Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Oy Gevalt
1. Yiddish phrase. exclamation of surprise, incredulity, or simply used to emphasize a statement. often used when kvetching. alt. spelling: oy gevaldt

"Oy gevalt, don't scare me like that!"

2. A yiddish term meaning "Oh goodness!" An expression of utmost anxiety or shock.

"Oy gevalt, our economy is in the shitter!"

Starting tomorrow I'll be taking part in nablapomo's October blogging theme, which is VOTE.

Friday, September 26, 2008
C'mon. Tease Me, Baby.
We've been having fashion issues in our house lately. It seems Harry, who only a few short weeks ago fit into all his 3T pants, has sprouted and now they're all too short for him.

Sophie, who sprouted over the summer and did get some new clothes before the start of school has decided that the tasteful outfits we bought a month ago just won't cut it.

The conversation started not the night before last, or when we were in the car driving but as we were walking out the door to go to school yesterday morning.

"The kids are going to make fun of me!" she said. Then she started to cry and told me how the boys in her class make fun of her clothes. If she wears brown they call her "brownie" and if she wears pink they call her "flamingo."

I sat her down and told her all the motherly things the situation required, reminded her that she should wear what she wants and not let a bunch of boys dictate her wardrobe, told her to ignore them or tell the teacher if it gets bad and finished it off with the usual "the boys might be teasing you because they like you." (In my opinion this theory of why boys tease girls never made sense and it killed me to say it but it was 8:35 am).


"Sometimes boys tease girls if they like them. Or think they're pretty. Maybe that's why they tease you." She seemed skeptical.

"Haven't you ever noticed Daddy teasing me? He makes fun of me and sometimes it makes me so mad! I guess he likes me."

This cheered her up, enough to not have to go back into the house and find a whole new outfit to wear. She even laughed.

Fast forward to 11 am when I noticed John online. I shot him an instant message and filled him in on the drama and ended it with "...so do me a favor tonight. don't ask why but tease me when you come home....i'm wearing a green shirt today. tell me i look like an olive."

Thursday, September 25, 2008
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008
City Slickers
Spent the weekend at the chateau cabin camper, far from the crowds of the city, the blaring horns, and being within walking distance of life's modern conveniences. When John went to store something in our shed he discovered that we have a skunk living in it.

"We have a skunk living in our shed," he said.
"No! It can't be a skunk. Maybe it's a racoon? They're black and white and gray. Or a possum?" See the structure of that statement? It starts off with denial, then offers up other possibilities of what could be inhabiting our decrepit shed because being from Brooklyn? I don't know from skunks.

"It's a skunk."

He shook the door some more and then I heard the rustling.

"What should we do?" I asked.

"Well, we should give it a wide berth if it comes it out." He's so reasonable.

"Maybe if you bang on the shed it'll leave. But wait! Let me get my camera first." Because watching my husband get sprayed by a skunk is great blog fodder. Plus I am a stupid city person.

At this point the kids were freaked out because the skunk could come out and terrorize them, I'm searching for the camera and John is looking for a suitably long instrument to bang on the side of our shed.

He found an old rusty tree pruner and began banging the shed like it was a giant drum. Bang bang bang! Rustle. Rustle. Rustle.

Then he went around the back of the shed. Bang. Bang. Bang. Rustle. Rustle. Rustle. More banging. More rustling. Us stupid city people at a loss because we don't have internet up there to look up what to do and were left to our own devices. (Obviously we will die if left to survive in a desert.) The kids cowered watched behind the sliding glass doors, fingers pinching their noses shut in case the skunk sprayed.

In the end, we left the skunk alone. Mainly because it just ignored us. But what Pepe le Pew doesn't know is that we have internet back home and the internet, wise old soul that it is, recommends placing ammonia-soaked rags in the shed because the fumes will drive it out. We can also blare rock music at deafening volumes but my money's on the ammonia. Until then, it sleeps curled up by the front tire of Sophie's bike and doesn't seem to mind when we shine a flashlight in there to see if its home or not.

Saturday, September 20, 2008
What a Week
I mean, WOW. The last time I posted our banks were merely struggling through a credit crisis. Remember that? How sweet those time were. Now we're in a full-fledged banking crisis, we (meaning our tax dollars) bought ourselves an insurance company, a big part of Texas was devastated by a hurricane, politicians got into a flap over lipstick and in my neck of the woods we had a playground kerfluffle, two birthday parties and one tooth extraction. Lots going on (hence the non-existant posting).

Last week in school, after a moment of silence to commemorate the seventh anniversary of September 11th, Leave-No-Stone-Unturned Sophie asked her teacher "WHY ARE WE BEING SO QUIET?"

God bless her teacher. She handled the situation well. There were very top-line, broad stroke explanations, which answered her original question but have given rise to others, like "Were you there that day, mom?" and "Can that happen to your office or Dad's?"

Since then we've had so many conversations about this event in the form of nightly question and answer sessions. The questions are so hard and sometimes I don't believe myself when I answer them. Like when she asked if people can buy bombs to hurt other people. I said "no" because really, you can't buy a bomb off a store shelf and does a seven year old who has suddenly been given a harsh glimpse of the world need to know the details about militants and internet recipes and fertilizer? She locks every door now as an extra precaution. She has also asked what we're supposed to do when there's a fire (we'll be holding fire drills to help ease her mind).

I try to answer honestly but the subject matter is strangely delicate and gruesome at the same time. As her mom it's been really hard watching some of her innocence slip away like that.
On a lighter note, for homework this year Sophie's class will be given two new spelling words every night. Their homework is to write each word three times, use each in a sentence and then circle the word in that sentence. The first few weeks will use basic sight words as a refresher and to help them get back into homework groove.

Here's an interesting sample of the sentences Sophie wrote (spelling word in bold):

"What are these shoes doing on the floor?"
"Where do you think you're going?"
"Are you paying attention?"
"Who made this mess?"

Monday, September 8, 2008
Summer Recap - A Photo Essay
We went to a baptism on the beach. (Riis Park, June 2008)

We went to a county fair where we took pictures like this.

We watched pig races.

We saw giant vegetables.

We saw baby bunnies. Now the kids want a bunny.

We sat poolside when we weren't swimming which totals about seven minutes.

We took long walks in the woods.
We built campfires at twilight.
We visited Space Farms and saw lions.

And took more long walks in woods
. That's my baby brother Joe. Hi, Joe!

Lounged in a hammock.

And when it was all over, went back to school.

Sunday, September 7, 2008
Friday Night Hot Spot
This week we noticed Sophie had a small bump on her knee, which looked like a mosquito bite but didn't itch. We kept an eye on it and by Thursday her left knee was becoming uncomfortable. By Friday she was limping and the area was swollen and hot to the touch, a sure sign of infection.

We grilled interrogated asked her what she'd done to her knee. Was she stung by a bee? Had she fallen? Banged it? Had she noticed a splinter? What?

She can't remember a bug bite or a sting but she remembers tripping on the playground but getting right back up and thinking nothing of it. We called the pediatrician for her opinion: "probably cellulities but red, round, recently in an area where exposure to ticks was possible? Could be Lyme disease. I can send you to the lab tomorrow or you could go to the ER tonight." We chose the ER.

We went to a hospital which recently advertised having a guaranteed thirty minute wait. Translation: you'll wait thirty minutes PLUS two and half additional hours PLUS the time it'll take to go through triage, wait for a doctor, have them set up a room for your care and prepare the paperwork for discharge. Total wait time: four hours.

Security asked me to sign in when we arrived. This was confusing for the staff, because they really wanted the patient's name, and since I was the parent all sorts of confusion ensued. "You should always sign the patient's name" they said. "I was told to sign in. I didn't know I had to put her name, not mine." "It's always the patient's name." "Okay." "Then we won't know who to call." "She's seven. If you call me I'll still answer for her." "ALWAYS the patient's name."

I really wanted to say "whatever" but I kept my mouth shut in the off chance the person I was talking to could fast track us through the ridiulousness of the emergency room on a Friday night.

Instead she took Sophie's vitals, asked her a couple of questions and escorted us to another waiting room. This was where the action was. All sorts of interesting characters were roaming the halls. There was the guy with an IV in his arm sweet talking any woman within earshot. The homeless woman eating ice cream in her wheelchair, feel swollen, bag stuffed with pilfered hospital toilet paper. There was a little boy who'd sliced his eyebrow pretty good, a woman with a pinched nerve who's husband kept trying to make her laugh by showing her his beer gut. There was a woman preparing for a CAT scan and I felt sorry for her in her high heels and hospital gown. You have little dignity left when you are in a hospital gown, zero when you complete your ER outfit with white high heels.

Then I started scoping out the doctors. One is attempting to single handedly revive the moustaches of the seventies. Two sat around discussing chest tubes. A third seemed like she specialized in kids and had a nice bedside manner. I was gunning to get her as our doctor and we did.

Dr. Elizabeth took a look at Sophie's knee. She ruled out tick bite, the area was too swollen and not bullseye enough. Her diagnosis was abcess, or cellulitis, a subcutaneous infection. A quick lance and course of antibiotics would do the trick.

Except a quick lance became three people holding Sophie down: a doctor for each leg and me across her chest, a wrist in each hand to prevent her from hitting the doctor again, whispering in her ear that "it'll be OK, almost over, shhhhh, I'm sorry, so sorry."

Yesterday we sat around waiting for a hurricane, applying warm compresses to her knee, administering the antibiotic and chocolate pudding cups, watching movies, playing Monopoly. Today her knee is far less swollen so it's off to Astroland for their last day of operation.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008
I Could Have....
I could have gone to bed early and left a bunch of loose ends for this morning but I didn't. I got lunches made and prepped for today, the first day back to school for Sophie and the first day back to work for us.

I could have gone to bed after all the back-to-life prepping but I didn't. I stayed up and watched Chelsea Lately. Two episodes worth.

I could have stayed in bed a little longer this morning but I didn't. I got up, made the coffee, hit the shower, got everyone dressed and fed them breakfast.

I could have left the car where we parked it last night but I didn't. Because my conscience nags at me every second of the day and it reminded me that the registration sticker had expired and leaving it as is (even though it was re-registered) would invite a ticket.

I could have stuck the sticker on the dashboard and hoped for the best but I didn't. I traipsed out to the car and scraped the old sticker off, cursing myself for not taking care of this when we got the sticker TWO WEEKS AGO.

I could have left the house without my camera but I didn't. Miraculous, but you will just have to trust me until I can download a summer's worth of photos that there is proof I got my daughter off to the second grade in an all-white Hannah Montana outfit, complete with sparkly Converse skimmers.

I could have let her leave the house wearing those sparkly shoes and called it a day but I didn't. I encouraged her to bring a pair of flip flops in her bag in case the new shoes gave her a blister. Which they did. A block from home.

I could have remembered that Sophie's school is under construction but I didn't. Because four years into attending the school I've yet to attend a PTA meeting.

I could have politely said "no thank you" to the campaigners distributing leaflets outside the school encouraging me to vote for this one or that one but I didn't. I walked by briskly and rolled my eyes at them.

I could have ignored our Democratic contender for state senator when he told me to follow the balloons when I was looking for out sitter who was meeting us at the school this morning. But I didn't and instead I snapped "I'll follow them once I find the person I'm looking for!" and then asked him "Why don't you mind his own business?" Because really, Daniel Squadron? Today's the first day of school. The last thing a parent (okay, ME) needs on the first day of school is an over eager candidate rallying for themselves when it is a wonder our family gets anywhere at all on any given day. But good luck in the primaries next week!