Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Have love, will travel

One of the recurring memes I have with my mother involves teasing her about her propensity to prepare for travel so far in advance of her actual departure time that she might as well just go the airport the night before her flight is scheduled to leave. 
Mom:  "What time do we need to leave for the airport tomorrow?"
Me:  "What time's your flight?"
Mom:  "10:30 in the morning."
Me:  "Well, it only takes about half an hour to get there, so why don't we leave at 9 or 9:15?  You're not checking a bag, right?"
Mom:  "Will that give me enough time?  Why don't we leave at 8:15 or 8:30?"
Me:  "Why don't we just leave now?"
But now that I regularly travel with small children, including navigating security lines with a toddler who wants to run around and hang from every retractable rope stantion, getting through security with FAA-approved carseats and baby strollers that will then need to be gate-checked and sippy cups that the agent may or may not decide needs to be tested for explosives, not to mention the luggage itself, finding a bathroom when Zeke decides he needs to go potty RIGHT NOW or when Josie decides that 3 minutes before we board is a great time to blow out her diaper, keeping the kids in control at the gate area, let alone praying for no tantrums or fussing during the plane ride itself ---- well, let's just say that my stress level when I travel now is sufficiently higher than it was before I had kids, and all I can tell my mom is, "You're right, you're right, I know you're right."

Of course, if we plan to get there by 8:30 for a 10:30 flight to DC to spend the holiday with my parents, all of the hoopla about the crowds and threats of boycotting the full body scanners resulting in horrific lines at the airport will end up being totally overblown.  I've already printed out our boarding passes, so we'll check our bags, fly through security in 10 minutes, and have hours to entertain the kids at the gate.  Or not.  Who knows?

But honestly, I don't even care.  I'm so excited.  My brother and his significant other and her dog (a hilariously fat, lazy pug for whom Sam created a Facebook profile, and his status updates are things like "I feel like I'm some combination of the Star Wars Sand People, ET, Ewoks, and Winston Churchill. Assuming they ate street garbage and peed on everything, of course" -- so fucking funny) will be there, and we always do a Turkey Trot run for charity on Thursday morning, and Thanksgiving dinner is always awesome, and we've got the Day After Thanksgiving Pie (DATP) gathering on Friday with my friend Ali and her family, and then my cousins are coming over, and we're going to a hockey game, and the kids get to hang out with their adored (and adoring) grandparents, and there's football to watch, and I'm plotzing because I love Thanksgiving so much and I can't wait to get there.

Bring it on, TSA, crowds and everything else.  I'm ready for you.  You won't break me, because my destination is too wonderful to make the journey bad.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Good night, Gracie

Zeke, being the responsible older brother, is often tasked with looking out for Josie.  We don't ask or expect him to supervise her or anything, but sometimes they'll be upstairs playing together in their room and they're perfectly happy and safe, so J and I will leave them alone while we're downstairs cooking dinner or something. We just ask Zeke to call one of us if Josie is getting close to the stairs, because while she is now walking everywhere, she hasn't figured out how to go down the stairs in a way that won't cause her serious injury.

Last night we had a bunch of friends over for a football-watching barbecue and the kids were mostly in the room with us, but at one point Josie climbed up the stairs and Zeke followed her and they were upstairs playing. 

J told Zeke, "if Josie gets too close to the stairs, or if you need help with anything, call out for Daddy."

Five minutes later we heard Zeke yelling, "out for Daddy!  OUT FOR DADDY!"

Let it not be said that the kid doesn't pay attention.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Life in the cube

As I mentioned yesterday, I don't have an office, just a cube.  It's tucked in the back of the room, fairly secluded, roomy and comfortable, but it's still a cube.  Everyone is very sensitive to the noise issue and makes every effort to be courteous, but you can hear e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. 

Some people listen to music over a radio or whatever, on very low volume.  But I have super-sensitive hearing, so I can still hear it. 

I think the lady across the "hall" from me listens to a station (via internet radio?  I have no idea) that features nothing but TV theme songs.

Because there I was, reading about the legal requirements school districts have involving disabled kids placed in private schools, when all of a sudden I was totally distracted by the theme to Charlie's Angels.  I never even watched the show -- I think it was on while we were living overseas -- but about 3 cell phones ago, I used the song as my ring tone because I worked for a guy named Charlie and we (his female employees) jokingly referred to ourselves as Charlie's Angels and wasn't it all hilarious. 


So even though it's only playing at about half a decibel, I can totally hear it with my bionic ears, and then given my propensity to develop ear-worms, I'm walking around going "daaaaah dah daaaaaaaahhh, dah dah dah daaaaaaaaah da daaaaaaaaahhhhh."

Until that ear-worm is replaced by the theme song to -- and I am totally not making this up -- All In The Family

"Thoooose were the daaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyys!!"

And then the opening instrumental number from Dallas.  Which I did watch when we lived in Israel because back in the early 80s before the era of global satellite television, it was one of 3 American shows that you could watch on Israeli TV (the others were Little House on the Prairie and Diff'rent Strokes), so we were glued to them religiously just to get a little dose of home.

Needless to say, it was a bit distracting.  But being the new kid, still trying to feel my way and figure out who's who and who's nice and who is not to be fucked with, no way was I going to say anything. 

But just to be safe, today I brought in my iPod, which I listened to with one earbud in (so I could still hear the phone and whatnot).  Because otherwise, I'll get nothing done, and constantly be living with images of George and Weezy Jefferson or B.A. Baracus and Face running through my brain, via my ears.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rumplestiltskin rides the bus.

So the new job is going well.  Everyone has been very welcoming, I've had an actual orientation with an explanation of what it is they want me to do, gotten my ID badges and business cards and all that. 

The biggest adjustment (other than working in a cube, which I've never done before and which is bringing on a bit of sensory deprivation, like a lab rat) is the commuting situation.  At the old job I had free parking.  At the new job, I do not.  And parking in downtown Denver is an expensive pain in the ass. 

One of my employee benefits is a monthly bus pass at less than half the regular rate.  I've always been a driving commuter, not a public transport commuter, so until I spent the first day driving around finding an inexpensive and not too far away public lot in order to avoid the $35 a day fee of parking in my own building, it didn't occur to me that I would be taking advantage of this particular benefit, particularly with two morning daycare dropoffs to contend with. 

But I I live directly on the bus line that has a stop right at my building.  I discovered that if I get the kids up early enough, I can drop them off at their respective locales, get home, walk across the street to the bus stop and have it drop me off in front of my building 12 minutes later, meaning I'm still getting to work by 8 or 8:15 at the latest.  And it will save me over $100 a month (at least) in parking fees. 

Done and done.

And it's kind of an interesting experience.  Good people watching.  Yesterday on my ride home, there was a guy in front of me who had a little spindle that he was using to spin thread out of some loose cotton (I'm assuming) fibers he held in his hand.  Spin spin spin.  It was kind of mesmerizing.

As he got off at his stop, he started talking to the woman sitting across from him who looked a bit stricken by his overtures.  Everyone around me started giggling when he finally was gone, and it turns out that when she had first sat down, he had taken out a huge knife and without saying a word, approached her with it to cut a stray string that was hanging off the hem of her skirt.  (I had missed this episode, but the lady sitting next to me told me about it.) 

I'm so bummed that I didn't witness this interaction in person.  It totally would have made my night.  In any event, I certainly never would have had the chance of observing this awesome spectacle commuting in my car.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thursday Tidbits

  • J's surgery went well, and he's recovering nicely.  The weekend was a bit rough -- he was incredibly sore, and trying to take care of him and the children and keep the children off him felt like being under siege.  But we got through it and things are getting easier.
  • Josie started walking.  At first it was just figuring out how to stand up, then it was taking a step or two, then she figured out how to string steps together.  It's kind of thrilling.
  • We have a mouse.  There's a little hold in the corner of the wall in the living room, and apparently a little mouse has made his way in.  J and Zeke were downstairs when they saw him, and Zeke was mesmerized, peeking over the back of the couch and whispering, "Daddy, shhhhhh, we have to be quiet so we don't scare the mouse."  We'll plug up the hole, but mice don't bother me so much.  Rats, on the other hand, make me want to puke.
  • Getting excited for Thanksgiving.  Next week Zeke's school is having a little Thanksgiving celebration, so I'm going to make my mom's famous cranberry jello mold.  And this time, I will remember to cook the cranberries.*
*The first time I made it, I used whole cranberries and forgot to cook them, subjecting my poor guests to a miserable experience.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Party's over

And now I get to clean up the mess...
It's been a lovely four days.  I've had time to myself, done household chores in peace, watched reruns of Law & Order, got some reading in.  The batteries are not fully recharged, but they're certainly sparkier than they were at the beginning in the week.

But today I go back into the shit (can you tell I'm reading a book about Vietnam?  Talkin' the talk, baby.)

J's surgery is this afternoon and for the next two weeks (at least), it's all me, all the time.  Because while J will be somewhat up and around almost immediately, he cannot lift anything. Anything anything anything.  Nothing.  Nada.  Bupkis.

So not only will I have all of the housework but also all of the childcare, even when J is home.  He can't pick up the children, can't carry a laundry basket, can't put Josie in the bathtub or put her on her changing table to change her diaper.  Plus I will have to figure out how to keep Zeke from crawling and jumping all over his daddy, as he is used to doing.


Not that I'm not happy that J is getting his hernias fixed.  He's been so uncomfortable for so long, it will be a huge relief for him to be on the road to recovery.  So long term, it's a good thing.

Short term, it's going to be rough.  Wish me well.

I will leave you with a hilarious joke I heard, told by David Sedaris to Jon Stewart on last night's Daily Show:
A man is in his house late one night, getting ready to pack it in for the night.  Suddenly there's a knock on his door.  He answers it and finds a snail on his porch.  The snail is going door to door selling magazine subscriptions and asks the man if he's interested in buying some magazines.

The man is furious at having his evening disturbed.  He rears his foot back, ferociously kicks the snail off his porch and slams the door.

Two years later the doorbell rings again.  The man opens the door.  It's the snail.

The snail says, "what the fuck was that about?"
Have a great weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Stay-cation: Day Three

This is exactly what I'm wearing today.
I'm getting pretty good at this housewife biz.  Today after dropping the kids off at school, I came home, cleaned (including taking wood polish to the furniture, fireplace mantle, and staircase banister -- whee!), made some phone calls, worked out the dealio with our ski passes for the winter, and went to the grocery store (Safeway AND Costco).

As an added bonus, rather than my usual habit of having a vague sense that we're low on food and then heading to the store without much of a plan, resulting in finding 2 bottles of Thai fish sauce, 3 half-empty bottles of Newman's Own salad dressing, 4 large bags of frozen peas, 2 jars of celery salt and 3 open bags of rotting carrots every time I decide to clean out the kitchen, I made a list. 

And a meal plan.

And figured out what to do with the 2 small sweet potatoes that will go bad if they're not used.

So tonight for dinner, we'll have quesadillas to use up the rest of the tortillas that we bought when we had fish tacos the other night.  I can throw in the rice and beans leftovers as well.   I'm making sweet potato bread.  Tomorrow we'll have butternut squash soup and another loaf of bread that I will make tomorrow.

The refrigerator and freezer are clean and organized.  The laundry is done. The toy trucks are in their baskets.  There are no cheerios under Josie's high chair.  It's quiet and peaceful in the house. 

And did I mention Zeke is potty-trained?  And has had three awesome days at his new school with nary a tear or a wistful glance behind him?

This week doesn't suck at all.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Stay-cation: Day One

My friend Lisa has recently been going through what I feel like I go through at least monthly -- that sense of, Good God, get these kids away from me and give me some peace.  And she made a point today that I make all the time, and that few people seem to get -- I don't want to go away anywhere and have time away from my family.  What I really crave is for everyone to get the fuck out of my house and leave me alone (I love her idea of a kiddie hotel).  To read, to do laundry, to watch my DVR'd shows, to just have some time with no whining and no crying and no noisy toys.

Which I am finally getting for the next two weeks until I start the new job. 

And holy shit, it's so nice.  I got the kids up and out the door by 8:15.  Zeke started his new preschool and did so well.  I've been preparing him for this day for a long time, and at first he was nervous and saying that he wanted to go to the old school.  But I talked him off the ledge, and after we dropped Josie off at her daycare, he said, "where are we going, Mama?"  And I said, "we're going to your new school sweetie.  You're going to make new friends and learn all kinds of cool stuff and it'll be great."  He said, "I'm going to be just fine."*

I've been telling him that all along.  And I guess he gets it.  So we went in and met the teachers and he said hi to his friend Connor and sat down to have breakfast with everyone and said, "bye, Mama!" without a look back.  Which is exactly what I wanted.

And then I came home, got back into bed and finished my book.  Which was seriously phenomenal -- one of the best books I've read in awhile, and one of the few experiences of reading a book in which I truly had no idea what was going to happen. 

Then I took a nap.

Then I had something to eat.

Then I watched Saturday night's recording of SNL -- love me some Jon Hamm

Then I did the dishes.

Then I had a massage.

I couldn't do this forever.  I'm too restless.  But I'll take it for the next two weeks.

*Then we had a hilarious conversation about what we should feed the lion that lives in his closet.  He opted for crumbs, but I said that lions might need more food than that and suggested hamburgers.