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Monthly Archives: October 2007
I wish I could say that every moment has been bliss. It hasn’t. We’ve faced depression, horrible disappointments, and death—heaping portions of them in the last 12 months. Laughter and faith in one another have lightened the load. We know we are strong enough to weather the bad times. I love the life we’re building together. May it be a long and mostly happy one. I love you.
posted by Mel
Saturday morning I woke up before Vanessa and Eric, proceeded to the kitchen, washed the dishes that were still sitting in the sink from the day before, opened up a new cookbook (AWESOME- btw) that I have an advance copy of from work and made Chicken Pizziola. We had it for lunch, and it went over pretty well. So Sunday morning I got up and did it all over again—only this time I had something in mind, googled a couple of recipes, and cobbled something together—a ground pork/baked apple casserole using biscuit mix for a crust. Vanessa wanted to go out for breakfast, so I ended up throwing it all back in the fridge to make for that night. Around 5 PM I got it out, let it come up to room temperature and then threw it in the oven for an hour. Vanessa took one bite and said, “I don’t think I can eat this.” The biscuit mix was still a soggy dough from the chicken stock I’d used to bind the pork and breadcrumbs together. I put it back in the oven, but it never came together. She was right. It was inedible. But I was angry– not at her but at me. A super mom doesn’t fail like this. Everything she touches is magic. Super mom is what I’ve been trying to be.
A super mom gets the laundry done. A super mom gets a tasty semi-nutritious supper on the table at night and makes sure everyone’s eating breakfast. A super mom keeps a neat, orderly home— a home that makes you feel like you’re on vacation from the cares of the outside world the moment you step in the door.
But I’m not super mom. I’m messy and disorganized. The house is a wreck—full of unrecycled recyclables, dirty dishes, and odds and ends from Peggy’s house that all reside for at least a little while in our living room until we figure out where they will go long-term. Vanessa and I both have to work. Eric is 19, not a toddler, and he’s not our son, even if he still needs some parenting. Hot home-cooked meals will provide him some comfort and sustenance, but they won’t change his life or ours. They won’t change the fact that Peggy died or make us the perfect insta-family. I just haven’t quite figured out what my role is yet, how best to care for Vanessa and Eric while they mourn and how to think about our new situation. It doesn’t fit into any of my known models for family. It’s not that I’m not grateful for it– just that it’s all new. Right now it would be a whole lot easier if there was some kind of a script to follow until we’re all back on our feet.
posted by Mel
With my last post I fear I might have given you all the impression that it’s all hairy showers and crusty dishes over here. There’s lots of good stuff, too– like the other day when I was helping Vanessa get the dogs to the car to go to daycare and Eric rushed out the door behind us because he thought we were going for a walk, and he wanted to go too. There were the pork loin medallions, mashed potatoes, and green beans we made for dinner the other night, when he was silent with the ecstasy of a hot home-cooked meal eaten aound a dining room table. There was his exclamation that “People around here are awesome!” when someone stopped and asked us for directions to an art gallery in Fountain Square last night– this because someone we don’t know talked to us, and we answered, and it was all very friendly, making me wonder just how hostile the suburb where he and his mom lived has gotten if someone wouldn’t stop a stranger for directions! We’re glad he’s liking city life! There’s also the fact that, unasked, he scooped up all the dog poop in the yard for the last week, and I didn’t even know it. I felt a little guilty about complaining after Vanessa told me that.
Today we’re taking him to the orchard I’ve been going to since I was an infant, and we’re letting him pick out his very own pumpkin to carve for Halloween. I’m going to pick apples for a pie. Yeah, I have my Betty Crocker moments, and it’s nice sometimes to get to play mom.
posted by Mel
Now that Eric has been with us for a little more than a week, the honeymoon is drawing to a close– you know, the period where I wanted as much family time as possible because, damn it, the three of us are a family now, and I want to get started making some good memories. Walks in the park. Grocery shopping together. Waking him up to the smell of bacon frying so that he feels like this is home.
And then I was slapped with the cruel reality of the situation. He is 19-years-old, but he has never done his own laundry or balanced his own checkbook. He primps in front of the bathroom mirror like a suburban princess on the night of her first cotillion, and he requires more creams, gels, astringents, lotions, and other things that come in tiny tippy plastic bottles in one day than I’ve used in my entire 31 years. He takes 30 minute showers and 45 minute craps (his word not mine). He stuffs our refrigerator full of highly caffeinated beverages in 24-oz PLASTIC bottles so that there’s no room for anything else. In 5 minutes he polishes off the guacamole you thought was going to last the three of you two nights and leaves the unrinsed bowl on the counter. There is no civility, people.
So after two trips to the big recycling bin in Garfield Park, at least a dozen loads of laundry, stepping into a swampy hairy smelly shower, and resorting to B.M.s at work for a week because I can’t get bathroom time at home, with Vanessa’s full support I have started a list of things I think we can reasonably expect from a 19-year-old of sound mind and body. It follows:
-Plan ahead to complete homework assignments and study for exams.
-Get good grades. (totally achievable in his case)
-Record your financial transactions in your checkbook, and balance it regularly.
-Pay your cell phone bill on time.
-Rinse out dishes when you are done with them
-Do your own laundry (I have performed a demonstration.)
-Mow the lawn (This one is your special gift to us.)
-Make environmentally-conscious purchases (aluminum not plastic. That’s all we ask.)
-Remove your hair from the drain after showering. Also squeegee the shower floor toward the drain.
-Scoop the litterbox every day (just the one for the two cats he brought with him, not the one upstairs)
Those are the reasonable expectations. (Tell me if they’re not.)
Here are the perhaps unreasonable ones I wish we could add to the list.
-No staying out past 11:30 PM on schoolnights.
-Your baby-voice girlfriend should not be in our home for longer than 3 hours at a time, nor should she ever again park in my space. Also, stop spending all of your money on her. She has her own car and a job.
-We will provide an egg-timer for your “crap” time. Please do whatever you need to do to exit the bathroom within 10 minutes. Unless you’re really constipated, it should never take longer than that. Leaving the cellphone outside the bathroom will help you achieve this goal.
-Please cut your hair at least as short as ours so that it will stop clogging the shower drain.
-Stop buying all that soda and try some water. It’s good for you.
It’s safe to say that a state of parenthood has been achieved– the baby’s just not as small as I thought he would be.
posted by Melody
…just to say that I really hate that the toilet paper holders at work are apparently too small for the brand of TP that we use. So if you happen to get in there shortly after the installation of a fresh roll, you are forced to claw the paper out one square at a time.
This just doesn’t seem sanitary. I wonder how many people give up and just drip dry.
Now that we share housespace with a 19-year-old boy, other thoughts in this vein are likely to follow.