Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Do you want fries with that?

It's a tough thing to work a job you hate. I've had a few part-time gigs in the past that were simply horrific, including a few that I couldn't even manage for more than a few weeks. Sometimes it's the work itself, sometimes the coworkers, and sometimes the place is too depressing or awful to bear, but Hudson: there will be a time in your life (maybe more than one) when you just need to cut and run. It's okay. We all do it. The important thing is knowing that it's okay to leave - in fact, it's necessary sometimes.

My first awful job (my first not at summer camp or "my parents got this job for me" job) was really not all that bad but for the fact that I was a vegetarian at the time and therefore completely incapable of handling all the bloody meat. The kosher grocery store up the street from my parents house was one of the only places to get kosher meat locally, and had a selection and reputation so excellent that Jews from several adjacent states flocked there to stock their freezers. Granted, it was good meat...especially the turkeys and rotisserie chickens...but for a store that specialized in a highly perishable product prone to leaking, oozing, and otherwise exuding blood and salmonella-prone goo, they did a crap job with packaging. The conveyer belts at the registers were constantly wet, either from some kind of meat juice or the sanitizer that was perpetually being wiped over them in a feeble attempt to maintain kosher standards. As a stalwart vegetarian - the kind who got really grossed out watching people eat meat, and the kind who was prone to acts of polite uppity rebellion - I lasted in this job for a full three days before I decided that I was just not meant to slap leaky brisket into Mrs. Rosenberg's crusty reusable grocery tote.

The second awful job was really not THAT bad...kind of...assuming you like sitting at desks and not being able to read things. I worked as an "office assistant" at my parents' synagogue, which primarily consisted of attempting to read mailed-in census forms filled out by the thousand plus members of the congregation (most of whom were really, really old, and many of whom read and/or wrote only broken English) and input the information into a circa 1994 computer database. Basically, I sat at an uncomfortable desk in a windowless office space and politely ignored the fact that Mr. Seymon Burstyn (I can't make this shit up) apparently thought that his household attended synagogue "Connecticut" times a year. I lasted about a month before my teenage wanderlust got the better of me, and I chose to spend the rest of my summer reading pretentious literature and making up goofy songs with my best friend. The next summer, I got a job at Starbucks and loved it.

College jobs are by their very nature awful, though there is a gradient of awful ranging from "hideously and unspeakably" to "hilariously and playfully." On the pleasant end of the spectrum was working at my college admissions office, which I actually kind of loved despite the scorching heat, occasional injuries caused by walking into things backwards, and inevitable moronic questions from families that thought they were at a different college altogether. On the "sweet mother of god, why am I still doing this and why do I continue to do it?" end of the spectrum was the tea shop. At first glance, it looked like I would be waiting tables at a classy, CIA (and that's the Culinary Institute of America, mind you) chef-owned restaurant. After my first night - a special catered dinner for some froofy club for fine dining enthusiasts that yielded me a roughly $150 tip - I was sure I'd found myself a cash cow, complete with gourmet staff dinners. The next day, I was handed a frilly apron, chastised for not wearing black heels to work, and had to wait on all twelve tables of cranky tourists entirely by myself because they did not currently have another waitress on staff. By the end of the month, I had been screamed at by the chef three times, yelled at by a customer twice, had three tables walk out on me without paying, and broken several hundred dollars of Royal Kent Staffordshire bone china (their standard serving ware). After the owner threatened to fire me if I didn't work extra hours polishing silver and not earning tips past my $4 an hour base pay, I pocketed several plastic containers of in-house made clotted cream and stopped showing up.

Incidentally, during college I also worked at a quite fun, casual coffee shop/cafe, waited tables for a whole evening at a fairly avant-garde fusion restaurant, and almost got trained to work at a Nazi-state-esque "family dining experience" that boasted a twenty page menu before their pep talk about "always focusing on appearances" just tweaked me out so much that I opted never to come back. I also spent a summer working at the "information desk" in the campus center, which was basically an $8 an hour position entirely focused on calling security to call the campus center when it closed and referring anyone who called the desk phone to the appropriate other office on campus that could actually give them information. (I loved that job.)

After college came a string of moderately silly jobs. I worked at a coffee shop in a touristy beach town that only netted about $50 a day, mostly in sales of water bottles to those French Canadian families who wandered further from the beach than they thought they had. That lasted about a month and a half before I actually got so bored of sitting and reading for eight hours a day (I could have a book but not a laptop or notebook, so no writing) that I had to quit. I worked at a now-defunct bookstore chain, and generally had a lot of fun there until they started trying to make us sell books and non-book product. I quit after being offered a $.09 an hour raise after a year of almost full time hours, and four years later, the chain shut down. Coincidence?

Looking for a little extra cash to support my rent-paying habit, I soon got the silliest job of all silly jobs. I was hired to work on commission selling...wait for it...fancy crystal figurines and costume jewelry. Yes. It was a whole store filled with hundred and thousand dollar crystal animals, flowers, tiaras, ornaments, pins, earrings, heavy machinery (there was a tractor), necklaces, and most memorably, fruit. I actually sold a $5000 crystal pineapple once, but the poor sucker who bought it came back not an hour later to return it. How I didn't ask for an explanation I'll never know; I guess I prefer to imagine his reasoning. Put simply, I could potentially be good at sales, but who the hell can convince anyone to spend upwards of a hundred dollars on a crystal raccoon that they didn't come into the store planning to buy already? Maybe I just wasn't trying hard enough, or maybe I was entirely justified in quitting after my fifth straight month of not meeting quota.

Then came the doozy, the until-now worst of the worst. I somehow thought it would be a good idea to work at Build-A-Bear Workshop. First off, I had to wear khaki pants and completely white shoes. I think I spent more money on my clothes for this gig than I made in the first few weeks, and did I ever re-wear either? Methinks not. Second, I had to pretend to be REALLY excited about clothes and accessories for stuffed animals that cost about as much as my own did. Third, and perhaps most embarrassing, I had to guide children, gushy grandparents, giggly teenagers, and the occasional blushing dude getting a present for his lady through the "ritual" of stuffing their animal. I think I've repressed the details, but it involved forcing them to kiss a little silk heart, then ramming a giant metal tube up the butt of the creepily deflated animal they were "building" until it was filled with polyester fluff that I swear I still sometimes find clinging to my clothes. Creepier still was the fact that the fluff (which came in giant bales that we tore apart with gardening tools in the back room) was prominently displayed in a giant clear plexiglass tumbler. There was a giant clear box of bear guts just sitting in the middle of the store. How is that not terrifying? They also insisted on putting the word "bear" in front of or in everything, like "Bear-vitations" or "Beary Special Friends." This was offensive enough, but when it was made mandatory to create and maintain a character in the online Bear interactive universe (Bearniverse?), I decided that I had better things to do than play WoW for tweens. You know...like, anything.

After that I was a substitute teacher, which I actually mostly enjoyed save the one time I got sent to a middle school and a kid actually tried to light the room on fire (thankfully, your Dad was subbing in the same school that day, and we were able to curtail the potential chaos). Then grad school happened. Then the real world! Whatever that means! I got a job teaching English classes that I loved at a school that I loved, but it was a one-year contract. After the year was almost up, I was told that the job was going to become permanent as long as I jumped through all the procedural hoops of applying, interviewing, etc...and then they hired someone with more experience instead of me and broke my heart.

I scrambled. I interviewed for a dozen teaching jobs towards which I was mostly ambivalent, was a finalist for one that I would have adored at a private school I would LOVE to send you to if money allows, and was ultimately offered a position at a school I truly had no opinion about whatsoever. I had a friend who liked working there, but it was another one-year position and I was wary. The day after I accepted that, with resignation, I was offered an interview at a school about which I was genuinely excited. I hadn't signed a contract in the other district, so after interviewing and getting a job offer that same day at a school that sounded legitimately awesome, I opted to smear my own name by breaking a previous verbal contract. To date, that has yet to bite me in the ass, but I ultimately made a totally shit call.

The "awesome" job at the "awesome" school turned out to be something that I am literally willing to pay to leave. The long and short of it is that I drove almost an hour each way (admittedly with a thoroughly, genuinely awesome friend as my carpool buddy) to work in a school that...well, for the sake of politics, let's just say that there is a lot of work to be done, and a number of people who work there probably oughtn't. A few exceptional teachers and administrators have helped me stay sane, and a few fairly nasty individuals have made it easy to want to leave. When I got pregnant with you, I was midway through a seventh to eighth grade loop with kids I truly loved, so rather than leave them (and start at a new school four months away from popping out a baby) I opted to stay for at least their full two years. Obviously, I was away from work a lot longer than I had initially planned, and had to borrow as-yet-unearned sick days from the district in order to cover our time in Boston. What a double-edged sword. I was generously granted an opportunity to take the time I needed, but at the cost of selling myself into indentured servitude at the hands of disorganized and generally helpless masters.

Then my old job was posted as open and accepting applications. Exactly my old job. I spent three days flipping out over whether or not to apply, then realized that not applying was about the stupidest thing I could do. I am not selling crystal tiaras to high school princesses (or their adoring boyfriends, which was actually incredibly sweet the two times it happened), and I am not scraping old scone crumbs out of tea cups that cost more than my car insurance premiums. I am not falling backwards up a flight of marble stairs, and I am not whimpering in the shower as I try to scrub away the ghost of chicken skin from under my fingernails. Even still, I was working in a job that I both want and need to leave, so I spent a week obsessing over the wording of my application materials, had most of your aunts and uncles in Massachusetts edit them for me, had current coworkers and administrators write me some truly touching letters of reference, and dropped my application off at the district central office with you in tow (because seriously: who doesn't remember the applicant with the adorable baby?). Hudson, someday I'll tell you that you were there when I applied for what I hope will become one of my favorite jobs of all time. Hopefully you'll remember me going to this job, and even more important, you'll remember me coming home in the afternoons (hopefully happy). Ultimately, it's just as important to keep a job that fits as it is to leave one that doesn't.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bring your towel...

I interviewed Tuesday of this week for essentially my dream job: good school, great colleagues, almost no commute, growth potential, great salary, curriculum I actually want to teach, and generally kids I know I will enjoy. (I'll explain why soon.) It is under two weeks from the start of school, so I would have figured they would hire fast. As of 5:00PM on Friday, I had no answer. Maybe they already snagged someone else. Maybe they were still deciding. Maybe they were just waiting to hear from my references. Maybe my current district was fighting back somehow...? Who knows. In any case, I was more or less in panic mode all weel, not because I fear unemployment, but because damn it...this job would make life so much easier and more pleasant, whereas my current job sometimes (actually sort of often) makes me cry. I am not generally a superstitious person, but to get a job that I desperately want - one that presents truly excellent conditions all around - there are a number of things I will shamelessly do.

1. Make an article of clothing. This harkens back to my college days when any challenge - however insignificant or life-altering - was met with the creation of a sigil, some kind of token, or another hand-made receptacle for all the intention I wanted to send in the direction of a particular endeavor. Before I got my current teaching job, I made a ridiculously complicated skirt out of a dozen or so different patched together fabrics. It took days, and remains one of my favorite articles of clothing, despite the fact that the job I made it for turned out so...dubious. This time around, you created some time constraints, so I kept it simple and just made a simple skirt out of dragon and phoenix patterned brocade.

2. Acquire a Ganesh. He has been my guy for a number of years, and we happen to have a number of shops around that sell pretty neat Ganesh sculptures, jewelry, images, etc... Your little green Ganesh came from a shop downtown, and I'm still pretty convinced that him hanging out by your bed is one of the few things that made me feel safe/sane leaving you in the hospital. I don't necessarily need to buy a Ganesh; it can be a drawing, an online image, something borrowed from a friend, or whatever. This time around, I opted for a fairly actively posed Ganesh from one of the weird import stores in Portland with lots of gold and green all over him, and he will live in my classroom forever and ever and ever. (And ever.)

3. Paint my toenails. I find that identifying a somehow significant color and painting it onto my body makes me feel more actively engaged in the process of getting whatever it is I'm trying to get. Sure, I'm sitting on the couch eating ice cream at 10:00 at night while I wait for the alarm to go off to remind us to give your 11:00 meds, and I haven't moved anything more than my arms in the last two hours, but my toes are red...like the school colors...and passion...and...er...the insides of tenth graders...?

4. Buy earrings. I bought earrings before I went to tour Bard, which almost immediately preceded my applying to the college. I bought earrings before my moderation panel, and apparently did a spectacular job. I bought earrings before my senior project panel, and actually before graduation just a few weeks later. I bought earrings before interviewing for my first teaching job. (Incidentally, I did NOT buy earrings before I got my current job, which I can only think means SOMETHING, but what I cannot say.) So...I bought earrings while I was out with your Uncle Cameron last weekend. They are shiny big spirals and I really like them.

5. Sort of creepily drive past the place of potential employment and yell at the building. This was SUPER convenient for this particular job, as the school is just a few blocks from home, but really no less weird than if I had to travel farther. Basically, the technique is this: I drive past the building at a normal speed, and loudly announce to it that it will give me a job. I do not bargain, I do not mince words, and I do not offer any reason for why I deserve the job in question. I simply state that I should have it. I think a construction worker saw this happen on Wednesday, and he definitely did not know what to do about it. Maybe I should only do this with jobs that aren't a few blocks from where I live...

6. FREAK THE F*CK OUT. Inevitably, invariably, and with frustrating certainty, I will freak out after a job interview so badly that some amount of time (ranging between a few hours and a few days) is completely lost to self-doubt, overanalysis of the interview/application/how I smelled that day/etc..., and fairly crippling depression over what I eventually determine to be my failure. Every damn time, I get a certain amount of time past the interview and decide that I have not gotten the job. It is then that I launch myself into a spiral of self-loathing that only really resolves when I get the job in question. If I don't completely lose my bananas for at least a little while, nothing happens. If I demolish my self-confidence, ruin my sleep and eating cycles, and generally become a loathsome bore to all my loved ones, I get the job.

After four days of waiting, at 5:30PM on the Friday before the week before school starts, I was offered the job. Yes, your Dad was about ready to lock me in the bathroom to cry quietly in the bath tub, fully clothed, with the water running. Yes, I was gearing up to add a loop past the school to every errand I had to run, regardless of whether that errand was in that direction or even as far away. Yes, I had bought, worn, and surrounded myself with everything I needed to supposedly ensure success. I have a very weird sixth sense about this sort of thing, and as much I seemed to have lost faith and gained both doubt and loathing, I kind of knew from the beginning that this would work out. So, I guess I have to add to the list...

7. Know the outcome in advance. Hudson, there are some things I just know. I just knew when I had found the right college, I just knew that your Dad and I were meant to be together (awwwww...), I just knew when I applied to grad school that I would get in, I just knew that you were a boy, I just knew that you were ultimately going to be okay, I just knew we weren't going to wait long for your heart, and I just knew that I would get this job. I really need to learn to trust my gut and possibly skip that pesky step #6, but if I did, would everything still work?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Some oak and some pine and a couple of Norsemen...

Years ago, your Uncle Peter and I had a radio show on our college radio station. "Jesus on the Radio" was named after a beloved Guster song, and we loved telling people (on the air and off) that our show had nothing to do with Jesus. The general theme of the show was...er...well, it was basically Peter and me rambling about interesting things we had found online, weird cultural facts, and music that happened to catch our attention at that moment. We had more or less free license to play any music we damn pleased, since the radio station really only broadcast a few dozen yards from the station and no one off campus ever listened to the online stream, but Peter became entrenched in the culture of "podsafe" music: that which could be played for free by any podcaster or amateur broadcaster without creating any copyright conflict. One of those songs is the Ikea song; you should ask him to play it for you some time.

That song was playing in my head pretty much the whole morning when we were down in Boston last week. Your Dad took you to your clinic appointment (everything looked awesome, by the way, and your docs continue to be amazed at how well you are doing) and I scooted through the city to head to Ikea. Despite hanging around below the 15th percentile for weight for a while, you've jumped up to the 50th kind of suddenly, and were about to outgrow the co-sleeper - not that you slept in it all that much anyhow - so we decided to give in and get you a crib. Everything at Babies 'R Us is terrifyingly huge and terrifyingly expensive, and nothing else we could buy locally was going to fit anywhere in our apartment, but Ikea...of course, Ikea has a crib that converts to a toddler bed just the right height to scoot up against our bed. Sending me in to Ikea was not unlike sending a hungry puppy into a doggie biscuit convention, but I was not my own undoing this time.

Still...oh, Ikea. I was haranguing your Dad all last week the same way kids must nearly drive their parents up the walls before they go to Disney. Ikea has this weirdly magical power over me, and while I'm sure a lot of that can be owed to scarily good merchandising, I feel like it's more. Oh, Ikea. Never have modular cabinets, suspiciously low bedframes, superfluous art that sometimes feels like it belongs in a classy dentist's office, and $.99 ferns been so sexy. I couldn't shut up about the friggin' Swedish meatballs, so much so that I actually bought a frozen bag of them, a packet of gravy seasoning, and a jar of lingonberry jam so that your Dad could experience the wonder of the Ikea cafeteria lunch. Oh, Ikea. I spent a few days scouring the Ikea website to be sure I had picked out exactly what we wanted and needed before I got into the store, knowing all too well that I was screwed the minute I walked in there if I didn't have a solid battle plan. Lesser shoppers than me have fallen prey to Ikea's seductive, oh so sensible, eerily low-priced goodies. Oh, Ikea...

Getting out of Boston was a cakewalk. Seriously! In a city organized around cow paths, it's suspicious how easily I kept my orientation. A half hour down the highway, I bumbled around off a weirdly rural-looking exit...then around a corner...behind some trees...and looming like an aircraft carrier behind a Home Depot was the leviathan blue warehouse of wonder known as Ikea. I parked, scrambled to organize the car to accommodate what I prayed would be a reasonably sized box, and walked inside.

Ikeas are all organized more or less the same, and the entrance is extremely clever. Some friendly person welcomes you at the base of an escalator, hands you a giant yellow bag (you would have gotten lost in this thing), and you have no choice but to be carried up into a deliberately curated maze from which there is no escape. You can't go around anything and you can't really skip seeing any section; you have to just go through it. All of it. Perfectly composed displays of elegant, fun, utilitarian, and sometimes even traditionally apportioned rooms edge brightly-lit, friendly showrooms scattered with complementary accessories and accent pieces. Play spaces for kids, relaxing corners for adults, and informational booths for the industrious are placed strategically throughout so that you are never just shopping...you are more or less invited to pull up a $49.99 chair, snuggle up in a $24.99 duvet cover (with $15.99 duvet!), and just stay there. Forever.

Clearly, I have a problem with cleverly marketed home goods. That problem is that I tend to want to buy them exactly the way merchandisers want me to, so having my short, specific list of items to purchase was a very smart defense mechanism. I still managed to grab a few extra things not on the list, but I kept that number small and their prices cheap. Quicker than I had even hoped, I was through the display area, past the "Marketplace" (a polite name for what I call "Room after room of incredibly cheap stuff to decorate around your cheap furniture, none of which you actually need but most of which you kind of, sort of want enough to stop and look at it until it somehow ends up in your giant yellow bag oh god what have I done,") and into the warehouse-style, no frills "Self-Service Furniture" room, which is exactly what it sounds like. You go to an aisle, find the box for the thing you saw all prettily assembled upstairs in the showroom, and pray that it will fit into your car.

I found your crib, and given the dimensions of the assembled piece, I was fairly terrified at the size of the box. It was over six feet long, and probably weighed around sixty pounds, but I managed to get one off the shelf...and then a hysterically screaming old woman started running down the aisle at me. She was yelling "Give me my box! Give me my box!" and when she got to me, she started beating her hands on the front of my box (not her box: this is key), leaving me trapped behind it with no clue what to do. If I let go of the crib, I was likely to crush all eighty pounds of this tiny, frail, furious woman, but I couldn't very well pick it up and just walk away. Thankfully, some people (presumably her daughter or son and her or his spouse) found her pretty quickly, assured her that they had her box, and ushered her away without so much as making eye contact with me. I decided to write that off as either really crappy performance art or some flummoxed children not knowing how to apologize for their sick parent. I headed for the registers.

Word to the wise: always check out who you are in line with. That isn't to say you need to introduce yourself to everyone you stand in line next to (though some people do try), but you definitely need to assess your options carefully when you pick a register. I thought I was in the clear when I got behind a young couple with a few carts full of identical boxes, and didn't bat an eye when three college-aged girls pushing around an apartment's worth of furniture stepped up behind me. Within about five minutes, the couple in front of me was screaming for a manager, then screaming at a manager, and the poor cashier was flipping idly through a stack of printed out coupons that the couple seemed to have brought in. (Fun fact: Ikea doesn't make or accept coupons.) The cashier turned off the light for her register, and rolling my eyes, I turned around to ask the college girls if they could back out so I could move to another aisle. (Another fun fact: Ikea's check-out aisles are exactly wide enough for one cart to get through at a time.) That was when I realized that the three girls behind me did not speak a lick of English.

I stood there between an increasingly furious couple and three obliviously giggling girls for thirty-five minutes: thirty five minutes that I will never get back. Eventually, they stopped texting, tittering, and ignoring their surroundings and the girls wandered off to another line. I did the same, grumbling all the way because all the lines had grown dramatically longer (because everyone else realized that ours wasn't moving, unlike some people). Checking out was mostly uneventful, and I made my way downstairs to the parking garage, carefully balancing the massive crib box and praying no one tried to move past me too quickly. I will summarize the last bizarre series of events as a bulleted list, mostly because it amuses me but also because it would take way too long to describe in proper detail.

  1. I move my car to the loading area.
  2. Using every ounce of "girl power" in my reserves, I wrangle the crib into the car. Miraculously, the back hatch closes AND I can still shift gears without bonking my elbow, however I set myself up for a guaranteed concussion in the event of a side collision.
  3. I notice a dude about your Dad's age standing in the parking space next to me. He informs me that his mother is getting the car, and glances tragically at the massive pile of boxes he needs to load.
  4. His mother arrives, and goes on a holy rampage because she can't find anyone to help them load the car.
  5. Her rampage continues, and escalates, to a point where she is storming around the loading area accosting total strangers and essentially demanding they produce an Ikea employee to help her.
  6. I offer her thoroughly apologetic son my help, and we covertly begin loading boxes while his mother is out of sight. He cautions me that his mother would not appreciate "a stranger" helping when she expects store employees to, so we only load while she is out of sight.
  7. Eventually, the diminishing pile of boxes apparently raises her suspicions, so she rudely barks "what are YOU still doing here?" and I flee.
  8. In my rear-view mirror, I see her run out behind my car and shake her fist at me. Seriously. She shook her fist at me. 
Then I wound my way back into Boston (like a rock star, incidentally), collected you and your Dad, and we were on our way. The crib was super easy to put together, and it's wonderfully smaller and simpler than pretty much every other crib I've seen, but it does still give you more personally allocated bed space than either your Dad or I have with our full sized bed. Yes, I made it out of Ikea in one piece, and yes, it was absolutely worth it, but good lord...what is wrong with people? Hudson, your crib is probably something you will hardly remember or care about, but you should know that its acquisition was one of the hairiest, weirdest shopping experiences of my life. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Half a year.

This is a quick one because I am so completely overworked and overwhelmed and busy being your Mom. Hudson, you hit six months old and transformed from a squirmy little baby to a little person just aching to GO and DO and SEE and BE all sorts of exciting things. Crawling seems like it must be just around the corner, and you can keep yourself amused for ages in your bouncy seat, kicking off hard then tucking your feet up underneath you and grinning like a madman while you bounce in midair. You're eating half a dozen "solid" foods (which are still mush, but make your poo completely normal instead of terrifyingly...er...gooey) and making some incredible consonant sounds. I swear, you actually said "ma-ma" the other morning, but I'm pretty sure you were facing directly into my armpit at the time, so I'm not going to count that as the real thing until I can attribute it accurately.

So often in your life, I've waited with bated breath for the next thing to happen. You smirked a few times, then for days I anxiously hovered over you waiting for a smile. That first real smile happened, and then I was obsessed with hearing you laugh. Months later, when we could tickle your ribs and get belly laughs out of you, I found myself longing for a deliberate, intentional hug. It's always something with me, isn't it? This week, when you have made some of the most amazing strides all compressed into one short burst out of any chunk of your life to date, I'm finding myself almost wishing for you to slow down. Yeah, that first real hug will be amazing, but it will also signal an end to the time when I could just scoop you up, snuggle you, and tell myself that I was giving you exactly what you needed then because nothing you did suggested that you wanted anything else. Maybe you didn't, but as soon as you have the power to express your opinions, I will sometimes do the wrong thing, and that will suck.

I've been remiss in writing for the last while. Really, your Dad and I have just been working on finding our stride. We do a kind of crap job actually accomplishing the tasks we need to get done (it took me almost a week to send a single email, I manage not to return phone calls for days, and I'm sure I have a goodly handful of appointments for my own care that I need to get sorted before school starts up again in a month), and frankly, this summer has been pretty hot and gross, so spending most of a day in the air conditioned bedroom playing with your colored stacking cups sounds a hell of a lot better than actually being productive anywhere else. I keep telling myself that in a year...five years...ten years...thirty years...longer...I won't regret not spending ten minutes on the phone to get our car insurance tweaked, but I would sure as hell regret not spending the same ten minutes sitting on the bed with you resting against my bent knees while I jiggle your arms and sing silly songs to you. I have half a dozen posts half-written, some even more so, but you have this nasty tendency of waking up every time I get into the swing of anything, so I'm going to cut myself off now and go have ice cream before you rouse yourself for another snack.

Hudson, you are taking up every moment of my time, and it's wonderful.