Monday, January 9, 2012

Our Great Lives

Every morning, it's the same thing around here.

Me (suspicious, surly): You have to be at school in 10 minutes. Ready?
Kid (beaming, positive): Yep. I just have to do one small thing. Where's that book? I'm supposed to have read up to chapter 4.

He is/we are about to break the school "times late" record, set back in 1972 by a kid who didn't know he was enrolled at that school.

It's not all that surprising, I suppose, along the lines of "the nut does not fall THREE HOURS LATE too far from the tree."

DH has his own time zone, which is 15 minutes later than whatever time it is wherever he's supposed to be. It gets complicated on some of those international dateline trips we're always taking, and it has so far kept us from visiting Newfoundland, which, as you certainly know, operates 30 minutes ahead of Atlantic time. On Newfoundland Standard Time--observed only on Newfoundland, the little islands offshore, and in Labrador south of Black Tickle. (As an aside, "South of Black Tickle" sounds like a salty maritime romance novel, doesn't it?)-- we would never know whether it was The Reckly or Bumbuy. Which cannot be a good thing. There is probably some way I could work it all to our social advantage, but it would involve moving to Newfoundland and lying to DH about what time it was for the rest of my life. I have no moral qualms about this, I simply worry that I'm not smart enough to remember what time it really was. Is. Will be. See?

I myself am an accomplished waster of time, no matter what time it is. Today, for example: today I had a day off and resolved to write fiction for a few hours, to get back into the swing of things. Except that I had to look up the etymology of "procrastinate" in our giant OED, which meant finding the magnifying glass. I researched Banff hotels and made reservations for this weekend's inaugural ski trip. I looked at maybe 3000 pairs of shoes on Zappos. Even though they no longer ship to Canada. I contemplated the purchase of clocks made in the shape of biohazard signs. I researched Newfie slang (obviously), consulted a hip-hop dictionary, and shared bad jokes on Facebook with people only too happy to play along. Most of them are writers, naturally, probably with their own deadlines to avoid. And so here it is, 11:24pm MST (2:54am NST) and I've managed maybe 150 words of "real" writing, despite having been writing all day.When this book is finally done, it will have a molecular weight of 53 words for every word visible on the page. (That's how "Science" works.)

I can't fault Kid for having observed and internalized a relationship with time that is not strictly sidereal. From now on, I'll be making it clear to everyone we know--teachers, friends, dentists, music instructors, tennis coaches, babysitters, etc.--that we move in Great Years here in the voodoo bungalow: stuff gets done but according to no calendar that any person currently alive could possibly hope to see through its cycle. 25,800 years seems about right for most of the things we aim to do, from spelunking in the laundry room to finishing The Breadwinner to nailing the step back onto the front porch. We've obviously been setting the bar waaay too high by attempting to live our Great Lives according to a cramped and insufficient schedule. Already I feel the stress simmering down. 

The Suburban "Great Year" Excuse: brought to you--slowly, peripatetically, with no discernible sense of schedule--by your friends in the voodoo bungalow.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pregnancy Diet

I was the most content pregnant woman in Germany, maybe even in all of Europe. I'd just left a stressful and all-consuming job in LA that involved a lot of silly but somehow sharp office drama (it devolved to the point that at least once an hour I held scissors to my own throat and pretended to cut my jugular just because and only because it upset one of my co-workers). I was a bitch and a drudge and a scourge and my name was well on its way to becoming a byword among the nations. My unpleasantness and disaffection were Biblical.

And then a miracle happened and I was whisked off through no virtue of my own to this shiny new life in Europe: no work, no reponsibilities, no deadlines. Plus: a free car! It was that magical. And the most magical thing of all: at an advanced age and with no expectations at all, suddenly a suspected case of food poisoning turned into a baby on the way.

I had just finished a lovely 6-week vacation/language intensive on the Baltic Sea, in which I swam. I walked about 5 miles a day through hilly German vineyards, ate well and often and according to the finest of nutritional guidelines, slept when I was tired, read books, saw old friends and made new ones. I tried different things--not just odd German things like their late-night talk shows that inevitably end with someone on rollerskates wearing feathers talking about the Euro Zone, but different clothes and different music, books, speed limits, opportunities, boundaries and horizons. I did all this in the name of being a memorable parent, a deserving mother, a woman prepared and excited to help this child make his way through a strange world.

I glowed.

This is no longer the case, this glowing. And it's not because all those bouncy hormones have pulled up stakes. It's not just that I'm watching 50 creeping up on me in 15 short months, bringing with it crepe-y skin, kooky knees and adult acne. It's that I've lost my lustre. It's not depression, that black velvet comforter that keeps a girl in bed with the blinds down; this is more like a set of scratchy flannel pyjamas in an unpleasant shade of ecru. There are no raisins in my oatmeal. One of my sparkplugs has crud in it. My dog won't hunt. My tiara don't sparklie.  Bleah. Just. . . bleah, is all.

Getting knocked up isn't an option this time, but I'm going to put myself on a pregnancy diet again just the same. I'm not talking just blueberries and brazil nuts (tho also blueberries and brazil nuts). I'm going to try to live this day-to-day adventure as though I were uniquely responsible for nurturing a small life inside. But this time it's mine.