Month: April 2010

Wild Suburban Kingdom

If you’ve ever watched old cheesy sitcom reruns on Nick at Nite or TV Land, you’ve seen a version of this marital conversation a million times:

Wife: Honey, please mow the lawn.
Hubby: I mowed it two weeks ago.
Wife: The grass is a foot high. We’re getting complaint letters from city hall.
Hubby: I can’t mow it now. The ground is too wet.
Wife: It hasn’t rained in two weeks.
Hubby: I can’t mow it now. The game is on.
Wife: Football season is over.
Hubby: Baseball season just started.
Wife: Fine, I’ll just do it then.
Hubby: No! You have to wait until dusk/morning/afternoon/when mosquito season ends/whatever.

And on and on, ad nauseum. All marriages have their battles, but the big battle in my house is yard work. As in, I am the only woman on the block who gets stuck doing most of it. And that’s because a) my husband grew up in Hong Kong, which has more concrete per square foot than Manhattan and therefore he does not know a lawnmower from a shovel; b) my husband is an uber-tightwad, and thinks that the pennies it costs per week to maintain the yard is better spent on penny stocks; and c) he just plain doesn’t want to do it.

Which leaves me, the corn-fed, backyard-loving Midwesterner of the couple, stuck doing almost all of it. Which I don’t necessarily mind, but between the two-year-old and the full-time writing job, I don’t exactly have the time. I can barely keep up with the gardening and the housework as it is. And our neighborhood has very high standards for lawn care (most of our six-figure-earning neighbors employ professional landscape companies to keep their lawns and gardens looking pristine with twice-weekly treatments by muscle-bound crews of eight laborers). Meanwhile, our one-and-a-half-income lawn looks like something out of Little House on the Suburban Prairie.

What my husband doesn’t seem to understand is there are consequences when our lawns turns fallow. Like our neighbors getting pissed off, for one. Like our property values going down, for another. Not to mention the fact that if our grass gets longer than say, about five inches, the place turns into fucking Wild Kingdom. Last week I finally convinced hubby to mow the grass when we found a greasy pile of feathers that had once been a large bird (torn to shreds by a red-tail hawk that had taken up residence in our overgrown yard) out by our back deck. Today as I nagged my hubby yet again that the lawn needed to be mowed, I pointed out not only the pile of coyote poop by the air conditioning unit, but also the scattering of broken robin’s eggs and half-eaten squirrel carcass in our front yard (more evidence of that pesky red-tailed hawk). Hubby is taking the day off tomorrow, and I just might have won this round. That maggot-ridden squirrel next to the driveway probably sealed the deal.

So next time you need to get your spouse to do something around the house, just rustle up some roadkill and leave it in the front yard. Should do the trick.


How lovely to be a woman (not)

You know, I’ve always been proud to be female. I’ve been an outspoken feminist since girlhood (and I’ve put my money where my mouth is, doing everything from producing feminist theater to writing for feminist magazines to writing woman-positive erotica aimed at female audiences). I endured 30 excruciating hours of unmedicated labor when I had my son, only breaking down and accepting drugs when my life literally depended on it. And I’ve always stood up to sexism whenever and wherever possible, though not always successfully (like when I was unceremoniously forced out of my job simply for having a baby).

But on the other hand, I haven’t always enjoyed the company of women much, or particularly enjoyed all that goes with being female. For example, I’ve always had more guy friends than girlfriends—going all the way back to elementary school. (I have always hated the gossipy, passive-aggressive, and overly judgmental behavior that often goes on among women. I prefer the straight-talking, no-bullshit company of men instead.) Whenever I go to a party, you’ll usually find me sitting at a table with a bunch of guys at the end of the night, talking business and politics. Unlike most women who tend to run in packs, I have always been pretty solitary, with a very small and select (though tight-knit) group of female friends, most of whom are like me in this same regard.

One thing I’m very outspoken about, though, is I’ve always thought women are tougher than men—-physically and emotionally. We have a much higher tolerance for pain, we have more endurance (marathoners versus sprinters—-we’re biologically programmed this way thanks to being made for pregnancy and childbirth), and we are better at understanding and managing our emotions. (Note to men: I don’t think that men who never cry and “act tough” actually ARE tough—-there’s a big difference between looking it and being it). And it’s a damn good thing too, because we ladies have to deal with a lot of crazy shit when it comes to how our bodies work.

Men pretty much have the same hormonal dish served to them every single day of their adult lives. Women, on the other hand, ride a different roller coaster every single day—-and that’s when everything is working the way it should. Women’s bodies are frighteningly complex, and difficult to deal with even when things are working properly (guys, if you’ve ever lived with a woman of childbearing age, you know exactly what I’m talking about).

If that weren’t bad enough, when something goes wrong with our bodies, it REALLY goes wrong. As in, massive blood loss and anemia and dizziness/fainting/collapse/fatigue. Not to mention pain. (Not the pain of childbirth, mind you, which is in a category by itself—but still very unpleasant). This week my body decided to totally fuck itself up, to the point that I had to see a specialist, have a battery of very invasive tests (and there are more to come), nearly need a blood transfusion, and spend days in bed when there are a multitude of things I’d rather be doing—-like writing my novel and taking care of my kid. And all because some hormone or other in my body isn’t being secreted at the proper level. (And there’s a lot more detail I could go into here, but I won’t because it’s just gross.)

Damn it, sometimes I just wish all I had to worry about was whether to wear boxers or briefs. Men, you guys just don’t know how lucky you have it.