Monday, February 28, 2011

Letter to Myself

If I could see the future, I would have written this letter to myself before last week:

Dear Megan,

Take a deep breath. Here's what's about to go down. You're going to have a lot of conference calls scheduled and some major writing deadlines, but those aren't really going to matter, because your two year old is going to have a major allergic reaction to her second antibiotic and break out in hives and a general case of toddler meanness. You will feel sorry for her, even when she smashes her juice bottle into your face for kicks and pulls the cat's tail and - well - you'll see.

Oh yeah. And it's going to last all week, and she's going to have a cold on top of it.

And then - when things are going really well - it's going to snow again. A lot. And THEN - get this - the old copper pipes in your farmhouse are going to give up on life and drench your living room ceiling in beautiful brown spots.

And the ceiling will need to come down.

But that's cool, because you've already made a mess of the dining room, which you and the Dogtor are attempting to paint yourselves after stripping the wallpaper.

Did I mention how much the toddler is not going to support your efforts? Try and maximize painting during nap time. Except I should probably tell you that she's not going to nap on Sunday.

Keep the cats out of the paint and remember to bend over and wipe 16 snowy paws when the dogs come in - oh that's right. Bending over kind of sucks for you right now, huh?

But look - everything's fine. You're just 27 weeks pregnant. Let the sound of ceiling demolition soothe your nerves and fill you with delight. Let the iced over driveway bring you peace. Let the toddler rage in all her glory. (and God bless the heroic Dogtor.)

Hug, kiss!

Synchronized Sleeping, Take Two

A companion post to last week's Dog Sport.

Fat cats curled up by the woodstove. Not sure why they took this moment to be in step and peaceful when they are usually trying to kill each other.

My guess is that they are sleeping with one eye open.

(Note -Logistically this may be impossible for Pi, the white cat, who only has one eye to begin with.)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Proper Way to Greet a Goat

In a Vermont winter there are not days of sun, just moments and slivers. As we speak, Betsy Spaniel is taking a sun bath on the front porch, even though it is just 9 degrees. Tough stock (rabbit killer!)

This weekend we had a few hours of cold sun, and an animal-cluster appeared: an arthritic horse in one corner of the pasture, chickens and goats underfoot.

Frasier demonstrates the proper way to address goats, while wearing what I consider to be one of her best outfits, including my hat.

Monday, February 21, 2011

What We Do for Fun

What do you do when it's 40 degrees outside, your snow-crusted backyard is lit by a full moon, and your toddler is fast asleep?


I'm not getting such good air here, but in all honesty, I'm just excited that I made it off the ground.

And yeah, that's a weekend in Shaftsbury for you. Good, clean, cold fun.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dog Sport

I'd like to introduce to you the rigorous Dog Sport of Synchronized Sleeping.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Signs of Spring

My desire for spring to come as early as possible (with all due respect to the environment and what it needs) is twofold:
  • One, my southern soul is damn sick of winter, ice, complicated driving, colds, and stir-crazy animals.
  • Two, my winter jacket won't zip up respectably anymore. I can zip it - and I take pride in that - but my pregnant belly tugs at the seams, and that's just not cute. So I've been breezing around with my long black coat flapping open Matrix-style, and all that's missing is the pleather jumpsuit and heavy weaponry.
...but there are reasons to be optimistic. For one, the weather has jumped in and out of the THIRTIES people. The THIRTIES. Which means I've gotten some good snow shoeing in -see the photo of the lovely horses from Mile Round Woods above.

Another sign of hope: the hens are laying three eggs a day again! Go, ladies, go! They are celebrating the increased daylight, as am I.

We've also continued to work on our house in advance of Baby #2, at whose arrival all normal endeavors and projects will cease and we will simply concentrate on survival. The (dirty, rusted) vintage hand-painted trays I love are on our newly yellow kitchen walls. They combat the winter blues, even if they hang a little funny. Happiness.

In a final sign that the snowy humdrum is subsiding, Fray-monster decided she was really into the Go-Go's during yesterday's car ride. After the song was over she continued to assure me that Mama had the beat, Frasier had the beat, and Dada had the beat...yeaaaaah -WE GOT IT!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Real Talk

I was recently told by two people that my life looks idyllic online. That helped me realize what a narcissist I am via social media.

Of course I only put cute pictures of my daughter and myself up, photos that I think capture the happy or interesting moments of my life.

But things are not always so rosy.

For example:

A)Boogers. Frasier has re-discovered her nose.

The above picture was my attempt at sending the Dogtor a don’t-you-miss-your-cute-girls glamor shot via text while he was away on a well-deserved ski trip in Colorado this weekend. I pulled up the picture thinking it was awesome and…photobomb. (Sorry to sell you out, Fray.)

B) Poop. While the Dogtor was gone, my parents came to VT to visit and give very-pregnant me some support. Now, if you ever want to sell the my-life-is-pretty routine, it’s when your parents come to visit.


First, roofs and the sides of roads are covered in huge piles of snow, and my parents don't like the cold. Next, even though I vacuumed twice before my parents came in the door, it still looks like I live in a mountain of animal hair. (I do. Four cats and four dogs inside during a winter like this…sigh. Dyson tries hard, though.)

After breakfast on Saturday, I decided to take my dad, Pop Pop, on a snow shoe. Fray is going through separation anxiety, so I began subtly gathering our gear for a smooth escape, in hopes that I might leave things easy for Rhombus (Grandma).

Note – there is no subtle way for a pregnant lady to put on hiking boots and gaiters. It isn’t pretty. There is grunting involved. Then I fell off the side porch into a snow bank trying to retrieve ski poles for Pop Pop and had to change pants. Repeat gaiter/hiking boots. Needless to say, Frasier noticed I was leaving.

Me: Frasier – let’s go change your diaper. (before I leave and you unleash hell upon poor Rhombus).

Frasier: No.

Me: Manners, please. No thank you.

Frasier: No thank you. Nemo poop.

Me: You pooped? Ready to go get a new diaper?

Frasier: NEMO POOP.

Me: (looks over to see Nemo, our old, incontinent lab mix, pooping-while-walking across the kitchen floor. Phone rings. Tea kettle screams.)

Frasier: NEMO POOP! (accidentally steps in Nemo poop with one pink John Deere cowboy boot.)

Rhombus and Pop Pop: (politely panicked faces)

C) Toddlerdom. Frasier refused to nap yesterday and spent twenty minutes screaming NO at the top of her lungs in a voice that sounded more aggressive than any heavy metal front person you’ve ever heard. Ever. I could hear my parents downstairs laughing. As in – bwahahaha Megan totally had this coming.

D) Snow.

Rhombus: I saw on the news that there are roofs caving in because of the snow in Vermont. Do we have to worry about roofs caving in here?

Me: Well…(Change subject! Change subject! Change subject!)

E) Dog Fights/More Poop: I wished my parents a good night yesterday evening and walked them out the door to the little cabin behind our house. I had a cat on my shoulder (the one who sleeps in the old clinic for now to avoid cat fights) and was walking the four dogs. It was pitch black with a little moon, snow everywhere. Rhombus and Pop Pop entered the sweet little cabin.

Suddenly drama erupts – Monsieur Scooty Beags and Pippa the Corgi are literally trying to kill each other over a piece of frozen poop. (Poopcicle?) They are savagely wrestling and biting and dog-screaming. I pregnant-waddle-run over to them across the icy sidewalk with a large, one-eyed cat on my shoulder.

My dad sweetly calls from the cabin: Megan, are you okay?

I’m okay. Totally okay. Nothing weird going on here.

And that’s the truth. Broken chicken egg in a coat pocket? Loose goat? Medicated cat squawking underneath an antique desk and biting its own tail? Infuriated toddler telling everyone who will listen that Mama broke her bike? (I did. Whoops.)

All that used to be weird is now…the usual. And not always pretty, in case I've led you to believe otherwise.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What I Wore to My Inauguration

Two weeks ago, I finished a snowshoe and walked right into the Town of Shaftsbury's offices and took my oath as a brand-spanking-new Justice of the Peace.

Now in the south, one would need lipstick and a dress - or at least the appearance of being showered - for such an event. But this is Vermont, and I wore fleece leggings, snow-choked hiking boots, blue gaiters, and a down jacket - with my very pregnant belly leading the way. I was too hot to keep my winter hat on, so I was rocking a gorgeous, sweaty hat-head look.

And no one batted an eyelash.

(Yeah - they gave me the old Meghan treatment on my document. Nothing like a rogue H to make you feel important.)

Keeping it real, and at times real homely -
Your elected official in Shaftsbury,

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sizing Up

I just got back from AWP. Riding the train for 7 hours while 24 weeks pregnant was not that awesome, but I did get to see some great friends, and had a phenomenal time at the reading sponsored by the Kenyon Review.

As for trying to look cool while at the conference - let's just say that I'm ecstatic that I'll never have to try to look cool and comfortable again while approaching my third trimester.

The Dogtor and Frasier scooped me up Saturday afternoon in Albany, and I haven't wanted to let go of Fray since. Or the Dogtor, for that matter.

Yesterday morning we set off on a snowshoe with friends to trek across a few beautiful fields and onto Norman Lear's property, where we saw the largest red oak tree in Vermont.

Who measures these things? I don't know. But the tree was pretty darn big, and stunning. So stunning that when I caught sight of it, I fell on my face.

The Wipeout: As you know, I have been determined to act "normal" while pregnant the second time around and keep exercising as much as possible, but normal laughed at me yesterday when I tried to go off trail on snow shoes and ate it, falling forward into a snowbank.

MMB's Pride: Get up. Now.

MMB: I can't.

MMB's Pride: Yes you can. You are normal. Get up fast before more people see you.

MMB: I'm like an overturned turtle. I can't move on my own. My body has changed in a thousand ways and the snow is deep -

MMB's Pride: Don't play the pregnancy card. Get up! Get up, you oaf!

MMB: I really can't. (tries, fails. tries again. fails.) My snowshoes are folded up underneath me and I am chest-deep in a shelf of icy snow.

MMB's Pride: For chrissake. I'm humiliated.

MMB: I know. But look at all these nice people rallying around you to help -

MMB's Pride: Don't look them in the eye.

MMB: But it feels so nice to be upright again...

MMB's Pride: You are weak. Very weak.

We ended the day in Brattleboro with friends, where we got to eat delicious food (don't you love friends who cook well?) and went antiquing. And junking.

I struck off this morning on snow shoes and managed to stay off my face, to the delight and safety of the child I'm carrying.

35 degrees and sun feels like...spring.