I’m happy…and it’s just the worst

Writer’s block.

Block o’ the writer.

Le bloc de scribe.

Blockity block block.

Block is a funny word.

Block.

Block.

Block.

And the word has lost all meaning to me.

Block. It doesn’t even sound like a real word. Blockblockblockblockblockblock.

I want cheese.

I don’t know if you can tell or not, but I’ve been having a touch of the writer’s block lately. So please forgive me for my introduction. I once had an English professor tell me that the only cure for writer’s block was to just start writing, even if it didn’t make sense, and eventually the words would start flowing.

And he was right. They are now, indeed, flowing. Right up shit creek. Sans paddles.

A point. I should have a point. Yes, because that is what writing is for, to get to “the” point. Unless it’s poetry. Or a thinly-veiled autobiographical novel by a 25-year-old post-grad student who writes on a typewriter because it’s more “authentic.”

The point is, I’m happy. And that is, obviously, the problem.

See, happy people generally don’t become writers. Not that they can’t or that there aren’t currently happy people writing. Or even that an otherwise miserable writer can’t be happy from time to time. But there is a reason the majority of the best ones end up in the gutter dying of tuberculous and alcoholism and cousin-marrying diseases.

Let’s put it this way, our most optimistic motto comes from Ernest Hemingway and goes “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

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A lot of writing comes from dark places. Even if you fancy yourself a humor writer, such as a certain someone I know that is totally me. In fact, I’d even be willing to throw out the theory that funny writing often comes from some of the darkest places of all. I got ten bucks that says Dave Barry, Erma Bombeck and Mark Twain all sacrificed baby goats and then drank a gallon of whiskey before putting pen to paper.

And while in general I think I’m a fairly content and optimistic person, there was always some deep down angst I could draw from before in my writing, no matter how great my life was going. Daddy issues. An eating disorder. Betrayals by former boyfriends. Financial instability. The premature cancelation of “Firefly.” That one time I had to go to the grocery store the day before Thanksgiving.

Not that I really wrote about those particular things (the grocery store incident notwithstanding…that one was a three-parter). I just used my former bitterness and sadness to help me laugh at the world. In fact, that’s why I wanted to become a humor writer in the first place. The world is significantly less scary if you can make fun of it.

However, I am currently living through what will be my good ‘ol days. And I am lucky enough to realize this as I’m going through it. Which is amazing.

But as a writer, it’s kryptonite. No one wants to read about other people’s happy lives. We want to read about how messed up other people’s lives are so we feel better about our own messed up lives. We weren’t forced kicking and screaming to read “Anna Karenina” in high school because she ends up happily married with a half dozen adorable, cherubic babies running happily through her skirts. No! We were forced to read it so we could all go “well, at least my life ain’t as screwed up as that chick’s.”

It’s like my stupid, adorable, perfect husband and my stupid, adorable, perfect son and our stupid, adorable, perfect life together has shot a ray of pure friggin’ sunshine and rainbows into my very own heart of darkness. How do you make fun of your life and have sentences dripping with snark when you wake up every morning like bloody freaking Snow White, singing as you get dressed and feeling absolutely no desire to throw your hot coffee on the bird singing outside your window?

I’m happy, dammit.

I guess the only thing to do now is just sit back and enjoy it like the happy and mature person I apparently am now. (But all while secretly counting down the days until my baby hits the Terrible Twos and I’ll be miserable again).

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go think of some trivial subject that I can pick a fight with my husband over so I have a topic for next week.

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A Statistical Analysis of my Toddler’s Vocabulary

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Let’s hear it for the boys…

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34 Things I’ve Learned in 34 Years

My birthday is next week. Which means it’s that time again. Time to reflect on all the ways I’ve grown wiser. All the ways I’ve matured. All the ways I’ve perfected my spitball-throwing ability.

And as such, here are the 34 things I’ve learned in 34 years…

1. There are a lot of horrible things that happen to people every day. The dude at Burger King forgetting your fries is not one of them.

2. Never cheat on your spouse. Even if it means nothing to you, it was just five minutes, you just wanted a little taste, a little thrill. It’s not worth it. No matter how much you want to watch the next episode of “Game of Thrones” before they get home.

3. If a woman breastfeeding in public offends you, by all means you should feel free to avoid all public spaces.

4. If you find a coffee shop without a long line, RUN. It means the zombie apocalypse is finally upon us.

5. Marriage isn’t a race, it’s a marathon. Only instead of stopping every few miles to chug water, you head to the bar and chug beer.

6. Everyone needs to stop making fun of women who wear yoga pants and flip flops in public. We were once forced to wear corsets and bind our feet. Not to mention the jelly shoes we wore as children in the 80’s, which were basically tiny plastic blister factories. We’ve paid our dues and earned the right to be comfortable no matter where we are.

7. Baking is an art not everyone can master. But you throw enough cocoa powder into the batter and pretty much anything is edible.

8. Children should be seen and not heard. Because if you can’t see them, chances are high they are rubbing Vaseline all over the dog and eating a blue marker.

9. Remember that you can always turn your life around. Just look at Ryan from “The O.C.” Now he’s police commissioner and his best friend is Batman.

10. To you, that 3D ultrasound photo of your unborn baby is a beautiful rendering of your precious miracle. To the rest of us, it’s a horrifying image of baby Skeletor.

11. Always turn your weaknesses into your strengths. For instance, in my almost 34 years here on earth, I have never successfully folded a burrito. But that’s why Monday night dinners are called “Mexican Waffle Cone Night” in my house.

12. Is there any sound better than the sound of a child’s laughter? Yes. The sound of a cranky child finally napping.

13. No, you weren’t a queen in your past life. You were likely a peasant who died of scurvy.

14. There is only one way to end a friendship with another woman you no longer wish to be friends with without hurting her feelings. And that way is one of you has to die.

15. Just when you lose faith in humanity, some genius comes along and sets a Beyonce video to the “DuckTales” theme song and your faith is restored.

16. Always do the voices when reading aloud to your kid.

17. I don’t care what anyone says, pets adopted from the shelter know you rescued them.

18. Don’t let your age determine your style. Be you. Always.

19. Having tattoos doesn’t make you a bad person. Wearing Crocs makes you a bad person. (Kidding! Seriously though, the Croc industry has to be stopped).

20. Call your mother.

21. Just when you lose your faith in humanity AGAIN, some genius sets a Taylor Swift song to an 80’s exercise video and BOOM. Restored. Again.

22. The laundry can wait. Playing “The Floor is Lava” with your children can’t.

23. Stop worrying about getting your hair wet and just swim.

24. Read more books.

25. If you’re on the subway and a pregnant woman gets on, give your seat to her. And your coffee. And your donut. And your newspaper. And $1,000. Growing humans is hard.

26. Speaking of which, love your body, no matter what shape or size. Your mom worked damn hard to make it.

27. Go ahead, have that second glass of wine.

28. We need to take better care of the Earth. Because the Earth produces coffee beans. Which produces coffee. Which is the only reason humans haven’t completely destroyed each other yet.

29. Travel more.

30. I don’t know the meaning of life, but I suspect it has something to do with stuffing a baby’s tootsies in your mouth.

31. Go ahead, have that third glass of wine.

32. You never see hamsters in the wild. This isn’t really a life lesson, I just think it’s super weird.

33. Teachers should be paid more, for a lot of reasons, but mostly because they have to pronounce all the ridiculous names, with all their ridiculous spellings, we give our kids nowadays.

34. Og head, hav htat forth bootle off wine.

50 Shades of Grey’s Anatomy

I have to go to the lady parts doctor today. I know, I know. Ew. Gross. How dare I casually mention that I have a vagina! And on the Internet to boot, where children might see it! While on their way to whatever website 9-year-old’s are hanging out these days, which I’ll never find out because I am ancient!

But just be glad you only have to read about it. I’m the one who actually has to go and sit pants-less on hygienic demon paper for 37 minutes while Dr. Bony Fingers soaks her hands in dry ice before beginning the examination.

As I’m sure you can tell, I am not looking forward to this particular visit, fun though it is to have medieval-looking devices fiddling around down there. In fact, you could say I’m downright nervous.

Now normally, being nervous before a doctor’s appointment, any doctor’s appointment, is just par for the course for me. It’s one of my oh-so-amusing quirks that would make me a great sidekick in a really bad sitcom. Take going to the eye doctor. I dread going to the eye doctor. I always feel like I’m failing all their tests, because unlike all other doctor tests, the eye doctor INSISTS you participate.

“Can you read the first five lines of the chart, please?”

“Yeah…uh…E F P T O Z L P E D P um…another P…that’s a lot of P’s, man, um…C T …O?…or maybe U?…Z D um, I have no idea so let’s go with P again cause I’m assuming P’s are like the C’s of standardized tests in the eye world, huh?…no?…um…Q? another Q? um…P…I failed, didn’t I?”

And if that weren’t bad enough, then they shove that giant machine in your face and demand you make a series of high stakes, rapid-fire decisions that will quite literally affect how you see the world for the next year.

“Is this one clearer or that one?”

“Um…the first one?”

“OK. That one or that one?”

“I…I don’t know. The second one? Or, no! Wait! The first one! I think. STOP PRESSURING ME!”

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I am also not a big fan of going to the dentist.

“Have you been flossing?”

“…Yes?…”

“Every day?”

“…Sure…”

“Cause it doesn’t look like it.”

“Hey man, you don’t know my life!”

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But the lady parts doctor is its own unique kind of clinical hell. Let’s just put it this way, the biggest lie that has ever been told in the history of the world is “you may feel a little pinch.”

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But this time, the nervousness is slightly warranted. The reason I’m having Dr. Lady McParts kick the tires and check under the ‘ol hood is because my husband and I want to start trying to get pregnant again. One, because my husband wants another child and two, and much more importantly, I want a 9-month free pass to yell at everyone and eat cheeseburgers for breakfast.

But I’ve been having some symptoms. Of what, you ask? I have no idea. Nothing major, I’m optimistically assuming. Just a few things that made me raise one eyebrow and go “huh.” But I can tell you that according to Google, I am dying (because Google never looks at your symptoms and says “Holy crap, you are almost TOO healthy!”). However, I thought a second opinion was warranted before I drew up a will leaving all my vast estate holdings to my son.

“It says here that when Riker comes of age, he shall inherit all his mother’s back-issues of BUST magazine and her vintage ‘Drink More Wine’ t-shirt.”

I know it’s pointless to worry. But it’s also pointless to watch ‘Hart of Dixie’ on Netflix and I can’t stop doing that either. (Oh, Lemon Breeland, when will you learn?).

Because it’s not just my health at stake here, scary though that is. It affects the future of my entire family. Whenever something is amiss in that particular geographical region of your body and you are of a certain age, your first thought is “Oh god, what if I can’t have more children?” And generally, once that thought enters your head, you realize with horror just how much you truly wanted another baby. And how much your partner wants another baby. And how much your first-born needs a sibling so he doesn’t have to deal with those future nursing home “your mom bit a nurse again” phone calls alone.

And yes, we can adopt. And yes, we can be perfectly happy with just one child (some people don’t even get that). And yes, we can bring home a bunch of shelter dogs who can pitter-patter their little feet with the best of ‘em.

All things my husband and I have been saying as a mantra the past month.

And yet…

And yet.

Wish me luck.

If prescription drugs were actually what they sound like

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What one word describes you?

A few nights ago, my husband and I were in bed having a grand ol’ time. The baby was finally asleep, the house was clean(ish), all work emails had been returned and all deadlines met(ish). We had a whole luxurious evening all to ourselves devoid of any responsibility.

Which is why, as I’m assuming you’ve already guessed, we were lying side by side in bed taking dumb pop culture quizzes on our phones.

“Hey, in the ‘Which ‘Star Wars’ character are you?’ quiz, I got Han,” I proudly announced.

“I got C-3PO. That can’t be right. I’m taking it again,” he replied.

This, naturally, soon spiraled out of control as these things tend to do and we found ourselves down the Internet Quiz Rabbit Hole. We found out I’m a Picard and he’s a Kirk. He’s a Jane and I’m a Daria. I’m a Hermione and he’s a Snape. And we are both, in fact, Jim from “The Office” (although one of us may have had to take it four times because she kept getting Dwight).

Eventually we both landed on the “Which ‘Supernatural’ character are you?” quiz. And suddenly, things turned serious. Sure, all those other quizzes were just fun and games. But this was “Supernatural” we were talking about. Our joint all-time favorite show. The show we make sure never to miss. I mean, we own the “Supernatural” version of the board game Clue. I own multiple shirts with the characters’ faces splashed across my bosom. We even have an ongoing joke about how my husband goes on Supernatural forums to discuss the show with other geeks under the handle “MishaLover43” (although I’m 93 percent sure this actually happens despite his protestations to the contrary).

Of course, we both wanted to get Dean. Everyone wants to be Dean. And if you don’t want to be Dean, you’re lying to yourself. Stop it.

Considering what was at stake here and the immense pressure I was under, I got stuck on the question “What one word describes you?” The choices they gave were endless: Dependable. Confident. Lovable. Clever. Etc…

“Hey, what one word describes me? I can’t decide since neither ‘sarcastic’ nor ‘goddess-esque’ is a choice,” I asked Ryan.

“Here, let me see the choices,” he said, taking my phone and scanning it. “Hmm…want me to pick what I think?”

“Yes, please. I’m assuming it’s not cheating since we’ve been together 10 years and you’ve seen me puke naked.”

When he handed me back my phone, there it was, a bright green checkmark beside the one word the person I was closest to in the world thought described me.

Strong.

“You think I’m strong?” I asked, taken back.

“Yeah, I do,” he casually answered before going back to his own quiz.

Strong. It had never even crossed my mind to choose that adjective. Tears actually started brimming my eyes before I sucked them back in less I be caught crying over a stupid Internet quiz.

He thought I was strong.

Correction: He knows I’m strong.

It can be easy as a woman to lose your identity, to only see yourself in relation to others. This is especially true once you become a mother but happens at all of life’s stages.

Nurturing, patient, loving. These were the things I strived to be with my son. As a wife, I strive to be passionate and compassionate. As a friend, I try to be loyal. As a daughter, caring and understanding.

All good traits to have and reach for, even if you fall short of the mark sometimes (and we all do). But too often we only think of ourselves in these sweet, nice categories. Sugar and spice and all that. Because too often society tells us that these are the only categories that matter when you are woman (besides the MOST important category of all: Is she pretty?).

And not often enough do we think of ourselves, of who we really are, outside our relationship to others.

Who am I? Just me? Not as a mom, wife, daughter, sister, employee, neighbor. But as Aprill.

Just Aprill.

I honestly didn’t know that night. Because the bathroom mirror I look into everyday often told me that I was tired. That I was getting fine lines and sprouting random gray hairs. That I shouldn’t have lost my temper when Riker threw his juice at me. That I forgot to call my cousin back AGAIN. That my husband would never want to be intimate with me again if I kept wearing my old pregnancy underwear every time I forgot to do laundry. That my writing had gone stale. That my career was flailing. That I was failing on all fronts.

And so, I want to thank my husband for being my mirror that night and showing me what I had trouble seeing.

I am strong.

And also, apparently, I am Crowley, the King of Hell, according to that dumb quiz.

But that’s a topic for a different blog.