Friday, August 22, 2008
Roller Coaster
One of the hardest things about being a working mother is that you sometimes constantly wonder if the lifestyle your family lives because of that second income is worth the time spent away from your children. Is being able to afford a home someday better than squeezing into a two bedroom NYC apartment for the rest of your natural life? Is a car with all the latest safety features better than that old jalopy we used drive around?

The kicker comes when the children notice your absence. In an ideal world, they will love school and the sitter so much that your being at work if fun for them. Work for you can be a complete downer as long as school is so much fun certain soon-to-be-second graders hate how loooong the summer is.

But when that certain soon-to-be-second grader calls you at work when you are up to your ears in deadlines and changes and madness and they're crying, saying things like "I wish you could come home. We're never together anymore and I just miss you so much. Why can't you come home?" Yeah, that's when you want to call up the HR representative that laid you off and say "could you please come over here and wear the shoes you wore on May 15th? I'd like to throw up on them now because this laid off business? It is officially sucking ass. Yeah, I know I have a freelance gig and all but my summer was not fun and my kids are all 'hey, mom, don't you love us anymore?' and I'd like to return to my regularly scheduled programming now."

The entire way home the other night night I was convinced we could live out our lives in our two bedroom apartment, take the bus everywhere, subsist on beans and never vacation anywhere ever again as long as I never have to have another phone call with my child like that. It would even be worth giving up wine.

And then I walked in the door and was greeted by a very happy soon-to-be-second-grader. I kissed and hugged her tight and asked "Everything alright, now?"

"I'm fine now! I guess I was just hungry!"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Please stop sending me job postings for jobs that are clearly NOT what I have saved in my profile. I work in the field of advertising, thank you very much, and when you send me listings for jobs like "sous chef for busy midtown restaurant" or "architect" you are not being helpful. And for the record, I am also not an IT Director, a neuroscience consultant or a phlebotomist.

Sincere Regards,

This Charming Life

Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Perhaps You Saw Us?
I was the woman escorting three kids-my own two and a classmate of Sophie's-through the Central Park Zoo yesterday. Maybe you saw us? The two girls kept singing songs and playing games they learned in the first grade together?

No? Maybe you saw us as we made our way through the children's section of the zoo? My son was the one who tried to climb into the goat pen? Then got his Croc stuck in the fence? Then broke the other Croc falling off the lily pads into the knee-deep water?No?

Maybe you saw us in the penguin exhibit? My son was the one break dancing for the chinstraps.

No? Maybe you heard me when I took my son to use the restroom? I was the one in the center stall of the zoo bathroom who yelled "STOP LICKING THE WALLS!"

Tuesday, August 12, 2008
I failed yesterday to mention one of the funnier things that happened on our vacation.

It involved Harry, who likes to greet every person he encounters lately with a big "Hi!" and a wave. If they don't hear him the first time, they get a louder "I SAID HI!" and he keeps saying it until he gets a response.

Last Monday I was cooking dinner while my dad and John were getting the boat stored. Sophie was swinging on the rope swing and Harry was running around the yard, burning off the energy that hadn't been burned off in the last 12 waking hours.

I heard him give his boisterous "Hi!" and heard someone say hello back. I looked out the window and saw him talking to a little girl who appeared to be about six on her way to the park with her mom who looked to be in her mid-30's.

He nodded towards the woman and asked the little girl "So how's your sister?"

The mother laughed. "You're my favorite person in the world today!"

John went over and said hi (less boisterously than his son but still friendly). The woman responded "You are raising a fine boy there!"

Monday, August 11, 2008
Summer Vacation Recap
We've returned from our family vacation. Every one survived. Hooray for surviving family vacation!

Not that there weren't some close calls, mind you. There were the literal close calls, like when Harry decided he would jump into the pool without swimmies or a noodle or an ADULT TO SUPERVISE HIM. Or when he wandered off and I was frantic looking for him. While I was outside wondering just how far his little legs could carry him and if he would know to not pet a bear should he encounter one, John and Sophie were in the clubhouse using the laptop and heard someone crying in the bathroom. It was Harry, who needed to use the facilities but ended up making a mess of himself and was unable to pull open the heavy door to leave the scene.

There were the other close calls, like when Sophie asked 343 times in the span of an afternoon at the county fair if NOW was the time she'd be going back to pet the baby deer? Or now? If not right now, then how about NOW? No? Maybe now? Because if we don't go NOW the baby deer will surely have grown into adults so how about we go NOW? My brain finally melted and oozed out my ears but the deer were properly petted and all was right with the world for the time being.

We took a fishing trip with my dad in his new boat. It was quite possibly the best afternoon I've ever seen. The sun was low, it was breezy and cool and quiet. Harry was able to see my dad reel in a fish but the cards were not stacked in Sophie's favor as she fished using stale hot dog buns for bait. It was all we had in a town where you could drive 20 miles roundtrip for a container of worms.

There was other wildlife to contend with on our trip. One night we built a campfire and toasted marshmallows. The boys had gone inside for something. All was well until I heard the sound of something approaching, "something" being a skunk, heading right for me and Sophie. There were rabbits to nearly run over with my car, toads to almost step on. The kids loved the toad and the fact that it peed twice as we were shining flashlights in its face. Because nothing says "we respect nature" like shining halogen flashlights into the face of a terrified toad. The chipmunks of Pennsylvania decided that the best way to get my attention is to zoom across my feet when I'm not looking and mosquitos feasted on my ankles, arms, forehead and shoulders.

We spent the better part of Thursday afternoon at Space Farms, which is decidedly one of the oddest places I've ever been. My theory is the founder was a farmer, a talented hunter and habitual hoarder. One day his wife told him to do something with his extensive collection of junk or get rid of it. And thus was born Space Farms.

Upon arrival you can either go eat in the restaurant on the left or look at the taxidermy on display on the right. Upstairs is a museum of stuff. Cases and cases of stuff, from Indian trading beads to gun collections to Civil War-era grapeshot. African Ivory hair combs, nineteenth century baby buggies and antique snake bite kits. Outside you can visit the zoo, which includes Syrian grizzly bears, lions, bison, lemurs, tigers, elk and an alligator.

Once you've viewed the wildlife you can stroll through the other ten buildings on the former farm and see the family's collection of other stuff all "exclusively dedicated to showcasing thousands of items, which represent American History." This includes farm equipment, antique toys, and COFFINS.

We went swimming nearly every day. On Saturday I had the distinct pleasure of reporting something suspicious in the pool to the lifeguard who fished it out and immediately declared that the pool was closed for the rest of the day. I got a lot of stink eyes that day from other swimmers but you know, swimming in a TOILET just wasn't one of the things we had on our vacation agenda.

We ate a lot of ice cream, drank a lot of beer and exhausted ourselves. There was bike riding and hiking, lakes to fall into, funnel cakes and s'mores. There was a storm that kept me and John up most of the night wondering if we'd be washed away and vomiting as the result of eating too many marshmallows.

Family vacations are not for the faint of heart.

Friday, August 1, 2008
Much better, thank you!
I'm feeling so much better. Thanks for all your kind words and support. Things are looking up. My freelance gig was extended for at least another couple of months. This is good news.


We're off tomorrow for our annual week in the Poconos. This year's vacation will be sponsored by The National Association of Wineries, The American Beer Institute and Campfire Marshmallows.

Promotional consideration is given to the Federal Commission of Nature Walks, the American Sunscreen and Bug Spray Institute and the Fried Food on a Stick Foundation.

The featured day trip of The 2008 Family Vacation will be to Space Farms, and has nothing to do with Billy Bob Thornton. As always we'll leave room in our schedule to attend the county fair, where we'll spend a day eating food that would make your cardiologist cry and watching the demolition derby.

In case I don't get to post while we're away, have a great week everyone! I'm off to watch me some Joel McHale before we are tv-less for a seven straight days.