All week I’ve felt like crying. It feels exactly like the low-grade nausea I had during my first trimester, without the nausea. There’s no REASON for me to cry, and I DON’T cry, but I FEEL like crying. One afternoon I stood in the bathroom at work, just stood there in front of the full-length mirror understanding for the first time what pregnant women mean when they say they feel like a house — and I’m only 20 weeks! — and finally I walked back into a stall, feeling like I COULD cry, and squeezed out a few tears. But that was it. No relief.
But this morning I broke. And you know what did it? You know what fucking did it?
Last night, after a marathon four days that included two morning appointments with a credit union to refinance my car loan (see “How the Fuck Are We Going to Pay for Daycare?”), two interviews with doulas, one prenatal appointment, and a full-time job that won’t quit, I took a sleeping pill. I’m pretty sure it’s the first time I’ve taken one since I got pregnant. And even though I woke up freezing — literally shivering — in the middle of the night because I’d turned the heat down, my white-noise fan was on full blast, and I’d managed to throw the covers off, I slept soundly the rest of the night. And this morning was the first morning since I bought my alarm clock that the buzzer woke me up — every other morning, the silently flashing light has woken me up, since I’m a light sleeper.
(I also woke up with a sprained foot. I’ve spent much of the morning trying to imagine what I got up to last night.)
In any case, this morning, for the first time in MONTHS, I woke up thinking about doing a second draft of a short story I haven’t had time to revise. I felt refreshed! Even happy! I washed my face, ate my breakfast, checked my email accounts, deleted the porn sites from my browsing history, and jumped in my car for the drive to BART, with the radio tuned to iHeart80s.
First TLC came on, singing “Baby, Baby, Baby.” Where have all the girl groups gone? I thought. What happened to Salt-N-Pepa, TLC, and my all-time favorite, SWV? I sat at the light at 82nd and Bancroft, belting out, “I could have any man I want to, baby, that’s actual and factual.”
Then I remembered what happened to TLC: Left Eye died in a car crash in Honduras. No more TLC!
Then, as I was coming up on 82nd and International, Whitney came on, singing “I Want to Dance with Somebody.” Yeah! The happiest song ever! I seat-danced at the light, mouthing the words instead of singing so I could hear her beautiful voice.
And then I was crying. Out of nowhere. I had begun the song thinking that the people in the next car should be watching me and feeling my energy and had even helpfully turned up the music so they could hear what I was listening to, and now I couldn’t stop crying and hoped to god NO ONE was watching, because it was 7:55 a.m. and I was mouthing the words to a Whitney Houston song and crying alone in my car.
Why was I crying? First of all, because WHITNEY WAS DEAD. ALL THAT TALENT. WASTED. Also, my childhood and teenage years: dead. My twenties: dead. My THIRTIES: DEAD. I cried and cried and cried.
Then the light changed and the song changed, and you know what came on next? Do you know?
GEORGE MICHAEL. “FAITH.” FUCKING “FAITH.”
“He’s dead, too!” I sobbed.
I have a thing with this song. I had this album on cassette tape, and I can’t remember if I bought it for myself or stole it from my younger brother (the latter seems more likely). Jesse and I were HUGE George Michael fans. My brother is now 38 and plays in a band in China, and he still does a rendition — publicly! — of “Careless Whisper.” When we were living in Wales, probably when I was about 10, I would take my Walkman and my mom’s plug-in speakers and walk to this tiny bridge that crossed a tiny stream and make up dance routines, Jennifer Grey-style, to “Faith.” I have never tired of the song, I know all the words, and it’s the song that first taught me about tracks — the liner notes said George Michael did all the “tracks” on the album, so I listened to “Faith” and tried to discern all the tracks and imagined him playing each one.
“He’s dead, too!” I cried out loud on Hegenberger Road. And I cried all the way into the Coliseum Station parking lot and then sat in my car wondering which song they’d play next.
“Living on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi. Hmm. He’s alive and, from all appearances, doing quite well. So I gathered myself and got out of my car.
Sweet relief! And thank god I have Strong Jawline to make me laugh.
One recent morning, SJ made crepes, but I refused to eat them, choosing instead to lecture him on the deleterious effects of sugar as I regally ate my toast and egg and he layered crepes with chocolate sauce, powdered sugar, honey, and butter. He picked up a crepe he’d filled with honey and lemon juice, calling it the “cough drop” (also claiming that he should get a second job coming up with menu items — I argued that a food item called the “cough drop” would get him run out of town) … and sniffed it.
Jenny: Sometimes I wish my eyes were video cameras.
SJ (possibly having had enough of being picked on for one morning): Sometimes I wish my ears were noise-cancelling headphones.
Another afternoon I volunteered to do three loads of SJ’s laundry (BECAUSE IF I DON’T THEN I HAVE TO LOOK AT IT ALSO THIS WAY I CAN WIN THE “WHAT I DO AROUND THE HOUSE” COMPETITION) but insisted that he at least transfer one of the loads from the washing machine to the dryer. After an hour, I went to the laundry room to get the clean laundry, which is, I thought, how laundry is done. The laundry was in the dryer. But the dryer hadn’t been turned on.
Later that evening:
Jenny: You should have seen the look on my face when I realized you’d put the laundry in the dryer but hadn’t turned it on.
SJ (smiling): It’s my new hobby. Laund.
IT MADE ME LAUGH. HARD. THAT’S HOW I KNOW I’M IN LOVE. CHECK BACK IN FIVE YEARS.
But nature has a way of bringing things back around.
Last weekend, SJ decided that we would walk the dog no matter the weather — and, as everyone in the Bay Area noticed, last weekend it was hailing. HAILING. I cried laughing, telling SJ what a classic dad move that was. We are going to walk in the hail! It builds character!
As it happens, even though we got intermittent bouts of sunshine, it did, in fact, start to hail on our walk. We dove under a tree, and as I crouched next to the ground, I noticed tiny, oily, red leaves poking out of the soil.
Jenny: There’s poison oak under here.
SJ: (Gruff man sounds)
And guess what SJ had on his forehead the next morning and, later that day, in a patch next to his eye?
THAT’S RIGHT. NOTHING BETTER FOR BUILDING CHARACTER THAN A LITTLE POISON OAK ON YOUR FACE. ON YOUR FACE. ON YOUR FAAAAAAACE.
These pesto scrambled eggs are so easy. All you need is:
- 2 eggs
- 2 TB pesto (fresh premade or fresh you-made)
You need to:
- Scramble the eggs. I’ve found that the best way to get soft scrambled eggs is to crack the eggs in the pan and use a rubber spatula to break the yolks, then stir constantly over a low flame.
- Scoop in pesto. Keep stirring until they’re cooked through.
- Enjoy with a side of self-righteousness.