Archive for February, 2010

This Guy

So I’m super uncomfortable referencing this pregnancy as anything other than a pregnancy.  For example, I don’t refer to the movements I feel in my stomach as the “baby” moving.  And I don’t talk about the “baby’s” room or the “baby’s” furniture, etc. etc.  There are multiple reasons for this.  First, I’m not comfortable with the whole baby thing.  Second, calling it anything but “it” makes it seem more human.

Beyond my politics on this issue – which I will spare you – I find it to be bad luck to talk about this pregnancy, or any pregnancy, for that matter, as anything but that – a pregnancy.  Sure, after the first trimester, the possibly of a miscarriage drops dramatically.  But we all know that nothing is guaranteed, and that things can go wrong in a pregnancy at any point.  So, for now, I prefer to reference the impending blessed event in the abstract.

Or through code.

Referring to this as a pregnancy or “it” gets old.  And boring.  So HC and I – through the contributions of others – have come up with some other names for what’s growing inside me.

1.  The Stranger Inside Me.

AM came up with this gem during a rant over dinner a few months back.  In her monologe, AM was discussing her concern about how “there might be a penis growing inside you right now!” when she launched into how this thing is an utter and complete stranger and what if we don’t like the same things.  And, yes, by “we” AM meant her and the stranger.

I understand all of AM’s concerns as they are mine too.  But here’s the thing.  The younger you get someone, the easier it is to brainwash them.  We get this guy from Day 1.  I already have plans to play lots of show tunes and big voice divas for this guy when it arrives.  Besides, what happened with me and Alex P. Keaton are flukes.  Well, fluke isn’t the right word.  With me, my parents and family members set me on this path, albeit unknowingly.  I learned the lessons.  Just turns out it didn’t make any sense for them to be Republicans.  Still doesn’t.  And with Alex P. Keaton, that’s TV.  Which is, of course, critically important.  But you know, someone wrote that.  It didn’t just happen.

2.  My Dark Passenger.

If you’ve seen Dexter, on Showtime, you know where this comes from.  But I find it hilarious to refer to how “My dark passenger won’t let me do that.”  Or “My dark passenger holds a grudge.”  It’s just funny.  Seriously, it is.

3.  CoCo.  Full name:  CoCo White Chocolate.

During the first snow storm when I was snowed in with the LJs and HC was in Copenhagen, HC brought us back some chocolates from his trip.  The box we opened had different chocolate flavored marzipan pigs.  I didn’t know they were marzipan, or I would not have opened it.  Because I hate marzipan.  A lot.

Anyhoo, ALJ announced that she thought that, instead of “it”, she refers to it as CoCo, which represents the first two letters of HC and my last names.  I liked this a lot, but HC thought this was false advertizing.  HC firmly believes, and he’s probably right (tho it kills me to admit that), that this baby probably will be the whitest baby on the planet.  This is in large part because HC is the whitest guy on the planet.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m bringing a lot of whiteness to the table myself.  But I’m more olive-y than straight up white.  And HC is white white.  Like WHITE white.  Anyway, this and the chocolate pigs inspired HC to lengthen the name to CoCo White Chocolate.

P.S.  For the record, I don’t like white chocolate AT. ALL.  So marzipan white chocolate pigs were like my kryptonite.

4.  This Guy.

Turns out, I’m a sexist.   Instead of it, I often refer to this guy as “This Guy.”

HC and I decided not to find out the sex of the baby.  A) I don’t care.  And I really mean that.  I’m obsessed with all the things that could be going wrong at this exact moment, not on whether we want pink or blue stuff.  Which brings me to B) I don’t want to pre-genderize this guy.  Okay, “pre-genderize” is probably not a word.  But I don’t want to start thinking of this guy in terms of gender yet.  I don’t plan on ignoring the sex of this baby once it’s born.  That seems just as radical an extreme as a Pepto Bismol bedroom.  But I don’t want to shape its future based on its sex.  And then there’s C) my mother just couldn’t handle knowing the sex.  She just couldn’t.  She’s already baby crazy, and this might push her right over the top.  And I’d lose all control.

So we don’t know the sex.  Despite this fact, I often refer to this pregnancy in the masculine.  It’s not even because I think it is a boy.  I think most, if not all, of that prediction stuff is huey.  It’s more because, turns out, it’s my default.  I find this disturbing.

5.  Tyler.

My aunt – my mother’s youngest sister – refers to my pregnancy as Tyler.  When I asked her why Tyler, she explained that she was sure that I would name this baby some non-gender specific name.  Like Tyler.  I don’t have much else to say about this other than this – now I’m looking for a non-gender specific name.  Or I’m going to name a girl Roger and a boy Jill.  Just cause.


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Roller Coaster

Yesterday was an all-around shit day in an all-around shit week.  Everything I’m working on right now is 1) crazy busy, and 2) headed for a disaster.  Things have been deteriorating all week, with yesterday far exceeding the previous days.  And my fraying nerves were starting to show.  I snapped at interns, yelled at multiple people on the phone, and nearly took out the lady at the diner I went to for lunch.

[Folks, in case you’re wondering, a patty melt comes with – yes, COMES WITH – grilled onions.  Without the grilled onions, all you have is a cheeseburger on toast.  Which could be the saddest thing I’ve ever seen.]

Around 6:45p, I realized that the work day wasn’t close to being over and hunkered down for several hours of more work when I saw an email from a former colleague of mine from the firm.  She had forwarded me an email that said, “Thought you’d be interested in this.”  The email that she forwarded me was from a partner at my former firm who headed up the death penalty appeal case I worked during my 2 and 1/2 years there.

About six months before I left, I spent a week in Butts County, Georgia with our litigation team for a hearing.  Everything about this case, the client, the team was amazing.  And the professional and personal satisfaction I got from working on the case far exceeds any other professional experience I’ve had.  Even though we never thought we’d win.  Even though we knew that our guy confessed to killing the victim.  The point was that his constitutional rights had been violated, making his death penalty conviction unjustifiable.  But as with everything in life, just because something was unfair or a miscarriage of justice does not mean that you will win your argument.  I think we all learned this lesson by the third grade.

Until this time.

Yup, the Superior Court of Butts County, Georgia agreed with our team – yes, I said AGREED with those fast talking New York City attorneys in their fancy suits – that our client’s constitutional rights were violated, causing the court to grant a reduction in sentencing from death to life without possibility of parole.

You may be thinking, Big deal, he went from death row to the prospect of living the rest of his life without any hope of seeing the light of day.  I sorta see your point.  But I also wholeheartedly disagree.  I could say that it’s because the death penalty is not workable or working in our justice system for more reasons than I care to recount here.  I could say that it’s because the death penalty eliminates any hope for rehabilitation and strikes against our other stated goals in the justice system.  I could say that it’s because ensuring that the constitution remains a respected document no matter what a defendant is accused of doing is – and has always been – one of the greatest responsibilities of any generation of American citizens.  I could that it’s because, through death, there’s no hope for something different, something better to come out of a bad situation.  I could say that it’s because my mother always taught me that two wrongs don’t make a right.  I believe all of this, but I save those flowery, philosophical musings for HC when he’s watching TV and barely listening to me.

Instead, I’ll just leave it at this – I know that this decision changed our client’s life for the better.  That’s enough for me.

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Snow Day #2

You know what you shouldn’t do on a snow day?

Wait, let me rephrase that.

You know what you shouldn’t do on a snow day when you are pregnant?  Watch that show called Baby Story on TLC.

So I’m not a baby crazy person.  Babies are fine and all.  And once you get them cleaned off and they recover from the birthing process that squishes them and creates coneheads, they can be pretty cute.  And I’m happy about this pregnancy and blah, blah, blah.  But that’s really the extent of it.  I don’t freak out when people tell me they’re expecting.  And I am always thrown by people’ excitement over my pregnancy.  Not my mother’s excitement, which has reached RIDICULOUS levels, but you know, normal people.

These shows are not really my thing either.  I mean, all the annoying expecting parents stuff really gets on my last nerve.  Maybe these folks lay it on thick for the cameras, but I don’t think so.  I think expecting parents are just that annoying.  This worries me that a) I am days away from becoming one of these pod people, and/or 2) I will spend the next 18 years ducking this kid’s friends’ parents… OR WORSE – befriending these loons.   But after five days of being house bound, I’ve reached the end of TV.  Beggers can’t be choosers… so here we are.

But I digress.

So this show.  It’s terrible.  It follows new parents through the birth and the first few days/weeks at home.  The show I just watched was about a couple who met in Hoboken, NJ – wait for it – on St. Patrick’s Day.  Now if you’ve never spent a St. Patrick’s Day in Hoboken, NJ, let me paint you a picture.

Imagine about 500 to 1000 21 to 27 year olds on a bar crawl from pub to pub to pub along the one or so mile Washington Street.  There is a smattering of 28 to 35 year olds trying to relive some youth lost or some fraternity/sorority days gone by or something, which is both sad and desperate.  This parade of public drunkenness begins around 10-11am and continues to the wee hours of the morning.  Throughout the day – usually as early as noon or 1pm – people start petering out.  By petering out, I  mean that they have gotten so drunk on beer and shots that they are passing out on the street.  This continues through the course of the day.

While I’ve never participated in a St. Patrick’s Day pub crawl – beer and shots are not my drinks of choice and only now do I really want beer, which in all honestly, could just be because I really want any alcohol at all – my brother has gone to this day of debauchery with his friends.  One year, STC reported that he – or was it his friend, Ralph? – passed out on a Hoboken city bench where he slept, apparently, for several hours.  Upon waking up, he realized that his friends had abandoned him and he had no way of getting back to Edgewater, where he lives.  Getting a cab after 1am is difficult, so he walked from Hoboken to about Weehawken or West New York when one of his friends finally picked up the phone and came to his rescue.

As you can see, St. Patrick’s Day in Hoboken is for alcoholics and degenerates primarily.   It is the worst day to be in that town and I would not recommend it.  At all.  But according to Baby Story, St. Patrick’s Day in Hoboken is also a day where love matches are made.  I thought these were mostly one night love affairs, but I guess something deeper than that happens over all those pints of Guiness and shots of Wild Turkey.  Who knew?

But this wasn’t the worst part of the show.  The worst part of the show was that this couple lost two pregnancies in the second trimester and were trying a third time.  As I am in my second trimester and am an absolute loon, this is the absolute WRONG tale for me to be listening too.  HC agreed:

Me:  I think I made a terrible mistake.

HC:  Why?  What did you do?

Me:  I shouldn’t be watching this show.

HC, with planet-protecting contempt:  What is this?  19 Kids and Counting or something?

Me:  No, A Baby Story.

HC looks at me, puzzled.

Me:  This couple met in Hoboken on St. Patrick’s Day.  They miscarried twice in the second trimester.

HC now looking alarmed and reaching for the remote:  G-d, why are you watching this?!

Me:  No, no!  Don’t change it!  I’m too invested now.  They’re pregnant again.  I want to see what happens.

HC just shakes his head and walks away.

So you know, they had the kid and all went well.  All I could think was, And St. Patrick and a shotgun of Bud brought this joy.

I wonder what’s on next…

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Snow 2

Last we left, HC and I were going to head out for a walk.  I was a little skeptical, because it was still snowing with fury.  But leaving the house seemed like a great idea.  So off we went.

Here are some images from our walk:

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Well, it’s almost 1:30p on Saturday and the snow continues to fall – heavily – in the nation’s capital.  DC estimates are at two feet already and it doesn’t look like the end is anywhere in sight.

For an idea of what the snow is like on Capitol Hill, here are some pictures of HC shoveling.

First, some views from the backyard.

Why does HC have a ladder out, you might be asking yourself.  Well, the gigantic and lovely tree in our yard has been drooping under the weight of this heavy snow.  Drooping branches are bad for two reasons: 1) a branch could break, which is bad for the tree and bad if it falls on someone’s car or head; and 2) there are cable lines, from our house and our neighbors’ houses, running through our yard and through the tree to the pole in the alley.  The snow is weighing down the branches, causing these wires to get taut.

Now, maybe it’s just me, but the idea of being snowed in for days – which we will be, because this is DC and nothing moves all that quickly around here – without cable OR the interweb could lead me to flee the homestead.  Not that there’s anywhere to go.  Not much is open around here.  I guess I can flee to Dupont and stalk MJ at that snowball fight she might be heading to.

But I digress.

Here’s more on the tree and HC working away.

The picture above kills me.  No, not because I couldn’t get WordPress to cooperate and rotate it for me – tho that was mucho annoying.  But because this photo captures a truism about my relationship with HC.

As he was out there shoveling and shaking that tree like a crying baby (fuck you, bad jokes are REQUIRED today), I tried not to offer too much advice.  I mean, I can’t even help him because I am with child.  So standing inside the warm house with a cup of tea, yelling out advice periodically, seemed like the type of thing that could send HC right over the edge.  For once, I decided not to push his buttons.  Instead, I just watched HC through the window, as asked, so that I could call for help if he fell off the ladder or electrocuted himself.

But you know, I couldn’t really help myself.  I mean, I have a different vantage point and, let’s face it, I am a problem solver.  This is what I do.  So how could I not try to offer some advice, right?  But I had to be diplomatic and gentle about it.

Me (from the back door, yelling out to HC, who is covered with snow):  I don’t think it’s working.

HC:  I know.

Me:  Do you think it might help to stand on the ladder and poke at the snow with the shovel?

HC (growing testy, to say that least):  No, Casey, it wouldn’t.

Me:  Okay.  (I go back inside, close the door, and go back to my window perch.  A few minutes later, I opened the door again and called out to HC):  It’s still not working.

HC:  Yeah, I know.

Me:  Are you sure it wouldn’t help to use the shovel to push some of the snow off the branches?

HC (very testy):  NO.  Casey.  It.  Wouldn’t.

Me:  Okay.

At that point, I knew that any more pushing and he might crack.  So I went back inside, watched a little of the news, and then went back to the window about five minutes later.  What did I find?  That’s right, HC on the ladder poking at the branches to push off the snow.  It was at that point that I went to get the camera and snapped the picture above.

For the record, my theory didn’t produce much better results that HC’s shaken tree limb approach.  But that’s not the point.  The point is that, for HC, I’m always wrong.  Period.  He’s never heard a suggestion of mine that he thought was a good one.  And he’d NEVER give me the satisfaction of even toying with the idea that I could have a good idea.  That is, until I walk away or drop the issue.  Then he has a stroke of genius – my idea – which he begins to implement.  Sometimes the stroke of genius comes some time later after someone else tells him the very idea I had and now the other person is a genius and I’m still pretty useless.  We play this game almost daily, and no, it’s not very fun.  But it’s only Day One of our house arrest, so I’m not going to make a big deal of it.  Other than here, that is.

Below are pictures from the front door.

Please keep in mind that IT’S STILL SNOWING.  Very.  Hard.  Cars are completely covered now.  You can barely tell that there are cars parks on the street.

HC wants to go for a walk.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

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