Friday, December 30, 2011

Those Damn Red Bows...

When we first moved to Houston we lived in the city. We didn't know much about the city and weren't too sure where to settle.  However, after spending 5 days by myself looking at places where all the white walls just blended together we had to pull the trigger if we were ever going to move out of the extended stay hotel.  (If I have too many options I get confused and agitated, kinda like a caged tiger and then I just lash out.  Its better if you only provide like 2 choices "white or wheat" and then I pick. Don't go throwing all the multi- grain/baguette/pretzel options around.  And seriously when did pretzel bread become a choice? Usually when you are spouting off options, I'm just noticing your nasal hairs are about to touch your top lip and it grosses me out and then I just end up picking the last thing I heard which I usually end up hating.  Also, once I've picked,  DO NOT tell me I'm missing "THIS SUPER FANTASTIC OPTION" because I will FREAK out and we'll need to go through the whole process again. )

Sorry - pretzel bread always gets me. 

I chose a place - priced right, right amount of space, decent location. We liked it until one of us didn't.  Personally, I liked the rather 'un-doneness' of city life.  The messiness, the bums, the traffic zooming past at 3:00 am all seemed like a good time to me.  I always imagined that if I chose to go out past 10:00pm on a Saturday night that everything was at my finger tips. There was SO MUCH STUFF TO DO!! Right outside my door.  It didn't matter that I never actually went anywhere past 10:00pm.  It was there!

On the other hand, after 2 years, my engineer, border-line OCD husband wanted the structure of the suburbs. He wanted order.  He wanted the HOA to scream at you if the car parked on the street hasn't been moved in 48 hours.  He wanted a street corner that didn't require you to lock your doors and roll up your windows because the pan handlers got a little too...friendly, I guess?  I finally caved after the shootings started to get closer.  So I waved goodbye to the blond women  on the corner who was fooling NOBODY with her "I need food sign" and moved to the 'burbs.  I am positive it was more like "I need more meth for my super powered meth habit", based on my A&E Intervention education.

So now we live in a very nice suburb of Houston.  Its a planned community.  Run by a bunch of straight-laced folks.  Some people call it a bubble.  Others call it Stepford. 16 year old children drive better cars than I do and I've been working for as long as they've been alive.  You get the point. 

When we moved into the house in  August I was already mentally planning out my holiday decorations.  I was pumped to decorate our first house for Christmas.  I must admit however, that my vision is always way more merry and bright than reality.  Do you know how expensive those darn white lights cost? And we have 8 bushes in the front of our house! That is like... many dollars and cents combined (math is so not my strong suite).  And who is going to spend $89 for a wreath, Hobby Lobby? I'll wait until after Christmas when the tinsel tumbleweeds float down the empty aisles to try to snag one on like 80% off.  Granted, all the red berries have fallen off and someone has pulled out the greenery on the left side but I'll totally slap a bow on it and call it a day. 

After weeks of getting everything bought and put up it was only as we were driving to work around December 20th that I noticed the bows.  All of our neighbors had tied these ginormous red bows on the trees lining the street.  Everyone except us.  Was this a 'thing'?  Turns out, its totally a thing.  This year in the mail we received a notice: "Help us Keep A.P. Festive." The letter went on to say that its been a tradition for 20+ years to tie the brightly colored red bows on the trees.  I was still at home during December with the baby, which means technically I could have gone to the store (carried her 30 lb car seat to the car, listened as she wailed in the back because she doesn't like her car seat, pulled up just as she was settled in for a nap only to wake her up,  trudge through the tiny aisles with stroller/car seat combo, weaved my way through the mass of people, procure 3 red ginormous bows, stand in line for 20 minutes, and then found the time to go put them on the trees) but alas....I just couldn't bring myself to care.  No red bows for us. Sorry neighbors! I'm sure the HOA will be sending us a letter soon.     

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Just Throw Away "What to Expect When You are Expecting"

Today is day 3 of going back to work after having our little nugget, Ella, back in September.  Her little 6 lb 3 ounce arrival in our life completely turned it upside down.  While I was never in the Boy Scouts I pride myself on living their motto "Be Prepared"(my Brownie/Girl Scout tenure was short lived so I never learned what their motto is) .   I read the books, I dragged my husband to the classes, we talked to other moms but the one thing that has stuck out for me is that there is no way to be prepared for this event.  Hold on to your butts! Anyone catch that Jurrasic Park reference? Only me, then? Ok, moving on...

I was not prepared for that little personality.  At 3 months she can show displeasure by the meer hint of a raised eyebrow.   She's like the Godfather. If she asked us to 'off' someone I am not sure I would even hesitate.  Her lips are perfectly pursed when she refuses her bottle (and yes, I bottle feed, sorry la letche league!).  She laughs and babbles at this crazy little monkey toy, which I imagine is sick to death of hearing all about these hacks God gave her as parents. "Can you believe they thought I'd sit in a bouncy chair that just ran out of batteries? A bouncy chair without bounce is no chair at all.  Do they even know me?" She can be just as cheerful at a 6:30 am wake up call as she is at 9:30 (clearly a trait she picked up from her Dad).

I was also not prepared for the all feelings about this little human.  They come out looking like little aliens - shriveled, scrawny (in our case), arms & legs flailing. They scream and shout and manically suck on their fingers. I didn't feel an immediate love or an immediate bond as I'd heard most every other mom recount.  Thankfully, I have an amazing best friend who relayed the truth - it can take a while for some moms to get those feelings.  But as I went back to work on Tuesday for the first time in 3 months I cried like I have never cried before.  Big, ugly sobs.  You know the cry - all sniffles and snot. Cried in the elevator up to my office.  Cried in the bathroom.  I missed her like crazy.  I missed her snuggles (or my attempt to snuggle, her attempt to punch me in the face).  I missed putting her down for a nap and seeing her eye lids struggle to stay open to watch the last remaining minutes of Ellen (she loves her T.V.).  But seeing her at the end of the day, clearly well taken care of (possibly even spoiled a little with all the extra love and attention) I felt fantastic.  I felt more like myself than I have in 3 months.  Maybe it was the structure to my day or the ability to wear non-sweat pant pants or just putting in my contacts before 11:00am.  Whatever it is made day 2 and 3 a lot easier to deal with.  So maybe this going back to work thing, while hard, will be a good thing for me and for Ella.  I wasn't prepared for that either! Another one to add to the ever growing list.