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On this particular morning, I walked into the cafe and found Alissa sitting in the back.  She’d already gotten herself a coffee.  She was holding the cup with both hands, still feeling the chill from outside.  She was wearing jeans and a fabulous off white sequined top under the perfect navy blazer (not a spot of spit-up to be found), a pair of slouchy knee high boots – low heel – in mahogany with side buckles and they DID fit her calves.    She had a manicure.  French, pppfff of course.  Her wedding and engagement rings fit her ring finger perfectly.  Her hair looked lovely tucked behind one ear with ease, curls flowing and not frizzing.  As I approached the table, I noticed her looking down and smiling.  Of course.  She’d brought the baby.  He was in his carseat. I stopped and watched for a moment.  As I stepped closer to the table his face became visible and I could see why she didn’t want to take her eyes off of him.  He was THE CUTEST BABY IN THE WORLD.

Me: Hi, Alissa.

Alissa: Hi!  So good to see you.

Me: Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview.  It’s been awhile.

Alissa: Yes, it has.  But the time off has been worth it. She looks down at her son…nope…sorry her manicure.

Me: He’s beautiful.  How old is he now?

Alissa: Thank you.  Ten weeks, eleven on Saturday. 

Me: He’s so calm, such a good baby.  He seems very advanced.  He was holding a menu running his finger down the list of iced drinks.

Alissa:  How nice of you to say that.  Yes, I don’t mean to brag, but he is quite extraordinary.  I don’t want to compare my baby to others.  Although, he does seem to be gifted.  And perfect.  And gorgeous. In fact, he may start talking next week – you never know! She laughs.

Me: And how are you doing as a new mom?

Alissa: Wonderfully, I think.  I’ve managed to look stunning, didn’t you notice?  And, my child is clean, in a fresh diaper, keeping to himself and occasionally smiling at me to let me know that he needs me but is not overly needy.  My husband is completely content with our new family life and is sure we’ll be able to afford everything a child needs.  If you were to go to my house right now, my floors would be vacuumed, laundry done and put away, dishes loaded in the dishwasher and everything in its place.

Me:  That sounds…almost impossible, but okay.  So, you’re getting back to work then?  We would love to know what’s next for you.

Alissa: Work?  Who’s working? I had a kid so I could stay home and watch Oprah.

Me: Ha.  That’s a joke…right? Anyway, you’ll be churning out something stellar soon? 

Alissa: Totally.  Yes.

Isn’t my child pretty?  His poop smells like the rainforest.

We sat and talked for another hour while her son filled out an application for Mensa or plotted the takedown of all wireless communications – I’m not sure.  I swear he winked at me once.  Look for a continuation of this interview in next month’s issue.  Find out Alissa’s other uses for a breast pump and why you shouldn’t panic when the doctor delivering your baby says, “What is that?”

 

 

It’s so hot.  Sooooo hot. It’s the kind of hot where you sweat when you step out of the shower, which makes me believe that showering may be a waste of time.  And, it’s only June.  It’ so hot that I considered joining a pool, something I didn’t think I would need to do until our kids become walking age.  But it’s so damn hot.  So, I searched online. 

I’m not a water person.  I’m not an outdoor person.  Have you seen my picture?  This ginger isn’t so attractive after a day at the pool or at the beach or a few minutes in a Walmart parking lot.  I’m convinced that every Walmart is a gateway to Hell.  I burn faster within a five-mile radius.  Give me ten minutes outside with out sunscreen and prepare to nurse my blisters the rest of the day.  Of course, if I’m going to be out – let’s say at the Farmer’s Market (because that makes me sound trendy when I really should be saying “the line for giant corn dogs at the state fair”) – I will slather on sunscreen.  And I don’t care what people say about the number on the bottle.  If one reads “80” and the other “25”, I’m buying the “80”.  I’ll give it a chance.  I wear hats, sunglasses and make sure to reapply sunscreen if I’m out for the long-haul.  I do this so that I don’t end up in an oatmeal bath or need to wear The Hubbs’ baggy clothes for a week or need to change my personal theme song to “Rock Lobster.” Imagine my glee when I found an indoor public pool. The heavens are listening! I’ll admit that “public” can sometimes mean “Hey, come swim with that homeless guy who hangs out under the 540 bridge while he takes his monthly bath.”  But this place is pretty swanky.  Well, it looks swanky from the pictures online.  I haven’t actually been to the facilities to check them out.  However, from the online info, it seems that I can take water aerobics in the mornings.  Hello!  I can swim with a bunch of grandmas and be the best looking one there.  Take that, golden girls.

Finding a pool meant I had to find a bathing suit.  Can I point out that just because I would rather have a suit with a skirt because of some “issue areas” doesn’t mean that I want to look like a two-year old with a frilly bottom.  And nevermind trying to find a maternity suit (yes, maternity – there’s a baby in there, so they tell me) that provides my lower half with some decent coverage.  Oh, and one that provides ample support up top?  I don’t want to accidentally practice nursing on the guy that isn’t looking where he’s swimming.

I just want to get some exercise.  And get out of this heat.  And do it some what fashionably.  And beat those grandmas at their own game.

How long until fall?

My house was filled with estrogen this weekend as I hosted a girls’ weekend get-away for my closest friends.  As promised there was a lot of laughter, some booze and a stirrup pants sighting at the mall.  Bonus activities included an impromptu fashion show in my living room and laughing at old pictures that I didn’t realize were on my friend’s facebook account (thanks, Erin.).  God, it’s good to be a girl.

Once the party was over and everyone had packed up and started on their treks back home, I hunkered down with my laptop and told myself I was going to figure out this coupon clipping craze.  This can’t be hard.  I’ve never won at Monopoly, but I have kicked ass in Candy Land.  So, I’m golden, right?

I was in Walmart last week stocking up on essentials for the coming girls’ weekend frivolity when I passed this woman who was thumbing through a large zippered binder full of coupons.  They were organized in these plastic pockets, just like the ones my brother used to stash his basketball cards in, which, by the way, he would not let me touch.  This may have something to do with some G I Joes I buried in the front yard.  I stopped beside her and said, “I think you might be my hero.”  We talked for about 15 minutes.  She explained her strategies to me, most of which I have already forgotten probably due to some episodes of Housewives of NY.  Those women are killing my brain cells. 

I watched my hero flip through her binder showing me how to organize by store (she goes to at least two different grocery stores depending on the deals) and then by item.  She looked at my cart (Embarrassing!  I didn’t have a chance to explain to her that I don’t usually by four different kinds of bread or two tubs of sour cream at a time or drink that much beer by myself) and she noticed my two boxes of Suddenly Salad (Oh my gosh!  This salad is so sudden.) and instantly knew that she had a coupon for fifty cents off two boxes of Suddenly Salad and gave it to me.  Did I mention that she had a small child with her?  How did she remember that coupon existed?  Then, she wrote down two sites (here and here) for me to visit for more info on clipping coupons.  I think that if I had invited her to come to my house and show me how to put a coupon binder together, she would have come and brought snacks – free snacks that she bought by combining coupons and sales deals. 

But I did not invite her, so here I sit on my own visiting these sites she wrote down for me and trying not to get distracted by Bejeweled Blitz or online Scrabble.  It’s just that I was never good at math and I loathed word problems.  And these sites, while they do offer a great deal of information, do not offer step-by-step, outlined, color-coded instructions on how to get the most out of clipping.  I would even settle for old school clip-art hieroglyphics because let’s face it.  I’m a visual learner.  All these words.  Blah blah blah coupons blah blah manufacturer blah blah double blah blah stock piling (should I be worried?) blah blah it’s so simple.  Kiss my fanny.  It’s not simple.  It’s panic-inducing.  Do they make coupons for Zoloft?

The thing is, I’m sure there is a justifiable savings for all this work.  I just wish I could download a manual directly to my brain or hire someone to shop with me and show me the ropes. OOh, or hire a personal shopper AND a personal coupon clipper.  If I won the lottery, I wouldn’t have to use the coupons at all. 

I wonder if we have any booze left…

So far I have found a koozie with the name “Susan” stitched on it (this is for when I have beers and like to pretend I’m someone else), a Mary Engelbreit notepad that tells me “Anything Is Possible”, a glass vase, and a Valentine’s Day porch flag in our new home.  All of these things were left by the previous owners as a welcoming gift, I’m guessing.  By the way, the notepad reminded me of the white sweatshirts my mother used to dress me in.  She would iron-on a Mary Engelbreit design.  Come on.  I know I’m not the only one that had those.  And if so, everyone else in the world should be jealous.  And now that you’ve checked out ME’s website, imagine a little girl with loads of curly red hair wearing a ME sweatshirt and holding a Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper (for reminiscing purposes click here) that would look something like this:

My actual Trapper Keeper had kittens on it.  Alas, I couldn’t find a picture of my Lisa Frank design.  Believe it or not, I did have friends, which brings me to the real issue here:  Why did The Hogan Family go off the air and what can I do about it?  And we have finally settled into the new house.

 

This was the view from the front porch the morning of our move.  We moved a few things the night before and stayed in the new house like real grown ups.

A week or so after we moved in, we decided to really screw with Destro’s head and cover things in plastic.

He retaliated by sticking his head in the paint can.  You think you’re soooo clever, dontcha?

A first look at the paint color.  Fortunately, Destro’s slobber didn’t make it past the window sill. 

Taaaa Daaaaa!!!  Here is what it looks like now.  Gray paint.  It is Olympic paint called “Secret Passages.”  Other paint names I think they should consider: “My Dad’s Not-So-Hidden Stash of Porn”, “Through The Neighbor’s Window” and “That Creepy Floor At The Public Library.”

The kitchen is up next.  It has a great wall that’s perfect for my wolf mural or perhaps a tribute to Lisa Frank.

Honestly.  People need to leave some projects to the professionals.  Just because you can’t afford new hardwood floors doesn’t mean you should try to put down carpet yourself and in the process accidentally staple-gun your girlfriend’s bischon frise to the floor because you like to consider yourself a “man’s man” who can drink beer and operate pneumatic machinery.  Fluffy is not a dust bunny. And your pair of sunglasses is not the proper eye protection.  I found this post on Apartment Therapy’s site this morning and I had to laugh.  All the DIYers out there never mention the projects gone wrong.  This is somewhat of a relief for me as I am not great at “doing it myself.” I also love this comment left by a reader:

“There is the wall in my living room that I tried to paint so it would subtly mimic the clouds in an adjacent painting. Instead, the wall looks like an unfortunate victim of a party where some one drank too much Blue Curaçao and threw up all over.”

Here is my follow-up question: Was there ever a point that you stopped and said, “Huh. This sort of reminds me of 1990 – 1992.” No? And who says, “Hey, those clouds in that painting would look great on my wall. I would like to “subtly mimic” them by painting my wall the color of Blue No. 1. Let’s give her a go!”

Someone should stop me if I ever:

1. decide to “subtly mimic” the pattern Destro’s crusty dried drool makes on his water bowl mat.  That will not add a classy feel to the walls.

2. decide to blow up pictures from the wedding.  That one where the camera caught my crazy eye will not get any better cropped and larger.

3. decide to make pillows out of the jeans that no longer fit.  The pockets could hold my used tissues after I cry myself to sleep.

4. decide to make miniatures of  The Hubbs and me and our hypothetical children.  Playing with dolls is #6 on the Reasons To Get A Job/Someone Should Be Worried list.

5. decide to upholster our armchair in recycled hospital linens.  That’s not paint.  That’s a stain.

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© Alissa C. Miles and "And So They Did...", 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material including pictures from posts and/or other pages without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alissa C. Miles and "And So They Did..." with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Basically, don't steal my stuff. Thanks. -A.

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