Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Married Without Children -or- How Not to Start a Conversation with Me

The minute my fiance, now my husband, slipped the wedding ring on my finger, the questions from friends, family and near strangers went from “When are you getting married?” to “When are you having kids?”

My husband and I have been married just over two years, and we’re enjoying our lives, keeping busy with our flourishing careers. When we see friends or family, though, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend.

“So...” they begin, glancing down at my midriff.

“That’s just fat,” I tell them immediately, and at their blank stares, continue, “I like bacon.”

Which is absolutely true. Who doesn’t love bacon?

I’ve learned to brush off most of the questions and looks. I even use the Twitter hashtag #notpregnant because as soon as I mention food cravings, nausea, stomachaches, fatigue or anything that might suggest I’m in the family way, speculation ensues.

I get it. Pseudo-relatives, rarely seen acquaintances and people I don’t know intimately gravitate toward life milestones in conversation. “How was your vacation?” “How’s your cat?” and “How’s the house?” are typical. Likely, you’ve heard these questions at different stages of your life:

“How’s school?”

“Which college program are you in?”

“When are you getting married?”

“When are you having kids?”

Well, I’m not deigning to answer that question here. Suffice to say, #notpregnant exists for a reason.

To prevent future awkwardness regarding my inexplicable weight gain and/or reproductive capabilities, here are some better topics of conversation you won’t be able to shut me up about:
I will also accept any conversation that is simply a back-and-forth Q & A where every question begins with “Have you seen/read...[insert a movie, internet meme, YouTube video or book].”

Tired of being interrogated about something personal? Do you have topics you’d rather not have people poke you about? If you could wear a sign that said “Talk to me about...” at a cocktail party, what would your list include? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Snakes in the House!

This is my new headboard, which is
much less disturbing than the snake(s).
Also I forgot to take a photo of the snakes

By Jeannie Watt

My house is so clean and clear of clutter that it echoes. I’m not certain I’ve ever experienced this before, but this is what comes of two teachers having time on their hands and a house that needs a lot of work. So far this summer we’ve pulled up the old carpet—or what was left of it—and replaced it with hardwood. Thanks to my bestest friends, we were able to get the job done in two days.  We replaced the semi-operational vent fans (meaning they sounded like vent fans but didn’t actually do the job of vent fans) in both bathrooms, repainted most of the rooms and ceilings. We installed new blinds, washed windows, cleaned out junk drawers.  We’ve never had a headboard, so we made one out of old French doors. I’m soooo happy with my house…or I was until we found the first baby snake in the basement.

I’m sorry to say that the baby snake—a harmless bull snake—had an unfortunate encounter with our cat prior to my discovering it. The snake, to quote Monty Python, is no more. However the discovery was disturbing because if a baby bull snake can get into the basement, so can a baby rattlesnake. After pointing this out to each other several times—just in case one of us didn’t understand the potential gravity of the situation--my husband and I decided to write the snake off as a fluke.  I really preferred the fluke theory over my husband’s gloomy a-pregnant-snake-got-into-our-basement-and-laid-eggs theory, so I ran with it—right up until the second hatchling showed up today.

This snake was alive, but my cat was getting ready to change that. I put a teacup over the little guy, then transferred it into a jar.  (We released it several miles away from the house when we went to get the mail.) My husband and I then had a serious discussion. We started by pointing out to each other that if a hatchling bull snake can get into the house, then so could a hatchling rattlesnake. After making certain that we were both clear on that point, we discussed the pros and cons of the situation.

Pro—it’s a bull snake and not a rattlesnake.
Con—it could easily have been a rattlesnake.

Pro—if a snake laid eggs in the basement, there are a finite number of snakes in the basement
Con—there are snakes in the basement.

We didn’t get much farther than that. Later in the afternoon, my husband found a hatchling in the garage, so now we are fairly certain that the snakes hatched in the garage and are finding their way down the steep basement steps and into the house through an incredibly small crack under the door. That crack will soon (again in the words of Monty Python) be no more and once again I will love my house—although it’ll be a while before I walk through the basement without keeping a very close eye on where I put my feet.
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