Turns out I’ve been here the whole time – blogging, talking. But it seems that someone pressed my mute button. I’m not pointing fingers but I know a certain person in our household who loves remotes. Might just call operation of said remote a certain person’s savant skill. Or that’s what we thought when it took us a few days to figure out how to turn off the subtitles whereas it took that certain 16-month hold person the press of one button.
So that explains where I’ve been for the past few weeks. And in case you’ve come here today in search of something poignant, scholarly and life changing – you’ve come on the wrong day. This might just be one of those posts where I ramble on about poop.
But I’ll spare you that. For at least a few paragraphs. An update – on the past few weeks. Yes, I am fully recovered from Kona. I felt fine about 1 week after the race. Yes, I made a few meals out of wine in that time yet I look back on it now and think I did not nearly spend those post-race weeks drunk enough. Yes, I ate a lot of whatever I wanted in the weeks after the race. How I then dropped below race weight is one of those universal mysteries. Kind of like how you can train for an Ironman and actually gain weight.
Since triathlon is less of a focus these days, I’ve decided to focus more on the social life. For both me and my child. Max and I have become storytime groupies. It’s not that I’m interested in hearing yet another rendition of I’m Not Sleepy it’s just that it gets us out of the house and for 30 minutes my child gets to run around a room where I don’t have to clean things up. Same reason why we sometimes go out to eat. You mean he gets to throw food all over the floor and it’s not my problem? In parental currency, that’s priceless.
Storytime is entertaining – if not for Max who insists on spending the entire time running back and forth between the ONLY two outlets in the room that have not been covered – for me as I try to remember the names of about half the girls in the room who I know I went to high school with. Or to figure out if the old guy who’s always sitting in the back of the room – if he’s actually there WITH a kid.
Fear not, storytime is not the only time I get out of the house. If it was, I’d be writing in rhyme, telling everyone to clap their hands and asking how many turkeys rolled under the bed. (at one point in my life, I actually spoke in normal educated-adult sentences about normal educated-adult things. I swear) This past weekend, I took my social life to the next level by attending a friend’s birthday party.
As the designated driver I successfully refused the bottle of wine that someone’s boss brought back from France. Along with the Limoncello that someone else brought back from Spain. And when someone walked by waving a jello shot on a fork in front of my face? I also turned it down.
Though sober, it took me about an hour to realize that there was something standing out in the living room. One of those – I know I’ve seen that thing before but I’m not sure where. That’s when I had to ask another friend: is that a stripper pole?
Friends shouldn’t let friends pole dance in their living room. But if it’s their birthday – I learned – they’ll pole dance if they want to. It just so happens that this friend is taking pole dancing classes. Why? When you’re in your late 30s and you have a kid – things like this need no explanation. You have to have only lived that life to get it. Not saying that I’m taking up pole dancing any time soon but…does it get me out of the house? Away from my kid for an hour?
Where do I sign up?
Chris and his sister asked me the last time I saw a stripper pole. It didn’t take me long to answer: Ottumwa, Ragbrai 2009. It was then that J.R. and I got to answer a more important question in life: is it worse to go into a strip club with your brother or your husband? Don’t answer that.
The athlete in me was impressed by the amount of core strength you need to dance around a pole. I also had no idea you could do so many things with it. Like climb it upside down. Or do a move call the flag where your entire body sticks out like a flag on a pole. And you thought pilates was hard? I did take a whirl on the pole and confirmed what I’ve suspected all along: I’d make a really bad stripper. So I did what I know I could be good at: I climbed the pole all the way to the top (and felt like there should have been a bell there for me to ring or something).
Not that I’ve been thinking about getting one, but we asked our friend how much a pole cost. 400 dollars. And you thought triathlon was expensive. Could you imagine taking that thing on a plane to the next pole dancing competition? You can convince the desk attendant that your bike box is “equipment for a presentation” but what would you say about the pole?
It’s a really big cane.
So I’ve been doing some pole dancing. And I’ve also been hunting for houses. Which means I’ve been shamelessly addicted to Redfin for the past 6 months. The good news is that we finally found our dream house. But it was not easy. I’ve seen everything from impeccable to squalor. And if you’re wondering what squalor looks like – take a taxonomist, add a burnout unemployed cigarette smoking son, the fur of 12 cats that you have not vacuumed up for the past 10 years, mix it amongst 3000 square feet and you get: squalor. With a poor attempt at being covered up by Febreze. After walking into so many houses that felt and looked wrong, we knew our new home was ours because we walked in and it felt right. We’ll be moving later this year and we’re very excited.
I’m not too excited about packing but I’ve got it down to a system. If I pack one box a day, in about a month I’ll be ready to move. Packing, however, is not easy when you have a 16-month old walking around. For every step forward I take, I take two steps backwards when Max is involved. He gets into everything. And this explains why I find my personal possessions all over the house. It seems like every time I clean up one mess, he’s made another. If not on the floor then on himself. There are some days my life literally is shit – see, I told you I would give it a few paragraphs and here it comes….
A few weeks ago, I had the stomach flu. I would like to publicly apologize to Whole Foods because I mistakenly blamed their salad bar on what I thought was food poisoning. Though this doesn’t mean I’ll be visiting their salad bar any time soon. Hard to after I saw it all come back into the toilet. Two days later, Chris had the same thing. Two days later, it hit my sister in law, then her husband, my other sister in law, her husband and finally Max.
Max is always sick – he’s been sick with one thing or another since we went to Hawaii – but most of his illnesses last a few days and then he either gets better or catches something new. That was not the case with the stomach flu. He not only caught it but kept it. And from it has been producing something so wretched and foul that many times I have gagged. We’re talking 6 to 8 times a day of this.
I called the nurse and in her ever so everything will be ok in a few days voice she told me to feed him a bland diet, give plenty of liquids and ride it out for the next few days. When it didn’t go away, she told me it could run its course for up to 3 weeks. After 3 weeks, I was ready to cry uncle and drop him off on the doorstep of the local fire department. A quick visit to the doctor instead and I learned that it could really last for 5 to 6 weeks. The flu killed off the enzymes in his intestines so anything he eats goes right through him. By the way – if this sounds like a good diet plan, let me send you one of his diapers. Unfortunately, the only cure is probiotics and time.
5 to 6 weeks of Vesuvius level epic blowouts that require a fully clothed into the bathtub cleaning. A few times a day.
This is the fun side of parenting that they don’t tell you about when you sign up. Kids should come with a warning label. Or an encyclopedia-sized manual containing all of the fine print: will shit self at moment you are about to leave house in a hurry, will fall asleep in the car cancelling out entire afternoon nap because you woke him up to get him out of the car, will break one dish a week, will take any chance to steal your toiletries to try to eat them. That’s just page one, paragraph 6, line 8.
But I wouldn’t trade this for anything else in the world. Parenting completes me in a way that nothing else can replace. It took me a long time to believe that but once I had a kid, I can’t believe I waited so long. I’m not sure what I was doing that was so important or couldn’t wait. Nothing is better than the feeling of being with my kid.
(except bacon, maybe red wine and just a little part of me thinks it’s in a close tie with ice cream)
Speaking of parenting, it’s almost the end of the year. Which means you have a little over a month left to send in your ballot to cast your vote for Parent of the Year. I’d like to put in a shameless, narcissistic plug for you to vote for myself: today I came out of the shower to find Max walking around my bathroom holding a razor. It gets better. We went to Starbucks and after Max insisted on sitting in the chair, and I let him, he fell out of the chair while I was texting. Liz Waterstraat, Parent of the Year, everyone.
If I go missing again for a few weeks, someone check my mute button. And if you can’t find the remote in its usual place, check the cabinet with the waffle maker. He’s got a system.