Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Things that would be awesome

As we launch into a New Year, I am looking straight ahead. I am not in the mood to reminisce or reflect on a damn thing.

2008. We survived. woohoo.

There are a lot of things I am looking forward to, hoping for, dreaming of......things that scare me a little, sometimes......but I think a healthy dose of fear is a good survival strategy.

Here are just a few of the things I am anticipating in oh-nine - some with more joy then others.

Taking a family vacation that does not involve visiting family. We try to do this once a year. With our current finances, it may not be possible, but I am going to do my damndest.

Lucy starting nursery school. The baby is officially not a baby anymore.

Weaning off of a few of my many, many jobs. Because I do so many things so part time, I find myself feeling like Jack of all trades, master of none. I need to focus, people.

Finishing the house. Oh, to dream.

The births of a cousin, a second cousin, and some other new arrivals.

One full year without abdominal surgery or any other weird medical issues requiring unpleasant testing.

Mastering the art of indian food - curries, in particular, are kicking my ass. Why can't I make a decent curry ? WHY ???

And then, there's the whole Swearing In of the New President. May he meet and exceed my expectations, and lead this country in a way that is inclusive, positive, straightforward and honest. May he consult advisors of different backgrounds, beliefs and experiences. May he reassure the millions of Americans that feel disenfranchised, that are disappointed or afraid or fed up. He is stepping into a job that I would never, ever wish on anyone - but it has to be done, and I think he is a good choice to take on the myriad challenges of being President of the United States in 2009. I don't know how it's all going to turn out, but the very act of voting is an act of faith. Faith that your vote will be counted. That your vote will bring better days.

And really, that's it. For 2009, I am anticipating better days. I have held on, waiting for this day, this year, this time in my life. And it's here. I'm ready.

Bring it on.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It could stop raining any day now......

Yeah, it's nice to have a green yard.
My basil is very happy.

My kids are going nuts. I need to get them out of the house, and the dog off the run....but what to do ?

I mean, it is REALLY RAINING. Like, flash flood, land and rock slide kind of raining. I would take them hiking in the pine forest, which is fairly protected from the elements by the trees' canopy, but in reality, it might not be such a hot idea today - slippery and muddy, and unsafe. I would take them to the beach, but the surf is pounding away at the shore, beach erosion personified.

I am new to this - when it was just me and the kids, I would find plenty of things for us to do indoors. BUT there is another someone to consider, who is sitting in his mansion of a doghouse whimpering and lonely. Oh, the guilt. I can't go out without bringing him along ! That would be SO MEAN. So, I need to find a place we can all play. Hm.

Thinking cap is on......

Monday, December 29, 2008

Imagine that

Today we took Boston the the vet. They tried to take his temperature. He was not impressed with their method.

Turns out, our dog - who is constantly rolling over to show other dogs (male and female) his business - does not want anyone touching or sniffing or inserting anything in his ass. Smart little bugger. He also doesn't like having things put in his ears. The vet decided, based on his reaction to the exam, that they should muzzle him for the shot he needed. Three of us held him down for the injection, and he really didn't even flinch.

As Sami says "I don't like people sticking things in MY ass or ears, so why should a dog be any different ?"

I think Boston just earned some extra brownie points with Sami, just for having some good common sense, and a healthy dose of self-preservation.

I'm here, I'm here.....

OK, so it took me a few days to recover. Saturday night I informed Sami that we were going OUT to dinner. I had a craving for chinese food, and dammit, we were going to get some. Even if I couldn't really walk, and my back hurt so much that I whimpered every time I changed position.

We trundled down to Watercress in the pouring rain, and binged on saimin, beef and broccoli, and garlic chicken. I sucked down two CocaColas, the kids had ice cream for dessert. It was so exactly what I wanted - though you might not have known it if you saw me nodding off a few times during the meal.

I have slept a lot over the past 36 hours. Power sleep. 12 hours at night, 2 hours on the beach, an hour on the sofa here and there. My body is slowly coming out of it's short-circuited stiff and achy state. My mind is clearing, somewhat.

And yesterday, as I came out of the fog, I looked around my house and totally lost my shit.

There were PILES of THINGS everywhere. The living room, and both kids bedrooms, were littered with Legos. There were crayons, coloring books, art supplies, and paper everywhere I turned. Boxes, with tissue and gifts and wrapping paper and god knows what else were scattered all over the couch, the coffee table, and the kitchen counter.

I started with the tree. With an attitude reminscent of Xena, Warrior Princess, I took the tree down in under 15 minutes. Ornaments were flying, boxes were retrieved from the attic, I dismantled the symbol of the holiday with the tinsel and lights still attached, so desperate to have the damn thing down and away and out of my sight.

The children responded to my raised voice and angry tone in short order. Toys were removed from the surfaces of the living room and kitchen, and they scurried back and forth to their rooms silently, shuttling gifts and toys and clothes and assorted other "things".

I vacuumed.
Sami put things away in the attic.
Sami also put away some laundry, and did some dishes.
I shoved the pieces of the sectional around the living room until I came up with a acceptable layout.
I took down every red and green, gold, sparkly, flashing, plug in piece of holiday crap I could find.
Wreaths were taken down from the outside of the house.
I even soaked off my artificial nails - especially applied for the holidays.

In one hour, we went from festive holiday chaos, to peace and order restored.
Christmas ? It's OVER, dude. O-VER.


Friday, December 26, 2008

Oh. My. God.

No, seriously. I think that now, my legs might actually fall off.

It has been a 48 hour marathon, filled with bitchy customers, lovely customers, and customers who are challenged by the concept of tipping - and a few who know EXACTLY how to tip on Christmas Day.....100% ? Spank you very much ! Mister 5% ? Fuck You.

I have two stories for you today. I was going to dole them out, one at a time, over the next few days, to buy me an extra day of entertainment for the masses - but I'm just gonna go all out, and hope to god something interesting happens tomorrow for me to write about.

First, Boston the Dog.
Boston the Dog has found his bark, which is actually a very cute RrrrUFF RUFF kind of noise which doesn't really bug me at all. He keeps shitting on the porch - which bugs me a lot. We are trying to work on that. He is scared to death of Sami, which we are also working on, because honestly Sami is probably the gentlest man ever and the last person Boston should be afraid of. Max, on the other hand, Boston should keep an eye on. Boston also needs to keep an eye out for the neighborhood dogs. Because he is seriously pissing them off. Someday, someone is going to get out of their yard, or off their leash, and really mess his punk self up. He is cruising for a bruising.

Last night, I let Boston out. We have a number of dogs in the neighborhood, and as Boston ran down the steps, he got a wild hair and decided to visit all of them. So he takes off like a shot, while I run behind saying totally ineffectual things like "Boston come HERE" and "Boston GET BACK HERE" and muttering some very not nice things about what a bastard he was. First he runs across the street, into the yard of a large German Shepard. The German Shepard is extremely territorial, and has an invisible fence type of system keeping her in the yard. What that means is, anyone can go IN the yard, but she cannot go OUT of the yard without getting a shock from her collar.

Apparently, Boston figured this out. He tore up her driveway, and into the garage where she sleeps. He then comes galloping back down the driveway, looking over his shoulder at the huge German Shepard bearing down on him. She hits her boundary, stops short, and he keeps going, totally taunting her over his shoulder like "Neener Neener Neener, you caa-aan't get meeee" and runs around the street in circles, just out of reach. Torture.

The dog across the street now HATES Boston, and she is preparing herself for the next time he comes prancing into her yard. He is going to have his ass handed to him next time - I hope he's smart enough to figure THAT out. But he is just as cute as he is smart, and I have a feeling he'll find a way to talk her out of tearing him to shreds. Maybe he'll try to hump her or something....

He went on to visit several other neighbors, before I finally grabbed his collar and dragged him home. I was wet and muddy and pissed - but definitely NOT as pissed as the German Shepard.

Lest you begin to worry, let me reassure you - Boston isn't the only one leading a life of excitement and adventure this busy holiday week. I have another story for you - the tale of the yogini.

I observed a yoga class earlier this week. It should go without saying that there are more then a few yoga instructors on island. Maui is a very touchy-feely kind of place, people are all "in tune with themselves" and shit. And yoga is a very popular activity here.

Oh the stretching and the twisting.

So anyway, back to my observation class. I was trying to be discreet, and unobtrusive. I didn't want to distract anyone, or make anyone uncomfortable. I sat at one end of the studio, quietly watching. I did not take notes or photos, even though I was there because I am going to be writing about this instructor and notes would have been helpful.

A few minutes after class began, a man entered the studio. His presence created quite a stir. He was tall and handsome, and well, sort of the perfect physical specimen. I mean, if you are into a tanned, toned, chiseled sort of physique. Not really MY cup of tea, but I suppose some people might find that appealing..... Sorry, back to the story. This guy comes in, and rolls out his mat RIGHT in front of me. He was blocking my view of the rest of the class, as well as being, well, a foot away from me and totally in my personal space (which I guard with the zeal of a german shepard). So I move down a bit, in order to see the length of the studio. And that is when the man bends over, and starts grunting, with his (ahem) nether regions right in my face. He did have pants on - pants made of a very thin fabric, but pants nontheless. He did not, however, have any UNDERWEAR on. This was, well, distracting. Things were swinging around in a pendulous fashion, while I was trying very hard NOT to look. It was hard. It was very, very hard.

Adding to the swinging and swaying I was trying not to look at - He is one of those guys that just is never still. I cannot understand why yoga appeals to him, because seriously, he was always MOVING. He was never at rest. He never held a position. And he never seemed to be doing what everyone ELSE was doing. Either he is so A.D.D. he can't follow along, or he is so pompous and self absorbed that he didn't feel the need to go along with the program. Either way, he certainly didn't belong in a class, because he wasn't actually TAKING the class. He was doing some sort of crazy free form bullshit, throwing in weird poses where he was all twisted sideways and supporting his entire body with one arm, or doing headstands while everyone else was meditating. Plus, he was sweating so profusely, the mat and the floor around him was wet. I felt like someone should put up a cone to warn others of the puddle. He was fucking ridiculous. AND distracting to me and everyone else in the studio.

It was especially distracting when the instructor handed out straps, and demonstrated what was to be done with them. Of course, she chose this lovely man as her partner for the demonstration. So he bends over in a downward dog sort of pose, and she places the strap across his hips, with the ends of the straps hanging down on either side of him. She stood right behind him, and REACHED DOWN BETWEEN HIS LEGS to grab the straps and pull them through and out behind him. As she went to stand up with the straps in her hands, she said "you'll have to help me here" and he grabbed his package and moved it between the two straps, then re-assumed the position. I just had no idea where to look. I consider myself to be pretty open minded, but DAMN it was hard to keep from laughing with her all bent over, face in his ass, and her hands between his legs, and him holding his junk all bent over and sweating.....

Blessedly, the team exercises didn't last too terribly long, and then we went back to the more traditional yoga. Which is when Mr Excitement popped a boner.

Good. God. I almost had a stroke.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Maybe I should just sleep at the cafe

Hi there. It's 11pm. I have just returned home from the cafe. I have to leave again in 8 hours, to go back to work.

Ho Ho Ho.

I will be regaling you with tales of a really special yoga class, complete with straps and men without underwear and all sorts of other fun stuff that I know you are just DYING to read about.... Plus, I can tell you all about the latest and greatest adventures of Boston the wonder dog.

Are you on the edge of your seat ? Will you be checking back often ?

Oh good.


Monday, December 22, 2008

I have no idea how this happened

Today, we are dog owners. Not borrowers. Not trier-outers. Owners. I signed paperwork and everything.

It was a REALLY hard decision. Not choosing the dog - that part was easy....but actually COMMITTING to the dog. Because I take pet ownership very seriously. This was not an easy decision. Sami is not thrilled with being a pet owner, and I am very hesitant. But the kids are old enough to understand and take on some of the responsibility of caring for the dog......and I think after two years of basically begging for a pet they might have actually really wanted one.

So with their infinite requests for a pet ringing in my ears, I have been browsing ads, Craigslist, bulletin boards, and the website for the local Humane Society. To make sure the kids understood how much work is involved in pet ownership, we brought home Twyla for a 24 hour trial run while she was waiting for her forever home - she was only 6 weeks old though, so she was tiny, cute, non-smelly, and portable. The dog we brought home today is not a baby. More of an emo teenage boy with orange bleach highlights and a scrabbly beard. I love him.

And the deciding factor, really ? The one that convinced me this was "our dog" ? The name on his cage. Our hometown. Boston.

He's a one year wire haired terrier mix. Sort of a smaller medium sized dog. He is extremely mellow right now, but god knows how he will behave when he gets comfortable. He has spent his entire life with foster families and at the shelter. He really needs some love - and we are ready and willing to provide lots of it. Maybe more then he was hoping for. Maybe more then he actually wants. Lucy is anxiously awaiting the day that she can dress him up. Max just wants to walk him everywhere. Except that by "walking" he means "being dragged around by a 30 pound dog and squealing in protest, while simultaneously giggling and panicking."

I wish I had something witty and intersting to say today, but have been obsessing and debating and freaking out ALL DAY LONG about this - so I am kind of brain dead. While I collect myself, here are some pictures. I'll be back tomorrow with something of interest to report. In the last photo, you can sort of see his very kick ass new collar - it's got a pawprint and cross bones pattern. Arrrrr.

Introducing, Boston.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holy Night

Holy Mary Mother of God. That seems to be just about the most appropriate curse I can come up with right now, because I'll bet that woman was tired too, after dragging her damn self all over town just trying to find a place to sit her ass down.

Today I walked into the cafe, and was offered a shift - starting right then and there. And it was busy in the restaurant, and I didn't have enough cash to pay for the breakfast we were planning to eat ANYWAY, so I said yes. Yes of course. Absolutely. I would *LOVE* to work.

And I was thrilled - it was busy, I made money, everyone was happy, all was well.

But my god, I think my legs might fall off. I am not just saying that. I mean it.

Fall. Off.

But it is all worth it because, you see, I am trying to be a real honest-to-goodness writer. I need to earn my street cred. Real writers (and actors, and musicians) wait tables. Or enjoy an assortment of other cash-money, easy to quit gigs that do not require (nor provide) references.

And as a writer, I need to make some cash money, to finance my extremely tenuous monthly budget.
Hah. Budget my ass. More like, write some checks and just hope it all works out.
Oops. Except for that auto-payment for the cellphone that I forgot about. Oh, shit, and the car payment that gets deducted each month. (sigh). I think I just made a big boo-boo in my checking account.

I am very overdraft dependent. As any self-respecting writer would be.

I am also angst-filled, and overly dramatic, and I like to drink and smoke and talk while waving my hands around. I take long hot showers, where I compose columns and articles and press releases in my head, and then run - naked - to the computer, clutching my towel around me and trying to get everything out of my very cluttered mind, and onto my hard drive.

I bet you are SO GLAD I shared that with you.

Let's get back in the holiday spirit, shall we ?

Today, we delivered a Christmas meal and presents to a family that was identified by a social services agency as "needy". We explained to the kids that we were going to go and bring food and presents to a family that could not afford to buy gifts this year, or have a nice meal. That really, everyone deserved a present on Christmas, and that we had so much, it was important to share. I think I prepared them well. They were excited, glad to be "playing santa" and proud to be helping someone in need this holiday season.

They would not be quite so needy, methinks, if they sold their GIGANTIC WIDE SCREEN TV.

When the father opened the door, we were all mesmerized by the TV. The TV that was, literally, the size of a small car. It took up most of one wall of the living room. When I say it was a good 5 or 6 feet across (and not diagonally - I mean straight across) I am not exaggerating.

Disillusionment, anyone ?

I'd like to say, to anyone in need....let me know how I can help. I want to help. It makes me feel good inside to help others. Need someone to watch the kids ? No problem. Need a ride ? I'll be there. Want to come over for dinner ? See you at 6.

But don't tell social services that you are in need of Christmas presents for your kids, when there is literally so much shit in and around your house, that you could open a second-hand store.

You know what I do when I need money ? I have a YARD SALE. I sell things on Craigslist. I don't call Family Services and sign up for charity. If you have a roof over your head, then there is someone more in need then you this holiday season.

And if you have a TV the size of a golf cart, you should just go fuck yourself, because you know what, those things are obnoxious, and I bet your neighbors below you and next door to you HATE YOU FOR IT.

Happy Holidays, asshole.
(Oh, did that sound negative? I really didn't mean it that way. I meant it in the lighthearted, fun way. Ha. Hahaha. Asshole.)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

xmas goodies

One of my favorite things about the holidays is the music.
And then, there are the parodies, that make me laugh so hard I almost wet pants. (OK, sometimes I actually wet my pants. So sue me.)

So, without further ado - some holiday cheer.
Eggnog optional.

The below URL takes you to a page that has multiple SNL Holiday classics, like "The Christmas Song" and "The Hanukkah Song" and "Christmas for the Jews" - one of my all-time favorites.

Friday, December 19, 2008


I make a wish every time I look at a clock and it says 11:11

Last night, I was driving home, and looked up and saw that it was "that time" - and I made a wish. For years (and years) my wish was always the same.
"please, PLEASE let me get pregnant"

So I automatically started wishing for that, only to remember with a start that it was impossible. Physically impossible. For me. To have a baby.

And then, I was very, profoundly sad. Because while I don't actually want another child right now (maybe ever) the idea that even if I did want one, I couldn't have one........well, it's a tough thing to come to terms with when you are 33 and three relatives are pregnant or just had babies, and it's just a matter of time before all the rest of the siblings and cousins start reproducing........and then there's all the friends who are boiund to breed. A lot of babies in my future - and none of them are going to be mine.

So I switched my wish - right then and there. New 11:11 wish forevermore.

No, of course I can't tell you what it is - or it won't COME TRUE, silly !

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sometimes you get the worm - and sometimes, the worm gets you

Today I had a really hard day. Trying to juggle holidays, meals, work, kids, errands, attempt to do some laundry - and completely bagged on cleaning the house.

I mean, really. What's the point.

If it isn't obvious yet, my prescription still isn't here (oh, Prozac, how I love you. You make the world seem more peaceful and fair.)

I cancelled our American Express card (also known as my meal ticket) today because, well, I am tired of living according to someone else's whim. These credit card companies are BASTARDS, and today, they just pushed me too far. These employees are obviously on some sort of crazy power trip and you know what, I am over it. Don't send me an offer to transfer a balance, and then DENY IT. You asked, you idiot ! Don't repond by behaving as though I have asked for your firstborn.

It's cash only from this point onward. We build enough credit with the damn mortgage, I don't need revolving credit to help me out.

I put a new For Sale sign on the truck - not even a nibble yet, but maybe it will just take a little time.......Doesn't someone want a nice blue truck for Christmas ?

Tonight I am going to make Creme de Menthe bars (one shot for the mixing bowl, one shot for shot for the bowl, one shot for me.....) and maybe some fudge. I don't know. I'm playing it by ear. I think I am going to need some additional support to make it through the evening.

Prozac, wherefore art thou Prozac.........

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

In a quest for beauty

I am writing this while I lie in bed, nursing my wounds. I have some serious burn blisters, and the pain is so intense, so deep to my core, that I am actually nauseous. God help me if I get a quick glimpse at the actual injury - I'll lose it for sure.

Call it what you will: yoni, hoo hoo, privates, bagina, cooter (my personal fave) I done burned my bits off.

I can't even believe I participated in the excruciating, sadistic procedure of my own free will. I lay there, on a table, with my legs spread "froggy style" as directed, and allowed someone to burn the hair off my genitals (and take a good amount of flesh along with it) just so that I could have a clean bikini line.

A bikini line that is now rocking some really lovely blisters, and scorched hair follicles.

The dermatologist is enthusiastic about her work - I will give her that.

"Can you smell the hair burning ? That means it's WORKING!" she chirped, as I cringed and gasped and clutched at my chest.

"OK, business as usual" she announced as I gingerly lifted myself off the table and surveyed the carnage.

Lady, I don't know what your business looks like - but mine is definitely not "as usual".

"What should I do with this ?" I asked, gesturing vaguely at the afflicted area.
"Oh, just wash it with your hand - a washcloth might be ouchie" she solemnly informed me.

I am way beyond "ouchie". I almost threw up out my car window several times on the drive home. It took all of my willpower to not clutch at my crotch. As soon as i got in the door, I ripped off my underwear and started frantically smearing Neosporin on the injuries. I don't know if it is helping, but it was worth a shot.

Pray for me. Pray for me and my poor, poor cooter.

Fa la la la la

Hoooooo Boy. Did you know it's almost Christmas ? Yup. Sure 'nuff.
Almost. Christmas.

The reason I know it is almost Christmas is that yesterday was my son's birthday. And for the past 8 years, my son's birth has signaled the onset of the Christmas panic.

Of course, yesterday, I kind of, well, forgot. That it was his birthday.
I mean, I had remembered previously. Even the night before. But the actual morning of his birth ? Not so much, actually.


So my son went to school on his BIRTHDAY without me saying "Happy Birthday Baby ! You are my favorite boy ever !"

My husband called right after I got back from dropping hiim off at school (without saying Happy Birthday).

"Hi Honey. Just calling to say Happy Birthday to the boy before he goes to school."

"OH !" (panic - mind racing) "Um, Actually, he's already there !" (fake smiley voice sets in)

I immediately email his teacher - all caps - TODAY IS MAX'S BIRTHDAY. I AM BRINGING CUPCAKES. I didn't mention that I had forgotten to wish him a happy birthday,but trust me - by the time he got to class, he knew. The teacher told me later that he pulled his desk into a corner for reading and sat, alone, facing the wall.

I showed up at 1:15, with cupcakes and the Happy Birthday hat from Disneyland, in the shape of a cake with illuminated candles on top. I sang Happy Birthday at the top of my lungs. We came home and after dinner he got his presents - electric drums (from us) and a huge Star Wars Lego ship to put together (from Gran).

I think all was forgiven.
But it doesn't make it OK. Not at all.

Let's all breathe a sigh of relief that my prescription is due in the mail tomorrow, and in just a few days I should have my wits about me. And I promise I will not forget Christmas.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The whole saga of the return trip

I am writing this down only so I don't forget any of it when I compose my nasty letter to an airline that shall remain nameless but begins with "D" and rhymes with melta.


We got to the airport in Connecticut several hours early. we took advantage of their curbside service, with a lovely porter who got us all checked in - but neglected to mention that there were numerous flight delays, or that there were earlier flights we could take as a precaution. So, unknowingly, we took full advantage of our extra time. We returned the rental car, managed to get all of our belongings jammed into our too-small suitcases, and made it through security without too many problems. We had time to eat, and charge up Max's video game, and read some stories, and have some Dunkin Donuts. And then, I noticed something. It was nearing departure time, and our gate was eerily quiet. Where was everyone ? Were there really only 4 people on this flight to Atlanta ? That would be odd.

So I walked up to the gate. The gate agent had just finished checking everyone into the flight that was leaving in a few minutes. I saw on the board that our flight had been delayed. And that consequently, we were going to miss our connection.

"Excuse me. I think I am going to miss my connection. What should I do ?"

"I need to get this flight out of here before I can help you."

"Oh, OK, sure, I understand, I'll come back."

A few minutes later, I went up to the neighboring gate, because now the board said my flight was leaving from THAT gate instead.

"Excuse me, I think I need help - I am going to miss my connection."

The gate agent reviewed my tickets solemnly and said "You should have come up earlier, we just had a bunch of flights leave that you could have taken."

The other gate agent walked up - the one who told me she had to let that flight LEAVE before she could help me. She looked at my papers cooly, and then looked up. "Well, you are on the last flight out. So we can't do anything. Should have gotten on one of the earlier flights."

I hope the look I gave her made her skin crawl and her hair stand on end, because I was sending every maniacal violent voodoo thought her way with my eyes. Silently, of course. And really, the chain of events was already in motion, it was too late to yell and make a fuss - I needed a solution. Conveniently, I am a travel agent. So, this should be a piece of cake. Right ?

OK, if I had already missed my flight to Seattle, I needed to get to another West Coast destination that night.

The Delta gate agent refused. She would only re-route me to an airport near Seattle. San Francisco was too far south. There were no flights going anywhere near Seattle. Sorry.

So, I wanted to get on another airline, another flight - deal with this Delta thing later. No can do. All the flights are gone, you are on the last flight out. I did have a choice. Did I want to spend the night in Hartford ? Or Atlanta ?


So I decided to take the flight to Atlanta. After all, if MY flight was delayed, maybe OTHER flights would be delayed, and I could get on one of those !

So we went to Atlanta. After we landed, our plane sat on the tarmac near the airport, watching flights depart. Including my flight to Seattle. And there was not a damn thing I could do about it. Just watch them all leave, one after the other, while I remained there, in the rain, in Atlanta.

We were not the only ones stranded. And there were many passengers who were much angrier then I was. I wasn't angry, I was tired, And upset. And hungry.

But the restaurants were all closed. There was no hotel attached to the airport. We had another choice. Sleep in the airport, stretched on the floor (shudder) or across several seats.....or we could go out in the thunderstorm and try to find a hotel room. We had a conversation that went something like this:

"OK, kids, here's the deal - we can sleep in the airport-"
Lucy "Waaaaaaaahhhhhh. Sob. Sob. Choke. I don't wanna sleep in the airport."
Max "We should definitely sleep here in the airport. I will stay awake so you can sleep."
"Um, that won't be necessary. OK, so, Lucy, you want to go out and find a room somewhere ?"
Lucy "Yes. sniff sniff waaaahhhh shudder choke"
Max "NO I really don't want to go outside, let's stay here."
Lucy "Nooooooooooooo sob sob choke gag"
"OK, Max this obviously is not an option for Lucy. Let's go outside and find a motel."
Max "Mom, I am not carrying this suitcase anymore - my arm is going to fall off."
Lucy "I love the motel!"
"Well, Lucy, don't speak too soon. Come on, kids."

I then carry 4 suitcases out of the airport, cursing silently to myself. We go to the shuttle curb and wait. And wait. No shuttles come by. A van pulls up - it's a shuttle, but not a hotel shuttle. He hops out and asks where we are going, myself and my two small, wet, tired children. I explain that we need a place to sleep. He recommends a few spots, and points me in the direction of the correct motel shuttle stop - on the other side of the airport. He was both a blessing and a curse. So I picked up all the suitcases and started off, with two sleepy whiney children trailing behind. It was almost midnight. This was not going well. I was also, simultaneously, on the phone with Sami, who was frantically trying to find us a motel room online - but because it was after 11pm, no one would let him book online.


We find the shuttle area, and I walk up to the first van. At this point, I really am not very discerning - I just need to lie down.
"Do you have rooms?"
"How much?"
"Do you have a 24 hours shuttle that can bring me back here in 6 hours?"
"Is the room going to be clean?"
"Can you take me there RIGHT NOW ?"
"Is there food nearby?"

The man had all the right answers. I surreptitiously called Sami. "I am getting in a white van. I am going to a place called "...." (name edited to protect the innocent)
"Um, OK. Are you sure?"
"Pretty sure."

We went to the motel, stopping at McDonalds on the way so the kids could eat some sort of food-ish stuff.

The motel was located vry conveniently right off the highway - next door to the Pink Pony Gentlemans Club South. Very exciting. I am told with a great deal of pride that they get a lot of truckers. And pilots.

We get to our room. The shower curtain - rod and all - are on the floor of the tub. There is no clock. The kids are jumping on the bed. I am freaking out a little bit.

We do, eventually, sleep. I am awake most of the night, but I do drift off now and again, only to awake with a start - searching for a clock to check the time. No luck with that, but I finally located my cellphone and moved it to the bedside.

A few hours later (4 hours? 5hours????) I get up and re-pack our bags, get the kids dressed, and shuttle everyone back through the pouring rain to the lobby, to catch the shuttle back to the airport.

We get on a flight to Seattle - and miss our flight to Maui by less then an hour. I had to pay a change fee to get tickets for the next day. Fuck. However, all of our suitcases have remained with us and are there at baggage claim, so we grab a cart, load it up, rent a car, and head for a brewery near my friend's house. I decide to just sit and wait for her to finish with her mommy stuff, and then meet me for a drink. Because folks, that is how we roll. And I needed a drink. No fooling.

So, a few beers later, we are at her house, making plans for the evening. We go to see Christmas lights. We go to see live Christmas music. We eat christmas lollipops and then we go home and collapse into a warm, clean, cozy bed for a real night's sleep. Oh, it was wonderful.

The next morning, bright and early, we headed back to the airport for day #3. I was really starting to hate airports.

We checked in our bags, returned the rental car, made it to the gate - I even got a Starbucks ! And then, blessedly, we got on the flight home. To Maui. Next stop Hawaii. And it was good.

There is more I could say, but I think you get the picture. It sucked, but now we are home and NEVER DOING THAT AGAIN.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Home again, Home again, jiggety jig

We are home.

That night - that very scary night in Atlanta - I turned off the computer and climbed in bed next to Lucy, who was upset and needing a cuddle.

She sat up in that shabby motel room, with the highway roaring by outside and the rain pouring down, and the toilet dripping and the weird cigarette smell permeating everything, and leaned over my face as I lay there and said "Mommy, the best thing about today was being with you."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Stuck in Atlanta

Let's just say that this is not my finest moment in travel.

I am so pissed right now, I can't stand it.

It rained in Atlanta today, which apparently grounds flights ?! PEOPLE ! It's fucking RAIN. It's 2008. We can't work something out ?

Why no, no we can't.

I would write more, but seriously, I am just too pissed. And I am in a really shady motel with the kids, and will miss my connection in Seattle tomorrow, so I won't get home until mid-Friday - no work for me Friday morning. Fuck.

I am broke, tired, pissed off, and something I ate has given me gas. Or maybe it's just stress. Whatever. Fuck.

Monday, December 8, 2008

On why Hot Chocolate should never be consumed in the car

I am an idiot.

I took the kids ice skating at Rockefeller Center (awesome)
We got a killer parking space (awesome)
We got hot cocoa after ice skating (awesome)
The bakery didn't have seating, and they were closing, and the kids had to drink their hot cocoa in the car (not awesome at all).

So. This was yet another example of Things Mommy Does Not Handle Well Without Her Prozac.

I am trying. I am REALLY TRYING. But this is HARD. Thank god I am not a single parent because I would totally fuck these kids up if I was with them and responsible for them 24/7. After 2+ weeks of traveling, I am pretty much Over It. I have no patience, and apparently I am now a mute - because no matter what I say, it is though I have not spoken at all. I repeat myself. I do not yell. I speak calmly. I speak slowly. I speak clearly.
"No." This should be an easy one. Clear. Direct. No wishywashyness or debate indicated.
"Stand Right There." (with added hand pointing to specify the desired location of said standing).
"Put your coat on."
"That is for the airplane."
"Do your homework first."
"Eat your vegetables."
"Please stop arguing." For the record - using please does not make any difference to them AT ALL. They still don't do what I ask.
"Sign this card." (This one was a total disaster. I asked them each to sign their name. Lucy draws a bunch of stuff, which is OK, but then Max starts writing "from: Max". Only he miss-spells from. And Max. And now there is a bunch of scribbles on the nice card and no one's name is legible, and DAMMIT why can't you each just write your damn name and have that be it ? ARGH. Seems like a small thing, but it's a long tense story to explain the recipient of the card and why I am already really struggling with sending a card and gift to begin with. A story for another time.)

We got to my brother's house tonight for our very brief visit, and I felt like I was lecturing them from the moment we walked in the door.
"No running."
"Quiet Voices."
"Please stop arguing."
"I told you NO."
"Sit down."
"Eat your food."

The problem is this. By the end of the day (which it was by the time we got to my brother's) I have been ignored for 10 hours. I am aggravated. Frustrated. And my patience is at it's very tired, frayed, ratty end.

Some background: When I am ready to leave somewhere, one of two things happen. I say "Let's go." and they completely ignore me, OR I say "Let's go." And Lucy starts sobbing hysterically and Max starts begging to stay. Or to get something to eat. Or to have a toy bought for him. Or to watch "Five more minutes" of whatever is on TV.

And then I freak out. And yell. And they look at me as though I have just broken their hearts into a million tiny pieces. I really do suck. I know. They know. We'll muddle through. But in the meantime, pass the prozac please.

New York State of Mind

So here I am, ensconced in a very fancy-looking Hilton in a suburb of NYC. Max is working on homework, Lucy is writing a story (naked) and I am checking email and doing my deep breathing as I anticipate a long day of retail therapy. We are going to the outlets, and then ice skating. I really want to take the kids into the city to see the tree at Rockefeller Center, I am just not sure if I can swing it......we'll have to see.

I had the great pleasure and joy of meeting Miss Hazel yesterday. Oh she is so little and sweet. So much littler then my own peanuts, and so sleepy and cute. She was rocking polka dot leg warmers courtesy of my brother, proud Uncle Ash. Honestly, I just wanted to eat her up. Photos do not do newborns justice - it's all about the small warm cuddly body, and the sweet smell and the soft skin and furry hair.

But just for you folks who cannot see her in person - here she is.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A vacation pause, and a reality check

I sort of, well, stopped taking my Prozac recently. Yeah. Probably not the bestest idea.

So while I was driving along the other day, and it was 2 in the afternoon and the sun appeared to be setting already, and it was all cold and gray out, I realized "Oh. See. THIS is why I was depressed the whole time I lived here." I mean, I didn't want to drive my car off a bridge or anything, but there was definitely some hyperventilating and blurry vision and "Oh My God what if I'm seriously losing it" moments.

Over the past few days, things have become more challenging. It's not that I am forgetful, per se, but that I just can't pull my head out of my ass, no matter how hard I try. Even if I brace myself against the banister, and pull with all of my might, it is so firmly lodged that I can barely see the light of day. It's funny, because I thought I felt like that because I was ON the Prozac. Turns out I am just LIKE THAT naturally, and the Prozac actually makes me a little LESS like that. Or maybe still like that, but I just don't care as much ? Or I am too sleepy to notice. Whatever. Either way.

But lately, I am really feeling, um, disoriented. For instance, I can't keep track of my phone. Or my keys. Or the time.

Last night, at 8pm, I realized my children had not eaten dinner. So I decided to take them out. And where did I take them for a nice family meal ? The Foxwoods Casino. Oh yes I did - and I was getting some PRETTY STRANGE LOOKS as we wandered through at 9, and again at 10:30. And the restaurant - a fancy-pants steakhouse - was not amused when I showed up with two sleepy, hungry children. But they perked up considerably when I ordered the surf and turf - yet another sign of my deterioration. Who exactly is going to PAY for that surf and turf you ask ? Good Question. I will have to get back to you on that. In the meantime let's just say AMEX.

But you know, it doesn't just end there, with the poor judgement and impulsive spending.....oh no.

Today I actually got out of the car, and headed inside...and the car was still running. I only noticed because I reached for my keys to lock the car as I stepped inside the house - and realized they were in the ignition. Seriously, was I not programmed to automatically lock my car, it would have stayed out there, running, until someone stole it or it ran out of gas.

Tonight I discovered that my cellphone is gone. G.O.N.E. And I am traveling. With 2 small children. Alone. In a rental car. And working remotely. I really do actually need that phone.

Now, I know that you are saying "Listen. Ten years ago, you got by JUST FINE without a cellphone. You will survive." And the answer to that is no. No I will not. I absolutely will not. I need my cellphone. It makes me feel safe. It makes me feel less isolated. It is my connection to the rest of the world and I FUCKING NEED IT OK ?!


So, I have to find my phone. I called it, of course. And it rings and rings which is good, because that means that where ever it IS, it's on. And ringing, apparently. So now I just have to call it, incessantly, until someone answers it or the battery dies. Any bets on which comes first ?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Rest Stops in Vermont are awesome.

I am at a rest stop somewhere south of Montpelier, and I am currently relaxing in the car enjoying free wi fi while my kids play in the snow.

I fucking love it here.

Last night we drove through a mini-snow squall and I turned on the brights so the kids could see the snow coming at the front of the car like in Star Wars. Then we found our way to a cabin in the woods, where Sami's cousin and her husband are raising two beautiful children, surrounded by trees and warmed by a woodstove. The house was so cozy and bright, the new baby so round and cuddly, and the little boy - just Lucy's age - so like my own in temperament and personality and energy....We stayed for a while, I cuddled the little dumpling, and the kids sat on the wide-planked wood floors that were about 200 years old, playing Memory and having long, drawn out pirate battles with swords and shields and gold and eye patches.... Then we headed back out in the snow - back to our antique-filled bed and breakfast. We called daddy before curling up and drifting off to sleep - snow gently falling outside.

Today we have learned how to make maple syrup - the real kind, not that Aunt Jemima corn syrup crap. And we went to a cool coffee shop to see an old friend from high school. And now we are on our way back to Massachusetts to visit the Eric Carle Museum (Eric Carle wrote the childrens books "The Very Hungry Caterpiller" and "Brown Bear Brown Bear What do you See ?" among many others. His illustrations are breathtaking - a riot of colors, a kaleidoscope of patterns...I am so interested to learn about his process and inspirations - although as I look out on these rolling hills, and remember the incredible vibrancy of fall here in New England, I have a pretty good idea.....)

So today has been a rich full day already - with much more to come.

I had better go bring in the snow bunnies.....

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Rolling with it

This vacation is spinning along at a dizzying clip - I am chastened, because all of my anticipation and planning has not managed to slow the time down, and I still have a long list of things to do.

Monday I took the kiddos to the Cider Mill, to story time, to Five Guys for burgers......nothing that would rock their world, but still really fun. Tuesday we went to visit my best friend from early high school (later in high school, my best friend was definitely the guy I would marry oh so briefly - but in the beginning, it was all about Beth). We hung out at her house, got the kids all pumped up on slabs of birthday cake, and then went to the Book Barn.

While still not an ideal spot to bring sugared children, the Book Barn is not what you might be imagining. In fact, it is really hard to explain. There is a barn-like building filled to the roof with books and sunshine, then then a series of smaller out-buildings also packed with books. And in the middle of all of the buildings large and small, and tables and tents and wagons filled with books, there are goats. And cats. And a playground. And a playhouse. It's insane.

So after spending a few hours there with Beth, we headed back to her house to see her parents, and say a tearful (on Lucy's part) goodbye. Oh, the devastation of leaving people you met not 5 minutes ago. So very sad.

I ran the kids home to mom's, and then turned right around and headed back out for another old dear friend's house. Turns out she married ANOTHER old dear friend (our gene pool in this area is very small). And they have just welcomed the most beautiful, delicate little flower of a baby - Liza Jane.

After a few quality hours of baby snuggling, I rushed back home to cuddle my own babies.

And in the middle of all of that excitement - Hazel arrived.
Hazel Juniper
7 pounds 4 ounces
December 2nd, 2008

I have a few photos on my phone, but nothing exciting to share until either my brother gets home to a computer, or I get my butt to NY. I want to give mommy, daddy and baby time to bond and get to know each other before I move in on with every ounce of self control, I am holding off until Sunday. (sigh)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Bye Bye Daddy

Saturday, my husband got on a plane and flew back to Hawaii. He left me here with both kids, to wait for the looming arrival of my niece. He is having a lovely time, in the warm sunshine. Bastard.

After leaving Daddy at the airport, we had to sing several rounds of "Bestest in the Barn" to cheer ourselves up. Then Mommy needed some Dunkin Donuts. Then we drove to my mother's house, where I dropped off the kids and left straightaway for the packie (liquor store) and TJ Maxx, to further comfort myself.

Then we had pizza with my extended family, which was wonderful, and we went to lend our moral support to my cousin, who is 4 months pregnant and needed to buy larger bras. We come from a family that is, shall we say, well-endowed in that department. So the idea that they would get BIGGER is both alarming and expensive.

After looking at all sorts of interesting undergarments with my aunt - who kept asking why in God's Name anyone would need something like THAT, while holding up some crotchless panties or something - I went back to my parents and got the kids ready for bed - sort of. Then, I went to Mystic to kick off a bar-crawl of epic proportions.

We started at AZU. We moved to Daniel Packer. We made a quick stop at Voodoo, and ended up staying a while. Then we stopped into 41, which has a new name (Ancient Mariner ?) and after a quick drink, proceeded over to Johns - where we broke a glass and played someone else's game of pool. We left pretty quickly, because John's is not the sort of place that responds well to that sort of stuff - for good reason. It is where the serious drinkers hang out. Don't fuck around in there - they will cut you off and throw you out.

So, chastened, we headed back to DPI for last call. I think we stopped somewhere else too, but I honestly can't remember much. he menu went something like this:
Hot Buttered Rum
Jack and Coke
Jack and Coke
Jack and Coke

Jack was really hard on me. I came home and fell over while I was taking off my pants. I was drunk for most of the following day. Every time I tried to bend over (and mothers NEVER have to bend over hardly EVER - HAH !) I would fall face first onto the ground. Very interesting experience. I went back to bed at about 10am, and woke up at 1pm feeling like I might die. My mother took me on a restorative trip to TJ Maxx where I dropped $150 in 45 minutes. (Totally worth it, by the way. I'll go over the list item by item later - with photos. You have to see it to believe it.)

The rest of Sunday was spent in a drunken haze. I managed to keep it together, and avoid puking - which I am VERY proud of, by the way.

So, now you are almost caught up on my adventures, and to sweeten the pot, here is the latest. My sister in law is having contractions every 3 minutes, and is dilating, albeit slowly. So it may well be baby day around here in the very near future. I'll keep you posted.

Black Friday

Black Friday was not black at all ! I woke up of my own accord at 5am, threw on some clothes and drove to the nearest Dunkin Donuts (natch). Thus fueled, I asked the lovely lady behind the counter how to get to my first destination.....Ocean State Job Lot. After a bit of driving about, trying to follow some rather complicated directions that actually were not complicated at all, I found the great Job Lot. I came, I saw, I conquered. Then I headed to Kohls, which was conveniently located RIGHT NEXT DOOR. Now that was the true, crazy, early morning shopping experience I was looking for. I found some great things for the kids, got myself a pair of earrings, and hit the highway, looking for the mall. Which I found, like a beacon of glory off in the distance. I got a parking space in the front row. I found Sami a ********** on clearance. I used coupons, I got free gift wrapping, I was home by 10am. It was such a thing of beauty - so perfectly orchestrated and successful - that I almost didn't know what to do with myself.

The rest of the day was spent with Sharon, the woman who introduced me to my husband, welcomed me into her family, and is always the hostess with the mostest. Sami took the kids bowling, and I was footloose and fancy free. As soon as I walked in the door - and we were on our way to her family's house for a huge post-holiday meal - she asked if I wanted to go to the "best chinese buffet ever."

Uh, yeah. Of course I do. Why are we sitting here talking about it ?

So, we went to the buffet, and gorged ourselves just like the old days. It was fabulous.
THEN we went to her family's house to eat, again. But the food wasn't quite ready, and we were antsy, so we went out and bought wine, and stopped into her apartment, and went to Starbucks, and THEN went back to the house for dinner.

I fell asleep on the couch.

It was a good day.