The Walking, Talking, Dorky Dead

I’ve been following The Walking Dead since it came on the air, and at first we had a hate/love/hate/hate relationship.  I watched in disgust, squinting through my fingers, as Rick dodged gurgling flesh monsters, and everyone learned how to stab corpses in the eye sockets. It was just too gross. There’s really no better word for it. Gross. The episode would end and I’d physically feel like I just chugged a glass of expired soy milk.

But the next day, or maybe a few days later, I’d be sitting at my desk when the urge would strike me – “I have to see the next episode.”  Inexplicable, but undeniable.

Years later, here we are. I’m still hooked. I’ve definitely become desensitized to the blood, the rotten flesh, and even Carl’s insistence upon wearing a hat that is WAY TOO BIG FOR HIS BABY HEAD.

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The baby head is bigger this season, but still not big enough. Maybe next year, baby head.

Recently though, my viewing has been augmented by the bite-size geek treat that follows The Talking Dead. This show is hosted by Chris Hardwick, who has come a long long way from Singled Out (I am old).

This show has got me thinking about the way people enjoy things. The program is born out of the fact that there are so many people for which The Walking Dead is a pop cultural obsession. I love watching Chris, the guests, and callers dissect the characters’ intentions and puzzle over the twists and turns that may be on the way.  The very best thing is the sincerity of enthusiasm. These guys are 110% into it! There is a crazy amount of joy that has been brought to bear because of a hopeless fictional world in which everything, literally everything, is the absolute worst.

What is going to happen to Andrea?! What’s the deal with Milton?! Who do you think gets to kill The Governor, and why?!  

I like a lot of things that people love, but I love to observe a group of people enjoying something so hard. I think I used to feel like that about Ann Rice books when I was a lot younger, but that was before the internet could connect fanatics with such ease. I love Lord of the Rings, but my devotion pales in comparison to that of my husband who is never not scheduling a time for us to watch The Hobbit again (I hope he doesn’t resent our 5 week old daughter for interrupting the 3 hour long movie so much).

I’ll preface this next bit by saying I have no idea what I’m talking about really, but…here’s my hypothesis: It seems like there is a correlation between video games and comics. Also, it seems that there is a correlation between comics and fanaticism. Therefore, perhaps my lack of hand-eye coordination and resulting resentment of Super Mario Brothers has precluded me from a life of pop culture devotion and the resulting kind of joy.

Either way, I’m grateful that The Talking Dead allows me to be a tourist in that world. And I’m grateful that they cast the guy from The Wire as Tyrese. He’s awesome.

Motherhood and LOST: Pushing that button

She’s currently weighing in at a formidable 8lbs 15oz, and a measuring an alpine 22 inches long. She has a handful of needs:

– To eat

– To be warm

– To sleep

– To poop and/or pee

Why, then, one might ask, does it look like a tornado hit my house and I don’t know what day it is? It’s incredible. Emmie is a bundle of cute and love and squishes – and she’s the center of my universe in more ways than one. I think that I respected moms before my little boss came to town, but now I’m in awe. It’s the most important thing I’ve ever done – and without question the hardest.

You know in LOST, how Desmond was tasked with pushing the button in the hatch every 108 minutes? And if he didn’t do it, WHO KNOWS what was going to happen?

He really does love you, Penny…

Nursing feels like that. So much so, that I think maybe a new mom wrote that whole story element. The difference is that I do get 120 minutes instead of 108. That’s the toughest part – that she’s relying on me for such a fundamental thing: food.

Moms have been doing this for eons, ya’ll! What? They were doing this before Advil, before breast pumps, before disposable diapers, before epidurals, before any of it. Again, what? Between my two grandmothers, they had 11 kids. I have one. Uno. And she’s the ultimate shot-caller. She owns my days and my nights and all my thoughts.

I think of myself, and of  my generation as very fancy and intellectual and empowered, but there is some righteous power in women’s history. They did all this while taking too much crap from a society that didn’t fully recognize their value and rights.

Women, moms through history, you are amazing. You are inspirational. I’m proud and humble to join your ranks.

Gotta go, I’m on the clock.

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Emmeline

I went in for my 41 week ultrasound on a Friday, February 15th. Ryan was working so I asked if my dad could drive me. Sure, I was capable of driving into Boston, but at 41 weeks I was pretty achy and tentative about solo travel. At MGH, dad waited downstairs in the cafe and I went up to get my belly looked at – just a routine check to make sure everything’s good.

The ultrasound tech showed me my baby’s little profile, her little heart, her little fingers up against her mouth. She looked beautiful. Then the tech pursed her lips a little and called the doctor in to take a look. After a few minutes of scoping around he said, pretty casually, that the fluid was low and I should come back in a few hours to induce labor. No emergency, but he’d feel best if we delivered in the next 24 hours.

Have the baby in the next 24 hours. Have the actual baby. In a few hours. Panic swelled up in my throat. He called Labor and Delivery and let me know that they could take me around 7pm.

Dad was reading on his nook in the cafe looking particularly grandfatherly as I approached. I had to let him know fast that there was no emergency, because a 41 week pregnant lady with tears streaming down her face after a doctor’s appointment is a potentially scary sight, I imagine, especially when she’s your daughter.

My dad is a professional at “no big deal”. He currently works with high school kids, where this expertise in de-escalation must make him indispensible. I’m very lucky he was there, and we took care of the pragmatic things.

1. Call Ryan.

2. Get a chicken salad sandwich.

I cried the whole way home, scared to death, and he made sure I had the kind of chips I liked for my last pre-baby meal.

When Ryan came home, he relieved my dad and we commenced the preparation. The hospital bag that had been packed  and ready for weeks seemed inexplicably incomplete. We went over checklists upon checklists and Ryan ran around making everything right and ready. If my dad is an expert in “no big deal”, Ryan is a world class champion at “right and ready”.

My sister and her boyfriend/my husband’s bffl/ Mike came by to babysit Lucy the wonder-cat, and we were off to get a baby.

The first 12 hours were awfully painful. You know, labor and all that. At 8am something wonderful happened. I caved in and got the epidural. The beautiful sweet epidural–it was the most divine failure of will. I was afraid I would regret getting the medicine sooner than I had planned, but instead it turned out to be one of the best decisions of my adulthood. Honestly. Probably only second to marrying my wonderful husband who sat in a chair next to my bed for 24 hours and let me know how much he loved me while we waited for our daughter to debut.

I dozed through the day, and we watched Back to the Future and the heart monitor for another 12 hours until she was ready. Then, in the blink of an eye, it was time to push.

Then, there she was. Our Emmeline. The doctors and nurses were shocked at how fast she arrived and before we knew it she was on my chest, looking up with dark blue eyes and stretching out her tiny fingers.

The previous morning I had been planning on getting some pancakes Saturday morning because I needed something to look forward to. I was expecting another day of huffing and puffing up and down stairs and rolling uncomfortably off the couch to go to the bathroom every five minutes.

Instead of pancakes, we got a miracle. A 7lb 13oz miracle with light brown hair and an infinite feeling of pulling love, full and ready-made.

A post about the realities of sleeplessness and milk puke is certainly to come. There’s a lot to talk about and I hope to find the time to document it all — but I wanted to tell this story. The story of how we got a girl.

My Emmeline, my Ryan, my family.

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