Saturday, April 30, 2011

And if I were a single mother, I'd start each and every day with a gin smoothie

Nick is gone for the weekend.

He's at his high school reunion. We debated all of us going, but it was just easier to have us stay home. He's staying with his sister on her farm which is under crazy renovation to make it more habitable. (I haven't seen her since the you're-just-like-your-mother-oatmeal-incident, and I'm glad the first time isn't while a guest at her house.)

It's kind of terrible timing, because Jordan's best friend David and his mother, J's babysitter, left last Sunday, and my mom left on Wednesday for five days, and Nick left yesterday. Jordan's been a little fragile and cry-y and I think it's because he feels utterly deserted.

So.

So here we are, my boy and I. We started our day by meeting Sam and Amanda in the zoo with their daughter.

Wait. Let me back up.

We started our day getting dressed fairly easily, lulling me into the false sense that this would be easy. And then we adamantly refused everything else. No banana. No shoes. No fleece. NO WATER MUST THROW THE OFFENSIVE SIPPY CUP ON THE GROUND NO NO NO. No to anything that would help us get out the door and to the zoo by 8:30.

We made it not quite on time but they have a kid and they have their own NO PANTS episodes. We watched the monkeys singing (loud!) and looked at pink flamingos and caught a glimpse of the panda. We also threw our carcar through two different fences. Just figuring that Mama would get it for us.

And we had breakfast at Firehook just north of the zoo.

There's this great back patio with tables with umbrellas, and a charming fountain.

The kind of charming fountain that kids like to climb up and stand next to and put their hands in. And then, if they're my son, hoist one leg up and get a shod foot and part of a leg into before their mother reaches them and pulls them down.

There is, should you take your child there, also a big wooden delivery door in back. Which, if it's been left open is perfect for sprinting out of! To better see the garbage! And the garbage truck! GARBAGE TRUCK! ALL I'VE EVER WANTED IN LIFE IS TO BE ABLE TO WALK WHILE THE GARBAGE TRUCK IS RIGHT THERE! AAAAAAAHHHH!

A friend texted just as we were leaving to see if we wanted to meet her family at a park in our neighborhood. Yes! Yesyesyesyes and more yes!

So we headed off, stopping at home for sunscreen and water and to drop off the stroller.

Which meant walking. Which really meant stopping in every sidewalk garden box, patting every tree, and oh, the ramp! and any detour you might imagine because LOOK THERE IS A CRACK IN THE SIDEWALK HOLY COW WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT?

We arrived about 37 hours later. Fortunately, they were still there.

It had gotten sunny and gorgeous, and shortly after we arrived, my friend's husband (who is also a friend, and I never know how to say this. The husband friend?) offered to head over to the convenience store and get drinks. And would either of us like a soda or something?

The wife friend suggested that if they had Mike's Hard Lemonade, that might be nice. She was joking. Sort of.

I was all, yes, liquor, yes! I know alcohol is not a solution, but boy, did it sound good.

We looked at our watches. It was right about 11 am. (Which, after all, would be past five in Europe.)

We ended up with water and juice. Responsible parenting and adulthood and all.

But let me tell you, I am tired. Physically and emotionally tired. I don't know how single parents do it. I really don't.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Bagpipers, backhoes, and plastic thingies

"What's that?" Jordan probably says this 734 times a day.

He points and says, "Ooh, what's that?"

He always makes it sound like it's something he's never seen before in his life and the most exciting thing ever.

Except sometimes you know he's faking it when you see what he's pointing at and you're all, "You know very well that it's cake, my friend."

But he loves new things, and it's so cool to see someone starting from scratch, you know? The whole world is new and exciting. And we live in an urban neighborhood, and so just walking around the block is an adventure.

Brick! Nice doggie! Garbage! Ramp! Ramp! Jordan running!

Nick took him to Home Depot last weekend. Jordan learned forklift. Except he calls it "forklips."

He came home very excited about the forklips.

And sometimes you realize you're making things more complicated than they are. Like when he pointed to a picture of a man with bagpipes on a plastic cup that we have.

"What's that?"

"A bagpiper. See the bagpipes? Baaagpiiiper. Bagpi..." (What the hell am I doing?) "It's a man."

"Man!"

Because of Jordan, I've learned what a backhoe is. It's one of those enormous yellow machines with a big scooper thingy attached. You see them all over town wherever they're digging up the roads replacing pipes and bringing traffic to a standstill. Who knew?

He points out all kinds of machinery as we walk by, and sometimes he'll identify them - "Backhoe! Digger! Scooper!" The truth is, I have no idea, so I'm all, "Yes! A good digger!"

There are lots of construction machines I do not know. So when he asks, I just say, "Big machine!"

And sometimes he will ask me the name of something I have no idea how to name. Like that plastic piece that your water sits on when you're getting water out of the fridge.

"What's that?"

"Um. That's. A plastic thingy."

"A pastic singy."

"That's right! Plastic thingy!"

Nick calls this unhelpful. But I'm telling you, if Jordan ever asks for the plastic thingy, I'll know what he's talking about.

Happy weekend, all!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ongoing tub conundrum, firemen are hot, thin white Ts, and achoo!

The tub conundrum continues: I want it. I just do. I'm not a practical sort. You know this about me.

I appreciate your input. You've given me a ton to chew on. And I've gotten some emails with really fun suggestions - like making it into a pretend sailboat! How fun would that be?

And yes, he could clonk his head against it and that would be BAD. But listen, we have Nick's couch with the leg of death on which I've broken or at least severely and permanently injured several of my toes. My acupuncturist told me that she saw a Feng Shui show that said you should get rid of any furniture that can be used as a weapon. His couch definitely qualifies.

All this to say, there are lots of ways to hurt yourself in our house. Which sounds bad, but you know, the world is a sharp and dangerous place. What's a cast iron tub here or there?

Plus, as many of you said, what makes it forever permanent? We can post it on craigslist and people can bring their own burly men to haul it out.

Last night Nick said if I reallyreallyreally want it, we can do it. However, if it's going to cost money to put in extra beams to shore up the floor, then that'll be the absolute deciding factor. We'll see.

Oh my god, speaking of burly men - there were so many firemen in our neighborhood last night!:
Nick came home as I was putting Jordan in his jammies and said, "Come on! There are 10 fire trucks around the corner!"

So we hurried over with J in his blue and white stripey jammies and watched the big trucks and the big ladder and the hot firemen. We were all kind of fascinated in our various ways.

I do not sit around fantasizing about firemen, but I don't care what you say: firemen are hotter than other men. Just by definition. They keep themselves in amazing shape so they can charge into burning buildings and save people. I love the shit out of my husband with his well-paying desk job, but there you have it.

This one woman said, "Have you seen this year's calendar of NY firemen? If I lived in NY I'd set my house on fire."

Why doesn't anyone make non-see-through white T-shirts? I need some nice T-shirts for work. I want a couple white ones. But all of the white ones I've looked at - so many fucking tissue tees! - are too thin. I do not want to wear a cami under a T-shirt in DC 6 million degree summer heat.

Where can I buy a nice enough for a casual office white T-shirt that doesn't show off my boobies? I would like to know.

The allergies! They are killing me!: I was feeling all smug thinking pregnancy (Very Important Revision: pregnancy as in Jordan! I had no allergies last year. Not currently pregnant! Poor phrasing - sorry!) had gotten rid of my allergies until the pollen knocked me flat on my face last week.

I've been taking Zyrtec and using the Neti pot - something Nick flat-out refuses to do, and I keep trying to foist on him - and it helps, but still. Allergies! Ugh!

The downside of the Neti pot is leaning over and having a stream of water fall out of your nose in public. Highly embarrassing, hard to explain, and very terrible.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday poll: the endangered claw-foot bathtub

I need your help. I need you to tell me if my idea is charming, trashy, ridiculous, whatever.

OK?

So. This isn't a great picture, but it's mainly because I had to take it through the wall, because I couldn't get to the room on the other side because of construction.

Note the debris everywhere.

So, we have this claw-foot bathtub in the bathroom that's being demolished. I have always wanted a claw-foot tub. I think they're so charming.

However.

It turns out that I'm not related to anyone who wants a claw-foot tub. Betty wants a shower in her bathroom. When we eventually redo ours, we'll have a shower as well. Our bathroom isn't big, and Nick hates tubs. Particularly claw-foot tubs.

I don't even particularly like baths. But as I said, I've always wanted one of these tubs.

So here's my idea: we put it in Jordan's room and fill it with pillows. Picture the above tub clean and full of colorful throw pillows. And maybe some stuffed animals and books.

What do you think?

I feel like as he gets older, it'll be a great place to climb in and out of, to hang out and read, whatever. I would love to have had an offbeat space like that when I was younger.

This is all well and good except. Of course there's an Except. Actually, there are three.

Except 1: They're heavy as sin. Australian Builder said he would do this for me because he really likes me. He said this with clenched teeth, impressing upon me that he would, he really would, but he's not offering this lightly. I'd be getting special treatment.

Because, you see, it will take four men to carry it down the stairs and even then would be a struggle. And once it is there, he is never moving it for me again. I can't just call him in a couple months and be all, "Oh, AB, I'd like it out now."

This is exactly how he put it. In a high voice with some hand waving. This is exactly how I imitate my mother.

But seriously. I can have it, but there is no changing my mind. If it is there, it is there forever.

His preference, however, would be to sledgehammer it and take it out in manageable pieces. Like, today. But he likes me, and he is giving me a little time to sort this out.

Except 2: Nick thinks the idea is stupid. It'll take up a lot of room and it's not practical.

And see above - once it's there, it's there for life. No mind changing. Do I really want to commit to a bathtub for life? Lisa?

(Umm...I think...so? But life is a very long time...?)

Except 3: The use of a bathtub for purposes other than bathing is possibly trashy. Like having cars up on bricks in the front yard in Kentucky.

There are my Excepts. I continue to think it would be charming, but I'm not 100% sure. And it's not like I can test it out. I can't even have them set it in one place in the room and then decide it would go better elsewhere.

Sooo, with all that said, what do you think?

A. Absolutely keep it. The pillow idea is adorable. And when are you ever going to have another opportunity to have a claw-foot tub?
B. Tubs belong in bathrooms. The idea of a tub in a bedroom is definitely trashy.
C. Don't commit to something you can't change. Better to just get rid of it.
D. I like the idea, but good luck on the convincing Nick business.
E. Other: ____________________

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The cat pee hole

Or maybe it should be cat-pee hole? The hyphen is probably important.

Like, saying we have a cat-pee hole in our ceiling is very different from saying we have a cat pee-hole in our ceiling.

It's definitely not cat pee-hole. Also, I wouldn't call it a pee-hole. I don't think. It's rather vulgar that way, isn't it?

Anyway. Last week they made holes in our ceilings and walls, and all of a sudden our dining room smelled like cat pee.

They opened a hole to some ancient and potent cache of dried cat pee.

Someone asked me if I was sure it was cat pee, rather than just moisture build up in the walls. If you have ever smelled cat pee, you know it is unlike anything else and a stench most foul. A friend of mine's cat once peed in my suitcase. I know for cat pee.

But what was the deal? The floor above, while damaged (like much of our flooring), didn't smell like cat pee. Was there a cat stuck in the wall? Did it just pee through the floorboards? Repeatedly?

A friend suggested that there was a cat on the second floor who peed in that corner, and then the floor got shellacked over. I don't know.

Whatever it was, it was evil. And being allergic, I'm not pro-cat in the first place.

So I kept looking up at the ceiling and cursing the cat pee hole. (Cat-pee hole? Whatever.) The days of rain and the heavy moisture in the air did nothing helpful. Nothing.

Yesterday I came to work complaining of the stench of cat pee. So my friend Kristin sent me a link to Nature's Miracle. I ordered it immediately.

And then went home last night to a much larger hole in the ceiling and a chunk of the wall taken away. And no more smell. I guess the cat pee chunks were removed. The idea of all those cat pee molecules concentrated in particular chunks of ceiling or wall really grosses me out, I have to say.

Also, anyway, and more importantly, that circle is where the elevator is going to be! They have three of them, and they have to make holes on all three floors and make sure they're lined up perfectly. And adjust the ground floor so it is absolutely flat.

Unimaginable in a nothing is flat, nothing is right angles house.

But there is, it turns out, no room for error with the suction elevator. Which makes sense. Imagine me getting a call from Betty all, "Um, I'm stuck sort of sideways between the dining room and the closet."

I would be all, "That's terrible. We'll be right there. And say, did you find the cat?"

The horror.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Running in circles, chasing our tails, coming back as we are

Do you fight the same fights over and over?

For us, it varies in amount and intensity, but not topics. We move forward, and we circle back.

In bad periods, we fight them weekly. In good ones, months can go by. I believe much of it has to do with how much sleep we're getting, the state of our house, the amount Nick is working, my ability to hold my tongue, the position of the moon, our general stress levels, other demands on our time and energy...

In other words, there are a lot of factors at play. It's a delicate balance.

When I was young, I thought I'd grow up to look like Barbie. And I thought the state of being married would make me happy.

I never gave thought to the actual details of either.

I never thought about how marriage is just normal life, but harder. I mean, easier in that there are two of you to face challenges, and amazing in that you know that this other person always has your back, no matter what.

This is extraordinary, and not to be taken lightly.

But harder in that you are constantly compromising. The other person's priorities have to matter to you, sometimes more than your own. The other person's faults have to be forgiven. Or at any rate, you have to strive to understand, to not be so critical.

For better or for worse, you know?

I think there are easier situations, quite honestly. Maybe if we lived a different life, we could coast a bit more.

We have a toddler. Nick has a very demanding job. We're starting construction all over again. And even when this round of construction is done, the house is not done. It's just waiting for us to amass more money.

I feel like we're always working towards something, and once we get to that something, it's satisfying. But there's no just stopping and breathing and enjoying and just BEing, or anyway, very little. There's so much more to do.

There's always so much to do, so much to get done. We're like sharks. They stop, they die.

And then it's Sunday night, and the weekend is gone. Where did the time go? There's so much more to do!

We're still who we are, with the same faults, and the same frustrations. We love each other, so we keep working. There's so much more to do.

We move forward, and we circle back.

Maybe this is just how life is. I don't know. Do you ever coast?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fitness and bathing suits and challenges and such


I recently ordered this bathing suit from Land's End.

Last summer at the pool - see above for me exclaiming how! much! fun! we are having! and Jordan not buying a bit of it - I just wore an old bikini with a T-shirt over it. But we'll be going on a couple beach/pool-filled trips this summer and I need a suit that actually fits.

We'll see how this one goes. Even if you're reasonably happy with your body, the swimsuit business tends to be traumatic. I am not inclined to cram myself into suits and examine my ass in three-way mirrors in the store. Nothankyou.

Swimsuitquest 2011, however, coincided with my high school friend Wendy's email about her Spring into Bathing Suit Season Challenge. Complete with prizes!

Wendy's a mother of two who works out when her kids are sleeping, and over the years has gotten hard-core into fitness programs you can do at home, such as P90X, and most recently TurboFire - so much so that she's become a coach and has started selling their products.

She now has a reunion coming up and is working her ass off. In the past three weeks, she's lost: 7 pounds, 2 inches in the waist, and 2 inches in the hips. Even if you're not interested in participating in the challenge, you might be interested in reading about her progress.

So as not to mislead you, I'm not participating, simply because right now I'm not at a place in life for super hardcore workouts and supplements. But if you're looking to shake up your fitness routine, you might want to check it out!

Happy Friday, all!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cadbury eggs and liver, the manny, the ants, and you can't just cut a hole in your ceiling any old where

Cadbury creme eggs are like liver:
Nick bought me some Cadbury eggs, even though he never misses an opportunity to exclaim how shocked he is that I can eat them, disgustingly sugary as they are.

And then the other night, as he was prowling about the kitchen for something sweet, he picked up one of the eggs, peeled off the wrapper, said something about liver, and took a chomp. Basically he was comparing it to when he was a kid and his mom would make liver and onions, and it would smell good and he'd forget he hated it and then he'd take a bite and be all grossed out.

Which made me all, "If it's such a disgusting experience, then stop fucking eating my Cadbury eggs."

The manny:
After frantic posting on message boards, answering emails, calling people, and generally fretting myself into a childcare frenzy, I believe we have Jordan sorted out. We are going to have a manny!

My friend Kaysha has a friend who babysat for her daughter several days a week until she started preschool. She called him her manny. And it looks like he's going to be Jordan's very soon.

Very excited! And relieved!

The ants are gone:
And we are delighted. Terro rocks. That is all.

The surprise! construction! update:
Jordan is temporarily sleeping in the TV room, just until we can get the back room cleared - which we can't do while he's sleeping, because you have to walk through the TV room. I think he got a kick out of having his crib in there. He and Doggy were just fine.

As it is our only TV, this situation prevents Nick from sitting slack-jawed on the couch watching Archer. This is also fine. With me.

Nick gets annoyed when I say that. He's all, "You don't call it slack-jawed when you're watching Big Love or Mad Men. Well, yeah. Because that's different.

(Millionaire Matchmaker, however, definitely slack-jawed viewing. I admit it.)

We have exploratory holes in the ceilings, my mother's sink (which was in the bedroom rather than the bathroom - sort of convenient and sort of odd) is gone, and we have a 37" plywood circle affixed to the ceiling of the dining room, delicately placed right between the now-visible beams, which unfortunately means it encroaches on the molding.

Beams, in case you do not know, are important for making sure your house stays up and such. Molding, pretty as it is, is just decorative.

In other words: you can't just stick an elevator anywhere you might want to.

Since the house is all cattywhompus, and some walls lean one way and some they other, they have to make sure to line the holes up right top to bottom. One most definitely can't just measure out from the wall. We'll see where things wind up.

And this weekend we tackle the dread back room.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Yes, yes, I know: #sucharichworldproblem

So we have this big Australian builder who we just love.

He and his guys were working in our house for most of Jordan's first year of life. He was the last to leave our Christmas party. His dog feels very at home in our home.

So some months ago, Betty decided she was ready to move in. She already sleeps here several nights a week, and their house is just too big. It's time to let it go and move on.

So Betty is going to move in! But first, first we need to do a bunch of construction. Beginning with putting in an elevator.

Because there are many stairs, and she will be on the third floor. A normal elevator is too big, but there are these super-cool George Jetson sort of pneumatic elevators. Seriously - look at them. They're crazy. And we are going to have one of those!

So I looked at the elevator website, and I was all, cool! They can just cut holes in the floors and stick in the tubes and it's done!

Uh, sort of. Turns out elevators are more complicated than that.

Also, and the cause of my panic: the elevator will run through what is now Jordan's room. He will need to move. We have room for him, although we're moving him to what's currently our storage room.

We've done nothing about organizing this for him.

And this morning, on the way out the door, Nick said, "So Australian Builder is coming by today or tomorrow, Betty."

What we didn't realize was this. Australian Builder is turning up today with his crew, ready to work. I just got a panicked call from Betty.

They've just taken apart the crib to get it out the door. We need to set him up down the hall, and take out all of his stuff. We've prepared not one bit for the catastrophic mess that's about to occur.

Panic! Fuck! Construction! Now! Today!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The atomic number of calcium

Today, my sweetie boy, you are 20 months old.

I didn't realize it until I looked at the calendar, and it's the 19th again! The months just fly.

On a side bar: I had this linguistics professor who, when talking about the complexities of language, would say, "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana."

And now I cannot ever think of time flying without bananas.

You're now more than half my height, and pretty soon I'm sure you'll be taller than me. But I'm old enough to drink. So I still win.You point and say, "What's that?" 700 times a day, and you learn new words all the time. The "what's that?" is new and still quite charming. We'll see how that goes.

This morning over breakfast you learned "cuff links" from our house guest. You also pointed out his buttons over and over and over. Fortunately, he seems to be a patient, good-natured fellow.

We took you to the Reef for happy hour the other night. They have balloons and flashing lights and it is all around good fun. There were a ton of kids there.You're very gregarious with us, with other adults, and with the kids you know, but you kind of hang back with kids you don't know. I wonder if you'll be more like me in that regard? It's hard to imagine you as shy, but nobody ever believes I am, either.The fish are still fascinating, although sometimes I'm more mesmerized than you. You can only hold still for so long, and then you want down! So you can run!

You now announce it. "Jordan running!"

And then you make a beeline for the kitchen. Or the entrance to the bar. And I have to sprint after you, grab you up, and tell you that we are Not Invited. Which I realize means nothing to you at this point.

Pretty soon I won't be big enough to swoop you up. I suppose at that point I'll have to tackle you at the knees. Which probably means you'll have to start wearing a helmet so you don't bang your head when you fall.

Which will be hot and sweaty and cumbersome in the summer. Plus then everyone will refer to you as the kid with the helmet.

Maybe you should just learn to listen to your mother. Hmm?

We all love you like crazy,

Mama

Monday, April 18, 2011

How frequently the last time comes and we do not know

When I was 11 years old, we lived in Virginia, and I had a best friend named Jennifer.

We were in the same class, and lived about five blocks apart. We'd both grown up overseas. We quickly became best friends.

And one day, one day we had this huge fight. I can't remember what it was about, but I had been wronged. I came home sobbing. We were no longer friends.

This we're-not-friends might've lasted a week; I don't recall. But we went back to being best friends for the rest of the year, and the one following. And then they moved away.

We kept in touch, but sporadically. It was the age of letter-writing, after all, and I was kind of a sucky correspondent.

By the time I graduated from high school in Delhi, Jennifer's family was back in Virginia, living in their old house, about to move on to another country. My family had was just moving back. So five years later, we were once again briefly in the same place.

I was excited to see her. I told my dad I was going over to Jennifer's house. And he made a face. "Why?"

"Why not?"

"Don't you remember what she did to you?"

"What she did to me?"

"In sixth grade?"

I went over to her house. She was packing up to head down to college early for sorority rush. It was nice to see each other. We didn't exchange addresses.

And that was that. I hadn't really thought about her until now, decades later.

Today is my boy's last day with his best friend. Thinking about it chokes me up.

He wakes up in the morning, says, "Hi! ALLarm!" and then "David?"

When the doorbell rings, he always assumes it's them, yells, "David!" and charges for the door. When they are apart, they say each others names about 769 times a day.

They've only been friends for about six months. But six months is almost a third of their little lives.

I know, I know, he'll be fine. He's not even two. At some point, David will fade from memory. He'll go on to have so many more friends.

This is probably more painful for me.

But this is his first loss. Until enough time passes, he will wait for someone who is never coming back. This has happened to all of us at different times, in various ways.

But he won't understand why.

It breaks my heart.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Which just makes me so glad I don't have a lawn

The other day I stopped into the Gap, thinking I would buy some totally basic NOT BLACK T-shirts. Because I believe spring is here.

I couldn't find any normal T-shirts. What I did find, however, were these stretchy cutoff jean shorts. For $50.

They also have them in a light wash.

They look a little more polished here, plus these women are tall with skinny-winny legs. They were more fraying and fringy in the store. The shorts, I mean.

Can someone please explain this business to me?

Now, I made some very questionable fashion decisions in my teens. (But I tell myself those were the 80s; we all made questionable fashion decisions.)

If I were younger, would I think these were awesome? Would I wear them with heels? I think I'd have to, so my legs didn't look totally stumpy. But would I feel stupid and/or hideous wearing very tight stretchy cutoff denim shorts?

I'm pretty sure I would.

Because even if I had a lawn, I certainly wouldn't mow it in those. I'd find something cheaper and more comfortable and less frightening. Something that might breathe while I was sweating. Mowing the lawn is hot work, you know? I can only imagine I would frighten the neighbors in those. And then get a yeast infection.

Which then would mean none of the s-e-x and then Nick would always be obliged to mow the lawn and he'd feel deprived with all the no-s-e-x and we'd both be grumpy and the quality of our marriage would decline.

Also, grass makes me itch. It would just be so ugly all around.

Plus, who mows the lawn in heels? I mean, if I did have a lawn. For example. Because heels and grass just do not mix. I'm going to an outside wedding next month. Shoes are always a problem at outdoor events.

I'll tell you one thing I won't be wearing, though: stretchy cutoff jean shorts.

But if they seem like something you could rock, and you understand them, would you please tell me so? Because it could be that I am old and set in my ways and suspicious of things I don't understand.

Also, it is sunny, and it is Friday, and happy everything, everyone!

Well, except the ants. Happy Terro to you guys.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Jordan's new expression

Yah, so Jordan's new expression is "So many ants!"

Why, you might ask?

Because, you guys, all of a sudden this morning we have SO. MANY. ANTS.

I came home last night and J and Betty were in the back room. He was pointing at the floor saying, "Ants! Ants! Ants!" There were a whole bunch, congregating under the carpet.

So I immediately got a wet paper towel and smooshed a whole bunch, wiping up as many as I saw.

Then again this morning he was all examining the floor saying, "Oh! Oh! Oh!"

I followed where his finger was pointing to a stream of ants heading towards a piece of food under the table.

If you have a child, you know that there is always some chunk of food somewhere that you don't want it. Or maybe I am horrifying you with my horrendous housekeeping.

"Oh!" and more "Oh!"

"Ants, Jordan, those are ants! So many ants!"

"So many ants! Uh oh!"

Uh oh indeed.

I don't know where they're coming from, although our house is not air-tight by any stretch of the imagination. But I couldn't find the starting point.

What I did find, however, was the long column of ants, marching along the edge of the carpet, heading straight to the wall, advancing along the wall, moving to the edge of the next carpet, back to the wall, around the fireplace, into the kitchen...

They're kind of fascinating, except for the fact that they completely freak me out.

I keep thinking of this story a friend of mine in Ecuador who lived in the rain forest. She said one day the ground was just covered in ants. They were everywhere. They came into her house, covered the floor, covered the walls, ate everything they came across, and then left.

Can you imagine?

I know these aren't rain forest ants, but they're so gross! Must figure out an ant solution!

Ants! So! Many! Ants!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The best thing about taking a toddler on a White House garden tour

On Sunday Jordan and I walked down to the White House and then the Mall with our friends who are moving away.

Here you can see us screaming indignantly because we are having to hold still for 13 seconds.

Our friends had tickets for the garden tour. They're trying to get in the kinds of touristy things that you don't do when you live somewhere. So we went with them in the hopes of getting last-minute tickets, which we did. They are free and it's a very nice experience.

If you don't have a toddler. Or you have a cooperative one.

I learned two things on this tour: 1. The White House and its grounds are a hell of a lot bigger than they seem from outside the fence. 2. The best thing about taking my toddler on a garden tour is absolutely nothing.

Jordan was not remotely impressed by our proximity to the abode of the president. He was not impressed by the band playing. He was not impressed by the beautiful view. He was entirely undaunted by the guards.

Here he is plotting his route to the fountain:
I spent the bulk of our time sprinting after Jordan, who was determined to get off the beaten path (and by beaten I mean paved and/or fenced and where you are ALLOWED to go) and into the roped-off grass and such. At one point, when I thought he was all impressed with the fountain, I just barely grabbed his shirt and stopped him as he tried to slip under the fence.

He had his own agenda, and when stopped, his preferred response was to say, "No!" and lay down on the ground in protest.

You could see how this might be Unhelpful in a moving crowd.

A number of people remarked on how I certainly have my hands full! Smile!

In fact, I would say this photo sums up our afternoon.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The working mama juggle struggle

I returned to my full time job when Jordan was 16 weeks old.

Because my office is in DC, rather than VA or MD, we get 16 weeks rather than 12 of maternity leave. Unpaid, except for two weeks of 60% disability. But still - the option of 16 is lucky by comparison.

And your child is still so small when you return to work. I am fortunate that my mom was and is available and willing to take care of my baby.

I was full time for a few months, and then we realized that five days a week was just too much for Betty. And I felt like I was missing out on time with my itty bitty boy that I could never get back. So I cut down to three days a week in the office.

And then, about five months ago, we stumbled into a perfect situation, and I upped my office days from three to four per week.

Some of it was about more time as a professional adult; some of it was about money. I do realize I'm lucky to have this kind of flexibility at all.

We need my salary, but perhaps more importantly, my benefits. Jordan's on my health insurance. I pay his premium and about $70/month for mine. If my mom weren't watching J three days a week, my salary would mostly go to child care. I really would feel like I were working just for benefits.

So for the past five months, we've had this ideal situation in which one of our neighbors watched him one day a week and whenever we had an emergency, like Betty was sick. They are friends of ours, and their son is J's best little friend. They love our son and we love theirs.

And on Saturday night, they told us they are moving. In two weeks. It wasn't planned - life is just happening this way. They leave on Easter.

I sat down and cried. And then I drank a lot of wine. I emailed a friend of mine with a whole lot of fuckity fucks. And I cried some more.

I had this momentary, I'll quit and be a stay at home mom! Except that it's not a possibility in our current situation. Also, I would probably go batshit. And then we would struggle to pay the mortgage and Nick would have to foot mental health bills.

Like I said, I drank a lot of wine.

And now we're trying to figure out what to do.

Betty can fill in for a few weeks, but my boy is a lot of work. By the end of the third day, she's pretty tired. Hell, by the end of the weekend, I'm exhausted.

We need the child care, and almost more critically, we need a relationship with someone so we have backup for emergencies. But finding this is a hard process.

Because basically, when you trust someone with your child, you're handing over your heart and soul all packaged in toddler clothes and saying, "Bye! Have a good day!"

Monday, April 11, 2011

I do not like it party hat


Some of us have been reading Go, Dog. Go! a little too many million times.

What this exchange made me realize is that Jordan is actually really listening when we read. I don't know why I assumed he was mostly just looking at the pictures.

Apparently when I was two-ish, I had a couple books memorized. I'd pretend that I could read.

I'd offer to read to older kids. Older, but not yet of reading age.

And they'd be all impressed and then choose another book - one I didn't know by heart. "Read this one!"

And I'd say, "No. I don't feel like it."

Maybe, now that I think about it, this is why they punished me by not letting me be the Christmas Lobster in the preschool play?

Friday, April 08, 2011

In which Nick wins by playing the Genghis Khan card

I just feel like coffee is a much manlier beverage than tea.

And I had to include this photo so you could see the size of the box of tea I ordered. In fact, I ordered two of them from Amazon, delivered to my office. I had to carry them home one at a time.

Somehow I didn't realize that 240 tea bags would mean a shitload of tea. It always seems like a good idea at the time.

So Nick, who is not only very tall but has these gigantor dinosaur-sized bones, could never by any stretch of the imagination be considered remotely effeminate. You could totally picture him as a lumberjack.

He's kind of like Chedo Lino with an office job and nice suits. And without the facial hair.

He drinks tea; coffee makes his stomach hurt.

And one day I happened to mention to him that I just think coffee is manlier. It was probably during one of those moments when he was steeping his disgusting foot tea.

"Tea," I announced, "is more of a girly beverage. Coffee, on the other hand, is all strong and dark and manly."

I offered this a a statement of fact.

(I don't know where I come up with this shit either, truth be told. I hadn't thought of it before it came out of my mouth. But once you pick a position, you kind of have to stick to it, no?)

The fact that I prefer tea over coffee - unless of course I'm in France or Spain or Italy, which I pretty much never am - has nothing to do with anything. I'm almost a vegetarian, and yet I like men to eat meat.

I didn't say it made sense.

Nick was having none of it. He held out the Brits - his people - who had conquered the world drinking tea. The sun never setting on the British Empire and so on. Fueled by tea!

That was an easy one.

I rolled my eyes and pointed out that British men wear skinny jeans. Manly men do not wear skinny jeans. I don't care. They just don't.

I said, "Think of the Romans! They drink coffee! Tiny little super strong shots of espresso. They're all super manly."

Nick sneered. He's not as enamored of the Italians as I.

His eyes lit up. "Genghis Khan! Ha! He and his marauding hordes all drank tea." He looked very pleased with himself.

Genghis Khan. Crap. You can't really argue with Genghis Khan. So I granted him and his horde of Mongols the manly tea-drinkers exception.

And that's all I've got. Happy Friday, all!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

ALLarm touchit!

Jordan is fascinated by our house alarm. He loves the buttons.

And although I am bummed that it doesn't connect directly to a little model city that lights up, I too like pushing buttons.

Plus I love that if anything bad happens, the alarm will scream like a motherfucker and the police will arrive.

My son's fascination, I think, started with the doors. Because the alarm beeps and announces whatever alarmed window or door has just been opened. So it'll go "Beep beep beep! Front door!"

Yes, this is super annoying when you have people walking in and out constantly. But the house is big, and it's nice to know what's been opened.

Jordan started by saying, "Door door!"

He then moved on to front/back door. And now he's added the beep. He loves to beep.

The alarm, it seems, is top of his mind at all times. You go in to get him first thing in the morning, and he's standing in his crib, smiling. He says, "Hi!"

"Hi!"

"Alarm!"

Except the way he pronounces it is ALLarm.

So I invariably reply, "Yes. Alarm! Alarm is downstairs!" or something along those lines.

Nick recently began indulging Jordan in his desire to press any and every button that might make some kind of noise. And so Nick will hold him up to the alarm button pad on the wall.

The thing is, Nick is big enough to sit in the red chair and lift J up over his head to get to the buttons. Also, strong enough.

Me, not so much. The kid has got to be somewhere around 30 pounds at this point.

So we'll be sitting in the chair, reading a book, when J will suddenly stand up on my lap, announcing, "ALLarm! Touchit!" "ALLarmtouchit!"

And then he'll procede to scale my body, thinking nothing of stepping on my chest, shoulder, face, in furtherance of his objective. It gets him close, but not quite close enough. I am short, after all.

Standing on my face only gets you so far.

Allarmtouchit indeed.

And now we're off to our 18-month appointment (yes, 18 months was about six weeks ago, and I need to make these appointments months and months in advance and I didn't and I feel like a terrible mom for that) where I fear we will be getting shots and I'm completely dreading it.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Go figure

A number of years ago, when I lived with Maude, I had this dream that she slept with the husband of a friend of mine.

I woke up feeling just terrible about it, because why would she do that?

I told my friend very apologetically. She wasn't the least bit bothered. Because, you know, it was a dream.

Maude, however, was really annoyed with me, because he was someone she wasn't remotely attracted to, and not someone she would ever sleep with. How could I do that to her?

So the other night, I dreamt that I was visiting friends of mine - a married couple - and while the wife was cooking dinner she said, "OK, you can go ahead and do it now."

I was supposed to have sex with her husband.

And it wasn't really something I wanted to do, but it also wasn't going to take a great deal of effort, so I went ahead and did it.

To be polite, really.

Let me assure you that while I might feel someone's boobs to be polite, that's about the extent of my manners.

But anyway, I woke up all what kind of weird dream was that? So I told Nick about it. He wasn't overly delighted. As one might not be.

So I thought I'd make him feel better. "You know, if I were going to cheat on you, he's definitely not one of the men I'd do it with."

He just looked at me.

"Which doesn't mean that I've thought about it. It's not like there's this list of...There's not! It's more, well, he wouldn't be on it."

This reassurance, oddly enough, didn't turn things right around.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Blame it on the rain that was falling falling...

Have I told you that I take inclement weather extremely personally?

I do.

Also, today, I hate everything. The craptacular weather is like the freezy grey icing on the hate-cake that is me today. Grr! Hatey hate! Stabbity stab!

And I hate being this grumpy. Any suggestions for getting out of a grump?

Back to the weather, though. Somehow, it is all about me. And this winter, this eternal-endlessly-eternal-suckass-cold-grim-even-though-it's-officially-spring winter, has lasted MY ENTIRE LIFE.

I don't do this with nice weather. (Does one ever say clement weather? I never hear it. Only inclement.) But once it's bad weather, well, it's been visited directly upon me. Smote, I tell you, smote by the rain!

Devious droplets of dickishness.

This morning as I walked to work, the weather broke my umbrella. The wind was coming from 37 different directions and kept turning my cute red umbrella with admittedly oddly-yellow-tinted zebras inside out and now it is broken.

I felt like my two-mile walk to the office was this Sisyphean task, and I wanted to shake my fist at the gods. Instead I just glowered and stomped along, trying to avoid the other pedestrians who were also being buffeted about, trying to salvage their umbrellas.

(Which gave me the suspicion that it is not directed specifically at me. That was short-lived, though.)

And I hate wind. I am not one of those, oh, gentle breezes softly caressing my cheek! oh, for the wind in the willows! kind of people.

No. For me it is more like when we were kids and my brother and I were in the back seat of the car and there would be a Very Firm Line down the middle. And he would keep crossing it and touching me.

And I would be all, "Stop touching me! Daaaaaad! Sibling is crossing the line and touching me! Stoooooop! Touching! Me!"

I dislike the feeling on my skin. I don't even particularly like house fans. Which is unfortunate because they seem to be one of Nick's passions in life. Also the sailing. There is necessarily a lot of wind involved.

But that is a whole nother topic.

Anyway, there was the wind. And the rain. Also coming from multiple directions. And the coldy cold!

Will it ever get warm? When was the last time it was warm? I seriously cannot remember being warm.

Well, except yesterday. Yesterday was actually quite lovely.

Monday, April 04, 2011

I suppose Monday's as good a day as any to talk about nipples

I had this brief thought of, "Hmm, maybe a nipple post isn't really appropriate on a Monday." But then I was all, "Seriously? Because nipples are more of a Thursday thing?"

I don't know.

So. One of my colleagues recently returned from maternity leave.

Actually, I should stop here with a warning: if you're a woman who has never breastfed, but is considering it, you might want to skip this post. In fact, if you're anyone who is particularly fond of nipples, same goes.

So the colleague came back to work, and on her first day back, another colleague and I ran into her on her way to the new lactation room to pump.

Prior to that you could do it in our small library. You had to wait until nobody was in there and then lock the door. I never put a sign up, because I wasn't sure what to say. (Pumping? Office motherhood in action? This fucking sucks?)

The library, however, was a much better situation than several years prior, where I've been told you had to hook your boobs up in the bathroom and kind of hover near the sink, since that's where the plug was. Also, the library has Internet.

And if you have ever pumped (or expressed, if you prefer) milk, you know that it super sucks.

Hahaha! Punny!

Except that it does. It really really does. It's dreadful all around.

If you've never done this and you're still reading, let me tell you. You put these clear plastic things that look sort of like funnels on your boobs, and they're hooked by tubes to a machine that provides suction.

So you can watch in horror as your nipple is stretched an inconceivable distance away from your torso. Seriously. You would never imagine that your boob could be so squozen or that it would stretch so far.

Unless, of course, you've had a mammogram or are one of those women in rural Africa who roll up their boobs.

With the pumping, you also get to see how much comes out with ever squeeze. And you get more if you're relaxed. So sitting there going, "I have a meeting in half an hour and my boobs are so full and godfuckingdammit WHY isn't any milk coming out?" does not help.

No. What you need to do is sit there and take deep breaths and be all serene. You could see, through the clear plastic, the direct correlation between your level of relaxation and your production.

I kind of expected my success rate to go up when I looked at shoes or celebrity gossip online, but it didn't. Reading blogs was variable, depending on the topic. Reading work email shot it all to hell.

So mostly I'd sit there all deep breathing and mantra-ing about milk production and serenity and la la la.

But what I am getting to is this. And this is the bad part.

We wound up talking about the horror of looking down while pumping. And how you just cannot believe this is happening to these very important pieces of your body.

"The worst part, though," I said, "is that they never go back to the way they were before."

Her eyes widened. "Never?"

I shook my head in lamentation. I looked at another colleague, also a mother.

She shook her head slowly and sadly. "Nope."

Saturday, April 02, 2011

It's tricky to rock a rhyme, to rock a rhyme that's right on time

If you regularly read LG and you stopped by yesterday and went through the loop, you may have thought any of the following:
  • When will I actually get to the information?
  • Tricked! Assholes!
  • Tricked! What a fabulous April Fools gag!
  • What the fuck is Lisa doing in the same chain as all these serious bloggers?
Right.

Sometimes you're just traipsing along in life, writing about motherhood and shoes and poo, and then your friend Mark from high school in India invites you along and you wind up doing something totally fun and random and completely outside your norm.

But you know, first thing I looked at the other blogs - primarily lawyers and doctors - and said to Nick, "They're all so...grown up! They write about real things! Their readers are going to wonder what the hell I'm doing in there."

I felt kind of like I do when I attend meetings with people in the financial world in New York.

I put on a nice suit and a fabulous scarf and lipstick and my serious glasses. But inside I'm 12 and will giggle if anyone farts, and I like to talk about things like where I would put my penis if I had one and would much rather think about spring shopping than liquidity swaps and risk and emerging markets.

Nick tsked me and said, "Look, they just write about more formal topics. Relax."

If you want the details of the plot and execution, Eric Turkewitz - the mastermind behind it - has the details.

No, really. He does. No (April) foolin'.

Happy Saturday, all!

Friday, April 01, 2011

Oh, hi April!

So you know I am not a lawyer and I do not live in the law blog world, and really, the closest I've gotten to being a lawyer is, uh...

Actually I don't tend to talk about that kind of thing on LG.

Suffice it to say that I went on approximately 37 kabillion dates with lawyers and then wound up marrying one. And almost all my friends are lawyers of one sort or another. Including Mark, of the oh-so-astute Rules for Crazy.

And he is usually how I wind up with random lawyer tidbits, some of which are just delightful.

Last year, a friend of Mark's posted about being hired as the first White House law blogger - an April Fool's joke that wound up making the New York Times. In fact, they got fooled twice that day.

Which pissed them off, because, you know, they're the New York Times.

The only human I know who doesn't respect the NYT is my mother-in-law, who thinks they're a bunch of loser liberal propagandists.

This from a woman who considers Fox News fair and balanced and listening to Rush Limbaugh time well spent.

Yes. So.

Anyway. In my world, and many other reasonable-ish people's, the New York Times is a venerable institution and a credible news source.

Which, of course, is why it's kind of awesome to have April fooled them, no? And kind of astounding and bizarre that it happened again this year.

I'm wondering if they're all, "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — You can't get fooled again."