Friday, August 22, 2008

Kids' Party Planning - Is It For Me?

Well, now Feeb went and put an idea in my head. I HATE it when she does that.

For the past two years, I have been a bit elaborate about Jack's birthday parties. No clowns or pony rides (yet), but there was musical entertainment last year.

Let's review. The first birthday was a "Jack"-o-Lantern theme, featuring a 7 layer cake carved into the shape of a pumpkin. This went a long with hand-made, from-scratch invitations to about 40 people. A good time was had by most, but mostly the infant liked the wrapping paper.

Last year was a music extravaganza. Again, the invites were a from-scratch ordeal (they always feature a picture of the birthday boy). Marc "The Marvelous Toy" Rossio was procured to entertain about 12 kids of various ages, and the goody bags consisted of every annoying instrument you can think of (train whistle, maracas, kazoos, you name it. Parents are STILL thanking me for that).

I show no signs of being able to be contained. This year the invitations required no rubber-stamping or ink pads - thank God. I did, however, burn 14 of Jack's favorite songs onto a CD and design the CD jacket to be the invitation. Feeb says I am criminally insane. The postage alone killed me.

So, in my journey to find out what I want to do in life, could i plan other kids' parties or do I just really like planning my own? Also, it would have to clearly state in my contract that as soon as the first guest arrives, I hit the door. Generally, I loathe other people's children. My few close friends are the exceptions and I would do theirs for free :)

It seems as if hoity-toity snooty and fruity Bexley would be the perfect place to launch such a business. If only I had the vaguest idea of how to do it. I am going to put it on a list with "Writing a reality book for working moms who think they want to stay home." I dunno, would YOU hire me?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I Am NOT Stay At Home Mom Material

It has taken me three years to be able to make this statement: I am not stay-at-home-mom material. And that is OK (I think).

Jack's preschool/daycare is closed this week for a general once-a-year hosing down and teacher inservice week. This means it has been all Jack n' Mommy all the time. Duuuuuuuuude.

I can;t even remember the beginning of the week. I had a babysitter Monday morning so I could get errands done, then we spent the afternoon on a walk and playing outside. Tuesday we went to COSI for their $1 day (YAY COSI - Excellent idea!). Wednesday we stopped by the JCC to see Jack's class list and then by Auntie Sara's to see the cousins visiting from Detroit. After his nap we went to Easton to play in the fountain. Today I had a babysitter for 2 hours while I had a doc appt. and picked up the goody bag stuff for his b-day party and then we're going to Mandie's after naptime. Jesus, I am exhausted just typing all of this.

We have done all of the above and the child STILL drays me about wanting every piece of my attention the entire time he is awake. I admit it: I am selfish. I need a few minutes, no, MORE than a few minutes of non-Wiggles time during the day. So I cannot wait until Monday, when Jack is merrily on his way back to preschool/daycare and Mommy is going to drink. Whatever they pay our lovely teachers, it is not ever going to be enough.

Still no word on being gainfully employed, however. I applied for a job with the Humane Society that I stoked about, but I haven't heard anything yet. So, I use my time by cooking for the Obama campaign volunteers (bad news. They now have my DNA. I inadvertently grated some of my thumb into the baked ziti I am making for them tonight), getting myself in way over my head in Sisterhood and generally over-planning yet another of Jack's birthday parties. Oh, and Face Book. Can't forget the Face Book addiction/huge time-water. I really need a job :)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sciatica + Arthritis = No Sleep

Duuuuuuuuude. My hips hurt. And not for any GOOD reason, either. Finally went to the doctor on Monday and was diagnosed with sciatica - a hot-poker pain from my lower back shooting down through my right knee. Add that to the arthritis that every Fleming woman eventually gets in her hips, and I am hopped up an pain relievers that aren't relieving the pain, but making me a little loopy.

Along with the arthritis that every Fleming Woman gets, we made a nifty discovery at this year's Flem Fest. You can tell a Fleming Gal because we will bare at least 2 of the following three distinct characteristics:
1. A chin that is not quite double, but not quite a waddle. More like a baby goiter. Yum!
2. The Fleming nose. My sister has the bony proof of her DNA sitting square in the middle of her face. I have my dad's nose. Not much better, but not nearly as distinct.
3. Funky-ass toes. No other way to describe them briefly. Many of us have second toes that are so much longer than out big toes that custom shoes may, indeed, be in order. What the hell? I didn't realize I needed a "pointer toe." And yet, I have two. So do almost all of my first cousins, apparently.

Which brings us to the fact that these family reunions are actually a necessity. With a family of 9 kids and so many cousins floating around, you need to show up once a year and take a DNA census - to eyeball your kin and make sure you don;t end up dating them later on by accident. Matching 2 sets of Fleming DNA, I am quite sure, would result in the formation of a prehensile tail.

In other news...

I canceled my interview with the Bar Assn. this morning. Part of what was freaking me out is that they have an awful reputation as a place to work. Why was I interviewing at a place where I didn't want to work? Because I felt as if I needed to be going through the motions. Sending out resumes, going to interviews, getting rejected. Yadda Yadda. I DID apply for a position with the Capital Area Humane Society as a program assistant. This is more my speed. The other thing that was freaking me out is that I have no desire to go back to the level of stress of responsibility I had pre-Jack. Yet membership is all I have really excelled at. I am still looking to stay in the NFP world (apparently I just don;t ever want to make good money), but take my search down yet another notch to positions with less responsibility. This doesn't seem to elicit a gag reflex or the need to pass out when I think about it. A step in the right direction, don't you think?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Alice Down the Rabbit Hole...

I have an interview today at 10:30 am at The Ohio Bar Assn. To be honest, I am not looking forward to it. Their reputation in the not-for-profit world - at least 5-7 years ago - is that it was a pretty crummy place to work. After a meltdown this evening of epic proportions (mine, not the toddler's), Osi suggested I cancel the interview. It interview. It is interviews in general.

I feel lost.

I hate knowing that I worked so hard and went into so much debt to finish school just to make crock pot dinners and potty train. I know being a mommy is an important job, but still, over $20K in loans...I should be doing something with that to bring in the cash, right?

On the other hand, I am absolutely terrified of going back to work. So much so that I feel stuck, almost paralyzed. I HATE being the "new kid" and being the only person who doesn't know someone in any situation. Especially when everyone else knows everyone else and they are all just forming opinions about me. Also, what if the Bar really DOES suck and I hate my job (doesn't everyone? It's the American way.)? I fear not being qualified and mucking up a job, a child and a marriage in the process.

On still another hand, I can't justify Jack going to daycare 3 days a week if I am not working. Money going out, no money coming in on my part. Jack does enjoy it and I believe he is better-adjusted kid because of it, but could we really tolerate one another for 365 days a year, non-stop? And what the hell kind of mother says those things?

Osi swears we can get by until Jack starts school if we dip into funds set aside for Jack's college. So, what? Jack can go into debt so that I can sit on my ass three days a week?

You can see how this is a slippery slope of a black hole. More often than not lately, I find myself lying in bed dealing with stomach pains caused by the white-hot poker of self-doubt.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Love My Little Weirdo

We attended Nicholas Allen's 5th birthday party on Monday night. It was a superhero theme, but we are notsomuch into costumes, so we just showed up as ourselves - super enough :) Let me preface this entire post by saying that Feeb did an awesome job with the party and just about every kid seemed to be having a raucous good time.

My little guy was completely overwhelmed. There were a lot more older kids than we anticipated and they were all in costumes (many with masks) all charging around, being loud and hitting one another with swords, light sabers, whips, you name it. Jack freaked out in his own little way. Not in the meltdown kind of way that normal 2 year olds do. But by going directly to - you guessed it - the doors.

We spent the majority of the party trying desperately to find a door to open and close to make everything in our world OK. At one point, the birthday boy - in complete Batman regalia, including mask and supercool wings - got right up in Jack's face and growled. Fantastically entertaining for a 5 year old. Jack went into shutdown mode. Poor little guy. At that point I felt like I was no longer doing my job as a mommy because Jack obviously didn't feel safe.

We stayed for about an hour - long enough to open and close every door on the first floor about a million times and scarf a few cheesy poofs, and then bid our friends adieu. He and Derek were by far the youngest kids at the party, so I guess his reactions were age-appropriate (although Frat Boy Ulrich was partying it up in the sandbox), but I still felt self-conscious that he should have been having a good time, running and laughing and playing with other kids.

I so admire Erin;s parenting style. She is so laid back and accepts her kids for who they are. I am still living by the "normal" rules - something I know I shouldn't be doing and, with Jack, i just CAN'T - for both of our well being. He's a sensitive kid. And that is OK. I just want him to be happy. I am thinking that may mean skipping a few birthday parties in the future.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Flem Fest 2008

My Mom's family reunion was this past weekend. Generally a good time. It used to be an every other year event -and people were happy to have it that way - until my uncle, or his new wife, one of the two, decided they needed to see the kin annually. Thus, the yearly trek to Akron (because it is now, apparently, always at my uncle's place).

At every gathering thus far, there has been some startling revelation. One year, it was that the brood of 9 had a half-sister (Hello Half-Aunt Dorothy, if you are reading). The next it was that my grandfather's name wasn't really William, it was George (although that is still under contest by some family members). No great revelations made this year, unless I missed them, but I did discover that my father can chase - and keep up with - a toddler while holding a beer. In my current phase of life, that counts as a marketable skill!

It was great to see my cousin Kate, the nearly-Broadway producer. She brought her new husband, Ted, who is CLEARLY "our people." I mean that in the best possible way. I guess it helps that he was introduced to us little by little. Only the older generation of Flemings was invited to the wedding. The entire onslaught of country cousins was on hand to greet him at Flem Fest and, I must say, our little Brooklyn design-geek held up well! He didn't startle when spoken to and made easy jokes with the rest of us. One never knows when a Fleming woman marries, what you are going to get. Check out The Show for more on that. I maintain that that is an anomaly. All the rest of us are Alpha Bitches (again, said with love).

If I have one regret it is that we had to leave too soon. My uncle insists on having the reunion at a park on a lake. Beautiful, yes. Toddler-friendly, HELL NO. Much of the time was spent with Osi or I chasing Jack and generally trying to keep him out of the water. Upon leaving, I asked my mother if, when i got home that evening, it would be too soon to send an announcement that Chez Zimmer would be hosting Flem Fest 2009. She thought so. Maybe next week.

I would love to have an extended bash, if only to spend more time with the cousins that I adore. I don't seem to get up to Akron to see Nikki or Jen nearly as often as I'd like and we all have our own lives, Kate is also quite grand and I would like to see her more often, too. As we get older, I hope we do make more time for one another. It's nice when you can consider your family your friends as well :)

Friday, August 8, 2008

I Have Found MY PEOPLE!

OK. I'll admit it. Amidst the mocking of my non-band friends, I ventured to the theatre (yes, the movie theatre) to watch the Drum Corps International (DCI) Quarterfinals competition in all its IMAX goodness. I have officially kicked up the Geek Factor to notches unknown.

For me, it was 4 hours (yes, 4 HOURS) of bliss. The theatre was just over half full with other band geeks. I have found my people! Where the hell have they been hiding? I would say there was a good mix of high school kids and people my age and older. The guy next to me had a running commentary going on his cell phone with someone who was actually AT the competition. When there was an especially spectacular move or a fabulous horn line hit, people in the audience - at the theatre, several hundred miles from the competitors - actually APPLAUDED. OK, I was in Band Fag Heaven.

Since I am the only band geek in my group of friends, I will cut the commentary short, except to say that Phantom Regiment got screwed. Their "Spartacus" show should have won. Blue Devils suck.

Also on tap this weekend: Tonight is the Fair Gorge. Our friend Tom has been looking forward to it for weeks. A group of us are going to the fair just for the deep-fried awesomeness that comes on a stick. I completely anticipate coming home bloated.

Finally - my real people (although some of them I do not acknowledge in public): The Fleming Family Reunion, better known as FlemFest, is tomorrow. Lord help us all. In an election year, they are putting my dad, the right wing crazy on a peninsula with my Left wing nutsos - my aunt and cousin. It will be a battle of the passive-aggressive - wearing political t-shirts - and the, well, AGGRESSIVE-aggressive, battling their points out in public. I hope this is not the case. I just want to say "Holla!" to my cousins and take a ride on the boat :)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

This Post Has No Name

My friend Sandy just asked about the situation with my mom, which made me realized I hadn't blogged about calling her. I did call her and we made nice. Her relationship with Jack is never going to be the same as her relationship with Donovan. The best I can hope for is "same but different" (insert hand gestures here, Tata Snappy). So, at least we're back to what passes as normal in my family.

Headed to the JCC pool this afternoon, for a thoroughly enjoyable time with the Little Man. When he is in a good mood, he is such an unbelievable light and joy in my life. Even when he's in "a mood" he's still pretty good stuff.

Dad rolls into town tomorrow afternoon. He and Osi are taking off to Cleveland to watch the Browns' training camp. Today is his birthday, so I attempted to make him a cherry pie. We'll see how that turned out.

Lordy, the post is so boring it is putting me to sleep. 'Night, y'all.

Stalking Justin Roberts

Jack has decided that his new favorite singer is Justin Roberts. He would rather listen to "Airplane of Food" than Marc Rossio's "Bokor Tov"... FINALLY. And, I have to admit, Justin's lyrics are witty in the way of Barenaked Ladies (uh, PRE-cocaine arrest, of course). Also, the melodies are incredibly catchy.

Justin has been in Columbus three times (that we know about) since April. He started at the JCC Pre-school fundraiser. We skipped that because Jack was still deep into his fascination with doors. I was not spending $35 per person so that we cold spend the entire concert working the door. In June, Justin played at a church in Clintonville/Beechwood. We attended the free event, got great seats and Jack loved it. Last night, Mr. Roberts was at the Northwest Branch of the Worthington library - again free. It was PACKED and Jack made it through about 45 minutes (he, like Mommy, gets a little claustrophobic). So, we're starting to show up everywhere Justin performs in Columbus - even if it isn't remotely close to us.

Add to this daily visits to his Web site to watch the "Airplane of Food" and "Pop Fly" videos and we have a full-on case of stalking, I think. Also, he has a cute little music geek thing goin' on with the shaggy hair (hey, Mr. Marc has this too, is it a requirement for kids' musicians??) and the cute little granny glasses. I am sure that off stage he smoke, drinks and curses like a sailor on leave. Heh heh...makes me giggle just thinking about it.

Anyway, if you have kids, I highly recommend you check him out. Especially if he is playing in your area anytime soon. Hus concerts feature what he calls "Kid Mosh Pits" where kids can just dance, jump around and go crazy - thus sending them home to you quite exhausted. Yet another reason to love Justin!