Friday, August 29, 2008

Breakfast anyone?

Time to move up the cereal another shelf...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Of course

We had to return to the doctor’s office for M’s foot which doesn’t seem to be healing all that quickly, and I was running late--of course--so I had to park in the garage. Which only cost $1 but I didn’t have any cash--of course--and the thing didn’t take debit cards. No biggie, right? Just scrounge up some change from the counsel. Yeah, um, I had just cleaned that out to clean out the car the day before so there was no coinage.

Plan B--scrounge the bottom of my purse. Okay, that--of course--wasn’t recently cleaned out so there should have been plenty of silver there.

Of course there was.

But it was covered in chocolate.

I had forgotten 3 party favors in there from Sunday, so there was about 16 ounces of chocolate-covered nickels stuck to the bottom. It was gross, and--of course--I had no baby wipes. No napkins. Nothing freaking to wipe 100 cents off with.

The cars started to line up behind me, and at long last I find a Chlorox wipe in the glove box. But--of course--the package lost its resealable sticker on top long ago which keeps the wipes moist, so I dried 2 quarters, 2 dimes, and six nickels with a dry half paper towel that smelled faintly of bleach and hot cocoa.

And that pretty much summed up the entire day. Seriously mildly annoying, but nothing earth-shatteringly tragic. Throw in Groundhog Day toy messes, a letter from the school nurse alerting us to a case of head lice in preschool, and a really shameful display of bad manners by adults who should really know better; and you’ve got this Wednesday.

So I’m going to bed now hoping that tomorrow will be filled with plenty of fresh Handi-wipes, a clean family room, and nicer people.

And a pocketful of nickel-free chocolate. Of course.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I think I like the Viagra spam better

I've mentioned this before, but my spam goes to quite unbelievable lengths to get me to open it.

I’m sure you too delete all of those emails promising you misspelled drugs, replica watches and di$count designer handbags. I know you have also trashed untold numbers of foreign lottery winning notifications and bogus eCards from “a friend.” You are like me--a savvy, sophisticated dweller of the Interweb who can smell a phishing scam a mile away and who knows darn well your family tree does not include a Nigerian royalty branch to whom you should send your bank account numbers.

I delete these things every day in my morning computer ritual which includes checking my favorite blogs over a cup of coffee and

But today my inbox was downright scary. And I don’t mean just the fake frightening headline spam like, “Paris Hilton Stars in Movie Life of Mother Teresa,” but a spam subject line that stopped me dead in my tracks.

From some made-up name, the subject read, “We have hijacked your baby, see the photo.”

Now my rational mind knew it was a hoax, but my heart sank to my stomach as I leapt up to check on the baby who was of course safe and sound sleeping in her crib. I didn’t open the link, because when I moused over the words, it showed a pretty suspicious .zip file that would surely send screaming flying monkeys from my computer screen as I spontaneously combusted at the keyboard, never to be blogged from again…

I joke now, but I was pretty spooked there for a minute. The thought that spammers could go from appeals to ego, greed, and sensationalism to preying on my greatest fear as a mother is the single most terrifying thing on the Internet.

Even scarier than Paris Hilton starring as Mother Teresa.

Monday, August 25, 2008

It's Monday so I must be in the laundry room

Okay, so I’m trying not to think about the thing I can’t write about, but my mind keeps wandering there even though I’ve put the baby gate on that topic.

So I guess I’ll do laundry instead.

Even though this is technically a short week--no school on Friday!--it is going to drag. This getting up early thing is really aging me quickly. I need a nap by 8:30 in the morning. We’re still not far enough into a rhythm yet to maximize those three mornings of 1 precocious 16-month old.

But what I really hope these mornings will provide is a little writing time. I realize that my revised revised novel deadline is Labor Day, and since I don’t think I’ll be able to write 150+ pages for Monday, I’m going to have to revise that deadline once again. Because I want to write like this:

Standing on the stoop, he tucks his gloveless hands in his pockets and looks out onto the dark street. How unyielding is that space between connection and interruption--one false move, one misspoken word, and you find yourself on the wrong side of things.

That’s from Daia Sofer’s, The Septembers of Shiraz, which is heading toward depressing disaster, but passages like that keep me reading anyway.

And writing. How’s Thanksgiving work for everyone?

Happy day to you.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sometimes the world smiles upon you...

At the last minute, we have found:

a) an available babysitter for a Saturday night

b) good friends who also found an available babysitter on a Saturday night

c) $400 in gift certificates at local steakhouse

d) a reservation opening at said steakhouse

e) $300 expired 2 weeks ago but the manager said she would honor said gift certificates

f) One very happy woman.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Blog That Shall Not Be Named

Whew! Mad crazy around these parts.

School finally started after that terrible, brilliant sunshine and frigid 87 degrees blew through. And ¾ of my beautiful babies went to that place away from me.

So yesterday when it was this crazy whirlwind of activity: packing lunches and snacks for three backpacks, breakfasts, clothing, driving, dropping, bottles, Tasha, accompanying A-Dog to her preschool for the first time, I was posed an interesting question: Are you an overwhelmed Mom?

Yes, I am. But I am of a different lot who enjoys that sort of chaos. I thrive on it actually. But there are probably some mothers out there that don’t, and really might feel differently.

I was asked this by a major media outlet that you have no idea how badly I want to drop the name in casual conversation that my blog was even in the same building as this greatness--but I gave my blog oath that I wouldn’t, and if one doesn’t have their blog word, then truly, there is nothing left--but I can and will leave you with the following anonymous email and phone line if you have had an experience of being overwhelmed and over-stressed and you are willing to share.

(312) 421-2713


Because although this may not be my story of motherhood, it could be someone else’s.

(And if that major media outlet is looking for my story like the one I’ve told so many times in my Pulitzer Prize acceptance speech in front of a mirror with a hairbrush, well, you now know where to find me. :) )

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fay At Bay

Okay, this town needs to seriously step away from the Doppler Radar.

Despite tales of doom and woe from every media outlet in the state: Fay was a bust. And when I say that, it is not to say that I invite natural disasters, it's just then when you shut down all business, school, hospitals, and commerce (except for Home Depot and Zephyrhills water) then make sure there is one coming.

Not only didn't we get hit, we didn't even get the feeder bands. Not a drop of rain nor a gust of wind. Mobile homes perched on windmills didn't budge. It was the biggest non-event since The Sopranos Series Finale. That one blew so much more than Fay...

And again, I don't wish it to be more destructive, I just wish someone could either accurately predict the weather, or just admit that you can't predict the weather.

I'm off to fish all of the patio furniture out of the pool now.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Vacay Pics

Before I start posting pictures of Fay or the first day o' school, I thought I'd share a few photos of our vacation. While there are many of various points of interest, I have chosen just a handful to represent the family road trip. You use your imagination to fill in the blanks.

I was trying to get all Ansel Adams with Jessie in a field of sunflowers. Unfortunately, my camera was doing this very ill-timed and annoying impression of the Blue Man Crew.

There are about 50 of us wearing matching red T-shirts. Said T-shirts were more of a production than the Opening Ceremonies of the Oympics. With more fireworks.

This is us in front of the White House on our second to the last night of our trip on a totally impromptu side trip to Washington, D.C. It was probably my favorite.

And finally, if you find yourself at this stage of your life wearing shorts this short and all of your business out at a family show, then I suspect you want the attention and don't mind your backside embroidered on a blog.

Fay--the Indian Giver

So yesterday when Fay started heading up the pike inching closer and closer to the Gulf coast, I flipped on the news to see if there were any school closing updates.

Lo and behold, our little coastal county was emblazoned across the bottom of the all-news channel as closed on our first day of school on Tuesday.

I cheered. I quickly ran to the boys to tell them the good news. My wise oldest--always the cautious skeptic, "They can't change that, right?"

"Of course not! They can't change it after a public announcement on Bay News 9!! Call all of your friends! Write it in a Sharpie on your calendar! Get a tattoo! WE'RE OFF OF SCHOOL ON TUESDAY!"

*pause party celebrations in abrupt fashion*

They took it back.

Seriously, they rescinded that announcement and said that state officials misspoke at the news conference, and that school officials would decide Monday afternoon what to do.

You can't take something like that back. I had already started my considerable procrastination. I was planning my hurricane menu. I was drawing back the sheets to sleep in.

So we still may in fact be canceled tomorrow (my guess is yes) but I have to pretend like we are still on and pack backpacks whilst throwing all of the patio furniture in the pool.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Stormy Week ahead

This weekend isn’t going as I had planned.

In a dizzying frenzy, I attempt Back to School shopping and hurricane shopping simultaneously. As Tropical Storm/Hurricane Fay heads toward the Gulf and the First Day of School churns in our area, preparing for both these storms isn’t easy.

In my shopping typhoon, I may have gotten confused.

I packed their backpacks with extra batteries. Their lunchboxes are filled with canned soup and water for three days. And I may have inadvertently thrown their desks into the pool and covered their textbooks with plywood.

This is challenging all of my skills as a Floridian mother, and I wasn’t ready for a test this early on. These two thunderous events have no business near one another. Seriously, who plans a hurricane to coincide with the first week of school?

Obviously, Mother Nature must have home-schooled.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Uniform Store

Call me a slacker Mom. Call me last minute. Call me crazy--but I waited until 4 business days before the first day of school to go to the uniform store.

It was reckless, I know. But I hate going to the uniform store. It is annual trip into shopping hell.

Picture, if you will, a warehouse. A charming, dank warehouse housed in the middle of an industrial plaza. It rains only over this building each and every time I go like its the Munster's house on 1313 Mockingbird Lane. Now throw in some bad clothes and really long lines, and you've got the uniform store.

The saleswomen (and I use the term "sales" to refer to the hand written cutout tax table they consult rather than a computer, not in any sort of service aspect) are gathering starched clothing from bags around the room. They bark out, "How many kids you got?" and "Oh, you sure did wait long enough," or "I bet we're all sold out of that." It makes a girl get all warm and fuzzy inside.

So we begin the process of finding clothes that fit. There is no rhyme or reason to the sizes--a small gym short will reach Matty's ankle while the same size polo will reach his belly-button. After 4 hours and 37 different size designations, we come out with a wardrobe that would do any preteen tax accountant proud. And then she writes it up.

No, literally, writes it up.

With a clipboard and form in triplicate, she writes out every style number, sku, price, price extension, vendor number, style number, wage of the loom worker that wove the scratchy pants. It goes on and on and on...

The bill turns up at $357. I have absolutely no idea if this is wildly exorbitant or amazingly reasonable, because I don't know what I actually got in that bag--I'm afraid to reach in for fear of being bitten by one of the baby polyesters that were harmed in the making of that skort.

I pay (by check--I figure if they can't conduct commerce by 21st century means, than I pay with archaic methods to match) and go home to launder the brand new clothes at least a dozen times to make them pliable enough for human limbs.

Don't even ask me about the shoe store...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

'Tis I, the road-weary diva

Well, I've returned to the domestic den.

We drove all night from Washington D.C. because we couldn't face night #15 in a hotel bed. Actually, I couldn't face unloading and re-loading the car for 809th time in the last 2 weeks, so fueled on caffeine and sheer selfishness, we made it home in one piece.

It was a great vacation. We did so much. Williamsburg, Mt. Vernon, Manhattan, Long Island, family reunion in Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. was quite an aggressive agenda, but for our road-savvy travelers, we did just fine. Never a peep of discontent from any of them. Remarkable children I have that make me proud every single day.

And now, marathon catch-up time. The kids--including Amy!--start school in 6 days and I have a few straggling school supplies to procure, 6 pairs of shoes, about $700 worth of uniforms and no less than a thousand crayons to buy. There are haircuts, room cleanings, lunchbox fixings and a whole lot of other painful procedures to re-enter academia. Sean is finishing up the family room floor, so I am hoping to put everything else back together soon. I'm tired of fetching toys from the china hutch.
Oh, how I hate this week....

Friday, August 08, 2008

Checking in

I have not fallen from the face of the earth despite having traveled to the ends of it.

Currently in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania about to embark on Day 1 of Family Reunion. We have made stops in Williamsburg, Virginia, Mt. Vernon, Times Square, Long Island and now here. It's been fun, busy, crazy, exciting, exhausting, and thoroughly enjoyable. I find myself with little time or opportunity to write; for business or pleasure, so forgive this hasty post.

Little time, but lots of material so stay tuned--you are not going to want to miss the recap.