Too Much of Any Good Thing

Okay, you know those new moms who, when pulled from their cocoon of newborn nesting, finally come out to coffee with you, tiny tot attached to her breast, diaper bag piled high with “necessities” sitting on the stroller, ready for any immediate situation?

She eventually pulls her gaze from the newborn and aims her bleary eyes at you, wondering if she can remember your name.

You don’t have the heart to tell her that there’s spit-up on her shoulder.

But it doesn’t matter, because before you utter a word, she begins.

On and on and on and infinity ON about this new life experience. About the baby this and the baby that and how much her life has changed and why didn’t anyone WARN her but isn’t this the best thing since sliced bread and do you know the odds of this baby’s intelligence boost from when she played all that Mozart for her in-the-womb infant and here look the pictures she took yesterday of tubby time and maybe you can help her explain what is just a little weird about the baby’s navel?

She cannot WAIT to tell you what the baby did this morning.

You would not BELIEVE how the Hubby is taking all this.

It’s a good thing she’s adaptable to not getting any sleep anymore, and not eating regular meals (unless cold ones over the sink while the baby is screaming for attention counts), and sitting on her bum all day nursing and her bum is getting bigger by the day, but who cares because now she can read her billionth book on how to be the best mom ever while lactating.

She’s going to be the best mom ever. Did she mention that?

But just in case, she will take all of her insecurities to her girlfriends who have gone down the road before her. Surely they can explain what in the heck is just a little bit weird about her baby’s navel.

Best baby ever. Cutest baby ever. Worth every minute.

You will smile, nod, drink the coffee while it’s hot, and prove once again that you are sterling girlfriend material.

I’ve heard so many birthing stories, I could be an OB/GYN with one hand tied behind my back.

But I was also, once upon a time, that new mom who would NOT shut up, and I vowed never ever to be that obnoxious again.

Until I glanced into the mirror today and stopped cold, toothpaste dripping from my mouth.

It was her.

Oh no.

Okay, you know those new employees who, when pulled from their cocoon of new desk nesting, finally come out to coffee with you, cell phone attached to her palm, work bag piled high with “necessities” sitting on the table, ready for any immediate situation?

She eventually pulls her gaze from the newspaper headlines and aims her bleary eyes at you, wondering if she can remember your name.

You don’t have the heart to tell her that there’s a gap in her designer blouse.

But it doesn’t matter, because before you utter a word, she begins.

On and on and on and infinity ON about this new life experience. About the new job this and the new boss that and how much her life has changed and why didn’t anyone WARN her but isn’t this the best thing since sliced bread and do you know the odds of this job’s promotional possibilities from when she did all that Excel spreadsheet training and here look the notes she took yesterday at their staff meeting and maybe you can help her explain what is just a little weird about that one coworker’s comments?

She cannot WAIT to tell you what happened at work this morning.

You would not BELIEVE how the Hubby is taking all this.

It’s a good thing she’s adaptable to not getting any sleep anymore, and not eating regular meals (unless cold ones over the desk while the job is screaming for attention counts), and sitting on her bum all day typing and her bum is getting bigger by the day, but who cares because she will read her billionth book on how to be the best employee ever just as soon as she gets home.

She’s going to be the best employee ever. Did she mention that?

But just in case, she will take all of her insecurities to her girlfriends who have gone down the road before her. Surely they can explain what in the heck is just a little bit weird about her coworker’s comments.

Best job ever. Funnest job ever. Worth every minute.

You will smile, nod, drink the coffee while it’s hot, and prove once again that you are sterling girlfriend material.

I know you have so many career T-shirts, you could do my silly little job with one hand tied behind your back.

Thank you for seeing my life phase for what it is, and not running the other way when you see me coming.

When I am on my fifth-born job, I too will be over it.

But I’ll try to stop being so obnoxious in the meantime.

Run and Scream

When my creative son worked as a fifth grade summer camp counselor, he invented a game. He was in charge of a dozen thirteen year old boys around the clock and, hard pressed to keep them occupied until the dinner bell, had them play “Run and Scream”.

The idea was to line up, take a deep breath, and on the count of three, start running…and screaming. You had to run as far as you could until you ran out of scream, then stop. Whoever got the furthest, won.

Starting my new job has been just like that.

Every morning my alarm clock reminds me that I now have a schedule to keep, so just lying there being annoyed by the sunlight is no longer an option.

So I get up and pull a Claire and put on white clothes and flat iron my tresses and collect flares for when they chase me with a T Rex later. My high heels are quite zippy.

I have discovered the travesty of eating my oatmeal at 6am, when my tonsils aren’t even awake yet, the horrors of making tea in a Keurig in the lunchroom, and the joys of living off of gummy bears when leaving my desk for a break is not possible.

Time out while we address that:

There is a delicate line that is not to be crossed when choosing to put food in your mouth in this public setting. You must ask yourself some hard questions:

  1. Is there in any way a smell attached to this snack? Will people get funny looks on their faces and sniff the air? Will it remain on your breath and startle your coworker who needs to look over your shoulder to show you something?
  2. Is there in any way a sound attached to this snack? Will an awkward silence hit the office, as everyone suddenly peers at their computer screens simultaneously and the sound of your apple crunching echoes from the rafters?
  3. Are the size of the bites that enter your mouth prohibitive to answering the phone that rings when you bite it? Can it be swallowed whole? Is it choke-proof or will you cough on a granola bar crumb and capsize until tears run down your cheeks while your co-worker answers the line for you?
  4. Did you cheat and go with a liquid bevmo? Do you see your desk? Millions of little important papers and electronics? If the phone cord wraps around the mug and sends that hot, mediocre tea into your lap instead, will you be okay with that?
  5. No, let’s just get up for ten minutes, eat our measly leftovers and not realize that spinach, while a healthy alternative to vending machine fare, is not a good look in our teeth for the upcoming staff meeting.

Being a nanny had it’s challenges, but this job is a whole new ballgame.

Yes, there was running, and yes, there was screaming.

But when you’re a nanny, snacks are a group activity that can take hours if you do it right.

You might still end up with tea in your lap, but it will be freshly brewed and the highest of quality.

You will be proud to wear it.

Instead, as a humble servant of the public, I pretend to go snack-less and appear to have no greater goal than to run as fast as I can, screaming at the printer when it doesn’t share my expectations of excellence.

Quietly. I scream quietly.

My coworker is on the phone.

I usually run out of scream around 7pm.

Then I just drop sideways where ever I happen to be at the time, and my family waves their hands in front of my glazed-over eyes, wondering where I went.

Dinner was frozen hotdogs. Laundry was self-serve. The vacuum is actually collecting dust.

Not sure how all you “working moms” have been holding it together all this time, but my hat’s off to you.

Anytime you want to play “Run and Scream” let me know.

But please…tell me there’ll be snacks.

The Girl in the Cedar Chest

Definitely, I am in deep trouble here.

I’ve gone and opened Pandora’s box and now I’m on my knees and up to my elbows in memories that won’t stay in their tidy little packages. I only need one, thank you. If my elementary school awards and the cards from my wedding would kindly step aside, I could reach over and just pick the photo up.

Ugh.

My mother gifted each of her three daughters with a cedar chest when they turned sweet 16. She still has hers from a million years ago, full of bits of her life.

I’m sure she had no idea that she was entering us in the game of Jumanji when she did.

Or did she?

Traditionally, a ‘hope chest’ is to store treasures in that a young woman prepares for her future wedding and home. Theoretically, once those goals are accomplished, it gets refilled with memories.

I guess that makes me traditional, but if I had hoped in other things, I would be storing didgeridoos instead of doilies and a ceremonial British bearskin instead of baby bonnets.

It’s perfect to store linens in – who does that? – but I pretend that it does, so that I am not sucked into the abyss.

It’s for my own protection.

You know that job I just got? It turns out that the office gals are throwing a potluck this week and the ticket in is to bring a photo of yourself as a kid so that everyone can guess who is who.

Those kidders.

This is what happens when you didn’t go the traditional route and don’t have enough of this nonsense in your home life.

I have baby photos of me, Hubby, and five kids, and they all look exactly alike. I tried putting dates and ages on the backs a few years ago, and it was Russian roulette.

Those mountains of photos will come out one holiday, soon, and I’ll just let everyone decide who they want to be.

Why should I have all the fun?

But I couldn’t figure out where all the photos went. We moved, as you recall, three years ago. All photos made out of paper were carefully boxed up and put in a safe place.

Where ever that is.

In this age of digital everything, they might be with the boxes of items “to scan someday” or they might be in the den behind the college textbooks that Hubby refuses to toss out or they could be in the Harry Potter closet under the stairs where I set things aside for proper aging, like cheese.

Then the drumbeat of the cedar chest called me as I walked past saying, “Here, look in here.”

So I rolled the dice, entered at a college term paper and waded through the perfume bottle swamp, turned right at my great-grandmother’s piggy bank and found stuff from the family tree.

Bingo.

One black and white portrait of a chubby toddler.

It’s me because my mother has carefully said so on the back of it.

Or, it could be one of my sisters, trapped in the game and stuck with my name on them, until someone rolls a 5 or an 8.

Oh look!

The stories I wrote when I was ten, and here’s the savings bond I won with them.

I wonder what it’s worth now?

I should read these, it won’t take a minute…

Heigh Ho Heigh Ho

Okay, I’m not gonna lie.

I’m half freaking out and half doing the Happy Dance around the living room.

You guys, I got a new job.

Don’t tell the tater tot.

Everyone remain calm.

Remember that post I wrote last month? No? Good.

Because we don’t want my new employers to read it just yet. So far as I know, they haven’t figured out that they’ve hired a blogger, and until we know exactly where their sense of humor lies, we don’t want to shoot ourselves right in the foot by shooting off our mouth.

You know what I mean? Good.

Turns out, the world is a crazier place than even I imagined, and airplanes do fall from the sky and land on the freeway and now my newly licensed son can stop rolling his eyes over my repeated pleas for him to “look left, right, left, up, and down before proceeding through the intersection” because yes, aliens might land in front of you, you just never know.

And also, jobs fall from the sky.

I had no idea and I pinkie promise to stop rolling my eyes so hard that a blog falls out.

Anyway, this job is top secret until I’m actually sitting in a chair, doing it. It involves a highly reputable employer and I will be doing public services for the greater good and probably I will have a Super Suit.

I was finger-printed and drug screened and background checked and my new boss, though delighted that I passed, is obviously going about this whole investigation wrong.

Some employers look into social media accounts in order to see the real person they’re about to hire. Possibly, mine would have raised a couple of eyebrows.

But, had my children been contacted, a completely different and highly checkered past would have surfaced.

Kids? What kids? Nope, no kids here…

Hush money will be wielded in the form of a giant batch of monkey bread.

(Recipe to follow later this month, assuming it works.)

So far as I have ascertained, I will be taking calls from upset and irritated random people.

That may explain why I’m being rushed through the hiring process.

And also why they seem to like me so much.

But I must admit, taking upset and irritated calls happens to be my specialty.

I have an established protocol with a high rate of success for them.

We’ll need to stock up on gummy bears, chocolate chip cookies, and pink puff balls.

They don’t hand out Super Suits to just anybody.