Temerity Jane
12. 01. 2012

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.