My very own Fear Factor

March 31st, 2005

What is worse than cleaning up fresh vomit? Funny you should ask, I just found out that cleaning up vomit that has been sitting in a closed plastic bag in the basement since Monday night is far worse than cleaning up fresh.

Note to self: Clean up vomit immediately.

And what’s my problem with TV?

March 31st, 2005

I have very strong feelings regarding how much TV my children should watch. There are plenty of things, other than watch TV, that children can do…LIKE PLAY. So, I allow them to watch one ½ hour program a day and that takes place after the playroom is cleaned-up and while I am trying to make dinner. However, today the kids are not feeling so well. So, instead of railing against them this morning, I have decided to give in and set them in front of the television. It is so quiet in my house? There is no gnashing of teeth, rolling of eyes or bearing of claws. And so, I am now pondering, why don’t I do this on a regular basis? My husband has always claimed that one needs a good 6-8 hours of TV viewing a day to be a well rounded person. Maybe he is right. Just imagine the endless possibilities of what I could get done while the TV raised my children.

Of course

March 30th, 2005

We had a playdate on Monday with the woman who thinks my kids are the sickest kids she knows. Well, as luck would have it, KP took a nap over in her baby daughter’s room, and woke up with a blow out. For those of you without kids, a blow out is when poop (in this case drippy sloppy poop) has found its way out of the diaper via the back and leg holes and deposited itself all over the clothes and bedding of the small child. At that point, I thought it was just a case of too much fruit on Easter, but then came the vomit. So, in good mommy fashion, I called to give her the health update. She told me her little one was fine.

Then she called today. Her message to me included the words EXPLOSIVE DIARRHEA.

Where am I?

March 29th, 2005

I am not even sure what day it is. After coming back from my dreamy, delicious vacation I somehow feel as though I have been shot out of a cannon and thrust back into the real world of my life. Honestly, I feel a bit disoriented.

So, here I am.

I only have a few minutes before the vomiting and diarrhea of the baby starts again.

What is there to say while I have been away?
My vacation was pure heaven.
I took many fewer pictures than I thought I would.
I LOVED seeing the Getty in the rain (pictures to come).
We did absolutely nothing but lay by the pool 99% of the time (no pictures of this).
I was shocked at how CT cried and cried and cried and begged us to come home every time we called.
I finished a book.
I worked out.
We had good sex (pictures of this to come, just kidding).
We ate good food.
I pumped four times a day (Pictures? No, but I did think about taking one while I was pumping in the public bathroom of the Denver Airport).
The sun shined on our blue-white skin and it felt oh so good.
I owe Erik a thank you for filling in.
I owe my parents a vacation for watching my kids while I went on vacation.
I can’t wait for my next vacation, but it is good to be back.

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere’s Mary…

March 24th, 2005

I think everyone will be glad to know that Mary will return to full on bloggin’ tomorrow. I will assume the role of commentor again—one that I believe I am better suited for anyway. Thank you for the opportunity to fill in while you were out sunning yourself and relaxing–well deserved vacation but we’re glad to have you back. Erik

Cat Quote of the Day

March 24th, 2005

“Meow” Alice spat, turned tail in what I assume was an expression of her displeasure upon finding the food bowl empty so late in the morning. While I cannot be certain what she exactly meant by it, I am sure it was a complaint. In dog language it was more of a yip than a bark but definitely not a growl.

…in time.

March 23rd, 2005

Late fall last year, I had my own “just one average night” sort of experience. Below is an excerpt from a correspondence in which I wrote about it. It is written the day after witnessing a semi slam into a series of cars that were waiting to merge onto a different intersate…

The breaking sun flooding in from the east through the rear window of my Honda, over my shoulder, revealing fingerprints on the windshield. Cool Minnesota morning. Windows down. The hairs on my arms up. Memories appear in first person: “My kid is a Cooper Honor student,” the bumper sticker on the car in front of me says. I am stopped on Interstate 394 waiting in a metered-merge lane for Interstate 494. Is cooper still a high school? I thought to myself. Didn’t it close? I am going to make my 8:00 AM meeting. I am relaxed, unconcerned about the morning congestion. I reach out for the stereo to switch from the radio to the cd player. I watch my hand as it finds the button on the dash.


No screech, no scream. Just metal on metal. A silent picture show in my rearview mirror—a white semi-tractor with half its face ripped off. Its trailer rising up like the hair on the back of a cat. A car spinning toward the shoulder, another jammed forward into the middle lane of traffic. The look of horror in my own reflection. A pain in my back. I was not hit. Out of my car. Standing on the tarmac with my cell phone at my ear. The words of the 911 operator—the only thing tying me into the reality of the situation. The entire Interstate in front of me has come to a stop. Four lanes frozen in shock and sunlight. The glitter of broken glass is magical. “There is a physician on the scene,” the operator’s voice forcing itself into my head.

“What should I do?”

“Get back into your car. Get off the Interstate.”

“Should I leave?”

“Yes. Leave.”

Three minutes later I am pulling into a corporate parking garage, take the elevator to the fourth floor and walk into a conference room. I am now 5 minutes late. The meeting has started without me. The topic is how to best move large volumes of financial data from the Dallas office to the Minneapolis office on a nightly basis.

The next day I drive to work in a shroud of sadness—anxious as I squeeze between a cement truck and an eighteen-wheeler as I change lanes in the Lowry Tunnel. As I pass the scene of the accident, I slow to examine the skid marks on the highway. He did try to stop. I wonder what happened to him. Did he live? God, the recovery must be excruciating. Time is different today. I should have lunch with Adam. I shouldn’t waste a single moment. Who will I lose in a car accident? in an oxygen tent? in the night? in time.

Just one average night

March 23rd, 2005

Tonight while on our way to dinner, not knowing exactly where we were going, we came upon an accident. I have never seen anything like it. The police were present, people were milling about, traffic was being detoured, but no ambulances had yet made it to the scene. As we were waiting to turn left, being detoured away from the accident, I saw something I will never forget. There were two cars, both toppled onto their sides, smashed to nothingness. In one car I saw someone’s child laying lifeless, white tennis shoes smashed up toward the roof of the car, arm hanging out of the window in the wrong direction. There were other people in the car, but this image I couldn’t look away from. It was lifeless. It was horrific. I couldn’t and can’t shake it. Did they make a wrong turn? Were they speeding? Was someone drinking? It made me think that I am scared to be a mother. I don’t want to get that call at 9:00 pm at night telling me something tragic has just happened to one of my babies. That was someone’s baby and tonight their family’s life has changed forever.

At the end of the day, we are just blathering idiots

March 22nd, 2005

I work in corporate America, a company that operates multiple lines of business with locations across the globe. While the idea of having a job and going to it is as accepted as eating and having sex, the experience of working in an organization that big can be quite unnatural. To compensate (maybe veil is a better word) the unnatural aspect of working in a large business, corporations create concepts, programs, and words that attempt to humanize a cubed-up work environment that is more akin to a milking barn than an interactive collaborative.
None of this is ultimately new, surprising or interesting. What I do find interesting is corporate employees’ lack of awareness around the cattle like conditions and the strong sense of identity we (I am including myself) derive from lining up to be milked of our time and energy everyday.
Most of the time these concerns float below my consciousness and I am happy to amble in and out everyday. However, there are those moments or events that yank me out of my sleepwalk. Usually these realizations are brought on by petty, yet unavoidable, irritations. One such irritation is the evolution of corporate “language viruses.” Every so often a phrase will pop up in the corporate environment that gains wide spread overuse. Currently, that phrase is “at the end of the day”.

• At the end of the day we will have to answer to the CEO.
• At the end of the day we have an obligation to the broader enterprise.
• At the end of the day, we will have to pull together an estimate.

It is a closing phrase not only meant to summarize a set of items but to add significance to those items. It is the latter point that drives me crazy. “At the end of the day” has become a crutch, a sort of corporate “uhm” that has replaced clear thinking and subverts the need for well thought out statements. There is a guy I work with who will literally say “at the end of the day” every 10 or 15 sentences—easily saying it six or seven times in a five minute conversation. Honest.
This may sound like a small rant, but I think it points to a bigger issue in corporate America. We are dumb. We lack creativity. We have stopped thinking. For whatever reason this phrase has stuck in the head of a number of corporate workers in the same way the song “Top of World” (The Carpenters) gets stuck in mine. It has caught their imagination. Maybe they feel important when they use it. Maybe they think it adds some significance to what they have to say. To me it is simply a cliché. And clichés are things people says when they can’t or don’t have the ability to rely on their own thoughts or experiences. In fact, it is a well known convention for fiction writers to fill a character’s mind and mouth with clichés to convey that character as a fool. In that light, one should regard words that follow “at the end of the day” with suspicion—a sign post that the speaker is a fool and concepts concocted. So as a favor to friends and loved ones, who use the phrase, ask them to stop. As a favor to me, interim host Erik, make fun of your nemesis at work (behind his/her back) should the phrase slip out.

Blogging Changes Everything

March 21st, 2005

Since accepting my assignment as guest host on circuslunch, my days have appeared a bit different to me. I have allowed my mind to wander, noticing and languishing on the small parts of the day: The terse, guarded words exchanged between the couple behind me at the bakery, the length of traffic lights on the freeway entrances, the panty lines of the woman at the paint store, the smell of Clementine oranges under my finger nails, the sun moving across the dinning of room wall, the dry cracked knuckles of the hand I am holding—the shape of things and movements of life. Blogging is a bit like a breathing exercise. As you breathe in you suddenly become aware of the things that you normally take for granted. The most transparent things—time and air—become primary. Your chest fills with air and you count the moments until you take your next breath. You become very present. Connected with your body and the small space you occupy in the world. And in the exhaling, as in the writing, there is a rush. Time seems to accelerate for a few brief moments and the world is more vivid–revealing the nature of things rather than just the surface of them. You are pulled into the experience of simply living again. Maybe even living better.