Monday, March 31, 2008
It's Not THAT Long Ago
Last week as I was walking Sophie to school, a soda truck passed us on the street. Not a modern Coca-Cola/Pepsi delivery truck, with refrigerated compartments. An old soda truck, that delivers soda not to a store but to people's homes.

I stopped dead in my tracks and gazed in wonder at this thing on wheels with glass bottles rattling around in the open back. I could have sworn I could smell real cream soda and taste the fizzy, fizzy egg creams I drank as a kid. Sophie looked at me, wondering why I had just frozen on the spot.

"When I was a kid, our soda was delivered by a truck like that to my nana's."


"Yeah, you'd get a case delivered with all sorts of flavors. You'd have loved the black cherry flavor."

"So they'd bring it on a truck like that?"

"Yep. They'd also give you these really cool bottles of seltzer and you could make egg creams with the milk the milk man left you in the morning."

"So they brought milk to you, too?"


"So this was before they had stores?"

Link to a fellow Brooklyn blogger's post about said delivery truck
Essay about Eli Miller's seltzer delivery.

Friday, March 28, 2008
Pennsylvania: If you don't need a permit for it, it must be illegal
I'm all for states coming up with creative ways to generate income without raising taxes but this is ridiculous.

As I've mentioned before, we have a small parcel of land that we bought in a campground. And this is the year that we'd like to start using the parcel for more than just parking our car when dad's place next door gets crowded. So, we've been looking for and RV. There. I said it. An RV. A trailer.

So we've looked and looked and we may have found one that suits our needs. Place for the kids to sleep. Place for us to sleep. A place to cook. A place to wash. What more do you need in the summer when you're up in the country? Oh, yeah. We'll also build a fire ring for toasting marshmallows.

What I've been able to gather is that the great state of Pennsylvania is a paper maven's idea of HEAVEN. If you want to do anything other than breathe and blink, you will need a permit. I may be wrong, but your mere existence may require filling out paperwork by your mother and might be contingent on receiving permission to live by way of a permit.

Would you like to do some work on your property? Please fill out this paperwork and file for a permit. That'll be $5 please.

Want to get an RV moved to the land YOU OWN OUTRIGHT and PAY TAXES on? Please fill out this form in triplicate, draw a diagram of where you will put this unit, drive 2.5 hours to your property and stake out where you're going to put it, then give us $200 and VOILA! We will give you a permit! (As soon as a government employee find time away from filing the massive amounts of paperwork to go and double check that you have done all this, of course.) And no, you can't fill it out online because many townships have barely come to realize that there is something called "the internet" let alone have their services handled electronically.

Oh, but wait. The POA will need copies of the permit, and the hauler will need to file a permit in order to enter, as well as giving a copy of his liability insurance to the office. Don't forget to let the security hut know someone's coming because if you don't, they will be denied access and turned away! (OK, that last part makes sense.)

Now, say you'd like to have, oh I don't know, a boat so that you may take advantage of the wonderful lakes and rivers in the area. Please fill this out and give us $$$. Want to tool around the community in a golf cart? Please fill out this form and give us $$$.

Once you've paid for all the permits you need to you know, USE YOUR PROPERTY, you might need a drink. Or six. Well, good luck! Because you can't drive to the store and pick up a six pack. No siree! For a beer, you need to drive to a state-run distributor and purchase an entire case. Oh, and if you want a glass of wine? I hope there's a state-run liquor store in the area otherwise you are up the creek. And probably without a paddle because you needed a permit for it.

All this to spend a 2-3 weekends a month camping with your kids and creating memories.

Thursday, March 27, 2008
Busy, Busy
I've been a very busy bee loading videos and music onto my new ipod working here at the office.

So busy that I haven't had time to THINK of blogging. Who can blog when you are so busy
checking audiobooks out of the local library working? I'm very dedicated to my job, after all. So you know, I have to keep my priorities STRAIGHT.

I mean, really. All it is download, download, download work, work, work. Slaving away, keeping clients happy and then going home to download more music from your dusty CD collection give the kids a homecooked meal, read them some stories and then put them to bed so you can rip the 5th and 6th discs of the Gilmore Girls series 1 to itunes have some quiet time to yourself.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Subway Riding
I've seen lots of things on the subway. Stuff that would make your skin crawl. Stuff that would make bile rise in your throat. Stuff that would make you wonder about the fate of mankind. Stuff that would make you laugh so hard milk came out your nose.

Today though was a new one. I ran some errands at lunch and when I boarded the train back to the office I saw a man with a stuffed deer head in a tote bag. And what did he have in the other bag? Why, a dead, stuffed skunk on a piece of log, of course!

I turned to the woman sitting next to me and said "NOW I've seen it all."And then we laughed the laugh of semi-normal people while a school group looked on in WONDER at the goodies this man was toting around.

Only in New York, people. Only in New York.

Hi! Remember Me?
It has been quite a week, what with Easter, communion (Sophie's), a birthday (mine), potty training (Harry's) as well as the perfunctory cooking, cleaning, laundry that needs tending to.

So I'm another year older and much more spoiled than I was the last time I posted. My husband treated me to the complete Gilmore Girls series on DVD, which is just UP THERE on my list of things I don't really need but totally freaking want, practicality be damned!

My mom and stepdad renewed my subscription to Entertainment Weekly, which is just about the best entertainment magazine hands down. Yes it is. Don't argue with me. When it comes in the mail every Friday it is like having a little birthday again, just without the hassle of turning a year older.

The kids bought me books. When John shopped for them, he asked the saleswoman for a recommendation on a book to follow up The Kite Runner and she recommended this and this. Stay tuned for a review in the fall soon.

My dad and stepmom bought me a ridiculously roomy ipod. The fact that they were related to one of the last people on earth to not own an ipod irked them. Not really, but they did seem surprised that I didn't have one. I do now and practicality? Take a hike. This is nice and it was a welcome change listening to music while I ran errands at lunch instead listening to the crazy people in NYC.

Sophie's communion was great. She is really coming into her own and it was nice to see her make this milestone. Her Sunday school teacher suggested letting her watch The Ten Commandments so she could see the story of Moses and how it relates to being eligible for communion and knowing the Lord's Prayer (the version without time travel). She enjoyed the movie and it really did drive the message home. So much so that when I took her to church on Holy Thursday, they read from the book of Exodus and when she heard the part when Moses tells Aaron how to prepare for the Passover, she turned to me and said "it's just like in the movie!"

There were Easter baskets, an egg hunt and a nice Easter dinner with an appetizer of many slices of cheese and crackers with sopressata. And lo, I ateth of the sopressata until it was no more and for two days now I hath had no desire to eat much-eth. Amen.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Oh, She's Crafty, That One
Our dinner conversation last night:

"Mom, did you know that the longer your let your kids stay up late at night the longer you'll live?"

"Nice try, Sophie."

Monday, March 17, 2008
Weekend Recap
I would write a weekend recap more often but most of them would go something like this: do laundry/clean house/watch tv with the kids/the end.

But this weekend was better. The weather was spring-like, which made us not want to hole up in the house and we were together, out and about in New York.

We spent Saturday afternoon watching a performance of "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center. The kids loved it and so did we. It was clever, the acting was great and the kids got to yell at the pigeon to, you know, not drive the bus.

After the show lots of families went to a park right outside the theater to check their Blackberries and call their people on their cell phones. As we were walking into the park, John said "Look. Jon Stewart is over there."

Then I swooned, told my beloved something about love, love, loving Jon Stewart to which my husband replied "well, then, go tell him."

So I did.

Usually in situations like that I turn into a cross between Ellen Degeneres and Gilligan. Whatever I say doesn't come out quite right and when I walk away I trip over pebble and fall on my face. But Saturday, I was smooooth. I had it GOIN' ON in my fat jeans and Sophie's half naked bald baby doll sticking out of my purse. Oh, yeah.

Miraculously I managed to not make an ass out of myself. I am amazed that I didn't say "I love going to bed with you every night!" when what I really meant was "I watch your show every night when I go to bed."

Instead I walked up to him and said "Excuse me, but you make me laugh every night. I really love your show."

And Jon very graciously said "Thank you very much." Then we parted ways. But we'll see each other tonight. At 11pm (Eastern).

For our Moment of Zen, we walked across town to Chinatown for an early dinner at Hop Kee. Then we paid to have the kid's names painted in an oriental style and put in a cardboard frame. It's one of those touristy things they do in Chinatown but the kids loved it.

Saturday, March 15, 2008
Desktop Vacation
This is my new favorite blog. I love to click through the photos and remember our honeymoon in France.

Whenever I take these little desktop vacations I sometimes think back to the night I thought I'd lost my purse in Paris. I was hysterical and finally told my husband "but our passports are in that bag! How will we get home?" John was all "oh, only your passport is in the bag. I was worried you'd lose your purse so I took mine out."

Insert your own joke/quote about marriage here.

(My purse, incidentally, was behind the curtains in our hotel room.)

Friday, March 14, 2008
Client 9
It has been quite a week here in New York. In case you hadn't heard, our governor resigned as a result of a scandal involving him, a wiretap, a high-class call girl from New Jersey and eighty thousand dollars.

The Wall Street Journal's John Fund was interviewed on the The Early Show this week and said "hypocrisy is common in politics." Sadly, I believe that sums up the political landscape in this country quite well.

Monday, March 10, 2008
Hey There!
Thanks to all who offered a sympathetic ear to last week's woes. Thursday was better, Alison. By Saturday everything was groovy. And today, everything's rosy and wonderful, even if it's a Monday.

After cleaning the house and doing laundry on Saturday's rainy morning, we dropped the kids off for a sleepover at my dad and stepmom's house so that John and I could have a much-needed date night.

While I was finishing getting dressed for our evening out, John ran around the corner to drop off some dry cleaning. When he came back, he asked me "What's that smell? Wait, did you put perfume on?" Usually when he asks that question I say something sexy like "I just reapplied my deodorant."

Yes, that's how long it's been people. We really needed a night out.

We had a wonderful dinner and had fun with our friends. I ordered a stuffed artichoke because for the first time in a long time I didn't need to cajole anyone under the age of eight into eating. I ate an appetizer that took a lot of effort and benefited only me. Oh, and hey! Did you know that when you don't have to cut anyone food up into tiny pieces your dinner is actually HOT when you eat it? And hot food is quite delicious, if you didn't know.

After we dropped off our friends, we went out to a bar. And we drank. And talked. And drank some more.

Yesterday we picked up the kids from their slumber party and took them to the smörgåsbord at church where we had to cajole the kids into eating. But us? Oh, there was lovely homemade food with gravy and it was delicious and we ate too much of it, making dinner completely unnecessary and yay me having a second night off from cooking. It freed up a lot of time last night so I was able to catch up on shows featuring addicted celebrities, new dads and potential new dads.

This morning I'm on detox to make up for the gluttony of the weekend.
My red wine headache has subsided. I have a hankering for fruit and I'm going to read the Times from cover to cover to make up for all that VH1 viewing.

It's all about the balance, folks.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008
It is Wednesday and I'd Like for This Week to Stop Sucking, Thank You Very Much
As residents of New York City, we are forced to participate in an asinine ritual called Alternate Side of the Street Parking. Twice a week you can't park on one side of the street so that the city can come "sweep" the streets. They really just throw leaves and debris around and don't really pick anything up. But anyway, last night we needed to move the car. The car was parked on the sitter's block, which was convenient. I just picked up the kids and walked to the car. The only problem was it had a flat tire.

I loaded the kids into the car with all their gear and the stroller and the umbrellas because it was also raining, then went to the nearest gas station. Into the air pump I deposited 50 cents (a crime, if you ask me), and was met with silence. The air pump wasn't working.

By now, I was annoyed, wet and tired. I went to the attendant's window and asked if the pump was working. "Yes. Is silent pump."

I raised an eyebrow. "Silent?"

"Yes, ma'am. Silent."


"Yes. Silent."

"Can I have my 50 cents back?" I asked. (On principle, of course.)


"Your pump isn't working. I'd like my money back to go to the next station. I just need to fill it with enough air to make it to the Flat Fix."

"Is silent pump."


Guess what? The attendant walked me to my car, and told me to try again, which I did. Then I stood up and with my hands on my hips said "I think you'll agree THIS PUMP DOES NOT WORK."

He mumbled something then said "You no give it time. Here's your money back. Tire too flat."

I mumbled a "fuck you" under my breath and drove over the the Flat Fix. 15 minutes and $10 later, we were on the road home.

I read a little of Lilly's Plastic Purse to myself last night. Some of the wisest words ever written are in that book: "Today was hard. Tomorrow will be better."

It will be, right? Right!? Right!

Monday, March 3, 2008
The First Symptoms of Spring Fever
It seems like it was February just last week. Oh, wait. It was just last week. And now it is March. Hey, I'm great at this late-winter stating-the-obvious thing!

The weather for the NYC area is forecast to be 55 degrees...this is very lamb-like for the third day of March but also a welcome change to the unpredictable, damp, dreary weather we've had lately.

This morning the birds I like to feed in our yard were out, chirping away because I was late with their breakfast. The male cardinal made a cameo and the spat with the missus must be over because they ate together.

And so now I am really regretting coming to work. I'd much rather be sweeping the outside patio, taking stock of my flower pots and trying to decide what will live in those pots once the nicer weather settles in. I'd really like to be killing time at the hardware store looking at the seed displays, wondering if I should start some basil or just buy a couple of plants from the nursery and be done with it.

Then I'd like to wander over the pest control section and stare longingly at the squirrel traps....