Monday, June 30, 2008
I Stand Corrected
I'm supposed to be updating my resume with the helpful hints from my "matchmaker." But there are ice cold beers in the fridge and Stephen Colbert on the television so I decided to download pictures from my camera.

The first order of business: my husband would like everyone to know that when I wrote that post about potty training Harry, buying Speed Racer underpants was only part of the success story. John's nifty Excel chart also helped, along with stickers (one per wee).

Took the kids to Coney Island this past weekend. This ramshackle "amusement park" opened where some of the rides were torn down for development (although there is still some uncertainty over what will be built there).

Strong like bull:

These two were obviously drunk when they left the beach and if I had to bet money, they went home know...

slept it off!

"Hello, mom. Why are you taking my picture? Why do you take a picture with a camera? Why are there pictures? Why is there sand on the beach? Why is the ocean over there? WHY??????"

I'd like to develop this into a retirement village for Brooklynites. The only thing missing is a golf course for the husband.

Today I have a meeting. Just a quick meeting which may or may not result in getting employment and a steady paycheck. Oh, and benefits. And maybe some employee discounts as a perk. But it's just a meeting, even if the online application was grueling: pages and pages of questions regarding my citizenry and prior convictions and schooling and what my past accomplishments are and what is my desired salary. Did you know that "shitloads of cash" is not an acceptable answer on an application for employment? Seriously, the website would only accept numbers in the little box.

Still, it is just a meeting to see if we, meaning me and this job, might be compatible. So really it's almost like a date. And my husband is really itching for me to hook up and get lucky on this date. He kept wanting to know my answers to questions he thinks they might ask but I always go into these situations with the intention of just answering honestly. I think canned answers are just that: canned. So I don't know what kind of fruit I am or if I consider myself a people person. I like working, I like my work and I get along with people and I try to be nice about it because being demanding or inconsiderate of others is rude.

After that meeting there is another meeting in a land far, far away to see someone else about possible employment at one company or maybe another. This meeting is more like signing up with a matchmaker to find me a mate. She will tell me what to say and how to dress and to avoid garlic and onion prior to the dates she will send me on. She, too, wants me to get lucky because when I get lucky she gets paid. Wait, that doesn't sound right. When I am hired she gets a commission.

It'd be nice to finish my freelance position and float right on to the next opportunity. I know it is not always that easy. I'm keeping my fingers crossed so please keep your fingers crossed for me, too.

Monday, June 23, 2008
In the spring of 2005, Harry was still a wee baby and Sophie was a sophisticated four year old who always asked before painting her nails and brand new shirt peony pink at a playdate (ahem). One day, we'd spent the afternoon at a nearby park but needed to leave because the wind was picking up and the skies were darkening and getting that weird warm-weather thunderstorm green cast.

As we were hoofing it home, the wind REALLY picked up and it was becoming easier to walk quickly because were weren't walking so much as being blown home by a storm. The plastic cover I'd placed over Harry's stroller billowed up and acted like a parachute, catching the wind and nearly turning the stroller-and baby-upside down.

I clutched Sophie's hand under mine and steered the stroller into a driveway then made my way to a corner behind a car. I shoved the stroller as far as it would go against a concrete wall, pushed Sophie against the stroller and covered everyone and everything with all my weight (thank god for baby weight!). The wind was even stronger now, garbage cans were rolling all over the place. Leaves and litter were flung every which way. Sophie started crying. Poor thing was scared to death stuck three blocks from home in this pseudo-tornado. It felt like three miles when the only thing you have to protect your kids is your post-baby flabby butt and a fierce will to keep them safe.

Yesterday we had another strong storm. It had gotten dark as I was grilling a nice london broil for dinner. John had taken the kids out so I could finish cooking. It started to drizzle, then thunder a little bit. It wasn't too bad but knew they'd be home any minute.

Then the lightning and thunder got closer and closer and I finished setting the table and getting things ready for dinner. I thought about a book I just read, about a woman who gets struck by lightning and just as I was about to open the (metal) door to step out onto the patio which is under a (metal) trellis and touch a metal grill, I saw a VERY bright flash of light which was instantaneously followed by a deafening crack of thunder.

Chicken-shit that I am, I ran and hid in the bathroom with the phone and began dialing John's cell phone. But then that fierce will to keep my kids safe kicked in and I decided to stop hiding go look for them. Funny how any fear you might have is eclipsed by wanting to keep your kids safe.

I heard them before I saw them. They were two houses away when the thunder sounded and to them it was the loudest, scariest thing they'd every experienced. They were crying and Harry, who usually prefers dad to anyone else, clung to me on one hip while Sophie wrapped her arms around any part of me she could.

I half-dragged/half-walked them into the house, calmed them down, dried their tears, gave them a drink of water and held their hands a little bit longer.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It's that time of year when we are looking forward to so much that it's difficult to enjoy being in the moment.

I'm pretty much done with school and I think Sophie is, too. But come the 26th, we will say goodbye forever to the 1st grade and I could swear she just took her first steps a few months ago. How the hell can she be a second grader this fall if she just took her first steps a few months ago?

The fireflies are starting to appear and soon I will let the kids stay up late and run barefoot in the grass to catch them. We keep an old honey jar just for this time of year and I plan on keeping it forever. One day, the kids will clean out the basement or our attic and find that jar and hopefully they will remember how we kept it just for catching fireflies.

We will read Marshmallow Kisses which is just about the sweetest book you can read to your kids at this time of year.

We will eat hot dogs and watch fireworks and run through sprinklers and wash our hair with coconut scented shampoo because it reminds us of the beach.

John and I will drink wine and watch movies on the portable DVD player on the patio when it's not too hot out in the evenings.

We'll make real lemonade even if the lemons are still priced at $.75 EACH (wtf?) and munch on watermelon.

We'll swim at the city pool on Sunday afternoons to burn off the rest of the weekend. I'll get sliced mangos and coconut chunks from the food stalls near the soccer fields and the kids will get ice cream.

I can't wait for our family vacation in August. We will swim everyday and toast marshmallows over a campfire and walk on paths through woods looking for frogs and deer and chipmunks. We'll walk by the lake at sunset and go to the county fair and I will take my time looking at the knitted items that earned blue ribbons and then we'll take pictures of the kids next to the giant pumpkins and mammoth zucchinis.

C'mon summer. We're ready for you!

Monday, June 16, 2008
Resistance is Now Futile
Potty training Harry has been an uphill battle. While my legs are chained to anvils.

He has been so resistant to the entire process and mature adult that I am, I've resorted to some of the worst parenting ever. Like when I put him back in diapers and in extreme frustration said "big boys use the potty, babies use diapers," thinking that'd make him come around. Like most of the men in my life, Harry dismissed me and my crazy way of thinking and focused on something else.

I've reminded him of younger boys who are potty trained, I've bribed him with candy, stickers and the Sodor Collapsing Suspension Bridge. We've bought underwear with Thomas the Tank Engine, Cars and Spider Man printed on them. He has visited the restroom with all his potty-trained friends, his mother, father and even his sister.

I was about to take him to the pediatrician to ask her for advice when we found Speed Racer underwear. This is the licensed product he has been waiting for his whole life. All three years of it. This three-packis the answer to my prayers. He loves this set of underwear and willingly uses the toilet to keep them pristine. Finally, it has clicked with him. He understands how it works. He gets it.

Last night I was flipping through the Target circular and came across the baby care section. I thought to myself "Oh, diapers are on sale this week," Then reminded myself that we don't need no stinkin' diapers!

I decided I'm getting a pedicure with the money I'll save not buying diapers this month. AND a bottle of wine.

Friday, June 13, 2008
Postcards from the Edge
One of my favorite sites is People submit snippets of conversation that they overhear in New York City, which is just about as crazy a place you can choose to overhear conversations.

Now there's a site dedicated to correspondence from moms. Even though my mom's more of a are-you-lying-dead-in-a-gutter? voicemail kind of communcator, I can still appreciate the content, especially the "you'd better get pregnant by Thursday" type stuff.

Thursday, June 12, 2008
Safety First!
As the mom of a son who likes to explore (wander off is more like it), I think this is one of the best ideas I've seen in a long time. I wonder if I can make one for Harry that says "Goes on and on about trains; loves dogs, hates baths, snores"?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Stream of consciousness post
I'm in this weird time-warp thing. Memorial day seemed to come rather early this year and it seemed strange to still be in May the following weekend, then bam! it is June. But June is moving along at it's own swift pace and there are days off from school because of Brooklyn/Queens day (and just when did Queens horn in on the day-off-from-school action?), clerical half days at school and holy f*ck has it been hot. It feels like a Tuesday or a Thursday but not Wednesday even though it really is actually Wednesday but the weather makes me think it is a Tuesday or Wednesday in JULY, not June, so it's a double-whammy time warp thing.

And hello! It is my father's birthday today. Happy birthday, dad!

There are many parties and birthdays coming up and did you know that this weekend is father's day? Did you? I didn't. I thought it was next weekend but surprise! it is this weekend and someone needs to get her proverbial ducks in a row. Or a calendar.

Friday, June 6, 2008
OCD, Quirky, Neurotic or Just Nuts?
Some people call themselves quirky, others think themselves neurotic. Now there's a place to air your quirky neuroses to the internets. The fact that I avoid stepping on cracks, lest I break my mother's back, makes me seem normal compared to some of the stuff posted there.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008
A House Divided
Last night at dinner I happened to ask John if he knew the final outcome of the Obama/Clinton drama of the day. Did she or did she not concede? Did he or did he not obtain enough pledged delegates for the nomination?

Sophie seemed surprised that there was a possibility that Hillary could be out of the election. It was Hillary she chose to write a letter to in her first grade global warming writing exercise, which bluntly asked "So what are you going to do to end global warming if you are president?"

That letter alone has garnered Sophie's undying support for Hillary. I, on the other hand, like Obama. Sophie finds this most upsetting. "No! Hillary!" she said again and again. Then she looked to her father and said "Who do you like?" John, who is incapable of making a decision without spending grueling hours contemplating every scenario related to the decision at hand, simply said "I remain undecided." And he will remain undecided until, oh, November 4th.

I explained my reasoning for supporting Obama and one-track-mind Harry, who at the tender age of 3 wanted in on the family political discussion was all "Yes, but does he have trains?"