Guide Us, O Thou Great Felicity

In high school I was maybe a little bit obsessed with Felicity. On the WB, yo! After the first episode I had basically decided I was going to go to NYU.

I will pause here to note that no, NYU did not want me. It's okay. I'm over it now.

Also, I really wanted Felicity to end up with Noel. But didn't WE ALL.

These days I am at incredible odds with myself. On the one hand, I am so proud of my little husband. He got into the number one LLM program in the country, and gets to take out a whopping $70K more in student loans, for just ten-months worth of school!

But on the other hand, I am talking about pride here. He got in. I did not. Don't think I'm not noticing this.

But I am swallowing my pride, and it tastes like a huckleberry shake. (Thank you, Arctic Circle. Love your fry sauce.)

And anyway, Felicity. I really did love that Javier.

I suppose I am about to finally have my Felicity experience, ten years later. Moving across the country on a whim at the last minute because I am following a boy? Not knowing where I'll be living until I am there? Saying "hey" a lot and wearing baggy sweaters?

Come to think of it, my hair is looking pretty puffy lately.

Anyway, this was my favorite episode.


The Night Before

I was six and we were moving across the globe like a band of nomads. 

That night we slept on the living room floor of my childhood home in a room full of boxes, sleeping bags, pillows, and the awful tangible feeling of imminent change. Mine was a pink sleeping bag in the browns and mauves of the living room, and in the morning we flew across the sea to a land of spice and the smell of plastic and tobacco.
Since that night there have been many nights-before, all as strange and exciting and dreadful as the first. Nights spent in cramped hotel rooms before cross-country moves, nights spent navigating through box mazes in hauntingly empty houses, and last supper barbecues with family on summer nights, facing a first move with a new husband, choking down the fear of feeling homesick and trying so hard to be a big girl. 
Here we are again. This time the boxes are mine, and the hauntingly empty house, too. My husband takes the dogs for one last walk through the neighborhood and the house is empty but for the sound of my quiet thoughts.
I pass through echoing bedrooms, sweeping up the last traces of evidence that we were here; bits of fabric in the studio, a few of my hairs in the bedroom, a couple of escapee earring backs in the dark of the closet. 
I stop for a moment in my room of dreams, my broom suspended in mid air. As I look around the room I am aware that it isn't really my room of dreams anymore. Now it belongs to someone else, and suddenly I can see the chipped paint on the window sill, the dents in the floor boards, the scuffs on the hardwoods. It's just a room. My dreams don’t live here anymore.
I haul the air mattress into the living room and await my freshly-walked husband and dogs in the quiet of a house that’s no longer mine. I can taste that feeling of imminent change, so tangible and awful, right there on my tongue. That desire to hold onto every passing moment, to memorize it and bury it deep where I can never lose it. Already struggling to remember what the rooms looked like when we still belonged here, before they became empty and haunted by our ghosts. That sensation of the last four years sinking deep into my bones through my skin, as the night gently cools the summer heat from the pavement and the heat of our ghosts from the walls of this house.


the problem with dogs as babies...

is that dogs can't be babies
not really, anyway

babies can fly inside airplanes
and be taken to restaurants
and ne worried and stressed over
and nobody looks at you funny

as long as your baby
isn't a dog baby
that is

the problem with dogs as babies
is that dogs can't be babies

babies are people
and dogs aren't people
even if you love them
just like people
which is confusing
but that's just the way
it is

the problem with dogs as babies
is that you can't be a mama bear
when your baby bear is a dog

people will look at you strange
and question your priorities
and obviously
you are wrong

real babies
clearly take precedence
over dog babies

i guess i have lots to learn
about dog babies
and real babies

because if you asked me today
i'd tell you

that these dogs
are my babies

and i'd really, really like to make this work.


Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Brandon is world famous in Moscow for being the heart and soul behind The Fence, that bastion of manly craftsmanship. Ladies in the neighborhood love to fawn all over Brandon and his rippling forearms of might and courage.

But that Fence was nothing compared to the glory that went down on our driveway on Saturday.

Our yard sale filled up the entirety of the living room the night before.  We assigned prices on brightly colored sticky dots until the wee hours, and then Brandon The Famous arose at 4:30 to begin hauling pieces of our Moscow lives to the curb to be rifled through and taken home starting at 8:00 on the dot.

At 7:00 I pointed and stretched my toes and then headed to the kitchen in my undies for a bowl of cereal. That is when the entire bloody town of Moscow saw me in my undies, because the whole bloody town was in my driveway.

Our couch? Sold. Our table? Sold. Four years worth of my clothing? Sold. In, like, five minutes. My bronze planter stand that is so ugly it is cool? Not sold, and just in the nick of time!

Things began to die down around noon, and then randomly at 2:00 I went outside to find a man in his seventies serenading Brandon on my guitar with old songs he used to perform "while touring Europe in my twenties."

Our house was the center of the universe that day. We sold everything.

Now that the Moving Sale of the Century has ended, Brandon's status in the neighborhood has skyrocketed. "That sure was some yard sale!" is what the neighbors say in reverent tones.

And then I say, "Who was that?"

And then Brandon says,

"Oh, so-and-so from the down the street. Did you know his wife is French?"

And I say,


And then I  go back to thinking about whether I want an orange popsicle or a cherry popsicle when our walk is over, 'cause that's about all I'm good for these days.


Holbs Week: Caulk-And-Bull

This is what comes along with marrying a ginger stud like my husband:
acid indigestion,
allergies to most anything that grows under a yellow sun,
and the tendency to caulk a tub at the very worst possible moment.

Brandon has been engaged in a long-time battle with our bathtub caulk job. I'm not sure what it is about that bathtub that so irks my Holbslover in his soul, but time and time again I will come home sweaty from a run, or feel the need deep in my bones for a long, hot shower, only to find out that the tub area has been declared off-limits for another 48 hours.

This is how he likes to do it. First he takes a scraper and scrapes every last bit of our perfectly acceptable caulk-job off the tub. Ideally he will leave the caulk scrapings, little curls of rubbery confetti, all over the tub floor.

Then he meticulously dries every last drop of moisture from the tub. This involves sticking rolls and rolls of toilet paper in every leaky joint and deep down into the drain, and also leaving wet towels crumpled on the floor, and then smearing dirt everywhere? (He does prefer to do this part this fully shoed.)

Finally he hops in the tub, caulks that sucker to within an inch of its life, and emerges declaring,

"This time, it will be perfect!"

Forty-eight hours later I get to shower.

And then, two weeks later or so, The Holbs is in there screwing up his face in his birthday suit, wondering if that seam is really as water-tight as it could be, and how much caulk is left in that caulk gun do you suppose?


One Hand In The Air For The Big City

me and my city, back when i was just a baby

On Wednesday of last week, we sold our house.

On Thursday of last week, we started packing our boxes for DC.

On Fridayof last week, Brandon found out he'd been accepted to NYU, the top school for his program in the country.

And so we are not moving to D.C. after all, like we were on Thursday.  Now we are moving back to New York City.

Just a little update from a very frazzled pregnant woman.


Back In The USSR

Apparently, we may have sold our house.

I'm shocked!

We drove home to Moscow this afternoon to set about the business of packing the things of a tiny little family.

Here we go!

(We still aren't totally sure where we're going though?)


So, It Turns Out

So, it turns out what I figured was dehydration was actually a kidney stone.

A kidney stone is why I passed out. That makes me feel so bad ass!

I should have doubted the dehydration diagnosis when the lady doctor asked me, Are you sexually active? I looked down at my pregnant belly and then back up at her face and sort of pondered the cosmos for a minute, searching for the best answer.

I was checked into the Maternity Ward of the local hospital for a few hours after I passed this kidney stone for monitoring, and the nurse assigned to me said

You passed a kidney stone? By yourself?

And I said,

Well, I had a Vicodin.

And then the nurse's eyes got even wider and she said,

You only had a Vicodin?

Like I was some sort of hero.

(Let's be honest though, aren't I?)

So, I am requesting my Awesome At Being Pregnant card back, and if you please, upgrade me with an Awesome At Passing Kidney Stones Too card.

Please and Thanks.


Life With Boys

We all pile in the car. The pregnant lady, her husband, and a fifteen-year-old boy crammed in the back seat, and it is all boy elbows and boy knees and boy voices conversing about boy topics. I make my first observation:

Boys are startlingly smelly.

I accompany my dad to Costco. In the car on the way there we listen to my dad's latest Dean Koontz book on tape, something about Frankenstein, clones, and Montana. 

When we get there we stand at the entrance to the Costco, my dad visually assessing the situation. "Okay. The chips are in that corner, the cheese is over here, and the condiments are there. Cheese first. Let's go." 

In less than five minutes we're done. We have the cheese, we have the chips, we are tossing a giant barrel of mayonnaise into the cart. We tag-team the self checkout and seconds later are halfway to the car.  No lingering by the flowers, no free samples in the deli, no wandering through the bakery and asking, "Can you think of any reason we'd need this Boston Cream Pie?" (This is how our last Costco trip went, a trip dominated mostly by women.)

Boys are efficient, not at all tempted by carbohydrates.

I find The Holbs upstairs playing Mario Kart. Mario Kart is a thing which I will never truly understand. Blake and Brandon clock hours on that game whenever we come in town. Deciding this was the perfect exercise to get into the mind of a boy, I asked if I can play.

"Hang on," says my Holbsykong. "I have to finish this tournament so I can get a prize!"

"A prize?" I ask.

"Yeah, a prize. That's what Blake told me." 

"What kind of prize?" I ask.

"Uhhhh..." The Holbs can't remember.

"Blake, what kind of prize?" 

Blake is sitting at the computer, playing some shoot 'em up game while wearing a headset and occasionally shouting things like We need scouts! and Soviet Union, I love that! He pulls a headphone off of his ear and shouts at me, "HUH?" His desk is covered in spare wires and mystery USB plugs and parts and pieces of who even knows what.

"What am I going to win again?" The Holbs asks, his face a mask of focus and determination.

"Oh, a new character," Blake says, never peeling his eyes from his computer screen.

This all sounds highly anticlimactic to me, but The Holbs says, "Yeahh, a new character!" as though he is deeply satisfied.

I don't even know.

This afternoon my mother and I had lunch with my new best friend, Kjrsten. We ate mini waffle-and-fried-chicken sandwiches on long skinny plates.

Once back in my car I open my phone to communicate with my manlier half.

"I'm coming home, are you ready to spend some time with me?" 

"Yessireebob!" he texts back.

"We'll do whatever you want to do, you pick!" I text generously.

"Let's play board games! Or we could go see a movie? Your dad doesn't want to see Eclipse!"

Then he texts me again,

"No more texts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Boys prefer in-person conversations. Sometimes they do want to see Eclipse, and sometimes they don't.

Lately Peter Pan is stuck to me like a love-starved teenager. He follows me aimlessly about the house, and as soon as I'm stationary he sits primly on my foot, his ears cocked in nervous directions. Something is up with him, I am telling you. (It is as if he is thinking there is something up with me?) When it is time for a potty break The Holbs has to drag Peter away from me. The minute they are back in the house the Pan is glued to my side.

Boys love their mamas. 

Bring on the boys!