Letter to Dane, 540 (Part Warp Speed, Baby)

Hey, Little Man.

Yes, I’m writing you letters again. No, this time I promise I won’t mention the glad wrap incident or all of your embarrassing nicknames. (Well, I might mention one or two, snugglebuggy. What? I’m still the mommy here.)

You’re awfully busy, friend. Today I looked through a doorway and found you pushing your fire truck down the hall and muttering whee-eww, whee-eww under your breath. You won’t go outside without your ball cap, and you think your basketball goal is the coolest toy you’ve ever seen, except for the motorized Jeep owned by the three-year-old down the street. I would call him spoiled but you’re getting one for Christmas next year. Don’t tell Daddy.

I still refuse to cut your hair, and I’m sure at seventeen you’re going to look back on photos at this stage of life and complain to me about your shag. But I love to run my fingers through those curls and feel the under-damp after your nap, and oh, the smell of it, baby, the smell. I could eat you, if you weren’t so busy with your trains and toy motorcycles and mow-mow, and leaking mucus from here to kingdom come. I love all of you, mucus included, but I’ll pass on getting personal with your snot unless it’s a medical necessity. Some day, you’ll understand.

You’re trying to get words into sentences now, and you’re gleeful over rolling banana slices around your placemat like wheels, and unless you’re asleep, you’re stuck on turbo speed. Every morning and every afternoon, we go out and wave at the school bus, and the driver, Mr. Greg, stops and waves back at us. Today, you opened and closed your fist, asking him to honk. You love lawn equipment of any kind, the mail truck, the garbage truck, your green plastic shovel (DIG! DIG!) and Puppy (who, by the way, has developed an odor despite many, many washings. We’re going to have to address this, posthaste.).

I don’t know, little man, about this growing up business. Of course I wouldn’t want it any other way. But when you’re racing around the house at a thousand miles an hour, all I want to do is scoop you up and breath you in and hold you. We’re not getting these moments back. It’s not always easy and it’s almost never perfect, but as your father has observed in the past, things in our house are at their best when they’re just a little sideways. So when I cover you in kisses or cut off your air supply by hugging you too tight or insist on wiping you down with one last Boogie Wipe, have patience with your mama. You’re headed towards warp speed, baby, and all I want, to paraphrase a country song, is a slow down.

 Dirt, baby.



p.s. That puppy thing has to happen. Sorry, little dude. Puppy needs a dip.

p.p.s. Hey, Yeah Write folks: I wrote this last week and linked up with Alison at Mama Wants This and Galit at These Little Waves for Memories Captured, so if you’ve already read it, I’m sorry! I’m out of town for a few weeks and more behind than usual. Thanks, y’all! -s



Because it’s Monday, and I Can

Well, it’s Monday again, and I spent the whole weekend eating pizza and sushi and cookies and drinking beer and doing taxes and BOY HOWDY am I glad that’s all over (the taxes part, I mean) (because pizza, sushi, cookies and beer ROCK). And because it’s Monday, and because The Good Life is hosting Monday Listicles, and because, as I’ve previously mentioned, I love a good list, here’s a new one. Stasha’s topic this week was “CELEBRITIES: THEY’RE JUST LIKE US” (a la US Weekly), but once I started writing I realized I don’t really want celebrities to be like me, because that would make my People really, really boring. So, instead, here are my top ten dream jobs (because, well, I can).


1. Nail Polish Namer: When was the last time you had a mani/pedi? And did you marvel at the name on the bottom of the bottle? Lincoln Park After Dark? Pussy Galore? Brazilian Wax Gone Bad? Okay, I made that last one up (see, y’all? TRUE. TALENT). I’ve been wearing I’m Not Really a Waitress since I was, in fact, a waitress, but I may finally switch to the new OPI Texas Collection shade Suzi Loves Cowboys. Because, well… duh.

Oh, and OPI: Call me.

2. Starbucks Taste-Tester: Because: obviously. Also, I’d never have to sleep again. WINNING.

3. Island Sitter: No joke, this was a real thing in New Zealand or somewhere similarly tropical (okay, I did a little research and found the info here. FOR REAL, YO.). You had to make a video and be charming and intelligent and look good in a swimsuit. As you might guess, I didn’t get the job.

4. Suri Cruise’s Personal Biographer: Don’t you want to be a fly on the wall in that house? As a bonus, I’d walk around all day humming Highway to the Danger Zone. As a double-added bonus, I think Katie (Kate? Katie? PICK A NAME, ALREADY.) is still besties with Pacey. That’s right, I said it: PACEY.

5. Ditto (4), sub Ryan Reynolds for Suri: Because, well, see (2).

6. GOOP editor: Oh Gwynnie. For whom do you write this drivel? I’d receive your latest copy recommending the mother-to-be needs $164 bassinet sheets and J-Brand maternity skinny jeans, and send it back to you suggesting that a mother-to-be, in fact, needs a functioning diaper genie, two comfortable nursing bras and a long nap.

7. Published Novelist: I don’t need awards. Really, I don’t even need to get paid all that much (although don’t get me wrong, major publishing houses. I won’t turn your dollars away.). Hey, a girl can dream.

8. Professional Soccer Player: I could run around sweaty and gross in my sports bra, be a role model for little girls AND get to meet David Beckham. And I’m already well-qualified for one-third of those requirements!

9. Donald Trump: Because once, just once, I want to fire somebody on The Celebrity Apprentice. Preferably Aubrey O’Day, but I’d also accept Lisa Lamapanelli or Victoria Gotti (can we bring her back just for that purpose?). Also, because I really want to tell Don, Jr. to LAY OFF THE HAIR PRODUCT ALREADY.

10. Dane’s Mommy: Ahhhhh, that’s right: I’ll stick with my day job.

Dee. Lish.

Smooch -s

Today in the Mommyhood, Day 534 (Part: Shots, Anyone?)

I went to the grocery store today.

Now there’s a way to start a post. Is your heart pounding? Breath coming in short, quick bursts? Has Fabio appeared at your doorway to sweep you off to the bedroom? If so, you’re welcome.

If not, well, have another chocolate goldfish and stay with me.

So I head off to the grocery store, and when I get there I throw my keys somewhere and retrieve the cart and load Dane up, yadayadayada, and when I’m finally ready to go into the store, I reach for my keys to lock the car and, of course, I can’t find them. And I check all my pockets and the cart and the seats and when it becomes painfully, obviously clear that they’re not anywhere else, I finally turn to my purse. Now, I’ve always been a big purse, carry-the-kitchen-sink kind of girl, and, as you might imagine, having a baby has only, ahem, amplified that habit. And of course, because I’m totally occupied with Dane and making sure his mucus stays contained to the four parking spots around us, and because I’m still a little sleep-deprived, I dig around for, no joke, probably four or five minutes before I realize the only way I’m going to find those damn keys is to actually clean out my purse on the trunk of my rental vehicle. And you know what I found in there? No? Well, allow me to share:

The Obvious: my wallet, itself the size of a small clutch, and so stuffed with receipts the zipper is permanently jammed halfway open; reading glasses, because I’m old; sunglasses, also because I’m old but refuse to believe I’m no longer cool; four tubes of Burt’s bees, because, like socks in the dryer, my purse EATS THAT SHIT; and a bottle opener, because, really, how many times have you wished you had one? and because, let’s face it, I’m just that kind of girl.

The Baby-Related: a diaper pod, for obvious reasons; three types of wipes, for general sanitization, sensitive skin, and Boogie Wipes because OHMYGODWILLTHEMUCUSEVEREND; a bottle of sanitizer (see previous); three matchbox cars, two sets of toy keys (none of which fit the car) and a toy laptop; a week-old snack trap filled with fossilized goldfish and Cheerios; industrial-strength playtex super-super-plus tampons; a bottle of adult ibuprofen; and Dane’s sunglasses, missing one lens and mangled into the shape of a pretzel.

The Random: Roughly fourteen thousand loose goldfish, Cheerios and bunny grahams; two semi-eaten post-it pads (and yes, I mean literally semi-eaten, by small baby teeth); three hair clips, missing since roughly the dawn of time; a golf-ball sized ball of actual dryer lint (to which I respond, WTF, PURSE? are you having a tryst with my appliances? should I expect dirty dishes to show up next?); several beer bottle caps, which I’ve never before seen but am certain are the responsibility of my spouse; a twist tie; a dead ladybug; and two small quartz landscaping rocks from my neighbor’s mailbox bed (sorry, Denise.).

The Obscene: Fourteen Boogie Wipes in varying stages of decomposition, all encrusted with mucus; one just-slightly dirty diaper balled up into a very small, tight ball (so THAT’S where that went!); and one pair of women’s underwear that I’m mostly certain belong to me but have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA HOW THEY ENDED UP IN MY PURSE.

Yes. So there I am, standing in the middle of my neighborhood grocery store parking lot with a dead ladybug, some tampons, beer paraphernalia and a pair of random underwear spread out on the trunk of my car, and people are walking by and checking me out like I’m my own personal flea market, and yet I STILL HAVE NO KEYS. And then, as if by a stroke of magic, my phone buzzes in my pocket and I reach in there, and voila, of course:

F***ing. Keys.

When chocolate goldfish happen to good people…

Smooch -s

Lawnmower Beer

I’m having a writerly moment. Do y’all know what I mean? The voices start whispering and you’re compelled to the laptop, or the notebook computer, or your phone, or yesterday’s grocery receipt and a Comfort Suites pen from 1997. And my writerly moment, which I wish would be about world peace or National Child Abuse Prevention Month or even the lack of quality programming on television, is about… lawnmower beer.

Thanks, inspiration.

I took a long nap today. Without going into the backstory, Dane and I have been up between 4:30 and 5:30 a.m. the last few days, and I’m again buried under the PTSD of mommyhood and all the other shit I never have time to do, and I’m tired. Anyway, Dane took a two-hour nap (unheard of! pigs flying! at some point, this child has to sleep!), and so did I, and I woke to the buzz-and-roar of a lawnmower.

The lawnmower: that’s another sound of my childhood. Dane and I will share that, I suspect, because we live in a similar neighborhood as I did as a child, and because he’s obsessed with lawn equipment. I remember laying on my bed and hearing the advance-and-retreat of the engine as my father rounded our house. The smell of gasoline, dangerous and pungent, and somehow also decadent – the same type of smell I would later associate with the first puff of a cigarette – permeated our garage. My father had an old cord-start mower, and the pull of that cord was the sound of Saturday, of summer, of long naps and mosquitoes buzzing and sleeping late and salt and sweat in the air.

Our childhoods have hearts and souls. I hear the lawnmower and I smell my father after a long day in the sun and remember how when he didn’t shave, he’d hold me down and rub his whiskers on my face. My mom would come inside with brown hands and brown shoulders and a floppy sun hat and the smell of earth and growing things on her hands. The air conditioner would cut the heat at the door and coming in and out was like walking through a wall of steam into a cool, clear cloud. And I would lay on the floor with Aunt Brookie and watch the fan blades turn above us and the water in our pool glisten through the sliding glass doors, and believe those days would never, ever end.

When the sun went down, my sister and I would run around barefoot in the grass while the cicadas sang and the tree frogs screamed and my parents sat on the deck – built by my father, always built by my father – and drank sweating beers. There were always people around when I was a kid, like a scene from Gatsby’s: my parents’ friends, neighbors, my friends or Aunt Brookie’s, our extended family, whoever. And the grass would be freshly cut and smelling like sweet, crisp summer and the voices would rise and fall as the heat undulated across our backyard until darkness took the edge off that summer-swamp madness and God blew a little relief down on us with the rising of the moon and the appearance of the stars.

Now instead of me laying on the floor, it’s Dane, and instead of my parents’ friends, I am the parent (who approved that, I wonder? don’t these people know I’m highly underqualified?), and instead of Bud Light or a Corona with lime, it’s Jon’s home brew or Shiner or my neighbor’s bloody mary. But the changes are minor. It may be Raleigh instead of Houston, or April instead of June, but I know that down in Texas, mom and dad are out on the deck with a cold beer, watching the fireflies light up the hill country night and remembering those days from our childhood, just like I’m living and reliving them here. So I guess those days never really do end. And thank God for that.

Smooch -s

Easter Monday and Whatnot

So, in addition to being in a food coma from this weekend (and also from today, in which I ate not one but THREE chocolate mini bunnies), I’m behind on, like, 80% of my life. Part of that 80% belongs to the federal government. This means that instead of my usual wordy wordiness, today I present:


Subtitled: Because Words Are More Effective When I’ve Got Some That Other People Want to Read (Instead of Bitching About my Taxes and Stomachache and Calling it Good)

Henceforth, from Dane’s first Easter egg hunt at our neighbor’s house last Friday, in which the eighty degree weather we’ve had for all of March dropped to 40 and sucking:

Dis’? Dis’?

Um, Mommy. You know it’s raining, right?

Photoshop, Mommy. Look into it.

And finally:


Smooch -s

An Open Letter to my Uterus

Hello, Uterus.

If you were present on the outside of my body, you would see I’m giving you the infamous Costanza-Newman stare. What’s that, you ask? Who’s Costanza?

Well, that’s problem number one.

So, Uterus. Do you mind if I call you Utey? Or Ute? Or simply U? Because every time I type Uterus it feels like I’m typing a combination of Jupiter and Uranus and I have the irrepressible urge to hit spell check and frankly, I’m not getting any writing done. Let’s settle on U, shall we? ‘Kay? Thanks.

So U. We’ve been through a lot. Puberty. The utter humiliation of that first doctor’s visit, the one who looked uncannily like Joey Buttafuoco. The college years, many of which, I’ll admit, I do not remember. While we’re on the subject, I should add how much I appreciate your patience with the ills I’ve done my body. Because (see above). If you could pass that on to the liver, I’d be much obliged.

Oh sure, we’ve been at cross-purposes before. I’m not sure in which former life I pissed you off, but I’m certain whatever I did was of Dante-esque proportion, based on your behavior the first three days of my every period. Narcotics have no power over you. And while we’re being honest, let me admit: I might hate you for it, but I admire you, too. You remind me that whatever I may sometimes think, my husband could not bear you. It takes a woman to do a woman’s job.

While we’re on the topic of things I appreciate about you, let’s talk about all the jackasses who assumed we would fail out of engineering, solely based on your existence, and then, when that didn’t happen, fail as an engineer. Did you also think it was funny, once they realized we were smarter and more successful than they were, how they wanted to get up close and personal with both of us? If we had a superhero name, we would be the JackAssKickers. Also, we would have leopard print capes and three inch heels.

Are you getting that I’m trying to butter you up? Little gets past you, U. Let’s talk about your more recent accomplishments, like the nurturing of my small person. While your unwillingness to give him up was disconcerting, at best – was three hours of pushing really necessary? – I can’t say I don’t understand. I mean, you were totally right. He is awesome.

But you know what, U? We need to talk. Because you and I once again find ourselves at odds. I get that you’re not solely responsible for my distress. There are ovaries, and fallopian tubes, and, hell, somebody else’s reproductive organs involved, too. But you’re sort of the boss down there. So:

You may have noticed I’m trying to get knocked up. Sure, I know you’re busy shedding and rebuilding and all that miracle of life crap. But for real, yo: mama’s working here. I mean, I wore heels three times last month. And perhaps you remember from such episodes as Ten Months of Nurturing a Fetus and Three Hours of Insane Pushing, I have a toddler. It’s not like I have a lot of, you know, bandwidth. So I get it. If it’s not the right time to have a baby, no problem. But would you mind doing me a solid? If, in fact, you aren’t going to get all warm and nurture-y and fourteen-thousand times your size, could you please try to be, oh, I don’t know… timely about it? I’ve mentioned that 48 hours is late for us. So five days late? Five days late means I’m researching the accuracy of First Response pregnancy tests. Five days late means I’m facing uncontrollable PMS and the urge to eat everything chocolate, fried or served with ranch (and sometimes all three together) in sight, and yet somehow still wondering if these are signs of pregnancy and let’s be honest, U, none of that is particularly good for our mental health, our marriage or the safety of those around us.

You see, U, I can take the cramping. I can face the humiliation of a freezing doctor’s office and gowns that gape in the back. I can handle the demeaning comments about my ability to drive or resolve complex mathematical equations or drill a hole five miles into the ground. But the monthly betrayal of not doing exactly what I want you to, when I want you to, how I want you to? Followed by jacking up my hopes just this much and then crushing them? That’s getting harder to accept. And doing it while I’m without alcohol? Well, now you’re just plain being bitchy.

So let’s stick with timely, shall we? ‘Kay?

Thanks, love. Smooches and all -S

A Scholarly Discourse on Office Supplies, Swamp People and Jensen Ackles

I have a guilt thing. Blame religion, or my undiagnosed generalized anxiety disorder, or my fourth grade teacher who once lost it and caused a giant fracas by shoving all the books off a student’s desk, giving me a deep, abiding phobia of frosted blond hair and fractions (what’s wrong with a good decimal point, anyway?). Her name was Mrs. Christian. I sometimes wonder what happened to her. And then I have another drink and think: Whatever.


So since I’m all about (a) making lists and (b) following along with Monday Listicles at The Good Life, it was a little slice of heaven to find this week’s topic is guilty pleasures. And that’s right, people: binder clips, once again, make the list. You’re welcome.


Subtitled: Really, more of a list of my favorite stuff because, well, I feel guilty about everything.

1. Stockpiling random office supplies: Binder clips, for example. Also, mini-staplers that fit in my purse but do not make it through TSA screenings, white-out (more for the smell than the usage), Sharpies (usage and smell, BONUS!) and post-it notes. In fact, if I could wallpaper my house in post-it notes, I would. Hey, post-it-note wallpaper! I smell an Etsy store! COPYRIGHT, PLEASE!

2. (And while we’re in the category of items that make every list I write) Starbucks: Because mine is not an every once in a while Starbucks habit. No, friends. I have a daily tall non-fat no-whip mocha plus a piece of marble cake plus a venti black unsweetened iced tea “for later” kind of habit. And so yes, I could have a much nicer car but in fact, I choose to spend my car payment on caffeine. WHAT.

3. People (the magazine, not, you know, actual people.): If you don’t like it, we’re not friends. Well, okay, maybe we’re friends but we don’t have a drink-too-much-tequila-in-mexico-and-almost-get-kicked-out-of-our-hotel-for-drunken-stealing-of-a-comforter kind of friendship. (True story.) (What do you mean, you don’t want to be friends with me anymore?). Speaking of:

4. A really good, really cold margarita on the rocks. With no salt.

4b. Note to any actual, physical stalkers out there (not the good internet lurking kind, I’m talking the crazy leave-dead-rodents-on-your-lawn kind): I’m leaving you my drink order in case you want to show up at my house stalking me with, you know, STARBUCKS AND ALCOHOL. Which would increase your chances of being well-received by, oh, ONE ZILLION PERCENT.

5. Okay, fine. I watch 16 and Pregnant. And Teen Mom. And Gossip Girl and ANTM and anything on the CW and especially Supernatural (because I’m sorry, Jensen Ackles is DIVINE), and fine, yes, I have been known to zone out to an episode or two of Swamp People and Toddlers and Tiaras. They’re really not all that different, if you think about it.

6. Yummy-lovey Dane’s hair: It’s been time to cut it for two months, and it’s all shagging down into his eyes, and when it’s wet it drapes all the way down his neck past his shoulders, and he’s all Um, Mama, could you please stop sniffing my head?, but OMG y’all, I can’t quit it. There’s something about the curls and the smell and the baby fineness of it all that I. Want. To. Eat.

Look away, people, look away.

7. Re-reading rejection letters from literary agents and journals: Well, God knows I have enough of them, and some of them are quite nice, and so every once in a while when I think I totally suck as a writer, I’ll go back and read the nice ones (like the time The Iowa Review told me I made like, seventeen rounds of their editorial review and jusmissed the cut. F*ckers. But also, like I said: kind of nice).

8. Watching the downfall of major college football programs: What? I never said I was a nice girl. Perhaps you’re mistaking me for the editors of The Iowa Review.

9. Making fun of grad students and sorority girls: Because I’ve been both, and well, I can. See (8).

And finally:

10. Blogging: My taxes are overdue, my Target bill is unpaid, I have forty letters to send to agents and journals, and I’m pretty sure the strange smell permeating our downstairs has to do with my decided lack of personal hygiene, but man, this stuff is addicting. So glad you’re here (and crazy enough) to read it!

Smooch -s