Friday, June 30, 2006

Random, random paragraphs of incoherent thought

As my right hand could tell you, after an hour and a half of signing legal documents designed to send the anxiety-ridden into full-fledged panic attacks, we are now the somewhat nauseous owners of two homes. I spent most of the morning alternating between scoping out the nearest trash can in case my nervous stomach revolted, and drawing random scribbles on sticky pads to try and distract myself from the hysteria I felt creeping into my bones. While M cracked jokes with the lawyers, I took deep, cleansing breaths and tried not to hyper-ventilate.

As we got into the car after signing away our life, M turned to me and said: "I'm a little concerned that the family room is too small." Shoot me now, or send me to the loony bin. I am going with the head in the sand approach and choosing to believe that he was just pushing my buttons.

Tomorrow we begin the paint chip negotiation, which will result in our ability to open up our own shop in our living room. It took us two years to settle on a color for our current bedroom; this go round we have at least five rooms under contention. Although I refuse to move without painting the bulk of the rooms, so hopefully the time constraints will eventually force a decision.

The kids spent the day alternating between crying hysterically to "go home to the old house now" and "stay forever in the new house." It is going to be a long, long several weeks before we finally pack up and haul ourselves two blocks over. The fact that the houses are walking distance is both a help and a hindrance I have decided. While it is lovely to just pop over to survey our new digs, it is inevitably going to lead to battles over where to spend our days. And since there is no wireless, TV, or furniture in the new house, I know what my preference will be...

We forgot the camera today, but I'll try to remember to bring it when we head over tomorrow and post some shots of our new digs for before pics. And then you can wait eons before we actually get any real work done for the after...

Thursday, June 29, 2006

T-Minus 24 hours

We are now T-minus 24 hours until we officially begin collecting our real estate empire. In sheer desperation to find the humor in it all, M and I have started pointing out other houses for sale and suggesting that they too should get added to our housing options. While deep, deep inside I am excited about the new house, that excitement is seriously dwarfed by the deer like panic that has taken superseded my normally high anxiety level. To top it all off, my closest friend is currently plotting a move to London, and my grandmother is declining quickly again.

So, forgive me if you see some hysterical tears streaking your computer screen. Yesterday I burst into tears at the grocery store because I couldn't find the right brand of toilet paper. And then once I finally found it, I burst into tears again when I realized we buy the most expensive toilet paper known to man. When faced with the decision to buy the expensive toilet paper or select a new brand that might give us all tushie burn, I burst into tears for a third time and finally left with no toilet paper at all because it was just getting embarrassing.

Oh, and in my infinite wisdom and love of self-torture, I decided to potty train A AND host a BBQ this weekend. Anyone have a good chicken marinade recipe? And any suggestions for cheap yet soft toilet paper with which to stock the bathroom in our new home? Because it's getting desperate over here folks, and I don't dare risk returning to the store without a plan in hand to conquer the toilet paper aisle...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A whine of grand proportions

Mommy: "C, you have just got to stop whining so much. Why do you whine so much?"

C: "I only whine at you because I love you. I don't whine to my teachers or friends. I love them too, but not how I love you."

Am I now supposed to be grateful for a day full of whining? Gah.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


We are back after a fun filled weekend at Groomzilla and close college friend's wedding. I think it was perhaps the best. wedding. ever. Even better than my own, if only because I wasn't responsible for everyone else having a good time. The wedding ceremony itself made me cry and as M will tell you, I don't cry at weddings. I just don't. But yet there I was, bawling away in the back row, drenching M's new camera with tears.

The food was spectacular- what else can you say about a raw bar, sushi, and, my personal dessert favorite, cannolis. Plus, of course, the obligatory wedding cake was to die for. The leftovers? They came home with me in case you were looking for them guys. And despite his name, Goth DJ was awesome. I had a hard time finding a song during which I was willing to leave the dance floor and head to the bathroom. But, just a word of warning for you moms out there who were somewhat haphazard about doing your kegels, dancing to Jump Around with a full bladder just leads to a senior moment....

While the wedding and parties were amazing, I found myself feeling slightly out of kilter all weekend. At the rehearsal dinner/roast and toast on Friday night, many people brought their kids and I spent much of the night wanting to run up to the harried moms chasing their offspring around and exclaim "Really, I'm one of you! I know I look so carefree sitting here with my friends and a glass of wine (I know the look they were shooting oh so well) but just four hours ago I was negotiating who got the last piece of string cheese, I swear!" And every time a small child went racing by who even remotely resembled C or A, I started to yell "Come back here now..." only to realize that it wasn't my problem that said small child was headed directly to the biggest mud puddle in the place.

So instead of chatting with the moms while keeping one eye on wandering children, I hung out with M's college friends and my post-graduation friends, most of whom are spouse and childrenless. And while I had a blast, and spent the whole weekend announcing "We can't let it be this long until we see each other again" and meaning it, it all seemed a bit unreal. I found myself forgetting that I was a mom, and half believing that I would be returning to my old, sort of hip life in New York instead of my not so new and definitely not hip life in suburbia.

Yet I also found myself feeling oh so old all weekend as I listened to tales of first dates, job changes, and returns to graduate school. My last first date was over ten years ago. Hell, I've been out of grad school for over eight years now. While I wouldn't change anything about my current life (Well, I wouldn't change anything MAJOR anyway), it made me think about the choices each of us have made, and how different our paths have become. If I had decided against dating M way back when because of his Republican tendencies, would I have found someone else or would I have focused more on my career and finished my PhD? If M and I had decided to postpone or forgo children, would we still be in New York and would I still be working 70+ hour weeks and traveling to not-so-exotic destinations like Little Rock?

And perhaps the moment that made me feel the oldest was when M and I were woken Saturday morning by a phone call from one of his college roommates who needed us to come bail him out at the police station. It seems that after we retired like the old fogeys we are to our bed at 11:30, the party continued on until 4:30 or so, and then an unfortunate choice was made to operate a motor vehicle instead of sleeping off the excess alcohol at one of the hotels walking distance from the reception site. While I never would have made that choice, even in my not so brilliant youth, the whole experience of getting that phone call and thinking through what could have happened, and what probably would happen once court appearances took place, made me realize how much becoming a parent changes things.

Making the decision to have kids means things like changing your expectations about how late you can sleep in, what types of restaurants you eat at, and even what types of furniture you choose to put in your living room. But what really hit home this weekend was how much my decisions now impact the lives of my children. Take M's former roommate for example. He was lucky that his choice to drive drunk only impacted him and the unfortunate road sign he plowed into, but if a parent had made a similar choice with a similar outcome, the ramifications would have been much more devastating than "How will I get to work?" A parent would have to solve issues like who would drive the kids to pre-school, soccer, or playdates. How would they get to the doctor's or the dentist's? Would another parent really ever let you drive their children again?

While there were moments this weekend when I felt young and carefree, the early morning trip to the police station made me realize how different my life really is from what it used to be. And even if I try to forget for a weekend that I am a responsible adult by staying up late and having an extra glass of wine, or by having junk food for breakfast and ice cream for lunch, in reality, I will always be a parent. And I'm OK with that.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


So I went AWOL yesterday, and am actually now at Nana's installing the children into the care of loving grandparents before I take off tomorrow for the wedding of close college friend and Groomzilla. I would tell you about the long, long drive with two children, by myself, but really, I am sure your imaginations can fill in the details. All I have to say is, my friend who loaned me the portable DVD player and the longest Dora the Explorer DVD known to man is the nicest, loveliest person on earth and will be receiving gifts befit a queen, or at least a hand-delivered Starbucks, upon my return. I should have whipped that thing out before we left the driveway instead of waiting until the end of the trip.

Oh, and as I bog, the nice people on CNBC are currently telling me all about the real estate bust. Yes, we apparently bought the new house at the top and are on our way to selling the old one at the bottom. Life is grand. At least I have a an occasion to wear my very cute summer dress again. That has to count for something, right?

I'll be returning to my regularly scheduled blogging activities next week sometime.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Fun with spam

So I just got the most bizarre email from someone who clearly doesn't know the mommy blog market. I'm guessing none of you want to pay me money to read my blog on your wireless mobile devices. I mean, hey, it would lovely if you did, but I'm betting that you don't. How much do you think it would cost ME to register for this one????

Additionally, a shampoo and soap company thinks "a mom can go a bit crazy" (implication being crazy in a not very good way) and would like me to direct all of my crazy readers to their site to watch some video as a stress reliever and register for free product samples. Somehow, I'm guessing that this one isn't legit...I mean no respecting company would call you crazy in a pitch letter...right?

Who knew my inbox would be filled with such great spam because of my blog? What's been your best blog related spam?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Flapper or Scrubber?

So, welcome to the first official meeting of our book club! Come on in, settle in and help yourself to the chips and salsa. I believe there are some brownies on the way as well. And, of course, there is wine and margaritas set up on the dining room table. Just make sure not to spill anything, the house IS on the market you know.

So for our inaugural book I chose Biting the Dust (The Joys of Housework) by Margaret Horsfield. And I'm a little unclear on whether it was a decent selection or not. I personally found the beginning of the book wonderful, the middle took me weeks to plod through, and then it picked up again towards the end. But I did find many points of interest.

For example, when she talked about men and window washing. I don't know about the other men out there, but my husband is obsessed with windows. House windows, car windows, if there is a window he must clean it til it gleams. But the sink? Forget it. Scraps of food can live there for weeks and begin growing mold before he would notice and scrub it.

I also found myself alternating between feeling rather proud of my housekeeping abilities and racing for the nearest Clorox Wipe to scrub my shower/sink/counter/toilet because my housekeeping abilities were atrocious. And the bedbug section just freaked me out to no end. I spent nights lying awake thinking that any minute I would find them crawling all over me.

What parts did you like? What spoke to you? What didn't you like about the book? And, most importantly, are you a flapper or a scrubber?* Please, comment share, respond. Feel free to chime in even if you didn't read the book. Housekeeping is a universal topic!

I, I am a flapper. As if you couldn't have guessed.

*For those of you who didn't read the book, or didn't make it through the last chapter, the author argues that there are two types of cleaners out there, those who are rather "random and unconsidered" (the flappers) and those who clean regularly and thoroughly (the scrubbers).

The weary travelers return

We made the whopping one hour drive back from vacation yesterday. Yes, we travel far these days. But I actually highly recommend the close to home vacation. No need for potty breaks or snack stops, and if you need to run home at 9 pm one night because your cat sitter totally flaked out and the folks with your only spare key are on vacation with you, it is not that big a deal.*

The highlight of our vacation was the fenced in front yard, which was all sand. The biggest, bestest sandbox ever. We are seriously considering dumping several tons of sand in our new back yard and selling the lawn mower. We actually had to twist the kids' arms to get them to go down to the beach. But much fun was had at the beach once we got there, and at the singing ice cream shop, and at the kiddie amusement park, and at mini golf, and at the aquarium.... OK, I had fun at the aquarium. They had penguins, and we got to watch feeding time. I just love penguins.

We came back to discover that not a single person looked at our house while we were gone, sending M into a tailspin of despair and grumpiness. But on the upside, his lawn finally looks great! All nice a green, flowers blooming, and now we only have one bed left that is chock full of unidentified weeds. Too bad we are leaving in and have to start all over again in the landscaping department.

Anyway, on vacation I finished "the book" and will post a conversation starter tonight or tomorrow. And start thinking about a possible new book. I'm now engrossed in this one, but as it is well over 1,000 pages, I highly doubt anyone else wants to read it with me. So I'll be opening the floor to suggestions later next week.

Finally, I didn't really check in with anyone while away, and my bloglines is overflowing with material. I will probably read it all, because I am compulsive that way, but I most likely won't comment on the old stuff. But I should be back up to speed this week at some point. Except I leave for Nana's on Wednesday, so maybe not. But July, in July I will be home.

* Note to self, need to distribute copies of my key far and wide before I lock myself out, which I am prone to doing.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Parenting styles

It is bright and early in the morning (some things just don't change on vacation) and A, who has rediscovered the joys of a highchair, is contained and playing cards. Yep, she is laying out Go Fish cards in a pattern that looks remarkable similar to M's poker and blackjack table, looking at them, shaking her head, muttering "Not good, not good" and then starting over again. Apparently my daughter has learned to be a card shark on vacation.

Otherwise, the vacation is almost going as expected, except the younger children (we are here with a family with children months off of mine) are acting like four year olds and the four year olds are acting like two year olds with mouths. Big mouths. Big mouths with no self control. C has resorted to crossing his arms, giving me and angry face, and telling me that he is not going to be my friend anymore if I don't do what he wants. Needless to say, he has become VERY familiar with his bedroom walls during the numerous back to back timeouts he seems to accumulate in one day.

What I have found interesting this vacation is the path of parenting styles. While Rebecca and I started out at pretty much the same point four years ago (I think, please correct me if I am wrong!), I seem to intervene in C's activities much more than she intervenes in Julia's. Which she commented on last night and got me thinking. AM I overparenting? Am I doing C a disservice by stepping in when he starts yanking toys out of a friends hand or should I be letting him and his friend work it out by themselves? Julia is a perfectly lovely child, so clearly letting her and her friends go off and play by themselves works. It just never occurred to me to let C and his friends play for extended periods of time out of my sight.

Just recently I have finally let C and A stay in the playroom together while I switch laundry, start dinner, or make beds. And, in general, no blood is shed. But a fair amount of screaming and crying takes place, and eventually I am required to step in and break up the face pressed against face screamfests that result. While I am willing to let C and A figure out how to work such things out on their own, to a point, when C is playing with friends I am less willing to allow my child to steal toys, be mean, and generally behave in a way I deem to be inappropriate. But perhaps I need to be less involved and let him figure such stuff out on his own. I'm just not confident that he would do the right thing yet. Especially based on his behavior this week.

So I guess my question to all of you is, how do you handle 4-year old playdates? Do you leave them to their own devices and intervene only when asked or do you monitor behavior and redirect before it escalates to a major squabble?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Shhh, I'm not here

A quick quote for posterity:

While fighting for the n-zillionth time with friend Julia over a shovel, C grabbed it away from her and I called him on it.

Mommy: "C, I didn't hear you use your words, I just saw you grabbing the shovel."

C: "Well, you should have had your eyes closed then. If your eyes had been closed it all would have been just fine."

Saturday, June 10, 2006

A bloggy sort of dinner

Last night we went out to dinner with an old college friend and his partner (Yes! We had a grown up dinner out! With another couple! But that's not actually the point of this post!). We spent half of the evening talking about their wedding plans, and the other half engaged in political debate. Poor M was highly outnumbered...

But somehow I mentioned my blog, and it turns out that our friend's partner (who I'll call Groom, after his blog) has his own blog too. And quickly we launched into frantic discussion over our blogs, our great commenters, the most bizarre Google searches, and who else we know who blogs. And M and old college friend rolled eyes and discussed how horrible they think they come out sounding on our blogs.

So of course I ran home last night and checked out the blog, and it was just like talking with him! Except I wasn't! So go check out Groomzilla if you have a moment, he'll make you laugh!

Friday, June 09, 2006


Tomorrow we leave for a week down the shore on vacation. The first of two beach vacations this summer. And I have not even started packing. I have not even thought about packing. I have no idea what I am packing. And what am I doing instead of packing for my trip? Packing winter coats and boots into boxes. Because, you know, my house isn't selling because the closets have, gasp, coats in them.

I suppose today I need to think about packing. Oh, and grocery shopping, because God forbid we discover that the grocery store local to our destination does not have the right brand of yogurt or mac and cheese. And I guess I should start in on the mountain of laundry too. Going on vacation seems like a lot more work than it used to be back in the day when it involved fruity drinks delivered to a beach chair...

I believe M is bringing the wireless modem, so you may see me sporadically this week. But that assumes that the card actually makes it from the in-laws apartment to my car, which requires an awful lot of transfers in and out of briefcases. And I suppose there is a chance that some idiot doesn't have their network secured. One summer M actually drove around Nantucket until he found an unsecured network so he could log into the times, fun times.

Anyway, if you don't hear from me, have a lovely week, and if it rains, you'll hear me wailing in the distance.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Are you reading?

Has everyone who is interested in participating in the book club this month started reading? Does anyone need more time because of library loan issues, etc? If so, let me know, otherwise, get ready for June 19! I think I'll just set up a post and we can go comment happy, unless someone has a better idea on how to work the logistics of it all...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

When it rains it pours

So apropos of nothing, my phone, which rarely rings during the day and NEVER rings past 6pm unless it is my father calling, has rung five times since 7 pm. And none of the phone calls were from the RNC! The first call was my father, which was unexpected since I had just seen him over the weekend and it is rare that I hear from him twice in such a short period of time. But then I got phone calls from friends! Real people! Calling me at 8 and 9 pm at night asking me to do things! Not that I was able to do any of them, as M is out of town and really, if I'm going to leave my house after 6pm I need to psych myself up for days, but it is the thought that counts, right? I will go to bed happy knowing that I could have had plans not involving my children every night this week. These are the things dreams are made of...

It almost made my heart break

Yesterday as we were driving home from school, I broke the news to the kids that their favorite person in the world, the babysitter, would no longer be a weekly angel appearing on our doorstep. After reassuring C that it wasn't because she didn't like him anymore, but because we needed to save some money to help pay for the new house, he grew silent for a minute. Then-

C: "Mommy? Next time I go to the bank with my piggy I will save the money and give it to you and daddy to pay for the house instead of buying a Thomas train."

Mommy (trying hard not to cry): "Oh, sweetie, you don't have to do that. Mommy and Daddy can afford the house without your Thomas money. We just need to be more thoughtful about how we spend for a while."

C: "No, really, I want to help pay for the house. But there isn't much money in my piggy right now because Daddy and I just went to the bank. (pause, then rather sadly) Should we return Thomas? I've already played with him though..."

Mommy: "Oh, C. No. Thomas is all yours. And really, your piggy money is yours. We're fine without it."

C: "Well, OK. But since we bought the new house so I could have a bigger room that doesn't bounce, I feel like I should help pay for it..."

I feel like I've done something right and wrong all at the same time.

Monday, June 05, 2006


I took A into the ped's office this morning, and we were seen by a colleague of our regular doctor who I have seen a few times with C, but obviously doesn't know my children at all. As she watched A climb up and around all the furniture in the room, sing her three different versions of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and demonstrate her jumping prowess, the pediatrician asked "And you brought her in why?" I explained about the blood dripping out of A's tushie, and the explosive diarrhea as we traveled down the eastern seaboard. She examined A dubiously, and found nothing to be wrong. Which I could have told you would happen, because my children are never actually sick when I take them to the pediatrician's. But I always feel obligated to take them as the one time I didn't take them in it turned out several days later that they had double pneumonia.

So we were sent on our way with poop collecting vials, and I was instructed to scoop the poop only if more blood appeared in her next stool. So I waited, and waited, and waited some more. I gave her juice, and fruit. Still no poop. Finally she deposited a miniscule amount into the potty, and I had the joy of trying to determine whether it was blood tinged or not. I finally went with not, but am awaiting another poop of regular proportions to pronounce her blood free.

So, thank you all for your concern and well wishes, but at the moment it looks like one of those things, and yet again I feel like a stupid over-reacting mommy for bringing my child in when in fact she was not sick. But there was blood! In her poop! I swear! I think that's worthy of a visit, don't you?


We finally made it home yesterday (or should I say the kids and I made it home, M winged his way off to yet another conference/meeting/presentation/insert boring business reason for traveling here. And I believe I might have set a record for number of potty/diaper breaks between Boston and New York. Between C, who needed to poop but does not poop in potties other than his own, and A, who developed a sudden and horrific case of diarrhea, I think we hit every rest area, gas station, and fast food joint along the Pike and Merritt Parkway.

I will have to post about the wedding later, but in short, it was lovely, and M and I have never felt so old. The dress worked out well, once I spent another $30 on a sweater since the temperature plummeted 30 degrees after I packed my bag. And I didn't even spill anything on it! But we returned home to a house that still hasn't sold, and then last night A started dripping blood out of her tushie. So while I had all good intentions of writing many fabuo entries last night, I instead spent the evening consulting with doctors via phone and trying to estimate exactly how much blood was being lost and where it was coming from.

So yet again, my good intentions to be a productive member of the blogsphere were foiled by the randomness of life. So sorry, perhaps tonight will be a little less eventful and you can hear all about how I was tackled from behind by my old field hockey coach and M realized that small town life was all that he didn't want out of life. Right now I'm counting the hours until our pediatrician's office opens so I can be reassured that really, all children drip blood out of their tushies at one point or another.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Off to the farm

We're off on a whirlwind trip to Nana's for the wedding of my sister's best friend, who spent so much time at here house I call her my "other" sister. I even purchased a new dress for the occasion. With a gift card so as not to break the fragile J-E piggy bank....

The kids will not be attending the wedding, so my dad and my step-mom will be watching the kids at Nana's. Which led to an interesting conversation with C about family relationships. When I told him that Grandpa J would be coming to Nana's, he started freaking out because Grandpa J didn't know Nana. Why that was an issue, I was a little unclear, but I stupidly launched into an explanation of how Nana and Grandpa J were mommy's real mommy and daddy, and that they used to both live at the farm. That led to a long awkward pause, during which I frantically searched my mind for ways to calm C if he put two and two together and asked if his daddy was ever going to leave. But thankfully his mind didn't head that direction and he just seemed pleased to know that Grandpa J would know how to find the bathrooms and bedrooms.

Anyway, no real point to that story except to say I probably won't be around much this weekend but will be able to regal you all with tales of a long, long drive back home with two children by myself as M is flying out to a conference from the wedding on Sunday. Yeah! Can you see the happiness in my face as I contemplate several hours of sibling bickering and Laurie Berkner? Perhaps this will be the drive during which I convince the kids that the car is a no crying zone...

Thursday, June 01, 2006

For those of you with political leanings....

Head over to Unity '08. It's an intriguing concept. Their blog has already been bogged down by partisan debate and political rants, but the actual concept of the coalition has some merit. I wouldn't put money on how far off the ground this will get, but I'm planning on following them for a while to see how it all pans out. Even if it is only to keep the political scientist in me engaged in some fashion while chasing two kiddos around the town pool.