Tuesday, July 27, 2010

How to lose 25 lbs by stress alone

We went on a little vacation to Utah last week. Left on Wednesday, came back on Saturday.

Tuesday night I packed everything up. And, miracle of miracles, I didn't forget anything. I know. Divine intervention.

We left a wee bit later than we wanted Wednesday morning--9:15 instead of 9:00--, but the day started out great. Grace was happy in the backseat while Emmy dozed (she started sleeping in the car again, hallelujah). About an hour in we stopped for gas.

When we got back in, the excrement hit the ventilator. Emmy wouldn't sleep, and Grace decided to scream. A LOT. The best part of her screaming is that her nose runs like a fountain, and it's totally disgusting, and then we get to our destination, and she's been rubbing her face, and she looks homeless as we scurry and sweat through the largest airport ever in the entire world (OK, I know O'Hare is not the largest airport, but oh does it feel like it when you're about to miss your flight and can't find the stupid gate).

Getting ahead of myself.

We made good time until we got to I-90. And then the last twenty minutes took an hour. Meanwhile, kids screaming in the back, clock ticking away, idiot drivers everywhere, and these are the three things in the world that make me the most anxious. It was the Trifecta of Suck. I've never wished so fervently for hard drugs.

FINALLY we made it to the airport. There we discovered that Wednesday afternoon was, for some reason, a REALLY BIG DAY at O'Hare. We parked out in the boonies. I had the double stroller loaded up with kids, a diaper bag, and a carry-on, and Jeremy had the suitcase with a carry on and the stupid car seat. People, I packed light. I really did. But Emmy requires a LOT of clothing, and then there were diapers and wipes and just a few things to keep Grace entertained, and before you know it, we have way too much luggage. Stupid car seats.

So we had to walk from Africa to the airport. And there were a lot of curbs. And cars parked too closely together, which mean a lot of weaving back and forth, and with all that weaving, we probably doubled the distance, and the kids were screaming, and it was 8000 degrees out, and the sun was beating down, and I started developing some very violent compulsions, which, thankfully, I kept under control. But it was hard. There were a few very bad parkers who almost got their windshields smashed in with an angry baby.

As we were racing through the last bit of parking lot, we noticed that they'd decided to open up a new section of the parking garage MINUTES after we'd parked clear out in Zimbabwe. I may have said bad words.

Then. THEN. We were seven pounds over on our suitcase. Seven pounds. Oh my gosh. While Emmy screamed and Grace sat there looking homeless and unhappy, Jeremy ripped a bunch of stuff out of the suitcase and shoved it randomly into our carry-ons. It added a whole thirty seconds to the process, but it felt like an eternity. And meanwhile, my baby is screaming bloody murder in the middle of an echo-y airport, and all I can think about is how glad I am that guns aren't allowed, or somebody would have shot the four of us by now.

Security actually went very well. I am grateful for that. But then we had to find our stupid gate. O'Hare is not user-friendly. At least, not when you're blind with panic and 25 minutes from boarding.

Here I'm going to stop and climb up on my little soapbox. People, if you must text message all of the time, STOP. SIT DOWN. DO NOT DO IT WHILE WALKING THROUGH AN AIRPORT. OR SOME CRAZY LADY WILL KILL YOU. At least a hundred people wandered aimlessly in front of me during that panicked trek through the airport, noses and thumbs pressed up to their cramped little keyboards, and I almost killed them all with my giant stroller.

We raced through the airport as quickly and politely as we could, me calling out, "Excuse me please!" to every moron who plodded directly into my path, mesmerized by the blue gaze of his phone display. Even the non-texting slow people we passed felt the need to plod slowly down the MIDDLE of the hallways, not off to the side like I thought everyone knew you were supposed to do. If looks could kill, O'Hare airport would have exploded in an angry maelstrom of fire and lightning. There were a lot of people I was angry at that day.

Our gate was at the very end of terminal 2. The gate number wasn't on the ticket. No, we had to stop and search each bank of monitors down that endless hallway until we found the Delta flights. I was starting to think we were in the wrong terminal when we finally found them. Almost the last gate in the terminal, but we made it! Ten minutes to spare until boarding.

And then, the cherry: Because of the way the oxygen masks are arranged (three on one side, two on the other, even though the plane was two seats on each side of the aisle), three of us had to sit on one side of the plane. Which mean a lone adult on one side of the plane while the other adult tended to Grace in her car seat AND Emmy in arms. And that meant ME, since I was going to nurse Emmy during takeoff and landing. Delta did not deem this important information to have ahead of time. No, we found out as we were boarding. So that was awesome.

Thankfully, the flight went so much better than expected. But that's next time. Because my fingers are tired, and my children are going to wake up soon.

(In case this was unclear, I wasn't barreling around, running over any reasonable person who happened to be moving a little to slowly. Momentum did make it very hard to stop in time for some people who stepped right in front of me, and I was mightily annoyed with people who walked as slowly as possible right in the middle of traffic. But I wasn't all, "I GOTS ME A STROLLER BETTER MOVE YO BEHINDS" or anything.)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My world is made of flypaper

Thank you, thank you for all the chicken suggestions! I can look forward to eating again.

Crushing heat and humidity here lately. I like to say it's like living in a bowl of hot jello. The children were little hellions today. No fault of their own, but when I'm hot and sticky, it's very hard to be patient with them.

It's not actually THAT hot (for me, anyway), but oh my, the humidity. I don't remember a summer like this since I was in junior high. Everything is damp to the touch. And sticky. Like elves run through our house every night, brushing every surface with rubber cement. Worst magical elves ever.

Yesterday I was upstairs putting laundry away when I heard frantic screams downstairs. I came running down the stairs, didn't see Grace anywhere. So I went into the kitchen, where the poor thing was perched on a chair. The seat was so sticky she couldn't get off the chair. Hilarious now, but then it was pitiful.

Why do I choose the most horrible days to go on cooking and cleaning rampages? A few weeks ago, when it got into the 90s, I decided to spend all day cooking up a huge batch of bolognese sauce to freeze. It's not a lot of work, but it has to simmer on the stove for hours.


Then yesterday, I decided the upstairs had gone far too long without vacuuming, and it had to be done RIGHT THEN. This on top of the laundry I had running all day (side note: dryers kick up a lot of heat! who knew?). This meant moving all the furniture in the girls' rooms, then moving it all back. Then I noticed all the dust on the window sills and radiators. So I wiped everything down with Pine-Sol. Which brought to attention the abysmal state of the bathroom floor. I scrubbed that down with hot water and Pine-Sol, too. And then the bathroom counter and mirror and toilet. The stairs were looking pretty sorry, too, so I got them.

It's been a long time since I last vacuumed up there. This took a while.


Speaking of vacuuming, I bought a little handheld cordless vacuum a couple of weeks ago. It is AWESOME. It has a brushy head thinger, even. So I can vacuum my stairs without lugging the entire upright vacuum up and down the stairs (the attachments on my upright are slightly more useless than the thing itself). If the brushy head thinger weren't so tiny, I'd be vacuuming all the carpets with it; it's about six times as powerful as my regular vacuum.

Since I got it, I've been making up reasons to use it. A single Cheerio on the floor? Must get the vacuum! Oops, I "accidentally" dropped that wad of paper. Must get the vacuum! Months-old spiderwebs in the corner that have been too scary before? The new vacuum gives me courage! Out of things to vacuum in my newly sterile environment? COME HERE CAT I HAVE PRESENT FOR YOU.

Cat does not appreciate the newest member of the household.

Oh look! It's midnight! Probably should have gone to bed an hour ago. But once the kids are down (8 for Grace, 9ish for Emmy), James and I are all, wooo! video games! fun! TV! and go to bed way too late. This is why we're tired all the time.


That and even when I do go to bed on time, I lie awake, usually itching. I always itch when I can't sleep. This sounds really gross, I know, but it has nothing to do with sanitation and everything to do with being a neurotic insomniac. And breastfeeding means I can't take anything good to help me sleep except melatonin. Which is okay, but it's kind of the baby Tylenol of the sleep aid world.

Also, the sheets (even freshly washed and dried!) are always just slightly damp in this weather. And what is more disturbing and uncomfortable than damp sheets, I ask you?

Yeah. Time for bed. Before I say anything that's even more creepy than damp sheets.

(at least I didn't say "moist!")

Monday, July 5, 2010


Sorry for the absence. There are Things Maybe Happening, and my brain is obsessing over them so constantly that I can't think of anything else to write about. Alas, I'm not supposed to talk about it. I wasn't going to mention it at all. I loathe what is known as vaguebooking--posting cryptic, often dramatic status updates on Facebook for the purpose of drumming up attention--, and this smacks of that to me. But it will be a while before we get answers, and I wanted you all to know why I've been absent if it's going to be several more weeks before I can get my brain out of this rut.

I should reassure you, though, that I'm not pregnant, and it's not a bad thing at all. Part of the problem is that it's something I'm pretty excited about, but can't get my hopes up because it might not happen at all.

Oh, and I'm not writing a book. Sadly. But that's something I've been toying with for ages now. I just don't know what to write that hasn't been done already. Humorous observations on life as a SAHM? Done. A million times by people funnier then me, and then a million more by people not very funny at all, but who got published because it was a booming niche market for a while, and now the market is saturated, and people who are moderately funny are screwed. Aaaaand, that's all I got.

Unless there's a market for the memoirs of an ambitionless loser who spent eight years in college, only to get knocked up and have nothing to show for those years except a mediocre knowledge of Biblical Hebrew and a lot of random, useless facts about mathematics and physics. I can just see the cash rolling in now.

(I'm really not as bitter as I sound, honest.)

We have been eating a lot of chicken lately. It's cheap. We have chicken coming out our ears. I am so sick of chicken I could barf. Aside from beans, it's pretty much the cheapest protein source available, so it's what we eat. And I strongly dislike most bean-heavy dishes. The ones I don't dislike I do get sick of very easily. So chicken it is.

I'm requesting fun chicken recipes. Especially ones suitable for an unusually hot and humid summer in a house with no air conditioning. I really like vinaigrette-heavy dishes, but I don't know how James feels about them.

I grilled up five pounds of chicken breasts the other night and froze them, just to get the hot cooking part out of the way. I have four more pounds of raw chicken sitting in the freezer.

And now I'm imagining how horrifying my house would seem in a children's book written from the perspective of cute, cuddly, *anthropomorphized chickens.

And there's my niche market. Horror books for children.

Time to go. Naptime over. Yay.

*Firefox assures me that this is not a word, but all variations thereon are. Hmph.