Thursday, June 4, 2015

Track this bitches!

I was at a 50th birthday party a few weekends ago and I was witness to a conversation between a group of 40 somethings who were talking about their Fitbits.  I guess they had an ongoing competition, tracked on-line, about who can walk the most steps.  Someone was saying that he thought he was going to "win" and that it was ten minutes before midnight and there was no way in hell that the woman he was trying to beat would get enough steps in before the virtual midnight finish line.  So he went to bed and when he woke the next morning and saw that, in fact, this woman did beat him he was shocked.  I was trying to imagine my non-competitive self heading off to bed and checking my Fitbit to see how far off I was from beating the competition.  And if it were pretty close, how I might stand next to my bed, walking in place, lifting my knees high enough for my Fitbit to register my progress toward victory.  And then I decided that, no, I probably wouldn't do that. 

These new monitoring devices are pretty cool, I guess.  My hockey friend just got one to keep track of her heart rate while she plays.  She was keeping track of calories burned too, which I was curious about just so that I could sorta guestimate how much ice cream I could eat later on while sitting on the couch.  Speaking of sitting on the couch, I've been doing that a lot lately, what with all this amazing hockey on right now.  But while I'm doing that, and figuring out how many potato chips really are in a serving, especially if some of them are all crumbled, I'm looking on facebook at all my friends who map their runs and rides.  They tell me how far they went, how long it took them, how much energy they used, how many calories they burned and it all just makes me eat more chips.  "I don't care how many calories you burned at Jazzercise just now...give me one more chip!"

Numbers numbers everywhere.  I think I hate counting things, especially things that go into our mouths, because in college our team had a requirement to eat less than 10 grams of fat per day.  I counted every single one of those grams, but made up for it in calories.  Bags of Twizzlers?  Sure!  No fat!  Three bagels for breakfast with no-fat cream cheese?  Sure!  No fat!  A whole box of chocolate Snack Well cookies?  Sure!  NO FAT!  It was so stupid!  I left so unhealthy, but skinny as a bitch.  I hate counting calories.  Will NOT do it.

Paul Bunyan and I have been to two band and choral concerts in the last two weeks.  We sit in the bleachers of the middle school, suffer through squeaking clarinets until the chorus comes on.  I counted in my head....8 more of these things.  8 more. 7 more years before they're all out of the house.  7!  3 more years before Claire is driving. 

Calculating grades for school.
Salary negotiations.
The house in MN going, going, gone for THIS amount.
How many churros do we need to make for Spanish class?  How many batches is that?  How many eggs?
How many bags of concrete do we need for my new outdoor table?
How many school days left till the beach?
How much is it going to cost us to have her spayed?
How many kilowatts will it produce?
How many miles are you biking over all four gaps?  Really?

I don't work in numbers, I work in words.  I want the world to feel things and not be measured.  I want to walk in the woods with the dogs and not worry about how many calories I've burned, how many miles I've covered, how much energy have they and I burned.  I want to just be and not keep track.  Let's just be.

I'm a shoe tester.  A perfect size 7.  Shoes come every few months.  Mostly Merrill's.  It's awesome.  I'm supposed to keep track of my hours and miles.  I try.  I try.  I write it down on my phone.  I guestimate.  Inevitably, I get the response, "You only got 25 miles out of them?"  "I don't know, I guess maybe more," I reply, sounding very unprofessional.  I probably should buy a Fitbit.  Put my stats up on Facebook for the world to see.  But I'd rather, personally, have some app that shows number of potato chips inhaled and the time it took me.  Wouldn't you all rather track that progress??  Wouldn't it make you feel better about yourselves?  See, that's what I'm after. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

To My 13 Year Old Daugher: 13 Things I'd Like To Apologize For

My daughter turns 13 today at 2:00 in the afternoon.  I have a 13 year old.  Somehow it's felt like I've had a 13 year old for about 3 years now, but today it's official.  Here are 13 things I'd like to apologize to her for. 

1) I'm sorry you're in the throws of your hormonal hurricane right now.  It sucks.  I think, in time, you might forget about it but there may be a few things that you won't forget.  You probably won't forget the conversation you and your father and I had last week.  You probably won't forget the time you regrettably connected your IMessage account to the family computer so we could see all of your texts.  You probably won't forget how embarrassed you were when you realized that your parents had seen what you and your friends have been talking about, and had seen the photos you and your friends have been texting each other.  We're hoping you won't forget how we weren't mad at you, just wanted you to realize that maybe you were stepping over a line and that we care deeply about you.  I'm sorry if I made you mad for looking at your texts.  It means I'm doing my job.

2) I'm sorry you got your period.  It sucks.  There is no other way to describe it.  It just plain sucks...bad.  I remember waking up in the mornings having bled through onto my sheets too.  It fucking sucks.  I'm sorry.

3) I'm sorry I get upset with you when you're being narcissistic.  I really just want an empathetic and kind, thoughtful daughter.  My friends all tell me it's natural, that teens are supposed to be self-absorbed assholes right now.  But I hate it.  I'm sorry if you see the disappointment in my eyes.

4) I'm sorry that you have two brothers and that they annoy you.  But I'm not sorry that I stand up for them when you're being mean.  So, I'm sorry not sorry.

5) I'm sorry that their hockey schedule right now seems so out of control.  I do spend more time with them right now.  I'm sorry about that.  Like, really sorry. 

6) I'm sorry I'm not more girly.  That I don't love hair, make-up and nails is something that I'll always regret.  I love that you love it but I'm sorry we can't share the love.

7) I'm sorry that we don't have a mansion to live in.  You have always really liked big houses.  And ours ain't one of them.  Sorry.

8) I'm sorry that we live in Vermont.  I know you hate winter and the cold.  You hate not being able to walk down the street to go to your favorite yogurt shop.  I know you'll end up in a city somewhere.  But a piece of me hopes that you'll always want to come back to Vermont- that there's a kernel of love in your heart for this place that means so much to your father and me.

9) I'm sorry that we sometimes have a messy house.  The job wheel isn't really workin' out.  You keep your room really picked up and I appreciate that.  I know living in a messy house kinda irks you.  It does me, too.  I suck at keeping house.  Hopefully you don't inherit that gene from me.

10) Speaking of genes, I'm sorry if you're short.  That sucks.  I know.  My fault.  Wish it weren't so.

11) I'm sorry I let you watch shitty t.v.  I mean the Kardashians, really?  What a waste of time.  Think of how much smarter we all could be if we turned the stupid thing off.  

12) I'm sorry that you're brother got you sick on your birthday.  I hate germs just as much as you do.  Maybe more.  I hate it more when your brother wipes his fucking boogers on his hands. 
13) I'm sorry that I don't tell you more often that I love you, think you're great, pretty, smart, awesome.  I need to do that.  You're all of those things and more.  But I inherited the critical gene from my father and so I often just see all the shit you don't do (dishes), instead of all the amazing shit you do do.  Like this play- you're going to kill it as Tiger Lily.  You're going to be amazing.  Incredible.  Fabulous.  I can't wait to see you shine on that stage.  Shine. On. That. Stage.

I love you with all of my heart,

Friday, February 13, 2015


There are so many more important things to write about.  Cold weather, big dumps.  Hockey hockey hockey.  School. Her. Him. Him. Him.  And yet, I'm so uninspired lately.  Maybe I have seasonal disorder syndrome.  Not sure.  Get up. Drive over the gap. Teach. Drive home. Make dinner for people who don't like it, don't want to eat it.  I hear it all the time from them: "no food in this house," "nothing to eat," "don't want to do my chores," "don't care about allowance," "don't care that I don't have clean socks," "don't care that I have shorts on and it's -8 outside," "don't care that I don't have a book to read," "don't care that...".

I'm home from work.  I pull into the garage, which is under our living space, and all I have to do is start up the stairs before I see her wiggling butt at the top.  I know that when I round that corner the boys will be watching t.v. (again), jackets still on, homework not done, piles of laundry they were supposed to fold still in the basket.  And somehow her wiggling butt makes me not care.

 She's pulled every scrap of wood out of the wood bag, she's ripped up our whole bucket of newspapers for fire starting, she's opened up the matches box and has spilled 150 matches, she's dismembered a stuffed animal- its inners strewn about on her rug.  And somehow her wiggling butt makes me not care.

She's found my yarn supply and tears apart perfect skeins.  Pulls my handspun yarn from its bobbin on my spinning wheel.  It's a spiderweb on my bedroom floor.  She finds my lost socks and collects them on her bed.  I like having mismatched socks to pull on in the dark at 5:24 when she wakes me up every morning.  And somehow her wiggling butt makes me not care.

She likes his slippers best because they have fuzz on the inside.  She likes his leather gloves second best because they have grease on them.  She likes my earlobes third because they're soft and chewable.  And somehow her wiggling but makes me not care.

I found a Bee hair lodged into the fibers of my fleece pajamas the other day when I was folding them.  They had just gone through the wash.  I have washed these pajamas already once since her death in September; so this hair found its way, wove itself into my fiber, sometime in the last couple of weeks.  Too long to be an Ivy hair, Bee was making herself known.  I miss her.  We have moved on with this new wiggling butt, but I wonder how she and Bee would be together.  Two black bundles of love hurling their way into my heart.  But alas, Ivy now has her hair mixing into the corners of our hearts with all the others- Bee, Liebe, and Sydney's.  Ivy likes Sydney's brown chair.  I wonder if she smells Sydney's scent still there.  

I have papers to grade, a stove top to clean, floors to mop, laundry to do.  It's zero degrees out and too cold to play.  And somehow her wiggling butt and peanut butter breath makes me not care.