And Then I Stepped in Gum . . .

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

A Strong Word

A couple of weeks ago, just after we moved, Theresa, all buoyed up with new-house feelings of her own, asked me, "Don't you just love being in your new house?" At the time, surrounded by boxes and still coming off the stress of the six-day car trip with two small children, I replied, "Love is a pretty strong word."

Well, I just got back from swimming at the Y while Katie was taking lessons and Ian was in the nursery there. I took a shortcut home, rather than the main drag. I turned into our pretty, neat neighborhood, where sprinkler systems sprinkle and everyone has their trash out in single, giant trash cans (except us, who are taking up most of the block with boxes, but that's temporary, I'm sure). And I felt content. I think I can now say that I love being in our new home.

I love that it feels safe and neighborhood-y here, unlike our last house. I love that I don't mind having the kids in the backyard playing, even though we don't yet have a fence. I love that the lawn is, for the most part, complete. Although the house is still a bit of a wreck, it's not that much more of a wreck anymore than our typical, everyday wreck-ness. I love that I'm looking forward to things again.

Most of all, it's the potential of living here that I love. Sure, I'm a little lonely, as we haven't quite got a social network yet, but I'm relishing the anticipation of make friends with the parents of Katie's classmates, knowing that I'll know them for a number of years. I want to get involved with Girl Scouts. I'm thinking of joining a choir. I'm even thinking of taking classes at the local university toward a third/second master's degree. I can't wait for Ian to start in daycare/preschool to make friends. I can't wait for Katie to start her school year. Everything seems brighter and shinier. And I love it. It's not too strong a word.

P.S. Hmm, looking over this post I seem relentlessly optimistic, which is a bit of a change for me lately. Could it be that (fingers crossed against jinxing it!) Ian seems to maybe be getting the hang of sleeping through the night??? It only took 19 months!

Monday, July 26, 2004

In My Defense . . .

In my defense, I've only had about four or five periods in the last two and a half years. And before that I was on the pill, and had those little brown tablets to warn me what was coming. So I'm a little rusty on picking up on the signs.

And it was the washing machine saleswoman at Sears, not the grocery store clerk. :)

So Much for Erudite!

Last night:

Dave: Are we going to watch the Democratic convention this week?
Me: Mumble, mumble.

I'm embarrassed that I still have the same reaction to political speeches that I had to them when I was 11 years old and stuck watching them with my grandfather, whose obsession with the news was completely unfathomable to me at the time. (I've since become an NPR junkie and force my preschooler to listen to Morning Edition and All Things Considered, so what goes around...) Anyway, I wish I were more erudite about politics. But when the televised speeches come on, I find myself bored to tears by the ones I agree with and too irritated to listen to the ones I don't. I'll blame it on my highly skewed toward the visual learning styles -- speeches of almost any sort are hard for me to follow. Nevertheless, I feel humbled that Dave wants to be all educated about this and I couldn't care less.

Earlier this evening:

Dave: You've watched all the Two and a Half Mens, right? I can stop the recording on TiVo and switch to the convention?
Me: Yes, I have. Go ahead.

Dave goes out to buy a glider that I want, leaving the TV on the convention channel. (Are all the channels covering the convention? Probably; I didn't surf to check.) I walk past the set, noting Jimmy Carter standing and being serenaded with "Georgia on My Mind." I head to the computer to do some work.

An hour later, I walk through the living room to get a snack. What is my erudite, educated, politically interested husband doing?

Watching Flash Gordon.


Darn Free Will!

A couple of months ago, Ian's communication took a huge step forward when he learned to nod "yes" and shake his head "no." Oh, at first it was a little hard to tell which he actually meant, especially since for a month or so his nod was mostly an emphatic look up at the ceiling, but it was amazing to finally be able to engage in some type of interchange with him. The side effect was that suddenly this little creature had opinions on everything! Rhetorical questions meant nothing to him; he had an answer for each one. On the one hand, it was nice to find out whether or not he actually wanted a banana before I peeled it; on the other, we found ourselves asking questions like, "Do you want to get your jammies on now?" and being met with insistent head shakes. We had to backtrack and learn all over again not to ask questions when there really wasn't a choice in the matter.

Regardless of the parental learning curve, I loved the breakthrough and still love it, especially since the little guy hasn't been too terribly forthcoming in the words department. His full-body nods are adorable, and lately they've been augmented by an appreciative "mm-hmmm" or "eah" ("yeah" without the "y").

A couple of days ago, we experienced another milestone -- the development of Ian's favorite color. Dave was drying him off from his bath, and Ian pointed to the yellow towel and insisted, "oh-low." Dave was skeptical that Ian was really expressing a color preference so he tested him, but sure enough, Ian wanted the yellow towel. Then for dinner I was gathering plastic plates and utensils, and had a yellow fork and a green fork in my hand. Ian came running up to me, saying "oh-low, oh-low, oh-low." "Do you want the yellow fork?" "Mm-hmmmm." I then also had to find him a yellow plate. And for the past two days he's requested yellow sippy cups. He doesn't seem to care as much about what's in them as he does about the exterior color.

While it's great that he can recognize colors (he also identifies red cars as "Dada vroom" and blue ones as "Mama vrooms"), this fixation had better not be too long-lived. I only have so many yellow cups and plates!

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Random Thoughts

I know how disappointing it is to go to blogs day after day and not see any new posts (hint, hint!), so even though I don't feel all that coherent right now, I thought I'd go ahead and post some observations I've made lately.

1) You don't realize why New Yorkers have a reputation for being rude until you leave New York. Everybody down here has been over-the-top friendly, from the guy who stopped his car next to mine while I was looking at a map so he could give me directions to the library, to the fence guy who just chatted with me for half an hour and gently corrected my pronunciation of local street names, to every cashier we've run into. Even the ATMs are friendlier down here.

2) The exception to observation #1 is the employees of the DMV. So now that we've established that the DMV is purgatory on Earth pretty much throughout the country, what I want to know is, is this a global phenomenon? Do motor vehicle registry bureaus in Australia, India, England, Germany, Sudan, etc. employ the same type of surly, grumpy, unhappy people who seem to take pleasure in telling you that you don't have the right forms and you have to wait for an hour even after you go home and get the right forms? And why is that?

3) SuperTarget (a combination Target and grocery store) seems like a fantastic idea -- until you spend $366 in one shopping trip because you've combined your grocery shopping with your Target shopping. Also, they've got to get bigger carts if they're going to do that -- I easily fill (or overfill) my cart both grocery shopping and Target shopping. Combining the two leads to dangerous hazards.

4) If I'm going to keep going to SuperTarget, I might as well just have Dave's paycheck directly deposited to them.

5) No home improvement project you do, no matter how carefully you plan, can ever be completed in fewer than 4 trips to Home Depot.

6) Since we've been here, it has thunderstormed once every single day. And we're talking deluges, with inches of water on the ground while it's raining. That's going to take some getting used to. Also, we've had two power outages in the last week.

7) Air conditioning is a blessing from the god or goddess of your choice.

8) I'm hoping that the "adjustment period" that my children are experiencing is finite. Or else I'm going to have to kill them.

9) CTTS from Katie -- a new take on an old classic. She was running around yesterday singing (at the top of her lungs, which is her only volume setting lately) "Super-fragi-calla-listic-makes-me-al-a-docious."

10) Moving, even to a cheaper area, is expensive. Oh, we're being reimbursed for the actual cost of the $10K move, but add in the $300 for registering the cars, the several hundred we're spending redecorating the bathrooms, the $1,000 in custom closets we wanted to put in, the $4,000 fence, the $5,000 spa, the new couch we'll be buying, and it's adding up to quite a pretty sum. What? You say all that stuff isn't necessarily part of moving? Oh . . .

The kids are up from their (simultaneous -- oh, the joy!) naps, and my mom's coming to visit tomorrow. There's only so much this-house-is-a-disaster blame I can place on the actual move, so I'd probably better at least rearrange the boxes more neatly and sweep the macaroni off the floor. Till next time . . .

Monday, July 05, 2004

We Have Arrived

Posting from Mobile, Alabama, after 6 days in the car, 5 nights in beds that aren't ours, and 1,462.4 miles. We are staying in a beautiful suite motel for 2 more nights until our furniture arrives on Wednesday. (Unlike my parents, we are wimps, so we won't have the adventure of sleeping in sleeping bags in the middle of our empty bedrooms while we wait for the moving van -- an experience that was fun when I was a kid, but a more daunting prospect when you're the parent of a 5-year-old and a 1-year-old.)

We did our walkthrough of the new house today, and it really is beautiful and the prospects are so exciting. Of course, we'd built everything up in our minds to be about 30% bigger than it actually is, but we'll adjust to that. I really can't wait until we get it all set up the way we want it.

The closing of the old house went off well, despite last-minute shenanigans by our weasel of a lawyer. We were saved by the grace and selflessness of a good friend, who volunteered to be our proxy, since we had to get on the road and couldn't be at the actual closing. The checks even got down to AL in time, and we are sitting on a substantial sum, which is kind of neat and kind of shocking all at the same time. Closing on the new house is tomorrow morning bright and early. Dave's already asleep, and I should probably follow, though I know I'll spend a while thinking of a list of all the things we need to get started on to get ourselves settled.

Sorry I don't have anything particularly witty, but I wanted to post since I know some people are checking in to see if we survived the trip. Before I go to bed, I'll post new pictures at DotPhoto, username JennDM, leave the password blank. I'll try to get back and post more soon, although we won't have the cable modem set up until Thursday (gasp!).