Tag Archives: military life

I won’t adjust to this and you can count on me for this. These are two different things.

I have three different things I need to inform you about today, three totally different and completely unrelated things. I was thinking that a novel way to tell you about three different and totally unrelated topics would be to write three totally different and unrelated blog posts and then maybe even post them on three totally different days, maybe even three consecutive days, but it turns out that that’s just not the way I wobble. Much like I now literally live in the actual middle of the actual desert, so too does this blog exist as a bunch of nothingness with occasional giant blobs of stuff. I guess in this comparison I am the giant blob? I think in my old age I’ve stopped giving even half a crap about whether or not people like me or not because I don’t have time to waste a thought on it when I’m sitting here thoughtlessly analogizing myself to a giant blob. If you’re out there not liking me, take an early lunch, I’ve got it handled.

First, a small thing. I’m adjusting to living here, but it’s in increments, because when you move, it’s not just that you have to get used to a new place and you get used to your new place in a big chunk as a place and that’s that. No, there’s a whole lot that goes into it. You have to shop in new stores and go to a new church and the traffic patterns are strange and people drive like different kinds of everyone’s a total idiot except for me. The washing machine is on the other side from where it was in the other house and Penny’s got toys in her room in this place and she didn’t in the other so she just does not go to sleep at night for hours at a time and I don’t care, just stay in there, because my bedtime is still 7pm. Nothing is in the place is used to be in and this house is arranged in a way that is completely unfriendly to my style of watchful yet gently neglectful oversight kind of parenting. I’m just saying, you can’t just sit in a new state, look around after a couple of weeks and say, “Well, I’m adjusted.” One thing at a time. One small thing at a time.

And sometimes? You don’t adjust. You don’t adjust to everything. And that can be fine, I guess. Not everything is going to be okay in your new place and maybe you’re going to have to come to terms with that, or not come to terms with that, and live with the fact that you’re not going to come to terms with that, and that you’re going to live with a non-adjusted something for however long, until you can get back to the way things should be. Maybe it’s healthy, once in a while, to live for a bit with something that is just not the way things should be, to experience something a little uncomfortable. That’s how people grow as people, right? You get a little uncomfortable and you really face up to what it’s like to — you know what, I’m just going to tell you, low flow toilets are an abomination and I shouldn’t have to live like this. The whole point of the toilet is to remove the evidence of the crime from the scene. I appreciate what you’re trying to do by going low on flow but you can only go so low. No. No. I object. These things leave me feeling like I’m either the world’s worst housekeeper or some mustache-twirling anti-environment villain with a heap of glowing barrels under a tarp in the backyard, just waiting for my next dead of night trip down to the river for a little stealth pollution.

I hate them. I refuse to adjust. I refuse. Whose idea was it? I mean, honestly. I get it. “I have an idea: less water in toilets!” Okay, good. I see where you’re coming from. But something went wrong along the way, or maybe you franchised and got lazy with vetting your franchisees, low water toilet guy, I don’t know, but walk the line once in a while, because it’s ugly out here.

I don’t know how to break between this and the next completely and totally unrelated idea (again, maybe a day would be good, but no), so here’s a picture of something.

pennytothesplashpad

Surprise, it’s my kid.

This second thing isn’t so much an actual thing, but something I want to establish now so that we can all lean on it for the future and I can call back to this time that I established it. Remember that episode of Friends where Paolo hit on Phoebe and Phoebe needed to tell Rachel about it, so she made her some cookies and used the fact that she made the best cookies to back up the fact that she never lied? That was killer technique right there, but I can’t do that, because it’s already established on this blog that I actually have made up good lies for fun, good lies that are so good that other people have reported back to me that they themselves have told other people the same lie about me. Oh, and also, when I was in college and for a while after, pre-Tobias, I used to tell people that I hated to be naked so much that I had a mitten that I called my shower mitten, and when I showered, I would put it on one hand and stick that hand outside of the shower to keep the mitten dry and use the hand inside the shower to wash one side of my body, and then I would turn around and put the mitten on the other hand and stick that hand outside the curtain and wash the other side of my body. And people would look at me sincerely and say, “Oh, wow, really?” No, idiot. I definitely made that shit up, what is wrong with you. Even if I did hate being naked that much, why wouldn’t I wear a bathing suit? Why wouldn’t I wear a mitten I could get wet?

 Anyway, don’t worry, I’m older now and I stopped doing that to people. If you think that chastising past me for my behavior is a good use of your time, let me know when your DeLorean is ready and we can go together, because I know exactly where and when my Elvis Zippo fell out of my car at the gas station. Besides, I have a kid now, and I can put way less effort into my lying and the lies come premade, and I only have to embellish some details about exactly how Santa gets into the house and why she found our shelf elf Roland Oriol in the bottom of a packed box in the laundry room. Also some family classics about unscrewing her belly button to watch her butt fall off. And I promise you, when her butt doesn’t fall off, I don’t call her an idiot. I just tell her I must not have twisted enough. This time. The point is, as long as I’m continuing to tell lies, even butt-centric ones to toddlers, there’s no way I’m going to convince you I never lie.

But that’s fine! Because I’m not trying to establish myself as a non-liar! I was just using that Friends example because I don’t remember anymore why. I had a reason when I started. No one made a pass at me, there’s just something about me I need you to know, going forward, so that I don’t have to tell you again – we can all just accept that it’s true and you can believe that it’s a thing about me that is A Thing, and you can rely on it as something that won’t let you down, like the fact that Phoebe was telling the truth when she said Paolo made a pass at her, because she backed up the fact that she never lies with the really good cookies. HA, TENUOUS CONNECTION, BUT I THINK YOU CAN SEE HOW I WAS CIRCLING AROUND THERE.

So, this is the thing: I am really very, very serious about saying something is “just as good” as a more expensive version. That is what I want you to know. In the past, I’ve said something inexpensive that I bought was probably just as good as the expensive version when I hadn’t even tried the expensive version, so I don’t know what I possibly could have thought I was saying. Since then, there have been several cases where I’ve had the opportunity to replace my less expensive things with their more costly counterparts to find that in some instances, more money meant more better. Obviously. Sometimes I had the cheaper option as a temporary measure until I could afford what I really wanted, but other times, I really assumed that there wasn’t/couldn’t be a difference and said as much. I’ve adjusted my stance on low cost/high cost versions of the same item over time.

Don’t get me wrong – I still want to pay as little as possible for everything, always. If you follow me on Twitter, you’re probably aware that I will helpfully enable you to do the same as often as I can. It’s just that I am way more hesitant to dub a generic or drugstore product and its name brand or higher end equivalent to be “just as good” as each other without thorough investigation. You know, like actually owning both products, past self.

There are a lot – a lot – of products where I will only use name brand. Like ketchup. Do not even approach me with watery, grainy garbage. No, I won’t try. I won’t give it a chance. I won’t. I don’t care if you think I’m a great big cents-waster, they’re my cents. And there are also a lot of products where I will only buy generic because I just do not give a crap. I’m drawing a definite line here between “just as good” – like how generic ketchup is NOT AT ALL JUST AS GOOD AS HEINZ – and “good enough for my needs.” There are plenty of types of products that have varietals all along the price scale, and my needs are met somewhere near the lower end. More needs could be met with more money, or someone else’s needs may not be met til closer to the top of the ladder, but for whatever reason, I’m happy close to the bottom with that particular product. Like lip gloss for example.  I buy drugstore lip gloss by the armload. I like it. I like it a lot. There is nothing that lip gloss does that is worth more than $8 to me. This is obviously different for everyone. I won’t buy drugstore eyeshadow. I just can’t do it.

AND LET ME TELL YOU A SEMI-COMPLICATING FACTOR. When there’s a product that is kind of pricey – or not even pricey, really, but just, you know, costs more money than another product, and I buy it, and it performs as promised, I get LEGITIMATELY PISSED OFF. Oh, how dare you be worth your cost. Asshole. I don’t know why. I just get mad. I think it’s because I’m ashamed to report to people, a little. “Yeah, I bought the thing that cost the money… but, guys, it shot rockets out its butt.”

EXAMPLE: The Wet Brush. I’m going to steal a picture from the Internet because mine has hair in it.

Thefreakinwetbrush

Image from The Wet Brush

Okay, so this is The Wet Brush, and it’s for your hair when your hair is wet. It looks like all the other brushes that I buy when I eventually lose my brush. It is the same shape. It has the same black bristles with the same plastic knobbly things on the ends. It is the same. It looks the same. Except this brush costs $9 and a “just as good” Conair brush with the same black bristles and the same plastic knobbly things on the ends costs $5. Is that a huge difference? No. It’s not. But when you’re at Target and you’re throwing things in your cart the way that you do at Target, all those little $4 differences and whatsits are what happens to cause that phenomenon known as “WHY CAN I NOT GET OUT OF TARGET FOR LESS THAN $100?”

I don’t know what happened, though, I bought it. I have so much hair. I just have so much hair these days. I can’t wear it up when I sleep because the size of the knob it forms on my head makes sleeping impossible. So I wear it down, but every time I turn over, I have to raise my entire upper body off the bed and negotiate my sheet of hair to my other side first in order not to inadvertently strangle myself. It’s a whole other misery when it’s wet. I took a shower before taking Brinkley to the vet the other day and threw on jeans and a t-shirt while I ran around getting him ready to go before Phil came home to stay with Penny. I was just putting my hair up in a ball of hot mess when he got home and turned around to ask if my shirt was soaked through down the back from where my hair was laying. Of course it was. Super.  “Don’t worry,” he told me. “It’s muggy out there. People will just think it’s sweat.”

Neat.

Before you ask, the idea of cutting it short to alleviate these problems has never once occurred to me because simple solutions to daily frustrations aren’t my style.

ANYway, I got this brush, The Wet Brush, and I’ve had it for a while. I’ve had it for a long while, actually, so long that it just feels like a brush to me. It didn’t even occur to me that I should say anything about it to anyone, because it’s just a brush. It’s just a brush with the same black bristles and the same colored plastic knobbly things on the end and I paid nine stupid dollars for it like some kind of idiot who doesn’t know that you can get a brush and wrestle it through your hair after a shower for only five stupid dollars. Because I do have to wrestle it through my hair. I still have to spray detangler and leave in conditioner into my hair and I still have to tug the brush through and if I wait too long after I get out of the shower, I still have to hold the ends in my fist and brush underneath where my hand is, you know that maneuver? So it’s just a brush and the other one is just as good.

BUT THEN I MISPLACED IT. And I grabbed a regular Conair brush – one of the $5 ones, not a fancy one – off the bathroom counter and I put it to my scalp and IMMEDIATELY yanked my hand back. I hadn’t even drawn it down through my hair yet, I just TOUCHED IT TO MY HEAD, and I pulled it back and looked at it accusingly. WHOA, BUDDY, a bit aggressive there, HM? That thing THUDDED into my head. With force. I don’t know what it was trying to do and what its intentions were, but I tell you, there was no kindness in its approach. Not the same black bristles! Not the same knobblys! Not the same AT ALL. After beating me lightly about the skull, it quickly reminded me of what I’d left behind when I jumped ship for The Wet Brush.

PAINLOTSOFPAIN

 In short, no. NO. Not “just as good.” Not JUST AS GOOD AT ALL.

And listen, you can trust me on that, because I take “just as good” very seriously. I hope we have an understanding on that going forward.

THING THREE!

Actually, thing three is going to have to wait until tomorrow, because it was going to be The Main Thing of the post, which I started to write before lunch, but then Phil came home at lunch at there was a Major Development in the thing, expanding it into an even bigger thing.

In place of Thing Three, here is a minor life update:

Before we moved, I gave you a really long but still actually brief summation on what was going on in our lives, including a really sketchy overview on what is going on with the Air Force and voluntary retirements and nonvoluntary retirements.

Well, just before we left Arizona, we got an update on that situation. The timing wasn’t right just then to share this news, but we found out a couple days before the movers came that Phil’s career field has been closed out for nonvoluntary retirements. He will not be facing the Enlisted Force Retention Board this year.

The whole process will be repeated again next year, which isn’t cool at all, but after that, the plan (ha!) is that it should be finished completely. While it’s still not in our plans for Phil to retire next year, it’s nice to have it off the table for this year and to have another year to make plans in case it does happen next year.

That’s it! Meet you back here tomorrow!

Item in drawers: a tale of husbandly betrayal, vanity progress, and the Anastasia Contour Kit-ish.

Before we got married – actually, before we moved in together – ACTUALLY, before we were even officially dating, I told Phil that I don’t move. I mean, I physically move, like my limbs and stuff, if I have to. I meant that I don’t move my belongings from place to place. I’ll pack boxes and I’ll clean the place I’m leaving behind, but I don’t lift them and I don’t load trucks and I certainly don’t lift furniture out of one door and into another door. I just don’t do it. I don’t. And it’s fine if you want to consider this a glaring character flaw on my part, we all have them, but what’s important is that I informed Phil of this flaw BEFORE WE WERE EVEN ACTUALLY TOGETHER. I laid it out there like, here it is. Your call, dude. I would like it known for the record that he didn’t start up with the puns until I was already in Arizona and had closed my only credit card, so I ask you, who is the actual asshole?

Anyway, knowing that fact, he still chose to pursue a relationship with me, and I moved (he moved my stuff) from Maryland to Arizona, and then we moved (he moved our stuff) from one place in Arizona to another, and then we moved again (he hired some guys for most of it) to another place in Arizona, and then we had to move to New Mexico courtesy of the military. He decided to take advantage of the full benefits of a military move and arranged to have the whole deal where people come in and not only load everything onto a truck, but also pack it all up as well. I wonder why.

The day the packers came, I took Penelope to the indoor park one more time, because there’s not really anything like that around the new place, not nearly as convenient, at least, and of course to keep her out of the hair of the guys packing up all of our possessions. The night before, we’d gone grocery shopping for enough convenience food, snacks, paper plates, and cups for the rest of the week, as well as put all of the clothes, toiletries, medications and whatnot that we’d need in the spare bedroom. Since the packers will pack everything that isn’t nailed down, what you have to do is mark off a room that basically won’t be touched at all and put everything you’re going to need in there and you best not forget anything. We took the mattress off of our spare bed and left that in the room as well, since we decided to get rid of it. We were able to kind of eke out a little extra comfort in this way by sleeping on the mattress for a couple of nights before we arranged for a bulk trash pick up to come and get it, then we had to sleep on the floor.

Pen and I left the house just shortly before the movers were supposed to arrive, but they ended up being hours late, so when her energy for playing started to flag, we had to kill time at the mall. Twist my arm. I stopped by Sephora and did kind of a double take when I saw that they had a whole pile of Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour kits which, at the time, had been selling out as soon as they came available online, so it was a surprise to see so many piled up right in the store. I went back and forth about grabbing one, because I’m pretty fair skinned and there are six colors in the kit, so the chances of being able to use all of them are pretty slim. One of my initial reluctancies (I see you, red squiggle) to pick up the contour kit was that I’d use up two or three colors and be left with three useless ones. Plus, uh, I actually don’t know how to contour well at all. However, there’d been a lot of talk about Anastasia coming out with refills in other colors for the kit, and I actually don’t own as much makeup as I do because I’m particularly talented. It’s because I like playing around with it. When I look at pictures of what I could do with makeup at this time last year or two years ago, there’s a world of difference, and it’s only because I’ve spent the time sitting on the bathroom counter working at it. Plus, I can be honest with myself, I’m kind of a hoarder/collector, and I just wanted to have it. So I grabbed it, and SPEAKING OF, this came up on the Anastasia Instagram two days ago.

ABHCKNC
Click through to ABH Instagram.

So these are all the refills that are going to be available for the contour kit. The six original colors, plus all of these new ones. There’s a lot of information available on the Instagram post, but to sum up: the refills/pans are going to be sold individually for $14 each, but if you buy six, it’s $40 and comes with a palette, so it’s the same cost as the original contour kit. So you can basically put together an entirely custom kit. Some of the shades can be used as correctors like for under eye circles and whatnot, which I think is pretty handy when creating a custom kit because you’ll pretty quickly figure out which couple contour shades and highlight shades you like the best and can pop a couple correctors into the other spots. It also says that these new pans will only be available on the Anastasia site for now. So that’s something.

I bought my Contour Kit while the movers were packing up our stuff, but until now, it’s stayed completely untouched and unopened, because all my stuff was packed, which includes my lighted mirror and my Happiness Hippo and all of my makeup. Don’t worry – when I say all of my makeup was packed, I mean packed by hand, by me, into two enormous boxes and placed into the spare bedroom where it wouldn’t be handled by anyone but me. But still, completely packed and not really usable. And it stayed that way (well, I kind of unloaded it into sinks and a bathtub recently) while I waited for my vanity to be ready for use. I did break into my older stuff, but a lot of recent purchases, swaps, and other acquirements have sat waiting for me to get moving on getting my makeup room slash okay FINE IT’S JUST MY BEDROOM assembled and ready to go. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen that last night, the final piece to my desk was finally installed and I’ve moved my stuff out of the bathtub.

mvennui

Unfortunately, I only made it so far before I was stricken with ennui.

Also, I realized that there are still a couple of boxes completely illogically missing due to some weird packing, which include my lighted mirror and my Happiness Hippo and my More Than Just a Pretty Face note that Ulta sent me, all of which can be seen in this picture here, and how am I supposed to do my makeup without any of that stuff? Why did I move everything out of the bathtub? What’s the point of it? What’s the point of anything? Oh, I’m thinking about putting a big mirror on that blank wall there, not a decorative one, but one of those big, blank, flat, bathroom slab style ones, what do you think?

SPEAKING OF ILLOGICAL PACKING, YOU GUYS, OH MY LANDS, LET ME GET BACK TO THE MALL.

So we’re at the mall and I’m wasting as much of Penelope’s time and energy as I can, okay? Look:

LASTMALLING

Blissfully unaware there are no malls where she’s going.

MISSINGBRIBE

Ineffective good behavior bribe number eight of undetermined.

When we got home, the packers still weren’t done, of course, since they’d arrived late. Penny and I went back into the guest room where there was no chance in hell of her taking any kind of nap, and Phil and I switched off sitting with her and sitting in the living room awkwardly supervising the dudes putting everything we own into boxes. Eventually, late in the afternoon, they left for the day. They weren’t done and were going to have to return the next day, Tuesday, which was a huge pain in the ass. The estimate was that the whole thing – packing and loading – would take two days, which was why, as I mentioned yesterday, our dogs were boarded Monday/Tuesday. Instead, they were going to be packing alone on Monday/Tuesday and then loading on Wednesday. Ugh. But with moving and stuff like that, all these kinds of things end up having you over a barrel. What are you even going to do about it?

They cleared out for the day and I walked over to the kitchen counter to grab a granola bar. Granola bar. Granola… bar? HUNGRY. PHIL. WHERE GRANOLA. Well. See. The thing is. You know how he had had to stay behind to supervise the packing while I hauled Penelope around all day to keep her out of the way? He actually wasn’t really watching that closely and they packed all the food. All the food we just bought the day before, the food and the paper plates and cups and such that we were going to live on for the rest of the week. All of it. That we just bought. The night before. Gone. At this point, we’d already been eating out quite a bit, and while it wasn’t exactly gourmet stuff we were talking about, it was FOOD THAT COULD BE PREPARED AND CONSUMED IN OUR HOUSE and NO, I did NOT want to order more pizza, everyone put your shoes on, WE ARE GOING TO THE GROCERY STORE. Mama has a ramen habit.

I was slightly – okay, entirely – mollified when Phil had to hike up his pants through the entire store because under his watchful eye, the movers packed his only belt.

We got home and got Penny settled down in her room on the air mattress for the rest of the evening and I came out into the kitchen for my first time to really catch up with Phil in what seemed like days. We’d known we were moving for a long time and things went really slow for a while as we were kind of jerked around by the process, but then everything went SUPER fast, and we just kind of passed each other back and forth for a bit there, with no real chance to even exchange any information, like “Hey, protect our food.”

He came in from the office area and said, “These guys are really thorough, they even packed the stuff in the drawers.”

“What do you mean.”
“You know, those white and orange cabinets in the office, they packed the stuff in the drawers.”
“Do you mean ALL THE DRAWERS?”
“I don’t know, I guess?”
“PHILLIP GENE, YOU PROMISED.”

Now, here I need to back up and tell you a little bit more about what I told you before. If you don’t want something packed, like things you’re going to need during the move – medication, clothing, phone chargers – you need to put it in a “Do Not Pack” area. The movers never came into our spare bedroom because that was our designated area. I don’t own a lot of underpants, so I also put all my underpants in there. Because, you know. My underpants. Also, I don’t own a lot of underpants. I needed them all.

But on top of that, Phil told me that when they move dressers and stuff, they just wrap the whole thing, wholesale, in plastic. Just the whole thing, drawers and contents and all, and move it just like that. So I took something of mine – something of mine – and I put it in Phil’s sock drawer. You know. His sock drawer. Where there were already some other things any way. Some other things.

I took something of mine.

And I put it in the sock drawer. The sock drawer.

With the other things.

Back to our screaming at Phil program.

HE PROMISED ME.

I went running into the bedroom which was FILLED with packed and sealed boxes.

I flung open the sock drawer.

EMPTY.

I looked at the boxes.

ITEM. IT SAYS ITEM. WHY.

ITEM.

You guys. I took my turn sitting on the couch while a man packed up our bedroom. I sat on the couch and smiled at him whenever he walked by.

I was told there would be plastic wrap.

And? AND? The same guy, the bedroom packing one, was the one who came back alone to finish up the next day.

You know what, though? By the time we got to New Mexico, we’d been through so much other stuff with the car rental saga, and our dog, and the ridiculous unpackers on the other end that it all seemed kind of faded. Maybe it wasn’t so bad. How bad could it be, right? I mean, sock drawer. There were socks. How meticulous are strangers with other people’s stuff, anyway? You just dump a dresser drawer and then move on to the next one. End of the day, getting tired and hungry, want to go home. I mean, he didn’t even have time to add an “s” on to “item in drawers.” Clearly not detail oriented. It’s fine. It’s fine.

wemeetagain

We meet again.

Item hand wrapped in packing paper. That’s all I have to say about that.

I thought it was going to be all complaining but it’s just mostly complaining.

I had to take a break for a while, due to some health concerns and the fact that my husband was away for six weeks and a Penelope stops Peneloping for no man or blog. Oh, and also, I watch Korean television, like, ALL THE TIME. But when I talk about it, it’s like I’m talking to Penelope, because no one gives a shit or listens or does what I say and then just draws on the wall even though I am RIGHT THERE and saying STOP IT.

Or, at least, I thought that’s why I took a break, but I just logged in here to make a post and it turns out THIS STUPID POST INTERFACE DIDN’T MAGICALLY FIX ITSELF and I guess I wasn’t posting for a while also because everything is stupid.

Anyway, Phil’s been back for a couple of weeks now, and I’ve gone as far as to open WordPress a couple of times to regale you will all of my thoughts, but I’ve stopped short when I’ve realized that most of my thoughts are more like complaints or complainy observations, and there’s bound to be someone who is all, “geeze, don’t you do ANYTHING but COMPLAIN?” and I will point out to you that I just did several months of nothing, so yes, I complain and I also do nothing. So, I’ve just unmade your point for you right there, hypothetical person I made up in my mind largely as a reason not to make the effort to post.

(At this point in writing this post, I updated WordPress, and some things fixed themselves, but I can’t go back in time to two months ago and do that. Sorry.)

FLYING BATHTUB

Here’s my kid in a flying bathtub.
I went to the Phoenix Children’s Museum while I wasn’t posting.
I also started using Instagram.
It was an eventful time.

So during this whole period, most of what was occurring to me to post was pretty complainy stuff (see: health issues, husband away for a month and a half, general predisposition to narrowed eyes and curmudgeonliness in the face of blank text editors), and it was stacking up. I had piles of small ideas for a blog post, but they nearly all fell in the “general grumbling” category, making me feel as though I couldn’t write a WHOLE POST of general grumbling – though I don’t know why I felt I couldn’t, when I’ve made a pretty solid five year blog career of doing just that.

I was thinking a bit about why it bothered me, and it mostly comes down to the trend of pegging anyone who has anything negative to say as someone who must actually be deeply sad or internally unhappy with herself somehow. Or how someone who finds fault with another person  is actually just jealous. I guess it’s pretty tempting to imagine deep faults in another person when they’re finding fault with you, but we all know that’s just something we say to make ourselves feel better, right? That those are completely empty and likely totally untrue words in most cases?

Desert Ridge Market Place

We also went to a splash pad.
She was reluctant to splash.

Listen, all of this is lead up to say this: you can’t send me an email that says: FREE SHIPPING!! as the subject, and then inside, it says, “with $50 purchase.” That’s not free shipping. I basically expect free shipping with a $50 purchase from most of the places I shop, because I do not buy expensive things. That email subject line is bullshit and I hate it, and fucking stop.

Here’s another thing. Phil was gone for six weeks.

Here is another thing. Phil was gone for six weeks, and then he had a week of leave, and for some reason, since he has to shave for work every day, he feels no obligation to shave when he’s on leave, even if his leave is long enough that the only face I can make at him by the end is a hate face.

The helpful hobo

After church one Sunday, this random helpful bearded hobo offered to buckle my kid into her carseat. Thanks, hobo! Go shave. Because you look like a hobo. Hobo.

Hey, I know I have not been totally on the ball with updates here on this site, but hopefully those who are interested in attending PJs at TJ’s in 2014 have already joined the Facebook group. If you haven’t, you can do that now or follow me on Twitter for updates, but regardless of either of those things, you should know that registration opens at 9am west coast time on October 10th, which is this Thursday. All of the details are in the Facebook group so… I still suggest you go ahead and join it for full information. I can’t tell you if it will sell out or not, because I don’t know, or how quickly it will sell out if it does, but the best way to make sure you get a spot if you want one is to sign up for the Facebook group and register when registration opens on Thursday morning. Like always (the whole entire two past years), PJs is not exclusive. Everyone is welcome. There’s no secret in club or list. You don’t have to know anyone to come. You do have to register and it is first come, first in, and that includes people who have attended in the past or who are my very best pals in the whole wide world, so don’t think you don’t have a shot because I’m going to try to pull some tricky shenanigans so only my friends can come. That would make me a big hypocritical asshole, and while I am several kinds of asshole, I am not that kind.

If you have any questions, leave a comment, email me, message me on Twitter or Facebook, whatever you want. I don’t extend personal invitations, nor do I extend personal exclusions. You, personally, are welcome. That’s it. That’s the best I can do to assure you. I’m assuring you.

Penny on Charlie

LOOK AT MY HORSE, MY HORSE IS AMAZING.

Penny also on Charlie

On further reflection, this horse is just okay.

Let this be a lesson to me, I should have just complained when my complaints were hot, imaginary complaint complainers be damned, because now I can’t remember any of my complaints, except for one, which was kind of specific, in that I can, if pressed, name several people that I have, over the course of ACTUAL YEARS, seen do this specific thing, even though I would not actually be thinking of THEM SPECIFICALLY if I was to complain about it, you know what I mean? Like, for example, if I say, “I hate people who jump in the checkout line when they only have one thing, as if it’s their right.”

A guy actually did this to us fairly recently, fairly recently meaning I remember it but don’t have any real concept of the time frame. Just walked up and said, “Can I just get my bananas” and set them on the belt and began to go through the whole checkout process as if it was just a given that it was fine, because we had several items in our cart and he had the MOST IMPORTANT BANANAS IN THE WORLD in his hand.

OUT OF THE WAY, LIFE-SAVING BANANAS COMING THROUGH.

And you know, when I have a full cart, I do often let someone with just a couple of items go in front of me. But that’s my call. On this occasion, we had several items in our cart, but by no means a full load. Maybe we were in a hurry, too. Maybe we had exactly enough time for X items, with X being the number of items in our cart. Not X plus NICHOLAS CAGE’S BANANAS (I assume). How arrogant do you have to be to assume that wherever WE have to be is unimportant enough that it can absolutely, definitely and certainly wait for one banana bunch checkout’s length of time in addition to the time we’ve already calculated for our own shopping? How do you assess the shopping lanes to choose? “Oh, those schmucks there can definitely wait a banana length. They’ve got nowhere banana-important to be. Not like me. OUT OF THE WAY, PEONS. INCOMING BANANAS DESTINED FOR THE BREAKFAST OATMEAL OF THE GRANDSON OF SPUDS MACKENZIE.”

Anyway, so sometimes when you pick a specific complaint to make, like the one I had in my head that, when pressed, I could remember some people I do actually like and consider friends and don’t in any way hate AT ALL maybe doing on one or two occasions, one like “I hate people who jump in the checkout line when they only have one thing, as if it’s their right,” you’ve got to be ready for those people to maybe defend it. And I get that, I guess, because I just said I don’t like something you do, and we’re friends, so obviously I actually hate you.

And someone will say, “Well, I’m actually responsible for buying Nicholas Cage’s bananas.” Or tries to explain how it’s actually a courtesy on their part to stop clogging up the lines with just their one bunch of teeny weeny bananas. Or explain how they only did it one time, but they actually did have a really extremely important place to be that time, more important than anyone else in the store could have possibly had to be. And then everyone feels awkward. Because, what? I’m supposed to start giving arrogant banana line rushers the benefit of the doubt? I’m supposed to issue individual pardons so that a line jumper can mentally reconcile the fact that they can both do something that I personally don’t like, yet still somehow remain my friend? I’m supposed to… continue this awkward stare down?

LOOK, YOU AND YOUR BANANAS NEED TO JUST WAIT FOR THE NOD, OKAY?

And that’s why I had to just scrub one whole complaint from the list, but I think the whole banana guy thing worked out pretty well, because THAT GUY, RIGHT? WHAT THE HELL? “Can I just get my bananas?” Can I just rip off your arm and beat you with the wet end?

Here’s something else. I haven’t talked a lot about makeup stuff recently because I haven’t talked a lot about anything recently, but you need to go out and get Gimmie Brow by Benefit right now, and I will demonstrate the reason with an actual picture of my actual face wearing the actual makeup product I am actually talking about, something I have never actually done on this blog, which is kind of amazing, considering how much I talk about makeup. I went and got my eyebrows done by the most amazing eyebrow lady in all the land, and after the waxed my wonky and odd shaped eyebrows, she used only ONE PRODUCT on them, Gimmie Brow, and this is what they looked like, holy shit, go buy it:

Don't care, eyebrow hair.

Far from the most flattering angle of my forehead wrinkles.
Don’t care, eyebrow hair.

Macy’s, Ulta, Sephora, Benefit site, wherever you’re racking up your bonus points for buying all the awesome holiday gift sets that are coming out. Buy Gimmie Brow. Do it.

Anyway. That’s it, I guess. We’ve still got a lot going on right now. Some stuff is up in the air. Still working on some somewhat difficult health issues.

Oh! But Penelope isn’t! In September, she was pronounced completely clear of all kidney and VUR issues by her pediatric urologist and she was completely released from care by her team at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. All issues related to her failure to thrive and vesicoureteral reflux have been resolved. We passed my “one year catheter free” goal and hopefully she’ll stay catheter free until she epidurals up for her own kid some day.

Penelope's Last U/S

Pro.

And speaking of Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Phil is once again participating in the Extra Life marathon fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network, specifically playing for Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Last year, he was playing when Penelope’s surgery was pretty recent. This year, he’s playing shortly after finding out that we’re completely done with seeing Penny’s team at Phoenix Children’s, but I don’t think we’ll be ending our relationship with them – in terms of support – for a long time.

Children’s Miracle Network raises money for hospitals across the United States and Canada, to fund research and buy equipment, but most importantly to us, to pay for uncompensated care. We are lucky enough to be in a situation that Penelope’s expensive care and surgery didn’t burden us financially. For others, Children’s Miracle Network provides the funds to allow families in less fortunate situations benefit from the same excellent standard of care Penelope has received for literally her entire life from Phoenix Children’s Hospital. PCH has benefited our family in more ways than just the top notch medical care they provided to Penelope, and that needs to be extended to as many children and their parents as possible.

ANYWAY, the Extra Life Marathon is coming up! Here’s Phil’s fundraising page. If you’d like to donate, we’d appreciate it very much. If you could share the page on your social networks, we’d appreciate that, too. If you’re feeling crazy and want to stay up for 24 hours straight playing video games and want to support Phoenix Children’s while you do it, let me know and I’ll get you in touch with Phil and he’ll get you started with joining his team. If you just want to think about joining next year, still let me know. We’ll still be here.

That’s it! Thank you!

HO SHIT GUYS PUMPKINS

Olds, sockies, all of the books, and puke-related genius.

So you know what gets more smiles from strangers than a dad carrying his baby daughter through the grocery store? A dad in uniform carrying his baby daughter through a grocery store. Honest to pete, my face is sore from all of the polite smiles I had to return trying to walk through Safeway the other day. All these people were glancing at Phil, looking back over their shoulders at him, nudging whoever they were with and jerking their head in our direction.

“Look! A man with a baby! A man in UNIFORM with a BABY!”

I GET IT, IT’S ADORABLE. HE FARTS IN BED, THOUGH. THEY BOTH DO. JUST SO YOU KNOW.

I’m not mad. I’m just bitter, probably. Whenever I take Penny through the grocery store, I get some smiles, but mostly a train a passive aggressive olds telling Penny to tell her mommy that her feet are so cold without sockies! So cold! Tell her you need some sockies! Sockies for those feet! Tell her, “Mommy, my feet are so cold here in the store! I need sockies for my feetsies!”

Phil, though? Phil in uniform? All smiles, no mention of sockies.

*****

I think I use Goodreads more than I use any other socially networky thing right now, but there is something that will eternally bother me about Goodreads. I think I’ve talked about it here before, but I’m talking about it again. What are you, the blog police?

Anyway, I had several false starts with using Goodreads (I’ve been  member since 2009) and didn’t really get into it heavily until recently, because I got TOO OVERWHELMED. It’s a simple site, but I, like most people, have been reading books for about a berjillion years. That’s roughly 30 berjillion books.

So, I would start listing books that I’d read, and pretty soon, I’d become hopelessly overwhelmed with the task of adding EVERY BOOK EVER. I don’t think I ever even got to one berjillion. So I’d give up. If I couldn’t add them all, I JUST WOULDN’T ADD ANY.

Coincidentally, that’s very similar to the stance I have on eating potato chips, but usually goes the opposite way.

So the only way I was able to make Goodreads work for me THIS time is to tell myself that I would only list books from that point FORWARD. I have a couple of favorites listed, but aside from that, I WILL NOT fall down the rabbit hole of books that I’ve read since the dawn of time.

This makes me constantly self-conscious, though, that people will think I started reading at 29. I COULD READ BEFORE THEN. I just can’t allow myself to tempt insanity by remembering every book I’ve ever read, because I can’t just list SOME of the ones I read before I started using Goodreads. It’s none of them or all of them. That’s how it has to be. IT HAS TO BE.

Sometimes, someone I follow rates a book. A book I READ, pre-Goodreads attempt 47. And it’s right there. No searching necessary. It’s right there on the home screen. And all I would have to do is just pick a star rating. One click, and there it is. Added to my books. That’s not so bad, right?

EXCEPT IT IS. The only way I can use Goodreads at all is by telling myself that I have an UNDERSTANDING with the larger Goodreads population. We ALL AGREE that I read books before I started using Goodreads, but I haven’t listed any of them. We just AGREE that it HAPPENED.

If I go ahead and list one, the agreement is BROKEN. Now there’s one listed. And that can lead people to assume that sure, I read books before I started using Goodreads. Or, more accurately, I read BOOK.

No. No. I can’t add any of them. So they pop up in front of me, and instead of clicking, I sit here in front of the computer and worry that people are going to think I HAVEN’T READ THAT BOOK. Then I remind myself of the agreement. But I READ THAT BOOK.

You guys, I’m just saying, it’s hard being me.

*****

So I’ve been preparing for PJs@Tj’s, which is now in less than a month, and in my every waking hour, I find myself thinking about tiny details, which stack upon the other tiny details, which add berjillions of things to my mental to do list, which I haven’t actually started, other than cleaning out the pantry, and I don’t see why anyone would really be in my pantry anyway, so, right. I have not gotten very far yet in the whole “preparing the house for a pile of guests” thing yet.

But I’ve been thinking about it, which we all know is half the battle. And here’s something I’ve been thinking: a while ago, we got this hand soap we really liked. It was some kind of Soft Soap, and the smell was blackberry vanilla. Or black currant and pears. Or something and something. Anyway, it smelled great. Next time we were at the store, though, and needed soap, we just got one of those big old refill jugs, and we’ve been refilling the same bottles – one in the bathroom and one on the kitchen sink.

So, while the bottle says you’ll be washing your hands with a delightful mix of berries and puffy clouds, it’s actually just generic soap smell.

And I wonder, does that make the soap a lie? And, as a hostess, am I being rude with this bait and switch? This soap and swap? This scrub and… drub?

Seriously, I have 18 women descending on my house in less than a month, and this is what is keeping me up at night.

*****

We’ve made a plan. Well, not so much a plan as a plan to make a plan. We’ve decided that when Penny is about five, we’re going to take her on a Disney cruise and a stay in Disney World. We figure we’ve got to plan that far out so that we can save up the money, because I’ve always said that when we do take her to Disney, we want to go ALL OUT.

I mean, we want to stay in one of the hotels right there, so that we can go back to rest as needed. And we want enough days to do everything we want. And I want to take her to that place where they do her up like a princess. We want to be able to throw money around like we have it. Sure, you can have a $75 Mickey balloon! Oh, you let it go? That’s okay, here’s a $115 ice cream sandwich. Wipe your face with this napkin, it was only $5.

We’ve also emailed both of our families to extend an invitation to join us, because, why not? We’re planning far enough in advance that everyone can make it, if they wanted to.

But just today, I started thinking that there needs to be more to this plan than just saving the money and picking a cruise.

ONE – We’ve got to start watching Disney movies, post haste. This shit is not going to be even a LITTLE BIT MAGICAL if Penny doesn’t know who the hell Ariel is, you know what I mean?

TWO – I’m thinking that by the time she’s two, two and a half, I’m going to want to start working with her on developing a real allegiance to one of the princesses.

I know you’re about to get your Internet dander all up, what with the princess culture! And teaching appropriate values! And rabble rabble! And girl power! And all of that. And to that I say this: Look. Shut up. Because, come on. Did you grow up thinking that you were an actual princess? I mean, did you grow into the total warped asshole of a she-witch that the anti-princess culture people seem to believe will result from exposure to made up, cartoon fancy ladies? By the time you were of reasonable age, did you understand that your suburban town house bore little resemblance to a castle and no one cared when you lost your stupid shoe?

You did, right? You turned out to be a functioning adult? With only a moderate number of tiaras? AND managed to also enjoy Disney movies as a child?

Yeah, so, now that we’ve established that THAT’S possible… I’m thinking Belle. Or maybe Ariel. I mean, Ariel’s a pretty predictable choice, but come on. Obviously the superior princess.

THREE – We’ve got to concentrate on NOT raising an asshole at all, even more so now. Because we’re not going to tell her we’re going until we’re about to leave. You know, like all those YouTube videos? So, we’re going to want a really sweet, really genuine reaction of joy from her when she finds out we’re about to blow all of our money ever on a cruise and a trip. And then we’ll put it on YouTube.

FOUR – I probably have to get a passport.

FIVE  – I should also probably learn to swim.

Anyway, I’m already excited. Four or five years is just enough time to build this up in my mind enough that I completely ruin Penny’s enjoyment of the whole thing by trying to force some FREAKIN’ DISNEY MAGIC on her at every turn.

*****

LASTLY, we are considering joining the YMCA. Which seems silly, you say, because there are 800 gyms on base, but look. I can’t go to those. I just can’t. I know people say, “Everyone is there to work out! No one is looking at anyone!” But come on. People look at people. It’s human nature. And while we’d all like to think that no one cares, just a few days on Twitter will net you at LEAST three people saying, “At the gym today… ” and commenting on someone they saw. It’s not always mean or even… anything… but it belies the “no one is paying attention!” crap. So while I’d like to be one of those, “Whatever, I’m above all that” people, I’m not. I cannot go to a gym on base, full of people whose job it is to be in great physical condition.

And I really don’t want any more of that “no but really, no one is paying attention to anyone else” stuff. I know you’re lying. You know you’re lying. There’s no point in trying to get someone to go exercise where they won’t be comfortable, because they will try it once or twice and not be able to stand it, and then, worse than the guilt of not trying, you have the guilt of QUITTING.

So is it silly to pay for a gym membership when you can go to a gym for free? I don’t know. I don’t think so. My mother has had a membership to the Y for a berjillion years, and there’s a gym in her office building. She wouldn’t go to that one. She wouldn’t be comfortable. So it’s the choice of paying for a place you’re comfortable, or not working out at all. So far, the choice for me has been “not at all,” so I’m beginning to be quite convinced that paying for something that is also available for free, in this case, is not totally ridiculous.

It’s not, right?

*****

I can’t think of where else I’m ever going to work these in, and I need more people than Phil to appreciate me, because he doesn’t laugh, he just says, “Yeah, that’s funny.” Even when I can see him TRYING NOT TO LAUGH. Won’t even give me the courtesy of a laugh. Anyway, two things I have come up with recently, regarding Penny:

1. Count Yak-ula.
2. She had a yak-cident.

I bet I come out of this entry looking like a huge jerk with no taste.

So, if you follow me on Twitter, you are very aware (well, assuming that you follow me and give a crap, which is not necessarily the case) that my mother had been visiting up until last night.

I mostly just rolled my eyes and gritted my teeth and let her hold the baby as much as she wanted to, but there was this one point where I just snapped and I don’t think my head went back on straight for the rest of the visit.

We were getting ready to leave to go to a baseball game, and I had been walking around packing Penny’s bag and gathering everything we needed for the evening. Phil said to me, “Do you have the tickets?”

And, since I did indeed have the tickets, I said, “Yes, I have the tickets.”

And my mom jumps in and says, “Where are they?”

Is it not enough that I said that I had them? She needs to know the exact location of where I had them?

OKAY THAT DOESN’T SOUND LIKE MUCH BUT YOU GUYS. IT WAS A LONG VISIT.

I was annoyed. I was very annoyed. I was annoyed with everything I did being double checked, with being reminded of appropriate care of Penny, with the raised eyebrow and repeated requests to do things the way she thought they should be done even when I refused.

We were at IKEA at one point, looking at some shelves, and she read the warning next to the shelf – something about using the proper mounting screws for the wall type. When we got home and showed everything to Phil, she reminded him that the SIGN SAID to use the proper screws for the wall type. And again the next day. And then again when we were talking about the fact that we would eventually hang the purchased shelves. “Just remember, the SIGN SAID –.”

As if we need her to continually remind us of the sign’s instructions to hang the shelves properly. AS IF WE EVEN NEED A SIGN to instruct us to not hang shelves in OUR BABY’S ROOM in such a manner that they might FALL ON HER HEAD.

After the ticket thing, I said to my mom, “Do you realize how many things like that you’ve said this week?”

And she replied, “I realize that you’re hypersensitive.”

Excuse me?

Nothing makes me angrier (that’s just a saying, a lot of things make me equally angry or possibly angrier) than being put in a position where I have to JUSTIFY feeling a certain way. Putting someone in a position where they have to defend the fact that they have FEELINGS is not right. You shouldn’t do that.

Ugh. I’m too annoyed to even say a complete 500 words about it all.

*****

You guys, the visit totally wasn’t all bad, or even mostly bad. Yes, I was irritated a lot. Yes, I snapped at her, repeatedly. But we did a lot of fun things and got a lot of work done on Pennysylvania as well.

Remember when I asked you about my repurchasey obligations when returning wedding gifts? Well, we took the pots back to Macy’s, and I figured I’d get a few bucks and maybe we’d find, I don’t know, a throw pillow or something for Pennysylvania.

Except, when they rang the pots back through, they gave me a much fatter gift card of store credit than I was expecting. Like, “Here, have the MSRP of the pots that no one actually ever charges, plus an extra 10% because why not, and on top of that, here’s a little ‘Sorry we sold you exploding pots’ consolation money. Go nuts!”

We looked through the baby section and weren’t especially into anything we saw, probably because Macy’s sells Carter’s and we’d already completely demolished not only Carter’s, but the Kohl’s Carter’s section as well the day before.

We did, however, go back to the furniture section and locate the perfect mattress for Penny’s floor bed. My mom was insistent on buying it, telling me that maybe I should look for it at another place for a better price, or that maybe another store would charge less for delivery. That turned out to not be the case, but regardless, I had a gift card and there wasn’t much else I really had a need for at Macy’s, so I felt like it made the most sense for me to buy it. Not that I don’t appreciate my mom’s offer to buy things for Penny – I totally do. I just don’t see a reason for either of us to spend money that doesn’t need to be spent, and a gift card is basically pretend money.

With delivery charge, I ended up paying $32 out of pocket for Penny’s floor bed mattress. I think that once it’s installed in her room, I’m going to call it Martha Stewart Exploding Pot Memorial Island.

We went to IKEA the next day and it wasn’t until I was hauling our self-serve furniture off of the shelves and arguing with my mom about who was paying that she said that she was paying because she wanted to buy the mattress. She followed that with, “I wanted to buy the crib. Your grandmother bought your crib.”

So, basically, I accidentally flaunted a tradition she had wanted to continue or establish, first by not having a crib and then by paying for the mattress myself.

I feel kind of bad about that, I really do. I understand what she wanted to do now, but I don’t know that if I had known that to begin with, I would have done anything any differently. The floor bed is right for us, and the pots-I-don’t-use in exchange for a mattress scheme really saved a lot of money. My money, her money – whatever, money saved.

I’d like to think it turned out okay in the end, though, because she did buy out almost the entirety of IKEA and even though she was paying, she stuck very closely to my vision (over the top) and tastes (poor) for the room. She did draw the line at the carpet with the broccoli on it, but nothing is really stopping me from going back to get it.

Here’s a small taste of what is being installed into Pennysylvania over the next week or so:

Additionally, we got several different sets of shelves. There are some picture rails that we’re putting at low-ish points around the walls, to display board books within Penny’s (eventual) reach. Also, three plain square LACK shelves that will be hung high above the changing table, in view of the bed. I’m planning on putting some large photos of the dogs and Phil and I on those.

We grabbed another kind of shelf unit thingie that has six cubes of space in it (MY DESCRIPTIVE POWERS ARE VAST!), and that will either be hung low or placed on the floor and anchored to the wall. Small, safe toys and other items will be placed in the cube to help keep her room organized and give her a sense of everything having its own place. We’ll rotate a few toys in and out of those areas.

OH, and another thing – a clothes hanger in the shape of an octopus, like to hang a bunch of clothes to dry instead of a clothes line. I’m going to hang that from fishing line above her bed and use it to make a mobile. I’m not especially crafty, so it will probably consist of six pictures of Phil doing thumbs, a spoon, and some marker pictures drawn on toilet paper squares. I don’t know. I’m a big picture person, not a details lady. Let me know if you have any ideas about what to hang.

We also hit Target and got some deep purple sheets for her bed, as well as a sort of floor-rocker. One of those kid’s video game chairs, kind of? It’s like a rocking chair with no arms or legs. For now, we’ll keep it next to her floor bed for us to sit on to read to her or, more likely, read Twitter on our phones while occasionally insisting she fall asleep RIGHT THIS INSTANT. My mom snagged an owl-shaped pillow, and I grabbed another carpet – a rag rug that I’d been looking at every time we went to Target. I don’t have any place in mind to put it yet, but it was on clearance for $7.50. So. It was almost silly not to buy it.

I tried to put it on the floor in the living room, but Sheldon laid on it for a while and then tried to carry it away.

So. Construction of Pennysylvania is underway. Let me know if you have any fun ideas in obnoxious colors.

*****

Hey, remember when I said we went to a baseball game?

LOOKIT MY BIG FAT BABY, YOU GUYS.

Oh, the baseball game. Penny won the “My Parents are HUGE IDIOTS” Award for that one.

How did I forget how LOUD a professional sporting event is? You guys, she screamed and cried in terror every time the crowd roared, or they played walk up music, or ANYTHING HAPPENED AT ALL. We were looking for the exits by the second inning. And then? She fell asleep. She fell asleep and slept through a good inning or so of the game, and when she woke up, she was normal. Completely unbothered. As if the whole start of the game had never happened. A total 180. That didn’t stop us from leaving at the top of the seventh, though (the Diamondbacks had clinched all that needed clinching the night before, so it wasn’t especially suspenseful). Good thing we left when we did, as there was a power outage just minutes after we got there, followed by the Diamondbacks laying down a 15-1 asswhupping on the Giants, which would be totally awesome if I gave half a crap about either team at all.

*****

Anyway. Good visit. Good progress made on Penny actually having a space in our house, instead of just laying wherever we find room to put her down, with her belongings scattered willy nilly about the place. Good baseball game (courtesy of Operation Homefront AZ and Sanderson Ford Seats for Soldiers). Good… diet soda I just finished drinking. Good thing I’m going to the doctor this afternoon to attempt to start the process of addressing incredibly difficult post-partum anxiety. Good… uh… hey, I got into Pottermore! That’s pretty good.

*****

OH, I remembered what I wanted to ask you! Can you recommend some prints to go in Pennysylvania? I mean, it might be tough for you to match my discerning and elevated sense of style and decor preferences, but I have faith in you, Internet. I am looking for some awesomeness for the upper walls. Have you seen anything? Ideas for things to hang from the octopus tentacles to make an acceptable baby-stimulating mobile are also welcomed.

*****

PS. Penny has a tooth. A tooth-let. A harbinger of tooth.

PPS. I know you don’t think I went all week without some new diapers coming in to this house. Also, this one is on the way. Fun diaper stuff coming soon, if you’re into that kind of thing! Lame-ass diaper stuff coming soon, if you’re not into that kind of thing!

PPPS. OH ONE MORE THING ABOUT MY MOM. I would make baby observations, like “She isn’t rolling yet,” or maybe we’d see a baby walking around and I’d say, “I can’t wait until Penny can walk,” and my mom would jump in to DEFEND PENNY, going, “She will!” As if I’m maligning my dud of a baby. I KNOW SHE WILL. She’s not going to go to college unable to do anything but put her face into the carpet and shriek out her indignation. I’m just SAYING.

Things places say, valid diaperings, babies for babies, Phil fell for it twice

Let’s just get this out of the way now.

1. Are you a person who says, “I’d like to come with you,” or “I want to come with?”

2. Are you a person who says, “That needs to be washed,” or “That needs washed?”

3. Are you a person who says, “Take 101 to whatever,” or “Take the 101 to whatever?”

I’m willing to entertain your responses and reasonings on 1 and 2, but if you’re not in my camp, I will forever view you through “says weird things” colored lenses.

Now, number 3, I am finally willing to admit is a kind of regional thing, though I refuse to ever quit taunting Phil about it. When we first met, I was all, “What the shit is this ‘the 10’ crap? Do me a favor. When we’re in Pennsylvania, tell my sister to ‘take the 81’ and see what she says to you,” because let me tell you, Internet, my sister is someone who is INCREDIBLY PICKY about the way that you say things. Yes, you. Well, mostly me. I can’t say the word “soda” or “phone” without her attempting to get me to repeat it for her correctly.

Anyway, Phil did say something to my sister about “the 81,” and predictably, she said, “What the hell is THAT about? It’s 81. Just 81.” Which is TRUE.

But I guess out here in the Westerny part of the country, it’s common to add “the” in front of highway numbers. In Pennsylvania and Maryland, where I have gathered all of my extensive data, there is no “the.” It’s simply, “Take 81 to 83” or, “I take 270 to work” or, more commonly, “Hi, please forward my mail, because I’m going to be on 495 for the rest of my ever-loving life.”

Other ones? I mean, do you have any? I’m not really interested in pronunciation differences – I get that some people say “water” and some people say “wooder,” and that whole pronunciation video meme thing went around for a while and I didn’t watch a single one because who caaaaaaares. Some people say “ant” and some people say “auuuunt.” Got it. Also not interested in regional expressions. You know, like how Southern ladies say, “Oh, bless your heart,” when they really mean, “If I wasn’t such a lady, I would FUCK YOU UP.” I am more interested in regional differences in the way things are said, like the above examples. Please come up with some further instances of what I have illustrated above, so that we can all marvel at how weird other people are.

*****

I still intend to write my cloth diaper post, or maybe posts, I’m not sure, but I did want to get one thing out of the way.

It’s probably clear by now that I have about 7 jillion different kinds of diapers, and I think that some people probably find that a little intimidating. And it can be, I guess, but you should know that I eased into it.

Another perfectly valid approach to cloth diapering is to create an entire stash of diapers from just one brand. A lot of people do this, and it’s a very simple, uncomplicated way to do things, and you can also usually get really good deals on packages of diapers.

In fact, that was my original intention. I shopped sales and swaps before Penny was born and collected a couple of a few different kinds of diapers, intending to try them out and decide what worked best for us, sell the rest, and buy an entire collection of just one kind of diaper, like tons of people do. I did not do that.

But if you want to, you will probably end up going with one of the bigger “names” in diapers, because they are the easiest to obtain. If you’re interested in a hybrid system (one that will let you use cloth or disposable inserts as needed), you might like Flip, GroVia or GDiapers. (I do not use hybrids, so I cannot help you, but you’d still be making a nice choice.)

If you’re interested in pockets, you have probably mostly heard about BumGenius and FuzziBunz. Both excellent brands. If you were going to ask me, I’d say to go with FuzziBunz, because I like them better than I like BumGenius. But a lot of people like BumGenius, too.

Actually, if you were going to ask me, I’d say to go with Blueberry diapers for your pockets, because I don’t mind spending ridiculous amounts of your money right out of your pocket. (I am phasing out all of my pockets except for my Blueberry and newer FuzziBunz. But pockets are still an excellent choice!) But if you’re choosing between FuzziBunz and BumGenius, I’d say FuzziBunz. Unless you want to go with BumGenius.

You know. Whatever.

What I’m saying, in a completely unhelpful way, is that while the way I talk about cloth diapers and my personal collection of various types of pockets, AI2s and fitteds may be a little more complex that you (or Phil) are totally comfortable with, that shouldn’t discourage you away from cloth diapers, because JUST PICKING ONE is a perfectly valid (and probably sane) way to do things.

FuzziBuuuuuuuuuuuuuunnnnz!

*****

Left a little note for Phil to find before he left for work in the morning. <3

*****

Yesterday, we got into the discussion about whether you should ever consider having a second child for the reasoning that eventually you will be dead, and who will your kid hang out with? And also, after watching Vlogbrothers for so long, if you are robbing your kid of a special relationship in their adulthood if you don’t have a sibling for them, even if they hate each other growing up, and even if having a second kid (in your specific case) will make it so that you cannot raise either kid in exactly the manner you want, which you would be able to do with just one kid.

I don’t even want to talk about that shit, Internet.

*****

I know people do these all the time, but what are you reading that I’m not reading that I should be reading? I mean, I’m sure you read some really good blogs about exercise and healthy living, but I just celebrated There’s Chocolate Cake in the Fridge Day by having chocolate cake for breakfast. So. Realistically. Who are you reading that I should seek out and pester until they become my very best friend forever, or at least until they give in and agree to be my secret best friend, like Duck Face Walter was Stephanie Tanner’s secret boyfriend.

Who do you know who needs a Duck Face Walter in their life in the form of me?

*****

Internet, here are some choices we’re batting around right now:

1. Base of preference, standard list: We have a list of bases where we would like to live, on the East Coast, within reasonable driving distance of where all of my family is concentrated. We can put in a list (again) to let the powers that be know that we would like to move to one of these bases if space is available, and wait and see (and likely be denied, again).

2. Bade of preference, new list: If we can’t get one of the bases that’s within driving distance of family/people we know, it doesn’t really make a difference where we go, because we’d just be in the same situation we’re in now, so what does it matter where? This is known as the “anywhere but Arizona” idea.

3. Put in for overseas assignments as they become available, to places where Penny and I could accompany Phil. We’d be overseas for a few years, then have a better chance of getting a base of our choosing when we came back. However, not too many things we’re interested are opening up over the last few cycles, and they’re not even remotely guaranteed anyway, so we’d be sitting and waiting in AZ in the meantime.

4. A special job in either Montana, Wyoming or North Dakota for a few years. That would get us out of AZ, and also give Phil a little break from his career field, which is kind of needed right now. However, we’d be just as far from family as before, and it would be starting over, in a way, as Phil would have to learn a whole new job. His schedule, if manning was good in the position, would be 3 days on, 4 days off. Now, those 3 days would be three entire days, as in, at a different location, not home at night, Skype in for bedtime. But then, you know, 4 days off. Unless manning isn’t good. Which it isn’t always. Then just two days off at a time. A slight edge to this job is that there would be no deploying for four years, which is nice, but not a reason to choose it, as Phil and I are both of the belief that when you join the military, you do your share as called upon to do it. So. That would be nice, but we’d never choose something specifically to avoid Phil being sent overseas, if that makes sense.

5. An unaccompanied short tour for Phil. He put it for one recently and it doesn’t look like he got it. A common option for this is Korea, and Phil has already done a year in Korea, and is not super keen on the idea of doing another one. He’d go alone, and Penny and I would either go to Pennsylvania near my family for the year, or we would go to our follow on base if it was one of our top choices, again within driving distance of family. This is not really at the top of our list, because who wants to be away for a year? But it gives you an edge in getting a base you’d want after that year. But an edge doesn’t mean a guarantee. You could ask for New Jersey, Delaware or Virginia and they could offer you North Dakota, North Dakota, or North Dakota.

6. Do one more BOP round with our top bases. If we don’t get them, settle down and accept Phoenix living. The weather is great most of the year. There’s tons of stuff to do. Lots of concerts, all major sporting events, state fairs, good food. We’d look into moving off base in early 2012 into a Big Kid House, because base housing, while it met our needs when we really needed them met, is hard for me to see as a permanent home. Move into a nice house in the West Valley somewhere, with a block wall fence so Sheldon will stop getting away.

7. Listen, you. I already know your vote. MacDill. I got it. I tell Phil every time we discuss it. “Don’t forget to count the vote for MacDill.

Reality: Oh, you guys. They’re never going to let us out of Arizona.

I don’t know why I laid all of that out. Do any of you have sway with the base assignments of the USAF? If so, WHY HAVEN’T YOU TOLD ME BEFORE? If not, well. We’ll be right here. In Arizona.

I am trying to think of more parts for this post because I don’t want to come out of the bedroom.

I spent the entire weekend in my Butt Rust clothes – giant 2XL undershirts that have suffered the consequences of my inability to use a fork like a normal person, and huge athletic shorts from the dude section of the BX that were not only big to begin with but lost a little bit of the snap in their waist after a couple of months of being called upon to circle The Hut. Normally, on the weekends, I put on grown up clothes at least for a few hours, and I did try this weekend, but it only lasted about 25 minutes before I needed to get back on the couch with the baby, and if you’re just going to be hunched up in a corner of the couch for hours on end, either feeding a baby or holding her while she creates a spreading drool-spot all over the front of your gross ugly shirt, you might as well wear your floppiest pants and grossest, ugliest shirts.

I’m very tired and very resentful in ways that can’t be described due to the ability of the general Internet (not you, the rest of them)  to laser in on such posts to leave comments about what terrible, ungrateful parents anyone who posts such things must be, so let’s just leave it at that. Tired, resentful, willfully deaf to any crying that doesn’t sound urgent enough, at least for just fifteen goddamn minutes PLEASE.

*****

You know what else I found myself kind of resentful about this weekend? Breastfeeding advocates, specifically on the Internet.

We’ve talked about this before, I am all for breastfeeding. I’ve even made myself aware of a lot of the ridiciulously named “booby traps,” things people and doctors and society and whoever say and do to prevent, hinder, or otherwise discourage breastfeeding.

However, a lot of the “breastfeeding at all costs” type of information being given out has really obscured a lot of necessary information I was trying to find this weekend, and I am pretty cheesed off about it.

Now, I am about to give examples, and they are examples of the situation, not questions I want you to answer in the comments, okay? Please do NOT talk about my boops in the comments. I like you, but we’re not that close. Seriously, please don’t, because I will probably not be able to stop myself from responding, and it will likely be really bitchy, and you’ll be all, “I was just trying to HELP, I am never coming here AGAIN” and I honestly WILL NOT CARE because I am holed up in the bedroom right now while Phil is home for lunch and in a few minutes I have to go back out there to that baby and the drool mark on my shirt won’t even be all the way dry before she redampens it and I JUST CAN’T TAKE IT TODAY.

There’s some pretty common questions, I think, that new mothers tend to ask – how do I know if the baby is eating enough? How do I know if I’m making enough milk? I think they’re pretty common, at least.

Which is why it’s so weird that it’s almost impossible to find real answers. I understand that a lot of women think they can’t make enough milk, or are told they don’t make enough milk, and that it’s not true nearly as often as it is said. And I understand that a lot of new mothers are worried when their baby shortens nursing sessions, and that’s just a thing that babies do. Yes, those things are true.

But when you are looking for the answers to these questions, it would be nice if they were actually THERE, in addition to the standard “DON’T LISTEN TO WHOEVER IS TELLING YOU THAT!” reassurance. Without fail, even on LLL sites, all I come across are answers like, “It’s normal for a baby to eat for only a couple of minutes” or “As long as the baby is nursing often, you’ll make enough milk,” or the very common, “If there are an adequate number of wet and dirty diapers and the baby isn’t losing weight, you’re fine!” And nothing beyond that.

Except sometimes? The baby IS losing weight. And sometimes, someone is asking how to tell if their milk is drying up because IT JUST MIGHT BE, not because some horrible outside force is trying to convince her to supplement with the evil formula. And sometimes a lady is familiar enough with her own goddamn baby to KNOW it absolutely IS a problem that she’s only nursing for a couple of minutes per side and NEEDS TO KNOW WHAT TO DO.

Yet all this information is hard to find on the Internet, buried beneath tons of “IT’S FINE! DON’T LISTEN TO ANYONE WHO SAYS IT ISN’T!,” if it’s even there at all.

I’ve written before about breastfeeding “experts” (and I use quotes to indicate not that I don’t think such a thing exists, but that among the true experts, there are many people who are in-quotes experts) and a couple of situations in which I felt their failed to properly push for and advocate for breastfeeding by providing ALL the relevant information, correctly. And now I find myself almost on the opposite side, looking for these people who are supposed to have ALL the information, not just the information relevant to their almost political-ish opinion on the necessity of breastfeeding, crowding out the whole of my search results with “It’s fine, it’s fine, it’s fine!” with no instruction or help on how to figure out if it’s actually NOT.

And we ARE working with a doctor and I KNOW I can go see a lactation consultant in person and a whole host of other solutions, I’m just expressing my annoyance that the information I need is seemingly not available on the Internet – instead, there’s a whole lot of “don’t trust your friend who said this, don’t trust your doctor who said that, don’t trust your instincts that say whatever,” if “this,” “that,” or “whatever” are at all indicative that maybe breastfeeding should stop or maybe formula supplementation should start.

Again, I’m not really looking for help on my issue, I’m just annoyed all over again at what a goddamn mess just trying to do the right thing by your baby ends up being a lot of the time.

*****

Phil doesn’t really talk about his past or growing up a lot. He doesn’t really have a great memory in general, and isn’t really the type to recount his whole life to someone. I know him now, and I know the vague outlines of his past, and in day to day living, it’s easy to kind of forget, in a subconscious way, that I don’t really know everything there is to know about him, or at least, his life and what’s gone on in it, until he reminds me in a hilarious manner.

Phil’s the type of person who doesn’t really always remember that not everyone is aware of what’s going on inside of his head or privy to all of his thoughts at all times. He’s the type that just picks up in the middle of a conversation and is kind of annoyed by your blank look, until you point out to him that the first 15 minutes of the conversation took place entirely in his head and it would be nice to be brought up to speed before being expected to give a response.

This whole “not everyone just knows everything” is especially funny when he throws out some random memory or experience from his childhood or past like it isn’t even a THING, and is surprised when you’re all, “Wait, WHAT? Did you just say, ‘Well, that time I got hit by a motorcycle…?’ Seriously? You’re just going to drop that out there and act like it’s not even RIDICULOUS to just SAY?”

In a way, it’s almost more fun to NOT ask Phil about his past and then just sit around and wait for the rare moments he decides he’s going to talk. Like yesterday, when Aerosmith came on my Pandora station.

“When I bought my first CD player, I bought this CD.”

“Oh, yeah?”

“Yeah. And then the first chick I ever did it with stole my CD player. It was a boom box.”

“Were you mad?”

“Well, kind of, but that’s not even the weirdest thing that happened with that girl.”

“Oh?”

“Nope. The weirdest thing was that I had sex with her twin.”

“You did WHAT?”

“And she was watching from the closet.”

“That HAPPENED?”

“She said it did. And then suddenly she was a triplet.”

“I don’t even –“

“This is the one I met when I worked at Baskin-Robbins, because I called a radio station to request a song while we were closing up and then she called the store because she heard me on the radio.”

“I DON’T EVEN –“

“She also faked a pregnancy and that was a whole other thing. Hey, do you want lunch?”

*****

I would normally put a picture of Penny about right here, but I don’t actually have any. Just take one of the pictures you’ve already seen and draw some angry, Oscar the Grouch-style eyebrows on it, and maybe some rage lasers shooting out from the general facial area, and then find the most grating sound you can and crank it up to full volume.

Enjoy.

*****

Hey, I am going to The Blathering, and there’s still 10 spaces left, I think, so. You know. Think about it.

*****

We are so sick of Arizona and so sick of our every attempt to get out of here being denied that we are at the point that Phil is seriously considering putting in for an unaccompanied short tour – Korea, or Diego Garcia, or something like that. He’d be gone for a year, without us, as the word “unaccompanied” implies. Before he even left, we’d know where we were going next, and people returning from short tours or overseas or whatever get a slightly higher preference on the base of their choosing. Of course, the base of their choosing is “chosen” from a list of what’s available, which is not guaranteed to not be even more hateful than where we are now.

And here’s the thing with doing a short tour – does he go now, and miss a year of Penny’s tiny babyhood, in hopes of getting us where we want to be, or does he wait and miss a year a little later on, one that Penny will remember?

Or, we can stay here in Arizona and keep requesting a Base of Preference, knowing that as long as we stay here, we’re likely stuck here for who knows how long, but as soon as we move, Phil will be right at the top of the list and will likely deploy to Afghanistan or Iraq pretty shortly after our arrival? (Don’t get me wrong – everyone deploys and we know that Phil WILL deploy at LEAST once in the remainder of his career and we KNOW that and we accept it, but it’s not something we actively WANT.)

I don’t know. Arizona itself isn’t THAT terrible. It’s just not the life we want to be living right now.

*****

Imagine I said something else right here, some long, elaborate description of a problem that you can’t actually help solve, so we can just make this whole package a nice, round downer.