Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mousewatch 2009

So, yesterday just before dinner the Terminix man came and laid down a glue trap about the width of my stove. I was starting to feel like maybe I'd hallucinated the mouse since there had still been no further evidence of one being in my presence. I was starting to relax a little bit, moving freely about my kitchen while making as much noise as possible, but moving about no less.

H thinks it's the coolest thing ever, telling everyone he sees "We have mice in our house!"

They lifted my couch and chair in the living room to ensure that there were no rodents living amongst the furniture; which, if there were, I may have passed out with revulsion right there. They reminded me to page maintenance if Mickey or Minnie decided they were going to pull a Steamboat Willy into my kitchen again, and I assured them I would. H was very curious as usual, asking all form of the question; What happens to the mouse when you catch it? Dick, being the kind grandfatherly figure he is replied with "We just take him outside and get him as close to his home as possible and then let him go." At the same time Mr. Terminix muttered "Yeah, to mouse heaven."

I was assured that the more the mouse struggled, the more stuck they'd get.

I spent several hours later on sorting baby clothes for the yard sale (I made $160 profit!) then watched TV in semi-darkness for about 10 minutes before deciding to call it a night. H was already in my bed because, well because he just was and I read Boho Knits for Babies for about ten minutes because I'm just that cool.

As I turned off the light and wrapped myself into the promise of good dreams I heard it; tchk, tchk, tchk, tchk, tchk...bang! scramble! tchk, tchk, tchk. Yeah, I could deny it no longer. I had the sickening mixture of glee that I'd be vindicated and disgust that there was an effing mouse struggling under the drawer of my oven.

I paged maintenance as I listened to the mouseical that was Swan Lake under the stove. I did not receive an immediate call back, so I decided to make some phone calls to various friends and relatives who are nice enough to placate me through this latest trauma, even though my father reminded me today; they're just animals. Yeah, dirty disgusting little animals that can eat your face off in your sleep!

Hmmm...about 40 minutes later and still no call back from maintenance. They are generally very prompt and I didn't want to push my luck by calling the 24-hour number a second was almost midnight after all.

I again reacted as a rational adult would and gathered Charlie from his bedroom to sleep in the pack-n-play in the room with H and I and jammed towels under my door and in the crack, with the deadbolt unsecured so that maintenance could com in; willing myself to fall asleep to the soundtrack of Mousekail Baryshnikov, humming to myself like Dori 'just keep struggling, just keep struggling, struggling, struggling.'

I was awakened to J muscling our bedroom door open, and told him about the new glue trap and that there was a mouse in it. I put on my glasses and padded in after him, because I wanted to see it with my own eyes.

Well, I saw it alright. Stuck. My. Ass. All that was stuck to the trap was hair and poop. Apparently the little danseur had perfected his grand jete and made a quick exit to what I hoped was stove rear.

The next morning, with no more evidence of mice than I had before, I left a message for the office letting them know to please plug whatever hole they find in the back of the stove. At the yard sale I received a call confirming that I really wanted the hold plugged with steel wool, because then the traps couldn't do their job...uhhhhh, yeah, because they did that job so well last night.

In the end, it looks like we'll be pulling out the big guns and having poison bait traps set in the kitchen while we're on vacation. As if I'm not already neurotic enough, now I get to add 'worry that mice are crawling and crapping all over your house in your absence' to my list. J is so lucky to be returning four days before me...maybe he can make sure the ballet summers elsewhere.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

No Room At The Inn

Tonight, I put the kids to bed and settled in to watch my latest Netflix pick, Confessions of a Shopaholic. I'd read the whole Shopaholic series, and everything else by Sophie Kinsella for that matter, so was excited to see how Rebecca Bloomwood translated to the silver screen.

About 15 minutes in, I saw something move out of the corner of my eye. I turned just in time to see a mouse streak from the dining room back to the kitchen. At first I just sat there. Then I jumped up. Then I said things I can't repeat while still not venturing toward the kitchen to see to where the mouse had escaped.

I picked up the phone and got just close enough to the kitchen to make out the 24 hour maintenance number on the magnet on the fridge, then politely and maybe a little hysterically told the sweet lady that I wanted someone at my house. Now.

I pictured my sweet babies sleeping in their rooms with a potential outbreak of Hantavirus (HPS for those in the know) lurking in every shadow. Dick, my friendly maintenance man, called back within five minutes of my call to the 1-800 number. I explained the situation and he said he'd be over with glue traps within a half hour and that an exterminator would come in the morning.

I called my little sister, and she was at first laughing, until I started crying because I really, really, really don't like mice; well, rodents of any kind. At least with spiders and other insects you can smash can't very well stomp on a mouse now can you? Being that J will be at work until about three in the morning, I did what any rational, mature adult would do; I paged him at work and started crying when he called me back.

Seriously, who is this girl? I call my doctor-husband who's working in an emergency room to tell him we have a mouse. He was less than impressed, especially when I informed him that I'd not be going to sleep until he got home.

Dick was very kind, and pulled the stove drawer and refrigerator out, placing glue traps behind. He then gave me the pep talk of 'it's just a little field mouse coming in from the rain." Uh, well then you call tell that little disease-spreading whore that there is NO VACANCY at this no-tell motel!

He patiently waited while I switched a load from the washer to the dryer, and checked the cupboards for tell-tale turds. None found, which made me feel better. In May 2008, we'd had a scare because the neighbors were having issues with mice. I bet these are the same mice, just waiting until I put my guard down and let some goldfish crackers stay on my floor overnight.

Am I being punished for not having a dog who can clean up after meals? My friend Alex initially laughed when I called with the story, but when I started crying (enough with the waterworks already!) she offered to come over, or to have me and the kids stay there. At least I'm adult enough to realize that this is not a get-your-kids-out-0f-their-beds kind of deal and politely declined.

I did finish the movie, with one eye on the entrance to the kitchen the whole time. I closed the gate because the last thing I need is to have H get up in the morning and think that frickin' Ratatouille has decided to make a personal stop on his Eastern Seaboard tour.

Great. Just in time for us to be gone on vacation for a week...there's nothing like returning home to the smell of dead rodent. I don't know what made me cry more; my irrational fear of the mouse or all the cleaning that will have to follow.

Sell Your Soul

My loft area, again, looks like a dumping site. Oh, right...that's because it is. With all the clothes that are too large or too small for either one or both of the boys, the last dregs of my Mary Kay days waiting to be shipped out, and about 400 pounds of yarn, paper, stamps and other crafting accessories, the area that was supposed to be a safe haven is once again a hovel.

Enter the yard sale. I'm going to have a table at a multi-family garage sale this weekend, and I couldn't be more excited. Every summer growing up, my mom got together with at least her friend Suzy Poozy and they had what would become legendary yard sales in our hometown. My mom is notorious for selling anything that we weren't either wearing or sitting on at the time. With a 900 square foot house that held 6 members of my family, it's no wonder that it never looked clutter...she never allowed clutter to build!

There is a running joke (which is mostly serious) in the family that my dad's mementos from Vietnam (including pieces of the plane he was shot down in) were sold at a yard sale...and we have no evidence to prove otherwise. It was probably one of the boxes that she put out as 'junk' and slapped a 25 cent sticker on.

In my sister's post Luck Be My Mother Tonight she dips her toe into what we jokingly refer to as my mother's cute little addiction. (because addiction, in our family, is hilarious!) With a Mormon father, we never had alcohol, caffeine or any other mind-altering substances in the house and were discouraged from playing any games of chance. Lord knows when, or how, my mom discovered her adulterous love for the nickel slots, but she did. Probably after one of many visits from my Aunt, the nun, as that's how I learned to play poker...good times in the Arizona dessert learning phrases like "ante up!" at the tender age of 10.

Let me tell you, it was absolutely hilarious when my dad awoke in a hotel room while they were laid over in Vegas one night and my mother had still not come to the room at 3am. Frantic, images of her being kidnapped and tortured began running through his mind, he searched the casino floor. When he found her, with the glow of the screen alighting her face and asked "Nancy! What are you doing still down here?!" Without a thought to his panic or concern, she beamed at him with the glow of a child and answered "I'm winning!"

What does this have to do with yard sales? Well, about a decade ago, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation built a huge casino and 'resort' in the over-the-mountain-and-through-the-woods-to-gambling-slots-we-go (literally) town of Pendleton. With a family reunion looming, my mom has decided she needs to have another yard sale so she'll have a little 'stash' to take to Wild Horse with her brothers and sisters.

She began the conversation by innocently asking me if I cared if she sold my Sweet Valley High collection. I felt like it would be childish to say, uh yes, yes I do. Really, when am I going to read them again when I have great substitutes like Megan McCafferty? But, it's the takes a long time and lots of baby-sitting money to take your sister's collection and build it to the full 100+.

She then started talking about Pound Puppies, Alley Cats and Cabbage Patch Kids. Hold. The. Phone. "You are not selling those, Mom!" Now that we have kids that will actually play with all those things, I think I'm justified in saying that the 3-5 stuffed mementos I have from childhood are fine to keep. She brushed it off as if she were asking if I wanted her to bring them in for the kids to play with while we were visiting, as we get to go home for a full week in just five short days; I knew better.

She alluded to a trip to Wild Horse with her sibs and I knew that her lust for the ding-ding-ding of the winning slots was quickly over-riding her sentimentality of our child-hood goods. After agreeing that she would keep Fred, my pound puppy, 2 cabbage patch kids and would absolutely not, under any circumstances sell our "German dolls" (the dolls our dad brought back after being in Germany with the military one summer), I let it rest.

She moved to the next subject and then just before we hung up, she slyly asked "Do you think
Milly remembers she has those things in the garage?" "MOM! If she didn't remember, she will now...because I'm going to tell her. It's as the Indigo Girls said; I will not be a pawn for the Prince of Darkness, any longer." (Okay, so I thought of the catchy lyrics later, but it sounds much more clever if I'd used it in response to her).

Dejected, she hung up the phone. As I scavenge my children's toys and clothes for stuff to sell, I can't help but realize that it was not coincidence we're having a yard sale on the same day, 3,000 miles apart. I am inevitably, and irreversibly, turning into my mother.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Smash, Bang, Crash!

Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood by Koren Zailckas

My review

So far, there are a couple of reasons I really like Smashed. (I'm only 30+ pages in, so bear with me.) First, she's exactly my age, so when she's talking about things that happend in highschool, etc, it's kind of fun to see the social parallels, but secondly,she's from New England. I'm more than a little obsessed with all things New England since I'm a transplant. (I've watched The Departed and the Dennis Lehane movies more times that I can count). Her bio says she grew up in the 'suburbs of Boston', but when she's talking about a girl who goes to her regional high school andsays "Billie lives in the bordering town of Clinton..." I gasped in excitement, because that's just up the road!

It's a bio that I'm hoping doesn't turn out to be bogus like that of James Frey.

From the inside flap:

"Koren's story is that of thousands of girls like her who are notalcoholics-yet-but who routinely use booze as a shortcut to courage, asstand-in for good judgement, and a bludgeon for shyness.

A crucial book for any young woman who grew up under the allure of booze, orfor anyone who is concerned about someone locked in a pattern of dangerousdrinking, *Smashed* is eye-opening, wise, utterly gripping and destined tobecome a classic."

I wanted to read it before sending it off to my 15 year-old niece as a'cautionary tale' (yep, I'm *that* aunt) and have found that it's really good, frank, and I think that most parents would benefit from reading it even if your kids aren't there yet.

She says in her preface "I grew up in the Northeast, a white, middle-class teenager among other white, middle-class teenagers, which plunks me down in one of the highestdemographics of underage drinkers..." and...

"I am fourteen, which is the norm these days, when the mean age of the firstdrink for girls is less than thirteen years old." *

*Devon Jersild, *Happy Hours; Alcohol in a Woman's Life, 96.

Even though the 'times are different' it hasn't been all THAT long since I was in high school, but I feel like I've forgotten a lot of the nuance. Oh yeah, and I never drank in high school.

I'll post more when I finish the book...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Falling Out of Control

Since my last post was so maudlin, I thought I'd share this little gem with you. I just became a 'fan' of the facebook group "Laughing When Someone Falls". Those of you who know me understand that if you ever fall in my presence and it's particularly humiliating, you will not be able to rely on me for assistance because I will never recover from the laughter.

(The one exception is when my sister fell down a huge flight of stairs at our apartment complex and the result was about 10 staples in her head after she got up, walked to the restaurant/tavern across the street where they handed her a bar towel to stem the bleeding and she drove herself to her doctor's office. Luckily it was next to the hospital because Red Rover, Red Rover send sister right over...yeah, not so funny....well, at least it's a little funny but only because I didn't witness it and am left to imagine her prancing to the stairs in tottering heels with briefcase in one hand and coffee cake on glass platter in the other going endo. Still not funny? Hmmm...yes, I'm missing a sensitivity gene.)

I thought it would just be one of those things where everyone admits they can't be civil when it's called for, but oh no. They provide fodder for the laughter. After recovering from my ab-blaster workout of watching a few videos, I knew I had to share the love.

Here's a sample:

Saturday, June 13, 2009

One Is A Lonely Number

During J's vacation, we each picked days that the other would have the kids all. day. long. When he started to tell me what he was planning with them during 'my' day, I had to politely tell him that I didn't really care what they long as I wasn't involved in it.

I got my hair cut. Wandered around the product aisles at Target trying to find my next cheapo substitute for my high-priced hair schtuff. Then tried to think of the best possible place to go to lunch if all I had to take care of was myself. Sitting there sluping my Tom Ka Kai and awaiting my order of Pad Thai (sans sprouts, and with tofu only) it hit me...

By then, I'd been on my own for several hours, and it was nice not to have to worry about bathroom breaks, bottles and diaper changes. I have to admit, though, I thought it would have been kind of nice to have J there to share lunch with.

After being at home full-time with one, and then two kids, time to myself has been something that I crave. What?! You mean I can go to the bathroom and not have a three year-old crash in the door to debate with me whether or not I have a penis?! Unheard of! But I realized today that having time without kids and wanting time alone with your spouse are two different things. Sure we have fairly regular date nights, but that's not the same as a block of time together.

On the flip-side this staycation has been the best two weeks, because it's really shown me the light at the end of the tunnel. No he won't have two weeks at a time to spend with us once he gets a 'real' job (he hates it when I use that term because his hours right now are certainly not pretend), but he will have more than a few hours with us here and there.

True Confession: Being the wife of a resident is a lonely business, especially when it's spent an entire continent away from everything you know. I keep myself busy enough that I don't have the time to really stop and think about it, but at the end of the day with a bowl of wine in your hands and exhaustion seeping in your bones it's as SJP would say..."The loneliness is palpable." (My friend Maggie, a fellow resident wife, at A Slice of Wife nailed it when she subtitled her blog "Diary of a Functionally Single Parent")

I divulge all of the above because I've been going back and forth on accompanying J for part of his Hawaii rotation (without the kids) in the Fall. When H was little, he was in daycare full-time, so I didn't have the same feelings of hesistation in leaving him behind as I'm having with Charlie. Honestly, and I realize that this is verging on OCD, but I am having a hard time not seeing myself crash and burn over the Pacific and leaving my kids orphans...or at least without their mother.

After my solo lunch when I realized that what I crave is not only time alone, but time alone with my husband, my fate is sealed. I will be heading to Oahu in November (...seriously, what the hell is wrong with me?! Who wouldn't want to leave New England as winter sets in?!) for some quality, alone-together time. Because two, especially two in paradise, is not a lonely number.
But ahhh...what do I know? Oh, did I mention that I just got home from a wine tasting party where I consumed about a bottle of wine by myself? That would shed a whole new light on my poetic waxing.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Toe Up, From the Flo' Up

Today, I'm casting on again for the two at once, toe up socks. I attempted them once before, but I didn't have the patience or the mad skillz. Now I've made several pairs of socks in a row, and I feel like I'm ready to try a more difficult, or advanced, method. Sorry I have no pictures, my camera is kaput. The picture provided is from annejeneer's project of the same pattern on ravelry.

On another note, J has been on vacation since the beginning of June, and doesn't have to be back to work until the 17th. I've felt so luxe having help with the bedtime routine every night, loading and unloading the dishwasher and general wrangling of the kids. It's also a big reason why I've had so much time to knit over the last week, but haven't been posting very often.
In the grand new tradition of the staycation, we've been relaxing and enjoying New England while sleeping in our own little beds each night. We made the trek to New Hampshire to visit Storyland on the day that Curious George, Arthur and Wyatt (from Super Why) were there as part of New Hampshire Public Television day, and we went to The Cape on Monday.

Storyland was really fun, and I recommend it for families with little kids. Charlie was probably technically able to ride some of the "toddler" rides as the requirement is that you can walk, but neither of us felt comfortable with it, so a lot of the day was spent with Charlie and I waiting while Daddy and H rode rides.

I had the brief pity-party when I'd asked H to join me on the third of the three rides that I'd be able to (a notorious nausea girl, I'm fairly limited at theme parks) only to be turned down. I looked at J, and pouted "I better get used to it, being the solo gargoyle, I'll have lots of things I want to do that nobody will do with me." Taking it in stride, he assured me H would ride the rides I wanted to, but was just fixated on the pictures of rides he'd seen on the map earlier.

Sure enough, by the end of the day, I'd ridden the Polar Coaster and Bamboo Shoots with a squealing H.

The Cape was great, we went to Surf Drive beach in Falmouth, which I'd been to once before. It was fairly empty, and the parking lot is right on the beach so it's great for trekking to and from the car. H and I flew his kite, while J walked around with Charlie. After Charlie ingested his portion of sand and seaweed, I put him in the jogger and laid on the blanket reading Fourth Comings while H gathered rocks and sand in his bucket, staying a safe distance from the water.
I had been really worried about taking both kids to the beach, but H has mellowed so much since his last beach trip it made me realize it will be fine, and actually enjoyable to repeat the trip to beaches throughout Mass all summer long. We'll be heading back on Sunday, to a more sandy beach, as Surf Drive beach is fairly rocky. We may even take the ferry on over to Mahtha's Vineyard.

After playing at the beach, we headed over to Seafood Sam's to get some dinner before the quick trip back to Central Mass (really, it's just over an hour...why am I not at the Cape more?!). J got a beer, so I was inspired to try a glass of their wine. Yeah, I don't recommend it. Barefoot Wines is one I would not buy was a hop, sip and a spit away from Two Buck Chuck. They served me my mini bottle of wine with the screw top already removed and a plastic cup balanced on top. I should have known then that it was not going to end well.

As H played race car on the table with the lobster shaped paging device that would let us know when our food was ready I repeatedly admonished him to keep it away from my glass because I just knew that he'd knock it over.

Turns out, that honor would be all my own as I bumped it with my elbow while trying to cut Charlie's grilled cheese. Sweet. A lap-ful of crappy Merlot. I couldn't wait to get pulled over and try to explain the offending odor to the officer. I was secretly relieved that I wouldn't have to finish the wine (it's rare that I don't want to), only to have to plaster on a smile when the waitress brought me a replacement. It was genuinely nice of her to do so, because it wasn't the fault of the restaurant that I spilled it (although it is their fault that it tasted like battery acid). My calamari was very bland and the wine was, well, gross. J had a beautiful platter of baked seafood, and the kids' dinners were great, so I took a deep breath and wiped the pout off my face so that I didn't ruin a perfectly nice day. (If I had it to do over, I'd have taken Jared up on his offer to get the baked seafood platter for two, instead of for one.)

As we drove off into the sunset I took one last deep breath of salty sea air, and then it was over the Bourne bridge we went.

In case you're wondering the big factor in deciding to forgo a hotel in favor of returning home each night...Have you tried to have relations with your spouse while your kids slumber in a pack-n-play by the bed? Me too. And it doesn't work.

Friday, June 5, 2009

I feel a New Moon A'Risin'! (Okay, I know it's Bad Moon)

I. Can't. Wait! And, man, did Jacob get exponentially hotter since the last movie, or what?! A thirty year-old (yep, I'll be dirty thirty by the time this hits theaters) shouldn't be this excited, but I don't care anymore. I am shamelessly in love with the Twilight series.