Saturday, November 17, 2007

Question, Question, Who's Got a Question?

I read Butterfly Wife's "Answers to Life's Persistent Questions" with interest. What a cool thing to do? Open up the floor to questions! Why didn't I think of that?

You see, I do actually get emailed questions from time to time. And although I usually answer them in an individual email, I recently realized that I'm always being asked the same types of questions (Why do I call my husband CPT Dick? Where do I live? Am I really a writer? Do any wives from my unit know about my blog? Where did my friends buy the 24 inch black rubber dildo that I mentioned on SpouseBuzz? etc.). And as such, I've been toying with the idea of a FAQ post.

But instead, why don't I be brave and open up the floor? Anyone have a question they'd like me to answer? I promise I will take a shot at all questions, no matter how off the wall.*

NOTE: I will close the questions on Monday and then answer them on Tuesday.

*Within reason, anyway. I won't give out any direct identifying information and if any question's answer hints too much at my identity, I may have to be a little vague.

I never need sex again.

I got together with a friend the other night at her house. When I got up to leave, she insisted that I take a box -- No! Two boxes! Heck, here have four! -- of Dove Beyond Chocolate Chunk cookies.

"Please take some! I bought a case at the case lot sale," she said. "And I can't stop eating them!"

With much pushing on her part, I took a single box. I'd never had a Dove cookie before but I imagined them as little bite sized cookies. Probably pretty good but nothing on Famous Amos.
Oh. My. God. They are not bite sized. But boy are they, mmmm, mmmm, good. I grabbed one to have with my tea today and lost myself in the chocolate-y explosion of flavor. It was a taste bud orgasm. So rich, I figured that one would be more than enough to satisfy. "How could she keep eating these?" I asked myself. This is definitely a one-at-a-time kind of cookie.

And it was. I had one when I refilled my tea. And then another when I got Munchkin some juice. And then just one when I made him his lunch. And then one more after we came in from drawing with chalk on the driveway.

There are only 10 cookies per box so it wasn't long before I came to the end of the better-than-sex-chocolatiness.

Just a few minutes ago, I called my friend and I said, "You know those cookies? I ate the whole damn box in just under four hours."

She replied, "Told you."

I could have gotten mad at that point and accused her of trying to sabotage my diet. But instead, I did the only thing I could. I told her to save me a few boxes to take home after my next visit.

I don't trust myself to go out and buy my own.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Practically perfect in every way.

There's a girl in my son's class at school whose mother is perfect. Absolutely perfect.

She's the one that brings fabulous, delicious dishes to each potluck that look magazine cover ready even after driving 20 minutes to get there. Her daughter is always impeccably clean and dressed, not to mention well-behaved. She is always willing to volunteer. She is funny and kind and makes people feel better when she's around.


So there are times where her inherent goodness reflects on me and makes me feel like being a better person. And sadly, yes, there are those other times when her perfection makes me feel woefully inadequate. But it's a tribute to her perfection that it's usually more the former than the latter. It's only after she leaves that I realize just how goofy and unorganized I must seem to her.

Last weekend, we had back-to-back activities with the kids. We had a gymnastics thing in the morning followed by an FRG event in the afternoon. The afternoon event was by my house so I offered to make lunch for her and her daughter.

Because of the craziness of the day, and the finicky natures of most toddlers, I made an old standby that is usually eaten by even the pickiest of eaters -- macaroni and cheese with hot dogs. I know, I know -- total gourmet. As I got it started, I thought about just how ridiculous it was that I was serving Mrs. Perfect and her daughter such a mess. What the hell was I thinking?

This was only compounded when they showed up for lunch, with a perfect homemade vanilla bundt cake for dessert and a bottle of wine as a gift for me. I felt like such a hoser.

So later, after the day was finished, Munchkin was put to bed and I was dwelling a bit on my total inability to channel Martha Stewart, like, ever, I opened that bottle of wine. Of course, it was wrapped up with perfectly coiled ribbon in a velvet bag.

Once I got the bottle out, I noticed something. There were three empty Halloween candy wrappers in the bottom of the bag. She hadn't noticed.

Those wrappers meant that, one, she regifted the bag (and hey, not that there's anything wrong with it -- I'm all about regifting those bags but she's so perfect I could see her going out to buy a new gift bag for each and every token gift) and, two, they were hidden in that bag for a reason. Either she, her husband or her daughter were sneaking candy.

I know it's total schadenfreude but I felt instantly better. I guess we're all faking it to make it here and there.

(And you know, her daughter did eat every single bite of her serving of that macaroni and cheese. It's the hot dogs. They make it irresistible).

Just another reason not to give unsolicited advice.

A few days ago, I attended a baby shower. Along with the baby food guessing games, diapering races and other shenanigans, all of the attendees were asked to write a piece of advice on a notecard that she could put in her baby book.

The mother-to-be has told me numerous times about how nervous she is about having a boy -- she comes from a family of 5 girls and has no experience with infant boys. So coming into my own Mommyhood ignorant of the workings of baby boys, I thought long and hard about what I should write. I knew it should be boy specific. But what piece of advice, that perhaps I'd received late, was the most helpful? It only took a moment to realize what it should be. The single most important piece of advice that I knew of for newborn boys.

Always make sure that the penis is pointing down.

Because, you know, this is something that isn't often written in the books or mentioned right away by others. I think for those experienced with baby boys, this just seems like a total "duh," but it took me weeks to figure out why my son's diapers kept leaking the way that they did. I was just too sleep deprived to consider the physics of the matter. And when you factor in erections -- as much as you may not even want to even fathom those occurrences, they happen all too often -- it becomes even more important to make sure that the penis is pointed into the most absorbent part of the diaper.

So that's what I wrote. "When changing diapers, always make sure the penis is pointing down."

Once everyone had written their advice, the hostess collected them and handed them to the mother-to-be to read aloud. She read all of them aloud except mine. I'll be honest that I was so knee-deep in chocolate-y cake and laughing at other advice at that point that I don't think I noticed.

But as I got up to leave later, the hostess pulled me aside to tell me that she removed my advice card from the pile. This was a baby shower and she didn't understand why I would write such a thing. After all, there was really no need to be vulgar. I was taken aback. I mean, when did the word penis become a dirty word? I was offered what I thought was an important, non-sarcastic piece of advice about being a first time Mom to a boy. Advice that would help a Mom avoid being sprayed and even more laundry. But somehow I was being inappropriate. I started to try to defend myself, to explain why I wrote that particular item but somehow I figured it would do more harm than good at that point.

It's days like those that I really, really wonder if I'll ever find a place in this weird world.

Moth watch.

Still not a one. I keep looking behind the bar and in nooks and crannies but I seem to have vanquished the beasts.

But I'll be the first to tell you that if they are hiding only to appear randomly one day and scare the shit out of me, they'll probably end up winning.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Confession #3.

Since we're heading back to the states to see family at Christmas (which I am referring to the "guilt trip" -- aren't I punny?), CPT Dick wants to go spend a week, just the three of us, somewhere warm and relaxing right before deployment. He has a few criteria for the trip:
  1. It is warm.
  2. It is sunny.
  3. There is a beach.
  4. There is a golf course.
  5. It is all-inclusive.
  6. It does not have entertainers or other individuals that will try to get you up and dance on the bar when you are just trying to get a goddamn refill on your beer.
  7. It has stuff for the Munchkin to do.
  8. It is not on the military's no-go list.
  9. It costs no more than an arbitrary random figure that he pulled out of his butt.

Umm, hello? Warm and sunny in February? Meals and drinks included? You want all that? No problem. Wait? You want it for how much?

Yes, my husband has no concept of time, space or how much a decent vacation costs now that our son is old enough to require his own seat on the plane and we are looking for sun and surf in February.

It's not that we can't afford more than my husband's set price. We can. And frankly, since he'll be heading off for 15-18 months in the desert, I think that we should be willing to splurge to make sure he gets exactly the kind of decompression trip he's after. But he, being dumb, can't think outside the change purse.

So here's my third confession. I found the perfect vacation spot -- a week in the Maldives. And I found a great deal on a resort there. It's gorgeous, has activities for toddlers and an open bar. It is my husband's dream come true.

But it's almost twice the amount that my husband wants to spend.

So guess what? I'm not telling him. I booked it today and then immediately sent out a bunch of emails to editors I work with frequently asking for a little extra work this month. With holiday crunches upon them, most of them came back with something. I got enough to cover the whole trip plus some diving for me.

I won't tell him about the extra work either.

And if he asks me how much the total was? Well, I'll just fudge the numbers a bit. What he doesn't know, won't hurt him.

Thank you.

I'm a day late, but thank you to all who are called to serve. We honor you and remember.

Funny how the missing ebbs and flows.

Did you see me walking by the Buick Repairs?
I was thinking of you
having a Coke in the heat it was your face
I saw on the movie magazine,
no it was Fabian's
I was thinking of you
and down at the railroad tracks where the station
has mysteriously disappeared
I was thinking of you
as the bus pulled away in the twilight
I was thinking of you
and right now

-"Song," Frank O'Hara

Rethink privacy?

Oh, no, he didn't.

But yes, he did. As the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act comes up in Congress, Donald Kerr the principal deputy director of national intelligence says that we need to rethink the way we define privacy.

Privacy no longer can mean anonymity, says Donald Kerr, the principal deputy director of national intelligence. Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguard people's private communications and financial information.

Now, I know plenty of people who believe that the Patriot Act, and others like it, are completely harmless. As my one friend, B., always says to me, "The only reason why you should care if someone is listening is if you are doing something wrong."

But is that really true? Sure, if I choose to give my information, that's one thing. I'm doing that of my own free will. But why should the government have carte blanche to my financial information, to what books I take out of the library or the phone calls I make back to the states (and I gotta tell you -- if anyone was listening, I'm sure the spooks were totally grossed out by all the phone calls I made to my Mom describing the color and consistency of my son's stool when he was an infant)?

Why exactly is that information important? But more importantly, what will the government do with it? How can they really safeguard it? (And even more disturbing, if I'm not even supposed to know that they are examining that information and it is compromised, how am I to know?)

The executive branch of our current government is doing its best to try to knock out basic checks and balances. Yes, it's a pain in the ass to go through a judge to get a wiretap. But you know, that process is there to make sure that there is just cause for that tap to be placed. To make sure that individual American rights are protected. And as anyone who has been wrongly accused of a crime can tell you, those rights are never more important when the spotlight is pointed at you.

Running roughshod over the safeguards our forefathers placed to make sure that America could not become a dictatorship or tyrannical regime is not making us safer. Sure, to a certain extent, I guess it's all philosophical, but it makes me sad that people are willing to trade so much for the illusion of security.

Because, really, at the end of the day, has it been demonstrated that access to all of this data really has the potential to make us safe?

I'm probably jinxing myself...

...but I have not seen a pantry moth in 5 days. For the longest time, it seemed that I had them beat but then, sure enough, as soon as I felt really confident in victory, I'd find one waiting on pantry door in the morning or maniacally flying around when I turned on the kitchen light at night. I'd kill the onesies and twosies I'd see, regularly replace the pheromone traps and wonder if I was ever going to have a (mostly) insect-free house.

And then, for the past few days, not a single sighting.

I've been unsure whether I actually managed to kill them all off, new ones are in a larval stage waiting to break free to torture me or if they've simply decided to regroup in another part of the house to organize a new plan of attack. But I wasn't going to mention it because, you know, I figured by doing so, I'd just karmically invite them to come on out and say hello.

But after a few days, I'm starting to get a little freaked out. If they are still here, I want to know. I have new pheromone traps and my rolled up magazine handy. I can't let my guard down and be ambushed. It would be too much of a blow to be bested by a creature that has no more than a few ganglia to speak of.

So, do you hear me, little mothies? I'm calling you suckers out. As far as I'm concerned, I have won our little battle. So come on out if you are still here. We can play this game for a little longer. But just be forewarned -- I'll be ready and I ain't taking prisoners.