Thursday, November 30, 2006

Oh for Pete's sake

Today just sucks.

My car runs a little rough in the morning, but I chalked it up to being cold. Well, this morning the Check Engine light went on. The online Owner's Manual was very reassuring that the light doesn't necessarily indicate anything serious, but I was quite frustrated by the presence of that light as I wound my way through the canyons. As I was contemplating my bad car karma I was shocked when all of a sudden- BAM! It is trash day on that road. As I came around a bend, a trash barrel was sticking out and my side mirror tagged it, shattering, mockingly bouncing in the wind the rest of the way to work. I nearly started bawling, not for my usual sentimental reasons, but for the sheer frustration of finally having a nice car that now needs to have the engine checked and a mirror replaced after just a few days. Fuck!

By the time I got to the office I had worked myself up pretty good, felt really stupid for the mirror (even though a couple people thought the homeowner or city should be responsible), and wanted to just go crawl back in bed. Then Fillip called. Logan woke having thrown up in his crib during the night. Fantastic. Given some details I will have the consideration to not describe here, Fillip determined it had happened several hours earlier. Our theory was that something he ate either didn't agree with him, or he gagged a bit in his sleep. We've seen it happen when he was awake, plus he had a late, heavy dinner, trying clam chowder for the first time. He was happy as can be this morning, so off to school he went. I was a bit concerned about this knowing a stomach bug is going around, but being already at my desk, had to defer to Fillip. Well, lo and behold, the school called me at lunchtime. I figured I knew what was coming. Well, almost. Hayden was throwing up.

My MIL was available to get Hayden, but doesn't have any carseats. For a variety of reasons, Fillip decided to pick up Hayden, and I would get Logan when I left work. Ok, all settled. Then Fillip called me a little while later to say my MIL would get Hayden after all. She now had Filllip's carseat. Why? Because Fillip had gotten a flat tire on the way there, so his mom had to come get him anyway. She would go get Hayden while Fillip went to get his tire fixed.

Indulge my little Pity Party here- Why are we so subject to random (albeit minor) misfortune?

As much as I'd like to think this is the end of it, I suspect it's only the beginning. These bugs tend to spread like wildfire, so I fully expect that neither boy is done with it. We still have the "2nd stage" to deal with which isn't much fun either, and either Fillip and/or myself I will likely get it. It should make for quite the weekend. On the way to pick up Logan I will be stopping at the store to get vomit provisions. If a random sinkhole doesn’t open up and swallow me on the way there.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Cosmic irony

My office building held it's annual fire drill yesterday. I was not chosen as the floor Fire Warden.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Over the weekend I had a blast...literally

Saturday night my girlfriend came over to gab. It was darn cold for L.A. (hey you Minnesotans- stop laughing! I was shivering!) so I decided to light a fire in the fireplace. Well, maybe these things are best left to my husband. I swear, I only turned the gas on a little way and I have no idea why the flue was closed, but did you know that a combo like that will actually create a fireball in the livingroom? No, I'm not exaggerating. (Mom, catch your breathe, I'm fine.) As I heard the thundering whoosh and felt a hot blast shoot past me, I was kind of stunned. I turned to my girlfriend, who looked equally stunned and said "Um, is my hair on fire?" According to her, a little plume of smoke drifted from my head and she said "Well, not anymore."( Mom, put down the phone- I'm really fine.) I turned down the gas some more and went to run my hand under cold water then assess the damage to my hair. It looked really weird, like I had been collecting cobwebs on the left side of my head only. After a good wash the smell and charred bits are almost gone. It doesn't even look very uneven. Fillip was at his friend's house and got a phone call requesting "air freshener and burn cream." His response was to have me get on the phone and asked me "Are you serious?" Yup. Dead serious. So, my hand is a bit red and sore, but after sleeping with ice on it all night, it is ok.

Consider that a PSA. You're welcome.

Thanksgiving and stuff

When I say we had a Big Family Thanksgiving, I'm not kidding. We alternate years between families, and this year we were with Fillip's family. My MIL hosted 58 people Thursday. Twenty five people declined. The holiday actually started on Wednesday for us. I took the liberty of getting a mani/pedi before hitting the road. That was a mistake as traffic was terrible, making my drive nearly 2 hours- for only 20 miles! Nonetheless, with polished toes I faced a weekend of Thanksgiving festivities. On Wednesday night we moved furniture, set up tables, and set the tables- with assigned seats. The kids had a great time playing with their cousins, wondering what was happening at Grandma's house. The traditional bean/barley/ meat soup went over well "preparing our digestive systems for the next day" as one cousin commented.

Thanksgiving dinner was delicious and it was nice to visit with people. It seemed more relaxed than past years for some reason, but I don't know why. Maybe it's my new drinking habit, I really don't know. Just watching the "system" of getting dinner out of the kitchen was amazing. Hayden had a great time running after the "big kids," although I did notice him playing by himself for awhile. He gets a bit overwhelmed and seems to need some time away from other people. Fair enough. Logan was friendly, but became rather clingy as it got crowded. Can't blame him really. The house he is so familiar with had different furniture and a sea of legs, many of which had unfamiliar faces at the top. I liked him all snuggled up to me, so no complaints there. He did spend some time playing with the others. The spread of desserts was amazing as always from guava jelly cheesecake to white chocolate pumpkin cheesecake to chocolate kahlua bundt cake. That morning Hayden and I had baked a double chocolate/cream cheese swirled bundt cake (mmmm!!) which ended up being my favorite dessert. We tried putting Logan to bed at one point, well, at four points, but he screamed his head off and I finally decided it wasn't worth upsetting him that much when we would be leaving soon. The little monkey was thrilled to be taken back out of bed and seemed rather smug the rest of the night, but that could just be me. Despite being up nearly 3 hours past their routine bedtime two nights in a row, the kids were phenomenal. Of course, we paid the price for that the rest of the weekend, but overall, they were really great.

Recently, Hayden has been such a good boy. We tell him constantly and it is a joy to watch him include his little brother, share with him, "read" to him, and just be a sweetheart. He has decided that in return for his overall good behavior, he should get some leeway in naptime and bedtime. It takes him hours to go to sleep! This too shall pass. The weekend naptimes and betimes were such a challenge, until he finally crashed out of sheer exhaustion. Then he would get up and tell me how well he slept and what a good boy he is. Hard to argue with that groggy tousled face. Logan has developed some separation anxiety and clings to me quite a bit, gets really cranky and seriously objects to me leaving the room at bedtime. Over the weekend I would pat his back until his became too heavy to keep open, then just stand next to the crib. Now and then he would turn his head to make sure I was still there, then lie there quietly, alertly, content as long as I was nearby. The second I would leave the room, no matter how deeply he seemed to be sleeping, he would scream bloody murder for me to come back. Last night was a bit better, so hopefully he is feeling a bit more secure. The pending teeth aren't helping.

Friday my mom and her husband were in town. The kids were so excited to see them! Hayden had to show them all his favorite things and was so excited to go out to lunch with them. He just kept saying "Grandma Roz and Papa Arnie are coming to see me!" Yesterday, he got all excited again for my brother and sil to come for dinner. He "read" my bro Curious George and showed his Auntie Joycie all his best tricks. "Watch this! (crashing into the couch, flinging his feet up behind him) Did you see that? Wasn't that cool!" He was happy all through dinner, asking for more of this and that, then put on a great display after bathtime running naked through the house screaming "Nature Boy!!!!" Of course, he had a naked little shadow running after him, giggling all the way. Despite getting all riled up, he went to bed nicely after his story. Logan on the other hand was in fine form this weekend, especially at mealtime. He is so cute with those sweet blue eyes, his funny chatter and big grin. Then something changes. Just picture Jack Jack from the Incredibles, including the funny tuft of hair. That's my boy.

So, I have to say it-
I'm thankful for my wonderful husband, my beautiful boys, my family, my friends and my health. Happy holidays everyone.

Monday, November 20, 2006

My New Wheels!!

After nine years in the same car, I have finally gotten a new one! I am the proud owner of a new-to-me black 2003 Volvo C70 Wagon. Welcome to Mommyland in the fast lane! My previous car was a 1998 Chevy Malibu. For the last 8 years I have hated it with a passion that stemmed from a Difference of Opinion. I thought my ex-husband (rat bastard!) should pay it off as stated in our divorce settlement certified by the court, and he thought it more prudent to let it nearly get repo'd without informing me that he wasn't paying it. So, I spent years bitterly paying for that car until I paid it off, only to have it die dramatically a few months later. That is where the other Difference of Opinion comes in. I thought it should run, and it, clearly felt otherwise! Every six months the brakes would start squealing, then grinding, needing to be replaced with new pads as well as turned/new rotors. We replaced the engine at about 60,000 miles, only to have it die again last week. It had a cracked windshield (ok, that was kinda my fault, forgot to take the garage door remote from baby Hayden), the A/C didn't work and the driver's side window wouldn't open. It was so humiliating driving into my office parking garage each morning, peering through that windshield, having to open the door to scan my key card, then rattle to my parking space. At the end of the day, I would have to open the hood to put water in each day, always hoping nobody I know would be coming or going at the same time as me.

Last Friday was the last straw. I put water in before leaving work, but after just a couple miles the temperature started rising. I drive windy canyon roads with no convenient place to pull over and no cell phone reception. As the temperature gauge slowly climbed, steam began coming out of the hood first as little tendrils, and eventually billowing out with the distinctive pungent odor of antifreeze. As I neared the top of the hill (Mulholland for those of you playing at home), the red light on the temp gauge went on with a "Ding!" and the rattle became a roar. My thought- "Well, if I can get to the top, I can cruise on down." Sure enough. I coasted on down, making the quick hairpin that would bring me to Fillip's Grandparents' house, where my car was kind enough to shut itself off as I got to the curb.

So… after a very harried week with only one car, I was able to purchase my new sleek auto this weekend. Well, let me clarify. My Mom is a lifesaver and made it possible to buy this car this weekend, with no pressure for an early payoff, and not even the hint of guilt.


I was determined to get a stationwagon. We need the extra seating if we want to go anywhere as a family, with even one more person. There are several reasons I wanted neither an SUV nor a minivan, and it was a surprise to me that a used, quality, economical, 7+ passenger station wagon was so difficult to find. At each car lot we would state very clearly what I was looking for, saying I was not interested in an SUV or minivan, hoping to leave quickly if they didn't have it. Multiple sales people tried using the argument that "Nobody drives station wagons anymore, so you shouldn't either. Take a look at these SUV's and minivans." Compelling, huh? So, after inquiring at multiple lots, reading through likely 50 online ads, and an encounter with an extremely shady private internet dealer at the Tommy's Hamburger parking lot, we found The One.

This car is really great. It is black inside and out, a welcome change to the oh so exciting champagne/oatmeal combo (read: beige on beige) of the Malibu. The sound system sounds great. The leather seats are cushy. It has great power, and most importantly it handles those canyon roads like no other car I've had! Believe me, I pushed it and am not exaggerating when I say that I was giving a mental "whoo hoo!!" around many of those turns with a big grin on my face. I proudly pulled into the parking garage this morning, rolled down my window to scan my key card, then took my time parking in one spot, backing into another, then spending another 5 minutes primping in the vanity mirror, hoping someone, anyone would see me in my new ride!!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Our Fairy Tale

(This may be cheating. When we got engaged, I attempted to write a fairy tale describing how we met. I failed miserably, and this version is the wonderful version my Mom wrote. I just thought I'd like to have it on here.)

Long ago, in a land far far away (known as Northridge) lived a Jewish prince called Lord Fillip. At the same time, in a distant land known as Simi, a beautiful Jewish princess was growing up. She was called Lady Marlo (also known as Mop). Although the prince and the princess had not met, the both were a part of a royal assembly called USY.

During the 14th year of the prince and princess, they both were summoned to attend a meeting of the royal assembly. The princess and her family made great preparation as this was her first royal synagogue ball and many young people from other lands would be in attendance. During the ball, a local prince invited Lady Marlo to dance and while they were dancing, he introduced her to Lord Fillip. Princess Marlo thought he was very handsome in his toga although she did not understand his native garment. She wished to dance with him but, alas, he danced away and her fairy godmother was not there to help. Some months later, the prince and princess were summoned to an even larger royal assembly. This time the fairy godmother spelled them into the same discussion forum. The princess was enchanted with the prince. His eyes twinkled, his braces sparkled, his charm was abundant and Lady Marlo was dazzled. She tried to remember her royal bearing but the prince was also smitten. They attended the royal ball together and shared much time during the assembly. When it was time to return to their lands, the prince sent a message asking the princess to become his royal interest.

Although the promise did not last, Lord Fillip and Lady Marlo became mighty friends, a union that lasted for many years. He knew every jester she dated and she knew every frog that he kissed. Alas, during those years, the princess met an evil sorcerer who took her away to his land. After 5 years, the princess escaped and returned to her royal home of Simi Valley. The news of her return travelled throughout the kingdom and reached the prince. He travelled home on vacation, called the princess and they arranged to meet that very day. She arrived at his castle, crossed the moat to his door and, forsooth, their eyes met in the same old enchantment. This time they would stand together and face the dragons and fantasies of life. Over the next 3 years, they would travel together and protect each other. The road was long and sometimes dangerous but together they passed safely. One fine day, Lord Fillip asked Lady Marlo for her hand in marriage and they vowed to share all that was in their kingdom and allow no other to interfere. In a royal wedding, amid all the members of the kingdom and with great celebration and reveling, they were married and lived happily ever after.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Young at heart

Some days I just need a little pick-me-up. I've recently learned that I am a much better mom if I have a cocktail with dinner. Yes, that sounds really bad. I'm not a big drinker, so half a drink will do it. I'm averaging either a glass of wine or part of a cocktail once or twice a week these days, and thoroughly enjoying my new drinking habit. A funny thing happened though.

We went for dinner at a local family-friendly burger chain. Hayden needed to go to the bathroom when we arrived (since it isn't possible to order a meal unless he knows what the bathroom looks like) and he wanted Fillip to take him. I told him Daddy wasn't available because he was ordering Mommy a drink. Fillip said that was true, very agreeable to the option of selecting my cocktail over managing a toddler at a urinal. Well, when we returned to the table, the prepubescent waitress came over apologetically requesting to see my i.d. My i.d! Hah! That's a good one! No, seriously, she needed to see my i.d. or couldn't serve me a drink. Maybe she didn't realize that the happiness of my family depends on it. Maybe she didn't realize that the shaky balance of my very sanity rests on this cocktail. Whether she realized it or not, I had not brought my purse. My driver's license, that precious document that not only verifies that I am old enough to order a drink, but to also serve in the U.S. Senate, was at home. So, no drink for me. Did I want a blended virgin cocktail, came the very chipper suggestion. No thanks. That would just be wasted calories.

All of her repeated apologies were met with a gracious "That's ok, you're just doing your job." She doesn't know that she managed to counteract numerous strangers greeting me as ma'am, the demise of my ability to shop at Forever 21, or the dubious honor of being a Matron of Honor at my niece's wedding.

She got a rockin' good tip!!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Trick or Treat!

Halloween was a fun-filled day for the boys. Hayden dressed up as muscle bound Spider Man and Logan was a Ninja. They were so cute and both loved wearing their costmes, head gear and all. They got to wear or bring their costumes to school for a Costume Parade and Carnival. Hayden insisted on wearing his pajamas under his outfit, and was probably the most comfortable kid there. Logan brought his outfit to be put on later in the day. When I arrived at the school, Logan was all dressed up, with his hood, snacking away. He was covered in something that looked like a combination of cookies and candy. Probably was. He was the stickiest, happiest Ninja you ever saw. Hayden was inside when I got there, but came out with a giant sucker and a big grin. There were treats set out so the kids could just help themselves. I joked with the Director that they were going to get the kids all sugared up, then send them home to us. She said absolutely! Hayden kindly shared his sucker with Logan, but drew the line at sharing with his friends. Good call. We played for a few minutes then headed home.

At home we hung out for awhile waiting for Marlena and Aaron. The kids were bouncing off the walls! They were so excited, and on such a sugar high. Once Marlena and Aaron arrived, the kids showed off their costumes, and Marlena outfitted them with a ghost bucket and a Frankenstein bag. They each had something to collect candy in. Logan loves carrying a bag on his shoulder so this was perfect! Marlena and I hit the streets with the kids. Fillip and Aaron took responsibility for ordering dinner, having a few beers, and greeting trick-or-treaters. We got exactly ZERO trick-or-treaters.

This was our first year trick-or-treating, and although I explained it to Hayden, there is a learning curve. It didn't take long though before he was handling it like a seasoned 10 year old with years of begging under his superhero belt. At the first house, we coached him to knock and call "Trick or Treat!" when the lady opened the door. Logan only had to be told to follow his brother and stood there expectantly while Hayden took care of things. The lady was appropriately delighted by our little munchkins, generously handed out candy, then spent a moment trying to keep them out of her house. We scooped them up and explained we don't go in and to say thank you, then moved on to the next house. Well, Logan was not happy about leaving that nice old lady who had just given him candy! It only took a couple houses though before he would toddle after Hayden, bag on his shoulder, wait patiently for the door to open, then hold out his hand for the candy. He would say "tat da" which means thank you, put the candy in his bag, then go right back to the stroller, ready to hit the next house. The two of them were so cute. Hayden would often ask if he could ask more. Despite us telling him we would get plenty and save some for the next people, the neighbors always indulged his request, which meant he asked for more many times! At one house, nobody answered his knock. He knocked louder yelling "knock!knock!" Finally, he just started yelling "Answer the door!" We had to convince him that they were out trick-or-treating, so we should move on.

There were surprisingly few people out, but the neighbors were all so happy to see the kids. It occurred to me that another purpose is served here. The kids love getting out and getting a big stash of candy, but we had the opportunity to meet our neighbors. I think in a way it brings the community together. We had such a great time with the boys. As we were at our last house, our next door neighbor, Fillip called to say dinner had arrived. We brought our sugar babies home and got some "real" food into them- pizza and pasta. They ate tons, got crazy hyper on a couple pieces of candy, then crashed and burned in a blaze of Halloween glory. I've never had more fun on Halloween.