Thursday, August 30, 2012

What I have and haven't done the first week of school

While the kids have now been in school for almost 3 weeks, Jessie didn’t start full-time Kindergarten until last Friday, so I’ve only had about five days of daytime hours by myself. 

It hasn’t gone exactly how I’d imagined.

Things I’ve done:

1.) Watched a lot of bad daytime television. After years of Nick Jr. as the intermittent soundtrack from 9-3, I realize that it is a pretty high-brow network in comparison to TLC or Lifetime. On the upside, I can now work on an Alaskan crab boat and find the perfect wedding dress.

2.) I still go to Publix almost daily, but my average grocery bill has dropped 20% without “help” from the kids.

3.) Re-introduced myself to the treadmill. (And it’s still an asshole just as I remembered.)

4.) Reading a lot more, but now I also have time to argue with myself all day before I see another human thus sparing others from my political rants. You’re welcome, Interwebs.

5.) While I’ve always cooked a lot, now I’m trying new things like pickling. Botulism over boredom is my new motto.

What I haven’t done that I thought I would have by now:

1.) Finish organizing the basement storage. There are boxes still there from two moves ago, what’s the rush?

2.) Napped.

3.) The myriad of redecorating projects I had planned. While I realistically didn’t think I would have re-tiled the bathroom or painted a mural on the playroom ceiling by September 1st, I did think I would have at least thought about new paint colors and fabric swatches..

4.) Picked up my novel in progress again. The good news is that it’s about an HOA gone horribly awry, and watching the daytime antics in this neighborhood is excellent research.

5.) Sought professional help for my pickling addiction. (Or at the very least, contacted TLC for a reality show about it.)

Surprising things I’ve learned in all of this solitude:

1.) My cookie recipe makes an extra dozen per batch without the kids stealing the dough.

2.) Jingle really does sleep all day--but now I know it’s under Amy’s bed.

3.) When you can honestly tell your kids that there are things living under your bed, it’s time to clean under there.

4.) I really need some friends. And a hobby. Or a cat. Or ten cats. (But they’ll have to sleep under Jessie’s or Matty’s beds.)

5.) I miss my kids.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Obituary for Dancer the Hamster

Dancer the Hamster died of unknown causes recently. 

Dancer, parents unknown but somehow related to Harry Houdini, gift to Suburban Diva and bane of her existence, torturer to dog Jingle, forgotten responsibility of Amy and Jessica, and worst idea ever to Sean; passed (seemingly through a hole in the wall) in late April after a brief visit from a neighbor child who left the cage door open.

Originally from Petsmart, Dancer spent his early days in a shaving-lined cage in Amy’s room. After failing to keep Amy sleeping in her own room as promised, Dancer then moved to a bigger habitrail in the playroom, where he would enjoy frequent over-feedings as a guilt assuaging exercise from the children. Dancer was instrumental in cementing the firm beliefs of Ms. Diva that all rodents should be kept outdoors, and that the movie G-Force was a propaganda piece for naive parents.

After several months without communication, the family has declared the rodent to be deceased; finally reunited with that giant wheel in the sky. He leaves behind a water bottle, a half-eaten apple twig and a much too small ball after his unfortunate weight gain. 

Due to the absence of his remains, there will be no formal funeral arrangements, however in lieu of flowers, the bereaved are asked to donate to Ms. Diva’s legal defense fund when she kills her husband for buying a rat with wanderlust and therapy for their children when they eventually do locate the remains in the playroom.

                                                                         Dancer the Hamster
          December 23, 2011-Way longer than I thought

Thursday, August 23, 2012


I’d like to offer a new regular feature here on this blog entitled, “Shit I have to get used to now that I live in Nashville.”

Let me preface this by saying how much I love it here, but every new place has its quirks, and Nashville seems to have quite a few. So to my new friends: no offense, but y’all do things a tad differently around these parts. Old friends: You guys are not going to believe this.

One of the biggest domestic obstacles I’ve faced here is trash pickup service. In every other state we’ve lived in, waste services were through the city-- you put out your cans twice a week along with curbside recycling and the trash would be picked up without incident. Life was good and clean.

Here, they run things differently. 

There is no city pickup, so everything is run privately. Our neighborhood probably has 15 different companies that pick up trash, but no one seems to want to coordinate one main vendor because--and you’ll hear this phrase a lot-- “That’s not how we do things in the South.”

When I called the number that our realtor left to arrange for service, it rang to a cell phone somewhere with background noises that suggested either illegal cockfighting or filming of a new TLC reality series.

“Do I need any special size can or place it somewhere specific on the curb?”

“Just leave any can you want outside or in your garage with the back door unlocked, we’ll get it. We don’t have a whole lot of rules.”

“Ok, what about recycling?”

“Yeah, we don’t really get into that.”

A week later, this shows up in the driveway; a 1983 Ford F-150 retro-fitted with a dumpster. Nothing that isn’t double-bagged or bigger than a Dixie cup gets picked up and we haul the recycling up to the drop-off center every weekend.

For months I try in vain to find a new company. Over half of the numbers in the Yellow Pages (Yes, that archaic scroll) are disconnected, and the other half don’t service our area. I drive around the neighborhood following real garbage trucks and frantically writing down numbers from my neighbors trash cans--all with the same result. 

In the mean time, the original company reduces pickup days from two to one without lowering the bill and only communicates through passive-aggressive notes taped on the can.

Finally, at long last I get a hold of a company that will not only pick up ALL of the trash with a real trash truck, but also collects recycling! 

I eagerly await the first week and they empty the trash can they provided, but not the loose trash at the bottom of the other can that the first company has refused. Fine, I have lived in the South long enough to realize how this is supposed to go.

The next week, I leave my own very nice note and a small cash incentive asking if new trash company will please just empty the other can this once of the loose items so we can start fresh and move on. I check outside all morning to see if in fact the trash has been taken. 

What was taken was the 20 bucks before the trash guys ever got there.

And the recycling? Well, we’re still taking that up to the center every weekend, facing the scowls of the employees who must secretly hate the planet or something because they give you such a hard time at every drop-off since no retailer in Middle Tennessee sells the special blue recycling bags the Company B will pick up. And now that we have our cans at the end of the driveway on pickup days, the entire county throws their loose trash in our cans creating an even bigger mess than before that Company A or B and our car now looks like the above picture after months of hauling trash in it.

If I’ve said one untruth, please, native Nashvillians, correct me publicly.

But that fact is that not only can’t I make this shit up, I can’t get my shit hauled away.

Photo credit: Me. Because Google didn't even believe me that there was such a thing.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

New beginnings

With a little wave and a huge smile, Jessie entered the big world of school and a little piece of my mom-ness disappeared.

Don't get me wrong--I'm happy for this milestone for her. She is beyond ready, and I love it when they are able to shine in ways you never thought possible. But things definitely shifted this week, and it will take a little while to get used to.
Jessie's first day of Kindergarten

We've always had a preschooler at home. Always. Because they are so spread apart, when one started Kindergarten, there was at least one still at home with me so those hours between 8-3 everyday weren't empty or quiet. I didn't have the opportunity to really do much outside of the house that didn't include a toddler or two. But now that Jessie is in full time school, I will be left with these large chunks of hours during the day that are surprisingly daunting to fill.

That isn't a complaint and I do realize there are worse problems in the world, but it is different. I've got visions in my head of all sorts of back-burner projects getting thrown back into the fire, and maybe even exploring some new ones.

Maybe some of that mom-ness will be replaced by a little SubDiva-ness who has been awfully quiet lately.