Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Not that kind of blog.

I had a mild panic attack today at work when someone I respect professionally asked me if I blog and then proceeded to ask for the url. He himself is a blogger and it only came up after I confessed to having checked up on him online (I was just trying to give him a compliment!). Anyway, I tried to avoid answering the question, mumbling something about it just being a silly personal blog (as opposed to his blogs about healthcare marketing and Christian literature), but despite my side-stepping, I’m certain he can easily find me if he is so inclined. (And if he did find me…um, well…Hi there!).

I don’t know why I’m so worked up about this. I mean I would certainly never post anything that could get me dooced, but still, thinking about this man reading my petty comments about the M-I-L, my hems and haws about motherhood, the silly stories about my impossibly charming husband…well, it’s hard to imagine him thinking of me as a Serious Professional after reading all the nonsense I post online. I mean, it’s not like my blog serves to teach anyone or promote anything. It’s just not that kind of blog.

But then again, in the age of Twitter when even CEOs are posting random thoughts about their personal lives online, maybe it’s not so bizarre to think about merging the personal with the professional. After all, one of the first rules of Social Media Marketing is to be personal. No one wants to read vanilla tweets from a generic corporate “handle.” They don’t want to know what Coke thinks; they want to know what Kelly the marketing girl at Coke thinks. And yet, to put yourself out there like that, well, it’s scary for Coke and it’s scary for Kelly.

That being said, I’m certainly not considering using this blog to promote the company that I work for, but I am trying to figure out how this blog might teach something of value or share something beyond stories about the M-I-L. I’m sure I have something of value I could add to cyberspace…if I can just figure out what it is…

I’m working on it.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

More fun with the in-laws

Wow. I skip one weekend of blogging and now I don’t know where to begin. Do I stick to the usual narcissistic themes and catch you up on the in-laws’ visit or do I join the gazillion other bloggers weighing in with their opinions on Neda, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Mark Sanford, and John and Kate. While it’s tempting, I’m not sure I have anything different or more profound to say than what you’ve no doubt already read, so I think I’ll stick to something you certainly can’t find elsewhere on the web.

The top 5 subjects I try to avoid with my in-laws

  1. Babies. As I’ve mentioned before, when you’re nearly 30, happily married, and don’t have kids, people start to wonder what’s wrong with you. My in-laws are no different. And while they seem to make an effort to tread lightly on the subject, I’m hyper sensitive to their subtle comments. But I never know how to respond, because I’m not sure what’s worse – if they think there’s something physically wrong with me and I can’t have a baby or if they think I’m too selfish to want one.
  2. Food. My food, their food, your food. From their general disgust with the too-large portion sizes in this country to their shock that their daughter-in-law might actually want 3 meals a day, the in-laws have an opinion about every morsel consumed around them, and as you know, I consume a lot of morsels. The M-I-L never fails to comment on my healthy appetite, but of course, she does it under a veil of praise. Example: “Wow, you did really well with that meal; I feel I’ve wasted so much.” I never know what to say to this. Is ‘thanks’ appropriate? Or should I look her in the eye and say “Yes, whatever will you say to the starving children in Africa when you next see them?” Ah, if only…
  3. Fat People. Perhaps this stems from their obsession with how much everyone is eating, because the in-laws love talking about Fat People. They like to point them out to make sure you’ve seen them and then make (loud) comments about them. The M-I-L loves to tell you how Britain is no better than America these days – even the children are “piggish.” And the F-I-L will tell anyone who will listen that being fat doesn’t have anything to do with thyroid conditions or other health problems; Fat People just eat too much. And maybe he has a point, but I can’t help but feel indignant on behalf of every pudgy person I know. When I venture to ask them why a total stranger’s weight problem bothers them so much, the M-I-L insists that it makes no difference to her; she just feels sorry for them. The F-I-L barks that he doesn’t feel sorry for them at all, and he has every right to complain because he has to look at them and he does not like looking at Fat People. No, he just likes talking about them.
  4. Black People. Now, I want to be clear that my in-laws are not racists, but they’re obviously from an older generation and they do live in South Africa, which I suppose is why they just can’t seem to help themselves from sharing their general observations about “the blacks” in America. It’s not that what they have to say is all that hurtful (“The blacks in America are much prettier/jollier/fatter than the blacks in Africa.”); it’s just the ridiculous generalizing, the use of the term “the blacks,” and more than anything, the volume at which it’s all spoken.
  5. My hair. It looks awful at the moment. I can’t quite decide if I’m letting it grow into a wild Carrie Bradshaw-like mane or if I’m ready to cut it off again in an effort to channel a spunkier version of myself. And then there’s the color. It’s as close to natural as it’s been since I was 1o years old, and when your natural color involves the words “dirty” and “dishwater,” natural is to be avoided at all cost. Still, I’ve been avoiding the trip to the salon for awhile now, telling myself the recession made it okay to go natural. In so many words, the F-I-L told me it does not.* Thanks, Dad.

*In fairness, Roger witnessed this conversation and he insists that his father insinuated no such thing. But I’m sorry, when a 70 year old man comments that your hair looks “different” and follows up with “So, uh, how often do you have to go to the salon?” I think it’s safe to assume you’re looking pretty bad. But don’t worry, I’ve already booked my appointment.

Monday, June 15, 2009

No news?

Believe me, I'm as shocked as you are to report that after a week on the scene, I have no major M-I-L stories to report. Unless of course you want to hear how fabulous she's been...doing my laundry (and ironing things I didn't know required ironing), cleaning my apartment, grocery shopping for me, having filet mignon on the table upon my arrival home from work...it's a bit disgusting actually. And sure, I could write a scathing report about how I'm sure she's recording all of these "favors" in her little black book to cash in at a later date, but that would just seem petty.

In truth, her ability to be an awesome house guest validates me somewhat in the sense that maybe I wasn't so crazy as to think I could move to South Africa and live in her back yard and not go completely mad. This is why I thought it would be okay...because she's completely cool as a house guest. She's better than cool. She's freaking perfect! There's nothing to suggest that upon moving into her domain she might turn into a terrifying Cruella Deville-like antagonist!

Ah, the naivete of youth. Of course, now I see the error of my ways. She may appear to be an angel, but I'm no longer fooled by her eagerness to do my laundry and her enthusiasm for cheap wine and restaurants without tablecloths. I know the truth now. Now I recognize that she's only doing my laundry so she can brag to her friends about how much she's helped me (poor me who doesn't have a full time maid!). I know she's secretly gagging at the two-buck chuck. But now I'm just being catty. And maybe a little paranoid...

I think it's just my natural defenses kicking in. Because the M-I-L has this way of making me love her...but as you know, I've been burned before, and I'd hate to fall for it again. But maybe it's not an act...maybe this awesome character I've created isn't all that different from you and me after all?

Nah, she's nuts. But I love her anyway. And that's a good thing....as long as I'm not entertaining the idea of moving in with her again. (and I can assure you that I'm NOT!)

I mean, the M-I-L is completely crazy, but I do love her. For a thousand reasons I've yet to articulate...but one day I will...perhaps on a night when she hasn't gotten me slightly intoxicated on two-buck chuck!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The M-I-L in the ATL

This morning my horoscope said I should clean my house because you never know who might be watching. Funny that, because in just a few days, the M-I-L will be watching, and trust me - it won't be clean enough! But that knowledge doesn't stop me from scrambling around like a crazy person in an attempt to make my tiny apartment look and feel like a palace.

It's true, the M-I-L (with the F-I-L in tow) will be arriving in Atlanta on Sunday for a twelve night stay in our 2 bedroom 1 bathroom abode. But the fun actually begins tomorrow night - they're flying into D.C. and Roger and I will be joining them for a weekend of fun in the nation's capital.

I admit, I've been a less than enthusiastic about their lengthy "visit," but if I'm being honest with myself, some part of me is excited to see them. Sure, they drive me nuts, but they're certainly never boring! And I think they really do miss us (even if I could've used just a few more months to fully miss them!). So anyway, I may be otherwise occupied for the next couple weeks, but I can almost promise that I will have some good stories to tell upon my return.

Stay tuned...