Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties Spills the Beans

I used to think that when a woman in her thirties announces she's going to have a baby, the reaction should include lots of dropped jaws and gasps. I mean, I know I've gained some weight (eight pounds as of last week, but who's counting?), but all my baby books and friends assured me that I'm 'probably the only person who even notices'.

Yesterday I decided to spill the beans and tell my students that I'm pregnant. Here are some of the highlights:

M: 'Dude, we've known for like two months.'
R, while high-fiving T: 'I freakin' called it!'
B: 'You're a petite lady, it's been pretty obvious for awhile.' (automatic A for her)
R, after I mentioned I'd been a bit emotional lately: 'Yeah. We noticed.'
D: 'I wrote May 4th on the pencil sharpener. That's the day I figured it out.' (he wasn't kidding)
P: 'I thought it was weird that suddenly you were getting fat in the stomach.' (we'll be talking later)
P, later: 'We didn't think you were the type of person to let yourself go.' (let myself go?!)
D, S, N: 'Will you name the baby after me? What if I do extra credit?'
J: 'Can we have a suggestion box for baby names?' (um, brilliant idea....)
J: 'You should name the baby Chris, after Chris McCandless in Into the Wild.' (he really loved that book)
P: 'You are going to be the best Mom.' (automatic A, letter of recommendation for college, and $100 graduation bonus for her)

It's easy to get down on teaching, particularly at this time of year when the kids get the end of May crazies, but yesterday made me appreciate my job more than I have in awhile. Apparently my announcement wasn't the surprise I had been looking for, but despite that I got six rounds of screams and applause and hugs of congratulations. In what other profession does a woman in her thirties get that kind of love? It almost makes me think I'm going to miss those little buggers when they go off to college next year.

Almost.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties Eliminates the Shenanigans

In today's post, the word 'pornography' will be replaced by the word 'shenanigans'. Please make a note.

In thirty two years on this planet, I have learned to ignore problems. It's probably between numbers 1-5 in a very, very long list of things about me that I should fix. But you know... between placenta-growing, finals-making, and cake-baking, I've been kinda busy.

Case in point: my computer has been running slow for awhile. A couple of months ago, Internet Explorer stopped working. 'Weird', I thought. 'Good thing I only use Firefox.' Apparently the correct response to such and issue would have been, 'Gee, I should probably fix that.'

Saturday morning I woke up to send my Mom her morning email, opened my laptop, and found a lot of... shenanigans. Once I closed one window of shenanigans, another window of shenanigans would pop up. Then another. Then another. And this was the type of shenanigans that makes a woman in her thirties turn her head and go, 'Oh my god, gross!' Like that.

I walked gingerly upstairs to my techno-loving husband and said, lovingly, 'Um, I think I need your help. There is a lot of shenanigans on my computer and I don't know how to make it go away.'

'Shenanigans!' he cried, 'What did you do?'

'I didn't do anything!' My sweet tone was replaced by defensiveness. 'I would never look at all those shenanigans!'

When L too was bombarded with shenanigans when he tried to fix it, the thought occurred to me to take it to L's Dad, who is also a techno-lover and good at fixing things. But then I thought of the look on his face when he saw what was actually happening on my computer screen, so I decided quickly that a woman in her thirties does not expose her father-in-law to shenanigans, no matter how desperate she is for his help.

On the advice of my baby brother, I took my infected and disgusting laptop to Geek Squad, where I stood in line for ten minutes wondering how I was going to explain what was going on without making myself look like a freak. Here's how it went.

Me: 'Hi, my computer has a virus.'
Geek Squad: 'We can fix it. Go ahead and log on to your computer.'
Me: 'Um... okay. But I should warn you. It won't stop popping up with shenanigans.'
GS: 'Oh....'
Me: 'I SWEAR I WAS NOT LOOKING AT SHENANIGANS! I DON'T KNOW HOW THIS HAPPENED!'
GS: 'It's okay. Most viruses come through other ways, but how they show themselves on your computer is through shenanigans.'

Whatever. I logged in, and sure enough: Shenanigans.

GS (Loudly, shutting the laptop): 'Woah, you weren't kidding! Don't want to give everyone in the store a free show!'
People in line behind me: Snicker snicker snicker
Me (silently): Please God, let the earth suck me down in the ground right now. Please God. Strike me down. Right now.
GS: We've got to make sure to put a sign on your computer so we know what we're dealing with.

Sign read (and I am quoting exactly): DO NOT OPEN IN FRONT OF CUSTOMERS. SHENANIGANS.

I am happy to report that tonight I am reunited with my laptop and am shenanigans-free. But the experience was not without its learning lessons. One: A woman in her thirties does not ignore problems in the hopes they will solve themselves. And two: When in doubt, substitute any word with 'shenanigans', and you've at least got yourself a good story.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties is Thankful (and Okay!)

My last post earned me quite a few concerned calls and emails, my favorite of which coming from my mother. 'After I washed my eyes out with soap, I decided to call you and see if you're okay,' she said. I am okay, everyone! Hormonal, but okay! I've just passed the 12 week mark, Chewy is now the size of a peach, and there are five more weeks of school. Life is good.

I'm happy lately for a million reasons, and this is a big deal for me. Feelings are not exactly my strong suit, at least the ones that come from a place not incited by Intervention. I cried my eyes out over Lost last week ('I'll never leave you.' Jin, you kill me!), but when it comes to actual real-life feelings I get annoyed very easily. I tend to be an all-business kind of woman in her thirties, and this has only gotten worse in my old age. Recently, I turned to K and said, 'Feelings? I don't have any feelings!' And the worst thing was that she knew exactly what I was talking about.

I woke up on Saturday morning suddenly thirty two, and I'm not going to lie: I was apprehensive about it. It wasn't that I cared about getting another year older... not exactly. It was more the combination of living in (another) new place, having family and friends scattered all over the world, and the knowledge that another year has passed and I still have not been selected for Oprah's book club. The birthday blues can strike even the most desensitized woman in her thirties.

But then the day was upon me, and it was like a shower of good feelings. Feelings that felt... really good. L made me feel like I had lots of friends, and those friends are going to think I'm the hottest Mom to ever walk the streets of Pleasantville. My family made me feel like they were right here with me, especially my Momma . My jie jie (of Fox News fame) made me feel like someone is always listening to me, even as long as six months ago. And my girls made me feel like the greatest writer, cook, and soon-to-be mother on the planet. Feelings? I do have feelings! They were hiding under 32 years of sarcasm and self-deprecation, but they're there. Leave it to the people I love to bring them out of hiding.

This week, despite not being able to zip up the last pair of my pants, despite dealing with 60 high school seniors with some of the most acute cases of Senioritis I've ever experienced, and despite 50 degree temperatures and rain, I've got a million things to be thankful for. A woman in her thirties counts them all. She starts from the beginning and goes until this very moment, and in that way she is always counting herself blessed.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Woman in her Thirties is a B

In my twenties I worked with a girl who was recently pregnant. While she had bitchy tendencies before, the pregnancy really brought out the horror in her. I remember one day, while she scowled at flowers her husband had sent her for no reason she said, 'Ugh. What was he thinking? How about making dinner for once?' I remember thinking that the whole 'pregnancy glow' thing was a joke.

And now I know it's a joke. Because ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you: I have become that bitch. I am an ugly, pregnant bitch.

1. Driving into work today. Heard that the Enquirer is going to break a story about how Barack Obama had an affair several years ago.
Me, to dashboard: 'Is there not a decent man left on this f&%^ planet? God $%*&!'
2. 3rd period. Student moans audibly when given homework assignment. All teachers know that groans are to be looked at as a sign of life and dutifully ignored.
Me, to student: 'I think your homework should be to learn to CONTROL WHAT COMES OUT OF YOUR MOUTH.'
3. Lunch. Teacher reads daily quiz from newspaper. Topic is 'Fill in the blank with a word from the weather. Example: "He is a ______ weather friend".'
Me, to teacher: 'That is too easy! This is such a f&*^ waste of time!'
4. 6th period. Assign students an outside reading assignment, reminding them how fortunate they are that their teacher is allowing them to choose the novel they read for once. Two students loudly assert that they plan on using Sparknotes.
Me, to students: 'I don't have time for your smartass comments today, got it?'
5. At the gym. Pull out iPod from gym bag, only to discover that it was out of juice.
Me, to empty locker room: 'God f&*%$ son of a &*6%$!'
6. Still at the gym. Read Oprah's interview with Naomi Campbell on closed captioning. Oprah asks, 'Do you realize how beautiful you are?' Naomi responds, 'Ohhh, noo....'
Me, to stranger on bike next to me: 'This woman CANNOT BE SERIOUS. I mean what the f&**%!'
7. At home. L has made his Mom's amazing gwottles for dinner. L points out that I have bought Regina red wine vinegar, and not Heinz.
Me, to L: 'It's the same f%&$ thing! God!'
8. Eating dinner. I splash soy sauce on my white placemat.
Me, to L: 'F*&%$! F&^%$!'
9. Doing dishes. L, while I do dishes: 'I'll wipe down the table.'
Me, to L, 'I don't need you to do it! I'll do it! Ugh!'

In other news, last night I finally broke down and joined a church. A woman in her thirties prioritizes her spirituality, right? As I left, the priest put his hand on my shoulder and wished me many blessings for the week.
Me, in my mind right now, to Father B: 'Um, excuse me? Whatever you said? IT'S NOT WORKING.'