Monday, March 29, 2010

I probably shouldn't blog when I'm in a grumpy mood.

But I'm going to anyway. I've been dwelling on what I should write about next, especially given that it's been some days now since I've written anything.

I could write about how it takes me a week of planning just to paint my toenails.

I could write about how I just really dislike cutting Ben's hair, which doesn't help my grumpy Gus attitude at the moment.

I could write about how I went to bed at 10 and didn't fall asleep until after 1 last night. And since I get up at 5 now, it's tough to lose that chunk of time.

I could write about how I'm already really tired of packing breakfast and lunch for the next day for Abby and me every night when I'm already tired. And this is only starting...years of packing lunches loom in my future. But I also do this after 9 when I'm thinking longingly of my pillow and comforter, and still have to wash my face and brush my teeth and floss and use toner and moisturizer. I hate having to get ready for bed mostly because I never think about it until I'm ready to *be* in bed, whereupon I don't want to wash my face and brush my teeth and floss and use toner and moisturizer.

I could write about how my kids were all acting like hyperactive screeching monkeys today, which will only get worse as the week progresses and Spring Break looms on the horizon.

But instead I'll just write about being grumpy. Out of sorts. Fuzzy around the edges. Slightly perturbed in mind and spirit.

What therapy. I feel infinitely better.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

the 4th time is charm, or me and my weird hair

I love my haircuts insofar as I love the massage I get during the shampoo, and I always love the way my hair looks when I leave.

I dislike haircuts insofar as I kind of really don't enjoy small talk chatter.

I've been trying to get my hair cut short for about a year now, which translates to about 3 haircuts. By the way...who goes and pays $27 every three weeks just to get their hair trimmed? What kind of racket are these people running??? Finally finally finally, I figured out through a process of miming and pictures a way to communicate how I *really* wanted my hair to look rather than the same basic cut that it always gets trimmed into. In that space of time, I also performed about three test drives on various stylists. This is rather against my liking due to my aforementioned dislike of small talk chatter. The things I put up with in the name of fashion, or rather, in search for a super-duper-easy-yet-still-looks-decent hair style. Color me happy tonight--I'm happy with how it looks. Granted, we'll see after I take a shower tomorrow morning.

But here's the true nut of the post: my weird hair. Apparently, my hair has some funky texture/appearance that never seems to fail to throw a new stylist for a loop. I first learned of my bizarro hair when I was in my mid-teens in a Great Clips, and ever since, I've heard about it again and again. And again. And yet again. This kind of especially becomes a titch monotonous when I seem to switch stylists as often as I change my mind, which is all of the time.

I admit that this post organically developed in my mind as I'm laying in the awkward head-in-the-uncomfortable-hair-washing-sink while THREE stylists hovered around me, picking at strands of my hair, flipping it hither and yon, gawking at my weirdness. A stylist of yore, one who I rather miss dearly for she was one of the better small talk chatterers, actually saved a hunk of my shorn locks at the end of my cut-n-style to perform a little science experiment on it to see what would happen if it was colored. I admit, I've never colored my hair because a) that costs money and b) I don't want to work at keeping it looking okay. After tonight's stylist of choice pondered again what color may do to my strangeness, I mentally decided nope, not going to do it. If multiple stylists have no idea what's going to happen to my hair, I think that might be a sign from the credit card gods. Not going to spend money on this thatch of blah. We'll just keep our weird to ourselves, thanks.

Monday, March 15, 2010

How to buy a family car in twenty easy steps

For those of you do-it-yourselfers out there, this post is for you. But, I don't recommend following it. And yes, the saga continues, but this should be the last post on it--ever.

1. Drive a forest green car during college and vow never to drive a green car again.
2. Boldly pronounce (multiple times) never to purposefully buy a car with a tan interior.
3. Total your car...the only one that is really, truly carseat accessible. Put yourself in a pinch. A bind. A crunch. A predicament.
4. Make do with a two-door car just to prove to yourself how invaluable nearly any other car ever produced would be rather than what you already own.
5. Search for countless hours on the internet for a new, used car with your husband when you should both be doing something else. Consider this bonding time or a date if there is food of any type involved.
6. Rearrange your entire life for four days minimum and make countless phone calls to bum free babysitting off of unsuspecting family members near and far.
7. Drive two hours to aforementioned free babysitting with a wailing baby in a two-door car. This kind of works better if one adult crams himself into the backseat to awkwardly play with and read to the child.
8. Test drive four cars but this doesn't have to be with your spouse. In fact, it works just as well to trade off on babysitting privileges and then compare notes later.
9. Drive to various car lots and get bummed out when desired car a) must be jumped before you can see it or b) got sold the night before or c) is just too expensive and car dealer is not willing to barter, not even when you offer to throw in your next child to help offset the extra cost of a moonroof and heated seats.
10. Take a day off of work even though you've only been back at work for 2 weeks after being off of work for 6 months.
11. Find your way to a dealer that cannot possibly be in your current town because where you live just happens to be a Chrysler town and you are specifically seeking a Honda. Sigh in frustration when the Honda dealer in town doesn't even have the type of Honda that you want. Not even one.
12. Meet a friendly salesman who has zeroed in on you even before you get out of your car.
13. Obtain keys to test drive even if it is out of your price range because really it might be in your price range if they are just willing to haggle a little and what car dealership ever demands the cost of the sticker on the window and it might not hurt to take a chance and fall in love with it because you never know...???
14. Shed a few tears about sitting for upwards of three hours in a car dealership while you can't be with your child, even if they are a wailing ball of baby because she is still *your* wailing ball of baby and you love her and wasn't planning on being without her all day.
15. Stare longingly at the Burritos as big as your head! restaurant across the street during the upwards of three hours that you are sitting inside of the dealership because a) this time period is extending well across lunch and you were hungry at 10:30 and b) your husband lied for some unknown reason and told the salesman that you already went to Panera when you in fact drove to a parking lot, turned around and came back.
16. Repeatedly ask the salesman to go away and let you think.
17. Stare out of the beautiful glass windows at your favorite and then the runner-up option which can never achieve the level of wonderfulness that the first choice is.
18. Cry some more. Now you're hungry, tired, grouchy, brain numb, hungry, frustrated, tired of sitting, and hungry.
19. Buy $.25 worth of Reeces Pieces in celebration and share two with your spouse. Savor your lunch slowly. At this point, it feels like all you can afford anyway.
20. Buy the runner-up, which just happens to be green. With a tan interior. Refer to steps #1 & #2.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Things I've never thought about before but find myself thinking about now

I seem to be on a "Things that..." theme. Here goes today's installation.

In hindsight, I realize that when we found out that Abby was on the way and then all throughout that 9 month adventure, I/we never talked much about anything beyond the first few months of Abby's life. We talked ad naseum about me staying home, me going back to work, babysitting, a "family" car, and saving for college. That's it. Now, I find myself walking through a store or watching something on tv and realizing all sorts of weird and interesting things. Someday, Abby is going to:

*ride a bike. We can go on family bike rides.
*go to school and be around all sorts of kids that I don't really want my child learning things from. This creates quite a bit of snobbish confusion for me. I was reminded of this again in the middle of 6th period today and was just sitting and watching my students for a few minutes.
*go to school where I won't know the teachers and where it won't be the same building as I teach in.
*eat birthday cake.
*build sand castles.
*go swimming at my parents' lake.
*blow bubbles.
*have friends over to spend the night and spend the night at friends' houses.
*lie. To me.
*eat dinner with Ben and me.
*run to the door to hug me when I get home from work.
*drink coffee.
*play dress up.
*go to the dentist.
*lose teeth. We've really been working hard for these to come in; it's a shame that they are only temporary.
*bake with me in the kitchen.
*go on vacation with us.
*pick out her own clothes to wear.
*do her homework at night. Admittedly, I really am not looking forward to helping her with her homework.
*pet our cats without pulling their fur. They will fall asleep together on the couch and I'll take a picture of them and put it on my desk.
*have her own cell phone. Maybe. When she's 32.
*graduate. From high school...from college...?
*tell me that she's bored in the middle of summer.
*go to the zoo.
*plant flowers with me.

She's going to continue getting cooler and cooler. I think that I'll keep her. She's such a fun little person. Here's a picture that makes me smile (and sigh at the same time).

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Things that are more difficult to do now that we have Abby

1. Church. Seriously, how do parents with infants/toddlers handle church on a consistent basis? No wonder I've never attended a church that has more than one or two couples with young kids. It's really hard. Granted, it's also a wee bit harder for me with Abby because Ben has been singing in the choir all year, so he leaves earlier than we do and doesn't sit with us anymore. And I'm not one for taking her down to the nursery every week because a) I don't think that she would tolerate that because b) church is always always always around her nap time when she's clingier. I don't know what I was thinking this morning when I packed her diaper bag. Did I manage to pack only toys that make a loud clattery noise as they are flung across the stone floor of our church? Not only do these toys travel a great distance, but Abby has a special knack for doing this in the middle of a quiet time, not in the middle of a boisterous, hallelujah song. She also likes to sing and has been dubbed the newest member of the choir by the oldest members of the choir. Her reputation precedes her.

2. Shopping for a new car. Our Mountaineer was totalled by my little foray through a fence a week ago. This is really a big old blessing in disguise. No one was hurt. We have three cars so are inconvenienced little. The Mountaineer still drives. I was not arrested for fleeing the scene of an accident (though my mom is apparently still quite worried about this seeing as how she said that she was about ... 6 times when I finally told my parents what happened). We now have a fat little insurance check coming to our house. We get to keep the Mountaineer, even though it is "totalled," and do whatever we want with it. Which means that really, we could replace the one mirror that is missing and call it a day and pocket the rest of the cash. It's been a lovely little jalopy, uber reliable and still under 100,000 miles despite it's salty age of 12 years. And really, 12 years and 96,000 miles means there's a lot of life left in those old tires, but weighing the cost of fixing it versus the worth of the car renders this issue a moot point. We're selling it for parts and buying a new car. But, how does one actually test drive new cars when faced with all of the challenges that a 9-month old brings? Before you scoff and roll your eyes and say "Babysitter!" Bad timing on this, I'm afraid. Our during the week babysitter isn't available except during the week, and our back-up babysitter is still healing from a broken wrist. 18-lb. of baby love is a bit much for her tender bones yet. Frankly, these are our only two options because we are fairly inclusive and I am super duper not comfortable with leaving her with just anyone. These are our two babysitting options. Lovely weather yesterday meant that we were able to load her up and do a walk through of a car lot yesterday. That plus countless hours of internet and free-fliers-by-the-door-at-Meijer research means that we think we've narrowed down our possibilities to four. This was a decision that we hadn't figured we'd be making for about 6 months, so our process of talking about our next car was only in the pre-serious stage prior to my black-ice-blowing-snow escapade in Goshen. There's always the option to test drive seperately. And as of right now, we're planning on visiting my parents next weekend, which means free, trustworthy babysitting and a big old city full of used cars. Unlike my issues with #1, this one is kind of fun.

3. Mornings getting ready for work. I used to get up at 5 am for my first teaching job. But then I got a better teaching job that was actually in the same city and reduced my commute from 45-min. to 5-min. So instead of getting out the door at 6 am, I then got up at 6 am and actually was able to stay awake until 10pm on Fridays. Now I'm back to getting up at 5 am (still a 5-min. commute) and struggle to leave by 7 am. And, this is with me packing up food and bags the night before. I'm still adjusting.

4. Eating supper together. I know that every parenting magazine and newsletter and newspaper article says EAT TOGETHER AS A FAMILY WHEN YOUR CHILD IS OLD ENOUGH TO SIT IN A HIGHCHAIR!!! but really, not that feasible. Abby eats dinner at 5. Keep her waiting and it gets hairy. I'm struggling to get dinner ready for Ben and me by 6 so that we can hurry eat before bathtime. I refuse to rely on frozen pizzas and soup out of a can for dinner just so we can eat together at 5. We decided that since we're at least all in the kitchen together at 5, that that is close enough. I think that we've actually managed to both be sitting at the table eating while Abby is eating once. About a week ago. We totally dig the concept of it and will absolutely eat dinner together as a family you know, in the future when Abby is a titch more cooperative, but I'm pretty sure that my daughter won't get pregnant at 15 and drop out of high school just because we both aren't eating dinner when she does when she is 6-months to 12-months old. Pretty sure.

5. Cooking and baking. She loves to help. I'm pretty good at making granola while holding her. Sometimes I can make cookies. I'm really considering investing in a sling.

6. Going on vacation. How does this work? How do you get your child to be happy in her carseat for several hours, like lots of hours? We struggle to drive less 2 hours to my parents house.

7. Clothes shopping. She gets cranky in the dressing rooms, i.e. if her stroller isn't moving. But, dressing rooms are also great places to spur of the moment feed her, I've discovered.

8. Hanging out with Ben's parents. It's kind of a drag when we can't get there until 5 and have to leave by 6:30.

9. Folding clothes. Admittedly, I have fun doing this with her because she's so excited about it and it's fun watching her play around in the unfolded or previously-folded-but-now-unfolded clothes.

10. Okay, everything is more difficult.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I can do this, but I don't have to like it.

I've kinda felt a bit like a pouty kid lately. I've been walking around with pessimistic, self-pitying blinders on. My mind has been running a pretty steady ticker tape stream of woe-is-me and poor-me and everyone-feel-badly-for-me-because-I'm-bound-and-determined-to-be-miserable thoughts.

I have to go back to work.
I have to leave my beautiful baby girl in someone else's care every day now.
I have so much work to do at school.
I have so much work to do at home cleaning up every night.
I have so much homework for my class that I'm in the middle of. (And, frankly, this one is a valid gripe. At least to me.)
I have it sooooo rough.

I walked into my classroom Monday morning, ready to weep at this "first" in Abby's life, a rather ubiquitous first full day at the babysitter's. The day was a barrage of "Welcome back"s with "So are you ready to be back?" (um...impossible) and "Do you miss your daughter yet?" (um...what do you think, really?). A most tiring day.

But somewhere in the midst of the clutterish mess that my desk turned into and the 80+ snarky little freshman staring at me either with fright or defiance and the lunchtime spent at my computer with tears one ill-advised thought away from falling, I also remembered how incredibly lucky I've been to have been able to stay home for 9 solid months with my daughter. I remembered what a fantastically rich trove of memories I have to draw from when I just can't bear to grade another pitiful attempt to write a complete sentence. I remembered that there would undoubtedly be a sweet sweet little face smiling at me when I walked in the door at the end of the day. And so I managed to amend my thoughts so that they run something like this:

I get to go work each day.
I trust my baby's caregiver. I know that she is cared for, safe, happy, and learning every day.
I enjoy desk work. I really kind of do. (Note--this doesn't include grading. ha.)
I can control, to some extent, what affects Abby with only a few minutes of effort every evening.
I do not have to bring grading home with me at night if I am careful at school.
I still have so much homework in the class I'm taking at Ball State. I can't justify my way around this one. Kidding. I was able to finish almost all of the reading for the rest of the semester before I returned to work.

I have it sooooo rough. Whatever. I have it soooooo good.