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Best American Nonrequired Reading 2004, edited by Dave Eggers

Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress, Susan Gilman

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Yeah. Well. Whatever.


The springtime starlings are back, nesting in our carport and yelling at us whenever we leave the house.

Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Me: "What is that?"
JB: "That's my radio!"
Me: "It's...a baked potato with a knife stuck in it."
JB: (sternly) "Do not mock my radio."

That little otherworldly conversation happened about 3 days ago, and the potato (I mean, radio) is still on the counter. The in-dire-need-of-409-ing, crumb-laden counter, which is above the strewn-with-dog-fur-tumbleweeds kitchen floor, which is adjacent to the piled-with-newspapers dining room table, which - well, what I'm trying to say here is that the nesting instinct, it has not exactly kicked in.

I'm crossing my fingers for that second trimester surge of energy you hear about, because these days I'm about as sprightly as a wet dishrag when I get home from work. I'm tired as hell, hungry, and so long as debris isn't actually blocking my way to the fridge or the bathroom (because MY GOD THE PEEING, IT IS INSANE) I don't much care about busting out the vacuum.

Fortunately - for the state of our house, anyway - an old friend of JB's is staying over on Friday night, so we'll be forced to deal with the majority of the rubble. We do not actually make our guests sleep on piles of pet hair, much as you might suspect otherwise. Not the ones we like, anyway.

(This guy is in town because he's competing in the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb - which raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society - where a bunch of firefighters race each other to the top of the Bank of America tower. I think that's like 69 floors or something, and they're wearing about 50 pounds of gear when they do it. Note to prospective visitors: I really prefer it if you're not in FREAKISHLY good physical condition when you come by, that way I won't feel so guilty when you observe the amount of cookies in our house.)

JB's assigned cleaning task is toilets. I hate cleaning toilets, even with those new fandangled disposable brush thingies. Also, it's pretty easy to tell when a toilet is no longer filthy, which is useful for JB, who has a bizarre optical defect when it comes to determining the cleanliness of a given object. Take a patch of carpet that has recently had some juice dumped on it - now, if I were taking care of the problem, I'd soak up the liquid with a towel, then scrub the area with some Spot Magic until the stain was completely gone. JB, on the other hand, will halfheartedly blot the puddle with a paper napkin, and pronounce it good. "What?" he'll say, trying to hide the fact that the dog is busily lapping up the remainder. "It's clean!"

Of course, it's the oldest trick in the book, pretending to suck at something so you don't have to do it very often. I retaliate by consistently loading the dishwasher like a blind mental patient.

While JB might be lacking in juice-triage skills, he's been such a wonderful, attentive partner these last few weeks, he makes me feel like a princess. A bloated, gassy princess who maybe has a smudge of peanut butter on her chin, but yes, a pretty pretty princess! "You look great," he said to me last night when I walked in the door, wearing pants I had surreptitiously unbuttoned towards the end of my day (it's the Start Out Size 8 In the Morning, End Up Straining a Size 10 By 5 PM Syndrome), my unwashed hair scraped back in a ponytail. "All glowy!"

"I'll go to the store if you want. What sounds good?"

"I'll carry that."

"You just rest and keep on buildin' our peashooter."

"I like that shirt on you."

He likes to put his head on my belly. I am less fond of this pursuit, as there is no actual baby-related activity to "hear" yet; any bizarre noises going on in there are the product of my freaked-out gastrointestinal tract. Buuureeeep! says my stomach, and JB gets excited. "I heard something!" "Yeah," I say, "it's the cereal I had for breakfast, which IS NEVER GOING TO DIGEST, EVER. I'll be working on that cereal when the kid's in college." "No," comes his dreamy response, "it sounds like...construction."

He's over the moon about being a father. We're having so much fun together, talking about the future and just sort of marveling in the miracle of it all. I know he'll be a hands-on dad, helping me with everything, changing diapers like a champ - but perhaps needing some assistance when it comes to, um, wiping things up. I can see it now: "What? It's clean!"


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