Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Model Citizen

At 8 years of age my daughter Mirette is an enthusiastic Girl Scout. Summer fun includes working on a slew of badges. A trip with her grandparents to a Veterans Home on Flag Day began an avid interest in service people and she is dutifully carrying out the tasks for her model citizens patch. Any little thing to do with the military has her rapt attention. I am thrilled to have a found a fantastic troop that is giving her a wonderful way to channel all of her natural curiosity.

She is definitely a chip off the old block so her natural curiosity has also lent itself to a love of celebrity gossip. Mila Kunis being coerced into saying yes to a Marine's you tube invitation was not a story she was apt to miss. Shakesville wraps it up pretty well.

As awful as the whole thing is, it was definitely a teachable moment in our household. Mirette knows that her body belongs to her and her alone. She is learning that compliments are fine but no one has the right to engage her beyond her level of comfortability. That being called rude isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Her delight in seeing men in uniform hasn't rendered her ignorant to the obvious. She was completely puzzled that anyone would expect a woman to go out with a total stranger just because he is a Marine.

That made me prouder than any of her glowing report cards.

My son had zero interest in this conversation. But he's 6 and I know that there will be plenty of proposals on Jumbo Trons that I can complain about in the future.

This Old Town House

I began this blog because of my obsession with a magnificent house in a changing neighborhood that I knew we were never going to be able to afford.

The plan was to document our real estate search and my third pregnancy. My life had essentially been charmed, so whatever mishaps I imagined along the way, I knew things would end with another healthy, cherubic cheeked babe in a space that reflected me.

Fast forward two and a half years. One miscarriage, a cancer diagnosis, several weeks of chemotherapy, radiation and a 400 mile relocation later, I'm about to move and transform a space into our home.

An attached town house in a lushly wooded but rigidly pristine neighborhood is a far cry from the houses we looked at smack dab in the middle of Atlanta.

At roughly 1700 square feet, it's larger than the Brooklyn apartment I grew up in. We will miss our current home's abundant outdoor space and over sized pool. At the new place the patio is small, but there is ample space for 3 chairs and a grill. Most importantly it is connected to a Florida room that will easily seat 6.

Lots to do on an uncertain budget. Men of A Certain Age encapsulates the angst that can result in the power dynamic between grown men and their fathers when the parent is also the employer. Never the less I realize that an uncertain budget is a hell of a lot better then no budget.

The internet has convinced me that a powder room is a good space to start a do it yourself project for a novice. And since everything I read on line is accurate the half bath will be my inaugural journey into the land of home improvements.I'm as unhandy as they come, so hopefully this quest won't result in any ER visits as I'm currently uninsured.

After I read the manifesto that passes as our homeowner's association guide, I hope that a sea green door is street legal.

Monday, July 11, 2011

"You Don't Look Like You've Missed A Meal!"

This is how my 81 year old paternal grandfather will probably greet me when I see him in a few weeks. Never mind that missing meals often results in weight gain, this is one instance during which I'll keep my infamously big mouth shut. Married to a woman who has waged war with her body the entirety of their almost 60 year union, my grandfather-always long and lean- thinks will power is the answer.

My beautiful grandmother and her three daughters are a endless parade of binging, purging, lap bands and gastric bypasses. At 77, my grandmother's extensive collection of hats has worked overtime as she attends funeral after funeral. And yet no conversation is complete without a mention of her weight. My vibrant, globe trotting aunt will casually refer to herself as a disgusting pig who shouldn't be allowed to look in a mirror.

The heavy grandchild, I should be heir to their misery but I'm not. In large part because my mom, who couldn't gain weight if she tried, refused to let me carry their mantle of shame and self doubt.

I vaguely remember a conversation when I was 12 or so, we were getting fit as a family, (which was admirable for the 1980's as I was the only overweight member) during which I told my mom she couldn't relate to my struggles. I barely remember this exchange but it struck a chord with her as she has never mentioned my weight again. Any internal struggles that she might have had with my body were never transmitted to me.

So I'll suffer my grandfather's barbs knowing first off I'm not alone. Upon hearing about my brother's emotionally charged divorce, complete with custody and alimony issues our family patriarch launched into a sermon that began "I told him not to marry that girl. I could see from the get go how this was gonna end!" And more importantly knowing that his feelings don't represent mine...