Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Your day is probably going way better than mine

I went out the car this morning and loaded in three small children for preschool drop off.  I hadn't even made it around the corner when my role-playing game neighbors (I like these guys) ran up to the van and said, "Your front tire is almost completely flat!"

I thanked him and turned around to go home, seriously grumbling because, of course the tire is flat!  There's a nail in it!

A nail in it, you say? Yes, folks, there is a nail in my tire.  And I knew all about it, and in a few short moments, YOU are going to know all about it.

So, about a month or so ago, when we first started getting our cold snaps at night, the tire pressure light started coming on in our van.

The first time it happened, I was alarmed! I called my husband, who was in the house, and demanded that he come outside and evaluate our tires (they looked fine to me.) He also declared them fine and said it was probably just the weather and a really sensitive air pressure detector.

I'm not going to lie here; I was skeptical.  This is the second season we've had the van and the air pressure light did not come on even one time last winter.  In fact, it had never gone on before this date.  But, being that my husband is the boss of all appliances, vehicles, and equipment that live outdoors, I gave him the point and just moved on.

It was maybe two weeks and that light never went off.  Nelson said that we were going to have to take it into the dealer to get it turned off and I though that was ridiculous.  I made him check the pressure in the tires and the PSI in all four tires was a little low (35psi - it should be 36) and in on tire the pressure was 32psi (low!)

So he filled the tires and I felt a little smug and the light was off for a few days (a week maybe?) and it came on again.  And one of the tires was noticeably lower.  I made lots of noises and Nelson finally check the tire again and it was down to like 30psi (!!!).

The light was off for a day or two and then it was on again.  At this point I began to strongly suspect that something was wrong with the tire.  There was clearly some kind of slow leak. He checked it again over Thanksgiving weekend and found a nail in the tread.  Ah-ha! The reason for the slow leak.

I asked Nelson what we would do about this nail and he said that since the car was due for an oil change, we'd have them fix the tire at the same time.  Sounds good, yes? This was on Saturday last. I questioned if the tire would be okay until then, and he assured me it would be fine.

Now, you may be thinking here that Nelson obviously made an appointment for an oil change because obviously he would not want his family driving around on a tire with a slow leak.  Alas, he did not, showing a complete disregard for our safety.  I pretty sure he cut the brake lines as well, and maybe put some arsenic in our drinking water.

You may be wondering why I did not just take charge and make the plans for the oil change/tire repair myself.  There are two reasons.  One, is that you cannot have your oil changed with small children. That's a nightmare.  The other is that Nelson and I recently had a fight about how I don't have faith in his ability to repair things and how I question his judgement on repairs, so I am working to not do that any longer.

(This fight was about the front screen door. The closer on that door has been broken since FOREVER and Nelson tried to fix it four times, all unsuccessful. So, he wanted to make a fifth attempt and I was like, "Look, you can't fix it. You've tried four times! Come on!" So we argued and then he fixed it and so far it has remained fixed. Lesson learned, me.)

Anyways, I was pretty angry that the tire was flat because I KNEW that was going to happen, and I also knew Nelson had made no moves to schedule a repair for the tire (or the oil change for that matter.) I was also angry because I knew that with my whacked out shoulder/neck, I was not going to be able to change the tire myself (I can barely changed a normal sized tire on a normal sized vehicle when I'm in peak health.) My anger was heightened because I knew our AAA membership lapsed just this month because the auto-renew credit card had expired and I had not gotten around to calling them and giving them the new number.

That has been my morning.  Nelson is coming home a little early to get the tire repaired.  Oscar missed school and has been alternately tormenting Miles, or instructing Miles to torment Benji.

The end.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hugging

Oscar: MOM! Come look! There are two squirrels in the tree!

Jenni: Look at that!

Squirrels are biting, fighting.


Jenni: It looks like they are playing.

Oscar: Yeah, they're playing!

One squirrel begins humping the other squirrel.


Oscar: Now they're hugging! They must really love each other.

Jenni: Yes, I'm sure they do.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The swing

We are finally, fully done with our holiday-ing. We are home. I've been to the grocery store. I am considering our pile of dirty laundry.

I was really cranky when we got home.  The boys were the devil to get in the car, and I was tired from sleeping poorly all weekend on an uncomfortable bed. We'd been in a few minutes and I snapped at Nelson and he said, "Okay, I'm going to go do the dishes now."

And he did!

I went in to the kitchen to apologize for my temper, an he was like, "Hey, no problem. I saw how cranky you were so I decided I'd do the dishes and maybe that would improve your mood."

It worked!

I went to the grocery store and bought a bunch of food and a special treat for my sister-in-law, who just had a baby last week. I had gotten a gift for my older niece and the new baby and then I was like, "Hey, she just pushed out a kid! She should get a present!"

Nelson took the boys to the playground so I'm enjoying the silence, though the fact that this place is messy is killing me.  I should probably clean it up but, oh, I have two shipments from Old Navy that I haven't even opened! Priorities.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Is it possible that I'm not as great as I think I am?

So, there is the mom at Oscar's school? And I'm pretty sure she dislikes me.  Or disdains me.  Something like that.  I don't know, I feel like every conversation she has with me at pick up or drop off is forced. Like, she's trying really hard to find something to say to me because she thinks she has to, but it's really pretty clear that if she never had to speak to me ever again, she'd be okay with that.

I'm not sure what the deal is with her, but last year, it really upset me and hurt my feelings. I was really looking to preschool to be an awesome opportunity to meet some new mom friends, and it wasn't happening.  Then, when I realized that this one particular mom had some kind of dislike or whatever of me, it made me really sad, like not only am I NOT making friends, people are actively DISLIKING me.  It felt a lot like there was some kind of cool parent club that I was pointedly not invited to, and never would be.

This is an unusual experience for me.  I'm pretty outgoing and and while I do have my off days, in general I'm good at making friends.  I can have a conversation with pretty much anyone about pretty much anything. For these reasons, I'm not short on friends, and people generally (at least outwardly) like me. I mean, I'm not like the prom queen or anything. More like the high school newspaper editor - not the most popular kid in school but generally well known and liked.

Don't weep for me; I got past this.  I did make friends with a couple of the moms, and while we're not exactly going out for post-bedtime drinks together, we do enjoy chatting at the school, or during play dates if I ever remember to schedule them.

She still does not like me this year, this particular mom, but it no longer makes me sad. I came to the realization that I really didn't want to have to WORK to make someone like me. And I certainly don't want to be friends with anyone who does not want to be friends with me.  I'm good people. It is her loss if she does not want a piece of my fabulosity.  Now, I think it's funny. I mean, come on.  You're some kind of hot-shit preschool parent who gets to pick and choose who sits at the cool parent's table? That's lame, man.  LAME. I'll have no part of it. 

The, there was this incident a few weeks ago, where a few of us were having a conversation (mean to me mom included), and I was pointedly NOT INVITED to a thing, and I will admit it made me feel awkward. Three of us were chatting about our kids and an activity that they all participate in, and she told the other mom that she and her kid should do the activity with her and her kid next time. But not me and my kid.  I mean, she didn't say not us, but she was overtly NOT inviting us. Awkward!  And also, WTF?

(This was so much more awkward and lame than I can fully convey here.  She also did this weird name-dropping thing, and the name she dropped was someone that I know and know well and personally and have for like a decade, though I refrained from admitting my association. Meanwhile, the mom who was supposed to be impressed by the name dropping was like, "I don't know who that it." It was a bit hilarious.)

Now, it did not make me sad.  I do not want to be this lady's friend. But how about she just STOP BEING A JERK! Jerky Jerkerton from Jerkville.  Jerkface.  Jerkington.  Jerky-Jerk Jerk Jerk Jerk. J-E-R-K. I usually just laugh inside at her lameness and passive aggressive attempts to hurt my feelings, but this attempt at exclusion just seemed really extreme and I guess I just don't understand why.

Monday, November 21, 2011

So, did you miss me?

Well, hello there!  I know, long time, right? Weeks!  I've been up to lots and lots of stuff. So have my kids. He's the short of it.

Oscar successfully completed soccer and started skating lessons.  He claims to want to play hockey, so I figure he's to to start with the basics.

Miles has been his normal cute and charming self, though he's been doing this thing where he's completely obsessed with me and will not let Nelson do anything for him. I have to pour all his drinks, fix his bath, get him dressed. I love the little guy, but it's kind of exhausting.  He's starting show signs of being over this, though.

I have not done any holiday shopping,.

I have a 5K in two weeks and I'm not ready.

I've been doing a little paid writing and editing, and that the reason for the lack of holiday shopping and lack of running.

Nelson's birthday is in two weeks, and the party is the same day as my 5K because I'm trying to do too many things at once and doing nothing very well.

My family has eaten take out a record number of times in the past three weeks.

I have gone to a record number of town meetings that have been painfully, painfully long. Like three hours long. Blah, blah, blah with all the blahing, folks.

My writing/edit gig was taking up all my free writing time, and that's mostly slowed up, so I should be back at the blogging.  I have a good one it the queue about a preschool mom that dislikes me, but I can't decide if I should post it.  Some of the other parents know I blog and I'm not sure if the mean mom is one of them.   Should I risk it?  Should I?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Camping: Here's how it went down

We packed up the car Thursday night and the boys and hit the road shortly before noon on Friday.  The park where we were camping is a little more than an hour northwest of here.  The fall color up is peaking right now and it was absolutely gorgeous.  It was downright distracting as we were driving up the mountain.

I checked in, bought out wood for campfires, and headed to our site.  The boys were so excited. The got out and started exploring the woods around our site, and because it is fall and the leaves are thin, I had no trouble seeing them.  Then, the middle-aged couple (who had three grown boys) came over and insisted on helping me make camp. It was really nice.  They were my saviors. They brought me a cup of coffee every morning, and kept a spare set of eyes out for my boys.

That first day, the boys just wanted to play in the tent and around the campground and that was fine. It was cool (in the 50s), cloudy, and VERY windy.  I should have brought gloves for the boys, but it was supposed to be sunny and in the 60s so I did not think of it.  Poor little Miles kept saying, "My hands are fweezing!"

The wind made it tough to build a fire, but I eventually made it happen and we had dinner and s'mores, brushed our teeth, got in our PJs and went to bed. It went pretty smoothly, but it was very windy and cold that night, down in the low 40s. Brrr!

We got up early the next morning, had breakfast (bagels), the boys got dressed and played around the campsite for a bit, then we decided to take a morning hike to the waterfall. I somehow chose one of the more strenuous hikes with lots of rocky paths, and several rocky cliff and outcroppings, but the boys did great.  It took us about and hour to get to the waterfall, which was a downward hike, and about and hour to get back up.

When we got back to camp, we had hot chocolate and peanut butter sandwiches, and then we made signs of fall collages with leaves and acorns.  Here is where I made a terrible mistake. The friendly neighbor campers offered the boys each two mellowcreme pumpkins, and I allowed them to have them. I don't let my kids (Oscar in particular) have artificial food dyes because they make them nuts. They just can't be controlled (Oscar; Miles is pretty much fine.) But, I figured it was just two candies, and we were outside and they would burn off the crazy.

After the collages/pumpkins, we went and climbed this rock formation called Bear Rock, and then we returned for dinner. While I was making the campfire, the kids were playing around the front of the van.  Now, I'd been telling them all weekend not to play around the front of the van because when they play there I can't see or hear them, and it's also right next to the road.

I went to the van to scoot them to the front and I saw that someone (Oscar) had been using a rock to "draw" on the hood of the van.  And by "draw" I mean scratch the surface down to the paint.  A terrible row ensued and he ended up with a time out and tears and apologies and dinner and more bad behavior (dragging Miles around by his hood, knocking Miles the ground, threatening to run away) and OHMYGOD is it bedtime yet?

And it was and we all slept like rocks.

The next day was pancakes and breaking camp (which I did all by myself, thank you very much) and we headed home just before noon. No more drama.

Save the scratches on the van and the three or so hours of atrocious behavior from Oscar, we had a great time.  Just look at the photos.  Could they smile any bigger?

On our hike.  The wanted a photo on every rock and fallen tree. 
Woman make fire.

Fall color

The kids called this the T-Rex rock.

Fallen tree = photo op.

Climbing Bear Rock.

This was on our hike.  Steep and rocky!

The tree stump by our campground was the center of their play.

Another fallen tree! Say "hike!"


Monday, October 24, 2011

Moms that camp

I took the boys on a camping trip solo this weekend.  Just me, a 2.5-year-old and 4-year-old, sleeping in a tent and cooking over a campfire for two days and two nights.

This was not my first time camping. The wasn't even my first time camping with the boys.  But it was my first time camping ALONE with the boys.  Oscar is a great age for camping, and I think Miles is right at the lower limit for camping - around 2 or 2-and-a-half. Not that you can't take a baby camping, but no way would I take a baby AND a toddler camping together by myself.

Anyways, I decided to take them on this trip for a few reasons.  First, we had promised the boys we'd go camping at least once more before it got too cold.  Second, Nelson is studying for a big professional exam and there's not much I can do to help, other than give him time, space, and quiet to study. Third, camping with Oscar and Miles is fun, and I wanted to take them and create this good memory for all three of us.

Nelson was surprised that I offered to take them on a camping trip alone, and suggested I try to find someone to go with us.  It's not so much that he thought I couldn't do it, but logistically, camping with small children is tough.  Normally, one of us rides herd while the other pitches the tent and makes camp. He was worried it'd be difficult for me to make/break camp and also watch the kids, and that is a valid concern. I had that concern myself.

So, I did try to recruit others to camp with us with no success.  Regardless, I had told the boys about the trip and  committed to them that I'd take them, so we were going.  I felt nervous, but Nelson kept reminding me that I'm an experienced camper, and an experienced parent.  There was nothing that we would be doing that I had not done before and that I could not handle.

I got lots of comments, both on Facebook and at the campground, about the fact that I was camping with too small boys. "It's really impressive that you'd take on camping with two small boys" and "Just you and the little ones?  Good for you" and "You are doing a really great job with them" (from the campers next door) and "You're a rockstar" and I believe that someone may have even nominated me for a Nobel Prize.

Someone on Facebook asked the question would people still think what I was doing was special had I been a dad camping with my kids.  I appreciate that question. I think it's important that we examine traditional parenting and gender rolls, like dads take kids camping and moms bake cookies with their kids. Like, why should stay-at-home dads get more kudos than stay-at-home moms?  Why is that more important and special Why is a mom camping with her kids more noteworthy and impressive than when a dad does the same thing? These are fair and important questions that we should ask ourselves and each other.

I also think it is fair to address this.  Now, I don't know for sure, but based on what I heard while camping, and what I saw while camping, I really think it was the age and number of kids that I took camping with no help that people found impressive. I did see other moms camping with kids, but they were older kids.  Miles was really one of the youngest kids, at least on our loop (lots of campgrounds in state parks are broken up into loops throughout the park.) It was really too cold to camp with kids much young than him unless you had a popup, which plenty of people did.

Maybe it was the novelty of seeing a mom camping solo with her kids? Like I said, there were a few others, and I personally know several other moms that camp, some alone with their kids, and even they were impressed that I'd taken two littles all by my lonesome.  There were no only dads with kids on my loop (not that that never happens, but it wasn't happening where we were this weekend.)

So, tell me, what is more impressive?  That I'm a mom who camps alone with her kids, or that I'm a mom who camps alone with two young children? Do you camp?  Would you go by yourself with two young ones?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The saga of my stove

Last Thursday, I smelled gas in the house after returning from preschool drop off.  I took the kids outside, called the gas company, and they were out within hour.  They confirmed a slow leak from the back right burner, turned off the gas to the stove, and instructed me to call a repairman.

So I called a repairman and scheduled them to come out between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.  They never showed, never called, never nothing.  I called back and rescheduled for the next day.

They guys did show up the next day, and told me that there was no gas leak and my stove was in fine working order, but was pretty old and crappy and I should just buy a new one. He turned the gas back on and left. This was Friday.

Well, on Monday, I smelled gas again.  I took the kids outside, aired out the house, and it was fine.  No more smell. To be clear, it was not a really STRONG gas smell.  That would have freaked me out.  It was more of a wafting, occasional light gas smell.

Then, on Tuesday, after preschool drop off, I smelled gas again.  I took the boys outside, called the repair company and told them they needed to come back. Then, the repairman called and told me he was ordering a new regulator for my stove and he'd call back with the cost and estimated time of repair.

The problem was not the regulator.  It was the BURNER.  I was sure of it.  So I called a different repairman and they were there in about 30 minutes.  Guess what was wrong with my stove?  THE BURNER. The burner had worn out, as had the igniter, as had the tube that connects to the burner knob.  NOT THE REGULATOR.

So, the repairman fixed my stove so it would be safe (I cannot use that one burner) and told me he'd check on parts and call me back.  Then, I called the other repairman and told them how wrong they were, and how even if the regulator had been broken, no way should he have left the gas to my stove ON.  What a jackass. I'm trying to decided if I should demand my money back, since not only did he not fix my stove; he put my family's lives in danger with his carelessness and lack of knowledge and skill.

I heard back from the good repairman and they told me it would be $329 to fix my stove. My stove that probably cost $350 brand new 15 years ago.  HAHAHAHAHA!

We're getting a new stove.  I'm ordering it tonight, and it will be installed in about two weeks.  In the mean time, my current stove is safe it use and operate.  And that's the saga of my stove.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Spooked

I don't know if you know this about me, but I spook easily.  Funny shadows and strange noises make my heart race.  Scary movies give me nightmares. I'm no fan of the dark.

I get even more spooked out when Nelson is on travel, which he has been this week (in New Hampshire, funnily enough staying at a famously haunted hotel.)  Our house is really old and really quiet at night, which is great, except when you DO hear something, a creak or a bump, it's even spookier because it is always so silent.

This not to say my house is scary.  I've never really been scared of my house.  I know some old houses are spooky but mine is not one of them. Mine is very comforting and homey. It has always calm and safe to me.

Last night, I was having trouble falling asleep, as I often do when Nelson it out of town. I finally fell asleep while reading a book a book that was a little odd (monsters and elves and witches and magicians), and I fell right into a dream about this book. So, the dream was a little odd.  Not scary exactly, but definitely a little creepy.  I don't really remember the dream, just that it had to do with the book and it had a creepy feeling.

I woke with a start because I heard the water go on in my bathroom sink.  It came on slowly, went off, and then came on with a more forceful rushing sound, and then went off again. There seemed to be some stirring in the bathroom.  I check the time and it was 12:30am, so I'd been asleep for maybe an hour, hour and a half. After a few seconds, the water came on again in the same pattern; slow, off, rushing, off.

I was feeling a little creepy from my dream, and the water sounds from the dark bathroom sent one of those ice water chills down my spine. Who or what was in my goddamn bathroom? Whenever I have these moments, I remind myself that I'm a parent now and I need to harness my irrational fears and look for rational answers, so that's what I did.

Miles had woken briefly earlier in the evening and stumbled sleepily through my room and into the bathroom. He came out teary-eyed requesting water.  I went into his room and got his water cup and gave it to him.  He drank it down and I went into the bathroom to refill it.  He drank some more and then I walked him back to bed.

So, I decided it was certainly possibly that it was Miles in the dark bathroom getting himself a drink.  He can reach the faucet when he uses his stool, which is permanently beside the sink, and he loves to drink directly from the faucet.  So I called out to him.

"Miles?  Miles?  Is that you? Whatcha doing, buddy?"

And then things got eerily quiet.  I had sensed some stirring from the bathroom, but after I called to Miles things were just...still.

(I'm getting chills remembering this.)

So, I was like, okay, it MUST be Miles, right? Because he heard me calling and went still because he's not supposed to play at the sink.  So I called him again.

"Miles?  Miles come in here with Momma."

Stillness. Quiet. Chills.

Miles was NOT in that bathroom. Who or what was in my damn bathroom?

And then I had to pee.

There was no avoiding it.  I had to get up and go into the bathroom.  Even if I did not have to pee, faucets running at midnight bear checking out. I turned on my lamp.

My dog was by the bed and she was only slightly disturbed by my calling and the light.  At that point, I knew no one and nothing were in the bathroom.  She'd have heard them; she'd have growled or barked.  I marched myself into the bathroom.

I flicked on the light.  Empty.  The sink was a little damp near the drain, but there did not seem to be fresh water because of course there was no fresh water because no one was in my bathroom.  I realized that the faucet sounds were likely just pieces of my dream that had broken through to reality as I was waking up. I sat in bed with the lights on for a few moments to reassure myself, and then went back to sleep with little trouble.

Several hours later, I was woken again, this time by the sound of Miles crying.  He was crying and saying, "No! No, no, no!  Oscar?  Oscar?" (Oscar was beside me in the bed already, having sneaked in at some earlier point in the night.)

He came out of his room, shut his bedroom door, and continued crying, asking for me.  He was a bit confused, and did not seem to know quite what to do next.

"Miles, I'm in here Miles. So is Oscar.  Come on in, buddy."

He stumbled in and I hoisted him up onto my bed where he promptly snuggled into my armpit.

"Are you okay, buddy?"

"No one's out there? No one's out there?"

He was shaking. He was clearly terrified.  He was asking for reassurance.

"Nope, no one's out there," I told him, and as I said it, I shivered a little myself.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

This day, man, THIS DAY

I am not having a great day.  It really started last night when Oscar stayed up until 10:30pm and I ended up yelling and he ended up calling me a monster (which he almost immediately took back, professing his undying love, but still.) And then Miles was in our bed before I even fell asleep, so I slept horribly and had an awful time waking up.

My plantar facitis was really hurting this morning, as it tends to in mornings, but was much worse today. Miles woke up with me this morning, and both boys were up by 6:30am.  I don't want sound like I don't like my children or anything, but in general my days go better if I can have a few minutes to start my day without them, particularly on days where I have early morning chores to do, like vacuuming and de-cluttering.  It's just impossible to do that stuff with them under foot.

They were actually getting along pretty well.  For like 30 minutes.  And then Oscar started antagonizing Miles, which lead to lots of yelling and whining, some of it actually from the children.

Then they refused to tell me what they wanted for breakfast so I made eggs, which Miles devoured and Oscar picked at.

Of course neither of them wanted to go upstairs to get dress, and when we were finally up there, Oscar changed his outfit no less than three times.  I had to chase Miles down and physically wrestle him into his pants, and I believe I actually said to the boys, "You know, you guys could actually do things to make my mornings easier.  Did you know that? Instead of maximizing the difficulty of every situation you could just, you know, do what I ask?" And then they laughed at me and kicked the walls and I asked them to stop kicking and they kicked again and then I yelled, "STOP KICKING THE WALL.  I'M YELLING NOW.  IS THIS WHAT YOU WANTED?  I'M YELLING."

That was actually the moment when I finally realized I was having a crap day, because I was taking their fairly typical behavior quite personally, and because I was yelling before 8AM. Believe me when I say no one hates my yelling more than I hate my yelling. Yelling at my kids always, always, always makes me feel worse.  I'm actually pretty good at avoiding yelling for this very selfish reason.

I wish I could say this self realization helped me to improve my morning, but it did not.  Now, on the plus side, Oscar was finally listening to me.  I told him when we got downstairs he was to put on his shoes and clean up the several hundred cars he dumped onto the floor. He did those things.  Or rather, he put on his shoes and then spent 25 minutes picking up about half of his cars.

Anyways, it was time for school and it was raining so I had to get them into their raincoats. Miles refused and I was like "Whatever, kid, get wet." But, of course, as we were walking out the door Miles started screaming, "MY RAIN JACKET! WHERE'S MY RAIN JACKET?!  I NEED MY RAIN JACKET!"  So I got his rain jacket on and had my arms full of Oscar's school stuff and Miles whines, "I need my blanket," I just dropped everything on the floor and went to find the blanket.

About 2 minutes into the trip, I realized that I'd forgotten an 3 week overdue library book (it had been missing) for the second time this week.  Damn it.

We ended up leaving late, and 3/4 of the way to school the sky just opened up and a deluge of rain came down.  A deluge we would have missed had we left on time. Now I was staring at having to haul both boys out of the van and into the school during a downpour.

Luckily, another mom saw me pull in and agreed to wait next to the van so I could leave Miles.  She and I do this for each other all the time - one of us will stay at the car with the toddlers and the other will drop off/pick up the 4-year-olds.  It's nice.  She'd gotten her daughter in before the rain, but had not left yet and very, very, nicely waited.  It was a very good moment in an otherwise difficult morning.

Now, I'm feeling grumpy and tired and trying to change this mood.  I'm going to make a homemade chicken pot pie for dinner.  I might go for  run this evening.  Looking forward to those things has already boosted my mood.  I also ate four peanut butter crackers and I might catch a nap before preschool pick up.

And?  The sun is shining.

Here's to hoping this day is on an upswing.  Hope your day is going better than mine.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's been a long day

Messes I've cleaned since last night:

1. Water, from Oscar, his bed.  He though it'd be cute to shake his water bottle and made droplets fly and annoy me, but the lid was not secure so the entire lid flew off, spilling water all over Oscar, his bed, his bunny, his pillow, and his comforter   

2. Water, from the bathroom floor and Miles, two bath towel's worth. Miles turned on the faucet and then move the faucet so it was running, full bast, on the floor of the bathroom as opposed to in the sink.

3. Chocolate milk, from the kitchen floor, cabinet, and pantry door.  See #1, replace "Oscar" with "Miles."

4. Stamp in, from my floor, Miles, and Oscar.  Instead of stamping the stamps, they decided to create fingerprint art on my floors and their faces.  We were late for school.

5. Urine, from the living room floor.  Miles let loose all over the floor 20 minutes after he peed in the bathroom.

6. Poop, from Miles and his pants. Yep.

7. Urine, from the bathroom floor.  Oscar though it would be FUNNY to pee in Miles's potty.  And on the front of the toilet.  Do you know what back splash is?  I do.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Little bunny lost

A couple of weeks ago, we went out to dinner at a favorite local restaurant.  The reason it is a favorite is because it is very kid friendly - kid menus, cups with lids, booster seats, high chairs, and there is also a general store attached that is filled with over-priced toys, beer, wine, and assorted knickknacks and gadgets.

I was getting the boys out of the car, and I suggested to Oscar that he leave his beloved Bunny in the car, so he would get lost or be forgotten.

"But Bunny is a little baby and he'll cry and cry if I leave him in the car!"

Not wanting to start our outing out with dramatics, I just let him bring the damn Bunny into the restaurant.

"Okay, but you better keep an eye on that Bunny."

We had to wait about 20 minutes for a table.  My mom agreed to buy the boys a toy from the general store, and I told them that would be fine but their behavior had to be OUTSTANDING, or there would be no toy.

Needless to say, their behavior was only moderately good, but even moderately good is significantly better than their average restaurant behavior, so I took Miles over to the store while my mom waited at the table to pay the check.  They met us in the store two or three minutes later.

After much hemming and hawing and toy testing, they each settled on an item.  I think Miles got a train and Oscar got a car or an airplane.  We paid and left.

We live about a five minute drive from the restaurant, and as I was unbuckling Oscar from his seat he says to me,

"Where's my Bunny?"

"I don't know where your Bunny is Oscar.  You are in charge of Bunny.  Did you bring him to the car?"

The tears welled up in his eyes, and his voice got shaky.

"No.  I forgot him.  I forgot Bunny!  WAAA!"

We got back in the car and headed back to the restaurant.  My mom went in to look for Bunny. As she was leaving the car, Oscar asked, "What if Meme does not find my Bunny?"

I told him, "Well, then you are just going to have to live without your Bunny."

"I CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT MY BUNNY!"

It was tragic.

Meme did not find Bunny. She talked with the owner, and told her of Oscar's preference for death to life without Bunny and he was very sympathetic and promised to make efforts to find Bunny.

I went in and searched after my mom and I did not find Bunny either.

No Bunny.

I left our name and number so they could call us if they found Bunny, but I was not terribly hopeful.  Locating the thing in that general store, which has has a huge section dedicated to stuffed animals, was just and impossible task.

Let me tell you, I was angry at my child.  I was furious.  He lost that Bunny and now bedtime was going to be awful.  If he had just left the damn thing in the car, he would be home in bed and we would not have this problem.

And Oscar was devastated.  I had no idea how he was going to survive.   

I had a back up Bunny in the basement so I brought that up.  My mom told Oscar that the back up bunny had been living in the basement and was very sad because he did not have anyone to love him like Oscar loved Bunny.  Maybe Oscar could love the new Bunny until he found his old one?

Oscar decided that the back up bunny was his Bunny's dad, and he would love it.  It was not his Regular Bunny, and it did not "smell right" or have the right worry spots, but it would do.  He was very brave. He went to sleep with his new Bunny.

In the morning he woke up and lost no time asking me for his Regular Bunny.

"You don't have Regular Bunny anymore.  He was lost in the restaurant.  You have the New Bunny now, Bunny's dad."

He cried a bit and then held his new Bunny.

"He does not smell right."

"He will eventually."

"He does not feel right."

"He will, Oscar, once you've loved him for a long time."

"Okay."

The day went on and I got a call from a friend and I had to help her get her fool of an almost-ex-husband out of jail.  It took all day.  Seriously, do not get arrested.  It's a major pain in the ass for the people who have to get you un-arrested. Nelson was home with the boys.  They checked the restaurant again for Bunny. No dice.

Anyways, she and I were heading back home after a very long day, when I got a call from a local number that I did not recognize.  I took the call, and it was the restaurant.  They found Bunny!

The store clerk told me she was restocking the wine shelves in the back, and she found him, placed high on a shelf. If she had not restocked that day, it could have been weeks before she found him.

My friend and I went down to the restaurant and retrieved Bunny.  It was nice that something so great happened on an otherwise monumentally shitty day.

I have never heard such a shriek of delight from my child as when I presented him with that Bunny.  He was beside himself with joy.

Since then, he has done a great job with leaving Bunny in the car when we go somewhere, and he even leaves him in the car DURING SCHOOL.  That's huge. He never wants to forget that Bunny anywhere ever again, and neither do I.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Preschool, the first day

First day of preschool, 2011:


For reference, last year's first day:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It's like natural disaster central here, y'all

An earthquake and a hurricane!  In the same week.  And flash flooding expected this week.  I'm still waiting for the brimstone.

Now, I know west coast folks have been giving us east coasters a hard time over our earthquake experience, but I would just like to say that WE DON'T QUAKE. It is not a normal occurrence here.  We do not know what to think when our homes begin shaking and crap starts falling off the walls.  Cut us some slack.

Personally, I thought it was a big truck passing by my house.  Then, when my windows started shimmying and the plaster in my walls started crackling I thought my house was falling down.  So, I quickly ran through a mental list of the most probably reasons my house would fall down:

1. Bomb in DC (no, I hadn't heard an explosion)
2. Furnace explosion (no, my house would be burning)
3. Earthquake?  (Oh, EARTHQUAKE!)

So I hustled the boys into the doorway of what I hoped was a load bearing wall and sort of cocooned over them and waited it out.  It was like 30 seconds.  Except for Benji who was upstairs and slept through the whole thing, and Oscar, who would not duck and cover and insisted on standing beneath the ceiling fan and asking me questions, as is his way.  "Why is the house moving?" "Why are things falling?" "Why is it an earth shake?" "Why do I have to come over there?"

It was weird, the way the floor rolled under my feet.  I remember thinking, "This is not a big deal," but my heart was hammering and I was clinging to those little boys imagining all the bad things that COULD have happened, you know?

Anyways, we were all fine.  Danny was a little rattled for the rest of the day, and I had to spend more time than I thought possible explaining tectonic plates and the Earth's crust to Oscar.  He was in nerd heaven.

Then we had the hurricane, which was no big in our parts. Lots of rain, some wind.  Downed tree limbs.  We lost power for about an hour.  But I understand that some folks are STILL without power so you are probably not reading this, but I hope you have electricity soon.

Now I have to go get a little boy ready for his first day of school, and this includes washing some long pants  because it is only like 60 degrees out and raining today.  Hello, fall.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Things I've survived in the past week

1. An earthquake (my first!)

2. A category 1 hurricane

3. Cancellation of my vacation (see above hurricane)

4. A child losing his beloved bunny

5.  Bailing a fool out of jail

Guess which one was the most stressful?



Thursday, August 25, 2011

I guess I need to be more clear about stuff

Dear Nelson,

When I asked you to throw the sheets into the dryer, I though the fact that you should also turn on the dryer was implied.  Clearly, I was mistaken.  Now if you'll excuse me, I have some sour sheets to rewash, and shortly thereafter, to dry.  In the dryer.

Your loving wife,

Jenni

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Shore

I'm back from a long weekend in Long Beach Island.  It was my first visit to the Jersey Shore and I tried to get in as much Jersey Shore-ing as possible.  I think I succeeded.

We arrived late Thursday night after traveling through some torrential downpours.  Me and four of my girlfriends packed into one car (it was a wagon) and it was crowded in the back, but I was in the front so it was just fine for me. I know this sounds selfish, but I declared to them all in the car that for the entire weekend, I was only worrying about myself and I would not be taking care of anyone but me all weekend.  They were okay with that.

I generally sleep poorly away from home, but I actually slept really, really well on Thursday night.  I woke up that morning and my friend Nancy made us all waffles and bloody Mary's and then she made me another bloody Mary which I took along with me when we went sailing.

We had a lovely sailboat ride, captained by my friend Nancy's dad (it was her parent's who were hosting us for the weekend) and crewed, in part, by yours truly.  That's right, kids, I crewed a sailboat.  I'm not regatta ready or anything but I can pull some ropes and let them out and generally follow instructions so I think I did okay.

Then we went back to the house and had a couple of mojitos, some lunch, and headed to the beach.  I don't know what I did when we came home from the beach.  I think I read my book and relaxed and snacked as I was not on dinner duty.  Then, two more of my girlfriends arrived and we had dinner and our wine club and that was fun and I drank just enough but not too much, which is a always a bit of a challenge for me, so things went really well on that front.

The next morning I went out and bought bagels and lox for breakfast and had more bloody mary's.  Then we declared that 11AM was mojito o'clock so we had more of those and then went over to the neighbor's pool where I sat and read all afternoon.  Everyone kept teasing me about how relaxed I was and asking did I miss my kids and I was like, "No, because you assholes keep interrupting my reading, so it's practically like there are here." I'm just kidding.  I think I called them jerks.

That night we went to a social at Nancy's parents' yacht club and that was super fun.  The drinks were quite strong.  I asked for a gin and tonic and I got a gin and gin.  My friend Amy was like, "Just drink it. By the time your are done it won't matter how strong it is." She was right. My friend Tracy, who is breastfeeding, asked them to make her drink like and the bartender was like, "What?  I'm not making them strong." And then he proceeded to fill her entire glass with rum and splash some grapefruit juice on top.  He was a little grumpy.

So, most of the yacht club members were in their 60s and 70s (and 80s), so we were the youngest by at least 30 years, and that was good, especially when the time came to play games.  I was drafted to play a game where I had to strap and plastic sand pail to my head, and my friend Tracy had to bounce ping pong balls into the bucket for one minute. We were competing against another team.  We got 3 ping pong balls and they got ZERO.  WE WON, OLD PEOPLE!  We crushed them.  I realize maybe I should not have been yelling, "IN YOUR FACE OLD MAN!" to my competitor and giving my partner double high fives, but did I mention the drinks were strong?

I also may have called out another player for cheating on a different game, but no one cared.  They gave me this look that was like, "Shut up.  We say he wins and don't care if he cheats." Whatever.  Cheaters.

Then, we all went to Karaoke and that was fun and funny and there were these guy who used props and got dressed up and sang Man Eater.  If you like Karaoke, this is about as good as it gets.  If you dislike Karaoke, you'd have been miserable.

We got home sometime after one and I went to sleep shortly there after.  My poor friend Amy had been drinking bourbon all night and did not feel fantastic.  We had quiche for breakfast, tidied up the house and headed home.  I got home around 5PM on Sunday and the kids shrieked with delight and hugged me and asked me if I'd saved them any cookies or brownies (I'd brought some to the shore.) I had not, but I did bring them home a soft pretzel and that sufficed.

And now I'm home and doing regular life stuff and avoiding laundry.  How was your weekend?




Thursday, August 18, 2011

Getting things done

I called our town pubic works yesterday and ordered a new trashcan, since our large, curbside bin has an enormous crack and can barely hold in our garbage any more.  I also called the local locksmith and ordered a new lock core for our front door.

I also called up this company that is administering a professional exam Nelson is taking this fall.  We sent in the test fee of $275 and they sent it back, less $50 administrative fee, telling us that there was a new company administering the exam and they would contact us about paying the exam fee.  Well, they did, and the exam fee was $275, which seemed wrong to us because we'd already paid $50 and there's no way the fee could have gone up by 20% with no kind of notification or anything, right?

So I called an was all, "Hey, we already paid $50, so it should just be $225." And they were all, "No, the fee has gone up." And then I asked, "By 20%?  That's kind of a lot, don't you think? Particularly during a bum economy when people have less money than usual, right?" And then he responded, "..." And then I asked what we were getting for this 20% increase and the guy was like, "Uh, nothing?"  Which I knew but I was just giving the poor sod a hard time because I was irritated.  So that's how that went.

I spent the morning baking brownies and cookies and then hiding those cookies and brownies from my children, since they are for this weekend's escapades and not for their consumption.  I mean, I did give them each one brownie and one cookie, but I haven't baked in months (the heat), so they are dying for some baked goods.

I realize I should have just baked them a second batch of cookies, but I didn't have enough butter or chocolate chips.  I usually have more than enough stuff to bake several types/batches of cookies, but the weather has not been baking weather so I allowed my stores to diminish.

I signed Oscar up for soccer.  I'm looking forward to being a perfectly mediocre/sub-par soccer mom.  I also look forward to the many arguments about going to soccer practices and games that are sure to ensue (because Oscar does this thing? Where even when we are doing something he enjoys, he still fights about it?  It's pretty great.); and what is sure to be a crushing disappointment on the part of Miles William who is too young to play.

Anyway, that's where I'm at.  I leave this house for an entire weekend in less than six hours.  I'll catch ya on the flip.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Could this be right?

So, each summer I brace myself for a dramatic increase in our electric bill.  This increase comes, without fail, the cost creeping up in May and maxing out by August, and then is gradually falls back to a less heart-attack inducing rate.

In the cooler months we pay around $50 a month (we use natural gas for heat) and in the warmer months, our bill ranges from $150-$230, depending on the month.  It will usually go from $50 to $100 to $180 and on up the the top.  It has been as high as $280 some summers, but we've figured out how to manage our air conditioner usage to keep it below that.  Also, we have window units, not central air.  This is one of the many joys (heh) of living in 93-year-old house.

Usually, we have one window unit downstairs on all the time, and two upstairs that I turn on for nap time and bed time.  This summer has be HOT.  A real scorcher, even by DC standards.  This means there have been weeks where I've had all our window units on all the time.  I expected our electric bill to be through the roof.

I braced myself for the August bill, usually our highest bill.  $163.  !!!  I was shocked.  Last August our electric bill was $230, and we definitely used more AC this year than last year.  I checked, and our usage is down by more than 200 units over this time last year!  Now it is true that we conserve.  We keep lights off during the day, unplug appliances that we are not using, only run the dishwasher once a day, wash most of our clothes in cold water (though we use natural gas for heat), stuff like that.  But we haven't notched up our efforts on that front.  Just the same as we always do.

What we have done this past year is switch all of the light bulbs in our house to compact fluorescent bulbs.   We just did it gradually as the old ones died, we replaced them with CFLs and I think now we are at about 90% CFLs. That's really the only difference, the only real change we have made.

Could this be right?  Our energy usage is down by about 15%, maybe a little more (math is hard!).  Has anyone else switched to CFLs and noticed this much of difference?  I think it is pretty dramatic.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I think this is possible

My kids have been annoying me.  More than usual.  Like, usually they whine and I'm like, "Okay, Whiny McWhinepants, if you can tell me what you need without whining, you got it!" or "Whineville called and they want their whining back" or "Lets get out of Whinetown and use our regular voices, okay?" This works surprisingly well.  They think I'm funny.  I've even caught Oscar calling Miles Whiny McWhinepants one day.

But these past few days I'm like, "Oh my GOD please stop whining" or "Good lord my EARS are BLEEDING."   It could be that they are whining more, but the baseline whine around here is already pretty high.  I think I'm just more irritated by the whining because I know that in two and a half short days, I will not have to deal with their whining for almost three whole days.  THREE WHOLE DAYS.

I'm going out of town on a grown up lady weekend with my other lady friends. I plan to drink bloody mary's with breakfast, beers by the pool, wine with dinner, and not let anyone else eat off my plate.  I will not be wiping anyone else's urine off the bathroom floor or explaining why we do not play in the toilet.  No fighting over bedtime or getting dressed or eating breakfast or lunch or not having Popsicles for breakfast.  I will not have to deal with anyone laughing at me as I get increasingly frustrated or upset.  I will not have to beg and plead and fight over dinner and bath time and bed time an who's turn it is to watch what show.  The only behind I will be wiping is my own.

All I have to do is keep this dog and pony show going until 7PM Thursday night.  I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Complaints, I have a few

Is there anything worse than a summer cold?  I mean, obviously there are things worse than a summer cold, but you know what I mean.  My head, ears, nose, chest, all congested.  My throat, sore. My muscles, aching.  Complete bodily exhaustion.  It's been a week.  I'm over this.

It has been raining like the dickens here.  Not that I should complain as it has not really rained in DC since sometime in May, but it's just that this is the end of the summer and our last few weeks of the pool and we can't even go because there is pretty much thunder all day long.

Oscar has been terribly defiant and ugly lately if he does not get his way.  He's been making threats, "I'll take all your stuff and throw it in the trash!"   "I'm just going to throw things on the floor!" "I"m going to scream until you let me XXX!" He's also been physical, intentionally scratching or trying to squeeze our hands until it hurts.  So that has been fun. We're giving him time outs and that generally stops the behavior in the moment, but there has been not decrease in the behavior in general.  I'm hoping he's just board and ready for school to start.  I know I am.

Miles has finally decided to live up the the terrible twos.  My sweet little boy now throws temper tantrums with impressive noise and longevity over basically nothing.  Screaming, crying, throwing himself on the floor, kicking, flailing; the works! And then after about 15 or 20 minutes he just stops.  Super.

God, that was self indulgent, but I am feeling slightly better.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Camping: The evidence

Camping breakfast

Our swimming hole

The first morning at our campsite

Nelson told them to make "camping faces"

More camping faces

On our hike

Hikers

Playing around the campsite

Campfire

Dinner

Early morning camper

Miles, practicing his Nelson face


Trees, duh

Oscar and I with his first fish; he cast the line, but I reeled it in

Reeling in his first fish

First fish with Dad (we think it may have been the same exact fish)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Persepective

The end of day three of camping: 


Nelson: Fine, you guys can watch Bolt on the portable DVD player.

Oscar & Miles:  Yeah!

Jenni: So, are you really going to let them watch that movie?  Isn't the whole point of this trip to hang out together and be outside and active and stuff?

Nelson: Well, yeah, but it's just that I've been around them all day every day for the past three days.  We need a break.  Some grown up time.

Jenni: You think?

Nelson: ....

Jenni: Because I'm around them all day, everyday of every week.

Nelson: ...

Jenni: Okay?

Nelson: Yeah, okay.  I get it.

Guess who got to nap in the hammock that day all by her lonesome?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Happy campers

So, earlier this year I had word that Nelson was to take a trip to Vermont in early August and I decided that the boys and I would go on up there as well. I thought maybe we'd do some camping and some maple syrup tasting and whatever all they do up in Vermont.

Then about a month or two ago, Nelson's trip was canceled, but since I'd already requested the week off from watching Benji, and Susanne and Monica had already made alternate arrangements for his care, I decided we'd still go on a trip.  A camping trip.  Why the heck not?  That's what families do right?

Now, to be clear, this is not what my family did.  We NEVER went camping.  Not even one time.  Maybe one time in our urban backyard.  Nelson, being an Eagle Scout, has camped many, many times.  He's quite an experienced camper.  He and I went a few times post college and I did not hate it, but that was back in what Nelson refers to as my "cosmopolitan days" so I was more into going out for beers than sleeping in tents.

Nelson had done some yard camping with the boys and they liked it so I was like, "Let's go on an enormous camping trip and see how that works out." That's kind of how I do things.  I'm a fly by the seat of my pants kind of gal.  My husband, being married to me and all, fully signed on to my proposal without a hint of concern or nay saying.  He was like, "Yes, lets do that."

We did not want to go all the way up to Vermont, but we did want to head north, out of the terrible 100+ degree temps we'd been enduring here in DC.  I decided Western Mass would be the place - less than a day's drive, and close to family so we could do some visiting.  We'd planned to camp for three nights and then do a hotel for two, but the more I though about it the more I just waned to camp for the full five nights.

Nelson though we could do it, but we decided to play it by ear.  If the first three nights went well, we'd go for two more.

(What Nelson failed to tell me at the planning of the trip was that he had three (THREE!!!!) papers due August 1.  That's a lot of papers.  However, he got them all finished before we left and he told me it was the first time in recent memory that he had not been working on papers up to the wire.  It meant that I had to do all the camping preparations myself, but who are we kidding?  I'd have been in charge the prep work anyways.)

The drive up went not so great.  It should have taken us around seven hours and it took closer to nine thanks to traffic in New York (is there ever not traffic in that godforsaken place?) The last 20 minutes of the trip, Miles was screaming, "Let me out! Let me out!" and I was feeling that, too.

But we got there, and my sister's dad was waiting for us and helped us set up camp and it was awesome.  We had a great time.  Delicious campfire dinner (chicken, potatoes, asparagus), s'mores, sleeping bags.  It was a bit difficult for them to get to sleep that first night, but that got better once the novelty of sleeping in a tent wore off.

We had no cell phone reception.  That was just fine, though we did have to drive down the mountain so Nelson could check that his papers had been received, but we needed to go down for ice anyways.

Back to camping.  The weather was gorgeous - highs around 82, lows around 60.  We hiked; we swam in rivers and lakes; Oscar caught his first fish; we visited family; we showered in camp showers (well, some of us did); we fished; we slept in a tent; we climbed to the summit of a mountain (okay it was a mountain in name only, but we're okay with that); we played in the woods; we poked toads.  We camped our faces off, and it was great.

We did the full five nights, but I have to say four would have been enough.  It's not that they were tired of camping, but the boys were ready to come home.  They missed TV and their toys.  They last day, all they wanted to do was watch Bolt and whine.  But the rest of the trip had gone so well, it was okay.  The first three nights, there weren't even any bugs.  We were too high up or something.  (There were lots of bugs at our second site, but there were plenty of other redeeming factors.)

And I loved it.  I did not expect to love it, but I did.  I loved sleeping in the tent, waking to birds singing, being outside all day long with my family.  I even liked fishing!  So, we are officially campers.  I'm working on planning another (shorter and closer) trip for September, and maybe one for October.

Here's a photo of the family at the summit of Thumper Mountain.  Thumper is not a very tall mountain, but the hike up is rated as strenuous, (even more so with small children, I might add) and it was quite steep and challenging in places, so I'm proud and thankful we all made it with no injuries and in good humor.  I'll post more later this week.

Our first (very tiny) mountain summit!

The boys at the summit of Thumper Mountain.  I was hovering to the left, sure they would plummet to their deaths.

This sign gave me heart palpitations.  The drop was huge.

The view from Thumper Mountain


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Conversations while driving

Somewhere in the Berkshires


Nelson: How many times do you think they've watched Bolt on this trip?

Jenni: I don't know.  A million.

Nelson: I feel like after this trip I want to sit down and actually watch the movie, since I know all the words by heart at this point.

Jenni: Yeah, me too.  Oh, here it comes, the John Travolta/Miley Cirus duet.

Nelson: I guess John Travolta can sing?

Jenni: OF COURSE HE CAN SING!  HELLO?!  Have you ever seen Grease?

Nelson: Riiiight.

Jenni: He sang all in that movie. It's a musical!

Nelson: John Travolta's done a lot of stuff.

Jenni: He really does have a broad range of work.  Saturday Night Fever.  Grease.

Nelson: Broken Arrow.  That was a good one.

Jenni: Those Look Who's Talking movies.  Comedies! Oh, and Pulp Fiction.

Nelson: That one with the faces?  Face Off?

Jenni: Yes!  And there was that weird alien move?  What was that called?

Nelson: John Travolta was in an alien movie?

Jenni: Yeah, he wore all that make up.  Battlestar Galactica?

Nelson: He was in Battlestar Galactica?

Jenni: No, no...Battlefield Earth, that L. Ron Hubbard movie?

Nelson: Oh, right that Scientology guy.

Jenni: I don't care what anyone says, I liked that movie.

Nelson: Did people not like it?

Jenni: I don't know, but I did.

Nelson: I'll have to watch it.

Jenni: You should.

*****************

Somewhere outside of NYC, listening to a local reggae station


Nelson: Ha ha, did you hear that?

Jenni: What?

Nelson: The DJ, she just cut into the song.  There, she did it again!

Jenni: She's singing the song!

DJ: I bet you didn't know I could sing.

Nelson: That's so funny.

Jenni: That is funny.

Song continues


Jenni: Is this a reggae song about Baltimore?

Nelson: It is.

Jenni: Wow. I had no idea.

Nelson: Me either.

Song continues.  Three or four minutes elapse.


Nelson: Is this still the same song?

Jenni: I think so.

Nelson: I think this is a different song.

Jenni: Nelson, they are still singing about Baltimore.  How many reggae songs about Baltimore could there possible be?

Nelson: I don't know.

Jenni: I guess if there is one there could be two.  But I think this is the same song.

Nelson: I think you're right.

**************

Somewhere in Western MA


Nelson: So, did you boys like camping?

Oscar & Miles: Yeah!

Nelson: Should we go camping again?

Oscar & Miles: Yeah!

Jenni: Oscar, what was your favorite part about camping?

Oscar: Roasting marshmallows.

Jenni: Miles, what was your favorite part about camping?

Miles: Uncle Butch [My uncle we visited on our trip.]

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

RTT: Dogs, dryers, and deranged cleaning ladies

Hey! I'm guesting over at Second Blooming today.  Check it out.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Baby, it's hot outside

We've had some record breaking heat these past few days in my neck of the woods.  You may have heard. DC is a freaking sauna.  When I was driving home from the grocery store at 11am on Saturday and according to my van the temperature outside was 101 degrees.  ELEVEN in the morning.

It is so hot, and so humid.  It's feels like walking around in hot, wet clothes.  And the pool?  Bath water.  It's still refreshing, but not nearly enough.

We were at the pool last Thursday and the kids swam in the water for two entire hours, and then they were playing in the sandboxes.  After less than 30 minutes, they were beet read and the sweat was just pouring off their little foreheads.  I still had to practically drag them home.

We're going up north for some camping next week and I'm looking forward to some milder temperatures, going to bed early, and being outdoors with the boys.  I have a lot of bear related anxiety, but Nelson is an Eagle Scout so that has to count for something.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mountain time

You guys, we just got back from a trip to the Smoky Mountains with Becky and let me tell you, sometimes real life disappoints.  In addition to meeting her very cute and brilliant children, the famous, Hank and Laura (and our kids got on famously), we got to meet her parents who just may be the most hospitable, charming and just plain likable people I've ever had the pleasure of imposing on for several days.  Her dad kept apologizing for the view, which he claims was not at it's best.  It looked pretty good to me:

After three days of this, my neighbor's slightly rundown Victorian is just not doing it for me.
And her mom made us grits, you guys!  Nelson's favorite part of the weekend was the tubing.  Mine was meeting Becky's parents.  We chatted about books, and politics, and unions, and public education, with a gorgeous backdrop. You know how sometimes you meet people and you just know they are "your people?"  It was like that.  They are my people, man.  Seriously, if you are in the market for new parents, you should check out Becky's folks.  They're good ones.

As if our weekend wasn't great enough, when we got to my in-laws to pick up our dog on Monday, we left Oscar for the night.

Today I'm doing my regular stuff - laundry, vacuuming, dusting, buying pants and underwear for my husband, going to the post office. It seems quite non glamorous after a weekend of tubing, cocktails, hot tubbing, cocktails, late nights and long chats, but it's still a good life.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Let me tell you who I am not

I am not:

...the person who peels corn in the grocery store, looking for the perfect ears to take home, and pretty much blocking all other grocery store patrons from procuring corn.

...the person who tries to make it through a yellow light every time.

...the person who asks to skip in line at the grocery store because I only have like three items when you have ten.

...the person who smokes cigarettes around small children.

...the person who gets pedicures on the reg.

...the person who remembers birthdays.

...the person who gets thank you notes out on time.

...the person that yells at her kids in public.

...the person with a funny-smelling minivan.

...the person who cannot laugh at him/herself.

...the person who returns library books late.

...the person who does not return library books at all.

...the person who thinks that she is a better parent than you.

...the person who takes things too seriously.

...the person who is friends with all the moms at the nursery school.

...the person who will allow her kids to be bullied.

...the person who is the skinny, pretty mom.

...the person who always remembers to be thoughtful.

...the person who always says the right things at the right times.

...the person with a spotless house.

...the person who jaywalks.

...the person who always practices what she preaches.

...the person who gets enough sleep.

...the person with good follow through.

...the person who blames others for my own shortcomings.

...the person who stops trying.

Tell me, who are you not?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Housewifery

Here are the things I have done/will do today, in no particular order:

1) Unload/reload dishwasher
2) Arrange play date for Oscar
3) Coordinate weekly playgroup
4) Pack it up and head to the pool (possibly twice, weather and children depending)
5) Call pest control (ants) and schedule visit
6) Pull together non-perishables for food drive at Nelson's work
7) 2-3 loads of laundry
8) Fix lunches/snacks
9) Plan & prepare dinner
10) Entertain/care for children (playing with them, dressing them, changing diapers, etc.)
11) Light house work - picking up, dusting, crumb wiping, bed making, etc.
12) Water/harvest garden if necessary
13) Pay the car payment

This is just how I spend my day, my basic housewifery.  My motions, if you will.  I recognize that this is not earth shattering, exciting stuff that involves deep thinking or strategics, but it is the important stuff that keeps my family plugging along each week. But, I have to tell you, I love this stuff, all these little tasks that push things along.  Little accomplishments all day long.  It suits me. 

What about you?  Your daily grind?  Do you love it?  Hate it?  Gimmie the painfully boring deets.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The time that Oscar's school lost him and they kind of lied to me about it but eventually told the truth

You guys, I can't believe I have not told you this story!  I had to dig back through my archives to make sure, but nope, I did not tell you about that one time Oscar's school lost him and they kind of fibbed about what happened and then the next day told me the whole truth and apologized profusely.

So, this incident happened on St. Patrick's Day (this is important), so way back when in March.  During lunch bunch (LB), Oscar ate his lunch and then promptly fell asleep (the LB room shared spaced with the library, which had a rug and lots of pillows.)  He's fallen asleep during LB a couple of times, usually when he gets up too early or stays up late the night before.  He is a child who needs is 12 hours.

Anyway, so LB is an hour long; they eat lunch for 30 minutes and then they go outside to the playground for 30 minutes, or into the gymnasium if the weather is poor.  This particular day, the weather was fantastic.  So fantastic that the kids did not even need jackets, so probably in the 60s at least.

Okay, so flash forward to my pick up of Oscar.  I parked along the back of the playground per usual and hopped out of the car to snatch up my boy.  One of the teachers, Mrs. B, came over with Oscar and gave me his bag and said to me something like (I do not recall her exact, exact words, but this is the gist), "Oscar fell asleep during lunch bunch today, but when he woke up, Mrs. T [the director of the school] brought him out to the playground."

Now, I thought this was a little strange.  As I've said before, Oscar has fallen asleep during LB on other occasions and they always wake him up to take him outside or to the gym or whatever.  It seemed a little off to me that they'd leave my 3.5-year-old asleep and unattended in the LB room.  Now, Mrs. T's office is right across from the LB room so I thought, "Maybe they asked Mrs. T to watch him? Maybe he would not wake up?" But it would be strange for Oscar not to wake up; he's good about that.

So I'm quickly thinking all these things, but I also have Miles and Benji in the car behind me and while they are only a few yards away and not going to perish in these two minutes I'm taking to grab Oscar, I really don't like leaving them and I'm feeling rushed to get back to them, so I just say, "Oh, okay, thanks," and hustle Oscar to the car.

Once I have Oscar strapped in, I begin grilling him.

"So, you fell asleep during lunch bunch?"

"Yes."

"Do you feel okay?"

"Yes."

"What happened when you woke up?"

"Everyone was gone, and Mrs. T. heard me turning a doorknob and brought me outside."

"Was the door to the lunch bunch room closed?" (?!?!?!?)

"No."

"What doorknob were you turning, buddy?"

"...."

"Were you afraid when you woke up and everyone was gone?"

"Yeah, I was a little bit nervous."

"But then Mrs. T got you and took you outside and you feel fine?"

"Yes and I played and played!"

"Okay."

After this conversation it still was not very clear to me what happened and I decide to talk with Mrs. T myself in the morning to try and get to the bottom of things.  I mean, clearly Oscar was fine, but I just wanted to know what happened, and to let them know that I was not comfortable with them leaving him asleep in the lunch bunch room by himself.  I was not angry or anything, but that's just not okay and I wanted to be clear with them that it was not okay.

The next morning I take Oscar in for drop off and before I got a chance to go visit with Mrs. T, another of the teachers, Mrs. W, came up to me and said, "Can I speak with you in private for a moment?  We had an incident with Oscar yesterday and I just want to clarify what what exactly happened."

This made me nervous.  Before she and I even started talking, I knew that what I had been told had happened, had not really happened, and that made sense to me because really, they would never have left a kid unattended, even if he were sleeping.  Their whole job is to attend to him (and the other kids); they would not just leave him.  Of course not.

So, nervous.

"As you know, we had an incident with Oscar yesterday and I just wanted to make sure you know exactly what happened."

"Okay..."

"Oscar was feeling sleepy during lunch bunch, so he went over to the pillows and took a nap. We woke him up when it was time to go out to the playground and he got at the end of the line.  I was leading the line out to the playground and Mrs. B was at the back of the line.  Before we got outside, she had to turn around because we forgot someone's bag.  When she got back out and we counted the kids, one was missing."

"Oscar."

And the Mrs. W (who also has a daughter in Oscar's class) started tearing up.

"Yes, but we did not know he was the one who was missing because.."

"All the kids were wearing green because of St. Patrick's Day."

"Right, so we couldn't immediately tell who was gone.  Mrs. B when back in to find him and he was with Mrs. T and Mrs. H (who is Oscar's teacher).  When Oscar saw Mrs. B turn around to get the bag, he must have followed her and slipped into the bathroom.  She never even knew he was back there, and he had not finished before she came out again.  Then she put down the bag and we did the count and were missing one.  She came right back in.  He was only lost for a minute."

Here is where I finally realized that there was a period of time where no on in the world knew where my child was and what he was doing.

"So, he was alone."

"Yes, only for a few minutes.  When Mrs. B told me what she told you, I just felt sick about it; I'm so sorry.  I'm so, so sorry.  I have little ones too and I know you trust us with them..."

She felt so bad, and I felt so bad.

"It's okay."

"No, it's really not."

"I know, but I understand.  He can be so quiet, and he slips away so easily.  He was probably confused because he'd just woken up and though he was following Mrs. B to the bathroom.  It happens. He is okay."

We made these noises for a few more minutes and I left.  I'm not sure why I was not livid with her for losing my kid.  Maybe because I know she's a mom too and I could tell how awful she felt, or maybe because he really was okay and it's not like they were being neglectful; it was an accident.

At pick up that day, I let the boys play in the playground for a while, and the director, Mrs. T, came out to talk to me as well.

"I heard a doorknob rattling and I came out to check and he was standing at the end of the hallway.  At the same time Mrs H saw his bunny poking around the corner and said to [the fours teacher] 'I think that's one of my little guys.'"

"Thank you for finding him."

"No, I'm just sorry it happened.  I want you to know we've changed how we do the count so this won't happen again. We're now counting them before they go out and again once they are outside."

"That's good, I'm glad to hear that. It's okay; he can slip away like that."

"Mrs. H said he's usually does not."

"I talked to him about it yesterday, and he seemed okay." [Before I really knew what happened, of course.]

"He was pretty nervous when I found him.  He was chewing on his bunny's paw."

"Was he crying?"

"No, but he was upset."

We chatted for a few more moments and then that was that.  All in all, I think everything is fine.  These things happen and the school took steps to ensure that it would not happen again.  I'm happy with that resolution.  Oscar and I talked about it a little more, and I made sure he knew that he should tell someone if he is going to the bathroom, and should never go off by himself.

What seems weird to me is that Mrs. B kind of lied to me when she told me what happened that first day.  Or, at the very least omitted certain key facts.  And I guess I should be really angry about this, but honestly I just chalk it up to human nature.  She was nervous and she felt responsible.  She either did not want me to be angry or did not want to get into trouble, so she misconstrued the facts.  I'm not happy about that, but I don't think she is a bad person or even a bad teacher.  On the contrary; she's great with the kids and Oscar loves her.  He trusts her; that's why he followed her back into the school.

I guess I should have address the lying issue with Mrs. T, but I just really felt like they knew what had happened and they would take care of it appropriately, even though a small part of me wants to know how they resolved things with Mrs. B.  They probably would not have told me that even if I had asked.

That's the whole story right there.