Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Assurances: Brought to you by SAM

me: [just waking up]

Sam: [shaking me, hence the reason I'm waking up.]

me: "Hi, Sam."

Sam: "Oh, good. You're awake."

me: "Yup."

Sam: "Okay, well, I just wanted you to know something."

me: "Mmhmm?"

Sam: "In case you, you know. Don't make it."

me: ???

Sam: "And that's just that I love you. I'll love you even if you're dead."

me: "Thanks, baby." (I think...)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

First off, here's a deep thought, courtesy of Joe's Crab Shack where we go for all celebrations for the single reason that they have a playplace:

and second, here's the look on Steve's face when he got his birthday present:

because I am, apparently, the best.wife.ever.

(happy birthday, kiddo. I'm glad you were born.)

Yeah, so I'm old it turns out.

Miss Provo has informed me that she was like four feet tall when the Matrix came out. (Sam is four foot three and he's in kindergarten, though I think Miss Provo was older when she was four feet tall. Most people are.) And that last post makes very little sense if you have not seen the Matrix. So here's the spoon bit:

and here's the red pill scene

Do you ever have days where you go, "*&^%$! I shouldn't have taken the red pill!!"

I've had a lot of those lately.

Monday, May 24, 2010

In Which Lily Decides that Outside is Better than Inside

Lily has had some trouble grasping the childbirth thing. And we have had trouble trying to explain it it her. And yet, she won't.stop.asking.questions. So, one day, we did what all good parents do: resort to consultation with the internet.

me: "Okay, Lily. There's a part of your body called the 'uterus.' Should we google pictures of the uterus?"

Lily: "Yes. Please."

me: "Okay. Here we go."

me: [point to ovaries] "This is where the eggs are. And one gets released every month. And when one of those gets combined with a daddy-version of an egg called a sperm, that's when you get a baby. The cells divide and divide and divide, and they start growing something that looks like a frog at first."

Lily: "That doesn't look like a frog. Maybe a lizard. Or, actually, I don't know what it looks like."

[this is when her face initially starts to show a hint of horror. but we continue cuz we're like that.]

me: "Well, then the baby gets bigger."

Lily: "Stop showing me cartoon things. I want to see the REAL thing."

me: "Okay."

Lily: [starting to look a little green.] "I don't think that's a baby. That's an alien."

me: "No, that's what babies look like on the inside."

Lily: "Yes, but, how do they come OUT?"

me: "Well, one of two ways. The traditional way is what's called a 'vaginal' birth."

Lily: "But also doctors can CUT the baby out, right?" [Lily can be morbid sometimes.]

me: "That's true."

Lily: "I need to see a picture of that."

me: "Really?"

Lily: "YES! Just show me the picture! And NO CARTOONS! And I need to see the whole thing. So let's do a video."

me: "Um... Okay."

[video redacted cuz gross.]

me: "That was really interesting, wasn't it?"

Lily: [silent.]

me: "Was it too gross?"

Lily: "It was fine. But I've decided that I don't like the inside of the body. I only like the outside. How about we look at pictures of things that go *outside* the body? How about wedding dresses?"

me: [relieved] "Okay. Here's one."

Lily, "Hey, that's Kristin!"

me: "Yeah. She randomly shows up on the web a lot."

Lily: "I like things on the outside much better. Let's find more Kristins. And maybe some people from Project Runway."

me: "Okay."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hurricane Lily Strikes. Again.

Last night our cable went out.

Totally out.

No internet. No phone. No TV. Nothing.

Let me tell you, losing that stuff was like losing part of my *brain.* It's amazing how technology gets so integrated into the way you think, right?

But it wasn't so bad. Sam and I had a long talk about what "metaphor" meant and what heaven is like and just how many angels are around us how often. Meanwhile, Lily and Steve discussed the complexities of childbirth. Lily's Aunt Cat is having a baby soon and Lily is upset by the... logistics. She wants to know how it all works and she can't quite grasp our explanations. But she keeps asking question after question after question. Good times.

Steve works for the cable company, so we don't really like when we have cable problems. The first thing anyone ever says to us when they find out where Steve works is, "OMG, my cable has been giving me nightmares!" as if Steve is somehow personally responsible for them.

So we don't like when we have problems, too.

We checked everything we could think of. We checked the modem. We checked the outside connection. We checked each TV and the wireless router. We got nothing.

So we called the cable company and they said they'd send a tech out today, sometime between 11 and 2.

The tech showed up at one. He checked the modem. He checked the outside wiring. All of those were fine. So he went into the basement to check the signal amplifier.

Which he found.

Ripped out of the wall.

And surrounded by Trix cereal.

Lily is the only one in our house who eats Trix cereal. Lily is the only one who randomly goes in the basement. (Lily goes wherever she wants, actually. Including into the middle of the street.)

So our guess?

is that the same person responsible for this

and this

is the one who ripped the amplifying cable directly out of the wall.

Can I explain why?


But, yanno, next time you have cable troubles, ask yourself if Lily has been to your house lately. Because it might not be Steve's fault after all.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

In Which I Am Cited BY the HYGIENE POLICE

Sam: "Mommy, I think you might be the dirtiest Mommy in the entire world."

me: "I really don't think so. I'm sure there's a meth-head somewhere dirtier than I am."

Sam: "No, this is serious. You are a dirty Mommy."

me: "Okay, so what are you getting at with this whole 'dirty' thing? Do you mean that our house is a mess? Because, yeah, it's a little messy, but it has been WAY worse."

Sam: "No, no. I'm talking about *you.*"

me: "Me?!"

Sam: "It's an odor thing. I can SEE the odor coming off of you. And I do not enjoy it."

me: "Ummm..."

Sam: "When was the last time you showered?"

me: "..."

Sam: "Nevermind, nevermind, I don't want to know. I just want you to know that if you don't go get in the bath right NOW I am going to give you a wedgie. A really big one."

me: "Alrighty then. I guess I'm taking a bath now."

Sam: "Great. But could you light a match first? Your odor has made this air unbreathable."

ps: I really do bathe frequently. I think Sam was just trying to goad me. For unknown reasons, probably nefarious. Only time will tell...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Drug-induced hallucination week! Last Day, I think: Virgin Mary in the Gutter

After my egg collection procedure, I was in and out of consciousness for, oh, like six or seven hours. (They said this was normal.)

Steve had rented a hotel room close to the clinic so that immediately afterward, I could lie down in a bed.

But when we got to the hotel, the front door was locked.

"Hello?" said Steve. "Are you there?"

I couldn't remain upright because I was still so drugged, so I was lying on the edge of the gutter. The air smelled like grime, cigarette smoke, and all I could think at first was of the myriad microscopic London pathogens that were soaking from the filthy concrete into my hair.

Finally, a voice answered Steve's incessant knocking. "It's lunch hour!" it said. "Come back later!"

Everything in my body hurt. My stomach, my head, the corner of my shoulder wedged into the concrete that I couldn't move because I was too drugged.

Steve said, "But we TALKED about this! My wife just had SURGERY! You were supposed to help us get her into a bed!"

The voice that answered just seemed annoyed and maybe a little defensive. "People have to eat!"


"Come back in an hour. We'll help you then."

That's when I started hallucinating again. A girl--young, maybe sixteen at most--came and sat down in the grimy gutter with me. Because of the fact that IVF is technically an immaculate conception and so I'd been thinking about her all week, I immediately recognized her: it was the Virgin Mary.

I wanted to ask her a hundred things.

I wanted to ask her if she knew. When that angel came to her, I wanted to know if she had any idea what he was really asking. I wanted to ask her if she knew that conception, no matter how miraculous, would drag her straight through the shadow of death. That she would have to go through something that even Joseph, as sweet as he was, could never understand.

But I was too drugged to ask anything. (Even to my own hallucinations.)

Steve was standing helplessly on the front steps of the hotel, looking back and forth between the locked door and me, next to the gutter.

That's when the Virgin Mary put a hand on my ankle and smiled.

"These immaculate conceptions," she said, right on the edge of a laugh. "They just never let you into the inn afterward, do they."

And for a tiny moment, all of the filth, pain, and grime around me lost their menace and I started laughing right along with her.

Some days I feel like a Brontesauras too

Friday, May 14, 2010

This is the moon of a little-known but increasingly studied celestial body:

I think there might be a few of you out there who might find it interesting. ;)

Drug-induced hallucination week! Day Three: Scantily Clad Celtic Men!

I'm baffled all these scantily clad men hallucinations. I mean, really. Good Mormon girls NEVER have those kinds of thoughts. And I am a good Mormon girl. I promise.

Anyway, EGG COLLECTION. It's a surgical procedure wherein they hoist you into very dignified leg straps and use special needles to pierce through your uterine wall into your ovaries and suck out some eggs.

(And I had a LOT of eggs.)(They said my ovaries were each the size of "footballs, love." Which means soccer balls, because this was in London, remember.)

But see, all the fertility stuff had made me gain a lot of weight and I was embarrassed. So when they asked me how much I weighed, I lied.

By about thirty pounds.

It wasn't until I was strapped (so dignified!) on that table and they were using that weight to calculate the anesthesia they were supposed to give me that I realized you should never lie about your weight to doctors who might have to give you anesthesia.

Just for future reference.

It was supposed to be like a "twilight" kind of anesthesia. Something where they said I'd be semi-conscious but I wouldn't remember anything. They'd give me pain medicine, they said. And it would be like taking a nap.

There was no damn nap.

(I know, I know. Good Mormon girls don't say "damn." So I obviously did not just say that.)

The pain three seconds into the procedure was so bad that they had to send in two extra nurses to hold me down to keep me from writhing. I had just enough anesthesia that I was all foggy and had no inhibitions. So I screamed a lot (and loud). Which was embarrassing even as it happened because I like to seem like I'm in control of my screaming, and I wasn't.

"Can't you give her any more pain medicine?" Asked Steve who was in charge of holding down one of my shoulders.

"No, we can't," they said in their London accents that had suddenly started to sound a lot less charming. "We're already at the maximum for her weight."

"But I LIED!" I was crying. "I LIED about my weight!"

Apparently it was clinic procedure to ignore whatever patients say while they are anesthetized. Because they don't know what they say half the time.

But, trust me, I knew.

The room was fuzzy and every time I screamed it got fuzzier. When I started openly just sobbing, I think Steve started to cry, too.

"I lied," I said again. "I was embarrassed!"

Steve says that I said this twelve or thirteen times.

The procedure lasted a little over an hour. And amazingly, the hallucinations didn't start until about 45 minutes in, though there were several times before that when I just blacked out for awhile.

It started when a scantily clad Celtic warrior with a blue face came and stood next to me.

And then another.

And another.

There were about twenty of them by the time they finished coming into the room.

I said to Steve, "There are Celtic warriors watching this, you know. They have blue faces." (and they weren't wearing many clothes.)

Steve said the doctor laughed. But he just stroked my hair. "Are they charging at you?" he asked.

"No," I said. "They're just watching."

"Then everything is fine. They're just here to protect you."

"Okay," I said. "But I lied about my weight."

Each time they got an egg, the doctor would call out, "I've got another one!" and an embryologist would run in and take it to the other room to be put in a petri dish with the sperm. They were all grinning because they weren't used to having patients as young as me and they weren't used to getting so many eggs.

If I had not been so busy screaming and crying and wondering why the heck all those blue men were in my room, I might have realized:

that was the hour that Sam was conceived.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Drug-induced hallucination week! Day Two: The Demon of Milton Abbey

Doctors told us couldn't have babies the "normal" way, so we had to do IVF. (I've written other essays about this. Here's one.) But back then, we were poor. Like, poorer than we are now. I was in grad school, Steve was working as a reporter for NPR ($24,000/year! woot!), IVF--$15,000 a cycle back then--was not really an option.

Until, miracle of miracles, John Bennion (who I didn't know) asked me to teach a writing class on a study abroad class in England. In England, IVF was $3000. Which was what I'd get paid for teaching.

But the catch:

This was not an ordinary writing class. It was a *wilderness* writing class. We wrote while hiking more than 200 miles, over seven mountains, in the space of six weeks.

And I did it while on IVF hormones.

I don't know about y'all, but my reactions to hormones are... extreme. So I was puking, fantasizing about killing people, generally feeling miserable, suicidal most days, and, of course!, I was hallucinating.

Well, one day we were hiking in the forest in the hills above Milton Abbey. It was a twenty mile hike that day (I think), and I was exhausted. I was so exhausted that I started to feel like my spirit had floated outside my body, connected only to my toes.

I hiked for awhile, staring at my disembodied spirit.

But then the spirit-that-looked-like-me started talking:

"You could be rich, you know," she said.

I had never really cared about being rich. But suddenly, it seemed like a really, really fantastic idea.

"And you could be famous." She was smiling. "People will adore you. There will be throngs of them. Cheering. Just because you're there."

She went on and on like this. And it was all seeming more and more appealing, everything she was saying. My insides were starting to churn with something I'd call... lust, maybe.

Just then one of the other hiking students accidentally bumped into me. (It could have been Jamie. It could have been Jessie or Elise, I actually don't remember who it was.)

The spirit who looked like me said, "When you're famous, no one will bump into you."

And I started to get really angry.

The spirit said, "You can make it all happen you know. It's simple. Watch."

Then I saw her standing at the edge of a cliff. Her face was filled with bloodlust and I felt the same thing, spinning around in my stomach. And she took that girl that had bumped into me and pushed her over the edge. And smiled.

I stopped.

"Who ARE you?" I said (in my head)(this whole thing was happening in my head, I promise no one really got pushed over a cliff). "Because you are NOT me."

And then the spirit snapped back and I felt almost like myself again.

But when we finally got to Milton Abbey, there was a pamphlet about how it was built.

A man named Athelstan was walking in the forested hills above the future Milton Abbey. When suddenly, he started to hear his own voice talking back to him.

"You could be great," said his voice.

"You could be the greatest king that ever lived."

Athelstan really liked the idea of being the greatest king that ever lived.

"It'd be easy," said his voice. "All you'd have to do..."

Athelstan believed his voice, though.

He went down and burned an entire village--with its people--to the ground.

Milton Abbey was erected in the empty space left by the destruction.

When I sat inside the abbey, sitting on its cold stones and reading that pamphlet, I wondered: was it a real demon who talked to me in the forest? One whispering bloodlust to kings and kerrys?

I couldn't tell you for sure.

But if I were you, I wouldn't hike in those hills while on hallucination-inducing drugs.

ps: Sam was conceived during that round of IVF. Just so you know. :)

So, if Miss Provo is doing an internship in New Zealand...

How on earth did she become one of the "models" for the UK's "Direct Marketing?"

Cuz, yanno. She does have great hair. But she's never crossed the Atlantic.

(Scam alert, right?!)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Drug-induced hallucination week! Day One: The Scantily Clad Latin Men

So, I just had some (minor)(don't worry, it really was minor) back surgery. (ongoing thing cuz of this.) And because of that, I was on pain pills continuously for several days. And sometimes when I'm on a continuous pain pill schedule, I hallucinate. More like waking dreams, really. Like you've sort of fallen asleep but you don't know it yet and are still conscious? I'm sure if you've ever experienced a Vicodin haze you know what I'm talking about.

So in honor of this occasion, I have declared it drug induced hallucination week! Some of you have heard this first story, but it's one of my favorites, so my apologies for repeats.

So, once like ten years ago I had this ovary that burst. (Painful.) I was scheduled to go immediately into surgery, but there kept being major traumas that would displace my little burst ovary, so I had to wait for two days. And for those two days they kept me REALLY drugged. Like, stoned out of my mind drugged.

So, the night before my surgery, I was lying with my head on Steve's lap. When out of nowhere, this scantily clad Latin man just walked past me. He was tall and really buff (think abs like Jacob) and had long black hair and was wearing a loin cloth.

"Well," I said. "That's pretty strange."

And then, there was another scantily clad Latin man that walked by. But his loincloth was a different color.

And then there was a third and a fourth and a fifth. A whole rainbow of loincloth colors!

And then I realized that they were just parading in a never ending circle in front of me.

So I turned to Steve and said, "How did all these Latin guys get in here? And what's with the parade?"

And then the REAL Steve came out of the other room and said, "Did you say something, honey?"

And I looked down and had been talking to a pillow.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Morning Art

Steve: "Hey, Lily, go show Mommy the picture you drew."

Lily: "Look, Mommy! Isn't it great?"

me: "Oh, wow. That's really great. What is it?"

Lily: "Well, see, there was this blue monster. And he ate a lot of people. This is their blood!"