Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Conversations in Pregnancy Land

Jen: Babe, I really need you to empty out the nursery of all the crap we've piled up in there. I'm starting to get itchy about finishing the room.

Michael: We have plenty of time. Don't worry.

Jen: Plenty of time??? We're like 4-5 weeks out from having a baby in the house with us and we still need to paint the ceiling, get furniture and steam the carpets.

Michael: You don't need all that stuff done before the baby gets here. She'll spend time in our room and if we had to, we could finish up the room after she's born. Just relax.

In fact, it's probably better to just wait. I mean, in 5 weeks you'll be able to do it yourself.

Jen: ...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Show Us Your...

Baby showers are pastel monstrosities of uncomfortableness where a gaggle of women sit around and eat horrifyingly tasteless dishes while staring at the mother-to-be. There's ooh-ing and aah-ing over baby items everyone has seen 1,000 times over ("Oh my God! A soft blanket with a duck embroidered on it. How cuuuuuute and unexpected.") and some tragic games involving diapers and candy bars.

If you're really lucky, your baby shower gets a theme. Something really inspiring like "Tea Party in the Pumpkin Patch," "Polka Dots and Poopy Diapers" or "Enough Pink Sparkly Things to Make You Vomit."

It should not surprise you that I have surrounded myself with people who know full well I would fill their homes with fire ants and black mambas should they subject me to such horrors. An eye for an eye.

This past Saturday, Michael and I (I had insisted on a Jack and Jill shower as there was no way in hell I was going through this alone) pulled up to our friend's house for: THE SHOWER.

As we were walking up to the driveway, the first things I saw were 2 laundry lines full of baby clothes.

"You have got to be kidding me. I've been duped. This looks just like every other baby shower. I may have to kill myself before taking another step."

But then, fair interwebs, I decided to take one more step and saw the shiny colors surrounding the house. And while not black with tints of blood red as would suit a baby shower best, I saw colors immediately recognizable and I could breathe again.

Purple, Green and Gold.

Because is there really a more appropriate theme for a baby shower than Mardi Gras? I think not.

Had it not been for those laundry lines of baby clothes, you wouldn't know you were at a baby shower. Perfect.

I'd show you photos, but (a) the person taking the majority of the pictures was so stressed out planning this thing, she left immediately for a week-long vacation in Mexico--OK, fine, she had a wedding to go to; and (b) in the few photos I did see, I look pregnant. Whale pregnant.

While I would love to relive every moment for you here since this was actually a really fabulous evening, I'll spare you and share the highlights:

  • Our community of friends knows how to cook. Like really cook. So everyone brought their own dish of awesomeness. Seriously, I did not stick a fork (or finger) into something even mediocre. I would list everything here, but I fear I would miss a dish and then wildly offend the person who made the dish I forgot. And I can't live with that kind of guilt. But it was all delicious.

  • A child picking up and drinking about half of a Hurricane--to be fair, it did look like pink deliciousness

  • Michael thinking he had swallowed whole the plastic toy inside the King Cake cupcakes; after we had JUST told him there was something inside the cupcake (turns out he didn't, but he's still an idiot)

  • A wildly misunderstood question which led to the party members saying "Doggie Style" all evening long

  • Knowing full well all my friends spent their evenings (or at least half of one) leading up to the shower surrounded by glitter, sequins, feathers and glue guns (and wine) making Mardi Gras masks for all and the most horrifyingly wonderful King and Queen chalices for Michael and me

  • A skateboarding Boston Terrier

How was your baby shower?

Boring, that's what I thought.

I'd love to end on that note, but (a) I know my mother is horrified that we celebrated her granddaughter with a party theme closely associated with exposing boobs, vomiting and waking up in a tub of ice to discover your kidneys have been stolen; and (b) I would really be lying if I didn't share how much I enjoyed some of the more traditional aspects of the shower.

There's the thumbprint tree we get to show The Bean to let her know how many people were excited about her arrival (or who really wanted the Hurricanes at the Mardi Gras party).

There are all the sickeningly cute clothes, blankets and toys we received that I totally oohed and aahed over in the privacy of my own home.

Those two laundry lines of clothes I saw upon arrival? Seriously loved those.

And there was that whole thing about getting to spend time with the people we care about most.

Finally, because I am terrible (and terrified) at making toasts--particularly with my group of friends (they are a critical group when it comes to toasts), here's what I really wanted to say at the shower:

We are so excited to be bringing The Bean into such an awesome group of people. You are all truly incredible and she is going to be the luckiest kid around to be surrounded by each of you. I'm so glad we were able to celebrate together. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Too Busy to Post...

...as my time is spent watching, in horror, the "knot" of my belly button being evicted from its once safe home deep within my abdomen.

I'm ready to have my body back now.

Next up: How my baby shower kicks your baby shower's butt.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Flames on the Side of My Face

There are some fundamental truths I know about Michael and I. And I go through life understanding those truths and manipulating life circumstances to deal with these unmovable facts.

One of these truths is that Michael does not do furniture assembly.

He can if he has to. But what typically results is (1) a slew of profanity so loud and vile it would embarrass L'il Wayne, (2) a few extra pieces, bits and bobs are leftover after assembly is complete and (3) an epic battle launches between the two of us on whether or not directions are necessary and why I am incapable of reading his mind as to what he needs me to do in order to be helpful.

The upside is, I am one of those rare freaks of nature who loves to assemble furniture. Operating manuals and assembly instructions are written in a special Jen language that I natively understand and love. And so, furniture assembly falls under my purview.

A lifetime ago my mother was in town and wanted to buy baby furniture for The Bean. So she did. And because for some inexplicable reason it takes 8-10 weeks for the evil baby industry to get baby furniture from one location to my house, the furniture arrived today.

Leveraging the frequently under-utilized tool of forethought, I added furniture assembly and trash hauling to the already ridiculous costs of baby furniture because I would be 8 months pregnant by the time it got here and there's no way in hell we'd let Michael assemble something so critical as a crib.

Bliss ensued and what could possibly go wrong...

Oh, interwebs. One day I'll learn.


Having completely forgotten about the baby furniture, I was pleasantly surprised when the delivery company called me earlier this week to tell me the magical baby furniture-making elves (who are the slowest workers ever, by and by) were done with The Bean's furniture. Would I be ready between 10-12 on Wednesday to have them drop the furniture off?

Would I!?!?! But of course!! And everything was chocolate cupcakes topped with sparkly, rainbow sprinkles and fairy dust.

Until today.

At 10 AM I began the obsessive-compulsive look out the window every 5 minutes routine; sometimes quickening my pace if I heard something that remotely sounded like a large truck full of furniture.

This lasted until 3 PM when I finally gave up hope.

At this point you might be asking why I didn't call the furniture store to see where The Bean's furniture was. Well, you see...I had put the receipt for the furniture in the closet in The Bean's room. But that closet was blocked by a ton of things that need to get under the house for storage. This piece of information is going to be very relevant later, so keep it in mind.

At 5 PM, my phone rang. Hark! A gruff voice told me the furniture would be there in 20 minutes and abruptly hung up.

That was when it first crept across my mind that this was not going to be a sparkly shoes and chenille robes type of delivery. But I kept up hope.

Shortly thereafter two Brooklyn transplants showed up at my front door (which I enjoyed having grown up on Long Island), but they had clearly not been having a good day.

Head Brooklynite: Where are we dropping off these boxes?

Jen: (Chipper as can be because The Bean doesn't have to sleep in a dog crate) Follow me!



By dropping off you mean where we're setting it up, right? We had set-up and trash clean-up as part of the price.

Brooklynite: Nope. It's not on my list. In fact, I talked to the dispatcher before we got here and he specifically said this was not an assembly job.

Ugh. Of course.

Now, because I'm sneaky, I look at the guy's Clipboard of Important Things while he's getting the furniture. Hey! He left it on my table so it's free game. And wouldn't you know, right there on MY ORDER are the words "Set-up and Trash Clean-up."

I can see how those words are confusing.

I'm also completely illogical and decide that I can't point out the clear instructions right on his clipboard so I start hauling junk away from the closet so I can get my trusty receipt. Because me moving tons of junk for a copy of his piece of paper is way more convincing.

By the time all the boxes are in the house, I have my receipt in hand and point out politely how we paid to have them assemble the furniture for us. And let me point out here, by furniture I mean the crib only as the other pieces came assembled. So we are talking about ONE ITEM requiring assembly.

Evil Brooklynite from Hell: Yeah, I believe you lady. (Turns out you don't have to believe me asshole, here's the proof...) We'll do it. (Long pause) I'm terrible at assembling cribs.

Isn't that great!?!?!?

In order to really hammer home his point, he spent the next 20 minutes with his buddy assembling the crib and loudly saying things like "I hate assembling cribs," "See how cheap they make this shit?" and "Where are the directions? I don't know how to assemble cribs. I didn't have kids for a reason."

I'm inviting them to Christmas dinner this year.

Because I'm insane and am driven by a compulsive need to make everyone feel like we are kindred spirits I pop into the nursery and say "I'm so sorry to make the end of your day painful guys. Can I get you anything?"

Man I Try to Kill with My Mental Eye Lasers: Yeah, well, it ain't the end of the day, is it? That's the problem.


I may or may not be losing my mind at this point. But I manage to keep my head attached to my body and not let it explode in a nuclear meltdown because my insanity dictates that it's important to make people like you...even the dillweeds of the world.

I leave them to their hushed (think fighter jets taking off) complaining about assembling cribs.

5 minutes later my arch nemesis emerges and asks me for screws because the screws that came with the set are the wrong size. That's reassuring.

This is shortly followed by some more cursing which I reluctantly go investigate.

Stupid Man I Picture with an Axe Sticking Out of His Head: Your drill gun battery died.

No, I did not ask why he was using my drill gun.

Yes, I told him to just forget about it and that I would finish up from here (this was just for attaching the changing table top to the dresser so it wasn't a big deal and my give a damn had run out) and thanks so much for all their effort.

And then I tipped them. Because, hey, the crib actually was assembled by the end of the ordeal...although there is a missing mattress. So there's that to deal with tomorrow.

I'm emotionally available for the cocktail I can't have.

Monday, May 16, 2011


I like to live in a lovely world of rose-tinted fantasy when it comes to my appearance. Some call it a healthy self-esteem. I call it well-honed denial.

This denial is my trusty friend and keeps me warm at night until, inevitably, I get sucker-punched in the face by the cold fists of reality.

Three years ago, I knew I was gaining a little weight, but I kept saying it wasn't too bad since I could still squeeze myself into the 1 pair of pants that still "fit."

That was until I came across a photo--hanging in PUBLIC--of me shoving a taco in my mouth and looking like Godzilla who just devoured one city and was now on the hunt for more food.

It was that bad...actually, it was worse. And so I promptly went on a diet so I could once again look like a woman and not a giant overgrown lizard beast.

I've been feeling really good about myself lately. Gaining weight for sure, but clearly a reasonable amount since the doctors haven't said anything to me, my initial maternity clothes still fit and I don't have any smaller pregnant people orbiting around me.

This weekend, we fled from doing anything baby-related because it's not like that's AROUND THE CORNER OR ANYTHING vacationed in Asheville with Michael's family. And I packed all my cute summer maternity clothes since I knew there would be cameras galore.

And boy was I ready! Hair did. Makeup donned. Ready to face each day.

Before I left the hotel room each morning, I would do a little assessment and pranced out of the room, like so (click to enlarge):

Then I would walk around--in public--and allow photos to be taken of me. Because DAMN! I make pregnancy look good.


As is likely to happen during lulls and waiting times, people begin to scroll through the photos taken throughout the trip.

Michael was doing so before dinner one day, when he began to choke on his cocktail. Once he regained his composure, he looked at me with all the pity in the world swimming in his eyes and simply said, "Oh babe...this puts the taco photo to shame."

"Delete it immediately."

Then because I couldn't stand not knowing, I snatched the camera from his hands.

This was not the cute, pregnant woman in the mirror of the hotel room. This was a hippopotamus with lipstick on ready to steamroller over anyone in her way. And probably some innocent bystanders as well.

Seeing that a meltdown was imminent, Michael went to the only excuse he could muster up, "It's just a bad camera angle."

"Which angle is that? The one where it's pointed at me and I'm in the picture???"

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Since Michael and I are not good people, we spent a good portion of our time at JazzFest passing judgment on the various characters one encounters at such events. Seriously, all walks of humanity show up.

Oh stop. You know you do it too. At least I'm admitting it.

One thing we homed in on was the inexplicable compulsion women had for buying, and wearing, clothing with horizontal stripes.

Women with beautiful bodies were flattened out and contorted with stripes and...well...those with less than perfect bodies were doing themselves no favors with the horizontal stripe.

There was nary a person we found who sported the stripe well.

This is not a new observation by any stretch of the imagination. Every woman (I thought) was bred to know that horizontal stripes=big, fat blob. I even mentioned my disdain for horizontal stripes in my previous post on the joys of bathing suit shopping whilst pregnant.

Speaking of bathing suit shopping, I finally broke down and went back to Pea in the Pod earlier this week to get a dreaded bathing suit as I will be spending this weekend floating belly up in a pool.

Do you know what kind of bathing suit I got?


You're never going to guess.


(No that is not me. I'm roughly 403 times her size.)

Doth my eye deceive me? Are those *gasp* horizontal stripes? On a bathing suit, no less?

Yes, *hangs head in shame* I admit it. I went and bought the very bathing suit I was railing against.

When I got home and showed Michael the suit he just gave me the look. The look we were giving the women all weekend long. The "I'm sorry no one told you that horizontal stripes are a cruel joke played by fabric designers around the world" look.

It really was the lesser of all evils amongst the suits I tried on. I think because the string bikini bottoms didn't push on my ever-expanding hips showcasing every last dimple of cellulite to the world. Or maybe I was too distracted by the stripes to care.

Either way. I'm officially that girl. The one who owns horizontal striped clothing.

Don't worry. I bought a giant white cover up--because white is known for its slimming abilities (oh wait, crap)--to go over the striped suit when I'm faced with actual sunlight where the sneaky horizontal stripes, who previously were looking cute and harmless in the dressing room mirror, unleash their gruesome disfiguring abilities for all to pass judgment on me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Short Scene

* This post is not suitable for children, my parents, men, or people who may have to look at me in daily life. It contains brief nudity and highly upsetting (to me) topics.

The Setting: A hotel room after a long day of being pregnant. Our main characters are getting ready for bed at the completely understandable hour of 8PM.

The scene opens with Michael laying in bed and Jen about to put on her pajamas.

Jen unleashes her much-discussed breasts from their containment compartments.

Michael: Whoa! Look at those things. Are they getting bigger?

Jen: Whimpers Yes. Can we drop it? I'm over these things. They are ridiculous. They're not even attractive anymore.

Michael: No! They're great! But they are getting bigger...like...all of them...the parts...the...


Michael: ....

Jen: Apparently it's so the baby has an easier time finding the nipple when they are breastfeeding. They have very poor eyesight when they're first born.

Our baby will be all set. The Bean will be able to find my nipples from outer space.

Never look at me again.

Michael: ....




Are they going to go back to normal after?

Jen: I hate you.

And I don't know.

Monday, May 9, 2011

I Find My True Love...and Other Trip Highlights

We survived our excursion to JazzFest 2011.

It was tough with all the awesome food, inspiring music and laid-back atmosphere. But somehow we managed to make it through.

I had fully intended to take a slew of photographs to chronicle our trip, but I found it hard to tear myself away from whatever I was shoving in my face at the moment to snap pictures. When I did think about taking a picture it was inevitably after I had mawed my way through half of the dish. Those photos are less than appetizing.

I did, however, capture this shot of my future husband. I plan on divorcing Michael to spend the rest of my life with him.

Meet Mr. Cochon de Lait Po'Boy.

Y'all just aren't going to believe how good this sucker was. I implore you to not be distracted by his humble looks. He is the real deal.

So much so, that Michael and I had three...each...during our 4-day trip. (I'm trying, for the life of me, to remember why we missed a day. I think it was a lame excuse about eating some of our other local favorites while in town--it was not worth missing a day of this porky goodness.)

Slow-smoked pork butt, cold cabbage slaw and homemade horseradish sauce all layered on French bread and then doused in hot sauce.

I died, came back to life, and died again. It's that good.

Yes, I'm still talking about this sandwich. Deal with it.

Fine, I'll move on since I've run out of things to say except if you can get your hands on a Love at First Bite Cochon de Lait Po-Boy, then you best knock over everyone around you including the pregnant ladies and old people to get your sandwich.

Whenever we told people we were heading to JazzFest as a sort of babymoon, their eyebrows would raise, they looked at me as if I was a mad woman and then would inevitably ask "You know you're pregnant, right?"

However, I wasn't too concerned heading into the weekend. This is Michael's fifth or sixth Fest and my third. And we both know two very important facts: New Orleans in May typically means 90 degrees each day and the closing weekend of JazzFest brings on a crush of people (daily attendance can exceed 100 THOUSAND people).

Guess what? It was hot and crowded.

I know, pretty surprising.

Since I make a habit of putting forth my best efforts to not be a complete moron, I prepared for these two facts and we had no issues tackling this trip at 32-weeks pregnant.

Backpack chairs, cowboy hat, sunscreen, breathable clothes, an endless supply of delectable rose-mint iced tea, close proximity to restrooms and air conditioned rest stations and we were jamming with (and in better shape than most of) the other festival goers.

The trip itself was fabulous, but a few of our favorite highlights included:

  • Overhearing the following line from a conversation between two 70-something year old women: "Well, I've seen Better than Ezra about 7 times, so I really don't need to see their set here."

  • Which was in sharp contrast to the less hip 50-year old couple sitting in front of us at the Willie Nelson set, "Ugh. Why does it smell like dead skunk here?" Clearly, she was not used to festivals, Willie Nelson or other things that might smell funny at such events.

  • A stunning African American woman sporting a shirt with the text "Shakespeare hates your emo poems."

  • The slew (as in many multitudes of) middle aged women singing along to and rocking out at the Kid Rock show AND breaking out their pop-and-lock moves.

  • Did I mention the Cochon de Lait Po-Boys?

Since we have nothing better to do on the weekends these days (I mean, a nursery doesn't need to be painted and set up or anything. And why would anyone spend time taking silly labor classes?), we will be spending next weekend in the far more relaxing setting of Asheville, NC.

But don't worry, more funny to come before we leave. I mean, Michael and I did manage to spend more than 3 consecutive hours together, so the funny was flowing.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Alive, Well and Insane

No, I did not finally lose my mind, sink into an ice cream depression and die at the bottom of a gallon of Rocky Road.

Instead, I am away doing what nearly every 8-month pregnant woman does...spending 4 days in New Orleans partying like a rockstar ( if partying like a rockstar includes eating my weight in delicious food, spending all day at JazzFest and going to bed at 9).

Try not to miss my (nearly) daily inspirations and encouragement while I'm away.

Monday, May 2, 2011

One of Those Days

I know there's a lot of real, actually important things going on in the world today. So you should totally go catch up on that first. But if you're like me and was up until midnight last night watching the news, you're ready for a brain drain or to lose your mind entirely.

You can keep reading.

Last night at around 10, Ginger (seen to our right here) began randomly squeaking out whimpers. I've determined it's from lack of eating turds--an unfortunate obsession of hers.

I've been monitoring her like I work for the CIA division of Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever poop terrorism. No more cat toostie rolls for her and her snickity-snacks in the backyard are a thing of the past. I've been on patrol.

Since she is a conniving, vindictive dog, she is clearly taking out her anger on us, by letting out random cries that sound painful, but after intense investigation have no cause (she can still run up and down stairs to hunt turds, jump in and out of the bathtub we forbid her to sleep in and beat up the other dogs--all with no cries).

She's been known to do this in the past. So try not to judge me for being entirely heartless (though you'd be right).

This has caused great concern to one of the other dogs, Baxter (the golden child who can do no wrong).

Baxter expresses his concern the only way a dog knows how; by panting and pacing around the house. Incessantly.

So to recap: one dog randomly crying out for no reason other than being a butthole. Another dog wandering in circles and panting.

When one works from home, this could possibly drive a person insane to the point of wanting to buy a gun to commit the first double dogicide-suicide in history (maybe...I didn't actually fact check that).

After losing my mind and screaming for everyone to chill the heck out (I may have used different terminology at the time), I decided it was high time to practice my parenting skills which will be called upon in the near future.

Everyone is locked up in a separate room and Mama has a homemade lemonade.

Which is exactly how I think I'll handle things when The Bean is crushing my last nerve.