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.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Hausfrau's Year in Review

About a year ago, I couldn't sleep during my daughters' nap time. I was tired of watching the Food Network and I had no friends to call and invite over as we had only lived in Ohio for a little over a month. I was so bored that I actually opened up the latest Parenting Magazine. I had been getting that magazine monthly since Baby Girl's birth, but I had never actually read one. And while I was getting pissed off that my Vanity Fair hadn't shown up in my mailbox yet, Parenting had found me right away.

I came upon an article about blogs. One that was mentioned was Corporate Mommy. In reading the article, I felt an instant connection with this stranger. She was a woman who was struggling with her work, raising a family, and trying to live a happy life. Sounded a lot like me, minus the working part. I closed the magazine and went to her site.

I read her site voraciously that night. And I read some comments. And I clicked on the commenter's sites and read their innermost thoughts. I was pretty hooked. I then clicked on a friend's website to see what performances she was working on in Pittsburgh. Erin had just lost her mom and I would click on her site, to sort of check up on her. It was there that I noticed that she also had a blog. After reading this particular post of Erin's, I thought I could perhaps start writing again. I always wanted to be a writer, but over the past few years I had gotten too involved in trying to be a career woman in a frustrating vocation. I guess I thought I had nothing worthwhile to say. The birth of my second daughter in February, our move to Cincinnati in April, and my new role as a SAHM (shudder) had really changed me. And so, I got a Blogger Account and started to write.

This blog has allowed me to do a couple of things. First off, it has been very therapeutic for me to be able to sort things out in my head through this site. There are many days where I feel that I am the absolute worst mother/wife/person/friend in the world. The writing really helps to temper those feelings. The comments from others (mostly strangers) have really helped me to see that I am not so different from anyone else. Secondly, I have been able to capture some of the funnier/not so funny moments of raising my girls. This is the closest thing to a scrapbook that my girls have right now, despite the fact that I spent $100 on scrapbook supplies at a Creative Memories party before I left New Jersey. At some point, I will print off the posts that pertain to them and put them in a book for them to read later.

While the writing has been great for me, I have really enjoyed reading about the daily lives of others. Again, it has been so reassuring to know that I am not the only person in the world who worries about parenting or losing my identity by not working outside of the home. I look forward to naptime everyday so that I can read some of my favorite sites. I have been made to feel better time and time again by Mary concerning all things parenting--she's a professional, so she should know! A few writers have really made me think long after I have read their posts, MIM, in particular. Some of the bloggers decide to take breaks for awhile. I still check up on them, in hopes that they will pick it up again--but I would understand if they didn't. I have come to really look forward to reading the latest escapades of some fantastic Daddy Bloggers. I appreciate reading about parenting from a male perspective, especially since Herr keeps his cards close to his chest. Cheeky's Hideway alone makes me almost makes me pee my pants because of his text links. You never know what you'll see, but they are always funny.

One of the toughest things about reading one's favorite blogs is that sometimes, really bad things happen to the people who write them. Some get a chance to start over after dealing with their personal tragedy. Others don't. And there's not a damn thing you can do about. Because you don't actually know them. Even though you sort of do. So you sit at your computer and cry. And pray that your spouse doesn't come in and think you need to be committed because you are crying over the life or death of a complete stranger.

In looking at some of my posts from the past twelve months, I've realized a few things. Number one, I really need to work on my writing skills. I expected that my skills would improve simply by blogging. Not so much. Also, I will probably no longer write under my pseudonym in the near future. I'm not sure why I bother since nine out of the ten readers I get on a daily basis already know who I am. The next year will most assuredly be full of changes, what with our impending move, my best friend moving to a foreign land, our new "fixer-upper" in Bethlehem, PA, and the probability of my returning to work outside of the home. Oh yeah, my 20 year high school reunion will be coming up next year. I am sure I will write about my race to get my ass into a size 4 again. Terrific.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Oh Me of Little Faith

"Hey Hausfrau," said my friend Leeann, "let's meet up at the zoo on Thursday morning. It's supposed to be gorgeous."
"Umm, yeah...lemme see. Um, I think I have something going on that-"
"OK Hausfrau, you SUCK, d'you know that? I have asked you three times to come to the zoo with me and you always say you can't go. What's your deal?!"
"Deal?" I said, "I don't have any deal--it's just that I have to make sure that we don't have something going on that day. Let me call you right back."

I hung up the phone and groaned. Leeann is a new friend and I don't want to offend her. But how Un-American would it sound if I told her I don't like zoos? Actually, I would be quite dishonest if I told her that. The truth is, I love zoos. This one and this one are my favorites. It's just that, well, I like to go to zoos without my girls. That's even worse!

I think I have previously written that I am not a huge fan of summer, specifically heat and humidity. I like indoor activities in the summer. Now, the Aquarium? It freaking ROCKS! It is the best one I have ever attended. I would go there weekly had I purchased a family pass. But we're not talking about the aquarium, we're talking about the zoo. I never have that healthy glow when I am outside. Rather, I always look like I am having a heart attack because my face gets quite flushed if I even THINK about going outside. The thought of schlepping two children, a backpack full of crap, a stroller, and paying ungodly amounts of money to see smelly caged animals in the heat of the late morning is just not my idea of fun. Did I mention that Peaches HATES her stroller with an intense passion? Did I mention I have a 3 1/2 year old who waves and talks to any and all strangers? I just couldn't imagine anything less fun than going to the zoo. I also remembered our trip to the zoo last year the week we moved here. None of the animals we wanted to see showed up for work that day. The giraffes weren't there, the elephants were nowhere to be seen, in addition to several other animals. I was so pissed off I wanted to ask for a refund. I had no interest in going back.

After thinking about it, I felt REALLY bad. I felt that I was being really horrible to my kids by denying them the pleasure of going to the zoo. I was feeling like a miserable coward for not sucking it up and taking my kids there without Herr to monitor Baby Girl while I tend to the flailing and screaming Peaches in her stroller. I was also feeling bad for constantly turning Leeann down. So I called her up and told her that we would be there. I also told Baby Girl that we were going to the zoo so that I couldn't back out of it. Normally, I do not inform Baby Girl of our social calendar. If I do, she drives me apeshit with the constant questions.

You know what?

We had a blast!

Yes it was hot and humid. Yes I constantly slathered sunscreen on the three of us. I was a sweaty mess. But...

Peaches never once fussed in the stroller in the three hours we were there.
Baby Girl was wonderful and didn't run away from me.
The animals were cool--even though the giraffes yet again weren't there.
Baby Girl looks at the map of the zoo every single day and shows me the animals we saw.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

My Babies' Daddy

"Hey Herr,"Jennifer the Nurse said, "it's time for you to come over here and grab one of Hausfrau's legs. It's time for her to start pushing."

Both Herr and I instantly went pale. This was NOT part of the plan. His only jobs while I was in labor were to stay at my shoulder and rub my hair--and order my epidural. At no point in our birthing classes at the hospital was "this" discussed. Sure, I fell asleep a couple of times in the class (it was from 7:00pm-9:15pm--I was freaking tired!) but I am sure Herr would have remembered the instructor mentioning that the husbands were actually expected to be a part of the process down there. I had commanded (and he agreed) that he had no reason to be going south of my belly for a look-see while I was in labor. He didn't even know my real weight. Why would I let him see my hoo-haa whilst pushing out a baby?!

In my head, I was thinking, "Shitshitshitshit. We're having a baby. It's all we ever wanted. My pregnancy was great, but now the baby is actually coming OUT. Of my hoo-haa. And Herr is going to see it. And then he will pass out. And then he will never want to have sex with me again."

I can't speak for Herr, but I am imagining he was thinking, "Shitshitshitshit, I don't wanna look, I don't wanna look, I don't WANNA LOOK! Hmm. I guess it's a good thing I decided not to eat the pizza in the cafeteria. SHIT! I don't want to be HERE!!!!! I may never have sex again!!!"

About 15 minutes into the process, Herr asked Jennifer the Nurse when the doctor would be coming in to take over for him. She hauled off and slugged him (I shit you not) and said, "What do you think this is, the Beverly Hills Hospital? You are staying there until I tell you otherwise."

The pushing went on for nearly two hours. The first hour I was just so terrified. I couldn't get a good breath even though I was on oxygen. I couldn't get the hang of the pushing. I would look at Herr and he looked more scared than I felt. Finally, I must have made a good push because Herr said, "OH MY GOD, the baby's head is coming out--it's almost OUT!"

Again, Jennifer the Nurse hauled off and slugged him and said, "No it's NOT! What's WRONG with you?! We can see the crown--that's all. She's got a ways to go!"

Almost another hour went by. Finally, Jennifer came over to me and whispered, "You really need to get this baby out. The baby's heartrate is too high. And I'd really like to eat my lunch. If you don't push this baby out in the next 10 minutes, you're going to have to have a c-section."

A few pushes later, Baby Girl was born. I didn't look at her right away though. I was busy looking at Herr. He was sobbing and saying, "Oh my God, look at our little girl. She's perfect. You did it. I'm so proud of you."

In an instant, Herr became a father.

Fast forward 3 1/2 years and I can now hardly remember a time when we didn't have children, despite the fact that we were together for 10 years before we had them. I have to admit, I was worried initially. Herr had never changed a diaper and had barely held his nephews when they were babies. How could he possibly be a Dad? He has really surprised me over these past 3 1/2 years. We have muddled our way through caring for two babies and we are still married. My admiration for him grows daily. Every morning he wakes up, gets Baby Girl a sippy cup of milk, Peaches a sippy cup of soy milk and me a cup of coffee (with cream and sugar) and brings it upstairs. He is the first person Peaches sees every morning. He sits through hours of Laurie Berkner and Dora DVDs. He pushes Baby Girl on the swing for what seems like hours at a clip. He always does special "Daddy-Baby Girl Time," be it tumbling classes or swimming lessons. He will do the same for Peaches when she is old enough. He doesn't push the disciplining on to me. He doesn't wait to be asked to "parent." He just does it. And I love him for it.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Hausfrau's Week in Review

Hausfrau Haus has experienced a flurry of activity of late. Much of my week was spent keeping the house clean and participating in playdates with the girls. Another huge block of time was spent occupying Peaches. The girl LOVES to climb. She is using every possible piece of furniture or large toy as a climbing device. Where does she think she's going? She climbs the book shelf in the kitchen.
She climbs up the entertainment armoire. She climbs on the ottoman and onto the window sills in the living room. She climbed onto the toilet and ALMOST made it into the sink. The worst was when she climbed on the handle of the warming drawer on the oven and started running her hands all over the glass top of our stove WHILE I WAS COOKING. For some reason, I had done my cooking that night on the back burners, which I never do. Thank God I did. We have since removed the handle. We are so out of our league with her, it isn't even funny. We never had to watch Baby Girl like we do Peaches. All of the other moms I know keep telling me that she is really our little boy. Maybe I'll change her name to Vinnie.

On Friday, my best friend, June came to visit with her 3 1/2 year old son. This is probably the last time we will get to see each other before our respective moves, so we took full advantage of the visit by eating, drinking, playing with the kids, laying on the couch and watching television. That's what we do. And we like it.

We did take the kids to see this castle. While it was certainly, um, interesting, it would have been better had it not been raining. The grounds were neat and we were hoping the kids could run around them. Instead, we walked into the castle and was greeted with a thick cloud of cigarette smoke, courtesy of the money taker. The castle was quite impressive in that it had been hand built by a man over the span of 52 years. But I wouldn't live there. Nor would I have a medieval wedding there.

We didn't do as much girl-talk as we usually do, but we did discuss our worst dates ever. I am confident that I was victorious. June merely had a date in which she had a pimple on her neck and she hid it with a flesh colored Band-aid and a mock turtleneck. Pah! Mine was worse--much worse. I was a sophomore in college and got asked out by one of THE most popular guys from my high school during summer break. I guess after a year away at college, dork girls from high school change from being dorks to being mysterious, or perhaps just interesting. At any rate, I was quite excited about my date. We went to the restaurant where all teenagers went in 1988 for a fun night out, "The Hacienda." We both remembered seeing a guy peering into the large front window of the restaurant, but thought nothing of it. We also thought nothing of it when we were seated in front of said window. But then out of nowhere, we looked over to see him staring at us. And he was doing something that should only be done in the private of one's bedroom And then someone called the cops and they hauled him away. With his pants around his ankles. After that, the date just died. I mean, really. What can someone do or say to improve a date after that?! It's pretty much impossible to recover from something as traumatic as that and expect to actually form a relationship. That is why I did not marry this now-successful doctor and have beautiful Irish-Korean babies. The End.

Other than that, we have spent the past 18 hours "negotiating" an offer we received on our house. Neither Herr nor I get a thrill from negotiating. We are very much "give us your best price" kind of people. We go directly to a business manager when we buy a car because we want no part of the "dance" that car sales people do to nickel and dime someone. We are the same way when we buy a house. We don't believe in giving multiple counter offers. One is enough for us. The people presently considering buying our house keep making stupid offers that are more offensive by the minute AND they keep throwing things in like they want our refrigerator (but don't want to pay for it) when it was clear that we were taking it with us. We gave our bottom line, but our Realtor keeps coming back with little stuff. We told him 30 minutes ago that we are done. They can shit or get off the pot. We are perfectly willing to walk away. We have the luxury of having a buyout clause if it doesn't sell by the end of August. While the buyout clause is pretty low, we're glad to have it. And we'll take our refrigerator with us.
So there.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

When Does The "Stay at Home" Part of Being a Stay at Home Mom Happen?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
SAHM is an acronym for "Stay at Home Mom." A stay at home mother is a woman who stays at home during the day with her children while her husband or domestic partner earns a regular income. Generally the one adult earns enough money to support the entire family allowing the mother to care for her children personally instead of using childcare.

When Herr and I decided that it would be best if I stayed home full-time after we had Peaches and moved to Cincinnati, I was torn. I liked the idea of "being there" for my girls and being a part of all of their important milestones. But I had been working part-time doing recruiting for a publishing company and felt that it was important to continue making a financial contribution to the family. I had been working since I was 12, so it was impossible for me to fathom not having a place to go most days a week and perform tasks for which I was paid.

Initially, I disliked staying home. I felt that my limited financial contribution (small recruiting projects done at home) wasn't meaningful--I felt a loss of identity. I also disliked it because we had just moved to Ohio, and I knew no one. Some of the neighbors I had met were exactly what I didn't want to be as a SAHM--running around doing dozens of acitvites every week and seeming to live and do for the children, but not themselves. I also hated it because I never had a break from my then-baby who was quite unhappy most days, hours and minutes. Going for walks pissed her off because she didn't like the sun in her eyes. Trips to the store pissed her off for reasons still unknown. Hiking in the woods pissed her off because she didn't like the backpack stroller I had. She HATED the mall. While I didn't want to be running around all day everyday with my kids, I didn't want to be trapped in my house every day either. Because it became harder to predict her irrational behavior, it became easier to stay home.

In the following months, I started to accept being at home more. Sure, I had joined a Mom's Club and became involved in playgroups, but I usually volunteered to host at least one playgroup a month. It was also the only one I would attend. I started this blog, which was greatly therapeutic and a good creative outlet. I started doing all of my mall shopping online. I started to REALLY like my house. It was so comfortable. I stayed on top of the cooking, cleaning and the laundry (except for folding the laundry--God I hate folding laundry!) Baby Girl was starting to really learn to enjoy playing on her own. Perhaps I indulged her with a little too much Noggin, but she seemed so happy. Peaches started crawling and was almost seeming to be happier. Baby Girl would play in the backyard a lot and went to a tumbling class on Saturdays with Herr, so she wasn't being completely sedentary.

Around Christmastime I had this vision that this summer was going to be perfect. By that time Peaches would be walking. NOTE: I wasn't counting on her running and climbing. As a result, Baby Girl and Peaches would happily be each other's constant companions and have lots of adventures in the backyard. In the heat of the summer, they would be just as happy playing inside as we are a pasty-skinned family that no sun screen can truly protect. It had taken awhile, but I was really enjoying the thought of being a SAHM. I was going to work on a book about my family's history. I was going to start reading again in earnest; you know, BOOKS instead of magazines and blogs. I was going to get through the entire Wall Street Journal every morning. I was going to have nicely pedicured feet all summer long as opposed to a couple of times between Memorial Day and Labor Day. I was going to teach my children to be empowered and become independent creatures while I watched Regis & Kelly.

Fast forward to June: I am officially changing my title to NSAHM, or NEVER Stay at Home Mom. It all starts at around 6:45. Peaches starts beating on the front or back doors, demanding to go outside like a puppy that needs to go out and poop. I tell her "No" because, well, I haven't brushed my teeth, showered, or even peed yet. Then Baby Girl chimes in:

"Mommy, where are we going today?"

"Um, I don't think we are going anywhere."

"But MOMMY, I REALLY want to go to [insert Target, the playground, Meijer, Maddie's house, Kroger, Miss Sue's class, Ella's house, KatieAmyJackandMichael's house] today. PUUUULLLLEEEEZE?"

"Well, maybe after Peaches' nap this morning, we'll go somewhere. Why don't you [insert color, play with Play-Do, play with your dolls, paint, go watch Dora. Isn't Dora on right now?]"

"But, but, but, I WANT TO GO SOMEPLACE NOOOOWWWWW! We need to go to Target for I can get some more sand for my sandbox."

"But Honey, you threw all the sand out of your sandbox."

"I knooooow."

And so we go. We drive around A LOT looking for parks with shade. The closest one I have found is 30 minutes away. We go to the grocery store, even if we don't need anything. We go to the bank drive-thru, even if it is to deposit $5 into my checking account because Baby Girl LOVES to watch the money get sucked up the tube and into the bank. I am going to WAAAAY more Mom's Club functions than I ever wanted to attend. I am constantly spraying or slathering the kids with 50 SPF suncreen to go for walks in our neighborhood. That's the curse of living in a newer neighborhood--no mature shade trees. Peaches is way too active and into everything. She'll run into the street faster than you can say, "Peaches." She is much too young to leave to her own devices in the backyard, as is evidenced by the mouthfuls of sand she is ingesting. At least they nap though, right? But then, during their naptime, I am cleaning our house and mopping the kitchen floor every single day because our house is for sale and we have to pretend that our home is a museum and that no one actually lives here. I am beat.

The problem with the tomorrows is that the expectation for non-stop fun is left over from the yesterdays. If there is a day that I attempt to put my foot down on my ottoman so that I can read the paper, the girls completely lose.their.shit. And since all of their inside toys have lost their cache', popping a Dora video into the dvd player is not the answer. It will only get worse after July 9 when Herr goes to New Jersey to start his job, leaving me here alone until mid to late August. And my toes look like shit already.