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Most people are surprised to learn that I’m not a natural redhead. (“Most people” = pretty much everyone who didn’t know me before I started dying my hair.) This is most likely down to the fact that I have a redhead’s complexion. Also, most people are surprised to learn that I have a soul.

At one point in my natural-hair life–and I have pictures to prove it–my hair, in the right light, had a sort of coppery sheen to it. So maybe there’s natural redheadedness somewhere in my DNA. (My father had a red mustache, back when he had a mustache. I have never grown a mustache. I can’t tell if either of these factoids is relevant or just an interesting aside.) But that was before I started greying in earnest and back when my natural hair was sometimes exposed to sunlight and also before I became old. Now everything that grows out of my head is grey or mouse brown, but mostly grey.

I’ve been coloring my hair continuously for the last 10 years. Originally I used permanent hair color, but a few years ago I switched to demi-permanent because it is supposed to be less damaging and better for curly hair. My hairstylist sister is a big demi-permanent booster. Unfortunately, you can only go darker than your natural color with demi-permanent, and going darker has, I think, added almost (but not quite) as many years to my face as growing grey did. And dark red looks browner than light red, especially since reds tend to brown as they fade anyway, so I am actually surprised that people still consider me a redhead, natural or otherwise, since my hair looks very un-red to me most of the time.

Also, since my natural hair is mostly grey–especially at the front of my head–the red color looks exceptionally brassy and punk-rockish (a little bit purple) for the first week or so after a touch-up. I didn’t mind this so much initially, but in the last couple of years it’s started to feel undignified. So a few months ago I started doing what you’re supposed to do when applying red color to grey hair, which is dye it brown first. This is a huge pain in the neck, in case you were wondering why I was so willing to live with brassy-purply hair for so many years. I hate doing it. I hated coloring my hair before, when it was only one step. Now that it’s two, it is practically unbearable. Also, as you can imagine, dying the roots brown first also makes the finished hair…extra dark and extra brown and even more un-red. Which defeats the whole purpose, IMO. All of the purposes.

Also, I’m supposed to touch up my roots every 6-8 weeks, but my roots start showing around week 4. Grey roots are slightly less obvious with demi-permanent color because there isn’t this bright line where new hair meets old, but by the time I’ve stretched out the color six weeks, my grey roots are very, very obvious. So while the two-stepping and extra-browning have made me seriously consider returning to permanent hair color, hair damage be damned, the obvious-roots problem remains an issue.

So I am now seriously considering going back to the brassy-purply hair. It is, after all, a temporary effect (before it fades into something normal-looking), and at least it is lighter than the brown-red-but-mostly-brown hair. Also, one step, not two. I am only at four weeks right now, so I have a couple weeks to decide (in case you couldn’t do the math yourself). Sometimes I wonder if I will ever be in a financial position where I wouldn’t feel guilty spending the money to get my hair professionally colored. Probably I should get a job. But probably I should get a job anyway. And now I’m on a topic that depresses me even more than getting old does.

I would really like nothing more than to stop coloring my hair altogether because it is such a pain in the neck–except that the thing I do like more than not coloring my hair is not looking like my husband’s mother. My husband finally looks like he’s in striking distance of my age–mid-thirties at the youngest–and I’m not keen to race ahead of him again in that department. Also, I already look old and haggard with my unnatural hair. I don’t want to think of how old and haggard I would look with the hair that made me look old and haggard at 36.

I’ve already written about how jaw surgery and orthodontia changed my face for (I think) the worse. I don’t regret either, because I’m very happy to be able to breathe and also to keep my teeth, hopefully into my (actual) golden years. But I’m a little too vain to be grateful for things like breath and teeth all the time. I sometimes think I could accept this new face more if I could just have the hair color I deserve.

I’m not actually excited to be on spring break, although I do enjoy not having to wake up and make lunches and drive people to school. That’s always cool.

What would be cooler is if I were no longer on this low-carb diet. I’ve sort of gotten used to it, in a way. Except for the part where I am always full and never satisfied. Who knew that bread was so important to me? Well, I did, actually. I did know that bread was very important to me. Hence my instinctive recoil when my husband first suggested this low-carb diet. But I guess some things just have to be experienced despite the fact that we don’t need to learn our lesson. What’s the lesson here, really? That high protein and low carbs make me hate everyone? Apparently so.

It’s not as bad as when I was recovering from the jaw surgery and I was always hungry yet had lost the will to eat. That was incredibly depressing. This is less depressing (although still depressing) and more…I don’t know. It’s just this pervasive sense of discontent. I am irritable. And lonely. I mean, I was lonely before, but before, I at least had peanut butter sandwiches to keep me company. I haven’t had a peanut butter sandwich since February. It’s like being in Japan, only with much less rice.

Today, in my ongoing quest to eschew carbs, I ate tofu spaghetti for dinner. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Well, the texture is revolting (albeit very Japanese). But mind over matter, the taste is not bad. It’s not much of anything, really. It’s like eating rice noodles, only with a crap-ton of protein and no carbs. It’s like 15 calories a serving or something. The amusing thing is that on the packaging it says that the noodles have a “mild, earthy aroma” that goes away after you rinse them. Indeed. Well, I didn’t notice, frankly (although I did rinse them, of course). I was less concerned about that than the possibility that they would touch my tongue and my gag reflex would kick in. And I’ll have you know that I like tofu. I just like actual pasta that much more. But whatever. As I said, it wasn’t bad. Plus, there were meatballs.

There has been a lot of meat on this diet. I downloaded a calorie counting app mainly for the purpose of making sure that I would actually lose weight on this diet–and also so that I would know how much wiggle room I had in the event that I snapped and found myself eating a cheeseburger out of pure instinct. The calorie counting app is both very useful and very annoying. It tells me that in order to meet my weight loss goal, I need to take in no more than 1,400 net calories per day, and also that 20% of the calories should be from protein, 30% from fats, and 50% from carbs. Well, if 50% of my calories were from carbs, I would be hungry all day long. I exceed my protein goal every single day. I also exceed my fat goal (pretty much) every day. And my sodium goal. All of those things are off the charts. I’ve never thought of myself as a high-sodium-diet type of gal, but apparently sodium lurks in the most unexpected places. The calorie app will pick the oddest moments to chastise me. Like, I eat a banana and it tells me to watch my sodium intake. I don’t know if bananas actually have sodium in them, but I can’t remember the exact (fresh, unadulterated) fruit or vegetable I was eating when it reminded me of my goal to stay under (some obnoxiously low number) grams of sodium.

Conversely, when I record eating a snack food that is obviously a substitute for something more unhealthy (because no one in their right mind would eat it for fun), it extolls said diet food for being rich in niacin or whatever. (I’m just picking nutrients at random. As long as the calorie app is full of crap, I feel like I can be too.) This is another part of being on a diet that is affecting my lifestyle. I find myself spending an inordinate amount of time in grocery stores looking for low-carb snacks that will distract me from my actual cravings. Needless to say, this is time spent in vain.

The one pleasant discovery I have made is that Dannon’s Triple Zero yogurt is both low in carbs and totally worth eating. In fact, I prefer it to regular yogurt because regular yogurt is really too sweet for my taste. I will continue to eat Triple Zero yogurt even after I’ve given up on not (eventually) becoming fat because I like it. Either I have forgotten what real food tastes like, or it is a miracle of science. Another possibility: it is secretly giving me cancer. But it’s the only thing making this diet bearable, so I don’t really care at this point.

I’ve had a couple days where the calorie app tells me I’m not eating enough, and it’s not going to cooperate with me until I stop making like I have an eating disorder. The trouble is that it’s so easy to go from 999 calories to 1,700. Really, all you have to do is eat a slice of pizza and a couple wings. That’s what’s so aggravating about calories. They’re so easy to consume and so difficult to burn. I could do 60 minutes of high-impact aerobics and only burn the equivalent of, like, 10 french fries. It’s not remotely just or right. Mother Nature really is a bitch.

I’ve never believed the old slogan “nothing tastes as good as thin feels.” I can think of 1,000 things off the top of my head that taste infinitely better than thin feels. Now, I imagine that nothing tastes as good as not having heart disease feels, or as good as being able to tie your own shoes feels, but merely being thin does not actually feel that good. I’ve been thin. I mean, I would describe my figure now as “relatively slender” (everything being relative, of course), but I am not currently what I would call objectively “thin.” I have been thin before, though–it was right after I weaned Mister Bubby and before I got pregnant with Elvis. It was the thinnest I had been since before puberty, probably, but a) I didn’t look good, and b) I did not feel good. Well, I might have looked good in clothes, but when I stepped out of the shower and saw myself in the mirror, I would think, “Ugh. That’s not okay.” And it was during a time of my life when I was very unhappy, so I have no fond memories of being thin. I have fond memories of when I was 24 and my breasts were still firm, but that is another story. All I can tell you is that a whole lot of things taste better than being thin feels. And I would love to be eating any of them right now.

The good news (I guess) is that the diet has worked. In the sense that I have met my weight loss goal. I would take more satisfaction in that if a) most of the weight hadn’t come from my (already small) bosom, and b) I didn’t know that I am destined to gain it all back as soon as I start eating peanut butter sandwiches again. I mean, I’m 45 years old. (Very close to it, anyway.) Menopause grows ever closer. I will never be able to eat like a pro wrestler with impunity again. And I really don’t want to spend what’s left of my life never having the super nachos. (Especially if this delicious low carb yogurt is giving me cancer.) So yes, I think it is just a matter of time before I gain it all back. And probably not a matter of all that much time.

The other good news is that this summer we’ll be in Japan for four weeks, and I will probably be able to lose it all over again. But that’s another blog post for another day. Gentle readers, adieu.

I know I promise fiction tomorrow (which is today, so in other words, I promised fiction today), but two days ago I said I’d talk about my stupid low-carb diet and that’s what I’m in the mood to talk about today, so that’s what I’m doing.

I know I said, after my restrictive jaw surgery recovery diet was finally over, that I would never go on another diet again as long as I lived, that I would rather be fat, but I changed my mind. Not that I’m fat (yet). That’s the problem. It’s not that I’m fat (unless you’re looking for a runway model, in which case, sure, I’m a whale); it’s that I have a fear of becoming fat. Which sounds very fat-shaming, now that I actually type it out loud. I don’t think I have unrealistic expectations for how my body should look. I know I’m 45 years old and I will never have tight abs (or any abs) and my butt will always be big. I know I’m not going to be 130 lbs. again in this lifetime, and that’s okay. I had four kids, my husband still finds me attractive, and I’m not planning to have a second career in Hollywood. But I have put on about ten pounds in the last year (which is my net gain–not my Bridget Jones losing-and-gaining-back gain), which is not a big deal, except that the last time I weighed this much, I was pregnant (which was ten years ago), and I don’t want to gain ten pounds every year. That means if I live another 20 years, I will gain 200 more pounds, which will put me at a weight I’ve never been, even while pregnant. Unacceptable!

I think you are probably starting to see now what I’m about. It isn’t rational to fear that because one is four pounds over the most she said she would ever allow herself to weigh, one must necessarily be on track to gain 200 pounds in 20 years. In fact, my metabolism is probably overdue for slowing down. Aforementioned metabolism was pretty darn awesome for the first 35 years of life, which encouraged some unfortunate dietary habits, which have continued unabated even as the metabolism has decided that it’s had enough of the rat race and will now retire to a beach in Tahiti where it will lie in the sun and drink the drinks with the little umbrellas in them, now and forever. If only my body could enjoy my metabolism’s retirement, which sounds pretty dreamy, if you like the beach, but also very fattening. My metabolism doesn’t have to buy new clothes, because it’s not literally an anthropomorphic entity literally residing on a beach, which is probably clothing-optional anyway because why not? The metaphor itself is probably what needs to be retired at this point.

So, yes, it is normal to put on weight at my age, and I am not obese, despite what the BMI charts expect me to believe. I have eyes; I can see I am not obese. I can also see that there are lots of women out there who weigh at least as much as I do and look just fine, feel just fine, and lead happy and productive lives. Perhaps if I led a happy and productive life, I would not feel the need to weigh less than a particular number. I can still wear most of my clothes. The only clothes I can’t wear anymore are clothes I’ve had since my early twenties, and yes, I probably should just get rid of them, but I have a sentimental attachment to my plaid skirt and cannot face the possibility–strikeout–reality that I will never wear it again. Especially since I’ve never seen another plaid skirt of its kind in my size. Maybe when I do, I will let go of the dream and allow some other, thinner person at the Goodwill to know the joy of this particular garment. I can see Marie Kondo shaking her head and rolling her eyes at me, but you know what? Until Marie Kondo figures out a way I can get everyone else in my household to toss the items that don’t spark my joy, I am keeping my too-small-but-fabulous plaid skirt and she can kiss my big toe. (A humorous reference to my considerable butt was too obvious.)

Have I spent all this time trying to justify going on a diet or trying to justify going off my diet? This is only day 5 of the diet, mind you. I’m not starving. It’s not a stupid diet. It’s a very reasonable diet and will probably make me healthier. I want to be healthier because that is the main reason I don’t want to get fat. I am not a fit person. I’ve been tap dancing and clogging for more than a decade, and I still can’t run up the stairs inside my own house without my legs screaming at me afterwards. I can’t run on level ground for more than probably 30 seconds without stopping to catch my breath–and then I can’t start again. I’m old and everything hurts, and all I can think is that the more I weigh, the harder it will be to do all the things I really shouldn’t have this much trouble doing. I hurt my back in December and finally went to the doctor a couple weeks ago. She sent me to the physical therapist, who has assigned me some simple, very low-impact core-strengthening exercises. I used to joke that my abdominal muscles just disappeared with my last pregnancy, but I’m beginning to think that is actually what happened because these simple, very low-impact core-strengthening exercises are murdering me. I feel like I should get an x-ray or something and see if the abdominal muscles are really still there and make sure they haven’t become empty husks or something. I can still suck in my gut, so in theory I must have some abdominal muscles, yes? I just don’t get it.

I just want a peanut butter sandwich. I want a peanut butter sandwich because I’m sad and I’m more sad that I can’t have a peanut butter sandwich. I wouldn’t even need jelly, just peanut butter. I wouldn’t even need two slices of bread, just one. And a glass of milk. Not skim milk, real milk. But that would be one-third of my allotted calories for the day and the calorie-counting app I downloaded for my phone would scold me in red letters about my fat intake. It just isn’t worth it. (I hate being scolded, especially in red letters! It’s a pretty useful app otherwise, if you like that sort of thing.) And I need to get off my butt and exercise now if I want to be in the black at the end of the day, so I will quit typing now, as typing doesn’t burn calories (unfortunately).

You know what else ought to burn calories but doesn’t? Making salads. What a time suck. But I digress. Gentle readers, adieu.

Remember several months ago, when I started answering a series of 36 questions found in this New York Times article? If so, I bet you thought I’d just given up on that. Well, I haven’t! I just decided to take a half-year-long break. Or something. But look, we’re already on question 13:

If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

This is a tricky question. I would not want to know the future. I’ve read/seen too many of those time travel books/movies; I know that nothing good can come of knowing the future. That’s the Monkey’s Paw law. Call it Monkey’s Law. Except it’s Monkey’s Paw, so you may as well call it that. I suppose there’s always the idea that you can bet on the World Series or something and make a killing, but to me that doesn’t seem very sporting. So forget the future.

As for the truth about myself and my life, well, what is there to know? I feel like I’m pretty self-aware. I suppose I would like to know what I could do with my hair to make it look better. I might ask, “Is it even possible to make my hair look better?” Or “Should I just get one of those short haircuts like Janine Turner used to have that first season of Northern Exposure, not because it will look good but because it won’t look any worse than what I already have and I’ll finally have a low-maintenance hairstyle?”

Along those same lines, I might ask it which lipstick shade is right for me. I’m having a lot of difficulty with this issue right now. I had the perfect shade of lipstick, and I ran out of it and they don’t make it anymore, and I’ve bought, like, fourteen shades of lipstick since then, and none of them is right. It’s incredibly frustrating.

I might also ask, “What do I need to do to get rid of these plantar warts?” I’ve had them since the summer of 2002, and the last time I went to the doctor to have them frozen, she basically said that it was pointless because they would just come back again. I’ve considered going to a podiatrist or something. I mean, a podiatrist wouldn’t tell me it was pointless to treat my plantar warts, right? He or she would at least try to get some money out of me. But if I had a crystal ball that would tell me the truth, I would know if I were wasting my time (and money–well, the insurance company’s money, probably).

To be honest, my plantar warts don’t bother me most of the time, possibly because I’ve gotten used to them, but the fact of them bothers me a great deal. What I’d really like to know is what is this thing growing underneath my toenail on my left foot because that is a real mystery. It’s probably a wart or something, and yes, I should probably just go to the doctor and have it looked at. At first it hurt like a melon farmer–I thought I’d bruised it somehow, maybe my clogging shoes were too tight, who knows–and I thought my toenail was going to fall off. But then it stopped hurting, and my toenail never fell off. It just got hugely misshapen and there was obviously this thing growing there that had never been there before. I know what you’d like to ask the crystal ball: Why in hell’s name has Mad not gone to the doctor yet? Is she some kind of idiot? Answer: maybe. Actually, I have nothing against going to doctors. I just have something against making appointments for going to the doctor. It’s the same reason I haven’t had a haircut in eleven months. (No, it’s not because my doctor cuts my hair. But I also have to make an appointment to get a haircut. I hate making appointments. That’s my problem.)

I did manage to make an appointment yesterday for a haircut. On Wednesday I made an appointment for a mammogram. I hope both turn out equally well. I hope I do not get the haircut equivalent of cancer, in other words. Or the breast equivalent of a bad haircut. I’m not sure what the latter would be, but it seems like something to be avoided.

Did I ever tell you about the time I had to get a breast ultrasound and the technician was a man? That was unexpected. I mean, it was okay. Having my first baby sort of destroyed any preciousness I had about the sanctity of my body, and I’d had three more babies since then, so my capacity for embarrassment had dwindled to almost nothing. But, you know, it’s unusual, isn’t it? The Breast Health Center skews pretty heavily female, like a maternity ward. I’ve never even met with a male radiologist. But this ultrasound technician was a dude, and he was a relatively young guy. I can just imagine that looking at middle-aged breasts all day had always been his dream job. Anyway, he was nice. (As one would hope anyone who touches your breast would be.)

I seem to have gotten off the topic. I can’t think of anything else I would like to ask the crystal ball. Oh, except maybe “what career should I pursue?” It doesn’t have to tell me whether or not I would be successful. As I said, I don’t want to know the future. But I could use some ideas.

One week from today I have my jaw surgery. I’ve been planning this surgery for so long that I forget it isn’t common knowledge among everyone I know that I’m getting it, and I will make some casual reference to having surgery June 10 and people be like WHAT SURGERY!! and when I explain, they all look and/or sound horrified, like they can’t believe I’m about to do something so grotesque. I have always said that I’m looking forward to it being done, not to doing it, but the closer I get to actually doing it, the more nervous I am. And it doesn’t help that everyone around me is horrified at the prospect and it’s not even their jaw in question.

I’ve never had surgery before. I’ve never been under general anesthesia. Now that I’m about to have surgery, I am starting to be scared. Well, last week I was starting. This week I am pretty firmly in the Scared category. Who knows what kind of basket case I’ll be next week. It’s not like I think I’m going to die. Usually I have to be under water before I start considering death as a possibility. Good thing the surgery isn’t going to be performed at sea, I guess. I’m mostly worried that I’m going to have the surgery and regret it later. What if it’s a Monkey’s Paw surgery? It’s supposed to correct my bite and relieve my TMJ symptoms, but what if it doesn’t help? What if it feels weird? What if I look weird? What if my lower jaw randomly comes unhinged at some point in the future? I admit that last one is a long shot. I’m just throwing fears out there. I already know it’s going to hurt like a melon farmer for about a week, but what if it hurts longer? How many weeks before I can chew again? I know what the doctor told me, but I always take what doctors say in terms of recovery and multiply it by at least one and a half. (My orthodontist said I’d be in braces for about two years. That was four years and four months ago, so you see why I have trust issues.) When am I really going to be able to chew again? What if I break my newly-rearranged jaw the first time I eat steak? Worse, what if I break it eating a protein bar, before I’m able to eat steak? What if I have to re-learn how to chew? My lower jaw has never been properly aligned with my upper jaw—how am I supposed to know how that works?

People are surprised to learn that my lower jaw needs to move forward about a centimeter because I don’t have a weak chin. My profile looks normal. Not that people with weak chins—is there a more scientific, PC term for that? I feel like there must be, but as I get older, I’m losing more and more of my words and I have less and less patience for Googling—have abnormal profiles. But if you look at me from the side, you can’t tell that my lower jaw is a centimeter behind where it should be. Which makes me wonder how it will look when it is where it should be. I move my jaw to line up my lower teeth with my upper teeth—which does NOT feel remotely normal, by the way—and I can’t really see a difference, so hopefully I will not end up looking like Jay Leno or something. My dears, I have enough problems.

I am feeling very unattractive as of late, for reasons having nothing to do with my jaw. It has mostly to do with age. I have not aged well. I saw my before pictures at the orthodontist yesterday—that was only four years ago, and I looked so much younger. Not young, not by a long shot, but so much younger. Now I look old, and the frown lines I’ve had since I was five have all gotten more pronounced. I’ve never had a super-great face, but for a long time I did think it looked okay. I would say even at 35-36 it was looking all right. Now I look in the mirror and think, “Who is that hag?” RHETORICAL QUESTION BECAUSE I KNOW. Part of me is holding out hope that somehow, miraculously, I might look better after my surgery. I mean, the insurance company is treating it like the dental equivalent of a boob job, so I feel like I should get some cosmetic benefit. But I don’t imagine I will. Maybe getting rid of the braces will help. I’ve been told that will eventually happen someday too, hopefully before I turn 50.

It is hard to look at Caitlyn Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair and not feel like that bitch needs to keep her makeover to herself.

The problem with not being young is that whatever you can do to make yourself look better takes a lot more effort than you have the energy for. And probably professional help. I would probably have to go back to school to learn how to be pretty at this point. I’m only focusing on my outward appearance because my soul is empty, just so you know.

But enough of those superficialities. Let’s talk about how the orthodontist has ruined my last week of eating normally for who-knows-how-long by putting new hooks on my braces. I presume they are there for surgery-related purposes. Isn’t it funny how un-curious I was when they were doing this to me at the office yesterday, and it’s only now I can’t eat without feeling like I’ve got razor wire in my mouth that I wonder what the crap this is for? This is why I haven’t made more of my life, you know. A profound lack of curiosity when it matters most. But I digress. Tomorrow I have to see the oral surgeon for a records and x-rays or whatever appointment. I don’t know what’s going to happen to me then. Hopefully nothing horrible. I’m sort of counting on the horrible stuff not starting until next Wednesday. Who wants to take me out for lunch?

Two days after my surgery, school lets out for the summer. Whee! This is where having a mother-in-law who lives half a mile away comes in handy. In case you were wondering, this summer is scheduled to suck. THROUGH A STRAW, FOR ABOUT SIX TO EIGHT WEEKS.

So we are now five months into our No Housekeepers experiment, and I have to say that it is looking less promising than initial data suggested. The bathrooms are starting to get a film. I had to buy a new vacuum cleaner because the Kenmore died RIGHT AFTER I bought new bags for it. Yes, that’s how old our vacuum was—it actually used bags. Now I have a Shark Rocket or something, and I admit, it’s pretty awesome. For a vacuum, I mean. I reckon it can’t help being awesome compared to a fifteen-year-old Kenmore. It makes me feel really old, getting excited about how easily it maneuvers around and under my furniture. I’m like George H.W. Bush marveling at the supermarket scanner. What won’t they think of next. So yes, the floors still look great, because I’m doing them. Actually, they look better because I’m doing them. The stuff the kids are doing, on the other hand, is not quite up to snuff. It’s not cutting the mustard, if you prefer a different outdated phrase. And now that I don’t have complete strangers coming into my home fortnightly to judge me, I’ve sort of let some other things go. Like, I don’t really care if the coffee table gets cleared off because as soon as I clear it off, everyone dumps more crap on it, so screw it. No one ever visits us anyway.

Well, I’d like to think I’ll talk to you gentle readers again before my surgery, but considering this is my first post in about a month, I advise against holding your breath. Who knows when we shall meet again? But I promise you that if I end up with a freakshow jaw, I will blog about it. Never you fear. My friends, adieu.

If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

I think this question is very easy. If I’m going to live to the age of 90, I definitely want the body of a 30-year-old. This is assuming, of course, that it’s a healthy 30-year-old. I don’t want to live to the age of 90 with the body of an arthritic 30-year-old, or a 30-year-old with multiple sclerosis. But a 30-year-old with no chronic health problems? Sign me up, I’m there.

Of course, having the body of a 30-year-old woman would mean I’d be menstruating until the age of 90, but I could always have my uterus removed surgically, so there you go, problem solved.

It’s true that an aging mind is no picnic. You forget stuff, and…you forget stuff, mostly. I just read a book about a woman with Alzheimer’s who’s suspected of murder. (Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante. It’s good.) I think Alzheimer’s must be one of the worst things on earth, and of course you can get that long before you turn 90. But does Alzheimer’s count as a normal mind-aging thing? I think not. Even so, regular old getting-old-and-losing-your-memory is bad enough. I’ve known a few 90-year-olds in my day. They had varying degrees of mental functioning. My 90-year-old mind could end up like my grandmother, who hardly remembers who’s who from one minute to the next, or I could end up like my uncle, who’s still sharp as a tack. It’s a crapshoot, of course.

But if I had a 30-year-old body, I could still walk up and down stairs. I could still tap dance. I’d probably be able to tap dance better, since I’d have 30-year-old knees. I could still ride a bike. (Not that I ride a bike now, but I could, if I wanted to.) I’d still be able to see. I wouldn’t even have to wear glasses. I’d be safe to drive myself places. I’d still be able to hear. I could listen to music. I wouldn’t have to ask people to repeat themselves three or four times before I understood what they were saying. That means people wouldn’t shout at me and treat me like I was an idiot just because I couldn’t hear them (like they do now). I wouldn’t have to dye my hair. (I might, just to keep things interesting, but I wouldn’t have to, if I got sick of it, which I kind of am these days.) I wouldn’t have wrinkles (except for that line between my eyebrows that I’ve probably had since I was five). My breasts would stay perky indefinitely.

I think I would enjoy all of those things, even if I couldn’t remember who my kids were.

One does tend to get wiser as one gets older. I know I’m gambling with my 90-year-old mind, but I think it’s worth it, on the off chance that I get 90-year-old wisdom to go with my 30-year-old body. I mean, what’s my alternative? Thirty-year-old wisdom with a 90-year-old body? What fun is that?

Of course, I could always have an accident and lose the use of one or more of my 30-year-old limbs. Maybe then I would wish I’d opted for the 30-year-old mind. But there are risks any way you slice it. That’s why I’d just as soon live to be 90 with my 90-year-old body and 90-year-old mind to match, considering that this deal, knowing my luck, would probably turn out to be a Monkey’s Paw thing. I opt for the 30-year-old body and end up a paraplegic with dementia anyway. That’s what I get for trying to cheat Father Time. No, I’ll just stick with my own stupid destiny, whatever it is.

I only answered this question because I had nothing to else to write about.

My hair!

Two years ago I became converted to the Curly Girl method of hair care and have been wearing my hair “natural” ever since. Aside from the fact that I have been unable to find an acceptable hairstylist, which means I have not had a decent haircut in two years, I have been very satisfied with my decision—until about three months ago.

My hair is naturally curly—definitely more curly than wavy, but not tight, corkscrew curly. It is also not very thick. In point of fact, it is thin. When I was still shampooing, it was frizzy enough to give the illusion of body. Now that the frizz is (mostly) gone, so is the illusion. It was okay when I first started wearing it natural, but now that I’ve been two years without a decent haircut, my hair is no longer a thin collection of reasonably well-formed ringlets, but it is stringy and damaged-looking and unattractive. Even when I wear it in a messy ponytail, which I used to kid myself looked delightfully carefree and not just unkempt, it looks thin and limp and stringy. Pathetic, really. I want to cry when I look at myself.

I have had my hair cut in the last two years. I went to my local fancy salon in March 2012 because my husband made me promise I’d never go to Great Clips or Supercuts again. (He also bought me a gift card for the fancy salon, so that was nice.) Someone had recommended that I get my hair layered to re-create that illusion of body that I missed so much, so I asked the stylist to give me some layers. I’m sure she did the best with what she had. I really don’t have a lot of hair. That may account for why I could not tell the difference between the before and after. She also did everything to my hair that I had stopped doing—shampooing and blow-drying it—and then tried to style the resulting frizz with some gel or mousse or whatever, which resulted in crunchy frizz. Not my best look, but again, mostly the fault of the hair itself. Be that as it may—or be that as it was—I determined that I would never again let someone with straight hair cut my hair. Ever.*

*Remember that story Oprah used to tell about why she never lets white people do her hair? It’s because a white lady made her bald once. I totally don’t blame Oprah for not letting white people near her hair. A bad haircut is not nearly as bad as being bald, but still—I’m convinced that stylists who wear their hair straight can’t understand my hair’s idiosyncratic needs.

What this means is that I haven’t had my hair professionally cut in nineteen months. That may account for why my hair looks like hell. Well, that and the fact that I have attempted to trim it myself—something I have never in my life attempted to do, but in August I was just so freaking desperate, I didn’t think I could possibly make it any worse. In my defense, I had managed to trim Girlfriend’s naturally curly hair myself and it looked pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. (My sister, who is a professional hair stylist but unfortunately lives several hours away, encouraged me to watch some YouTube videos and give it a go, since it doesn’t matter so much if curly hair is “even.” So that’s what I did.) However, I now realize that the success of that venture was due mostly to the fact that Girlfriend has awesome hair. Lots of awesome hair. Her mother has difficult hair—a very small amount of very difficult hair, which makes it even more difficult than if there were more of it.

I am so discouraged by how my hair looks that I am tempted to go back to making it frizzy and then taming the frizz with a curling iron. It was a lot more time-consuming, but at least it looked like I meant to do it. What’s on my head now looks like I live in a world without mirrors. I must be a vampire because if I could see my reflection, I would never let myself go out in public like this.

It’s very difficult because I am emotionally invested in my decision to embrace my hair’s natural inclinations, to soldier through the humid bad times, and accept my hair the way it is instead of trying to make it something that it’s not. I used the word “conversion” earlier because it really was like a religious experience. My whole life I had struggled with my hair, and now I no longer had to struggle. Free at last and whatnot. Well, now I am having a faith crisis with my hair. I don’t want to go back to the way it was before—it feels like giving up. But what is it, exactly, that I’m doing now? If you Googled “giving up,” you might very well find images of my hair in the results because it is a perfect illustration of the concept even if I haven’t technically actually given up. Are you following me? My hair looks like crap. LIKE CRAP. ALL THE FREAKING TIME. And I don’t believe anyone can help me.

[Insert long-suffering, hashtag-firstworldproblems sigh]

I don’t know. Maybe it’s the progesterone. Maybe in addition to the acne, it’s also making my hair look like crap. How often do you see that listed as a side effect? Nausea, constipation, dizziness, heart failure, and crappy-looking hair. Ask your doctor if this is right for you.

Maybe I need a different conditioner. Maybe I need to get another haircut, even if it’s wrong. I don’t know. My life is really too meaningful for me to be this hung up about my hair. Or it should be. Maybe what I need is a new hobby.

So I went to the eye doctor last month. I knew my eyesight had deteriorated (further) over the last year, which is to be expected when you get old and start wearing glasses and your eyes realize they don’t have to work as hard as they used to. It’s like when I (tried to) learn how to drive on a manual transmission, and then when I finally drove an automatic, I thought, “Why would anyone want to drive a stick? This is ridiculously so much easier!” (By the way, I still can’t drive a stick. I know how to drive a stick. I’ve just never managed to actually drive one–and I haven’t been interested in practicing since my parents bought their first car with automatic transmission, when I was 18. I’m digressing. I’ll stop. Put it in reverse, as it were.) As soon as I broke down and got reading glasses, my eyes thought, “Good grief, why would anyone not wear glasses? This is awesome!” And my eyes have been going downhill ever since.

Where was I? Oh, yes. Historically, up until now, I have had excellent distance vision. I only need to wear glasses for close work. I don’t need them to watch TV. I don’t need them to drive. When I start needing them for driving, I’m probably going to have to learn to drive all over again because glasses really mess with your peripheral vision. Anyway. I noticed with my last prescription that I was basically using my right eye to see up close and my left eye to see far away. I didn’t need my glasses for distance vision, but when I wore them, my vision was improved all around. There was no ignoring that. Since I didn’t need to wear them all the time, though, I chose not to wear them all the time, because as much of a pain as it was to take them on and off, it was more of a pain to have them on all the time and have them constantly sliding off, which they tended to do a lot. I seriously thought about getting one of those old-lady-librarian chains for them. (And by “seriously,” I mean I knew I never would but I still thought it would be really convenient if I did.) Plus there was the driving thing.

Anyway. Nearly 400 words later I’m almost at my point. This last visit with the eye doctor, it became clear that I was in that awkward stage between needing single-vision eyeglasses and needing bifocals/progressives. I have not been particularly eager to start wearing progressives because they sound like a pain. And then there’s the driving thing. Plus, I can still see without my glasses. I don’t wear them most of the time. So I figured I could get away with one more single-vision prescription, and next year I would probably have to start wearing progressives. I mean, my doctor and I sort of came to that conclusion together. At least it seemed that way. My eye doctor, thankfully, is not one of those medical professionals who empower their patients so much that you come out of there with no idea what their professional medical opinion is. So he gave me another single-vision prescription, and last week I finally got around to filling it.

Actually, I tried to fill it the week before, but the Lenscrafters, which is supposed to get you quality eyeglasses in about an hour, had to special-order my lenses, so it ended up being quality eyeglasses in about ten days. But that’s another thing.

I got new frames this time, too, since the old ones, which I loved, were getting too old. The new frames are quite different. They’re more Tina Fey than Sarah Palin. (My husband helped me pick them out, so I have to use his sexy-librarian scale.) They also stay on my face better, I’ve noticed, so that’s a huge improvement. The new lenses, on the other hand, I am not appreciating so much. Near vision is certainly improved. Distance vision, on the other hand, is completely out the window. Which is to be expected when you increase the…whatever you do to improve near vision. Maybe one of you gentle readers is an optometrist or an optometry hobbyist and can help me out here. My doctor warned me about this, in any case. I guess I just didn’t realize that once I put on my new glasses, I would literally not be able to see anything clearly beyond six feet. It is incredibly annoying. Talk about taking your glasses on and off. I put them on to see something close, and then I look up to see something not actually that far away, but it’s blurry and so I have to take off my glasses when I look up, but since I was just wearing my glasses everything is blurry and I have to wait for my eyes to readjust before I can see something (relatively) clearly six feet away.

I’m thinking maybe I should have sprung for the stupid progressives this year. Or maybe I just need to get used to these new glasses. When I first put them on, my depth perception was all screwy. That’s started to improve. Or maybe that just means my eyesight has descended to the level of my prescription. Whatever. It’s troubling, in any case.

However, I look awesome in these frames, which is good since I’m stuck with them for two years before I get a new frame allowance.

There’s a smudge in front of my left eye right now, and it’s really bugging me, but I’m too lazy to get up and fetch my microfiber cloth. I wonder if looking through the smudge is hurting my eye. Ha ha. (Maybe it is.)

Speaking of glasses and reading, and not needing glasses to watch TV, I recently finished the second season of Downton Abbey, a show I had only been vaguely interested in starting, but once I started I couldn’t stop. And now there’s nothing left of it, until season 3 becomes available in the U.S. I guess in England they don’t say “season 3,” they say “series 3” or something, but I’m not English, nor am I the sort of person who pretends to be English, except that I sometimes spell gray “grey” and theater “theatre.” (Doesn’t “theatre” just look more theatrical? Doesn’t “grey” look more, well, grey?) Where was I? Oh, right. Downton Abbey. Crap, I love that show. I haven’t watched the trailer for the new season (or series–the new bunch of episodes, whatever they’re called) because I don’t want spoilers and also I can’t seem to find it. (A combination of poor Googling skills and an aversion to spoilers.)

In the meantime, I’m getting these Facebook ads that say, “Love Downton Abbey? Read this book!” and it’s some romance novel about the naughty magistrate or something. I don’t know. I don’t remember. I mean, I’m not going to pretend I didn’t look at it. I did. It just didn’t seem like my cuppa. It also didn’t seem very Downton-y. I don’t think it was even the same time period. (I mean, Victorian, Edwardian–it matters! Actually, it probably doesn’t, to me, but still, it’s the principle.) But I figured, you know, librarians and book publishers have to be cashing in on this Downton Abbey craze, so there’s got to be a list of better recommendations out there. So my inferior Googling skills have led me to some interesting places. Turns out there’s a lot of Downton Abbey-inspired reading lists, but they’re all basically the same list, which is disappointing, considering how many books are out there. Come on!

I’ve also discovered, over the course of my inadequate Googling, the Downton Abbey fanfic archives. I’m not really interested in Downton Abbey fan fiction–not because I’m above fan fiction because I’m not. I’ve read more X-Files fan fiction than I care to admit to. (Shut up, some of it is good!) But, you know, I have my limits. I loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I didn’t read Buffy fanfic. I love Jane Austen, but I’m not going to read Austen fanfic. That would be lame. Not that I’m not lame, but as I said, I have my limits. That I discovered Downton Abbey fanfic was not surprising. There’s fan fiction for The Golden Girls. If you can think of it, there’s fanfic for it. What surprised me was that there was so much slashfic, and most of it femslash. I guess that shouldn’t be surprising. But seriously, every lesbian combination of Downton Abbey characters you can think of–I admit that a couple surprised me. (Maybe more than a couple.) Well, of course I read it. I’m just kidding, I didn’t really. But I had you going there, didn’t I? No, I opted instead for a cheap Kindle download of a book about English aristocrat characters that couldn’t be ruined for me. (You know how I am.)

Well, I have to take my kids to see Finding Nemo. I’ve never seen Nemo in the theater–or the theatre (or the cinema, or whatever the English call it)–so I’m very excited because it’s one of my favorite movies ever. (Incidentally, I have never read any Nemo fan fiction either. I just thought I should make that clear. Nor have I Googled reading lists for books similar to Finding Nemo. I don’t have some weird fish thing. I just like the movie. And I will only be wearing 3-D glasses when I see it.)

* Or bloggy so-soness, but that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.


Mister Bubby: Mom, true or false–there were three two-part episodes in the eight seasons of Quincy.

Madhousewife: Um…true.

MB: False! There were four. “Quincy’s Wedding,” “Walk Softly through the Night,” “Snake Eyes,” and “Slow Boat to Madness.”

Mad: [laughter]

MB: What?

Mad: Nothing.


Princess Zurg: Mister Bubby, why did you become obsessed with Quincy?



Girlfriend: Daddy, I need syrup!

Sugar Daddy: What kind of syrup do you want? Fruit syrup? Or Mrs. BUTTerworth’s? Here’s some Mrs. BUTTerworth’s.

Mister Bubby: If someone were being inappropriate, they would call it Mrs. A-wordworth’s.

(Yeah, good thing we don’t have anyone like that at our house.)


Have I given up on blogging? A little bit. Now that it’s summertime, we have this new rule that the computers and the Play Station and the what-all have to be turned off between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. That’s not so draconian. But it does mean I have fewer hours available in which to assert my right to use one of the computers that I own. Also, I’ve been a little bit busy. I managed to put all the kids except Mister Bubby in summer camps and swim lessons, but none of them simultaneously. Which makes it easier to get them all where they need to go but also sort of defeats the purpose of putting them in classes and camps in the first place. Whoops, did I just type that out loud? What I meant to say was that I am managing to drive kids all over creation and still having most of my kids with me most of the time.

A couple weeks ago Princess Zurg was at our church’s girls’ camp. Because she is a child with a disability (an official one), one of her parents has to be at camp with her every day. Not that either of us ever saw her, since we were working in the kitchen the whole time and PZ never got so out of control as to need one of her parents. SD went Monday and Tuesday, and I went Wednesday through Friday. It wasn’t bad. I mean, it was hard work, but at least I was busy and not just hanging around watching girls do camp things and waiting for my child to have some kind of meltdown. That was what I did the first time I took PZ to girls’ camp, when she was 11 and only going up for the day. THE LONGEST DAY OF MY LIFE. Dramatic pause. OF MY LIFE. I didn’t know how I would ever survive an entire week. Fortunately, that has not been required.

Girls’ camp is sort of a rite of passage for Mormon girls, but I never went, so maybe that explains some things about me. Which things, I’ll never know. I’ve never regretted not going to girls’ camp. It just didn’t seem like my kind of thing. I mean, it’s not enough I go to church for three hours every Sunday, but I have to go to church in the wilderness? For a week? Anyway, what little I experience of girls’ camp this time around only convinced me that I was right not to go to girls’ camp all those years. It really isn’t my thing. But PZ had a good time and this was the first year she managed to stay the whole week, so that was good. For her.

Ha ha.

I only had this one mishap the first night when I woke up in the middle of the night and had to pee and it was pitch black in the cabin and the bathroom was downstairs. I couldn’t see a thing, so I had to rely on…well, luck, mostly. About halfway through my endeavor I thought, “You know, I brought a flashlight to camp with me. Perhaps I should have brought to the stairs as well.” And “I think it would be embarrassing if I got sent home early from girl’s camp because I broke my leg going to the bathroom.” But by then it seemed silly to go back for the flashlight. Until I missed a step and fell down the stairs. Fortunately, I did not break anything. It was still embarrassing, though.


This week Girlfriend had soccer camp, which was only two hours a day, but it’s surprising how much two hours a day can suck out of your life. I feel like I’ve hardly been home at all this week.

Next week is Cub Camp for Elvis, and since he also has a disability, SD or I will be there with him the whole week. At least for cub scouts it’s only a day camp. Still, as wearying as it was to shadow PZ all day when she was 11, it’s twice as wearying shadowing Elvis all day, since he regularly has meltdowns over something or other. I’m not looking forward to it. Fortunately, my mother-in-law will be going with him one day and SD will be going two days, so I’ll only have to go two days. Unfortunately, one of those two days is the last day, which includes two hours of free time. Have you ever shadowed an autistic child with minimal social skills during two hours of free time? It’s kind of crazy-making. I know because I did it last year. During the two hours of free time the boys can play field games and crap but since Elvis doesn’t understand games with rules, he can’t really participate. So what would be an awesome day to be at camp if you had a son who could play field games for two hours becomes a day with two hellacious hours of trying to keep him out of trouble without the distraction of normal camp activities–which are difficult enough, but at least you have somewhere to direct him (or re-direct him, as the case may be and usually is). Anyway. Did I mention I’m not looking forward to it?

(And I’d trade with SD or my MIL that day except that SD has to work on Friday and I need my MIL to take Tuesday because I have a doctor appointment. My life continues to be planned poorly. By whom? By me.)


I went to the orthodontist this afternoon. He put anchors in my upper jaw. Well, first he numbed me. That wasn’t horrible. It was a little weird. I got numb from my upper lip to my eyelids–which was a tad unexpected. I mean, I didn’t expect the numbness to reach that far. I couldn’t feel my nose at all. But I couldn’t feel my eyelid either, and that was the unexpected part. (Don’t you wish I could just say what I mean the first time?) Anyway, he screwed in the first anchor, which I didn’t feel at all. Then he screwed in the second anchor, and mother of god that was a thing. He had to stop and numb me some more. Then I felt nothing. Extra nothing.

Then I got up and left. Well, first I stopped at the reception desk to make my next appointment, and I mentioned something about not being able to feel my face, and one of the ladies behind the desk said, “Yes, it feels weird, but it still looks normal, don’t worry.” Okay, sure. Then I went out to my car and looked in the rearview mirror, and my dears, if this is what I normally look like, then I have bigger problems than I thought. So I started laughing at myself, and then I was appalled because my upper lip didn’t move at all and if you’ve never tried to laugh or smile while your upper lip was completely immobile, well, my advice is don’t start. I looked like the Joker or something. It was very disturbing. I Joker-laughed all the way home to keep from crying.

Well, actually, I Joker-laughed all the way to pick Girlfriend up from soccer camp, and then I tried to avoid Joker-laughing on the way home so I wouldn’t scar my six-year-old for life.


My ortho appointment was at 2:20 p.m. and it’s now 5:23 p.m. and my face is still numb, but my mouth is starting to kill me. Also, I have a bad, bad headache. I took some ibuprofen. It wasn’t enough. I need to make dinner, but I feel like dying instead. This blog was distracting for a while, but now I have to go because crap, this really hurts. Hurts too much to type, even though I don’t type with my face. Not that my face could type when it was numb, but you know what I mean. Or maybe you don’t. That didn’t really make sense. I’m going now.

Gentle readers, I do not know when you will see me again.

This morning my orthodontist informed me that my lower teeth were now in just the right position, and I would no longer need to wear the orthodontic elastics. (Those are the little rubber bands that connect the upper braces to the lower braces. For those of you who do not have orthodontic experience.) This is good news, but I’ve had the elastics off for…about six hours now, and I have to say, it still feels wrong. Also, I had fluorescent elastics and it was kind of fun to decide which color I was going to wear every day. I will have to get used to my teeth being slightly lower-profile. I suppose it is good practice for when the braces finally come off, which I’m sure will feel much wronger.

The orthodontist also said that it will be four to six months before my upper teeth are in the right position for me to go ahead with my jaw surgery. I have to say, I am looking forward to having the jaw thing corrected. I’m not looking forward to being on a liquid diet for six weeks (yes, I know, not a liquid diet the whole six weeks, but a liquid diet for so long and then an ultra-soft diet, blah blah–“significant texture deprivation” is the operative phrase I’m looking for), but I am looking forward to having my jaw in the right place. I’ve always known my jaw was messed up, I’ve been living with it for years, and I had gotten used to it. But now, not only have I had all my jaw-related problems laid out for me by professionals, but my teeth coming into their proper positions is making those problems all the more noticeable. Particularly the problem of my lower teeth rubbing against the soft tissue behind my upper teeth. That is annoying. Also, I am constantly aware of my overbite. It doesn’t look any worse, but it feels worse. Partly because of the lower teeth-soft tissue problem, but also because without my teeth being tipped out, I’m very aware of the gap and I find myself wanting to correct it by moving my jaw forward, and that makes my jaw sore.

The airway problem (the fact that as a result of my lower jaw being too far back, I don’t have much of one–an airway, that is) is not really any more noticeable than it was before, but that was my primary motive for getting the surgery in the first place, and I’m looking forward to seeing how a larger airway will improve my life. I’m hoping that it does improve my life. I’m hoping that it means I will sleep better and have more energy during the day. Having more energy during the day would improve my self-esteem because I’d get more done. And I could look back and think, “The fact that I got anything done at all during those years of restricted airway-having is nothing short of a miracle!” and my self-esteem would be retroactively improved as well.

I hope I am not setting myself up for disappointment. I’ll be really happy when I’m no longer aware of my overbite. (Happy about that small fact, anyway. I’m sure I’ll find reasons to be unhappy about other things. I don’t want you all to worry about me turning into some kind of Stepford Madhousewife.)


I was on the Facebook this morning and Slate informed me they’d published this “lovely essay about not having children and being proud and happy about that fact.” Usually–in my observation–when people are “proud” of not having children, it’s because they’re environmentalists who believe that not producing more humans to destroy the earth is a more responsible decision than churning out planet-killers. That’s a really obnoxious reason to be proud, but Slate told me this essay was “lovely,” so I thought I’d see what this person’s deal was.

Personally, I always assume that if a person doesn’t have children, it’s because they can’t have children (for whatever reason) or they don’t want to have children (yet or ever). I don’t really care because whether or not they have kids is no skin off my nose. I understand that other people feel more invested in other people’s reproductive lives. I have several friends who are childless/child-free. One of them feels hassled by her parents because they think she just doesn’t want a family enough to do what it takes. Which in her case, I guess, would be in vitro fertilization and single parenthood, but I don’t think that’s quite what they have in mind. Also, I used to be single and childless. I know, I was still young at the time–I got married at 26 and had a baby before I was 27–but I was also Mormon, so that makes a difference. In Mormon culture 26 is like, say, 34 in the normal world. Technically there is still time to avoid dying alone, but you shouldn’t bet on it. I jest only a tiny bit. So I sympathize with childless/child-free (whichever term one prefers) people who feel “judged.” The fact is that you are being judged. Some people are judging you openly, others in secret. Hence, the need to write some manifesto explaining yourself.

The problem is that people who care about the fact you don’t have children–the people who are judging you openly and irritating the crap out of you–aren’t going to moved by any of your reasons for not having children, no matter how good you think they are, because the kind of people who would tell you your business are the kind of people who think they know better than you. So you think they would listen to you because…? They just never thought of why you might not want to have children? Unlikely.

When someone says they don’t want to have children, I assume one or more of the following to be the case:

1. They aren’t prepared to make the financial or emotional sacrifice children require.
2. They don’t enjoy children.
3. They prefer a more flexible lifestyle than is possible with children.
4. They are afraid they won’t be good parents.
5. They just haven’t felt the burning desire to have children.

I used to not want children. My reasons were numbers one through five, but the most important one was 5. If you have a burning desire to have children, reasons 1-4 for not having children are relatively small hurdles. Yes, even the one about not enjoying children. I didn’t particularly enjoy children before I had mine. When you are struck by the burning desire to have children, you always assume that your children are going to be better than other people’s. (Usually you’re right. Ha ha. Well, it’s true, isn’t it?) I liked other people’s children much more after I had my own, and I like them even better now that mine are getting older and the developmental stages that used to annoy me I can now view with detached bemusement. (Especially since I don’t have to take them home with me.)

I didn’t think the aforementioned essay in Slate was all that “lovely.” It wasn’t un-lovely or anything, but I just didn’t find anything particularly compelling about her story. So she doesn’t want kids, never has. Okay. I’m glad she’s at peace with it. She doesn’t exactly dispel any stereotypes, though. She says she can sometimes see the charm of children, but also that children can be annoying. (Newsflash!) She says it’s taken her 32 years to learn how to take care of herself, so she isn’t convinced yet that she can give her life over to taking care of someone else. Frankly, it was easier not to judge her before she explained herself. (32 years to learn how to take care of yourself? Isn’t this what’s wrong with our country?)

Maybe it’s just sad that people feel the need to justify such a personal decision. In my experience, I’ve felt the need to justify decisions I was insecure about, but maybe I’m just projecting here. Maybe it’s been too long since somebody hassled me about a personal decision. Maybe I just don’t pay enough attention to people anymore. Probably because I was tired of feeling hassled by The Man.

Maybe this whole blog is a justification for all of my bad decisions and I’m just not self-aware enough to know it.

Except I AM self-aware now. Does this mean I’m still insecure? Well, I already knew that.

Well, now I understand everything. This woman didn’t write to explain herself to people who care too much. She’s just commiserating with other people who feel hassled about not having kids. Which means this lovely essay wasn’t written for me at all. Which, if I’d thought about it, I could have guessed. I guess I’m just a sucker for the word “lovely.” Well played, Salon. Well played.

Now I have to get spinach out of my braces. Not that I feel the need to explain why I’m ending the post here. I just want you to feel sorry for me.


September 2021

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Alison Wonderland

Rantings and ravings about the kids, work, and whatever else strikes my fancy.

TheWoobDog's Weblog

(Shhhhhhhhh! Don't tell...)

By the lbs

nutty goodness in bulk or by the pound

Bored Bunny

Seen any field mice lately?

By Common Consent, a Mormon Blog

The greatest Mormon blog in the universe.


further down the journey of a greener family

Dandelion Mama

A Memoir From the Trenches is the best place for your personal blog or business site.