Saturday, December 20, 2008

She Seems to Know it All

This morning, we headed to the Farmer's Market to get our last box of vegetables. The radio was on, and holiday tunes were playing as the girls played, "Let's pretend that I am Barbie Mariposa and YOU are the WITCH!" Suddenly, "Feliz Navidad" came on the radio.

"Oh, Genna. Guess what? "Feliz Navidad" is the song that Japanese people sing to wish each other Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

They TRY to Render me Speechless

As mentioned in previous posts, my girls are virtual arts and crafts producing machines. Give them an hour and they can cover the kitchen table with dozens of pictures, necklaces and other jewelry cut out from paper. They make paper purses, paper gingerbread men, letters to their friends, letters to Santa, you get the picture. Everything is girlie, everything is pink, purple and sweet.

Yesterday, Ella came up to me and said in a very proud sing-songy voice, "I made something for you."

I looked at what she handed me. It was pink and purple, with a little bit of blue.

"Aww, you made me a key. How cute. Is it a key to your heart?"

My daughter looked at me like I lost my mind.

"NO, MOMMY, it's a GUN!"

"Wha---WHAT?!? Um, why did you make me a gun?"

Ella rolled her eyes and said, "Mommy! So you can shoot it!"

"Ummm, what does it shoot?"

Ella pondered that for a minute. "Ohhhh, fireballs."

"Oh, ok. Would I hurt someone if I shot them with this gun?"

"Welllll. I guess you wouldn't if they ran fast."

And there you have it.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Elf on the Shelf--A Review

Last year, Corey noticed that our neighbors had an elf that kept moving around their house. When we were over for Christmas Eve, we asked about it. Turns out, their family does, Elf on the Shelf. This elf is supposed to fly to the North Pole every night and report to Santa whether the children in the house he is doing surveillance are good or not. The elf must never be touched by the children or he will go back to the North Pole and not come back. Corey was absolutely smitten and told us we had to have it for the next Christmas. In my drunkenness, I am sure I agreed.

Fast forward, October, 2008. Corey kept bugging me until I ordered the Elf on the Shelf--all $34.95 of it. It is a flimsy little doll that weighs about 2 ounces and comes with a book and a keepsake box.

November 30, 2008--We announced to the children that we had an elf coming to visit us during the holiday season, and explained the whole lie story. The reactions were mixed. Ella gets excited about anything and everything. Genna crossed her arms and said, "I don't WANT an elf staying here and watching me." When I told them they could name the elf anything they wanted, Ella decided to name him, "Present." Then she changed it to, "Elf Prince" something or other. Genna named him, "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom."

The first day was magical. All I had to do was look in the general direction of where the elf was sitting and say, "The elf..." and the girls would get all bug-eyed and straighten up. That day, there were no time-outs, no tantrums.

Day Two was a little more difficult. The elf is so lightweight and flimsy that he wouldn't stay seated in an upright position on our living room bookshelf. Every time someone walked past the bookshelf, he would fall over. The girls accused him of sleeping. We told the girls that he was really tired from flying to the North Pole and that he was new at this job. We would put him back in an upright position. Ella finally came up to me and told me that ,"Santa sent us a lazy elf." I couldn't agree more. There were also some tantrums and shenanigans that day. Reminding them that the elf was around would get them to stop briefly.

It has been a week since the elf started to grace the girls with his presence. While the first thing they do when they get up is look for him, the rest of the day he is ignored. They don't seem to care if the elf sees them fight, sass back, whine or tell me, "NO!" I have decided that the next time one of them is fresh with me, I will make sure he doesn't come back the next day, but there will be a note written in tiny elf-like handwriting, telling them that they are beasts. That should fix them.

I am waiting patiently for Christmas Eve to be over so that I can lock the elf back into his cute little keepsake box. I am creeped out by him and consider him to be a not-so-distant cousin of garden gnomes and clowns. They all frighten me. I am also tired of keeping track of all of the lies I am telling my children. I have a bad feeling that the Elf on a Shelf is going to be a painful memory that will be thrown back in my face during one of their many future therapy sessions.




Monday, December 01, 2008

Thanksgiving

Team Hausfrau had a great time away for the Thanksgiving holiday. We spent the first couple of days north of Cincinnati with friends of ours. Rob and Laura have two girls Ella and Genna's ages and a son as well. The four girls were a tornado inside of a cyclone, wrapped up in a hurricane of dress-up dresses and Barbie dolls. It is so great to not be 12 hours away from Rob and Laura!!!
Our time in Deep Creek was great, with one exception. I got some sort of head cold/sinus infection the minute we got there and I ended up blowing about 3 quarts of egg drop soup out of my nose during the week. I felt reeeaaaalllly bad when others in the house started saying they had sore throats (sorry guys!)

Other than that, the girls had a blast playing with their friend Ava, getting to know a baby (Eve). They aren't around too many babies, so I was pleased that they didn't pile drive her. I did, however, feel like the loser parent for seemingly yelling all the time because Ella and Genna spent much of each and every day whining about various things. If our friends end up not travelling with us ever again, I will understand.

Our view from the hot tub:












Genna's got Jazz Hands.











Pre-dinner hike













Yay! Dinner's ready!











We came back from vacation well-fed and well-rested. I read two books while we were on vacation, got plenty of sleep, and introduced the girls to one of the best movies ever, "The Sound of Music." Corey was pretty shaken up watching me watch it because I ignore everything around me for 2.5 hours and cry every 15 minutes. There is a reason why we don't own themovie. I think Corey would leave me if he saw me in front of the television three nights a week, sobbing because I am watching the movie, yet again.























Thursday, November 20, 2008

Randomness

Things here are insane, but it is a good thing. We are packing, and repacking, and shifting our crap from one end of the house to the other to prepare for our Thanksgiving vacation. Most people just pack, but Corey lives to pack, repack, shift and organize, typically several days in advance. The man likes to have a job to do, so I usually sit back and let him go. There's no point in trying to reign him in.

We leave tomorrow and will spend the weekend north of Cincinnati. We haven't told the girls that they will be seeing their little girlfriends yet, for fear that their heads will explode. From there, we will head to Deep Creek Maryland. We are renting a house with a bunch of our friends from Pittsburgh and New Jersey. I have been obsessively checking Weather.com by the hour to ensure that it will be cold and snowy the entire week. It is looking good for that. It will be a week of eating, drinking, hiking, tubing, sledding, playing Wii and celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary. It doesn't get much better than that. That's the advantage of not spending Thanksgiving with family. There is no drama, there are no shenanigans.

We recently joined a co-op farm to get 4 boxes of winter produce over the next 2 months. I was so excited after we sent the check and decided that we will be
learning to cook with interesting vegetables and will be forced to eat it because we are paying quite a bit to do it. We decided a little over a year ago to eat a mostly organic diet, so we thought that joining a co-op was a natural extension of that. I was practically giddy with anticipation when I drove to pick up our first box two weeks ago with Ella. The vegetables were beautiful and overflowing from the box:





Corey just picked up our second box yesterday. Here's the reality: I haven't a fucking clue as to what to do with the mammoth red turnips they keep giving us (those are those big red things in the photo above), I hate radishes, and kale is most foul. I still cannot swallow celery (I never have been able to) and it is cut up in the freezer to take with us to Deep Creek for someone else to deal with. I still dislike eggplant and will only eat it when it is in baba ganousch,so I have a freezer full of that.

Ella has been quite busy at school, what with the Thanksgiving Program the kindergartners put on yesterday during the school assembly. I thought that it would just be a skit with the parents there taking pictures. I had no idea that the entire school would be there. No wonder she was so nervous! The kiddos did a really great job and if I can figure out how to put video on my blog, I will do so. Here are a couple of still shots:





With all of Ella's schoolwork, dance classes, dress-up play and tv watching, it is amazing that she has found the time to take part in another venture. Ella is teaming up with Hallmark to create a new line of personalized birthday cards. Here is her first one that is going out today to her friend Jordan:






Ella's talent for personalizing the card really comes through. It just doesn't get any more personal than confessing that you like your friend's hair. For the record, Jordan's hair IS to die for.

Speaking of birthdays, I am in the middle of birthday party angst over here. Our girls' birthday parties have always been casual get togethers with OUR friends and family. The girls' friends were the friends we made for them. Since we are new here and Ella is now starting to make friends on her own, I thought that maybe the party should be different now and maybe invite some of her new school friends. Ella doesn't know it yet, but we are having a birthday party for her on Saturday, December 6. I thought it would be fun if she had a tea party. I agonized over the invite list because she only talks about a couple of girls at school. I decided to invite all of the girls in her class (8) and then invite her friend from down the street and her little sister. I figured that only a couple of girls would show up since she doesn't appear to be friends with many of them. So far, all but one has RSVP'd yes.

Here's where I need help with birthday party etiquette: do kids open presents at parties when they are held at home? I have been to parties at Chuckie Cheese where presents were opened if it was a small party, not opened if it was a large party. I have been to parties at home, but I don't remember if the presents were opened or not. I could sure use some guidance in this arena.

Well, I am off to the dentist to pick up my retainer. That's right, you heard me. A retainer. Some people turn 40 and buy corvettes. Me? I get a freaking retainer because my teeth are shifting to the right side of my face.

Monday, November 10, 2008

And So It Begins

Most days, one can find Ella at the kitchen table, drawing and coloring for hours on end. Lately, she has been calling out to me, asking how words are spelled. Last Sunday was no different:

"Mommy, how do you spell, 'Santa Claus?'"

I told her. A few minutes later, Ella asked, "Mommy, how do you spell, 'microphone?'"

I told her.

"What are you doing over there? I asked.

"Oh, I 'm making my list for Santa. How do you spell 'Barbie and the Diamond Castle Doll?'"

I told her. A few minutes after that, Ella asked, "Mommy, how do you spell, 'my own couch and tv in my room?'"

While I didn't spell that, "N-E-V-E-R," I did tell her that she would not be getting a couch and television in her bedroom.

"But Mommy, I have plenty of room, and it would be so nice to have a couch in my room. And a tv. So that I could watch whatever I want, when I want."

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Day After

One has to wonder if Barack Obama woke up this morning , and said, "What the fuck have I just done? I now have the hardest and crappiest job in America."

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I'm Crying on the Inside

Yesterday, I was on the phone with my boss talking about work (duh) when Ella piped up from the back seat.

"Mommy, we got to vote for the 'lection today. I voted for John McCain."

"Did you hear that?" I asked Jennifer in a panic.

"Oh, yes I did. I think you need to take care of that." said Jennifer.

"I'll talk to you later." I said.

I asked Ella why she voted for John McCain. Of course, she had no idea. She's 5. I asked her what the teachers had said about the candidates. Ella replied that John McCain is the leader of our country. God help us if that happens today.

While I was momentarily devastated that my 5 year old didn't vote for Obama, I quickly remembered that she really shouldn't be worrying about this stuff anyway. I am not sure why the Tennessee schools thought it would be fun to hold mock elections, but I am thinking that the young kids probably didn't need to be a part of it.

I do hope my daughter, at some point, becomes interested in politics. Corey and I have vowed to encourage her to vote for the issues, not the party. Even though I am a registered Democrat, I tend to vote more conservatively when it comes to local government. Truth be told, had McCain gotten the nomination 8 years ago, I probably would have voted for him. I liked what he had to say then. It's a different world now.

Friday, October 31, 2008

U-B-O Spells Pig!


Genna's preschool follows the same curriculum that Ella has in kindergarten. It has been cute for the girls to come home and sing the same songs that they learned from their respective schools. This is where school is a great cover for my suckitude in parenting: I am not a good teacher. At all. While I have taught the girls all about playing "Rock, Paper, Scissors" and "Thumb War," I am a wretched singer and haven't done much in the way of teaching them little ditties. I envy my friend Jenny, who has been regaling my girls with cute songs for years , and now does the same for her little one. If it weren't for Jenny, the girls would have NEVER learned the "Weenie Man Song," or her own creation she sang long before the book came out, "Whose Knees are These? Whose Toes are Those?"

At any rate, Genna is quite pleased with herself that she is learning, "big kid stuff" at school and frequently comes home and sings what she has learned. Occasionally, she combines songs and gets a little confused. This morning when she first woke up and climbed into bed us she sang the following to the combined tunes of BINGO, The Farmer in the Dell, and another song they sing to spell colors.

There was a farmer who had a pig, E-I-E-I-O
And the pig snorted
And he ate some mud
U-B-O spells PIG
Hi Ho the Dairy-o
And then the piggy pooped

It should be noted that at the end of nearly every song she sings, it ends in the main character pooping.

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hopefully , Someone Will Come Forward

Last Friday, there was a rash of car break-ins in our small town. One of the items stolen was a system that a little girl from Ella's school uses to communicate. It was probably mistaken for a laptop.

Here is the news story. My neighbor Debbie is in the piece as well. She is an aide at the school who works with the little girl.

PULEEEEEEESE

Let me close my eyes and let it be 2009 when I open them, for the love of GOD!
http://popwatch.ew.com/popwatch/2008/10/lost-season-5-p.html

Monday, October 20, 2008

Lover, Thy Name is David Sedaris

I can't help it. I have always had unrequited crushes on the most unattainable people. Gay men would be a prime example. Smart gay men. Smart, funny gay men. Smart, funny, non-traditionally handsome gay men. Smart, funny, non-traditionally handsome, almost falsetto-voiced gay men. Smart, funny, non-traditionally handsome, almost falsetto-voiced gay men who reduce me to a lump of giggly school girl when my husband and I see one in the lobby of "The Hermitage" as he checks in. For the record, he almost ran over my foot with his rolling suitcase (swoon). Smart, funny, non-traditionally handsome, almost falsetto-voiced gay men who can write and/or tell stories so funny that I feared I would pee my pants from laughing. The problem was, I was in the Orchestra Section, Row P, seat 30.

Next time I see him, I will wear a Depends, in addition to my heart on my sleeve.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Totally Worth Being Up at 5:00 AM For This!

I am up again at an ungodly hour, but I can't be upset about it this time. I just found out that Terry Tate, Office Linebacker IS BACK! The Terry Tate, Office Linebacker commercials from the Super Bowl are my favorite commercials of all time.

I'll nap later. For now, I will just enjoy being alive and basking in Terry Tateness.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hausfrau Update

So much has been going on of late, but I haven't had time to really write much during the day. Instead, I am writing at night. As in 2:00 AM. The kids come into our room at least 4 nights a week, usually for valid issues like vomiting, crapping in a pull-up,etc. Other times, the girls just can't sleep. I can't yell at them because I totally understand. Even if they didn't come downstairs, I would probably be awake. The four of us just don't sleep well in this house and I can't figure out why. I will frequently find Genna sleeping in Ella's room on the floor or Ella sleeping on the sectional in the playroom. When I ask them why they weren't in their rooms, they say that they were tossing and turning and couldn't sleep.

So anyway, by the time I tuck the girls back in their beds, I am wide awake and have limited options for entertainment. If I turn on the television in the living room, the dogs will start a ruckus in the laundry room, so it is easier to just go to my office and get online.

So let's see, what have I been up to...oh yeah--I went on a road trip to Indiana with my friend to pop in on my mother. It turned out to be one of the best trips home ever. My mother was far too sick to be mean, which was a help. We spent some quality time together, I cleaned her apartment, and I ended up having some fun as well while I was there. I stayed with my friend's sister, Jennifer, who is always a riot. She is also very passionate about making the world a more beautiful place, so she makes it a point to do my hair. It's true. I have a bad hair life, but Jennifer makes it gorgeous. The bigger riot occurred when the three of us had dinner with their father and his long time love. "Big Daddy" is always good for a story, and boy, was he full of them. I could listen to the two of them for days.




Corey went away the following weekend for his annual golf weekend with his friends from home. The golf competition went to a whole new level this year with a trophy (found in the depths of the middle school where one of them works as a principal) and a blazer of questionable fabric from the Goodwill down the road. I went for the tackiest thing I could find because I never thought the jacket would ever make its way back into our home.

I was wrong. Apparently, Corey's handicap, and his best games ever cinched the title.



While Corey was off with his buddies, I represented Team Hausfrau in the neighborhood's Second Annual Chili Cook-Off and Weenie Roast. I didn't win, but I heard that my chili won a few votes. I am sure everyone was told that. It was a good chance to meet the rest of the neighbors I hadn't met.

This weekend, my Mother-in-Law and three nephews are coming for a visit, which should be fun. Next weekend Lori and Jennifer are coming to stay with me because there is some sort of crazy flea market. I am really disappointed that I won't be able to go with them because our elementary school has their huge Harvest Festival that weekend and Corey and I have both volunteered to work it. It won't all be bad though. I know my hair will look good.
















Monday, October 06, 2008

Out of the Mouth of Ella

Ella recently learned how to fold a piece of paper, draw a design and cut it out. She started off by making hearts and circles. She quickly moved on to people, flowers, and more abstract designs.

After creating a particularly challenging design, she asked me to cut it out for her since scissors are still awkward for her when it comes to a lot of turns. As I cut out her latest creation, she said," Mommy, you are SO excellent at cutting."

"Why thank you, Ella."

"You're welcome, Mommy. You have had a lot and a lot and a lot of practice. Do you know how I know?"

"How do you know?"

"Well, because you are really, really, really, really, really, really (she's now counting on her fingers) really, really, really, really OLD!"

Monday, September 29, 2008

Overheard Outside

"Hey Ella."
"What Genna?"
"Let's pretend you and me are big kids, and that is your beer and this is my beer."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Letter to the Man I Love

Dear Corey,

Have I told you lately how much I love you? How much I appreciate all that you do? Have I thanked you for not so much as raising an eyebrow when I told you of my plans to go off to some sort of tropical locale with my girlfriends in February? Did I even tell you that I am going away in February?

I think you are one of the smartest people I know. You are an amazing scientist who is part of something really big! I just know that you are going to help invent a drug to help people who suffer from Parkinson's Disease! The only person I know who is smarter than you is our friend Joe. He knows something about practically everything, so he beats you by a hair. I am hopeful that your smarty-pants genes were able to overcome my so-so genes when we reproduced so that our kids will have a fighting chance to be smart and get into good colleges.

I do have a question. Help me understand why you chose to clean up Ella's vomit with my shark this morning.

Love you,


Hausfrau

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Planning a Road Trip Home

My last trip home a few weeks ago was a disaster, as indicated in a recent post. Actually, most of my trips home are disastrous. Believe it or not, this time it was a disaster mostly because of my mother. As many of you know, my mother has been ill with various ailments for many years. As a result, I come to her because she is too sick to travel. I usually fly home a few times a year to check up on her. The girls don't travel home with me because of the expense and the fact that Ella would probably get us removed from a plane because of her fear of flying. It is just easier to go home alone. Unfortunately, the girls don't get to see her often. They love Busia, but they really don't know her. They just don't have the kind of relationship with her that will give them good memories when they are adults. I am eternally grateful that the girls do have my mother-in-law, who is involved, spends quality time with them and plays with them.

At any rate, we had planned to come home for Labor Day weekend to see my mom since we are now a seven or eight hour drive as opposed to a 12+ hour journey. My mother was so excited because she hadn't seen her "babies" in 14 months and really want to hug on them. We left Friday evening, spent the night in Bloomington with my MIL, and then headed the remaining three hours to LaPorte the next morning. I called my mother once we were about 45 minutes from LaPorte to let her know we were close and that we would be coming by. I do this every time we come home so that I can ensure that she is awake and has time to clean up, get dressed and put her teeth in. When I got her on the phone and told her we would be there soon, this was her response:

"I'm sorry. I'm really not up to having visitors today. I took some pain medication a few days ago and now I am too sick to visit."

I counted to 100, and told Corey to head to our friends' house instead. I was fuming that she didn't tell me earlier in the week that she had taken pain medication. She reacts horribly to any and all pain medications when she takes them and it takes days for her to recover. Had I know that she had taken pain meds, we would not have come home. It just isn't worth it to drive 16 hours round trip for the girls to see her for two hours. That's another thing--when the girls are able to see Busia, they can only spend a couple of hours at a time with her because it tires her out. In addition, the girls are stressed out because we have to coach them before we get to her apartment:

No loud talking
Don't touch anything
Busia is sick
Don't hug her too hard
Don't step on her feet
Be careful when you climb up on the couch to sit next to her
Don't sit on her lap
Keep away from the sharp things in her apartment
Busia is sick
Busia is sick
Busia is sick

Genna is usually the first one to pipe up that she is ready to go home within minutes of getting to Busia's. It also doesn't help that after the hugs and kisses are over, my mother ignores them the rest of the time they are there. While I understand she can't get down on the floor with them to play, she could certainly color with them. But she doesn't.

So, we drove a total of 16 hours and the girls saw Busia on Sunday for two hours. The whole thing sucked. This trip is not unlike a previous trip we took a few years ago.

So now, I am going back. My mother is having an angioplasty next Wednesday. She was supposed to have it today but, surprise surprise, she is sick and they won't do it. I had planned on coming home for the weekend to help take care of her. Unfortunately, I can't come home next weekend, so I have decided to come home this weekend anyway to get her apartment cleaned and run her errands so she doesn't have to worry about that stuff when she returns home. I am hoping my sister can come home the following weekend to help, but I don't know if she can.

There are two reasons why this trip will be better.

#1 I am coming unannounced. It is always much more fun when I come home and don't tell my mother that I am coming. It always pisses her off, but her insults don't bother me.

#2 More importantly, one of my best friends is coming with me. I am picking up Lori in Kentucky and we will road trip together. We are staying at her sister's house, which will involve a lot of laughing, which is something I always need after a few hours with my mother. Lori doesn't know this yet, but I will take her over to see my mom, as she is one of the only friends I have that she adores. She's always nice to Lori.

It's gonna be fun...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Y'all Need to Calm Down

I knew that we had been affected by Hurricane Ike from a gas perspective, but I had no idea how bad it had gotten until I went to the gas station yesterday. Well, at least I tried to get gas. The first 10 gas stations had no gas. At all. I was on Empty and starting to get a little worried. I called my boss in Philadelphia and asked her if there was a gas shortage up there. There was silence on the line for a good 5 five seconds before she asked me what the heck I was talking about. All week long, there were gas stations out of gas, but they would be back in business the next day. This was getting weirder by the minute. I finally drove to Cool Springs and found a gas station with gas. And about 100 cars were wrapped around it. In addition, two news helicopters were flying around it, nearly crashing into each other. It was CAAARRRAAZZZY!

I waited for an hour, prayed I wouldn't run out before I got to the pump, got my gas, and went about my day. I told Corey about it later and was met with a look of disbelief.

This morning, we turned on the news and saw this. We drove to the farmers' market and saw that Costo was the only place that had gas. There were HUNDREDS of cars waiting for gas. According to the news reports we saw this morning, people all over Nashville had gotten up at 2:00AM thinking they could get some gas. They were met with enormous lines also.

Apparently this nonsense on Friday started with a rumor--a rumor that Nashville was going to run out of gas. People started to panic. Reactionary crazy people who didn't actually NEED gas created massive lines in order to top off their cars, causing undue inconvenience and suffering for those who actually need it. I am defining that any one who has less than a quarter of a tank needs gas. Many of the people in my neighborhood are on "E."

Unfortunately for Corey, he is nearly out of gas, so he is going to drive my car to work this week until things calm down. We're not going to drive to Paducah tomorrow so that we can save our gas. It stinks, but it is what it is. According to the news, everything should be back to normal by Tuesday or so.

Based on the reactions of the people around here, I pray that this never becomes a way of life. We will be in huge trouble if it does. We as a nation are clearly unprepared and unwilling to change our lives.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Letter From One Mother to Another

Dear Lady Who Drives the KIA in the Car Lane at School,

I fucking hate you.

These are words that rarely pass my lips. It is a rare day that I ever say that I actually HATE someone. But I hate you.

I usually park behind you in the car lane at 3:05 and wait 20 minutes to pick up my daughter. Every day I sit behind you, and every day, I see you take your 10-ish month-old child out of his car seat and have him sit on your lap in the driver's seat. While you are smoking. For 20 or so minutes, I see you smoke 2-3 cigarettes while your child is on your lap, trying to grab the cigarette out of your hand that is lazily flicking ash (littering on school grounds) out the window. I thought there was a smoking ban in front of buildings?

The first time I saw you do this, I was certain that my eyes were playing tricks on me. There was no possible way that a mother would be blowing cigarette smoke on her child. I thought that maybe I had gone back in time and was back in 1972 when all of the dangers of smoking hadn't come out of the woodwork yet. Perhaps? No. I was here in 2008, watching you puff away and exhale on the back of your kid's head.

Why don't you just club your child and be done with it? Better yet, why don't you leave him on the side of the road like an unwanted pet? What's the difference? You are killing your child. Right Now. KILLING HIM. If you are so free and comfortable to do this in public, one can only imagine what you are doing to your kids in your home.

I realize that smoking is enjoyable to some, an addiction to others. Hell, you have no idea how much I enjoyed smoking. I loved it. Loved, loved LOVED it. But you know what? Even if I still smoked, I would never smoke in front of my kids. Not ever. Do you know why? BECAUSE IT HARMS THEM. I can't imagine playing any part in harming any child, much less my own.

Please know that you are not the first lady I have seen smoke in a car with her kids. Hardly. You are, however, the first asshole I have ever seen blowing smoke in the front seat of a car with a baby on her lap. I am pretty sure you are breaking some sort of law by smoking on school grounds. Don't you worry, I will be looking into that.

I truly hate you,

Misfit Hausfrau

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Who Knew That School Lunch Could Be So Good?!

Every day I ask Ella to tell me about two great things that happened at school. She pretty much says the same two things: lunch and milk break. The apple does not fall far from the tree when it comes to my girl's love of food. In particular, Ella is fascinated by school lunch. She wants to eat it every day. I usually pack her lunch because I find that school lunch is pretty expensive ($2.50/day) and it is not nearly as nutritious as what I fix. What they do have, however, is variety. There are two main course offerings, starches, vegetables, fruit, etc. In addition, they offer an assortment of lunch meat sandwiches. While we are not vegetarians, we eat virtually all organic and have almost nothing in the house that has high fructose corn syrup in it. While we pay a small fortune in groceries every week, we don't eat out in restaurants and only eat fast food when we travel (or the girls visit their grandmother.)

Ella's typical lunch packed by me is either a cheese sandwich, a hummus sandwich or PB&J. She also gets baby carrots, a piece of fruit and a crunchy thing like pretzels or something sweeter. Unfortunately, Ella is, according to her, the ONLY kid in her class who brings her lunch. She wants to buy her lunch like everyone else because she is tired of cheese sandwiches and PB&J. As a compromise, I have been allowing her to buy her lunch one day a week, on a day she chooses. Last week, she chose Friday's lunch choice of cheeseburger on a whole wheat roll. She was practically bouncing off the walls Friday morning because she was so excited to be eating like everyone else. She also felt compelled to run down the street and tell our neighbors that she was getting to eat school lunch. The neighbors are getting used to her happy but odd outbursts and find them cute. I am sure they will no longer think they are so cute when she is 10.

When I picked Ella up from school on Friday afternoon, I asked her how her lunch was today. She said that lunch was "awesome." When I told her that I was glad she liked her cheeseburger, she said,

"Welllllllllllllllllllllllll, I ended up not having the cheeseburger. I gotted a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and itwassoyummybecausewedon'thavewhitebreadathomeandthis
hadwhitebreadandIreallylikewhitebreadandithadpurplejelly."

White bread. You are the devil.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

My Fantasy Life is So Much Better Than My Real Life

While I haven't spent too much time thinking about it, there have been a couple of occasions where I have fantasized about seeing an ex-boyfriend and having him walk away, saddened that we parted. Don't act like you never have. Despite the fact that my exes are almost all complete assholes who really don't deserve to live, it is interesting to wonder what would happen if I saw any of them. My fantasy goes something like this: I am on a flight to somewhere. I am in first class. I am still a size 4. Ex is heading to his seat in the last row in coach. He has no idea that the man who will be sitting next to him smells like pee. Or maybe I am in a restaurant with my girlfriends. I am still a size 4. Ex is on the other side of the room trapped in a conversation with someone dull and boring and not, well, me.

In either scenario, the Ex sees me first, does a double-take, realizes it is moi, and come over to talk to me. I don't immediately recognize him until he tells me his name. Then I demurely apologize. After that, we have a pleasant exchange, and I learn that he is on his third divorce/just lost his job/went bankrupt/just got out of rehab/has open sores from some sort of venereal disease, etc. He learns that I have a great life, an awesome husband, two sweet kids and a house in the suburbs. He would know that I picked myself up and brushed myself off after he unceremoniously dumped me at my friend's college graduation party. He would figure out that, despite the fact that he dumped me while I was PLASTERED, I moved on. He would be amazed that I was able to go on, despite the fact that my drunken dumped ass managed to RUIN said friend's graduation party. He would have to admit that he let a Class A act slip through his fingers.



Hey--here's a picture of me at the Graduation party, just a few beers away from complete and utter humiliation. That's me on the far left. My friend, Tiana (the guest of honor) is right next to me.





The truth is, I live in fear of seeing any type of Ex, be it an ex-boyfriend or an ex-friend when I come home. I do a very good job of hiding from people who used to know me. I don't go to Dick's Bar. I don't go out to too many restaurants. I didn't go to my 20th high school reunion (although I heard I missed QUITE a time.) It really isn't that hard for me to avoid those I used to know. I look so different than I did in high school that I may get a strange look from someone, but I am gone before they figure out who I am.

I should have known that I was asking for trouble by not showering on Saturday. I should have had the foresight to look down at my feet with the chipped red polish and recognize that four weeks is way too long for me to go without a pedicure. I should have had the brains to look down and see that my cargo capris had grease stains on them. I should have had the common sense my mother gave me to change my shirt after I opened up a jar of salsa at dinner and had it explode on my boobs.

My fantasy has never included Ex spotting me in the frozen food section of the Super WalMart. It also never included the part where I look like I may be homeless. The only part of the fantasy that came true was the fact that he spotted me first.

Ex: Oh my gosh, is it really you Hausfrau?
Me: Oh no.

That was the best I could come up with--"Oh no."

I don't remember much of what I said to him. I do remember him saying that I looked good, but people HAVE to say that when they see someone they haven't seen in 17 years. I couldn't help but think he was going to reach in his wallet and hand me a $20 bill as I was pretty sure he didn't believe me when I told him that my husband is an Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University. Or that I had a job. Or that my life was good. After about 30 seconds, I told him that my friends were waiting for me to bring back the ice cream that was in my hand and that it was good seeing him. I hauled ass out of the store, cursing the Gods for causing my fantasy to spiral out of my control. I was supposed to be hot. I was supposed to be AWESOME.
I sat in the car hitting my forehead on the steering wheel, saying over and over again, "Stupid Stupid Stupid!" Then I remembered yet another part of my fantasy that went unfulfilled. I didn't tell Ex that I had been sleeping with my now-husband anyway, and I didn't really understand why I got so upset when he dumped me. Maybe next time.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's Going to be an Interesting School Year

Over the years, I have heard time and time again that I am going to make a ton of friends once the girls start school. While I am certainly happy with the friends I have, they are everywhere that I am not, on account of us moving every ten minutes. Like it or not, I need to make some new friends here in Tennessee. I thought that the perfect chance to meet new people would be at the kindergarten orientation at Ella's school last week.

I had no idea that kindergarten orientation would be such an incredible opportunity to people watch. I walked in with a few minutes to spare before the teacher began her presentation. As I scoped out the room to find a seat (they were hard to find as they are chairs that are about 6 inches off the ground. I noticed the clique in the right hand corner or mothers and fathers who all knew each other. I was one of the few people who was without a spouse there. I found a chair, sat down and started to fill out the questionnaire the teacher had provided.

A minute into my paperwork, the door opened and a well-dressed woman came in with her Louis Vuitton bag. With a dog in it. As if she had forgotten that dogs weren't actually allowed in the classroom, she left the bag and the dog in the hallway for her children to play with. Because it MUST be OK to have a dog in the hallway of a school. To be played with. I was wondering if this was the same dog who showed up at Ella's dance class the night before. I.am.not.kidding.

Five minutes into the teacher's presentation, the door opened, and in walked a very harried woman. I am assuming she was harried because there was a lot of sighing and exhaling and such as she breezed in. She rushed around the room to find a seat, where she proceeded to sit down and start eating. Did I mention that she brought in a bowl of cereal? At 6:00 at night? The ceramic kind of bowl found in any kitchen in America? At a fucking KINDERGARTEN ORIENTATION?! Judging from the clanging of her spoon, and the crunching, the cereal was something special and just couldn't wait to be eaten.

And then there was THAT MOTHER. You know the kind. THAT MOTHER is the mother who has to always interrupt a speaker and inject their opinions, life stories or overall bullshit. All the teacher wanted to do was to give her presentation, say hi to the parents and get the hell home. But no, THAT MOTHER hijacked the presentation by peppering comments in places that didn't need peppering. She asked stupid questions, even though the teacher said there weren't any stupid questions. She lied--there were stupid questions, and THAT MOTHER asked them. She was also the person who literally jumped over the chairs and table to get to the teacher first after the presentation was over so that she could discuss how smart and special her child is.

Looking around the room and watching Mrs. Vuitton, the Cereal Eater, THAT MOTHER and the two women on opposite sides of the room having a duel to see who could snap their gum the most/fastest/loudest, I pretty much figured out that I will be searching elsewhere for new friends.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

It's Good to Think Ahead

"Guess what, Mommy? You know what? When I grow up and have my two twin babies, I know what I'm going to name them."

"What's that Ella?"

"The girl baby's name is going to be Sparkle. The boy baby's name is going to be Handsome. Handsome Prince Hausfrau."

Friday, August 22, 2008

PMS + Forcing Child Onto School Bus for the First Time=Puddle of Tears from Mommy

It has been quite a week here. Corey started his job at Vanderbilt and Ella had her first day of kindergarten on Tuesday. While you probably saw the photos from the previous post, those photos were taken well before we actually got to school. When I escorted her to her classroom, she panicked and cried. She was the only kid who cried. I spent so much time talking her down that I didn't really have much time to think about the fact that my baby's life was changing forever.

When I picked up Ella that afternoon, she was bursting with news and telling me everything that had happened in class that day. I thought then, that we would be alright.

Today is her second 1/2 day of kindergarten. Starting next week she will go everyday all day. My neighbor and I decided that we would have our kids ride the bus together. While Ella had already voiced some hesitancy to ride the bus, she immediately became excited when she found out that Aiden would sit with her.

Then the bus pulled up.

Aiden barely waited for the bus to come to a complete stop and open the door before he was on and in his seat. Ella started to immediately cry and say that she didn't want to ride the bus and that she was scared. Sure it was scary! It is big and yellow and LOUD! Nevertheless, I firmly pushed her up the stairs and she sat in the front seat next to Aiden with all of the moms cheering Ella on. She sat next to Aiden and stopped crying. The bus driver winked at me and mouthed, "It's OK." God knows he has seen this before. The bus pulled away and all of us mothers waved and blew kisses as they left. The other moms told me that it was OK to cry and that they had done so when their children rode the bus for the first time. I told them I was fine and walked back to the house.

And then I cried.

It wasn't the fact that I didn't want to let my baby go. I am perfectly fine having my children experience milestones in their lives. I cried because of the look of fear on Ella's face as the bus pulled away. I realized that this was one time that I couldn't comfort her and make it better FOR HER. I couldn't eliminate her fear. For the first time in her life, on bus #145, Ella was going to have to solve her own problem and figure it out on her own. That realization hit me like a ton of bricks. Ella is a big kid. She needs to start embracing that role and owning it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Kindergarten



It is hard to believe that 5 3/4 years ago, I was holding my first child. She was an easy-going, calm baby. She was big--8.6 lbs. I was quite pleased that I had pushed her out all by myself. She only cried when she was hungry and started sleeping through the night at six weeks. We had it made. The last thing I was thinking about was the fact that she would actually grow up.

My baby started kindergarten today.




Monday, August 18, 2008

OMFG--The BUGS!

When we started to telling people that we were moving to Nashville, we heard nothing but great things from friends and strangers alike:

"You are going to LOVE it there!"

"Nashville is so cool!"

"You will get so much house for your money!"

"Wow, I am so jealous!"

"It is so nice living in the South!"

"The weather is great in the winter."



There is just one thing. None of these "Friends" told me that we would be encountering some scary-ass critters.

Exhibit One:

When my friend Laura and I went for a walk with our kids Friday morning, we encountered a strange HUGE red and black striped ant. The girls were chasing it, but it was quick and not hanging around to let four little ones poke and prod it. I commented to Laura that it really seemed to have the body of a yellow-jacket but it was, well, RED and BLACK and didn't have wings. When a bug is red, I think it means, "DANGER" When I got home and Googled, "BIG Red ANT," I got this:












THIS is called a Red Velvet Ant, or Cow Killer. According to Whatsthatbug.com, it is actually a wingless female WASP whose sting has been know to kill cows because of the pain. Suffice it to say, if I ever see the winged male variety, I will probably soil myself as I run away screaming like the girl I apparently never knew I was.


Exhibit Two: Ever since I've gotten here, I have had the feeling that bugs have been on me, but when I shoo them away, there is nothing there. I thought I was going loco. Until, that is, I started getting itchy ITCHY bites all over my legs. Genna has them too. I initially thought they were mosquito bites, but I am pretty sure they are CHIGGERS!








OMFG! Have you ever had these? The itching is driving me absolutely insane. I am also losing my mind because I can't see them. I have been told by two of my co-workers from the south that I am going to have to cover the bumps with clear nail polish so that the little darlings will be suffocated. I am not sure why Corey and Ella haven't gotten them, but I am grateful.


Exhibit Three: I think I killed a beetle that looked an awful lot like this in our house this week:


I wasn't too concerned at the time because I hadn't run into the Red Velvet Ant yet. Now I am not sure sure I should have been so blase about it.






And finally, Exhibit Four:

I was talking to my friend Lori on the phone yesterday afternoon, when I came across this on my window:



This is a stick bug (um, I guess it was impossible to come up with a more original name.) I know they are harmless and I know that they are often kept as pets, it isn't ever going to be a pet in MY home. Anything that is longer than six inches in the insect class is going to freak me the hell out.





Keep in mind, I wasn't afraid of bugs or critters up until this week. I've even killed lots of nasty bus and snakes and mice. One co-worker told me today that I need to toughen up. My other co-worker told me to prepare for the first wolf spider or black widow to come into the house. I am taking no chances. I am calling ORKIN tomorrow. Or wrapping myself and my home in Saran Wrap.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Reason Number #4598 Why I Love the Internet

Since my social calendar isn't exactly full yet and I am not all that interested in the Olympics, I have had some time to explore the internet.

I found a site that takes your name and turns it into a name for a piece of IKEA furniture. It gave me minutes of amusement.

Consider this my gift to you. I'm a giver, what can I say? There is no need to thank me. By the way, my Swedish Furniture name is DAUNNANVIK and I am a three drawer chest. Let me know what your name is and what kind of furniture you are.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Getting Settled

It's hard to believe that we got to Tennessee nine days ago. We left the girls with their grandmother in Indiana so that we would have a few days to paint their bedrooms. We also painted the dining room because I knew I wouldn't want to move anything later once I put away my china. It was good to try to get out and get a lay of the land before the moving truck and the girls came. What stunk was that we had nothing to sit on except for our blow-up bed. We were able to use someone's unsecured WiFi so that we could have Internet access. It proved to be valuable when we had to look up a phone number or address to a store every 10 minutes.

The moving truck came on Sunday. We were disappointed that we had several items break. We've always had at least one minor thing break in a move--one has to expect that. However, it is clear that the driver was lazy and threw a lot of our stuff in the truck. As a result, our box springs, Genna's mattress, glass from our sliding door bookshelves, picture frames and several other smaller items will need to be replaced. We are looking at filing a claim for about $1000. The moving company will most assuredly fight us on it. Good times.

We spent the next three days unpacking boxes and trying to find a place for everything. The girls came back on Sunday evening, so they enjoyed the boxes for about an hour. Then they were over it and wanted us to entertain them. This move has been rough on them. Ella has been crying daily because she misses her friends Katie, Jade and Matthew. Genna cries right along with her. They get upset if I am in another room and they can't hear me. As a result, they are following me everywhere like a couple of lost dogs. They really dislike the fact that their bedrooms are on the second floor and ours is on the first. Genna kept sneaking into Ella's room and sleeping with her in the middle of the night, so we moved her bed into Ella's room. I'm pretty pleased with that since I thought they should be sharing a room anyway. It will be good when Genna starts daycare on Monday and Ella starts school next week.

I've only cried once this week, which I think is pretty good. I usually have one meltdown when we move. It always involves my getting lost on the way home from somewhere. This time, my GPS wasn't working, so I couldn't retrace my steps. I called Corey who was rattling off the directions at 90 mph when he knew damned well that I was DRIVING and couldn't possibly remember them. Then my phone died. Did I mention that we live in the boonies where the roads are windy, hilly, wooded and really narrow? Did I tell you that it was 100 degrees outside and that I noticed that the arrow on my temperature gauge was on the "H"? I had to turn off the air conditioning, roll down the windows and try to find my way home. As I cried, I yelled at Corey, blaming him for everything. It was HIS fault that he moved me, yet again, to someplace new. It was HIS fault that I was lost because my GPS didn't work. It was TOTALLY his fault that I didn't charge my phone and didn't have my car charger handy. It was also his fault that I couldn't use my air conditioning. By the time I got home over an hour later (the trip should have been 12 miles round-trip) I was exhausted. And really sweaty.

The neighbors are proving to be very friendly. Our house is one of about 25 homes in a new development. Eventually there will be about 100 homes, but for now, it is a nice-sized neighborhood. We are connected to another community that has more than 300 homes, so we are able to use their amenities, but we have the benefit of virtually no traffic. All of the roads are built, but only a couple of homes are being built at a time, so the roads will be perfect for teaching the kids to ride their bikes. There are a ton of kids the girls' ages, so that is definitely a good thing. Ella has already decided that she is in love with Aiden, the red-haired boy next door. Since she has a red-haired boyfriend in PA named Matthew, I fear she is going to get a reputation. She is following in her father's footsteps in that he only dated redheads.

I am glad to be going back to work on Monday from home. It will be good to go back to some routine. Corey doesn't start work at Vanderbilt until the 18th so he will have a huge list of things to do next week.

That's really all I have for an update. I will spend the afternoon watching Ocean's Eleven to honor Bernie Mac.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Must...Finish...Unpacking

Tired of boxes. And paper. I thought we moved to Nashville, but it feels like the Sahara. With humidity. Lots and lots of humidity. And BUGS!

So very tired...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Watching Other People Move My Shit is Tiring!

Corey and I have been patiently waiting for the movers to finish loading up our stuff. It has certainly been interesting. The Driver, the Driver's Pregnant Girlfriend, the Driver's Turkish cousin and the Driver's "Grandpa"are the colorful cast of characters who are moving us. Driver is about 30 and has been whining all day about a rash he got this morning. At one point he said that he was in so much pain that he couldn't work. Corey ran to the store to get him Benadryl cream, Benadryl pills and Tylenol. Wuss. I'll start listening to his whining once he gives vaginal birth to a 9.6 lb. watermelon. In the meantime, he needs to get cracking.

Turkish Cousin and Grandpa are machines. They don't stop for anything. I think Grandpa used to be the owner of the Company, but now he is old and Driver is taking over. It is unclear what role Driver's Girlfriend is playing. These movers aren't NEARLY as interesting as the white trash movers we had when we moved here. Driver and Turkish Cousin are constantly going at it and Grandpa keeps telling Driver to watch his language. I just know that Turkish Cousin is really a surgeon back home, but he has to work for Driver in this country. Turkish Cousin is doing what he wants--no one is going to tell HIM what to do. Fuck yeah.


I have spent the day swatting flies, waiting to vacuum rooms that are empty and surfing the internet no-stop. I have never surfed the net for a solid 8 hours. I think I actually found the end of the internet. It ain't pretty. You'll want to keep the sound low if you are at work.

We are hoping the movers will be done around 7PM. We are going to head out tonight and hopefully get to the other side of Pennsylvania.

Here We Go Again


This truck is currently in front of our house and will soon be loaded up with all of our possessions. While I am eternally grateful that I didn't have to actually move any of this stuff, I am still an exhausted mess. I am incredibly sad today.
I am certainly not going to miss this house that we have lived in just one week shy of two years. I didn't even want this house. We spent the entire two years working on it to make it livable. I am sad because we are, yet again, leaving friends behind. For our New Jersey friends, we are leaving them for a second time. While we have been fortunate to already have a few friends near the towns in which we have lived, we have been so incredibly lucky to meet new, amazing friends in New Jersey, Cincinnati, and now here. I am much too cynical to believe that lightening could possibly strike a fourth time, and we could make lasting friendships with people in Tennessee. Quite frankly, I love the friends I have--I don't think I have the energy to meet anymore.
We met Amy and Michael while we were in birthing class in New Jersey in 2002. Actually, we were never formally introduced. I was way too pregnant and way to bitchy and tired to actually be civil to anyone in the class. We ended up meeting again in the Somerset Babies R Us after our girls were born. Amy was there returning some items, and in a very rare show of bravery, I approached her and we struck up a conversation about the girls. Her daughter was born two weeks after Ella. We exchanged phone numbers, and the rest is history. We have been close ever since.
It has been so wonderful for one of us to call the other at any hour of the day or night and ask questions, get opinions, or just be a sounding board. The four of us have nearly identical styles of parenting, which is a good thing too. There has never been any awkwardness when one of the kids have acted up at the others' home. Amy, Michael and their kids were the first ones to get in a car, and drive 12 hours to visit us in Cincinnati. They even did it a second time. Their generosity was boundless when Corey lived in their house for 6 weeks when we were in the process of moving from Cincinnati to PA. It really hurts to be leaving them again. We were actually supposed to be in Kaui with them this week.
In Cincinnati, we met Rob and Laura. We were in a Carvel ice cream shop having sundaes, when a guy told Ella that he liked her IU sweatshirt. It turned out that Rob and Laura had graduated from IU like we did. Laura and I grew up 30 minutes away from each other. They had a daughter who was a couple of month younger than Ella and a newborn just a couple of months younger than Genna. We totally clicked. Corey and Rob are both scientists and could talk the same language, in addition to talking about IU basketball and football. Laura is an incredibly intelligent woman. Her patience with her children was amazing and made me want to be better. We spent a lot of time together and really enjoyed it. While life has gotten really busy for all of us (they had a third child), we are really excited to only be 4 hours away from them when we move to Nashville.
Lori and Brian have been the absolute best.neighbors.ever. here in Bethlehem. We have never been in a situation where we were actually friendly with neighbors. When we first moved to this house, we had pine trees with branches all the way to the ground in our backyard. We couldn't see the neighbors' house, and I really wanted to have neighbors--not privacy. Corey cut the branches and suddenly, we had neighbors. Then we became friends.
The kids run back and forth between the yards nearly every day. Ella and Genna start each weekend morning off by asking if they can go outside and play with Matthew and Christopher. We have frequently called each other to ask what food the other has in their fridge and we piece together a meal. We have spent many weekend evenings on each of our back porches, drinking, talking and laughing. It was incredibly sad to say good bye to them last night. I think it will ultimately be toughest for Ella to be leaving them. She plans on marrying Matthew. When she goes to the new house and discovers that there is no longer a house behind us, she will be profoundly sad.
I don't want to make it sound like our moving to Nashville will be awful--it won't be at all. We will be 4 1/2 hours from Corey's mother-in-law. We will also be 90 minutes from a couple of our dearest friends. Lori and Jeff are the girls' god parents. We are thrilled that we will be so much closer to them now. I think I fear getting attached to yet another place, or more people, all so that we can move away a few years down the road.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

I Never, EVER Thought I Would Have to Have This Discussion

"Hey Genna, when we go to Ava's birthday party today, you are NOT to eat dirt."

"But is there dirt there?"

"Maybe, but if there is, you aren't eating it."

Sigh

"Yes, Mommy."

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Fastest Month Ever

The month of July is going by with lightning speed.  When I really think about how fast it is going, I start to panic.  There is so much to do and seemingly NOT enough time to do it.  Ever since we bought our house in TN, we have been running around and making lists, going through the house to figure out what we don't need to bring with us, giving stuff away, etc.  The movers come a week from today and will pack.  We will get in the car on Wednesday of next week and start a new adventure.  Needless to say, I am freaking the fuck out.

While this move is all very exciting, and Herr's new job is a true opportunity of a lifetime, my summer has gone to absolute shit.  You see, we were supposed to be going to Hawaii this week with our friends to celebrate our anniversaries--our 15th, and our friends' 10th.  I also missed my annual Girlie Weekend because we have too much to do.  Fortunately, my girlfriends from Pittsburgh flew in last Thursday night and I got to spend the night with them before they headed off to Rehoboth and I headed back to Bethlehem.  We had dinner at a very yummy restaurant in Philadelphia called, El Vez and laughed for several hours.  My friend Dawn chronicled Girlie Weekend here.  I did cry a little bit for missing it.  Even though my Pittsburgh friends aren't nearby now, they will be even further away, and I know I will rarely see them.

This weekend was filled with birthday parties and our "Eat What's in Our Freezer" Party. Frankly, it's sad that we have had that party more than once.  If nothing else, it was a great excuse for us to have our friends over to see us one more time before we go.  We cleaned out our garage freezer and have only a little bit of food left that will last us through this week.

My work has been keeping me very busy, which I think is ultimately a good thing since it allows me to think about something other than our move.  I got word that I will continue working for my company from home, which is wonderful.  It will be a challenge as I am a social creature and need to be around people, but I will figure out a way to make it work.  My co-workers surprised me today with the my favorite kind of box.  In it was a beautiful bead bracelet.  Of course, I got verklempt.

With all of our rushing around, I realized last week that I had forgotten to check out our new address on www.familywatchdog.us to make sure we didn't have any predators living nearby. We have always been really diligent about researching when we have moved to a new community.  Imagine my horror when I discovered that we have a registered offender ON OUR STREET.  I guess in the back of my head I was thinking  that no one in this nice, brandy-new neighborhhood could POSSIBLY be a registered offender.  Herr spent the entire evening talking me off the ledge. The next morning, he called me while I was on my way to work to tell me that the Predator's house is actually for sale.  Thank goodness.  I made sure to sign up for alerts to be sent to my email in case any more move in.

The rest of this week will continue to be busy. It will be filled with the annoying tasks of obtaining records we need, scheduling last-minute doctor appointments in order to get prescriptions,  servicing cars, tying up loose ends, getting things signed and notarized, etc.  I have to get the girls' immunization records so that we can submit them to their respective schools the minute we get there. Kindergarten is SO EARLY down there (August 11) that we haven't much time to get Ella situated.  This weekend will involve one last birthday party and several more goodbyes.  And more crying on my part.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Why Do I Have to Always Have the Answers?

Our kids wake up early.  Damn early.  It's our fault, really.  Herr wakes up at 5:00 AM during the week and is out the door at 5:15 AM.   I then get up, shower and get ready for work and wake them up at 6:00AM to be out the door by 6:20AM.  It's just how it is.  Unfortunately, our children are so well trained to wake up early, that they have just never learned to sleep in on the weekends.  Our sleep schedules will definitely be changing when we move to Nashville in a few weeks, but for now it is what it is.

Sunday morning I was fast asleep.  I vaguely remember a dream about being somewhere with someone doing something.  I felt a presence of someone next to me.  I was starting to wake up, but I was playing the game of not letting on that I was waking up.  Maybe the creature would go away.  I kept my eyes closed and felt tiny little Genna hands pushing me to go toward the middle of the bed.  I complied with my eyes closed.  I felt her climb into the bed and get situated under the covers. She is such an adorable cuddle bear.  I am sure it is early, but I don't care.  These precious moments aren't going to last forever--I will soak them in as long as I can.   I felt her tiny little hands as they held my face.

"Mommy, are boogers healphy?"

"WHAAAAAA?" my eyes flew open.

"Are boogers healphy?"

NOTE:  The girls have been learning at school the difference between healthy food and junk food.  At any given moment, one of the girls will ask if seltzer water is junk food (no) or if Pirate's Booty is healthy (not really, but it's Ok sometimes).  Genna can't quite seem to pronounce the "th" in healthy.

"Eww Genna, gross!!  Boogers are NOT healthy.  Ever."  I look at my alarm clock.  It is 6:30 in the fucking morning.

"They're junk food?"

"No!  They aren't that either!  They are YUCKY!"

The look on her face indicated that she didn't understand that something could be neither healthy nor junk food.  She also clearly didn't believe me when I said they were yucky. Genna LOVES to go after nose truffles.  She has her fingers constantly in her nose.  No amount of yelling or making fun of her has broken her of this habit.  The majority of the time I don't even see anything on her finger to eat.  She.just.likes.her.finger.in.her.nose.  At this point, I am hoping that she will stop once the she gets older and the kids in her class start to ridicule her.  I then tried to explain to her that boogers were made of dirt and since she didn't eat dirt, she shouldn't eat boogers.  We laughed and went about our day.  And yes, she still picked her nose all day long.

While I laughed and told several friends about Genna's question,  I worried.  Did I really explain boogers properly to her?  Do I even KNOW what a booger is made out of?  To check, I actually Googled, "What are boogers made of?"  I read this.  It was actually quite interesting.  I had no idea that the nose and sinuses produce nearly one liter of mucus a day.  I was relieved to read that, as far as a three-year-old's comprehension goes, I explained boogers properly.

And even though I was relieved, I was annoyed.  I voiced my annoyance to Herr that I am always the one who has to answer the uncomfortable questions like, "Why does Daddy pee standing up?" and "What's that?"  "That" has been a host of things over the years like the dog's penis, my breasts, a maxi-pad ("No it's NOT a diaper."), etc.  I told Herr that if I can't manage to handle answering the booger question, how am I going to survive adolescence and discuss their periods and sex.

Herr said with a smile on his face, "I don't care because that isn't my job.  When that time comes, I am going to go up to my man room, turn on some ESPN and forget that I am in a house full of women.  It's all on you."

Herr will pay.





Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Dissed

While we were in Nashville, my mother-in-law informed me that Ella had received flowers from a little boy at school.  It seems that the little boy, Brenden, asked his mother if he could pick some flowers out of her garden so that he could give them to the prettiest girl in school. Of course, I got weepy, thinking that was the absolute sweetest thing I had ever heard!  I didn't know who Brenden was, but he is OBVIOUSLY a sweet boy with impeccable taste.

When we came home and Ella retold the incident, I suggested that she make a thank-you note for Brenden and his mother.  She happily drew a picture with Brenden and Ella in it, some flowers, a sun, moon AND stars.  I told her how to spell, "thank you."  Since I didn't know who Brenden was and we get to school really early, I figured I would put the note in Brenden's daily file--that way, his mother or father would pick it up.

I was running really late today, so I ended up dropping off the girls much later than I usually do.  With the card in tow, I was getting Genna out of her car seat, when I heard Ella say, "Hi Brenden" to a little boy across the parking lot.  His mother was taking a newborn out of another car seat while Brenden responded, "Hi Ella." 

Ah-HA!  Finally, this is the little boy who thinks so much of Ella.  Hmmm, he is waaay cute, but why is he wearing such a thick gold chain around his 4 year old neck?  Stop it, Hausfrau. Do.Not.Judge.

My thoughts were interrupted by Brenden's mother saying, "Oh.  So this is Ella," in a tone that implied that she had just stepped in a pile of dog shit.  Her face curled up into what should of been a smile, but was more like a lazy snarl.  "Hmm, I wonder what she did to make Brenden want to pick flowers for her out of my garden."

My face instantly got hot.  "What do you mean by that?"  I asked.   Unfortunately, there would be no answer because she sailed into the building and took her newborn to the infant room.  I was fuming.  I wish I had never established the rule about NOT hitting people when they are holding babies.  By the look on her face and the tone of her voice, she was implying that my 5 YEAR OLD daughter was a tramp.  Ella chased after her with the thank-you card, obviously unaware of what has just transpired.  I didn't see the woman's reaction to the card, but I was so angry, I was tempted to grab it back from her.  I waited for her to come outside of the infant room so that I could ask her why she would insult me and my daughter in this way.  The problem was, there were dozens of children and parents milling about, so it's not like I would have been able to take part in any type of smack-down with her anyway.  She was also taking her sweet-ass time and I needed to tend to my girls, so I reluctantly left the doorway of the infant room and went about my business.  She left when I wasn't looking because her car was gone when I got back out to the parking lot.

I am annoyed that I didn't have an opportunity to call this bitter mass of a woman out.  I just cannot imagine anyone having such poor social graces.  I have said for years that I am so worried that some little girl is going to someday hurt my daughter with hateful words and that it would be all I can do to not kill that child for hurting her.  I never thought I would hear such nastiness from a grown woman.

When I picked up the girls from school today, Ella mentioned that the card she made for Brenden ended up in the trash.  I knew she was hurt because she gets hacked off when I dare throw away any scrap piece of paper at home that she scribbles on.    What I wanted to say was, "Bitch didn't deserve your card anyway!"  What I really told her that it didn't matter and that she had done a good thing by writing the thank you note.


Saturday, July 05, 2008

Adventures in Homebuying

We left for Nashville a week ago Saturday to find a new house.  I wasn't thrilled to be going--don't know why, but I really didn't want to leave the girls.  However, I knew it would be a really bad idea to go with them.  Herr had made arrangements for us to be there 5 days, and I fought that tooth and nail.  Herr wanted to have a couple of days to get to know Nashville.  I argued that we would have the rest of our freaking lives to get to know Nashville as he has PROMISED that this is our last move.  I am also in the middle of a prolonged project at work that I would at least like to finish.

The flight to Nashville was in my top 3 worst flights ever (not because of service, but because I was CERTAIN we would fall out of the sky due to the thunderstorms we were flying through.)  I wasn't back to my old self until we had been back on terra firma for a couple of hours and indulged in a couple of very stiff cocktails.

I felt a lot better on Sunday when our friends Jeff and Lori came down from Paducah to help us look at homes.  One of the best things about the move will be the fact that we will be less than 2 hours away from them.   It was  critical to have Lori help us look at homes because she is able to smack me back into reality.  Our Realtor was amazing in that she really believed me when I said that I would need only a one and a half days to find a house and that I wanted to see the 20 I had previously chosen in one day.  Three of the homes were sold, so we saw the other 17 on Sunday.  It was exhausting, but I was pleased.  The homes were all beautiful, but many of the communities in Brentwood, Franklin and Nolensville are "lifestyle communities," meaning that there is no back yard (or a front yard).  I suppose people down there don't want to do yard work.  Apparently they don't want to barbeque in their backyards either. My number one choice for a house was not the same as Herr's, but our deal was that I would agree to the move, so long as I chose the house.  It was a new home, so I had no problem lowballing the homebuilder.  It had been on the market since February, so we got a good price. The house across the street is almost completed but it is under contract for $110,000 more than our house.   The only difference is that our house in 200 sq. smaller and ours doesn't have a basement.  While I will miss having a basement, it certainly isn't worth another $110K.  Our Realtor also informed us that we will be living right around the corner from Dolly Parton and some other country music stars who live here.  I'll be sure to tell her you said hello when I see her in the cereal aisle of the Publix.

The most memorable part of our trip was definitely the time spent with our Realtor.  Karen was incredibly efficient, friendly and really took an interest in making sure she made us happy.   She also had the most amazing things flying out of her mouth when we least expected it.  When I mentioned that we would need to tile the backsplash in the kitchen of the new house, Karen piped up, "Y'all, I got a FANTASTIC Mexican who does GREAT tile work."  That sentence stayed suspended in the air for about 30 seconds before I said, "Wow!  Fantastic!"  After a couple of hours of looking at homes with her, we discovered that she has a FANTASTIC Mexican for everything.  Not Colombians or Russians--only Mexicans.  Karen has her "FANTASTIC Mexicans" Network (FMN for short), apparently waiting and ready to serve. Initially, I was appalled and I avoided Herr's glance for fear that I would start making comments. However, it became clear that she REALLY adores her FANTASTIC Mexicans.  We met one of them when she took us to her country club for lunch on Monday to write up the contract.  As we pulled up the driveway, she slammed on the brakes at the top of a steep hill and said, "Y'all, there's my FANTASTIC Mexican lawn guy!"  She proceeded to roll down her window and coo, "Hiii Juan!  How are you today?!"  He seemed happy to see her and chatted with her for a moment.  When she said her goodbyes and rolled up her window, she said, "Sometimes I sing my 'Juan Song,'" and proceeded to sing, "Ju-Ju-Ju-Juan Corona" to the tune of "My Sharona."

Later, I asked Karen to stop by a bank that I thought I had a dormant old checking account with from our days in Cincinnati.  We had forgotten to bring our checkbook and there are no PNC Banks in Nashville.  We needed to give some earnest money with the offer, so I had taken cash out of an ATM and figured I could go to the 5/3 Bank since I have an account there and get someone to write out a cashier's check.  Karen offered to come in with us.  Even though I thanked her and told her it wouldn't be necessary, she sashayed in with us and bellowed, "EXCUSE ME.  MY NAME IS KAREN SO-AND-SO AND MY BROTHER-IN-LAW USED TO OWN THIS BANK.  MY CLIENTS NEED SOME ASSISTANCE AND I NEED TO KNOW THAT YOU CAN HELP THEM."

Fortunately, the people there were very nice and didn't seem to be as shocked as Herr and I were at the polite, but loud outburst.  The teller verified that I did, indeed have an old account (balance $28!) and processed our cashier's check.  We found out that Karen's brother-in-law did used to own the bank and sold it.  He is one of the richest men in Nashville with a 28,000 sq. ft. home and a staff.  Herr and I got the distinct impression that Karen does Real Estate as a lark, but she is definitely the most efficient one we have had thus far.

We spent the remainder of our time meeting Herr's future boss, setting up daycare for Genna and critiquing the grocery stores. We will move down there on July 30, so that gives us only a few weeks left up here.  Gulp.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

And So It Begins

Well, after nearly two months of keeping the house "show ready" and chasing after the girls with Windex to wash their fingerprints off of the sliding glass door, we have received an offer on the house.  The offer is nothing less than shitty, but we are lucky to be getting additional monies from Herr's new employer to cover the loss.  Here's the catch:  the buyers want to close on July 31.  As in 4 weeks from now.

Herr and I are flying to Nashville on Saturday to find a house,  but not before I go see Dave Matthews with my girlfriends tomorrow.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sometimes, it Really IS More Complicated

In yesterday's newspaper, there was a front page article on Nathaniel's death and the amazing decision his parents made by donating his organs.  Because of his organ donation, three people are alive today.  After reading the article, I was completely in awe of Nathaniel's parents and Nathaniel himself.

According to the newspaper, they still aren't 100% sure what caused his death and are awaiting autopsy results.  However, in February, he had febrile seizures,  which are normally harmless and are caused by a fever. He recovered from the seizure in February.  However, he had a seizure at school last Tuesday. Because the doctors weren't able to keep his body temperature and oxygen levels stable, his brain swelled and he died.

I can certainly understand now why the daycare director answered me the way she did.  As far as she knew--there was a seizure.  Besides, I am sure she has very little experience in dealing with an issue such as this, even if she had coaching from the corporate attorneys.  The teacher who witnessed the fall with me really IS in Belize and won't even find out until tomorrow that Nathaniel died.  Now that my conspiracy-theory imagination is on idle, I do understand that it was much more complicated than a fall.  

I decided to send them a sympathy card.  By the way, have you ever bought a sympathy card?  I spent 30 minutes in the card aisle at Target tearing up and trying to choose the card that sucked the least.  In the end, I wrote them a note sharing my last memory of Nathaniel from the perspective that he was an amazingly tough kid and that it was a testament to them as parents. I didn't go into detail about the fall--I just didn't see the point.  The seizure would not have been caused by a fall.

While I can at least sleep at night now, knowing that the daycare wasn't trying to do a massive cover-up, it is still really tough to imagine that these sorts of medical tragedies happen.  It's tough to imagine the hell the parents are going through.  But the silver lining in this very dark cloud is that there are two children and an adult alive right now because of his gift.