Monthly Archives: February 2015

So, how was your day?

I have always had this thing about family meals. I suppose I heard that thing about how families eating dinner together keeps the kids from becoming drug dealers or pornographers. Or was it safe from shark attacks? I forget the specifics. Anyway, family dinner was supposed to prevent it. And because I am nothing if not a slave to half-understood concepts, I make sure we all eat together, whether we like it or not.

And sometimes its not. Because I might be more successful in my fork efforts with African Wild Dogs instead of these children. But still, we soldier on.

So yesterday at dinner, I put my foot down and insisted we talk like people instead of spout nonsense words and snort at each other, which is pretty much how the boys communicate. Somehow a discussion of my husband’s day at the office led to a discussion of the Chrysler building, which led to architectural stories of the city skylines, with a detour to William Penn’s curse, and then head on a disagreement about a probably apocryphal tale of construction races, and that sent us racing toward a book to look something up, and that showed us this picture of a building that was torn down.

I give you . . . the Singer.

I give you . . . the Singer.

I mean, really? Why would you tear that down?

“We’ll get them! I said. “Even if we have to call Klinger’s uncle.”

“That’s right Mommy!” These brave lads chimed in. “We’re going to get those bad guys and take their tools away and drain the gas from their bulldozers and take them to JAIL. Then we will build that building again and we will make it so strong that nobody can tear it down again.”

Excuse me, I am going to take a moment to swoon. My little architectural preservationist heroes.

Of course, all of this made dinner run so late that we were late getting to bed. But I was glad I insisted on real talking at the dinner table.

And look out Mr. Zeckendorf. They are coming. For you.

And they have a nerf sword.

An expansive view from a tiny apartment.

An expansive view from a tiny apartment.

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Filed under The outside world

Monkey See

Recently, the Fun Apartment had a population explosion. And I do mean explosion. Like in the millions. We are completely overrun.

You see, it all began at the Dino-Store. During our monthly pilgrimage to the New York’s most awesomest place of fun for little boys who love animals, science, and large open spaces, we saw a kit for growing sea monkeys.

Happily, curiously, miracle of miracles! I happened to have a kit for growing sea monkeys! Even more astonishing: I knew where it was!

(I wish this would work for my snow pants. Boy, are those suckers cleverly hidden somewhere around here. When I find them, I am going to hide all the Christmas presents there.)

(Also, of course I had a kit for growing sea monkeys just sitting around doing nothing. Doesn’t everyone? Where’s yours?)

So I rescued the sea monkey kit from its cold dark hiding place. And I wish I could convey the thrill that both boys felt over these creatures. We bought the bottled water. We purified. We poured. We added the eggs with bated breath. And we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

This was not entirely wasted time. The boys used this time to plan an elaborate birthday party for the sea monkeys, 362 days hence.

We waited again. We added the food to the tank.

We waited. We fed.

We gave a sea monkey kit as a birthday present to an unsuspecting dear friend turning 6. (Sorry buddy! Great party, though!)

We waited. We fed.

The boys’ enthusiasm did not dim, but I finally began to suspect that we were feeding an empty tank. I began to read up on sea monkeys. At the university lecture, I learned that sea monkeys appear within 24 hours of meeting water. We were now at least a week past that. The sea monkeys were not coming.

But the boys did not notice! See, these are, after all, *my* children. They need no evidence to believe in the impossible, or even the unlikely! In fact, they can completely ignore evidence that runs contrary to their enthusiasm. They believe! They adore! They blithely ignore!

(I shall pause here to wipe away tears of pride.)

Eventually, the Mister and I broke the news to the faithful. They were not exactly heartbroken, especially because I assured them that we would remedy the sea monkey population situation as soon as the ridiculously archaic system would allow us.

And we are not without pets. We have an ancient yet understanding cat. He’s probably the most constant thing in my life. If anyone knows anything about cats who do not live to be 45 years old, keep it to yourself, please. Ironically, it was this feline fellow who offered the solution to the sea monkey problem. By throwing up. All over.

I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with the need to clean up cat vomit, but if you have ever done it, then you know about Nature’s Miracle. And it is a true miracle: you spray it on the vomit stain. And you walk away. And so does the stain. (Loaves and fishes, I tell you.)

But we had let our supply of this necessary tonic run perilously low before the most recent vomiting incident. So one day after school, we headed off to the pet store for . . . several hours. You see, pet stores are like fun houses. They are full of fish tanks, bunnies, lizards, turtles, and, of course, shipwrecks. Because if there is one thing we are really into here at the Fun Apartment, it is shipwrecks. In fact, if you ever find yourself, as I have, in desperate need of a shipwreck model, get thee to a pet store! There have more shipwreck models than pets! So, in between the many attempts to pry the boys away from the wrecks of sparkly pirate ships, I asked the clerk in an offhand way if they carried sea monkeys.

That clerk looked at me blankly, but another clerk behind her said “Yes, they’re right over here!”

Did you guys know you could buy sea monkey eggs at a pet store? Well, you can.

You can buy a lot of sea monkey eggs, as it turns out.

I've got the whole world in my hands. . . .

I’ve got the whole world in my hands. . . .

So we brought home our canister of life. The packaging assures me that our goldfish will never want for food again. Never mind, our fish (Happy, Healthy, Hopeful, and Thirsty) all departed the Fun Apartment long ago. Free range sea monkeys, I thought, in a vaguely Whole Foodsish way. None of those farm-raised captives waiting to be slaughtered for us! Those are for the fish whose mommies don’t love them.

So we tried again. I put what I thought was a conservative amount of sea monkey eggs into the tank.

We wai–

“Did you see that?? Look! They’re moving! Yay! Sea monkeys!”

That crytobiosis or whatever is powerful stuff, let me tell you. Soon we were in danger of being overrun by these little suckers. If they had banded together to vote, let’s just say it wouldn’t be the sea monkeys leaving the Fun Apartment.

There was much celebration. In fact, there was rather too much celebration, considering that sea monkey observation time happened just before bedtime. Whispered conversations about marine biology were heard long after lights out.

But maybe my conservative amount of eggs was too liberal. There was definite overpopulation in the tank (and believe me, we at the Fun Apartment know about overcrowding and density.)

We fed this new hungry crew, but that only seemed to make them sluggish. Perhaps brine shrimp eat their young and need no other sustenance?

Then, on Friday morning as we were getting ready for the day, I remembered we were having dinner guests. “Clean something!” I urged the Mister. “Like what?” he asked. “Anything,” I assured him.

So later that day I was mildly surprised to discover the sea monkey tank missing from the bathroom. Hmm. That’s a rather odd choice for cleaning up, but as I’ve noted before he’s not so great at prioritizing when guests are imminent. I assumed he had relocated the sea monkeys to some undisclosed location.

But as the weekend progressed, no sea monkeys made themselves apparent, nor did the man of my dreams know what I was asking about. “Perhaps they moved,” I thought. “Maybe they’ve got a bigger place in Queens. They’ve gone off to make all their little brine shrimpy ways in the world.”

But no. They were here, in the sea monkey graveyard / pile of washcloths that now all need laundering. They must have been knocked over in the morning’s excitement of . . . oh god knows what these boys get excited about, but it isn’t putting their shoes on, that’s for sure.

It was clean washcloths. Now its laundry.

It was clean washcloths. Now its laundry.

And so, we begin anew. The sea monkeys shall (hopefully) rise again. Maybe I can put them in charge of something. Like meal planning.

I hope they like their water salty.

I hope they like their water salty.

Hmm. I did not know I had more than one thousand words to share about sea monkeys. Motherhood changes one so.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Living Small, Not cool, Mommy

Clutter

The magazines I was supposed to read in January are getting a little bossy.¬† “Lose Your Clutter Now!” they tell me. “Start the New Year Clutter-Free!” “Organize Your Bathroom!”

Really, I feel like the bathroom is the only room I can organize. Perhaps this is helped by the fact that it’s minuscule and I am not super girly, so there are not a lot of products in there. But I do wonder why four people need four different kinds of toothpaste.

But do they need to be so bossy about it? They don’t live here. They don’t know how it is here on the ground.

Ok, I admit, there’s a clutter problem¬† at the Fun Apartment. But the magazines don’t seem to understand that microapartments are immediately cluttered by the simple proposition of setting down one’s keys or owning possessions. The Fun Apartment is really &%^#ing small. I can clean the place up within the limits of possibility. But then I do something crazy, like get the mail and the whole thing starts all over again.

Also, there never seem to be any kids in the magazines. I mean, even if they have kids, they don’t have real kids. The kind that play with toys. The kind that are a little bit like rock stars at hotels. The kind who consider a day without the lego bins dumped out a day not fully lived.

I might be part of the problem, too. After all, I have a natural inclination to keep stuff I like. And then there’s the Mister, who would prefer that I not mention him in this post, lest the producers of Hoarders be trolling around for material. But really, how many pith helmets does a man need?

Trust me, I’m a believer in the latest home organizing religion: bins. But we’ve run out of shelves for the bins. So the bins just float around like lifeboats for the couch.

More bins! Different bins! Lots more bins! Well, eventually one reaches a point where one believes that this is all just some Container Store shakedown. Also, I haven’t really seen a bin in the shape of a rocking giraffe, or an old typewriter, or a basketball hoop. I think they’re missing an opportunity there.

But the magazines of January make one quite purge-ish (in non-eating disorder and non-Stalinist ways). So we’re condensing the whole Pandora’s Unit of our storage situation. Countless hours of fun, I assure you.

But I might have discovered a solution to keeping the Fun Apartment clutter-free.

I'm sure Mommy will be back any minute now. . . .

I’m sure Mommy will be back any minute now. . . .

But it wouldn’t be fun anymore.

So, Clutter, it looks like you’ll be sticking around a while. Make yourself at home.

But, as one reader suggested, I am going to get rid of the magazines.

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Filed under Living Small, Mistakes I have made, Mommy, Not cool, The outside world