Dreams Of Divorce?

Babies cease to be cute after three days of sleep deprivation. Same goes for husbands.

I’m not gonna lie. There are times late at night when I’m struggling to get Sam to sleep that I look over at my comatose husband and I want to throw something at him. I actually did throw something at him once when Cassie was a baby. I was up nursing for the ninth time that night and Michael was snoring in bed. He was snoring very loudly, so loudly that I couldn’t even doze while sitting in the glider, which to me seemed way too unfair. So I picked up the book sitting on the table next to me and I threw it at him. Hit him too, with a nice big satisfying thunk. He gave a big snort and a grunt, sat up looking very surprised, and then groaned when I ordered him to roll over and quit snoring. Fortunately for both of us, he had the sense of mind not to complain about having his sleep interrupted, because I had plenty more books within arms reach.

I was able to refrain from repeating the book throwing episode last night, although it was hard to do. I don’t know if Sam’s going through a growth spurt or if we’re just dealing with more problems related to her lactose overload, but she’s done nothing but feed and fuss for the past three nights. Last night I tried to wear her out before putting her down. I strapped on the front carrier and walked around the house with her for over an hour, grabbing a piece of laundry and folding it each time I passed by the dryer. I got two loads put away by the time Sam finally dozed off, and I thought I was home free. Then I put her in her bouncy chair to sleep and she immediately woke up.

Why am I putting this kid in a bouncy chair to sleep, you might ask? Because Sam won’t sleep lying flat on her back. I can get her to sleep on her side, and every time I put her on the floor for tummy time, she falls asleep on her belly with no problem (a fact which bothers the crap out of me, thanks to the SIDS On-Your-Back campaign). But try putting Sam down flat on her back and she howls. So for night times and naps, I’ve resorted to putting her in the bouncy chair, where she can sleep sitting propped up. Not as comfortable for her as tummy time apparently, but she can usually deal with it.

Last night though, I couldn’t get her in buckled into the stupid bouncy chair. The little straps went and hid under her butt, and by the time I managed to fish them out, Sam was awake again and fussing. I was out of ideas and at the end of my rope so Michael picked her up and rocked her for a while. Fed up with the bouncy chair, I went downstairs and grabbed the car seat to put Sam in once she fell back asleep. It would be easier to put her in the car seat I decided, since she could rest in it without needing to be strapped in. Then I crawled into bed and listened to Michael rock Sam. He got her to sleep after half an hour or so. And then my husband the genius put our fussy child in her bassinet flat on her back.

Now I told Michael I had brought up the car seat. I put it where we normally put the bouncy chair. He walked past it twice, had to step over it even, so I know he knew it was there. And yet he decided to ignore it and put Sam down in a position he knows she hates. I couldn’t believe it. Sam stayed asleep for a minute after being laid on her back. Then she started to grunt and hyperventilate. Pretty soon, she was thrashing around and screaming.

“Why did you put her flat on her back?” I demanded as I got up to calm my squalling infant.

“She has to sleep on her back sometime,” he mumbled, already half asleep.

“Michael, we’ve had two sleepless nights in a row. Tonight was not the night to experiment!”

He just shrugged and rolled over. I looked for something to throw at him.

It took me another half hour to get Sam settled and down to sleep. From midnight until 4 AM, she snoozed peacefully in her car seat. During those same hours, I dreamt over and over of divorcing Michael. The dreams were pretty vivid too. I imagined packing up everything I owned, taking the kids and driving off to some imaginary land where no husbands existed. It was a peaceful place where people communicated and actually tried to understand each other. Nobody did anything dumb like shop at Sam’s Club and bring home one hundred rolls of toilet paper when all you needed and had room for was four (“But honey, we saved two cents a roll!”). Nobody turned off the lights while you were still in a room trying to clean up the mess they left behind. And nobody plopped down on top of the pile of clean, freshly folded laundry sitting in the middle of the bed to take a nap. People actually thought first before doing things, and thus a lot of mistakes and homicides were avoided.

Then I dreamt that my computer broke down and I woke up in a cold sweat. I thought about my laptop and my desktop, my scanner and my Wacom digital tablets, my wireless network and my cable modem. I realized that no matter how many dumb things he might do, I needed Michael. Because truth be told, you can’t buy good tech support these days. You have to sleep with it.

Assuming the baby lets you sleep, of course.

Why I’m Still Married To My Husband After 13 Years And Two Kids

In spite of my bad attitude yesterday, our thirteenth wedding anniversary came off pretty well. It wasn’t the romantic, blissful day I would have wished for, but considering we spent it with a preschooler and a nursing infant in tow, it wasn’t bad.

We started the day off with a trip to the pediatrician. Sam weighs over eight pounds now, and the doctor says she’s gained so much weight so quickly that I can slow down on the breastfeeding, maybe stretch it out to three hours between feedings. Thank god for that, because sitting down every two hours to feed this little monster was just about killing me. After leaving the doctor’s office, Michael and I debated where we should go and what we should do. Honestly, I didn’t want to do anything but sleep, but Cassie needed some time out and someone (me) foolishly proposed taking her to the beach, so that’s where we decided to go.

Yorktown Beach is a nice little beach along the York River, with a series of shops and a boardwalk that were recently constructed there. I didn’t get to do any shopping (way too tired to even contemplate it) but I did get to sit in the sun and relax while Michael chased after Cassie. We had a picnic lunch, courtesy of our local Subway, and I was able to let Sam snooze in her little tent while the rest of us roasted in the sun. After about two hours, we were all hot, sweaty, sticky and coated in a fine mixture of sand and sun block. And because we weren’t messy enough, we decided to have ice cream on top of that. Cassie, needless to say, was absolutely filthy by the time we left, but she was happy and dancing and she fell asleep in the car on the way home and that’s really what mattered most.

So after a day of running around and sweating to death, my bad attitude finally burned itself off. With both kids asleep, I collapsed in the chair for a bit, pulled up the ol’ laptop and did some writing. I even got a little drawing done. Michael disappeared to his office for a couple of hours, and I got the peace and quiet I needed so badly the past few days.

In addition to being our wedding anniversary, yesterday was also Michael’s last day home on family leave. He heads back into the office today after more than two weeks off, leaving me to finally fend for myself with both kids. I am going to miss him, sort of, although I will get to see him around lunch. At least this time around, I’m not absolutely terrified of being left alone with a baby. I’m much better prepared, I hope, to cope on my own. And being on my own now gives me time to think about why I’m married to a man who yesterday was about to drive me crazy. Here’s the list of reasons I came up with.

1) He gives great tech support. True, it takes at least two remotes to turn on our computer/TV hybrid, and up to five remotes if you want to change the channel, but when a computer goes down in our house, you can guarantee that Michael will be able to fix it and probably improve it better than any dork you could hire.

2) He cooks, he cleans (sort of), he does yard work. Michael does all those chores that I either don’t have time to do or just flat out hate doing. I never really did learn how to cook, so we’d starve if he didn’t fix most of our meals. And the yard would look like a jungle if he didn’t mow it down every week, cause I can’t stand doing yard work. As for the cleaning… well, two out of three ain’t bad, and I have to do something in this marriage aside from herding the kids.

3) He puts up with me. Not a lot of people would deal well with my ugly mood swings, especially since I don’t swing from happy to cranky, but from cranky to downright pissed (being happy is over-rated in my book). But Michael seems capable of riding out the storms and content to deal with my usual level of snarkiness, so how can I complain about that?

4) He’s got the money, honey, and he earned it. My dad always used to say, “You can marry a rich man just as easily as you can marry a poor one.” I say marry a smart man, because being rich doesn’t necessarily mean a guy’s got enough brains to hold onto his dough, whereas a smart man will figure out how to make money no matter what. Michael has two degrees in aerospace engineering. Guess what? We ain’t hurting for cash over here.

5) He lets me stay home and be a lazy bum. Okay, you and I both know that house wives, or domestic engineers, or whatever the hell you want to call us, are not lazy people. We work our asses off cleaning the house and raising the kids. But there was a time before kids when I used to clean house and work a job out in the real world, and that royally sucked because it left me no time to do the things I loved, like writing and art. So two years before Cassie came along, Michael and I agreed I would quit my job to start my own business. Six years later, I still make almost zero money, but I’m so much happier now. Wait a second, didn’t I just say happiness was over-rated? Okay, I’m not happy, but I’m not killing anybody either, and that’s a good thing.

6) He’s still good looking after thirteen years of marriage. If you think this one doesn’t matter, think again. If you don’t find your mate physically attractive after several years of marriage, you got problems. Nobody wants to wake up one morning, look at their spouse and say, “Damn, that’s ugly.” Trust me on this one.

7) I love him, pure and simple. This one isn’t open to reason or logic. It’s got nothing to do with his money, his looks, or his ability to cook. I just love the big doofus. He’s mine and he’s going to stay mine, even if he does drive me crazy at times. Anybody got a problem with that? No? I didn’t think so.

And that’s it, seven reasons why I’m still married, in spite of my bad attitude yesterday and in spite of his driving me crazy. There are more reasons than this, but these are the first ones that came to mind and I’m out of writing time now so I’ll just close here. I’m sure if you come back in another thirteen years, Michael will still be driving me crazy, but we’ll still be married too, so I won’t have anybody to blame but myself, as always.

Our 13th Wedding Anniversary And My Bad Attitude

Some days, you can’t win for losing. I busted my ass yesterday morning, trying to get back to my regular schedule and pull off Father’s Day as well, and all I’ve got to show for it today is a really lousy attitude and a bad case of sleep deprivation. I mean, I really tried yesterday. I was up with the chickens and the three-year-olds at 5:30 AM, cleaning up the house and folding laundry. By seven, I was making breakfast (pineapple orange french toast). By eight, the whole family was sitting down to eat, including Dad who really seemed too tired to care.

To be fair, Michael did say thank you for the breakfast, and for the Springsteen CD I gave him. Had to buy that sucker two months in advance, because I knew there’d be no way in hell I’d be getting out to do any gift shopping once the baby arrived. But Michael seemed pretty much out of it all day long, while I felt completely wiped out. He wondered around the house like a zombie all morning while I tried desperately to finish up my morning chores with a baby latched onto one breast and a pre-schooler dancing around me in circles shouting “Hula!” at the top of her lungs. I think my husband and I barely spoke two words to each other, and that was in the morning when we still had some energy.

We did go out yesterday to Huntington Park. They have a giant playground there, so Cassie got to run around and play while Michael trailed after her, making sure she didn’t get lost (it was a really BIG playground). Yours truly spent the entire time sitting on a park bench nursing Sam. I think I spent more time breastfeeding yesterday than I did anything else. After the park, we came home and I thought Michael was going to put Cassie down for her nap while I nursed Sam again, but instead he let her run around the house while he chiseled concrete out of the floor in the downstairs bath. Cassie spent most of her time in the bedroom with me, bringing me things to do for her. I love my child, but this really started to get on my nerves because I’ve got a story to get written by the first weekend in July, and the only time I get to write these days is either in the morning, which I set aside to work on this blog, or during Cassie’s nap, which Michael tends to blow off on the days he’s home. I don’t mind that happening once in a while, but we’re going on two weeks now where Cassie’s been skipping her nap more often than she’s been taking it, and I’m afraid she’ll refuse to go down once Michael goes back to work.

Which would be tomorrow, and quite frankly, tomorrow can’t get here soon enough. I’ve got to get my husband out of the house. I just can’t do anything with him underfoot. Fact is, the man doesn’t seem to understand the concept of having a schedule when he’s not working in his office. I think Michael forgets that this house is my office and that the only way my job gets done is if I follow a schedule, one that includes regular nap times, regular meal times, and regular bedtimes for me and the kids.

So I want my husband out of the house, which is really sad because today is our thirteenth wedding anniversary, and you’d think with a new addition to our family I might be feeling kind of sweet and romantic and mushy, but no, I’m Cynical Woman and all I can think of is how I’m not getting any sleep these days but Michael sure seems to be able to snore the night away, and nothing annoys the hell out of me more than a husband who comes downstairs for breakfast on Father’s Day complaining about how he didn’t get much sleep and he’s so wiped out, but hey, he got to sleep until 8 AM and I’ve been up since 5:30 AM and what the hell is his problem anyway? Doesn’t he see that I’m standing at the stove, cooking his stupid breakfast, nursing a baby in one arm while keeping the eldest child entertained so she doesn’t run upstairs and wake up Daddy on his special day? Does the man not see any of that?

It’s our thirteenth wedding anniversary, ladies and gentlemen, and I’ve got the worst bad attitude I could possibly have. I love my husband, but he’s plucking my nerves and the longer he stays home, the worse it gets. People talk these days about how marriage is an institution. Well it’s an institution all right. A damn mental institution and it’s driving me insane.

Happy Birthday to Daddy

Yesterday was Michael’s thirty-sixth birthday. In spite of all the new baby chaos, we actually did manage to celebrate it, albeit not in any organized fashion. My mom made a cake with Cassie’s help. We had presents, and I even let Michael sleep straight through the entire night before just so he’d feel rested on his special day.

The day was not without its ups and downs though, at least for me. I’m still struggling with those post-partum hormones, and man do they make me bitchy. In spite of my best efforts, I couldn’t help but nag at Michael to move the old desk that’s been sitting in our foyer out the garage. I’d been tripping over the stupid thing (it was huge) and I couldn’t vacuum around it, and the fact was, it didn’t need to be sitting smack dab in the front room of our house. I wanted it hauled out and taken to the dump. I managed to get Michael to take it as far as the garage and I’ll have to settle for that because I doubt I’ll be able to get him to move it any farther any time soon. But as soon as I’m off the doctor’s restrictions, that damn desk is going bye-bye.

I was also frustrated with Cassie for a good part of the day. Mom and I decided to take her shopping for new summer clothes. It ended up being a three-hour trip, mainly because I had to stop and nurse Sam half-way through. I thought Cassie might enjoy taking her new baby doll, Baby Boy, with us and even suggested she push him along in the stroller, just as I would be pushing Sam. That did and didn’t work. Cassie was thrilled to push Baby Boy around and everyone went “ooh” and “ah” over her and told her what a good mommy she was. The problem was that Cassie got too easily distracted, especially in the parking lot, and frequently failed to pay attention to where she was going. She ended up ramming into me several times, got Baby Boy’s stroller tangled up in Sam’s, and darted off in random directions, often in the path of a speeding car, while we were trying to cross the lot to a store. Needless to say, by the time we left first store, my nerves were fried.

But I did my best to remain calm and patient. I swear, I don’t know where the patience comes from, but when I really need it, it’s there. I can keep my voice light, my attitude calm, and my wits about me. I can even keep myself from swearing up a storm when I’ve had my Achilles tendon slammed into for the fortieth time. I can do it, and if I can do it, other people can too.

Which is why it pisses me off so much when I see other people treating their kids like crap.

After the first hour of shopping, we had to stop so I could nurse Sam. Mom, Cassie and I sat down in the café area of Target and drank fruit smoothies while I tucked Sam under a blanket and let her nurse. While we were there, another mom came in with her little boy and a man I assume was her husband or boyfriend. The little boy was so cute. He was about Cassie’s age, with a wild cascade of black curls and a smile that would have turned night to day. The mom was another story. Talk about ugly. It wasn’t her looks or her weight or the way she was dressed. It was that stupid, sullen sneer that spread across her face as she followed her child into the café. The little boy was skipping around the tables as they looked for a place to sit, and she just kept snapping at him. At least three times after they sat down I heard her tell her son to shut up. Do me a favor, people. Don’t ever, ever tell your kids to shut up. It’s demeaning and degrading to them and it makes the parent looks like a stupid ass. I swear, after the second time this mom said “Shut up!” I just wanted to walk over to her and punch her in the mouth (remember, post partum hormones are making me cranky and I’m not a nice person anyway).

But I didn’t. It was one of those situations where I really don’t know what to do (imagine that). With two kids and my mother sitting beside me, I’m not really in a position to start a fist fight, no matter how badly I want to. I’m not even in a position to start an argument, especially since I don’t know anything about her or the guy who was with her. Are they armed? Are they violent? Is either one of them possibly doing drugs at the moment? I have to think about my own kids first before I can stop and think about anybody else’s. So I sat there, listening to this stupid, stupid woman yell at her kid for no good reason I could see. Obviously, she was irritated about something. But like I said earlier, when I get irritated I still try to treat Cassie decently. She’s my child and I love her.

At this point, I also have to say that watching this woman made me feel strange and superficial in some odd way. This is where I get politically incorrect, folks, so if you don’t like that sort of thing, quit ready now. This other mom and I could not have been more different racially, economically, and socially. I never felt so white bread in my life as I did watching this woman and her child. Everything about the mom screamed urban street punk or gang member to me, especially her ratty shirt and jeans and that angry, sullen sneer. Meanwhile I looked like something out of “Desperate Housewives” with my yoga pants, Old Navy Perfect Fit tee, and carefully pampered face.

That got me wondering how much things like race, social background, environment and financial status really influence the type of parents we become. The money issue was what played on my mind the most, because it seemed to be the most obvious difference between me and that other woman. Was I a better parent because I had more money or because I could afford to stay home with my kids all day? Did money buy my patience? I mean really, there was a time in my life when I worked crappy part time jobs to make ends meet, but even then I had my family to fall back on when money was tight. I never had to struggle to survive, and I’ll never have to work a crappy job again as long as I live. Michael makes too much money for that, and if he dies (which better not happen in the next fifty years) I become an extremely rich widow. Was that the difference between this woman and me? My financial future is secure, so I don’t have to deal with the frustrations and uncertainties that economic hardship brings? I’m not going to even consider racial issues, because I don’t think being white, black, Asian, Hispanic or any other race matters when it comes to being a parent. Maybe it matters in other areas of life, but not there.

Sam nursed for a good forty minutes, so we ended up sitting in that little café for a while, watching this woman yell at her child, yank him around by the arm and hit him a couple of times. I did my best not to glare at her and then had to work to keep Cassie from staring, pointing and commenting. I know what questions where going through my daughter’s mind at that point, even if she isn’t old enough to voice them out loud. Why is that mommy hitting her little boy? Why is she being so mean? Does she love her little boy?

I don’t know.

Eventually, Sam quit nursing and we, the rich and privileged, headed out to do more shopping. We hit Bed, Bath & Beyond to pick up such crucial necessities as kitchen chair cushions and a new pizza stone for Michael (his birthday present). It was all so bourgeois it made me sick. Then we headed home, baked a cake, ordered Chinese takeout, ate until we were all stuffed, and vegetated in front of the TV to watch “Chicken Run” on HBO. How upper class. How idle and rich.
None of it could put that little boy from my mind.

I don’t know if I’m a better mom than the woman I saw in Target yesterday afternoon, but I do know this. I love my daughter. I may give Cassie a spanking, but only to correct bad behavior in very specific circumstances and never to relieve my own anger and frustrations. I will never, ever tell her to shut up or call her stupid. She’s too precious to me, too much of a miracle. Maybe my money does buy my patience and love. Maybe it’s just that I can afford to be a better mom. Or maybe it’s just that I really do love my children more than that woman loved her son.

Again, I don’t know. I probably never will.

Happy birthday, Michael. Enjoy your pizza stone. It came with a lot of baggage.

How Many Remotes Does It Take…

Another class yesterday, this one on infant care. And yes, we sat in the same hard-ass seats again. I was going to take a refresher class on breast-feeding, but my pelvic girdle just can’t take any more torture. It already feels like someone’s taken a hammer to my groin.

My husband and I hired a babysitter for Cassie while we were at class last night. Our sitter is great – fifteen years old, smart, hard-working, responsible, and she lives right next door so I know if there’s any problem, her mom is right there to help out. Of course, before we leave, we always go over the necessary info for the evening – where we’ll be, what time we’ll be back, how to get in contact with us if there’s an emergency, and how to turn on the TV.

Now remember, I said our sitter is smart, and she is. This teen is sure to get into college on a scholarship and will probably graduate with honors. So I am in no way implying she’s a little thick because we always have to instruct her how to turn on the TV. Instead, I am implying that my husband has made it damned near impossible to operate our television without a degree in engineering and computer science.
Yep, my husband the genius has turned our TV into a regular nightmare.

It all started a few years ago when a friend of ours decided to hook up a computer to his TV so he could download movies online and watch them at his house. Of course, the movies were all pirated, and Michael didn’t care to watch pirated movies because of how strongly he feels about copyright issues (I’m with him on this one – I’m a writer and I’d be pretty pissed if I caught someone stealing my work when I busted my ass writing something). But the idea of hooking a computer up to the TV appealed to Michael, especially when he realized he could use it to record his favorite programs just like a VCR and then watch them later at his convenience (an activity which is legal and therefore meets his approval).

So Michael gathered up various computer parts from around the house and built a new system which he installed into the living room next to our entertainment center. And that’s when the nightmare began, because he couldn’t just install a computer. He also had to install a sound system, because why bother going high-tech if you’re not going to go all the way. And along with the new sound system he just had to install a device to switch between the various audio sources so they’d all come through the new speakers crystal clear, and of course the whole thing had to go onto our wireless network and cable modem so he could surf the net from the TV if he wanted, etc., etc., etc.

Boxes started arriving at the house on a daily basis, each carrying some new technical do-dad. We had to save every box of course, in case Michael needed to send something back, so pretty soon we had a mountain of cardboard in our garage, making the garage absolutely useless for anything else. But that was a small inconvenience compared to the other problems that we encountered along our way to building the ultimate high-tech multi-media system. For starters, there were no manuals out at the time to explain step by step how to do this, so Michael was building everything on the fly, and of course there were bugs to work out. Lots and lots of bugs. Some days he’d get the computer to record everything he wanted. Some days the damn thing wouldn’t even start up. The computer lost time, sometimes as much as five minutes, screwing up Michael’s recording schedule. Then it gained time. Then it locked up repeatedly during recording. Then there were all the little annoyances like being unable to use the computer for anything else while it was recording, or not having enough disk space to save all the programs it programed to recorded. And let’s not forget all the remotes we suddenly had to have to use this new system. There was one for the switcher, to pick what audio source you wanted to hear (TV, radio, DVD, CD player, etc.). That was supposed to be the master remote that would control the whole deal, but since it didn’t have all the buttons to operate the DVD and the VCR, we had to have a remote for each of these as well. Then there was a remote for the cable and another for the VCR, because the master remote didn’t have any buttons to operate those two things. It could operate the TV, but we still had to keep a separate remote for that in the end because none of the other remotes had a way to turn closed captioning off and on. With a light sleeping three-year old in the house, we pretty much had to have that, otherwise we’d never be able to hear the TV after she went to bed in the evenings. In total, we ended up with about nine remotes to operate the whole system, and you can’t use just one remote to do anything, you have to use at least two and they have to be the right remotes. Thus the reason we always have to sit down and explain to our sitter how to turn on the TV each time she comes over.

But that wasn’t the worst of it. My biggest beef with the whole deal? My husband started spending more time with that damned machine than he did with me. Entire weekends went into taking the system apart and putting it back together again. Some days I’d spend more time talking to Michael’s ass than his face because he spent so much time with his head stuck in the computer, trying to fix whatever the latest glitch was. And this went on for a year, until I finally put my foot down and told him if he didn’t start spending time with me, I was going to trash the whole set-up and send him packing.

That seemed to get Michael’s attention. He declared the computer finished and we went back to talking to each other face-to-face and spending the weekends together doing the usual husband and wife things (i.e. shopping at Sam’s Club and cleaning house). Then I made a horrible discovery. The computer had developed an artificial intelligence. That’s right. The multi-media center from hell had a mind of its own, and it decided it hated my guts.

I first came to this realization around the time the television show “Lost” came out. I was sort of interested in seeing the first episode, so I asked Michael to record it for me. He did. On the computer. After getting detailed instructions on how to retrieve the recording so I could view it, I sat down and watched the most enjoyable hour of TV I’d seen since Cassie was born. Keep in mind that I had pretty much quit watching TV after Cassie was born (except for Sesame Street and Wiggles), but “Lost” really appealed to the sci-fi/fantasy/speculative fiction nut in me, and after the first episode, I was hooked. So I asked Michael if he could set up the computer to record “Lost” every week. He assured me it would be no problem.

He was wrong.

I have never seen the third episode of season one, because the computer failed to record it, when it first ran and again when it re-ran a couple months later. I was a little annoyed about that (actually, a lot annoyed), but I figured I could live with missing one episode. Then the computer failed to record other episodes. It never screwed up any of Michael’s programs, just “Lost,” the only hour of television I watched each week that didn’t involve puppets, learning the alphabet, or grown men dancing around in brightly colored shirts singing about the amazing Captain Feathersword. After the third missed episode, I began to suspect that the computer had it in for me because I was Michael’s wife, and therefore competition for his attention. When the damned thing started breaking down again on a weekly basis and Michael had to go back to spending every weekend repairing it, I was certain it was out to get me. When it failed to record the first season finale, leaving me completely in the dark about what happened to Kate, Locke, John and all the other characters stranded on the island, I knew we had a serious problem.

How did I solve that? I’d like to say that one afternoon while Michael was at work, I took a chainsaw to my digital rival and hacked it into little pieces. Or that I finally made good on my promise and threw the whole damn thing out the door, where it landed in the street and was crushed under the neighbors’ big-ass SUV. Or even that I threatened its hard drive with Cassandra and a really sticky peanut butter and jelly sandwich. None of that is true. The truth is, I sucked it up and let Michael devote several more weekends to the problem until he finally – FINALLY – got the computer fixed. I don’t know if he ended up switching in a new motherboard, or if maybe he replaced all the computer’s memory and thus wiped out its budding artificial intelligence. I just know that when he finally declared the computer done for a second time, it really was done.

I’’ve got the last five five episodes of Lost stored on the computer right now, and being an indolent pregnant woman, I’ve been using Cassie’s nap time to catch up. I must say the computer runs like a charm now, and even I can figure out which remote to use to switch back and forth between the television, DVD player, VCR and cable. As for our babysitter, well we still have to give her a refresher course every time she comes over. But eventually, she’ll get the hang of it. After all, she’s a very smart girl and we’re only talking about nine remotes here.