Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Doin' it wrong with sex education

Hannah's birthday is tomorrow.  She's uber-excited.  She makes a ferret in a hall of mirrors look subdued.  At dinner tonight she was talking about the girls who are coming to her birthday party on Saturday, and the possible gifts she might receive.  What started out as a predictable discussion of stuff-I-want turned quickly sweet.  And then disturbing.  Observe:

Hannah: There are so many things that I want that can't come in a package.
Husband: (off-stage) Like pizza sauce?
Hannah and Me: Eww!
Hannah: Plus, pizza sauce might be in a jar, so it could be in a package.
Me: So what do you mean?
Hannah: Like you.  And Daddy.
Me: (kind of melty) Oh, sweetie, you have us anyway, so you wouldn't need a package, right?
Hannah: And love.
Me: (still melty and now beaming)
Hannah: And a baby.
Me: (now blanching) Um. You're a little young for babies.
Hannah: But I love them.  Besides, I meant for you to have a baby.
Me: Oh, I'm all done having babies.  Sorry.
Hannah: (pause)
               Anyway, how do you keep babies from just popping out all the time?
Me: Well.  Uh.  Moms and Dads have to do things to make babies happen.
(at this point I know I'm on thin ice)
Hannah: (here it comes) Like what?
Me: (pause)
        Like plan for a baby.  And Daddy and I aren't planning any more babies.  We're all done.
Hannah: Well I'm planning them for you.  Let's see, if it's a girl... but if it's a boy... (trails off theatrically)

You'll notice that the Husband was decidedly absent from the whole conversation once the discussion of pizza was clearly off the table.

Mind you, I've already told Hannah how the baby comes out, and she found the idea disgusting.  But she asked.  I'm just not ready to talk about how they get in there in the first place.

Yep. Still procrastinating.  She's seven, people!  At least until tomorrow she is.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Doin' it wrong-- with making a cotton-picking decision for once!

Although I may not always appear that way, I am hard-wired to care-take.  I have a strong tendency to refuse to say what I want in order to protect the feelings of others.  Also to avoid the crushing experience of rejection when someone tells me that, now that I've asked for it out loud, I still can't have what I want.  I've made this tendency into a way of life, so much that I routinely drive my husband up the wall with my fishing for the "right" answer to questions of opinion.

Husband: Where do you want to go for dinner?
Me: Well.  Last time we went out we had Italian food...
Husband: ...And...
Me:  And we haven't been to the barbecue place in a while...
Husband: ...So...
Me:  We could just go to Chili's; that's easy...
Husband: ... (blank stare)
Me: Or we could go down to Paul's for beef sandwiches...
Husband: (wanders away to find something productive to do)
Me: I might want Chinese...
Husband: (starting the car and pulling out of the driveway)
Me: Or maybe we should go to that place I like downtown and sit on the patio...

Really, I'm hoping he'll give me some clue as to what he wants as I'm listing the options.  Once he actually told me he didn't need to hear a list of the restaruants in town, he just wanted me to pick.  But if I come out with a firm choice, sometimes he does say "No, I don't want to go there," which does NOT reinforce my choosing behavior, I'll tell you that much.

We generally eat out only on Thursdays.  This ensures at least one night a week I sit with my family instead of messing around in the kitchen all night.  We rotate from week to week who chooses the restaurant.  When it's Hannah's turn to choose, it's invariably Steak-n-Shake or McDonalds.  She needs her milkshakes, people.  And on one of my recent turns I emphatically declared that we would try the Red Robin that opened at the mall near us last year.

Oooh!  Red Robin.  It got a lot of hype when it opened, and it seems to be regarded as some kind of wonderland of American fare.  When we walked in the decor reminded me a little of Ed Debevick's in Chicago.  Fortunately, the wait staff isn't encouraged to be a bunch of jerk-faces at Red Robin as they are at Ed's.  The menu offered, among other things, a selection of $10 hamburgers that didn't seem to me to justify themselves.  I liked the sweet potato fries, though.

Here's my other problem with making a choice: sometimes I make a lame one.  Not bad, per se, but a bit disappointing. Then I spend the rest of the day thinking about the other choices I could have made.  I know it's a waste of time, but since when does that stop me from doing stupid things?

This Choosing Disorder seems to have some kind of genetic basis, as my mom demonstrates the same tendencies.  When faced with this in my mother, I just go ahead and make a decision, but that is, technically, to protect her from feeling put on the spot.  So I'm not so much choosing a restaurant as I am choosing to avoid a socially awkward situation.  And it's still kind of care-take-y.

There may be no hope for me.  But there might be a $10 cheese burger.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Doin' it wrong with the purchase of goods and services

I'm reflecting on the futility of work lately.

My boss made a comment one recent Saturday (our busiest day of the week!) that work was getting in the way of his not-working.  I disagreed, and said:
"If not for work, I'd never get anything done."
He looked at me like I was making a stupid joke or something, so I clarified:
"No, no. I mean, often on my actual days off I get relatively little accomplished.  But if I also see clients on a given day, I'll probably get a load of laundry done and the floor mopped, in addition to making dinner and helping Hannah with her homework and piano lesson.  If I'm just home all day, I'll probably play Solitaire on the computer or watch Dr. Who."

I do like my job.  And I have several clients who believe they would not function without seeing me regularly.  We're working on that, incidentally.  But I also notice that I, along with everyone else, expend a lot of effort to earn money in order to NOT do work.  You know, the hard stuff.

Today I have scheduled some people to come remove a metric boat-load of leaves from my yard, and am pricing service providers to have my trees trimmed.  There are seven of them; that's gonna be steep.  I also scheduled an appointment to have my dog bathed and groomed, and a second one for his vaccinations.  Then I went to two different stores to buy ingredients for stuff I want to cook, most of which is extravagant, and some of which is chocolate.  That stuff's totally critical.  But seriously.  Gruyere is twice as expensive as Swiss cheese, and no one in my family will notice besides me.  And still I shell out.  Can they see me coming or what?

I've recently been reading some Charles Dickens, and I've read Terry Pratchett's new historical novel that utilizes both Dickens and Henry Mayhew as characters.  I got on the internet to find out whether I could find a copy of Mayhew's London Labour and the London Poor.  I uncharacteristically read some folk stories and poems edited by W.B. Yeats, with lovely depictions of rural subsistence farmers.  Then I put some dirty laundry in a magic box that washes it, and subsequently into a different magic box that dries it, and try to make room for all of this sparkly clean clothing in our overflowing dresser drawers.  My life is so full of ease and excess; but I often forget, because my luxury is a Ford instead of a Jaguar.

I own property, but I'd never be able to make a living off if if suddenly Publix Supermarket ceased to exist.  So I'll keep showing up for work at a job where I feel like I can do something useful for others, and where my boss just keeps signing my check to verify that he values what I'm doing.  

On the other hand, I did feel pretty good about turning over some of the maintenance of said property, at least for this month, to a couple of guys just trying to make their own living.