at the lip of a downward spiral

Today is the first day I feel like myself again. Since our little run-in with the law, I have been sort of revelling in self-pity.

Despite Cash Bash (where I got money, free food & booze and an iPod Nano just for selling some Subarus!!), hanging out with groovy peeps, QT with Ms. P, getting at least one new fan of my blog and having some small successes at work.

I tried to explain to my mom and sister earlier why I think it is healthy to allow periods of wallowing in the dark of self-loathing & pity. It did not work. I told them I’d be even more insane if I didn’t. I do not think they were impressed (or convinced).

For example: I made up this thing that I say when I burp or fart: It’s like a parody of the 23rd Psalm. “Pardon me, for yea though I belch in the valley of the shadow of gastro-intestinal anguish, I shall fear no flatulence.” My sister told me that I must be quoting Monty Python. She said that tomorrow I may admit that I’d made it up about making it up.

Pearl’s first run-in with the law.

My mom and sister and I took Pearl to Hershey Chocolate World Saturday.

Then on the way home, we stopped at one of my all-time favorite eating establishments in Carlisle, Scalles. I would recommend it, but I can no longer bear the thought of doing so.

It was 2pm. There were not a lot of other people at Scalles.

Pearl was playing one of her fun toddler games which involved running between the table and the bathroom. It was making me nuts and scared, so I made her sit in a high chair. Pearl hates nothing more than encapsulation.

Pearl was screaming, at the top of her lungs, for like maybe 2-and-a-half minutes.

It used to be a good idea to take Ms. Pearl off to the bathroom or outside or something to get her to relax. Those tactics no longer work, in fact they often make it worse. She is stubborn and loves to make me look bad in public.

The owner of Scalles came over and said, “Hey. What’s the problem over here? Nobody wants to hear that” to Pearl. It was funny and it startled her, so she shut up for like 20 seconds.

Then the owner went to where we could see him watching us and stood there, glaring.

When, about 1-and-a-half minutes later, Pearl finally started to seem like she’d relax, the owner came and asked me if I could take her outside and get her calmed down. I was hot and tired and hungry and annoyed by the negative energy emanating from his skinny shoulders, so I grabbed Pearl, put her under my arm and told my mom to call me when she and my sister were finished and I’d come get them. I bumped Pearl’s head on the door as I left.

My mom, also annoyed (and sympathetic to the plight of a child who may or may not behave on no recognizable schedule), said, “No. We’ll come too.”

So they did. We left. We put enough money on the table for the food we’d consumed. Only 1/3 of the food had come to the table.

I took Pearl home and tried (to no avail) to get her to nap.

30 minutes later, a police officer came to my door. He told me I had to call the Carlisle cops.

I called the Carlisle cops and spoke to the NICEST police officer EVER. Officer Darhower. The owner of Scalles had called the cops on me, telling the officer the worst parts of the story to make me look like some white-trash weirdo who makes a habit of rolling on her food bills. Officer Darhower indicated that the reason for the call was that the owner of Scalles would like the bill to be paid.

I explained to the officer that I’d gladly pay the bill if the owner of Scalles would deliver the food to my door. I explained that the owner of Scalles had asked me to leave.

The officer explained that it was actually my choice to leave, and the owner of Scalles had just asked me to take my unruly child outside and get her under hand.

Silly me.

I was very angered and weeping through all of this. It stressed me out in a way I can’t remember being stressed out as a parent so far–and being a parent is fucking stressful.

I may be excessively sensitive to the ways in which people who are not caring for children, working full time, keeping a house, and paying all the bills ALL by themselves judge the bits of my parenting style that come into public view. In fact, I know I am. But I don’t think it’s wrong to want privacy and tolerance from people in the World.

I don’t go around telling couples who make out in public to stop because I’m really deprived, and it’s unbearable for me to watch. I don’t go around asking people with too little clothes and too much flesh to get dressed because they’re grossing me out. I don’t ask people to stop smoking or doing other things which may or may not irritate any number of other human beings. I endure my own irritation, most of the time, with a smile. Or if I am incapable of doing so, I absent myself.

So Officer Darhower called the owner of Scalles and then called me back, saying that the owner of Scalles was REALLY concerned about the bump to little Pearl’s head. And that I’m welcome to come back to the restaurant if I come settle my bill. They’d saved my food in the refrigerator. Wasn’t that big of them?

Blog Envy

Okay. I know why I do not read other people’s blogs.

INSANE JEALOUSY.

My blog is so boring and un-funny. Other people write funny blogs. Even other people named April. In Wisconsin. Right Here on Blogger.

I have serious blog envy and I am linking her over on the right, because she is cool and she has my name.

How many uncool Aprils do you know?

Toaster Ovens & Stranger Than Fiction

I LOVE the movie Stranger Than Fiction, and as I’m watching it, I’ve noticed that the apartments reflect each character’s personality.

Harold Crick’s apartment is full of IKEA’s minimalist tables and vintage late 70s/early 80s half-upholstered seating that is really geometrical. Mustard and Beige and Mossy Green. It’s in a yellow brick building, all squares and big windows. It feels very 80s/Miami Vice/smoky lighting. Like those Molly Ringwald movies. John Hughes? Right. That guy.

His co-worker, Dave’s apartment is in a concrete building with very, um, futuristic? lines. He eats vegetables that look like they were grown on Mars.

Ana Pascal’s apartment is in a house–on the second floor of a row house. Her furnishings are eclectic and draped in beautiful tapestries from mixed eras–present, 60s, etc. Beautiful Orange and pink and yellow and turquoise. The lighting feels organic.

Also–this movie is plain beautifully written. I’ve heard Emma Thompson talk about “honoring good writing.” It seems to me that she chooses movies that are extraordinarily well-written. Have you ever seen Treasure Planet?? It’s a Disney film. It’s FUN and good. Emma Thompson does the voice of the captain. She says, “I said something rather good this morning. What was it?… A ludicrous parcel of drivelling galloots. There you have it: poetry.” I love literary movies. I love literary people.

Today, I replaced my toaster oven. I was trying to live without one. I was trying to just go with my regular Toaster. In the place I lived before here, I had just a toaster oven, no toaster. Then it caught on fire shortly after I moved here, so I bought a toaster because the one I wanted was on sale, and thought I’d do without the toaster oven. But I adore toaster ovens. They help. You can make small oven-meals in them without warming up the full-sized oven and wasting all that energy. And now that the weather is, forgive the language, FUCKING hot, it’s great to be able to use just a cubic foot of HOT instead of 7 cubic feet of HOT when I make freezer pizza or jalapeno poppers or anything else that is small enough to go in the Toaster oven.

My friend Katney says that she has endured Ridicule because of her toaster oven. She has heard folks say, “It’s not the eighties anymore, dude.”

I’m sorry ridiculors. You are wrong. Toaster ovens are better than almost all other small kitchen appliances. They especially trump Microwaves. Microwaves are the work of Satan.

Convection is cool. Maybe someday I’ll have a bunch of convection ovens and a beautiful, cast-iron, professional-grade Gas Range.

I also dig the front-loading washing machine. It truly does marvelous work. It makes clothing clean, but makes it look less-worn-out. Especially if it already looks worn out. I have to say. The only thing about living in the suburbs I wouldn’t absolutely trade in if I moved in town is on-site laundry. I LOVE having laundry at home. Only thing is I wish it were either upstairs or in the basement. I know. Poles. But I am a woman of many polar distinctions and tastes. Nobody’s holding a gun to you and making you read this. And if they are, well, thank you. But I see no reason to be so extreme.

Anyway. I think I wanted to say something more philosophical about my toaster oven, instead of analyzing the appliances in my life.

Update on my man hating: I am this close to starting to spell all words ending in men myn or min, depending. Womyn, Specimin.

Update on my urban/suburban quandary: I would like to live in town. I would be safer and happier. I’m having a hard time being patient, but I want to be. Patience is a virtue I do not yet have.

Update on Pearl: She had perfect potty-usage yesterday. Near-perfect potty-usage today, and her slip-up was my fault, not hers. And even though she’s even not feeling all that well, she is a fabulously loving and calm. My new work schedule helps her with that.

What do we become?

This morning, I woke at twenty to six, shut off the a/c, padded downstairs. I unrolled my Yoga mat for the first day of my mid-year-resolution: Yoga at least 4 mornings a week. 45 minutes of Yoga later, I put on the coffee and went out for the Sunday paper, which I signed up for at the supermarket because of the $20 gift card they offered. I unloaded the dishwasher and had coffee and the paper on the porch while the air was still wet, before the sun had her way with all of us.

Little Pearl came downstairs at around 7:30. She got her juice and her freggie and began her day with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory A la Mr. Burton.

I put in some laundry, wrote some lists and planned the menu for tomorrow evening when my sister, Ellen and her new boyfriend, John will join us for Dinner. Then I remembered the Challah I bought the other day and made some french toast for our breakfast. Pearl still preferred a hot dog or Dog!, though she fed her toast to the air and the couch.

We saw Kung Fu Panda. It was great.

The point of this minutae is that I am really happy with this day. 8 hours later, I’m really still energized from my Yoga with Shiva Rae, and I’m looking forward to dinner at my parents’ house.

A friend just told me on the phone about his, er, encounter with a young lass on a Porche 911 in an alley in our Fair Nation’s Capitol. A few months ago, I think the tale would have made me rather jealous and nostalgic for my own days of steamy encounters. Today, though, his story made me worried and glad that I no longer have those worries.

I’ve been giving myself space and permission to really hate men lately. To really bad-mouth them like my angry-bra-burning-super-political sisters and mothers of yore did. I have been angry in a way I never wanted to be, in a way that would have disgusted me because of the ways in which “feminism” seems to fail to notice or accept responsibility for the way it has affected (ahem, confused) men. I am still disgusted, but I am healing. It is easy to be angry at men because I work with a lot of them. It is also easy to pity them. And it is easier than it has ever been to fancy myself in a domestic relationship (with a man) wherein I accept the “female” role. It is easier to get peace with the hate when I indulge it. It is easier to see ways around it, to imagine the possibility that not all men are ridiculous swine.

I hope this process seems obvious to some of you. I hope that more of you have never felt the need to hate men, though they are loathesome creatures on a great many levels. I imagine some men feel the very same way about women, and with good cause. But they are not allowed to express it. If they do, they are suspected of the desire to beat women or to rape them, and these are unspeakable things.

I used to romanticize unhappiness, depression, self-hate. I have always been able to barrel through those periods of my lfe, but lately I have been seeing fewer of them.

So what do we become? Are yoga and a slow morning the answer to all of my problems of adulthood? Of identity? Where does this peace for today come from? I have become, in a short almost-four-years just about EVERYTHING I never wanted to be. A mother, a (looks like) permanent resident of South Central Pennsylvania, sentimental–openly and sloppily, a junior spinster, a man-hating feminist, a car-salesperson, a manager, celibate, complacent, a fan of chick flicks, fat and happy.

I suppose the good news is that I have not actually become my mother. Yet.