Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Top pick

I like to think of baby names in my spare time. I don't know why. But I thought of a gem today: Ophelia Amelia. You heard me. That's what I'm naming my baby girl in seven years. And when I'm angry, it will be impossible to call her both names without sounding completely stupid.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Thoughts are hard

Which is why I began two blogposts since the last one and scrapped them midway through. But I'm feeling the need to write something. So I'm cheating and using a modified prompt from One Minute Writer. The prompt is to write about a memorable summer activity you enjoyed as a child, but I decided to reminisce about a summer activity that I did not enjoy. I know, I'm so subversive sometimes.

My mom had a loosely-enforced summertime rule regarding the wearing of innertubes, swimmies, and the like in the pool: You have to wear them until you pass swim lessons. I say "loosely-enforced" because, like most of her rules, I could generally whine and wheedle my way out of them (don't judge my mom. You don't know the piercing hell that was/is my tantrum voice). However, it would seem a rule such as this--one designed for safety--wouldn't be up for compromise. But, dear reader, let me tell you: Had she actually enforced it, I would have been wearing my red rubber innertube-swimsuit until I moved out of the house. I never learned to swim.

It's not that I'm afraid of water. On the contrary, I always look forward to pool excursions. It's that I am supremely unathletic. My body simply refuses to move the way it should. Water gets up my nose, no matter how hard I try to blow out underwater. Diving inevitably ends in bellyflops. A simple freestyle stroke turns to a doggie paddle, and a float always ends in a sink. As recently as last summer friends tried to get me to execute a successful float on my back. I was relaxed, head back, arms out, and my legs still refused to remain horizontal. I'm very dense, you see. I can't tread water in the same way that other people can, either. The only way I can stay afloat in one place is by kicking as fast as I can like I'm riding a unicycle, while simulataneously sweeping my arms. If I try to do it slowly, the sea eats me.

Oh, and I still hold my nose when I go underwater. GOD HELP YOU if you dunk me before I have a chance to pinch my nostrils shut.

I can't recall the order in which I was signed up for swim lessons, but I do recall at least three separate summers in which my mom attempted to instill aquatic knowledge in my young mind. There was Mr. Doug, a large hairy man with a bushy mustache. I believe his swim lessons were in his home pool, but I could be wrong. We have a home movie of this debacle. I'm blissfully doggie paddling along in arm swimmies, a giant styrofoam q-tip under my armpits for extra support. I laugh and splash, and make silly jokes with Mr. Doug. Then Mr. Doug takes away my q-tip, THAT MONSTER. I flail and cry, my head dipping underwater and begging for mercy. After a good ten minutes of watching me sputter and die, Mr. Doug finally gives up and deposits me, still clinging to his hairy chest, on the side of the pool. There I curl up into an angry ball, betrayed.

I don't remember the second swim lessons at all, except that a pretty blonde lady (maybe a teen, who knows) taught it. Also, a failure, because that led to the final swim lesson at a local country club. I think I was about 8 or 9 by that time, and had to be placed with some younger kids. That probably didn't encourage me to take the lessons very seriously, and I recall mostly splashing around and ignoring the instructor. One day we had a CPR lesson, and instead of getting to be in the pool we had to sit on the side and watch demonstration after demonstration. I remember being hot, and thinking I can go into the water if I make it look like an accident. So I slipped off the side into the deep end and let myself sink to the bottom. Then, I kicked my way back up to the top, expecting the instructor to yell at me. Instead, she praised me for knowing how to get back up, and I was pleased that my deception was successful. THAT is what I learned from those lessons.

I'm pretty sure that because I disliked swim lessons so much as a child, and was so awful to my instructors, it's my cosmic fate that someday I'll be the sole survivor of a plane crash only to land in the middle of a small, relatively shallow lake/river/pond/swimmin' hole, and that I will drown right then and there with onlookers lamenting "if only she learned to swim." Or that one day I will have a child that I take to the beach, and he will get caught in a rip tide, and I will only be able to shout helplessly from the beach, "I'M SORRY JOHNNY. MOMMY HAS TO HOLD HER NOSE IN THE WATER AND SHE CAN'T REACH YOU WITH ONLY ONE ARM, NOW CAN SHE?"

Even worse: My mother will show up one day and demand I wear my swimmies again. She would.

This infant is actually rescuing me.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I am the Elmer Fudd of real estate

All week we've been out there: Silently stalking our prey. Meeting strangers on corners, following them into buildings. What we seek is the most dangerous game: Man Orca whales Apartments.

Actually, I'm beginning to think murder/whale slaughter might be easier than this. We have pretty specific requirements: At least one bedroom, a space big enough to fit the junk that's in our current apartment, a dishwasher, in-building laundry. As it turns out, these are steep requests of any neighborhood outside of our current residence. I've lost count of how many apartments we've looked at, because they all blur into one blob that looks like this:

Broker: Okay, I have a great place to show you. You guys will love it.
Me: Does it have a dishwasher?
Broker: Oh yeah, all these units have them.
*arrive at each unit. Discover that NO UNIT HAS A DISHWASHER, let alone a functional kitchen*
Broker: Oh, that's weird, I could have sworn there was a dishwasher. Let's look at the next one, you'll really love this one.
Me: Is there laundry in the building?
Broker: Oh yeah, all these units have them...

Repeat, ad nauseum. Each unit we've looked at is either way too old, in terrible shape, has zero kitchen cabinet space, has no dishwasher, no laundry in the building, dead children in the closet, or is out of our price range.

So we'll see a couple more tomorrow. There was one unit that was a maybe...the deal is that it has an identical unit that is getting renovated, but we can't see it for at least another week or so. The unrenovated twin wasn't something I would take, but if the renovations are what the broker describes, I would want to be inside of that. *Snicker*

One unit was laid out in the coolest way ever, but the flooring in the bedroom was that kind of tiling you see in a McDonald's, and the kitchen was minus a dishwasher. If the Mickey D's tiling hadn't been there I might have compromised on the magical washing box, but two strikes is two too many. The apartment was set up so that you entered the bedroom, which was a level below the rest of the apartment, from a spiraly staircase in the floor of the living room. Like a treehouse! Or a secret spy fortress of solitude! A layout in which I can pretend to be a superhero is the only way in which you will pry a dishwasher from my cold, dishpan hands.
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