Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Steph's Christmas in July Gift Guide.

From my stash of great products from the Sunday coupon pages, I bring you this handy guide to get started on your Christmas shopping. Because none of us can ever have enough useless crap.

1. For that snarky someone.

You can get Maxine's crabulous humor 365 days a year. It's a bargain at $59.99. The order form says satisfaction guaranteed. I wonder, what could someone possibly be expecting from this product that they wouldn't get? Are there people who write the company two weeks later and say, I'm sorry, but Maxine's humor is not nearly as crabulous as your ad promised...

2. For that special someone.

Show them you have an appreciation for the finer things by treating them to this glittering, Swaroski crystal rendition of everyone's favorite snarky canary.

3. For the LSD user in your life.

I'm sure this product, intended for people who want to add the magestic splendor of the sea to their rumpus room, really just ends up as a novelty gift for friends who do a lot of hallucinogens and lick certain frogs. This could also make for a wonderful conversation piece. Conversations that would most likely start, "Why the f%$k do you have that?"

Another product that unintentionally ends up as gag gift for heavy drug users is the Illuminating Crystal Angel by dream products.

4. If you hate your houseguest/neighbors.
Buy the Elvis cuckoo clock. What better way to remind you that yet another hour of your life has been spent reading useless stuff on the internet than by having the king announce it?

Also consider, The 100 Bell Wind Chime. Musical ringling and jingling of 100 hundred bells and 10 brass pipes at the slightest breeze.

5. For the kids.

Personally, I loved playing with scissors as a kid. As a matter of fact, one of my favotire haircuts, that I lovingly refer to as "the mushroom cloud" was the result of a particulary fun afternoon with grandma's good shears. Imagine the damage I could have done with these bad boys.

Feel free to send your own great gift ideas for the next edition of the gift guide. Until next time, happy shopping.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A brief (but important) list

Things I kind of wish would go away:

1. Twitter. WTF is twitter? I don’t want to tweet or twit or whatever the fuck. And if I see one more news report or headline or magazine article about what Ashton Kutcher or Anderson Cooper or some basketball player "twittered" I’m going to hurl. I'm not sure why, but the mere mention of this site makes me want to scratch my eyes out.

2. Greeting cards with sound in them. I went to the Hallmark store the other day and was verbally accosted by two thirds of the cards I cracked open. What happened to just a spunky old lady or a dog in a birthday hat? Must everything be interactive? Can’t I have a quiet moment to send someone well wishes? (Coming soon, twitter from your birthday card!)

3. Healthcare bills (and the corresponding bill collectors who incessantly call to make sure I pay them). These people call me every morning at precisely 8:30am. They have not figured out that I have caller I.D. I know it’s you asshole, I’m not picking up.

Things I’d like to see more of:

1. Baby clothes. I was reminded of this last night at the home of my friend and mama-to-be, Candi. Little tiny Chuck Taylors, mini courderoy overalls, little baby onesies on little baby hangers. I am consumed by the cuteness. Even when I was in the throes of infertility despair, nothing could make me go all gooey and warm like an itty-bitty sundress at Old Navy with coordinating lilliputian flip flops.

2. Random acts of wit and whimsy:
As I was driving to the gym one day, I saw a busted out portion of a long brick wall. I thought, “Gee, that’s weird.” But I will be forever grateful to the person who saw it and thought of this…

What I wish I had seen whlie driving, but only read about in the newspaper, was Raleigh artist Joseph Carnevale's creative use of traffic barrels.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Adoption comments hall of fame

It has become something of a sociological experiment for me to catalog the different responses I get to the "we're adopting" news.

Most people in my life have reacted with a joy, excitement, and curiosity about the process that mirrors my own. But there are other times when a reaction stings a little (or makes me want to reach in and rip the person's heart out, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom style.)

Here are some of my not-so-favorites:

1. Russia? But there are so many American kids who need good homes…?

The implication here is that whenever a person selfishly makes the choice to adopt abroad, a big fat tear rolls down one of said American children’s faces (for dramatic effect the tear should roll down while the child is looking out a rainy window and holding a broken baby doll).

I could list a zillion pros and cons for each way to adopt, but suffice it to say that when it comes time to choose, you just have to go with what feels right to you. It might be adopting from down the street or it might be adopting from the Planet Zorgon. Like many other huge life decisions, you won't know how to cross that bridge until you come to it (on Zorgon though it will most likely be in a hover craft).

Also, I find it interesting that no one uses the, “U.S. kids need homes” comment for pregnant people. As in,"Gee, it's really a shame you're pregnant. Don't you know there are lots of kids who need good homes?' (It's best if this comment is accompanied by a look that says, What the hell is wrong with you, you selfish bastard?)

2. Maybe now that you’re adopting you’ll get pregnant! (Like Charlotte on Sex in the City! Like my best friend’s neighbor’s sister-in-law!)

Taking people at their best, I'm pretty sure this statement comes from a desire to console the prospective adoptive parent who has probably struggled trying to get pregnant and so the adoption announcement might signal a throwing-in-the-towel type moment. But I don't think people realize how insulting this comment is. The implication is that an adopted child is my booby prize but my “real” prize might still be coming and I shouldn’t give up hope just yet.

I used to think that deciding to adopt must feel like the walk of the infertility losers. That starting the process would feel like defeat. The shocking thing is...it doesn't. At least not for me. I am filled with a hope and love that had started to deflate after years of infertility struggle. I feel refreshed, not defeated. For three years we’ve been hoping for a child. We have not given up hope for that.

3. I’ll have a baby for you!

Super! I'll have my doctor contact you so we can start the Invitro process. I hope you're okay with very large needles, copious amounts of hormones and LOTS of different people peering into your love hole...and then of course the blessed pregnancy and childbirth (which I've heard is a breeze), thanks for offering to do it for me!... How's next month for you to get started?

What's that?

Oh, I see....you didn't mean that you'd really do it...

4. Have you tried/considered/looked into/heard about…?

Yes. I have.

BONUS: This is a comment I only got once, but it's a real winner.

Receptionist: How old will the baby be when you get it?

Me: I don’t know. A year? Two years?

Receptionist: Oh...well it’s the best when you can be there from day one. It’s the most amazing thing in the world.

Fantasy response #1: “Well, it’s the most amazing thing to have a million dollars too, but I don’t. I've still managed to lead a happy life though, amazing isn't it?”

Fantasy response #2: “Yeah, I’ve cried many, many nights over that, but thanks for reminding me I’m going to miss out on the first year of my kid’s life. I hope you have a nice day.”

Real response: “….”

Monday, June 1, 2009

Peggy and Me

Sunday I saw a little movie called Drag Me to Hell. Long story short, I learned this lesson: Do not piss off an old gypsy lady if you are wearing earrings, a button, or some other object she can curse with a demon who will chase you around (in the form of a fly that crawls into your mouth, an eyeball in your slice of Harvest Cake, or even as a possessed billy goat.)

This got me thinking that it couldn’t hurt to have some friends in touch with the spirit world. Normally, I am firmly in the “that’s-hocus-pocus-phooey” camp, but lately, needing all the help I can get, I find myself thinking, if that rabbit’s foot makes you feel lucky, have at it (unless it’s a real rabbit’s foot in which case you’re a terrible human being…seriously dude, it’s a bunny.)

About four months ago I came across a chubby little fertility statue from a tiny psychic shop in a rural town. “Peggy” has lived in my purse ever since (except for this weekend she’s on loan to a friend). And even though I am no longer trying to conceive, Peggy is still a talisman of hope. I feel better somehow when I’m digging through my purse for gum and see her snuggled into the folds of my purse lining right between the stool softener and a rubber ball with a tiny skull inside it (don’t ask me why or how, but those items are seriously in my purse—stranger things have happened).

I know I’m not the only one turning to charms in troubled times because a few weeks ago I saw a news story that sales of such hocus-pocus are on the rise due to the troubled economy. According to Joe’s One-stop Santeria shop in Miami, Florida, the biggest selling item is Good Fortune Floor Wax. This strikes me as odd. I mean, with Peg all I have to do is know she’s there and imagine the good things she’s pushing my way. She doesn’t make me do housework.

A word to the wise Joe of Joe’s One Stop Santeria Shop in Miami, Florida: If you really want to double your sales, consider carrying some less work intensive potions. Maybe a Big Money Bathroom Spray? Or an, “I need a job” incense set? Just a thought.

It seems strange to think of things this way, but now when I look at Peggy and think about my future child, I think somewhere in the world, possibly Russia, possibly somewhere else (I’ve given up assuming that I know such things for certain), a chain of events has been set in motion that will somehow, miraculously bring me together with the child who is meant to be with me. This chain of events has nothing to do with my monthly cycle, but rather the reproductive organs of two people half a world away. But that’s okay, when it’s time, me, Danny and Peg will board a plane, cross a continent or two and claim our good fortune.