Friday, July 31, 2009

It's a Tree AND a Flower

By virtue of some miracle, I have made it to Friday night. Some weeks it's a sketchier feat than others. And this week was a killer.

But here I am, and the work week is behind me. Also drawn to a close is Third Grader's latest theatrical adventure - a student rendition of The Secret Garden, in which Third Grader played a groundskeeper, and also took a stab at a few duets. She informed me a few days ago that she had a good chance at performing a solo, as one of her duet partners had developed a strange rash inside her mouth and also on her hand. Hm.

"She told me," Third Grader casually shared, "that if she gets the rash on her foot next, she'll have hand foot and mouth disease. That's not a real thing, right?"

Oh, yes, Third Grader. It's a real thing. It's at least as real as the nasty cough that I heard escaping from the mouth of yet another acting student at pick up that day. And the little girl crying on Monday because her ear hurt? Possibly a real thing as well. Lots of real things floating around that acting camp this week. Tress not happy.

So I told my dear, healthy Third Grader - who is about to embark upon a very long car ride this weekend to enjoy our long awaited family vacation which is already paid for - that she might want to mention to her acting teacher that so-and-so has a little rash thing going on. She might also want to mention, I suggested, that if she, herself, develops a rash, or a cough, or some other nifty little contagious ailment as a result of other parents not being considerate enough to remove their sick children from the program, that her mother is going to FLIP OUT. actual suggestion was much more succinct and brief, but it definitely contained the words FLIP OUT. And she did, in fact, convey my message. And hand mouth and not-yet-foot girl was excused early that day, as well as ear ache girl. Third Grader picked up a new duet partner to replace hand mouth and not-yet-foot girl, so no solo. But also no disease so far. So vacation will carry on.

We are headed to balmy old Virginia on Sunday. Home of the dogwood (hence, the title...) Oh, and the baked ham. And hopefully something resembling summertime weather. I'm really excited to be going away with the girls for a few days, but I'm getting less and less excited about this massive drive on Sunday. My plan is leave before dawn and get a few hours in before they are fully conscious. That is, if I can wake up that early. I hope I can wake up that early. For the love of mileage, that's going to be a long day...

I'm planning to take my laptop with me, in the very longshot chance that I might want to write something while I'm away - but don't hold your breath, blogosphere. I believe I saw the words "dial up access" buried in the fine print of my Expedia hotel confirmation. Doesn't bode well. But one never knows, does one?

Since tomorrow is all about the packing, and since I probably need to cut tomorrow off at about 4 p.m. so I can front-load some sleep - and since that will never actually happen, not with two Tornadoes under foot - I think I best head off to bed now. Ta.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Post-Pig Roast Post

This is likely to be very short and...we'll just go with sweet, but probably more like "curt" or "rushed".

It's Wednesday - a good half a week after the marathon Saturday of attending barbecues, the most significant of which was the ol' Hogfest across the street. I was pretty angsty about the Hogfest. I think I mentioned that the other day. It's been a bit of an uncomfortable situation for me the past few years, as I have had to go without a date, and the atmosphere had been growing decreasingly family-friendly. This was in no way the fault of the hosts, but thanks to the influence of a certain former next door neighbor and his illustrious network of "friends" whom he invited along. To someone else's party, mind you. I'm pretty far out of the neighborhood loop these days - by my own design - but I had no idea what to expect this year, given that said next door neighbor no longer lives here, and I had not a clue in what condition he left his relationships with the other neighbors.

As it turns out, there has been some drama of an undetermined nature, and said former neighbor did not show at Hogfest. Nor did much of his network. Some did, But it appeared that these were the ones with some level of maturity.

And? Boyfriend accompanied me. Bonus!

And? Enhanced family-friendly atmosphere meant that the Tornadoes got to swim in the pool until ten o'clock at night. Double bonus!

So all in all, it was a pleasant weekend. And now we are counting down the days until we leave for our trip to Virginia. I have a bit to say about that, but don't really have the time right now as I desperately need to get Fifth Grader out the door to a flute lesson. If she ever gets out of the bathtub, that is.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Summer Shmummer

This is the weekend that my neighbors across the street hold their annual Hogfest blowout. The fact that it's once again time for this day of neighborly debauchery can only mean one thing: it is, in fact, summertime.

Like many people, I have barely noticed the arrival of summer this year. Could be because it doesn't seem to want to stick around for more than two or three hours at a time, and those are usually midday on a Tuesday when I am getting ready to meet with a client in my office with lots of windows that do not open. Could also be because the days of summertime meaning something distinctly different than springtime, fall, or winter are now the property of a new generation - and that generation's teachers, who actually get time off in the summer and thus do not have to be racked with guilt over the measly five day trip to Virginia that they have planned with their children about a week from now. That would be me racked with guilt.

But back to the Hogfest. It is exactly what it sounds like: a giant pig is roasted on a spit while people, young and old, roam around my neighbor's property and bask in its fragrant demise. It sounds disgusting, and it is, but meanwhile there are bouncy houses and inflatable obstacle courses for the kids and a lovely inground swimming pool for whomever wishes to partake, plus beer and music. I have never been to any other pig roasts besides the one these neighbors hold, but I would guess that it is one of the swankier ones as pig roasts go.

The first few years we lived here, Hogfest was kind of fun. As time has worn on, and as my neighborhood has evolved from tight-knit community of friends to the Road of Tension and Infighting, the fun has worn off. So I am grateful that we have another summer outing to attend this afternoon which will take us out of the neighborhood until the evening, at which time we will make a neighborly appearance of an hour or two, tops, at Hogfest. Just enough to secure the friendly banter at the bus stop come September, not so much that I get sucked into any controversy.

Mainly, attending Hogfest (however briefly) might be the thing to convince my brain that summer is here and, in fact, half over already. Maybe I will actually care. Maybe I will start to get excited about our upcoming road trip. It's not like me to not be excited about a road trip. I mean, eleven plus hours of driving, each way, with two tweens in the backseat, and no one to share the driving? What's not to love? I should be jittery with anticipation! And two days of theme parks? Plus a day and a half of taking in the historical lessons of colonial times? With no adult companion to even out the experience for me? This is sounding more and more like a dream trip, isn't it? I don't know why I'm not more excited. Maybe I'm coming down with something.

Anyway, I can start looking forward to next summer already, as I am about to buy my tickets to BlogHer '10 in NYC. Miss S - who is currently at BlogHer '09 - called me in a super-caffeinated state to fill me in on the locale of next year's conference. And while I am no kind of relevant figure in the blogger universe...New York City? For a whole weekend, AND with Miss S? Oh, I am SO THERE.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Didn't You Get My Email?

It's Saturday afternoon, positively gorgeous and sunny outside, and I am here blogging.

There is something seriously wrong with me.

If it weren't for the fact that I have not written anything here, yet again, in nearly two weeks, then I would SO be outside enjoying the weather. That's not entirely true. For one thing, I'm still in my jammies. My hair still resembles the shape of my pillow, and I'm a little on the cranky side. It's called being a girl. Sometimes? I really, really hate it.

I had a reasonably poor night's sleep last night - a shame, you know, because I could have really used a fabulous one. The girls were, indeed, away at gymnastics camp all of last week. Yesterday was the day they were to be fetched back, which required me to drive the eleven hour round trip to some part of New York that was decidedly NOT New York City, by myself there and (...well, obviously) with the Tornadoes back. I was a little girl-cranky yesterday as well, so it was more like a twelve hour ride when you factor in the stops. I only stopped once on the way there, at a Super Stop & Shop, to eat my packed lunch in the car and then to purchase the Advil that I desperately needed to make it the rest of the way. While I was eating my lunch, I had the honor of witnessing a very nasty exchange between a skunk-haired woman and a small child. They were accompanied by a blonde lady, who could possibly have been the boy's mother, and who chose to ignore the spew of horrible words that Miss Skunk Hair spat at the poor boy in the back seat of the car while she waited for him to get out. She also chose to ignore the fact that the boy eventually exited the car by being yanked by the arm by Miss Skunk Hair. These things did not, however, escape my notice. I spent some time contemplating how I might approach Miss Skunk Hair to tell her how inappropriately she was behaving, and also took note of the license plate number in case, in my pre-Advil-dosed state, I might not state my opinion in quite the tone of warm concern that I practiced and things escalated to a brawl. Unfortunately, the happy family could not be found in the same aisle with the Advil. And since that is the only aisle I ventured down, it was ultimately a non event.

But I digress.

What I really wanted to complain about today was the fact that everyone on this planet, except me apparently, seems to communicate via email, and somehow I am the one who is in the wrong. It's not a very interesting story, actually, but it annoyed me just the same, so here it is. So after arriving at the camp yesterday, after watching the Tornadoes demonstrate some of their insane new skills, I went around with them to say their goodbyes to the coaches. At which point their coach from home reminded us of the "end of season bbq/banquet" on Sunday afternoon. At which point I couldn't help but think "Dear God, does this NEVER END?" but what I said out loud was "What can we bring?"

I got The Look. I got The Look and The Question. "Didn't you get my email?" This question is usually asked with great impatience. It is not okay to say No, I did not. It is not okay to say, you know what, I check my email about once every two weeks, because it requires effort and time that I do not have left over after working all day and trekking two Tornadoes around all of the rest of the time. It is not okay to say Why can't you just freaking TELL me what I need to bring since I'm STANDING RIGHT HERE? It's really not okay to say anything, because email is the thing now, and I am a bad, bad person for not loving it. Also, because I happen to have had a bit of a tense exchange with this exact same coach, via email, just last week, about another matter, and for a moment I wasn't sure if she was referring to some part of that exchange that I had maybe missed, and I don't think the Advil had completely kicked in by then, I found it best to say nothing.

So I finally checked my stupid email today. And it turns out we are to bring 10 hot dogs, 10 burgers, and their associated buns. That's just weird. I might not have wanted to say that out loud either, if I were her. Also, I have missed relaying to Third Grader that a particular friend of hers would like to get together two weeks ago, because I just saw the email from the child's mother today. Phone, people. Phone. The phone is your friend.

Anyway, I will wrap this up by sharing with you the myriad of ways that I amused myself last week while the Tornadoes were away. Let's see: lots of Boyfriend. Several of my favorite new drink, the Green Melon (vodka and melon puree) with Boyfriend; a three hour hike up Mount Monadnock with Boyfriend; the most amazing pedicure ever (alone) and a visit with my newly-single-again friend, D. And let's not forget work. Because I couldn't forget it, so neither can you.

That's all over with now. For the next few weeks, life is probably going to be mostly about work. Maybe something interesting will show up in my email in the meantime that I could share with you. Except I won't know it's there.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I'm Just Not That Into Me

Hello, blogosphere. Believe it or not, here I am.

I'm having a hell of a time getting this blog back into action on a regular basis, but I've at least figured out the reason. The reason is that I am possibly the most boring human being on the planet. Seriously. I can prove it.

Let's take a look at Exhibit A: The routine. My day-to-day life over the past few weeks has fallen into a fairly predictable routine. Who am I kidding? I meant to say over the past few months. Let's call it a year. But the past few weeks are a pretty good example. Here's what it looks like:

  • Up at 5 a.m.-ish to run/work out
  • Wake up Tornadoes around 6:00. Enter the hellish vortex of getting them packed up and out the door to school. Or, right now, camp.
  • Go to work. Work.
  • Leave work 5 p.m.-ish. Collect Tornadoes. Enter the hellish vortex of getting them fed/bathed/whatever the hell else happens to be on the agenda of things-that-must-be-done before tomorrow, plus maybe fold a little laundry and wash a few dishes.
  • Go to bed. Alone. Sleep.

zzzzzz...oh, I forgot to mention that occasionally I am too tired to wake up at 5 a.m.-ish, so I skip the run and sleep until 6. This is called "variety". I try not to do it too often because I at least have the wherewithal to not want the running/working out to become the "variety" part of the equation. If I'm going to be the most boring human being on the planet, I'm at least going to be in shape.

I've left out all of the "fillers" that you already know about - the gymnastics practices, softball practices, meets, games, school functions - because they are all on a bit of a hiatus at the moment, this being summertime. It's kind of a shame. Because without them, frankly, I have no life to speak of.

Which brings me to Exhibit B, further proof that I am completely boring: I am jealous of my children, who get to go to camp every day and do super fun stuff. I actually feel pangs of jealousy. First, let's consider Third Grader. Third Grader is all about the acting this summer. She is currently in the middle of a two-week session at a local theater, and her performance is Thursday night. She spends our drives to and from camp practicing her lines and songs and working on her accent (it's a Western this session), and it thrills me. I want to go to theater camp! Then there's Fifth Grader, who is currently attending Adventure Camp. Yesterday she went hiking, today she went kayaking, and tomorrow she's going mountain biking. She spends our rides to camp in a state of happy anticipation and our rides home in a state of happy exhaustion. I want to go to Adventure Camp!

And while they are at camp, I am at work. Working. Don't get me wrong: I'm still loving the new workplace. (How much longer do I get to call it "the new workplace", do you think?) It's challenging and rewarding in many ways - so much so that I am currently in the middle of three different books, and two of them are work-related. And I don't mind that, because I love what I do and want to get even better at it. But I'm not much of a "one thing at a time" gal. Work is lovely, and it's nice to be able to pay for all these super fun camps. But Mama needs a little stimulation. A little fun. A little spice.

So here's the thing. Next week, the Tornadoes are going to the Camp of Camps: a week long, super-turbo gymnastics camp several hours away from home. They're pumped; I'm freaking out a little bit. Without my vicarious lives to live, I will have to find some other ways to amuse myself, and possibly not completely torment Boyfriend in the process with my Tornado-missing whininess. I am open to suggestions.