Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bedtime,  just the latest in a long string of unpopular management decisions.

Monday, December 1, 2014

2 Person Conversations

I'm considering reworking this piece for a future submission for an anthology involving recipes.  I could use some input.   

 I miss two person conversations.  It seems that whenever I’m on the phone our baby girl tries to eat something she shouldn’t, bellow at the top of her lungs, or try to call guam on someone’s cell phone.  I’m convinced all kids are like this.  They can’t help themselves for some reason.  Since our daughter can’t speak, there are monologues too.  ‘Claire, don’t eat that!’ ‘How did you get over there?!!’ ‘What’s wrong now??!!’
   We live about forty minutes north of my mother in New Jersey.  Visiting mom-mom is therefore a car trip.  With a small child, it’s the accessories that kill you.  Every trip requires a mental worst case scenario list. ‘Do I have an outfit if she ralphs?’ ‘Did we pack the teething rings?’ ‘Do I have extra wipes for a hazmat diaper?’ etc.  Claire was just starting some baby food and I was not used to carrying it with me when we traveled.
   A word or three about baby food, as a rookie mom, I find myself reading a lot of labels.    So far it’s been interesting to say the least.  100% natural and organic. No sugar added and no preservatives.  Whole grain and vitamin fortified.  Includes DHA to promote brain development, superhuman strength, and a shiny coat.   Then there’s the combinations.  Country turkey dinner, beef and corn casserole and chicken tomato pasta.  Dinner in a jar.  Contains ground turkey, spinach, sweet potatoes, peas, and carrots - in the same jar!  
   We’ve been sticking with mostly one thing at a time for the jarred food.  If I wouldn’t eat it myself, I haven’t had the heart to give it to my daughter.  What if it came back to haunt me when I approach my second childhood?  I don’t mean the fun part, I mean when I can’t chew and may need diapers.  
    One particular week we were eating pureed bananas.  Usually mom-mom comes to see us but this day we wanted to give her a break.  So we loaded up the car and went through the mental checklist.  Running late as usual, we set off for mom-mom’s house.  What’s the one thing I forgot? The bananas!  I am still suffering the effects of what friends call “mommy brain”.  Translation:  If you live with an infant, chances are you’re idiot tired and lucky to leave the house remembering your pants.  I hear this condition improves in roughly eighteen years to twenty two years although your child will certainly disagree.  I think mine will resolve itself right in time for early senility to set in but I always was an optimist.
    Forgetting the food was not the worst thing in the world, just a pain in the rump. I did have formula.  My mother said, ‘Hey, I’ve got some apples, why don’t I make applesauce?‘  Claire had eaten applesauce before with no allergic reaction so I thought, why not? I got Claire settled in for lunch while my mom happily got to work.  Applesauce was produced and we tried it.  The stuff was fabulous, smooth as silk and better than any jar.  This was not the cook I grew up with. She was not a bad cook when we were kids, but let’s just say that for some grandchildren, the bar has been raised.      
    We put some in a small dish and gave her a spoonful.  Claire would rather have had the Alpo! ‘Gag!, What are you people trying to feed me??!!’ Lips pursed and chubby cheeks got red.  Spit out applesauce was followed by drool and a yuk face that would have been clear to Ray Charles - and me without my camera.  Frequently, since she can’t speak yet, we have to guess what she’s trying to tell us - except for this time.
    After she started crying, we abandoned the applesauce amid stifled giggles and went back to formula.  I would have felt bad for my mother but she was laughing too much.  ‘What did you put in there?’, I asked.  ‘Nothing but apples.‘, she said.  ‘OK, What kind?‘  ‘Granny Smith.‘ ‘I love those.’ I said.  Claire not liking them was a bit of a bummer.  Oh well, maybe her tastes will change.  Still, for someone who can’t talk, she can communicate, loud and Claire! 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

This is the first article I sold in a book outside the south jersey writers group.
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Friday, November 7, 2014

To those who know me, I wrote this about three years ago.  As I have said before, we are all rocks in slingshots.

Tempus Fugit sucks.  
   There is an old saying that goes it is now how old you are, it is how you are old.  It’s not being in my forties that’s the problem.  After all, my father once said, ‘It could be worse, you could have a kid your age.’.  It’s this desparate need I have to savor every moment, since, as I learned the hard way, you may not have as much time on this earth as you think you do.  The hardest thing I wrestle with is the now.  Perhaps I’m fighting ingrained, grown up habits.  Odd, since I live with the perfect teacher.
   My three year old wakes up every day happy and looking for fun.  Mommy wakes up most mornings praying for coffee and wondering how am I going to keep her occupied all day.  What the hell’s wrong with me?  Bored? How dare you?  Since when was life something to get through?  If that’s the case, I’m doing something wrong.  
   While there are places to go and things to clean, there are also horsies out the car window.  There are dragon shaped clouds, sand in your toes, and - dare I say it - occasional ice cream before dinner!  Look mommy, look!
   She is friendly and outgoing like her father.  While I have lived like a hamster in my home for seven years, not knowing many of our neighbors, my daughter will say hi to just about any grownup with two ears.  She will immediately tell them a terribly important story in which they have no idea what the hell she’s talking about.  You will never see grownups doing this.  My husband is one, but Dave’s english is fine and logical. 
   Exhausting and beautiful, Claire is an education and a gift.  She wants to feel and taste and see and smell and question everything.  She will also be teaching me patience for the rest of my life.   Sometimes, I am jealous at her simplicity.  If she gets hot, she just gets naked, problem solved.  Mommy will never again feel that free but I’m ok with that one - really ok.  
   Still, I don’t want her to be like me.  She is my second shot at learning how to enjoy, even the boring parts.  I’m pretty sure that when I grow up, I want to be three.  
I was thinking of an old friend who had passed away.  I was contemplating how the holidays are coming and the stress they bring.  My friend's mother did not bother to attend her own son's funeral.  It occurred to me that family is only defined by biology at your own choosing.  When my family drives me nuts, and I'm sure they will, I plan to have a large glass of wine and be thankful we don't all live together.  Joy to the world.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

I had fantasies about mopping my kitchen floor tonight after we put our daughter to bed.  Then I sat down.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

   I reported recently that I went out to dinner with my inlaws.  There is however, more to the story.  I had the best laugh I've had in quite a while from the person who thought my spouse was my father.  What I really wanted to mention was that this stranger bought us a piece of cheesecake to celebrate our anniversary and sent a sweet note wishing us blessings.  Cheesecake is not that expensive, true; and some would say that she felt guilty for insulting my husband. Truth be told there was no real "wrong done".  My husband and his family thought the whole thing was funny as hell.
   It wasn't the size of the gesture but the size of the impact.  I have always held a firm belief that people are lazy and wouldn't bother to rectify something they had done to another person especially something small.  I've screwed up myself that way more than once in my life.
   This particular gesture was sweet not only because of the cheesecake.  First, I wish good, really good laugh-till-you-can't-breathe laughs would happen to everyone more often.   Secondly, I've always had a warped negative view of myself.  A total stranger, God bless her, pulled down my crap colored glasses through which I see myself.  For some reason, a complement from a woman carries more weight than any comment from a guy.  Perhaps because of a perception that there is no motive involved from a woman.  Thirdly, it occurred to me that this is a wonderful reminder to keep the good Karma going.  I hope I don't forget to look for opportunities to pay it forward, complement a stranger, pass on my daughter's old things to other moms, whatever.  Lastly, to the person who started all this, whoever you are, thank you and bless you, too.

I went out to dinner with my in laws recently and the food was not the highlight of the evening.  Don't get me wrong, my dinner was great.  What was even better was my brother in law.  Godshalks are a friendly bunch by nature, which is different from how I usually operate.  My brother in law started chatting with the table next to us and this woman and her friend asked what the occasion was and who we all were.  She also inquired how long he and his wife had been married and correctly guessed it was 42 years.  He explained that we were celebrating two birthdays in the group and it also happened to be a wedding anniversary as well.  Politely, she asked my husband if it was his daughter's birthday and looked at me.  My husband took it in stride, I laughed till my stomach hurt! 

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Has anyone seen my marbles???!!

Recently, I was visiting my mother in Deptford, NJ.  She had cut her cable channels to reduce costs and told me several of the children's channels had been cut. Mom was concerned that my daughter wouldn't have much to watch on TV when she visits.   No problem, I said, don't you have some kids movies we left here?  Yeah, mom says, let me look.  She opens her DVD box and the only thing in there is one VHS tape titled - and I quote - " Things that Aren't There Anymore".  You can't make this stuff up.  

For your consideration...

 I’m wearing hair dye.  My hair used to be really thick when I was a kid but now it’s thinning.  I’m taking biotin because a hairdresser told me it would help.  Recently I went to work part time and maybe it was the flourescent lighting but I could really see the greys.  They were starting to go beyond the several random strands that would stick out in odd directions trying to separate themselves from the heard.
   So, I bought some hair dye and figured ‘how hard could it be?’ (Dumbass!)
   The most important lesson I learned is that boxes of hair dye show you swatches that are a lot like general guidelines.  It’s not unlike painting your house.
   Another important thing is not to leave it on too long lest you shock your own ass and wake up to see Roy Orbison in your mirror.  On the upside, I didn’t go permanent and it does calm down, even if you don’t.

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"When I grow up I want to work with Daddy, until I have a baby."  Daddy's little princess, age 5

Senor Ficas

Senor Ficas

Senor Ficas has left the building, and he wasn’t even mine.  Yet there was still much rejoicing.  It is the aftermath of our 2014 yard sale and I am enjoying my new found space.  We had a dear friend join us and thus ensure that we looked like we had a decent amount of stuff for potential shoppers to peruse.  After all these years, though, I should know that isn’t much of a valid concern.  The first things I find after any yard sale, are more things for the next yard sale.
   I have said before that it seems like an ungodly amount of work for so little cash but after doing it for years, I have learned two things.  Most likely I have some sort of genetic disorder/compulsion and I have yard sales for the esoteric benefits.  This is partly due to the way I grew up, yes, mom, you started it.  Why throw out what you can sell?  When you grow up in a house where money’s tight, some things just stick.
   I’m also finding out that how much money you end up making isn’t really the point, although it is a strong lure. I find this part a bit puzzling since our profits from year to year are about as consistent as scratch off lottery tickets - yet we can’t stop playing!  The nicest benefit of gong through the process is heardng everthing that needs to leave in one place.  It’s the one time of year, we specifially make time to ‘Spring clean’ with the intent of getting rid of things.  The tax accountant in me would also say ‘why throw out what doesn’t sell when you can itemize’?
   We go back and forth on the subject of stopping because of the money.  ‘We only made $40 bucks this time, that’s it, I’m done, no more!’  The next year, however, hoipe springs eternal.  I find myself calling my mom, ‘The community center just put up their signs, mark you calendar, we’ve got to get ready!‘  After our most recent sale, we actually made enough to pay for a nice dinner.  So much for retirement. Here we go again.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Abstract Art
As anyone who has seen either me or my spouse knows, we know where our refrigerator is, at least physically.  The problem we are having is that we can’t see it.  Why?  It is covered in artwork from our daughter.  Too bad I can’t figure out most of what the hell she’s drawing.  We just refer to it as her ‘impressionistic period”.  Her most recent creation titled “Godzilla versus Elsa” however, is somewhat clearer.  She also hasn't titled much of anything until recently, which I find helpful.  Usually I just have to nod and smile and say 'That looks great honey!' Now I at least have a shot at animal, vegetable, or mineral.
  I'm not looking forward to having to go through all of her things and decide what to keep.  I know not every crayon scribble is priceless but I have to admit that some projects actually came out looking pretty cool.  I have no idea if she'll even care that we're keeping this stuff but right now, we who pay the mortgage make the storage decisions.
  I also had no idea there was such a thing as 'Boy Colors" or "Girl Colors".   She every inch Daddy’s little boy in a girl suit, this week.  I also have the joy of knowing that when you live with a person whose moods change like the weather, Elsa could kick Godzilla's butt next
week.  What's new in your kitchen?
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Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Bunny Trail

   It’s been a tough week on the bunny trail.  As a stay at home mom, my job is to get our girl ready for school, among other things.  Recently, it’s been too much fun for humans.  I had been dreading this since before kindergarten.  Mercifully, a babysitter friend came up with the idea of charting her for behaviors needed to get her out of the house.  A trip to Staples and a lot of velcro later and we were in business.  The first few weeks were rough but eventually, we managed some semblance of a routine.  

   These days, waking up our honeybun has become more like poking a bear with a stick.  My husband and I argue over whose DNA this is when our little cherub gets beastly.  Unfortunately, this one is all mommy.  I don’t expect and can’t handle ‘perky’ in the morning. I’m far from a basket of sunshine myself, certainly before coffee.  Cooperation, however, would  be nice.

  Clearly, she’s tired and I can understand.  It’s exhausting having no work, being able to eat anything you want with no fear of weight gain and having everyone tell you how cute you are.  I find it hilarious when she says ‘Look at me mommy!‘  She’s an only child, who else do we look at??!!  We have established a reasonable bedtime but this has lately become a chess game of stalling.  

   Every evening she is marched upstairs and the gauntlet is thrown.  ‘I’m hungry!‘ ‘I’m thirsty!‘ ‘Is it a bath night?’ ‘Let’s read this book, Daddy!‘ Our little bibliophile will try to choose the five year old equivalent of ‘War and Peace’.  This last part is also amusing since Daddy’s audience has the attention span of a squirrel.  I also wonder what our little princess is doing up there. There can’t be wild stuffed animal parties we don’t know about.  Our daughter walks like a Clydesdale so we know when she’s out of bed.  I’ve become a crazy person yelling at our ceiling, ‘Go to bed, Claire!’. ‘Less yapping, more sleeping!‘    

   There is of course, the temptation to administer alcohol, but mommy really can’t afford a hangover.  I also have to shovel my own fanny out of bed first on school days.  Besides, the lifestyle, I admit I’m jealous of her energy.  She may not be ready for bed by eight at night, but her parents are.  Maybe we should invest in a treadmill?  Is there a way to power the house with the energy she generates? 

   We are still working on her bedtime issues.  I remind myself that if this is the worst we struggle with we are blessed indeed. 

   Can’t wait for the teen years!