Friday, July 30, 2010

broken dam

Five years ago today, Gracie was born. I had an appointment to be induced at 9 a.m. Something about having an appointment to have a baby feels very unnatural. I'd always imagined rushing out the door once my water broke the way they do in the movies. But when I woke up that morning, my contractions had started. It wasn't going to be unnatural after all. The first half of labor was very boring and unlike the movies. My water didn't even break. They broke it for me. The second half was hell on earth where I came down with an instant case of Tourette Syndrome. I just wanted it all to end.

And then it did. Becoming a mother for a split second is a very odd feeling. The nurse wrapped up the baby and placed her in my arms and expected me to coo all over her. I didn't know how to react. I felt like I shouldn't be holding or touching the baby. I was in a fragile state, afraid that touch would change my mind. Nona spent the night in the hospital room with me and took care of Grace when she fussed. I wanted it that way. She is her mother.

I tried to think about anything other than this baby. So I thought about myself. Matt went out and bought me a #10 from McDonald's. I read Us Weekly and about how Denise Richards dropped all her baby weight in six weeks. Skinny bitch. Nearly two years later, I was finally within 15 pounds of my pre-baby weight. I thought about my move to Nebraska in a few days and how the change would do me good.

It sounds selfish, but being a non-mother, you really only have yourself to look out for.

Gracie's parents send me pictures and emails about how she's doing and I'm happy. Happy, but with a catch in my throat. Because no matter how selfish you are, something changes in you when you bring a life into the world. You think of other people. There is life outside yourself. Even if you try to ignore it, it's there, pushing tears out of your eyes.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

serenity now

View from my hammock:


Tonight after work, I sunk into my hammock. Sometimes I become so emotionally overwhelmed that I have to stop and breathe. I have to let my thoughts that have been huddled in the corners of my brain waiting for their chance to exercise play out. I have to slow down. So I stared at the bug-eaten leaves, watched a leaf fall. It felt poetic, watching the leaf fall much before it needed to. No one is going to determine when it's his time.

Tucker jumped into the hammock with me: although he was very skeptical about falling through the ropes, he doesn't like to be alone. I laid there, relishing in my time away from chatter and conversation and human-generated noise. I listened to the shrill of the cicadas. I get Henry David Thoreau. Although I'm not low-maintenance and resourceful enough to live off the land in solitude, it's nice in theory. If anyone rents out cabins in solitude but with room service, I'm first to sign up.

Monday, July 26, 2010

internet vs. bedtime

Steve and I have different bedtimes. I can't believe I just said that and didn't backspace. It sounds so juvenile. But I really don't know any better way to say it. I go to bed much earlier than he does. I like to read in bed and let my eyelids tell me when it's time to fall asleep. My book ends up on the pillow or the floor; sometimes I have enough foresight to put a marker in it and turn off the lamp. And sometimes, I say I'm going to bed and get distracted by the glow of the screen saver. I could be addicted to the internet.

Seriously. Steve and I have often discussed how I'm the only person we know that's not addicted to something (unless you count ice cream or pasta, I guess). But if we were to analyze me further, we'd see I rarely go more than a couple hours without logging on to see what I missed while I was away.

I check emails and Facebook (even though I think I'm too old for it now). I check my LinkedIn account occasionally, look up words on dictionary.com. I peruse eBay, Banana Republic, Amazon for things to buy. I read my own blogs because I'm egotistical. I watch my sitemeter like a hawk. I read other people's blogs and I google random topics that I heard recently that I'm not knowledgeable about. I look at what jobs are out there even though I'm not looking. In a nutshell, I dawdle because I love the internet.

Last night was one such night when a quick email check turned into a couple hours of nonsense surfing. But I was waiting for Steve to come upstairs because I enjoy the whole falling asleep in each other's arms concept...although about a minute in I pull out of his embrace and turn towards the window because that's the only way I can actually fall asleep. So maybe I don't enjoy that as much as I enjoy its prelude. Either way. I heard the usual hum of the TV so I knew he was awake watching some stupid comedy that he so enjoys.

I called down to him my nightly mantra, "come to bed," and about an hour later, when I couldn't think of a single website I hadn't visited, I walked into our bedroom. There was Steve, on our bed, waiting for me. "How long have you been up here?" I asked. "At least an hour, I'm halfway done with Shallow Hal," he answered. "What did you say to me earlier? Did you say 'Come to bed'?"

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Why people suck, part 1

I haven't bitched about what I hate about people in a couple hours awhile. It's about time. Isn't that why you read my blog? So we can agree on common hatreds? Honestly, that's what makes a friend to me: not someone who loves what I love, but rather, someone who hates what I hate. Take my college roommate, for example: we bonded over a mutual hatred for denim-on-denim and healthy food.

I could never contain in one blog post everything I'm passionately against, so I'll limit this one to things people say that I can't stand. I really wouldn't hate people so much if they didn't talk. Well, that and write and make facial expressions and use hand motions. So basically, if people were all like my dog, I would hate them as much. Since that's not happening, I take to venting:

1. I could care less
Don't even get me started. This could be a series of blog rants. It's completely illogical.

2. What's wrong?
Nothing was until you asked, dimwit. Now I want to punch your face and curse humanity.

3. Just my luck
Everyone thinks they're the most hapless person in the world. You're not. That special.

4. Anything over 100% (or anything over 10 on a 1 to 10 scale).
Yes, Randy Jackson is my nemesis. ("1000% yes, you're through to Hollywood!")

5. I'd tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.
I don't even know what movie that is originally from. I just wish it would go away.

6. People who quote movies. Every time you see them.
Have an original thought. And turn off the damn TV every now and again.

7. You know what I mean? or ya know?
Do you really want me to pretend to agree with you? Because honestly I have no idea what you're talking about and don't (a) give a shit or (b) know what you mean.

8. When people make me repeat what I just said even though they heard me.
If you didn't care the first time, don't make me repeat it. (Side note: a phrase I love is "did I stutter?")

9. A co-worker of mine always says, "Not bad for a Monday," to anyone who asks how he's doing. Which makes me feel like it's always Monday because I'm always hearing that phrase. Also, I don't need to be reminded how many more days until the weekend. I'd like to think about anything else right now.

10. Would you like the receipt with you or in the bag?
Shove it in the F-ing bag like they did in the olden days before retailers asked a million questions.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

hammock, horticulturist, halfwit,

Ideally, on Saturdays Steve and I work in the yard. Sometimes that happens, most times it doesn't. Today for some bizarre reason we both felt very ambitious. We just recently had the jungle of Mulberry trees we inherited demolished:

Before:
After:

I hate Mulberry trees. I have been yanking out seedlings everywhere. They spread like the clap.

My next dream was a hammock. But I hate those stupid looking hammock holders, so I resolved to buy a post we could dig into the ground and hang the other side from a tree:

After finishing the hammock hole, I weeded around my tomatoes. And I noticed something: I have a tomato! It is still in its green stage and is a runt, but it will grow into a juicy red tomato that one day lies in a slice atop my burger.

I called Steve over to see for himself that I'm not a total halfwit and am able to grow the most simple plant. In my excitement, I found renewed vigor to pay attention to my tomato plants. I stuck yet another tomato cage on top of the one already there for each plant.

I pulled and pushed the branches in all different directions, manipulated them into the cage against their will as a woman in a corset. Then I stood back and admired my work. And that's when I saw it: my one and only tomato, lying in the dirt, a casualty of my gardening enthusiasm.

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. I can't even grow the most simple plant. I am a halfwit.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

traditions

The Street of Dreams last night was a total disappointment. More like a half a block of semi-finished dreams. The street of dreams used to actually be a street full of houses you could "ooh" and "ah" over. This year, it's four houses. FOUR! And none of them had all the rooms finished. And so a Pelesky tradition dies.

But another one lives on: my sister, mom and I are going to Salt Lake City on our annual girls' mini trip. Has anyone ever been there? I'd like to know what we should do, where we should stay.

I'd also like a pair of Joe's Jeans, new boots in every color, some bright colored coats for fall and a brand new car. But let's start small with trip suggestions.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

baby shower

I'm all over the blog world today. It's about how awesome I am at baby shower games. I even had my picture taken by Donna Boucher. Check me out. Donna's kind of a big deal in the blogging world. Over a million hits is a big deal. At the rate I'm going, it will take me 200 years to get there. She takes fantastic pictures and also happens to be my friend Patrick's mom.

Baby showers are not my scene. I am uncomfortable saying "ooh" and "ah" and making small talk. I make children uncomfortable. Even my own niece is afraid of me. She bursts into tears whenever I'm within a ten foot radius. I think she's considering a restraining order.

But despite all this, I got kudos on two blogs that are a lot more popular than mine. I must be doing something right. Now that word is out on how awesome I am at this baby stuff, people will probably expect me to start expecting soon. Let me just lay that rumor to rest.

Even when I was a kid and my sister and I would talk about what we wanted in our futures, I said I wanted to be married for at least four years before having kids. At least. I never wanted to be married just to have kids or have kids just because I was married. So the clothes were cute, the games were fun and the cake was good, but don't expect the next shower to be for me.

Monday, July 19, 2010

I've looked at clouds from both sides now

As you know, my car has been running hot. That's the technical term for the problem, I learned this morning at AutoMechanics. I wasn't able to drive it this weekend: I drove Steve's car and we planned on first thing this morning taking it to our trusty mechanic and figuring out what the hell is (or isn't if we want the shorter list) wrong with it.

We looked at new cars online, preparing for the worst. Steve found an awesome new Mazda in our price range with all the bells and whistles. I hoped for the worst: for air conditioning and power locks and windows and cruise control and maybe even a sunroof. Visions of me driving a new car swirled around in my head.

Steve called me with the diagnosis: just needed a new water pump. A quick and easy fix. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck. My car and I are together again. My visions of mirrors on my doors and both license plates attached were shattered. Reality sank in. I was disappointed that I couldn't chalk up my car as a total loss and start over with a new car we can't really afford.

Today we had the most interesting sky. Rays of light peeking through clouds of gray. This is not a cloud. There is nothing I have that I should not be grateful for. Yesterday I had a debilitating headache where I could do little other than read without the light on. I read two of my favorite poetry books. That was not a cloud. It's easy to be discontent. Even when there's no reason to be. The clouds always blow away. There is new light every morning.

There is pain enough to nourish us everywhere;
it is joy that is scarce.
- Erica Jong

Thursday, July 15, 2010

out of this world

I had a car scare yesterday. OK, I'm always scared of my car; it's a rickety bucket of bolts that leaks oil, makes rattling sounds, and doesn't have air conditioning or power steering. And the manufacturer is now out of business. It doesn't get much better than that. But yesterday my coolant temperature gauge needle wiggled all the way up to the red "HOT" warning and I saw my life flash before my eyes.

I pictured my car exploding and my limbs flying in all different directions, blood spewed all over 108th street. I called Steve and projected my fears onto him. What a lucky man he is. If I'm about to die, I want his to be the last voice I hear. Not some moron screaming for me to get off the road. Steve calmed me down, I made it to work, called our mechanic, then took it to Jiffy Lube. And as you've already guessed, I didn't die. I continue to live my life on the edge by driving my Saturn that could very well one day blow me out of this world.

Hey, I'm a risk taker, what can I say? Perhaps to you a car overheating doesn't qualify as a life changing event, but it scared me enough to get my priorities straight. I realized yesterday that I need to leave Steve my Blogger password so if I do die suddenly, he can write my obituary on here. Maybe something like this:

Holly was a very opinated person who had few friends. She died in a shitty car because she never became successful enough to own anything else. She worked as a paper pusher which made her even more cynical. She aspired to be a writer one day and leaves behind 18 months worth of blogs, six pages of a novel, and 18 rejection letters from literary magazines. She loved Big Brother, puzzles, pasta and ice cream. She hated everything else. Especially cats and the screaming kids in the booth next to us. She is survived by her husband and dog, the dog has not yet noticed.

See how depressing that is? This must be why I'm still alive: it's time to get busy living.

Get busy living, or get busy dying.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

eye candy and poison

Soccer is so hot right now. Not the sport, the players:




















I don't mean to generalize: the other sports give us a lot of players to look at too:















Reggie Bushes and Kurt Warners are a rare find in America's beloved sports. If they were in the other football, they'd blend right in. I'm beginning to see why soccer is so popular.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

someday

At 19, I decided to transfer to a new college. To leave Omaha and return to my homeland. To figure out what I wanted, grow into myself, and make mistakes I would later learn from. That meant leaving the only boyfriend I'd ever had.

At the airport, we stopped in the tiny food court and Steve bought me a Krispy Kreme donut. We stared at each other from across the table as if it were the last time we'd ever see each other. I was as sad as a 19-year-old without life experiences could be, yet determined not to cry.

He held my hand as we walked towards the TSA checkpoint. We hugged goodbye and I rustled around for my ID to busy myself and think of anything but crying. As I handed my boarding pass and driver's license to the TSA woman, Steve yelled from up the terminal, "I'm going to marry you someday, Pelesky!" My tears broke free.

Four years, a college degree, other boyfriends and a baby later, he did. What I didn't know in 2002, those life experiences later taught me: that I had already met my perfect match. Something he already knew, I had to learn the long way. Sometimes it takes knowing what you don't want to figure out what you do.

A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.
-Jean de La Fontaine

Monday, July 12, 2010

what's the opposite of green thumb?

So you know how I told you I keep trying to be a gardener even though it's obvious I shouldn't? Here's further proof I'm not cut out for it:

Awhile ago, I bought some tomato plants. Those tiny little sprouts that come in the black plastic pots. I bought the metal cage to keep them upright. I never watered them, but with the amount of rain we've got this summer, they started to grow.

They grew so tall that they've outgrown our fence. So naturally you'd think such a healthy plant would have big juicy tomatoes dangling from it. Try again. This is me we're talking about. They have no tomatoes at all. Not even tiny little green marbles. Nothing. I have barren tomato plants.

I'm not cut out for tilling the ground. God knew what he was doing when he placed me in the 21st century. I wouldn't last a day in an era before Hy-Vee.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

missing piece

On the season 2 finale of Mad Men, Peggy tells Pete that she had his baby and gave it away. He doesn't understand so she explains:

"Well one day you're there. And then, all of a sudden, there's less of you. And you wonder where that part went: if it's living somewhere outside of you. And you keep thinking maybe you'll get it back. And then you realize it's just gone."

I shopped for Gracie's birthday present tonight. She is turning five. I tried to think of things she would like, but it's hard when I don't know her the way a mother should. I settled on some art supplies because she wants to be an artist.

I hope she doesn't hate me for it: for not knowing her the way a mother should.

I hope she always know she has a piece of me. She is the piece living outside of me.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

home away from home



Home is where you make it

I've lived in Omaha for five years. The rest of my life was spent in Pierce County, WA. On days like today, I miss it. I miss the streets and the temperature, the restaurants and the parks. I miss a lot of places I probably wouldn't visit and a lot of people I probably wouldn't see any way. It's nostalgia more than anything. I know that, but it doesn't stop me from wondering if.

If I'll ever live there again. If I'd like it if I did. Or if I'd bitch about the traffic and the prices.

Steve reads the paper and tells me the degrees in Seattle: the 70s. I love the 70s. I could live peacefully in the 70s. Then we went for a six mile run in the scalding heat here in Omaha; I am ready to jump the first plane out of here back to my homeland.

I miss my parents and my brothers. I miss playing croquet with my dad in the front yard. I miss playing game after game of marbles with Joel. We've been keeping track of our games for the past five years: first one to win 100 gets a DVD. Back then, that was going to be a cool prize. Now it's not worth the gas it takes to go to the store and pick it up.

I miss real seafood and the Old Spaghetti Factory. I miss the Sumner Arts festival and the Puyallup Fair. I miss seeing the mountain every day. I miss jumping on the trampoline. I miss my mom's no bake cookies. I miss shopping at Safeway. I miss Darigold ice cream. I miss Nordstrom. I miss traveling down towards Portland to see my extended family.

I'm torn between two places: there and here. There holds my family, here holds my husband. I know home is where you make it. It's just hard to make it somewhere other than home.

I'll go back to Manhattan
As if nothing ever happened
If I cross that bridge
It'll be as if this don't exist.

But Brooklyn holds you
And holds my heart too
What a fool I was to think
I could live in both worlds.

-"Back to Manhattan" by Norah Jones

Friday, July 9, 2010

change jar

You know how people say, "a penny for your thoughts?" as if everything in your head they want in their's? Maybe they feel mentally inferior. Or maybe, since a penny is such an insult, it's meant to make you feel inferior: your thoughts aren't worth shit. I knew an old man who told me he won't even bother bending down for anything less than a dime.

(Why are nickels bigger than dimes? It should be the smaller the coin, the less it's worth).

Well, save your measly pennies. I give you my thoughts on a website for free. You can thank me later: write me a check in the year 2020 for a $10,000 and I'll call us even. Maybe ten Gs is a bit steep. We'll figure out the math when the time comes (in the meantime, you might as well start throwing change in a jar in preparation).

In case you're intrigued by my mind and think it's some genius playground, let me assure you: it's not. A good rule of thumb is if I'm not spaced out staring out the window, I'm probably thinking about things I can buy. I love having a shopping bag and a receipt.

Now that I'm a homeowner, I spend a lot of time thinking of ways I can throw money at improve our house. Like yesterday: I was standing in the shower thinking that we should coat our bathroom walls in rubber. Perhaps just roll it on like wallpaper. Is that a product? It needs to be. I hate to see the paint peeling off the wall above the shower stall. It makes showers even less enjoyable for me.

Why don't you throw a quarter in that Holly jar? That was certainly worth more than a penny.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

as close as i get to talking politics


Nice try, hateful & unsuccessful business owner. I'm sure you thought Nebraska would be a prime location to try peddling your goods to people who are anti-Middle East (oh I'm sorry, you prefer the term patriotic don't you? I'm assuming that's what your painted flag is supposed to represent). You were wrong about us; if you can't get your prices below Bucky's and BP's, we're not buying. We're not into your propaganda, we'd rather save a buck so we can go inside and buy a slurpee.

You're not king in the oil world. How does it feel to be a minority? Now that you're out of business, perhaps you should cross the street and apply at QuikTrip. They've got 50 different flavored slushees and their name isn't menacing at all.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

vacuums suck

So apparently vacuum cleaners require maintenance? This is news to me. I mean sure, I've had belts snap before, but there are filters to replace? Give me a break. Non-pet owners always say owning a pet is expensive. No it's not, owning a vacuum is.

I fully intended on cleaning up the massive amounts of hair our carpet is growing (from our pet; OK, I get what you were saying non-pet people), but when I turned on the vacuum, a gray poof of dust exploded from it. A filter costs $25. There are a lot better things I can do with $25. Like take it to the casino and throw it in the slot machine.

There's got to be a better way. Like being rich and having a maid. Those god damn slot machines need to start paying out a trillion to one.


In a totally unrelated P.S.: You all know how I'm obsessed with Aziz Ansari. He has made me appreciate stand up comedy. I'm watching Last Comic Standing now since nothing else is on TV until Thursday when Big Brother starts. She got kicked off last night, but Fortune Feimster is completely hilarious. She taught me that lesbians wear vests. Which explains the confusion of the women who have hit on me in the past.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Firework shells

Apparently fireworks are illegal in Omaha. You certainly wouldn't have known it driving through last night. Especially around the 156th/Q area. Steve and I stood in our backyard and the air was thick with smoke. It looked like special effects for a war movie. I tried to take a picture to share, but my cheap $99 camera couldn't capture the darkness.

No kids live in the house across from us, but there were about twenty kids there, lighting off fireworks for five straight hours. I watched them from the second story window while I was sitting at our computer. Totally creepy, if you ask me. It reminded me of being a kid lighting off fireworks myself, running away the second I lit the fuse as if it were a bomb.

Dad would take us to the fireworks stand in the parking lot of Pizza and Pipes and we would get kid stuff like sparklers and bees and ground flowers. I hated the ground flowers because they always seemed to chase me, no matter what direction I ran. They stalked me into a wild frenzy until they finally fizzled out and died. I've always been a bit afraid of anything with fire. Even someone smoking a cigarette in the car with me: I'm afraid it will drop and the car will explode.

It always rained on the fourth of July in Puyallup, but dad would bring an umbrella; he would hover over the stump we used to light the fireworks off of until the fuse was lit. The day after, we would collect shells of used fireworks as if they were prizes.

This morning, Steve spotted a firework with an opened parachute blowing in the wind in our backyard. As an adult, it's litter: as a kid, it's a toy. Although I'm 27, I still think the way a kid would at times. It's as if my younger self is standing next to me and we're smiling at each other, sharing an inside joke.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Near-divorce experience



I welcome the nickname, "four eyes"


It finally caught up with me: years of bragging about my 20/15 vision. I scheduled an eye exam and hoped I needed glasses. I've always wanted glasses. When Steve and I first dated, he even bought me glasses without prescription lenses.

The doc wrote me a prescription and his assistant whisked me to look at glasses. One fell swoop. She brought me different pairs which I tried on in front of a mirror. I picked out some awesome Betsey Johnson frames. She rang me up: the best possible lenses, frames, anti-glare protection. She gave me the total: $550. I choked a little and asked her what forms of payment they accepted, stalling a bit. Trying to give my brain a second to digest this price. "Check, credit card, or cash," she said.

"I don't carry that much cash around," I said, handing her my credit card. And as she scuffled toward the credit card machine, I could think only of how I would explain this to Steve.

It didn't go well. Everything with a price tag became a glasses quip. "We were going to try to have a child soon, but Holly got glasses instead. We were going to take a vacation this summer, but Holly got glasses. We were going to go out to dinner, but Holly got glasses." Within 16 hours, my glasses order was canceled.

It took me about a week to gather the gumption to try again (and it took that long for the refund to post to our account). I went to Target Optical and asked for the cheapest possible lenses - no fancy stuff, no anti-glare, just shitty glasses, please. I knocked a couple hundred off our previous price. These aren't by Betsey Johnson, they're Sydney Love. Whoever the hell that is. It doesn't even sound like a real name: it sounds like an Amanda Bynes alias. Steve reluctantly agreed that this price would suffice.

I can actually read street signs and the time on the microwave. Our marriage is, once again, in tact. I don't need expensive glasses, just ones that let me see.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Late retirement


The time has come to let them go. Although they're definitely due for retirement, I wasn't allowing it. Until they physically forced me to. These shoes loved even when I was a bit chubbier. They accompanied me on my first half marathon. I kept the half marathon chip attached to the laces for months after the race was over as if I won a gold medal. They diligently log 100+ miles a month with me.

I didn't want to see them go. I didn't want to have to trade them in for a younger, newer model. I feel like a pathetic middle-aged man going through midlife crisis. I'm sorry: my head is saying no, but my heels are saying yes.

These new shoes are pretty sweet. They look like they were sent from the future in a time machine. But I didn't want to rub that in your face. I'm sorry, this is your day. Beauty has nothing on friendship and loyalty, any way.