Category Archives: Not cool

Funemployment

Despite all my readiness for school to start, however, I was still caught off guard. By sending both lads out the door in backpacks, I seem to have worked myself out of a job. So now I need to find a new one. One that pays.

All of our representatives are currently assisting other customers.

All of our representatives are currently assisting other customers.

So I put all my hard-won skills from the past four years together into an awesome new resume!

Human Tissue, Truck Surgeon, Short Order Cook, Hostage Negotiator, Paleontologist, Pack Horse, Play-doh Sculptor, Head House Parlor Maid, Cat Wrangler, Hypnotist, Life Guard, Comforter-in-Chief, Shipwreck Historian, Dishwasher, Gourmet Chef, Homework Overseer, Pixar Consultant, Wardrobe Consultant, Minimalism Advocate, Scheduler, Bum Wiper, Morale Officer, Laundress, Sporadic Blogger, YMCA Promoter, Block City Urban Planner, Scooter Mechanic, Personal Shopper, Nutritionist, Microapartment Poster Child, Lego Engineer, Associate Miracle Worker, Train Conductor, Children’s Book Critic, Playground Attendant, Bad Habit Enabler, Vehicle Sketch Artist, Yoga Pants Model, Stick Figure Drawing Archivist, Bin Counter, Chelsea Neighborhood Tour Guide, Benevolent Matriarch, Personal Organizer, Shepherd, Bag Lunch Caterer, Lullabye Siren, Basketball Coach, Child Labor Scofflaw, Puppeteer, Napkin Holder, Sandbox Dispute Mediator, and Box Wine Sommelier.

If you’re hiring, do let me know! I’m sure I’ll be cozily re-ensconced in the working world in no time!

In my actual (obviously unsuccessful) job search, people ask me “What do you do?” And I answer them honestly: I don’t really know. I was a teacher, but my license isn’t for New York, so in practice I am ostensibly a freelancer of some sort. I write, I edit, I design, I format, I market, and I do it for rock-bottom rates! I just don’t do it very often, or for very many clients.

And please nobody tell the Man of My Dreams or the PTA president that I finished my last project and am really just blogging. And watching TV in the middle of the day. And throwing stuff out by the armful.

So far, I haven’t developed a drinking problem. But there’s still time. It’s not yet 2:00.

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Filed under Not cool, The outside world

Firsts and Lasts

It was the first day of school. Maybe you noticed. Personally, I did not need facebook to show off all the pictures of my friends’ kids to remind me that it was coming. I was counting the days. After all, two months is a looooong time to spend with companions whose ability to reason is sporadic, and whose moods are dependent upon their hunger levels, last night’s bedtime, and when they last pooped.

So when that school bell rang, I was ready. And it wasn’t just one lad in a tie and a button shirt this year. It was TWO.

That’s right, it’s PreK. All day PreK! Every day PreK! Universal, free for everybody PreK! Socialist PreK! Bloody Red Communist Agenda PreK, even! And my kid is going to it! I could kiss the mayor!

Because not only was I ready to place these children in the hands of trained professionals, they were ready to go, too. At least the little guy was. When he heard that his first two days would be half-days, the expression on his face could not have said “bullcookies” more clearly. He was inconsolable. That kid wants to eat school lunch in the worst way. So, off they went.

Whatever. Bye Mommy.

Whatever. Bye Mommy.

And just like that, I worked myself out of a job.

Huh. That was quick. And took freaking forever.

I have definitely overshared on my occasional ambivalence toward being a stay at home mom. But I have also loved this time. I guess now that it’s pretty much done, I can weigh in for all those other parents who fought the Mommy Wars–and not the ones over who is going to put on their shoes Right. Now. Or I am leaving without them. I mean the agony of deciding whether to stay home with their kids or go back to work.

If you chose to stay at home with your kids, you made the right choice.

If you chose to go back to work, you made the right choice, too.

And now I am going to kick back and eat some bon bons and cover myself in glitter, because that’s what I was totally promised four years ago when I signed up for this gig.

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Loco-motion sickness

We are on the Fun Apartment’s annual staff retreat out here in the Midwest and my eyes are getting all stretched out from looking at all these giant spaces of, well, space.

In addition to space, we are also seeing a lot of the technicolor yawn. Yep, that’s right. These boys are not used to riding in cars, so when we peel off for great white North, there seems to be nothing but cookies tossed in the back seat. In addition to needing to be strapped in and out every ten minutes, they also vomit rather spectacularly at regular intervals. Yum.

This is not a new problem, however. I even cleaned vomit out of the infant car seat. And each time it happens we get a little smarter about it.

Because we have a system for dealing with the blown chunks. It involves a lot of bags. In fact, we are even ready to officially endorse the bags of this large regional chain over those of this large regional chain.

Another secret weapon is this.

Trader Joe's really does have everything.

Trader Joe’s really does have everything.

By some members of our household it is know as the puke box. I like to think of it as “Cookies in. Cookies Out.” But by whatever name, it is essential to our travel supplies. If one lines it with the aforementioned bags, it is entirely sealable and reusable.

On Day One, there were no fewer than four upchucks. Three were fairly manageable, and confined themselves to the curvy borderlands of New Jersey. But the last one, in the flatness of Ohio? That one surprised us. We were caught unawares, and so was the gas station where we stopped to spray everyone down and change into the backup huking clothes. They were caught so unaware that their bathrooms were out of order. The man of my dreams stood there with puke in his upturned hands and a look of horror on his face. The nice people there suggested that he try the Dairy Queen next door. Off he went, with the cookie-tosser in tow, while I proceeded to mop up the evidence. Back they came, carrying a bag of Dilly Bars. “The bathroom door had a code,” the man of my dreams explained sheepishly.

So guess what we had for dinner. In the car.

But now after that promising beginning, the vomiting team seems to have dry heaves. Do people need time to get used to riding in cars? Or is it just an auspicious start to an awesome summer vacation?

Probably, they are just waiting for me to relax on a nice, busy stretch of Chicago traffic jam. Seriously, I think there are still people trying to get home from the Chicago World Fair of 1893. Maybe they are feeling sick after riding the first Ferris Wheel.

P.S. My brother in law insists that “selling Buicks” is another vomiting synonym. I would be happy to learn more of these, if you have any to share.

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No news is good news

I hope you all haven’t been waiting with bated breath for a new post because, well unless you can hold your breath for something like four weeks, you’d be dead and I can’t have that on my conscience.

But here’s the reason for the wait, unless you are still feeling lightheaded from oxygen deprivation: there has not been an overwhelming amount of craziness to write about. The Fun Apartment hasn’t felt like the walls were closing in. The kids don’t seem to be spinning uncontrollably toward any developmental abysses. The man of my dreams still can’t manage to put his shoes away, but as we have recently celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary (YAY!) that is sort of an old song. The cat is looking a bit bony, but it might just be all the shedding.

So, a lull. Domestic bliss. I shall relax into it.

But of course, I shall have to hurry up and relax because, as my soon-to-be 2nd grader reliably informs me, it’s all going to go cuckoo bananas pear-shaped in 10 days time. Summer, my friends, comes for us all, at least it did last year. And summer has very few outside routines.

Is that a good thing, yeah, sorta. I have always liked to give the lads lots of unscheduled time. That way, they can get bored and find themselves something to do, which I have found is a skill one often needs later in life.

But without routines, a lot of things seem to slip through the cracks. That’s when I look at el meltdowno and think “wait, did I feed you any lunch? Oops, here have some . . . uh, let me see . . . peanut butter on a cheese stick?”

Maybe I’m the one who has trouble with transitions.

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Filed under Mistakes I have made, Not cool

Mother Lode

i had a brief list of demands err requests for Mother’s Day.

1. Go get bagels in the morning. Take the boys, and take the long way home.

2. Watch the boys while I go to ballet class (Imagine a drunken helicopter at low altitudes and that’s pretty much what I look like in ballet class)

3. Buy me some lilacs.

4. A picnic, with so much tzatziki that I don’t panic about having to share it with other people.

That’s it. I’m not much of a demander. In retrospect, I should have thrown some cupcakes in there somewhere. Ah well, there’s always next year.

And that’s all it took to make my Mother’s Day. There were those heart-meltingly awesome moments. And then there were the moments that felt a little more authentic, a little more Fun Apartmenty. Like having my little guy tell me “I kind of like your shirt, Mommy.” Or waking up to find this sweet note about scheduling:

That's a relief. The mother's day hung was originally scheduled for 6.

That’s a relief. The mother’s day hunt was originally scheduled for 6.

I know there’s a big “breakfast in bed” business for mother’s day, but I think I’ll have my coffee and wait for my breakfast alone, thanks. Like Saint Augustine said, “Lord, grant me beautiful happy lads to climb all over me, but not yet.

This is my favorite spot in the Fun Apartment.

This is my favorite spot in the Fun Apartment.

So my demands brought me a pretty awesome day full of peace, joy, and leg pain. And sunshine and Greek yogurt. So even if it is kind of a made up holiday, I am taking it. After all, I overheard the man of my dreams admonishing the boys in the hallway: “Remember, there’s no fussing today. None. It’s Mommy’s Day, so no fussing, I mean it.”

A day without fuss: perhaps the best gift of all.

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Spring Breaking.

We did not go anywhere for spring break. And by anywhere, I mean we didn’t go past 6th Avenue. It was a true staycation.

We stayed. We played. We watched some videos. We had a couple playdates. We went to Trader Joe’s. And we did not get bored.

There are several actually worthwhile New York things to do within shouting distance of the fun apartment. And we did none of them. The weather did not know it was spring break, so there was not a lot of outside time. There was hanging in. The man of my dreams worked late. Twice.

And I did not succumb to alcoholism.

I worried a bit before spring break that it would be messy and grim — a true test of survival. But instead it was a nice, low-key week of doing little boy things.

See, being on spring break with girls looks like this:

Not my kitchen. Not my kids.

Not my kitchen. Not my kids.

Being on spring break with boys looks like this:

WWE Practice

WWE Cage Match

Or sometimes this:

They grow up so fast that he's ready to shave.

They grow up so fast that he’s ready to shave.

On Sunday night, as I tried to remember whose lunchbag is whose and which pants belong to which boy, I thought to myself, “Wow! That was easier than I thought! Hey, we did it! Yay! Now, what street is the school on again?”

But then, as I typically do after surviving something stressful, I had a mini-breakdown over nothing after the main event. On Friday evening, I found myself sobbing into a sinkful of dishes, weighed down with angst about never finding a suitable (i.e. paying) job.

But luckily that passed quickly and we sat down to a spur-of-the-moment living room picnic dinner, buoyed by wine and surprise cupcakes provided by the Mister.

After all, this is the Fun Apartment. We can put legs on anything and make it walk.

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Filed under Living Small, Not cool

Spring reigns.

We hit a major weather milestone here at the Fun Apartment recently. Blow ye trumpets! We are back on scooters! And the rest of the city is so happy to unzip their poofy jackets that they don’t care about three wheeled terrors on the sidewalk!

See, without the scooters, we are virtual shut ins. I blocked out with alcohol err conveniently forgot the fact that the scooters are three season transportation. They have no snow tires. After the stroller went the way of the dinosaurs, bouncy seats, and things I thought looked good on me in college, the Age of Scooters commenced.

Why, oh why, did no one tell me about the scooters? Suddenly, aboard these wheeled wonders, we got places on time (ok, closer to on time, but Still!) and, more importantly, we got there happy! And exercised! Our springs and summers and falls are efficient and relaxed. (And hardly anybody asked me about the bruises on my shins!)

And then the snow fell again. The scooters went to drydock. We were stuck. The sidewalks were somewhat clear, but they were significantly more narrow. And lined with piles either garbage or ice. With lots of slushy patches and clogged reservoirs of brown sludge deep enough to accommodate an outboard motor at every intersection.

So I found myself dragging the boys up and down these gray brown paths, tugging them by the mitten, (when I could manage to find the mittens). I felt like some sort of large ship towing her loaded rowboats  behind her. It was trudgery.

But now, after a few warm days and one good rain, the whole dirty world is ours again! We have survived! One after school visit to our local (playground, not pub) and everyone’s head is clear and mood is up. We come home happy! We arrive there before nightfall! Trader Joe’s is accessible again! And the best news: two exhausted boys, sleeping away.

See you at home!

See you at home!

But for now, I care not. We can ride. We are out. Spring is here.

(Naturally, just as the spring weather commenced, I found this amazing coat at the salvation army for $8. It is cute enough to make me wish for six more weeks of winter. I will now hide under my desk to dodge all of the snowballs you are flinging at me.)

Holmes. Sherlock Holmes.

Holmes. Sherlock Holmes.

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Filed under Mommy, Not cool, The outside world