A reminder just in time for summer vacation

Note: This is a recycled post, the second in a series while I take a journal-blogging break. I hope you enjoy the off-topic jaunt.

Silly Mommy, trips are for kids!

May 10, 2009

Funny how memory works. We swear we will never take both kids to the grocery store right after school, then we do again… and again. Flying with the children is an absolute No-No until they have full responsibility over their own bodily functions and can run the length of Detroit’s Terminal C on their own two legs. But then we book that flight. Road trips and hotels were off the list too, but…

We packed the car and headed for a lovely weekend in Maine. But after we had stopped for the 6th bathroom/poopy diaper break in two hours and the Laughing Game ensued (which would be more aptly called the “Let’s See How Many Times We Can Say The Word Poop and Scream With Laughter Game”), I began to realize our mistake. This was no vacation, this was the trip to hell.

What I learned this weekend:

a) You don’t need to buy a jungle gym or trampoline when you can just book a hotel room.
b) The number of times a child can ask if she can go swimming increases in direct relation to the lateness of the hour.
c) If there is an alarm clock in your hotel room, it is best to unplug it before bed because it has undoubtedly been messed with by little hands and set to blast you awake at 12:00AM. In the ensuing hitting of said clock you will inadvertently turn the radio on, set to the loudest, heaviest metal available to the listening public.
d) Once you have just drifted off to sleep again, your child will awake just enough to discover “Pappi-dog” has wandered off and alert you at the top of his lungs of this emergency.
e) The air-conditioner will whir loudly back to life the moment you have entered dream-land again.
f) The fact that hotel bed bouncing did not end until after 10PM, 5:30AM is a perfectly acceptable time of day to wake your mother by placing your mouth directly by her ear and announcing you’re bored and need to go swimming NOW!
g) No matter how many outfits you pack, they will all get wet, sandy and/or ketchup-stained and you will have to buy something extra.
h) On the journey home you will be so exhausted you won’t realize you drove north instead of south until you are arriving in downtown Portland.
i) There is not enough Dunkin’ Donuts iced-coffee in the world to make the drive home (which is now an hour longer) go by fast enough.
j) Home and your own bed are the best places on earth.
k) Happy, sand-encrusted, swimmed-out kids make it all worthwhile… maybe.

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Recycling my babble for Earth Day

In honor of Earth Day I am going to do some recycling. Not my #2 plastics – I do that everyday (unless there’s too much gooey peanut butter stuck and then the jar sits on my counter “soaking” for a few weeks until I get sick of it and just chuck it. So sue me.) –  no, I’m going to recycle some blog posts.

While going through my almost two-year old blog to attach links to my new Amazon Bookstore (which you should check out, not just because it’s purple and pink and pretty, but because I have recommended some damn good books) I discovered some yummy stuff. Not to brag, but there are some treats buried in this ‘ere blog. For example, have you read of my soap-opera-worthy The Tale of Two Couples (parts 1 – 7) or Can’t I poop in peace? ?

Before I got all focused on this blog, I was more of a random mommy-whiner-writer blogger and some of my posts were actually almost funny. I kind of miss that; I miss the scatterbrain approach to blogging. But I am trying to earn a living here now, so no more funny business.

But I am still a mom, I have another life, and I don’t just sit around reading and writing about journaling all the time. So, just like the Austrians who hang their duvets out the window to freshen up, for the next little while I will be digging out some of the old stuff for an airing (that and I’m bit tired from all the deadlines I had this month – all of which I met, thank you).

Conversations in the grocery aisle

August 10, 2009

As I am trying to find the toothbrush for which I have a coupon while trying to think over, Mama, Mama, I want the Dora toothpaste! Mama, I want this one. Oooo, watermelon, I don’t have watermelon toothpaste. Mama, I need this… what is it?, an old lady approaches me. I think she’s going to comment on how cute my kids are or congratulate me on my ability to grab falling tubes while simultaneously remove brightly colored, cartooned products from my children’s itchy fingers. Instead she asks me if I know where to find the baby wipes. I tell her the next aisle over. She then proceeds to tell me why she is looking for baby wipes. No, not grandbabies coming to visit. No, not a baby shower. She likes to use them herself, she has Irritable Bowel Syndrome, you know.

Thanks for sharing.

A few aisles on, I run into an acquaintance, an older man I knew from my former job. We say hello and howdy-do and he asks me what I’m doing. I point to my cart crammed with two impatient children and far too much food and reply, Doing the mom thing.

He smiles indulgently and says, I meant, what are you doing with your time?

Oh, yea, nothing, nothing at all. Now, where are those bon-bons?

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P.S. Please visit my Examiner.com page for articles on Journaling for Kids, Organization, and almost everything in between.

Just asking

Why is it…

1. After you spend 20 minutes stuffing your children into their five layers of winter clothing, hats, mittens, and boots, they stay outside for exactly 2.2 minutes? And then after peeling them back out of it all, leaving a puddle of melted snow and ice on the rug (in which you step in your socked feet), they ask to go back out?

2. Your husband unexpectedly brings home a cheesy, gooey, yummy, pepperoni-free (miracles can happen) pizza half an hour before you leave for a Christmas party that includes food for which you have already (over)paid?

3. Daughter could be playing with anything, let’s say something as uninteresting as the can opener, and Son will scream that it is his, so you try to distract him with, say, a wooden spoon; dropping the can opener, Daughter will yell that no, the spoon is hers, making Son once again focus on the spoon; so, you give them both wooden spoons, which they immediately crack over each other’s head?

4. A Christmas ornament that somehow did not make it into the storage box last January 6th and has been hanging around all year, its location known even through a move, is no where to be found when you put up the tree? And with 100% certainty you know it will magically reappear once the Christmas box is back in storage, thus starting the process all over again?

5. In the same mail as you receive a surprise Christmas check from your grandmother, you get a surprise bill for the exact same amount?

6. Son’s colon decides to empty itself in the most pungent, leak-potential way after you have just wrestled him into a clean diaper, clothes, snowpants, jacket, and boots, and you are already running 10-minutes late?

7. Children sleep like the dead through 1/2 hour of an eee-eee-eeeing alarm clock on school mornings but are awake and bouncing at 6AM on the weekend?

8. Children begin the I-really-need-a-nap-whine three hours earlier than usual on the very morning you were psyched up to go Christmas shopping, leaving you adrift and in denial that you could use the time to finish cleaning the kitchen (and so you write a pointless blog instead)?

Just asking…

Not in Kansas… er, Vermont, Anymore

I just have to say I’m not a huge fan of New Jersey. I’m sure it is a lovely state – in spots; it must be called the Garden State for a reason – but from where I’m sitting, it ain’t so grand.

The wind is howling around and right through my 8th floor hotel windows and the gray clouds are making the already gray panorama, well, grayer. All I see from this vantage point is asphalt and concrete; roads, parking lots, and boxes of concrete, with only panels of black windows to break up the concreteness. Cars and trains crawl through this tangled mass of blah and I have to wonder, why would anyone choose to live here?

Last night, after my husband’s 11 hour day in a conference and my day of writing (and re-writing and re-re-writing), we took our courage by the hand and ventured out. We knew there was a mall nearby, and after a couple days of over-priced and over-cooked hotel food our budget badly needed a food court. The map indicated we needed to turn left, right, then go straight and the mall would be right there.


Turns out you can’t turn left in New Jersey, only right. We could see the mall just over there, but could we get to it? Heaven forbid! That big olNeiman and Marcus sign was shining bright – a beacon, a north star – but we two kings were lost in the desert. Round and round we go, no left turn, no left turn, NO LEFT FREAKIN‘ TURN. Eventually, (we ain’t too smart at this point, hunger had taken over our senses) we figured out that we had to turn right to go left. Well, duh! And, of course we’re cruising along in the left lane (as any intelligent being who wanted to turn left would be) and the Saturday night traffic, which is heavier than the worst Vermont rush hour, is preventing any intention of moving over in time to exit to the right.

By this point we are so far away from the mall, we give up and turn wherever we could and hope any dining establishment would be appear. As luck would have it, we had discovered another mall, a Macy’s and Nordstrom mall. But I am so frustrated and hungry by the time we get out of the car (an hour after left the hotel) that the normal little thrill I get from walking into a busy mall is replaced by fear and “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore”-ness. I didn’t think I had become such a small town girl but the ugg-wearing, designer bag toting masses, the pre-Thanksgiving Santa, the knock-you-on-your-ass per-fumes, and the racket of the food court – oh, the noise! – was too much. I, me, who can’t pass up a clearance rack to save my life, was inhaling my philly cheese steak and racing for the nearest exit, my very un-designer bag flying behind.

Later as B and I were safely back in our dull hotel room, crying with laughter over an HBO comedian, I thanked my lucky stars that tomorrow we go home. Home, where you give directions according to the nearest barn, where you can turn left wherever you like, and the only concrete is the path leading to your own front door.

Just another trip to the grocery store

Every single freakin’ time I swear I AM NOT doing this again… and then I do.

Could I possibly still have pregnancy brain two years after the birth of my second child? Apparently, a woman’s brain shrinks up to 5% during pregnancy and does not retain its original size until six months after birth. Why would the good lord design us this way? So we are destined to forget every lap-full of projectile vomit, every sleepless night, every “I have to peeeee” in the check out lane. And the greatest trick of all – the amnesia of childbirth. And so we do it again. Very funny.

I should have known how this trip would ensue when I pick the cart with the wonky wheel, the one that makes pushing 10 times more difficult than it should be. This may or may not have been a factor in the Great Tomato Event which occurs a mere 10 minutes into the excursion. As I round the corner from the avocados to onions, an avalanche of cartons and escaped grape tomatoes is suddenly rolling towards me. Red-faced as the offending fruit (yes, tomatoes are a fruit) I gather the cartons from out of the aisle until an angel in a blue apron comes to my rescue. I briskly head to dairy; we had enough veggies anyway.

Now Son, who thinks he is too old for the front of the cart, is bouncing in the basket. This is fine – as long as I ignore the risk of a shopping cart fender-bender which could send him flying – until the groceries start to pile up. Distracted by Daughter who has removed her shoes to slide along the aisle, I don’t notice that Son has discovered the plastic containers of spinach and ham make a fun crunch when jumped on. I catch him in mid-stomp just as the creamer carton is about to pop.

Now Daughter is hanging off the side of the cart, making our turning ability that of a tank. I realize I am burning off every ounce of the chai latte I had just consumed, plus some. Hang on, honey. Meanwhile, Son is test-tasting each of the “nanos” and “opples.”

By this time I am feeling exhaustion pulling my muscles down where they are massing in my feet. At the last minute I remember I need diapers, which of course, are in the furthest aisle from where I am. I never buy diapers in the grocery store because I can get them cheaper elsewhere. So, I stand in front of the cute-baby-fastooned boxes, attempting to calculate in my head how much one diaper costs if 80 of them cost $18.99 and if the .02 cents I would save by buying them at the other store is really worth the trouble. [Ear-splitting scream from cart.] I grab the diapers.

I swear I am NOT doing this again…