Sunday, October 16, 2011

Six Word Sunday

Cranky toddlers suck your immortal soul.


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Friday, October 14, 2011

Mythical Creatures

This is not about a tattoo. It inspired my tattoo. It was orginally written for the blog John and I wrote to document our adoption process. If you are interested in reading more about that, batzeradopt.blogspot.com.

Mythical Creatures
I had a unicorn baby. I would glimpse his hazel eyes giggling at me from his carseat in my rearview mirror. I would hear her cries echoing through the house at three in the morning, and the phantom me would get up and go smooth her sweaty dark ringlets as she cried for no good reason. I would feel the weight of his tall-for-his-age body on my pant leg as I went about changing laundry loads and emptying the dishwasher. He was going through the clinging to Mommy phase, you see. The petite, too-small-for-her-age length of her would fit perfectly in my arms as I sat doing nothing at all but zoning in front of the TV and she slept, refusing to be put down.I had to let my unicorn baby go. He and she waved good-bye as they went to fulfill the promises of that twit, Jackie Paper, and have adventures in the Land of Hanalee.Now I have a phoenix baby. He rises out of the ashes of disappointments and fear to create hope with his golden song. She does all of the same things the unicorn baby did, taunting me from around corners, but her features are blurred like a hummingbird's wings. Yet the outline is more defined. She is coming. He will fly, maybe long and far, maybe short and near, but he will come. And we will make her song powerful and strong to withstand and fight against the wind.I may always miss my unicorn baby, but I will always love my phoenix baby.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Quiet Ceremony

I stepped through a door and became a mother. There was no pushing on my part. There was no surgery. There were just years of trying, changing, hoping, and heart-breaking, the labor of adoption, but there was no physical change or birthing process. Without the physical challenge of birth there was no build-up. The only difference between one moment and the next was the baby in my arms. It was the most surreal moment of my life. When you imagine something a million times a day for five years, you start to believe that it can’t really happen outside your head. And then it does. And it is going to change everything. You’d think there would be a ceremony or something, a Lion King moment if you will. Instead the moment is quiet. The brave woman who did go through the physical labor whispered to our son, “Look, it’s your mom and dad,” and she placed him in my arms. It will always be the strongest act of love I will ever witness. Through my tears I managed to whisper, “Thank you.” Then because it is the way of adoption, I turned away from her and her pain to join my husband in our joy.

Perhaps not all ceremonies need be showy.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Prepare


Moist. Moist. Moist. A hated word, but accurate for her surroundings. Water dripped from every surface, horizontal or vertical. Drip. Drip. Drip. It was also dripping off her skin. The minutiae of her body's contours, hairs, pimples, cuts, scars, fat, dictated the path the rivers of water took as gravity's uncompromising grip drew it down and away. The escaping water was also taking the warmth with it. Stupid physics. One last time she leaned her forehead to the smooth wall in front of her, closed her eyes and took a deep, moist breath, trying to make it reach her toes before expelling in. Then she turned to part the curtain that blurred the outside world and stepped into her day.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Six Word Sunday

Sleep is worth millions of dollars.


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Friday, September 16, 2011

The Moment I Knew

Flashback Friday
John and I met on April 17, 2001. By Memorial Day, I knew there was a whole lot of potential for the relationship, so I figured it was a good time to bring him home to meet My Big Fat Greek Family. If they were going to scare him off, better sooner than later.
Part of our weekend was taking my much younger (20 years) brother to see Shrek. During the scarier part of the movie, a big fiery dragon chasing around the intrepid anti-heroes, I glance over to see my baby brother curled up against John, clutching his arm, just peeking out. And that, my friends, is that. I melted and haven't truly solidified in the ten years since. Tonight we laid in bed and watched Shrek with our children. How does live get better?


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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Magic Moment


My husband John, from daddyrunsalot.com, and I dealt with unexplained infertility for three years before we decided to adopt. It was almost another two years and two disappointments before we were blessed with our son. Two weeks before he was born, I found out I was pregnant. At 32 weeks we found out it was a girl. This picture reminds me of all the magic even during all the crazy.


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Love Myself Because John Said So

I'm required to participate when it's my husband. And I do need this.

1. I like my smile. It seems to make others smile back. I have been told I smile with my whole self.

2. I like that I am a reader. I don't get a lot of time for it, but I always have a book. I hope I instill this in my kids.

3. I am proud that despite how hard it is to coordinate, I work out regularly.

That's about all I have time for now!


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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Define

It has become politically incorrect to put labels on people and for some good reasons. In the past and still today unfortunately, many of these labels, black, gay, etc., are used to demean and repress those seen as Other. Yet labels have their place. Humans work better with a frame of reference. It gives us a jumping off point for our journey into the world outside ourselves. As long as we don't make the labels more important that the people we are applying them to, they are a handy tool our brains use to cope with all the input we receive.
And while labeling the world around us is important, the most important labels are the ones we give ourselves. Some are simple: brunette, short, Greek, thirty-four. Others are a little more complex: funny, friendly, smart, forgetful. Then there are the ones we use to define ourselves, the ones that shape the decisions we make and the life we lead. They can come in a variety of categories. Career: Writer, Teacher, Librarian. Talents: Writing, Knitting, Photography. Family: Daughter, Sister, Wife, Mother. Throughout our lives as we grow, they change. Some disappear, others are added. The level of importance of each always morphing along a sliding scale.
Some people have shining label that glow and drive them. They become not just a label but a definition of our core selves. Actress, Athlete, Reporter, Engineer, Professor, Artist, Volunteer, Activist. Especially in our youthful adulthood the career labels often are the ones of most important or at least daily focus. The family ones obviously grow in import if you choose to start a family with a significant other and perhaps children.
I never felt the pull of a Career. I had jobs I liked, that I worked hard at, but while they were labels, they were never definitions. I always felt my family connections more even at the time of my life when they are often more in the background. I have always been the most proud of being a good daughter and sister and then wife. And when I became a mother, I found my definition. I know it is the one label I was meant to carry and turn into a definition of my self. It is hard. It is exhausting. It is my natural state of being. That is an awesome understanding, and I love the truth of that statement. Yet I worry just a little. It is a definition that is fundamentally about others, one in which I can easily lose myself to the fulfillment of my children. Other parents I know still have careers and talents that are definitions, not just labels. They are of an import in their lives that they go to extraordinary lengths to juggle all the parts of their cores. I juggle diapers and toys, laundry and a vacuum, a part-time job and workouts. And I am very content. I wonder if I should be. Is it enough to have one definition and many labels? Will labels be enough when my kids no longer need constant attention? Maybe a label or two will then change to a definition. Who knows? Maybe I'm worrying for nothing. I am glad it is just a tiny worry, a rumination, really. I wonder if I am the only one who has it.


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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Motherhood Exposed: Eating with the Kids


So over at The Little Hen House, Morgan, has come up with a great little blog hop called Motherhood Exposed: Sometime This Job Sucks. So here is one of mine. I hate eating with my kids. Family dinners at home aren't bad. The kids know the routine and for the most part they are uneventful and even pleasant-like. But breakfast and lunch? It's me, a 21-month-old and a 14-month old, neither of whom talk or will let me help them eat their food in any way. I am a very social creature, so these meals are excruciating. Sometimes the hubs (daddyrunsalot.com) is not home for dinner, and that's even worse. I am always so tempted to eat in front of the TV for company, but the mom guilt overrules that. I have read books aloud during a meal and played audiobooks and podcasts just to not have to listen to.
And let's talk restaurants. I love eating out. If it wouldn't bankrupt us or make me die by 40, I would eat out every meal. I love being waited on, not worrying about any kind of clean up, just being able to chat and relax. Hmmm. That is a thing of the past. Apparently, restaurant highchairs are sprayed in some kind of kidicide because the second we try to thread their feet through the leg holes, they are screaming. Sitting on laps or in the booth or a booster may last for a while, but the only thing that really makes them happy is walking around and around the restaurant.
I can't wait until they can color without eating the crayons.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Pet Peeve

Here's a pet peeve of mine. Upon hearing the story of my children's births, inevitably there is someone who will say, "See all you had to do was relax to get pregnant." Um, no. First, saying that when I couldn't conceive was utterly non-helpful. Saying it now is just silly and makes you sound like you think you're omnipotent. Second, that time in my life was more stressful than any other I can remember. We'd gone through two failed matches, one of which involved an elaborate lie that kept us on the hook for over a month, and CJ's due date was changed from September to November. His birthmother had issues of her own so contact was spotty at best. We were tied in emotional knots, trying to be excited but so scared of being let down again. And somehow in the midst of all this, one lone sperm found an egg and decided to stay long term paying no attention to John's or my emotional states.
So, please, consider this a PSA. When you run into someone with a similar story, don't bluster. Just be pleased for them, thank God or Fate or The Flying Spaghetti Monster or Chaos, and tell them both kids are adorable. Don't analyze or guess or in any way try to figure out why it happened just glory in the fact that it did.
Thank you for your time.


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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

When Even the Kids Think You're Crazy

I have what polite people refer to as independent children. I call them stubborn. For instance, I cannot feed them. If I try, say, yogurt on a spoon, they grab for the spoon to try and shove it everywhere but their mouths. They don't speak, but they say "Myself!" with their eyes.
Another way this "independence" manifests is the brushing of teeth. They will not in any way, shape, or form allow me to guide the toothbrush, so there is actual brushing. Instead I hand over the brush fully loaded with fake baby paste/gel, so they can suck and gnaw on it. I do not in anyway see this as useful dental care. My strategy has become to demonstrate what I want them to do by overly exaggerating the brushing of my own teeth. This? They find hilarious, so they are now sucking and gnawing on their own toothbrushes while laughing.
Parenthood is an absurdity sometimes.

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Pissy Day

Yes, I am the baguette with my salad. French bread makes my life worth living, so fuck the apple and multigrain shit. I might even put butter on it, so there. I got my ass up. I got the kids and myself out of the house pretty close to on time. I lugged the kids to child watch, went through the guilt inducing process of peeling them from my calves and running for the door while they scream my ultimate betrayal at my fleeing back. On to the spinning bike I go to sweat for an hour while I gasp trying to reach the desired resistance and rpm (neither of which I did actually reach.) So it did not help my tension level. And so lunch where I want French bread and butter with my salad. Fuck. stupid fucking weight. I just suck at everything no matter how hard I try. It's that kind of a day.
Fuck.


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Monday, July 11, 2011

Oops Said God Part 5

God let out a frustrated noise somewhere between a sigh and a growl and pushed back from his desk. “It shouldn’t be happening; none of this!” He shot out of his chair and started pacing around his office. As he stepped, the clouds below the floor turned dark to match his mood. “It should be easy enough to stop the whole thing by stopping the tailor. What is wrong with the programming? How did it change and why won’t it go back?”

In his office there were three other people. Two were standing with God, behind his desk, analyzing line after line of code that all had to do with nothing more than the feather. The two men were John Mauchly and Bob Bemer. Bemer had only made his way to Heaven a year earlier, and God was glad to have him as part of his tech team, especially with this new issue of “The Glitch”. Bemer knew how to adapt and adapt quickly. Mauchly was very good at the basics and checking the minutia. Mauchly looked his part of an old World War Two era hard working patriot scientist in a button shirt with rolled up sleeves and loosened tie. Bemer was more your favorite professor in an argyle sweater vest and a short sleeved collared shirt. They were squinting at the code and getting so close to the wall screen that their noses almost bumped through it. They were muttering to themselves as Bemer was feeding in variations into a side screen to test the outcomes.

Across the room Benjamin Franklin was running diagnostics on all of the Earth’s Eastern North American Continental antennae and nodes in case it was a hardware problem. While the computer workings were now invisible and on a shifted physical plane from the denizens of Earth, every once in a while a storm on either plane could mess with the wiring.

The wall between God’s office and the outer reception area had also dissolved as Peter, who had been joined by Archangel Michael, was checking the data against the COBC limit numbers to anticipate if an audit was eminent. God knew they were also doing some creative calculations, but the fewer specifics he knew the better.

At his current outburst, all heads turned to him. Eyebrows were raised. Michael said, “You had better watch that tantrum before your extraneous energy takes out a coastal city. Even Peter and I won’t be able to keep the COBC off your back for an unscheduled tsunami or earthquake.”

God stopped passing. He let out an explosive breath as his shoulder drooped a little under his jacket. “Right, right. Sorry. I just don’t like not knowing what is going on, being god and all. Granted the Earth system’s original code was out of my hands, but I designed the system and language. Nothing in the design should let The Glitch exist. It goes against all known science, divine or human.”

“Unless….”

Everyone now turned their attention to Franklin who had a thoughtful expression on his face while he idly turned his office chair back and forth slightly.

“Yes, Ben?” God asked.

After another short pause, Franklin continued, “Unless someone else “divine” has found a way into the system.”

* * *

Gregory Finch slipped back along the wall as casually as he could. Behind him was a heavy curtain that covered one of the several private alcoves that made up the far wall of the ballroom. He half turned and slipped a flask out of his jacket and added a healthy amount of potent smelling liquid to the glass of punch he was holding. He made a grimace of satisfaction as he took a lengthy sip.

“Psst.”

Gregory looked around.

“Psst.”

“Excuse me?” Gregory stepped closer to the curtain. The odd hissing seemed to be coming from there.

“Monsieur Finch, esz that you?”

“Mademoiselle Dione, is that you?”

“But of course! I must admit to following you. I could not bear to even be in a room without you.”

Gregory's neck started turning red. The flush started peeking over his highly starched collar. He looks like a thermometer. Adam thought as he watched from he position outside the dining room entrance further down the same wall.

“Really?” The young man replied in such an earnest and hopeful voice that Adam almost felt sorry for him.

“Really,” the sultry voice assured him. “I have promised a dance to the insufferable ambassador from Germany. But would you please meet me back here after the next dance?”

Adam couldn't decided with the glazed look in Gregory's eyes was from love or the vodka. Either way, the kid was in trouble. “Of course! Anything for you...Annabella.”

* * *

Jonathan clung to one of the curtains, gasping.

“My...Mrs. Gardner...that was (gulp) certainly a...spirited dance,” he managed to wheeze out.

Eve smiled at him angelically. “Yes it was. Thank you for indulging me, my dear young man. You look a little winded. Perhaps you would like a glass of punch?”

Jonathan stood straight, looking embarrassed. “No thank you just the same. I am fine truly. I am just getting over a slight cold, so my strength is not what it usually is that is all.”

“Of course,” Eve nodded and patted her hair to make sure it was all in place. “Well, I really should find my husband before he thinks I have abandoned him for an attractive younger man.”

“Yes, of course. It was a pleasure,” Jonathan replied as he bowed while holding the stitch in his side. As Eve glided away he tried to straighten up by holding on to the curtain behind him.

“Psst.”

Jonathan sucked in a deep breath and furrowed his brow.

“Hello?” He turned tugging a little at the curtain. The odd hissing seemed to be coming from there.

“Monsieur Goodling, is that you?”

“Mademoiselle Dione, is that you?”

“But of course! I must admit to following you. I could not bear to even be in a room without you.”

The control over his breathing Jonathan has gained back seemed to fail him at that moment. “Oh, oh my. Really?”

Really,” the sultry voice assured him. “I have promised a dance to the insufferable ambassador from Germany. But would you please meet me back here after the next dance?”

Eve smiled to herself as Jonathan’s face lit with a ridiculously adoring grin. “Nice work, Lassie,” she murmured as she moved to intercepted the real Mademoiselle Dione.

Lassie yelped and growled in a rather smug tone as she sat back on her haunches in the hidden command center. Dogs were not prone to smugness or self congratulation, but she even had to admit that it was a quality amount of voice splicing on very short notice.

Adam joined his voice to the chatter. “We have the gentlemen in place. Now should we work on our young star crossed lovers.”

“Of course, dearest.”

Lassie barked an affirmative as well.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Oops, Said God Part 4 - Please remember VERY ROUGH DRAFT

“Alright, on three. One…Two…Three!” Eve, clutching the back of one of the console chair in the team’s now constructed and hidden headquarters, gasped as Lassie gave the laces of the corset Eve was wearing.

“Damn!” Eve managed to get out as she pulled the long strings back around her front and tied them in a bow at her waist. “Ten years. That’s it. If this had all happened ten years from now, I wouldn’t have to wear this death cage.”

Adam turned to her as he finished with his tie. “Hm, I do prefer the original leaves, myself.”

Eve glared at him before she started to pull her dress over her head. “So what do you think our best course of action should be?”

“I was thinking that we get both men good and liquored up, lock them in a closet after stripping them to their skivvies and see if they are repressing any unwanted sexual preferences.”

Eve smoothed the front of her dress. It was rather form fitting over the corset with off the shoulder cap sleeves, done in a rich blue with a bodice covered in sparkling iridescent glass beads. She moved over to the small mirror that was inserted into the wall to fix her hair that was already coiffed into a pile of curls on top of her head. “Despite the high probability of latent homosexual tendencies, we should probably have a Plan B.”

Adam replied, “Let’s see what we have to work with when we get in there. Lassie, be ready with some profiles on other party guests.”

Lassie barked an affirmative as she used her nose and front left paw to tap away at the computer. On ballroom from inside the house appeared on screen, and Lassie started zooming in on faces and freezing the frame. Another screen started scrolling information.

Eve bent down next to her. “Try concentrating on young women in the room, especially if they are single, and potentially desperate.”

Adam squeezed her shoulders as she stood up. “Always the romantic.” He said.

“I just happen to know that the best way to stop a man from letting his ego get the better of him is to stoke it a great deal then deflate it on your own terms. Balance of power, you know.”

Adam tucked her arm in his. “Sounds like a good Plan B even if it frightens me to the very core. And if that doesn’t work, then, my dear, let’s do what we do best. Wing it.” With a little flourish, he opened the hatch, and they walked out into the chilly night.

* * *

“I consider myself a student of psychology. I have been closely following the writings and speeches of an Austrian by the name of Sigmund Freud. He just finished a fabulous tour through the United States. Reeeeeeally very intense and power. He has the human mind commmmmpleeeetely mapped out. See everything comes back to sex. Everything is about procreation. Even with a social conscious, ultimately, the iiiiiiid will take over amd make everything about sex! Isn’t that fascinating?”

“Not really, if you know Sigmund,” Adam said as he scanned the room over the head of his current dance partner, a small curly haired blonde with a buxom that almost matched her apparent sex drive.

“Oh my! My my my…Yoooou know theeeeee Sigmund Freud?” She squealed as she bounced and made several of the other men dancing near them consider their own ids.

“Hm, yes, and I can tell you, the whole super ego, ego, id thing, was just his supreme way of getting back at the kids who laughed at him in school when he had some trouble doing the rope climb,” Adam replied as the song ended, “Now if you will excuse me, I need to find my wife.” The young lady stood silently starring at him as he moved across the dance floor toward the door to the dining room.

There was a low inquiring growl in the small communicator he wore in his ear.

“I have to agree with Lassie, was that entirely necessary?” Eve’s voice said.

Adam snorted. “That’s what he gets for our last poker game.”

“That’s what you get for playing poker with the founding father of psychology.”

With a sigh, Adam came back to the task at hand. “What is our darling Bella up to?”

Eve was positioned in the study, currently pretending to have a great interest in a large painting of Annabella’s father sitting in a red leather chair, trying to look studious instead of bored. Her attention was actually centered toward the crowd at the fireplace. “Her nose in bull,” Eve replied quietly. “She is currently holding court by the fire in the study. From her vantage point she can see the ballroom. I believe she is waiting for Henri to make a circuit in there before she is whirled, laughing, I am sure, by one of the young men around her.” There was a hint of disgust in Eve’s voice.

“A little touchy are we?” Adam mocked.

“This is the kind of female behavior I get blamed for.”

There was a mild snort.

“Thank you, Lassie. I know it upsets you, dearest, but let’s get on with it,” Adam said. He had been walking towards the study, but he had stopped in the ballroom to make a quick circle around, looking for the lovelorn waiter. Not an easy task. The Dione’s ballroom was massive and crowded. Fortunately, it was better lit than most such places. There were numerous waiters working the non-dancing crowd, but none of them Henri. Then Adam caught a movement out of the corner of his eye in the doorway to the dining room. Two other waiters had Henri by the arms as he struggled to make a rampaging charge to the study. He almost made it until a third waiter took him around the neck and yanked him back through the dining room and into the kitchen.

“I don’t think she is going to get her wish. Did she just do something exceedingly, well, ‘flirty’?”

As Eve moved past the portrait to the bookcase to get closer to the hormonal mob, she replied, “I believe she just put her hand on Jonathan’s shoulder while laughing hysterically but endearingly at one of his jokes.”

Adam smirked. “That would explain why Henri just had to be shoved back into the kitchen by three of his compatriots. Our jeune monsieur has a hot temper, even for a French Canadian.”

“I think our jeune mademoiselle knows it too. And by the smolder in Mr. Finch’s eyes, I would say there are entirely too many tempers at play in this scenario.”

At that point Annabella reached over and whispered something in Gregory’s ear while he adopted a grin and blush and Jonathan’s eyes took over the raging jealousy look. There was an audible crash from the dining room despite the width of the ballroom and the music playing.

Adam winced and said, “Ouch.”

There was an agreeable bark from Lassie.

“All right, enough is enough. I have a plan,” Eve said as she swirled her skirts around and stalked towards the kitchen.

“Hm, I think she is a little irked, Lassie. Shall we watch the fun?” Adam got another affirmative bark in response.

“Stop the cute stuff and find a quiet room in which to drag our lovers. I will take care of Henri myself. You go sweep Annabella off her little croquette feet. Lassie, do me a favor. Do some checking on Adam’s buxom little friend from earlier. I have an idea.”

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Oops, Said God Part 3

When Lassie and her companions entered the outer reception area, they found Peter a little distracted. He had given up furtive looks out the window and was not plastered against the glass.

“Peter, you know the big man is not all that found of smudges,” Adam said.

Peter jumped a little and turned. “You just missed it! Christopher Reeves dive bombed the game and scared poor Gandhi who accidentally spiked the ball into Mother Theresa’s gut. She didn’t see our resident Superman and thought Gandhi was playing dirty, so she head rushed him. They should recruit her for the all saints rugby team. That was an amazing tackle.

“Especially since she is a pacifist,” Eve observed.

“Death does funny things to people,” Peter replied. “Actually, it’s all Gab’s fault. He conned Chris into doing it. He thinks he can get Theresa to commit blaspheme by next Sunday. I got a five to one against him with Joseph.”

Lassie barked. Adam snorted and said, “Good point. I know God is trying to make stuff up to Chris, but how long before the cape is clipped?”

“You know God. He believes in karma,” Peter said sagely. “Anyway, here is a suitcase for each of you containing the proper clothing and accessories.” Peter handed them each old leather suitcases. “And there are also American and Canadian documentation if you need it.” He put a large manila envelope in Lassie’s mouth.

“Good luck,” he said before turning back to the window.

* * *

Adam, Eve, and Lassie stood at the edge of a vast cloud that was cluttered with just about anything imaginable. All kinds of stuff, electronics, mechanics, wood, glass bottles, a punch card computer and the newest laptop, a model T along with a fuel cell powered SUV. There were scraps of paper and every tool known to sentient life scattered and piled on top of the bigger items. There was victrolia in the corner playing what sounded like Bob Marley.

Adam cocked an eyebrow at Eve, “Who says you can’t take it with you?”

Lassie whined in agreement, then barked.

From the other side of a tractor with what looked like a snow plow and snow thrower attached to the front of it, a head wearing a wielding hood popped up and long with a blow torch. The touch was switched off and the helmet flipped up as the occupant said, “Oh, hello ladies and gentleman. We weren’t expecting you so soon.”

“Quite alright, Tom,” Eve replied. “Interesting music you have playing there.”

“It’s something new from Bob. He asked me to have a listen. I find Reggae helps me think,” Tom replied. “When it comes to actual physical work though, I prefer Tupac. Though I think he has lost a little of his edge since coming to Heaven. Don’t tell him that. Wouldn’t want to hurt his feelings.”

Eve’s mouth twitched as she replied, “We promise not to.”

“Why the victrola though, Tom,” Adam asked. “Seems to me that new music would be better with some digital enhancement and surround sound.”

Tom blushed a little. “Well, honestly, I’m still just proud of that one.” Then with a sigh, he put his torch down and removed his helmet.

“Expecting a blizzard?” Adam inquired, pointing at the tractor.

“What? Oh, no, not at all. Actually I am trying to modify it to shape clouds.”

Lassie growled lightly in the back of her throat and then ended her vocalization with a whine. Eve nodded. “I have to agree with Lassie, Tom. Shaping clouds can cause problems.”

“Yes, that kind of thing is what usually leads to mass death by Kool-Aid then an inquiry by the COBO,” Adam added.

Tom shrugged, “Oh it’s not for the underside of the clouds. Ben Franklin and I have been toying with the idea of a luge track.”

As they were talking Tom had been leading them across the cloud towards one corner of the work cloud where there was an assortment of tools and something large under a tarp. “I really, really think you will find some of the upgrades we have made to be very useful. Leo! Leo! Stop drawing and come here to help me get the team equipped!”

From somewhere on the other side of the tarp covered object a distinctly Italian voice yelled back, “Do it yourself! I am busy. You are disrupting my creative flow!”

“Oh come on! You and your drawings. If you had it your way nothing would ever actually get built. Oh, wait, that is your way, Mr. I-Invented-The-Airplane.”

Finally, from around a wall to the right, Leonardo DaVinci emerged. “Hmph, well, each of us has a bestseller all about his brilliant art, hm?”

Tom threw up his hands. “Damn Dan Brown. You’ve been intolerable since 1998! You didn’t even do any of that on purpose! You were trying to bag the redheaded maid at the Vatican, and thought you’d impress her by putting her in the painting.”

“It worked too,” DaVinci said as he put down his drawing pad and winked. “Now, my friends, let’s see what we have for you today.” Tom growled and stuffed his hands into the pockets of the jumpsuit he was wearing. Finally he sighed and said, “Well we just finished some modifications on your wings.” He pulled the tarp from over what looked like angel wings with jet packs attached. He continued, “The shield is much stronger and is now light absorbent. No more sun reflections and unplanned angel sighting with these babies on. The helmets are much more streamlined which should keep your head from bouncing around too much. It is now sound proof with voice activated inset communicators, so no more blackout during descent. Also, try picking one up.” The trio complied, Lassie using her nose. Tom smiled at the looks on their faces. “A lot lighter. Titanium is yesterday’s news. This is a new heat resistant plastic. Next, I am hoping to make it clear, so if the shield does fail, it still will be hard for people to see.”

Lassie barked her approval.

“Thank you,” Tom said, pleased.

“Enough of this! Now for me,” DaVinci cried. Tom scowled, but said nothing. DaVinci went back around the wall and wheeled out a clothing rack. “Here is your wardrobe. Everything is historically accurate, naturally, thanks to Coco, but I have also worked in voice-activated communicators into the collards and your earrings, Eve. Adam, there is a small earpiece for you. Each of you has formal wear along with two regular day outfits. Each of these is reversible, so technically, it is four different outfits. On the cuff of each of your shirts, Adam, and the neckline of your dresses, Eve, is a button that will activate a noise cloak, so you can talk without being overheard. It will also blur things and work as a camouflage.”

Tom turned to Lassie, “Lassie, a higher powered camouflage net will automatically drop around your base station. The whole thing is collapsible and attaches to your pack. Don’t worry; I have an extra jet on yours, so it won’t change the weight too much. Just put it on the ground, press the button, and it will be assembled in 47.8 seconds.” Tom said all of this while attached a package that was a box about one square foot to Lassie’s wings. Tom paused and looked around. “I think that is everything. Leo?”

“Yes, I believe so. You can use the rooms in back to change and then be on your way. CIAO!”

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lops

Fruit and vegetable stands are a big, let's say cottage industry, in my patch of PA. Because many of the proprietors have more farm smarts than book learning there are often interesting interpretations of the English language on the hand-lettered signs they display to promote their produce.
I lived in the greater DC area for four years after college. Upon returning to Pennsylvania as an adult, I found the presence of these stands comforting. They were just part of the backdrop of my childhood and adolescence when my world was small, and it didn't occur to me that it wasn't the same everywhere. As an adult, after living in a more urban area, I appreciated more the culture of the simple grow, sell, eat these stands are part of.
On my new commute, I passed a stand run by an older gentleman. The plywood and black paint sign boldly and cheerfully let all passing cars know that there were Lops for sale. That would be lopes or cantaloupes if you need an interpretation.
Every day, I would pass this man and just dream of sneaking back in the dark and adding the "e". And possibly an apostrophe. He became the lops guy in our house. He was a consistency to both my and John's drives to work. I think I stopped once or twice for some produce, but not really all that often. Mostly because he only took cash, and I never remembered to stop at the ATM. His stand was on the edge of a very large field of weeds and wild flowers. It was the last green before a long strip of trucking industry based around the intersection of three major highways. I kinda grew to love the Lops guy.
Then one summer, he wasn't back. Hm. There were vague rumors that he was sick. He wasn't back the next summer either, and without being told, I knew what had happened. The sultry summer drive became a little less interesting. The field faded into the backdrop having lost its little splash of color.
Lops guy must have owned the lot where his stand was located. And a couple years after he was gone, the heirs or whoever sold the land. Now it is townhouses. They are better than another huge trucking depot or gas station. But still, it's less green, more human being. More backdrop than stand out.
I wish I had remembered to stop at the ATM more.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, May 16, 2011

Perspective

John and I had a lovely evening out this last Saturday. It was an adult evening playing games, snacking and drinking with some friends. It was one of those evenings on which I laughed to the point of tears and sore cheek muscles. Brilliant. Also thank you to my sister and brother-in-law, the awesomest babysitters ever. Driving home, I was ready to hug the kids. I missed their little faces, and I was ready to feel their sleepy weight against my shoulder. And that all happened. We managed to transfer from pack-n-plays to car seats to cribs without any major fuss. (This I also want to thank their uncle for because he spend the majority of the evening tiring them out with couch jumping.) I went to sleep with my adult tank refilled, and my mom tank at a healthy level as well.
And then my mom engine flooded. 6:30 AM hit. And they were awake. I took them downstairs to let John get a little more sleep, in theory, before he had a work thing to take care of. What transpired next was one of those things that non-parents do not believe and will just make parents nod in understanding. It involved a diaper blow out whose extent I did not realize until after both children found the evidence before me. Clean up involved floor cleaner, bleach, and baths for the kids.
This is not why anyone chooses to become a parent. This is something that you don't really think happens. They exaggerate this stuff for movies. Even if you have been around kids before, if they aren't yours, chances are you haven't had to really deal with anything like this until you have kids of your own. Yes there are exceptions. I am aware.
Then there is the flip side. I remember when we started talking about having kids and then it wasn't happening, I would watch some kid run across say the church's gym floor into his or her mother's arms. They could be laughing, crying, or just running, but they wanted nothing more than their mother's arms. I would be holding a child, and he or she would reach for Mom. This situation was a snapshot of what I wanted as a parent. To love and need and be loved and needed on the most basic of human levels. And the yearning I felt and the way I thought that would feel is, just like the diaper incident, nothing to what it is really like. I am the one run to. I am the one reached for. Sometimes that hug is not necessarily a sanitary moment. Sometimes it takes all the strength I have left to left a child into my arms and comfort or laugh. But each time, I remember how much I wanted it.
It's all about perspective.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Oops, Said God Part 2

God was still standing looking out the window when the trio entered. Adam and Eve sat down in the two chairs that were placed before the desk. Adam lounged back and put his feet up on the desk. Lassie went to God’s side and licked his hand. He patted her on the head.

“It looks like Peter is going to get his chance. The golds are about to pull ahead. Mary Magdalene just joined the team, and she has a killer serve.”

“Among other talents,” Adam replied. Eve crossed her arms and raised her eyebrow at him. He added, “Or so I have hear, Darling. Jesus will run at the mouth if you get enough tequila into him.”

God cleared his throat as he turned. He coughed a touch and glowered at Adam’s cigarette. “On to business.” The window behind him darkened and the battle scenes God had been watching before the volleyball game had distracted him appeared again. “What are you are looking at is New York City for alternative history date April 27th, 1938.”

Adam sat up and dropped his feet to the floor, leaving scuffmarks on the desk. Eve’s eyes widen, “Who in the world is attacking the United States in 1938? Did something change to give the Austrian twit a head start and advantage?”

As this God blushed, shook his head a little, and mumbled something.

Adam leaned back again, took a long drawl on his smoke, and said, “Sorry, didn’t catch that.”

“It’s Canada, alright?” God exploded. “Canada.”

A laugh burst from Adam’s lips. “How did you manage to let anything between the U.S. of A and Canada get bad enough to lead to war? That’s like getting Tony Blaire to disagree with George Bush.”

God’s eye’s narrowed. “Well, it was such a round-about cause that the computer could not compute the outcome before it happened. You see, it’s all about a girl.”

“It always is,” Eve sighed. “I am really tired of getting the blame for these things.”

“Dearest, no one is blaming you,” Adam comforted her. “At least no one in this room.”

There was a pause. Adam looked up at God, who jumped a little and replied, “Of course not.”

Eve smoothed her skirt with her hands. “Anyway, proceed.”

“It all really starts at a ball in 1910,” God continued, and the picture changed to a huge ballroom light by massive chandeliers, with a band and people in fancy dress dancing a waltz. Then the image zoomed in on a group of young men surrounding a particular young woman. She was talking animatedly which made her elaborately styled, shiny brown curls dance. When she laughed her violet eyes twinkled. She was definitely a beauty, especially decked out in a dazzling cream colored dress patterned with golden embroidery, showing off a tantalizing shoulder and the hint of cleavage.

“You are looking at Mademoiselle Annabella Dione, the belle of Montreal. Now here are the young men we are interested in.” The picture zoomed in on the two young men who were the closest to Annabella, and obviously the most rapt. “The blonde is Gregory Finch. He is an up and coming American. Currently he is working on the staff of the American ambassador. Eventually he will be an adviser to Herbert Hoover. The dark haired fellow is Jonathan Goodling. He is a member of the Canadian Parliament.” Eve walked closer to the screen and tilted her head as she studied the two boys. Men, she corrected herself. She always had trouble calling males around this age men. To her, Gregory Finch looked like a twelve-year-old dressed up in his father’s suit. His hair was curly, almost ringlets, and his nose and cheeks were speckled with faint freckles. His face had an earnest, serious expression as if Miss Dione’s conversation carried the weight of the world. Which, Eve reminded herself, it did in a round about way. Adam came up next to her and turned the attention toward Jonathan. While he shared Gregory’s fair skin, Jonathan had very dark hair, cut in a very straight, severe fashion. His eyes were a very dark blue that seemed to change shade with his mood, which seemed to jump rather quickly. They watch him change from laughing to smoldering rage as Annabella touched the lapel of Gregory’s jacket and then to adoration and passion as her should brushed his when she turned to gesture at the painting behind her. Both men wore very stylish tuxedoes that were tailored to perfection.

God said, "Originally, Jonathan did not make it to the party. It all starts with a feather."

"Oh this is the part of the story I love," Adam declared as he plopped himself down in God's chair. "Let me get comfortable. So what random series of events has led to this catastrophe?"

God squinted at him, but continued. "Well it starts with Goodling's tailor. He's rather fond of the seedier side of town, mostly underground, bare-knuckled fighting. He's a big gambler. Anyway, we have to go back to a round of fights the night before he made the tux Goodling is wearing. Originally, the fights broke up early as no one would come forward to challenge the champion." The image on the wall turned to a smoke filled basement filled with sweaty and cheering men. In the middle was a human mountain with a shaved head and a face like a bull. He snorted and Adam could have sworn he saw steam leave the nostrils. He gave a long, low whistle. "I can see why." The man also looked like he hadn't bathe in a, well, ever.

"Yes, well, in the alternative, a short man with a feather in his hat, walks by a taller man. The feather tickles the taller man's nose, making him sneeze. As he sneezes he stumbles into the ring, and the challenger immediately pounces." Again the scene played out in front of them. A tall, thin man was doing his best to stay out of the monster's grasp, trying to get out of the ring, but the men surrounding kept pushing him back in, shouting and laughing. Money was quickly changing hands. “Now, if only this unfortunate man had just gotten knocked out, and everyone gone home, but alas, no.” For a few panicked moments, the tall thin man scrambled around, barely dodging punches, then suddenly his defense seemed to become more structured. He focused on his opponent and got his defense up. His strategy seemed to be, don’t get hit. This went on for fifteen minutes. The champion was wearing down. Slowly his punches got sloppier, and his defenses were lowering. Suddenly the tall thin man threw one punch right at the champions jaw. The champion blocked it with a forearm and his other fist took the tall thin man in the gut throwing him up in the air and across the ring. He didn’t get up, though a small groan escaped his lips before he lost consciousness. A few of the other men, picked him up and carried him away.

With a grimace on her face Eve said, “That was unfortunate.”

“Yes,” God replied. “Especially in that it set this whole sequence of events in motion. See the old man in the back that looks like he is made out of toothpicks and sandpaper?” Both Adam and Eve nodded, and Lassie gave a little affirmative woof. “That is the tailor.” He was jumping up and down and giggling. “He just won a lot of money. This will cause him to spent the rest of the evening spending his winnings getting himself and several mates drunk.” The picture changed to a pub and a raucous group of men surrounding the tailor who was obviously a shot away from passing out, but still had a huge grin on his withered, old face.

“This night of partying leaves him tired the next day, but he is on a deadline to finish the tuxedo for Mr. Goodling.” Now the old man was sitting cross-legged in his shop, desperately trying to keep his eyes open as he put in the hem of a pant leg. He still had the grin on his face. “Right here, during this yawn, he is going to drop a stitch.” The audience in God’s office watched it happen. Then in fast forward, a delivery boy picked up the suit and took it to the Goodling residence. They watched Jonathan Goodling meticulously prep himself for the ball. “What a girl,” Adam muttered under his breath. Lassie growled as him. Finally Goodling was coming out of his dressing room and heading for the staircase in his home when God slowed back to normal speed. “Here is where the feather, the winning bet, and the missed stitch become significant. Right before he reached the first stair, Goodling stopped and leaned down to pick at the string hanging from his cuff. As he did that a cat came streaking across the top stair. God paused the picture and pointed at the cat, saying, “In the original time line there was no string. Goodling kept going and ended up tripping over the cat, taking a spill down the stairs and breaking a leg. Instead he ends up as we saw him at first.” The wall was back to Annabella and her suitors.

Finally Adam said, “Not to spoil a perfectly good story, but why don’t we just go and steal the short man’s hat, or stop him or the tall thin man from going to the fights?”

God shook his head, “Somehow a change in the original code for Earth’s history happened. It is very tiny, within an acceptable margin of error. A glitch, if you will. No matter what scenarios I run, that fight ends up happening. One way or another the tailor ends up drunk and missing that stitch. Even sneaking into Goodling’s room and cutting the thread can’t work. He doesn’t leave the suit from the time it arrives until he dresses, and he won’t no matter what happens in the house. I even tried pushing him down the stairs or a trip wire, and it always ends worse than the broken leg. I even briefly contemplated setting a small kitchen fire, but that leads to a changes well outside parameters.”

“I didn’t think a glitch like that was possible,” Eve commented.

“Neither did I,” God said in a troubled tone. “We will be working on that while you are on the ground.”

The room was silent for a moment as Adam, Eve, and Lassie absorbed the information and watched the characters in their latest drama interact.

“Well, they both have the look of men who would rather draw pistols at dawn than share a beer,” Adam quipped as he turned from the screen back to God. “So, we are looking at the beginning of a jealousy. Which of them gets the girl and which starts a war?”

“Neither of them and both.”

God and Adam started when Eve spoke. God replied quizzically, “That’s right. How did you know?”

“Because our Mdm. Dione has been doing her best to make this young waiter, here, jealous. She is laughing a little too loudly, and every time she touches one of her admirers, she glances at him. And he has been carrying around those canap├ęs on his tray for an hour without serving one of them. He looks more like he would like to see them dumped on the floor as he bashed Mr. Goodling over the head with the tray.”

Adam and God turned their attention to the servant as well.

Adam whistled lowly and said, “My goodness, Danielle Steele couldn’t have created a better boy for her cover art fodder.”

He was an intense fellow with eyes that Danielle Steele often described as dark and smoldering. His black hair was wavy and had a perpetual swept back look as if he had just dismounted from a galloping horse. And he didn’t so much walk, as stalk.

God sighed, “Dear Eve, you have excellent perception. If only you could have developed if before the apple.”

“It’s not her fault you made the damned nodes to your planet computer edible, my dear creator,” Adam retorted. He took one last puff on the cigarette, then dropped it to the floor where he stamped it out. “I’d say that makes us all even.”

“Well, I couldn’t have…”

There was a whine from behind him, and Lassie butted her head against his knees. God cleared his throat, “Right, well, no use going over that territory again.”

God smiled, a little sadly, at Eve. “Very perceptive, my dear. In three days, Annabella will be running away with the dashing waiter, Henri.”

Adam clapped God on the shoulder, “You know you have to be thankful for one thing.”

God arched an eyeball at him, “And that would be?”

“At least when the planet computer went crazy, it only spewed out a finite amount of basic human predicaments.”

God folded his arms across his chest, “Yes, I suppose that is something, but they do excel at making them all tangled messes.”

Lassie reached up to the screen and scratched at the feet of Gregory and Jonathan and a low whine escaped her lips.

“I agree, Lassie,” Adam said nodding and giving the dog a quick scratch behind the ears. “And instead of commiserating over my suggested plethora of beers, they choose to blame each other?”

After a thoughtful pause, God replied, “Well, I suppose it is something more along the lines of hurt pride. You see, as these stories often go, Annabella’s family would never approve of the waiter. To keep everyone from finding out before the elopement, Annabella is leading both men around by the nose hairs, rather publicly. Then to add to the confusion, she accepts both of their marriage proposals the evening before she and Henri make their escape. Again, this wouldn’t have happened originally as Goodling was convalescing at the time. One Finch was given the chance to proposed and consequently was the only one spurned.” At this point the screen started flipping through the various scenes of the drama as God explained them. It should Gregory and then Jonathan both down on one knee in front of a flushed and giddy Annabella, followed by Annabella climbing down a ladder from a bedroom window with Henri waiting at the bottom, looking around anxiously. “Once the truth is discovered, both men are humiliated, naturally. The only target to take that humiliation out on is each other as Annabella and Henri are happily on a ship to France with all of her and most of her mother’s jewels.” Here an image of Annabella and Henri in a stateroom, half clothed, laughing, surrounded by a scatter of excessively large and gaudy jewelry.

“Hm, you have to give the eloping couple credit for style and out and out, well, balls,” Adam said. Both Lassie and Eve nodded in agreement.

“More than you may realize. Annabella and Henri will open a hotel and dance hall when they get to Paris. It will become rather well known. Come World War Two, it will be a favorite of the Nazis.” Again the screen flicked. Henri and Annabella change into a middle-aged, well-dressed couple welcoming men in SS uniforms with French ladies on their arms. “However, they are also high ranking members of the French resistance. Thanks to their free flowing liquor and charisma, they become a top source of crucial information that will be used against the Nazis. Their elopement and presence in Paris is essential.” The classy middle aged couple was shown going through the pockets and luggage of one of the officers while he was passed out on the bed, snoring. A half-clad young lady was aiding them.

“The Nazis certainly knew how to appreciate a nice set of bosoms,” Adam commented as the prostitute turned freedom fighter leaned over, giving her unknown audience a view of nicely spaced breasts.

Eve glared at him, “You know, for someone who was never a baby or breast feed, your breast obsession is rather disturbing.”

“It comes from having access to the very first pair ever made, darling,” Adam replied to appease her. He wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her close, making sure to notice the objects of conversation in the process, for a quick peck on the lips. They pulled apart at the slam of a desk drawer and turned their attention back to God, in time to seem him plop two Alka-Seltzers into a glass of water that had appeared on the desk in front of him.

“So run along to Montreal, keep Misters Finch and Goodling from becoming bitter enemies while making sure the future of the object of their shared love or hatred, however you choose to look at it, is not changed.”

Adam and Eve exchanged a glance. Lassie emitted a series of short barks and then whined inquiringly.

The screen changed to a chart. “Well, Lassie, that area of concern should make you feel a little better,” God directed to the dog as he changed to screen one more time. This time it was covered with complicated looking equations and charts. “After calculating it out, I think that you can get away with a relatively large margin of change for these two young men’s lives. We should be safe if we stay within 7.4354 and 10 percent.”

Eve let out a long breath. “Well, that is greater than usual, I suppose.”

“Yes, they lead rather boring lives as moderate level bureaucrats in the original timeline, so changing that a little either way isn’t too terribly complicated. It shouldn’t be enough to bring the COBC down on us. As long as they don’t manage to get anyone killed.”

“But bureaucrats are so good at that,” Adam commented.

"Yes, well, your job is to keep them from doing what they are good at." God paused. "Or something like that. Anyway, Lassie will be your researcher and point of contact. Tech has wings waiting for you. And Peter will have all of your luggage at his desk.”

Suck It, Disney and your Prom

Fuck this Prom movie. The commercials make me all stabby. I want to get up on the roof of my local middle schools with a bullhorn and scream at the top of my lungs, "If prom is the end all and be all of your high school years, you have don't something WRONG!" Seriously, is there anyone for whom prom was the highlight of your four years of high school? At most it was a fun time, maybe even a romantic time for some, but it ain't never magical. Heck even if you are the cliche and had sex for the first time in some hotel or limo or wherever on prom night, it wasn't magical. If it was, then I bow to you and your partner because at most the first time is pleasant with a hint of how it might make your toes curl in the future. And the only way prom changes your life is if you got knocked up.
I mean, it's a gym with Christmas lights. OK, maybe your school sprung for a ballroom or even a cruise but still. I can't for the life of me remember anything about junior prom. I don't think I went.... Fuck, I seriously can't remember. Senior prom was in a gym, not even our gym. For some reason they thought the local Catholic school gym was a better venue. Maybe it was some desperate attempt to keep the drinking down, I don't know. Whatever. We didn't have the money for a dress, so I wore my cousin's hand-me-down bridesmaid's dress circa 1988, puffy sleeves, blue taffeta, black lace and all. I will say I think my legs looked fantastic because I had the skirt shortened and got a pair of cheap dyable four inch heels. Oh and I had super huge tits, so I imagine they were smokin' too. Not sure. I don't think anyone took a picture of me....
I went by myself. All my friends were paired up. No one was doing the group dinner. So I drove straight to the dance by myself. It was a dance which is fun, but seriously, I did not step out on the floor, an ugly duckling transformed, and turn the head of some popular jock. Has that ever REALLY happened? Why have we brainwashed generations of nerdy girls with that delusion? Why would they want the jock anyway? He's never really going to be the sensitive guy underneath. He's always gonna want the cheerleader who puts out more than the nerd who does. I went to an after party with some acquaintances. It was on an army post, so no drinking. I didn't know these people that well, so I fell asleep and heard about for DAYS.
And I think my experience was way more normal than what Disney's formulaic bullshit and every other movie that has tried to make preteens think prom will make or break their high school careers are selling.
I'm not saying don't have proms. Dances are fun. Just be realistic about it. Don't make girls especially build up ridiculous expectations for one simple dance until there is no way it is ever going to be anything but a disappointment.
Not that I wanted a magical night anyway.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Yep, That's Guilt. Hello, Old Friend.

OK, I want to be watching 30 Rock and play Angry Birds, but I wanted to get a post in this week. It's gonna be quick.
We recently joined the Y. This has changed my average day because there is a child watch room. Yes, for an hour a day, I get to workout while someone else keeps the kids alive. I don't have to get up before the garbagemen to run. I have discovered water aerobics along with all the retired teachers in my hometown. I don't know why everyone thinks it is only for people with arthritis. It seems to me if you workout in the water as opposed to the gym in your thirties you could keep from getting the arthritis in the first place. Let's be proactive, people.
Anyway, there is a flaw in my plan. That flaw manifested itself in the form of a stocky, curl-haired toddler around whom my world revolves for the other twenty-three hours of the day. CJ does not appreciate my hour as he is not spending it with me. The room full of toys and kids and snacks and nice women who love his curls and dimples is no substitute for his mother who may or may not cry because he kicks her when she tries to change his diaper. So most days I get a report that he would be OK for a while then get fussy and cry and need comfort. Sometimes he would go to Leila for a hug which everyone thinks is really sweet. True it is. It would be nicer if he didn't need comfort at all. The staff in the child watch room changes daily, so some handle it better than others. Some say he was really fine. Others say we almost came and got you. But all of them understand how important an hour it is, and no one has ever come and got me out of my class or the gym. So the level of guilt I felt was not too bad. Oh, wait. I should explain something here. You are probably thinking I feel bad that my son is so upset. OK, that is never good, but really, he's fine about two seconds after I walk in the door. By the time we get to the car, he's giddy. No, I feel guilty that other people have to deal with my fussy kid. I have THAT kid. The kid they probably all hate to see coming. That is what I am afraid of and where the guilt bubble originates. This is what keeps my eye on the door waiting for the interruption that never comes because all the babysitters feel sorry for the mom with two kids seven months apart.
Then came Tuesday. Tuesday, CJ had a great day! He didn't fuss at all. Huzzah! Freedom was in my grasp. So when I dropped him off today, I felt better. Maybe I would get a class in without looking at the door. Then he melted down before I even shut the door. It was not a great day. It may have been his worst yet. One step forward and all that.
Maybe Monday. I may have guilt, but I also have hope.

Oops, Said God

This is the beginning of my favorite piece of fiction I have going. I posted it a while back, but no one was reading my blog then. Now I thought the three of you might like it, and maybe it would encourage me to keep working on it in all my free time.

God stood with his hands clasped behind his back, watching the scene that was playing across his office window. He gave a long sigh and the image disappeared. God closed his eyes briefly then opened them, trying to let the beautiful visage of clouds and sky that had replaced the violent escapades calm his nerves. His shoulders slumped. It hadn’t worked. Rubbing his temples he said out loud, “Peter, could you please send Adam and Eve along with Lassie the First to my office, please?”

“Of course, sir,” Peter’s efficient voice replied.

For the hundredth googolplex time, God wondered why he had created humans. Zox made having sentient beings in his universe look like so much fun. Zox, Fum, Tob, Rog, and God had spent hours watching their antics and laughing. And Zox had more populated planets than even he could count. God could barely handle the one. He knew it made him Infinity’s joke, but really. No one had bothered to explain independent thought and free will to him. Zox just snorted and told him he should have gone for his masters in Deitism before populating his world. He said they spent a millennium alone on creating pre-destination and fate. To give himself some credit, God had been in the middle of a correspondence course and had really only created Adam and Eve as a model for what he was reading. It wasn’t his fault if while he took a nap between cramming sessions they had gone and eaten a node from one of the Earth’s computer antennas. He had never even fathomed that they might find it eatable. Another lesson he had apparently not reached in his course, sentient beings will try anything once. He had had to change his whole ecosystem after that. Zox still got a kick out of having computer parts delivered by the pizza guy.

Once that “apple” as Adam and Eve had coined it (language was another thing that had gotten out of hand) had been damaged, the whole system had gotten skewed. The computer started spewing out a whole history for the planet complete with natural disasters, genocides, and TV evangelists. At first God was just annoyed. It looked like it was going to take a lot of programming to undo the problem, but there was too much. Change one line of code, and everything fell apart. So he had tried a new hard drive, and the damned system wouldn’t recognize it. Finally, he had gone to the Central Omniscient Beings Office for help. They had dumped a huge ancient book in his lap. It was the Laws of Creation. The clerk had highlighted one subparagraph on the last page for him. It stated, “Once an Omniscient Being has decided to become a deity and create a planet that includes sentient life, said life can not be destroy. It would damage the structure of the multi-universes and all that. Plus, it’s really messy. The planet and its contents must play out the original course laid out until its conclusion. Such actions will be closely monitored and regularly audited by the COBC.”

So God was stuck with the Earth and the damned smart yet determined-to-be-ignorant Homo Sapiens. He had tried to make things better. He had bent the rules and tweaked history a little and inserted a nice and enthusiastic carpenter to try and explain to everyone how much better the world would be if everyone lightened up and loved each other more. The death toll from that had been so large that the COBC police force had come along asking questions about his intentions for this small planet. They had threatened an audit of his galactic taxes to make sure he wasn’t trying to somehow use his planet for fraud.

And each time he tried to make things better, something else was made even worse. The trials over religion verse evolution had given God the worst headaches. Therefore he had to content himself with just keeping things on track until the end of what his humans called "time". (It was their problem if they wanted to make that time as miserable as possible.) With all of that free thought and whatnot, they kept trying to screw it up themselves and make changes for, what they were always sure, was the better.

God had done one thing right. He had created Heaven. Thankfully he had read the chapter on mortality before making Adam and Eve. So each time one of those things stopped breathing, the computer grabbed the essential signal, or “soul”, and put it into service helping to keep everything running smoothly. Adam and Eve had been the first in this mission, as they were the first in everything. And they were among the best, along with Lassie the First. He should have stopped when he had created the dog, God thought, not for the first time. The dolphins were OK too. Animals often made the best recruits. Their sense of right and wrong was much less complicated. Anything based on smell usually was.

* * *

As these thoughts ran through God’s head, Adam and Eve and Lassie were in an elevator on their way to his office, as ordered. Eve smoothed her skirt a bit, even though it wasn’t wrinkled. There were no wrinkles in Heaven. That did not pertain to noses though, and she wrinkled hers as Adam light up a cigarette. Lassie thumped her agreement to Eve.

“Must you?” She asked Adam.

“Well, it’s not like it is going to kill me, is it?” He replied threw a stream of smoke. He slipped his lighter back into the inside pocket of his flannel double-breasted, navy blue, pin striped suit jacket. If there was one thing Adam and Eve were, it was well dressed. Lassie figured it was a subconscious reaction to running around in fig leaves for a lifetime. Along with the impeccably tailored suit (Adam could talk Versace into anything) his wingtips were shined to within an inch of their lives. Eve had on a suit as well, but it was gray silk, also highly tailored without any flare. She had on chunky blue heels, and her still very long light brown hair was pulled into an artful bun at the nap of her neck. Eve always favored the look of the forties.

“You would think he would get rid of the smell, though.”

Adam gave her a sidelong glance and a crooked grin. “You would think. Suits me though. It covers up the smell of his office. I hate going up there.”

“You need to get over it already,” Eve replied.

“Look, I haven’t eaten an apple in, what, well, since The Apple, and just the smell of them is enough to put me in a foul mood.”

“It’s not like he makes his office smell that way on purpose. It’s the computer system. You just smoke to annoy him.”

Adam took a long draw on the cigarette and considered Eve’s comment. “True, I suppose. But do you really think it was necessary to make his desk out of The Tree?”

Eve frowned a little and said, “Well, I suppose even God needs a bit of old fashioned vengeance therapy. It could have been worse. We could be his dining room centerpieces instead of the snake.”

Adam just humphed in reply. Lassie felt a headache coming on. This was the usual reaction to working with humans. She rubbed up against Eve’s leg, and Eve reached down and scratched behind Lassie’s large, pointed eyes. That was better. They were good for some pampering at least.

The elevator door opened and the original couple looked out into God’s reception lobby. The floors and wall were all clear, except the right side where there was a door and opaque brown wall, giving the occupants a spectacular view of the clouds and sky of Heaven. There were several people sitting around in the brightly colored overstuffed chairs that sat around the perimeter of the perfectly circular room, reading any number of magazines. Straight ahead of the elevator was a large brown lacquered desk where Peter stay with his back to the room, looking out of the wall behind him. Lassie moved to the right and lay down in front of the door to God’s office. Eve and Adam walked to the front of Peter’s desk. They glanced out of the window to see what had the usually diligent Peter distracted. There was a volleyball game going on outside. In Heaven, this was always an interesting sport, as the players would play with wings attached. It made for some very exciting spikes. Adam cleared his throat. Peter jumped and turned quickly around.

“Oh, sorry about that,” he said as he shuffled some papers around his desk. “This is a big game. Gabriel and I have a bet on.”

“Really? Do tell,” Adam said.

Peter went slightly pink and cleared his throat. “Well if the gold halos win, I do as well. Gab’s got his bet on the silvers.”

“And what, pray tell, does the winner get?”

At this Peter blushed even more and cleared his throat. “The winner gets to be god.”

As seriously as he got, Adam replied, “Don’t we have more than enough of those around here?”

“Oh, not God, but god,” Peter said in a rush. “Whoever wins gets to go down to Earth and put on the show next time some fanatic gets into an overzealous and/or drunken state. I really hope I win, because I really want to outdo Gab’s Joseph Smith performance. It’s legendary.”

“It should be,” Eve said. “It’s caused enough problems.”

“Yes, well, be that as it may…you are, naturally, expected.” And with that Peter went back to the papers on his desk. “Mr. Nixon, I will now hear your appeal for entrance into Heaven. Do you have all the necessary paperwork?”

* * *