Friday, September 30, 2005

Big Night

On Wednesday night we took Gabe to the Atlanta Braves game. We had a few free tickets and we figured that since we live in such a cool place, we should take advantage of it and enjoy the cultural events offered (like baseball games).

Gabe was pretty excited about the whole thing. While we waited for Hubby to pick up the free tickets outside the stadium, Gabe told me that he couldn't wait until it was his turn to go up and hit the ball. (This statement was accompanied by gestures including bat swinging and butt wiggling while in the batting stance. Where does he learn these things?) I explained to him that this was not a game for playing but a game where we would be watching adults play baseball. He wasn't thrilled with this development, but was still pretty excited when I told him there would be snacks.

Then we got inside. Turner Field is pretty much Disney World crossed with baseball but with all the characters being TNT or Cartoon Network related. Ted (Turner) knows how to spend money on his ballpark. The boys (Hubby and Dr. P) were very impressed with the quality of the sound system and the humongous outfield video screen which had the clarity of an IMAX theater. Gabe was flummoxed by the humongous homage to Cartoon Network masquerading as a kid's area. He proceeded to spend the next hour and a half cajoling each of us to bring him back to the Cartoon Network place where there was a "Baseball game just for kids. No adults. But you can watch Mama." Finally, at the bottom of the fourth, I relented. (Truth be told; Baseball plus Me = Meh. And that's in the best of circumstances. This was really boring because the Braves have already won the division [or something] and they were just playing scrubs that night.)

Off to Cartoon Network paradise we went. The place was stuffed with children, so I guess we weren't the only bad parents keeping our kid up far too late on a school night. We threw balls at Grim (Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy: Two kids who hang out with the Grim Reaper. I'm not sure why.) and pushed buttons and pulled levers in Dexter's Laboratory. We sang and danced to CN theme songs on the closed circuit stage where the kids could watch themselves as they performed. (Holy Ham Heaven! You've never seen so many kids dancing their asses off just because they could see themselves on TV!)

My personal favorite was this little room where the kids (and this Mama) entered through a fireplace and then sat on a little painted carpet and all these doors (actually door-sized video screens) would open up and various characters from Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends would appear for like one second. The woman running this area had strict rules but she also encouraged them "Every time you see Blue, you gotta scream 'Blue!' as loud as you can". Then, at the end of the show, one of those rave/ecstasy black light went on in the dim room and all the white on everyone's clothes popped and little hidden Blues appeared all over the room. So, it was kinda like a mini rave for kids or something, that with the being up waaay too late, eating ballpark hotdogs (unknown chemicals ingested) as well as cotton candy (sugar in its purest form, with symptoms similar to drunkenness for a five year old) and the psychedelic Blue show. I was tempted to take off my shirt exposing my white bra and put on my funkiest dance moves while petting the nearest individual and telling them that they felt really interesting or something, but managed (barely) to control myself.

Gabe did also manage to wait in line for his turn to bat where the world's longest pick up game of kid's baseball was being played. All the other kids in this area were more about seven and up and seemed to have actually grasped the basics of baseball. Like so many things, Gabe has no clue, but a lot of enthusiasm. (Sound like anyone you know? Anyone who write a silly little blog? Anyone from whom this child's genes were derived?) When it was finally his turn, he swung fruitlessly at a few soft pitches until the guy took pity on him and brought out the tee stand thingy (See? No clue. Wonder where he gets it?) while I helped him and least turn in the right direction and adopt a basic stance. And he Hit It! Then he stood there like a statue with a big grin on his face while all the kids screamed at him to run. I directed him to first base and told him to wait until the next kid hit the ball and then to run to second. But when the next kid hit (deep) he remained motionless while the kid lapped him. Then he wandered off to play in Dexter's Laboratory some more. Cute that. Wonder where he got his disinterest in sports? Not.

The next morning there was hell to pay for our late night and he was still whining and crying from exhaustion as he got on the bus at 7:30 am. So, no more Kiddy Raves in our near future. But, we did go out and enjoy the "culture" of our city, which is more than you can say, right?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Bachelor Pad

Um. Hi.

Remember me?

I know, I know...too long with no regular posts.

I'm just soo freakin' busy and happy chillin' out with my whole family again. And Dr. P.

Uh. Who's Dr. P?

He's uh, well, he's our housemate. He's the current sixth member of our clan.

He is currently looking for alternate housing.

Dr. P is an old friend from chiropractic school. Dr. P, Dr. C, and Hubby were a triumvirate of sorts while young pups in chiropractic school. They actually all met and bonded over a terrifying incident which involved peeing blood, a trip to the emergency room, an exploratory procedure which involved a scope placed in the ureter (not a nice place for a scope) and some strong narcotics. I will not specifically name who peed blood and the like (in order to protect the not so innocent) but it makes for a great story after a few margaritas.

Dr. P is a bachelor. Dr. P is accustomed to his own space and his normal space usually features authentic 50's furniture, a kickass sound system, gourmet food, a Playboy pinball machine, and a 10 foot boa constrictor named Otto.

Dr. P now lives in my house which features dog hair encrusted and food slathered furniture, his kickass sound system (which the children have been warned not to touch upon pain of death), daily servings of (organic) hotdogs and Annie's Mac and Cheese, and his pinball machine and Otto carefully banished to the unfinished basement.

He's being quite a good sport about it all. He calmly holds screaming babies. He steps over toys and dogs and small puddles of spit up. He remarks mildly after the decibel level exceeds that of the inside of a jet engine that Quin really screams a lot and loudly. He wisely locks his bedroom door every time he steps out. He pretends to avert his eyes when I whip out my boob to squirt a little milk on Peever's diaper rash (but what man can not at least somewhat watch that?). And he drives 20 miles every day to go to the nearest coffeeshop with a free WiFi so he can enjoy complete peace and quiet for a few hours each day.

Dr. P is yet another member of our extended family. He knew what he was getting into when he came here. And yet he can't wait to get his new job situation all worked out and move the heck out of the chaos that we call home.

But it is gratifying to have him tell me (almost daily now) how he is so impressed with how we keep sane in this house of craziness.

So, don't tell him about the crazy, okay? He thinks I'm doing a good job!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Just Picture Me Floating Down A River In A Small Boat

Are ya'll beginning to wonder if I am still alive down here in the Southland?

Are you hearing the theme song from Deliverance when you check my blog and continue to see the same old posts?

(Ta ta twang twang twang twang twang twang twang)

I am unavailable for real postage. Must. Unpack.

This homemaking, it's like a compulsion which practically keeps me from sleeping.

Plus the Governor cancelled school on Monday and Tuesday because Bushy said we should conserve. Go figure. So, I have all three children to contend with all day. Just when I am getting used to only having two kids from 8 to 3 and am starting to groove on it...boom! The Guv cancels school. Conserve this. I've got work to do.

(Ta ta twang twang twang twang twang twang twang)

And also, you CANNOT buy any booze in Georgia on Sundays. Because of God.

(Ta twang twang twang twang twang twang twang)

I gotta go now. First I don't post, and then I finally get on the computer and all this subversive commentary begins running out of me. It's so unlike me, right? Oh well. I gotta go now.

(Twangity twangity twangity twangity........)

Friday, September 23, 2005

A Fresh Start

Moving is such a curious event.

On one hand, you have all the ingredients for a fresh start:
  • A new house which has not been dented, peed on, puked on, or otherwise damaged by your darling family (yet).
  • A new neighborhood full of people who have never heard your boring repetitive (according to Hubby) stories and still think your kids are uncommonly cute (Ha! Cute little terrors!).
  • A new area full of new restaurants and grocery stores and boutiques and places to check out.

But on the other hand, all these "new"s come with an inherent backlash. The new town is confusing and humongous and about a gazillion miles from Banana Girl and the rest of my family. I don't know the new neighbors enough to know whether my kids are bugging them or if I should just offer them a margarita already. And worst of all, the new house doesn't feel like home yet.

I stub my toes at night on the way to the toilet. We are startled by strange lights and mystery noises. I haven't found my favorite spot to read a book or cuddle up and watch TV or even figured out the new dishwasher. And the house is bare. It is bare of belongings (for now), but even worse, it is bare of memories.

Here, in my "new" house, I cannot stand at the kitchen sink and think of how Peevers was born right here, indelibly staining the rug, but making our house that much more ours. Here, I cannot remember Quinlan taking her first steps and saying her first words. Here, I cannot sit on the back patio and think of how Gabe tripped over Lucy (our old Dog) and fell and broke his wrist. And then how Hubby raced around frantically trying to comfort Gabe (who was totally fine by then), while really just trying to do something to calm himself. I will not scrub the toilet and remember (oddly nostalgically) all the times I hunkered down in that very spot for HOURS while pregnant with Peevers.

I think of the birthday parties and holidays and nights up late on the sofa with a sick kid or a too pregnant self that were shared with our old dear bungalow in Iowa and I am sad. The bungalow had a warm and cozy character from the moment we moved in. The house felt like it had sheltered many a happy family before ours. It just felt like a family house, from its location across from the city park, to its pleasantly cozy bungalow proportions and glowing woodwork.

Our new house is new construction and doesn't carry the spirit souls of other families and other happy times. This house only remembers construction workers and realtors. This house is probably freaking the hell out right about now as my crew has been here for almost a week without mercy and I am unceasingly alternately painting its surfaces and cleaning up the disasters of water splashed and food sprinkled and dirty footprints and handprints my children have been stenciling about its every corner.

So, it's a fresh start all right. I know we will be happy here. We've just got a lot of work to do in order to make our place here and be Home again.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

On Moving and Other Tortures

Do you know what I realized while driving to the Southland? We have moved THREE TIMES in the past five years. And I have done all the packing each and every time. And my stuff just keeps accumulating exponentially, even though I throw out and give away unused stuff ALL THE TIME. Ugh. And I'm pretty sure that by the time I unpack it all again the stuff will have doubled itself again and be found to be overflowing with mismatched tupperwear, parts of toys, random socks and little used household items like vegetable choppers and toenail curlers and the like.

During the first of the three moves, I was six months pregnant with Gabe and we hadn't even collected all the weird baby paraphanalia (that we never used) like cribs and what not. I didn't yet KNOW about the babywearing devices (I now own three), car seats (five so far), bath seats and tubs (two), beds and chairs (Bouncy seat, check. Baby Moses basket, check.) And all this before the children ever develop preferences of their own. That is when the trouble begins in earnest. Each mini (or major) obsession is accompanied with a minimum of three books and a series of action figures, coloring books, stickers and so on.

I have experienced just a handful of these obsessions with my young brood so far. There was the Baby Einstein (otherwise known as Baby CRACK COCAINE) period, followed closely by Bob the Builder and then Dragon Tales. We also have endured brief love affairs with Spider Man, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, all things John Deere and farm implement related and a short but sweet train obsession. We have most recently seen a lasting appreciation for Scooby Doo and Batman and a sibling shared appreciation for freakin' Dora and her do-gooder cousin Diego. Quin has already developed a scary appreciation for Hello Kitty and all things baby related. She received THREE dolly strollers for Christmas last year. She wasn't even two yet! I have seen (and thrown away) more character driven marketing rubble than I think I saw in ten years of my own childhood. It's a sad state of affairs when your child recognizes Sponge Bob Square Pants' weird starfish friend Patrick before Max from Where The Wild Things Are. Damn those child marketers and their insidious ways!

Anyway, we did it. We made it to Georgia. We loaded the 28 foot truck. Then we loaded another seven feet worth of another truck (told you we have a lot of stuff!) and then we put the three kids and the dog and all my plants and all our personal stuff into the van (whew!) and began the 800 plus mile drive to Georgia. We endured 27 nursing sessions, one parental argument, one exhausted mama crying jag, one midnight search for a cheap but clean hotel room, one middle of the night vomiting spree (courtesy of Gabe, who was coughing prodigiously and has the most sensitive gag reflex EVER!), one extensively poopy diaper changed on the road, one viewing of Finding Nemo and just 20 hours after we left Iowa, we arrived "home" to Georgia in time for Brian to watch the Sunday Ticket Football all afternoon.

And now we wait. The Stuff won't arrive until Friday they tell me (boo!) because it must sit and wait in various warehouses and truckstops along the way. They torture me, the moving people, because they can. But life goes on. Gabe began kindergarten in the Southland on Monday and got to RIDE THE BUS. He hasn't said "fixin' to" yet but his new best friend, the next door neighbor boy says "ya'll" about every other sentence, so I know its coming.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Cavalry's Coming! The Cavalry's Coming!

T minus 15 hours to Hubby's arrival to help out with the big move.

Banana Girl and her strapping Banana Man will arrive early tomorrow afternoon to bring back my Quin and help with the final push to pack and disassemble weird crap that I don't know why I have or cannot find an appropriate container in which it should be packaged.

The big moving container/truck thingy comes in the morning and I get to direct its placement on my own. Wheeee! Moving is waaay much fun! I also got to pick up boxes from the box lady and from the liquor store and from the grocery store and from the box lady again and I may have to go back to the liquor store tomorrow because I keep. Running. Out. Dammit.

And I've lost the tape dispenser again. And Gabe has done something with my big sharpie marking pen which he covets greatly and has undoubtedly hidden in some secret and special place I will discover ten minutes after I laboriously label the last frickin' box. He has been running all over "labeling" boxes with a crayola washable marker but a crayola just doesn't carry the same gravitas a big ole sharpie wields, and he knows it. He has marker envy. And now I can't find my sharpie. Curses!

It's late. I'm crazy with moving overload. I am going to run away now. Can someone please find me a sharpie by 7 am tomorrow?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I've Always Depended on the Kindness of Strangers

I am having a depressing week.

First of all, I miss My Quinny (who is in Wisconsin with Nonny and Banana Girl). The Daily Reports From Nonnyville tell a tale of much fun and cheerfulness. She is actually getting to enjoy the lifestyle of an only child for the first time in her wee life and she appears to be diggin' it. She gets to pick what cartoon to watch. She gets to play with her toys endlessly without anyone (anyone named Gabe) taking it away or telling her how to do it right. She is having pajama parties with Nonny and eating frosted mini wheats in bed and reading books all day long on demand. Sigh. I am both jealous (of all her fun) and guilty (that I have been a bit of a crap Mama this summer). But I'm glad she is having such a great week.

My week has been extra sucky because I am dealing with the death of our business. I've got to tell you people; being your own boss and owning your own business can be super great and liberating and all, but when it goes ker-ploof, it really, really sucks. A lot. We have owned other businesses and been able to move on when the time comes and sell them for an appropriate profit. It is a stressful time, but it all works out in the end. This time, due to one partner's illness, and a lack of immediate cash flow, that day where the happy sale occurs never came. So I am cleaning up my personal possessions and other financial and legal matters every day and every day when I turn off the light and lock the front door to the office I feel like crying.

This venture, this practice, is like another child for me. We have run several successful practices in the past but this was the best one. This was the one where we were doing things our way and using all the great information and mistakes from past practices to get it just right. But, ultimately, we didn't have enough time to get through the brutal first year of the small business money gap, which plagues so many small business owners. Even though I (and Hubby and our Partner) have worked so diligently on this project for the past 12 months that it has hurt at times, it is simply not enough. Even though I practiced up until two days before Peevers was born and came back two days after, it is not enough. Even though I have done nothing but plot and scheme and brainstorm for the past two months ten ways to pull off a miracle, the miracle never came.

And so I am forced to unceremoniously disband my staff and pass on my patient files to a trusted friend in the area and explain what has happened over and over and over again to patients and legal people and what not.

It is like explaining how your dog has died recently, over and over again. People are generally kind and understanding but the constant repetition of the sad situation really becomes nearly unbearable after a while. Plus, nobody wants you to tell them how badly it really hurts and how you are this close to losing your faith in the universe and the universal truths of goodness and truth and beauty and all that. I mean, the good guys are supposed to prevail in the end, right? The good guys, the ones who are telling the truth and battling the man and fighting the system and the correcting the mis-education of our entire society, are supposed to eventually find peace and comfort. Not get their hats handed back to them by the man and then told to go away already because bankers don't care about truth and beauty.

And so I continue. Continue to get my child off to kindergarten, make 15 critical phone calls, nurse the baby, pack some more boxes, run a few errands, stop by the office to finish more financial hell spreadsheet stuff for the accountant, answer umpteen urgent phone calls, and explain over and over how my dream has come to a screeching halt.

Please be kind. It's all I have left to which to cling.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Life Is In The Details

Even the laundromat can be beautiful.

Especially when you can share it with someone special. Even if they are asleep.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Dear Hubby

Dear Hubby,

I am so glad that our ten weeks of separation are almost over. I am inexpressibly excited to get to Georgia and spend each day together as a family again. But even more importantly, I am excited to reconnect with you.

For all the talking (and talking and talking) I do, sometimes I really don't express myself very well. When I drove you to the airport yesterday and I sort of picked a fight with you, I said all the wrong things. I'm sorry. Let me try again.

What I really want you to know is not that I want some kind of hero's welcome or special treatment to repay all that we have been through in the past few months. It is not about who did what or who slept more or all the stupid details of the summer past. These are not the things that matter when it comes to how I feel about you.

I really just want to sleep beside you every night again. I want to tell you about my day and my thoughts and feelings without using my blog (sorry Internet). I want to share the intimacy of the joys and turmoil of raising our children, and also all the little quirks that make us, as a couple, tick. I want to laugh at your silly little quips and uncanny ability to always come up with the perfect movie quote that will crack me up and diffuse almost any situation. I want to hassle you over who scooped the ice cream, who changed the last diaper, and who fed the dog (not me). I want to make up silly song lyrics to make you laugh and sit on the swings with you while we watch our children play on the playground.

And most of all, I want to look you in the eyes and know there is a deep connection there. I want to know that you still know me better than any other person in the world and that you still think that I am the only woman for you always and forever.

And I want you to know that I have missed you each and every day because I feel so lost without your strong arms to hug me when I am freaking out or just have had a long day with the kids. I want you to know that thinking about how I feel about you still brings tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat, even after 12 years and even after the past ten weeks of hell. Because you are my one and only, for always and forever.



Sunday, September 11, 2005

And Now For Stripier News: I Painted

While in Georgia, in the new and mostly empty house, I did a bit of nesting (and NO I am NOT pregnant) last week.

I painted the kitchen a nice warm yellow.

I painted a few walls in the dining room (green and khaki).

And then I took on The Project in the kid's room.

I began by taping off the top of the walls at a height of six feet. I painted everything below that a lovely pale turquoise. Then I painstakingly taped off stripes in six inch intervals around the room. For about three hours. It was tedious and yet lovely in its mindnumbing simplicity.

This was a particularly fun stage in The Project because the striped walls created a carnival funhouse optical illusion that totally freaked out Hubby. He could barely even enter the room at this stage and when forced to come ask me something he would stagger in, eyes shaded and squint at the floor while talking to me and then scurry out.

If only I could use such a painted effect on the children to gain a private space, just for me! I could paint the interior to a closet and then line it with bookshelves and add a laptop and a minifridge and it would be nirvana. (Or a teenager's bedroom.) But alas, the children are immune to the pain of numerous bright blue vertical stripes. Nothing can free me from their searching and seeking ways. But I digress. Back to this HGTV moment.

As you can see, the final effect is quite lovely (I think) and the upper walls and ceiling were then painted a pale creamy yellow which brings the scale of the room down to kid level. I still will need to paint and install a inch wide flat molding around the room where the stripes meet the yellow.

The kids tested out their new room the next day and christened it with a laptop viewing of A Pup Named Scooby Doo.

But, the best part was, the decorating Peevers did, of herself, when left alone in the hallway near an unwittingly open door to The Project Room where paint was left drying. Luckily, she remained on the plastic matting that covered most of the carpeting and all I had to do was hose her down and scrape all the paint out of her ear.

And a good time was had by all. (Except Hubby, who had to watch the children all weekend while I painted.)

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Just Hang In There!

I'm having another rough week. And a particularly rough morning.

In the one final week that I remain here in Iowa, I need to:

  • Pack up my entire house (while juggling a 7 month old)
  • Locate a small crew of helpers to load up the moving van on Friday and Saturday
  • Locate a small crew of helpers in GA to unload the moving van the following week
  • Deal with a bunch of tricky icky financial matters dealing with closing the business
  • Deal with a bunch of tricky icky financial personal matters involved with moving
  • Get all my personal belongings from the office
  • Send my Quinny away to get some extra Nonny(gramma) time in Wisconsin while I am so crazed with matters here
  • Make approximately 97 critical phone calls to wrap everything up
  • Say Goodbye to good friends who I won't see for far too long

I am feeling overwhelmed, sad, embittered (by stressful situations beyond my control), and at the end of my rope. And while I prefer the Pollyanna-ish quintessential image of the cute kitty hanging from a bit of string (Just Hang In There!), ultimately, I think this image feels rather more apt.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

I'm Baaack!

I spent the day yesterday in the Atlanta airport. With three children.

After six days of pretty much camping out at the mostly empty new house in the Atlanta burbs we left yesterday morning for the airport. What with needing to stop and get gas, and trying to find a station with gas (a few are out of gas periodically down south) and then getting through the morning traffic, we arrived at the airport 65 minutes before our flight.

Then we waited in a 30 minute line at the Air Tran counter. You MUST wait in this crazy long line if you have luggage to check, and I needed (was required) to check my big rolly suitcase and the girls' two car seats. At the counter, 30 minutes later, they informed me that I was required to check my luggage 45 minutes before the flight and I had missed the cut off.

As I stood there with three squirming, climbing, wall-bouncing children, they came up with this thrilling solution: We got to spend another five hours at the airport waiting for the next flight to the Quad Cities!! Wheee! And they even did me the favor of confirming my seats on the next flight, rather than forcing me to fly standby (Can you imagine? Standby? Are you crazy?).

We survived. We bought overpriced Dora workbooks and SpongeBob crap and I read countless books, until hoarse, and then I just let them roam around the terminal like Tom Hanks, provided I could see them and they weren't touching anyone else.

They were filthy and restless and begging me and anyone else they could find for ice cream since we were sitting near a dratted Ben and Jerry's whose sign actually depicts an ice cream cone and all children can instantly recognize the international language of ice cream. But Quin has dairy issues and they didn't have soy or rice ice cream so I said no. I only had one spare diaper per kid and couldn't afford the kind of blow out the follows Quin ingesting dangerous foods.

So, if you saw what appeared to be homeless children in the Atlanta Airport yesterday, they were mine.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

The (Understandable) Opinion of a Five Year Old

Gabe: Those are penises, Mama! (pointing to my magazine)

Me: (reading Mothering magazine’s latest article about circumcision) Ummm…yes. (Considering: is it time for this conversation? Why not.) See these two pictures? This picture is of a circumcised penis. That means they cut part of the skin off this little boy’s penis. This picture is of another penis. They left all the skin on this penis.

Gabe: (mouth agape in dawning horror) Uh huh. Which one is like me?

Me: Let’s look. (helping him down with his shorts) See, your penis still has lots of nice soft skin here. All your skin is there. That’s because when you were a baby, we decided that we didn’t want to have anyone cut your penis.

Gabe: (increasingly horrified) What do they cut it with?

Me: A little tiny sharp knife. When your Papa was a baby they cut the skin off of his penis and that his why his penis looks more like this. Do you think we should have had your penis cut like Papa’s?

Gabe: (in abject horror) NO!

Me: Well, we didn’t and now you have a penis like this. This kind of penis is called “Intact.” That kind of penis is called “Circumsized.”

Gabe: (apparently satisfied and wandering away) Thanks, Mama.

Overheard one hour later

Gabe: Quin, this picture is of a where they cut this penis off!

Quin: (utterly clueless) Huh?

Gabe: But this one is nice, like mine. They didn’t cut MY penis off.

Me: Honey, they only cut some of the skin off of a circumsized penis.

Gabe: Quin, this penis has the skin cut off, (proudly) but they didn’t cut mine!

Out of the mouths of babes. Enuf said!

To read more about the controversial topic of circumcision check out the latest issue of Mothering Magazine (at Newstands now!) or go to the discussion boards: The Case Against Circumcision.