Friday, May 30, 2008

Madness! Madness, I Say!!

On Sunday, Jim and I took Dylan to the zoo. Let me start by saying that I love the Pittsburgh Zoo. One family that I worked for had a pass to the zoo, and I took the girls there so many times that I knew the animals' names. "Hey Jomo! How's it hanging?"

It's a beautiful zoo, and it is laid out well, (except maybe they could have put that hill by the bears at the beginning, because by that point, the adults, err I mean kids don't have the energy to go up a friekin' hill). I took Dylan to the zoo many times last year, but I was looking forward to seeing how he would react now that he is older.

Jim and I figured that since it was Memorial Day weekend, that most people would be out of town and the zoo would be mostly empty. Apparently, due to the astronomical gas prices, the only place the ENTIRE CITY OF PITTSBURGH could afford to go was to the zoo. Yes, I swear the ENTIRE CITY OF PITTSBURGH was there. I have never seen so many people at that zoo, and I have been there when it was pretty crowded.

In order for Dylan to actually see any animals, we had to take him out of the stroller, and put him on Jim's shoulders, before the two of them pushed their way through the mass of humanity. That left me to navigate my way through the maze of strollers . As I bumped, and was bumped into, I started to notice a pattern. The further we went into the zoo, the more and more miserable the adults' faces became, including my own! It was hot, and I was sweaty, and people kept TOUCHING ME!! (Have I mentioned I'm a bit claustrophobic?)

This is how it was my head...
"Are you kidding me? You have to stand right there? You can't move about 2 inches to the right so I can get this dang stroller out of this crowd of people? EWWW! YOU! Behind me! Could you stop breathing on the back of my neck?! You're grossing me out! (Bump) Okay, that's the third person to run into me and not apologize. Get me outta here! I can't breathe! GAG! That hairy guy just wiped his sweaty arm against mine! I'm going to be sick. Where are Jim and Dylan? I lost them again. Is this my stroller I'm pushing?"

Yep, pretty much like that. At one point we came to a Y, and Jim asked, "Which way?" I answered, "Well, to the left is Kid's Kingdom, and to the right is home". Want to guess which way Jim wanted to go?

*I have an interesting little addition to this charming story. The day that we decided to go to the zoo, along with the ENTIRE CITY OF PITTSBURGH, the zoo was robbed. That's right - robbed. Some guy robbed a zoo employee in broad daylight, right around closing time. We probably smiled at him as we passed him on our way out. The news report said he got away with between 30-40 Thousand dollars!! From a Zoo robbery! Who knew zoo's brought in that kind of cash? Well, I guess when the ENTIRE CITY OF PITTSBURGH turns out, big money is made.

I don't know about you, but when I think about family-friendly activities, armed robbery is always involved. Now, I'm not telling all of you out of towners this to scare you, and prevent you from ever coming to our wonderful zoo. Then, again, if you don't come maybe the next time I go, I'll be able to get close enough to actually see some of the animals.

Friday, May 23, 2008

My "I Love You"

Funny that I wrote a rant about wanting people to be positive, isn't it? How hypocritical. I'm complex, what can I say? I guess a rave is in order.

I have written poetry since I was a kid. I scrawled what was probably my first one on the chalkboard in my playroom, and it made my parents crack up. I wrote a poem in grade school, for a contest with the theme "What I Want To Be When I Grow Up", that won first prize.

I don't really write consistently. Sometimes years go by, and I don't write anything. Other times, I write several in one week. In my teen and early adult years, I often wrote when I was depressed or angry, so my poetry was quite dark, but it helped me to get through whatever I was going through at the time. I don't usually sit down intending to write a poem. That's not how it works. Usually one just pops into my head while I'm driving, or laying down about to fall asleep.

Yesterday Jim and I took Dylan for his 18 month pediatrician visit. Dylan HATES going there. He hates the scale, he hates the thing put on his head to measure it, he hates the white crinkly paper, he hates the poking, he hates the prodding, he hates the nurses, he hates the doctors, and of course, he hates the shots. He screams/wails/cries/blubbers/clings to us like he is a monkey climbing a tree/tries to open the door to escape/looks at us with the "why are you doing this to me" eyes, the WHOLE TIME. It is torture. Each time he has to get more shots I pray, "Please let him be fine. Please don't let him have a reaction to this shot". I think about the parents who watch their happy, engaging child slip away from them into autism, and I am terrified. This time was no exception. As I held my amazingly strong child still, while he was getting the shots, and I said the prayer, this poem started to form... ( I know that there is a children's book titled "You Are My I Love You", but I have never read it, so if this is similar, I apologize).

You Are My I Love You

You are my questions, my how's, and my why's.
You are my rainbows, my stars, my blue skies.

You are my truth, my armor from fear.
You are my understanding, my everything made clear.

You are my map, my search, my treasure.
You are my happiness, my laughter, my pleasure.

You are my winning ticket, my shooting star, my pot of gold.
You are my future, my story to be told.

You are my horoscope, my fortune, my sign.
You are my calendar, my watch, my teller of time.

You are my weekend, my workweek, my holiday.
You are my journey, my path, my one way.

You are my hours, my days, my nights.
You are my cause, my reason to fight.

You are my mirror, my bad, and my good.
You are my "I can"'s, my "I will"'s, my "I should"'s.

You are my joy, my courage, my strength.
You are my "whatever it takes", my "I'll go to any length".

You are my miracle, my blessing, my dream come true.
You are my everything, you are my "I Love You".

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What's Wrong With People?

Have you ever noticed how incredibly negative people are? Maybe you are a negative person yourself. If so, quit it, because it's getting on my nerves. I was out with a group of people recently, and when they asked what was going on in my life, of course, I told them about the house hunting/house finding/house buying/house selling stuff. I told them that after MUCH looking on our parts, that we had finally found a house we were happy with. That got some excitement...until, I started talking about the house. You know, the house we were excited about buying? I heard, "Oh, a pool? Pools are a lot of work". I heard, "Pine trees? They are a lot of maintenance". I heard, "The laundry room is in the basement? Oh, that's too bad. I hate lugging laundry baskets up stairs". I even heard someone say that the town we are moving to is "going to hell". Lovely.

Then, they started to bombard me with their "when I tried to sell my house" horror stories. I sat there, just trying to enjoy a meal that I didn't have to cook, feed an impatient toddler, or clean up, thinking "Shut up! Shut up! Would all of you just shut up!" Sometimes adult conversation is overrated.

Why is it so hard for people to just be positive? Positive about their lives and positive about others? It starts to become like a competition with some people. They have to one up, or one worse, the next person's story. Like if I say, "Oh crap! I just got a splinter!", they will say, "Once I got a splinter, and it became infected, and I ended up in the hospital for weeks!" If I say, "Finances are pretty tight right now", they will say, "I had to declare bankruptcy last year, and my car was impounded, and we lost our house". If I say, "I hope it warms up soon, and stops raining around here", they will say, "When I lived in X, it rained for 30 days straight once, and we had a 6 inch flood in our basement".

I am totally sick of it, but I think I have a plan. It goes like this... If I say, "My stomach has been bothering me a little", and they say, "Once I got food poisoning, and I had to go to the ER", I will say, "I know someone who got food poisoning, and... THEY DIED!!" If I say, "My back is sore from picking up a heavy toddler", and they say, "I broke my back once, and was bed ridden for a month!", I will say, "I know someone who broke their back once, and ...THEY DIED!!" If I say, "I haven't been out to see a movie in a while", and they say, "I haven't seen a movie in years!", I will say, "I know someone who didn't see a movie for years and years, and...THEY DIED!!" That just might shut them all up, I'm thinking.

So, since I am a big fan of P-O-S-I-T-I-V-E thinking, I would like to say this for the record. There are people coming to look at our house on Saturday.

They WILL love our house.
They WILL love our house so much that they WILL immediately make us an offer.
They WILL make us an offer that we are happy with, and we WILL accept their offer (well, probably after countering).
Everything WILL go smoothly with the entire process, and we WILL make a nice chunk of cash from the sale.
We WILL make such a nice chunk of cash from the sale that we WILL have money left over to spend on our new house.
Everyone WILL agree with me that this will all happen, and WILL NOT give me their doom and gloom, sky is falling, what if's, "realist" opinions, and we WILL all be happy and do a dance of glee.

Thank you.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Socks

I already wrote a post today, but after that, Dylan did something so darn cute, here I am writing again. These things must be documented. He has been the absolute pinnacle of cuteness all day today, which is really great, because I am sick, and don't have the energy to deal with much. So, I had his socks in a laundry basket that were clean, that needed sorted and put away.
When he saw it, he became obsessed with getting at those socks, sticking his whole arm down as far as he could, trying to reach them and pull them out. At first, I started to put them in another room, envisioning him stuffing them in his mouth to chew them until they were all soggy and gross, which is what he usually does, or I should say used to do.

Then, I had an idea. "Dylan, do you want to help ma-ma?" "Yeth", he replied, while shaking his whole body in affirmation - (his new thing is to nod yes, but he does it with his whole upper body). "Okay, can you help ma-ma match the socks and put them away?" "Yeth, ma-ma, ma-ma". I dumped the whole pile on a blanket. Then, I pulled out a blue one. "Boo!" "Yes, it is blue! Can you find another blue one?" To my amazement, he handed me another blue one! Again, and again he handed me the color sock I asked for. Granted, it wasn't always a match, but it was always the same color as the one I was holding.

After I folded each pair together, I asked him "Do you want to put them away for ma-ma?" "Yeth!" Even though he is about 2 inches too short to see into the sock drawer, he tossed each pair into the drawer, signing "More" after each one, then signed "All done" when we were finished.

Am I the only one who picks up the phone to call Oprah and ask when she is doing an episode on genius children, when their kid happily and successfully does HOUSEHOLD CHORES?! She never answers my phone calls either. Anyway, it was extremely cute, and I'm getting misty again. Can someone please hand me the box of tissues?

The House

Hi! How are you? It's been a while, hasn't it? Sorry about that. What's new with me, you ask? Well...

We finally found a house! It is a two story, with four bedrooms, a two car integral garage, a small finished basement, a nice kitchen that won't need remodeled, and...(this is important, folks), 2 1/2 baths! (Jim and I currently only have one, and it is on the second floor!) Another major plus, is that the area is great. It is in a nice plan, with sidewalks, where Dylan can safely ride his bike someday, and we can chat with our neighbors whose names we all know at the bus stop! If I don't make friends in the new neighborhood it won't be for lack of trying. I will be going door to door, "Hi! I'm your new neighbor! I just moved in! I brought you some cookies! Sorry they're burnt." (I'm not a baker)

There are a few problems, of course, no house is perfect. The previous owner just had an above ground pool put in about 2 yrs ago. How is that a problem, you ask? Well, it takes up just about the whole yard! My kid loves to play outside, so that could be an issue. Another potential dilemma is that we aren't sure what to do about Jim's tools. The plan now is to put them all at the back of the garage, with some of the bigger tools on rollers, so when he has a project to do, we can pull the cars out, and he can use the whole garage to work. However, if his ridiculous amount of tools won't fit in the garage they will be spilling over into the basement. Do you want to guess where the laundry room is? Do I need to remind you that in our current home I have to trek through his sawdust covered workshop to get to the laundry room in the basement? Why?! Why, God, Why?!

Let me tell you about what might be the most exciting part of the house. The first time I saw the house, I walked into the master bedroom, and walked over to the closet to see if there would be room for both my clothes, and Jim's (he has more than I do). I opened the double doors, (*ANGELS SINGING LOUDLY*), shut them and shook my head rapidly to clear the dream, opened them again slowly, (*ANGELS STILL SINGING*). A. Walk. In. Closet. Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo, doo-doo. Doo, doo-doo-doo. (That's me doing the Snoopy happy dance if you are confused).

So, yesterday morning I went to get the home inspection done. The guy was very...Detailed. He was pointing out every little thing, and suggestions that we might want to do in the future, and potential problems, the end my head was spinning and I might have started hyperventilating. I told him, "When we have the inspection at our house, I really hope you don't do it!" So, there are some problems, and now we have to all discuss who will do what, when, and for how much. This whole house hunting/house buying/house selling process has me feeling like I'm caught in a whirlwind. If you've seen the movie "Twisters", you remember the scene where the cow caught in the tornado, flies past the car window with the bewildered look on its face? Well, MOOOOO!

Yea, I'm a little stressed. Even after the massage that Jim and I finally got on our anniversary. It was great, but when the lady who was giving me my massage came up to me, I almost shouted in her face, "WHERE'S HEIDI?! GO, AND GET ME HEIDI!!" You see, after my first massage with Heidi, and I told Jim "I am leaving you. Sorry", I have requested her. If there was ever a time I needed Heidi to give me a massage, it was now, but somebody screwed up and never wrote down the request. I was quite gracious and let them live. This time.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Mother's Day, Mom


I was going to write a post about how you used to say, "One day when you're a mother, you'll understand". I was going to say that I do understand now, and that I finally appreciate you - I mean REALLY appreciate you - but, then I started thinking. To really, and I mean REALLY understand what you did for me, I would have to do the following...

*Go through childbirth alone, while my husband complained about the uncomfortable chairs in the waiting area (sorry, Dad, I couldn't resist).
*Go through the baby stage with a baby who cried every time I gave her milk, because (who knew) she was allergic to milk.
*Put up with a child who liked to whine (I still don't believe I was a whiner, but you told me not to whine when I went to Kennywood with Mame, and she thought you said I wasn't allowed to "ride").
*Make countless bowls of chicken noodle soup, and jello to give a kid who got sick a lot.
*Worry. Worry. Worry.
*Leave my child in the hospital so she could get tested for allergies and try desperately not to laugh when the nurses tell me my little girl baricaded the door with a gurney so they couldn't get in.
*Take my little girl to get allergy shots every week, even though she absolutely hated it.
*Read countless books to her, and give her a love of reading and words.
*Plan and throw awesome birthday parties each and every year.
*Cook perfectly balanced meals and constantly shove bowls of cut up fruit at her to keep her healthy.
*Help her with her homework, and help her study for tests.
*Feel left out when she gives her dad all the attention.
*Put up with her crazy friends, and the way teenagers can't seem to finish a sentence, and the giggling.
*Decide to start driving her to school when she tells you "there was a strange smell on the bus today, and I started feeling weird".
*Worry. Worry. Worry.
*Send my baby off to college, not wanting to let her go yet. Miss her like crazy, when the house suddenly becomes very quiet.
*Think about her, and talk about her way too much. Send her countless cards, letters, and care packages.
*Bite my tongue and keep it to myself when she starts dating a boy that I know is all wrong for her. Put up with him for 3 1/2 long years.
*Console her when he breaks her heart, knowing that it is the best thing that could have happened.
*Pray every day for her.
*Stay up, even though I am exhausted, until my now-an-adult daughter stays out very late at clubs, wondering what she is doing and when she'll be home.
*Worry. Worry. Worry.
*Support my daughter, instead of strangling her, when she decides to go to graduate school at the college she should have gone to in the first place because it was free.
*Rejoice for my daughter when she meets a man that I do approve of, then watch her go through unspeakable pain when she loses him four days before their wedding. Try to be there for her in any way I possibly can, as I always have.
*Be patient while she goes through a myriad of emotions and sometimes takes out her anger and pain on me.
*Be supportive of my daughter as she goes from one job to the next to the next.
*Rejoice again when she meets another wonderful man and plans to get married in Jamaica, and not invite anyone (including me) to the wedding.
*Be estatic when she finally gives me a grandchild, and be as great of a grandma as I was a mom.

Thanks for all of that, and so much more, Mom. I love you and I appreciate you, and all that you do.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Six Happy Years

Dear Jim,

Happy Anniversary! Six years ago today, we stood in a gazebo, overlooking the ocean, in Jamaica, and our adorable Jamaican minister pronounced us husband and wife. "James and Jenn-ee-fer". A while later, I looked over at you on the beach, and thought to myself, "My husband! I love the sound of that!"

These six years haven't always been easy. We've been through the adjusting-to-each-other phase (could you please just show some excitement when you walk in the door?!), the hassle of your first house and the low life renters (the fly strip in the shower was a nice touch, huh?), the loss of our grandmothers, your parent's physical problems, a failed business attempt (so sorry about that - but I'm still a dreamer), infertility problems, colic, and torticollis! It has all made our love stronger, and knowing that you are in this crazy journey of life with me, supporting me and sharing life's ups and downs is the best feeling.

What could we possibly get each other for our 6th anniversary, Jim? I know! How about a HOUSE!! Finding our next house hasn't been easy, either, but we did it! I can't wait to make new memories in it with you and Dylan. One thing is for sure, it will be filled with lots of love.

I love you BIG TIME,

Monday, May 5, 2008

Running Errands Can Be Fun

Since starting the new job, I work Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. That leaves Dylan and I Mondays and Fridays to do our prime mommy-son bonding. Often one of those days we have a playdate. Unfortunately, one of the days usually ends up involving running errands. Today was errand day.

First, we drove to check out two houses. Dylan slept in the car and I scoped out the neighborhoods for kids. My buddy Julia says I need to follow a school bus and see where the most kids get off. For some reason (called stress) this idea cracks me up! I am picturing myself trying to explain to the nice policeman why I was following the school bus, and ogling the kids to see where they live!

Once Dylan emerged from dreamland, we went to his favorite store to cause a large scene - Babies R Us. He was shockingly good, and stayed in the cart, while I zoomed around (the key is to keep moving and make vvvrrooom, vvvrroom noises). I spent 44 bucks on diapers, wipes, and food. (When he is potty trained what will I do with all my extra cash?)

Next stop, Kmart, to buy some candles for the bedroom and bathroom to "stage" the house. I don't watch those home shows for nothing, you know. Dylan discovered that candles smell, and decided that he needed to sniff each and every candle he could get his hands on. Then he would hand it to me, to get the final sniff consensus. I spent $16 on candles, and once again, I was amazed at how well behaved he was.

Since I wasn't happy with the purple candles in Kmart, I stopped at Marshalls, to see if they had any good ones. They didn't, but I bought Dylan a book that I really, really need to read to him over and over and over(for my sake), called "Let's Be Thankful". I spent $6 on the book.

The final errand was to take the car to a self serve car wash. You put 50 cents in the machine, and then the high pressure sprayer starts and gives you a minute and a half to use it. Every time I would spray Dylan's window with water, he would CRACK UP. He was laughing so loudly and hysterically that I could hear him through the window, over the sprayer noise, and it was fantastic. So fantastic that I washed my car 3 times. I spent $1.50. Best money I spent all day.