And Then I Stepped in Gum . . .

Monday, June 28, 2004

And Then I Stepped in Gum . . .

It's been a hell of a day, but on the bright side, I have finally come up with a good new name for the blog.

Yesterday, as I believe I posted, the car wouldn't start when Dave stopped at McDonald's (picking up french fries for me on an errand of mercy). He walked the 15 minutes home, then I walked back with the other key to see if that was the problem. It wasn't. I called Saturn Roadside Assistance (we're still under our extended warranty by *thaaaaat* much) and waited. And waited. And waited. Three hours later, the tow truck arrived. (At one point they thought I was in Shelby, NY -- upstate somewhere -- despite the fact that I had spelled Shirley for the incomprehensible guy on the phone.) OK, not too big a deal, except that left us with no car at all, as Dave's is being driven South by my sister. Today, we find out that it can be fixed before we leave on Wed., but they have to order a part, so it wasn't done by today. I fought for -- and won -- reimbursement for a rental car. We got a cool PT Cruiser.

Which I'll get to tool around in tomorrow, because I have to go to the DMV to get a new license, because somewhere in walking around dealing with the car yesterday, I lost mine, and though I only have 2 more days in NY, I don't think it's wise to drive across the country without a physical license in my possession. So to the DMV I go, as well as to the library to return overdue books and to Goodwill to get rid of more stuff.

Amid calling and cancelling oil, water, power, phone, etc., I got a call from our lawyer's assistant. The one I've been calling every other day for the past two weeks, reminding her that we need to close on Wed. She was calling to tell us the closing was set for Friday. I flipped. Told her it was unacceptable. Said if it couldn't be Wed., they'd have to hold it without us, because we needed to get our butts down to Alabama. She said she'd have the lawyer call me in the morning. She'd damn well better. We're paying this guy $700 for almost exactly nothing, as far as I can tell. And she's lied to me in the past, trying to placate me. I am beyond ticked off.

Then I call the realtor to tell him what's up. He doesn't understand why we "set our plans in stone based on an 'on or about date'" (i.e., the closing was supposed to be "on or about June 30," and try as we might, we couldn't get anyone to pin anything else down). Sorry, buddy, but when you're juggling the closing of another house (which date we've had for a month now), moving vans that will only hold your stuff without charge for so long, traveling 20 hours in the car with 2 small children, and cat travel logistics, you've got to hook a plan to something. I ranted, he placated, I think he's full of it.

So I go to the kitchen to get something to eat from our meager stores. I know, I think to myself, I'll finish up the frozen waffles. I get them out, imagining what great comfort food they'll make -- warm and crispy and chocolatey (they're chocolate chip waffles -- mmm-mmm healthy). And I turn to the toaster . . . and there's no toaster. Because it's packed. Of course.


I microwaved them and they tasted like warm sponges. Oh well.

So after ranting about all this to my mom, my friend, and anyone who would listen, I decided to pop by the grocery store in the PT Cruiser to pick up snacks for the trip and some indulgent ice cream to make me feel better. I park the car, open the door, get out . . .

and then I stepped in gum.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

If It's Not One Thing . . .

T-2.5 days till Moving Day. I'm finally no longer sick, and Dave's on the tail end. The house is probably about 90% packed, and the movers are coming tomorrow to pack, and then Tuesday to load everything into the van. Meanwhile, the evil cat is giving my sister fits somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Seaboard, and I'm feeling extreme guilt over that. And then what happens? My car breaks down. Again. It's in the shop for about the third time in six months. And it's a 3-year-old car, still under extended warranty. This is all we need.

So I waited three hours at McDonald's to have the car towed, and now we have to figure out how to get to the dealership to deal with it tomorrow, because of course my sister has our other car (with kitties) somewhere in Georgia. And did I mention the movers are coming to pack tomorrow?


Wednesday, June 23, 2004


Ugh! On top of just finishing a rush project (and being asked to "button it up" over the next couple of days after the author reviews the edits) and having to pack and being exhausted and having only 6 days before the movers come, I have a cold/postnasal drip/sinus/bronchial thing going on. Katie does, too, and she's losing her voice. But the thing is, she *won't* *stop* *talking* (and singing and yelling and . . . )!! And listening to her is making my throat hurt worse.

I can't wait for bedtime.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Random Bloggage

Update on the WTNs (White Trash Neighbors): In addition to the pieced-together shack that serves as the "main house," the building about the size of most people's garage that's been converted into housing, the shed, and the godawful gazebo-type awning in their yard, a new structure has sprung up -- what appears to be a 12-man tent. Who knows who's living there. I'd take bets on how long it will be a fixture on their property, but I expect we'll be long gone before it comes down.

My calves hurt from standing outside all day at our yard sale, which was arranged primarily on our 45-degree-slant driveway.

We watched a show on the national epidemic of sleep problems last night (which, for some reason, was on at 10 p.m. -- ???). 70 million people in our country have some type of sleep disorder, and 60 million of them have insomnia. I'm one of them. Ironically, despite being bone-tired after the yard sale, I couldn't get to sleep until past 1 a.m.

I so suck at holidays. Dave does great with holidays -- lavish presents, fun plans, funny little notes, tearjerking cards. I just can't reciprocate. I woke up cranky this morning (after little sleep; see above) and spent the morning yelling at the kids while trying to get things ready to cook breakfast in bed for him (do you know how hard it is to do the dishes when an 18-month-old is trying to shove a granola bar up your shorts leg?). Then I stuffed the (lame) presents I bought in a gift bag and gave them to him. I haven't even written the card yet. Then I didn't even give him the day off, because I'm on deadline and I had to work a few hours before we went to a cookout that he wasn't even particularly interested in attending. All right, he had a day off on Thursday and another afternoon off on Friday, but still. He's the best, most involved father I know, and he's the most terrific partner. He deserves better. I'm sorry, honey, and I love you, and next year I'll do better, promise.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

A Quickie

During a get-together with 9 other online friends, the comment was made that it was interesting that out of the 10 of us, no one smokes. And I replied that I don't know anyone who smokes, apart from my father-in-law. In my experience, smoking is on the decline.

Yet at our garage sale today, about 2/3 of the customers were browsing with butt in hand. What exactly does that imply?

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Dance Students or Pre-Adolescent Hoochie Mamas?

Yet another milestone today -- Katie's first dance recital. The first parental-attendance-required event of the many that I assume will take place over the next 21 or so years. This one was a doozy -- a four-hour series of performances by all the kids at the dance school. Of that four hours, Katie's class took up about 2.5 minutes, spread over one ballet song and one tap song. I won't even get started on the rant about the $17 tickets (after the $52 costume, $25 beige tap shoes -- because her black ones just wouldn't do -- and assorted other dance class costs). Whoops, maybe a little rant escaped just then.

Anyway, the dances Katie's class did were just as precious as one would expect, and Katie did very well, especially since she's the oldest in her class of 8. They wore costumes consisting of dark blue velvet leotards with pink netting puffy sleeves embroidered with roses on ribbon and pink tutus, with velvet overskirts. Absolutely adorable (even if every single costume was too small on its owner). They danced ballet to a song called "Final Dream," and tapped -- after a fashion -- to "I Won't Grow Up" from Peter Pan. When the lights came on for "I Won't Grow Up," the girls were all lying on their tummies, heads in their hands, kicking their feet. It was too cute.

Now, for the rest of the recital. Many of the numbers were fine, and more than a few of the competition teams were really quite good. The total time was far too long, of course, and Ian was really losing it, but I did enjoy the show. But the costumes on some of those girls!! And the dance routines! I am far from a prude, but I do have a thing about sexualizing pre-pubescent (heck, even pubescent) young girls. The Britney Spears look for little girls just rings all kind of alarm bells for me. Maybe it was all the Lolita analyzing I did in college. Even my beloved Target earned criticism from me for selling tops with fake bra straps in their size 4-7 section. I just don't think it's right. Still, I'm willing to let the market decide, and be happy with being able to control my own daughter's clothing choices myself, even if I shake my head over what passes for fashion these days.

But where does that parental authority come in when it comes to dance class? The costumes I objected to ranged from patent leather, zippered tunics for 8-year-olds to skintight rainbow-hued hot-pants body suits (what a friend called "booty shorts") with over-the-knee patent leather boots for 10- to 11-year-olds. Mesh shirts over tank tops with "schoolgirl" plaid miniskirts. Bandana tops, abdomens exposed. There were also quite a few "vamp" moves in the choreography (I'm being kind -- they could more accurately be called stripper moves, since all that was lacking seemed to be a pole). Not in my daughter's class, but in the next class or two up -- early elementary grade students. Lots of hands on hips, whip your butt back and forth with it facing the audience. Some rolling of the hips, in a bump-and-grind fashion. A bit of slithering on the floor, face down, a la Madonna.

And then there was makeup. Yes, I know this is a stage show. I did theater when I was a kid; I understand about that. But I feel uncomfortable putting makeup on my 5-year-old. I just don't think she's ready for that. Or maybe it's that I'm not ready for it. Whatever, I think the justification of "stage makeup" just doesn't quite cut it for a 2-minute dance recital performance. If they're washed out, so what? It's not like there are talent scouts in the audience or anything! They're 5 (or 4 or 3)!

All I know is, Katie's going to stick to ballet. Maybe tap, but definitely not "hip-hop" or jazz dance -- that's where all of the hoochiest outfits were. Give me a nice long-skirted tutu anyday. The Swan Lake performance was beautiful.