Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I think the first movie that made me cry was "E.T.". I was, what, 12-years-old so I was a pretty easy mark. After that it was "Out of Africa." I can't plead immaturity there. I think I was 18 when I saw Karen Blixen get her heart stomped all over Kenya. I was never quite the same after that. Any Hollywood tear-jerking formula got right to me. "Four Weddings and a Funeral", "Steel Magnolias", "It's a Wonderful Life", whatever. Give me a giant box of tissues with my popcorn, please.

It drove the Grinch crazy to hear me sniffling beside him. The man has no heart. He could watch poor M'lynn rant and rave next to Shelby's grave a thousand times and never even feel a tickle in his tear duct. I'd be sobbing into a pillow....then rewinding to watch it all over again. I don't know why movies got to me so easily. I think too much about how the characters feel. It becomes how I feel and then, choke, sob, murblurblubrbbbbb...

A funny thing happened on the way to the cineplex a couple of years ago. I saw an interview with CNN's Walter Rodgers. A reporter asked him how he could cover wars and famines and express genuine concern for the people involved, but not shed a tear. He said, "You have to remember that you have a job to do, you have to remember to tell the story."

I stopped thinking about the characters and started thinking about the scriptwriters and the director and the jobs they do. I started looking for all their tear-jerking cues and resisting them. "It's just a story. They're trying to make me cry and I won't do it. It's just a story." And it worked! No more tears. I tearlessly watched Jack's frosty blue face slip underwater in "Titanic" and never looked back.

Then I became a mother and all bets were off, especially where movie kids are involved. I see children in danger, or mommas fretting over their sick/imperiled child and my stomach knots up, my head swims and I start choking back tears all over again. I want to jump through the screen and protect everyone. Sometimes during the quiet, lonely weekend overnights at work, I'll have a movie up, sound down, on the TV monitor at my desk. Today it was "Deep Impact." Every scene had some kid running from danger or seeing their mommy or daddy for the last time and I nearly lost it. When Leelee Sobieski's mom hands her the newborn and tells her to run for it? Dude. I had to leave the room or I would have started sobbing at work OVER A STUPID MOVIE. Not. Cool.

So here's the thing, Hollywood: I'm still not crying over shipwrecked loves or prostitutes with hearts of gold. Every drunk in Las Vegas can die alone in their motel rooms and I won't even blink. But you put a kid in danger or have a momma worrying about their bebes and we have a problem.

I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TRYING TO DO TO ME scriptwriters. You WANT me to cry. Are you challenging me? Fine. Bring it on. Go ahead and tie Dakota Fanning to the nose of a rocket-powered, monkey-piloted spaceship that will save Earth from certain doom. I. WILL. NOT. CRY. Much.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Time Out from Time Out

When we started the Tag Team, things sucked. Flat. Out. SUCKED. It took us a while to find our groove and when we did, we were a well-oiled machine. There were blips and bumps here and there but, to everyone's surprise, it worked. The best times were Fridays, knowing that we'd made it through another week and that we had the weekend to finally be together to have some family fun. Also, Grinch and I could enjoy some time together. Friday night, we'd order Chinese food and watch TV or just sit and talk. Saturday night we'd watch a movie or snuggle on the couch. Whatever. It was our time together.

Now that I'm working weekends, our time together? Zip. Nada. Zilch. Nichts. Niente. Aaaaaaand we're back to the suckage.

No time together also means that there's very little time for one person to get two hands free to do much of anything. Laundry gets done, but rarely is folded or put away. Meals are some sort of take out, leftovers or something that I can throw together as quick as possible without Dos screaming her head off or diving into the cat's water bowl. If you drop in on us, please don't ask to use the bathroom because it's frightening. The suckage, it is mighty.

We hired a lawn service to mow and blow because there's no time for us to do it. We *could* hire a maid service, but we'd have to clean up before they could come and, hello? did I mention we have no time to clean? Besides, how many outside services do we hire before we're using all of our 2nd income to pay for someone to do the stuff we can't do because we're earning that 2nd income?

Bitch, moan, whine, complain. I didn't want this to be that sort of blog.

We're looking for a sitter to come in a couple of days a week to even the schedule out a little bit. The really good sitters are already taken or want a full-time gig, which we can't offer. A family member may be in a position soon to help us out so we're optimistic about that.

My latest tip for families considering the Tag Team option: Make sure you have *some* time together, preferably weekends. You have to reconnect as a family and especially as a couple. Hire outside help where you can. The Tag Team is hard, make no mistake about it. Everything that's worth doing is hard, right? Right? Bueller?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Stupid Schedule Illustrated

You know how people get a spring in their step on Friday? They smile and bound into the office bearing doughnuts, bellowing, "TGIF!" Yeah. I hate those people.

The normal person's Friday is my Wednesday, the second shittiest day of the week, Monday being the first. So when most people are ready to kick back and enjoy some downtime, I'm staring at two more days of 1:30a wake up calls and 3 hours of sleep. Forgive me if I seem really irritable on Wednesdays, won't you?

Friday 3:00am: Co-workers smile and say "Yay for Friday! What are you doing this weekend?" I respond, "Fuck you. I work weekends." Ok, I don't say Fuck you. Not every time. But I do remind them that I work weekends. "Aw, man. That sucks!" YEAH. Don't I know it, dickhead. At home: sit down to nurse the baby and fall asleep. Awaken because toddler is asking for lunch. Repeat.

Saturday 1:30am : Alarm goes off and I cry a little. Resign myself to the inevitable. At work, contemplate a breakfast of doughnuts and Coke to soothe the pain. Go with cheerios and water so I don't develop Type 2 diabetes. Go home and eat every piece of chocolate in sight.

Sunday 1:30am: Alarm goes off again. And again. And again. Dos cries. No snooze button on her. Nurse, dress, text message co-workers that I'll be there, I swear. 10:00am Quitting time: Woo-hoo! The weekend for me! Yahoooey! I don't have to got to work tomorrow! Or the next day! Suck it Monday through Friday people! Boo-ya!

Monday 7:00 am: Damn hell. Dos woke me up every hour and a half at least. I have to entertain two kids all day BY MYSELF and no TV. Grumble growl. Snap at Bug at least once. Apologize. Read books, paint, make muffins, draw, play games, build Lego towers, keep checking the clock, is it naptime yet? 9:15! Dammit. Keep Dos from turning the cat's water bowl into a Bellagio fountain. Repeat. Drag kids to the library/park/pool/aquarium/whatever. Naptime! Yay! Post-naptime: Make big plans for dinner. 20 mins to dinner: realize dinner is not going to be made by me because I don't have two free hands to actually cook anything. Order over-priced Chinese food.

Tuesday 7:00am: Awesome. I was up every hour and a half again, but I still got more sleep than nights I have to go to work. Look over to the bassinet. Dos is grinning at me. I feel so much better today. Entertain the kids with games, cooking, outings and feel great doing it. I love being at home with them. It's lunchtime and I feel like SuperMom. Post-naptime: Woooo...who woke up cranky? Daaaang, man. Ok, I can handle this. Post-dinner time: I don't want to go back to work. This feels like the end of vacation. I want to stay at home with my sweet, sweet girls.

Wednesday 1:30am: Alarm goes off. Damn. This again? Ok. At work: Eat breakfast at my desk uninterrupted and unencumbered. Take pleasure in going to the bathroom by myself with the door closed, knowing that I won't be interrupted by crying. Yes. This is good. Working and being away from home for a while. It's practically time off. At home: lunch, naptime, lonely afternoon because I'm solo, exhausted parent and the kids are bored with being at home.

Thursday 1:30am: I can do this. Sort of. Do I have to? Ok. Meh. After work: Hey kids. Mmmhmmm. Mommy's tired, that's all. Can we take a nap now? No? Ok. Whatcha wanna do? Hammer nails in the antique desk? Can you do that while I sit here on the couch and nap? Ok. Here's a hammer...zzzzzzz....

Monday, August 18, 2008

Every Vote Counts

Quickie: Go over here and vote for my new hairstyle. I'm not thrilled by the choices. (It's pretty obvious which one I'll pick.) But I've been waiting nearly a year for this so let's make it count. That picture was taken a few days before Dos was born which should explain the super shiny hair and double chin. My hair is much longer now, a couple of centimeters away from my coccyx at least. I'll definitely donate the hair to Locks of Love when I get it cut, so go vote and you'll be doing something good. Yay, feelgoodism!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My Life as a Movie Poster

Ingrid tagged me for a meme! It's my first! This was a good one, too, because she asked people to cast a movie about their lives. I used to love going to the movies (pre-rude audiences, crappy movies, crappy schedule and children). I was once a movie critic, too! Oh, what you people don't know about me. We'll catch up soon enough.

Anyway, go read my guest post/meme response here and get the story behind this: