Category Archives: friends and such

Life at its awesomest

Everyone has the cliché best-moment-of-their-life stories.  The day they got married, the birth of their babies, stuff like that.

I was reminded recently of a moment that I have, an awesome, top of the world moment that is completely not run-of-the-mill.

My best friends and I went to see The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged) off-Broadway, maybe six or seven years ago.  (Which, if you ever have the opportunity to see this show, do it.  It’s hilarious.)  The show is very audience-participation-heavy with the actors in the aisles of the theater as much as they are onstage, and since Amanda and Cari and I are a bit, well, let’s call it feisty when we’re together, and we were sitting right on an aisle, we got a lot of attention from the actors.  They talked to us during the show and sat on us and laid across us and it was very funny.  Well, a part came in the show where they pulled a bunch of people on-stage to re-enact Ophelia’s inner angst at all the crap going on in her life, and I was one of the people pulled on-stage.  Some of the other people ‘volunteered’ were supposed to do stuff to just generally create a cacophony of noise and chaos, to duplicate everything going on in Ophelia’s brain and life, and then I was Ophelia.  At the apex of the mayhem, I was just supposed to scream.  So I did – and not one to shirk a responsibility, I screamed.  Oh, did I scream.  As long and loud and powerfully as I could.  To my complete surprise, my scream roused a standing ovation from the entire theater.  And this wasn’t a small theater, it was nearly the size of a regular Broadway theater.  I’d never really been the personal target of such applause before.  In sixth grade I won the school-wide spelling bee, and got a bit of lackluster sixth-grade applause for that, but I’d never just stood on a stage and had a wave of clapping and hollers and a sea of people on their feet cheering for *me*.   It was, in a word, exhilarating.  It created a wave of euphoria and adrenaline that only giving birth to my kids has duplicated.  And as such, it stands out as one of the more awesome moments of my life.

Do you have a moment like that?  I would love to hear about it!

New baby and the rapture

I spent yesterday and today a couple hundred miles north of home, doting on my friends Amanda and Dave and their new baby, Irene.

Oh my gosh.  Irene is just beautiful!  And sooooo tiny!  But no tinier than either of my babies were; I can barely believe that my kids were that small once.  They are all doing great, and I had a really, really great visit.  And, I got to sleep a solid seven hours straight without being woken up by a toddler or a preschooler or a snoring husband or a wacky dog.  That in itself was worth the trip.  🙂

As I drove home tonight, I was flipping through radio stations and came across some guy talking about the rapture.  It turns out, according to this guy, that it will be on May 21, 2011.  I wasn’t aware they’d picked a date.  So mark your calendars.  If for no other reason, to know when the crazies are going to start coming out of the woodwork.  I wonder, on the day the rapture is supposed to happen and having advanced knowledge, will people who believe it’s coming still go about their normal business, or will they wait in their houses or churches?  Because I’m thinking,  seeing as I’m not exactly god-fearing, it would be a GREAT day to run errands if all the Christians are going to stay home.

More progress and random news

The living room’s mostly done.  There’s new paint on the ceiling and all four walls, our furniture is mostly in, it just needs some smaller accessories and art on the walls.  Frank and his dad pulled out more shrub stumps from the crazy-overgrown junk from in front of our house and I planted a zebra grass in one spot and about 60 tulip and daffodil bulbs.

Over our kitchen sink there used to be a light fixture.  At some point in the distant past, the previous owners decided they didn’t want it, or need it, and took it out, taped up the wire ends, and duct-taped the light box.  The switch remained in the wall, and much to my delight, when I installed a mini-pendant lamp there with a funky red shade, it all worked!  Yes, you’ve heard it here first — I’ve moved on from dimmer switches to entire light fixtures.

I discovered at Lowe’s today that they sell special conversion kits for recessed lights wherein you can change them into mini-pendants without any rewiring.  I am intrigued by this, as our master bath’s main lighting is two recessed lights (the previous owners were obsessed with recessed lights…. there are no fewer than 29 recessed lights throughout the house, just counting off the top of my head.  No, 30.  I forgot one in the kitchen.)  I am generally not against recessed lights as a rule, but in a bathroom, as your main lighting, they are not entirely flattering.  I would love to do sconces at each side of the medicine cabinet, but with floor-to-ceiling tile in that bathroom the effort would not be a simple one.  So, making the two recessed lights into pendant lights could make the light in there much more useful for things like makeup application (because I do that OH so often…. ).  The position of the recessed lights would make so the pendant lights would hang just to each side of the medicine cabinet — it could work.  I must measure.

We’ve come up with another potential fix to make the kitchen more tolerable — replace all the beat-up, warped, and broken hinges and drawer sliders so that the cabinets actually work, install some pull-out shelving in the lower cabinets, and a blind corner shelving thing for the crap corner cabinets that I hate.  And replace the cooktop because I loathe it with the fire of a thousand suns.  I’ll still have to look at beige, beige and more beige for the next few years, but at least I will be able to open a drawer without starting to speak in tongues.

34 recessed lights.  I forgot about the three over the tubs & shower stall, and another one in the downstairs bathroom.

So — random news.  My brother may be moving down here.  Yay!  And to ease the transition and save him some money and whatnot, he’ll probably live with us for at least a couple months.  He’s strongly considering going back to school for graphic or media design or something like that, and wants to do that in NYC, which isn’t far from us.

Also, my friend Amanda is still pregnant.  However, that situation is supposed to change any day now.  I’m so excited for her and her husband!  And I am going to visit them after the arrival and will play postpartum doula for a couple days to just generally make their lives easier and as uncomplicated as possible while I’m there.

The in-laws left today for a month in the Czech Republic.  And now I must end this post, because writing that made me remember that I promised my mother in-law I would email their rental car company to let them know that their first flight was delayed and they were going to miss their connecting flight from Amsterdam.  Good night!!

A correction

I wrote yesterday that all my public breastfeeding experiences had been positive.  I forgot about the only one where I’d gotten a negative reaction.

Lane was about five or six weeks old, and I was out shopping for a crib for her.  (No time like the present!)  As I’ve mentioned, she has impeccable timing.  As the saleslady was writing up the sale on the crib and changing table, my boobs were enthusiastically summoned.  So I nursed her, discreetly, sitting in a glider rocker on the sales floor and finished conducting my business.

Later on, a friend who was with me and helping me shop commented that he was taken aback by my actions…. he never outright condemned what I’d done, but made it clear it made him uncomfortable and questioned whether the public nursing was appropriate.

Lucky for him, he’s a good guy and a close friend, and I didn’t punch him in the balls.  It helped that his wife, another very good friend, was there too and totally took my side.  Honestly, I was a bit taken aback myself.  I’d mentally prepared for negative fallout from strangers but didn’t ever expect it from a close friend!  I can’t remember most of what was said as I was still sort of in that newborn-baby-induced-sleep-deprived-fog but I think the gist of my message to him was “get over it” and “when you have a kid, I’m sure your wife will do it, too” and his wife heartily concurring with both points.

(I can say in his defense that his exposure to my breastfeeding my kids is probably his first real experience with such a relationship.  I may have been his first close friend to have a baby, and while his brother had a baby before I did, I’m pretty sure she was formula-fed.  This was new territory for him.  And since he’s so opinionated open and communicative, he was eager to share his point of view with me.)

It’s funny to reflect on that now, because his wife, my very good friend, is due to have their first baby — technically in a month but really, anytime soon.  She is 100% totally determined to breastfeed, so good for her.  And he’s come a long way… I’ve nursed in front of him a ton more since then, so either he’s more comfortable with it in general, or he just learned to keep his piehole shut.  Maybe it was a combination of the two… at first, shut piehole, but gradually getting desensitized until one day he realized “hey, this isn’t freaking me out.”  Regardless, he loves my kids like they are his own and they totally dig him too (and the same goes for his wife, who I know reads here and I don’t want her to think I don’t know she adores my kids.  I know.  I love them both immensely for the love and affection they show my children.)

Anyway, he’s going to be a great dad, even if he does get a little overprotective of his wife’s breasts from time to time.  I’d love to be able to reassure him by saying “Hey, don’t worry!  Nobody’s trying to look at your wife’s boobs” but the truth is, she’s got big frigging boobs.  Everyone looks at her boobs.  I look at her boobs.  And pregnancy has made them even bigger… who knows what her milk coming in will do to them.  So, sorry buddy, they are looking.  But they’d be looking anyway, even if there wasn’t a baby attached.  Don’t get too worked up over it.

Girl fight!

I started playing around in Facebook, and have come across some old friends.

Most surprising, well, maybe not if I really think about it, has been catching up with one girl, M, that I played basketball with in high school.

M and I were very on-again, off-again friends.  We were both very competitive (though she definitely had more natural talent at basketball than I did), both very hot-headed, and both very fun-loving and somewhat goofy.  When we got along, we got along really well.  When we didn’t get along, we were at each other’s throats.  We had spells where we were inseparable, and periods where we wouldn’t even look at each other — or where we would, but we would shoot daggers with our eyes.  She’s the only girl I’ve ever really gotten in a physical altercation with, catalyzed by living together for a weekend one summer while we attended a basketball clinic.

Now, we both are married, we both have kids (she has a 1 year-old), and we’ve been writing back and forth via Facebook catching up.  We’re finding the traits that fueled our love/hate relationship in high school are the same ones we’ve dealt with becoming mothers — finding those coping mechanisms so as to not terrorize our children with our tempers, mostly.  But other commonalities, too… finding the balance between our professional lives and motherhood, stuff like that.

Honestly, she’s not someone I’d wondered much about since high school, but as we’re catching up, I’m glad we’ve gotten in touch.  I think part of the reason we were at each other’s throats so much in high school was because we were so similar, but maybe a bit crippled by our own immaturities and adolescent attitudes.

A bad day

Today, overall, was a good day.  I was productive, I had some fun with the kids, and nobody got sick or died that I love.

There were bad parts to it.  Lane fell on the playground and bumped her head pretty good.  Jake refused to take a nap this afternoon.  A bug flew into my eye…. and I saw it coming.

Basically, a run-of-the-mill day as far as days go.

Then, there’s my friend Greg.  Not impressed with simplicity as far as having a good day or a bad day, he always tries to take it one step further.  You see, Greg does security stuff for the State Department.  He currently covers eastern Europe, but used to cover sub-Saharan Africa.  One of the countries he’s visited, Equatorial Guinea, is currently trying a guy for attempting a coup.  As people often do when they are being tried in a dictatorship for trying to overthrow said dictatorship, the guy on trial is attempting to deflect blame and name names, and in the last day or so of the trial, my dear friend Greg was falsely (he assures us) implicated in this coup attempt by a witness in the trial.  For all practical purposes Greg assures us this won’t get him sent to Gitmo or anything, or have any effect on him really, except that he won’t ever want to set foot in Equatorial Guinea ever ever again, lest the dictator bear a grudge.

Sort of makes my bug in the eye seem pretty tame.  Even though I never actually observed it leave my eye and it may be swimming around in my brain or something.

Sesame Place, Day 1

We got to Pennsylvania at about 2:00 p.m.  It was expected to be really rainy, so we’d sort of planned to play the afternoon by ear.  We could maybe go down to Philly and check out the art museum, or a cool children’s museum called the Please Touch Museum.  Or we could take advantage of the hotel pool for the afternoon, or hit the local mall and just stroll around.  Options abounded.  But once we got here, our room was not yet ready, and the rain seemed to be holding off for the afternoon, so since we have season’s passes we headed over to Sesame Place for a couple hours.  The kids got to go on every ‘dry’ ride once, we saw the Abby Cadabby show, and Lane got to hug Zoe and Baby Bear and Grover.  Just a generally smilific afternoon.  (And, let it be noted, you may only use the word “smilific” if you’ve spend the day in a place like Sesame Place.)

Then we came and checked into the hotel around 5:00, met up with Dave & Renee and the twins, who are in the adjoining room, so we got to enjoy a few minutes of toddler & preschooler screeches as they scurried through the adjoining room doors and discover the identical rooms on each side.

Once the novelty of the screeches abated, we headed out to dinner.  In some crazy hallucinogenic state we decided to take the whole crew to TGI Friday’s for dinner.  Yep, four adults and four short people.

Actually, it was good.  Once we sat down.  The restaurant’s promise of a 30 minute wait somehow became nearly 70 minutes, and if you’ve ever tried to entertain four very short people for that long just outside a TGI Friday’s…. well, it ain’t no picnic that’s for darn tootin’.  But once we were inside, we got the kids their food stat, ours came shortly after, we actually enjoyed a bit of adult conversation (smattered with the occasional talking-by-spelling-and-acronyms that seems to happen more as your kids get old enough to hear you speak a hundred words and zero in on the only word you don’t ever want them to repeat, EVER).

After that, we got a quickie dessert a la the McDonald’s drive-thru, and are now on to the oh-so-tantalizing fiasco that is Putting The Kids To Sleep In A Strange Place.  Has anyone figured this out?  Because I sure haven’t.  Right now it is after midnight and both kids are still awake, which on a normal night actually isn’t that obscene for our family, but they were up earlier than normal this morning and had a pretty busy day.  Naturally it doesn’t help that right after dinner, during the three minutes I ran into Target to get a couple snacks and a couple drinks that Frank let Jake fall asleep in the car.  Nor does it help that when I wanted to start bedtime, despite strong suggestions from me that Frank postpone or relocate such activity, that Frank insisted on studying in the room with a light on.  Can you tell I’m trying to pin this all on Frank??!  Well, I am.  I mean, come on.  Help me out a little here, dude.

So a bit ago, I literally threw up my arms in exasperation, gave both kids to Frank, and am sitting here on the hotel’s WiFi writing this and stewing in my own annoyance.  And Frank’s getting frustrated with the whole situation because he’s now personally vested in trying to get them to sleep.  Imagine that.

Assuming any of us get any sleep tonight, tomorrow should be a day filled with rides and water slides and lunch with the Sesame Street characters and hopefully more smilificness and not so much of oh-my-gosh-these-exhausted-kids-are-making-me-craziness.