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."


"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


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.