Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sir Manners

Quake proved himself quite the little gentleman yesterday. We took a quick trip to a local preschool to check it out and get some information. After I introduced myself to the director and shook her hand, Q puts out his hand and says, "I'm Quake." As if he's always shaking hands with strangers and introducing himself. It made me look like I'm actually making an effort to teach him manners. I love that kid!

Then in the afternoon I was sitting on my bed, talking to a friend on the phone, and Quake walks in with his wooden sword and his shield (which is really the lid to our dirty clothes hamper but I doubt I'll get it back until Q's in high school). He kneels at the foot of the bed and says, "Your Highness." It's about time someone noticed. Now go bring me bon-bons.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Clean Closet

Spring has arrived in the desert. Gorgeous flowers are blooming everywhere, and air conditioners can be heard rumbling to life all over town. Allergy sufferers are adding their own music to the sounds of the season. Here at my house, I've been cleaning out my closet.

Of course it took me the better part of a week. I had to do it in 5 to 10 minute intervals. This picture was taken just over a year ago; the top of my dresser is one of my favorite places in the house. Is that strange?

I stuffed three thrash bags with clothes and jewelry to go to Goodwill and probably threw away an entire other bag. Monkey Man told me I needed to go shopping because the closet looked so empty!

Things that didn't get to stay: my high school letter jacket (cut out the letter and saved), a fleece robe I forgot I owned (because those are so useful here), a pair of pants that I wore all winter and then suddenly decided I hated, three pair of tights I haven't worn since I got pregnant with my four-year old, all the maternity clothes.

Things that got to stay: a shirt that belonged to my first husband (I'll be ready to let go of it soon, I think), a pair of black lace panties I've worn exactly once, all my dance shoes and clothes (I'm sure none of this will ever fit again), a velvet robe with ostrich feather cuffs, a pair of socks with taxis and a road that I got as a gift in junior high (yes, I still remember who gave them to me).

As someone who tends toward hoarding, I can't believe how liberating it feels to get rid of things. Things, stuff, crap. My life is overflowing with too much of it all. Is it really a surprise that I can't get anything done when I waste so much time digging through so much clutter? I've already started clearing out my craft area. Then I have my desk, bookcases, and underneath my bed to tackle. Gotta have something to do during the coming long, hot afternoons.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Trader Joe's Shoppers

Why do so many assholes shop at Trader Joe's?

I've shopped at Trader Joe's in numerous states, and it's always the same. People park their carts in the middle of the tiny aisles until there are 6 people on each end sighing and rolling their eyes. Others will stop that cart right in front of what you're looking at while they look over every egg in the dairy case. And then they cut you off in line. It makes you wonder if all that healthy, organic food makes people grumpy. Wouldn't that be ironic - you live longer but everyone around you wishes you'd just die already.

I'd give up if I hadn't already committed myself to this corn syrup thing. That shit is in everything. You start reading labels, and suddenly the crazies that claim it's all a big government/agra-business conspiracy, don't sound so crazy.

And now my preschooler is taking his golf clubs into the bathroom to wash them. I think that might require my supervision...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Suburban Perfume Vixen

I went to Phx this weekend for a visit with my artist friend. It was a much needed reprieve from my “normal” life. I must admit a teeny amount of cognitive dissonance on Friday. I spent most of my day hanging out with my suburban mommy friends, and then spent the evening (and a few wine fueled hours into the next morning – woohoo!) surrounded by a downtown art crowd. It was weird.

Weirder is that I love and cherish both of those roles in my life. I don’t think I could give up either one, but I’m definitely not getting enough of the creative crowd. I was inspired by so much that I saw this weekend. I hope I can use that inspiration to propel me forward on some projects I have spinning in my head. You know, instead of just giving up and dragging down until I force myself to get away again for the weekend in a year or two.

To help me remember the journey, I bought a necklace for myself on Saturday. It’s one of those necklaces with multiple charms that often have a message with a different word written on each charm. I love those! Every time I’ve seen one, I’ve wondered what message would be perfect for me. Then I snap back into reality and tell myself that I certainly don’t need that sort of indulgence. Really, have you seen the gas prices?

The stars must be aligned because I bought the damn necklace. Mine says “Be You.” It seems like the perfect way to remind myself that I am Suburban Mom and Wannabe Arty Type, and I don’t have to choose. On the other hand, it’s a little frightening that at 36, I feel the need to be reminded, constantly, that I am who I am and who I am is ok. Or it’s pathetic. But I’m trying to be kinder. At least to myself.

And then it was like some cosmic force had been unleashed. On Monday I bought myself perfume. I rarely wear perfume. Of course that may have something to do with the fact that all the perfume I own was given to me by other people. I bought the perfume at Anthropologie. Words cannot express how much I love that store. Want to move in, and live in that store. I never buy anything there because a) I don’t have that kind of cash, b) I haven't been able to fit into their clothes since before Quake was born, and c) did I mention I don't have that kind of cash? I feel like a giggly, guilty schoolgirl. It’s so not like the Suburban Mom me, but Wannabe Artist me just got on her motorcycle for a cross-country ride with the wrong man. Metaphorically speaking.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A Monday

Wake at 5am to the feel of warm pee. Change baby's diaper and clothes. Talk to baby for 30 minutes. Nurse baby to sleep. Doze. Get up at 6:30. Dress baby. Rinse hair and dry. Get dressed, make oatmeal for everyone. Feed baby. Eat. Pack preschooler's lunch. Put on makeup. Load car with library books, lunch, and diaper bag. Load kids in car. Drive to preschool.

Push preschooler on swings before bell rings. Help preschooler change shoes. Load baby back in car. Drive to chiropractor. Ahhhhh. Buy Easter candy, printer ink, and shampoo at Target. Eat Cadbury Egg in car. Ahhhhhh. Stop at lingerie shop; ask if they carry nursing bras. Get fitted for bra that is too big, but may return for it anyway. Drop off books at library. Avoid petitioners outside library. Feed baby in car. Write up this week's to-do list, include things I've already done. Contemplate stopping at bookstore. Go to Petsmart instead. Buy cat food.

Arrive at preschool early. Call hospital to make appointment for baby's hearing test, first available time is in one month. Get transferred so I can preregister. Wrong number, get transferred again. Wrong number. Preregister anyway because woman feels sorry for me getting transferred. Eat another Cadbury Egg. Read a few pages of a novel. Greet preschooler. Give him his lunch, and drive home.

Feed baby. Eat leftover pizza while rocking baby to sleep. Apologize to preschooler for eating "his" pizza, and offer him what I haven't eaten yet. Put baby in bed. Log on to library website. Reserve St Patrick's Day books (only a few left) and Easter books (beat the rush on that one) while promising preschooler to come play a game in a minute. Pick up crying baby. Sit at counter to play game with baby on lap. Realize damp spot on baby's side is most likely poop. Change baby's diaper and clothes while singing Stinky McStinky Pants. Gag (garlic and babies don't mix). Remind preschooler we were going to rearrange his toy room today. Abandon game.

Rock baby back to sleep. Pull in wagon load of toys from garage where they have been since being taken away weeks ago for poor preschooler behavior. Start going through toys. Secretly stash toys to throw away into an empty bag. Decide we need more storage space. Go back to garage. Find new homes for a few boxes. Bring in a small shelving unit. Continue to pick through toys. Got get screaming baby. Realize it's 4pm. Start dinner.

Start browning sausage and onion. Direct prescooler to put away the game. Dole out snacks. Talk to mom on phone while putting together lasagne. Allow prescooler to watch Power Rangers while I finish with toy room. Feed baby. Feed preschooler yogurt and granola bar for dinner. Start bath. Put last of baby wash in water. Talk to preschooler and play with baby until lasagne is done. Take lasagne out of oven. Remember to turn off oven. Put baby in bath. Get all mushy inside when preschooler holds baby in the bath. Get baby out of bath. Greet husband. Dry off and lotion up baby. Diaper and dress baby. Hand off baby to husband. Help preschooler out of bath. Get preschooler dressed for bed.

Show preschooler new books from library. Agree to read all 5 before bed. In middle of 3rd book, husband turns on TV. Give him dirty look. He turns off TV. Start 4th book. Trade places with husband to feed baby. Promise preschooler to come to his room as soon as baby is done eating. Give baby to husband. Sit next to preschooler's bed and sing a lullaby. Sit quietly by preschooler's bed wondering if it's possible that he's already asleep. Risk trying to leave room. Success!

Dish out some almost cold lasagne. Drink glass of wine with dinner. Have adult conversation with husband. Start watching a recorded show, realize it's a rerun. Read a few pages. Feed baby. Give sleeping baby to husband. Take back crying baby from husband. Contemplate going to bed at 8:30. Give sleeping baby back to husband. Ignore crying and get ready for bed. Take baby back from husband. Go to bed at 9pm.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Pricklies

Quake and I did this a few weeks ago after watching some kids plant cactus on TV. I think it turned it out really well, and so far nothing has died. Or even looks sickly. I know, I know, succulents are "impossible" to kill. I am quite skilled at the impossible.

I am soaking up the joy now that Monkey Man is back from Singapore. Or I'm spending my time getting annoyed that he's underfoot and constantly undermining all the work I did this week getting the boys in some sort of routine. I'm always forgeting which it is.

I'm currently reading a book about parenting, the topic of which I will go into at a later date because it seems to demand its own entry, and I'm starting to think the methodology might go a long way in husband training. It's certainly helping with Quake. I'll get back to you.

I haven't posted much about my quest to Figure Out What I Want To Do With My Life. It's not that I've forgotten - and, as this issue plays itself over and over and over in my head constantly, I'd have to cut off my head to forget it - but I haven't made much progress. Oh wait! I marked one thing off the list. Yeah, me! And I'm only writing about it now because while I was taking a shower tonight, I was beating myself up about it. That's my favorite thing to do, ever! Well you'd think it was.

I was thinking (between the "good god, you are never going to get a grip are you"s) about advice I've received from two people in my life about this issue. Both of their suggestions make me sad. Hmmm, thing that's a pretty good indication that I should mark off both of those items as well? I'm trying so hard to listen to my intuition, but all the accumulated years of thinking too much for my own good, has left me a bit tone deaf to that voice.

Note to self: a response of sadness to a suggestion might mean it's not the right path for you (baby steps).

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Self-Portrait with Mountains

Two weeks ago we took the boys back up to the White Mountains for another romp in the snow. I didn't want to go. But I did. Because I'm a good wife and mother.

For those of you unfamiliar with the landscape in this part of Arizona, it is truly, amazingly beautiful. It had been rainy and cloudy all morning, and as we were climbing out of the Salt River Valley, the sun was starting to break through. It was lovely. One would wonder why I didn't just ask Monkey Man to pull over at one of the many pullouts so I could try to get a good picture. But those are people who've never had to listen to their beloved make snide remarks about how much faster we'd be there if only someone hadn't needed an extra stop for no good reason. I mean, Monkey Man's already irritated that he has to slow down to under 80 for the hairpin turns because his wife is screaming in fear. Actually stopping? Don't I realize we have places to be?