Tuesday, May 29, 2007

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neghborhood

Wow. That was FAST. In five days flat, I've turned into one of those women who is out in her (tasteful) PJs at 8 a.m. watering her landscaping. Ask anyone who knows me, or who knew me at my old house, and they will tell you that I hate gardening. I hate it with such a fiery passion that my best friend once gave me a yearlong gift certificate for her gardening services for my birthday and it was seriously like the best gift ever.

But I bought this house from a Rabbi with a green thumb. And I know that Rabbi. And the Rabbi stops by frequently. And the Rabbi saw his precious flowers dying. And he guilted me the way only a Rabbi can. Am I going to be the one to let his pansies commit hari kari on the front porch? Hell no! No way am I going to squeak by with good deeds and truthfulness only to get to the Pearly Gates and have Ol' Pete tell me that I would have been golden except that I let the Rabbi's posies go to pot. Nosiree. My butt is out there in the A.M. drowning the damn things just to be sure.

Also, I am a walker now. My poor, obese dog has no idea what hit her. "WHAT?!," she thinks, " We are walking again? Surely, Mommy, you cannot be serious. We walked yesterday. " The poor thing will have to beg twice as many Cheerios off of the toddler just to maintain fighting weight.

Still, I have nothing on the gal that goes past my window every morning with her dog on rollerblades. To clarify, SHE is on rollerblades. Not the dog. Although, that would be mighty impressive and I would not put it past the overachievers in this neighborhood. I love the new digs, but this place gives a whole new meaning to keeping up with the Jonses.

Monday, May 28, 2007

We're In!

Oy Gevalt! We survived Black Thursday. May I say publicly and profusely that I could not have done this move without Erin - who watched Jack from 8:30- a.m. until 4:30 p.m. - and Ellen - who took the dinner shift. I am forever in their debt.

We are in the house and even managed to get most of the boxes unpacked. There are some, of course, that will remained packed, shoved to the dark recesses of the basement until Jack discovers them when moving us into "The Home." But those are his problem now, baby! There are pictures on the walls, clothes in the closets and, as of this afternoon, food in the fridge. Lord help me, I've become a WalMart shopper. Only because the Krogers on this end of town are super scary. You could not pay me enough cash money to step foot in the one on Alum Creek after sundown.

Friday night turned into an impromptu party. I am not exactly sure how, but it was a hoot, complete with the house's former owners. Mom, Dad, and my sister Melissa and her family were here unpacking. We had told JD and Ellen to stop by and we'd grill up something for dinner. Then Gary and Judi called to see if they could bring dinner over. Since we were already grilling, we said sure. Then the Brickners showed up. We had a 14 person makeshift housewarming and it was really very cool. We still have to schedule a date for the actual party.

OK, this post is boring even me today, so I'll post more when I am more rested and have something witty to say :) Suffice it to say that you should all stop over and say hello. We miss you!

Monday, May 21, 2007

This is what she has been so busy doing...

I have to take time out of packing today to post because if I don't I may actually drive to my SIL's house and cause her serious bodily harm.

Throughout the past two weeks my friends and, most recently, my parents, have been busting their collective humps to help us with our impending move. Above, you'll find what Sara has been doing.

Not once has she called to inquire how the packing has been going, if she could keep J for an hour or two so I could get some stuff done, if we could use any help at all. I thought - stupidly, apparently - that this is what family was supposed to do. I thought we were all supposed to pitch in for one another when the going gets tough. Not go out to a farm and flipping four-wheel!

Also in the past two weeks I have become so very appreciative of the friends I have. The cobbled-together links from our collective pasts that we now call "family." This whole experience has caused us to take a step back, inhale sharlply and go "whoa." We are amazed at the generosity of those who are constantly offering time and help, even though they are busy and have little ones of their own.

The situation with Sara - and Naomi, since she is in town too - is heartbreaking. I thought I was beyond getting my feelings hurt by these insensitive people. But they keep coming up with new, mystifying ways to crap all over Osi and I don't know how much longer I can just sit by silently and watch it happen. You can only watch someone you love get hurt so many times before you come out, guns blazing.

So I hope Sara is enjoying her joyride. Because she is riding out of our lives for good. I just wish she didn't look so damn happy about it.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Am I Cut Out for This?

Am I the only one who wonders, on a regular basis, if I am cut out for this Mommy gig?

J and I went to Polaris today to pick out a birthday gift for Auntie Naomi. While Jack is all about endless laps around the perimeter of the mall, as soon as we actually enter a store, the shrieking begins. I can't blame him, he is a man after all and shopping is not in his genes. Do MOGs have it any better, I wonder? Do girls sit quietly in their strollers while pondering the endless outfit combinations at Banana Republic? But I digress...

After quickly deciding that a gift certificate was going to have to do, I bravely - in hindsight we'll edit that to insanely - headed to the food court. I have noticed lately that I eat like a homeless person. While trying to feed or entertain J, I stuff whatever is in front of me in my face as if I haven't seen food in weeks and may never, in fact, see it again. This from a gal that, because I am "fluffy, " used to take great pains to eat daintily and in small portions so that people around me would gasp and wonder aloud "Why, how did she get to be so large? She eats so little and with such good manners?" Now I just have the crazed look of a woman who would like to devour 3 bites of gyro while it is still just a little warm. Needless to say, the shrieking continued at the food court.

We completely bypassed the germ pit. There were way too many kids in there today and J was already 9/10 of the way to Meltdown Mode, so why add that last tenth? On our way to the car, I passed many other mommies. I looked at them. I watched them. I searched for any sign that they, too, were questioning if they might not be cut out for this.

The mother of three who sat nursing on a bench in the middle of the mall had a far away look in her eye, but I have seen the look on many nursing moms. I think that is Milk Bliss. Speed Walk Mom seemed content to barrel through the crowd and shed the pounds, her toddler happily munching Goldfish crackers (whole grain, I'm sure). Other mommies in the germ pit were either watching their kids play or playing right along with them or making sure they weren't being assaulted by the kids whose moms were reading.

None of them seemed to have the bags under their eyes that they could feel. None of them seemed to be struggling to be putting one foot in front of the other. Not one of them seemed to want to plead with heir child "Please if you are just quiet for 5 more minutes Mommy swears she will not go ballistic and have her own meltdown right here in the mall."

Inevitably, once the cool breeze of freedom hit J's face in the parking lot, he was fine. Dude just does not like to shop. It is my fault for trying to make a shopper out of him. So as he giggled and danced in the back seat on the way home, I regrouped. Maybe I am cut out for the Mommy gig. Maybe it's the shopper role I'd better rethink :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Seven Days and Counting...

Remember that May 1 post where I wandered aimlessly around the house not knowing what to pack? We have officially hit the other end of the spectrum. While J was taking his 90 minute morning nap, I managed to pack up a good deal of the kitchen. Once he awoke, I moved upstairs. My closet is now bare as well as all but 2 drawers (hey, a gal needs pjs and, well, drawers - TMI?). Is it wrong to want a box big enough to just dump ALL of the remaining crap into and then just sort it out at the new place?

The poor dog is getting anxious, too. Fran wanders around, following me from room to room with a look of "Hey, what are you doing with that?" on her face. She wants to know why everything is going into the apparently tasty brown boxes. With the amount of boxes in our home at this point, I am amazed there is anything left to pack. I've created a bit of a claustrophobic maze for us into which both the toddler and the dog occasionally disappear.

On the bright side of life, I have procured a summer babysitter to come every Monday from 1-5 and every Friday from 9-5. You can't see me, gentle reader, but rest assured I am in my chair this very moment dancing a jig. Stephanie will begin helping us out next Friday so that we can really unpack the heck out of the house. Jack loves her. We love her. She loves Jack. It is a lovefest all around. What a great situation to stumble upon! We're still hoping to get J into the JCC sometime soon to help with socialization, but this certainly will help me out in the next few months. Now, if only I could pay her extra to cram some of this stuff into boxes...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Baby's First Shearing

Tired of the WrestleMania that takes place once a month in order to trim bangs and reveal J's ears, we finally enlisted a professional today. As The Hulk was not available, we tried Cookie Cutters haircuts (which I think has been sold to Snip, Buzz, Bangs) and had a good experience.

He got to sit in a little airplane peddle car, watch Baby Einstein (his preferred form of baby crack) and get bubbles blown at him from a machine. All good things, according to him. He was a trooper. It all went swimmingly until she whipped out the clippers. This is another place where MOGs (mothers of girls) may have it easier (also in the cute outfit buying department). No buzz clippers required, unless you've named your daughter Sinead or, more recently, Britney. Jack was not a fan. It involved head holding. It involved tears. I am happy to report, however, that no blood was shed. Not J's. not mine, not the stylist's.

What was lost, however, was a ton of hair. We could make Osi a darn fine toupee of luxurious, curly locks. What was also lost was any remaining look of a baby. He is, for better or worse, a toddler now. A big boy doing big boy things like getting a big boy haircut.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Fantastic Things (and a rant)

I have some fantastic friends. If you're reading this, you are probably one of them (or have wandered here randomly, so welcome). I mean some really fantastic friends. They give The Fantastic Four a run for their money insomuch as there are way more than four of them and also they have way better, and more practical, superpowers.

While spontaneously bursting into flame is always a crowd-pleaser, it has never talked me off the proverbial ledge like my friend Sandy has about a million times. There is a card I have purchased recently that simple says "You're a Human Sparkler, You Are." That completely sums up Sandy. She damn near literally lights up a room. If that isn't as close to the Human Torch as you can get without setting yourself ablaze, then I don't know what is.

And although super-human strength would be pretty cool (especially given the impending move), not even The Thing would have the emotional wherewithal to offer to babysit my child all day during said move plus her own two kids, like my buddy Erin. She'll get in there and do the physical and emotional heavy lifting with ya.

Naomi really is the modern day Wonder Woman. Between the job, from-scratch fantastic goodies, well-mannered and incredibly smart children and piercing, quick intellect and sense of humor herself, all she's missing are the fancy bracelets and the invisible jet.

I prefer to think of Jenny and I as the Wonder Twins. Besides claiming, in a fit of narcissism, that we are the funniest people we know, she gets me on a very visceral level. On a level that only those of a shared trauma (like surviving a busted magazine venture in the deep south) can. And man, lemme tell you, if I had to move into a commune with one other family (thus negating the general premise of a commune, as there'd only be two families) it would most definitely be the Fiore-Jensens. Plus, the Wonder Twins had that monkey Gleek. Y'all know how I loves the monkeys.

I marvel on a regular basis at all the Mandie has been able and continues to accomplish. Not only does she have the best sense of humor of anyone I know (meaning that she gets the political highbrow jokes but will guffaw with you over a good fart joke, too), but she is highly-educated, a fantastic mother with a beautiful family, working in a field that she loves and in the process of settling down in a great home. While the chick in Kill Bill seemed to have mad multi-tasking kick-butt skills, girlfriend has nothing on Mandie.

Ellen is absolutely my secret confidante mommy friend. I absolutely do not know what I would have done without her during the first year of Jack's life. I could, and still can, call her and say things like "So Jack fell off the bed yesterday" or "J ingested a package of staples" and she won't judge, gasp or call children's services. Also, she'll inject things into conversations so slyly funny that you'll laugh a) because they are so slyly funny and b) you now realize that she is so quick and witty and you are so slow and dumb. I don't have a super hero analogy for Ellen because she is so Zen, where action heroes are all chaos.

While I must to compare Cristal to Catwoman for her smooth moves and sleek va-va-voom that all of us frumpy mommies envy, she is no villain. I've always admired her ability to say what's on her mind, get results and have a smile on her face - all usually at the same time. Another one who is wickedly funny.

So, while these posts are usually full of complaints about the buggers who are buying our house, today I am giving props my friends, for whom I am and will always be, eternally grateful. However...

Here is the rant.

My sister-in-law Sara will never, ever make the list above. As I mentioned, Erin has offered to watch Jack the entire day while we move (Mandie and Ellen both offered shifts, too, God bless you!). All of these gals have kids. Sara has no kids. No job. Not a damn thing to do all day and lives 2 minutes from our new house. I am guessing she will be over there in my hair half the day on the day we move. When I mentioned needing help, she said she could watch him the day we closed, but not the day we moved, because a full day would "just be too much."

I understand J is a lot of energy. We purchased a gate for when we're over there. She has toys because she basically raises her 3 grandkids when they are there for extended stays (ages newborn, 3 and 5, but my toddler is TOO MUCH). Why couldn't she just help us out instead of us having to burden Erin? I dunno. I really don't. If I could eliminate this woman from my life, I would. It is stressing me out just writing about her, so I'll stop. Thanks for letting me rant, Oh Blog Universe...

Friday, May 4, 2007

Our Basement is a Portal to Hell

I'll give the credit to the post title to my college roommate Naomi. But the fact remains that the home inspection report on our current death trap came back today and, apparently, the crawl space below our family room may very well be a portal into the afterlife.

We know that the folks buying the house are cash poor (hey, aren't we all?) because we negotiated with them on percentage, not price. Basically, they were worried about closing costs. They don't have the money for them. So, now the home inspection comes back and they want 6 windows replaced, and a new sump pump (which is crap, because ours works fine and we've never had water in the basement), the electrical box brought to code (AGAIN - screwed by Conrad! The little bastard totally should have caught that on OUR inspection!!!) and wood hauled out of the crawl space.

My father believes that all of this is a collective bargaining chip to get either the price lowered or money thrown at them. I am so emotionally through with this house that their ploy may very well work. Our relator is offering them $500 to take the house and leave us the hell alone. I am guessing this is phase 2 of negotiations. Erg. I hate this process. Have I mentioned how much I love the people from whom we are buying our house? We all agreed to play nice and make it easy on one another. The snarky little weasels buying this crap hole didn't get the memo.

My cure for all of this is to go to Erin's tomorrow and drink way too many Margaritas at her Fifth of May Celebration. I will continue my investigation as to whether she actually brought Phil back to Ohio with her, or if his existence is just an elaborate ruse. Then we will proceed to be home by 6 so that our tipsy butts can go out to celebrate Ellen's birthday. Ole'!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Que Sera Sera

I found out this afternoon that I am no longer a candidate for my old boss's job at the Society. That sucks. I have always said that if this was meant to be then it would be. It just didn't work out. However, if I couldn't get a job with people who know my strengths and have seen my best work, what chance do I have with those who don't know me?

Also, I am having a bit of SAHM panic. Every day I'm at home, I am thinking there is some young girl with a Norplant insert in her arm sitting in MY office getting MY paycheck. Yes, I realize that staying at home to raise J is a choice I made. I wouldn't change the choice. But I can't help thinking that if I had immediately gone back to work, that job would be mine with no questions asked. They wouldn't have even interviewed outside candidates. So, I am now worried about having to compete with people with unused birth canals for positions. Ug.

Actually, I am moving through the stages of grief - whatever those are - rather quickly. I did sadness and anger really fast. I skipped denial altogether. What is the phase where you want to egg the front of the building? Oh wait, I guess that's still a teeny bit of anger. Moving on...

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

What a Load of Crap...

Is it too late just to move out of our house and leave all of our stuff here? We've already decided that the "stuff" we have is just fine for this address but that the minute we move it to the new house it instantly becomes crap. So, really, the new people are better off with it. It's gold here.

Also, I don't want to pack it. It isn't that I don't want to pack it. It's that I don't know where to begin. Melissa came over to watch J today and I wandered around the house for 45 minutes peeking into every room thinking "Can I pack that? Hm , well, what if we need it?" At the end of almost an hour, my sister helpfully suggested that I might not have time to read two giant bookshelves worth of books in the next three weeks and that, perhaps, I might want to start there. Glad one of us has our head screwed on straight. She watched J for 5 hours today and I managed to pack up books, most of my winter clothes, the coat closet and some pots and pans. If I continue at this pace, we should be ready to move by February.

On the up side, our home inspection went exceedingly well. A HUGE thank you to Mandie and Phil for recommending Pillar to Post home inspection. If you ever use them, ask for Steve. As a bonus, he is also a professional trumpet player and a Barack Obama supporter. We have the inspection here tomorrow at 9 a.m. I am terrified that the inspector will announce that we have been living in a level of squalor not fit for rats and the potential buyers will run screaming from the deal. Did I mention I am not particularly a half-full kinda gal when it comes to luck? I guess we'll wait and see.