From the Coffee Shop

I've abandoned my daughter to her father's care. Granted, when I left her she was sleeping happily on his chest, and he seems perfectly capable of handling anything she might need. Plus, there’s even a bottle full of milk waiting in the fridge that I squeezed from my own tit (which I find to be a mesmerizing process. I mean, there is MILK coming out of my body. A lot of milk. How weird is that? It’s juice squeezed from a human - from me. Wild.) And, granted I am a whole 10 blocks away at the coffee shop with the cell phone at the ready and the car parked in front so I can make a quick getaway if I need to. Yipee? Nope. I’m totally teary. Fucking hormones.

So, am I weepy because I’m leaving my daughter for the first time for longer than 10 or 15 minutes?

Or am I weepy because as I pulled out of my driveway, I caught my White Trash Neighbor, (hereafter WTN – and while I fully acknowledge the racist and classist dimension of the term, I feel that when you have not one, but 2 non-functioning vehicles rusting in your driveway and not one but 2 major appliances rusting in the yard, and a dog that tries to kill your neighbors through the fence every time they walk into their own yards that one fully lives up to the designation) who is passionately and irrationally persuaded that the foot of space between our house and his driveway belongs to him because in antiquity sometime one of his fucking relatives had a fence on that strip of stupid ass grass despite the multiple surveys and city records that indicate he does not actually own every inch of the land up to the very fucking edge of our house, planting a YEW bush on my property. I fucking hate yews. They look nice for a year or so and then they get all weedy and threadbare. I fucking hate WTN. I’ve been worrying about this for a while now because in the last couple of weeks they tore up all of the grass over there and put in mulch, which to their credit looked a lot better than the weedy-ass grass that nobody every cared for and was a continuation of the mulch I put in on my side of the yard. But I took it as a sign that they’re moving in on the space thinking that we’ve neglected it for a few years. I’ve found myself obsessing about this late at night and trying to hand it over to the Big Universal Wow for he/she/it/they to take care of instead of me. But, planting something implies a firmer degree of ownership in some way, don’t you think? Anyway, I think it made me weepy even though I called Spousal Unit and asked him to take a little walk with the Gadlet (whose presence should be soothing to both SU and WTN – I mean, who can have a knock-down drag-out fight with a neighbor with a baby?) and check the situation out. Anyway, I’m a little bit freaked about it.

Or maybe I’m weepy because I had to ask a woman who was hogging 2 whole tables in this very small space if she could share one of her two tables and she was less than kind about it. Doesn’t she know that I’m leaving my baby for the first time and that my neighbor might possibly be planting a yew tree in my yard and my husband might attempt to kill him over it?

Or MAYBE, just MAYBE I’m weepy and panicked because I’m returning to my dissertation after 2-ish months of being completely away from it and 6-ish months from being mostly away from it. What if it is all crap? What if I can’t do it? What if I’m a better mother than I am dissertator? What if I lose my job? What if I don’t even actually care if I lose my job because I so much prefer being a mother?

But this doesn’t seem very productive or conducive to actually working in the very short time I have to work. So for now, I’m going to swallow the weepies, know that the Gadlet is OK** with Spousal Unit, let the universe (or SU) take care of WTN, and know that I can do this dissertation thing. I mean, hell, if I can not only squeeze a human out of my own body, but also the juice to feed that human, surely I can do anything, right?

(Ha! As I wrote this, a Very Famous Song by a Much Beloved 60s Band whose refrain very prominently features the Gadlet’s first name is being played over the coffee shop stereo. So much for attempting to forget her and do my work!)

[Update: I spent 2 productive hours away at the Coffee Shop. (Well, one productive hour and one emotionally charged hour, anyway.) I revised the introductory section to the chapter I’d been working on when last I was in dissertation land. Not a huge chunk of pages (only 6) and I was really only working with prose, not with major ideas – but I did accomplish a major stylistic shift from a really passive depiction of what was going on to a more active one that centers the historical figures in the sentences. And, I only looked at photos of the Gadlet on my iPod once and didn’t worry about WTN at all. So, good for me, huh?

I'm about to leave, but called home first -- Spousal Unit did not answer. I'm fighting visions of him neck-deep in Gadlet shit attempting to clean her up, or of her screaming so hysterically that he can't hear the phone. Or, worse yet, of her cuddled in his dead arms as he's splayed on the stupid fucking foot of land that WTN thinks he owns as WTN stands over him with a shotgun and as their evil dog nibbles on his toes and makes hungry eyes at the Gadlet. Oh shit, I must leave this instant!! Panic!!!!

Update #2: Nobody died. Phew. Spousal Unit didn't answer the phone because he was feeding the Gadlet the bottle I left. I got all weepy AGAIN when I came home. Fucking hormones.

Update #3: WTN DID plant a shrub on our property. Fuck fuck fuck. Spousal Unit says he'll handle it. So, I'm going to keep my sticky little worried paws off of that one. Fucking hormones.


At 4:06 PM kermitthefrog said...

You said it.

and I can't help running through various songs in my head trying to figure out the Gadlet's name! (So far, I've eliminated "Octopus," "Walrus," and "Rocky Raccoon.")

At 6:19 PM Suz said...

Sounds like my first time away from my first born. At the grocery I dropped a glass carton of cokes, cut my ankle and ended up in ER. There was some humor in getting my ankle stitched up when at the other end of my leg, the stitches still hadn't yet healed!

Good work on picking up the diss. It cannot hurt like the ring of fire, right? I am not touching the issue with WTN... But on leaving Gadlet: my theory is that from the moment they are born, a parent's job is to teach them what they need to leave and to let go in increasingly larger increments. Which requires going against all hormones and emotions!

At 7:27 PM Mimi said...

Stupid hormones. I remember it well. The worst will come when you go out and you don't immediately freak out ... and then freak out about not freaking out. Sigh.

But fantastic that you got so much done! Woo!

Next door to our house is a rental triplex to which ambulances, fire engines, and police vehicles regularly travel. As recently as Friday night. The flashing cherries make such nice patterns across our walls as we eat dinner, and spur conversation to boot ...

At 6:16 AM subarctic mama said...

I've had the same struggle to get to the coffeeshop to write (away from the babies--in my case a book of poems with a ticking grant deadline). It's easier now that they're bigger, but the pages still come slowly. Glad I found your blog.

At 6:56 AM Village Vegan said...

Does the Gadlet's name start with the letter A?

At 11:44 AM Scrivener said...

Congratulations on returning to the dissertation and getting something more done than simply staring at the screen wondering whether it's really worth it. That was pretty much all I ever accomplished on my first day back after a hiatus. Well, that and self-flagellation for having taken the hiatus.

At 10:14 AM materfamilias said...

I'm guessing "Rhiannon" since I have a daughter with a Fleetwood Mac song dedicated to her -- okay, the song came first, but you know . . .
Good for you returning to the dissertation despite hormones and lack of sleep -- I started my doc when my youngest was 11, and found the balancing tough enough -- but I found I had a distance, a sense of self-worth or something corny like that from knowing there were other more important things I was doing, that sustained me through the sloughs of despond that are dissertation-writing. Bon courage!

At 2:20 PM Amanda said...

Oh. My. Gawd. This had me laughing so hard that I cried (at work).

I don't have children, but...fuck hormones!

At 4:32 PM Stewgad said...

Kermit - VERY close, but no, Rocky is not the baby's name. Nor is it Octopus, Walrus, Rita, Michelle, or Madonna.

Mater- Nope, not Rihannon. Or Miranda, Gypsy or Angel.

And, Vegan, it doesn't start with A.

Thank you all for playing along, however!

Huge PHD welcome to all the new folk! Thanks for stopping in! I'll add your blogs to my roll as soon as I get some free time!

At 8:46 AM landsnark said...

Whatever her name really is, I now think of her as "Prudence."


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