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  • Heart Pops

    April 29, 2007

    Each morning I get up and pour myself a cup of coffee and look forward to sitting quietly and alone on the sofa for thirty minutes before the sun brightens the sky and unleashes a tsunami of crazy on the House of Antique.

    One recent morning as I sat on the sofa in the dim glow of the light of the day gathering my thoughts and my wits, I heard the soft squishy footfall of footsie pajamas on the tile. I looked up to see a teddy bear of a little boy with hair spiking out in all directions stumbling towards me with Mr. Monkey in one hand and his blanket in the other.

    “Good morning Seanshine,” I greeted him. “Come here and give mama hugs and kisses.”

    He climbed up in my lap and squeezed my neck tight. I buried my face in the nape of his neck and nuzzled him. He smelled deliciously sweet of sleep and I wanted to inhale him right down into my lungs and beyond into the safety of my soul and keep him there forever. He pulled back and kissed me on the eyeball.

    And then he scrambled down as if he just remembered he had something more important to do.

    Sigh. Oh well, I thought, at least I will have this moment to look back upon later in the day when he informs me ‘I don’t wuds you anymore’ when I refuse to let him eat gummy bears for lunch.

    Then without prompting he turned, climbed back up into my lap and gave me another hug and a kiss.

    “More just popped out of my heart!” he exclaimed.

    May his heart always overflow with so much love that it can’t be contained and pops right out.

    Four Score and Seven Pounds Ago

    April 27, 2007

    When Antique Daddy and I married, we hired a free-lance wedding photographer. Her deal was that she would take all the pictures for a fee and then turn over the negatives. In the intoxicating afterglow of the wedding, I spent a fortune having pictures printed which I subsequently stuck in a box and haven’t looked at since. Wedding fever. It’s responsible for pens made of large white feathers and keeping the ribbon and tulle industry afloat.

    In the intervening eight years, digital technology has come of age. And so when I ran across the box of wedding pictures along with the negatives, I decided to take the negatives and have them put on a CD. Which proves that the spending on the wedding just never stops.

    At any rate, now I have them on my computer and Antique Daddy and I were looking at them the other day and reliving what a fun day that was and how much we enjoyed our wedding. We also took notice of the damage eight years of marriage can do to a waist line.

    “Look honey,” I said whistfully. “Here I am about seven pounds skinnier.”

    “You were too skinny if you ask me,” he replied without prompting.

    And at that moment, I was never more attracted to him.

    Photo: temporarily unavailable.

    Pirates Need Groceries Too

    April 26, 2007

    Earlier this week, Sean and I were strolling into the grocery store from the parking lot when a pick up truck slowly passed us.

    We stopped and stood back and allowed the truck to turn in front of us into a parking space and come to a complete stop before we continued towards the store. Driving the truck, with the window rolled down, was a rough looking, weather worn construction worker kind of guy. He was wearing a red bandana do rag, had tattoos up and down his arms and wore a small silver hoop earring.

    “Look Mommy!” Sean loudly exclaimed. “A Pirate! Do you see the pirate!?”

    I tugged on Sean’s arm purposefully to try to shush him without being too obvious.

    Just then, the pirate gets out of his truck and Sean hollers to him, “Aaargh matee!”

    The big burley guy looked at us long and hard through slitted reptile eyes as I groped for my “Beam Me Up Scottie” button. And then he broke into a big smile and giggled like a little girl.

    I nervously giggled back in a “Kids say the darndest things” sort of way. Then I grabbed Sean’s hand and made a run for the store before he asked why the pirate only had one tooth.

    Laundry Interrupted Again

    April 25, 2007

    (beeeeep!) Sean and I are busy playing in the sandbox and can’t get to the computer. Please leave a message at the end of this recycled post and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. (beeeeep!)

    In my washing machine right now, there is a load of musty-smelling bath towels that need to be washed. Again. For the third time in a row. You would think that a modern woman like me with the modern conveniences of a washer and a dryer in her home could manage to get a load of laundry washed and dried, if not folded and put away, in less than three days. You would think that if you didn’t have kids. If you do, well, then you understand that even your interruptions are interrupted by interruptions. And unlike a two-year-old, laundry will just sit quietly, steeping in it’s own mildew, waiting patiently for you to come back.

    Before I had a child, laundry was a day and not a state of being. Now laundry is not only a state of being but a decorating scheme. There is laundry on the laundry room floor waiting its turn for a weekend in the washer. There is laundry in the dryer waiting for Godot. There is laundry in the basket on the sofa waiting to be dumped out and jumped in for the umpteenth time. Sometimes I just can’t help myself. There are piles of laundry on the breakfast bar hoping to hitch a ride to the bedroom. And yet another pile of laundry positioned just so on a sofa table where a lamp used to be, where you might expect to see an artful display of books or a vase or even a Tonka truck. But no, that would be so expected, so pedestrian. A stack of gym socks and underwear says so much more about who we are.

    Here at the House of Antique, we are on the on the cutting edge of design. Laundry chic, the next decorating trend. You heard it here first.

    This post was originally published in April of 2006.

    Dr. Texan

    April 24, 2007

    When our health insurance changed a while back, one of the things I was required to do was select a General Practitioner. Prior to that, I never saw a GP. I have so many quirky medical issues that I employ an army of specialists and I have no need of a GP.

    I took a lot of time selecting my GP. I thumbed through the insurance directory and narrowed down the list to doctors in my geographic area that claimed to speak English as their primary language. From the long list of two, I settled upon a doctor who was nearby and I put in a call to his office. “And it says here that the doctor speaks English, is that correct?” I ask the nurse. “Oh yes!” she says proudly, “He was born and raised right here in Texas.” And not one red flag went up, with or without a lone star.

    Lest you think I have an attitude against foreign doctors, let me say here that my Ob/Gyn, to whom I pretty much owe my life and Sean’s life, is Iranian. And I do have difficulty understanding him sometimes, but he is so good, that I don’t care what he’s saying. I just trust him. After he leaves the room, sometimes I ask his nurse, “Now what did he say? Is it anything I really need to know? Do you think he noticed the Dr. Pepper on my legs?”

    Nonetheless, communication is important to me and even though it was a doctor that I probably would never see beyond the initial visit, I wanted a doctor who spoke English with a degree of fluency. So I made an appointment for a complete physical.

    The walls of the exam room in which I waited were lined with professionally taken pictures of Dr. Texan on his ranch, Dr. Texan and his children in a field of bluebonnets, Dr. Texan standing next to a longhorn steer. As I’m looking at the beautiful photos, I’m thinking this is great! A genuine US citizen!

    About that time, Dr. Texan knocks on the door and comes in.

    “Howdythayerleetlemissyimdoctorafixintotakealeedlelookieyahoodoggy. Okiedokie?”

    “Um yes! Or hi? Did you say hi? No, my name is not Missy. You want to fix whaa? Did you just say hoo doggy?”

    It was Dr. Suel Forrester from SNL.  He checked my blood pressure, listened to my heart and whacked my knee with a rubber mallot. He checked here for a lump, there for a lump, everywhere a lump lump. He talked the entire time. And I understood not one word. And then he left.

    And then I turned to the nurse and asked, “Now what did he say? Is there anything I really need to know?”

    If God Didn’t Want Me To Be A Whiney Bed Slug, He Would Have Given Me Seven More Children

    April 23, 2007

    The other night, Antique Daddy took Sean off to read books and put him to bed while I went off to prostrate myself face down on my bed like a priest in ordination. Sometimes after the end of a day with a three-year-old, I feel like I’ve been riding the Kamakazi on the midway at the fair and all I want to do is lie motionless and alone upon my bed.

    As I lay on my bed encouraging and willing the scant remaining energy in my body towards my thumb that was working the remote, I came across a documentary on TLC about a couple who had trouble getting pregnant and decided to undergo infertility treatment. They conceived easily and immediately with twins. After their twins were about a year old, they decided that they wanted “just one more” – and got six instead. So lets see, 2 + 6 = GULP!

    And this woman! This woman who bore an entire day care center in her womb — she is not only mother to eight tiny children, but she cooks all the meals from scratch! And she works 16-hour shifts every other Saturday as a nurse! Her one luxury that I could discern is that her husband, who is laid back and easy going and reminds me a bit of Rupert Gee from David Letterman – he brings a cup of coffee to her bedside in the morning. Then he leaves at 7am and returns at 7pm. That’s it. Beyond that she has no help. None. And? She never complains.

    She runs her house like a navy ship. She has her day scheduled down to 15-minute intervals and everything is labeled. After she has her coffee, she gets those kids up and put clothes on them. And shoes! Shoes people! Sean didn’t wear shoes until he was a year old. I don’t think I wore shoes until Sean was a year old. Putting on shoes required more energy than I was willing to part with that first year. And when you are wearing your pajamas all day, there really is NO point in putting on shoes.

    At one point in the show, they met another couple who also have sextuplets at a local restaurant. I was exhausted just watching them get all those babies into car seats and out of car seats and into the strollers and out of strollers and into high chairs and out of high chairs. The husband tells the camera that they’ve been at the restaurant for two hours and he is just now going to sit down and eat. I’m watching all of this in disbelief that anyone would go to the trouble. Because on me personally, the combination of tired and hungry is very unattractive. Not. Pretty. I probably would have just ordered in pizza, which I could eat without having to put on my shoes, let alone eight other little pairs of shoes.

    As I watched the controlled chaos that was her life, I didn’t know whether to be impressed and inspired by her organization and good attitude or to hate her for making me with just my one baby look like a whiney, inert bed slug with a remote.

    The Partnership of Marriage

    April 21, 2007

    Last night, a long-time friend dropped by the house for a visit. His wife had recently decided to end their marriage of 20-some years. He was hanging in there, but as we chatted with him, heartache just seemed to fill the room clear up to the ceiling.

    Photo Temporarily Unavailable

    And so today, I find myself thinking about the partnership of marriage.

    I think of my own parents who have been married for 52 years — all of their adult lives. I’m sure there have been times on their journey when either could have come up with about 50 ways to kill the other with everyday household appliances. But they persisted for another day leaving small appliances in tact. And sometimes it’s just one more day that can make all the difference. Eventually, all those one more days add up to a lifetime.

    As a product of that union, their marriage has been a reassuring thing to behold. It has been an anchor in my life and the security it provided was perhaps the greatest blessing of my childhood.

    I hope and pray that our marriage might be a reassuring thing for Sean to behold. That it might anchor and bless him in these tender years. And I also pray that earlier in life, rather than later, he might find a Godly woman to love and who would love him in return for a lifetime — a woman who will hang in there to make the journey with him into forever one day at a time.

    Love… It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 

    1st Corinthians 13:7

    Wherein By Comparison You Feel Better About Your Own Parenting Skills

    April 20, 2007

    Two of the worst things that have ever happened to my child have happened when he was sitting on my kitchen counter and I was standing less than one foot away from him. Which is probably an indictment of my kitchen counter style of parenting.

    I wrote about The Goose Egg Incident recently. Apparently falling off the kitchen counter and whacking his head on the floor hasn’t impaired his memory as just yesterday when I hoisted him up onto the counter he advised, “You need to watch me better. I could fall off of here and get hurt!” It was the finger wag in my face that I thought was a bit much. Inside my three-year-old lives a Jewish mother who is a police officer in her spare time.

    The other incident I haven’t written about because… a) I don’t like to think about it, b) I’m embarrassed and c) it could probably be used as evidence.

    About a year ago, Sean was sitting on the kitchen counter while I was standing nearby doing some important parenting thing like watching HGTV from the kitchen. I turned my back for not more than ten seconds and when I turned back Sean had grabbed my prescription bottle of Synthroid and removed the childproof lid. He had his head thrown back like he was taking a shot of whiskey, little white powdery whiskey balls. Someone should really invent that, little whiskey pills.

    When I saw that he was foaming at the mouth and his little cheeks were puffed up like a winter squirrel, I of course, FREAKED OUT! My eyes bugged out of my head, all the air whooshed out of my lungs and sucked my brain right down into my esophagus.

    I pried open his mouth and dug out a handful of pills and then I grabbed him by the feet and turned him upside down and started shaking him like a saltshaker. Which he thought was de-light-ful fun. He giggled and squealed “Do it again Mommy!” He seemed absolutely fine. I was out $30 worth of medication, but he was fine.

    And then – then came the worst part of all. I had to call the pediatrician’s office. And give my real name. And explain. How. It. Happened.

    So while I waited on hold for the doctor, I Googled “Synthroid overdose” and continued to FREAK OUT, but now in a more quiet and controlled manner. And also a very sweaty manner. It’s hard to type when your fingers keep slipping off the keyboard.

    Finally, the nurse picked up and for some reason, when you are totally freaked out, people in authority either can’t understand what you are saying, can’t buh-leeve what you’re saying or go temporarily deaf. Because they keep asking you the same questions over and over. And this only serves to ratchet up the freak out level.

    Me: Hi, this AM. My son! My son Sean, he ate my pills, my Synthroid. He opened the bottle somehow – childproof ha! – and just ate them. Chomp chomp, just like a squirrel. A very hungry Synthroid-eating squirrel.

    Nurse: I’m sorry who is this?

    Me: Antique Mommy, my son is Sean.

    Nurse: And what is your son’s name?

    Me: Sean. S-E-A-N. Sean. He’s two.

    Nurse: And how old is he?

    That’s when I take the phone and start hitting myself in the head with it.

    Eventually she asks me how many pills were in the bottle, how many pills did he swallow, how many pills are left and lots of other questions about pills to which the answer was “I don’t know.” And she would say, “You don’t know?” And I would again say, “I don’t know.”

    After many precious minutes spent trying to convey my personal information to Nurse Killmenow and a game of “Questions You Don’t Know But I’ll Keep Asking Anyway” (which caused a flashback to fourth grade math class) she advises me to just watch him and that any extra medication would probably be excreted in his urine. Which is exactly what Mr. Google said.

    And then I hung up and waited for CPS to come and get my child so he could be raised by wolves or someone more responsible than me.

    Alas, all’s well that ends well, but I shaved a couple of years off my life that day and we all know I don’t have that many to spare.

    Scorpion Bits

    April 19, 2007

    “Mommy I’m pretending this scorpion bitted me,” Sean says from the back seat. I look in my rear view mirror to see him stretch a sticky rubbery scorpion the length of his reach.

    “No, Sean,” I correct him, “I’m pretending this scorpion BIT me — not bitted.”

    “This scorpion bitted you too?!”

    Oh never mind.

    Cherries – Or Life Is But A Dream

    April 18, 2007

    Cherries are in season.  Cherries as gorgeous and red and decadent and as seductive as any apple in Eden there ever was. I saw them at the store and brought them home. I rinsed them under the cool water of the tap and then without even bothering to turn on the lights, I sat down alone in my kitchen and ate them one by one. 

    It was May of 1991. I was 31-years-old. My first husband and I, along with another couple, were in Europe. When you decide to take a two-week car trip with another couple, you know it will either go very well or very badly. The stars were aligned. The four of us spent two carefree weeks tooling around Paris, Aosta, Milan, Montreaux, Florence, Nice and Monaco having the time of our lives. We went to all the famous museums, walked along the shore of Lac Leman, stayed in a castle and sunbathed in Monaco. Things happened on that trip that are hysterical to us, but would be puzzling to others in the retelling.

    Towards the end of the trip, as we were making our way back to Paris, we stopped at a roadside fruit stand in the French countryside. We impulsively purchased a bag of cherries – lovely, juicy, plump, fresh French cherries.

    As the four of us sat under the shade of an ancient tree eating cherries and spitting the pits, my senses were unusually electrified. Every sensation was magnified. Perspiration, perfume and car exhaust riding the currents of the morning breeze, the blue of the sky and the blood red of the cherries, the gravelly French accent of the vendor, the laughter and chatter of our group, the humming of the nearby traffic. All of these sensations combined into a crystallizing moment in time and lodged into the cool deep of memory.

    I remember being acutely aware of the moment, as though somehow outside of myself. I remember thinking that I always wanted to feel as intensely alive as I did in that moment. In fact and detail, eating cherries on the side of the road is an insignificant event but it represented one of those rare moments in life when all seems well with the world. I thought it would be like that forever, the four of us.

    Three years later, my first husband died very suddenly. Soon thereafter, our friends divorced after more than twenty years of marriage. The photos of Provence are boxed up and stashed away. The memories have been swept up and put away as well.

    Nothing more remains of that one morning in May but the sensation of cherries.

    This post was originally published June 12, 2006.