Dear internet: Please stop accusing my husband of being a serial killer.

I avoid conflict more than I should. But online, I feel like I avoid conflict exactly as often as I’m supposed to. (Read: most of the time.) The internet, in my opinion, is the place to go for cute, fluffy puppies, free how-to videos, and Facebook pictures. Not the place to debate a topic of importance.

Ethan, on the other hand, seems perfectly at home in a debate. And I get that. But he still seems to expect everyone else on the internet to know the rules of civil debate. Frankly, most people don’t. Or they choose to ignore them. That means that Ethan will jump onto a thread looking for enlightened, respectful conversation, and end up getting shouted down.

Most of the time, it doesn’t make sense, either. I had a (Black) friend point out the other day how often Ethan gets called racist online…by White people. I don’t think he’s ever been accused of being racist by anyone of a different race than his own.

One time, he had simultaneous conversations with a strange woman and her alter-ego on a different Twitter account. One personality praised his progressivism and feminist attitudes. The other criticized some other guy’s fashion blog for having the gall to tell women what to wear. (Plot twist: the “other guy” was actually Ethan – he knew that attaching his name to a fashion blog would get him abused by strange women with alter-egos. No, but really. This happened. It was his blog.)

Most recently, Ethan read a news story about a guy who was arrested for abusing animals (and doing drugs, but people seemed more up-in-arms about the animal abuse.) The guy had set a kitten on fire and left it in the gutter to die. That’s despicable. People in the comments were threatening to set him on fire and see how he liked it.

I get it. You read something horrible, you get angry, you want justice. But Ethan jumped on and just commented that it was inappropriate to threaten violence as a means of preventing violence – and hoped the guy got the help he clearly needed. He immediately got attacked on all sides by people who believe that all serial killers begin as cat-killers, and we should just get rid of this criminal before he goes any further.

Long story short, after several days of preaching sanity, forgiveness, and the pursuit of appropriate mental help, my husband has a small cohort of animal rights activists who fervently believe he is a serial killer in the making because he doesn’t want to set a man on fire and watch him slowly burn to death.

Now, guys. These people are crazy. Setting a cat on fire is crazy and awful. Setting a person on fire is crazy and awful. Accusing a stranger of being a serial killer is crazy and awful. But I just want to point out that we should all take a minute to check ourselves before hitting “post.”

Storytime:

Back when Fifty Shades was all the rage (and I do mean rage) on Facebook, I was caught up in the anti-porn side of the debate, spending a lot of time and energy and angst and jimmies telling people that they needed to boycott, ignore, fight this horrible, harmful, moral plague of society. Sexual abuse is not okay, I said, and Fifty Shades is a glorification of sexual abuse. I believed it. I still believe it. Which is why I haven’t read the books, nor did I go to see the movie.

But in the midst of all this, I had a friend from high school comment on my page and ask if I had read the books. (I hadn’t.) She then came to their defense, explaining why she felt people were being unfair, and why she felt the relationship depicted became functional at the end of the story. And you know, I still wasn’t totally convinced. But I saw my other friends – most of whom didn’t know this woman – start to tell her she was a horrible person. I remembered times when strangers called me names online. I remembered how Ethan gets treated all the time, just for speaking his mind. And I realized my Facebook post was becoming a witch-hunt, and I already knew who the target was.

And the thing is, she was right. None of us had read the books except her. Of all the comments, she was the authority on the subject, and we were throwing tomatoes at her.

I replied to her comment, thanking her for bringing first-hand knowledge. I thanked her for being brave enough to disagree with the wave of insults I was launching, as well as my other friends. And then I told my other friends to back off. Some did. Some didn’t. Whatever. But I suddenly realized that sometimes I’m the crazy one online. And this brave, dissenting soul had shown that.

Today’s moral, I guess, is this: if you need to be the brave, dissenting soul, go for it. And know that there will be crazies. Brace yourself for that. But most importantly, if you see some brave, dissenting soul getting thrown under the bus, show some respect. Disagreeing is fine – but insulting someone personally just because they disagree with you is a great way to end up becoming a real jerk.

Don’t be a jerk. Listen to people. And if it’s none of your business, step off. ♥

kermit

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And the Floods Came Up…

This morning was interesting.

Ethan’s alarm went off at 5am, but happily, Ethan had the day off today, and he just turned the alarm off. Unhappily, I felt like a donkey had kicked me in the small of the back. I have no idea why, but apparently pregnancy means you should not sleep on your back. I had fallen asleep that way and slept most of the night with steadily growing back pain. It took me an enormous effort to get onto my side and curl up, and the pain in my back eventually died down enough for me to fall asleep again.

Several hours later, Ethan got up because he heard knocking at the door. Nobody was there anymore, but after a few minutes, he tried to turn on the water and found we had zero water pressure. Not good. So he went to check with the neighbors in the studio apartment next to us. Apparently, our neighbor had gotten up early to discover his kitchen floor was wet around the door to the laundry room. When he opened the door, a wave of water came flooding through his apartment. The water heater had exploded – or at least, there was a sizable hole in it, and the laundry room had accumulated nearly 12 inches of water.

Fortunately, our neighbor is competent and clear-headed, and quickly shut off the water valve to the whole house. Also fortunately, our manager is much more proactive than our past management, and we had the problem fixed by noon. In the meantime, Ethan kindly massaged my lower back until the pain went away. No lasting damage to apartment or body. Just small-scale adventure. ♦

Two Major Milestones!

The day has finally come, people!

No, I’m not in labor. Not that day. Also not Armageddon. Tomorrow is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, but that’s another story entirely.

Nope. I’m talking about two major pregnancy milestones: kicking and tacos!

Last night, I had something of a what-am-I-doing-I’m-not-ready-to-be-a-mom meltdown. And after a lot of crying and a lot of help from Ethan, I was lying (like a slug) on the bed, just kind of drained, with my hand on my belly. Which is enormous, by the way. I’m only a little over 5 months along, but I’m also only a little over 5 feet tall, and this baby has nowhere to go but out. I feel like I’m smuggling a cantaloupe.

I digress. As I lay there, sniffling, I felt a tiny thump. I told Ethan, and he put a hand over the same spot. Thump. Then a one-two punch: thump, thump. Ethan grinned ear to ear. I started crying again.

The second milestone is considerably less important: tacos. I’ve been forbidden (by my husband) from eating Taco Bell during this pregnancy. His reasoning was that Taco Bell is never good for you even when you’re not pregnant – it can’t be a good thing when you’re growing a baby. Furthermore (and probably more importantly), Ethan’s in charge of cleaning the throw-up bucket. And he does not want to clean up secondhand tacos.

Anyways, after the crying and kicking of yesterday, I wanted a soft taco so bad. So. Bad. Ethan was like, “How much do you really want tacos right now?” and I thought about it long and hard. On a scale from 1 to 10… I’ve had cravings worse than this before, so it’s not a 10… I really don’t want to guilt him into getting a taco… but I really, really want one…. I eventually settled on 7.5 out of 10. I thought that was shooting a little low, but Ethan was visibly impressed. “Wow. You really want tacos.”

He decided to risk it – and went to buy some soft tacos. They were delicious, and I am pleased to report that I did not throw them up.

I haven’t felt any more kicking since last night. Maybe tacos serve as a tranquilizer. Or maybe the baby is just tired after his Tae-Bo practice. Either way, I am pleased to announce that I have a baby boxing champion inside my body. ♥

The Hunt for Potato Soup

I’d like to say, first and foremost, that this pregnancy has not been all that bad. I mean, I’ve never been pregnant before, so it’s definitely been my worst – but it’s also been my best. I say this because I’ve realized lately that I mostly use my blog to vent or complain, while all the “good” days are the days I forget to turn on my computer. So, for the record, most days, I’m doing pretty well.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about cravings again. My cravings haven’t been that weird or that frequent – no pickles-and-ice-cream stories here – but when they come, they come fast and furious.

A few weeks ago, lying in bed, I cuddled up to Ethan and whispered in his ear, “I love you. I’m stickin’ around.” And then immediately added, “I want a taco.”

I didn’t get my taco, sadly. It was too late for decent taco places, and Ethan won’t let me eat Taco Bell until I’m safely past the might-thr0w-that-up stage. (Read: until I’ve already had the baby.)

Yesterday, I wanted potato soup. All day long, I tried to psyche myself out to make soup, but I just didn’t have the energy. When Ethan came home, he made a deal with me: if I helped him do the dishes, we’d go out to eat, and find someplace with soup. I rejoiced! And washed dishes. While washing, I thought of all the places that might serve potato soup. Applebee’s, Chili’s, Denny’s, maybe even Wendy’s. I came up with about a dozen places, which is rare for my current state of mind.

By the time the dishes were over, however, I was hungry and my brain had shut off. “Where do you want to go?”

I racked my brain. “Soup. I want soup.”

“Right. Where do you want to get it?”

I was confused. Why was he making me think of all those places again? “One of the places I already thought of.”

“So, which one?”

After a very difficult two minutes, I decided Applebee’s was the first in alphabetical order, so we should go there. “Applebee’s.”

Ethan looked hesitant. “Somewhere besides Applebee’s.”

What do you want from me?! “Okay, Chili’s.” The twin brother of Applebee’s.

“Do you know where a Chili’s is?”

I did when I had my brain on. “No.”

“Okay, neither do I. Think of a place you  know.”

I tried not to cry. Why was he making me think? I eventually remembered Denny’s existed, and we started in that direction. While in the car, Ethan asked, “Do you know if there are any fast-food places that have soup? I don’t want to spend twenty dollars just to eat soup.”

In my mind-fog, I  tried to remember what the words “fast food” meant, and what kind of places served it. Eventually, Ethan remembered that Noodles and Co. had soup on their menu, and it was only a dollar for a cup. We’d been to Noodles in Orem before, and they gave us the cheesiest macaroni and the most delicious soup we’d ever tasted, so this seemed like a splendid idea. As we walked in, I saw the menu, which had three kinds of soup: tomato, chicken noodle, and something Thai-inspired that sounded risky for a pregnant lady. Nothing potato. Nothing creamy. I looked at Ethan, trying to figure out how to explain. “I want… white soup,” was what came out.

Ethan sighed, and said, “Will this do?”

I thought, and slowly shook my head. We headed back to the car. “So where do you want to go?” Ethan asked. I fought back tears.

“Somewhere with potato soup!”

Neither of us could think of a place that regularly sold potato soup. Eventually, I gave up. “Let’s go back to Noodles and just eat something,” I said, sniffling a little bit.

Ethan looked concerned. “Are you going to cry over soup?”

“I hope not.”

We went and ordered some soup, a bowl of macaroni and cheese, and a salad. After a few minutes, a server brought Ethan his macaroni, which was topped with a small sprinkling of cheese, and tasted like somebody had put hot water on it instead of cheese sauce. We reminded the server that I had also ordered food, and she apologized, disappeared for a few minutes, and then returned bringing a side salad and the smallest cup of soup I’ve ever seen.

“How’s your soup?” Ethan asked.

“It’s okay,” I said, still pining for potatoes but grateful he was willing to put up with me. “How’s your macaroni?”

Ethan poked at the bowl. “Pretty disappointing,” he said. “And I paid a dollar extra for red peppers, and it looks like they only added a few slices.”

The salad was a decent size, but after a few bites, my stomach warned me that throwing up iceberg lettuce was a bitter experience, and I had to give up on it. We sat there, staring at out mediocre meal, out spirits dampened. Ethan wanted to say something to management, but it was busy enough in there that he didn’t see a way he was going to speak to anyone. “Are you still hungry?”

“…Yeah.”

He looked stumped. “I don’t know how to help anymore,” he said. I told him not to worry about it. I had enough food in me to get over the potato soup for now. We walked out to the parking lot and decided to drown our sorrows in hot chocolate instead. So we stopped at CVS long enough to watch a college kid buying baobab fruit (which exists, apparently), and decided Macey’s would have a better selection of cocoa. Two and a half pounds of hot chocolate powder later, we sat on the couch and sipped hot goodness, feeling a little better about the evening.

I still want potato soup, but I don’t think I’m going to cry about it. ♦

Finals Week Addles the Mind…

Ethan’s in the midst of finals. Which means a lot of stress. It means a lot of hard work and study.

It also means some really weird creative outlets. Let’s face it – the more stressed you are, the weirder the excuses to not be studying.

Enter Manuel Jausuel, puppet singer extraordinaire. Ethan made a puppet years ago, and suddenly, this puppet must sing all the songs. And naturally, he got lonely. So Ethan made him a friend.

Enjoy. ♥

A Word About Nachos

I’m sick again. Bleh. Fortunately, I’m on the upside, and I’ll probably be better by tomorrow, if my predictions serve me well.

But I just want to brag a little about my husband. A few nights ago, I told Ethan I was coming down with a cold. So he went out and bought me orange juice and Powerade. Yesterday, he made me breakfast…and lunch… and then for dinner he made a big ol’ plate of nachos, and we sat down to watch silly youtube videos, and laughed until we cried. I think Ethan is probably at his handsomest when he’s laughing so hard he can’t even keep his eyes open.

Anyways. I’m a little sniffely, but life is good. My husband loves me, life is still hilarious, and nachos are still delicious. So if you’re having a bad day, stop and think about the good things. Some of them are pretty small – but where would we be without that happy little spot of grass outside the window, or the birds chirping in the morning? Or nachos? Where would we be without nachos?  ♦       ‌ ‍ ‎ ‏

Dinosaurs Attack!

A couple weeks ago, we went to the BYU Paleontology Museum (for free, people! For free!) It was fantastic. They have an Allosaurus skeleton, the only known Utahraptor remains, and a triceratops skull bigger than me. It’s fantastic!

And then, while wandering through the library a while ago, I found a dinosaur book bigger than our freezer. With full-color illustrations, also bigger than our freezer. And there are so many dinosaurs I’ve never heard of!

Which is great. Except that there’s one that looks like a crocodile, called “The Irritator.” And ever since reading that page, Ethan’s been running around sticking his fingers in his ears, yelling, “I am The Irritator!” This is not my child. This is my husband. And it is, in fact, very irritating. ♦