8/30/08

Kiddie Math

My day began with a phone call..."Hey, G, are you up for an adventure?"
It was my hippie friend, A, and she was calling, no doubt, from her converted vintage Mercedes named Minnie who now runs on "grease" (reconstituted veggie oil). Realizing there was an uncomfortable silence on my end of the line I responded with, "Uuuuhhhhhhh....."
The reason for my less than enthusiastic welcome to her opening was because I was in the midst of mentally running through today's agenda. I had just clothed myself in running gear and was FINALLY prepared for the challenge of muscling their combined 65 pounds around the neighborhood-I haven't done this all summer. I had also realized that I had to teach piano lessons today at my house and my babysitter cancelled last night. This left me with two too many children for an hour of lessons and an unavoidable recipe for disaster. Need to solve THAT problem pronto.
"...uuuuhhhhhh, what's goin' on?" I finished.
"Well, Minnie died. And the kids and I are stranded on a stretch of Highway near Cayucos. Could you come get us?"
I am rarely called on for help. And I am not leaving my friend and her kids stranded on the highway, obviously. But, the problem I'm grappling with before I respond is how to squeeze two more children and an adult into my already packed vehicle. And, OMG, I don't have time to change my hideous workout outfit. Nice.
Before I can think any more, I tell her, "I'm on my way."
And then, I take inventory of my options. My backseat is so narrow that the two "Britax Thrones" for my children take up more than half of the sliver of remaining seat. There's no way in hell any car seat is fitting between them. Maybe a kid. Definitely not a car seat.
No problem, it's just several miles on a busy highway with the most precious cargo packed into my car without safety restraints!!!!
Think, think!!!!
We were already in motion as I conducted this mental exercise in my head. Pulling out of the driveway, I thought, I have the luggage box up top- I could ask A to ride in...okay, too creative. The trunk?
I need to drop one kid off somewhere right now-this will solve my problem. Like a Mapquest page, my brain drew up a neighborhood map and tiny yellow stars appeared where families lived. Three tiny yellow stars. It's just a few minutes-I have to find somewhere to leave my kid. Probably my oldest kid. This is starting to feel a little Darwinist.
Did I mention I STILL don't have a cell phone? So I'm driving and can't call A to explain the hold up and I'm driving without knowing who's home or giving them any warning.
First house-no cars. They're not home. Second house, cars in driveway. Car leaving driveway. "Hi!" I yelled from my window, catching the mom's attention. In an attempt to sound casual and not 'could-you-take-my-kid-right-now-desperate', I asked, "What are you guys up to?"
This mom has a 4 year old and a 4 week old. She is currently in the darkest depths of motherhood, clawing her way back to some level of functional insanity. With deep circles under her eyes and a semi smile, she raised her coffee cup and said, "We're headed to Story Hour at the library." No dice.
I had semi success at the last house. The mom was home but the kids were not. Okay, honey, be good, I'll be back to get you someday. I mean, in a few minutes.
I revved down the highway to save my friend and her kids. And now, I have enough seats for them all.
(Stay tuned for the final episode of this Adventure Tomorrow)

8/28/08

Tech Trouble

Aside from my usual hangups, me and my technology haven't been getting along. Let me explain:
The year we moved into our beach house, and rendered ourselves broker than broke, I pined for an iPod. Christmas came and went and I was still drooling over iPods. Last year, by some miracle, I financed an iPod in September and had it paid off in time to present it to my uninterested husband for Christmas. "Merry Christmas!! Here's my new, I mean YOUR new iPod!"
John eventually warmed up to it on his early morning commute with full control of his musical playlists and I spent my evenings lovingly adoring our iPod whenever I had the chance.
Last week I had the good fortune to have the iPod in my car! The girls and I ran errands through San Luis Obispo rocking out to Phoenix and The Rolling Stones. The next morning, the iPod went missing. The car tuner was plugged in to my dashboard but the cradle was empty. Someone robbed my cradle!! Someone took my iPod!!! Never mind the fact that I am pretty sure I left it alone in the Costco parking lot in an unlocked vehicle.
It's no surprise that I haven't recovered from the loss one week later. I want to run right out and buy a replacement but I'm afraid I will be too careless with it again. Instead, I've subjected myself to another stretch of iPod-less life while drooling over every technologically blessed passerby. So, now that I've realized that EVERYONE has an iPod(except me)-why on earth do they get stolen? I reasoned that they've become the new cel phone. When cel phones first came out they were a big ticket item that proved valuable for thieves or "bad apples" (as we call them in toddler land) to steal. But honestly, WHO has their cel phone stolen these days? Why? They come free with a signed 2 year contract to the Phone Devil! Homeless people have cel phones.
So having recently acquired an iPod I thought I was on the tail end of this novel technological treasure. EVERYONE has iPods. WHO has their iPod stolen? Homeless people have iPods. Apprently, one "bad apple" needed an iPod more than me. (I hope his soul is rotting in his chest, I hope he feels sick to his stomach everytime he plays my Waifs Album, you evil homewrecker you!! May Karma come to call, bastard!)
Then my cel phone took a milk bath and never recovered. When I marched into the Verizon store to plead my case with the full intent of walking out with a beautiful, shiny new phone, I didn't expect to meet the "No No Man". But, he was there, waiting for me and every time I suggested a phone he replied with, "No no, that's not how it works." OR "No no, you're not eligible for these phones until February." OR "No no, you can't do that. You have to file an insurance claim to get a REPLACEMENT phone." I HATE the No No Man. And I STILL don't have a cel phone!
I left the Verizon store in a less than good mood and decided to cheer myself up with a car wash. This is heaven for my oldest child, who LOVES the colored soap suds and the whirling brushes. Apparently, my youngest child (I learned) does NOT find the car wash appealing. At all. In fact, it makes her scream. A lot.
When I pulled out of the car wash I'm pretty sure my hair was on fire and I'd aged 23 years. Shelby was screaming at the screamer and the little baby screamer looked traumatized for life. I stepped out of the vehicle to gather my thoughts and that's when I saw it. The perfect end to a perfectly terrible week. My fancy retractable antenna was dangling from a long cord and dragged, lifeless on the ground beside my back tire.
"You have got to be F%$*ing KIDDING MEEeeeeeeeee!!!!"
I'm pretty sure that's what I yelled into the packed 5:00 pm gas station parking lot. Perfect. iPodless, cel phone-less, and now I don't even have a god-damned radio!!!!!!!!!!

8/27/08

Speedos in the Dark

It is 5:30 a.m. and I'm staring out the window into the dark. I've almost finished folding the whole laundry basket. I am cold and anxious. I'm hoping my new MB Super Friend got my message last night and picks me up this morning. I am already wearing my swimsuit under my sweats and my bag rests by the door. I shiver at the thought of a cold pool in the dark morning.
Yesterday, my cell phone took a bath in baby formula (no further explanation necessary). Then I transferred its lifeless shape to the sun baked porch in hopes of a revival. When I retrieved it from it's deathbed in the evening, the once slim battery was swollen with curdled milk and impossible to clip back into position on the phone. No cell phone. No life line. No phone numbers.
When John arrived home that evening and announced that he was no longer leaving for work at 5 a.m. I was overjoyed for two reasons. First of all, he wouldn't be putting in ANOTHER 14 hour work day to come home cranky and exhausted. And secondly, I could UN-cancel my swim workout in the morning. Hooray! The miraculous preservation of Me Time prevails.
So here I sit, in the early morning dark of my living room, folding laundry in sweats and a Speedo (not necessarily in that order), anticipating the arrival of Super Friend's minivan, hopeful she got my late night message, nervous she's already on her way to the pool without me.

8/25/08

A Smarter Birthday

When we celebrated our first daughter's Big #1 Birthday, you would have thought we were reenacting our wedding. The guest list spanned a whole gamut of sources including family, friends, neighbors, extended family, and whomever else jumped at an invite for our daughter's first birthday where there would be a keg, I mean cake.
There were, of course, white table linens, extravagant dishes, and the unavoidable tiered cake. I think I have a picture of it somewhere:




Those are perfectly edible red ladybugs all over the top there. Made by yours (psycho) truly. Uh huh, I AM certifiably nuts.
And here's what my overwhelmed daughter thought of all this craziness:




"Are you serious? WHO are all these people?"

I'd like to think that I live and learn, reflecting on my mistakes, improving upon my decision making. Isn't that how we get wrinkles??? I've certainly earned plenty of those.
With each passing year, I attempt to scale back my birthday psychosis. This year, we celebrated our youngest daughter's first birthday. A whole new kid to screw up with my neurotic party planning habits.
This year, I sent out invitations... 9 of them. I served some extravagant dishes, two from the bakery, and one from scratch. I did bake the dessert: cupcakes. And I'm embarrassed to say that my organic ass made them from a Springfield brand box. Sshhh, please don't tell the birthday girl!!!! Momma's turning over a new packaged and over processed birthday leaf.
But wait! I made the frosting myself.
Here's the resulting product:




And the verdict:


Some things are better off simple. This Crazy Party Planner is catching on...slowly.