Monday, April 24, 2006

Kristen and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I woke up this morning with bad hair and a stiff neck. The kids were demanding all sorts of things before I even got near the coffee pot. I looked out the window and saw the grey clouds still hadn't dispersed. And still no new growth on the grass seed I'd planted weeks ago so I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

My wallet had been lost and/or stolen the day before. I had put in a call to the place where I thought I'd left it. Still no word. And now I can't get my car registered because I don't have my license. And I don't think I can get my new license without my old license. And of course I can't drive anywhere without it. And I'd love to go shopping and buy some chocolate because I really need some, but I can't without my bank card. That's gone too. I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

In the afternoon, after the kids' nap, I decide to drive over to the place I think I left my wallet. I can't find anyone to talk to. All the offices are locked up and no one is answering the doors. I ask a lady for directions and I realize she's not quite right in the head and she starts yelling at me about why women shouldn't wear red pants and something about enemas. She won't let me get away and I'm trying to be polite. I feel badly for her, but I still feel badly for me. I realize I'm never going to find my wallet and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

I think I'll move to Australia. Or the Southern coast of Spain.

We get home and as I'm carrying Sofia up the steps I trip on the stupid door mat that I've tripped on twice before, and should have thrown away then, but was too lazy. I come crashing down on the concrete mud room floor and I'm trying to get my hands on the back of Sofia's head so she won't hit it on the floor and as I stumble, I scrape the whole length of my shin against the bottom frame of the doorway. I start bawling in pain and the kids are freaked out. I check Sofia for bumps, but she's fine. I limp to the freezer for some ice and it was very clear that it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Later on, before Daddy comes home and makes us all dinner, David asks me what's wrong and why I seem so unhappy. I tell him I'm having a really bad day. "Some days are like that" I tell him. Even for moms in Australia.

But I think pretty much every day is good in Southern coastal Spain.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


I think I have unraveled the mystery of the self-locking doorknob. This was an issue with the bathroom door a couple weeks back and yesterday I couldn't open the cellar door when I was trying to bring a random, useless door screen I had found in the coat closet, downstairs. I was turning the handle but nothing was happening.

Me: "What the..."
David: "What is it mommy?"
Me: "I can't get the basement door open. It's like it's locked or something."
David: "What? Oh NO! Now we can't get into the basement! Now daddy can't play his music! Now we can't use the washer, now we can't..." David inherited the deep anxiety gene from both his folks. Poor kid.
Me: "It's okay. I'm just going to take it off and see what's wrong."
Sofi chimes in: "What you doin', mommy?"
Me: (getting out my flat head) "I'm taking this doorknob off to try and fix it."
I unscrew the knob and remove the trim and Sofia, alarmed, cries: "Oh, you boke it, mommy! It boke now!! Oh nooooo..."
Me: "No, no, it's fine. I'm taking it apart. I'll put it back together in a sec."
Sofia: "Oh, you boke it. It all boked now." She scrunches up her face and does her mock, sobbing sound that she makes when she thinks she ought to find something sad. It sounds kind of like "ooooo, hoo-hoo, heeewwww..." and trails off when she runs out of breath.

Clearly the kids have no faith in my self-taught tool skills. They've no idea that I used to help assemble stage sets back in college and at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Sure, the flight of steps I worked on for that Olympia Dukakis play may not have been structurally sound, but she'd been warned not to walk up them too quickly. Not my fault she couldn't follow stage directions.

Anyway, I take it apart and find that the screw that holds the knob to the spindle wasn't catching on the flat part, so I set it so that it would attach correctly and put it back together. You'd think we'd just won the candy lottery or something to see how happy the kids were.

"Now we can go in the basement!! Yay!" David shouts. Sofia does a little "We Did It" Dora dance. Yes. I'm thrilled, too.

So ends another day for HandyMom. Who knows what amazing adventure awaits our hero tomorrow.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Like 'Children of the Corn', Without The Corn

There are a lot of kids in our new neighborhood. I know there are some adults, too. At least I think. I really haven't seen them much. I caught a glimpse of the woman across the street, scurrying up the pathway to her porch last week. I chatted very briefly with a woman next door who was on her way out to her car. A man a couple houses over waved at me while I was in the backyard with the kids once. I guess I thought once we moved to the city we would be seeing more people on a day to day basis. There just doesn't seem to be much in the way of activity here. They all seem rushed to get to wherever they're going.

Then there are the children.

There is a small gaggle of neighborhood kids that you can either see or hear playing about on this and the intersecting streets. They are very friendly. Unusually friendly and they speak as polite adults would. I think it's pretty neat. They aren't shy, but they're not bothersome, either. But sometimes they kind of scare me.

Yesterday I was out front doing a little gardening after the Easter festivities and saw a shadow pass over my pansies. I turned and was startled by a tall, twelvish-year old boy with pecan colored hair, looming over me, watching me work.

"Hi" he said, half waving.
"Hi there."
"Have you met me yet?" Interesting way to ask.
"Umm, I don't think so."
He introduces himself and points to the large house down the street where he lives.
"That's where we all play. So whenever they want to play, they can come, too." He gestures to David and Sofia who have made their way out onto the front stoop to check out the boy.
"Well, that's nice. Thank you."

We make small talk for a bit about how nice the neighborhood is and then he lists off the names of the other children, asking whom I've met so far. I tell him I can't remember all of their names but that I met at least six or seven others.

"Oh well," he says dismissively. "You'll meet them all sooner or later." There's something a little ominous to this last line. I hope I'm not going to meet them at the neighborhood ritual adult sacrifice. I've yet to be introduced to "He Who Walks Behind The Row Houses", so I think I'm safe, for the time being. Maybe if I wear my hair in ponytails no one will notice I'm thirty-two.

If I don't blog for another week or two, someone send out a search party.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Going Postal

I like how some stores cater to kids, to make it easier for parents to shop with their children. At the grocery store I always park near the cart corral so I can keep my kids in sight while I'm putting the cart away. I guess I'm not the only parent who does this because I was recently in a parking lot that had a "reserved for families with small children in tow", or something to that effect, next to the cart corrals. I even like those gianormous (that's David speak for extra, giant enormous) car and wagon carts that I can push my children around in. They really ought to have directionals, because they're way too big and kind of dangerous in those little aisles. I almost took out a cereal display trying to pilot one. People seem tolerant enough of them and keep well out of my way while I'm shopping, so that's a plus. I see improvements all around, in most places I frequent with my kids, and I appreciate that. There are still a few places that could use some work. Some places you have to go with the kids once in a while, even though you'd rather never go there at all, but if you're only going to be open for a window of three hours on Saturday, then guess what? I've got to bring my kids! Yes, I'm talking to you post office.

The one in my mom's town is pretty nice. They have some kids' art work at kid eye level, and they hand out stickers left and right, which is very thoughtful and a simple way to please the little ones. The one I went to recently had all these colorful, padded mailers right at knee and waist level. There were oodles of them. Right at the place where you have to pause to wait your turn to be called to the counter. They are kind of begging to be taken out and played with. So when my children begin perusing through the assortment, carefully examining each envelope like vegans with eggplants at a farmer's market, I'm a little taken aback when the postal employee shouts at them "to not play with those, people have to buy those!"

Who exactly is the target demographic for these items? Adults under three feet? I'm not a size-ist and I can appreciate that there are people much shorter than myself in our community, but I can't see these things from where I am unless I sit down on the floor, so again, I'm really not sure that they're properly placed for most people over the age of seven. If these envelopes are so precious as to warrant yelling at my three and not-quite-two year old to not touch them, then perhaps they need to kept in a locked, shatter-proof glass cabinet. Just a suggestion. If we both do our parts, we can make the exchange more pleasant for everyone. I'll try keeping a closer watch on my children while you're asking me a dozen questions about the contents of the package I'm sending, and you try and keep your mailers above my knees.

It's all about baby steps...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Scatological Humor

Those who have followed my blog for a while can tell you that my oldest is preoccupied with poop. If it's not the fear of bear poop, then it's the concern over how septic systems work. Mostly, it's just the word. He's like a grade-schooler who hears it outloud and just can't help but giggle. Sure, there are far worse things he could be saying, so if "poop" is as bad as it gets then I'm going to count my blessings.

Now he's got his sister saying it too. All the time. And I don't know whether or not she really thinks it's funny, but she knows David thinks it's funny, and that's all that matters. She times it just right. She likes to yell it out at the dinner table and occasionally at a restaurant. And now that she's singing, it's found its way into the lyrics.

I'm pushing her on the swing this morning and she starts in with "How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?"- one of her favorites. I guess since our previous home owners' dog had lovingly decorated the yard with the stuff, she figured the two things go hand in hand.

So this is her: "How much is dat poooop in da window..."
Me: "Sofia, no thank you..."
Her: (not missing a beat) "...da one with the big poooops..." (giggle)
Me: "Okay, honey, that's enou-"
Her: " much is dat poopie in da window... HA HAH!!"
Me: "Sofia!"
Her: "I hope dat mama and poops for sale!!"

I don't know how I got dragged into the theme, but there you have it. I'm knee-deep in the stuff.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


With home ownership come the many, many projects and this time of year usually finds us starting (and hopefully, finishing) a few around-the-house related tasks. Since for once we don't have a house that needs a lot of interior refinishing (no more drywalling for us!) we can turn our attention to the great outdoors. We don't have nearly the acreage we used to and that's just fine with us. We liked picking berries and watching the deer make their way over the hill, but mowing and raking and more mowing and raking made us kind of grumpy. The gophers didn't help, either. I'm happy to have our little patch of land in our little city neighborhood. And you know what else I love? Mulch! Especially if it means I don't have to look at bare patches of dirt amongst my leaves of grass. It smells good, it doesn't stain your clothes and the kids think it's another toy. We got a big 'ol delivery of Kid Kushion this weekend and made our own private playground in the backyard. The best part was the truck, dumping it out in the yard. The kids thought that was great. I found raking it out very satisfying, for about five minutes. And then I let big, tough Daddy man finish the job. Here's the finished product. Notice now we need to lay down more grass seed. Guess what? Already done. Ta-Dah!

Watch out grubs- you're next on the list. Scram, or I'll sic the giant red crab on you.