All Alone: Update

It is past noon and I've baked four dozen sugar cookies and beautifully decorated 6 just the way I wanted to. I have visited the bathroom two times, alone. All that alone time in the bathroom led me to realize these potties need some attention-so I've cleaned them both and their respective areas being sure to leave the toilet seats UP just because today no toddler will drown in them. I am currently enjoying my newly cleaned kitchen appliances...with NO hand prints (for now). I've made 9 phone calls, most of which were for pleasure to share with my nearest and dearest the fact that I could talk without that high pitched feedback that usually occurs in my house during phone conversations. I tended the garden in peace...and that's when I realized I missed my kids gasping at the latest growth of their corn or crunching up a newly ripened strawberry. I noticed the carrots had sprouted but I couldn't point it out to anybody. Whaaa-whaa.
STOP YOUR CRYING! You have exactly 4.75 hours left to reminisce your PMS (Pre Mommy Self)!!! Get to work, girl. Next stop, the great outdoors for a stroller-less run and then maybe a jaunt into town to run multiple errands without buckling and unbuckling carseats. But first a long quiet shower...Wonder what that will be like!?

PMS, Completely Alone

I am alone. Completely alone.
I can't believe it! The girls were happily united with their grandparents yesterday for an overnight visit and I somehow found a new sliver of happiness in this blanket of life. A break.
I drove the whole way home with one eye on the completely vacant interior of my car, a little skeptical of my reality bubble bursting and two giant butterfly laden car seats appearing complete with blond babbling children. But it's so quiet here. I can almost recall what I was like before I ever introduced a car seat to my life.
And now, I will channel my "Pre-Mommy-Self" (aka PMS) and meet my husband at home for an afternoon beer...and conversation...and a visit to the bathroom that doesn't involve an audience. And then, my PMS goes shopping, ALONE. I was so alone, I could think, and thinking reminded me that I still needed a gift for my husband's birthday. Not only was I shopping, I was productive!!!!!
When John and I reunited we headed into town to discover our dining destiny. I say destiny because we didn't make reservations anywhere for fear the commitment would be the thing to undo all this bliss. Who knew we were so superstitious? Because the parenting handbook warns that the minute you pick up the phone and reserve a table at a restaurant, your children will spike high fevers and all trace of grandparents !POOF! vanishes.
So we tried a new restaurant in Morro Bay, Giancarlo's. Let's just say that the locale and the giant green awning over the entrance do nothing for their image. But the bar and restaurant areas are warmly lit with loud upbeat Italian Opera music and boisterous conversations, the place was packed. I actually checked my cel phone before we got seated in case the babysitter called....oh wait! There is no babysitter!!! Let me take a minute to express my sincere gratitude for grandparents. And seeing as we are in yet ANOTHER babysitting conundrum at the moment, I must share my opinions on the unavoidable time clock of a date night when you know you still have to calculate the sitter's payment, tiptoe in the house and whisper your questions about how much they ate and what time they went to sleep, and then wring your hands all night in fear that your "relaxing evening" will be interrupted by a wakeful child. It's as if your only time out is the moment you pull away from the house, because after that, it's just sand in the hourglass before you're back "on duty". Back to my point...
And then the waiter was overbearing and interrupted us, a lot. And then the food was, well, just food. This was not a divine culinary experience, and the bill wasn't so easy to swallow either. Don't get me wrong, I made a point to enjoy as much of my evening out as possible. Until...ENTER the most obnoxiously flamboyant British cyclist in a black biking helmet who wanders aimlessly around the room striking up a conversation with everyone. He's so loud you can't hear yourself think and he's sing songing his high pitched ENDLESS chatter all around our table! "UM EXCUSE ME EVERYONE!" he blares directly over my head to the room full of shocked customers, (you could hear the turntable make that screeching noise before the silence fell), "BUT THIS WOMAN RIGHT HERE (and he does a pirouette over her head) WOULD LIKE THE ENTIRE RESTAURANT TO SING HER HAPPY BIRTHDAY! OKAY, ONE TWO THREE!" and then we all, including me because I was determined to have a good time tonight, sang happy birthday.
Needless to say, we did not linger at our table for coffee and dessert.
Closing the car doors and pulling away from the restaurant, John and I turned to each other and simultaneously announced, "Won't be going back there any time soon!"
And then we went home, slammed the front door for good measure (because we could), turned on all the lights in our house and proceeded to have loud verbal communication with each other for an hour! I know!!!
And now I am alone. Completely alone for one entire day and channeling PMS like nobody;s business!!! I have exactly 10 hours at home to do whatever I please. And right now, I'm sitting by the fireplace, writing to you, and drinking coffee in my pajamas. So far so good.
"Use your time wisely, young grasshopper," warned my husband as he drove away to work. Oh, I will. I will.


$19.99 and Feeling Fine

I have always had an affinity for literature. I recall conducting conversations about the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte in the fifth grade. By the time I graduated from high school I had successfully devoured every novel ever published by Stephen King. I swoon at Shakespeare, harbor a secret crush on Fyodor Dostoevsky, and if reincarnated, would come back as a cross between Heidi Klum and Toni Morrison. So, it was no surprise I graduated from college with a degree in English Literature. That my dusty old resume includes stints at a newspaper and classroom teaching.
When I turned 27, I spearheaded a book exchange. Voraciously discussing the latest best sellers, delving into my collection of novels for a second (or third) read, I prided myself on my literary background. And then, with the arrival of my second child, my ahem, 3o-somethingth-blahem-ugh birthday, and the happy chaos of life in a family, I completely forgot how to read.
The truth is, my intentions were still good, my love for literature still compelled me to drag home stacks of novels and carefully pile them up beside my bed. I even carried novels with me on the carpool, strategically positioning them between the wipes and the raisins in my purse. But when push came to shove, I found that my reach only extended as far as a fashion magazine or the headlines of the newspaper. Evening reads were limited to 32 page picture books like "Spot Goes to The Zoo" and "Goodnight Moon". When challenging literature stood before me, my heart said yes but my brain said no. And the books beside my bed became just another thing to dust on cleaning day.
Last week, I found myself standing in line at the Rite Aid Pharmacy staring down the lumpy backside of a colorfully dressed senior citizen ahead of me. And when she turned to investigate me, I furtively glanced away...and zeroed in on a display of magnifying glasses. The same magnifying glasses that had been there every other time I had stood in this line....nearly every month (it seemed) for the past few years. But this time was different, this time I actually SAW the magnifying glasses. This time, unlike all the times before, I had morphed into an apt consumer. Like a doomed moth drawn into the brightness of a light, I found myself shuffling out of the check-out line and into shopping range of the plastic reading glasses where the display's picture, a white haired woman in bright purple glasses (a bit fairy god-motherish) smiled down on me in all-knowing smirk.
$19.99 in Green/Ebony is all it took to rekindle the embers of my literary fire. I have finally finished Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson (which agonizingly took me several months to climb to the end, and just a few hours to summit those final chapters). And already, I am halfway through Elizabeth Gilbert's "eat, pray, love" (fabulous so far) and simultaneously introduced to the first few chapters of David Sedaris' "When You Are Engulfed in Flames" (not sure about it). I even have another book on hold at the library, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle..." by Barbara Kingsolver.
It's as though I've been starving my literary soul for years, and suddenly I can see the gourmet feast before me! I am ravenous, I am malnourished, I am a hungry beast on a mission to replenish my reserves. Bring on the books!!!! I once was blind but now I can see!!!!