Thursday, September 24, 2009

Taxonomists we're not

Twenty Questions overheard in the back seat:

Lauren: Is it alive?
Winnie: Yes!
Lauren: Does it have wheels?
(I turn around to say-"things that are alive don't have wheels". I am, as usual, ignored.)
Winnie: Yes!
Lauren: Is it....something that grown-ups use?
Winnie: (exasperated) Laur-RUN!
Lauren: Okay, is it made of metal?
Winnie: I SAID it was something alive with WHEEEEEELS!
Lauren: WAIT! Is it........BACON?!
Winnie: (eyes wide in amazement) YES!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Later That Same Day

For part one of this mini-series, click here.

We pulled into the hospital's valet entrance, baby still planted firmly in utero. Our ride was uneventful, and quiet, except for the moment my sister casually mentioned the donuts she'd thrown in the garbage before leaving the house. My brother-in-law and I locked eyes in the rear-view mirror, exchanging silent disbelief as she recounted her intentions to bestow goodwill and breakfast on her coworkers via Krispy Kreme; and how realizing she wouldn't be going in that day, had decided to trash them. An. Entire. Box. Of. Donuts. In that moment, if there had appeared a thought bubble inside the station wagon, a white cartoon cloud hovering between my brother and I, it would have contained only one word:


We were nearly without speech, Chad and I.  Disposing of uneatened donuts is practically a crime against humanity; how could we bring a baby into this kind of family?  He put the car in reverse, backing all the way down the street, even around a curve.  I couldn't make this up if I tried. I was thinking what a sport my sister was, allowing our gluttony to interrupt her baby story, when all at once she announced that the donuts were not just in the kitchen trash, but the whole house trash. In the dumpster, with the diapers.


We handed the car over to the valet attendant, who looked about twelve, and rode an elevator to the maternity floor. While the two of them checked in, I swept the waiting room for the best magazines and then, channeling the inner Howard Hughes, did my best not to touch anything. Once we were assigned a  room, I visited the cafeteria to grab coffee and fill the void of donuts-that-might-have-been, snagged a gift-shop Sudoku, and generally avoided mirrors. I was struck with the strangeness of hospital decor- the number of mirrors was astounding. I mean, who really wants to see themselves in an assless hospital gown? But wait, here's another mirror to reflect the nose-job that didn't take. Or,'re old! I know these places are rarely a bastion of style, but what about grace? At least put in skinny mirrors. Or affirming mirrors that talk to you in a loving way and say things like: All is well. You are not really this disheveled-looking. Smelling like beets is perfectly normal.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

*August Sixth

Today* my sister had a baby. A real, live, honest-to-goodness baby with perfection in every square inch of him, and I was there. At four am this morning, when the telephone rang, I woke with the words on my heart: I am going to be an aunt today, and please God let me deliver the baby. I think I actually said, out loud, I'm ready, as if instead of my parents' old four-poster, I'd been dozing in an ER breakroom, strapped to a sparkle pager designed to summon my medical expertise, romantic entanglement notwithstanding. Sorry McDreamy, I took an oath, no I cannot make out with you.

It's funny-I have always felt, despite my lack of formal training, oddly indispensable in medical emergencies. Even as a little girl, while the rest of the slumber party busied themselves trying to levitate or watch Goonies, I'd be chilling in the La-Z-Boy with someone's mother's Reader's Digest, poring over the latest cabbage soup diet or random article on primordial dwarfism. I was fascinated with all that could befall a person, addicted to absorbing all that mysterious humanity and science-I was, in a sense, buffering myself with knowledge. Of course, this also contributed to a certain amount of childhood hypochondria, but we're not talking about me, we're talking about you. I mean, my sister. And her delicious baby, whose impending arrival was not announced electronically, but by a gush of water breaking, which prompted the phone call, then my mother beside herself and whispering up the stairs for me to hurry because the baby's coming.

From the Editor

It's been nearly two months since I've written, and since I've done a lot of living in that space of time, I've decided to take the Billy Madison approach to blogging-which may involve retroactive posting combined with current musings and a sense from the outside that my blog is on hallucinogenic mushrooms. If you see a white rabbit, you know you're in the right place. Stay tuned. xoxo