Archive for February, 2011


Cat Lovers

February 24, 2011

It is 10:25 a.m., and I only just now got out of my bed.  I’d been awake since 8:45, when WD left for a hair cut appointment, but I remained in the bed, doing all I could from the phone.  Why the reluctance to leave the bed?  Well, because of him:

Otherwise known as the Trickster

You can’t quite tell, but he’s sleeping on me.  And he’s so sweet and cuddly and makes little noises when I move and stretches and – I swear – smiles at me.  Who can resist this little guy?  How could I upend him just for the selfish reason of getting out of bed?

Yeah, we have ourselves some cats.

I mentioned last summer that we were looking into some kittens. I don’t think I told the story of how those kittens didn’t work out.  It was an ugly story, and I try not to tell ugly stories about people in my community, understanding that one day, this blog may be found.

But then, we found other kittens.  There’s my sweet little guy, above, and his brother:


This guy sleeps on me in the night, but when the family is awake, he strongly prefers Writer Dude.  I’m trying to get over the jealousy, and just enjoy the lesser relationship I have with the little gray boy.

And to completely disclose the insanity of our cat love:

All THREE Cats.

Yep.  3 cats.

I continue to justify the situation by exaggerating the older cat’s age.  I may even sometimes stretch it to “he’s, like, 15 or something.”  When in fact, he’s not.  But I think if people understand that he might DIE soon, they’ll forgive me for crossing the line from the acceptable two-cat house to the slightly-crazy 3 cat house.

(He’s really not going to die soon … he’s 12 years old and as healthy as can be.  He’s also MY cat, and when/if he does die, I will be devastated.  So I should stop talking about it.)

We got the kittens in early October, and traveled to a shelter a couple of hours away to get them.  Turns out in Boston, shelters are very … obnoxious strict, and they are also very expensive.  Yes, we can have a kitten.  After a background check, a physical exam of our existing cat, and after forking over $250 and signing a contract vowing to take them to get neutered/spayed (which we would, of course, do anyway).  And that’s when and if an actual kitten (i.e., baby cat) can be found.  But if you find a baby cat in the wrong shelter, they’ll just flat out refuse to allow you to adopt, because your other cat is allowed outside.  They think it’s evil to allow cats outside.  (We do not understand this.)

We travel 1.5 hours away to a shelter in coastal Maine, and they say “you want a kitten? no problem.  actually, why don’t you take 2?  we have so many, you can have two-for-one, and one is $99.  come into our kitten room and take your pick.  oh, also?  they’re already spayed and neutered.”  They didn’t care that we have another cat.  They didn’t care that we (horror!) have kids.  They just gave us the kittens.

These kittens have turned out to be amazing little creatures.  We adore them.  Their personalities are hilarious.  They are social with each other, and with us.  They are cuddle bunnies, and they are playful.  Our older cat was never one who was interested in toys.  When he was a kitten, he would jump 5 feet off the ground to snatch a dragon fly out of the sky, but he didn’t care one iota for a fake mouse.  When he was an adolescent, and we lived in the mild climate of northern California, he frequently brought home mice, birds, and at one point – goldfish.  That was interesting.  But he wanted a real heartbeat in his toys.

These little guys?  they love them some toys!  They each have their own toy mouse, and respect the other’s.  Gray boy’s mouse has a rattle in it, and the Trickster’s mouse has a longer tail.


The first time we went out of town after getting the kittens, we went to my parents’ house, and we brought the kittens with us.  They were so tiny, still.  My brother came over with his family one evening, and he brought his new puppy.  My parents must have been so perplexed.  They are NOT animal people, and there they were with cats and dogs all over the place.

But my brother’s puppy is a pure bread of some sort.  It’s big and stocky and has super short hair and a wrinkly face.  It seems a little slow.  It was very docile.  My brother insisted it would be fine with the kittens, but we didn’t want to risk it, so kept the kittens locked up downstairs.  I took my 3 yo nephew downstairs to see the kittens at one point, and he was awestruck.  He just sat there staring at them, as they were all intertwined and sleeping in a basket of towels.  He looked at them, and then looked at me and said, “I wonder what those kittens are thinkin’ about?” In his adorable little 3 yo speech.  It’s a quote that we throw around liberally, when the kittens are doing something especially mischievous, or puzzling.

When WD and I went to New Orleans, we found ourselves a little concerned about leaving the kittens behind.  But we ended up with a perfect solution.  When we first acquired the little guys, in October, a friend had stopped over to pick something up, and to peek at the kittens.  She brought her 9 yo son, who is a cat lover.  He (like everyone who sees them, even still) was enamored.  “If you ever go on vacation, can I be your cat sitter?” Watching him sit oh-so-quietly and pet them so very gently, and be content to just sit with them for a very long time (especially for a 9yo boy), I thought then “hell yeah!”  And while he is only 9, his sister is Mouse’s age, and his mom is also not 9.

So they took care of the kittens (and the Old Guy) while we were in New Orleans.  We paid them handsomely, and my friend reported back that her son had said, “Wait a minute, I get to play with the kittens AND I get paid?  This is awesome!!!”

They took care of them again for us, while we were in NY.  Our 9yo friend loves them so much, they were here a couple of times a day just so he could play with them.  As a result, the kittens seemed to do fine in our absence.

But still very happy to see us, and happy to keep me in bed until after 10 a.m.



February 23, 2011

That means: I’m home!!

Not only home, but home to a clean house! The house cleaners come every other Wednesday, and that was today, and we got home to lots ‘o clean. Amazing, still (this was our third cleaning, the novelty has not worn off yet).

Our trip was a good one. It was cold, we needed hats, gloves, scarves, and multiple cups of tea and hot cocoa to keep us from veering toward miserable. We did start thinking about spending next February break on an island. A non-Manhattan island. (I vote Greece, the girls both vote Caribbean, and Writer Dude votes South Pacific …. of course. Classic us.)

No – seriously. We had this one recommendation for an italian restaurant, and we were going to go until I looked up the menu and found that it was a “family style” restaurant, and entrees were sized for 4-6 people. Thinking about getting the four of US to decide on an entrée sent us to a different restaurant.

Mouse is a vegetarian, Lemon hates pasta (I know, right?) and would gladly eat a cow at every meal, WD has very specific “moods,” and I …. well, I like cheese. And meat. So I present no problems in an Italian restaurant.

While we were there, we found a shop that had certain Moleskin products 50% off. I bought a calendar/journal. It’s a small one, 3×5, and each day has a single page. I bought it because I thought maybe with a little help of paper and a pen, I will remember more things.

Because I have the World’s Worst Memory.

I’m sure I’ll forget to write in it. Just like I forget to write here.

But the book isn’t meant to be a journal — just a record. “Today, we took the train to New York.” I don’t think I’ll get as detailed as what I bought in a grocery store, but I would like to track the bigger things.

Of course, we got home, and the first thing 14 yo Lemon did was to jump in the shower. Then she threw on sweats and a t-shirt, dragged a comb through her hair, and said, “okay! I’m leaving!”

And she was gone.

I could potentially be offended by that. That race to Get Away. But I choose not to. We just had 5 solid days together, and while there were some bumps, we by and large had a great time, and many memorable moments. So it’s ok with me if she runs out for her social fix.


I am proud of our trip. I’m proud of getting to a point where we could see shows (more than one!) and buy tickets to the top of TWO buildings without passing out that they were $20/pop.

We saw Phantom of the Opera, which was planned in advance. I was a little afraid that the show would be a bit stodgy for the girls, but it was not. The set was amazing, costumes ornate, performances stellar. The story was unfamiliar to all of us (pathetic, perhaps), and so it was very enjoyable. We had a great time. Our late dinner afterward was not as late as anticipated – we ended up at the restaurant by 10:30 instead of 11:30. We had a fantastic dinner, and a very fun time. We spent most of the time working out our ranking system for Broadway shows, as we planned a trip to the TKTS booth on Tuesday to try for a second show.

And we DID score tickets for a second show. Our first choice was Chicago, and that is what we got. We had front row seats in the mezzanine. We were a little nervous when we first sat down, because we were far enough to the left that part of the stage was obstructed. But the show is staged completely on the front part of the stage, and I don’t think we missed a thing.

What a contrast in shows. We went from Phantom with crazy-ornate sets and costumes, to a very bare bones Chicago. It was great! Loved the Bob Fosse choreography, loved the talent, and again had a great time.

Dinner wasn’t as great as the night before, but at least we didn’t starve to death. The girls ended up on the overtired side, and drove us a wee crazy on a very short cab ride home, but we all survived.

And now – we’re home with good and fun memories, full bellies, and shitloads of laundry to do. And potentially an island getaway to plan for next year.

:::: Thank you for reading my rambles ::::


Night Owls in NYC

February 21, 2011

Still in NY.

The girls are getting along a little better, but I did have a moment with Lemon today where I said to her, and I quote, “As far as I am concerned, you are ruining this trip.  You are rude, you keep yelling at everyone, and it is making the entire trip painful.”

That was after I told her to “Shut Up!” because she was yelling at me about the order in which we were walking on the sidewalk.*  Yelling.  Voice raised, contempt evident.

I regret using the words “Shut Up.”  I do not regret getting angry with her.  So there.

She’s been much more agreeable since.  Just like when she was a toddler.  Once she started down the hill of misbehavior/ discontent, there will be no reconciliation until a full-on explosion.  With her, it always has to be a Worst Case Scenario before things get better.

I pity her future spouse.

(Dear future spouse:  It is not my fault.  Even if it is actually my fault, I now have her in therapy, so maybe she’ll get through this before you find her …. maybe.)

Traveling with the girls forces WD and I to change our usual travel patterns.  When he and I travel, we like to get up at 8 a.m. or before.  If we did that this week, I fear that the children would explode.  I know that Lemon would be even bitchier.

Yesterday, I woke Mouse up at 9:30, and she started to cry.  True tears.  “I slept so miserably … the cot hurt my back, and I didn’t have enough blankets, and I was So Cold!”

We had reserved 2 rooms, and asked that they be next door to each other.  When we checked in, they told us they could not get us next door to each other, but we were close.  But the girls’ room had one bed.  They refused to share a bed (even though it was a King.)  The hotel said we could likely move on Sunday, but that the hotel was sold out on Saturday – no chance of changing.  We flipped a coin, and J lost (she always loses coin tosses), so she ended up on the cot.  While WD and I thought we took care of everything in their room before turning in – including giving them very clear instructions not to leave their room without texting/calling us, and to be certain to bolt the door shut, we did forget to teach them how to adjust the heat.  Or to check it ourselves.  So their room was, in fact, freezing.  The heat was OFF.  Oops.

Fortunately, they did move the girls to a better room – connected to ours – the next day.  And we turned on their heat.

But yesterday’s late start meant that we weren’t out the door until 10:45, and so we were eating “breakfast” at 11:30.  Which meant we had a very light “lunch” at 3 (WD and I didn’t really eat, and the girls had peanut butter sandwiches), and then dinner at 8. We saw a 9:30 movie, and we all crashed when we returned to our room.

This morning, WD woke up at 8:55, and showed me the clock. Wow, said me.  Then I fell back to sleep.  He next woke me at 9:55.  Then we woke the girls up, got bitched at by Lemon, and finally left the hotel at 11:15, and had bagels for “breakfast” at noon.


We are seeing Phantom of the Opera tonight, and it starts at 8.  There’s no way in hell we can eat dinner beforehand, because we had “lunch” at 3ish – not finishing until 4.

So guess what time our dinner reservations are?

11:30.  I kid you not.  (I’m guessing we’ll have appetizers for dinner …)

Clearly, there will be no early rising tomorrow. We leave on Wednesday, and our train is at 12:30.  It’s going to be a serious shock to the system that we will need to get up and pack and be out the door and at a restaurant by 10 a.m. in order to eat and get to Penn Station in time for the train ….

*Are we the only family that struggles with walking together in cities?  Everyone wants to walk with ME, and so we always end up 3 or 4 abreast, which is not okay.  You cannot take up an entire sidewalk.  WD and I try to fall behind the girls, so we have an eye on them, but when that happens, they walk like molasses.  Both the girls are champion jockeys, and will be very sly in the way they try to edge the other out of the prized “next-to-mom” spot, and it pisses me off.  Lemon found herself in the front today, and when she did, she almost STOPPED in front of me, in an attempt to hang back and be next to me.  But I wasn’t looking where I was going, and so I stepped on her, and she yelled at me, and I yelled back, and then, eventually, came my very mature “SHUT UP!” and so, yeah.


Live, from New York, it’s Saturday Night!!

February 20, 2011

And …. this has nothing to do with the t.v. show.

But I’m in New York!  Sitting in a hotel easy chair, blogging.  Wishing my feet were in a hot tub.  Because they’re sore.

Sad things about first day in New York/First day of vacation:

  • My daughters bicker too much;
  • It’s fucking cold outside, with a windchill of fucking cold -minus- even more fucking cold
  • We chose a restaurant that sat us near a doorway where the fucking cold continued to harass us
  • My younger daughter developed a phobia of heights that left her hysterical at the thought of going to the top of the Empire State Building.

Happy things about first day in New York/First day of vacation:

  • The train is pretty relaxing and doesn’t freak out my younger daughter who has a phobia of planes (yes, the child clearly has Issues);
  • Even though they bicker too much, my daughters are also capable of having fun together
  • Even though WD and I froze in the path of the fucking cold wind IN the restaurant, the girls were out of the path, and loved our crazy singing waiters and waitresses.
  • Lemon and I had a great time at the top of the Empire State BUilding, and WD and Mouse seemed to enjoy a prolonged Starbucks sit.
  • I got a new camera, and I love.  To wit:

Lemon on the Train

and …

Moon Over NY, from The Empire State Building


My Valentine’s Day Resolution

February 15, 2011

One thing I have always loved about my beloved Writer Dude – going back to the days that we were only friends and dating wasn’t on the table – is his self-sufficiency.  Especially in the kitchen, but also with most household tasks.  Laundry, repairing broken items, building items, interior design …. you name it.  Couple that with his complete lack of sexism (COMPLETE lack), and it you have one very equal partner.  But then, if you couple that with a wife who maybe – just maybe – drops her part of the bargain, and you have an unequal partnership.  Which is bad.  Hence my Valentine’s Day Resolution.

My first marriage was to someone who was raised in a very conservative Christian home.  The wife’s job was to respect and honor her husband.  His mother used to wake up at 5 a.m. to make her husband (my ex’s step-father) a full breakfast before he went off to work.  His church (and mine) preached the importance of a submissive wife, and both cultures supported the wife taking care of the children and the home while the man … I don’t know.  Did manly things.

That did not work for me.

The first reason it didn’t work for me is because — cleaning.  Ick.  Cooking.  Bleh.  I’m really not very good at those things.  As I’ve made very clear.

The second reason it didn’t work is because – well – it’s unfair.  It’s disrespectful.  It’s WRONG.  Also, because the ex was in grad school the whole time we were married, I had no choice but to work so that we could do things like … eat.  And buy diapers.  Stuff like that.   But the fact that I was doing this “manly thing” such as “bringing home the bacon” didn’t change the fact that cooking, cleaning and tending to children’s needs was beneath him.

When WD and I were dating, I was thrilled to be sharing recipes, talking about cooking ideas, etc.  There were times that I would make pizza dough, and then he’d come over with the toppings and we’d cook and eat the pizzas.  That was fun.

Then we became a family, and I started law school.  We started out taking turns cooking, and taking turns shopping.  But school was intense, and even though WD was working full-time and battling the train and commute hours, etc., he slowly started taking on more and more of the cooking.  He would get up early before work and prep a marinade, or fill the crock pot, rush home to finish up and get dinner on the table.  [Yes, he is, in fact, Prince Charming.]

Our rule back then was what I think is a typical one – one person cooks, the other cleans.  And I did a really shitty job, and he’d get irritated with me when he woke up the next morning to prep the night’s dinner, but the things he needed were still “soaking” from the night before.

And at the same time, as he took over lion’s share of the cooking, it stopped making sense for me to do the shopping.  I would get the wrong things.  Make substitutions that didn’t work.  It wasn’t the smoothest thing in the world.

So the shopping became “his.”

I recognized, at that point, the inequity, and in an attempt to balance things out, I said, “okay, I will do your laundry.” Because up until that point, I did my laundry and the girls’ laundry, and he did his own.  He squirmed at the thought of having me do his chores, but I convinced him that because of the way things evolved in the kitchen, it was  – actually – fair.

But somewhere along the way, I stopped cleaning the kitchen after dinner entirely.  It just stopped being my job.  I think he declared it in a huff, and I’m sure there was resentment behind it.  But by that point, I’d started working, and my hours were long, and we’d shifted the work/home balance so that he was not working outside the home, and it seemed relatively fair.

It also seemed relatively fair because this husband of mine … he is picky.  He has a way that he likes things done, and to him, it is the right way.  It is not ‘a good way.’  It is the way.  The only way.  So even when I was putting forth a solid effort, he was less than thrilled with the way that I loaded the dishwasher, or dried the bowls, or put soap on something that he didn’t think should ever be touched by soap, or put a wooden spoon in the dishwasher, or whatever else he had an idea about.

Then  –  yes, more little stepping-stones of imbalance – I stopped doing his laundry.  Again, work, and the hours and oh my!  His laundry kept getting put off and he’d run out of underwear, and after a few months of giving me very sweet and respectful hints (that was not sarcasm), he just started doing it himself.

Somewhere around the end of 2010, start of 2011, WD has been expressing some frustration at how much people leave for him to take care of.  Initially, I didn’t take it too seriously.  I even made jokes with friends that I was like a bad husband from the 1950s.

But this frustration wasn’t just about ME.  It was also about the girls.  When they were younger and had less activities and less homework – they had regular chores.  Put away the dishes, load the dishwasher, clean the bathroom, etc.  That system has broken down since they have gotten older.  They set the table for dinner, and they are responsible for taking their own dishes from the table and into the dishwasher.  If I ask them to clean the bathroom when guests are expected, they do (with little complaint).  They do their own laundry, and are supposed to clean their own rooms.  But there are no regular chores that benefit the household at large.  (Well, except for the cat litter … )

They have been dwindling in their consistency with putting their things in the dishwasher, and WD is stuck with the mess to deal with.  And he was expressing frustration.

I didn’t blame him, and I helped to reinforce with the girls that they need to do better.  But it was impossible to ignore that I was telling them to do things I was not doing myself.

I took a closer look at what was going on.  I saw how many evenings I’d head to bed with a book while WD headed to the kitchen for 45 minutes or more of clean up.  How my dishes would sit in the sink because “the dishwasher is full!”  Like I was one of the whiny teens in the house.   There are also many times where the mess is huge – whether because it was a big dinner or for whatever reason.  Even though there are some things he is particular about – there is nothing preventing me from picking up part of a large task.  Nothing preventing me from saying, “hey, let me help.”

And that is what I’m trying to do.  I am deciding to be a better partner.  I am deciding that just because WD can take on the cooking and the shopping does not mean that he is my servant.  Because he is so willing to be an equal partner does not mean I should take advantage and become the unequal partner.  Even if something is officially “his job,” it does not mean that I cannot be there to support him in it.

It is true that since we now have people cleaning the house that I feel more able and available to be work on these things.  The stuff taken on by the housecleaners are mostly (but not entirely) things I used to be responsible for (even if they didn’t actually get done).  But in general, the house is a lot cleaner now, and because it is a lot cleaner, I feel like it’s easier to get it to perfectly clean.  And I’m not resentful about the mounds of dust in every corner, or the bathroom that isn’t touched unless I touch it, or the many other corners and issues that used to cause me great stress.

Maybe next year’s Valentine’s Resolution will be to take back his laundry …. but baby steps, baby steps.




On the Road Again

February 14, 2011

I’ve been enjoying a relative lull at work.  It’s a lull compared to the days that I was in trial, for certain.  I’m billing, on average, 7 to 7.5 hours a day, with a few 10 hour days here and there, and a few weekend hours which are all done from home.

Each week, I have to fill out a form saying how much availability I have, so that our assignment coordinator knows who is available to take on a new project.  I’ve had my availability pretty high – probably higher than it really is – because I like to be busy.

And on Friday, I got the call.

Not really a new case, but rather, a potentially two week trip to one of the many Springfields to look through some documents.

I could be bratty about this – thinking that a 4th year shouldn’t be the one tapped to review documents in a warehouse  – but it’s a tricky subject area in which I have experience.  Ramping a junior person up on this tricky area would take a while, and the review would be slow as they became accustomed to [no exaggeration] 10,000 acronyms.  [Ok, so it is a slight exaggeration.]

They’re giving me plenty of notice, and it turns out that it is not two weeks (which would have sucked, family-wise). I will be sharing the time with 2 other associates, and the review days are only from 8:30 – 4.  Then I will have the freedom to sit in my hotel room in a non-glamorous Springfield (are any of them glamorous?) and catch up with the work that my other cases generated during the day.

But it shouldn’t be too bad.

I cannot complain about the travel, either.  Since I’ve been in my current job, I have traveled once per year.  Twice to depositions, and twice to review documents on-site.  Until this year, they have all been either 1 or 2 nights away from home. I have colleagues who have spent weeks away from home.  I have been lucky. When WD and I first heard that I might be traveling, we both responded with a bit of an “oh, fuck.”  But when we put it in this perspective … that I’m a little late for my very fortunate once-a-year trip, we found it a lot more palatable.

I probably find it more palatable than my family does.  I’m the one who gets to sit in a hotel room, alone, with room service and – once i get my work done – the remote control to myself, and maybe even a novel!  Things I don’t usually do during the week, because if the t.v. is on, it’s hard to keep the kids away from it.  And I can’t watch the shows I want to watch — or the movies I want to watch.

One sucky part, though, is that I may not be able to watch the Oscars with my family.  If this is the case, it will be the first time since 2002 that WD and I haven’t watched the Oscars together.  I like to watch the Oscars.  With him.  We’ve gotten very close to watching all of the relevant nominated movies, too.

Oh well.


Tastes too Fine

February 9, 2011

Okay, Mouse may be on the verge of becoming a problem.

My parents came to town this past weekend, and we had a really nice visit.  Mom and I played mah jongg with some friends of mine (Mouse baked for us all), we had a nice dinner – mostly cooked by dad, we got to play Scrabble, we visited my office, which my parents haven’t seen, and we had a very nice brunch at a pretty fancy restaurant at the top of a pretty famous building in Boston.

My dad had wanted to go to this restaurant – at least for drinks – for years.  And we hadn’t made it.  Mouse also wanted to go.  For years.  Actually, since her 3rd grade went to the Skywalk in this building for a field trip.  She came home from the field trip, and I asked her how she liked the view, and she said, “we didn’t go to the top of the building.”  I asked why not?  Was it foggy?  Was it closed?”  “oh, we went to the skywalk, Mom, but it’s not the top!”  Huh?  “There’s a restaurant at the top.  Mommy, I want to go to that restaurant!!!”   I explained to her that it was a very expensive restaurant, and maybe it could be something we do one day for a special occasion, but not to get her hopes up (I was still in law school, for crying out loud).

She hadn’t forgotten.

But it was worth it to go this past weekend.  The skies were clear, and the view was beautiful.  Blue, blue water, snowy hills in the distance – it was great.  The kids loved the [very fancy] brunch.  They had smoked salmon for an appetizer, and Mouse had a lobster omelet for her entrée while Lemon had braised short ribs with grits & an egg.  She asked WD if he can make it for her every morning!  Mouse was not intimidated by the formality of the place, and very sincerely asked me questions about what was proper.  “So, Mom, how do I order?  Do we order all 3 courses at once, or will he come back?”

My dad was also a little giddy about finally being there (although, of course, more accustomed to the atmosphere).  He sat with a perfect view of the airport, and really enjoyed the cityscape and the air traffic.

What I learned:  Mouse has a taste for very nice food and ambiance.

Both on the way to and on the way home from the restaurant, we walked along Boston’s Newbury Street.  I’d never taken my parents to this part of Boston before, and they enjoyed seeing a different part.  My dad was a little put off by the chi-chi nature of the shops, and spent most of the time outside wandering the sidewalk, but my mom was pretty starry eyed.

But so was Mouse!  She wanted to go into every shop.  “Mom!  I can’t believe you work around here. It seems soooo dangerous!”  I was confused for a minute.  Dangerous?  The cars don’t drive fast … there are no shootings going on … Oh! dangerous for my wallet!!!

She continued, “I love it here!  No wonder Lemon and her friends come here all the time.  I have always hated shopping because malls make me sick and give me a headache and make me feel like I’m going to barf, but this! You can go outside!  You have fresh air until you a find a store you like!  And look at all these restaurants where you can sit outside!  And you can get manicures on every block!”

What I learned:  Mouse has a taste for chichi shopping areas, high end fashion, and generally pricey things.  Ouch.

But yet — the only thing she asked me to buy was a used pair of Nike high top basketball sneakers at a consignment shop (where Lemon also tends to shop when she goes to Newbury Street, since she does not have never-ending clothing allowance).  The sneakers were then 50% off, and then further marked down.  So they were $20.  I bought them.

Nevertheless, I’m proceeding with caution.


Happy Anniversary to Us.

February 3, 2011

Last night, WD and I went out to celebrate our anniversary.  It was our 4th wedding anniversary.  We went to a fabulous restaurant and had a thoroughly enjoyable meal.  I swear, I would go back there today, if I could afford to (I can’t).

When we went to New Orleans, we ate in restaurants as good as this one, maybe better.  They were all definitely more famous.  One of Emeril’s restaurants, another that is – I don’t know – 500 years old or something?  In the Garden District.   And because we were in the south, all of those meals were almost a full $100 less than last night’s.

But, it was our anniversary, and we budgeted for it, and we deserved it.

[We had steak.  It was delicious.]

[I had oysters.  Again, delicious.]

[I also had a fantastic cocktail with my oysters.]

[and two fantastic glasses of wine with my steak & salad.]

[and while we chose not to have dessert, WD hadn’t yet finished nursing his drink, so I ordered myself some Grand Marnier.  I love that stuff.  It is so amazing.]


For the past few years, I’ve been irritated when people ask how long WD and I have been married.  Not irritated with people for asking, but irritated with what I have to answer.

This was our 4th wedding anniversary.  We got married in 2007, on Groundhog Day, in Provincetown, MA, in front of a Justice of the Peace, and no one other than Mouse and Lemon in attendance.

We weren’t going to get married.  When we first started dating, we both talked about our disapproval of the institution.   We both had failures in our past (his more distant than mine), and weren’t really all that convinced that “marriage” was so important.   Our relationship progressed, and our minds didn’t change.

We aren’t members of a church – or even of a faith.  So that wasn’t pushing us toward marriage.  We lived in Berkeley, CA, and several of our peers were in long-standing relationships, children & all, that did not have a marriage certificate to go along with. Looked good to us.

But when we moved to New England, it felt different.

Now, if we believed in marriage at the time – if we thought “marriage is the final expression of our love for one another, proof of the commitment we are making to each other” – I believe we would have done it before moving to New England together.  Because of the girls, that step was not taken lightly.  It was the first time WD lived with the girls, that he became a part of the family.  We wouldn’t have done that on a whim, and without having taken many smaller, building steps before hand.

But we didn’t.

So as we acclimated to our new town, our new community, I found myself struggling.  “How do I introduce him?”  I started with “this is my partner,” which was fine, but seemed overly formal (and led more than a few people to assume that my “partner” was a woman … not sure why, come to think of it.  I live in one of those awesome states where gay and straight people are allowed to marry …)

And “Boyfriend” sounded so … unclassy.   I *hated* to hear the girls say, “well, my mom’s boyfriend lives with us.”  It just didn’t adequately represent how we felt.

The girls both expressed their desire that we get married.

And so, after many conversations and discussions, we did it.

We made it low-key, and we didn’t really feel like it was the start of anything.  It was just the formalization of something that had been in place for years.

But still, this was my fourth wedding anniversary.  Even though we’ve been a family for 6 1/2 years.

And that was bothering me.  I was almost resentful of it.

For some reason, starting this year, it doesn’t bother me anymore.  I’m okay with it.  We’ve been married for 4 years.  We’ve been a family for 7.  He and I have been together for 9.

And that’s fine.



3:53 on a Wednesday Afternoon

February 2, 2011

I’m sitting on my couch right now, in my loungewear.  I haven’t yet made it to the shower, but I have had several conference calls, shoveled the mini-deck, to ensure it doesn’t collapse under the weight of 6 storms’ worth of snow, marshaled several 13 year olds in and out of the house, made [warmed up] lunch for Lemon and myself, and cleaned out my Keurig.

Thank you, snow.

Even if you did turn to rain at a ridiculously early hour, dashing my hopes for snow higher than my head (when added to the previous storms …)

It’s nice to have a mid-week break.

[Cue weird kaleidoscope screen and warbly music indicating a flashback]

Before I moved back east and went to law school, and before WD and I were living together/married, I worked as a paralegal/legal assistant for a solo family law practitioner in Oakland, California.  I made enough money to cover rent and childcare and decent meals.  The girls and I were not totally destitute.  We lived in one of the most expensive housing markets in the country and had a decent amount of space.  Things were pretty good.

But I was sad about how little time I had with them.  We would get up early in the mornings, and I would put them on a school bus.  Then I’d hop on my bike and get to work by 9:10.  I would leave at 5, and pedal like mad (up a huge-ass hill) to get to their extended day program before it closed at 5:30.  Then we’d take a city bus from their school to our home – with my bike mounted on the front of the bus – and trudge in the door after 6.  If the bus was running late (as it often was), it was WELL after 6.  Mouse was a high sleep need child, so she’d often crash into the bed shortly before 8.

It wasn’t the life I’d envisioned.  I’d pictured myself in their classrooms occasionally, having their friends over after school, greeting them with cookies or some other home made treat.  [I bet if I did stay an at-home mom, that baking would have never happened …]  But life didn’t work out that way.  My marriage didn’t work out that way.

Fortunately, I had a relatively flexible employer who valued me as her employee, and who agreed to a reduced time schedule WITHOUT a reduction in pay.  (Whaaa?  Sounds nothing short of miraculous to me right now.)  Yeah.  She let me take Wednesdays off.

The girls and I LOVED our Wednesdays.

I still put them on the bus, but then I went home and had a cup of coffee and did other things around the house.  I was at their school by 10 a.m. (which wasn’t far away – maybe 1/2 mile –  we only used the bus in the morning because it allowed me to head toward work earlier).  At 10, I checked in with Mouse’s kindergarten teacher and got my marching orders.  I spent two hours helping to wash paint off little hands, reading stories, helping with handwriting, and generally enjoying those freaking adorable kids.  Mouse loved having me there.  It really made her day.

Then at noon, I went to the 2nd grade classroom.  Less stories for me to read, and no paint for me to wash – but there was still plenty to do.  We played math games, I helped with some of the earliest of book reports, I graded papers.  I loved getting to be a fly on the wall, watching the kids’ dynamics in the classroom.

After school, I had my weekly opportunity to chat with other parents while the kids played on the playground.  Then we’d walk down a short hill to one of my favorite parts of Berkeley, and head to the library.  Usually with many of the girls’ classmates and their parents.  The girls and I would then take our books, and maybe a friend or two, and head to the coffee shop.  They would have a lemonade and a cookie and I would have a cup of coffee, and we’d sit and look at our books, or chat with their friends.

We all three talk about those Wednesdays with much fondness.

Although – I think I was infinitely more exhausted at the end of a Wednesday than I was on any other day of the week!

I wonder what it would be like now, if I had Wednesdays off again.  I think it would be more me-time than kid-time.  I know it wouldn’t be spent volunteering in classrooms!  Can you imagine?  Me showing up at Lemon’s high school, following her from class to class, asking the teachers, “What can I do to help you today?”  “Uhh, get your kid in therapy now, because she’s gonna need it!”