Cheers and Boos

February 3, 2011

A random assortment of observations and reflections, most of them incredibly profound, about my new surroundings.

Yay! for Austin:

  • Targets. Lots and lots of Targets, just waiting for me to stop and shop and drag my tyrannical herd through the aisles.
  • Central time zone allows me to watch prime time television and late news broadcasts and still get to bed before 11.
  • HEB has a really nice selection of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • I rather enjoy walking A to and from school, except on exceptionally cold days like today. And the exercise is probably good for me.
  • I get SO MANY channels on cable. It’s crazy. I’ll never watch them all, or even want to watch a lot of them, but the excessive options are there, just in case.
  • A’s new school really impresses me. Her teacher’s great, and I feel like she’s in a great situation academically. Plus she’s making friends!
  • S has a friend across the street who’s his age, and they get along very well.

No, thank you:

  • The water tastes funny. I liked the (non) taste of the water and was good about drinking a lot and staying hydrated until we moved here. Now it tastes icky. So I’ve been making lemonade and tea and such, to mask the flavor, because I need to drink a lot to avoid any more kidney stones.
  • Cedar fever sucks. Both boys, Hubs, and I have all dealt with it. A, not so much. My sinuses haven’t given me this much trouble in several years, since I had sinus surgery.
  • There are some really bad drivers on the roads here. Back in Georgia, I encountered a lot of dumb drivers, but they were largely harmless. I didn’t understand why they did certain things, and sometimes they annoyed me, but I didn’t feel endangered in the way I sometimes do here. I’ve seen too many dangerous dumb drivers already – particularly those texting and/or talking on the phone and still driving, without looking in front of their car. The ones in Georgia doing this would usually wait for a red light, and then maybe sit there too long after it changed to green. Here, they pull out without looking, and when I honk because they almost hit the side of my car, they give me the bird as though I had done something wrong.
  • So much of the stuff I want/need is still packed in boxes in my garage because I’m waiting on someone to do certain things around the house before I can proceed. And the waiting is making me very, very testy.
  • I really miss my family back in Georgia. ¬†ūüė¶

Oh, that sound

January 30, 2011

I can hear it now. It’s Hubs, snoring. Loudly.

I shall not cast any stones from my glass house, however, because I know that I snore when I have a sinus infection and/or when I’m pregnant. But wow, he’s loud.

He won’t like me mentioning this (won’t like is an understatement: I can’t believe you wrote about that on your blog! What were you thinking?!?!), but I have to discuss it, because it leads me to a cute kid story (humor me).

I went upstairs to S’s room a few mornings ago and his bed was empty. Not under the bed, not in the bathroom, not in his sister’s room. I finally tracked him down, curled up on the floor of his closet, wrapped in a big red blanket. The closet door was shut, no less – which, given his fear of the dark, surprised me, but he had taken his blue bird nightlight with him.

Did he get scared? Had he wet the bed? Had he been up looking at books or working puzzles?


He went into the closet and closed the door, and then he wrapped himself thoroughly in the blanket, to get away from the loud noise.

What noise, I asked him.

That sound Daddy makes when he’s sleeping. Kind of like he’s growling.

Out of the mouths of babes…

Clone me, add more hours to the day, insert overused harried woman cliche here

November 2, 2010

It’s November. ¬†I’ve pretended long enough that I don’t have tons of packing, culling, organizing to do. ¬†I have to face reality: we have far too much stuff, most of which needs to be packed so it can go west in about six or seven weeks.

I’ve attacked the issue in tiny bites so far. ¬†Yesterday, I cleaned out some of the food cabinets in the kitchen, so I can take food we won’t eat before the move to the food bank (which is woefully low on stock just now). ¬†I’m trying to be strategic, pulling out foods that the kids don’t like much. ¬†That makes for a strange collection – several cans of tomato soup and baked beans, a can of Mandarin oranges, some jars of spaghetti sauce (A’s going through an anti-red-food phase and S hopped on that bandwagon too), several boxes of broccoli and cheese Rice-a-Roni (A & S pick through to remove anything green), a bottle of Balsamic vinegar, and three bottles of hot sauce. ¬†Hubs may be surprised to learn this (hi, honey!), but I plan on moving little to no food. ¬†Texas may be a whole other country, but I know they have grocery stores there.

I got one big sentimental task out of the way yesterday: I cleaned out all of A’s outgrown clothes, so that I can donate some and pass others down to younger cousins. ¬†My little girl is so tall and slim now, not the tiny baby she used to be. ¬†With her little waist, she has been able to wear some dresses and outfits for three or four years, until she outgrows the length. ¬†Efforts to get her to eat enough are largely futile. ¬†She’s not too thin, but is on the edge.

Hubs was in a wreck last night, on his way home from work. ¬†A woman failed to slow/stop for the red light where he was stopped and ran into the back of his car. ¬†I said many unkind things about her and her barely-scratched SUV. ¬†The little green car (what A & S call their daddy’s car) has a smooshed trunk and rear bumper and had to be towed. ¬†I’m very relieved that Hubs is mostly okay (some back and neck pain -> a few physical therapy sessions) and a little apprehensive about the traffic out there. ¬†The other “new guy” who started work around the same time as Hubs was in an accident a couple of weeks ago. ¬†I hope this is just a fluke and not an indicator of the caliber of drivers in Austin.

Oh, look! ¬†I’ve managed to procrastinate for several minutes by writing this post! ¬†Off to pack.


September 19, 2010

Hubs has a loaner laptop from his new job, to use until his permanent laptop arrives, so we were able to chat a lot today over Skype. ¬†He doesn’t have a webcam for that laptop, but I have the one he got for me before he left, so he was able to watch baby D rolling and laughing in the floor. ¬†He’ll be able to talk to A & S tomorrow (they’re already in bed).

I’m thinking that my neighbors feel kind of sorry for me, being on my own with three kids. ¬†We went up to their house yesterday evening (she was hosting one of those home jewelry sales parties and had invited me, so I went in search of adult conversation and ended up buying, but I digress), and she sent me home with lots of chicken salad, croissants, cupcakes, and a piece of cheesecake. ¬†And then this afternoon they walked down and gave me two containers of chicken vegetable soup, plus more desserts, and offered to have A up to play with their girls for a while. ¬†A jumped at the chance, of course. ¬†She loves going up there and spending time with the “big girls” (high school age). ¬†I feel really lucky to have such generous neighbors. ¬†Almost all of the neighbors in our old neighborhood in NC were rather standoffish, but fortunately almost everyone around us here is polite at minimum, with most being genuinely friendly and outgoing.

That soup was really good, too. ¬†I wouldn’t make something like that myself, at least not now, because A and S are incredibly picky and wouldn’t want to try it. ¬†They’ve convinced themselves that they don’t like a lot of foods, foods they used to eat and enjoy. ¬†At present they claim not to like tomatoes. ¬†I know they really do. ¬†Both have eaten tomatoes as ingredients in various dishes and loved them. ¬†But these days they pick out every little piece of tomato to form a discard pile on the side of the plate. ¬†They won’t even eat ketchup! ¬†It’s strange. ¬†They want ranch dressing on everything instead. ¬†They dip fries in it, eat it on hot dogs. ¬†Don’t get me wrong. ¬†I love ranch. ¬†But I’ll be glad when they move past these imagined food aversions. ¬†A used to love trying unusual foods – the kid would eat anything off the buffet from our favorite Indian restaurant – but now I hesitate to take her out to any place that doesn’t serve chicken fingers, because I don’t want to waste money on food she won’t eat. ¬†S won’t even eat burgers. ¬†The kid thinks he doesn’t like beef. ¬†He has eaten it at my parents’ house and enjoyed it, but if you ask him, he still insists he doesn’t like it. ¬†Since my dad raises beef cattle, I’m eager for him to get past this particular issue and develop broader tastes than chicken nuggets, fries, and mac ‘n’ cheese.

My mind is (obviously) wandering all over the place.  This post is quite the piece of stream-of-consciousness writing.

Paradigm Shift

September 15, 2010

I am a solo parent. ¬†For the next three months, I am the R.P. for these three small people, plus three dogs and our house full of junk. ¬†It’s only two days in – Hubs left on Monday – and I’m already losing it.

S noticed that I was a little… frazzled, let’s say… in the parking lot at Wallyworld today. ¬†There are so many things to do, and today I pushed myself too hard. ¬†I didn’t allow sufficient downtime, so after a morning roving through the mall with baby D (yes, the sketchy dirt mall, but I did find him a cute Halloween costume and some shoes for A) and a headache-inducing romp through the aforementioned discount superstore with baby D and S, I was on the verge of tears as I hefted a 40 lb bag of dog food into the back of my van.

Have I mentioned before how I don’t like to do certain tasks and chores, how I always imposed on my dear husband in the past to do these things? ¬†And now, since he’s 1000 miles away, I have to do these dreaded tasks myself? ¬†Buying giant bags of dog food for the furry bottomless pits is one of those things. ¬†I don’t like toting big bags of dog food, and yet ¬†I insist that we buy said product in huge bags because it’s more cost effective and means fewer trips to the store. ¬†Another dreaded task? ¬†Rolling the trash can to the street. ¬†Which I must remember to do this evening, too.

So, I was hefting this big bag of dog food into my van, tears welling up in my eyes (not because I threw out my back, which could have happened – just because I was so tired and kind of hungry and really stressed and kind of fed up with the constant chatter from S), when a Very Nice Woman walked by. ¬†She offered to take my cart to the corral. ¬†I managed to say, “Yes, thanks!” but what I really wanted to say was “OMG you’re an adult and you’re being nice to me and I was about to cry because I’m ¬†so tired and kind of hungry and I’ve been cranky since this morning because the power went out while I was getting ready and made things so annoying and difficult and don’t think I’m crazy but I could just hug you for doing something nice to me even though you don’t know me and you just saved me from yelling BE QUIET to my motormouth son and looking like THAT PARENT in the parking lot at Wallyworld and oh thank you so much you’re amazingly kind and wonderful and have¬†impeccable¬†timing!”

So my sanity was saved, for now. ¬†I still had oodles of errands to run today, such that I’m only sitting now, after 7 pm, for the first time since early this morning. ¬†I’ve attempted to explain comets, telescopes, Pluto’s uncertain status as a planet, assorted physics concepts, the psychological motivations of mean girls, the benefits ¬†of attending school rather than playing farm all day, the flexibility boys enjoy but girls lack in non-traditional urination locations, the funny feeling in your stomach when the van goes over a little rise in the road, a few etiquette issues, the importance of listening to your mother (doubt they listened to that one well), the rationale for excluding some personal items from sharing with your friends, methods of germ transmission, the concept of shyness and the difficulty some face in overcoming it, our family’s rationale for not allowing toy guns, the ways in which one person’s hobbies and interests may differ from another person’s hobbies and interests and how one must accept such differences and not force one’s interests on others who do not share them, the importance of allowing sleeping babies to sleep uninterrupted (even if they are really cute and you just want to play with them or say hi or show them the picture you colored).

I also faced some of the first questions and anxieties about moving, nervousness about liking Texas, finding friends, liking a new teacher and school, missing friends/family/activities/everything they know and love about this town. ¬†I know there will be more. ¬†I didn’t know what to say to A’s tears, but fortunately the “I don’t want to leave here! ¬†I don’t want to go to Texas!” storm was brief. ¬†I need to get on the stick and figure out some better strategies for that issue.

Oh, and my landlord’s wife called to see if she could bring a realtor by the house in the morning. ¬†Yeah. ¬†This place is a wreck and I lack the energy and will to do much about it. ¬†She said they would just check out the outside, so I’m going to trust and pray that they will stay outside, because I don’t want anyone to see the inside just now. ¬†Still in much of its post-Hubs-departure chaos: the stacks of laundry in the den are clean, but the piles of boxes and bins are rather haphazard throughout.

Deep breath. ¬†Time to read the bedtime story. ¬†Time to put myself to bed as soon as I get the minions tucked in. ¬†I don’t even want to think about tomorrow just yet.

The elephant I’ve been sitting on for weeks…

August 23, 2010

We’re moving. ¬†I’ve known this for at least a couple of weeks, and as a possibility it’s been around for months, but Hubs and I are finally acknowledging the elephant in the room now. ¬†We told the kids over the weekend, and he’s giving three weeks’ notice at work today. ¬†And then he’ll be gone. ¬†He’s leaving, going ahead to start the new job, and hopefully he’ll be able to find us a place to live. ¬†The kids and I will be here a few more months and then we’ll join him. ¬†All of this is making me a nervous stressed-out wreck.

I have so many mixed emotions about the move. ¬†I think we’ll be moving to a great place, and his new job will be great for him – he’s excited about the work, his new colleagues, and the opportunity to do some new and exciting things. ¬†I love seeing his excitement, and I know that the kids and I will also find a lot of new wonderful experiences when we move. ¬†At the same time, however, we’ll be moving away from my family. ¬†Much closer to my in-laws (and I like them a

lot). ¬†I start tearing up whenever I think about being so far away from my grandmother, whose health is declining, who loves to see my kids almost every weekend. ¬†I feel tremendously guilty and worried when I think about her, and when I think about how close A and S are with my parents. ¬†They’ll miss seeing the kids almost every day, and vice versa, plus the fundamental routines of life will be changed for the kids. ¬†I worry about uprooting them, about how they will adjust.

I know that this move is a positive one for our family. ¬†Hubs and I have had lengthy discussions about the best choices, environment, opportunities for the kids, and I believe our move will ultimately benefit all five of us. ¬†The prospect of being the sole parent for months, however, is overwhelming, as is the prospect of coordinating a move to an unfamiliar place. ¬†The uncertainty of it all, and the fact that nothing can be resolved and settled quickly, pulls at me. ¬†The worry keeps me up at night. ¬†It’s unproductive worry, because we can’t make a lot of decisions until after Hubs is out there to gather information and see things for himself, but I can’t shut it off.

Also? ¬†The idea of him finding a place for us to live, while I’m hundreds of miles away, is kind of terrifying. ¬†I trust him, but I also wish I could be there to do it myself. ¬†I have a hard time letting go of the desire to know and control everything.

No wonder my doctor is treating me for chronic tension headaches.  Those headaches are of my own making, and yet knowing that does little to calm me.

From the mouths of babes

August 13, 2010

I’ve learned many wonderful things from my children this week:

  • My husband has super powers. ¬†Super Daddy powers, actually. ¬†He uses these powers to replace light bulbs and fix broken toys. ¬†S told me all about it.
  • Anthony Bourdain soothes the angry baby. ¬†Baby D loves the sound of his voice, and he will become quiet and entranced whenever No Reservations comes on the tv. ¬†Fortunately he’s too young to pick up Anthony’s occasional potty mouth.
  • My daughter A loves first grade. ¬†My son S also loves first grade, but he, alas, is in pre-k. ¬†And incredibly jealous of his big sister. ¬†He wants to go to her school and be in her class. ¬†I think he believes they eat prepackaged cheese and cracker snacks all the time, since A’s teacher gave her one at “meet the teacher” day.
  • Night terrors actually terrify the parent who witnesses them, not the kid. ¬†A has been having these lately and has no memory of them on waking. ¬†On the other hand, I get so frustrated by my inability to comfort her and get her back to sleep easily while she’s in her zombie-like state that I frequently cry after the episode is over.
  • Baby D is very, very crafty. ¬†Only three months old, and he can already get rid of his dissolving medicine tablets by allowing the medicine to dribble out in a small stream of drool. ¬†And it gets on his chubby little neck, so I don’t always notice it right away. ¬†Tricky little baby.
  • A and S love ranch dressing. ¬†They use it to dip carrots, chicken nuggets, fries, and anything and everything else. ¬†They don’t like ketchup. ¬†If we don’t have ranch, they’ll accept mayo as a substitute dip. ¬†Who knew they had such Continental tastes?
  • A and S are very picky eaters, who now think they don’t like many foods they loved in the past. ¬†I can sneak “suspicious” fruits into homemade smoothies, however, and they’ll both tell me how delicious the smoothies are.
  • Kroger now makes lemon wafers (like vanilla wafers, only, well, lemon) and they are delicious. ¬†S had them at my parents’ house and loves them, so we got a box for home too.
  • I’m a really safe, really good driver. ¬†Hubs is a good driver too, but sometimes he drives fast. ¬†The kids told me both of these facts. ¬†A and S will tell on him (to me) for speeding. ¬†They also rat out their grandfather (my dad) to their grandmother (my mom) for eating too many cookies, particularly when his appetite results in a reduced number of cookies available for their own consumption.
  • S knows the lyrics to Starship’s “We Built This City.” ¬†And he¬†loves to sing and dance to it! ¬†The song is on Hubs’ iPod, so he’s heard it on long trips, but not that many times. ¬†Mind like a steel trap, that boy.
  • A understands the concept of the pathetic fallacy, even if she doesn’t know that particular term. ¬†She discussed this after watching a cartoon in which rain was referred to as clouds crying.