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Archive for the ‘The Crazy’ Category

So, I’ve been busy making a zillion behind the scenes changes and plans for this here little old blog, all of which will come to fruition next week. That’s why I’ve been super absentee. Well, that AND partying in Palm Springs at a fabulous wedding, my daughter starting preschool and way, WAY too much Words with Friends (SOMEBODY PLEASE MAKE ME STOP!).  Seriously though, I’ll be back to posting regularly next week when the site is all new and sparkly and fresh and “YAY!!”.

For now, I made a video blog. Now everyone can hear me whine my way through a whole 5 minutes! My public speaking professor in college once told me my voice was “in the basement” and that I made everything I said, even the most romantic sonnet or inspirational speech, sound horribly sarcastic. Like it was a joke… and I was a valley girl.

Excellent.

So it seemed fitting, then, to take part in this “accent” meme that’s been floating around for the past few weeks. Now, I don’t think I have an accent at all, despite growing up on Long Island and living in Crooklyn for the past 6 years, but I don’t know. Maybe I do. I do know this: when I stopped recording and watched myself I was all “HOLY SH*T! MAKE IT STOP! REDO!”, but there was no point in taping it again. This is my voice (and my awesome, attentive parenting). It is what it is. I’m like a 16 year old bratty Long Island girl. Don’t laugh.

 

** Props to the smokin’ hot “Not Mommy” for inspiring me.

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Insanitysauce

Why is it when my husband goes away on business trips I become convinced that one of the following will definitely happen:

  1. The apartment will go up in flames while we’re sleeping. Probably because I forgot to check that the toaster was unplugged the usual 24 times.
  2. LJ, fur-child and I will all succumb to carbon monoxide poisoning.
  3. A creepy, murderous crazy person will bust into our apartment through the roof door.
  4. Some insane person will swoop into LJ’s room in the middle of the night and whisk her off to some far-away land where she will fetch a hefty price on the black market.

The thing is, when my husband IS here and we experience the occasional middle of the night “WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT NOISE?! OMGGOCHECK!!” freak out moments: I’m usually the one to go fight off the killer rapist in the kitchen with the pointy horn of LJ’s unicorn doll. I’m the crime fighting mama-bear. Pete usually stays in the bedroom “protecting the dog”. My lab, by the way, couldn’t care LESS if we were being robbed. While my bat ears hear every thump in the building, causing me to launch out of bed in supreme freak-out mode: Carson is all, “Huh? (Yawn)” as she resumes snoring and chasing dream squirrels.

So why do I morph into the helpless damsel in distress when he’s away? Most of the time, my fears are completely irrational. Like the black market bit: that probably won’t happen. I’m sure I won’t have to pull a Macgyver and fashion some sort of massive Moby wrap out of a bedsheet that can hold the dog AND kid while I shimmy out the second story window in a fire. No, I haven’t thought about that awesome plan at ALL.

I know I’m not alone in the irrational fears, though. All you need is a vivid imagination to freak yourself the f*ck OUT when you’re home alone. Case in point: my mother. 1993.

When I was a senior in high school, my parents hit a rough patch in their relationship, and for a very brief period of time my father was living in the next town. My sister, who was about 22 at the time, mom and I were trucking along in our usual routines, just sans a man in the house. Late one weekend night, when my friends pulled up to drop me off after a night of drinking wine coolers in various parking lots in town, I noticed the living room light was on and you could see the back of my mother’s head silhouetted in the window. When you’re a teenager that is never, EVER a good sign. I entered the house, walked up the stairs to the living room and found my mother AND sister both sitting on the couch looking panic-stricken at 1am. Cue 17-year-old  (buzzed) heart beating out of my chest as I try to imagine what I did to deserve this insane intervention-like meeting. The following conversation (more or less) took place:

Mom: Tracy, sit down. We want to talk to you about something.

Me: ….Okay. (Shitting in my pants. Did she find my Parliaments? Fuck!)

Mom: Now I don’t want you to get upset….

Me: … Okay. (I’m. DEAD. My life is over.)

Mom: …but we’re a little afraid that someone may have tried to break into the house.

Me: Huh?

Mom: We’re a little afraid that someone may have tried to break into the house, and they put THIS picture through the front mail-slot as some kind of warning. (She slid the following picture across the coffee table.)

Me: Wait, Ice Cube?

Mom: OH MY GOD YOU KNOW HIM? Why would he put a picture through our mail slot?!

Me: Why would WHO put a picture through our mail slot? Ice Cube?

Mom:  WHO IS HE?!?

Me: He’s a rapper!! Are you INSANE??!?

Mom: Are you sure? You mean it’s your picture?

Me: It probably fell out of my backpack or from one of my magazines or something. You mean you SERIOUSLY thought a robber would give you a PICTURE OF HIMSELF before he robbed you? You thought Ice Cube was some stalker that was trying to break into our stupid house?  (Dying laughing at this point. Almost crying.)

Mom: (clearly embarrassed) Ok, that’s enough. I was afraid. Never mind. Now, go to bed!

Clearly overactive imaginations and the inclination to expect doom and horror around every corner run in my family.

Also, poor Ice Cube.

***P.S. In no way, shape or form is (or was) my mother racist. It bums me out that I even have to comment on that.***

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Pffffffffft.

That pretty much sums up the past week or two. You know that feeling? When the cards just don’t seem to fall in your favor… again and again and again?

Some of the drama is real, like putting my cat to sleep last week. That blew.

Some of the drama is of the ridiculously minor, somebody call a wahmbulance, variety of nonsense: like getting stopped at not one, but two drawbridges; barely surviving a few mornings with shitty coffee; getting 2 parking tickets and having 3 baking fails. First world problems. I’m ashamed I’m even mentioning them.

Some of it is totally absurd, like this never-ending fluttering I have in my left ear that has me CONVINCED there is a moth living in there. Shut up! It can happen! Odds are it’s probably a dog hair, since Lotte has been living with one of Carson’s hairs in her ear for about 6 months now. Yeah, I said it: MY KID HAS HAD A DOG HAIR IN HER EAR FOR 6 MONTHS. Her pediatrician swears it’s not affecting her at all and will just fall out on its own. Excellent! Nice. Fucking. Parenting.

Some of the drama, though, is legitimately freaking me out. A few weeks ago I made 2 doctors appointments: one to get the all-clear to make babies again, and the other to find out why my hair has been falling out. For the past 6 months I’ve had a ton of hair loss. Nothing noticeable: it’s not like I have a head full of bald patches and frizz and look like some sort of crazy hoarder with messy, overstuffed closets and children with animal hair in their ears. Nothing like that! You know how women lose some hair after they give birth? It’s like that, but never-ending. My ponytail is super thin, and, well, let’s face it: the hypochondriac in me is screaming “YOU’RE GOING BALD! YOU’RE DYING! YOU HAVE SOME INSANE BACTERIAL HAIR-SHEDDING WORM LIVING IN YOUR SCALP EATING THROUGH YOUR SKULL!!”.

The dermatologist, a MAN, might I add, took one half-assed look at my scalp, gave my hair a few tugs and said, “Eh, looks fine to me. Probably just seasonal. Call me if it gets worse.”.  Even after assuring him that I had easily lost 50% of my (very thick) hair in 6 months and it was pretty worrisome and damaging to my self-esteem (and WHAT ABOUT THE BACTERIAL HAIR-SHEDDING SKULL EATING WORM?!?): he was WAY more into my freckles and moles. I’m pretty fair-skinned. While I now wear sunscreen almost every day, when I was a teenager I was a little more lax about it (ie: Coppertone oil).

Before I knew it I was lying face-down and he was scooping some wayward freckle off the middle of my back to send off for a biopsy. So now I was going to be a frizzy-haired hoarder with bald patches, messy, overstuffed closets AND skin cancer? Perfect. The biopsy results would be back in a week and they’d call me.

Two days later I went to the baby doctor to find out if my lady parts are good to go (meanwhile, I now have a nasty open hole in my back which my husband has to clean twice a day. Sexy!). He tells me everything looks good (TMI?), but just to be sure he wants to send me for a sonogram of my left ovaries and get some blood work. Knowing that I’m a seasoned Dr. of Google and WebMD and he can’t get anything past me, my doc mutters about the sonogram while walking out the door in order to avoid my 9000 questions. I hear him whisper to the nurse to draw blood and test my thyroid (could explain the hair sitch), beta and rubella. RUBELLA?!? The nurse hardly has the door open before I’m all “He seriously thinks I could have RUBELLA?! Like, the mumps?! WHAT?!”. She just shrugged her shoulders and told me to lay down and make a fist (I’m a fainter.). The results would be ready in a week. So now I was going to be a frizzy-haired hoarder with bald patches, messy overstuffed closets, skin cancer, RUBELLA and what? What’s wrong with my stupid left ovary? WAS IT THE BACTERIAL HAIR-SHEDDING SKULL EATING WORM?! Had he traveled down to my ovaries? Fuck.

A week later I called for the sonogram and blood work results. They didn’t have them. 10 days later I called: they’re on the doctor’s desk and he’ll call me. Two week mark comes: they’re still on the doctor’s desk. No word. I could have perished from rubella by now. WTF? Worst doctor ever. It’s almost been 3 weeks and I still haven’t heard my grim fate.

Last Tuesday, though, JUST as I was walking out the door to drive to Long Island to put my cat to sleep, the dermatologist called. Two weeks had passed, and I had kind of assumed no news was good news. Not so much. The biopsy results showed a severe Dysplastic Nevus. He rambled on and on with a bunch of technical jargon until I finally interrupted him to simply ask, “Wait, WAIT a second… do I have cancer?”. The answer was no, but it is considered “pre-cancerous”, and they have to scoop out a lot of the tissue surrounding it and send THAT off to get biopsied, and it does mean I am more likely to get skin cancer at some point than people with negative biopsies. It’s a terrifying warning for me to shelve the bikinis and buy some tunics. Or muumuus. Or probably full-body armor… because balding women with messy closets, rubella and busted ovaries wearing full-body armor are super hot.

So that’s what’s been going on.

At least I have this:

Thank GAWD for the sweet kid (despite dog hair in her ear), lattes, chocolate croissants and little pink ponies.

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One of my most vivid childhood memories was of complete and utter failure. Seriously. I was about 5, and had just finished an entire summer of intense swim lessons at the country club we belonged to when I was little.  Before you think, “Oooo, country club, how fancy!”, I have to say, it wasn’t really. The country club, and 99.9% of it’s members were from fancy-pants, ultra-preppy, super conservative Rockville Centre with all their soccer awards and perfectly freckled Irish children. We were from Baldwin, though, and were basically social pariahs. None of the cliquey RVC kids ever spoke to my sister and I, so we were left to eat our grilled cheeses alone, glowering from the lounge chairs at all the tan, preppy kids in their Speedos playing Nok Hockey in the corner.

 

Anyway, the final test of the swim lesson was to swim across the entire length of the pool: from 3 feet to 5 feet at the other end. The pool was pretty big, I don’t know exactly HOW big off-hand because I haven’t been there since I was in junior high or so, but to a 5-year-old it was terrifyingly gigantic. I had kicked ass throughout the summer: there was NO reason why I couldn’t swim across the stupid pool by myself. None. Especially since I had on my super fast Speedo that we bought from Wolfe’s Sporting Goods store like all the freckle-faced, cool RVC swim team girls. You HAD to have the ugly bathing suit under your Izod at all times.

 

When the instructor blew her whistle at me from outside of the pool, I shoved off the wall in the 3 feet end and started off swimmingly. While glancing to my side during the breast stroke, I watched the painted numbers on the wall of the pool go from 3 to 4 to 5. Then it happened. Just as I passed the lifeguard stand where the tan teenager lazily twirled his whistle, and I entered the 5 feet area, 2/3 of the way across the pool: I caught a glimpse of my mother. She wasn’t doing anything, just watching me from her white plastic lounge chair.

 

Maybe she had a glare on her face because of the sun. Maybe she was squinting because of shitty eyesight. Whatever it was, the look on her face launched my already OCD-ridden mind into a full-blown panic attack. In the MIDDLE of the pool. I remember my body felt like it stopped working, like all of a sudden my arms and legs were bricks that didn’t even belong to me, and I started bobbing under the water. I was fucking drowning, basically, like a complete loser. The tan teenage lifeguard had to dive off his high throne to pull me up out of the water, crying and choking, with my wet stringy hair covering my face. Totally mortifying. I’m sure all the cool aquatically-gifted RVC kids were like, “Way to go Baldwin kid. Nice. Life.”.

 

My mother, rather than tearfully grasping me in her arms and thanking the lifeguard for saving her precious angel from a watery death, yelled at me. (Tiger mom alert! Tiger mom alert!) As I sat there shivering on a lounge chair like a complete pussy with tears and snot streaming down my face, I remember her repeatedly saying things like, “That was ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS!!”, “Are you KIDDING ME?!?”, and her old stand-by “You need to GET. A. GRIP!”. Even now, the image of her perfectly round face squawking away with her strawberry blonde hair haloed in the sunlight is seared into my brain.

 

Now that I’m a mom, though, I get it. LJ had her first swim lesson the other day at the beach club, and she was AWFUL. Pathetic. Now, I know she’s only 3… but she just completely fell apart, sniffling and crying through the ENTIRE THING. This is a little girl who has LOVED going into the pool and ocean with me since birth. Always giggling and filled with glee. God forbid the instructor asks her to hold on to a NOODLE, though. Forget it. Stiff as a board, gulping down pool water, making crazy grunting sounds: I didn’t even recognize this child, and I found myself quietly getting ANGRY with her. Maybe even embarrassed. Isn’t that horrible? She’s THREE.  As in, was living inside my belly only 3 years ago. What did I expect?

 

As I sat there scowling, watching my sweet kid struggle, I had the most terrifying realization: I am becoming my mother. As an adult, I appreciate my mom now more than ever. I’ve written about this. She was a tough cookie, though, and like her I find myself getting annoyed when LJ isn’t trying her best. I won’t praise her for her half-assed attempts to ride her scooter, kick the ball, jump in the pool, or climb the ladder. I’ll praise her when she actually DOES it. I won’t shout “Good job!” simply because she got into the pool. Big deal. She’s gotten into the pool 598,321 times. I’ll praise her when she can complete a 20 minute swim lesson IN A LIFEGUARD’S ARMS without dry heaving, because I KNOW SHE CAN DO BETTER. I’m not asking for Phelps-style butterfly strokes, but simply managing to NOT drown would be a success. That’s all I ask. THAT will deserve an ice cream cone and a shit ton of praise. Until that day? To quote my mother: this sweet, sad little mermaid needs to get a grip!

 

PS-  I’m sorry if I sound like a god-awful witch of a mother. I swear I’m not. Really! I would walk through fire for this kid, and love her to bits even if she is a scaredy-cat. It’s my job to help her face these new fears, though: to teach her to take risks, fall on her face, and get back up and keep trying.

PSS and totally random aside- I have another vivid memory from my country club days:  every time I would get a hot dog from the pool snack bar, my sister would “oink” at me repeatedly, tell me that I was eating a pig and make me cry. The thought made me boycott hotdogs for years.

PSSS- In case you’re wondering, I’m a good swimmer. With my mother’s help I quickly got my shit together, and never had to be rescued by a perfectly tanned teenager again.

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This past week I’ve been asked some form of the question, “So, are you guys going to try for another one?” on three separate occasions. This week alone, and from complete strangers. I’m so sick of feigning a sweet smile and mumbling, “Yeah… we’ll see.”, that I think the next time someone asks me I’m just going to say, “No, I can’t. My uterus fell out last week.” just to silence them. I don’t care if I’m the killjoy of the sandbox.  I KNOW they’re only making small talk: moms bonding over the wonders of pregnancy and family building, but my reproductive plans aren’t anyone’s business. Your reproductive plans aren’t any of MY business, either.

I think of people I care about who have battled fertility challenges, and I can only IMAGINE how often they were asked things like, “So, any plans to start a family? Are you trying?”.  Maybe it’s not just the hormonal ebb and flow of IVF treatments that make some women a little emotional: I know if I had to constantly sate nosy curiosities I’d be a little bit stabby, also. Plus, the commonly used term “trying to conceive” seems so personal. I mean, hello? That means having sex. You just asked some total stranger if she’s actively fucking her husband without protection. Excellent.

Almost exactly a year ago from this day, I got knocked up. We were thrilled. Actually, while browsing through my husband’s iphone photos just last week, I came across a picture he had taken 11 months ago of the two positive tests laying side by side. I had never seen that picture before, and the unexpectedness took my breath away for a moment. Like any couple that finds out they’ve got a bun in the oven, we immediately found ourselves gravitating towards a nickname. You often hear things like “Bean” and “Peanut”, but we started calling the baby, Goose. Whether or not we watched Top Gun a few times on TBS, or were heavily affected by the culling of the geese last summer in Prospect Park (Nice. We named the fetus after dead birds in the local park. Fuck. What’s wrong with us?): Goose was the nickname. Goose made me nauseous. Goose made me sleepy. Goose made me dizzy. The usual pregnancy woes.

Now, I have talked about how OCD I was during my first pregnancy. I was so uptight and anxiety-ridden I swear I was holding LJ inside my uterus using the powers of sheer terror. I called that OB every second of every day, and ended up having a god-awful delivery that still makes me gag to think about no matter how cute my 3-year-old might be. Goose baby, though… this pregnancy would be different. After making the switch to the local midwives, I was told there was no need for a prenatal appointment until I was about 10 weeks along. (10 weeks?! It was maddening.) Fighting the urge to scour a medical supply website for the finest home ultrasound machine money could buy, I tried my best to chill out and just enjoy being pregnant (like everyone else seemed to do… except me). We watched my belly grow; became excited at the thought of our LJ as a big sister; stressed over our miniscule, urban living arrangement, and decided on a shortlist of names. Ruby: if Goose turned out to be a girl.

At the end of August, 2 days before my first scheduled appointment with the midwives, I had a miscarriage.  I was ten weeks, but Goose had stopped developing at 7.

At this point in my life, I have known many, many women who have miscarried. You probably do, too, although nobody ever talks about it. Ever. When my friends silently suffered pregnancy losses in the past, I was always one of the people who struggled. I didn’t know what to say, how to support them, what to do. I’m sure I said the wrong things, like, “What’s meant to be, will be.” or “You’ll try again and everything will be ok.”. (Both of those things SUCK, by the way. Do not, under any circumstances, say them.).  My awkwardness in dealing with someone else’s grief makes me cringe to even think about. Now I know better.

About 4 days after the loss I peeled myself off the couch and decided  to walk LJ to the playground to see her best friend. The sun was shining, LJ was smiling: it felt good to be out of the apartment. Healthy. Immediately upon entering the playground, an adorable little blonde girl with the most charming English accent started following us around. She was about 6 years old and had on the kind of mismatched, striped tights with a tutu and t-shirt outfit only a first grader could put together. While LJ toddled around this girl chatted me up about everything from rainbows and beaches, to school and sushi rolls. She was this tiny ball of imaginative awesomeness. Then she asked me, suddenly, if I wanted to know her name.

“It’s Ruby”.

I cried. No, let me rephrase that. I bawled so instantly that I made this primal screechy, retchy sound right in this sweet girl’s face, stammered, “That’s a beautiful name. I’m sorry.”, turned my back and walked away. My friend saw me, gave me a hug, let me sit on the ground and cry for a bit behind my sunglasses until I got my shit together enough to walk home.

Three weeks passed, and I was crawling out of my hole. I had gotten pissed, grieved, and was beginning to feel some sense of peace. Then, the doctor associated with the midwives called late one Tuesday night. It was 9:30 at night, three weeks after the miscarriage. He told me that my pathology report came back and showed signs of a partial molar pregnancy. I had no idea what the fuck he was talking about, and all I could think of while hearing the term “molar pregnancy” was something like this:

But it wasn’t about teeth. Or a vagina dentata, but that’s all I envisioned. While the doctor was saying terms like this:

“weekly blood work”

“tumor”

“cancerous”

“chemotherapy”

“You have to wait an entire year until you can try to conceive again.”

In my delirium, disbelief and minor hysteria my mind just kept coming back to:

Turns out, a molar pregnancy is a really rare pregnancy complication (having nothing to do with teeth) that occurs when the fetus ceases to develop normally, and is rapidly overtaken by abnormal cells. Kind of like a tumor. If the abnormal cells are not all removed from your body, they can burrow into the uterine walls (now picturing tiny teeth digging into a uterus) and become cancerous, requiring chemotherapy treatments. It’s just one of those freak things; not at all genetic; there was nothing I could have done to prevent it; and I didn’t do anything wrong to cause it. Just a shitty miscarriage with a fancy name, really. For about 6 weeks I had to go for weekly blood draws to make sure my hormone levels reached zero. If they had plateaued or started to rise, that would have meant there was a tumor and I would have been sent to the oncologist. That means, for those 6 weeks I was a nail-biting basket case. Really. Probably unbearable, but I was so deep in my head stressing about how I’d take care of LJ if I had to go through chemo, I didn’t give a shit if I was acting crazy. I had the right to be a little nutty.

Everything went smoothly, though, and no chemo was needed. So for the past 9 months or so, we’ve just been waiting. Waiting to get the all-clear from the doctor to take the goalie off the ice. Living our lives, loving our tiny family and learning how to cope when things go wrong: but definitely waiting. LJ deserves to be a big sister. I’m starting to feel sappy when I see tiny babies all wrapped up in their Ergos and Moby wraps. My ovaries are aching.  (Did I just say that out loud? I’m such a chick.)

Maybe next time someone asks me why I haven’t had another baby yet I’ll lie to them and say I had a vagina dentata, just for a laugh. Maybe I’ll just carry around a print-out of this post in my tote bag, autographed and footnoted for all the nosy women out there.

We’ll just have to wait and see what’s in store for us.

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This past weekend was deliciously exhausting as we celebrated LJ’s 3rd birthday. It involved an entire Saturday spent with friends here

…followed by a Sunday in the neighborhood with the family. Both days involved absurd amounts of cake, cupcakes, grilled goods, sunburns and “mommy and daddy” juice. Oh, and party hats, of course.

Monday, though…Monday has already decided that too much fun was had this weekend. Monday has decided that my lazy days of lolling about in the sun have been too many. Monday is a total dick.

It started out lovely. LJ and I headed over bright and early to Baked in Red Hook for some chocolatey, sugar-laden goods for breakfast (because we didn’t have enough this weekend), and a latte the size of my face. Have you been there? If you haven’t, you should. Get the sweet & salty brownie. It’s one of Oprah’s “favorite things”, and I could eat 5678 of them. (Assuming you care what Oprah thinks. I don’t. They’re amazing, though. Eat them.) Also, if you watched Top Chef: Desserts, one of the pastry chefs was on it, and I saw him working in the kitchen this morning… so there’s that. Yay Baked!

It was about halfway through this gigantic latte, just when the caffeine was sending me into a full-blown panic attack, that I got the phone call from Carson’s playgroup. Carson’s my dog. Yes, I send her to a playgroup. Like a kid. It’s NYC, she has anxiety and needs the exercise and socialization: so we send her 3 mornings a week to play in the park with a zillion other dogs. Stop fucking judging me! I can FEEL you all judging me, and I don’t care. Her playgroup is a lifesaver for all of us.

Anyway, Eva (the owner) called and left a message that Carson had bitten her tongue while playing ball, it was bleeding a little bit but it was nothing serious, and she should be totally fine by the time her walker dropped her back off into the apartment. No big deal. LJ and I finished up our breakfast and headed over to Fairway to do a little food shopping before heading back home.

Sitting at a traffic light under the BQE overpass, waiting to turn onto 14th Street to head home, I was listening to some radio show talk about the “rape cop”, and how this epic scumbag lives in Park Slope (He doesn’t. 20th Street isn’t Park Slope, but whatever.). Apparently people are putting up flyers around the neighborhood with his picture, saying things like, “Rape Cop lives on this street”, and some guy on the radio was kind of defending him (and his trashy wife). Fueled by that soup bowl-sized latte, I found myself getting fired up and a little grouchy. As I’m sitting there quietly stewing, two things happen. First LJ suddenly shouts out, “I HAVE TO GO POOPY!!” to which I tell her she MUST wait, there’s just no other option. Then some unidentifiable black sludge falls from the BQE overpass onto my arm, which was resting on the edge of the door (my window was open). As it hit my arm it splattered the most vile, toxic-smelling shit all over my FACE and shirt. My face. A little bit even went on my lips. I can’t even imagine what it was, and I’m trying not to think about it until I grow a third arm and start hallucinating. (Note to self: keep the windows closed when driving back from Red Hook.)

We get back to Park Slope and start circling to find a parking spot. Usually this isn’t a problem. Today? TWENTY MINUTES of circling. Not good. ESPECIALLY when your preschooler’s shouts of “I HAVE TO GO POOPY!!” suddenly come to a puzzling halt. She had pooped in her princess skirt and started to quietly cry. I finally zip into a spot a block away and trudge home carrying 4 overstuffed bags of groceries, the weeping kid trailing behind me with a log of shit in her underwear.

I was SO UNPREPARED for the scene in my apartment. Remember the dog’s tongue? Yeah. It hadn’t stopped bleeding. Apparently not even a little bit. It was as if someone was brutally murdered in my home. Carson greeted me at the door, excitedly wiggling her butt and sending drops of blood flying all around her. The off-white walls, the floors, the rug, the couch. The COUCH!! Covered in about 3 dozen giant drops of blood. I throw the bags of groceries on the floor, grab sniffly LJ (with shit in her underwear) and SPRINT around the corner to get some hydrogen peroxide at the bodega. Five minutes later I burst through the front door again to find that my awesome, AWESOME bloody bitch had gone through the groceries, pulled out a box of chocolate chip granola bars, and proceeded to eat them ON THE BLOOD-STAINED COUCH. Now there was blood AND chocolate all over our less-than-a-year-old West Elm sectional. YAY! Here are some hints of the carnage:

3 pillows.

The rug doesn’t look bad here, but 500 of those drops make it pretty unsalvageable. Thank god it’s only from Ikea. (Please note the stray granola bar crumbs.)

Yes, that’s blood smeared all over the laptop. WTF?

Two hours later and the couch has been saved; the rug is on its way to the trash; the walls and floor have been scrubbed and the kid’s butt has been cleaned.

Fuck you, Monday!

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This past weekend, in an effort to beautify our front yard (since we don’t have a backyard), my husband, daughter and I spent the late hours of Saturday afternoon planting flowers. Even with our combined total of 6 black thumbs, and my penchant for immediately digging up and replanting every single bulb Pete put into the earth since it “looked stupid there”: it was a pretty idyllic Brooklyn scene. LJ was perched at the top of the stoop having a tea party with Carson, her four-legged sister, while Pete and I donned our gardening gloves and worked hard at making shit look purty.

Then it happened. As I went to grab an empty planter to house some scarlet begonias (which I totally only bought because I used to live for the Grateful Dead) my hand (clad in a glove, thank GOD) brushed up against a mother FUCKING RAT. Ok, I think it may have been a very, very, VERY large mouse. Like the Walter Hudson of mice. Pete, on the other hand, SWEARS it was a rat. A RAT! In my front yard! Yeah, I know we live in NYC, but come ON!! Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago when I hemmed and hawed about planting herbs in my front yard BECAUSE OF POSSIBLE RATS? Who wants to eat rosemary that’s been nibbled by rats?

So I touched the rat and promptly shrieked louder than a tween at a Bieber signing. Seriously, I belted out a scream so loud it caused the dog to bark, LJ to drop her teacup in fear, the rat to sprint behind the garbage cans and my husband to GRAB THE PITCHFORK. Because we were using a fucking PITCHFORK to garden in our miniscule front yard in the city. What do we know? Clearly nothing.

The vision of Pete standing, armed with the pitchfork raised like a javelin took me back to before we were married and were living in an old house in Raleigh. Getting ready to move back to NYC, we had opened the attic to pull down god knows what, and somehow let in a bat. Not the baseball kind. The red-eyed, screechy demonic kind. Long story short: I ended up having to call animal control who sent over a lovely woman with bicep-high gloves to simply pick up the demon bat and put it outside. Pete, though? His first instinct, the VERY first thing his mind told him to do when threatened by a bat invasion was to grab a knife, some tape and his college lacrosse stick and fashion a SPEAR. He was going to SPEAR THE BAT. Thankfully cooler, more sane heads prevailed (mine, obviously), and the situation was remedied without spearing anything.

Back to Boca RATon, Brooklyn: after AGAIN convincing Pete that there would be no impaling, he dropped the pitchfork and sprinted into the basement to get the hose. Again, not sure what good THAT would do other than giving Ratso a bath, but I didn’t have any other suggestions: I was too busy berating the dog for not attacking the rat. Even though I kept pointing in the direction of the garbage cans and shouting “Carson! GET IT!!! GO GET IT!!!”, she just flopped down on the concrete, panting and nibbling the chives out of the nearest planter. (My CHIVES!! Covered in dog spit. Awesome.)

By the time my husband was back on the stoop, armed with the hose, the rat had climbed a little 4-inch cement wall into our neighbor’s yard, and we watched him scurry down the front path, past their kid’s bike and their plush, gorgeous garden. Phew. Ratso was no longer our problem. But he EXISTED, and that sucked a big one.

Now we just need to find a way to get LJ to stop telling EVERYONE SHE FUCKING SEES, ” I saw a GIGANTIC rat when I was having a tea party in my yard and mommy screamed SO LOUD!”. It’s only a *little* bit mortifying.

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