December 31, 2008
There's a set of Mormon missionaries that live a couple of blocks away from our house, so we end up seeing them a lot. Whenever they're cold, hungry, or really have to poop they always seem to find their way to the Lawson house. And conveniently enough, they usually come by when my favorite reality t.v. show is on.
I'm like, "Hey guys, wanna watch Mama's Boys with me?"
And they're like, "Sorry we're not allowed to watch t.v."
So I'm like, "Get out."
And they giggle.
So I'm all, "No. Seriously. Get out."
And they giggle some more.
These nineteen-year-old boys I tell ya, they're not very responsive to subtle hinting--or blatant insults for that matter.
Yesterday, one of the missionaries (or Elders, as we like to call them) was transferred to a different area in the mission, and consequently, a new Elder moved in--and by new, I mean really, really new.
As in this guy just got off the airplane from Salt Lake City yesterday.
This kid, bless is soul, is just about as "Utah Mormon" as it gets--spiked up hair, huge cheesy grin, and I kid you not, he offered a double thumbs-up when I was talking about a co-worker and used the word "Republican."
He was like, "Sweet. Republicans. Are you guys Republicans?"
Jared nodded in the affirmative, swung his head to meet my gaze and offered the classic "And You?" kind of look. Then we both broke out into a snorting fit of laughter, because hot dog, I am most certainly not a Republican. I'm an Independant.
But let's just say that I'm exceedingly jealous of Barack Obama's seamstress. That lucky woman gets to wrap a tape measure around the President Elect's very upper thigh region every time he buys a new suit. When she mysteriously dies from a poisoned cocktail I will absolutely apply for her job. And dodge the FBI.
The new missionary tried his very best to make it appear as though he wasn't feeling anxious. He even went so far as to say, "Nope I'm not nervous to be on my mission at all." Lucky for me, I could see right through his act--that young man wanted to sh** a brick, right there on my kitchen bar stool. Seriously folks, I could see that he was fighting the urge.
This kid's sphincter was hanging by a thread.
As the conversation awkwardly rolled on--and I returned a few emails for work--Elder NewGuy turned toward Jared, looked him in the eye, and asked, "So. What do you do for work?"
"I'm a chiropractor."
"Oh, that's good," he coolly replied. Then, while he maintained eye contact with my husband, Elder NewGuy pointed his finger in my direction and said, "So she does nothing?"
Not So Sister Lawson, what do you do? Or So Brother Lawson, does your wife work?
He assumed that SHE (me) DOES NOTHING!
Two Problems Here:
1) This kid had the nerve to refer to me as "she" while I was sitting four feet away.
2) We were gathered around a table that was topped with finger paintings--obviously not my homemade handiwork. They happened to belong to the child who was sleeping upstairs. The child who knows all of his letters, can count to thirty, and is more than happy to fart on command.
Obviously, I don't do nothing.
On top of that, I have quite a few letters after my name, and a career to boot. While I rarely discuss my work on this blog, I will mention one thing--my job title is Executive Director. And my flexible, part-time schedule? It's strictly due to my awesomeness.
The room fell completely silent as I looked up from my laptop screen and locked eyes with this greenie missionary--who, I would gather from the thoughtfulness of that comment, was far more nervous than he actually let on.
"You know Elder," I calmly said, "you should realize that you're not in Utah anymore. If I were you, I'd never talk to a New England woman like that ever again. Ever. Again."
And then, I'm pretty sure his sphincter actually did let go.
So welcome to New England, young man! Welcome to New England.
It's gonna be a good two years...
*Can't they at least find a voice that sounds like it cares* I think? *Can't this robot express a teeny bit of urgency?*
Finally, a real person picks up....
DISPATCHER: 911, what's your emergency?
ME: There are five unsupervised kids playing on thin ice.
DISPATCHER: Seriously!? Oh my gosh, that's so dangerous!
ME: I know, that's why I called.
DISPATCHER: I can't believe how stupid kids can be!
ME: Um, yeah. Do you think you can send an officer by the lake to take care of it?
DISPATCHER: Let me transfer your call.
By this point I was ready to throw some rope over my shoulder, drag my canoe down the road, and execute a solo rescue.
Moral of the story? Try not to get hurt while you're passing through my little town--chances are, you'll die of exposure.
I hope everyone had an excellent Christmas!
Here in Maine, we took joy in scaring the shiz out of our next door neighbors*...
We practiced the patented Lawson smile...
We played in the snow...
I'm a big believer in allowing kids the freedom to make their own decisions.
Don't count me as crazy here--James doesn't determine his own bedtime, or whether or not we make it to church on Sunday--I let him choose the inconsequential things like birthday cards, and light-up boots, and the flavor of his yogurt.
And that my friends, is precisely why his best friend Sophia recieved a nice array of decorative-faux-fruit for her second birthday. It's also why my kid has quite the fluffy hair-do. What can I say? The child likes his hair when it's high. Why fight it?
I even let James chose the color of his bedroom--which, I should add, was no easy feat. Every time we'd talk about the project, he'd insist that I paint his room 'triangle.' I was like, "Dude. What? Triangle?"
And he'd flattly reply, "Triangle."
Finally, at the suggesstion of my sister, I drove to the hardware store, grabbed a few paint chips that I deemed acceptable and brought them home to James.
"Show me triangle, buddy."
Turns out that it's a happy shade of bright light blue.
Last night James and I sat down to fill out a Christmas card for his teacher. I selected the card on my own, and since it didn't feature a photo of a kitten tangled in a ball of yarn or a cartoon drawing of a naked butt (images that James is typically drawn to), it simply begged for some three-year-old spice.
"James," I said, "We need to write a message to Miss Nancy. You tell me what to write, and I'll put in this Christmas card."
He looked confused.
"We'll write a message to Miss Nancy in this card, and she'll read it and feel happy," I continued.
He still looked confused.
I decided to go at it from a different angle..."What do you want the message to say, Buddy?"
"Nancy," he said, thoughfully scrunching his nose and eyes while looking off to the left. "This is a message," he continued.
"From me, James."
Well okay then. Thank you Captian Literal.
James is getting very, very excited for Christmas--he keeps saying something about Geotrax that were born in a stable in Battle-ham. I don't know, it's hard to make it out.
Everywhere I turn, there seem to be happy little reminders that my kid is simply bubbling over with holiday happiness. For example:
James likes to select a favorite branch and move fifty-or-so ornaments to the very tip. I swear, if you listen really hard, you can actually hear the tree moan and complain in a New York accent every time James enters the living room.
Here is another example of James just bursting at the seems with Christmas spirit:
My hobbies and interests include running, sewing, cooking, being overtired, and finding creative ways to be passive aggressive.
The passive aggressive thing is, by far, my favorite hobby. In my twisted mind, there's not a thing in the world that compares to clapping my sandy shoes over Jared's side of the bed and offering a subtle little shrug when he spits the words AMY! WHAT IN THE HELL?!
The same goes for putting spare change in the toes of his work shoes when he's rushed, wetting down the ass pad of his recliner with water after a hard day at the office, and combing the greyhound's ears with his fancy-shmancy toothbrush.
You might think I'm a sh*tastic wife on account of these little antics, but really now, it's just my humanness coming to the surface. How else am I supposed to balance out the weeknight turkey dinners and the squeaky clean toilets? Seriously folks, I can't let myself be that good of a spouse. It will intimidate him.
So all of the secret cookie licking? It's for his own good.
If you're interested in wasting a small chunk of your day, the latest episode of the Runners' Lounge podcast is up. And this one, if I do say so myself, is much better than the first. To listen to me ramble on about not-so-silent farts, Zach Morris's giant cell phone, dropping m'pants, and using terms like "get yer poop on" you can click here or search the term "Runners Lounge" in the iTune store--no worries, it's free.
Other topics covered include, but are not limited to: spitting, breakfast burritos, Jared from Subway, men in tights, drinking beer in the morning, and a little bit of running.
The podcast is thirtyish minutes from start to finish, and I'll tell you right now--it's all down hill after minute 20, when they ripped my away my microphone and forced me to bat cleanup for the remainder of recording.
If you're not up for a thirty minute podcast, at least listen to the first eleven minutes--it features me and only me. And at the very least, listen to the fifteen second introduction--once again, it's all about me. Amen.
Thank you Chris, for turning my Saturday morning from good to really good.
If you'd like to make your day just a little bit brighter, go ahead and click here. If you like my blog, then this will definitely be worth twenty second of your time.
Have a great weekend everyone!
A handful of people emailed me last night, asking for my recipe for sweet potato bread. Honestly, I'm a teeny bit reluctant to post it. First, because it tastes a little bit like arse--which isn't that big of deal, because seriously, even the nastiest arse becomes delectable if it's got some butter on top.
The second reason is the one that leaves me more concerned. This recipe you see, will completely change your view of me. Not only will I become more domestic in your eyes, but you'll also notice that there's more to me than M&Ms, bacon bits, and fingers coated in Cheetos dust. Things like whole wheat flour. And raw nuts.
Since I've gone this far, I may as well tell you everything...my primary care physician is a naturopath, I wear an apron when I cook, I sewed the apron myself, and all I want for Christmas is a high-end bread machine--and good heavens I want it SO BADLY!
Now that I've completely blown my cover, go make yourself a damn loaf of sweet potato bread:
(Or, on second thought, chew on a King Size Snickers bar. It's far less complicated.)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup granulated sugar
4 cups of Dorito crumbs (kidding!)
3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup dates
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
4 tablespoons milk
1 cup cooked and mashed sweet potatoes (boiled or baked--either way)
Mix wet. Mix dry. Mix together. Bake at 325 for one hour and 350 for an additional 15 minutes--or until it's cooked. Just do whatever it takes.
Please rest assured, I will always suck butt when it comes to doing the laundry. Always.
Every now and again I take a proverbial step back and say to myself: Wow. I can't believe I just did that. I must really love my husband after all.
Whether it's bringing a fancy bagged lunch to his office, helping him balance the books at work, or letting him touch my beautifully sculpted bum for half a second, I'm always amazed at the love I feel for a man with a disgustingly horrific gas problem.
Last night, when Jared came home from work, I happily hung his coat in the front closet and led him to the dinner table. "You're in for a treat" I said, as I filled his bowl with homemade soup and slathered a slice of sweet potato bread with way way too much butter. "It took me three hours to make that bread you know."
Jared anxiously took his seat and was hungrily slurping his soup within three seconds. "Ooooohhhh Amy," he said, "You have totally [FART] outdone [FART] yourself tonight. How did I ever get so lucky [LONG FART]?"
I was silent.
"Seriously babe," he continued, "this soup is soooo [FART] fantastic."
I was still silent.
"What's in this stuff [HUGE FART]? Is it turkey sausage?"
"You know," I said, "it hurts my feelings when you pass insane amounts of gas during dinner. These aren't hot pockets, Jared. I cooked this all from scratch."
Then my husband thoughtfully and respectfully explained to me that gas is natural--an urge that he's plain old unable to fight. And being a red blooded woman, I started to cry--very hard. Because du-uh, I'm totally under appreciated by this caveman.
And then, fourteen hours later, I was surprised to find myself on the phone, liquidating an old out-of-state pension account. I used the cash to buy my beloved a ridiculously overpriced Christmas present, because du-uh, I'm completely in love with this man. Bowel problems and all.
Last night, Jared and I attended a public meeting to discuss the development of a new logo and tag line for the city in which he works. Lucky for us, the marketing efforts are specifically aimed at the downtown corridor--smack dab where the office is.
There's a big push for downtown revitalization right now, and Jared and I do our best to be a part of it. Not only have we invested tens of thousands of dollars in our Main Street location, but we want to do everything we can to ensure that our little corner of the city has a porno-esque shoe store on every single corner.
One down, three to go.
The meeting was very well attended. You know--four people under the age of forty, and fifty-four people who are left with no choice but to whiz into giant diapers. Far be it from me to be offensive, but I've just got to say it--old people are incredibly shitastic brainstormers.
One of the mature ladies raised her hand and was like, "I think we should start calling our city A-Town for short. It makes us sound like we're A-number-one, and the young people will love it."
So I turn to Jared, and not feeling the need to whisper (since 92% of the attendees are hard of hearing), say, "Oh my word, Jared. A-Town? Like A-Hole? A is for ass. Geeze-um."
There must be one hell of an audiologist in this city, because everyone swung their heads around in unison, laid their eyes one me, and I heard the moderator say, "I think we have a comment from the woman who owns the chiropractic office."
"Ummm....." I rumbled, trying to weasel my way out of my inability to whisper. "A-number-one," I repeated! Offering an overenthusiastic thumbs up and a classic, turd-eater grin.
As the night wore on, more and more old-people ideas were being tossed around the room including, but not limited to The City That Sparkles Like Diamonds (cute, but such a raging lie), A River Runs Through It (sounds vaguely familiar...), and a very long diatribe about dancing bear puppets. No. Seriously.
Finally, after hours of deliberation, the moderator went around the room, and we each had thirty seconds to express our personal preference as to how we feel the logo should look. I listened to person, after person, after person express their strong and unwavering opinion that the building featured in that picture up there, should be the center point of the logo. Not the cobblestone streets, not the old federal house with the slick new martini bar, but that.
It's near the downtown, and I guess it's some kind of an old war fort.
All I really know is that it's the kind of place where you pull into the parking lot and see a group of volunteers standing around, dressed in period costume, chatting it up in Old English accents, while they all drink Dunkin' Donuts coffee. Then a school bus pulls up.
And then it was my turn to speak. "I'll keep this brief," I said. "I don't like the idea of using the fort for the logo. History is boring. It's for elementary school kids and..." I stumbled. "And..."
"Old people," someone piped in?
"Um yes," I replied, suddenly deciding to be brutally honest with the crowd. "History is for old people."
"Like us," someone else offered?
"Yes," I plainly said. "Like you."
I watched the owner of the martini bar bite his bottom lip, and the mayor's shoulders bounce up and down in stifled laughter. Everyone else let out one, big, collective "Humph."
When the meeting wrapped up, Jared and I did our best to slip out of the auditorium quietly. As we slid out the door, I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was the meeting moderator. "Do you take Medicare at your office," he asked?
"No, we don't," Jared responded.
"Good," he said laughing, "because I think they all hate you."
And with that, we wrapped our scarves around our faces, pulled our hoods up tight, and ran back to Jared's office as fast as we possibly could. As we bounded over the bridge, Jared turned to me and screamed, "Don't sweat it Amy. Their Buicks aren't fast enough to keep up!"
(This is the last sad, serious, and/or thoughtful post that I plan to write for a long, long, time...)
For the last two-and-a-half months, I haven't been able to sleep. Trust me, I'm beat--but somehow it seems like the more worn down and tired I become, the harder it is to settle down, close my eyes, and achieve a solid state of REM.
It's not the actual loss of the baby that's been keeping me awake at night--at least that's not the only thing that has my mind reeling. The loss and circumstances surrounding my late-term miscarriage have been nothing short of haunting, but as embarrassing as this is to admit, it's the dollars and cents of the situation that keep me staring at numbers like 3:46 and 2:14 on my digital clock--praying to God that maybe, just maybe, he'll let me get some rest tonight.
Just so you know, I absolutely despise money and have very little interest in accruing any surplus above what's necessary to pay my bills, eventually replace the Blazer, and ski a little too much every winter. Honestly, when it comes to things like flat screen TVs, iPhones, and foreign vacations--how should I say this?--I don't give a fraction of a sh*t.
I completely hate the fact that finances--paper dollars and metal cents--have the capacity to control my peace, happiness and state-of-mind more than any other entity on this planet.
So you can imagine, that when I came home from Maine Medical Center with an empty set of arms and a fist wrapped around a bill for $6,000, I honestly wanted to die.
Thoughts like Jared should close the practice... and I have no idea how James will get those Geotrax for Christmas... and Lord have Mercy, it's another bill... have been eating me alive at home, at work, and mostly in the middle of the night.
Three weeks ago, in a moment of complete overtired despair, I called Maine Medical Center and I cried to the switchboard operator. "I just need help," I sobbed. "This bill is gonna put my family under."
And just like that, she transferred my call to Maria--a woman who promised to help.
Within three minutes, Maria knew my income, the status of my husband's new business, and the makeup of my family. And then, within three and a half minutes, Maria uttered a few words that rescued my fragile psyche..."There are programs for people just like you."
Sliding scales...foundation aid...state programs...grants for new business owners...
Programs for people just like me.
Yesterday afternoon, I sat across the desk from a woman name Brenda. She asked me roughly four-thousand very personal questions. Things like How much has your husband spent on clothes for his new business... and Wait! What about chiropractic tables? Those seems expensive! What did he spend on those?!... and So you do have student loan debt? Good. That'll help... and my absolute favorite, Does your Blazer have lots of rust? It does? Then it should be worth less than that...
And then, after ninety minutes of crazy, probing questions, she said the words that finally let me sleep again:
Merry Christmas, Amy. You're bill has been taken care of.
Did you catch that? You're bill has been taken care of.
One hundred percent of it.
Let's just say that I now owe Brenda a box of Kleenex. I sobbed out of relief. I sobbed because this world is so full of goodness that it makes my head spin. And as crazy as it sounds, a little part of me sobbed because that bill was one of the only tangible things I had left to remind me that my baby boy was (and still is) a very important piece of my life.
I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed because finally, finally, I can catch my breath again. I can move forward with this crazy little happy life that I've built for myself in Maine.
I can go on.
I want to take a moment to offer my heartfelt thanks to Maria, Brenda, the switchboard operator, my parents, my in-laws, and every other person who's helped to lighten our load. And thank you to those who see the value in stepping up to support promising--but anonymous--new business owners.
If we ever make too much money, which chiropractors sometimes do, I promise here and now to help a hardworking, honest, young family more than I've been helped this week. But deep in my heart, I hope I can do it for a hundred.
Don't be fooled for a second, this world is a beautiful place.
(Man I'm a good writer!)
If you want to listen to yours truly on the Runner's Lounge podcast, open up iTunes, go to the store, and search for "Runners Lounge." You can hear me on Episode 3, Be Funny. If you're not into iTunes (because you're old), then you can listen to the podcast here.
It's totally dumb.
But just in case you listen and decide that you like dumb things, we'll be recording another one next week.
Feel free to make fun of me in the comments--trust me, you'll have lots of material to work with (voice, inability to follow directions, confused silences, dead-end jokes, etc).