Monday, June 30

A Shout-Out to You-Know-Who About You-Know-What

What's the only thing cooler than hearing great news about a friend? Hearing about it before anyone else! Yeah! So congratulations to you-know-who-you-are about that thing that not everyone may know about yet.

Thursday, June 26

The Mind Goes to Mush

I know I talk a lot about the fact that my brain is not up to par these days. But I wish you could just experience it from in here. A bunch of us HBS partner women have been getting together for a weekly potluck over the summer. Tonight Meg hosted (and oh, that strawberry shortcake! Mmm, was it good!). I get to her apartment, and of course, the first thing I do is say, "hello," and the second thing I do is head for the bathroom. It's just kind of a given at this point. The bathroom is all of fifteen feet from the front door. Only, while I'm in the bathroom, I look down and realize my shoes aren't on my feet. And the first thing that crosses my mind is, "Gee, did I drive all the way from Arlington to Cambridge and then walk four blocks without noticing I was barefoot?" The second thought I had was that that was nonsense and I must have taken them off at the door, although I had no recollection of doing so. It then it occurred to me that walking into a room full of people and just removing items of clothing--even shoes--is not the most polite thing to do. But hey, at least it was just my shoes. What happens when the heat gets to me and I just automatically take off my pants or hike up my shirt? Yikes, that's a scary thought. Luckily, tonight, I was able to contain myself. Can't say the same for Brown Brown though. At one point, Kara exclaimed, "Oh my God, your stomach is moving!" Sure enough Brown Brown was sticking some limb out in some odd direction and my stomach was going along for the ride. Now that we're in private, he's sitting tight. Sitting tight on my ribs, that is. Move it already!

You've Missed the Rants, Haven't You?

It's been a while since I'm ranted about Boston, hasn't it? Hate to disappoint folks, so:
  • Is it not bad enough that drivers here are so bad when they are just driving that they have their own special name, Massholes? Now, they want to multitask? On the way into work, the guy in the next lane was reading a newspaper as he drove in.
  • Red Sox fans are rude. No disrespect to my own live-in Red Sox fan, but whenever I take the T around Boston University, some student always stands and offers me his/her seat. Coming back from an interview downtown, I was on a subway with folks heading to Fenway for the day game (my office is very close to Fenway. In fact, I have a great view of it from my window), and my stomach was moving--moving, I tell you! with all of Brown Brown's little acrobatics--and not a single "Yankee Sucks"-decked person thought they should give me their seat.
  • How does the weather go from a high of 61 degrees (last week) to a high of 97 degrees yesterday! What is up with that! I mean, the home page of has the current weather as "83, Dreary." Dreary? Is that a real forecast?
  • Why are the individual towns so unfriendly? Try to visit a friend in Cambridge. Just try! If you don't friggin' practically park in Allston, BAM! A $15 ticket for parking in a permit only spot. Um, can you please show me what's not a permit only spot? Because they don't exist!
Okay, that's good for now. Although, remarkably, I'm still in an awesome mood. I think I just needed to get that out.

Wednesday, June 25

A Photoshop Kind of Birthday

My mom sent me a series of eleven birthday--what? not exactly e-cards? birthday images? They were too much fun. A selection from them:
birthday pictures
The Claire Bear also made me the funniest CD cover based (and a good CD), which I would have posted here if my computer hadn't crashed. I'll try again later. <edited: got it to work! The one on the left is a real CD Claire bought me>
claire's CD covers

A Good Day After All

I think low expectations are what make for an excellent birthday. The carpet was installed and it looks mighty fine. The painters started (exterior, so no disruption to our lives). I got lots of phone calls and e-mails from friends, chocolates from Hannah, flowers from Adam, a banana cake from Shannon, a pile of presents that I'll open tomorrow morning when Adam's here (it's no fun opening presents by yourself!), and the most amazing massage at Body and Soul (they have this contraption that they use for pregnant women that cradles the belly so I was actually able to lie down. I think I need one of those for the house. Even if you're not pregnant, if you live in this part of the world go there! Make sure Natalie does your massage). Even Brown Brown gave some celebratory kicks! If this is old age, I'll take it!

The Birthday Post

I'm advanced age. Today, it's official. Woman giving birth at the age of 35 are advanced age, and while I knew that when I got pregnant at the tender young age of 34, today is the day I cross that barrier into advanced age. Had Brown Brown been a premie, I could have still been a young mom. But since (thankfully) he's still on schedule, I'm doomed to be an old mom.

And I don't think I'm allowed to watch MTV anymore as I'm now out of the oft-sought-after 18 to 34 demographic. I think I'm required to only watch VH1 and Oxygen now that I'm in the more lucrative yet less glamorous 35 to death group.

But overall, it's a much better birthday than last year. Last year, I spent much of my birthday at the car repair shop. Adam was three time zones away. I didn't have a job or a place to live. And it was HOT! This year, I have my brand-new car that's stylin'. Adam is only two time zones away. I not only have a job and a home, but I also have a Brown Brown. Although it's still HOT! But this year I have AC.

Do you realize that if I die at the age of 70 then today I am middle aged? Ponder that one!

I feel like I should impart some wisdom now that I'm older and wiser. At the moment, I'm drawing a blank. If I come up with anything else, I'll let you know.

Monday, June 23

Too Bored to Post...

Do you ever have one of those days that just drags on. You have e-mails to answer, stories to write, stories to rewrite (or whatever it is you do), phone calls to return, but gosh darnit you just don't feel like doing any of it, so instead you mindlessly hit the refresh button on your personal e-mail to see if anyone from the outside has tried to make contact with you and eat cookies one by one from the department stash? That's the day I'm having. And no one is trying to make contact with me. Which, actually, is a good thing, because I wouldn't write them back now anyway. Lethargy has taken over.

The weekend was a good one but it was too short and I didn't get enough done. I got to spend a complete 48-hours with Adam, and now he's gone again, this time to Denver. I don't mind the domestic trips so much, because I least I can still contact him whenever I like. The international trips, though, suck because I have to remember everything I want to tell him for when he calls me and considering that a good 60 percent of the time now I can't remember the end of the sentence that's already coming out of my mouth, it means I don't usually have a whole lot to say to him.

It was yet another get-things-done weekend. For me, it was very Martha, sewing curtains for Adam's new basement office, working on the baby hat I'm knitting for my class, although I also worked on a book review that I have to turn in this week. I'm organizing pretty much everything that gets in my way; nesting is a very real and dangerous side effect to pregnancy. Don't even think about coming between me and my labeling gun! Adam patched up holes in walls, finalized the registration on the new car (an almost all-day event), touched up paint, and got his office nearly organized. I made it to yoga and swimming (I go weekly now, on Sundays, to the 7 a.m. swim at the Y), and I gorged myself on ribs when the old red meat craving hit (although most were pork, so I guess that's white meat). We had brunch at a friend's house, and I have to say it was one of the most enjoyable brunches I'd been to in a really long time. A fabulous mix of people so that the conversation always flowed and was always interesting.

Our AC installation is supposed to be completed today, although the installers have annoyed both of us to no end (does anyone take pride in his work anymore [asks the gal who's not taking a lick of pride in her own at the moment]?), and the carpet should be installed on Wednesday, but given how many times Home Depot has screwed us over, I'm not counting on that. Once that's done, though, then the interior of the house has had all the fixing up it's going to get and we can start buying baby furniture. The baby is moving pretty much nonstop now, and at times, my belly looks distorted. But he's not cooperating. I'm having some doubts on the name we've chosen. I adore the name, but it's becoming a common name, and after a lifetime of torture dealing with "Jennifer Brown," I don't want to do that to my child. Of course, at least he'll have an uncommon last name (although I keep forgetting that fact. I thought the other day, "Oh, I should buy up Brown Brown's domain!" So I looked up as well as variations on it to see what was available and then it hit me: Brown Brown's last name is Medros. He can wait fifteen years and pick whatever variation on his name he likes, because it's not like those "medros" domains are getting snatched up! I also thought of getting him an e-mail address but as Adam pointed out, any address he'll want for the next twelve or so years will be "dumptruck87409@" or "ilikedonuts@" [oh, wait, that last one is Adam].) Anyway, I have a name alternative that Adam also likes, so I keep asking Brown Brown, "Kick me if your name is X." If nothing happens, I'll say, "Kick me if you're name is Y." (And yes, I did just give away the names! I want the baby to either be X Medros or Y Medros.) He responds to neither. Now, for a goof, I just throw out random names to see if he'll respond. For those who are curious, Brown Brown's name apparently is not X nor Y, nor is it Marvin, Xavier, or Achilles. And to top it off, my own belly button is still freaking me out--it's almost completely flat. Yuck!

Friday, June 20

Glimpses of Singleton Life

Adam's been traveling loads for work. He just called--he's back from Berlin (and can you believe it? He was there for five nights and he didn't have wiener schnitzel once! The freak), and on his way home. It's good to have him home, but I have to say, there are pleasures in having the house to oneself. For starters, I got to spread my pillows out all over the bed (the leg pillow, the body pillow, the wedge pillow--all required to get me to sleep at night). Secondly, I got to eat over the stove, just like in the old days. I don't feel too guilty about this, because the last time Adam called, he asked, "How's my beautiful lawn?" After responding he asked, "How's my beautiful son?" And then finally, he asked, "And how's my beautiful wife?" Nice to know where I fall in the scheme of things (he didn't ask about the Red Sox because he's been following that himself online). I will say, though that the house gets quiet and is a little scary when he's not around, so I'm ultimately relieved that he's finally home. Besides, taking out the trash myself sucks big time.

Harried about Harry

Tomorrow is the release of Harry Potter, in case you've been living in a cave. Yes, I've had it on pre-order forever, it seems, although I don't plan on reading it till the fall, when I'll be at home a lot with nothing but a crying Brown Brown for company. Right now I have too much reading for work and for freelance to even think about starting the--gasp--896-page book, which means I'm sure someone will spoil it for me by telling me who is killed off, but that's just a risk I'll have to take.

It's been hard to avoid the articles, but one that's stuck in my craw is from Book magazine, which somehow I seem to now have a subscription to (I believe it's because I have a Barnes and Noble Reader's Advantage card and this came with it. And, yes, I do shop Barnes and Noble. I also shop Amazon. And I shop my local independent bookstore. It's not like I could ever have enough books). The article is fine; it's the content that's scary. It says that instead of making kids read more books, Harry Potter has had the opposite effect, and it makes kids think that no other book will live up to it, so why bother. Of course, publishers aren't helping: fewer kids' books are being published. Also not helping is the fact that adults aren't reading as much either. According to Book: " spend an average of 109 hours a year reading--down even from 1996, when the average was 123." What I'd be curious to know is what are they reading? Does this number include magazines and newspapers? Not that there's not merit in that, but it's hardly the same as delving into a good book.

As a writer, I find it sad. What it means is if I ever do get around to finishing my novel, no one's going to want to read it.

Why I Love My Doctor

I told my doc at yesterday's appointment about how What to Expect When You're Expecting says that eating veggies now will make the baby like veggies more when they're born, and she said, "I'd like for someone to show me the proof of that! I think that's B.S." And then I said, "Well, that's a good thing, because my sweet tooth has come out like crazy and I haven't exactly been ignoring it." She shrugged and said, "You're weight gain is fine, so I wouldn't worry about it." Yeah! Another spoonful of frosting, please!

Thursday, June 19

Drink Me

Today at my 28-week appointment, I have to take a blood test to check for gestational diabetes. The way this works is I drink a super sweet orange drink an hour before my appointment and then they test the sugar levels in my blood. I'm not feeling very optimistic about this drink though. It's sitting in the office fridge, and I don't find the following warning to be comforting: "To enhance palatability, chill before drinking." Couldn't they even have said, "enhance flavor?" Or they could have stated it like it is, "Choke this thing down as fast as you can before you get sick." Of course, further instructions are even more ludicrous: "Instruct the patient to remain quiet, refrain from smoking and avoid caffeine before and during the test." Not the latter two of course--I don't smoke and I don't have more than a two cups of coffee a week--but "remain quiet"? Do these people not understand who they are dealing with? What kind of blood test do you need to remain quiet for? Are they afraid I'll wake up the blood sugar?

Tuesday, June 17

I'm Getting Soft

Or maybe it's just that I'm getting tired. When I got a phone call from a workman yesterday and he asked for Mrs. Medros, instead of my usual, "This is Adam's wife, Jenny Brown. What can I do for you?" (and yes, I use the word wife there, because it's simpler than not--another way I'm going soft), I simply said, "Yes." And today when one of the workman asked if I was having a boy or a girl and I said, "boy," and he said, "You're lucky. You won't need to repaint the room" (Adam's office was and the future nursery is a light blue), I didn't launch into my long speech about how the room was painted blue with the assumption that we were having a girl and that I refuse to give into gender stereotypes and the only reason the room will remain blue is I don't have the heart to ask Adam to repaint it; I merely said, "Yeah, you're right." Repeat after me: the world does not have to be my battlefield. The world does not have to be my battlefield.

Is it nap time yet?

Friday, June 13

Bah Hambug

Everyone who has read this blog for more than, oh, say, a week, knows that Adam and I are Jewish. Happily Jewish. It's not a hard fact to grasp. Our parents are Jewish. Our grandparents are Jewish. Our great-grandparents were... well, you get the idea. What I'm trying to say is we're Jews and everyone knows it. Everyone, that is, except apparently my dear father. The problem? Santa Claus. My father asked me today if I was going to raise Brown Brown to believe in Santa Claus. "You're kidding, right?" I asked, deep down knowing that he wasn't. "No!" he exclaimed. "Of course not! Oh, how I loved Santa Claus. I'd get so excited on Christmas Eve I wouldn't be able to sleep just thinking about what he brought me." "But you had no Christmas tree," I responded, knowing full well that his parents wouldn't allow a Christmas tree in the house. "Didn't matter. Our friends--many Jewish--had Christmas trees. But, oh, Santa Claus. How can you deprive your child of Santa Claus?" How? I'd say it's pretty easy. We celebrate Hanukah (which I should point out is eight fun-filled nights of presents). We have no chimney. We don't believe that Jesus is our lord and savior. The issue is pretty black and white to me! "You want me to lie to my child," I try, " and then break his little heart when he gets the double whammy of the fact that there's no jolly red man and that his parents are liars?" "It's not like that at all. Why disappoint him? You're in New England, and you'll have the snow and jingle bells ringing and it will be holiday season and poor Brown Brown won't have any presents on Christmas. You'd really do that to your son?" I would like to announce to the world once and for all and with great finality: Yes. I have no issues doing that to my son.

I'm guessing that this e-mail I just received--"you better not cry, you better not pout, i'm telling you why, santa claus is coming to town for brown brown"--means that this is not the last I'll hear of this issue.

Thursday, June 12

Pregnancy Talk

I really thought I’d be able to refrain from writing so much about being pregnant, but really, it’s taken over my life in every way, so there’s no way to avoid it unless I stop blogging altogether. I am so overcaffeinated and so overtired and so oversugared (the former and latter being attempts to compensate for the middle). The back aches have come on full force, so when Brown Brown isn’t making a jungle gym of my ribs, he’s apparently taking my back muscles and pulling at them as if they were his own personal slingshot. Which, I suppose, they are.

There are these moments when I think about the fact that there is a human being—a real live actual human being inside my body (and I won’t get into any debates about when life begins, because for Brown Brown, life has begun in the sense that he is a viable life form. If he were born today, he’d have a greater than 90 percent chance of survival)—and I get totally freaked out. I mean how completely bizarre is it that there is this thing, this living thing inside of me who will someday walk; talk; leave the toilet seat up; listen to bad music; date women I don’t like; and pick up disgusting habits like obsessively watching the Red Sox, thinking that his actions will influence how the team performs. How is it we are so advanced as a society and yet still have to do something as primitive, as base, as squeezing living things from our wombs. Yuck! It’s so, so… well, all I can think of is that thing coming from the belly in Alien.

But luckily those thoughts are relatively fleeting and most of the time I’m just in awe that there’s a little life inside of me, a little person who will someday walk; talk; amaze me with his wit and intelligence; smile and laugh and bring joy to his family; and obsessively watch the Dolphins, knowing that his actions will influence how the team performs.

The Good Thing About Blogging

Sometimes I feel like I'm blogging in a vacuum. I took down the comments section awhile ago, because my obsessive personality had me checking them way too often. I found I was unproductive, just coming back to see if anyone had anything to say. So I removed them. But lately blogging has been great because I feel like there are real people on the other side of this computer. I've been e-mailed great suggestions on baby books to read, tipped off on new Peeps coming out, and given lots of encouragement about this whole baby thing both from people I know from far away and people I've never met, but I feel like I know (thanks to folks such as Caryn, Anne, Jennifer, Diana). Just wanted to say thanks to all of you.

Wednesday, June 11

Setting Goals

Okay, so I can't marathon this year, for obvious reasons. However I will be running the New York marathon in 2004. I signed up for this year, and since I'll be canceling before the race begins, I'm guaranteed entry for next year. I was a bit unsure about doing this so I e-mailed the marathon people to ask them is this was kosher (signing up when I knew I couldn't run to guarantee my entrance for next year; I tried to run last year but didn't get a lottery spot), and they said absolutely. I'm guessing they overbook hoping a number of people will cancel. Plus, they collect my race entry fee this year and next year, so it's an easy way for them to raise a little extra money. I am PSYCHED! I've really missed running lately. With the temperature so reasonable these days, I've a hankering to get out there and move. That changes, though, the second I step outside and find that walking twenty feet has me running back home for the bathroom. That and I'm completely out of breath all the time. But as soon as I'm allowed (six weeks after giving birth, I think), I'll be back on the road (or the treadmill, as the case may be). Anyone who's in New York on November 7, 2004, will have to come cheer me on. And now that I've told all of you about it, you'll have to keep me to this!

Counting Down

I'm at the point where I'm starting to count down the days till September 10th instead of counting up on how far along I am. Now that I'm in the home stretch--the third trimester--it's all starting to feel a bit close. Pregnancy Weekly has this nifty little calendar, so I can keep track exactly: "This is day number 189 and you're 27 weeks pregnant! You have 91 days or 13 weeks left, and are 67% of the way there. Baby's age since conception is 175 days or 25 weeks." Ninety-one days seems like nothing! Which means I should be worrying that we haven't even started getting prepare. No crib, no diapers, no idea on what we'll be doing with a tiny, crying newborn (I've been neglecting the baby reading). However, since I worry so easily these days (it takes pretty much next to nothing to set off those pregnancy hormones) and it gets me completely stressed out, we've delegated all worrying to Adam. He's now in charge of worrying about the house repairs, setting things up, and what not. With him doing the worrying, I may actually be able to get a few things accomplished. Although, I'm a little worried that he isn't doing enough worrying... We may have to work on this.

Let Me Eat Cake

So, now more than ever, supposedly, I'm to watch what I eat. Studies have shown that Brown Brown can now taste what I'm eating through the amniotic fluid. According to What to Expect When You're Expecting, I should be eating lots of broccoli and the like now, so that Brown Brown will develop a liking for good healthy veggies. Um, great idea in theory. But today we had a cake to celebrate June birthdays during an editorial meeting (chocolate with vanilla frosting, my favorite), and since I am one of those June birthdays, it would have been rude for me to not partake. And I swear, I distinctly heard Brown Brown urging me to have that second--and third--slice. And he's so young and cute, it would be a shame to deny him what he wants now. Of course now he's dancing along inside in celebration of chocolate. If only he'd get out of my ribs already. It's not the most comfortable feeling. I guess Brown Brown is determined to have a sweet tooth. Hey, my mother did it to me, I can do it to my kid.

Monday, June 9

I Can Brag, Because They're Not Mine...

I asked Adam if he was going to blog about his grades, and he said, "I don't think so. I'm not sure it's an appropriate topic." And of course, as you all know, HBS has a non-disclosure policy when it comes to grades. So I can't tell you what he got. But I will say that he did very, very well this semester despite all his bitching about how difficult a semester it was and how he really shouldn't care, because grades don't matter, and all that counts is being the lowest 2, yadda yadda yadda. I knew it was all B.S. and that he'd come through. And boy did he come through.

Get a Real Name

I'm sorry, but if you want me to take a new disease seriously, you can't call it the monkeypox. That's just so, so, well, precious. I couldn't help but giggle when Bob Edwards said, "monkeypox" on NPR this morning. Monkeypox. It's funny! Sorry.

Sunday, June 8

The Great Clean Out

In my nesting phase, I'm trying to clean out, get rid of the extraneous. Of course, the more I clean, the more of a mess I seem to make. I'm only a tiny bit of the way done. I found a stack of papers from graduate school, which of course I can't bear to part with, although looking through them was strange. I don't remember half of what I learned. I'm looking over my Master's Essay and it looks completely alien. I wrote that? Actually, it's an area that still interests me--my essay was "Reading the Road: The Road as Medium in the American Travel Narrative," in which "I intend to look at how the road functions as a medium for the traveler to maintain agency, to discover self-identity, and to complicate the traveler's past within the American narrative of journey at home"--but I've long since put aside. (I've got to reread some of those books, Going Native especially). My thesis, my road novel, sits in the box, waiting to be revised. I don't think that's going to happen. It wasn't a terribly successful novel. I like the newer ones I've been working on, although I keep hitting the same revision stumbling blocks.

It's been less than ten years, since I started grad school, but my, what a time warp. My teachers' syllabi were typed. As in on a typewriter. Our phone/address list didn't have e-mail addresses on it. The school had just begun assigning e-mail addresses, but I was one of a few who could actually access from home (I was high-tech even then; I had a 14.4Kbps modem). Pine was the only system I knew how to use. In 1996, during my second year, I used new store my father had heard about that was online! How weird, an online store--back when it was just gray pages with text, to create my book list. Could it all get any more advanced than that?

And now, I'm going through letters. Ah. I'd forgotten about so many of these people. And I won't remember them again, because the letters are going into the recycling. It's harsh, but how long can you hold on to letters from a guy you dated for a few months in high school that basically say, "Hey, you suck for only having written me once the entire year" (I've got about ten like that)? What can I say, I've always been bad at correspondence--that was one of the main purposes of this blog, to keep me from having to write individual e-mails to people (and it doesn't work--people still expect e-mail and they seem to expect me to have something new to say in them). I'm saving all family letters (the family ones are classics) and some of the more representative ones from those years. But I actually think the writers of those letters would be grateful they're going into the trash--the main topic of the day seems to have been virginity or lack thereof. All these folks are now grown-ups with jobs and spouses and kids, and I just have a feeling they'd be happier if this stuff didn't exist anymore. I've Googled some of these people to see what they're up to, but I can't find anyone (and I'm too cheap to pay for Classmates). I guess everyone has awfully common names (and I don't know which of my female friends even kept their own names) or else they're not doing much these days. Of course, if I had cared that much, I would have gone to my ten-year high school reunion. Maybe I'll hit the twenty year. It's only (gasp) three years away.

Saturday, June 7

100% Artificial

Okay, let me state for the record, I do not plan on having a natural childbirth. Kudos to everyone out there who will be having one (or has had one). You have my utmost respect. But there's nothing like being in a room full of pregnant women and having one saying how she's going to be doing the Bradley method and another saying she's doing Lamaze, but she heard that hypnotherapy is the way to go, and another saying she's using a visualization process that likens childbirth to a flowering and then have them look at me, and all I can do is shrug and say, "I plan on using the 'Get me an epidural NOW' method." I am not a natural person. I am not new agey. And I think it would be hypocritical for me to say at this point in my life, "I don't believe in drugs," when much of my life has been concrete evidence to the contrary. A girl's got to believe in something, you know.

Thursday, June 5

A Deadly Combination

Pregnancy brain + new car = bad driver. Thoughts while driving to work today: Lalalalalalalala… mmmm, shiny buttons… lalalalalalala … 61 degrees? Is that cold enough for the seat warmer? I think it’s cold enough for the seat warmer… I wonder what this button does. Oops. Won’t hit that one again… Wow, the brakes are a bit more powerful… Yikes, so’s the gas… lalalalalala… Must program radio stations… Now, how do I load all of my cds into this thing?… Ahhh, seat warmer… Now, what was I going— Where is that— huh? … What was I just thinking?… Did I try this button yet? Oops, oh yeah. Gotta remember to not hit that one again… lalalalala… Almost didn’t see you there, Bub. No need to use the finger!… Pretty graphics on the dashboard… lalalalala… Oh, yeah, watch the road, not the pretty graphics on the dashboard… The funk soul brother, check it out now, the funk soul brother, right about now--man, do I sound better in this car! Fatboy Slim isn’t much of a lyricist is he. I could be a lyricist. Although lyrics are kind of like poetry, and I’m a horrible poet. Maybe I couldn’t be a lyricist— Oh, hold your horses, I see you for f’sake!… I wonder what we’ll have for dinner tonight… What did we have last night for dinner? Why can’t I remember last night’s dinner? This is so going to bug me… Stupid no-fault insurance state. Stupid people cutting me off in crappy cars... lalalala... Why do they still put the ashtrays in cars but not the cigarette lighters? What’s the point?… Is that mileage counting up or down… Am I the only one in the state of Massachusetts that knows how to use a turn signal?... What was I just trying to remember? Didn’t I forget something that I wanted to remember? Man, that’s so going to bug me until I remember what it is I wanted to remember… Was that the button I wasn’t going to hit again? Oh yeah, right. That’s the one… Adam is so not going to get to drive my new car. I know he thinks he will, but he’s not. Hee hee... lalalalalalalala…

Monday, June 2

Vroom Vroom

Between the upcoming arrival of Brown Brown and the slow and painful death of Adam’s car, it was finally time to break down and buy a new vehicle. Adam was stressing this much more than me, mainly because his car doesn’t have air conditioning, and his summer job requires a commute of over an hour and he needs to wear a suit (the car also doesn’t have heat anymore, but that’s not a concern at this point). I let Adam do all the research, because, frankly, I didn’t care that much. Let me say straight up that this is not a gender thing. It's just that I see a car as a way of getting from Point A to Point B. They just don't matter to me. They matter to Adam. We knew we wanted a wagon and we knew we wanted it used and I want every safety feature on it known to mankind. I’ll be taking the new car and Adam will inherit the Pimpmobile, the Toyota Camry hand-me-down that I drive (named for its gold trim and wheels and tinted windows).

So off to the car dealership we went. On the way there, just to prove that I had been paying attention during the school year when he babbled on about his classes, I asked Adam with confidence, “So what’s our BAFTA?” “You mean BATNA, honey,” he said. Hmmm, guess I wasn’t paying as close attention as I thought I had been. (BAFTA being the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and BATNA being the best alternative to negotiated agreement.) “Don’t make the common mistake,” he said, “of confusing BATNA with the highest price we’re willing to pay.” Oh. Oops. Okay, so our BATNA is we don’t get a car at this dealership. Who says you can’t teach an old CWIT new tricks?

Once we get there, we take a look around and then the fun starts: working with a car salesman. Ours happened to be fairly nice, but he was still a car salesman. “I’d like an automatic,” I said. “I think it’ll be easier when there’s a fussy baby in back.” “People say that all the time,” he says. “A manual is just as easy with a baby. You’ll be in gear and can do what you need to do. Whether you have an automatic or a manual, you’ll still need to pull over to do most things.” Okay, true. But I want an automatic, so stop trying to push one of the three stick shifts you have on me. If you only have one automatic and it’s not the one we want, we’ll go elsewhere, and that’s fine.

I’d see things written on the car and I’d ask about them. “So what’s the difference between the turbo and the V-6?” Our salesman would launch into an explanation and within five seconds, my mind is off wondering if I’ll be able to get baby spit out of cloth seats or how good I’d look in the convertible on the back of the lot. Adam would listen carefully, nod along, and then ask appropriate follow-up questions. I’d try to listen, but it was all just, well, so boring! But I’d still feel compelled to ask other questions, and again, not pay any attention to the answer. The only thing I did ask and pay attention to was at every car, I’d say, “Does this have LATCH?” (LATCH being the new anchoring system for car seats required in all cars built after 2002.) And at every car the salesman would say, “Yes, it has LATCH. All our cars since ’00 have LATCH.” Adam accused me of being LATCH fixated, but it was the only thing I understood.

We test drive a few cars and finally one clicks with us. Now the negotiations begin. “So would you pay this amount for the car?” Adam asks me. Sure, I reply. Naming another thousand higher, “How about this amount?” Sure, I reply. “What amount wouldn’t you pay at this point?” “You’re the MBA,” I say. “You tell me.” Adam goes back and forth with the salesman. I’m just hanging back and letting Adam do the work. Occasionally, when the salesman would go out to confer with his manager, Adam would say, “Well, what do you think?” and I’d say, “I think I didn’t take a class in negotiations, and you did.” He wasn’t crazy about having all the responsibility, but the fact is, the only two cars I've ever owned have been family hand-me-downs, so I've never been through this process before, and I find that for all my tough talk, it's painful and intimidating. At last, a price is settled on and we make arrangements to pick up the car on Wednesday. Adam is thrilled. He loves our new car. He’s jealous that I get to drive it. In fact, when he goes home, he does twice as much research as he did beforehand to see what the factory specs of the car are. “It has an air filter!” he exclaims happily. “You and Brown Brown will breathe clean air!” Oh joy. I still think I’d look better behind the wheel of a convertible. Preferably this one.