Vegetables

There are many ways I consistently fail throughout my life, but possibly the most omnipresent and shameful is produce-based. I can’t recall a time when I did not have vegetables rotting in the fridge that I was simply unable to deal with. Right now, for example, there are any number of bags of pre-cut vegetables that I paid extra for, knowing this would make it easier for me to toss them in the oven for roasting. For about a month, I did! But then I got tired of roasting vegetables; the act of roasting vegetables began to seem unpleasant and then impossible. This week, I began to resent the vegetables: who the fuck do they think they are, do they think they control me? Nobody can make me use my scant free time to roast vegetables if I don’t want to; I’m a free adult.

There are some people (I live with one) who, when they notice vegetables turning in their fridge say something like, “Gotta cook these tonight, it’s the last night for them” and then…do it. Like it’s nothing.

I will never be one of these people. For me, spoiling produce is a rebuke, a battle, a vice, a deep personal shame, a symbol, a resentment, an enemy, and finally, garbage in about that order.

Meanwhile, I ate an entire bag of goldfish crackers for dinner last night.

Needs

Back when I used to write plays, we talked a lot about constructing scenes based on each character having a compelling, urgent need that then is frustrated in various ways, causing that character to have to pursue different tactics in an attempt to get it. If you boil it down, this is essentially what all storytelling is. For plays, because they mostly take place in the present moment and in a way that is easily stageable (that is, they’re mostly people standing around talking to each other) you really want someone’s need to be frustrated by the person they need it from pursuing their own need. If you have both of these elements blocking each other, you have a scene.

My toddler and I act out many of these sorts of scenes every day, in which I am pursuing a particular need that is being blocked by her pursuing a need of hers. Yesterday after work, for example, I had a pressing and high stakes need to retrieve and empty my menstrual cup at the precise time that Edith had a very urgent and deep need to climb into my lap.

What resulted was one of the more entertaining and ludicrous bits of physical comedy I’ve seen in some time, albeit not appropriate for a general audience and we’d likely have difficulty finding a venue willing to stage it.

Computer

Yesterday I knocked a Nalgene full of water all over my work computer. It immediately made hissing frying sounds, so I knew it was not good. I failed to Google what to do when you dump water on your computer (the answer is turn it off immediately and don’t turn it on again for 48 hours), so I kept trying to turn it back on, likely doing further damage.

I have a work computer for work and a personal computer for personal use and I am fanatic about keeping everything entirely separate. As a result, I had no way to get into any of my work stuff on my personal computer because all of my passwords were in my 1Password which is only on my work computer.

The idea of leaving the house unexpectedly in hundred degree heat to drive into Austin and go to the Apple store in a busy mall was about as appealing as being repeatedly punched in the face; I would almost rather have abandoned my job and my mortgage and waded out into the sea.

BUT! At some point, my computer booted up long enough for me to copy down the essential passwords. I thought it might be back for good, but then it blacked out again.

I was able to set everything for work up on this tiny 11″ MacBook I’ve had since 2015. So the key thing now is for this computer to continue functioning until my new work computer arrives.

But now I wonder: how are we not constantly dumping liquids on our computers? It seems like this should be a weekly occurrence.

Makeup

A friend recently discovered that when Sally Ride went into space in 1984, the NASA engineers asked her if 100 tampons would be sufficient for her two-week journey. My friend found this so ridiculous that she Snopes’d it to check.

I had heard about the tampons, but I had never heard about something else in the Snopes article: that the engineers also developed a makeup kit for her, since they figured women might…need makeup? Like how they need tampons? I find this even more incredible than the tampons bit. They seriously gave Sally Ride eyeliner for space.

Eyeliner.

I just. What the fuck. What do men think women even are.

This made me think about how a friend and I were talking about things after the Trump election and we both had been feeling very strongly that it was suddenly very important not to wear makeup. I was surprised when she brought this up, because I really felt it, but I didn’t expect it to be a relatable sentiment. I had felt this vaguely in the past — that at my level of status, it was important that I make a real point of going bare-faced especially in professional settings since I will not actually be penalized economically for it unlike other women who cannot make that choice, and so those of us who can push back about these expectations need to do it — but after that election, it felt newly pressing. I haven’t worn makeup since, really, I don’t think (except some concealer when necessary). I don’t ever plan to again, although who knows.

Increasingly as I get older, I feel more and more like I’m compromising my personal values when I adhere to beauty standards. Or more to the point, I feel actively submissive when I do, which is not how I want to see myself. There are some I still can’t seem to buck, like I’ve stopped shaving my pits, but I really don’t feel comfortable going out with hairy legs. But I’m working on it.

Maron, Season 4

I don’t have anything to say today, so I looked back through my old text files and found this thing I wrote after watching season 4 of Maron.

I had entirely forgotten that I watched this show at all until I read this, and I wrote this in July of 2017, so it was before I started my journey of having a baby on my own, but I was already planning to (I’d been planning to since I turned 30). I still haven’t seen anyone else mention what a horrific nightmare it was; probably because nobody watched it, but also probably because our society is so misogynistic.

Anyway, here’s an outdated rant about a show only ten people have seen. I consider it a cautionary tale against using a known donor. Happy Monday!

I enjoy Mark Maron, even though no one would ever accuse him of being especially enlightened. WTF got me through the terrible three months I spent in Austin temping at UT in dull data-entry jobs, and for that, I will always have a great affection for Maron and his weird garbly lispy voice. Marc himself is pretty sexist, but it doesn’t often come up on the podcast unless he has a guest who brings it out in him, in which case, he will participate with the gleeful delight of a child hanging out with a family friend who lets him swear. In seasons 1-3 of the show, however, it’s harder to ignore. There’s not outright, ugly misogyny, but more a view of women that just reads as very sadly dated. It’s like watching a sitcom from the late 80s or early 90s. And Maron does present himself as a throwback who likes vinyl and face-to-face interaction but is reasonably progressive otherwise, but I don’t think he’s really aware he’s dated in a more profound way, which can be a bit depressing to catch glimpses of, although it’s a bit helped by Maron’s self-absorption and limitations with other people being a self-conscious part of his comedic persona. 

But then we come to Season Four. 

Season Four begins with Marc having fallen off the wagon. He is living in a storage locker having lost everything, and hooked on oxy. His friends put him into rehab and put him up and in general spend the first half of the season shoving him back onto his feet. Then, Marc decides to skip town in his father’s RV for a new start. 

So far, so harmlessly clichéd. But the problem begins with Marc’s intended destination. In Season Three, he agreed to be a sperm donor to the lesbian couple next door. Because it’s a sitcom, things went sideways, but the couple had their paperwork in order. Marc was never more to them than the witty educated neighbor with decent genes. He doesn’t know the last name of the biological mother, and they have not kept in touch even casually. 

But he knows the small town she moved to, and he obtains her address from her disgruntled ex. He heads up to this town and decides to insert himself into his “son’s” life. Multiple people (including an imaginary version of himself) tell Marc that this is a terrible idea, that he is not this child’s father, that he has no claim on these people and that he will frighten and disturb them by showing up. But Marc just really WANTS to do this anyway: he finds himself in his 50s, alone, adrift, unsuccessful, and with no meaningful lasting relationships having never done any work to foster and maintain any. 

But he feels entitled to have lasting familial contacts anyway now that he finally wants them, so he intends to steal them from someone else to who he once gave some of his sperm and absolutely nothing else. And the viewer is encouraged to sympathize with him in this. 

When Marc confronts his former neighbor, Shay, and her mother, it’s terrifying. He immediately goes about inserting himself into every area of their lives. They cannot escape him. He shows up at the park, he parks outside their house, and then he turns up at Shay’s work and starts a scene. She screams for help, and her boss, coming out to see what is happening, recognizes Maron as a celebrity and befriends him right in front of his terrified employee. Later when Marc continues to show up at work, she is fired for being impolite to him. 

This is where the problem really starts: because this shit is way, way too real, and Maron thinks it’s heightened. He thinks it’s funny. We’re meant to think it’s funny. But to women, it isn’t funny — I was watching a real life nightmare play out on screen. Shay’s boss takes Marc’s side, as do two old white men, military vets who reminisce fondly about the old days when authors were men because they shot their wives, and who convince Marc to be persistent and aggressive when he is about to throw in the towel and leave town — they tell him that this is “his child,” that no matter what the law or the child’s actual family says, Marc’s balls know the truth. 

And so Marc stays, Marc persists, Marc threatens and stalks, Marc gets Shay fired, and eventually she relents. She agrees to include him in her life. In the closing shot, she smiles at him, gooey-eyed, as he holds her child. I think Maron actually thinks this is touching. 

It gave me nightmares. 

Swimming Clock

Edith knows when swimming is, and she gets so excited that she starts to be a pain in the ass about an hour before it’s really time to leave. She doesn’t have a concept of “start time” yet; I suppose she thinks that swimming is whenever we go to swimming, so when I’m sitting around when it’s getting close to swimming time, I’m just being a perverse jerk who needs to be actively motivated.

Eventually, I just give in, and while I get dressed and get her dressed as slowly as possible and drive as slowly as possible, we still regularly get there thirty minutes early, and earlier every week. The teachers always look at us strangely when we come in so early, but I don’t know how to explain that once it gets Sunday afternoonish, Edith is handing me my swimming trunks and shoving and shouting me to the door.

Soon, we’ll start getting there the night before.

Couch

Today Edith was running couch laps while I read at one end (a few words in between her reaching me on each lap and throwing herself over the book dramatically) and I suddenly noticed things had been quiet for two seconds rather than one.

I glanced over at Edith and did an actual double-take. She’d finally gotten up the nerve to try to get to the window sill next to the other end of the couch (long an ambition) and now she was suspended above the floor, fingers clutching the sill, toes just retaining purchase on the sofa arm.

She hadn’t even hollered; she just had this face like “ok, this didn’t turn out the way I expected.”

Amoxicillin Update

Well, Edith decided that she wasn’t going to drink her milk anymore now that it had begun tasting gross, so we revisited the idea of me force-feeding her. After some trial-and-error, I hit upon the solution, which works well enough: wrap her in a towel, put her flat on her back and straddle her, with one hand hold her cheeks and push them so that she’s making a fish face with her lips, put the syringe in until it’s at the back of her throat and then slowly empty it while blowing steadily in her face.

With this method, I usually get a bit more than 3/4 of a dose down her, but we’ve lost about four full doses in the war, so I’ll have to get a refill from the pediatrician.

Amoxicillin

Edith had a cold that lasted longer than I thought it should so I took her to the pediatrician, and he said that while the cold just had to run its course, she coincidentally had the beginnings of ear infections in both ears that weren’t far enough along to be bothering her yet.

So I now have this bottle of amoxicillin and I’m supposed to give her 5 mL morning and night.

I have been provided no instruction on how on earth this is possible.

The liquid takes like super sweet bubble gum, so you’d think Edith would just suck it down, but she can tell I really want her to take it and she inherited my contrariness (a family trait) and so the second I approached her with it, she set her little jaw and glared at me. I gave her some and she decorated my dress with it.

I have sought advice from other parents and one thing that has come up is that if you put a baby on her back and put the syringe in past her tongue and then blow on her face as she takes it, it triggers a swallow reflex.

Well, either that’s nonsense or Edith is especially talented, because when I tried this she closed her throat up like a vice and then spewed the medicine right back into my actively blowing face, like a geyser in the wind.

So I’ve been putting it in her milk. This works, but I read online that they might not get the full dose if it’s in milk. I figured this is maybe because it gives it more of a surface to spread out and cling to, so more of it gets left behind, so I called the nurse to ask. And she said that they don’t really recommend that method because it isn’t that efficient and they instead recommend that you put it in food, like ice cream or sweet yogurt or coffee creamer.

The thing is, though, Edith DEFINITELY will not eat food that I especially want her to eat merely because she can tell I want her to eat it (see above re: contrary). I don’t see how coffee creamer differs from milk? So we’re just going on with the milk, since it seems to be the only way, and I hope she’s getting enough down her to keep the infection from setting in.

I thought force-feeding a biting rabbit her meds was the trickiest challenge along these lines that I would have to face, but this is harder.

Agatha

Edith has a little stuffed lamb named Agatha, probably her favorite stuffed toy or doll. They have a volatile relationship: sometimes Edith hugs Agatha to her cheek and rescues her from perilous situations; other times she dashes her head against the floor or screams in her face.

Lately, Edith has been flinging Agatha into her bed in the mornings. I thought maybe she’s gotten to the age where she wants to cuddle a stuffed toy at night, so last night, I put Agatha in with her.

She immediately flung Agatha at the wall with such disgust and rage! She had never been so angry at Agatha, who had clearly trespassed unforgivably.

To make sure, I tried slipping Agatha back in quietly at a couple of points throughout the night, only to get smacked in the face with her as she made a hasty exit. So ok, message taken. Agatha can sleep with me.