On Friday, the bomb fell.
“Hey Becky, did you know (insert name of preschool teacher) is gone all next week?”
No. No I HADN’T known, although that was likely due to the holes Topamax left in my brain. I’d remembered hearing rumblings of a “summer vacation” but when I realized that it was, in fact, now June (rather than the March I’d been convinced it was), I shit my pants. No, not literally – I have excellent bowel control.
WOAH. That got awkward fast.
Me + 2 squirmy kids + no back-up plan + Mysterious Oregon Trail Disease = copious amounts of vodka and a wagon wheel.
It’s not that I don’t love my children fiercely – I do. I’d do just about anything for those tiny germ-infested crotch parasites. Anything except stay at home day in and day out with them. It’s not that I don’t find them charming, amusing (insert your own positive adjective here), it’s that after three rounds of playing Princess Pinkey Pie, I’m ready for several drinks and some private time in the bathroom.
I wasn’t cut out to be a stay at home parent, however, since I work at home, when childcare gets fucked up or someone gets sick, it’s my ass that has to stop what I’m working on and shove my parenting hat back on.
But a whole week? While I’m coughing up what appears to be small tree frogs every other minute? Sleeping 18 hours a day WITHOUT Green Death Nyquil cocktails? Feeling as though I’m wandering around through a sea of orange Jello? I’m probably not up for the whole parenting three kids for eleventy-nine hours a day; even if I can manage to postpone my work*.
I loathe admitting that I cannot do something, but in this case, the Mysterious Oregon Trail Disease has left my brain full of holes one could probably drive a truck through, should they be so inclined. When I told Daver I wasn’t quite up to parenting the crotch parasites, I expected a lot of teeth gnashing, hand-wringing and other such behaviors. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised.
“I’ll take them up to my parents house!” Dave practically cheered, as I sat back, aghast. His enthusiasm was as though I’d offered him a night of hookers and blow, which, while it can be found in Milwaukee, would probably not sit well with my uber-conservative in-laws (although, to be fair, I do not know this for a fact – they could have a meth lab in their basement for all I know).
This morning, they left for my in-laws. Probably not to manufacture meth, but that’s speculation on my part.
The house, it’s eerily quiet.
I realized, while sitting here drinking my coffee while trying not to choke on my own spittums, that this is the first time I’ve actually been sans children for more than a couple of hours.
I used to laugh at people who got all, “OH MY BAY-BEE IS ALL GROWDS UP!” not in a cruel way, but because my children had temperaments that would make even the most seasoned of parents lose their hairs. If you look up the textbook definition of a “difficult” or “slow-to-warm up” child, you’d see photographs of my children. They’re wonderful people, but they require a metric fuckton of patience. Most kids do.
And I’m not going to lie and say that I’ll be up all night prostrate (not prosTATE) with grief, but you know what? It’s been 3 hours and already I miss those little buggers.
Rather than sit around moping, I’m gonna grab one of Daver’s bizness shirts, some sunglasses and go all air-guitar to some Bob Segar.
Because I fucking can.
*Real work, not the dancing slug videos.
How’s summer treating YOU, Pranksters?
Now, I don’t know if you knew, but if you want to be a successful blogger, you’re supposed to have an advanced degree in photography. At least, that’s what blogs like the omniscient Dooce and the ever-present, always delightful, Pioneer Woman have taught me. Well, that and I should probably make some shit homemade or roll around in a tub of butter or something, but I stopped listening at “photoblogger.”
I grew up in a photogs household. No, not the kind trying to get beav shots of Brit-Brit as she gets out of the car, but the people who have darkrooms in their basement, the smell of darkroom chemicals wafting from their pores. Every holiday, every given Sunday, any day of the week found my father, brother and grandfather, all with dueling cameras, trying to snap pictures. I don’t know how many holiday dinners went (quite literally) to the dogs as we were forced to pose, then pose again, then repose because “the light’s not right.”
I was primed to grow up with a camera in my hands or convinced that, in my formative years, I was a child star.
You know which happened.
Back in Aught Five, I had The Daver buy me a Christmas present – a DSLR. I figured that it’d be like osmosis – I’d grown up with a lens in my face, there was NO reason I wouldn’t magically understand the 8274-niner dials and begin speaking about “apertures”and “light quality” and “winning at life.” Except that, well, even with Ashton Kutcher (who was not QUITE so douchebaggalicious back then) selling me the thing, I still wasn’t much of a photog.
I mean, I got the idea of what composed a good picture, but did you know, Pranksters, that DSLR’s weigh approximately 250 pounds? With cameras out there the size of a granola bar, who the shit wants to lug THAT around?
(answer: other people who are not me)
But, since I was stewed in the embryonic waters of photogs, I did learn a bit about photography along the way.
Without further ado, here is Aunt Becky’s Guide to Photo-blogging:
First, one must capture their subject. In doing so, it must be referred to “subject” possibly using the term “medium” just because it makes you sound like a fancy person.
While you may note that there is, in fact, a cat in this shot, the shot was not for the cat. Because that is NOT my fake-dead cat, Mr. Sprinkles, but my perfectly alive cat Chloe, who is both stupid and possibly brain damaged.
First things first. Watermarks. That’s YOUR way of saying, “don’t steal my shit, shitheal,” because obviously adding that to a photo means you KNOW what you’re doing. A lot of bloggers employ this technique:
While that’s all well and good (supposing you don’t think people will just cut that bit of useless blather off the oh-so-coveted picture of cat vom, I much prefer THIS approach:
It’s ugly. It obscures the photo. And it says, “DON’T STEAL MY STUFF, SHITBREAD.”
Anyway. Watermark aside the subject of this particular photo would have been unclear, would I not to do this, a technique I like to call the “Captain Obvious Technique:”
If I hadn’t done the Captain Obvious Technique, you may have erroneously believed that I was talking about my brain-damaged cat Chloe, her water bowl (which says, “Good Dog,” which I find hilarious), or, perhaps, my floor, which is in desperate need of replacement.
Using the Captain Obvious Technique, I left NO room for error. Not only did I inform you WHAT you were to be looking at, I was sure to POINT to it, so that you weren’t under the impression that the cat puke was anywhere but by the arrow. I find that really helps one appreciate fine art.
But why stop there?
There is so much more to be done.
For example, we could make my brain-dead cat Chloe talk!
Although I assume it’s more like this:
By rearranging thought bubbles, I was able to capture that Chloe might be a super-genius, while the pile of puke is an angsty teenager.
But WHY STOP THERE? There’s so much more to be done. If one wants to be a TRUE photoblogger, one must be willing to make it ARTSY.
We ALL know artsy = soft core porn.
And never, ever be afraid to mix mediums:
You’ll note that in this particular photograph, I decide that the cat barf could use a whimsical touch – like a birthday cap and Tom Cruise shades. I added, because one should never be afraid to mix mediums, a textured background. Why?
WHY HAVE “OR” WHEN YOU CAN HAVE “AND?”
Up next, 821,722, 018 steps to be a better blogger!
The whole “nurses make the shittiest patients,” isn’t an untruth. It’s like somehow, since we passed the NCLEX*, we’re immune to everything, duh. And if we do happen to become ill, we’ll get over it like BAM! Because, again, didya SEE my NCLEX score? I totally aced that puppy.
I’ve been sick since I was a baby. At my first well-baby visit, I had a damn ear infection. I’d blame it on my mother, because that’s en vogue and all, but truthfully, she nursed on demand, she didn’t smoke or do drugs, we were organic before “organic” was a buzzword. I’m surprised I didn’t come home in a burlap onesie, but then again, it was the end of July (I had to stay in the hospital after I was born. ABO incompatibility, for the three of you who care) and my grandmother had bought me some frilly frock from Neiman Marcus.
Anyway, I was off and on antibiotics for ear infections until I miraculously outgrew them. Then, my tonsils were all, I DO WHAT I WANTZ, and I got strep throat every three weeks – like fucking clockwork.
(these were the days, I don’t have to add, where ear tubes weren’t yet the standard of care for multiple ear infections and having a tonsillectomy was considered in bad taste – instead, I had to wait until they had actually rotted – age 14 – and then have them out. The ears, well, they’re still tube-less).
I’ve been sick more or less, since birth.
Which is why I don’t pay terribly much attention to it. While I joke that I’m moaning histrionically at the ceiling, letting out a croaked “Why God, WHY ME?” I’m actually on the computer working my balls off. Or in the garden, “sweating it out” to the Golden Oldies.
You shut your whore mouth while I’m listening to my Golden Oldies.
See, if I spent the time I was ACTUALLY sick moping about the house, I’d never get anything done. And if I didn’t get anything done, well, the world might actually
implode keep spinning like it always does. No seriously, I know** nothing would happen if I stopped for awhile, but I’m not the sort who relaxes well. When I’m told that I should “relax” a bit, I laugh. Not because it’s a bad idea, but because without heavy doses of vodka, I just can’t. My version of “relaxing” is only scheduling out 4 weeks of posts for Band Back Together and writing 2 resource pages while deadheading THREE rosebushes rather than 16.
Because I realized a long time ago, like at least three weeks ago, that I love to work. I need my mind to stay occupied to stay sane, and while tiny crotch parasites are, in fact, entertaining, singing songs about pooping is only entertaining for so long. So I push myself. When I get down, I push harder, I push until I pass out. Stopping? Well, that’s bullshit. I’m unapologetic about this – I am a work-at-home parent and I love it.
Until I get the pertussis. Or the pneumonia. I’m not sure which exotic Oregon Trail disease I have at the moment – only that I’m hawking up tree-frog sized balls of phlegm – and that I’ve been confined primarily to the couch until The Guy On My Couch and The Daver see fit to let me up.
All of this sitting around doing fuck-nothing has reminded me of this: in all my efforts to work harder, do more, and push push push, I’ve neglected the one thing that I shouldn’t have: myself.
Certainly I’m more or less sane (as sane as anyone who calls herself “Aunt Becky” and wages anonymous wars on Internet users like John C. Mayer). My children are happy, polite, and charming individuals. My home? It needs a dumpster, but that’s a different story. I realized this:
Each thing I do, I rush through so I can get to something else.
While normally, this poses no problem, I realize that I’ve neglected even the most basic of self-care – I’ve needed a hairs cut for months. My feet need a pedicure and a tiny Asian woman (probably speaking ill of me under her breath) wielding a razor.
In short: I need some time to myself. Wherein I do not work. Wherein I do not care for small squirmy people or large squirmy people. I have decided that it’s time. In fact, it’s so far PAST time that I can barely cop to it without feeling shame.
There will be no more “I should’s,” or “I can’s” in my vocabulary. No more guilt if I fall short of my mark.
Instead, I will set aside an hour every day – without pity – to myself. I will do something that benefits me, rather than those around me. If that means sucking it up and getting my hairs did? I will do it. If it means relaxing on the couch with a book while someone else cares for squirmy small people? So be it. If it means taming my eyebrows or waxing the cat? That’s what it means.
And I will do it.
Because I’m worth it, dammit.
And? So are you.
P.S. Pranksters, what do normal people “do for themselves?” I’m asking for, urms, a FRIEND.
*The National Council Licensure EXamination for nurses.