Overheard Upstairs

C: “Cleaning is boring.”
Chichimama: “How do you think I spend a large portion of my time?”
C: “Having secret parties?”
Chichimama: “Secret parties would lead to more cleaning and why would I want to do that?”
C: “Don’t you have robots to do all that stuff?”
Chichimama: “Nope. I’m the robot.”
C: “Huh. Why would anyone want to grow up?”
Chichimama: “You don’t exactly get a choice my friend.”
C: “Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.”
Chichimama: “Oh, no, growing up is not an optional activity in this family.”
C: “Argh.”
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Overheard from Upstairs

Chichimama: “C, are you ready for me to go through your agenda and homework to make sure you got it all?”

C: “Stop treating me like a baby!”

Chichimama: “I am not treating you like a baby, but last week you either forgot to do or hand in 10 assignments, so I kind of feel like I need to work with you a bit on your organizational skills.”

C: “Fine.  Give me a minute to double check everything.”

20 minutes later…

Chichimama: “C, what’s going on???”

C: “I realized that I might not have been as diligent as I should have been about double checking everything…but I STILL don’t need your help.”

10 minutes later…

C: “OK!  I’m ready!!!”

Chichimama looks at one sheet of paper.  “Tell me about this.”

C: “Argh!  I forgot to do that too!”

Sigh.  Raising a organizationally-challenged preteen is harder than it looks.

Photos from the Neighborhood

Thankfully, no one was hurt near us. And these pictures don’t really do a good job of showing the true state of things, I couldn’t get close enough to the real bulk of the downed trees and wires.

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Bullets of Sandy aftermath

*it was not a Hurricane. So says the governor of NY.
*regardless, I have no power, there are no plans for me to regain power, and it is freaking cold in my house.
*first world problems, I know, at least I have a house, but regardless of my apocalypse prepping abilities, I am not prepared for a multi-week power outage. It is cold, and our house is drafty enough that the fire cannot heat it enough to make it comfortable. Clearly I need to regroup yet again in my prepping efforts.
*i am rather glad I have no way to see the images of the destruction as I cry just thinking about it and the descriptions from folks who have seen the footage just about sends me under my table in a fetal position.
*the kids and I have moved into the kitchen which can vaguely be heated by the fireplace. M is in a sunny, undisclosed location with his golf clubs. I am not bitter. I am not bitter. I understand that business carries on, but really? His timing is impeccable.
*I think I am running for town council as I am convinced I can do a better job than our current set. One lives two doors down and there has been no effort to communicate anything about the town’s status. Not even notification that my polling place had changed in case I wanted to vote for him.
*the saving grace of this whole experience is the local library. They switched to solar power a wile back and have served as a place to get warm, get info, charge phones, etc. All libraries need to install solar panels in case of an emergency, it makes a world of difference.
*the gas rationing has led my kids to the inevitable conclusion that the world is running out of fuel and we are all going to die. That’s been a fun middle of the night conversation.
*more to say if I ever move off my phone as a blogging device, but for now we are safe, fed (all hail pasta and the gas stove) and vaguely warm. Hope all of you who were in Sandy’s path are safe and sheltered.

Bullets of Hurricane Sandy Prep

As I sit here awaiting the inevitable power outage, trying to eat my way through a deep freeze full of food, and trying not to cry over the thought of losing the contents of said freezer for the 4th time in 12 months, here are some bullets to keep myself mildly distracted and entertained.

  • Dear Trader Joe’s Shoppers: a cartload of frozen food will do you no good unless you have a whole house generator.  Sorry to break that news to you.
  • Dear Neighbor who is frantically trying to rake her lawn before the storm hits, why bother???  The leaves are falling faster than you are raking.  Even my eight-year-old figured that out.
  • Dear Neighbor who somehow managed to get the tree guys out to trim her trees today, I will not in anyway blame you when the power goes out.  In fact, you may be my heroine.  Other neighbors who have never had their trees dealt with, I’ll be looking at you instead.
  • Dear M who deliberately parked his car in the “safe” spot in the driveway, leaving me to park under the neighbor’s scary tree, I noticed :-).  And that just means that you will have to give me your car to drive when mine gets crushed, FYI.  Unless you are going to stay home and shuttle the kids to and from school…
  • Dear neighbor(s) who is(are) testing out your generators, I hate you, just a little.  Especially since you aren’t on the side of the street that always loses power, and I know that you don’t ever offer it up to those of us who are not so well prepared.  You will not be on my “Please, take the contents of my freezer and enjoy since you have power” list.
  • Dear kids school who has not yet made the call to close, who are you kidding?  We all know there won’t be school tomorrow, or Tuesday, and probably not for the rest of the week.  So could you please just send out the 50 billion phone calls, emails and text alerts before I go to bed?  I am all for the power of positive thinking, but I am also all for the “get a good night sleep while there is some semblance of heat in my house” philosophy.

Over and out from the Hurricane Sandy Bullseye.

An article for my circa 2004-2008 blogging pals

For all of you who kept me sane when the kids were tiny…thanks ;-)!  Too bad we can’t figure out a way to keep it going while protecting the privacy of our tweens…because man.  It’s rough being the worst mother EVEAH.

Blogging Relieves Stress on New Mothers

Some more house pics (progress is being made!)

Progress, very slow progress.

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Random Bullets of “Hi there! Long time no see!”

  • You know how I was going to write this year?  Yeah.  Clearly not happening as I haven’t even made my goal of posting once a month.  Whoops!
  • But in my defense, my house currently looks like this: ImageImage
  • The only furniture in the downstairs of my house right now are three kitchen stools.  It’s been like this for almost a month, and there really isn’t an end in sight.  On Monday we are moving to Rebecca’s basement for a bit, while the floors get repaired and refinished.  I am looking forward to a couch and a table.  My kitchen counter, which has never been my favorite thing, is now really, really distasteful.  Especially since I am well aware that because of the unexpected additional expenses involved with the project, I won’t be replacing said counter anytime soon.
  • “What happened?” you ask.  Ah, you see, I was greedy.  I wanted to get rid of the ugly 70’s paneling in my family room.  And the nice contractor who lives around the block gave me a really good quote for removing it, so we said yes.  And then when he pulled the paneling off, he discovered that our frame had rotten through.  So we had to reframe the side of the house.  And rerun the dryer duct (the cause of the rotting).  And since the walls were now open, it seemed like the right time to update the electric and…and…and…M will never, ever listen to me the next time I tell him I want to do a minor little project.
  • It will be lovely when it is done.  Or so they tell me.

Christmas Menu 2011

Christmas Eve

Baked Brie and Crackers (Trader Joe’s, because I am lazy like that 😉 )

Slow-Cooked Beef Stew

No-Knead Rolls

Christmas Cookies (Varieties to be determined based on my baking urges)

Champagne, Cherry Bombs

Christmas Morning

Coffee ;-), OJ

Baked French Toast

Bacon

Fruit Salad

Christmas Dinner

Lemon Garlic Shrimp (or Shrimp Cocktail if I am lazy)

Crisp Goose (with sage stuffing instead)

Honey Baked Ham

Brussell Sprouts

Whiskey Glazed Carrots

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Slow Cooker Sour Cream Cheesecake

Day After Christmas Breakfast

More Coffee ;-), More OJ

Cinnamon Rolls

Scrambled Cheesy Eggs

Bacon

Then we head to FL and I laze by the pool with my new books!

The Startup Wife

Over at Forbes.com Meghan Casserly ran a series about the “Startup Girlfriend.”  I was going to comment, and then decided that my comment was long enough that it was deserving of its own post.  Because you see, I was once a Startup Girlfriend, and am now a Startup Wife.  Which is nothing like a Stepford Wife, I promise.  And as I’m about to wrap up my 14th year as a Startup Wife (Gah!  How did THAT happen?!?), I wanted to let the women behind me know that there is hope for their relationship, if you are committed and able to forgo some of the more established traditions (like a honeymoon where you actually spend time with your new spouse).  And so, I present my musings around the Startup Marriage (Love you M, I really do!  You may not want to read this, however…).

  • Accept the fact that you will be alone more often than not.  If you aren’t comfortable hanging out at a cocktail party by yourself, or spending evenings on end on the couch alone (maybe even watching Dora the Explorer, because you are just that cool), or will always be resentful of women whose significant others are present at events such as the first ultrasounds, the first day of school, and the weekend baseball games, then this may not be the life for you.
  • Be independent.  Your spouse is probably not going to be around to deal with the plumber, the mechanic, or be a shoulder to lean on when you move into a new house and end up with a flood in your basement.  Also, he will probably be traveling every time your driveway needs to be shoveled.  He will most likely not be around if you have to call 911 because your baby isn’t breathing, or if you find yourself in the emergency room when your first-born splits open his chin on a Sunday afternoon and needs stitches.  But also, know that no matter what happens, you can handle it on your own and be confident in your ability to do so.  If you don’t have the confidence at the outset, you will develop it.  I promise.
  • Take advantage of the times when your spouse is present (this is a hard one).  Don’t automatically launch into the laundry list of must do’s right away.  Take a few minutes to reconnect and then launch into that list (which should be highly prioritized).  Be prepared to only get through one or two items before he dives back into whatever the crisis de jour may be.
  • Don’t be afraid to use the people around you to convince your significant other that you are in fact in need of a little support and focus.  For example, if you are about to deliver your first child, and your partner thinks he has time for one quick trip to Boston, have your OB/GYN call him and explain that no, he really can’t go.  Because even the most committed of entrepreneurs will have some regrets if they miss the “big stuff.”  A corollary to this rule: make sure before you commit that your significant other is in fact capable of heeding a strong “This is important.  You NEED to listen/be present/do something.”  A second corollary to this rule: make sure you only make a stand when it it truly important.  Birth of your first child?  Yes.  Showing up at the preschool’s auction? Not so much.
  • If you decide to have children, know it is going to be a very hard road. There will most likely be no sharing of the middle of the night shifts with a colicky baby.  If you stay at home, there will be no break for you at 6pm, or 7pm, or even 11pm on many nights.  You might frequently find yourself wondering why you gave up your perfectly lovely career, and then remember that you did it because you had no other choice given your spouse’s chosen profession.  If you work you will still be the primary parent, no two ways about it.  Other parents may be surprised to find out that you are not in fact a single parent when your spouse shows up at a school function (when your oldest child is in 3rd grade).  Find yourself a really superb support network of similarly afflicted parents and some really good childcare, and don’t be afraid to use them.
  • It may turn out that those children you have will be just as creative and driven as their parents, complete with a love of the powerpoint presentation.  Be prepared to run not only lemonade stands, but also apple cider stands and hot cocoa stands.  Don’t be surprised if you get frequent communications from their schools that start with the sentence “Dear Mrs. Startup Wife, I have NEVER seen this in my 25 year teaching career BUT.”  Also be prepared for every item in your house to be fair game for whatever the invention in progress may be (and, please remember that it is not just your children who may see be snapping up your prized possessions to create the next best thing.  Some startup parents will even condone the taking apart of a perfectly good computer).
  • Know that your spouse will be incredibly positive about all of your endeavors.  If you decide to start up your own business, go for that promotion, lead a community initiative, he will be your biggest cheerleader and use his knowledge and network to support you, even if you decide to apply for a new job and he only finds out about it because you announced it on your blog.  But remember that this support will be mainly virtual.  If you have kids, don’t forget about that really good childcare from above.
  • Your spouse will eventually learn a little bit of balance.  One Saturday morning you may wake up to find that he caught a red-eye home and has taken your children off someplace.  You may find yourself a bit taken aback, and flip out because he forget the water bottles/the sunblock/the baseball glove.  You may even come to realize that you are just as much as a control freak as he is, and that is why your particular relationship works.
  • Someday, hopefully, that startup he spends all his time on will become a bonafide company.  With employees who are competent and can in fact manage on their own for a few hours.  Point out to your partner that he has turned complete control of his non-work life over to your capable hands, and the world didn’t come to an end.  Convince him that he can in fact go on a vacation.  But, be realistic.  Don’t go for that utterly romantic island with no connectivity.  You’ll spend your vacation standing outside a payphone booth eying the couples walking hand in hand and trying not to be bitter.  Save yourself the pity party and make sure to check out the wireless coverage maps before you book.
  • Finally, remember this.  Once that startup has been a bonafide company for a while and you start getting used to having your partner around a bit more, don’t be surprised if one day he locks himself in his office and emerges a few days later looking a bit like he did when you first met him.  Because apparently, bonafide companies are not nearly as much fun as startups.