Posts Tagged 'aaron'

Looks like his warranty just expired.

My laptop screen started blanking out a mere three weeks before my AppleCare warranty expired, so we rushed it off to the good doctors at Apple. They gave the computer plenty of TLC while it was in their possession, and it came back eight days later not only with a repaired screen ribbon cable but also with a new motherboard, trackpad, screen, keyboard plate, and all new outsides. I’ve inspected it closely enough to determine that it’s as clean as it’s ever been, much less since Peter dumped an entire latte in it a year ago, and that the space bar is no longer sticky and I don’t have to blow into the headphone port like an old Nintendo cartridge to get sound out of my speakers; but Aaron, Aaron has been scrutinizing it, caressing it with the fervor of a mother for her newborn baby.

He was peering at the top of the screen housing when I said, mostly joking, “You never look at me like that, you know.”

“Like what?” he asked.

“With that sort of lustful intensity,” I said, all corny-seductive. “Like every one of its parts looks delicious. You never look at my parts that way.”

“Well,” he said drily, “maybe that’s because your parts aren’t all brand-new.”

Yes, I just broke my blog hiatus for this

So Aaron has this sebaceous cyst thing on his back, and first of all I should tell you that you do NOT want to do a google image search for “sebaceous cyst,” that is NOT the proper way to diagnose your husband’s skin maladies and the things you will see in your search results cannot be unseen. And so but he’s had this cyst thing on his back for probably ten years, and at some point we discovered that it isn’t just a bump, it’s a bump that I can squeeze like a pimple and if I squeeze it hard enough it squirts out stinky white goo, but then it always comes back no matter how much goo I squeeze out. We call it, fondly, his tumor.

So I was reading online about sebaceous cysts, and I learned that sometimes doctors remove them, if they’re like in an annoying place or they get infected or anything, and what they do is they use a scalpel to make a little incision just a few millimeters long across the cyst, and then they squeeze it like a pimple and all the stuff just squirts out, and they keep squeezing until the actual walls of the cyst come out the incision and then it’s gone for good and it won’t grow back. But apparently, when the doctors do this procedure, they are advised to wear protective eyewear, because the cyst can just like ERUPT, and there are accounts of the goo squirting out onto the far wall of the exam room, etc.

This is totally disgusting, obviously, but also fascinating, because let’s face it when your spouse gets a pimple there is a certain amount of glee you take in squeezing it until all the pimple has been squeezed out and then it’s just that clear liquidy stuff. And sometimes if you catch the corner of his nose just right you can get half a dozen of those tiny invisible blackheads to squish out all at the same time, and it’s almost sexual the satisfaction you get.

Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about.

But so this is how I found myself approaching my husband’s unsuspecting back with a serrated steak knife this morning. He was not very receptive to my impromptu outpatient procedure, but after I described the potential for squirting and erupting he acquiesced, but only until we figured out that the knife wasn’t sharp enough for really slitting the cyst open, I was going to have to do more like back-and-forth sawing, at which point he rescinded his permission. So I don’t yet have any firsthand cyst-eruption stories to add to the internet, but ask me again late tonight, after he’s asleep.

Ten years later

I’ve been reminiscing this week – partly because my firstborn turned six over the weekend, which is quite a head trip; and partly because my baby brother went to his high school prom last week and it got me thinking about my own senior year of high school, ten years ago. If I’d been a normal high school student, I’d now be worrying about an upcoming ten-year class reunion. Instead I’m thinking back to my awkward, awkward prom and graduation with a bunch of students I’d never met before. If ever there was a time in my life I felt like a complete outsider, the last few weeks of high school were it.

(Okay, let’s be honest: I spend nearly all my time feeling like a total outsider. I’m pretty sure if I ever started feeling comfortable the unexpectedness of it would make me so uncomfortable I’d fall out of my chair.)

I went to a private Christian school for my freshman and sophomore years of high school, but then got too big for my britches and decided to enroll in a postsecondary program at a local university – a program through which smart, nerdy high schoolers like me could attend college classes for high school AND college credit, on the state’s dime. For me, the decision was a no-brainer – I’d leave high school, where I was geeky and bored and pretty sure I was smarter than most of my teachers, altogether and take all my classes at the university. If I played my cards right, my classes would meet all for my high school requirements but also put me well on my way to finishing my bachelor’s degree two years after I graduated high school.

We hit a snag when we announced this plan to the high school administration – they insisted that I still take classes at the high school for half the day, and by the way they’d need us to keep paying full private school tuition. No way! we said and promptly enrolled me in the public high school instead. For the two years I “attended” that school I only ever set foot on campus twice, for meetings with the guidance counselor to make sure I was meeting my course requirements.

Leaving high school early to become a full-time college student at fifteen was a huge adjustment, but I thrived. There was a community of us, I discovered, a dozen or so high-school students who were doing the same thing I was; we laid claim to a group of ratty armchairs in the student center and hung out there between classes, sipping coffee and feeling like conquerors. The other college students regarded us with the same reverent resentment our high-school peers had held for us; but at the university there was a grudging respect for us younger students who were at the top of our classes, instead of the contempt and bullying we’d experienced in high school.

But suddenly I was facing the end of what would have been my senior year of high school – in fact my sophomore year of college – and I was longing for the things my would-be classmates were doing. In the student center, the other postsecondary kids were still making denigrating remarks about our high-school peers; but I was dreaming about prom and graduation, fancy dresses and stretch limos and throwing my mortarboard cap into the air with the rest of the class of ’99.

I did my best to talk myself into attending. I was still a high school student, I reasoned; I had just as much right as any of the other students to attend prom and graduation. It was a milestone, one I’d worked hard to earn – harder than my classmates, in fact; if anything I deserved it more than they did – and think of my parents! I was their firstborn; I had a duty, a responsibility, to give them all the standard end-of-high-school photo-ops.

So I bought two tickets to the prom and got fitted for a graduation robe. I bought a shiny dress, and my boyfriend of two years – a cute sophomore at a college 300 miles away – came home and rented a tux. My best friend’s mom styled my hair and I fantasized about being the Cinderella of the high school prom, the beautiful, enigmatic girl nobody recognized but everyone instantly revered.

promI got over my delusions when I arrived at the prom and nobody noticed that I was there – or, the kids who did notice me gave me odd, unwelcoming looks – which I should’ve predicted, seeing as how I was a stranger elbowing my way into a party where everyone else had spent the past four years together becoming bosom friends. Another girl was wearing the same dress as me, and she looked cuter in it. And my cute college boyfriend, it turned out, hated crowds and didn’t like to dance.

But we danced anyway, because I’d paid $40 for those tickets and I wasn’t about to let a little awkwardness stop me from making the most of my only normal-high-schooler experience. And a few days later I accepted my diploma in front of the same crowd of strangers, and nobody clapped except my parents and my cute college boyfriend. My parents took a lot of pictures, and I smiled and thought about my student-center friends and how much I’d rather have spent the afternoon with them than with strangers in tasseled hats.

A year after prom, I dropped out of college: unsurprisingly, the major I’d chosen when I was fifteen wasn’t a good fit, and I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. A year after that I married the cute college boy who’d chivalrously taken me to a prom full of strangers; two years after that we had a baby boy whose sixth birthday we celebrated this weekend.

By the way, I may actually go back to school this fall, after a nine-year hiatus; stay tuned. If I do, do you suppose there will still be a group of haughty 16-year-old geeks hanging out in the student center? Do you think they’d let me sit with them?

Half-Caf

A few weeks ago, my trusty cappuccino machine finally bit the dust. I got the machine ten years ago, back when I was working as a barista at a local coffeehouse – my first job, and still one of my favorites – and became so addicted to espresso drinks that I needed a fix at home on my days off. It spent some time in the attic between pregnancies and moves; but a few months ago when Aaron pointed out that I was spending not only our children’s college funds but also our entire grocery budget at Starbucks, we dug it out, dusted it off, stuffed it full of caffeine, and frothed away.

So it wasn’t a huge surprise when the heating element zapped itself off to the big grinder in the sky – the cappuccino machine had lived a long and active life, after all. And call us callous, but we moved onto a bigger, better model – a regift from my sister-in-law – before the first machine’s body was even cold.

But we weren’t so cavalier when, four short, caffeinated days after we got the new unit, the handle snapped, rendering the machine inoperable. Sure, we could still steam milk with it, but all the froth in the world didn’t matter if there was no espresso to dump in it. What would we do? We had sworn off Starbucks! How would we function?? We considered cocaine, but I’m still breastfeeding Peter, so that was out. In a headachy stupor we wondered if this was the work of some sinister Starbucks cabal, breaking our metaphorical beverage kneecaps to punish us for our disloyalty. We called the manufacturer only to be told that they couldn’t send us a replacement handle (Couldn’t, or wouldn’t? Were they in on it? Was everyone?? When I searched the bottom of the machine for a model number I half expected to find a muted post horn instead), although we were welcome to drive four hours to the nearest repair center.

We were determined to be strong, to subsist on Diet Coke and plain old coffee until we could shell out for a new cappuccino machine – next payday, we hoped. But like the evil eye of Mordor, the malevolent forces were watching us, pushing harder and harder to find a weakness. Two nights later, we were awakened at 2 a.m. by the unmistakable sound of horking, and we spent the next three hours comforting Noah as he barfed. (Mothers, I’ve discovered, don’t set out to become martyrs; it’s just that at 3 in the morning, letting your child vomit into your cupped hands seems preferable to having to wash the duvet.) The next day was a blur of washing bedding, changing alarming diapers, and scraping regurgitated graham crackers out of the carpet – all on three hours of sleep and without the aid of legal stimulants; I scratched another tick mark into the wall, my third day in noncaffeinated captivity, and daydreamed of macchiatos.

Yesterday Noah had finally stopped emitting, and I was a barely ambulatory zombie. I couldn’t resist any longer – I succumbed; I took him to Target with me (we were out of diapers and Purell) and went to the in-store Starbucks, where I got myself the ventiest, espressoiest latte $4 could buy. As a peace offering to the Starbucks gods, who I suspected were watching me on the closed-circuit monitors, I slipped two dollars into the tip jar.

I sipped my drink reverently while Noah and I examined the shiny new cappuccino machines.¬†After a while, Noah – still tired from his illness and not yet back to normal – lay down on the floor of the toothpaste aisle. “I need to take a rest,” he said. “Let’s just sit for a while.”

“Okay,” I said, and sat next to him with my latte. I was tempted to give him a sip. Power was coursing through my veins with every mouthful; I felt energetic, alive, but he looked like he’d been cuddling kryptonite.

We said goodbye to the cappuccino machines – I’ll see you on payday, I whispered as we left – and headed home to find that our luck had changed: Aaron had managed to resurrect our machine, using only his wits and a 99-cent washer from the hardware store.

Or at least that’s how he tells it; but I know that today Noah’s intestinal tract is back to normal and I had a homemade latte for breakfast all because I went to Target and paid my dues to Starbucks. From now on, I may make most of my coffee drinks at home, but because I know what’s good for me, I will make regular pilgrimages to genuflect at the altar of expensive coffee. It’s a sacrifice I’ll just have to make for my family.


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