January 2008


I was so excited. I decided to go ahead even before all the comments showed up. I ran upstairs, grabbed the scissors, got a fistful of hair and hacked. It was great, like the feeling you get from taking it out on a punching bag. I hacked and hacked, with no caring for whether it was even. I got as close as I could to the back of my head. I even tried Derek’s beard trimmer, bit it couldn’t grab my fine hair, so I just used the scissors. I thought it would be so terrible, with huge chunks and divots in the back. I purposely left some longish ones in the front and on top.

I washed my hair, trimmed some more from my fuzzy neck, and smooshed it around. This is what I got, still wet:
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That’s almost the same as the last haircut I spent $50 on. Except for the craggy back. That was yesterday. Today, I tried a little harder to get something useful out of the cut, and this is what I’ve got so far:
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Maybe I just need to learn to go crazy with the library paste. Next time, I’ll go for the buzz.

I need a haircut sooo bad now, and while I was driving to the post office today, I had the near overwhelming desire to stop at a chop shop and get a buzz. I’m serious. I also keep thinking about cutting it myself, and making it super-punk. It would totally backfire, because I’m not punk. I would look even more geeky than I already do, but at least it would be funny.

Everyone in my family has crappy teeth. We all get too many cavities (it couldn’t possibly be the horrific amounts of candy we all eat. It must be genetic.), and we all have had to have fillings and root canals, plus a few extractions. I never used to be afraid of the dentist, until I started getting abscesses, and the resulting root canals and crowns. I once had a crown crack in two, and the tooth cracked right along with it. I had to get it pulled. For some reason, the Novocaine never works very well on me, so they end up pumping me with 7 or 8 shots, and I can still feel it. Well, getting a tooth pulled sucks, especially if you can feel it going on. I don’t know if it sucks as bad as what happened to my brother, though.

Isaac is a magnet for negative cosmic energy. People pick on him for no reason. The laws of physics conspire against him, and worlds collide to render him uncomfortable. I am not making this up. He gets way more than his share of bad luck, but I’m not going to tell you all the tragic stories today. Just one.

Isaac had recently gotten a new crown for one of those awful root canals. The dentist affixed the crown with temporary glue, instead of permanent, so that Isaac could wear it for a while and decide first if he liked the crown before it went in there permanently.

About a week after he got it, of course it loosened itself and fell out. Not wanting to waste a $400 crown, Isaac planned to keep it and return to the dentist. Having nowhere better, he decided to leave it in his mouth. After all, who wants to keep a tooth in their pocket, with all that lint, and who knows what else?

Just after finishing the last bite of his burger at lunch, Isaac suddenly realized that his crown was no longer in his mouth. OK, this part might have involved a tiny bit of lack of common sense, but read on.

Angered at himself, but nevertheless determined not to waste $400, Isaac descended upon a plan wherewith to retrieve his crown. You may be able to guess what his plan involved. Initial attempts at vomiting the crown out were unsuccessful, “probably,” he says, “because I ate it and it went right down to the bottom of my stomach, under the burger.” So he waited until the opportune moment and, armed with a quart sized Ziploc bag, he “sh– (rhymes with scat) in the bag.” He described to me the benefits of the bag. Apparently it is much easier to squish around if you first let all the air out of the bag.

The first attempt resulted in nothing, but never losing hope, Isaac persevered through a second. And Eureka! He found the crown. He fished it out of the bag of his own poo, and was rinsing it off in the bathroom sink, when Mom came downstairs and inquired about his activities. He tried to tell her several times that this was a clear case of “You don’t want to know,” but she pressed him until he explained.

Thoroughly grossed out, Mom left, only to hear a solid stream of profanity emanating from the bathroom shortly thereafter. Isaac had, of course, dropped the crown, and it had, of course, gone right down the drain. My compassionate mom went in to help him retrieve it again. They dismantled the sink and drain, and were able to rescue the treasure.

Isaac thoroughly cleaned the crown, and then took it to the dentist, who glued it right back into Isaac’s mouth. I can honestly and quite literally say that I am glad my teeth are not as crappy as Isaac’s.

In the course of our normal weekday, we were on our way to drop off Calvin at Kindergarten about 1/2 hour ago. The boys had fought me over getting warm duds on, as usual. It had taken about 20 minutes to get everyone properly outfitted for the cold, snowy day. I had already hit the breaking point, and had yelled at them for not being cooperative.

I was trying to fasten Kiki into her stroller, but with my gloves on, the laws of physics were against me, and I barely refrained from letting loose a long string of profanity. It took another few minutes to get her buckled in, just long enough for the boys to run down the street to the intersection. I have tried my best to instill in my children the importance of checking traffic before proceeding to cross the street. They are usually very good at it, and I am usually standing next to them. This time, there were a couple of cars coming, and the boys dutifully waited. I was about 20 feet behind them now, and starting to turn down my worry gauge.

My little Zeebie, impulsive, not always obedient, and only 3 1/2, suddenly made a break for it, just as I saw a gargantuan black SUV approach the intersection.

As my heart stopped, and an unfamiliar sound escaped my throat, Zeeb heard me scream and tried to stop, but got confused and tried to keep going and turn around at the same time. The truck, which had been driving pretty slowly, stopped about 4 feet from my baby boy.

I ran to him, he ran to me. I picked him up and moved him from the street, where I felt the world cave in around me. I didn’t fall down, but I felt like I would. Never have I sobbed so loud in public. I shook so hard I gave myself an asthma attack in the 30 degree air.

For a split second, I debated going back home and skipping school for the day, but somewhere in the recesses of my consciousness, reason won out. We kept walking the three blocks to the school. I sobbed the entire way, pausing only to chastise my middle child, ask him why he ran into the road when he clearly saw the approaching truck, and to cough hard enough to make me gag.

When we got to school, the truck was there. The driver was the father of two of Calvin’s classmates, his only two friends, twins. He had waited for us to arrive.

He got out of the truck and approached me. I’ve never spoken to him, though we wait for our children in the same place every day. He asked if I was OK, and gave me a hug. He said he was still shaking. He said he had seen my boys on the curb, and had slowed down and moved to the other side of the road, just in case. He must have had his foot already on the brake.

My darling little boy has no concept of what happened, nor really why I reacted so strongly. When we got home, he grabbed his buggy (his nasty old blanket that he sucks his thumb with) and went to have a nap in my bed.

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First, I promise I’m not this horsey in real life. Second, what do you do with hair that’s too long to spike, and too short to wear down?
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Third, are you not impressed with my self portraiting skillz? I don’t mean artistically, I mean physically. Yes, I took that one from the back, with my own arm. How is that possible, you ask? It hurts a tiny bit.

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I noticed this marvelous change in my mood this morning when I went out to run. I had anticipated a crappy run, since I had to leave before 7:00 am so Derek could get to work early. I don’t love running in the dark. I geared up for a dismal 22 minutes, checked the forecast, and was astonished to find that it was 60 degrees outside. It was 61 inside. Hmmm.

I removed my long-sleeved shirt and replaced it with a short-sleeved one. I stepped outside, and it was, indeed, the same temperature on both sides of the door. After the 4 degree runs last week, things were looking up. Even my tights were a little warm.

For the past month and a half, I’ve been having pretty severe regrets about buying this house. I keep having to think back to October to try to remember how much I liked it then, how excited I was about the neighborhood. I’ve been angry at the cold, wishing we’d taken that job in Tucson. I’ve been wishing we had taken more time searching, and had found a house that didn’t leak, or have millions of drafts, some of which I positively cannot find. I’ve been disappointed to find out that we apparently live in a snooty area. Not that I’ve met anyone snooty, but everyone who doesn’t live here automatically assumes that we’re snooty and rich, because of our location. I’ve felt a little trapped.

But today, with the temperature approaching 70, all that remorse is blowing away with the 5-mile-an-hour wind. All the snow melted from the yard, so I can see my pretty yard, with greenish grass everywhere. Most of the drafts are plugged up with torn bits of cereal boxes, but that doesn’t even matter, since I’ve got the front door open to let the cool, live air in. People are walking around outside. I got the kids ready to walk Calvin to school, and they didn’t need jackets, so it only took 30 seconds to get out the door, instead of 15 minutes, with searching for and donning boots, coats, mittens, sweaters, more mittens, hats, and blankets for the wee one in the stroller. There was no complaining. They were all equally thankful for the chance to get out and run, and see some sunshine. Even the stroller cooperated more than usual, allowing me to steer one-handed while holding hands with Zeeb, who loves holding hands more than any child I’ve ever met.

Today is the perfect day to start my compost. I’ve been trying to decide on the best way to contain our compost, whether it be in a wood bin, a chicken wire fence, brick, or a simple heap. Since today is so lovely, and I don’t have any wood, chicken wire, or brick, a heap it is. I don’t know where to find some manure, to make sure the compost heats up properly, but this is Ohio. I’m sure it won’t be too difficult.

A friend from church has invited us to spend some time at the park after school. It’s hard to be grouchy when the weather is so fine.

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