Monday, February 28, 2011
One father - One mother.
Two older brothers.
Four older sisters.
One and one half bathrooms.
Yes, only one shower. With all those people.
When the bathroom door stood open, the interior appeared as a long hallway, about twelve feet in length and maybe 5 feet in width.
It was blue. Very blue.
Tiles of every shade of blue covered the walls.
The bathtub itself was blue.
The floor was ceramic tile, in blue.
The sink, blue.
The toilet, blue.
The toilet seat, blue.
It was like a giant blueberry exploded in this room and stained it. Better yet, remember the movie Stand By Me when the kid is telling the story about Lard Ass and he starts a puke-o-rama after consuming a few too many blueberry pies? It was way more like that.
Upon entering the blue stained room, to the right was the shower/tub combo with frosted glass doors. A bit further down on the right, the sink. Beyond the sink, the toilet. Lining the left wall were towel racks.
In my family, if you were a shower singer but wanted to keep it to yourself? There was no such luck. This room was floor to ceiling tile and therefore, carried an echo to the next town. I would know. I was once tape recorded singing in the blue shower.
Sometimes being the occupant of the blue bathroom in a family so large was nerve-racking. It was always occupied. If you had one of the neighbor kids over to play they weren't allowed to use the bathroom. Or rather, they were better off running home and back.
I have vivid memories of my oldest sister showering and my oldest brother hammering on the door giving her a cut off time that she must be finished by. And when she wasn't? He'd grab a butter knife from the galley style kitchen and pry the bathroom door open.
As a kid I had one fear when using the toilet in the blue bathroom. A hand was going to reach out of the toilet once I flushed it and drag me back into blueness. I would run. I would scramble to the door and get out of there so fast. There was a sigh of relief when I was able to get out without the hand getting me. Take that!
Most people probably have a cozy room they remember. I remember vomiting into the blue toilet the first time I drank too much.
This post was written in participation with The Red Dress Club's writing prompt: Think of a room from your past. Take a mental picture of that room. What happened there? What is it like? What is the atmosphere there? What are the smells, the sounds, the sights? How does it feel? Now reveal that snapshot to your reader.
Sunday, February 27, 2011
After my first 16 years ago, I strutted out of the hospital in pre-baby gear.
After my second 11 years ago, I was thinner than I was before I got pregnant.
After my third 2 years ago (as of tomorrow), I'm about as heavy as I was the day I gave birth to him.
Here's the thing that really ticks me off...I was picture perfect during my last pregnancy. I had perfect hair, perfect nails, perfect curves (in all the right places), and perfect skin. I was that glowy chick from the text book. I wore maternity clothes that showed my baby belly in a way that would make people dance by me. Am I allowed to say, I was downright hot?
Then the baby slipped (don't I wish) out and the placenta followed. My once lustrous locks were dull and drab. My once strong nails were back to being brittle. My once perfectly toned skin was now splotchy and breaking out.
I nursed for a year. I wasn't one of those moms who all she had to do was connect the baby to the boob and the fat was instantly sucked out. No. Dear God no. I was hungrier than ever. I drank water like it was going out of style and pretty much grazed on food throughout the day because I was burning calories like a lunatic. In order to keep from shaking and the milk a flowing, I had to refuel. In the beginning, I tried to be healthy about it but that went out the window when the depression sunk in.
I tend to be an emotional eater.
So I started running. With running came eating better. Thing is? The weight won't budge. I'm taking one medication that can pack on forty pounds while I sleep. Yes, that quick. However, I'm also taking another medication that curbs my appetite. (Both of the meds are for depression) So pretty much, the two are basically keeping things even and so I maintain my current weight. I should be happy that I'm not gaining, right? Well I'm not.
I want to be thirty pounds thinner and comfortable in my own skin. Really, I just want to be able to put the clothes on that I have in my closet without having to pin them closed. I'm sick of it!
I've made the decision that for now, I will continue to watch what I eat and run every other day. If I am going to purchase new clothes, it will be in a larger size so that I am comfortable throughout the day.
I will no longer put on a pair of pants that feels so-so and by the time I finish eating a granola bar at breakfast they become snug.
I want to own my body, be proud of it. I just don't know how.
Are you comfortable in your own skin?
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Here's my proposal....
I’ve had a long talk with Greta and this spare 30 pounds she refuses to shed. Okay I’ll admit it was an all out throw down.
Oh sorry, Greta is my post-baby body! We're on a first name basis.
Thing is, she’s two years old now. I'm thinking I should probably stop referring to the excess baggage as “baby weight”.
Greta moans and groans, like every moment of every day. She's all, “No bitch, I’m here to stay so unless you’re giving me away to a good home, I’ll be mocking you every time you attempt to put those jeans on!” What a nag!
SO...Do you need a bigger ass ala Kim Kardashian? Are you looking for juicy, plump lips ala Angelina Jolie? Maybe it’s bigger boobage you’re after ala Jennifer Love Hewitt?
That’s what brings me, us, here. Get your free injectable fat today from Greta and me and show off your assets tomorrow. I assume it freezes well so stock up!
Greta's getting kicked out one way or another.
It’s here for the taking. Tell your friends.
This post was written in participation with The Red Dress Club writing prompt: Write a humorous post about an item you would give away after an argument with someone close.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
What is that?
I held my breath so I could hear better, because getting out of bed to see isn't easier no matter what you're told.
It's running water. Water from where? Oh hell I have to go see what's going on.
Just across the hallway from our bedroom is the toddler's room. The door is open, the blanket is drawn back and, wait...where's the toddler?
Running water...Running water....Running water.....
I head down the hall toward the bathroom, where the running water gets louder. I find the toddler. I also find the source of the running water.
The toddler thought it'd be fun to grab the tub of wipes on his way to the bathroom. He also decided to test the flushing power of the toilet. Toddler handful after toddler handful of wipes was being flushed. Down the toilet.
The bathroom floor is covered with an inch of water and the toilet is overflowing. And there is the toddler, continuously flushing wipes down the toilet as if I weren't standing right there. I wade my way toward the toilet to turn the water off when the husband walks in unaware of what's going on.
But wait, what is that? I turned the water off...why do I hear running water?
Running water...Running water....Running water.....
Oh shit, it's coming from the second floor. I dash down the stairs to survey the damage in the kitchen. The water from the toilet above is streaming through the ceiling into my kitchen. Toilet water. Toilet water is dripping into my kitchen.
Oh shit, the basement! Why did we pick an apartment with three levels? Down to the basement where I hear more running water.
Running water...Running water....Running water.....
Toilet water is also making its way down to the basement. Where we do laundry and keep our holiday decorations and unwanted boxes stored away. Toilet water.
We were lucky that our maintenance man was able to snake the toilet to get it back in flushing order. The mess? Oh, that was left for me after the toddler was scrubbed. If I had it my way, I would have bleached the kid...because? Toilet water.
Monday, February 21, 2011
My father was a baker. When I was little I’d get to visit him at the bakery where they knew me by name. Wall to wall display cases were stuffed full of treats, all shapes and sizes. I’d sample my favorites including the cookies shaped like leaves. The green and pink leaves with a thin layer of fudge sandwiched in the center.
My dad worked bizarre nighttime hours. He slept through most of the day and went to work around midnight. He would make his way home around 5am and wasn’t ready for sleep just yet. Often times he would start a slow cooking meal for dinner that evening. Every now and then he would make a big breakfast. Usually pancakes made with club soda instead of water because it made them light and fluffy with a slight crunch on the outer edge. Other times it was turnovers with fresh fruit baked inside.
I recall waking around 6am and running to my bedroom door to peer under the bottom. That’s how I knew if my father was still awake. From this position I could see straight down the hallway to his chair at the dining room table, right at the head. He would be seated and reading the day’s newspaper while sipping on coffee. I would run down the narrow hallway and jump into his arms, greeting the morning with a bear hug.
I could always tell what my father had been up to based on the scent in the air. Sometimes I could guess what was for dinner or if there was a plate of my favorite pancakes shaped like silver dollars waiting to be devoured. Then I’d sneak into the kitchen to see what types of ingredients he brought home from the bakery to teach me a new recipe or technique.
I mastered cake baking and we were working on the decorating part. My roses were atrocious. Even when I couldn’t grasp the how-to of roses my dad was so very patient, and often ended up making them for me, never taking the credit. It was our secret.
Sundays were famous at home. The moment my eyes popped open and my nose adjusted to being awake so early, I could smell the tomato sauce without fail. It was so exciting to discover what meat accompanied my preferred dish. Were there meatballs, the really big ones? Maybe it was sausage this week, huge links? Oh, it could be the bits of pork he liked to add with the bone! Sometimes, if we were really lucky he’d do a combination of all three and make a delicious antipasto.
Even at 6am I’d give my dad that look. The one that asked if he brought home a fresh loaf of rye bread. And for Sunday breakfast, I filled a bowl with Sunday gravy and dip the spongy bread in. Several slices of bread and butter later, there was little evidence of red left in that bowl. It had been sopped up and satisfied my early morning craving.
We’d spend this time together, my dad and I, for a few hours. He would show signs of needing sleep and tell me to have a good day. I would tell him to have a good sleep and throw out a, “See you at dinner!”
Now it’s my three sons who get to lick the cake batter bowls on baking day. The evidence is quite clear, it rarely occurs without my late father’s watchful eye.
This post was written in participation with The Red Dress Club memoir writing prompt: Memory & Reflection.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
In my home, there’s a place for everything. The Tupperware is on one shelf, the pots and pans on another, and the silverware is just so. Just don’t ever, ever look in my dresser drawers.
At one time, everything had its own place, but as laundry day approaches and the loads become dry, putting the clean clothes away has become a mad dash. Piles of clothes which lie in these drawers are pushed upon and added to each week. Then I close the drawer fast enough so that nothing pops back out. Sadly, I yell at my sons for doing this very same thing. Very recently, an article of clothing made its way to the top and I was taken aback.
There I was, shoving my unmentionables into the dresser drawer when a white strap dangled outside. I was about push that sucker down and close it inside when I noticed what it was; one of my old nursing bras. I dropped to the floor and positioned myself on my knees as I clutched the bra in my hands. I couldn’t help but wonder if it still carried the scent of breast milk on it. With this one piece of clothing, the memories came flooding back.
For a solid year, this very nursing bra was worn in rotation with the others. If my husband was in the room as I strung my arms through the loops, he would chuckle. The flaps were open so my boulder sized breasts could find their way to as much comfort as possible, being that they were four sizes larger than just a few months prior. My nipples were huge and they begged for cream to sooth the rawness of being prodded, pulled and nestled upon by my baby boy. Next was the pad to catch any leakage of the overflowing let down . Finally the flaps were clasped until it was time to fill the void of my son’s hunger once again.
This bra I was holding and sniffing was more than just a boulder holder. It was the reminder of life and the power of a woman’s body. The natural cycle women go through from pregnancy to birth to momma. I was so very blessed to have been able to nurture my son for 365 days using only my body. Some days were easier than others but all were equally satisfying.
The time I spent unfastening this bra and getting my son to latch to my breast was worth it. In these moments we would lie down together like a perfect puzzle. Two shapes fitting together as they were designed to do. We would gaze into each other’s eyes and many times, fell asleep together. My favorite was when Xavier would try to hold on for just a few more moments to look at me with perfect clarity and with every breath I took, I was breathing in the life I helped to create.
I soaked in these memories as long as possible. My trance had come to an end when I heard, “Dada!” and I turned to find Xavier staring back at me with blue eyes that could get away with anything. He was referring to me, his momma. He’s as stubborn as I am and insists that in addition to his father, I too am to be called, “Dada”.
I carefully folded the resurfaced treasure and returned it to the drawer. This time I made extra space for it. The next time I go through the painful motions of doing laundry I will come across the nursing bra and I will be reminded of old memories still fresh in my mind.
This post was written based upon the writing prompt from The Red Dress Club: Write a piece - 600 word limit - about finding a forgotten item of clothing in the back of a drawer or closet. Let us know how the item was found, what it is, and why it's so meaningful to you or your character.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
During the lunch hour, I drove on over to Walgreen's. Walgreen's has everything! You can buy Peeps in the dead of Summer, Candy message hearts at Halloween and garden gloves when the Earth is covered in ice. Walgreen's is the place to be no matter what you need. I got me a pregnancy test.
When I got back to the car, I tore open the packaging to find the directions (similar to a tampon insert minus the illustrations) on how to pee on a stick. I didn't want to do it wrong. There's a specified amount of seconds you have to hold it in your urine stream you know!
I had the directions down after a few reads. Now where do I go to pee on this thing? I remember thinking this. Why, the park bathroom of course. How very ghetto of me, yeah?
I pulled up at the park and walked over with my stick to the public bathroom. I did as the directions told me to do. I peed a little, clenched, held the stick in place and let 'er rip. I counted carefully. Wait, is it 1, 2, 3 or 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, SHIT! I capped the stick. I washed up. Then I headed over to a picnic table and stared at the digital screen while pretending to eat my lunch. I called the hubs and let him in on what I was doing and said I'd call back after I got the results.
Three minutes. That was the amount of time I had to wait to find out if there was a human growing in my girl parts. Well ten minutes later and the sucker was blank. I broke the pee stick. I think peed on it too long. Luckily there was another one in the car. It was a buy one get one deal.
I headed back to my office, walked through the kitchen and grabbed a disposable coffee cup. Then I made my way to the bathroom, hopefully without anyone trying to figure why I was bringing a cup into the bathroom. This time I did the "dip" test. I peed in the cup, dipped the stick in, washed up and made my way back to my office. Halfway down the hall, I glanced at the digital screen and nearly fainted when I saw the word "pregnant" glaring back at me.
I was going to be a momma. For the third time. Ten years after the last. Holy shit!
I called my husband.
He said, "Hi!"
I said, "Hi.....(long pause)...Poppy!"
He said, "Really?"
And nine months later we became a family of five.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Our clouds bring profound skies who speak volumes...
Pouring rain that sings...
Thunder that moves the Earth...
Lightening that ignites the nighttime sky...
Threats of tornadoes which intimidates...
Monday, February 14, 2011
The stroll back to the little red car was a curious one. Sometime between the credits rolling on the big screen and the trek to the car, it seemed this innocent trip to the movies shifted from a friendly outing to what one considered a date.
The drive to my place was refreshing with the windows were drawn down and the sun roof wide open. Air pushed through with a gentle force as we drove. Our favorite parts of the action film we just took in together were recounted. It was one of those blow 'em up, shoot 'em up, edge of your seat, hold your breath kind of films. The conversation had an endless flow.
The brakes screeched as he slid into the driveway five minutes later and our chatter continued. We were absolutely comfortable speaking about anything and everything, or with being completely still and silent. It didn't matter either way.
We said our good-byes and were reminded that we'd see each other the following day at the veterinarian hospital where we met.
The first good-bye led us outside of the car. We stood around and talked. Then we talked some more. I couldn't stop smiling. Even though the darkness was upon us, I could tell that he was too. I may have been worried that he had seen me blush between grins. No matter. We were having a terrific time just being together.
He was standing behind the car and I just a few feet away when he began dancing in place and swatting at his shaven head. There was a large Florida sized palmetto bug making its way up his back. Once the bug was shooed we were able to laugh it off. I was not a bug person and did not come to his rescue.
It was pushing 1 a.m. and we were within hours of alarm clocks shouting from side tables to get ready for work. I gained the courage to move closer to say my final good-bye of the night. At long last, I was within range to reach my lips up to his for a kiss. A stolen brush of the lips. Mine against his.
His response? "But we work together...." With that I turned and headed toward the front door, sulking.
I was halfway up the walkway when I was spun around and his lips met mine.
It was in that moment I knew. I was in love.
Prompt: Imagine that after you have died and your son(s) will be given the gift of seeing a single five-minute period of your life through your eyes, feeling and experiencing those moments as you did when they occurred. What five minutes would you have them see? Tell us about them in the finest detail.
I chose my first kiss with my son's father. The story leading up to that kiss wasn't a five minute period but the space of time right before and when it finally happened was...
Sunday, February 13, 2011
You see, in the deep South we have these critters known as Palmetto Bugs. They're fucking nasty to say the least. Basically it means 'giant roach'. We're so lucky, right? We occasionally have them inside our houses. More so in the Summer. It's not because our house is dirty or anything like that because let me tell you, my shit is clean. Clean, yo!
They creep in from the drains, sneak in the door when you're not looking, shit they squeeze through cracks as thin as my brittle fingernails. I read somewhere that these suckers have like eighteen knees, which makes total sense. They're all bendy-like and can be anywhere at any time.
I'll never get used to having palmetto bugs around. They take away a piece of my soul whenever I come into contact with one. Wanna know why? Because for the remainder of the time you live in a house where you found the bug, you're always going to creep around looking in those exact spots you found it in to see if it's still there. Know why? Fuckers don't die. Not easily anyway....
What the twatwaffle (thanks Twitter friends!) does this have to do with aliens, sperm girl? Don't you see? Palmetto bugs ARE aliens. They just sit there when you turn the light on. When you rush over to kill it, or in my case, shoo it away, it runs like hell and even if there's no hole where they crawled in...you know you just saw it happen. Fucking aliens, I'm telling you.
Who in the hell knows what these aliens are doing while we sleep. They probably find a way to crawl into our bodies through our ears or nose holes to take brain samples. Forget worrying about asteroids wiping out the Earth or Tsunamis or anything Nostradamus predicted. It's the palmetto bugs we have to worry about.
Did you know they can survive for weeks when decapitated? And we're all well aware that if a nuclear bomb fell on us, the roaches would survive. Wikipedia said so, so it has to be true. God forsaken A-L-I-E-N-S!
Mark my word. One day an alien is going to leave the body of the roach (what, it happens, don't you watch "V"?) in your kitchen and appear before your very eyes. It's going to stand right before you and you're going to be all, "The sperm girl knew what she was talking about!" But by then, you'll be screwed...
Thursday, February 10, 2011
I'm a Catholic by default but at present, I believe in nothing.
How can a person have faith when she doesn't have a higher power to look up to?
When I hear the word "faith" I instantly visualize a great God who created life and the people who walk upon our Earth.
I don't want this to be a religious debate. I'm simply stating that in my life experience there is no God. I see faith and God as one divine being. One that doesn't exist in my corner of the world.
And if there is a God? Fuck him.
Fuck him for allowing me to come into this world innocently and unknowingly. Fuck him for allowing my daily struggle with depression to persist. Fuck him for every time I thought about not wanting to live anymore because of the darkness I face each day. Fuck him for not guiding me properly along this dreary path. Fuck him for yanking away my innocence and unknowing so violently.
What the fuck God?
What makes you the boss of me?
Who are you to decide how I think, feel, love, hate...
Who the fuck are you to judge me?
When I gave birth to my third son I also birthed an illness. One so cruel and intense. It detached itself from my placenta and crawled into my head. I pushed the placenta out and that one demon who was able to remove itself before it was too late, embedded in my crux.
It's chemical. I know it is, but I want it to know that it can no longer run my life. It's not allowed to control how I walk, talk, dress, eat, or adjust my emotions.
Every day I give advice or share a piece of my story with a fellow postpartum depression sufferer. Every day! I offer encouragement and won't allow defeat.
Why can't take my own advice?
One week ago today, I thought my life was over. A friend said to me, "What would you tell friend if she came to you and said you didn't want to live anymore because of this illness?" and I was dumbstruck. She was right. I wouldn't have allowed defeat.
I'm too tired to fight anymore, but I will. I'm too tired to care anymore, but I do.
Because I'm not going to let it defeat me.
Because I go home to this every day: