CSI – The Parental Version

While I was still plodding about the house in my PJs, Doodicus was sitting at the kitchen counter already dressed and putting on his shoes. He was in a good mood. One could call it “cheery” even.

I was in the laundry room when he came in to announce, “My shorts don’t have pockets.”

Hmmmm…. “Okay…” I replied, and he practically skipped out of the room.

He’s eight, people. Eight year old boys do NOT skip.

The little fucker was up to something.

I went back to my bedroom and started thinking about what had just happened.

“Doodicus! Come in here, please,” I called.

I was standing by my bed when he walked down the hall and stood in the doorway.

“Take off your shoes.”

“What? Why?!

“Take off your shoes,” I repeated calmly, but with a narrowing of my eyes.

“Why? NO!” and he backing away as I was now advancing on him.

I followed him as he kept well out of arms’ reach because he knew that if I could, I would have snagged him and threw him down and ripped off the shoes myself.

I cornered him in the kitchen. “Take off your shoes and put the cards back in your room.”

With that he knew that he was done for. He kicked off his shoe, reached in and pulled out a short stack of Pokémon cards.

Mondays are the days we normally let him bring a few of his cards to daycare to share/trade with his friends, but last week he got busted on Friday trying to sneak some in his pocket, the outline of them giving him away (I told him I could see through clothes with my contacts…because they are SPECIAL contacts. He didn’t quite buy it, but it sure gave him pause on how the heck I knew he was sneaking cards in his pocket!). His punishment was not being allowed to bring them this Monday.

Busted, right?

Oh-ho! It gets better! We’re getting ready to leave the house. Sparring Partner asked him to stand in front of him, and before Doodicus can make a run for it, SP was patting him down. Apparently, when Doodicus went to his room to “put the cards back in his room”, he slipped them into his underwear’s waistband instead. Persistent, isn’t he?

Of course, he now doesn’t get to bring them NEXT Monday, either.

Kids have great imagination, but they just can’t seem to wrap their little play-doh minds around the fact that their parents were once kids too trying to get away with shit they weren’t supposed to be doing either. Doodicus is the prodigy of a man who was a master of a rule-bending in his own youth. Not to mention his mother had her own special talent that got her into ALLL kinds of trouble. He doesn’t realize WE ARE INSIDE HIS HEAD and know that when he’s especially compliant and obedient that we are on our highest parental alert.

We keep telling him that he will always get caught when he lies or sneaks or basically tries to get away with something. We’re hoping that he’ll get convinced of that before he catches on to how to REALLY get away with something and that is by acting NORMALLY. I wonder if I will have to be proud of him for eventually figuring that shit out since it means he’s smartened up or if I’ll be disappointed in the actual deception.

In other words, some day he’ll learn when to hold ‘em, when to fold ‘em, or when to just walk away.

YEAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!

Toddler’s Creed

TODDLER’S CREED

If I want it, it’s mine

If I give it to you and change my mind later, it’s mine

If I can take it away from you, it’s mine

If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine

If it’s mine, it will never belong to anyone else, no matter what

If we are building something together, all pieces are mine

If it looks like mine, it’s mine

Rest assured that your child will live, breath, and possibly eat this creed from the time they are about 15 months old until at least 8 years of age.  Coincidently, substance abuse in parents of children this age significantly rises. Of course, I wouldn’t know anything about that…

TWO

We participated in the Hail Mary of cycles – donor egg – and by sheer luck alone, it resulted in a perfect baby girl.

She’s still perfect.

And funny.

And holy-hell-are-we-screwed smart.

She loves to have her toenails painted.

She hates to have her hair brushed.

She calls for me from her crib, “Mommy…mommy!” *pause* “MOM!”

Kor-corn is her lovie (unicorn).

So is Bunny. And Froggy. And Monkey. She covers them with blankets, and changes their diapers, and gives them time-outs, and puts them down for naps.

If you say OW, she will kiss you and ask, “Better?”

If her nose is runny, she’ll ask, “Keenex?”

She’s always asking to wash her hands (so she can splash in the sink).

She can put on her shoes and if she starts to put them on the wrong foot, I just tell her, “Other foot,” and she switches.

She eats like a horse, but I have to safety pin her shorts so they stay up.

She loves blueberries and strawberries.

She hates watermelon and cantaloupe.

She cries if something spills or falls down.

She cries when told she has to take a time-out.

She laughs when you push her real high in the swing.

She laughs when she goes fast down the slide.

I’ve been teaching her to answer, “How old are you?” with “Two,” for the past couple of weeks. Today I asked again. Today she answered TWO, and for the first time it was true.

Today, she’s officially no longer a baby.

She will always be my baby girl.

When Ego and Age Collide

It took me many years to come to terms with how I look when for the first 20 years I was harassed by my peers (and family) for my enviable physical attributes: my weight (a good wind will blow you away!), my teeth (Gopher Gerkmaidenname), my bad skin, my lack of boobs, and my ugly hair (that my mom would perm every year just in time for school pictures THE NEXT DAY!).

During high school, I went on one date with someone from my school. There was no second date since I refused to give him a handjob in his truck after he took me home and parked in front of my house. I would have been dateless my junior year for prom if I hadn’t asked a total stranger who had stopped in at the café I worked and I was dared by my coworkers to invite him. I never saw him again after prom. I was decidedly dateless my senior year.

I was in college before anyone ever told me I was pretty. Of course I called him a fucking liar. I called them all liars for years because I still saw a pimply-faced, scrawny, flat-chested girl when I looked in the mirror. It took a long time for me to accept that I wasn’t the hideous troll my peers had led me to believe. I started to enjoy the double-takes from the opposite sex when out in a public setting or driving my car. It’s a heady feeling.

Sometime during our infertility treatment, my ego took one horrible hit after another. I gained weight and frown lines. Jowls formed and wrinkles deepened. I was tired all the time and Sparring Partner seemed less and less interested in groping me (even though I HATE it when he does a drive-by goosing!).

I share an office with a 23 year old and when I talk to him, I wonder what he’s thinking as he’s looking at me. Does he think I’m attractive or does he have me in the same category as his mom, which I’m old enough to be?

I am not taking aging well. Almost every day I mourn the day before because I was younger THEN. I’ll continue to get older and older and no one will remember that I was once young and pretty. My children will soon look at pictures of me from long ago and remark HOW YOUNG I USE TO BE, as if it had never occurred to them that I was once. My daughter sees my face and positively lights up with recognition and unconditional love, but even that makes me sad because someday she won’t remember me now. She’ll be 16 and see an old woman as her mom. It scares me. It makes my heart tighten in my chest.

After years and years of physical inactivity, I just started an exercise program. I was prepared to collapse half-way (if not earlier) into the session, but I surprised myself by being able to successfully complete 45 minutes of aerobics with weights. Sure I broke a major sweat and I wanted to choke the instructor with the rubberband rope after I heard her say, “Just 5 more!” for the 20th time, and my legs wobbled when we were done and my arms shook with fatigue as I completed the membership card. But I did it, and it felt awesome. The next morning I was sore, not so much I couldn’t move, but sore enough to know I did something good for my body.

I’ve realized I can be Age’s bitch trudging reluctantly along, or I can go kicking and screaming ten pounds lighter and without bingo arms. Well, fuck you, Age. I know I can’t get younger or pretty again, but I don’t have to look older, either.

I’m Like the Luckiest Unluckiest Lucky Person in the World When It Comes to Getting/Losing a Job

The day before I was to leave for vacation, I was informed via an email by my supervisor at my temp position that with the return of the gal who was on maternity leave that they would no longer have enough projects to keep me busy either part- or full-time on a regular basis. He asked that I give him a call (he was on a work-related trip) anyway. So I did, leaving a message on his voice mail that I’d be taking my vacation the next day and thanking him for the opportunity and blah blah blah. Within an hour he had called back and left me a voice mail message that they just might have a project for me to work on once I get back from vacation. A short term one, but hey, a paycheck is a paycheck, right?

In the meantime, throughout the morning we were inundated with news of flood stages of the river near the city being met and exceeded due to heavy rains over the past few days. Heavy rains to the north over the state border from nearly a week before were exacerbating the issue. Major highways in the area were closing. Towns were under water and many homes were being lost to a flood that had started to the north and was traveling south. As the levels rose first inches and then by feet, certain areas of where I live were scrambling. We heard that our sister company across town was shutting down. Employees were told to put everything of value (computers, files, electronics, etc.) on top of their desks and evacuate.

And then one of the engineers from our company was called to assess a problem. The bank that supported the bridge for the only rail in and out of our city was being washed away. And rapidly. In fact, someone was sure that they had seen the bridge move. I happened to be in the front office when that engineer returned from his trip to the bridge. One that he never completed. On his way, he was called by the rail company and told not to continue. The bridge had collapsed taking with it three railway workers who had been on it. One worker self-rescued. A second was assisted. The third? He was recovered a week later, trapped by the bridge’s wreckage under the water. He left behind a wife and two young sons.

When your city, small that it may be, has several industries that depend on the rail system to move product out as well as bring supplies in and then that infrastructure is swiftly and decisively eliminated, there’s a shitstorm. When one rail car now equals four tractor-trailers and one company alone moves 80 rail cars out a day…well, things get a little chaotic.

Within a six hour window, I went from being told they couldn’t keep me busy to “do you HAVE to go on vacation??” So, I continue at my temp position for a little while longer in contrary to what you may have seen on Facebook. And now you know the rest of the story.

SUNDAY Day 5 and Last of Boston

Sunday was my last full day in Boston. It was also Father’s Day. And my wedding anniversary. Lucky Number 13.  I was missing home intensely. CousinP had extended an invitation to his sister’s home in Lexington for brunch. His parents, Sparring Partner’s aunt and uncle, as well as his siblings and their respective families would all be there. Some I had met before, coincidently enough, either at our wedding or in subsequent visits to Boston in the past for family events. Everyone was very kind, but I still couldn’t help but feel like a third wheel even in a house full of people.

One of Sparring Partner’s cousins had her son there who was about the same age as Aitch. Seeing him made me miss Aitch more than I had in the previous days. CousinP and I were the last relatives to leave so I returned to the hotel sometime early afternoon.

I had made plans in the afternoon to meet with Karen, who blogged briefly about her secondary infertility a couple years ago. I suggested she meet me at the hotel. In the meantime, Pamplemousse dropped by my room with some wine. It wasn’t long before Head Banger, Millie and E. stopped by as well. Millie, the genius and a seasoned traveler, carried a baby monitor with her to listen for L.E. who napped in the room next to mine. When Karen arrived at the hotel, I asked her to come up to my room (*wink wink nudge nudge*) so I could make introductions before heading out on our own.

It goes without saying – but I will anyway – that once again we made our way to Faneuil Hall. We decided to eat at Tia’s, which is where I had had lunch with CousinP. Since we were sitting outside, we were able to take in the beautiful and sometimes bizarre views, including what appeared to be a teenager taking his toddler sister for a walk on a leash while he texted.

Oh, but the arbor was pretty...

 

Is that...a scrunchie??!

Karen and I occupied the table at Tia’s for quite a while just talking about everything and nothing. It was a relaxing way to wrap up my vacation. We thought we’d top off the evening with nightcap at one of the Cheers franchise bars located in Faneuil Marketplace. The place was quiet, with a handful of tables occupied. We were asked by what we could only assume was the “hostess” if we were eating or just drinks. When we responded that we were there for just cocktails and that we wanted to be seated outside, she motioned towards three tables in a corner and told us those were the only tables available to ilk like us, and that we would have to place our orders at the bar as they didn’t provide service.  

Oh, yes, she did! OK, she didn’t say “ilk” but the implication was there. Of course, when we sidled up to the bar, we couldn’t even order immediately because the bartender was off doing who knows what and the bar-back was…well, bar-backing. Needless to say, we only had one drink each and by then it was getting late and Karen still had an hour trip home.

My flight home didn’t leave until noon on Monday, but I have recurring nightmares (whether I’m traveling or not) about being late for a flight due to packing issues so I made sure to pack up what I could when I arrived back at my hotel. Due to nerves, I was up again fairly early the next morning to finish packing.

Millie had generously offered to drive me in their rental car to the airport, and suggested I knock on her door about 10:00 a.m., but with me up and about and with nothing to do, I went to the Pamplemousse’s door and knocked quietly. And then I had to knock again and again and because I don’t take No for an answer, I knocked yet again, louder. Finally Head Banger came to the door and ushered me in to find P still in bed. We cuddled for a bit before I made my way back down to Millie’s door and got her out of bed, too. Yes, I’m an asshole.

A few minutes later, we were all standing by the rental car and I was hugging Pamplemousse good-bye, missing her already. She and Millie were staying in Boston for a few more days to take in more of the sites. Millie then dropped me off at the airport where more hugs and good-byes were exchanged.

My flight out of Boston was just a shuttle to LaGuardia in New York, which if you can, avoid. I had to leave the airport’s terminal and take a shuttle bus to an adjacent terminal and thereby go through checking-in and security all over again. If my layover had been only an hour, I wouldn’t have made it. It was dumpy, crowded and without a coffee shop in sight! Thankfully my flight from Chicago to the local airport was maggot-free and now I just had to make the two hour drive home.

My first stop once on my home stomping grounds? Runza. Sweet, sweet Runza. How I missed your home-made burgers and crinkle fries! And Pepsi!!

A fabulous trip all-in-all. I actually feel a bit empowered now that I’ve traveled like a big girl across the country by myself. I also know that if Sparring Partner pulls the stick out of his ass long enough to take a trip with me, it will difficult to convince me not to stay in the general area of Faneuil Hall.

There are many wonderful things about living in the Corn Belt, but one of the major downsides is that all the wonderful people I met on my trip would be hard-pressed to actually make plans to visit me here. It’s beautiful, but as for sites to see and things to do? Not so much. Maybe Carhenge? Or the Zoo? Maybe the College World Series? An afternoon’s drive to Mt. Rushmore perchance?? Better to just plan on sitting on our deck with a drink or four and fend off body-snatching mosquitoes and take in the amazing sunset. I’ll even serve your drinks and not make you sit at a segregated table.

SATURDAY Day 4 of Boston

My trip is officially on the second half by Saturday and I can hardly believe how the time has flown. That morning Millie, Pamplemousse and I headed to Faneuil Hall once again to meet up with Mary Ellen. Another brief walk to the harbor, and we found ourselves seated at a table outside of Legal Seafood chatting up a storm. We only spoke briefly about the blogs we read and I found it interesting how the blogging degrees of separation had brought us together in some common reads, and yet many blogs were discussed that I have never read.

I left the girls in the early afternoon to go meet Delenn and her children at the Museum of Fine Arts. This is where I owe Millie for holding my hand in the T station and assuring me that getting to the Museum would be a snap. As I sat in my seat, swaying with the motion of the train, I initially worried about missing my stop. But as I had been assured several times in the past, it really was a stressless trip.

Once I met up with Delenn and her son, M. and daughter, W., I let them lead the way to their favorite displays. I could have spent an entire day taking in the beautiful paintings and ancient sculptures, not to mention the amazing Egyptian mummies. The closest museum to where I live is two hours away plus Sparring Partner has just as much interest in going through galleries as he does in having his entire body waxed.

Delenn's son, M.

After some quiet moments in an outdoor garden, it was time for me to get back to my hotel. Unfortunately, I was so distracted by my surroundings that I failed to get a picture of Delenn and myself together. I felt like an ass. She also gave me some words of advice and encouragement in taking the T to the station close to the hotel, and with that I was once again transported safely to my destination.

Staying in a hotel so close to a major tourist attraction has some serious advantages so it’s probably pretty obvious by now that my next hook-up took place once again at Faneuil Hall. This time with Diana. She agreed to have supper with me at Sel de la Terre close to the Long Wharf. We spent a great deal of time there just talking (and talking and giggling and talking and giggling some more!) before I suggested we head to the North End for dessert. Sorry, but la Terre’s selections of after dinner treats were less than desirable, including their sweet corn ice cream. Ewwwww.

It was dark by the time we reached the North End and utterly PACKED with people! The line at Mike’s Pastry was easily 20 – if not 30 – people deep outside the door so I settled for a Twix bar. I know. Pathetic, right? It didn’t matter. It was all about the company kept. And Saturday? I had excellent company!