For the past two evenings, Abby
has been a royal pain in my ass has not participated in evening activities with the rest of the family.
Last night, she flipped out right before dinner was served (because we had the gall to serve the poor child STEAK! and POTATOES!!) and spent the entire time that the adults were eating downstairs writing a letter to Grandma Judy. Probably asking to move in to Grandma’s house in Florida for the rest of her life. When it came time for piano, she flipped her shit again and insisted she was HUNGRY and she would be in much more cooperative, much less run-away and scream bloody murder mood if she could just eat a little something.
I nuked her a carton of processed chemicals flavored like mac and cheese and let her go to town. All reports indicate that it didn’t improve things much for the rest of the evening and that bedtime followed quickly after the orange nuclear waste she ate for dinner.
Tonight, Abby once again had the mother of all freakouts at dinner. This was after a half hour tickling and laughing and having a good time, a further hour of kicking ass at Disney Hedbandz and exclaiming how much she LOVED the pork chops we were having for dinner. Tonight’s freakout was due to the fact that Abby made a tiny error in printing the menu for dinner and therefore didn’t want to play restaurant or eat dinner and I’m pretty sure it devolved into everything was wrong and she was going to be a complete failure in life and end up living in van down by the river.
She stomped around for a few minutes and then Grandma Jane and I determined that she was too tired and probably needed to go to bed. We knew she wasn’t hungry anyway – she had had a bagel as an after school snack, then helped herself to a donut and also had a baggie of goldfish crackers and a juice box. She was not going to starve.
Abby stomped upstairs, slammed her door and then had to open it while I gave her all of her nighttime meds. After the grownups finished our dinners, I went up to check on Abby.
In a small voice she said, “Mommy, I’m a little hungry.” It old her that she couldn’t eat all those snacks between school and dinner because it threw off her hungry times. I’d help her find something little to eat so she wouldn’t be hungry all night. We found a yogurt and she ate it, then gave me a hug and let me carry her back upstairs to rock for a little while. Then she passed out.
Abby’s always been a routine kid, and it’s tough watching her make choices where she messes up her own routine. But it’s also kind of fun having her fall asleep at 7:15 and having that much more evening time to myself. Off to find a glass of wine and play Tiny Wings.
We are all familiar with Blonde Moments, yes? Those stereotypical times when a fair-haired person, usually of the female gender does something perceived as stupid or dumb. As in “I can’t believe I forgot where I parked. I must be having a blonde moment!”
Although I am not a natural ginger, I have been sporting titian locks for a few years now and red hair really suits my, let’s just say, larger-than-life personality.
And yesterday, I had a real, genuine Redhead Moment. This is much like a Blonde Moment, with a bit of zaniness and wackiness thrown in – the kind where it literally couldn’t happen to anyone else or at a worse time, unless one were Lucille Ball.
Let me set the stage for you: I had a rather busy day yesterday, with several client calls starting at 2:00 p.m., but I *really* needed a manicure. And since I woke up having the mother of all arthritis flares, I thought I’d better book a 20-minute massage as well, just to help with pain management. My appointment was for 12:10. The manicure should have taken no more than 30 minutes, plus a 20 minute massage – I should have been out of there by 1:00, 1:15 at the latest. However, my manicurist was running late, and long story short(er), I left the salon around 1:40. No problem. 20 minutes until my 2:00 call, right? Well…
What you need to understand about the salon where I get my nails done is that it has a one-way driveway. And there’s no way to get back INTO the driveway without going around 3 or 4 blocks of twisty roads and several traffic lights. So if you miss a parking space on your first pass, you are basically screwed. And they are working on the facade of the building, reducing the overall number of parking spaces. Of course.
So when I pulled in, I thought I saw a space down towards the end. But it was a mere figment of my imagination. So I pulled into a slightly make-believe space allllll the way at the end of the lot, next to the dumpster and halfway on top of a pile of snow. When I left the salon, with 20 minutes to spare before my call, an SUV had wedged its way in beside my car and practically IN the dumpster.
I was stuck.
I did not have enough room to maneuver my way into the alley (where the SUV had parked) and around the building. I sat for a few minutes until the SUV owner finished her shopping and came back and removed her car, but found myself still stuck fast. I went back and forth and back and forth as though rocking a minivan-sized infant to sleep, but to no avail.
So I did the only thing I could, with mere minutes to spare before my call. I called home and made Brian rescue me. He brought mom’s car, which I hopped into and sped off in, then he extricated our vehicle and brought it home.
I felt so silly for getting the car stuck in the first place, but then even more ridiculous that I had to get rescued because of my own dumb timing! It was like a modern-day episode of I Love Lucy except Lucy drives a minivan and Ricky isn’t Cuban. Thank God Brian likes me as a redhead, since I have such convincing Redhead Moments.
We had the STORM OF THE CENTURY!!!! here this weekend. A foot and a half of snow fell from Friday into Saturday, followed by some freezing rain and sleet today. Brian spent 5 hours clearing the driveway, but that was as much because the snowblower died and he refused to admit it than because it really takes that long to clear the driveway.
And, as always, when there’s snow and ice and wintry precipitation, we get the ice dam in the gutters. The gutters over my office. You remember the ice dam, don’t you?
Well, this morning, as I was dressed in nice slacks (that the dog had shed on) and a clean, button-down shirt (that I’d avoided spilling breakfast on) and I came down to my desk to move a presentation onto a jump stick and take it with me into the city, I found Niagara Falls pouring out of my ceiling, one drop at a time. I quickly threw an empty bin underneath to catch the drips, moved my file and got hit square on the head by another drop. This one came out of the fluorescent light. I moved my chair, placed a new bin and finished the little bit of work I needed to do before a meeting in the city.
Then I heard another drip starting up, this time out of the other end of the light. Before I left for my meeting, Brian had helpfully chopped all the ice in the ice dam, cut a gash in the gutter to relieve the backwards water pressure that causes the ice dam (and subsequent leaks) in the first place, and had poked a hole in the wet ceiling tile with a screwdriver to let the water drain faster. “Like popping a zit,” my mom colorfully put it.
When I got home this afternoon, the whole ceiling tile was down, the light wouldn’t turn on and my desk was covered in that gritty crap you get when you take a ceiling tile down.
At least I had a really good excuse to clean my desk.
Get it? Armed? Like, an octopus has a lot of arms, and I feel like an octopus lately with all the juggling and reaching and doing a million tasks that I’ve been doing, plus I’m in a little over my head and octopi are always in water over their head so it makes sense that I’m armed like an octopus. Yes, it’s a terrible joke, but it was an apt description of my life this week.
(What? You thought I was outlining my position on gun control? Fat chance. I *like* being married.)
Another analogy is that I am busier than a one-armed paper-hanger. Which is how I like to be – busy. I have interesting work, fun volunteer projects, an adorable kid, a great family, and a great desire to just lie down and take a nap.
I have no real point to this post, other than to make a terrible pun about cephalopods and
whine tell you I’m busy.
There was an awful lot of yesterday. For me, it started with a 4:30 a.m. alarm, followed by a bleary-eyed shower, stumbling around to get dressed, and leaving the house at 5:15 to get to the airport. Mom and I flew to Milwaukee, where the airport was briefly closed due to a surprise snowstorm. (Surprise! It’s snowing! Fuck you!)
We got our rental car, and promptly figured whether or not the car had anti-lock brakes. The answer was: sort of. We didn’t actually HIT the car in front of us, but I definitely got a few more grey hairs.
We decamped to a Panera Bread for coffee and sweet rolls to sustain us, and then I went and bought a new computer bag since the one I’d brought had busted its zippers. Again.
The good news is that our meetings were highly successful, and the clients were thrilled.
Upon returning to the Milwaukee airport, and going through security, mom spotted a sign that made us both laugh. Neatly printed above our heads was an official airport sign which read “Recombobulation Area.” We thought that was the funniest thing we’d seen all day – but then again, we were pretty sleep deprived by then. I failed to snap a picture of the wonderful sign, so pretend that’s it up there.
Our return flight to NY was uneventful – and half empty, so we each got a row to ourselves. We piled back into the car, got home, and I promptly fell asleep. Passed out. Suspended consciousness. Caught a few Z’s. Hit the sack. (You get the picture.)
When my alarm went off this morning, I got up, helped get Abby ready for school, promptly got a headache and went back to bed after drop off.
Apparently my bed is my recombobulation area.
Alternate title: Oops, I did it Again.
Mom and I ordered the DVDs of Downton Abbey Season 3 (the one currently airing on PBS.) We have been keeping up with the new episodes as they aired, so we had gotten through the horrible, terrible business with Lady Sybil in episode 4. (I still can’t bear to speak of it.) That meant we only had 5 hours or so of Season 3 left to watch.
Naturally, when the DVDs arrived on Thursday, we knew what the following two evenings would consist of. And yes, we did watch 5 hours of Downton Abbey in only 2 evenings. (A little more if you count the bonus features.) I am not out to spoil anyone’s experience of this season. It is something you have to watch for yourself. So I won’t tell you what happens.
(But if you NEED to know what happens and you’re local, come on over. We’ll pop some popcorn and watch it with you. For moral support.)
I just need to say: for the love of God, Julian Fellowes is a sadistic SOB. I was speechless last night, literally speechless. I googled what I thought had happened and had my worst fears confirmed. Dammit, Julian, why can’t you let us all be happy for ONE stinking minute in this stupid, addictive, wonderful show of yours? (And Dan Stevens is kind of on my shit list, too. Selfish bastard.)
That said, we are of course planning to start Season 3 over again soon. You know, to make sure it all turns out the same way the second time. And to see Shirley MacLaine in those turbans again. It’s only 10 hours or so of episode time, plus bonus features. After that, we may have to go watch Gosford Park and/or Upstairs/Downstairs.
But we can quit anytime.
When last I posted, Abby had just started Kindergarten, had not yet called me a “saboteur,” had not lost her first school sweater (now triumphantly returned to us from the massive lost and found bin after purchasing a new one), and had not received a metric ton of loot for Christmas. I had not gained 10 pounds, had not lost 3.2 of those pounds, had not yet stepped into my role as chair of a huge conference, slated for this October, and had not started a massively long but very exciting work project which will be ongoing for a long while. Brian had not been diagnosed with his gallstone and had not begun the process of losing the 25-30 pounds that he has now lost, including losing weight over Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.
So you haven’t missed much, is what I’m saying. I’ve been running like a hamster in a randomly electrified wheel, as though if I stop and take a break, the shock might start again any minute, so it’s better to just keep going. Even my leisure activities have been a bit… obsessive. Like when mom and I watched all of seasons 1 and 2 of Downton Abbey in about 4 or 5 evenings (that’s 17 hours of viewing, for those keeping count) so we’d be ready for the season 3 premiere.
I’ve been ping-ponging from this to that and over there so much, that I’ve decided I need a mantra so I can keep a slightly even keel. That’s my mantra up there, in case you were wondering. “Stop. Breathe. It’s not an emergency.”
It’s easy for me to hit the panic button and then lose my temper or have a fit or just go into fight-or-flight mode and eat a pan of brownies. So I’m trying to be a bit more mindful and repeat my mantra. I’m trying to eat more mindfully by slowing down. I’m trying to be a bit more mindful with money by setting up (another) excel spreadsheet and planning expenditures. I’m trying to be mindful with Abby and help her identify her feelings and remember that her feelings aren’t my feelings.
Stop. Breathe. It’s not an emergency.
(It’s nice to see you again.)
The Jews have it right. Early Fall, and September in particular, really is the start of the new year, no matter what the secular, common calendar may say.
Chalk it up to the back to school displays hawking their shiny! New! Everythings! Or maybe it’s the way my own personal time is marked in September with both my wedding anniversary and my birthday. It could be the dramatic way in which the landscape changes – leaves turning brilliant colors, trees that were full one day showing nothing but bare branches the next.
No matter why, this month usually works out better for me than January does for starting new intentions, creating new habits and making positive changes. School starts, bringing its routine and sense of order to the day. It’s easier to get back into the habit of going for a walk on days when I don’t have to drop Abby at school, or heading to the gym on days when I do. I start planning meals better (if not always better meals) and am back in the routine of heading to the grocery store. Weekends are once again dominated by Girl Scouts and piano lessons at one end and Church at the other, with fun stuff in between.
This is also the time of year I find myself looking for a little something new. Probably it’s years of birthday wishing, but I find myself paying attention to the crap emails that come in from the catalog companies. I read my friends’ blogs extra carefully, looking for new recipes to try or crafts to create. I imagine myself with enough free time to watch all of the new fall TV shows that look so funny in their promos.
I’m also on the lookout for new music, and this year, I had a great album fall into my lap. Grooving Forward: Volume 1 is collection produced by my good friends Jake and Ethan and their new production company Tribal Mischief. They’ve compiled an awesome set of songs from a varied group of musicians to support the SAMFund Andrea Collier Memorial Award. Andrea was a fabulous singer-songwriter who died entirely too young. The SAMFund exists to help young adult cancer survivors. All-in-all this is a fabulous cause and great reason to buy the album regardless.
That being said, these tunes rock! It’s really, truly a good record (well, digital download) featuring a wide array of artists, including my own personal, very favorite folkies, Pesky J. Nixon. There’s even a track on here by Marc Cohn. The songs range from melancholy, “I’d like to curl up with a cup of tea and watch the leaves change while contemplating life” to rocking and rolling, get you out of your chair and dancing stuff.
So go download the album. It’s $10. Consider an early New Year’s present. (Less early if you’re Jewish.)
To get the album go to http://groovingforward.bandcamp.com/
To find out more about the SamFund go to http://www.thesamfund.org
This is not a paid endorsement or anything, but I did get a free copy of the album so I could tell people about it. I totally would have bought it anyway. It really is awesome, and I thought that thought all on my own. This should satisfy the FTC.
Somehow, someway, my tiny little baby turned into a full grown big-kid who goes to Kindergarten.
Here she is in her summer uniform, all shiny and new, holding her sign, proud as can be. It’s a little fuzzy because it was so humid outside the camera lens fogged up. That or I may have been crying all over it. Definitely one of those two things.
I would like to add an aside here and say that whoever thought it was a good idea to put 5-year-old girl-children in light pink dresses for school, should be shot. Do you know how hard it is to keep that thing clean? It’s already got several stained areas, despite being washed and pre-treated and having all my powerful laundry skillz brought to bear. Also, we *did* have a second jumper, which I helpfully took out of the free uniform exchange back in June. Last week, it zipped up, but was obviously only going to fit for another couple weeks. Today, it didn’t even zip. So we’re in the market for another summer jumper. Ah, the glamorous life of a Catholic school mom.
Speaking of Catholic school, remember when I was totally stressing about what to do with my brilliant, precocious, highly intelligent child and what program or school would be right for her? On the first day of kindy, as Abby said “hi” to all her friends in every grade, and high-fived all the teachers, and sat right down in her little line waiting for morning program, I looked at Brian and said “we picked the right school.” This school is such a perfect fit for Abby and for our family, I can overlook the stupid summer uniform.
In school, Abby is doing absolutely great. She’s gotten “green” for her behavior each day (as opposed to “yellow” or “red.”) She even got hand stamps celebrating the fact!
She’s been working on colors and letters, and everything that comes home has “Great job!” or “Very good!” written in her teacher’s enthusiastic handwriting. All that
drilling practice over the summer paid off.
I can’t believe how good her handwriting is, and how much fun she seems to be having. Reports are that she almost fell asleep in her water ice last night, and actually asked to go to bed at 7:45.
What’s amazing is that this is only 3, half-days! Next week, she starts a full week of full days plus after-school care. I fully expect Abby to continue to rock it out!
When I was a girl going to summer sleepaway camp, I participated in a canoeing program. It was superfun and awesome and I still know how to do a canoe over canoe rescue all these years later. The one part I really didn’t like about earning my canoe certification was the part of the test where I had to prove I could tread water for 90 seconds while fully clothed. Another summer, I remember trying for my advanced swim level (I made it!) and once again needing to prove that I could tread water for long periods of time. Two minutes in that instance. I didn’t like it any better then either.
So it’s a bit ironic that I find myself constantly treading metaphorical water this summer. We have been so blessedly busy I haven’t had time to tie my shoes, let alone respond to emails, return phone calls or schedule the dog and the cat to go to the vet. My nails are a mess, my hair is too long and my kid is getting really good at dressing herself in the morning. I am tired, but keeping my head above water.
What I remember from those long ago summers was that the trick to treading water was focusing on a point on shore and keeping your eye on that. Don’t start spinning around – you’ll just waste energy. Don’t close your eyes or the water will be in your ears before you realize it. Just find your place on shore and wait for the lifeguard to blow the whistle.
I have my place on shore in my sights. It’s literally my happiest place on earth, the one location I’d choose to be if I had to pick one and never leave. We’re taking a family vacation once again to our favorite little resort on the coast of Maine, Linekin Bay Resort.
The thought of clean white sheets, smelling salt air, pine tree shade, and literally sailing away from all my stress for a few hours a day is keeping me going right now.
I was talking with a friend about why I love this place so much, why it’s the place I imagine whenever I am told to “think of a relaxing spot…” For someone who is as busy as me, the sheer joy I get from being at Linekin is the lack of schedule.
There’s nothing I have to do at any given time. The breakfast bell rings at 7:30 but that’s only a signal that there’s an hour left util the oatmeal is done for the day. I can sign up for a sailing lesson and am told “OK, come after lunch and one of the boat boys will meet you.” Not “Come at 2:30″ or “See you at 1:45.” Nope, just come on down to the dock after lunch sometime.
Even excursions have the air of “eh, we’ll get to it” about them. Who wants ice cream? Ok, if you want some, meet on my porch in 15 minutes with shoes on. (The assumption being that not everyone is ever wearing shoes at any given time, naturally.) When are we going to Freeport? Maybe tomorrow, we’ll see if it rains.
The week of pure unscheduled-ness is a real tonic to me. The good food and fun stuff to do is a bonus.
After a summer of treading water, a week in Maine is the lifeguard pulling up in her flat-bottomed boat and saying “Good job! You did it! Now come sit on shore and relax for a while.”