Well, it was probably inevitable.

I lost my proofreading gig. They said I had missed too many “big things” and that while they understand that everyone misses things occasionally, misses should be “very rare.” I suddenly have a lot more free time on my hands.

Is it possible to feel relieved and heartbroken at the same time? I mean, the job wasn’t actually working out that well for me (mostly for Lego). I had to work three-hour shifts during the day, half of which—at most—would be during Lego’s nap. He’d keep himself occupied for maybe half an hour to an hour of the remaining time, but the end was always a struggle. “Book!” he’d say, thrusting one in my lap. “No, honey, not right now. Mommy’s working,” I’d reply. Multiply this conversation by twenty. Finally I’d cave and read the book so he’d leave me alone to work. As soon as I’d finish, he’d find another book (or the same one) and start all over again. Or want to go outside. Or hand me a toy to play with. Or beg me to nurse, sit in my lap, let him play with my mouse, or put on his shoes. You can imagine how effective a proofreader I was through all of this. I’m relieved to be able to spend more time with Lego now and to not have to face that battle every day.

The truth of the matter, though, is that I wouldn’t have been good enough for them even without Lego bothering me. They wanted someone who almost never missed a single thing, and I’m just not that good. I’ve never worked for someone who expected me to be that good. I liked the challenge at first, but it’s been really hard for me to have to admit that I failed. I’m usually pretty good at accepting my weaknesses for what they are and knowing my limits without letting failures get me down. But I consider editing and proofreading some of the things I’m best at, so I guess this particular failure got me down more than most.

I keep telling myself that no matter what you do (unless you’re an gold-medal-winning Olympic athlete), there will probably always be someone out there who is better at it than you are. Just because I’m not the sort of proofreader who can catch everything at one pass doesn’t mean I’m not good.

This wasn’t meant to be a call for sympathy. I just wanted to get my thoughts on paper so maybe I can get out of my funk.


I just bought two shirts online. I wasn’t really planning to, though I have felt that my fall wardrobe leaves something to be desired. I have a folder in my bookmarks called “wish list.” A link to a swimsuit from Layers has been in that folder all summer, even though I now have a workable swimsuit. Last week I discovered that it was on clearance for $25, down from the original $60. I was so tempted to get it, but I decided against it for reasons I won’t get into here.

Tonight I decided to check if Layers had anything else on clearance worth buying. I found two cute long-sleeved shirts, one for $10 and one for $6. I didn’t deliberate. I just saw them, liked the price, and bought them, all in a matter of about ten minutes. I used my own spending money, so it’s not like it’s coming out of our budget or anything.

Why do I feel like I just did something risky and exciting?

Public service announcement

Child-proof pill bottles aren’t. At all.

When Lego was just over twelve months old, he got a bottle of Mucinex open. In our old apartment, there was no shelving up high in the bathroom, so we kept the medicines in a drawer below the sink. We almost always kept the bathroom door closed, but if I was in the bathroom for any reason, he’d follow me in and inevitably get into the drawer. I was supervising, so I’d usually just let it happen and then clean up afterward, shut the drawer, and shut the bathroom door. This one time, the Mucinex bottle rolled out of the bathroom and under the kitchen table. He found it later, and, when I was writing an email to my sister for ten minutes, got the child-proof cap off. And ate half a Mucinex.

Poison Control said that Mucinex was relatively harmless for a baby to get into and told me that child-proof caps are really only intended to delay children, not keep them out entirely. This was news to me. After this incident, we kept the medicines in the top drawer of Lego’s dresser, the highest place we could find for them. In the back of my mind, I thought Lego must be pretty smart if he could get a child-proof cap open at his age.

Today, Lego fished an empty bottle of vitamins out of the garbage. Somehow, Baby (the little boy I watch) got his hands on it and, in five minutes while I was wiping down the kitchen countertops, got the cap off. I actually watched the last two seconds as he nonchalantly twisted and pulled, and voila! The cap was off. Thank goodness that one was empty. Apparently my little boy isn’t so uniquely brilliant after all.

I put the cap back on but didn’t put the bottle away. After all, both boys cried a lot when I tried, and I figured it was safe without anything in it. Kids make toys out of the strangest things.

I just noticed that the lid’s off again. I think it was Lego who got it off this time. Some childproofing.

Please, if you read this, tell all your friends and acquaintances and even enemies that childproof medicines are not necessarily safe. Even babies and toddlers can get them off with relative ease.


I was driving today and listening to 101.9 The End, which is usually one of my favorite radio stations (not that I really like radio, but in the car, it’s sometimes better than silence). It was afternoon, so the DJs were Parker and Wendy. They were reading this list from Esquire of things men shouldn’t do after they turn 30. It was supposed to be funny, but it was really more dumb, in my opinion: things like wearing spandex and claiming shotgun and opening Oreos to eat them.

Then Parker blurted out, “Make dinner and vacuum.”

I didn’t hear what Wendy said next, but he repeated himself and clarified, “No man over thirty should make dinner or vacuum. That’s why guys get married, so they don’t have to do that stuff anymore.”

I only heard the second half of Wendy’s response (loud traffic with the windows rolled down), but it involved something about how single guys over thirty would never get married if they held to that advice.

I had to wonder if Parker’s wife (if he has one) was listening in. I also had to wonder what guys who were listening in thought of what Parker said.

I mean, I know there are dumb, sexist people in the world. I just wish they weren’t on the radio preaching their dumb, sexist ideas to other people. Because if even one guy out there wonders if he’s less of a man because he makes dinner or vacuums for his wife after listening to the show, that makes me really mad.

I would like to think that Jon Boy married me because he valued my company and found me attractive, and not because I would make him dinner. I know I didn’t marry him for his money. C’mon, people. This is the twenty-first century.

Eustress and Distress

Eustress: I have landed a trial period for a proofreading job that pays well. I am so excited to possibly have ongoing and lucrative proofreading work I can hardly stand it. At the same time, one of the things the trial period is for is to see if I am fast enough to work for them. They promise their clients extremely fast turnaround times. They are confident I’m good (or as confident as they can be after seeing my one-page proofreading test), but they don’t know if I’m fast. I know I can work fast, but what I’m worried about is that I’ll be halfway through a job when Lego will suddenly need all my attention for half an hour. That can really slow you down. And they want me to “clock in” for three- to four-hour segments. For about two hours, I can count on Lego to be sleeping, but after that . . . who knows? I mean, he’s ultimately more important than brain work and money, but I’d really, really like this to work out.

Distress: Lego has been teething for about a week, which means he’s been fevered, grouchy, insistent on nursing nonstop, sleeping restlessly, fussy, sick to his stomach, and fighting Tylenol and Orajel. I am severely sleep-deprived, frazzled, and grouchy myself. And this in conjunction with the fact that I’m planning on trying out my first proofreading session tomorrow . . . eek.