30 Insights on Life With a Newborn

I am 6 weeks out from having my second child- another boy. It’s amazing how quickly you forget what having a newborn in your life is like. I discovered some Facebook posts I made during my first son’s infancy. Check them out and see if they apply or applied to you. If you’re expecting for the first time, here’s a heads up on what to expect.

• Grayson is a baby’s baby. Moms want him and babies want to be him. He likes his bottles shaken, not stirred.

• I really like my new Columbia waterproof shorts. Gray peed on me and it beaded up and rolled right off.

• Since he was born, Grayson has taken an interval training approach to life: intense bursts of life with short recovery periods of napping in between. I’m happy to announce he has now diversified his approach to a cardio based life program and is now taking longer recovery periods in the form of at least one, two hour nap every day between high endurance efforts. This means more recovery time for Mommy The Avenger!

• My pool workout tonight was exhausting. I’m not much of a swimmer but my new boobs can serve as flotation devices in an emergency.

• Every time Gray falls asleep it’s like rolling play-do, he wakes up longer and skinnier.

• This generation’s parents are trying so hard not to make their parent’s mistakes that they are doing the opposite and making their grandparent’s mistakes their parents were trying to avoid.

• There are three things that a new mother fears above all else: that her child will become ill, that her child could be injured and the batteries on the swing will die.

• Why are long, beautiful eyelashes wasted on little boys and cocker spaniels?

• Gray now believes he is supposed to try and roll over anytime he is on his back. This ceased being adorable while changing diapers. It’s like waving around a loaded weapon.

• McDonalds: the place where broken families swap kids for the weekend and parents make emergency stops for the out of control screaming infant in the back seat. I looked like a child abductor trying to soothe a stolen baby. If only Happy Meals came with a bottle and pacifier.

• Yesterday, in an effort to further my child’s initiation into super hero status as Grayson The Avenger!, I had him injected with a cocktail of no fewer than 7 viruses that have decimated entire human populations. These small doses will allow him to fight off just enough to make him…IMMUNE!

• I am practicing the, oh shit he saw me, extraction move while checking on Grayson. Seal Team 6 couldn’t check on this kid without detection.

• All the single babies, all the single babies, all the single babies, all the single babies… if you like it then you shoulda put a bink on it, if you like it then you shoulda put a bink on it.

• I took Grayson to his first movie, bridesmaids. He didn’t do very well so I tried to hush him by nursing him. It’s the most action I’ve ever gotten in a movie theater.

• My milk shake brings all the boys in the yard…the song stuck in my head while running tonight. On a related note, running while breast feeding takes some getting used to.

• I have many friends who would never choose to be mothers. I was among them for a long time, but God gave me one anyway. I wish they could feel this for even five minutes before going their entire lives without getting to be someone’s mom. It is absolutely the most amazing adventure I could have ever embarked upon.

• Public service announcement: it has been confirmed, I do indeed have the cutest boy ever born. Second place is still up for grabs however.

• Letting one’s child cry himself to sleep for the first time is like walking on fire while eating glass and drinking acid from a sippy cup only to find out it’s really walking on clouds, eating Bon Bons and sipping a smooth beer from a frosty mug once you get a moments respite.

• Having worked with animals my entire adult life, I thought I would be well prepared for being peed and pooped on, but there’s just something different when it’s your own species.

• Started mother’s day with Grayson’s 4am feeding. Gray made me a “homemade” gift and everything. I don’t think I’ll be hanging this one on the fridge though.

• It’s a refined skill required to make the tricky arm cradle to baby bed maneuver. Make the move too soon and the nap is a bust, too late and the kid sucks you in to how sweet it is to hold them and there goes your nap.

• “Nap when your baby naps” would be great advice for a mom with a baby that actually slept rather than taking fifteen minute power naps.

• I managed to escape stretch marks on my belly, but, alas, I’m getting them on my boobs. What self respecting mother can flash her boobs with stretch marks all over them, I ask you?

• I think the root cause of all screaming babies is that they have opposable thumbs and no idea how to use them yet.

• Cooked a hot pocket about an hour and a half ago…just remembered I meant to feed myself.

• I have graduated as a mommy. I am now accomplishing tasks with one arm while holding an infant- like feeding myself and typing this status update.

• Why can’t clichés stay clichés? They are all rooted in a bit of truth though. Take the exhausted new mom cliché, for example. Really wish that one were not so true.

• The practical application of the female nipple is much more fulfilling and rewarding than the recreational. I’m labeling my pumped bottles: Grade A(avenger) milk- for badass babies with badass mommies.

• I’m finding that in motherhood with a newborn there is no such thing as sleep, life is just a series of naps.

• The Boppy is the greatest invention since velcro.

• Soooo tired, sore and bruised up. Who knew a 7lb human being could cause more damage to my body than an entire rugby match? Just like in rugby you have drinks with the perpetrator afterwards as if nothing happened. Unfortunately with motherhood the drinks are always on me.

The Six Most Annoying Toys in Your Home

Toys. What thoughts and feelings does that word conjure in your mind? Close your eyes and think about it. I’ll give you a second… Did that moment of consideration allow you to conjure up your idealic childhood of fun carefree days playing ’til your little heart’s content, a time of no responsibility, imagination, self-expression? I bet you didn’t think about your parents having to pick up and keep track of your toys and the casualties they suffered tripping over and keeping track of them, nor should you have, but there’s a dark side to toys that haunt parents. Here are the 6 worst offenders in my home.

Public enemy number one: Legos, that abomination of molded plastic disguised as blocks that foster motor skills and sensory awareness. Pshh, more like miniature land mines waiting to ambush your feet when they are at their most vulnerable. And here’s what you have to look forward to- they get smaller and come with more pieces the older your child gets. That means they are easier to lose, harder to find and even harder to see coming.

Next up, markers, washable or otherwise. Whose idea was it to make instruments of terror that permanently or semi-permanently graffiti everything but the paper upon which their use was intended? Don’t get me started on crayons. They are more permanent than markers, assuming your child is old enough to not eat them, and if they are, then they end up broken in pieces and mashed into the carpet. My dog prefers a nice Crayola snack when one can be snuck away, which isn’t hard since the dadgum things end up strewn about to snap between my feet as I’m navigating my way around the Lego land mines.

You know what was a big waste of money that I thought my kid just had to have? One of those big battery operated cars. There’s a reason why you have to be 16 to have a license- babies can’t drive! I spend more time speed walking next to the vehicle so I can jab at the steering wheel to prevent head on collisions with trees, my car, the dog. But that is assuming the battery is charged since the last time I was talked into letting my son drive it. By the time they’re old enough to operate the vehicle it’s like 3 0’clock in front of the local high school where every teenager behind the wheel is equivalent to a drunk driver.

You know what’s another ginormous waste of time? Puzzles. I find letters from my son’s alphabet puzzles in places that defy logic of how they could have arrived there. Oh, and try consoling a child that is seriously upset because Mickey’s face is the only piece missing. I spend more time stressing about losing puzzle pieces than I spend worrying about losing my child in the store- and I came of age during the scariest movie from the eighties for a kid, Adam, so that’s a significant fear.

I’m going to tell you what gets me the most though, the blasted iPad. I bought that thing for me. Guess who never gets to use it? Me. If I dare to use it, my son comes running and tells me it’s his iPad and he has to watch Ninja Turtles. I remind him that it is not his, it’s mommy’s and I let him use it- as I often remind him anytime he declares something is his, even if that is his superman under wear that he snatches as I’m folding. With the iPad though, it’s an expensive electronic device that is pretty much just there for a 2 year old to do with as he will. Here’s a tip, and I learned this the hard way: periodically check that your child has not turned off the wifi on the iPad while randomly perusing through apps. If you do not have an unlimited data plan, this could be disasterous. Thankfully I got an alert that I had used 60% of my data plan. I most certainly did not! It eventually occurred to me to check that the wifi was turned on.

Now for the item I hate, loathe, despise and abominate. If you don’t have kids yet, heed this warning and if it’s too late and this item is already in your home, take drastic measure now and eradicate it from your inventory. The dreaded item on the most unwanted list is: Play-Doh. Look, you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. First time out of those well marketed containers and it’s an education of color combinations. Before, I only knew that yellow and blue make green from the Ziploc commercials. Now I know that pretty much every other color combination makes poop colored globs of goo that have a shelf life of however long it takes your child to destroy your home with the stuff. The commercials lead you to believe this stuff is reusable and you just pop the colors back in their respective container for minutes of more fun next time. If you are going to purchase Play-Doh, just know that it is a single use, disposable item. And, like a dog or kitten, do not buy another person’s child Play-Doh without expressed permission. Otherwise the Play-Doh, the puppy and the kid are all going home with you.

Some toys are inexpensive but don’t let their monetary value determine their degree of mass destruction. The shock and awe of a toy battlefield, which is what your entire house becomes, makes you wonder just how necessary any of these items are. On really bad days you might wonder how necessary your child his, but that is fleeting, so do not make any rash decisions and drop them off at goodwill too. You have to be a sniper, picking off the toys one by one if you want to clear a path through your house. If you are caught putting anything away the child has a conniption, as if you are dumping Buzz and Woody down the furnace to melt away if you dare to put anything back in it’s “place”. I use quotes around place because though a “place” is typically an area where a person or object spends most of its time, or a space where it belongs, toys spend the majority of their time anywhere but where they are least offensive. It’s like they transcend space and time and belong to the universe, not the toy box or shelf to which you have assigned them. Natural laws of entropy, the assertion that disorder is more probable than order, is stronger than your need to not lose your mind in the cluttered vortex of parenthood. And after all of this destruction, in the course of one evening, when you’ve finally got all the toys put away and a semi-navigable passage way through your home, you discover your child’s favorite thing with which to play is the box in which the toy came.

10,000 Kisses

The introduction of this post must be prefaced with what seems like what has nothing to do with kisses, let alone 10,000 of them. Hang in there, it’s a short truancy from the subject, but quite necessary to the point.

As an athlete, you often hear it takes 10,000 repetitions of a new skill in order to truly know it as second nature. This is true for any skill, whether that be playing a musical instrument, flipping pancakes or learning to apply a triangle in jiu jitsu. To learn a triangle takes only a few minutes, you can be taught how to do it rather quickly. But to use it during a sparring session or during a competition, it requires approximately 10,000 repetitions to be adept at it. Yes, you can catch someone in a triangle after only 100 repetitions, but probably with someone who has fewer reps in the technique than you and it would not be second nature as it flowed from another technique that was not appropriate or did not work in that situation. It’s not surprising then, that this would make me think of perfecting the act of kissing. But with my son, I have learned that when it comes to kisses, 10,000 repetitions has a little more at stake in the long run.

This morning, while trying to come up with blog ideas for the week, my 2 year old son was trying to get me to work on puzzles with him. He had brought a couple into the living room and was dismantling them on the floor as I scribbled in my notebook. I was becoming more agitated that I wasn’t coming up with any quality blog topics that someone other than my mom and husband would care to read. Gray finally determined an intervention was necessary and was now hanging over the arm of the couch, where I was sitting, and insisting I play with him. I had snapped at him not fifteen minutes earlier and was trying desperately not to let my writers block take it out on him again. But just as I thought I might snap at him again, he began kissing my face, over and over again. Sweet little pecks on the cheek, the temple, the side of my head, until he grabbed my face in his two hands and turned it towards his so he could kiss my nose, my forehead, my lips. As I giggled through the kisses, it occurred to me that my little muse was the one I was blocking, not the other way around.

I pulled Gray over the arm of the couch into my lap and returned the little favors over every inch of his face and neck. Sometimes I hold Gray down and kiss him all over when he’s crabby. It pisses him off at first, but typically, he begins giggling eventually. He used the same technique against me and my grumpiness and I would like to think that all of the repetitions of affection since he was born prepared him to utilize love and affection to counteract agitation. There must be more than 10,000 kisses that have transpired between he and I and he and his dad.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Gray hits out of anger and frustration like any toddler, and he has certainly been swatted due to my anger, frustration or fear, but a ratio of hugs and kisses to swats are disproportionate in such a way as to ensure kindness, love and understanding. I have no doubt we have surpassed our 10,000 kisses quota, but like any mastered technique, it takes repeating those 10,000 repetitions to remain a master of the skill.

I only have a little time until Gray decides I can’t kiss him anymore and he won’t want to get my attention at all, let alone with kisses. I wonder how many kisses we can squeeze in between now and then? How much time do I have until all of our kisses have to sustain him until his own child requires he pass along the skill, as my parents did for me?

Lack of Suitable Winter Coats Shuts Down Greater Houston Area

Today is a “snow day” in the greater Houston area. That means it’s 32 degrees and rainy, so we must all panic and not go anywhere- our coats just aren’t thick enough to handle that kind of cold. Our North Face shells simply cannot fight such arctic temps as 28 degrees below 60. Yes, there was a slight icing, but nothing that requires precautionary measures like shutting down roads and entire school districts. And yet, here we are being discouraged from travel and encouraged to forgo common sense applications while driving (that doesn’t exist on perfectly dry roads here), by not driving at all. We are forced to remain tightly locked inside our homes, being comforted only by our televisions and local reporters braving the cold in our stead.

I’m from Oklahoma where we actually get more ice accumulation than snow, and school rarely gets closed down for any reason that stems from impending weather events. If Oklahoma schools closed for weather events, we’d be as uneducated as the rest of the nation assumes we are. Tornados in the spring, tornados in the fall, ice in the winter- but thankfully, school is typically out by the time wildfire season begins or we’d all come in from recess smelling of smoke. Houston is bizarre in that it’s a city that gets more than 40 inches of rain a year, but their drivers cannot drive in the rain. A wind gust of 20 miles an hour has weather men warning those driving high profile vehicles to use caution on the highways, and yet it’s a hurricane city. Hell, I’ve seen high profile people get blown off the sidewalk in April back home.

Today was a good day even though I actually had to put salt on my porch steps (a trick that I picked up back home). I grieve for real Houstonians who are falling on their asses every time they venture out their front doors, due to the 1/16 inch of ice accumulation… just kidding, Houstonians aren’t venturing outside at all. I just hope the palm trees’ feelings aren’t too badly hurt by this offending arctic front. Let’s hope Houstonians can ride out this blast of cold air until Saturday when the high is forecast to be 70. Keep Houston in your prayers.

The Birth Order Equation

I just read an article In the Huffington Post titled: The Achiever, the Peacemaker and the Life of the Party: How Birth Order Affects Personality. I always find articles and books on this topic frustrating because I am the second of five girls. It seems that the formula works well if there are three or fewer siblings in a family circle, but what of those who do not numerically fit into the formula? When you have to start solving for X, my brain automatically shuts off- perhaps that’s indicative of my birth order. There are certainly themes that apply to each of my siblings, though I’d say most accurately to my big sister, two and a half years my senior, and the oldest of the lot. Her place as the eldest pretty much solidifies her place in the equation, and perhaps my baby sister since she brings up the rear. The three of us in the middle are all, well, middle children. But there is eleven years in between the oldest and the youngest of us, each connected by the two and half to three years between us. It would be much different if there were only two that were eleven years apart. For a family of five girls, there are innumerable variables that determine how our birth order affects our personalities and solving for X may require a degree in advanced mathematics. We number ourselves for the clarity of others, so here’s a breakdown of how we each fit into the equation:

Number 1

Number one may be the easiest to solve for but the hardest to work out. My big sister, all of my sisters’ big sister I suppose, but I only have the one, has been all grown up since the day I met her when she was two and a half. She’s the only one that got mom and dad all to herself and the only one that never had to share attention. It goes to reason that she would have a natural ability to assume the lead role and expect your undivided attention. Not coincidentally, she is a teacher with teacher of the year honors on her resume. I can remember her correcting my use of “to” and “too” when she was eleven, I was nine and we were writing a story. She was the detail person, I the big idea person. As an adult it’s hard to not have a detail person managing my big ideas. I find myself surrounding myself with at least one person like my big sister as surrogates.

Number 2

I fit fairly well into the life of the party category. I found that being outgoing and outrageous defined me from my big sister and eventually little sisters. I am the one my mom worries about, because I’m most likely to jump from a bridge just to see if I could stick the landing. My mom once asked me where I got the blisters on my hands. I eventually admitted to tying a toy jump rope to the footboard of my bed on the second story and repelling out the window on it, burning my hands as I slid down the rope. As the second in command I took on the role of enforcer, partly because my dad liked that I wanted to fight and partly because I really enjoy getting into scraps. My big sister would start fights with other kids and I’d be the one actually fighting them. Unless of course it was a verbal battle, then she came to my aid.

Number 3

Number three most resembles the classic middle child. She is definitely the all time peacemaker. Her voice of reason and ease with defusing a volatile situation is something at which to be marveled. Growing up, where I were to get in serious trouble, she could have my mom laughing and forgiving her anything. There is a precious video of her when she was about five where my mom was asking her how she felt about having so many sisters, mom had just had our fifth sister. In her raspy little voice she laced her little fingers together to show conflict and said: I love them except when they’re fighting.

Number 4

Number four is one I can’t figure out how to place. She is most like the oldest, though with a little less burden. She is outspoken, assertive and independent. Her first day of kindergarten she almost made us miss the bus on a rural route where that was the only way to make it out the door, because she didn’t have the right socks to go with her dress. In her teens she disregarded the- you can shove, push, slap and throw your siblings down a flight of stairs, but no punching- code of sisterly conflict. She once punched me in the face when I was trying to calm her down and called me a bitch for getting blood on her new shirt.

Number 5

But then there’s the baby, number five, or as she likes to put it: I might be THE baby, but I’m not A baby. Fair enough, but I still remember changing her diapers and claiming her as mine. My oldest sister had claimed number four as her pet, so I was determined that number five would be mine, which solves for number 3 being the most middle child like. See, people, math can be fun. But back to the baby. Her little personality was an amalgam of all five of us. As a toddler and young kid she kept up with our banter and infighting quite well with quick comebacks and appropriate levels of orneriness, like hocking loogies from the far back of the Volvo wagon onto the steering wheel while mom chastised her. Growing up she was called brat or puke rather than her actual name because our step-dad spoiled her so much. He lovingly gave her these names. Brat is self explanatory, puke came from him telling her she was so spoiled she made him puke. This was of course as she slipped a big ticket item tag into his shirt pocket while at Sam’s. Even with all of her shenanigans, she was always more introverted and less outspoken than the rest of us. She went through a phase in young adulthood of being less likely to speak up for herself, then she found her voice again and it was like she was telling number 1 she wished she’d roll down the stairs again after being told by number 1 she wished she’d go downstairs.

It’s like we had to each develop our own way to get attention and in the processes we got that much louder and more argumentative so we could be heard. If you are hanging with us all together, don’t take a breath, that’s the only way to get a word in edgewise. You learn to talk over each other without being rude. Our step dad, an introverted soft spoken man, developed the method of walking into the middle of us and giving the time-out hand gesture and verbally declaring a time-out so he could get in whatever it was that needed to be said.

Now we are all adults and we are no longer content with our roles in the birth order. Number 1 doesn’t want the burden of being in control all the time, though still wants veto power. I don’t want to be the combative life of the party all the time but can snap into it almost effortlessly and blow my top. Number 3 is emerging as more the coordinator and less willing to be the keeper of the peace, though she can quickly diffuse a situation with a well timed smart ass comment. Number 4 thankfully outgrew punching us and is going with the flow, though how well she is put together still dictates the timelines of our plans. And Number 5 has found her voice independent of the rest of us, finally convincing us she’s not a baby, though I think Brat will always follower her.

Why do we need to understand our place in the birth order? So we can better understand why we are the way we are? So we can understand our parents and how their roles as parents changed with each subsequent offspring? There are so many variables that it seems would affect how we react within our birth order. My oldest child is my husband’s fifth child, his third son who is separated in age from his closest older siblings by 33 years, while I sit pregnant with my second, my husband’s sixth who will be three years removed from his older sibling. Clearly, I think it’s safe to assume the rubric resets with that much time in between siblings. It doesn’t change the kind of parent my sons will get from my husband at 64, versus his first set of kids when he was younger. My sons will have a young neurotic first go round parent in me and essentially a grandparent with all the wisdom and patience that that age and experience affords. I think perhaps the formula does not apply in today’s equation of modern families, where there are not 2.5 kids per two biological parents of the same age. The variables are too complex for even the most adept mathematical brain. I think it’s enough to understand we each represent something in our families that is invaluable, even if that value does not solve for X.

Burned Upside Down Brownies for Breakfast

photo 2I woke up this morning and decided it would be a great idea to make brownies for breakfast. Not because I’m a super mom, but because I really wanted brownies. I knew when I had only half the vegetable oil I needed that they may not taste as good since I substituted the other half with olive oil, but my craving could live with that. I had exactly two eggs left so I very carefully took them from their carton- I am not a cook and when I do, I’m rather clumsy about it. Slight modification aside, all the ingredients made it into the bowl, mixed and poured into the appropriately sized pan. Here’s where things get a little auspicious.

As I said before, I don’t cook; I do what the box or my mom tells me. In fact, my husband does the cooking. Gray often asks at the end of the day if daddy is coming home from work to cook for us- God, I hope so. Obviously I don’t need any extra challenges in the kitchen, so the fact that the stove has not worked properly since we pulled it out and cleaned behind it has made me that much more averse to cooking anything in it. The temperature dial is no longer calibrated properly or something because it burns hotter than the sun when it’s set at 200 degrees and burns everything in five minutes. I don’t know why I thought I could use that oven unsupervised…oh yeah, craving. I was sure if I just watched it closely that I could have my brownies with the benefit of having them in half the time. Then I decided to get really domestic and start some laundry while the brownies cooked, then my son woke up as I was loading the dishwasher and, well, five minutes went by and I started smelling my brownies go from, scrumptious to burning in the matter of a few seconds.

I pushed my still groggy son out of the way, slid on some laundry and made it the stove. I pulled out the brownie pan and tossed it on top of the stove, smoking. Damn! I didn’t want the house to reek of burned brownies so I grabbed them and started running towards the door to get them outside. Unfortunately my mutant stove made the pan so hot that it was burning through the towel I was using to carry the pan, and… yep, I dropped the pan in the living room, completely upside down. Now I had upside down brownies on the carpet, a half awake toddler wanting to be cuddled awake and the washing machine had started with the lid open and only half filled with clothes. I threw the pan out the door and watched as my craving cooled on the unvacuumed carpet. I grabbed the lid to the brownie pan since the brownie pan itself was now laying in the yard and used a spatula to scoop the humpty dumpty brownie off the floor. Now, all the kings horses and all the kings men may not have been able to put humpty together again, but they weren’t pregnant with a serious hankering for eggs.

Now my son is snuggled on the couch under a blankie and watching Disney Jr, the washing machine has been properly filled, the demon stove is resting quietly for now and I am enjoying my lump o’ brownie with a slight after taste of olive oil and only an occasional hair.

photo 1

Starbucks Opened My Eyes

photoI had an eye-opening experience this morning. Not in that absurd use of the word “literal” when it is still quite figurative. You know how people say, “my head literally exploded!”. Well, no, it didn’t, because here you still are, your cabeza neatly intact upon your shoulders. People, I am telling you my eyes opened a little wider than the socially acceptable openness that is necessary to avoid looking like Large Marge sent ya.

Today, I woke up with a horrible tension headache that was compounded by a lack of coffee as I rushed to get my son out the door to “school” or daycare- my stay at home mommy guilt has to refer it as school so I can believe the experience is as good for him as it is for me. I’m not a coffee person, at all, but I started drinking some every morning during this pregnancy to get a little caffeine rather than drinking the gallon of Dr Pepper that usually gets me through my morning. By the time I made my way into Barnes & Noble to sit at my almost impossibly small, round table by the window where I work on blog posts and web surfing while I’m deciding what moving and emotional sentiments I will convey to all my cyber-homies, my headache had become quite belligerent. This table is of course right by the Starbucks café where the blenders, eclectic music and shouts of ubiquitous lattes and espressos usually take a few minutes for me to drown out as I slip into auto-pilot.

So I find myself in need of caffeine and sitting right next to one of the most infamous caffeine peddlers in the world. I grudgingly decide to approach the barista with a vague description of the kind of monotonous coffee I usually take and unnecessarily explain how I am not a coffee person and have no idea what anything on their menu equals to said monotonous coffee. I guess I just need them to know that this is an aberration and I will not be one of their regulars with a trendy tall, venti, grande whatever in my hand as a status symbol. I much prefer the message I send with a Dr Pepper can in my hand which is much more indicative of my, I’m-still-cool-in-a-collegiate-I-just-woke-up-and-am-too-cool-to-be-“cool”-enough-for-coffee-and-not-quite-sophisticated-enough-to-use-coffee-as-a-place-holder-for-my-status-until-it-is-socially-acceptale-to-switch-it-out-for-a-glass-of-wine, persona. But back to the barista. She kindly suggested a vanilla latte with half a shot and my headache throbbed in acquiescence. A few minutes later and I was holding an impossibly short, tall vanilla latte. I can see now how people can confuse the concept of literal and figurative when you order a literally tall latte and get a figuratively “tall” latte instead.

I took the thing to my almost impossibly small table by the window, pondering the superfluousity of the little cardboard sleeve with the coffee goddess printed on the side, and sat exhausted from the experience. I gave it a few minutes to cool, which might have served more as a few minutes to come to terms with the cliché I had become as a writer in a coffee shop. Finally, though, snapped out of my self-loathing by the shouting of someone else’s falsely advertised grande whatever, I decided the time had come to drink the damn thing mocking me next to my laptop. I blew into the little hole and was slightly embarrassed and tickled by the little whistling sound it made when I did so. I slowly and deliberately tipped it back, expecting to burn the hell out of my lip, when instead came the eye opening experience: This shit was good!

This wasn’t my cursory Folgers with International Delight French Vanilla creamer, consumed merely as a way to administer caffeine to my nervous system. My head literally exploded! A “tall” could not measure up. I needed a “grande” or a “venti”, whichever is larger, but I’m hoping that “venti” is a translation of the Latin word twenty, because, yes, please, I’ll take twenty ounces of this stuff. I was careening down a slippery slope of hedonism that was incongruous with my preconceived notions of what my previously stated, overly hyphenated stream of consciousness description above conveyed. In that split second between my first sip and this overly dramatized reaction, I blinked to keep people from staring and set down my pretentious coffee, my life somewhat changed by the experience. I got down to the less than room temperature dregs and was thankful for the temperature change so I could take the remaining contents in gulps, like I would one of my beloved Dr Peppers when I had acclimated to the burning carbonation.

And then, just like that, it was over. I was left with a slight buzz that whispered in my ears and propped my eyes open like imaginary little tooth picks wedged between my upper and lower lids. Writers of yore drank alcohol, presumably to access a part of their brains that was otherwise inaccessible to them in sobriety. Had I found my drug that would rival Hemmingway? I certainly felt like I could run with bulls or embark on a Kerouacian adventure within the fickle confines of my imagination. For now I’ll settle with this blog post and hope that my eyes remain slightly more open than I had previously allowed them.