Being a mom, and in my case a mom of 2 kids (3 years and 2 years old), follows you everywhere. No matter if your kids are with you or not. Especially when your body betrays you and shouts to the world "YES! YES! I HAVE HAD KIDS" (see my Jennifer Garner comment below). Yesterday, I was able to pop into Publix alone! (insert angels singing here) after I got out of work to get some grocery shopping finished up. I'd had a long, hard day at the school because my students had taken the state writing exam and then I had to cram 2 math lessons in after that so that they'll be on track for the state math exam in a week. Anyway, I digress. My shopping experience was, in accordance with Publix's slogan, a real "pleasure" because it was done at my leisure, and there weren't two kids in my shopping cart fighting, yelling, reaching, and melting down because his or her cookie from the bakery fell out of his or her hand and crumbled on the floor as he or she was reaching out to pull a box off of the shelf that I'd already warned him or her not to even attempt to do (nope-that hasn't happened ten million times before). All was delightful, virtually like a Caribbean cruise without the ship or the water or the endless drinks, until I began unloading my loot onto the conveyor belt at check out and the cashier opened his big, dumb mouth.
About three weeks before Christmas my husband and I finally made the commitment to have two of our largest pine trees in our backyard cut down. Karl had only asked for one single thing from Santa Claus all season long, and that was a swing set for his backyard. Our lot isn't enormous, but it's spacious enough, although the space goes widely unused due to the fact that we had over twelve pine trees back there that are all 20 to 35 feet tall. Deciding that Santa Claus would have to have room for the swing set, Bruce and I went ahead and hired our regular lawn guy to cut our two tallest, girthiest pine trees down (side note- he is an experienced tree trimmer and cutter-downer who is also licensed and insured). On a Friday afternoon around one o'clock, I got a phone call from Bruce. I was in the middle of teaching my class and he knows not to call me then unless it is an emergency, so I answered my phone fearing the worst, and I was right. Our lawn guy was cutting down the first tree out back, the one that was about thirty five feet tall, when snap-crackle-pop, the thing snapped in half like a toothpick and fell dead smack on our brand new roof. Massive hole. Shattered roofing truss, plaster and support beam cracked. Your run-of-the-mill home improvement nightmare. It was an honest mistake on my lawn guy's end- he thought he'd cut enough of the tree down for his men to not have to use a rope when it turns out the trunk was much heavier than he'd anticipated and it fell in the wrong direction. The roof has since been repaired, and our lawn guy was upstanding and responsible about the whole thing, though, if I'm being totally honest, seeing a gaping hole in my roof caused by the giant tree I had cut down did make it a little difficult not to be angry with the man. Every time I looked at the house wound I had to remind myself that accidents do happen and not to hold it against the guy. It just so happens that our lawn man lives in our neighborhood right next to the park and our kids always say hello to him and he is a very nice man. I really worked hard at holding no hard feelings because I see the guy in the neighborhood a lot.
So, there's that.
I've been pretty happy with myself lately, as it just so happens that I weigh the exact same weight as I did when I got pregnant with Hanalei about 3 years ago. I owe this to the fact that I had a tonsillectomy a month and a half ago. The claims we've all heard about how having the surgery as an adult rather than as a child is much more difficult are all true- if you'd like to experience 2 full weeks of total and complete misery, complete with seething pain and torturous hunger, then, by all means, sign yourself up to have those babies yanked out. It was your run-of-the-mill self improvement nightmare. For nearly two weeks I ate nothing solid, only ingesting broth, water, and pain medication, and after that for another week a half I was only able to eat very soft foods. The one upside to the entire atrocity was that I lost 12 pounds and thus far, I've kept it off. Clothes I haven't worn since before I was pregnant with Hana fit me now. I've been eating clean and following the 80/20 rule. I'm gradually getting back into an exercise routine. I feel better about myself. Yay me! At least...until yesterday afternoon in the check out line at Publix.
It was about three o'clock in the afternoon, so there weren't many people doing heavy shopping, and so the lines were pretty bare. I pulled into aisle 7 and began unloading my purchases in the same manner I always do- non perishables go on first and together, followed by frozen, followed by chilled, followed by produce. I'm a little obsessive about it, not gonna lie, and oftentimes I feel like the speckled face teen who is doing my bagging likes to mess with me because, despite the fact that all the cold stuff went on the conveyor belt together, all the cold stuff does not end up in same bag together. Instead my frozen peas are hanging out with my box of Cheerios, making the cardboard soggy- but again, I digress.
My cashier was a middle aged man who I've seen there countless times. He'd been my cashier several times before. He is a petite little man. Thinning, mousy colored spiky hair and wire rimmed glasses. His personality forces me to imagine him nerdishly pushing those glasses up on the bridge of his nose with his pointer finger while simultaneously mouth breathing. He always wears white cloth gloves that stop right at the wrist, as if he is a toy nutcracker and not a cashier at Publix and he has a big, brown mole on his right cheek- kind of making him look like John-Boy from The Waltons, except pointier. I get the impression that his name should be something milquetoast and geeky like Steve, or Doug, or "I'm 45 and I still live with my mom." You get the picture, he's a real dweeb.
Anyway, I'm bending over to get out the cans of kidney beans and Rotel tomatoes (non perishables onto the belt together, thank you) when I hear him. It's pretty quiet in the store. The Muzac is playing, and we're not speaking. I can totally and clearly hear him. "You're expecting, aren't you ma'am?" Now, I'm not facing him as he asks this question, as he would've seen my eyeballs inflate to 10x's their normal size and seer holes into the can of beans I was holding, so I opted to ignore him, thinking he'd maybe get the hint or realize in a sudden burst of mental clarity that one does not ask a woman that question unless the woman he is asking is, at the time of him asking, actively pushing a baby out of her you-know-where. I take a deep, soul cleansing breath, turn and place my cans on the belt when he waves at me with his little-man-glove-hands and asks again, this time looking right at my face AND, to add insult to injury (because, you know, I didn't answer the first time so maybe I didn't hear him correctly) he gestures close to his aproned stomach then pulls his arm out to indicate a growing belly, "Ma'am, you're expecting, right? Because I can have the bag girl unload those groceries for you, it's all part of the service." Looking him right in the eye, I pull my fist back, the one that is holding the 15oz. can of Rotel tomatoes, and I throw it at his face. Okay, okay, okay, no I did not really do that, but if I had my own television show, the kind where the character has a Shakespearean moment and is able to talk to the audience or do whatever she wants for a millisecond, I would have. No, instead, I look right at him, flare my nostrils and very passive-aggressively, because despite the fact that this little nerd man has been incredibly rude to me, I don't want to hurt his little nerd man feelings, and say "No. No actually, I am not" and then I think to myself "Is being an @$$hole all part of the service, too???" He replied "Oh. I guess I stuck my foot in my mouth!" and then I said "Yes, and this is why you're still alone and live at home with your mother." Again- I'm facing my audience, in monologue. I tersely punched in my pin number and refused his offer in helping me out with my bags (I mean I'm not pregnant, after all) and I walked my own damn cart to my car and silently plotted my revenge as I unloaded.
Back to the lawn guy...
Today, our lawn guy came by to look at a few more trees we want to have cut down. The kids were excited to see him, you know, because when you have a 2 and a 3 year old seeing the mail man and the lawn guys are as good as having George Clooney or Elmo come visit your house, so I went out back to say hi. He hadn't seen me since before my surgery and the first thing he said to me was "WOW! You look great! You've lost weight!" and he genuinely seemed impressed. In retrospect, maybe he was buttering me up because he hadn't seen me since he dropped the tree on my house... but I'd like to believe he really did think I look good. No where in the conversation did he even hint at questioning the pregnant or non-pregnant state of my body.
So, to you Mr. Publix-Marching Band Director White Gloves-Nerdly-Moley man, as Jennifer Garner said "Yes. From now on, I do have a baby bump. It's name is Karl and Hana." And this is why, despite the fact that HE DROPPED A FREAKIN' TREE ON MY HOUSE, I like my lawn guy more than you.
Pppppppppffffffffffffffffffffttttttttttttttt.... How do you feel about that service?