Hand-Me-Downs & Halloween (#266)

There were two great things about being taller than my older sister by age five.

  • She couldn’t beat me up anymore.
  • I didn’t have to wear her hand-me-downs.

Instead, I got a new dress for the first day of kindergarten. My parents actually asked what color I wanted. I wore that dress at least twice a week until my growth spurts made it into a crop top.

Big Brother, however, was still tall enough to hand down items. It wasn’t until second grade that I got my own winter coat in faux blue fur, with white trim and a massive hood. My siblings told me I looked like a Star Wars Jawa; I ignored them because I knew I was a snow princess and they were just jealous.

The first three cars I drove were used car hand-me-downs from older siblings.

When I finally bought my own new car? I was high on the new car, no-one-else-owned-this-but me smell for months.

When I moved across the country, I bought new furniture. From Ikea.

By the time I married, much of furniture I’d spent so long putting together had fallen apart. A sofa arm had been shredded by one cat. My box spring had been shredded by the other. I’d been in multiple car accidents and found that registration fees and insurance get cheaper as your car gets older.

When I learned my Chinese-American husband had gotten his couch when a neighbor died, I shrugged and put a slipcover on it.

I was pregnant when Baby Sister got engaged and moved to California with her boyfriend. She and her boyfriend rented a U-haul for their stuff. I offered her cash to bring my old bed and any family furniture various older siblings or parental units didn’t want.

She arrived with a chair, dresser, secretary, two infant carseats, a stroller, a crib, a baby swing, a vibrating baby chair, a portable crib, and twelves boxes of baby and toddler clothes.

It was hard to say whether my frugal husband was more delighted with our hand-me-down haul or whether I was.

When Baby D was born, the only thing we had to shop for were diapers. Score.

Unlike me, my older sister had the holy grail of in-laws: the doting grandma who followed my sister’s childcare rules and also sewed. Doting Grandma made First Niece adorable Halloween costumes. Older Sister shared First Niece’s pictures online, garnering thousands of likes each year.

My own mother was dead (and she was seriously crap at sewing when she was alive). I wasn’t remotely crafty. I figured Baby D was doomed to mass produced costumes.

Until a special box arrived the week before Halloween from my older sister.

Inside?

The greatest hand-me-down I ever got.

 

Top 10 Reasons To Have Babies…Refuted (#204)

My husband wanted a baby.

Meanwhile, I literally had a whole list of reasons NOT to have a baby.

But in the interests of fairness, I interviewed and studied various parents. I came up a list of reasons why (other) people want children…along with reasons why those reasons are screwed up. Continue reading Top 10 Reasons To Have Babies…Refuted (#204)

Winner, Winner, Olive Dinner (#185)

My Chinese-American husband and I live in Los Angeles. Since my husband is an excellent cook, we don’t go out that often. But when we do go out? There’s always a new Japanese, Indian, or farm-to-table restaurant to try. Andy’s up for anything, which is nice. Most of my white girlfriends won’t even consider sushi. And my friend JM will only go to one restaurant — the Corner Bakery.

When my in-laws visited, my husband and I cooked for them for weeks. Near the end of their visit, Sunny announced that they would take us out to dinner.

I cheered. “Yay! What kind of food would you guys like? A new bistro opened in the Village, or you could try our favorite sushiya in San Pedro.”

Sunny said, “Is there an Olive Garden nearby?”

I sighed. “Of course.” Continue reading Winner, Winner, Olive Dinner (#185)

Lucky (#180)

Once upon a time, Andy headed off to Las Vegas for a bachelor party. When he came back, I asked how many strip clubs they’d hit.

He said, “None.”

I said, “Liar.” Continue reading Lucky (#180)

Doggone In-laws (#177)

These yogurt-covered almonds don’t look like they produce a deadly gas, do they?

Our rescue dogs learned a lot of commands and tricks — sit, down, stay, roll over, etc. Their favorite command was  “vacuum.” Woofie, our Dane-Lab mix, would eat anything — even rocks. (He couldn’t digest rocks — or cabbage, or corn cobs — but he’d still eat them. And then throw them up, of course. Preferably on the nice carpet. Or my shoes.) Continue reading Doggone In-laws (#177)

Countdown to Christmas (#161)

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When I was a little girl, I couldn’t wait for December 2nd. Not December 1st, not December 25th, but December 2nd.

That was my day to open a window on the Christmas Advent Calendar.

For my heathen readers and fellow atheists, Advent Calendars have numbered windows. On the first day of December, you open window #1. You might see a Bible verse, or the first line of The Night Before Christmas. There’s a window to open every day until Christmas Day, when you will have plenty of presents to open instead. Continue reading Countdown to Christmas (#161)

Poker Face (#155)

If I had known that buying a new house would inspire inspired a visit from Andy’s parents, I’d have barricaded myself into our old townhouse for life. I knew that we wouldn’t be able to keep them away if we ever had a son (hence my ongoing lobbying to adopt a little girl from China), but I had no idea a new house would be such a draw. Given my father-in-law’s obsession with photos of the house, I should have known what would happen.

As soon as Andy and I finished our year-long, DIY remodel of our new house,  my Chinese-American in-laws decided they needed to make sure we’d done it right. Jay and Sunny informed Andy that they were coming to visit in April.

I was not consulted. Continue reading Poker Face (#155)

To Capture the Castle (#133)

Once upon a time, the handsomest king in Europe (i.e., the only one without the Habsburg jaw) married the most beautiful woman in his court. On their honeymoon, they stayed at a charming castle. Then they lived happily ever after.

Nah, just kidding. The King was Henry VIII. You know this didn’t have a happy ending.

Unless you’re an American, in which case you’re hazy on all history before 1776. Continue reading To Capture the Castle (#133)

Many Mothers. No Mom (#131)

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The Aisle of Pain

It was the year after Andy and I got married. It was the week before the United States would indulge in an orgy of brunches and flower arrangements.

Mother’s Day was coming at me. Much like a Mack truck. Of manure. Continue reading Many Mothers. No Mom (#131)

Lights Out (#99)

IMG_5041My father had a terrible temper. When he unloaded a barrage of profanity at the washing machine, my siblings and I fled. God forbid his gaze landed on you when he was pissed – you could easily be the next target. On the other hand, you couldn’t go completely out of earshot. If you did, and the man needed a hammer or wrench or rag, and you weren’t there to supply it, you’d definitely get hit with the next blast of fury. Continue reading Lights Out (#99)