I don’t know how she does it.

So as you know I am staying at Cassie’s house while she is out of town. I am responsible for all the really tough stuff, like setting her DVR to record Project Runway (okay, fine, that took me three days to figure out, even with instructions) and eating all of her food before it goes bad. Oh, and making sure her DVDs don’t get lonely. Did I mention the television is bigger than me?

I really love staying at Cassie’s house, when she’s here and when she isn’t. There’s a saltwater swimming pool across the street, a playground Sam loves two blocks away, and there is always a cool ocean breeze. Oh yeah, the beach is a five minute walk. It’s a great place.

But.

I have been here six days, and the maintenance guys have been around to mow the lawn next to her townhome TWICE. Once on Friday and once today. I’m sorry, this is ridiculous. For one thing, it is otherwise so quiet here that the noise SCARED ME TO DEATH both times. Actually, that’s the only thing, though I do have a personal preference for letting the grass get longer.

Cassie works from home. Let me repeat that: SHE WORKS FROM HOME. She has to listen to this twice-weekly aural assault every week. And OK, fine, I have no idea if they do this every four days ALL the time. But I doubt they’re doing it just for my benefit.

…or maybe they are.

This Just In: Marriage Not For Everybody

I recently read an article called “Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off” by Sandra Tsing Loh in the Atlantic. The author, an NPR science commentator with whom I was not previously familiar, had an extramarital affair and decided, on trying to piece the marriage back together, that the entire institution is outdated and that not only should she divorce, but no one should get married in the first place. I read it because it was described as “provocative” and someone whose opinion I think very highly of said that it affirmed her choice to not get married.

I thought the entire thing was a gigantic pile of steaming bantha pudu. Loh is a good writer, and I am interested to read her book on choosing a preschool for her child (the preschool phenomena in this country is, in my opinion, the most ridiculous and out-of-control nonsense I have encountered in other parents, and Loh’s decision to put her child in public school makes me curious), but this article failed to engage my interest and did not, in my opinion, do anything to make a case against marriage. All it successfully made a case against was Loh herself being married, and frankly only because she came across as a selfish shrew who was unsuited for partnership of any kind.

Here’s the basics: After twenty years of marriage, Loh has an affair. She breaks it off, and she and her husband seek counseling. She decides to stop pursuing reconciliation when she realizes that her husband does not excite her the way her fellow transgressor did. When she tells her apparently happily married girlfriends that she is divorcing, they take it as permission to give up on their marriages and confess that neither of their husbands will have sex with them anymore and they feel trapped in their marriages.

A few years ago I read another pro-divorce article, this one by a woman in my age group (Loh is more than a decade older than me) who had been married for a few years and liberated herself by kicking her husband to the curb and starting over again. And hey, so did all her friends! Starter marriages are all the rage! Unfortunately, I can’t find the article now. It might have been by the author of The Starter Marriage, but I don’t think it was.

These articles are being hailed as revolutionary and feminist. And I’m sorry, but that is just crap. There is nothing more feminist about ditching a commitment than there is about working hard to keep one. Neither is inherently feminist, though it is arguable that the latter is more mature. (It’s so circumstance-dependent that it’s honestly absurd to make a generalization either way.)

I’ve gotten a lot of grief over the years because I don’t call myself a feminist. My reasoning is simple: the word has too many connotations I don’t want to associate myself with, and furthermore is not adequately descriptive of my feeling that everyone is equal. Right now, though, I am going to put my feelings on semantics aside.

I think it is feminist of me to make my marriage a priority, to work through our problems and to consider my husband’s feelings and opinions equal to my own; to treat our relationship as a true partnership instead of putting myself first. That does not mean that I don’t look out for myself or that I in any way submit to my husband. Just ask him. Though I warn you that he will probably make a joke about blowjobs.

A few weeks before my 30th birthday, we hit a major crossroads. One day everything was fine and the next day we were maybe going to split up. There was an ultimatum involved, and neither of us believes in those. It was that bad. Both of us felt that it was worth salvaging; the terms of the ultimatum were met; we worked very, very hard at communicating with each other; our marriage is now, more than a year later, better than it has ever been.

That would not work for every marriage. Some people should get divorced. I really believe that. But the fact is that before a marriage ends in divorce there is a point where the partners have choices. Acting as though working on it is not an option is disingenuous and dishonest.

I wish Sandra Loh and the author of the mystery article would own their mistakes instead of trying to blame outside forces, i.e. marriage as an institution. Maybe their marriages truly did suck. Maybe ending them really was the smart thing to do. But to say that marriage itself is to blame? I’m going to need much better evidence than the whining of bored, privileged women.

Anyone who believes that everyone should get married is crazy. If you don’t want to get married, then for heaven’s sake don’t get married. But don’t you dare try telling me that I shouldn’t have.

To My Fellow Pedestrians.

I love the way you rush to get in front of me at the crosswalk while waiting for the light. Because there is no way a pregnant lady with a stroller is going to cross quickly enough for you, you big important guy! Except, of course, a pregnant lady with a stroller who happens to be from New York. Thanks a lot for making it so I couldn’t walk at a normal pace and barely made it across with the light, you pack of slowpokes. And thanks especially for smoking your cigarette directly in front of my kid. That was awesome of you.

Time to move.

I didn’t feel well enough to go to knitting tonight, but I had to Get Out Of The House before I went mad. Also the baby wanted frozen yogurt.

So I went to Larchmont, which is not terribly far from where we live and has lots of little shops including a Pinkberry. Now, I don’t really care for Pinkberry. If I want frozen yogurt with toppings, I go to Menchie’s. But I was not about to drive to Studio City for a fucking yogurt, so I went to Pinkberry and it was absolutely fine.

The problem was that once I had the damn yogurt I didn’t know what to do with myself. So I just walked down the other side of the street looking in closed shop windows. And I’ll be honest, it was kind of boring.

Then I got to the real estate office. They always have these ridiculous mansions for like $3 million in the window, and I love giggling at them. Today, though, most of the listings in the window were for condos. BORING. Finally I found a house. Not quite a mansion (three bedrooms, 1.75 baths, office, bonus room, etc.) but a decent house. Just under a million. And what’s this? It’s a fixer. “Bring your architect!” it proudly advertised.

Let me recap: A FIXER UPPER FOR JUST UNDER A MILLION DOLLARS.

I swear, the instant we have enough money to pay off our more crippling debts, we are so out of here. Canyon Country, here we come.

So unfair.

Sam’s vitamins are sour gummies. He gets four a day. He loves them.

My vitamins are enormous horse pills that make me feel like I am going to vomit for hours after I take them. I only have to take one a day, which is the only good thing I can say about them (other than folic acid, yay). I hate them.

The same company (Rainbow Light) makes both vitamins. I think I need to track down their Head Of Vitamins or whatever the title might be and give him what-for. WHY would vitamins for the pregnant ladies–who are probably nauseated all the time anyway–be so difficult to get down? Why can’t we have nice candy like our babies get once we’ve birthed them?

It’s not just security guards.

Apparently ALL people in positions of authority just hate me on sight. Today I did one of those consumer feedback thingies where you evaluate products. I can’t say more than that because I signed a confidentiality agreement, but that’s all you need to know. I was in a group of about eight people, but we evaluated the items individually. When I was on my second-to-last evaluation, one of the women running the thing asked me how many evaluations I’d done. “I didn’t count,” I said, “but I’m pretty sure I just have one to go.” She told me that I was too slow, I’d have to answer the questions faster, they need to move everyone along.

I finished before everyone else in my group. Cunt.

Kiss Me, I’m Wearing Green

Hey! It’s Amateur Day!

And me with a redheaded child. I can’t tell you how much I wish we did not have to leave the house today.

I’m going to keep count of how many people ask me if (or more likely, tell me that) Sam is Irish. No, actually. We’re pretty sure he is not. Granted, we do not know Will’s Dad’s heritage, but the rest of the family is Sicilian, English, Scottish, Dutch.

Last time we flew a woman behind us in line told us that Sam is Irish and she’s sure of it because she visited Ireland last year and blah blah blah and the guy behind her, we were delighted to find out, was actually Irish and just rolled his eyes at her. That was awesome.

Look, I know people just like to make conversation. But I have little tolerance for fools and telling me my kid has red hair is fucking stupid; telling me his heritage is just moronic. Why not stick to telling me he’s cute, or talking about the goddamn weather?

(P.S. Do I lose all right to be annoyed if I dress him in green today?)

I swear, security guards have it in for me.

Yesterday Sam and I took a walk. We stopped at the bank, where there is a fountain on the plaza between two buildings (there must be at least half a dozen banks there). Sam hopped out of his stroller and I parked it and followed him as he gleefully played.

After about ten minutes a security guard appeared next to me and said, “You shouldn’t let him play by the fountain. It’s–you know–bad.” I looked at him in disbelief and after a long while with no clarification I said “Ooooooookay” and went back to paying attention to my kid.

Now, I am sure at least one of you wants to say, “It’s the bank rules!” or “He was concerned about liability!” but you will just have to trust me because I was there; he was NOT giving me some company line. There were other kids there and there were adults there too. People ARE allowed at the fountain. He was telling me how to parent. He thought I was doing it wrong.

I don’t know what about me scares people in questionable positions of authority so very much, but I have my suspicions. I treat my kid like a person. I don’t hover. I let him climb on things. Not just let him but help him – when the security guard showed up to tell me I was bad, I was holding Sam’s hand (his idea, not mine).

I would really like for this nonsense to stop. I know how to take care of my kid (despite my feelings to the contrary sometimes). I am not stupid. I am so very, very tired of being treated like a bad mom.