Thursday, December 22, 2011

Comfort and Joy

Last night when I got home from work, I was whipped. I was in good spirits, but absolutely exhausted. I was busy at work, since I'm going to be off all of next week...

...and before I go off on my home and family anecdotes, let me interject a quick librarian tale. When you're a reference librarian, you sit out at a desk in the middle of the library with an "information!" sign hanging above your head. Thus, you're a bit of a sitting duck for all sorts of interesting characters that happen into the building. I used to be more nervous about this when I was first starting out, but nowadays, I realize that this rarely happens (although annoying people are plentiful, scary ones are pretty rare) and so I don't sweat it anymore. But you're definitely putting yourself out there for some potentially awkward interactions.

And so yesterday. I was on the morning reference shift, and since exams are officially over for the fall semester, the library resembles a war torn region. It's quiet and eerily empty and stray trash abounds. And in comes this guy.

I remember This Guy. And so I immediately tense up.


"Yes, hello."


"To you as well."


*sighs* "Yes, Merry Christmas."

He beams at me and sits at a computer near the reference desk. Now, on the face of it, it looks like I'm being a real meanie, right? What is he doing wrong? Well, it's just that I like to think that as a woman I'm attuned to the people around me, and I hope it doesn't sound sexist, but particularly men. And I do not mean this in a romantic sense, but in a "protect myself" sense. It's not that I think that random men are hiding behind stray study cubicles just waiting to jump out and scare me, it's just a self preservation sense that I believe most women have. I tend to be overly naive and think that everyone is nice until proven otherwise, but I can spot a predator a mile away. And I have met several of them throughout my life. And This Guy isn't necessarily a predator, but there is definitely something off about the way he interacts with me. Well, mostly because the "interaction" is totally coerced. I know that I'm a librarian, I'm there to help people, and I'm sitting out there just waiting for someone to ask me a question. But my job is NOT to have personal conversations with you, especially if you are creepy. Unless you have a legitimate question, I'm not going to allow someone to make me uncomfortable. And that's what This Guy most certainly does.

So, I was sitting quietly at the desk, browsing some yarn online since no one needed my services for the moment, when suddenly, I see a movement out of the corner of my eye. This Guy is suddenly RIGHT.THERE. Over my shoulder, leaning down to my computer screen.


That did it. I certainly did not care that he saw that I was looking at yarn. We're permitted to look at non-work related information on the desk if no one is asking us for help at that moment. But This Guy was violating my personal space in a big way. And he was being loud and drawing the attention of the few people that were actually in the library. And I did NOT want to get drawn in to a personal conversation with him. I shouldn't have to do things that make me uncomfortable, and I've learned this librarian lesson: when you have someone that is lacking in appropriate social skills and is actually causing you discomfort, you have to move out of your comfort zone and be a bit forceful to get your point across. Otherwise, they'll never go away.

"I'm sorry, but don't you have your own work to do?"

See? Now I was even more uncomfortable, because I hate, hate, hate being rude to people. But this was not a normal situation. Something is definitely amiss here with This Guy.

"Oh. Sorry. Sometimes I have a hard time separating the personal from the professional."

Maybe he isn't as clueless as I first thought. But as my tone intended, he stepped away and back to his computer. Shortly after that, he left the library. And I didn't feel the least bit bad. You just have to look out for yourself sometimes. I've found that that little instinctive voice in my head is usually right. "Angel Tiffany" or whatever.

So, after my long day, I headed home. Anne is usually very grumpy by that point, and Hank is hyper. He's thriving in his new school, by the way. The Catholic stuff he brings home is totally adorable (he got an 'A' in religion in the first quarter :) ) and he seems to be loving all the extra attention he gets in such a smaller school. We're really liking the school, and it's looking likely that we'll be registering him to stay there for second grade.

When I get home, I'll take Anne from Mike, since he's put in a long day with her. He unpacks my work stuff for me, and dinner is usually just about ready. I'll nurse Anne and chat with Hank for a few minutes, and then we'll eat. Anne is eating solids now too, and she's very demanding about them. She even likes the pureed vegetables, and puts away an entire oversized jar every night. I think she's ready to move up to 2 solid meals per day, actually. I'll feed her at her high chair while the rest of us eat.

Our evenings are SO much better with Mike at home with the kids during the day. We're absolutely loving our new situation. We have less money coming in, but to say that it is worth it is the understatement of the century. We all couldn't be happier.

But they're still exhausting in the sense that Anne is now at That Age. You really can't put her down unless you can sit right there and play with her. Because the instant you put her down, you'll see her little pink clad butt crawling away to get into something you don't want her into. Or, in the evenings, you have option #2, which is that she begins to scream hysterically when you put her down because she's tired, needy and miserable.

So, we had a lot of that last night, and we had to take turns holding her while simultaneously trying to fold laundry, clean up the kitchen, and get the wrapping supplies out. Once both children were in bed, we wrapped madly for 30 minutes and got nearly everything wrapped. I still have some hand knits to block tonight (WILL THIS CHRISTMAS KNITTING TORTURE EVER END?!") and a few last minute gifts to pick up tomorrow, and then we're DONE.

Finally, we settle in to watch The Queen with drinks and my new non-Christmas crochet project (THE FREEDOM!). About an hour in, we hear Anne. Oh sigh. The nights have been tough lately, and last night was no exception. I gave it a few minutes to see if she'd go back to sleep on her own (ha!) and then I went up. I was pooped anyway, so I told Mike to go ahead and enjoy the movie, and I'd get her back to sleep and get ready for bed.

When I got into her room, what was she doing? Was she sitting there howling, like I said she doesn't do anymore? Actually no. She was STANDING UP and HOWLING. Fan-tastic. She's so short the top of her head doesn't even reach the edge of the crib rail, which is pretty funny. And boy is she cute. But I'll just say it: teething is a pain in the absolute ass.

I nursed her and got her back to sleep. And then commenced I think 4 additional wakings (including one in which I had to take her downstairs to calm her down a bit) before "morning," which this morning, Anne demanded be at 5:30 am.

So, here it is, not even noon, and I'm already tired. But once again, I'm in good spirits. I've been saying some prayers for Mike, because he's exhausted, he has an exhausted and miserable Anne on his hands, and Henry gets out of school today at 11 am. So, he's having a long day. But we're hanging in there just fine.

This Christmas, I'm very grateful for my family. And for my friends, especially my knitting girls, who mean so very much to me. I hope that you all were able to read this entire post and get to this happy declaration of love at the end. :)

Life is good.

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