didn't die from not being super-ready for the work week.

Have you guys been having weekends like this all along? How did I just figure out that it is okay to have fun on the weekend and not use it for errands and cleaning?

Also, what should I do next weekend? I'm thinking after last-weekend's escapades I should balance it out with a poetry reading, pedicure, maybe an art show.

Oh wait - actually next weekend I'm running my very first-ever 5k (in a costume) and then watching as my husband and my father drunkenly play bass drums in my favorite parade of the year.

Catch me if you can, y'all.

*If my step-brother MK were here he'd take one look at the subject of this post and say (in his best Ace Ventura voice), "Thhhhank you, Captain Obvious!"
**GO SEE THAT MOVIE. RIGHT NOW. Stop reading this post. Go!
***Although I cannot even TELL YOU how much I hated the skinny white girls and boys wearing fake "native American headdress" shit. I seriously wanted to slap them. How in the world do they now know how offensive and weird that is? 
****All right, fine, on Monday I did break down and vacuum the carpets a little and go grocery shopping and get food made for the week. But that was only a few hours of the day and the rest of it was fun, I promise. Plus, D$ helped.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Staying Still

Holliday-Cary House, N. College St., Auburn, Lee County, Alabama
Frances Benjamin Johnston, via Library of Congress "Carnegie Architecture of the South." 

This morning when I heard the soothing NPR broadcaster tell me that today was May 17th, a light went off in my brain. May 17th...why is that date ringing a bell? Why is it important?

Looking through my old calenders didn't tell me much about why I would remember May 17th but it was revealing in other ways.

May 17th, 2009, was the day I arrived in Portland* to start an internship, live with my parents, be away from D$ for a few months and start the nitty gritty planning for my upcoming wedding.

May 17th, 2010, was the day after I graduated from my Masters Program and the day before we picked up the Budget Truck to fill with our belongings and drive across the country to a new life.

Suffice it to say, the last few Mays have been big transitions. It's almost odd that this May is so normal. I feel like, well, the weather is changing drastically, why isn't my life? At least that was my first thought.

Then I realized that we are already planning for more transitions. We have been talking about buying a house. We have tentative baby plans (not soon so just calm down over there). Sunday we went to Open Houses and we talked about meeting with a lender, "just in case." Home-buying felt like it was on the horizon.

Now I think maybe we aren't ready. Maybe we should wait. Maybe we should take time to appreciate the fact that we aren't  in a transition right now. I want to make sure that D and I are living in the present instead of rushing forward to the future. I want us to enjoy the summer - go away on weekends, stay in on weekends, sleep late, drink wine at 2 pm, enjoy each other and our life - before we leap ahead to the next thing.

The thing is...can I stay still for a while?

*Having flown into Seattle the night before, so it can't be that I remember it because I flew that day

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Springtime in Oregon

This weekend was very, very good. 

On Saturday we went on a hike in the Columbia Gorge with other alumni from our college.* We drove to the Gorge with a couple who graduated in the early 70's. They met at our college and have been married ever since. They lived in the Twin Cities for 12 years, then in Wisconsin, and just moved out to Oregon to be nearer their daughter and grandchildren. Seeing how happy and healthy and awesome they were made D$ and I feel a little squishy and giddy inside and very much in luuuuv. 

Also, don't we live in a fucking gorgeous place? These photos were taken about about 30 minutes from my doorstep (well, 30 minutes plus the hours to hike around). All photos by D$, who gets shutter happy around any form of nature (including small "wild" animals). 

**D$, emailing me to ask if we could go on the hike: "Can we do this? I want to go chasing waterfalls." Yes, he was referencing the TLC song

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Partial Victories

Things I got done this evening (from the list I scratched on a piece of junk mail right next to last night's to-do list):

  • Made myself something to eat*
  • Walked to the bank (in flip-flops!)
  • Emptied and re-filled the dishwasher
  • Made lunches for tomorrow
  • Shaved my bikini line** (tmi??)
  • Caught up on blog-reading while whitening my teeth
  • Finally started reading nerdy book about Thrones, Games of (this will happen in approximately five minutes)

Things I did not get done:
  • Writing a pithy, hilarious and thought-provoking blog post 

Seven out of 8 ain't bad, right?


*Okay, so it was a peanut butter and honey sandwich. So what? It was DELICIOUS.
**I'm budgeting out the waxing these days because I want to buy work shoes and I'm out of my fancy shampoo and hair goop. Price of beauty, I tell ya. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Things are on the up and up around here, with only a few detours sideways or backwards.

The night before I left for Vegas we had another big fight, but this one ended better (hint: with both of us in the same bed). In the morning we were fragile but friendly again.

Since I got back we've been different. Better. D$ brought me a sandwich when he picked me up from the airport from Vegas. (This is a tradition between us and I really should expect it but it makes me gloriously happy every time. You can get flowers if you want, but goddamn if I don't like getting a sandwich from a handsome man when I step off an airplane). On the way home I could tell that he had missed me - like really missed me - despite the fact that he'd been boozing it up with his best friend while I'd been gone. This was a relief, because my biggest fear this whole time was that I'd drive him away. I'd missed him too, despite any evidence to the contrary.

Since then we've been talking (quietly, for the most part).  We've been considering. Considering each other, considering our actions, considering how we affect each other (and also considering what we will eat next but that last one is par for the course for us). D$ has been crazy affectionate and I have crazy-loved it. We've had one biggish fight but it ended in talking things out that same night (a new thing for us). I have been working really hard to be pleasant and present when I'm home* and so far it seems to be working.

We still have a lot of work to do of course. I can't seem to find a damn psychologist who works on Fridays and have gotten tired of using all of my breaks from work walking around outside trying to avoid a coworker hearing me make phone calls about seeing a therapist, so I still haven't seen anyone. I'll take another totally-subjective look at the list provided by my insurance later this week and try again.

So. Up and Up. Shedding dead needles and moving towards the sun.**

Oh! I also pick up my Nightguard on Thursday (only 6 months later). Fie on you, jaw pain!

*Sadly, this is one reason that I haven't been around here much - it is hard to be pleasant and present in the two hours I have between work and bed and get any writing done. This balance still needs to be struck because I don't want to abandon the blog and I just lost another follower! Grrr. **As in: sun, if you don't come out I am going to lose my goddamn mind. Spring! I need you!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Did I mention that I stayed in a PYRAMID?

 Photo by me, from chaise lounge, one hand on mimosa

I wouldn't necessarily recommend going to Vegas in the middle of a really stressful time with your husband.

I wouldn't necessarily not recommend it, either. That is, as long as you are surrounded by your hilarious, no-nonsense friends who help you understand that getting gussied and letting handsome British men buy you drinks is totally awesome and acceptable... and then make sure you get your drunk ass back in bed next to your sister.

Las Vegas is a terrible and wonderful place and I had a great time.

That is all I will say about that.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Conversations at our house, Springtime edition

I'm all about Beautimuse this week (this is her header). I hope Diana Murphy isn't mad. 

Yes, D$ and I have had a tough few weeks, but there have also been times when things felt normal. Lest you think our home is a sad-sack factory, I give you this (from the day after a particularly difficult conversation):

MWK: The cherry blossoms on X street are gorgeous today! Attaches photo with new fancy smart phone. 

D$: You are my cherry blossom on X street. 

MWK: Um...thanks?

D$: You are welcome my little tulip.

MWK: Now I am just confused about my flower identity.

D$: Like the stargazer lily that blossoms in the sun, you seem to be having an existential crisis. 

D$: Do not despair. I shall love you floral time. 


Monday, April 18, 2011

The Boulevard Cypress

Image: Greens of Summer 2 by Diana Murphy via her blog Beautimuse (also check out Swoond)

Years ago my mother bought four 12-inch Boulevard Cypress trees and planted them in the side garden. Now they stretch 15 feet high, reaching out towards the grapes and blueberry bushes and shading the arbor where the hammock swings in summertime. The trees are tall and spindly and their rich green needles are shockingly soft on top where they meet the sun. Underneath, though, the branches are skeletal - rickety and clumped with dead,wet, brown needles.

The Saturday after D$ and I's biggest fight I spent three hours pruning the Cypress. I delicately separated the dead needles from bright green new growth. I lopped off entire branches at the trunk. As I pruned,* I thought. These needles and  branches I was clearing away had once been helpful to the Cypress. They were a part of its history; had formed and fed the Cypress as it made its way up to the sun. Now they are unneeded, hangers-on that marred its beauty and, most importantly, used up energy that could be used to move up, on, out towards the light. When I was done the Cypress stood proudly, slightly more naked but much more beautiful.

What D$ and I have been dealing with -  the old emotions and defenses - are like these brown needles. They are a part of our history and in the past perhaps they were useful. Perhaps they helped us protect our fledgling identities or shielded us from old dangers. Now, however, they are not needed. They are holding us down and using up energy that could be used to bring us closer to light.

The last several weeks have shown me just what my dead branches consist of: anger. Vehement, nonsensical anger.  I get frighteningly angry at the drop of a hat and viciously take that anger out on those I love most.

It has to stop. I don't know if I can do it all by myself but I do know that I cannot make it D$'s responsibility to help me. He has been on the wrong side of the broom** one too many times and, rightly, needs me to figure this out on my own. So for basically the first time in my life, I am going to start counseling.***

*My mom called it "poodling" and I sang a nonsense song about tree-poodling almost the whole time I worked. No one said serious thoughts couldn't be accompanied by made-up songs. 
**No I never hit anyone with a broom. If you can name the song you win. 
***I haven't started yet, but I will. I am trying to find a counselor but sort of don't know how to do that. Am I just supposed to pick from my insurance companies list and hope are good? Terrifying. If anyone in the Portland area has a referral I am all ears. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Update from the Field


I am so sorry to write such a dramatic post and then leave you  hanging.

D$ and I are doing okay. Last week was really hard. There were more fights and tears but at least SOME of it was productive. I have posts brewing in my head about it. I wasn't able to write because we were busy figuring shit out...

...and then I went to Los Angeles and Las Vegas for 5 days for my sister's 30th birthday. My sister is now here to visit me for her Spring Break, which also means no-can-blog for another few days but I have so much to tell you and will be be back soon.

Love love love (and roulette),


Friday, March 25, 2011

Intimate Marital Sharing Post

So...things are a little shitty between D$ and I right now.

I've been noticing for weeks that something was off. We got in a huge fight about a  month and a half ago that was never really resolved, mostly because we feel fundamentally different about the event that started and the underlying behavioral pattern. Basically: we went to an engagement party where I apparently swore a lot in front of people we'd just met. These people thought I was funny and charming and were not in the least annoyed (I don't just swear if I think it will offend people). Apparently D was mortified and basically gave me an ultimatum a few days later about swearing in front of his friends. He has mentioned before that he thinks I swear too much and he feels like those mentions were akin to requests to stop swearing that I ignored. I really never thought he could possibly be serious because I fundamentally disagree that a) my swearing is a problem, b) that I am a reflection of him that he gets to order around. I have also always, always had a filthy mouth. When we got in the fight I felt like there was this aspect of me that he used to find charming that he now finds abhorrent, which felt (excuse my language) shitty as hell. I felt nauseous that I would embarrass him but also annoyed that he would all of the sudden find fault with something that has always been a part of my personality. The fight basically ended with me saying yelling, "I'll stop swearing in front of your friends, but I think you are being an asshole." Real mature, I know.

So, like I said: never resolved. We moved on but D has been short-tempered and snappy. I have been over-sensitive to this and tried to avoid being snapped at...which means I have basically ignored him when we were home together, except to nag about something I wished he'd done. We got in a lot of stupid fights when we made an effort to carve out time to see each other.

A few nights ago as yet another evening ended in an argument (that we thankfully nipped in the bud before it became full blown), I made D come sit with me as I went to bed. I said that something was off and I thought we needed to talk. He was noncommittal - now wasn't the time to talk, no real acknowledgement that he felt anything was wrong. I asked to try and think if there was something I was doing that was bothering him, and he said no.

Then, last night, it all came down again. I'm not sure how it happened, but I made a comment that sent him off. We brought up the swearing fight again (bad idea) and the real issues were brought to light. I've been nursing this wound that my husband is embarrassed by me but D doesn't want to hear it because he thinks that he can't make any criticism of me without me becoming vehemently defensive and turning my behavior back onto him. This, apparently, is a long-standing problem of D's (and mine, I suppose). We fought until we left the house to go on a walk (which makes my head want to explode with anger) and then went to sleep. We did cuddle, at least, but nothing was resolved and we both feel like shit today.

We are stuck. I don't want to be defensive as a knee-jerk reaction but I also don't want to take all the blame for issues in our relationship. I want to show that I can listen to him, take criticism, and make changes but I also don't want to sit down and be read a laundry list of my faults without the chance to speak up for myself. That is just really not how I roll. (He is not wrong that I am very defensive).

I also want to be able to talk about this and honestly agree that I need and will work on listening and changing faults, and then *poof!* have me be great again in his eyes. Unfortunately I know that he will need a lot of time to feel that he can bring things up to me and have me listen. My gut reaction to this is: a) fuck, I want this to be solved and b) crap, does this mean that things will be bad for even longer and c) what? does this mean that every time we have a fight I can't defend my position or feelings without it causing him to solidify his opinion that I refuse to admit fault? How do I get out of this without totally losing all power to speak up for myself in disagreements or to defend my feelings over whatever he thinks is fact? I know there are times when he has legitimate complaints, but what about if the complaints aren't legitimate? I don't want to be backed into a corner by his (angry and therefore maybe exaggerated) conception of my response to criticism.

Blech. This sucks. I want a lot of things right now. In the short term: not to have to go volunteer in a few hours. Not to have to meet some girlfriends for happy hour. I want D to come home and I want to work some of this out before we go work in my parents' yard all day tomorrow.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Bone: picked

The meeting went pretty well. I was dead exhausted when I got to work so I pumped myself up by listening to Irish pop punk* (primarily this song).**

My hands were shaking during the whole meeting and I relied upon a ridiculous page of notes in order to ensure I completely said my piece, but I did  say my piece. I said it without being aggressive or mean, and I communicated that I also cared about Young Guy's needs. For his part,  Young Guy was very receptive. He hadn't realized that I was frustrated, which at least tells me that I wasn't being as aggressive and negative as I felt (this is a good thing). I felt heard and acknowledged and we figured out how to ensure that our discussions meet both of our needs in the future. Work went really well the rest of the day and I'm hoping that we're over the hump.


Now I am off to Seattle to visit two of my very best lady friends on the planet. I am so, so ready for some female energy I might explode with joy.

 In fact, I gotta run: off to pack my cutest outfits*** and hit the road.

Me, snorkeling on our honeymoon and waving you goodbye as I head off for Sea-town

*What can I say? It was St. Paddy's day and I love a good theme.
**I forgot to note in my last post that we start work at 7 am so a 8 am meeting was not a cruel tactic on my part.
***Last night I asked D: What are some of my cutest outfits? I want to bring cute clothes. D's response (in a wrangled voice): I don't know! I can't think of these things on the fly! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Step Right Up

"Test your Strength" by Ben Shahn, via the Library of Congress

I set up an 8 a.m. meeting with Young Guy tomorrow to talk about group expectations.

I'm scared, but am trying to feel strong and assertive.

Here's hoping I'll hit that mallet right out of the park.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Stepping away from the brink

Thank you.

Your comments yesterday were a huge help. As I said in the comments it was nice to know that my rage wasn't totally irrational or oversensitive. Of course just being able to write about something always helps and getting it out there (one-sided and overdramatic as it may have been) was verrrry cathartic.

I'm doing better now. I took Carrie Dee's advice and focused on the micro-managing and condescension when talking to my mentor and she was very helpful. She helped me identify one of the main sources of annoyance. See, I tend to like to talk things out with co-workers - in our line of work we spend a lot of time hashing out a point or trying to look at things from all angles. When I try and do this with Young Guy he reacts like I am asking for him to tell me what do to. He gets a patronizing voice on and starts to tell me about the basics of our work or tell me what I should be doing/thinking; going over really basic shit I know and was not asking him about. It's gotten to the point where I don't want to try discuss work ideas with him because I feel like it makes me look weak and it fills me with rage. On the contrary, I also feel that it is professionally irresponsible to shut down in the face of an unpleasant situation.

Before your comments and my meeting with my mentor I wouldn't really have been able to articulate the paragraph above. Even being able to identify a concrete and solvable aspect of the problem feels like a weight off my shoulders. My mentor also gave me some practical tips for changing the situation. Basically she gave me professional permission to clarify with him: I would like to bounce some ideas off you, but I am not asking what do to or how to do it. Basically, communicate that I am asking for a discussion between equals and not for him to advise me as if I am a lesser entity.

Of course we do not need to be friends and this is always something to keep in mind. One confusing thing is that our team started out really jokey, which is okay, but it has made it difficult for me to draw  boundaries. I think the Men would rather we be friendly and jokey-jokey and I would like to have some of that but also be taken seriously. I still haven't worked out how to make this happen but I am going to focus on my own behavior and reactions to situations. I will repeat to myself: they do not need to like me but they do need to respect me. I do not need to like them but I do need to respect them.  It is hard for me to fight against my pathetic need to feel liked, but I will try damn hard.

I think if we can get this worked out it will take us a long way towards working together. I am at a point where I can recall positive things about both of them. They are both really funny, and mostly kind. They do clearly love their wives, even if it isn't the kind of relationships that I would want. They are good at their jobs.

Things are much better. Cul-de-sac man's wife had their baby yesterday and he texted me two photos, which was really sweet. The little tyke is gorgeous and I am very happy for them.

Photo from our trip to the Oregon Coast Aquarium for D's birthday. We can really geek out over sea creatures. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A bone to pick

Normally I avoid talking about work on the blog because, well: the internet is scary, I work in the public sector and I would like to keep my job. I also deal with a lot of confidential information. Tonight, it just so happens that I need to vent.

I am really struggling with my job right now. The work I am doing is intense in both content and amount but that isn't really the issue. The issue is that I am working on a team with two people who make me crazy. Two men who make me crazy, to be more exact. 

When I am being diplomatic about these men I say that we are very different. When I am bitching about these men (which happens a lot these days) I say much, much more. 

We are very different and that is a lot of the problem. They are both young, from small towns, married with pregnant wives, and very, very sheltered. That isn't just the problem, though. The problem is (just a few examples):

Both of them talk about their pregnant wives like they are fucking disabled. "Well, she's pregnant so she doesn't make any sense," "Well, she's pregnant, so..." It makes me want to punch them in the face.

One of them told me that he likes his cul-de-sac because you know right away if someone is on the street who doesn't belong. When I - trying to piece together a response that didn't betray my horror - mentioned living in the city because there are lots of people around his response was, "Oh, you'll change your mind when you have kids and start thinking about their safety." I was unable to stop myself from saying, "No, I won't. I want my kids to grow up and know how to interact with lots of different kinds of people." (Note: this man is not white.) (Double note: I was able to stop myself from asking him to please not assume anything about my desire to have children and/or my ability to keep said hypothetical children safe.) He also micro-manages me like a motherfucker.

The other guy is three years younger than me but gets to act as my in-charge when cul-de-sac man goes on paternity leave (Quote: "I'll probably end up getting bored and coming back to work early." GRRRR) because this was his first job out of college. This man told me that the only woman he would ever be alone with outside of work besides his wife (who he married at 21) is his mother. He goes to the kind of church that encouraged him to stop carpooling to work with another woman from the church because she is single and he is married (something about avoiding the appearance of evil, I don't know). He unabashedly doesn't care about politics, loves to hunt, and either talks down to me or jokes with me like I'm his buddy.  He is completely unaware of the insane amount of White Male Privilege that has afforded him almost everything that he has. He thinks he the world is owed to him and that he has earned it.

Phew. I could go on but I feel I may have said too much already. I have a meeting with my mentor tomorrow to ask her advice on how to handle this situation as I have to work with these men (and pretty much only these men) for another year. I am trying to sort out what is really an issue and what is my own snobbishness/oversensitivity. I am also trying to remind myself how lucky I am to have made it through 28 years and many jobs before encountering people like this.

Any suggestions welcome. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

So I shot a 9 mm handgun this weekend.


I know.

Backstory: My good friend Z's step-mother died of breast cancer a few months ago. I've known Z since high school and I know that we share a common attribute: anger as a kneejerk reaction to grief. When I heard the news one of the first sentences out of my mouth was (after the requisite condolences) was, "Well...wanna so shoot some shit?"

He did. So we did.

For all our bravado leading up to this weekend we were both totally nervous, which surprised us both. When we walked in we tried really hard to look nonchalant. Then, as we stood in line and tried to look cool we overheard a bearded employee very seriously tell the father and son in front of us, "Now, you're gonna wanna use the restroom before you shoot this gun." Z and I turned to each other and stared wide-eyed without speaking. Should we go to the bathroom? Did we dare? I decided we'd be okay, mostly because I didn't want to call attention to myself by running to the bathroom and crying and/or throwing up.

A very nice and very tiny woman greeted us with a smile when we got to the counter.

"Non-member?" She asked cheerily.

"How did you know?" I asked.

"The huge smiles on your faces." She responded with a friendly laugh.

"Oh," I thought, "What a very nice woman! This isn't so scary at all!" Then as she handed me the application form I realized that she had a hook for a hand. As I handed her my drivers licence I suppressed the desire to wonder if she had shot her hand off and reconsidered my decision not to use the restroom.

Once we'd waived away our rights to sue if we shot our faces off another nice man helped us pick out our gun. We told him we had never shot a gun before and he gave us approximately 20 seconds of safety lessons, including such tips as "point the gun downrange," and "don't walk in the line of fire." We were smart enough to ask how to load the gun otherwise he wouldn't have shown us. Then we picked out two of the more-offensive shadowy figures to shoot at (Tactical Encounters 4 and 5), put on our eye protection and were on our way.

I'm so bad-ass I match the shooting range

I'm not gonna lie, folks: it was totally awesome. A crack shot I am not but I did hit Tactical Encounter No. 4 in his jaunty beret several times (I was aiming for his right eye, but whatever). I got Tactical Encounter No. 5 right in his jugular.

This is before I shot the shit out of No. 4's beret.

We went through two boxes of ammo, taking turns loading and firing the full clip. When we turned in the gun and our shell casings we still had the shit-eating grins on our faces but the fear was edged out a little by pride and wonder. Nice Hook-Hand lady asked us cheerily if we'd had a good time. "YES," we responded.

Then we got hotcakes and skillet breakfasts.