Thursday, August 31, 2006

Wah. I stood in the ice for 3 days and now I can't feel my toes. Wah.

The Boss has turned into Harriet F. Houdini. I think we all know what the F stands for. Yesterday, for her first trick, she removed her poop-filled diaper without unsnapping a single closure on her long sleeved, long panted romper.

I went up to get her at the tail end of naptime, only to discover a happy, bleating 13 month old, sockless in the southeast corner of her crib amidst a trail of reddish brown viscosity. A diaper, one side agape and fecal, lay on the mattress.

I blinked. The Boss was strangely lumpless in a pink and white one-piece outfit with a big wet spot on the leg. The cotton drape of her romper was contoured to the rises and falls of her baby fat, unspoiled by the ugly absorbancy of her diaper. I lifted her up, expecting to see that she had unsnapped the legs of her outfit to make a skirt through which to remove the diaper. Yet, all snaps were secure. I turned her around to look at the closures on the back of her neck, wondering if she somehow pulled the diaper out the head hole. But that exit was not compromised, either. I puzzled on it all the way to the bathroom. Then I threw her in the tub.

The only thing I can surmise is that dextrous ingenuity led her to wiggle halfway out of the diaper before using her hands to squeeze it the rest of the way down her pant leg and out the elastic cuff. My Baby Blaine. My Copperfield Kid.

I'm so proud, I could vomit.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Day At The Fair, Revisited

It's time for fairs. I love all those early-autumn staples, filled with hay, fried dough, and tractor pulls. There are young couples in love, wild-eyed mothers pushing double strollers, and groups of old women waddling from stall to stall in bedazzling shirts. It is always hot or cold, rainy or bone dry. It's harvest time in New England.

Last year around now, I was in the unglamorous "fourth trimester" of my pregnancy. I know now that I should've kept that baby firmly entrenched in my womb as long as humanly possible, but, at the time, medical science and some Pitocin convinced me otherwise. The Boss was born at almost 42 weeks gestation, but we still weren't ready. The circadian rhythms of my fast paced life were hopelessly out of sync with her more sedate scheduling. She would've been just as happy sucking amniotic fluid from inside a heat-regulated placenta for the next three months, at least.

It was toward the end of that amorphous phase that The Partner and I ditched The Boss for a day at the Big E (or the Eastern States Exposition, otherwise known as the ninth largest fair in the USA). Despite some grumblings and the occasional “So, why do you want to go to this thing, again?,” The Partner took the day off from his other job and we made arrangements for my mother to watch the nine week old Boss. We were off.

In one of the agriculture buildings, we saw a stay-at-home-pig with approximately 8 out of 10 udders swollen with milk, her pile of piglets basking in the fluorescence. She was beyond ugly, but the piglets were cute. It is easy to become so enchanted with the wiggly lethargy of a baby piggy that you don’t think about the fact that it will soon grow to resemble Ted Kennedy and grunt similarly, too.

I looked down at my own engorged mammaries and thought that I would never feel so connected to that pink, hairy and maternal swine as I did just then. It wasn’t appealing when I thought of it in those terms, so instead I pictured my own smiling baby, soft and cooing, separate from my breasts and years away from any possible runs for senate as a bulbous democrat from Massachusetts.

It was the chicks, however, that won best of show in the cute department. Row upon row of brown eggs incubated atop a wire mesh display case. If you watched carefully, you could see fine lines develop on the shells as hidden chicks pecked for their lives. The audience of fair-goers, peering in through the glass, were fixated on one particular egg as the crack grew and a few straggly hairs poked out and receded, poked out and receded. This went on for five minutes, then ten, till the girl next to me stated she had been caught up in this chick’s fight for over a half hour. A woman behind us clucked knowingly and said that most of these little ones die of exhaustion if they are not able to extricate themselves from the albumen within 20 minutes.

In the time that this chick worked spasmodically to break through one final piece of eggshell, an entirely different egg developed a crack, was pushed open, and produced a newborn chicken, all bedraggled and weak-legged. We were happy for this new little guy, but sad for the other fighter in whose birth we were still caught up.

While I didn’t know if the woman’s ominous foretelling of the twenty-minute window was accurate, it was too depressing to find out. The Partner and I traded the stinky dome of the agricultural building for the open spread of gray September fairgrounds. I don't remember much else about that day, though. In my mind, it's just the piglets and the chicks and the overcast skies heralding all that new life.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


I call the long sandwiches with many meats grinders.

I call the little ant-like toppings for ice cream shots.

I call the fizzy brown stuff Coke (even when it isn't).

I call that event wherein I put all my junk in the front yard and sell it a tag sale.

I call the shoes I wear while exercising sneakers.

I call the place where I buy (a lot of) alcohol the package store.

I call getting there a packy run.

I measure distance in the time it takes to arrive.

I am a child of Connecticut, that expensive, boring state that separates New York City from Boston. It's a nice place to visit your grandparents, but you wouldn't want to live there. It's got some cities, some country, and a lot of suburbs. It has the "highest per capita income" in the country, but all the big heads are down Fairfield County way. We pay for it up here, though, on the eastern side--where the United States Supreme Court decided a house is not your home; where the mills shut down years ago; where the remaining factory makes potato chips in the enormous Fry-Daddy that is my town.

It is important to me to infuse my writing with a sense of place, though Connecticut often loses me. In the South, voices are alternatingly lilting and thick with the heat of history. The West Coast writers are on the edge, pushing discovery and polished individuality. In the big cities across the country, fast-paced talents take leaps that make you hold your breath in anticipation of the landing.

But here...I don't know. We watch the network news and think the anchors sound just like us. We think they could be us. Watching, reporting. Telling the truth as it was always meant to be told. Sometimes I think we lack passion. We lack kindness. Sometimes I think there are no stories behind our facts. We are stony New Englanders removed from the hot center.

Connecticut is where I come from, like it or not. Even if I move away, my tone is set.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

When Defiance is Still Cute

Every meal time, The Boss takes it upon herself to remind me of our dog's presence. "Dog!" she shrieks, pointing with the hysterical emphasis of a child ingraining a word into her vocabulary. "Dog!" She points again, staring down at the dog perched beside her. She looks at me. She looks at our pet. "Dog!"

"Yes, she's a dog. I think you've mentioned that already."


"You can do better than that," I say. "I know you have more words." I never had much patience to begin with, but I have even less when I'm trying to nourish a child who insists on using a spoon when she doesn't know how.

The Boss casts upon me a sideways look of raised eyebrows and a curl-cornered lip. She takes a piece of chicken and holds it out over the edge of the high chair. Her gaze stays connected to mine. I am afraid.

The food falls into the dog's waiting mouth.

"Uh-oh," she says.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

24/7 Car Repair

I know nothing about cars. I know nothing about a lot of things, in fact. One could theoretically string together everything I don't know, end to end, till the link of my idiocy reaches the de-planetized Pluto and comes back again, infinitely. But today we're just talking about cars.

I'm driving a vehicle that is leaking something into (or out of?) something else and then evaporating off a really hot something in a very rubbery-smelling way. All I know for sure is that when a particular light on the dashboard glows orange--I've been told it's in the shape of a radiator--that I must add coolant to the clear thingy underneath the hood of the car. This is, apparently, a temporary band-aid that will cover my car's wounds until the parts my husband ordered from the Internet arrive at our doorstep.

Except that today, I couldn't get the cap off the clear thingy underneath the hood of the car. I tried, but not only am I afraid of opening it because I got psyched out by the message right on the cap that says OPEN SLOWLY, CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE!!!!!!!!! (or something to that effect), but also because I am weak. I am a weak idiot. A weak idiot on the side of the road in a state where no person is under any obligation whatsoever to express an interest in and/or care for another human being. I would've stood there all day if I didn't give up and get back in my car. I headed for a gas station. I needed gas anyway.

There was a man a the Shell station (cheapest around, by one penny) who looked just like my father. He was all white-bearded and porous as he shot the bull with the Pepsi delivery guy. Once my car was done refueling, I asked the gentlemen if either of them would be willing to help me get the cap off the coolant thing. The one who looked like my father was amenable.

"I have to keep adding coolant because it leaks out," I volunteered as he removed the cap, which came off with a gentle hiss that was not nearly as explosive as I feared.

"Oh?" He didn't seem to believe me. As if I am one of those modern, coolant obsessed women who juggles a baby, a writing career and a compulsive need to top off the coolant resevoir every 25 miles.

"Yeah," I said. "Yesterday it almost overheated!"

"Really?" He seemed to believe we were getting somewhere, now.

"It had plenty of coolant and then suddenly it was gone! Boy, I sure don't want that to happen again." I probably didn't sound that hokey, but almost.

"How's the oil?"

Ding! Ding! Bells went off in my head. I knew the answer to this! The Partner shared the story with me last night when I went to visit him in the garage. Those trips are rare for me, as I hate that workspace and everything in it. I feel roughly the same way about garages as I do about Home Depot. Both are cavernous and dingy; both are filled with mice, birds and plumber's cracks.

"The oil is fine. There's no coolant leaking in there. Nosirree. My husband checked it last night. This type of car is prone to coolant leaking into the engine, though. Yup, my last engine had that very problem. But not now. This time it's the filter." What filter, I have no idea. And, d'ya know what? He didn't ask.

So he poured in the coolant that I had pulled out from behind my driver's seat. Really, he was going above and beyond. I just needed the cap opened. I could've figured out the rest.

"There you go," he said, replacing the cap and closing the hood.

"Thanks," I said. He nodded and walked away.

I side-stepped to the driver's side with a spring to my gait. I waved at The Boss, who was content as always in the back seat. I felt like I had really accomplished something.

I averted disaster. All by myself. So what if I needed a little assistance when it came to the manual labor. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Boss's Executive Decision

It appears that The Boss is done sucking at the teat of bewildered maternity. She has had enough. If she could speak coherently, I'm sure she would look me straight in the eye, twerk my nipple, and say "Get that thing away from me, now!" But, instead, she just looks away, points at the ceiling fan, and shrieks "dat."

La Leche and say that it's highly unusual for a child under 18 months to self-wean. Of course, I've heard the "unusual" angle before as it relates to childbearing. If I honestly believed that half of the things that happened during my pregnancy and in the first year of my child's life were so darn strange, I'd have long ago exchanged our home life for a suitcase and the circus. Ladies and Gentlemen! Children of All Ages! Hold onto your hats as we unleash for the first time into civilized society...the Amazing Self-Weaning 13 Month Old and her Bearded Mother!

It's been a process in the works for months now, which is something I realize in retrospect only. She went from several feedings, to not-so-many feedings, to three. But never during this period of gradual decline did she ever request the breast. Other toddlers have words for breastfeeding, and gaping, grasping mannerisms to indicate what they want. Not The Boss. She would drink only when I made the first move, and she would decline anything more than three times a day (upon waking, going down for a nap, and at bedtime). Now, when she wakes in the a.m., she will suck for a minute, only to come up for air making the teeth-gnashing growl of a child hungry for a high chair, a spoon she doesn't know how to use, and colorful foods full of taste.

It's fine, I guess, except that they said I had 18 months. Breastfeeding advocates everywhere swore that either mother or child is aberrant if weaning commences before 18 months of age. Thinking myself and my baby relatively normal, despite a startling number of indicators to the contrary, I counted on that number. I kept a calendar free of commitments well into the winter so that The Boss could get her thrice daily fortifications from mom. And I did it gladly, because that bonding time was just as important to me as it was to the Boss--if not moreso, as it would now appear.

If the real truth is written anywhere, it must be in that How To Raise a Child manual they forgot to give me at the hospital. Either that, or the nurse slipped it to me before the morphine wore off, and I ate it.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Sometimes over dinner with the Partner, I will bring up something one of my favorite bloggers said. From the context, it'll sound almost as if I know her, as if I was over her place that morning, drinking coffee with fake vanilla creamer while kids run/scoot/flop around at our feet. "Would you believe GGC's husband was car jacked today in Hollywood?" I might say. Or, perhaps, "I really need to ask for the sangria recipe Mom-101 used at Thalia's birthday party." And then there's the alliterative "T got a tattoo today!" The Partner always nods along, speaks up in the right places, seems interested enough. He lost the right the comment on the strangeness of talking with such familiarity about people one only knows through the Internet the day he married the girl he met on AOL.

The problem arises when a blog stops, sometimes without notice. One day there is a regular post, and the next, nothing. Then more nothing, till it's weeks later and the comments on that last regular post are all "Where are you? Are you alright? I'm worried!"

I'm not going to go all dramatic and say it's like losing a best friend, but there's a sadness there, certainly. Somewhere along the line, we came to rely on the humor, the drama, the insights of a person we've never met. We took her stories to heart, and felt good keeping them there.

Readers know writers through words. But words aren't everything. Each blogger has her own real world beyond the computer, and as much as we can decipher about it from the screen, that knowledge can never be close to everything. So, maybe when one of our favorite blogs stops, we wonder. We worry. And we're not sure what to do, because it's not like we were ever really friends...

Were we?


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

It Does a Body Good

Breastfeeding my one year old daughter these days often involves a game I affectionately refer to as Peek-A-Boobie. The setting is always the same; it's her darkened bedroom, where the Pavlovian response and a lack of anything else going on conspire to keep my wiggling, grasping baby focused on the task at hand. Having strapped on the feedbag, The Boss's game commences.

Five fingers, skinny for a baby's, but still with some pudge, come around my breast to settle, splayed, over her visible eye. I say Peek-A-Boo! Her giggle is a pink "O" of tongue, nipple and lips. She covers her eye again. Peek-A-Boobie! I get silly, squeezing her up close to my face in a bicep curl I don't mind doing. She is hot and supple against my forearms.

I'm not an overly attentive mother. I'm not too touchy-feely. My daughter is happy entertaining herself because, I'd like to think, I've created a safe environment where she is comfortable doing so. She's not clingy. She does not need to be held all the time. She smiles with penetrating blue eyes that are all her own.

It's the self-sufficiency we share that makes me value the breastfeeding bond that much more. That we are two separate beings is clear. That she will only grow more independent by the day is a fact I not only acknowledge, but encourage. By breastfeeding her, I am mining the caves of primal maternity that have never been a prominent feature on my emotional map. In those recesses lay the feelings that seem to flow closer to the surface in many women. From some, devotion, protection and patience gush. From me, they trickle. But they are undiluted from the breast.

Three times a day now, I am everything she needs. I am everything I can be.

Note: Please see Her Bad Mother for more on this subject.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Proper Nutrition and the Growing Baby Brain

Today my starving Boss ate dog food right out of the bowl in a swift executive move that gave the phrase "living hand to mouth" an entirely new meaning. Because she only ingested one morsel and didn't seem to have a problem, I let her do it. I know another mother might have swept a purposeful pointer through her child's mouth to rid it of fishmeal and ground barley, but I saw absolutely no reason to get involved in a situation that was obviously under control. I watched The Boss's face for any trace of a reaction. There was nothing but amusement at having swiped something that was not hers for the taking. Then she picked up the bowl and dumped half its contents on the floor.

These babies, they don't seem like geniuses. But each day, as their gray matter fills with color, they are able to process so many new aspects of the world. She's eating dry dog dinner now, but I know it won't be too far into the future when I realize that my daughter is smarter than I am. And more well-mannered, to boot. At one year old, she says "thank you" every time somebody hands her something. I'm not sure where she picked that one up.

The visiting nurse who came to do a one-week check-up on myself and the newborn Boss described the amazing speed with which babies grow in a way I will always remember. Though it's not perceptible to the naked eye at any one moment, just a week of time lapse photography would show a child's life as it unfolds: the arms adding inches in increments, the thighs thickening, the eyes getting wide. Maybe you've seen a flower open that way. Maybe you've seen fruit rot. They are situations that seem slow if you watch them in real time, but they are fast, fast, fast when you look back.

I think the brains of these little ones grow similarly to their lengthening limbs. Probably faster, actually, if I wanted to get technical (which I don't--and couldn't, even if I had the inclination). The point is, they grow fast. Watching them discover with a swiftness the world around them is one of the biggest joys of parenting. One day they are floppy on the floor and the next they can sit. One day they are jelly on their feet and the next they can stand. One day they say nothing and the next they say "dog." One late night they are sleeping swaddled; the next morning they gaze up at you, their arms outstretched.

I never said being a mother was all roses. But the bloom is as beautiful.

Friday, August 11, 2006

That Means You

I will be incommunicado this weekend, and I love nothing more than the idea of setting myself up for something to come back to when I log onto my dear old friend, the Internet. To that end, I am asking for reader participation.

I see this site's user statistics, so I know somebody's reading it. Somebody from Alaska. Somebody from California. Somebody from Utah. There should be more from Connecticut than there are. There are a bunch of somebodies from a bunch of states and even a couple countries that aren't mine. On a good day, there are so many readers that adding them up on my fingers won't do, making it so that I must whip out my toes to get an accurate count.

So, who are you? Where are you reading from? What brought you here and, more importantly, what makes you stay? If you've never commented before, now's as good a time as any to start. Blogging isn't just about airing laundry in varying states of cleanliness. It's about the community you discover when you go out to put it all on the line.

Who are the people in my neighborhood?

Weekend Reading

1. One book that changed your life: Books don't change people. People change people.

2. One book that you've read more than once: Beach Music by Pat Conroy

3. One book you would want on a desert island: The Collected Works of Shakespeare. It would have to be a very barren island.

4. One book that made you laugh: This "one book" thing is limiting. I choose for this category the entire Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. If you are easily embarrassed, don't read these books in public. They force you to laugh like nobody's listening.

5. One book that made you cry: One?!?! Fine. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. I was an eighth grader with a burdgeoning penchant for bad boys when I first read it. Oh, how I cried.

6. One book that you wish had been written: I don't know. I've been staring at this question for 25 minutes, trying to dredge up something witty and insightful. I got nothin'. Moving on...

7. One book that you wish had never been written: Wishing something un-written is a lazy form of book burning. When it comes to freedom, you have to take the good with the bad.

8. The book that you are currently reading: Capote by Gerald Clarke. I've been reading it forever. Even though it's good, I never feel the same urgency with non-fiction books that I do with the made up variety.

9. One book that you have been meaning to read: Anything famously literary. A book that inspires conversations on blogs and at cocktail parties. But it's that whole urgency thing again. I don't feel any.

Meme courtesy of Toddled Dredge.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Our Collective Memory

The sky was blue like today's. If there were a few cottonball clouds, they were nothing that threatened to gum up the works in that well-designed machine of destruction. I saw metal and fasteners fall from the azure in an industrial rain that rendered temperate summer days forever tainted. The sky was like today's. It still is.

My life was different. I was a single woman working in the Connecticut suburbs of New York City as the coordinator of a now defunct catalog. I was unhappy because my boyfriend was far away. I was bored because that's how I am. I drove a black Cadillac Seville STS, a name that still rolls off my tongue with the smooth glide of luxury.

Now I am married with a baby. Instead of editing, I write. The Caddy and the boredom are gone. It was mostly a good transition, except that I took something with me from those days that I'm never going to shake. None of us came out empty-handed, of course; that's what binds us together. It's all a matter of what we could grasp, and how far we could carry it. Me, I took a fear of blue skies.

There is no complacency in fear, which is why I need it. I don't even care that I perceive everything now in shades of gray. There was a time for the vivid color of gentle breezes, but it's over. It ended that September and it will never come back.

I plan to tell this to my daughter, once she is old enough to understand me, and I her. Still, she will see colors brightly. Stories come down in plain sketches that we must fill in ourselves. Our parents heard of Pearl Harbor; we read textbooks about Vietnam. It was as if they never happened. We were spoiled by a quarter century of America.

Today the sky is blue. The threat level is red. The conditions are right for chaos. Please don't forget.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

What's in a Name?

Last night, as we watched the results of the political primaries held throughout the state, I asked The Partner if he knew what the name Ned was short for.

"Nedward," he said, with authority.

I hit him close to the kidneys in that loving, wifely way. But it got me thinking about nicknames.

I've gone by the name Binky for as long as I can remember. My mother was signing me up for library story time and doctor's appointments under the Binky appellation long before I had any say in the matter. My given name is nothing that such a nickname could be rationally derived from, but that didn't stop my mother. Rationality was never really a sticking point with her.

In third grade, I was a dorky Binky with a bad home perm (again, I can thank my mom for that) and Coke bottle eye glasses. In seventh grade, I was presidential-hopeful Binky, running on the "Don't Clown Around, Vote for Binky" platform. When I entered high school, I went by my given name on paper, but I was Binky in the halls.

I've found that college students don't generally like to introduce themselves by the name that denotes clowns, baby pacifiers, and tattered Lovies. I was no different. But when my new friends stumbled upon my nickname--as they would, they always would, usually courtesy of my mother, whose reach is apparently good for 500+ miles--it was comforting to hear it used again, an homage to a childhood left behind.

I'm Binky today, and I am reverting back to a carefree, too-young-to-know-better state of mind when it comes to caring what other people think about it. Professionally, I still go by my given name, but even that part of my life is taking a turn for the laissez-faire as I greet each haphazard day with the devil-may-care attitude of a freelance-writing mother blogger.

It's the right name for me, which is something I'm typing right now with a bit of incredulity in my fingers. It is a name I despised at times, was ambivalent about on other occasions, and rarely, if ever, liked. But it's me. And now that I am beginning to understand and appreciate myself in a way I never have, that name--that integral part of anyone's identity--has more meaning and resonance than ever.

So The Partner and I gave our daughter a weird name, too. But to really sock it to her, we put it on her birth certificate so there'd be nothing to fall back on. We think it's distinctive. We think it has character. And in 28 years, maybe she'll thank us.

What's your nickname? What are your children's nicknames? What do those names mean to you?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

What Your Mother Never Told You

The Boss has a hidden agenda she's not very adept at concealing. It manifested itself for the first time this weekend when The Partner and I took her out for brunch at an eatery in town. I was chowing down on an Egg Beater omelette when I noticed The Boss go rigid in her high chair. She bore down with a look of absolute concentration on her face. The Partner and I assumed it was gas, but we assumed wrong. Below the table, her thighs were flexing and releasing in an exploratory dance as she harnassed the power of kegel muscles she didn't know she had. She was pleased with the discovery.

If she was making noise, that would've been one thing, but since she was silent in her occupation, The Partner and I saw no reason to interrupt her. The single-mindedness of her pursuit harkened back to her days as a newborn, when her mouth was like a birdy's beak in search of the worm every time the flap of my nursing bra came down. She had always been a determined girl. The Partner and I enjoyed a leisurely meal and probably could've stayed for several slow Bloody Mary's, so preoccupied was our dining companion at the head of the table.

I'm pretty sure this is a normal developmental milestone, but I don't know that the kind of keywords I would have to type into Google in order to confirm it would produce the search results I'm looking for. Instead, I'll ask all my friends with kids, who, though probably not as quick to bring up such things as I am, will not hesitate to share their stories once prodded. And I'll talk about it on this here humble little parenting blog, where I'm part of a community filled with so many others who aren't afraid to tell it like it is, either.

In this line of work, there's no such thing as "none of your business."

Feel free to contribute any anecdotes about your own child's self-discovery to the 24/7 company newsletter on the comment form below. No submissions will be kept confidential.

Edited to add: In my effort to talk about an indiscreet subject in a discreet way, I think I erred on the side of ambiguity. Let me rectify that now. I'm talking about masturbation, people.

Edited again to add: Would you believe there are those who take their children to the doctor's office for such things?

Friday, August 04, 2006

Who Cares It's Friday

Today, I am too busy to blog. Too frustrated to care. Too pissed off to go more than three sentences without taking the sweasy* way out. So instead of offending my readers' delicate sensibilities, I will abide by my mother's favorite truism for her eldest daughter: if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. It's a good thing I'm not usually so obedient, or I would've gone through childhood as a mute. And I most certainly would've never started a blog.

One of the writers I admire greatly wrote a piece several weeks ago that speaks to the kind of overextension I am feeling today. Read it.

Maybe tomorrow I'll have something to say.

*Cute, huh? I made that up. It means using a lot of swear words, because, quite frankly, it makes me feel better.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


This morning I cried my way through the second reading at the funeral mass for my best friend's father. Words like what is seen is transitory and what is unseen is eternal were smeared with tears on the photocopied sheet in front of me. Any intention I had to speak slowly and clearly, while making generous eye contact with the mourners, was soon replaced by the desire to finish the passage without breaking down completely. It was embarrassing. But with a funeral comes perspective, and in that air conditioned church that protected us from the 100 degree temperatures outside, it was easy not to sweat the small stuff.

Kelly's mother and sister thanked me profusely and lied about how well I did. They told me it meant a lot to Kelly. I said I was glad to do it.

When Kelly thanked me herself, she said "I think dad would've liked that."

Then she smiled like she does, and slid in the one-liner. "He was always telling me to be nicer to you."

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The 5 Second Rule

After yesterday's heavy post, I thought this would be a good time to discuss something that won't kill you--or probably won't, anyway. I'm talking about adherence to the Five Second Rule.

A study conducted by an intern at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (did you hear that, Amy?) came up with a host of results that I am going to summarize thusly:

1) If the food is dry and the floor is dry, 5 seconds probably won't hurt you

2) If it's wet and hairy, don't eat it

3) Women are more likely than men to eat off the floor

Before The Boss came into my life with her laissez-faire approach to eating off surfaces upon which others like to walk, the idea of putting into my own mouth something that had only seconds ago kissed the floor was repugnant. To hear the invocation of the Five Second rule was to gag.

It turns out that this is only one of many, many things on which I've been forced to do a complete 180 since becoming a mother. Now that my daughter is one year old, I am not above sitting down with her for a veritable feast on the hardwoods. I scarf down humble pie on the sidewalk. And I do it with nary a shrug in the direction of the sanitized life I left behind.

It's just another one of those things in a day's work.