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September 28, 2018

Pile-Driving Me Crazy

Thanks to Jason, I know more about sports and sports entertainment than I ever wanted to. He loves football and the WWE and has a captive audience with me because I once read a one-sided piece of paper on listening skills. It was handed out in a tenth-grade meeting of peer counselors, and I still remember the gist. It basically says to listen without judgment or advice. Since then, I've discovered that most people know how to solve their own problems, it's just hard. When they're stumped, they'll directly ask for advice. Giving unsolicited advice comes across like "I think you're stupider than I am. Incompetent too." In any case, I've mastered the head nod. 

In return, Jason is a good listener but will text me a "Wrap It Up" GIF when the subject no longer interests him. 
Courtesy of the Chapelle Show
When I began writing again, I told him, and he said, "That's great!" Then I told him again, and he said, "Okay." Then I told him again and sent him the links, and he didn't say anything. When he got home, I asked him about it, and he said that he read them. Then a tumbleweed flew by. I got upset by his withholding of praise, so he said, "They were very good," which may as well been a hearty "Good for you!" I huffed off, and he called me back to thank me for recognizing Newark as the armpit of America. (Last year I tried to convince him that Western Illinois is.)
Western Illinois is just this for five hours.
Even if my blog was terrible, he should be reading it as a courtesy to my spending countless hours hearing about his emotionally abusive relationship the with Detroit Lions,
Jason was born and raised in Pittsburgh, so his fanship for the Lions must be some kind of masochistic fetish. 
and his speculations on The Undertaker's retirement. 
The other piledriving man in my life.
If I asked him to read my stuff, he would, but then I would lose my leverage when picking activities. I've already learned that the key to a happy relationship is accumulating leverage and using it properly.
I convinced Jason that the Lions always lose when Zach wears their fan gear. 

My Tweetheart

Even though I pick on Jason for not reading my blog, he plays my Twitter games without fail. That's how we met, through his playing my games. Among all those players, he stood out immediately because he's so damn funny.
Occasionally a picture of my son will pop up on the feed, or I'll get a notification that he mentioned me in a tweet. I regularly do a search to see recent batches of tweets about me and Zach. Here are some of my favorite ones in chronological order: 

This is from before we met, which makes me wonder if I fell for some kind of scheme:
These are from right before Zach was born:
Here's the birth announcement. This photo was taken twenty minutes after Zach was born:
Now our life with him. The days are long
but the weeks fly by:

September 26, 2018

Save The Date: February 30th

When I was in my twenties, I would buy bridal magazines and plan my future wedding. If you lost me at Costco, I could probably be found by the jewelry case looking at rings. Planning this special day brought me great joy and hope.

Cut to the future; now I'm 38 and have been engaged for almost a year. Jason put a ring in my Christmas stocking, then took it back to get it sized because it was too small for my sausage finger. It's still a bit snug, but at least I can get it on and off. Six years ago, my mom got me a ring for Christmas, and after a three day ham binge, I had to get it cut off at the ER. Those were dark days.
Men like a girl with hands that can handle a plow. 
All I've done so far is pick bridesmaids, play on Pinterest, and create an email and PayPal account specifically for the wedding. Then I sat back and waited for my mom to plan and pay for it like she did with my siblings. So far I haven't succeeded in raising her from the dead, but I did suss out some deep-rooted jealousy. Hooray for character building.

September 16, 2018

Wi-Fight the Urge

I can't help it. It's been a week, so I changed the Wi-Fi again. Whoever Crownuke is, I hope they appreciate the delightfulness I bring to their lives. 

September 14, 2018

Myrtle Beached

Three weeks ago, we were hanging out where Hurricane Florence is now. Or as I like to (tastelessly) say, it's always stormy when Aunt Flow comes to town. Since I'm new to the East Coast, I wanted to go somewhere Jason also hasn't been, so I chose Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Welcome, fat and cheap tourists.
We got an Airbnb with beach access, but it only had two bedrooms, so Jason's older kids had to share a room while Jason slept on the couch, due to his naked sleeping gymnastics.

I don't know how Jason sleeps through all the crazy things he does. I especially don't know why he doesn't wear clothes. Even when I've demanded he put underwear on because he's in the living room and not invisible, he just takes it off in his sleep. At home, he has his own sofa, and on more than one occasion, I've found him sitting upright on the floor naked, in the middle of putting a shoe on. The other day, he was on his hands and knees with his head buried in the couch, fast asleep, and the baby went over and played the bongos on his butt.

Regardless, of the tight quarters, we had a wonderful vacation. Our condo had a baby pool for Zach, so I got a lot of opportunities to show him off in his shark outfit, which Jason bought during the excitement of Shark Week.  
I caught a predator
Jason's older kids, Kira (12 years old) and Ben (10 years old), are so extraordinarily well-behaved and thankful. Zach loves them and they love him, which brings me such joy. They live with their mom, and I give her props on her parenting. In fact, since I don't have my own mom anymore, she's the one I turn to with my parenting questions. My only complaint is that she's really pretty, like I'm surprised she isn't a model. When Jason showed me her picture before I met everyone, my response was, "Dammit."
Laura clearly doesn't shop at Whales. 
Our typical day on vacation was going to the beach, pool, Cook Out, and playing Apples to Apples. I knew about Cook Out from the last time I was in the South, and we got hooked on it. The bill for all of us came to about $20. Our drinks were free because I asked for water, and they handed me four cups. Either they were unaware that the water tab was broken off, or they expected us to fill our cups in the bathroom. Instead, we filled them up with Cheerwine, a popular Southern cherry cola. In retrospect, that probably wasn't my most ethical decision.

One of our days was devoted to all the Ripley's activities. We did the Aquarium, haunted lazer tag, 5D theater, 3D mirror maze, and the odditorium. This was my favorite day. Their favorite day was going on a ghost tour of the Old Jail in Charleston. I thought it was a history tour and got a ticket, but then found out that history tours to haunted places aren't usually at night. Our tour guide recommended I take the baby and wait outside, and Zach wholeheartedly agreed because he began trying to turn around as soon as we entered the prison yard. An hour later, Jason and the kids reappeared, and Jason said that in the stairwell, he heard a baby laugh, and on his phone, it flashed "I will not rehab." I can guarantee, it wasn't Zach he heard.
Call me biased, but I think Zach is a cuter shark.
Our last night, I told Jason to take a nap in the bedroom before driving back. We decided to leave late at night instead of having to wake up early. Ben kept asking every few minutes if he could wake him up, and I kept distracting him with stuff to pack. Finally I said, fine, he could wake him, and Ben went into the bedroom, yelled, "AHHH!" and abruptly turned around and ran back into the kitchen. Kira wanted to know what the fuss was about, and walked into the bedroom right after him, then also ran right out. Jason had taken his clothes off and the covers had fallen off. 

About ten minutes later, I found Jason in the kitchen shaking his head.  Kira said that since she has two little brothers, she knows what male anatomy looks like, and therefore isn't scarred for life. Not to be outdone, Ben claimed he knows what female anatomy looks like, and Kira called his bluff, insisting he draw a vagina. He drew Spongebob. Then he tried again and drew a doughnut. 
Nailed it.
On the way back, we stopped at the Mayberry Inn so that Jason could smoke in the Gazebo. Years ago, when he and Laura were together, they went there with her mom, and her mom and her friend spent all night chatting in the gazebo. All Jason wanted to do was have a cigarette in it.
The Gazebo.
Glad I can make his wildest dreams come true.
The reception area/gift shop said that they didn't have a public toilet, so I left them a poor review on Google. They're a tourist attraction in the middle of nowhere with at least a dozen toilets.
I would have bought something had they let me pee.
When we got back, Google asked me to give a review of a Baptist church that I allegedly went to at 2:30am. Actually, I visited the field next to it because I had to pee, so I think I'll give them a good review.

We also came across a small, possibly racist town in between North and South Carolina called South of the Border.
Which I also gave five stars because I peed in a parking lot.

September 10, 2018

Eastern Penisylvania

My mom loved traveling and wanted me to see the world, so when we get the opportunity, Jason and I take little trips. Last June we drove out to Amish country in Eastern, Pennsylvania. Instead of sleeping in the car like a normal baby, Zach cried the entire way, turning a four and a half hour trip into a seven hour one.   
My BFF took the train down and finally got to meet Jason and Zach. Upon seeing her and basking in her aura of wonderfulness, Zach was exhausted from ruining our drive and burst into tears. I used to pride myself on Zach not being one of "those" babies who cries when he meets people, thus making them question the state of their souls. Not your finest hour, Zach.
If you're wondering how the Amish bakery was, we don't know. That's not why we were down there. As Jason asked, "You wanted to visit Amish Country to take pictures of signs?" Yes. Yes we did.

It would be rude to say no.
Don't worry, they didn't have to change the name after we left.
That night for dinner, Jason wanted Chinese food. The only place near our hotel was Tony Wangs, which clearly has the best Chinese food. Giant signs can't lie. Too bad it was closed.
I thought it said "Tiny Wangs" at first.
If you're wondering if Wangs is in Intercourse, the answer is no. It goes without saying that it's not in Blue Balls. It's in Lancaster, which should clearly be called "Lancastrated." 

September 9, 2018

Wi-Fi Must I?

Our neighbor "Crownuke" needs to realize that there's a comedy genius nearby, so I changed our Wi-Fi network names again.

September 8, 2018

This LAN Was Made For You & Me

Even if Jason's older kids were budding sociopaths, I would have found a way to love them regardless. But phew! They're awesome. Like, mind-blowingly awesome. His daughter Kira is 12 and has a way of making everything around her beautiful. His son Ben is 10 and can make me laugh so hard my lungs hurt. They're kind, supportive, compassionate, and Zach is happiest when he's with them. 
At the Airbnb we rented a couple weeks ago in Myrtle Beach.
I forgave the wood paneling because it has its own beach access.
A while back, Ben went into the shortcut settings on Kira's phone. He made it so that when she texted her friends 'OK', it changed it to 'I just pooped my pants.'

Feeling inspired, last night I went into our wifi settings and changed our FIOS networks to:
(5GHz) Ben Just Pooped His Pants
(2.4GHz) Kira Just Pooped Her Pants
(Guest) Katt Did Not Just Poop Her Pants

I don't know how many neighbors saw.. This morning I changed them again:

They say I'm pretty fly for a WiFi.

Missed Approach

Zach reached the important milestone of being able to take off his pants and leave them in the middle of the floor. 
Things I miss since this little energy robber came along:

1.) Binge watching whatever I want. Now it's whatever Zach wants. Stupid Wiggles.
2.) Eating whatever I want, or doing whatever fad diet piqued my interest. Breastfeeding prevents that, and I'm constantly hungry, thirsty, and not losing the baby weight.
3.) Playing on my phone in the bathroom.
4.) Not knowing the Gummy Bear Song.
5.) Neatness, tidiness, and cleanliness. I used to fear poop, and I was okay with that.
6.) Being able to focus on a project instead of being interrupted every five minutes.
7.) My two-seater red convertible, Alvin.
8.) Only having to pay for one person when I go out.
9.) Not having to compromise.
10.) Not having to share.

September 7, 2018

An Attitude of Platitude

When I was single, people would tell me countless times, "You'll meet someone!" until I finally snapped back, "You don't know that!" Then they would assure me that they did despite having no proof nor even a crystal ball. I did eventually meet someone, but that's besides the point. They didn't know that. If they had, they could have warned me that I would meet a nice guy who wants to be paid a thousand dollars a month for his services. Instead, het gets a glare or an eyeroll depending on my mood.

Then when I became a mom, the platitude changed to, "You're doing great!" which was usually following their advice on what I'm doing wrong. I would be soaking in spit up, crying because my baby couldn't latch yet, get scolded for supplementing with formula, have garbage piling up and a mountain of wet diapers next to me, and they'd say, "You're doing great!" The final straw was a baby product that said, "You're doing great!" on the back, and I threw it against the wall and yelled, "You don't know me!"

The baby was doing 'great', but I wasn't doing well. Of course, I had postpartum depression because if there's a way to be nuts, I'll certainly find it. Even though I began seeing a psychiatrist who specializes in PPD, I felt detached from my newborn and was afraid that if I told anyone, they'd take him away. There were things I didn't understand, like if he didn't burp after eating, he wouldn't explode. I would spend a half hour trying to get a burp out of him, sobbing because I just wanted sleep or to run away. I needed my mom to help me with the cooking, cleaning, and teaching me what to do. More than anything, I wanted her to meet my son. My expectation was that I would experience a motherly euphoria, but instead an unexpected grief hit me.

As the hormones shifted, and I got used to being held hostage by a baby, I began growing to love my son better each day. Don't get me wrong, I always loved him. Since he was the size of a waterbear, I've loved him. Even though I wasn't feeling the warm fuzzies, if someone so much as looked at my baby wrong, I would have mauled them then taken a dump on their corpse. That sounds like an exaggeration, but it might not be.

Jason pointed out one day that I was doing great because our baby was thriving. Soon my older sister came to visit and helped with cooking, cleaning, and showing me how to put the baby on the dryer when he won't shut up already. So yes, I begrudgingly admit that I did meet someone, and I was doing great. There's no way that baby box could have known that though.
What mama? I'M doing great? You don't know me!

Deliverance

One of the hardest parts about writing again is missing my mom. She was my biggest fan and offered me honest feedback. Even when I didn't like her criticism, she was usually right. When she liked something, she laughed heartily and listed off reasons why I'm so wonderful. What made her praise feel so good was that she was specific, so it wasn't just general feel goodery.

Of course by this point in my life, I shouldn't need that. I have a better sense of self, my abilities, and could probably use some ego slashings from time to time. Still though, she had the greatest laugh, like happy bells ringing. She also had an eye for detail because the amount of spelling, grammar, and factual errors I make is embarrassing. Maybe not as bad as the president's tweets, but still.

Missing her is one of the hardest parts about being a new mom. She was a midwife, and I needed her help during my unfortunately difficult pregnancy. I was new to Pittsburgh and didn't know where to get my prenatal care, so I went to the one Marc Fleury's wife delivered at, Magee Women's Hospital. It's part of UPMC, so each week I had a different resident. Most of them looked half my age and twice as attractive, which no woman with a geriatric pregnancy wants to see. They decided to induce me at 37 weeks because of my elevated blood pressure.

You kinda ruined my morning, pal. No hard feelings.
You know how every parent says the best day of their life was the day their kids were born? I've had better days. Sure, I was happy to deliver a healthy baby and meet Zach finally, but I also gave birth that day. Giving birth is like your insides have been put on a medieval torture rack. I had been induced and none of the students could get my epidural right. It kept wearing off after 45 minutes, and when I told the nurses, they would give me a lecture about how I'm supposed to feel pressure. Except, I didn't just feel pressure; I felt my inside being ripped apart and just wanted to rock myself or walk around, but I couldn't because I was bedridden with a catheter and strapped up to so many damn machines that kept beeping. Jason even asked if they could unhook me for an hour so that I could sleep, but they said that they couldn't. After three days of no food, no sleep, and squealing like a pig, he finally asked, "What the hell kind of birth plan did you have?"

When I was finally ready to deliver, I pushed my little guy out in 24 minutes. The only babies I've seen born have been on sitcoms, so I was unaware that it usually takes longer. Zachary Adams Klingensmith was born at 8:34am on October 18, 2017 and weighed 6lbs 2oz, then peed on the doctors three times before they had a chance to wash him off. My doctor's name was Abby Stork, so a Stork literally delivered my baby. Jason and I both saw Zach hold his neck up and smile at me when I asked to see him, even though that's probably physically impossible. Wish I could ask my mom.

September 6, 2018

My Going Rates

Google kept asking me to review places I've been, so I finally gave in. I'm a sucker for peer pressure. 
Costco:
It was right before they got rid of my swirl frogurt. I still haven't forgiven them.
The roller coaster at Kennywood amusement park:
On the way to our beach vacation:
 An oil change:
They still haven't vacuumed the car.
Fast food stop at the beach: 

Oh "Henry"

I'm sick of these emails:
You can't bullshit a bullshitter, 'Henry'.

 I'm starting to question his medical credentials.
Let's see him figure this out on Google Translate.