Wednesday, December 27, 2006

It's A Holly,Jolly Hausfrau

Things are getting back to normal here at Hausfrau Haus. We had a delightful Christmas, but I am eager to take down our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree and vacuum the corner where it has been living for the past month.

Christmas was somewhat simple this year because the only family who came to visit was my mother-in-law. She is very easy-going, so I don't have to stress about the way my home is decorated or if the children have dirty faces when she arrives. It's also easier when she comes because I don't have to make sure to have four bottles of bourbon on hand for an eight day visit like I did for my mom last Christmas.

This year, Ella actually understood the glory of Santa. I previously struggled with the idea of explaining Santa to her. I went ahead and did it and proceeded to use the "Santa Card" whenever she was acting up. You know the card: "Ella, Santa can see you when you are having a temper tantrum." Or, "Ella, Santa can see you when you are pushing your sister. My personal favorite was, " Ella, Santa's not going to come to our house if you keep picking your nose and eating it." You get the idea. The mere threat of Santa not coming over the night of the 24th really set her on a path of good behavior, with the exception of the nose picking stuff--she just became sneakier about it. Ella was excited to decorate some cookies for Santa and had carrots in a bowl for the reindeer. The look on her face when she came down on Christmas morning and saw that the cookie plate was empty was one of such happiness and wonder. It was one of those moments that you want to bottle and keep forever.

The present opening circus was fairly well contained. I should first tell you that the kids got a lot of presents. A LOT. None of the presents under the tree were from us. The kids got no less than 30 packages under the tree. Each. Twenty-five of which were from Grandma. This is an issue I have struggled with since Ella was born. I should first mention how much I LOVE my MIL. I thank God every single day that I have the MIL that I have been given. I am truly lucky to have a MIL who drops everything to help her family. She doesn't intrude. She doesn't interfere. She makes the most kick-ass Beef and Noodles EVER. She is generous, sweet and kind. Her generosity, however, is her weakness. Grandma loves to buy stuff for her grandkids. I get it. But she is so worried about being fair to all of her grandchildren, that she will purchase all kinds of unneccesary crap to make sure all the kids are on a level playing field. It doesn't matter that we don't even see the other three kids at Christmas. I have asked her on more than one occasion to stop buying so much. I have asked her to spend just $50 on each child . Herr informed me that was "ludicrous" and not realistic (WTF?!?!). I have asked her to take half of the money she would spend and put it in the kids' college funds. I have asked her to just give the girls a hand-knit sweater and a doll quilt (she makes INCREDIBLE handmade stuff. She.will.not.stop at just that. Grandma always claims that, "this was only $7.00" or "books don't count." What she doesn't understand is that we don't WANT the girls to get a brand new life-size teddy bear every year for Christmas.

It's not just the money that she spends, however. My mother is not financially sound and often doesn't send gifts because she just doesn't have the money to do so. I asked my MIL a couple of years ago to stop spending so much on Ella because I didn't want her to ever notice that one grandmother gives her more "stuff" than the other. I told her that I didn't want Ella to EVER feel that one grandmother loves her more than the other because of the amount of stuff she gives her. Her solution to that issue at the time was that she would just buy extra presents and we could tell Ella that they were from my mother. That is probably the only time I ever lost my temper with her. It's obvious that it has done no good.

This year I decided to videotape the opening of the presents so that I could send it to my mom. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to edit out 80% of it because almost every present was from my MIL. My mother sent one gift to each girl. I can't have my mom looking at Ella hugging Grandma for each and every one of the 25 presents she got from her and only one,"Thank you, Busia" directed at the camera. It would break her heart. Herr said that his mother went overboard and that it has to stop. Good luck with that, Herr. In the meantime, I told Herr that Ella is old enough to understand that in the future, when something comes into the house, something needs to leave the house.

In other news, I have been searching for a new daycare for the girls. I have found one that has a fantastic facility and curriculum. I had planned on waiting to see if the new facility was feasible with my new commute that I will be making to King of Prussia, PA starting next week. That plan suddenly moved up this evening when Herr came home FUMING because, yet again, Ella was fed a sugared cereal for breakfast this morning. When Herr approached the employee, she stared at him like he was from outer space when he asked if she had been told of our request to not feed Ella stuff like Lucky Charms. She said that she hadn't but that they have an alternative--Honey Nut Cheerios. I am assuming that he stormed out of there because the Director of the daycare called us while we were eating dinner and swore up and down that Ella has not been fed Lucky Charms since I spoke to him last. He also indicated that they are at the mercy of their food supplier (WTF?!) and don't always have plain Cheerios, etc. At this point, it isn't the cereal that is the issue. Quite frankly, I am probably sounding like my kids live in a bubble and we feed them only organic food. That is so not the case.We are tired of paying a sub-par daycare $1100/month for 3 days a week to be ignored. I will not be ignored.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Uptight Mother or Justified Anger? You Decide!

I remember packing Ella's lunchbox on her first day of daycare when we first moved to Cincinnati in April of 2005. I packed the usual: cottage cheese, carrots, a hummus sandwich and some raisins. It was same thing I packed for her when I used to take her to daycare when we lived in New Jersey. It was a healthy lunch in my opinion, and I dropped her off at school without giving it another thought. Imagine my dismay when I opened her empty lunch box that night and saw a pre-printed note indicating that Ella's lunch had not met the State of Ohio's Nutritional Guidelines for Pre-School Children. Apparently they didn't count the hummus as a protein, so they counted the cottage cheese as a protein, meaning there wasn't enough calcium in her lunchbox. The note referred to the Goddard School Handbook for reference .

I remember being really pissed. How dare they tell me that I am not feeding my child in a healthy manner?! There were no cookies, chips or Diet Coke in her lunchbox. I didn't throw a Lunchables in her box and call it a day. I eventually got over it and made damn sure that Ella never came home with a note like that again.

When we moved here to Bethlehem in August, I started searching for a daycare for the girls since I was going to be going back to work. I found a daycare that was really close to our house. It was a happy environment, clean and fairly reasonable. The best part was that the weekly rate included everything--diapers, breakfast, lunch and two snacks daily. It was going to be GREAT to be able to drop the kids off three days a week without having to schlep food and diapers for them. Part of the information I brought home was a menu of the kids' meals. While I wasn't thrilled with the Beefaroni every other Wednesday and the canned fruits on the menu, I figured I would give it a shot.

Last week I was trying to coax Ella into getting dressed a little faster so that we could leave the house on time at 6:30 AM.

"Hurry up, Ella. We've got to get going. Where are your shoes?"

"I'm really hungry Mommy."

"I know, but you'll eat breakfast when you get to school."

"OH YEAH! We're going to have Lucky Charms for breakfast. Yummy! I do love those Lucky Charms!"

"Excuse me? Did you say you are eating Lucky Charms at school?"

"Uh huh."

"But Ella, are you sure you're eating Lucky Charms at school? I thought you eat Cheerios there."

"Nooooo Mommy, Cheerios are for babies."

"Honey, are you SURE? I mean, you ate Lucky Charms in Canada as a treat."

"I KNOW! Lucky Charms aren't just in Canada anymore!"

I chalked up our discussion to Ella's imagination and wishful thinking. While I don't feel I am a really uptight parent when it comes to food, I don't feed my kids cereals that have sugar. I just never have. I didn't think for one minute that the daycare was serving Lucky Charms to the kids, so I forgot about it until Ella brought up that she had eaten Lucky Charms for breakfast that day. I still didn't believe it, but I asked one of the daycare aides when I was there on Wednesday. Imagine my surprise when she said that they DO feed the older kids Lucky Charms. She asked if it was a problem. I told her it was and that I would appreciate it if she fed Ella only Cheerios. She said that it wouldn't be a problem, and that she would alert the other workers.

Friday night, Corey called me in the car to say that he had just picked up the girls and that the first thing out of Ella's mouth was that she had eaten Lucky Charms for breakfast.


I immediately called the daycare and spoke to Mr. Mike, the Director. I told him that I was willing to give the employee I spoke to that morning the benefit of the doubt that she had forgotten to inform the others to not feed Ella Lucky Charms. I did however, expect that it wouldn't happen again and that I want it made clear that my girls are to NOT eat sugar cereals. Mr. Mike apologized profusely and promised to make everyone aware that Ella is to eat Cheerios in the future. I was pleased that I had controlled my anger on the phone, yet made my request clear.

I'll give you three guesses as to what Ella had for breakfast this morning at daycare.

I'd love to hear how y'all would handle this.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Big Four

Baby Girl is going to be four years old tomorrow. I was completely fine during her birthday party on Saturday night. I was fine this morning when she came into our room and told us that, "I had the most WONDERFUL birthday party, Mommy and Daddy."

Tonight when I tucked her in, I told her that she was going to be four years old when she wakes up tomorrow morning. She gasped with absolute joy and said, "Oh Mommy, I can't WAIT to wake up tomorrow morning!"

I've been crying ever since.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Good Times on I-78

I may have previously mentioned that I am working again for my former employer. I have done various recruiting projects for them since I left New Jersey a couple of years ago. Now that I am not living in Ohio, I've been doing projects for them at some of their offices throughout Central New Jersey. They pay me well and I am glad to do it. This latest project, however, has been rough. I work at the office Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and work from home on Tuesdays and Thursdays. While I could write an entire post on "It Really Sucks Working at Home When Your Kids Are There Too," I will table that for another day.

The toughest part of my job has been my commute. On a good day, I can cover the 86 miles in about 90 minutes. On a bad day, it is 2+ hours. On the one hand, I really don't feel right about bitching. I agreed to do the project and am being paid mileage to go to and from work right now because I am doing this favor for them. But the drive SUCKS. It just does. Anyone who knows Interstate 78 knows my pain. Interstate 78 is a stretch of highway that goes into New York. Parts of it are always under construction. It is a main artery for many New Jerseyans' commutes. Because so many people from New York and New Jersey are moving to the Easton/Bethlehem/Allentown, PA area, the traffic snarls have extended out there as well. My husband currently leaves the house at 5:15 AM to avoid the traffic I am faced with a mere 90 minutes later. Sometimes the traffic jams up because of accidents, the sun, the rain or the snow. The rest of the time it is anyone's guess as to why it takes so damned long to get where you need to go.

In the few months of this commuting, I have learned a few things. First of all, I no longer bring coffee on my drive. The lack of caffeine that I suffer through until I get to work is a far cry from the suffering I have faced in not having a bathroom readily accessible. Secondly, I learned that satellite radio is one of the best investments one can make. In addition, I have learned to bring reading materials. The Wall Street Journal has kept me from going batshit on more than one occasion I was stuck in non-moving traffic for upwards of 30 minutes.

One of the more amusing things I have discovered is that I am not the only person who leaves at precisely the same time every day. There are a few cars I recognize on my drive, and I think they recognize me. There is the guy who drives a United States Homeland Security SUV. There is the woman who drives a really horrible yellow Honda. I am sure there are many more, but they blend in with all of the other cars. Another plus with this commute is that the people watching is FANTASTIC. I recently spent one morning counting the people I caught picking their noses (six). One morning I spent counting people who were singing (three.) Believe me, when you are stuck in the same place on a road for reasons only known by God, you'll learn to appreciate the little things that may amuse you.

Yesterday's commute started off like any other--a slowdown near the PA/NJ border, construction at mile marker 7, more slowdowns at 11, and 15. After that, my drive was looking good. I actually was driving about 75 MPH, thinking that I might get to work at a decent time. A shorter drive is normally just as boring, but then I quickly realized that I had hit commuter GOLD. The black Nissan Altima ahead of me was being driven by a man whose two hands were on his head. That's because he was SHAVING HIS HEAD WITH CLIPPERS while driving 75+ MPH! I followed this man for close to eight miles, completely riveted by what he was doing. One hand did the clipping while the other hand checked to make sure he hadn't missed anything. So many thoughts were running in my head like, "Doesn't he care that he is getting hair all over himself and his car?" and, "Is he driving with his legs?"

Of course I wasn't the only person who noticed. People were passing him with, "WTF???" expressions on their faces. He just kept on shaving. Of course, I got on my phone and called my girlfriend Amy and was all, "OH MY GOD, you won't believe this guy in front of me!!!" and "Where is a COP when you need one!" Then, out of nowhere, he pulled into the far left lane (still shaving mind you)and passed a car and sped away. He was easily doing 80 MPH.

Suddenly, applying mascara while driving really doesn't seem like a big deal anymore. Nor does eating a Taco Bell Grande without dropping anything on yourself.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Hausfrau Thanksgiving Update

The Hausfrau Family returned from Canada on Saturday tired and uncomfortable. Herr and I were still full from Thanksgiving dinner AND the enormous amounts of food we felt we had to eat on Friday (no leftovers mind you!) I am just now getting my appetite back.

We had an awesome time with the Cleavers. We always do. The kids all got along really well and there were minimal time-out sessions. June and I had a lot of fun planning all things Thanksgiving. My problem is that I tend to take over, which I did once I got here. In retrospect, I feel bad because it was JUNE'S Thanksgiving dinner at HER house. At any rate, dinner turned out superb. The Cleaver's invited some new friends of theirs which was really nice as well.

The return trip was long because we had to wait at the US/Canadian border for nearly 90 minutes, but we still got home at a decent hour on Saturday. I'm already planning my return trip in the summer.

I would be remiss if I didn't share all of the things we learned while in Canada:

1. It takes shopping at two grocery stores to find all of the ingredients necessary for an American Thanksgiving dinner. Our challenges were finding cranberries in any form, pork sausage, cocktail rye and cornbread.

2. Ella learned that Lucky Charms is a "Canadian Cereal" and isn't available in the USA.

3. Everyone should have a mani-pedi on Thanksgiving.

4. The Trailer Park Boys may be my favorite new television show. I had high hopes for Porno Valley but was disappointed. Porno Valley is allegedly a documentary about porn stars and their daily lives. I was looking forward to seeing porno stars studying for the bar (it could happen!), fixing dinner for their spouses or carpooling the kids to soccer whilst waxing poetic about the merits of their jobs. Instead, it was an episode where they were all in Vegas for some Porno Awards Show. While I could care less about who won, "Best Anal Scene," I did laugh at the porn star whose date was her "Gramma."

5. Poutine. Jesus.H.Christ.

6. I learned about this while reading "Chatelaine" magazine. My hunch is that it would be more for the gal who has Primus or heavy metal music downloaded on her iPod.

7. One really CAN eat too many truffles.

Monday, November 20, 2006

American Thanksgiving in Canada

Family Hausfrau is heading to North North Dakota Canada tomorrow to spend the Thanksgiving Holiday with the Cleaver Family. The Hausfrau/Cleaver roadshow will consist of five children under the age of five and four adults waiting for bedtime.

Initially, Corey was concerned with the prospect of celebrating Thanksgiving in Canada. His primary concern was that he wouldn't be able to watch American football and would be stuck watching curling. Once he was assured that there would be some sort of football watching, he was totally up for it.

I, on the other hand, can't WAIT to get there. First of all, I love spending Thanksgiving with friends. Last year was the first and only year that we spent the holiday with family. Don't get me wrong--I love my family. But I love a drama free holiday even more. Here are some other reasons why Thanksgiving is going to ROCK:

1. There will be no stupid Thanksgiving crowds at the grocery store on Wednesday. Because Canada had their Thanksgiving a month ago, I will NOT be using the grocery cart as a battering ram to get through my last minute dinner shopping.

2. We won't have to worry about Black Friday as it will just be a normal Friday for all Canadians.

3. While the turkey is cooking, the children are napping, and the husbands are watching reruns of Degrassi High, June and I will be enjoying mani-pedis at the nearby salon. Imagine that sort of luxury on Thanksgiving. The added benefit of that because we will be at the salon, we won't be stuffing our faces prior to dinner . Pretty toes and less weight gain. God, I love Canada!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Hausfrau Hotel/Motel Review

I remembered reading about Kate's Lazy Meadow Motel a couple of years ago and thought it would be really cool to someday stay there. How could it not? It is owned by Kate Pierson of the B-52s. According to the website, Kate was travelling through the Catskills and found an old motel for sale. She and her friends then redesigned each room to be kitschy and super fun. She also started buying Airstream campers and redoing those as well and parking them on the banks of the Esophus Creek. Each room is different from the next and a couple of rooms are suites with full kitchens. The website indicated that they used luxury linens and fancy toiletries from all the hotels in Kate's travels. As far as I was concerned, it was going to be a slam dunk.

I made my reservation two weeks in advance. Because they have a one month cancellation policy, I decided to only reserve one night in case my plans got ruined. I figured it would be better to be out one night's money instead of two. Ethan took my reservation over the phone and immediately sent me an email confirmation. His email was very informative and had an attachment listing several area restaurants and things to do. I had told him we probably wouldn't get here until 10PM on Wednesday. Ethan said that he wouldn't be in the office then, but that they keys would be haing outside the door. I was surprised by that, but whatever.

Let me first say that you have to really WANT to stay there. The Lazy Meadow Motel is in the middle of NOWHERE in Mt. Tremper, NY. When we pulled into the motel at 6:30 at night, we were surprised to be the only ones there. Sure enough, the keys were in an envelope on the office door. Since it was pitch black and raining, we couldn't see anything. We easily found Room #3.

The door itself was tricky. Corey had to use his body to force the warped door open. Upon inspection, it appeared that the door was made with MDF and didn't really close at the top. No matter--the room looked REALLY COOL!

We slept well in the room that night. We really weren't upset by the fact that no one else was on the property and our door was kind of broken and the heat didn't work because the room WAS SO COOL! We had a kitchen area with a refrigerator and sink, a sitting area in addition to the actual bedroom. We were pretty psyched to move to a different room the next night (because I didn't reserve another night until the day we got there, our room was taken.) Corey mentioned that the shower was the smallest one he had been in EVER so I opted to not shower until we moved to the new room, which was a larger suite. When we returned that afternoon to check into the new room, the only people there were the cleaning people who had just finished our room. We didn't see our key hanging on the office door, so we called Monica the caretaker (she's 5 minutes away) and she told us to go ahead and go back to Room #3 as she switched rooms, thinking she was doing us a favor. We were a little bummed, but we were then pleased that someone had come and fixed the door so that we didn't have to use full force to get in and out of the room. The cleaning people also said they fixed the heat.

That night, people checked into the room next door. I was at that moment we realized that our shared wall was the thickness of construction paper. And their door also appeared to be problematic, which wouldn't have been so bad except the dude kept going outside every 30 minutes to smoke a cigarette until 2AM. After the first 5 times he lumbered in and out, we finally realized that no one was trying to break in and hack us to pieces.

The next morning, I decided to get over my feelings of claustrophobia and take a shower. I grabbed the toiletries that were supposed to be from some exotic hotel. They were actually bottles from the Hampton Inn that had been refilled and affixed with a homemade label. The bar of soap was rewrapped in some sort of paper as well. No matter--I brought my own stuff. Unfortunately, having more than one room occupied at this motel apparently affected the flow of hot water that morning. I decided to wait until we checked into the hotel in Boston to shower.

I have to admit, had this been any other hotel, I would have been quite annoyed. But for the little things that annoyed us, there was something else there that made us extremely happy. For example, check out this selection of movies in our room--apparently a box of several hundred movies were purchased at a garage sale and there was a selection of movies in every room. Who WOULDN'T want to watch Smoky & The Bandit and My Fair Lady in one sitting?!

And while we never did get the heat to work, we really couldn't complain because it wasn't all that cold when we were there. And I have to admit that our room was the cleanest hotel room I have ever stayed in. Ever. There was not a speck of dust nor a cobweb or piece of lint ANYWHERE. The bedding smelled like Downy and the bed was REALLY comfortable.

Despite the fact that my review may sound lukewarm, I have to admit I would absolutely stay there again. I would stay there if I could rent the entire place out for a spring or autumn weekend and have all of my friends there. That way I wouldn't care about the person on the other side of the wall of Room # 3. This was the view from the backyard:

I would also be very tempted to come back and stay in this.

Besides, I figure if I stay there enough times, Kate will eventually be there and I can ask her what the hell they were smoking when they wrote Rock Lobster.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Can't Come Up With a Witty Title For This One

I planned it for months: A weekend away with Herr. We hadn't been away on our own in over two years. We've been stressed, distracted and annoyed with all the little stuff that just shouldn't matter. The trip wasn't much--it was going to be a couple of days in the Catskills and a couple of days in Boston. I cashed in frequent flier miles to fly my Mother-in-law to PA to take care of the girls. The trip itself wasn't such a big deal--it was the fact that I was surprising Herr and I had managed to NOT spill the beans. That's really hard for me as I usually tell him everything.

My plan was to pick up my MIL at 2:00PM at the airport on Wednesday. I would have all day to pack beacuse I was taking the girls to daycare for the day at 7:00AM. I would get a pedicure. I would go sit in a Starbucks somewhere and drink coffee. I would do all the grocery shopping so I wouldn't need to do it when we got back on Sunday.Herr was coming home at 5:00PM. When he walked in the door, I was going to essentially kidnap him and drive to our first location.

Things were off to a good start on Wednesday morning. I started putting clothes aside for the two of us at around 6:00AM, the girls were up and dressed. I was just getting ready to go to the basement to get our suitcases when the phone rang.

"Hey. I've been in an accident. Um, the car is totalled."

Of course I start freaking out, asking him, "AreyouOK? Arethepolicethere? Whathappened? Whereareyou? Areyousureyouaren'thurt?" Corey calmly said he was fine and that the police had just shown up and he needed to talk to them.

After he hung up, I realized that he was an hour away from me in the pouring rain. He needed a ride home, so I called him and told him I would drop the girls off at daycare and get him. It turned out that he had just gotten off the interstate and was on a small road near his work. He saw a deer near the opposite side of the road and slowed down. A minivan coming toward him didn't slow down, saw the deer, and crossed the center line to avoid hitting the deer, thus hitting Herr. The police said it was a no-fault accident, but that clearly isn't the case since the guy crossed the center line.

I spent the drive to New Jersey, trying to figure out how I would NOT tell Herr about the surprise I had in store for him. I quickly realized that the idiot in the minivan RUINED my surprise with his irresponsible action of crossing the center line. Oh well, I figured I would have to tell Herr the surprise, but I wouldn't tell him WHERE we were going.

Two hours later, Herr was on the phone with the car rental agency to get a loaner. He happened to mention that he needed to get it before late afternoon. They in turn asked him WHERE he was going as this particular agency needed special permission to allow customers to take their cars in certain states. Imagine my annoyance when I had to tell him which states we were visiting. Stupid minivan driver. (*NOTE: In reading what I have just written, I realize how absurd this is all sounding. I am currently MUCH more upset about the fact that my husband is bruised and really sore andwe have to buy a new damn car than the fact that Corey learned about the surprise earlier than I wanted him to.)

Our time away turned out to be fantastic. We spent a couple of days in the Catskills and stayed at Kate's Lazy Meadow Motel, which is owned by Kate Pierson of the B-52s. I will write a review of the hotel later this week so that this post won't take 4 hours to read. We spent our time driving around, hiking around, eating and drinking. We got to spend time with our friends, Sarah and Ty and their two adorable children, who live in the area and have a gallery. Traditionally, we see them on Superbowl Weekend and Memorial Weekend, so it was nice seeing them at a different time of year.

On Ty's recommendation, we went hiking at Mohonk Mountain House. Oh.My.God. The views were AMAZING! The resort is positively beautiful, and I am hoping we will perhaps stay there sometime.

After our jaunt in the Catskills, we went to Boston. We stayed at Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge, which was fantastic. We walked from one end of Boston to the other on Saturday. The most fun part of the trip, however, was meeting the famous Cape Buffalo and her wonderful family!

We met up with Cape near our hotel. When Herr and I walked up to her vehicle, she and her adorable daughter were patiently waiting for us. Cape said her husband went to go find a bathroom. After waiting a few minutes, I was convinced he was in the mall connected to our hotel, looking to purchase some mace in case his wife had involved him in a crazy situation with a couple of freaks. After awhile, Cape's husband appeared with bag in hand. Fortunately, it wasn't mace--he had actually stopped by the pet store and bought their daughter a beta fish and a mini aquarium, complete with all that the fish would need for a comfortable home. Cape's daughter promptly named the beta, "Violet" and decided that she was afraid of heights.

After dropping Cape's daughter off at Grandma's house (which happens to have a CRAZY cool view of Boston) we walked around the North End. Cape and her husband were fantastic hosts and guided us through a gastronomical journey of pizza joints and 24-hour bakeries. We watched some old-timers playing bocce and we talked a lot. For once, Herr was a better conversationalist than I. Typically, peoples' eyes glaze over when he is asked about the type of work he does. Cape and her husband actually understood what he was talking about, so he was really comfortable. Cape and her husband were so incredibly nice that I really didn't feel like the dullest knife in the drawer, even though I was.

Our trip back home was uneventful. We had a great time away from the stress of our lives, but we missed the girls. Now life is back to normal: Back to work, back to being parents, and back to dealing with a buying a car.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Catching up with Hausfrau

Life has been nothing short of insanity here at Hausfrau Haus. I have been working on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in Central NJ and working from home on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The project will last until December, and then I will probably take a break and start painting my bathrooms because, well, my life is exciting that way.

While the work and the money have been great, I have been left with no time to catch up on my favorite blogs. And my blog, forget about it! There are no adorable photos of the girls from Halloween. There are no posts period. It wasn't until I got an email from Andie this morning that I decided to get my ass in gear. What better way to catch up on my end than with a meme? Here goes!

Know Thyself Meme

What is/are YOUR:Easy how-to ways to beat a bad mood?
There is no such thing as an "Easy" way to beat a bad mood. That said, I don't typically stay in a bad mood for prolonged periods of time. I'm usually OK once I have exploded and then removed myself from the situation.

Never-fail lip color?
I tend to go the Kiehl's lip balm route. Their tinted stuff is pretty good. I used to wear MAC and Lancome lipsticks in brownish shades BC (Before Children).

Personality type (via myersbriggs)
According to Human MetricsYour Type is ESFJ

Extroverted Sensing Feeling Judging

Strength of the preferences %
56 25 75 33
ESFJ type description by D.KeirseyESFJ type description by J. Butt
Qualitative analysis of your type formula You are:
moderately expressed extrovert
moderately expressed sensing personality
distinctively expressed feeling personality
moderately expressed judging personality

Greatest strengths and weaknesses
Greatest strength: I bring people together.

Greatest weakness: I have a short fuse.

Names of the trees in your yard?
We have a ton of trees. We have pine trees in the back yard and a couple of maples. Our township planted cherry trees in everyone's front yards about 40 years ago. No one can cut them down or trim them without township approval. It should be beautiful this spring.

Mother-in-law's favorite flower?
I have no idea. However, I know her favorite cake is pineapple upside down cake. Does that count for something?

Three people you will tag:

I will tag Stephanie, June and Kara.

I am going to work a lot harder after this weekend to write more. Hopefully there will be much to write as I will have returned from my surprise trip for Herr. We leave tomorrow. He doesn't know. Shhhhh!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Not Part Of My Plan

I was raised in a very strict home, with very set rules and not much gray area. There wasn't much in the way of spontaneity going on in our household. My father was ill much of the time, so my mother was left to care for all of us. Mom kept a pretty short leash when it came to meals, bedtimes, homework, and how much television was watched. My sister and I were given a lot of chores and I usually had to redo them because my mother didn't feel that I had performed to the best of my ability.

My mother was also a planner. She had limited financial resources so she had to plan the household budget to the dime to insure that she wouldn't have to make Dad stand in line for government cheese. She did everything she could to make sure that we never went on Food Stamps or Welfare. She probably could have saved herself a lot of stress and anxiety had she just gone on Welfare, but her Polish pride wouldn't allow it.

My mother was also a planner when it came to the "what ifs" in life. My sister and I were trained at an early age what to do and who to call should Dad have a heart attack when she wasn't home. She taught us what to do if we were bitten by a snake or a dog, or stung by a bee. She knew what to do when our dog was mauled by Poncho, the neighbor's German Shepherd. She knew what to do when a family had a horrible car accident on the Indiana Toll Road, which was in our back yard. Three of the family members ended up dying, but she was the first one climbing the embankment to the accident scene with a first aid kit, blankets and a fire extinguisher--all at the ready--and she had called the police (we didn't have 911 yet.)

While I was in college, I rebelled against the whole, "having a plan" for every little thing in life. I enjoyed living a spontaneous lifestyle of skipping classes and going to the quarries , kissing boys in bars or maxing out my credit cards to have cool shoes. When I was 19, I even ran around Paris for two weeks with a boy named Jesus (pronouced Swee-sous as he was from Catalan.) My cousin Abe, who was 16 and a New York City native (meaning worldy and wise) was beyond livid that his Hoosier hayseed of a cousin was running around the streets of Paris at night with a complete stranger who lived in our hotel. Especially since I was in Paris to be his babysitter of sorts.

After college, Corey and I set off to St. Louis to start our new life together. I spent the 18 months we were there bartending, interviewing for "real jobs" and struggling to pay my student loans. It was there that I started to panic about not having a real plan as to how I was supposed to live my life. When we moved to Maryland and I started to work "real jobs," I gradually lost most of my spontaneity and became a planner. I didn't really become aware of it until a few months before Ella was born. I am now the type of person who doesn't really like surprises (to be fair, a surprise diamond ring would be super.)

Now that I am older, my reactionary and planning abilities sometimes go into overdrive. For example, I knew how to react when one of my elderly employees was having a stroke at her desk a couple of years ago. I have had an emergency plan set up in the three states I have resided since 2001 for the day I will need to drop everything and get to my mother in Indiana. I have State Farm's phone number in my cell phone in case of an accident. And while I DIDN'T react so well when Genna fell down an entire flight of stairs in February, I learned from it and know what to do should something like that happen again.

I find myself planning for things long before I need to. Occasionally, it serves me well. Right now I have the Christmas shopping completed for three of my nephews, and I know what I am getting the other two, plus my girls--it's already planned into next month's budget. I have started holiday baking. I have been planning a surprise trip for my husband for our anniversary (don't tell him!) I gave the daycare two changes of clothes for Genna, even though they only want one. Sure, I know they rolled their eyes at me when I gave them the extra clothes, but they came in handy when Genna crapped through two changes of clothes on Friday! Instead of asking the neighbors about the best doctors, preschools and dry cleaners when we moved here, I asked them for names of attorneys so that I could change our wills and custodial paperwork from Ohio to Pennsylvania.

Sometimes, my planning is absurd. For example, I became convinced that I would die in my sleep while Corey was away interviewing this past spring. As a result, I would drill it every night in Ella's head that if she came into my room the next morning and I didn't wake up, that she should walk next door and tell the neighbors. I knew I needed to tone it down when, on the third night, Ella asked me tearfully why I might not wake up. While I certainly didn't want to scare my daughter, I have learned that people's lives can change in an instant. I want to be prepared. And if I can't be prepared, I want my girls to be--even if they are 3 years old.

When it comes to my everyday life, I usually have everything mapped out with contingency plans. Because my girls seem to thrive on a schedule, I know better than to venture out of the house after lunchtime when they need to be winding down for naps. Therefore, we run errands in the mornings. If something threatens the all-important nap time, I have been known to wake the kids up a little early in the morning to guarantee that they will nap earlier. I don't even THINK about leaving the house without an ample supply of diapers and wipes for Genna and an extra pair of underwear for Ella. I always have granola bars, pretzels and goldfish in my purse so that I can guarantee good behavior in stores from the girls. I constantly work on the girls' manners so that they will be polite in public. And while I am probably asking for trouble when I throw food at them to keep them quiet in the car or stores, it's working for now. Genna is happy and Ella is happy. I know that when I go into a store, Genna will stuff her face and Ella will wave and say hello to every.single.person who passes by. That's how it is. That's the plan.

So when we were at Lowe's this morning in the electrical aisle I didn't have a plan of attack to handle Ella when she pointed at the cross-eyed lady walking toward us and shouted, "LOOK AT THE FUNNY LADY,MOMMY!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! She's funny! Mommy, did you see her? Did you? Genna, did you see the funny lady? She had squiggly hair like Gramma and crazy eyes!" HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

I am now trying to tailor my diversity training materials for a preschooler.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Hausfrau Observation

It is probably not going to be the very best of days when one's 20 month old daughter has to take a nap at 7:30AM as opposed to her typical 1:30PM nap.

It's just a hunch.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I Guess It's Time To Tell Her

Corey and I were settling down with the girls tonight before their respective bedtimes. Every night, the four of us meet up in our bedroom to cuddle, read books, sing songs or just catch up on the day. Tonight, Corey decided to quiz Ella on Santa.

"Hey Ella, what does Santa do?"

"Um, he eats all of our cookies."

"Oh. Does he do anything else?"

"Welllllll, he REALLY likes faniches (sandwiches)."

"I see. When is he coming?"

"On Tuesday."

"Really? Why is he coming?"

"He's coming on Friday to visit."

"But you just said he was coming on Tuesday."

"He is--AND he is coming on Friday. But sometimes he comes on Wednesdays."

On and on it went. In true Ella form, it turned out to be a very amusing conversation. After we tucked her in, I thought about the fact that we probably should tell her the truth about Santa. The thing is, I really don't want to.

Last year, I had Ella put a plate of cookies out for Santa, but I neglected to tell her the real reason for the action. At the time, I told her that Santa was coming to visit in the middle of the night because it was Baby Jesus' birthday. I didn't tell her about the sleigh, the reindeer, the elves or the presents. Ella didn't question anything because she hadn't had any real exposure to Santa. She wasn't in daycare last year, so she wasn't around other, more worldy kids. She had never had the pleasure of waiting two hours in line with 30 other miserable and screaming children to sit on the lap of a gamey and only possibly sober Santa Clause for a momentous photo opportunity. We had a wonderful Christmas.

A big part of me doesn't want to change this arrangement. I don't want my girls to be materialistic and spoiled. I am not particularly religious, but I also don't want my girls to get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas. Maybe I am being way too uptight about a jolly man with a white beard and a red snow suit. Maybe I'm being lazy. After all, acknowledging Santa means work for me to keep his story alive.

Maybe I don't want Ella to be disappointed when she finds out the truth. I found out that there was no Santa when I was 7. Jody Heiden, one of the older kids on the bus, told me the truth. As a matter of fact, I could write a book about what I learned on the bus, but I digress. At any rate, whenI found out that Santa was bogus, I was in shock. I was also pissed because my mother had just made me rewrite my letter to Santa because, according to her, he had poor vision and probably wouldn't be able to read what I had written. So I did what any self-respecting 7 year old would do. I told my 9 year old sister who was still a believer. I felt tremendous satisfaction from being able to tell my know-it-all sister something that she didn't know. Unfortunately, my mother was so pissed that I told my sister, that I got no gifts from Santa, and my sister still got hers. At the time I was truly devastated because I had been secretly holding out hope that Jody was wrong and that Santa was real. When I didn't get any presents from him, I really thought he was punishing me for not believing.

At this point, I know we have to tell Ella about Santa. She is probably the only kid in her class in school who doesn't know what Santa is all about. And while I am sure there is absolutely no harm in telling her about him, a part of me feels a little sad.

God, it's not even Halloween yet.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

It's Pajama Party Tuesday!

Here at Casa de Hausfrau, I have decided that we are not going to get out of our pajamas today. Yes, it will be 80 degrees and beautiful and yes, I have errands to run. And yes, it's a Tuesday. But I am throwing caution to the wind and allowing the girls to vegetate with me. It seems as though we have been running at a breakneck speed since we moved here and I just want to slow down a bit.

Work has been going well and the kids are enjoying daycare. Well, Baby Girl is enjoying daycare. Peaches is tolerating it. Things are plugging along with the house. Contractors are coming on Thursday to pour a new patio. Now the projects we have to do are the boring ones--new closet doors, crown molding, new bedroom doors, new heaters.

I have been trying to plan a surprise weekend away with Herr for November. It has been a really rough summer and we need some time alone. My MIL has graciously agreed to come out and care for the girls. The only problem is that I can't seem to get a flight to anywhere warm and Caribbean that is affordable or having a return flight on a Sunday at 5AM. I didn't want to go somewhere cold, but at this point, I might. Anyone have any suggestions?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Kitty and Chet Dreyer

Kitty Dreyer was a woman from my hometown in Indiana who died on Monday at the age of 90. She was a sweet lady who had been married to an equally sweet man named Chet for close to 70 years. Together they had four children and lived a comfortable life in LaPorte. Most people are lucky to have that good of a life. When their kids got a little older they decided to become foster parents.

Most of the babies were in their home short term, waiting for adoptions to be approved. Many of the children stayed a few days or a few weeks. Some stayed longer. Over the years, Kitty and Chet took care of more than 1,000 babies. That's not a typo--1,ooo babies. Can you believe it? I cannot imagine the amount of love that they had in their hearts to give to all of those babies.

My sister lived with the Dreyers for three days back in 1967 until my parents adopted her. I came to live with the Dreyers in 1969 when I was 10 days old and lived with them for 10 months. While I was never given a reason as to why I was in foster care for so long, I do know that the Dreyers became attached to me and tried to adopt me. The Welfare Department wouldn't allow the adoption to take place because of their age. A few months after they were turned down, they were notified that I was being adopted.

I was so lucky to have known them while I was growing up. My parents asked Kitty and Chet to be my godparents, which they graciously agreed to do. To me, they were like an extra set of grandparents that I would occasionally visit. I thought it was so cool to have these "extra" relatives. It wasn't until I was older that I found out that I was the last child they had in their home. Kitty once told me that I broke their hearts when they weren't able to adopt me, so they stopped being foster parents.

Chet passed away last October. My mother went to the funeral on my behalf and found out that Kitty was very ill and couldn't attend her husband's funeral. When my mother approached one of their daughters to give her condolences, the daughter said, "Oh My God--you're Christine's mom." It took awhile for my mom to remember that Kitty had named me Christine. I guess it makes sense that I be named SOMETHING if I am in someone's home for 10 months. I always wondered why my parents didn't just keep that name when they got me--I'd certainly had it awhile.

Kitty and Chet leave behind an incredible legacy. I don't know any other couple who had so much love to give to so many children. Their kindness and warmth made 1,000 babies feel loved and safe while they waited for their new families to love them. Thank you Kitty and Chet.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Hausfrau Update

Things here are Casa de Hausfrau have been quite busy since we moved here. I have gone back to work 3 days a week, which has been good. I am working out of an office in central New Jersey and currently have a brutal commute, but it is short term until my boss thinks of another project for me to do. It has felt good to go to work and think about things other than locating Baby Girl's long-lost dolly and reading "Hand, Hand, Fingers Thumb" for the 87th frickin time.

Herr was in San Francisco all last week for some sort of conference which pretty much sucked for me as we are in a new town with no baby sitters. I was so desperate that I hired the 14 year old girl across the street for an hour to baby sit so that I could run errands. It worked out well, but I am hoping to find some older girls to babysit in the future.

The highlight of my week was a visit from my friend Laura, who lives in Seattle. She is a women's apparel buyer, so she makes several trips to New York every year. When we lived in New Jersey, we were lucky to see her so often. Even though we are a little further away, we are psyched that we'll be able to see her again so frequently.

Our free time is spent unpacking crap, putting away crap and throwing crap away. We are struggling to find a place for all of our stuff, particularly the stuff that belongs in storage. We had a huge basement for storage in Cincinnati. The new basement has a fairly small space for storage, so we are currently trying to fit 10 lbs. of shit in a 5 lb. sack. When we aren't trying to figure out where something should go, we are slowly putting up curtains and pictures. The house is becoming more of a home everyday and the girls love their bedrooms and their playroom, so things are looking up.

Peaches is becoming quite the terror. We have a new name for her, "Destructo-Girl." Her uniform consists of wearing underwear around her neck (we REALLY need to get the closet doors installed in the bedrooms!) When she is not having ear-splitting temper tantrums, she runs around the house throwing things on the floor and chewing the sliding glass door (it's true). She is happiest when she is running through the house, pulling down anything in her reach. We are trying to be really dilligent by keeping anything of value out of her way. It became apparent this morningthat my efforts were pretty weak when I witnessed her stirring my coffee with our PHONE.

Baby Girl is being a typical teenager, fighting with me over clothes to wear at school and wanting to spend all of her free time with her friends. Wait, she's 3 1/2--WTF?!?! I cannot believe we have such a girlie girl who will actually scream and cry if she feels we are putting together an ensemble for her that "doesn't make me beautiful!" What is so funny is that she is having trouble understanding that coordinating colors DO match, while differing patterns of the same colors don't necessarily match. It makes for some interesting clothing choices.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

And The Conversations Keep Getting More Weird

The girls and I were on our way this morning to the zoo. While in the car, I turned on the car and was psyched to hear In Between Days by the Cure.

"Hey Baby Girl, this song was one of Mommy's and Daddy's favorite songs when we were younger."

"When you were babies?" Baby Girl asked as she danced in her booster seat.

"Um, no. We didn't know each other when we were babies. We liked this song when we were older."

"Were you getting married when you liked this song?"

"What do you know about getting married?" I asked, surprised to hear her use this term.

"Weeeellllll, when you were a princess and Daddy was a King, did you get married?"

"Yeah, I guess."

"Ohh. Well, maybe when I get bigger and am a grown-up princess and Peaches becomes a King, we will get married."

"Um, I don't think so sweetie. You aren't going to want to marry your sister. Someday you will meet someone you love and maybe you'll get married."

"Awww. Wait, I KNOW...I'll marry Eli!!!"

"Um, sorry Honey. You can't marry your cousin either."

"Awww pickles, Mom," she said with a scowl and her arms folded in front of her. "I wanna marry Eli."

"Uhhh--hey lookie, Baby Girl--we're at the zoo!"

"Are we going to see camels? Are they married?"

Monday, September 04, 2006

Hurricane Shmurricane

Team Hausfrau is back from a week of R&R at Barnegat Light on Long Beach Island, NJ. The R&R was Rolling Rock and Red Stripe. We are now winding down from vacation and catching up on sleep in the hopes that we will be fresh as daisies tomorrow.

The beach was fantastic. It wasn't 10,000 degrees while we were there and the pre-Ernesto winds were great. These are two important factors for pasty white folk such as the Hausfrau Family. We managed to make it to the beach every day, even if it rained. That isn't something that has always happened (at least for me) in summers past. Previously, pregnancy laziness, my asthma and taking care of little ones who slept all the time kept me from going more than twice in a week. The kids were in heaven:

It was great to see that both girls enjoyed the water this year. Baby Girl was petrified last year, so it looks like the swim lessons may be working. Peaches showed no fear, which was much scarier. When not running into the waves, they worked with their friend Ava to perfect their beach tubs:

My friend Lisa was so smart to think of setting up a blow-up pool and make-shift sandbox on the deck of the house. My girls CONSTANTLY wanted to be outside even if it was cold and windy. Or 7:00AM.

When not at the beach, the week was spent doing whatever one desired, be it drinking, reading books or trashy magazines, watching the US Open while listening to a Mets game, playing poker, drinking, taking a walk, riding a bike (and crashing it), shopping, drinking or laughing a lot. What is great about vacationing with our friends is that no one gets offended if a group goes off without everyone else. My only concerns for the week were, "Will Peaches ever stop fussing?" and "What kind of beer should I drink?" and "Oooohhh, more Fragolino!"

I hope our friends had as much fun as we did.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

And We Finally Have DSL

Herr received an email at work yesterday saying that our DSL service could be activated today and that we would want to do so, as the billing was starting immediately. The minute he got home, he called Verizon and was, of course, told that it was too early to activate it according to their records and that they weren't going to do it until Friday. At that point, Mt. Vesuvius erupted and the Verizon guy suddenly changed his mind and helped us activate it. The End.

Progress is being made on the house. Below are some photos of the house. We'll see how Blogger aranges them since my page NEVER looks like it should when I post multiple photos. Herr and I painted the bedrooms and the office on the second floor and we have painted the basement. This week, our boy Vitaliy painted the exterior of our house to rid it of the pinkish hue. Unfortunately, choosing colors is always difficult for me. What looked really brown on the color swatch should not have been named "Cafe Royal." On my house, it looks like it should be named, "Butterscotch Pudding", no?

At any rate, we're going to live with this color for awhile.

Moving on. Here are some befores and durings. The "afters" won't be taken until everything is done. While the bedrooms are all painted, they still need new doors, new closet doors, crown moulding and carpeting. The carpet will be installed after we return from vacation.

Here is the dramatic linoleum in our foyer. Classy.

Above is our new dining room. The wallpaper is quite something. As of 2 hours ago, it is gone since Vitaliy and his team is here removing wallpaper and painting the rooms on the first floor.

These photos are of the porn studio basement. We have since painted it so that it will become the girl's playroom. Once the carpet is installed and it is finished I will post pictures. In the meantime, the brick "Wallpaper" going down the stairs is staying.

And finally, this is a photo of my office. We decided to throw caution to the wind and paint it red. I'm pretty pleased with it, despite the fact that I am a pretty vanilla kind of a gal. I'll enjoy working from here, I think. Did I mention I am going back to work 3 days a week after I return from vacation? And the children will be in daycare? YAY!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Unpacking, Cleaning, Paaaiiinntttting, The New House (Sung to the tune of Loving, Touching, Squeezing)

I am currently writing to you from the Wegman's near my house since they are generous enough to have a hot spot. This is a welcome break as I have done nothing but clean, unpack, pull wallpaper off walls (the easy stuff), paint some rooms, figure out what I am going to do with towels that are aqua blue and happy green when all of the bathroom have the same turd brown tile ,listen to people come by to give us estimates on everything from siding, to carpeting, to a new patio, to a deck, to painting the outside of our house and the inside as well. We've had numerous people come by to turn things on and connect things, but not a single person is capable of allowing us to set up our dsl until 8/25, so we are without internet access.

All in all, we have gotten a lot done. My husband mentioned last week that I am so busy that there is no time for me to cry. Part of me wanted to kick him upside the head ala Billy Jack, but he's right. We have worked really hard to make Baby Girl comfortable in the new house because she is not really liking it. She misses her old house and wants her old room back, and I am right there with her. Every day gets a little better. It helps that some of our friends have visited and she has had playmates to help occupy her time. And I'll be honest, I am motivated to get this house into a home so that I can stand to live in it.

In the meantime, I am COMPLETELY behind in my blog reading without a chance in hell of ever catching up. Especially since I am leaving for LBI next Saturday for a week and I will be doing nothing but drinking and stuffing my face with Peanut Butter and Fluffernutter sandwiches (that's Long Beach Island in New Jersey for those of you not in the know.)What's been happening?

Monday, July 31, 2006

Goodbye House, We Hardly Knew Ye

I wish I could sleep, but I am completely alone in the house right now. Herr left Sunday morning with the dogs to go back to New Jersey. The movers called on Friday to say that are coming a day early--WTF?!?! I had mentally prepared myself to leave this house the minute the movers load the last box on Wednesday afternoon--not Tuesday afternoon! As a result, I had to take the girls today to my MIL's house a day early so that they won't be around when the movers are here. And while I know that one day really doesn't make much difference in terms of things I have to do, I feel like my throat is closing anxious.

So after the last box is loaded onto the semi on Tuesday afternoon, I will leave this house, get the girls and leave Cincinnati for good.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Tying Up Loose Ends

I've spent the entire summer feeding the family what was left of the food in our garage freezer. We now just have a few odd things left in our kitchen freezer. Progress!! I hate to waste things, but what's a girl to do when the moving truck is coming in four days, and there are still three Healthy Choice Meals, two tilapia fillets, a box of Garden Burgers, two packages of hot dog/hamburger buns, a half bag of chicken breasts, a bag of tortellini and 4 Pedialyte Popsicles? Why have a "Leftover Cookout" and invite your friends! We are cleaning out the fridge and freezer tomorrow and sharing our bounty with our friends. You're all invited. Everyone leaves with their choice of condiments from the refrigerator. We'll also try to finish up the liquor from our vow renewal SIX YEARS AGO that we have moved three times. I'm planning a drink contest. The most creative use of Pimm's, Harvey's Bristol Cream and Triple Sec wins! See you there!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 05:24:12 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Misfit Hausfrau"
Subject: RE: hughesnet

When I call to set up phone service today I am going to find out about dsl availability and get it hooked up for the brandie new Mac Laptop I am sure you are going to buy us in the next week or so for a housewarming present...


P.S. I ordered a new "gadget" for when you come home next weekend, and it isn't something I will wear...

I miss you.

Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 05:34:32 -0700 (PDT)
To: "Misfit Hausfrau"
Subject: RE: hughesnet

Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 05:49:19 -0700 (PDT)
To: "Herr Hausfrau"
Subject: RE: hughesnet

What--the laptop you are buying or the gadget?
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 05:52:45 -0700 (PDT)
To: "Misfit Hausfrau"
Subject: RE: hughesnet

Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 06:10:10 -0700 (PDT)
To: "Herr Hausfrau"
Subject: RE: hughesnet

Just so you know, I will wait until you get home to open up the package. I need to get some batteries for it though...
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 06:12:19 -0700 (PDT)
To: "Misfit Hausfrau"
Subject: RE: hughesnet

I think we should probably stop talking about this on my work email...
I am wondering if he will take back my brandie new laptop when he discovers Friday that I bought him this.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Life Without Herr

We are in week #2 of being Herr-less. He met up with us in Maine last weekend and we went our separate ways last Monday. While I am talking to him daily, I really miss him and can't wait until he comes home this weekend. I am a little jealous that this was my annual girlie weekend and couldn't go AND Herr visited one of our friends in Hoboken without me. For the most part, the girls have been fairly well-behaved. It helps that my mother-in-law took Peaches on Friday and then gave her back to me on Sunday and took Baby Girl. We will meet tomorrow afternoon, whereupon I will have both of them back together.

While Peaches was away, I took Baby Girl to a Fireman's Parade and Festival in Sharonville, OH. The website wasn't kidding when it said that the parade is the loudest in Southwest Ohio. Based on our ears splitting open and my daughter quivering in fear, I think it may be the loudest parade on earth. While I was able to comfort her during the noisy sirens of more than 50 emergency vehicles from around the tri-state area, she was on her own when the circus clowns and the Shriners came out. While I know that the Shriners can't really hurt me in their cars, I remember all too well a certain 4th of July parade when I was about 4 or 5 in which a Shriner put his sword to my neck as a joke. I promptly peed my pants. And clowns? Don't even get me started. As a result, I had my back turned during that portion of the parade. I am sure the friends I was with thought I was strange to have my back turned, but I was much too embarrassed to share my fears. After we saw the parade, we stayed at the festival for awhile and allowed our kids to ride old rickety rides. Baby Girl had a blast, as she does whenever we send her out in public to be with "her people."

On Saturday evening, I took Baby Girl to King's Island, specifically, the Nickelodeon Universe portion of the park. Despite a storm that blew through an hour before I got there, the place was PACKED. We spent 2 1/2 hours waiting in line to go on 5 rides. Waiting in line is worse than any punishment a 3 1/2 year old has to endure. If we ever get family passes to anywhere near our new home (like Hersey Park), I will wait until the girls are older. On the plus side, we ate Graeters. Ice cream makes everything better. Especially when there's jimmies on the ice cream.

After meeting up with my MIL to trade girls, Peaches decided to show me how much she had missed me by SCREAMING the entire way back to Cincinnati from Greensburg, Indiana. That's an hour, people. After that she was cool. Good thing I left the earplugs in the car from the ride back from New Jersey. We decided to check out Winton Woods today with my friend Leeann and her two girls. What a blast. Across the street from the main park is a petting zoo/play area called Parky's Farm. While Peaches was too young to actually touch the animals, she had fun growling at them. After that, we went to the water playground. Peaches and Abby had an insanely good time running around in the water, shrieking and laughing. It's good to be a kid, huh?!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Does Anyone Have The Time?

Baby Girl: Mommy, I really miss my daddy. When will he be home?

Hausfrau: Honey, he's working in New Jersey and he isn't coming home this weekend, we'll see him in two weeks.

Baby Girl: TODAY???? We'll see him TODAY???

Hausfrau: No Honey, in two weeks.

Baby Girl: Peaches--Daddy's coming home in two minutes!!!!!

Peaches: Spppppppppppppplt. Baba.

Hausfrau: No Honey. Daddy is coming home next Friday, which is really more like 10 days so it really won't be that long.

Baby Girl: (Looking at her watch) Mommy, it is 6-3-7. Are we going to see Gramma today?

Hausfrau: We are seeing her on Friday.

Baby Girl: And we're seeing Daddy on Friday!!

Hausfrau: Actually, we will see Daddy NEXT Friday. That's two Fridays from now.

Baby Girl: What day is today?

Hausfrau: It's Wednesday.

Baby Girl: Wednesday, Thursday, FRIDAY! He's coming home in TWO DAYS!

Hausfrau: No, no Honey. He's coming home NEXT Friday, not this Friday.

Baby Girl: But I really want him to come home today.

Hausfrau: I know, Sweetie, but we have a lot of fun stuff planned over the next few days. Miss Leann is coming over tomorrow morning with Abby and Baby Ellie so we can have a playdate!

Baby Girl: TODAY??? They're coming today?

Hausfaru: No Honey, TOMORROW.

Baby Girl: No. They are coming TODAY!

Hausfrau: Sweetie, listen to Mommy. Miss Leeann is coming tomorrow morning after breakfast.

Baby Girl: I want breakfast now. Are we having waffles? I really want waffles. And sausage.

Hausfrau: Honey, it's dinnertime. We are having pasta and carrots.

Baby Girl: But I want breakfast.

Hausfrau: You can have breakfast tomorrow morning.

Baby Girl: May I please have my breakfast now?

Hausfrau: No, but you may have your dinner now.

Peaches: MmmmmmmMamamamama. Baba.

Baby Girl: Mommy, is Daddy coming home today?

Hausfrau: Yes. Yes he is.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hausfrau's Family Vacation

The girls and I came back yesterday afternoon after a marathon 10 hour drive from central New Jersey. Unlike the last trip that I made with the girls alone, it went much more smoothly. First of all, I didn't take long stops to eat meals and let them run around. We only stopped to get gas and go to the bathroom. That alone shaved two hours. Also, I brought tons of food items that I could throw in the back of the car, none of which was fruit. No poopin allowed when Hausfrau is driving 620 miles in one day. The best thing I brought for the trip was for me. Foam ear plugs. Seriously. While I could still hear Peaches screaming, it took the edge off. Buy them on your next roadtrip. You'll thank me for it.

At any rate, we had a fabulous time on vacation. Herr and I drove separately out to New Jersey last Saturday. He was starting his new job on Monday. When we drove out, we each had a girl in our respective vehicles. THAT is the best way to travel. No fights, Peaches doesn't cry, and Baby Girl quietly watches movies the entire time. However, it's not the most practical way to travel (and quite wasteful if you aren't being reimbursed for milege on one of the cars).

We spent the weekend in New Jersey at our friends' house. On the way out to their house, we decided to stop by the new house in Bethlehem, PA so that Baby Girl could see what "her" new house is going to look like. I haven't discussed the new house purchasing ordeal on my blog for several reasons. First of all, it is boring to everyone. Secondly, part of me is still pretending that I am not actually leaving Ohio because I dread what a pain in the ass it will be. Thirdly, I hate the house we bought. HATE IT. It is everything I didn't want in a house, yet we now somehow will own it on August 4th. And it is all my fault. Basically, I gave up my fight to buy another house. It is embarrassing for me to admit that I have apparently lost all the fight in me. The house we bought was one that we laughed at and made fun of when we saw it. We nicknamed it, "The Groovy House." And it is. So.Very.Groovy. And not in the Austin Powers kind of way. It is a house that we will have to completely update, which we didn't want since we have two circus freaks for children. At this point I need to just accept what has happened and move on.

At any rate, we drove past the house and stopped. And I looked at it. And I looked at it. And I took off my sunglasses and looked at it again. Apparently we originally saw the house when the trees were shading it just right and we had our sunglasses on. Otherwise, we would have noticed the FIRST TIME that the house we are in the process of purchasing is PINK. A muted pink, yes, but pink all the same. Of course I went ballistic with Herr and he tried to calm me down by saying that maybe the "siding is dirty." That was so not the right answer. So now we currently have a topic that is off limits for the two of us to discuss. However, Baby Girl is THRILLED. Especially in light of a previous conversation.

I left on Monday with the girls to go to Maine for the week. We have friends who live north of Portland on Casco Bay and we try to get up there whenever we can. Our friends have five children, so my girls have constant playmates, which is awesome. Joe was out of town, so Jen and I spent the week getting ready for a party they were throwing on Saturday. We also spent time shopping for shoes, getting pedicures, eating lunch at Gritty's, and watching a marathon session of Project Runway. When it wasn't all about us, we took all the kids to the beach near their house, which is private and secluded. The girls had so much fun.

Herr drove up to Maine Friday night and we ate a huge dinner from Montgomery Inn. Herr ordered a dinner for four to be shipped to us so that he could spread the word about his favorite barbeque place in the world. Saturday was spent preparing for the party, which ended up being a fantastic time. There were about 60 adults and probably the same number of children at the party. They had a band, which couldn't have made Baby Girl more happy. She is all about dancing. So she did. A few parents came up and commented that she probably would have been a Dead Head had she been born 30 years earlier. She was quite the hippie vision in her bare feet and batik sundress.

On Sunday, Herr and I drove separately again back to New Jersey. Herr will be staying with our friends for the next three weeks until I come out there August 3. I miss him horribly, but I am grateful that he is back with his old company, doing what he likes to do. I will be spending the next few weeks tying up loose ends here in Ohio. And calling painters for estimates to paint the siding on a certain pink house.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Who Needs All Of Those Toys in the Basement, Anyway?

The past few weeks have been tough on the girls since we put our house on the market. We took probably 75% of their toys and books and put them in the basement in a ridiculous attempt to pretend that no one lives here. We no longer do painting projects in the mornings, for fear that a huge mess will be made. I no longer do much cooking with Baby Girl because she is a messier cook than I. I spend my days vacuuming, dusting, cleaning windows and stainless steel appliances.

I had been feeling so guilty for taking the toys away for the sake of keeping the house clean until today:

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Weekend Recap

Family Hausfrau has returned from a quick trip to see Busia. This was the last time Herr was going to be able to see Busia before he starts his job in New Jersey a week from today. Busia has a special place in her heart for Herr. Herr was the only first normal boy I ever brought home during college. Herr was a studious scientist type with really good social skills, as opposed to the other boys I had brought home over the years. While I would like to think that the boys I brought home were well-bred, charming and intelligent, my mother thought they were all shitheads. And she would make her feelings crystal clear while they were in her home. Months later she would gloat as to how she had "known all along" that yet another boy was all wrong for me after a relationship would end.

When Herr came along, I think my mother was truly surprised that someone like him would even WANT to date me, as I was, well, not very scholarly. I was, how should I put it... more of a social butterfly--yeah, that's it. Then I think she put the wheels in motion to make sure that SHE didn't scare him off. Ever. My mother is very good at that--scaring people off. Ask anyone in my family. They'll tell you. She has spent the past 15 years pulling out all the stops when he is around, reading up on the latest drugs that are going to market so that they can "discuss" them (WTF?!) She'll plan crazy ornate dinners to feed Herr, despite the fact that she is now much too sick to preapre them. As always, Herr is the perfect son-in-law during these visits and never complains.

The past few years have been rough for my mom. After my father died, she became extremely ill with a lung fungus. She had 2/3 of her right lung removed two days before Baby Girl was born. She has never recovered from the surgery and is in chronic pain. Coupled with the strokes she has had, several arythmias, and the crippling depression, she is a mess. Did I mention that she is also a heavy smoker and an even heavier drinker? A couple of months ago, she started to cough up blood again, like she did when she was first diagnosed with the lung fungus. After numerous tests, the doctors are still unable to diagnose her problem, although they have ruled out lung cancer and the lung fungus she previously had. The recent memory loss she has started to experience is very scary for my sister and me. We hate that she is alone, but she refuses to move in with either of us. I'm too bossy and my sister is too loud. Because of her drinking and her memory issues, we always know that a trip home will always be nothing short of amazing.

Today's parent spends a lot of time tiptoeing through other people's homes, making sure they are childproof enough for their kids. Going to see Grandparents can be an especially dicey ordeal. Whenever we go to Herr's mother's house, we can expect a clean home. We can expect her "Quilting Room" to be closed so that little hands can't grab pincushions or worse. We can expect that she will put away anything that she doesn't want her darling grandchildren to get into while they are there. We know that her medications are put away in her master bathroom, away from curious hands.

To be fair, my MIL lives in a 3 bedroom condo with lots of room for her stuff. Busia's apartment is less than 600 sq. feet. And she is a packrat. We always know that Busia's apartment will be smoky. We know that it will be filthy. Part of it is the smoke, part of it is the heating/air conditioning unit that has never been cleaned. I usually spend the first couple of hours of every visit cleaning. She simply isn't capable in her condition. It also doesn't help that she won't let me hire someone. We always know that there will be "paperwork" on the floor. My mother has a desk, but has always preferred to do her paperwork on the floor. She usually has trays of paperclips, rubber bands, scissors, a stapler and piles and piles of glorious paper strewn about the living room. Imagine our surprise yesterday when we walked into her apartment and saw this:
Busia had actually done a great job of putting her paperwork away. She had also taken steps to "childproof" her important boxes of papers by running two pieces of twine from the coffee table to the television. Nothing tells a child to "STAY AWAY" better than a couple of pieces of twine. Instad of paperwork, she was in the process of replanting her chives. She told the girls that it was OK to play in the green bag of dirt if they wanted to. Of course, Peaches immediately took a shine to the little pink container next to the dirt. It's amazing how a cannister of fertilizer sounds just like a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese when shaken. Do you see the cane Baby Girl is using? She decided she wanted to "be like Busia" and play with her adjustable cane and wear some of Busia's shoes. She also held her fingers up like she was smoking a cigarette, but I didn't want a record of that.

A little later, I was in the bathroom and decided to take Peaches into the bathroom with me so that I could keep an eye on her. Herr went out to the car to get the pack and play. We both came out to the living room at the same time and saw Baby Girl out on the deck with Busia. Busia was smoking a cigarette and Baby Girl was trying to catch the smoke clouds. When we asked her what she was doing, she said, "I'm catching bubbles." Embarrassed, Busia threw out the cigarette and invited Peaches to come out to the deck too. She had a bucket of water for them to play with. Every night we let the girls play in their own buckets of water after dinner. It is something they love to do. Later, I dumped the water in the sink and noticed it had a funny smell. When I asked Busia what the smell was, she told me it was vinegar water that she had used to do clean some sticky stuff off the deck.

All in all, it was a successful trip. The girls didn't get into Busia's medications, which they usually do. They didn't put the remote control into her coffee cup, which they have previously done. The girls were pretty well behaved and gave Busia a lot of love. Busia got to see her beloved son-in-law. I got to pay her bills--two months worth. They hadn't been paid since the last time I was there and paid bills. Busia also showed me her new outfit that is laid out on her bed. I asked her why she bought something She said that she would like to wear it to her funeral. Her concern right now is that by the time they figure out what is wrong with her, it will be too late. I told her that it was a bit "Stevie Nicks" for her, but whatever she wants to wear is fine for me.

A trip home to see Busia always involves a lot of breaks AWAY from Busia. Her threshold for being around people is at the most, three hours. She just gets so exhausted. It is not unreasonable for us to see her for maybe a total of 4 hours on a Saturday and 2 hours on a SUnday before heading home. Fortunately, it works out well because our threshold for monitoring our children like hawks in a tiny apartment where HUGE SHARP scissors are found next to the television by 17 month olds is three hours. That said, we usually have a lot of spare time on our hands. We found out that friends of ours who live here in Cincinnati were spending the weekend in 30 minutes away from us because one of them is from the area. It turns out that they had plans to go to Warren Dunes , which is just a few minutes from where I grew up and they invited us to meet them out there. We ended up having a fantastic afternoon with them. Maddie and Baby Girl are best friends, so they were so excited to play together at the beach. Peaches really took to the water, which was a real bummer as I was not dressed for the beach and I had to chase her around.

And no trip home would be complete for us without going to our absolute FAVORITE hamburger joint in the world, Redamak's . If you are ever in New Buffalo, Michigan, DO NOT LEAVE until you have had one of Redamak's Cheeseburgers with everything, chili cheese fries and a glass of Old Style. No Joke.

On Sunday, we spent the morning with Busia, but I could tell she was feeling worse than usual. Fortunately, we were able to spend a couple of hours with my friends Lorrie and Scott and their two kids Emily and Adam. I met Lorrie the first day of kindergarden and we have been friends ever since. She is all too familiar with my mother's shenanigans. It has been wonderful to sometimes stay with her when we come to visit. Emily and Adam are so wonderful with the girls. Baby Girl and Peaches are absolutely smitten with them. We went back to Busia's for 20 minutes before we headed home last night.

The trip home was uneventful with the exception of Peaches screaming for nearly two hours of the four hours in the car. Her screams make us absolutely miserable. I am wondering how I am going to get through our trip to New Jersey on Saturday and Sunday, then my trip to Maine with the girls ALONE next Monday. Then, I will drive with the girls BY MYSELF back to Cincinnati over the span of two days the following week. I have purchased some ear plugs and some headphones for Baby Girl's dvd player. Not sure what else I can do to drown her out.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Letter to Herr's Former Employer

Dear Procter & Gamble:

Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you.

Fuck you for lying to my husband to move us out here. Fuck you for promising my husband the moon and the stars (ahem--so was NOT thinking about their old logo--hehe.)Fuck you for announcing a restructuring TWO WEEKS before we got here but not picking up the phone to tell him. Fuck you for then dragging your ass for 10 months to decide that you really weren't serious about R&D for the pharmaceutical side of your business. Fuck you for being the cause of our second move in one year. But most of all, FUCK YOU for not planning on paying out severance packages until 6-8 weeks AFTER the employees are severed. That means 6-8 weeks from today. Fuckers.

But thanks so much for renting out an Irish Pub a couple of Fridays ago so that all of the employees who have lost their jobs could drink the afternoon away. I am sure they all pulled out of the parking lot that evening, flush with the happiness that good old P&G cared enough to give them a proper Irish send off. Or wake, depending on how you look at it. Oh, lest I forget my manners, thank you so much for the paperweight with the cool double helix inside that everyone got as a parting gift. I am sure it will be the gift that keeps on giving.


Dr. Herr Hausfrau's Pissed Off Wife

P.S. Oh yeah, fuck you for now forcing me to prolong my shopping trips to avoid your products. I really liked my Swiffer. And My Crest Whitestrips.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

How Small Do They Make Helmets, Anyway?

So, I'm thinking that Peaches needs a helmet. And perhaps a harness. In the time it took me to run to the bathroom, pull my pants down, pee, wipe, pull my pants up and run back to the living room where I left Peaches--not sure if I flushed--she ran into the kitchen, climbed up on a chair, climbed up on the kitchen table and was STANDING on the table with a shit-eating grin on her face. Did I mention that she was clapping? And shaking her behind like the dancers in a Beyonce' video? Her second favorite place to climb is the living room rocking chair. Once she is standing on that, she puts her arms out like she is surfing and rocks back and forth. And again with the shit-eating grin.

While I would love for my daughter to be added to the list of world famous female climbers, I would prefer that it not be NOW. I have avoided going out with her in public the past couple of days because she is looking pretty rough. As of 8:30 EST this morning, she has 5 bruises and 4 scratches. Just on her face. The rest of her is covered with a virtual kaliedescope of yellows and greens and browns and pinkish reds (from scratches.) To be fair, these injuries are not all from climbing. Most of them are from bumping into furniture BEFORE she tries to climb it.

We have moved chairs so that they aren't in front of tables, we turned the rocking chair around so that it faces the corner. It doesn't matter. She finds new things to climb. Or new ways to climb the things I am trying to hide. Our biggest challenge right now is that we can't just remove the offending pieces of furniture because we are showing our house to sell.

I haven't even told Herr where I found her yesterday. I had run to the kitchen to answer the phone. When I came back in the study, she was standing on my desk reaching for the shelves that hang above it. It is a VERY narrow desk and she started to lose her balance. Thank God I was there to catch her. I probably would have been fired. Or reported to Child Protective Services.

These pictures are actually quite tame in comparison to what I am describing. You know, more mothering, less picture taking, blah blah blah. What makes this current phase so difficult is that she is so damn pleased with herself.