Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Trick or Wait

We seem to be spending our Halloween waiting around the house. The furnace is still being installed, we are still waiting for the exterminator to come get rid of the bees, and we are waiting for M to arrive home so the festivities can begin.

I can't say I am complaining, as Halloween ranks up there with Valentines Day in my book of least favorite holidays, but it IS a nice day and it would have been a good park or bike day. On the upside, I have gotten a lot of knitting done on Christmas presents for various nephews and nieces.

I also hope we gets lots trick or treaters, as if I have to eat all this candy, I will never ever fit into my skinny jeans ever again. Although I did hide the Kit Kats in the emergency stash.

Happy Halloween to everyone!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Guilty pleasure

While I was still in the workforce, one of my guilty pleasures was taking a day off and sitting on the couch in the morning watching the Today Show, Regis and what's her name, and Rosie. I would sip coffee and hot chocolate while still in my pajamas, and relish in being a couch potato. I would never admit that this was how I spent my vacation day, especially when I was working at the university. But I would plot and plan my vacation days to include at least a few of these a year, preferably during the holiday season.

In recent years my days off have been few and far between (really, nonexistent) and the few hours that I may have without both kids in two are generally spent racing around town accomplishing all the things that are a pain to do with kids. But tomorrow, both children will be in school until 11:45. I am going to be trapped in the house while the furnace gods install my new furnace and the exterminator gets rid of the bees swarming our attic. And I have every intention of being one with my couch and the Today Show, followed by Regis and what's her name and the first half of Ellen. I have my favorite mug sitting on the counter already, and am stocked up on decaf coffee and cocoa. I can't wait. Although I think for everyone's sake I will be in my jeans.


So I have three posts going right now that I can't seem to finish. I have somehow developed a blogging perfectionism complex, which is seriously hampering my ability to click the publish button. So I'll save myself the agony and just sum things up for you.

  • The clock change is kicking our respective tushies. I didn't do my usual planning, which generally involves weeks of gradually shifting bed and mealtime, so we had to go cold turkey on Sunday. The results have not been pleasant. A has been trying to put herself to bed since about 4:30 this afternoon.
  • Our new furnace is arriving at 8am tomorrow morning. Just in time for the heat wave we are expecting. 70 degrees in November? You have got to be kidding me. But I suppose I will be very grateful to the nice men come Friday, when it isn't supposed to make it out of the 40's.
  • I fully expect to be whining about some illness to be named later early next week. Our run of bad luck coupled with drastic weather shifts will inevitable lead to illness.
  • I need to start menu planning again. I hit the grocery store every single day last week, and still had issues pulling together a decent dinner. But we have expanded the kids' dinner repertoire to include spaghetti and meatballs. Or at least spaghetti. Both kids claimed they loved the meatballs, but somehow they were all full after picking through and eating every strand of spaghetti.
  • C's Monday Morning News today was that babies come out of mommies' vaginas. I told you I was going to be the mommy who got called out for teaching the preschool set about the birds and the bees. I have yet to get a phone call, but it is only a matter of minutes, I am sure. Thank goodness for caller id.
  • Another close friend is headed off to England. I'm starting to think that it's me.
  • Speaking of dinner, I have to go figure out what I am serving M tonight. I think it will be quick shrimp broil, if I can find the frozen shrimp I swear are in the freezer someplace.

Friday, October 27, 2006

I need a karma infusion

OK, so now I'm laughing. A maniacal, verging on "commit me" laugh. Just as I was putting dinner on the table for the kids, I got a phone call from a former neighbor asking if I knew that there was a car wrapped around the tree in the front lawn of our old house. Uh, no. No, I didn't. And really, I didn't want to know. A car. Abandoned. On the property of a house we are trying to sell. Several shrubs. Toast. Several paver stones. Scattered around the lawn. Several tire gouges. Imbedded in the lawn and stone drive. No, I didn't need to know any of that.

Several hours later, I am in the possession of a case number that will grant me access to a police report that may or may not be ready by next Tuesday. Once we have the police report, we can pursue an insurance claim, assuming that the owner of said car had insurance. Until then, I wish the real estate agent luck in trying to convince people to buy the house. Would YOU buy a house that is a car magnet? Yeah. I didn't think so.

I don't know what else to say. I really don't. So I think I am just going to keep laughing that maniacal laugh until someone commits me. Because really, I'm starting to think that a little pharmaceutical intervention might be in order.

Date Night

There is a rocking date night planned here at Chez J-E. Some dinner, some wine, and two laptops crunching numbers trying to figure out how much money we will lose renting the old house versus how much we will lose by reducing the price yet again. Ahhh. Romance at its finest.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Overheard at Preschool Pickup

At preschool pick-up today...

C's Teacher: "He's a real pistol, isn't he?"

Chichimama: "Ummm..."

C's Teacher: "He has a VERY active imagination."

Chichimama: "Yes he does."

C's teacher: "Well, have a good weekend then."

Chichimama: "You too..."

So, consensus. Do you think being a "real pistol" is a good thing or a bad thing? I was a little unclear.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled blog

Blogger beta did bad, bad things to haloscan. Thank God for that revert button. I think I will get myself a phantom blog to try and figure this out.

For now, enjoy the old look :-).

Don't get used to it

Please excuse the blog look. I made the HUGE mistake of starting this in the am while the kiddos were up. This is NOT the look I was going for, but now I have to go make breakfast. So I'll have to regroup at bedtime. Don't mind me, I'm just trying to ignore the fact that I have no heat.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I swear this will never, ever be funny

You know how the furnace guy was coming today to do the annual furnace inspection? And I made that joke about a furnace older than I am? Turns out, the furnace actually IS older than I am. By a lot. And that furnace? Kicks carbon monoxide into the house. And those carbon monoxide alarms I bought? They don't seem to work. I guess the upside is that my miserly ways saved us all from carbon monoxide poisoning. The downside? We are going to be very cold for the next several days and we have to buy a new furnace and carbon monoxide detectors.

Oh, and the hot water heater? It's, well, not so hot. But we might get a year out of it. Or it might croak tomorrow. God, I just LOVE home ownership.

The only way is up

So apparently, I have been wrong for years. Or else I have grown an inch over the last few decades. At my physical today, my doctor informed me that I am actually 5'4"! Which means that technically, I don't have to lose weight after all as I am barely on the right side of normal according to the BMI chart. Go me! Now where is that Halloween candy?

I have to tell you, that really perked me up. Of course, it still doesn't explain why I still need to hem petite jeans, but we won't go there.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Groomzilla, I challenge thee

Groomzilla, I'll do it if you'll do it. Think of it as my gift to your novel-writing muse....


So does anyone know anything about "Boo" etiquette? Yesterday we got "booed" by someone, I don't know who. I guess that's the point, but really, how am I supposed to reciprocate if I don't know who I am supposed to be thanking for the lovely bag of candy goodies and spooky flashlights for the kids?

I've been sneaking peaks at all the neighbors windows, and see no evidence of other "boo" activities. So I have no clue if this is really a neighborhood "thing" or if one family is trying to start a "boo" thing, or if I was totally wrong and the "boo" bag came from someone else like Lovely Friend.

So what do I do here? Do I "boo" two neighbors? Do I "boo" two friends? Do I play dumb and "boo" no one? Apparently actually living in a neighborhood is much more complicated than I had originally envisioned. We are already dreading the holiday season...

BB Pellets for the early am

  • We all have a low grade sniffle and cough. Which sounds suspiciously like it is going someplace. I so hate it when you have a few days warning that illness is descending. Like the time I got the phone call from a friend about the fact her son had thrown up on C on a playdate. That was a fun time.
  • You want to know how I know the cold is going someplace? Because it is 65 degrees in my house, and I keep shivering and wanting to turn the heat on. AND I am wrapped in my fluffy blanket.
  • This is why I hate the fall and winter months. The constant wait for the next illness. Because as soon as you are over one, you just know there is another waiting in the wings.
  • I have no long-sleeved tee shirts. Before the move, I purged my closet and figured I would replace all of my ratty clothes at Old Navy, and then when I actually went there, there were no plain old tee-shirts to be found. None. There were sparkles and cowl necks, and these strange gathered things that I can't imagine would look good on an almost 35 year old, but no plain old tee shirts.
  • On the upside, while linking to all those fashion disasters, I DID find plain old tee-shirts on the website.
  • On the downside, tomorrow the furnace guy is coming to inspect the furnace. And I'm not buying any tee shirts until then, because the furnace is many, many years older than I, and if my doctor insists that I am middle-aged, then I can only imagine what my furnace will be called. Hopefully not toast.
  • I still can't find the camera. But before M heads off this am, I am going to try to remember to ask him if he knows. If not, I did find the video camera, and just maybe I will learn how to use YouTube. If only YouTube had been around when I was an aspiring television and film major. I spent a good while last night checking out the work of the students at my alma-mater. Too bad I can't offer any of them a job...unless they want to babysit.
  • I need a pillow for my blogging chair. My back is killing me. Big comfy chairs were not actually designed for short people.

  • I hate Monday mornings. I have to go rally the troops for breakfast and school. Gah. I should have done afternoon pre-school.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Last week the kids and I ventured to the library so C could attend story (half) hour. He disappeared into the story room, and A and I did every puzzle in the library several times over. For some reason, while she won't touch the 40 billion puzzles in our playroom, at the library the puzzles are a major draw. But I was finally able to bribe her into accompanying me to the adult section with a stack of new Dora books to peruse while tucked under the water bubbler. I picked out this book, and so far it is fabulous. Then I added this one and this one, as how many books sitting in your Amazon cart can you actually ever find on the shelves of the library? Clearly the library gods were telling me it was time to pick up the pace. As we passed the travel section, I picked up a few books on London as well, so I could show C and A where Julia and Evan are now spending their days. At the circulation desk, the librarian stopped us and handed over this baby, which I hope to take for a test drive this afternoon.

Just as A started terrorizing the patrons and I began wondering if story (half) hour would ever end, the children emerged, each carrying a coloring page and a book. One by one they bolted to their caregivers, full of news about the itsy-bitsy spider and Georgie the Ghost. But as A and I stood there with our piles of books, a little concerned about the whereabouts of C, a small figure stumbled out with only his eyes visable over the collection of early readers gathered in his arms. The librarian trailed behind, picking up the droppage. She finally spied us, and steered C over. As she eyed my pile and C's pile, she laughed. "I see he comes by it honestly. We generally don't let the kids take out this many books from the story hour room, but he was so engrossed in them all..."

I gathered up C's books with my own and thanked her, while C literally buried his nose in a book and started walking towards the door, running into several other patrons on the way. He handed over the book under protest at the scanner, and then quickly snatched it back and curled up in a chair with it while waiting for A and I to finish checking out the rest of our finds. I have to say, it perked up an otherwise dreary parenting week. Now if only he would learn how to actually read the book himself....

Friday, October 20, 2006

Overheard at Bedtime

A: "I want to sleep in the hallway!"

Mommy: "No, we sleep in our rooms."

A: "But I used to sleep in the hallway!"

Mommy: "Well, the rules have changed and now we sleep in our rooms. Not the hallway."

C: "A, she does that sometimes."

A: "Oh."

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The ultimate chili

Tonight, I think I finally perfected my chili. So for all those chili lovers out there, here is my recipe. It has been a seven or eight year work in progress, but tonight it got the "Ymmm" of approval from M while he shoveled it into his mouth at the stove.

Chichimama's Chili

1 lb lean ground turkey (optional)
2 green peppers, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 to 4 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoons oregano
2 (28 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 bottle chili sauce
1 cup dry white wine (optional)
2 15 oz cans kidney beans
1 15 oz can cannellini beans (2 if omitting the meat)
1 can tomato paste

Stir fry the ground turkey until cooked through in a large dutch oven. Remove from pan and drain grease. Add onion, pepper, garlic jalapeno, oregano, chili powder and cumin. Stir fry 5 min or until pepper is crisp/tender. Add tomatoes, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, chili sauce and wine. Simmer for at least 20 minutes, but I usually let it go for an hour plus. Add the beans and tomato paste (if you like a thicker chili like I do). Simmer for an additional 5 - 10 minutes. Sprinkle with Mexican cheese (or cheddar) and serve.

This makes a vat, so be prepared to freeze some. And it tastes even better after being frozen.

Overheard during quiet time

C: "Mommy, I want to talk to Julia on the typing phone."

Mommy: "The what?"

C: "The typing phone. You know, like when you type on the computer to Rebecca and she types back and then my name appears."

Mommy: "You mean Google Talk?"

C: "I guess so. Here, let me show you."

Mommy: "How did you know how to open that?

C: (shurgs) "I dunno. I just knew."

Mommy: "Huh. Do you know how to fix the printer too?"

C: "Not yet, but give me a few minutes. I can figure it out."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Shopping assistance needed

Why is it that they don't make hats for kids over the age of two with ear flaps? Has anyone seen one anywhere? I was finally able to purchase C a jacket on Ebay at a reasonable price as I just refuse to pay full price for a winter jacket, but now I can't find a hat that isn't camouflage, which I refuse to buy on principle. The few that I do find he'll never keep on his head. I want ear flaps. He's never going to keep a scarf on, and quite honestly, it's a hazard at the playground.

BTW, the new spell checker on Beta? Fabu. If you need spell checker like I do, it is totally worth the switch.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I caved and moved to Beta. I couldn't resist the labels. But looks! Haloscan, my blogroll, and all three of my doohickys made the move with no assistance on my part! I procrastinated long enough that they figured it out for me!

Look out for flying labels...

Settling in

Chaos is slowly being restored to our lives. When I leave in the morning, the breakfast dishes are in the sink and the beds are unmade. If the toys are out in the playroom, oh well. Life is good. Except the chaos bothers me more than it used to. Not enough so that I am inspired to DO anything about it, but enough so a little voice over my shoulder sometimes whispers "Wasn't it NICE to walk into a clean house?" I then promptly swat that little voice away with a big booming "But I was a B-I-T-C-H on wheels to my kids, and that was no fun either."

Beyond the chaos, we seem to be slowing settling into our new home and routines. After several retrievals from the old house, Dumb Cat seems to have figured out where the people now live, and returns after his jaunts around town. Although he insists on howling to be let in at the front door, which means I only hear him if I am walking upstairs and he seems less than enthused about the back door for reasons that are clear only to him.

The kids alternate between "We love the new house" and "We miss the old house," which is only to be expected I suppose. I just wish they would start sleeping for longer than two hours a clip. The toys are all back out, and several old favorites have been rediscovered. Like the Legos and puzzles, which disappeared with the arrival of the for sale sign, as who has time to pick up 500 Legos and sort fifteen puzzles when someone is about to arrive on your doorstep?

M has flown off to, well, someplace, as tis the season to travel. Except right now he is trapped at Newark, because it is raining and Newark doesn't seem to like to send planes up in the air when it rains. But when he is in residence he is wallowing in the joy of a fully networked house and a screened porch that keeps the bugs at bay.

I've been battling with the various appliances, most notabley the microwave and I have yet to have a meeting of the minds. I need to get pointers from Rebecca on cook times as I think it is the same brand as she used to have. I LOVE the new range, I can actually control the burner heat instead of having "super hot" and "off." The oven, however, seems to be quirky. I think I actually need to dig out the manual as there are several buttons that are not self-explanatory, and the two meals I have tried to cook in there have turned out dismally. Clearly I am missing some critical piece of information, like how to actually get it to turn on. The dishwasher and drier rock, they both take half the time as our old ones saving both time and money. Whirlpool is my new favorite brand folks.

I know I promised pictures, but the camera is among the missing items yet to be discovered. Perhaps tomorrow it will be found as I actually need to pick up for A's little playgroup who are arriving to inspect the house with furniture and toys. Although these people know me well enough now that I don't really feel obligated to pick up for them. Except, well, I do because I'm compulsive that way. But I like to THINK that I won't pick up for them. Ahem.

So hopefully in a few days things will return to as close to normal as possible, and I might have enough brain cells regenerate to be able to whip out a decent post. Or, I'll just continue in my current vein until I throw up my hands and start posting random pictures of the cats.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

May I introduce you to my new favorite activity?

The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest. I spend my whole week writing captions. I have yet to win, but if I do you'll be the first to know! Try it, you too can waste hours trying to be witty.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Baby it's cold inside

M and I had some hope that the new house was going to be warmer than the old one. It IS a century and a half older.... But based on how cold it was downstairs this morning, I'm thinking that we were wrong on this one. Apparently the lovely windows that let in all the light? They also let in the cold. Not that I am complaining, I'll take cold and light over cold and dark any day.

It was actually cold enough that I went to check my blog from last year to find out when I caved and turned the heat on in the house. Apparently I have a ways to go. And apparently my blogging was as uninspired last year as it is this one. It was amazing to see how much A's hair has grown though. But that swimsuit? She still wears it. Complete with pajamas.

Friday, October 13, 2006

But wait! A door prize!

In my unpacking frenzy, I apparently scratched my cornea. So there will be no pictures for a few days, currently my world is crystal clear on the left and bizarrely blurry and multi-colored on the right and looking through the viewfinder made me dizzy. The eye doctor assured me I should be back to some semblance of normal by Monday, which is a good thing as if I can't drive C to preschool and let the teachers bear the brunt of his excitement and stress-induced frenzy for a few hours, I will be doing a lot more than scratching my eye out...

Old habits, new space

Apparently I am going to have to change my blogging habits in the new house. I used to blog standing up with my computer on top of the TV cabinet. It drove M nuts, he would see me standing there even after the kids went to bed and insist that I sit on the couch. I didn't have anything against the couch, it was just a pain to unplug my computer and plug it in someplace else, and my battery doesn't hold a charge well. I also liked to delude myself into believing that I might be burning a few extra calories by shifting from foot to foot and doing calf raises so I could see the screen a bit better (hey, a girl can dream).

But the family room in the new house (how long before it is just home?) is much smaller, and the TV cabinet is wedged into a corner leaving no room for me or my laptop. Plus, the armchair is conveniently located next to a plug and a large window overlooking the backyard. So here I sit. And it feels, well, not quite right. And there definitely needs to be a side table of some sort so I have someplace to put my coffee. Right now it is precariously perched on the window sill, and the cat is bound to knock it over in the next few minutes.

I know I will get used to my new blogging space and learn to love it. What's not to like about sitting down, right? But I'll miss all those extra calories burned...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

And we're in...

We are moved. I hate junk boxes. Hate. Them. I have spent the last 3 hours wandering around the house with random articles wondering where I could possible stash them. Remind me that the birthday candles are in the hall closet, OK? Thanks...

Anyway, the kids rooms are totally unpacked, the rest of the house is a disaster. Although our phone and wireless is working, so life isn't all bad. I'll try to post some pics tomorrow. Right now it all feels rather surreal to see furniture in a house that we have hung out in empty for so long.

Now where did I stash the sushi menu....

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Meme meme, meme meme

Gwynnethe over at one of my new reads tagged me for this one. And since it is T-minus 36 hours to the move, a meme is about the right speed for me! I have a vague suspicion that I still own someone else a meme, if it is you, let me know and I'll jump right to it! Not that I am procastinating or anything...

1. What is your occupation? CHO (Chief Home Officer) in case you haven't bothered to read my profile..

2. What color are your socks right now? Black, grey and aqua stripped. I like funky socks since I spend most of my day shoeless.

3. What are you listening to right now? A calling me from the top of the stairs "IS quiet time OVER yet? HELLO?? HEL-LO?" Oh, and Blues Too Much by the John Mehegan Trio.

4. What was the last thing that you ate? A Veggie Delite sandwich from Subway. Today was A and my girl's lunch out since C ate at school.

5. Can you drive a stick shift? It is my preferred mode of transportation. Although right now I drive an automatic.

6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Brown. Plain old brown.

7. Last person you spoke to on the phone? My real estate agent. And no, she had no good news for me.

8. Do you like the person who sent this to you? One of my new blog finds! So far so good!

9. How old are you today? 34 years, 10 months.

10. Favorite drink? caffeine Free Diet Coke

11. What is your favorite sport to watch? I don't tend to watch sports. At all. I guess college football, but only if it involves a lazy afternoon on the couch with nachos and a nap.

12. Have you ever dyed your hair? Um, I have no idea what my real color is. Really.

13. Pets? Two cats, Millie and the General (otherwise known as Lazy Cat and Dumb Cat).

14. Favorite food? Ohh, tough one. I would have to go with sushi. Closely followed by a frozen pizza.

15. What was the last movie you watched? Movie? What is this that you speak of? I think it was The Weatherman. At least that is the last one I stayed awake for...

16. What was the last book you read? Play Ball Amelia Bedelia. Oh, wait. You were talking about GROWNUP books? Umm, hold on. Oh! Right! Japanland. I highly, highly recommend.

17. What do you do to vent anger? I yell. Then I stomp my foot. Like a two year old. Yep.

18. What was your favorite toy as a child? Breyer horses. And paper dolls.

19. What is your favorite fall or spring? Fall

20. Hugs or kisses? Hugs.

21. Cherries or blueberries? Blueberries

22. Do you want your friends to email you back? With one exception, my friends don't email.

23. Living arrangements? Lost in a sea of boxes.

24. When was the last time you cried? I actually don't know. Sometime in the last few weeks, but it wasn't in the last few days at least. Now ask me when the last time I threw up my hands and exclaimed "I GIVE UP!" was...

25. What did you do last night? Ate a frozen pizza and packed boxes of random junk.

26. Favorite smells? Freshly cut grass. Bread in the oven.

27. What inspires you? I'm not one to be inspired, I must admit.

28. What are you afraid of? Dying before my kids are grownup.

29. Plain, cheese or spicy hamburgers? I don't like hamburgers. If faced with no other options, a thin one smothered in cheese and burnt to a crisp. But generally I would prefer to starve.

30. Favorite dog breed? Great Pyranese.

31. Number of keys on your key ring? HA! Let's see. New house key, old house key. Garage door key. My car key, M's car key, key to my parent's house in Maine. Keys to my old office (from four years ago). Guess it is time to clean off my key chain, huh?

32. How many years at your current job? Four and a half.

33. Favorite day of the week? Friday

34. How many states have you lived in? Three. Six if you count family summer homes and every other weekend at my dad's growing up.

35. Favorite holidays? Groundhog Day. Really. That doesn't count as a holiday? Sure it does! In fact, the kids and I have decided to throw annual Groundhog Day parties. Because who doesn't like a good party in the middle of winter?

35. Ever driven a Motorcycle or heavy machinery? Does a tractor count? I used to drive a tractor. And a pick up truck. Motorcycles scare me.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Why? Why?

Why is it that when you move, you always end up with boxes of random crap despite your best efforts to pack efficiently and by category? I have had three months to move, and yet today I found myself randomly throwing stuff into boxes because I had no idea how to categorize it. How would you deal with a drawer containing artwork, scotch tape, a screwdriver, scraps of paper with phone numbers on it, and my master's thesis (yes, I found a copy of my thesis in a kitchen drawer. Heaven help me). I can tell you what I did, dump it into a box and label it "random junk from left hand drawer in old kitchen." Hey, at least I will know where to look when I am searching for the random junk..

Yet another reason I'm not going to miss this house

It takes our dishwasher two and a half hours to run. I timed it today. That's on the normal setting, with no drying involved. And the worst part? The dished never ever get completely clean. There are always a few that have to go through again or get hand washed.

If only I could protect the innocence forever

After my cousin's wedding this weekend:

C: "Mommy, the very instant I am a grownup I am going to be married."

Mommy: "C, I'm glad you want to get married, but it might take some time for you to find the right person. It's a big commitment."

C: "Well, when I find the right girl we're going to get married. Or the right boy. I might marry a boy you know."

Mommy: "What is important is that you find someone you love C. And who loves you."

C: "I know Mommy, I know."

Saturday, October 07, 2006


Five sleeps until we move. C informed me of that fact this morning. Thanks kiddo. I don't really know how we started calling nights sleeps, except that it seemed like the easiest way to explain to C how long it was until some exciting event occurred. Apparently, the move is exciting enough to count as a sleep-worthy event.

At what age does a real concept of time kick in? C gets it, generally, but if you get over a week out it all becomes a little fuzzy. Then it is "in a long time" or "a long time ago." A is currently doing the very cute "Yesterday we will go to the party" and "Tomorrow was a lot of fun." I was sad when C finally figured out how to use time terms appropriately, and will be equally sad when A moves on. To the point that I'm not really correcting her. Hey, that's what preschool is for, right?

I also haven't worked very hard with C on learning to tell time. Mostly for my own sanity. Once he gets good at time, my mommy five minutes (or ten minutes or fifteen minutes) will have to actually approximate real time. And it will be impossible to pop the kids into bed early on nights that some sanity needs to be restored. As it is, my days in that regard are numbered. C keeps asking what time his bedtime is and I keep responding with a vague "Oh, when it is night-night time. " But apparently he needs a more specific answer for preschool sharing time next week. During which he is going to learn that the other children in the world have much later bedtimes. WHAT are those teachers thinking? Did they not have children of their own? Although I suppose that when he learns to tell time I can send him back to bed when he wakes up before the crack of dawn...

Friday, October 06, 2006

Just maybe it all is sinking in....

C: "I'm very angry with you because you won't let me pick the show."

Mommy: "You HIT your sister over the head with a drum stick. Did you really think I was going to let you pick a show?"

C: "Yes."

Mommy: "If you were the mommy, would you have let you pick?"

C: "No."

Mommy: "Well then. There you go."

C: "Fine. A can pick the show."

Overheard at the Gym

Mommy: "So C, what was your favorite part of t-ball?"

C: "The end."

Mommy: "The end? Why? Did you do a fun cheer?"

C: "No, we stopped playing. T-ball makes me too tired."

Mommy: "Oh. Um, OK. Maybe you need a better breakfast. One with protein."

C: "No, I think I need to sit on the sidelines and watch."

Whose brilliant idea was this again?

As I stand in my house staring at all of the crap that somehow needs to get boxed and moved by next Thursday, I have to just walk away and ignore it. Because really, the one-man, two small children moving company hasn't been working out so well. Sure, we got the china and most of the crystal taken care of quickly, and clapped ourselves on the back. But now, there is the book collection that rivals a small town library (and there are no built in book cases at the new house, so I'm loathe to pack up the books knowing they will sit in their boxes for months or years until we get some made). There is the antique grandfather clock my great great grandmother had shipped over from England. I'm terrified to even touch it for fear it breaks and the wrath of my family crushes me. But at least I know where that is going if I ever get up the guts to take it apart and move it.

There are the remaining toys that I think will have to be smuggled out in the cover of darkness. The contents of the laundry room and cleaning closet. And the garage. The garage makes me cry. But at least I can claim that M has to deal with than one since it is (mostly) all of his treasured possessions (cough, cough). There is the stereo system that was never hooked up after our last move. I wonder if it even works anymore after accumulating four years of dust.

To top it off, the fail-safe babysitting plan designed to make sure my children are happily distracted and entertained while the contents of their home are removed and reinstated, crumbled around my feet yesterday. Lovely friend, who has saved me more times than I can count in the few weeks since Rebecca moved across the pond, has graciously offered to save me again, and I figure the cost of the thank you gift I am going to feel obligated to place on her doorstep is going to be much greater than the cost of hiring a sitter for the day. But at least I won't have to worry about the kids getting trampled by the moving men or escaping out the front door. Offering to entertain four kids under five for eight hours. She is a saint. Really.

How do people do this? Really. I can't begin to imagine how Rebecca managed to get her whole house sorted into storage, boat, and air shipments. With her children in tow nonetheless. If I ever, ever make noises about moving again, please point me to this post. My mother keeps telling me I will be so happy once we move, but I think I would be even happier if I was committed someplace.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I'll take what I can get

Today I was able to introduce a protein source other than dairy back into my children's diet. Tofu. Oh, how I love you tofu. Even though the brand of choice can only be found at the grocery store 20 minutes from here, I will happily shlep the distance to be able to claim that my children do in fact eat protein when the pediatrician asks in November.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I have nothing against liquids but....

...today they are not my friend. This morning started off bright and early with the downstairs toilet overflowing because C used an ENTIRE ROLL of toilet paper and then tried to flush it down the ancient toilet. While I was cleaning that up, A found a balloon and proceeded to make her own water balloon in the kitchen sink and dump it all over that floor.

After lunch we headed over to the new house and discovered that the fridge had defrosted at some point in the recent past and the ice from the ice maker had melted and pooled on the kitchen floor. Which is now warped. And besides warping the floor, the water had leaked down into the finished basement. Upon returning home, A dumped a sippy cup of soy milk onto the couch and while I was cleaning that up, she took off her diaper and peed on the rug.

I am now out of: toilet paper, paper towels, dish towels, bath towels, and carpet cleaner. Can I cry yet? Please oh pretty please?

Edited to add: Just as I posted this, A just took off her diaper and peed on the rug again. And I have no way to clean it up. I think it is time for everyone (me included) to head to bed and hope that tomorrow is a better day.

Cleanliness comes at a price

And in my world that price is a cleaning service. Having someone else clean the house has been one of the non-negotiable budget items for years. When we first got married, M cleaned the house. After M switched to his current job that requires many late nights and travel, we hired someone to clean every other week. She was the best investment we ever made in our marriage. Well worth giving up dinners out or movies or other such luxury items when the budget was tight.

I can't clean. I fully, completely, and openly embrace my inability to clean. Sure, I can clean a bathroom in a pinch. And I have been known to whip out a vacuum if the cat hair gets out of control between cleaning dates. Once, I even bleached the sink and scrubbed the garbage disposal with a toothbrush because Martha told me it is what a good housewife should do. But, all of my cleaning endeavors have been limited in scope. There have only been a few occasions that I have had to tackle the whole house on my own, and none of them ended very well.

But, our current budget has gotten tight enough that we (I) finally caved and agreed to let the cleaner go. We had given up eating out and movies that didn't come from the library ages ago. I can't remember the last time we had takeout sushi (or takeout of any kind). We are quickly chewing through the reward points accumulated on the credit cards over the years to buy the few items we desperately need for the new house and purchase M a few suits that actually fit him now that he has lost several sizes. There is really no place else in the budget to cut that makes logical sense. We could sell M's car and drive him to the train, but then the kids and I would have to wake up at 11pm to pick him up. I suppose we could start eating pasta every night and save on the food budget, but none of us actually like pasta, so the savings would be lost in the need to buy even more clothes.

No, the cleaner made sense. So this weekend I tried to tackle the new house on my own. I offered up the job to M, but he felt inspired to spend time with the kids and take them to church and then the fun fall carnival downtown. So Sunday morning, with only a modicum of guilt about missing church to clean (cleanliness is next to Godliness, right?) I surveyed the new house with vacuum and broom in hand. "Well, at least there is no furniture to dust" I thought to myself and headed into the void with iPod in hand.

I am sure that the neighbors peeking through the trees wondered what on earth I was doing. Honestly, I wasn't sure myself. I couldn't decide if I should tackle jobs by task (vacuum everything first, then mop and scrub) or by room (all bathrooms, all bedrooms). I finally went with a totally inefficient but somewhat logical approach of doing everything I couldn't do later in the week with the kids in tow. So I scrubbed the showers and tubs, then vacuumed and mopped the upstairs and front hall. Because of my utter inefficiency, this took me almost four hours. And I still have the kitchen and playroom left. The house ain't that big folks.

I know there are people out there who clean their own homes and clean them well. I applaud all of you. It is a useful skill to have and, quite honestly, I envy it. I am never quite satisfied with how someone else cleans my house, but as evidenced by this weekend, if the cleaning were left up to me it would take my whole week. But since I am left to my own devices for the foreseeable future, any words of advice for the cleaning challenged? How to you clean your house? Does everything get done at once or do you do one room a day? Inquiring minds want (and need) to know...

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Menu - Week Three

Well, I stuck to the menu last week, but something went slightly wrong with each meal. Oh,, and then there was the incident with the cat and the chicken that required M to make an emergency trip to Trader Joe's on the way home from the train, but we won't go there....Perhaps this week I can stick to the menu AND actually successfully complete a meal (cough, cough, sputter, sputter).

Sunday - Maple-Mustard Pork Tenderloin and Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Monday - Caribbean Sweet Potatoes and Black Beans (using leftovers, double bonus points!)

Tuesday - La Bamba Casserole

Wednesday - Spinach and Cheddar Quiche, Caesar Salad

Thursday - Leftovers Night (more bonus points!)

Friday - Tilapia Filets with Cilantro Butter, steamed veggies and rolls

Saturday - Whatever I get served at my cousin's wedding!